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Written Answers

Volume 890: debated on Monday 21 April 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 21st April 1975

European Community Membership (Referendum)

39.

asked the Lord President of the Council why he will not include with the White Paper to be supplied to voters on matters connected with the EEC referendum a copy of the Rome Treaty and a summary of all the rules, directives and orders, etc., that have been issued since Great Britain's entry into the EEC.

asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in the forthcoming referendum, provision will be made for the supply, free of charge, to each of the umbrella organisations at local level of two copies of the register of electors in each constituency, as provided for at parliamentary elections under Regulation 22(1)(c) of the Representation of the People Regulations 1974.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Ravensbourne (Mr. Hunt) on 21st March.

asked the Lord President of the Council what conditions he proposes to attach to the grants to be made to the two campaigning organisations under Clause 3 of the Referendum Bill.

The grant to each organisation—Britain in Europe and the National Referendum Campaign—will be made subject to the following conditions, which they have both accepted:

  • (a) The grant may be used only for purposes connected with the referendum and not for purposes connected with other political objectives.
  • (b) In accordance with Clause 3(2) the organisation will keep accounts of all sums received or spent for the purpose of the referendum since 26th March 1975, and these accounts will show the persons from whom any such sums were received and the persons to whom any such sums were paid. Receipts and payments of less than £100 need not be separately identified, except when two or more such receipts from a person or organisation together exceed £100.
  • (c) Accounts for audit for this period will be made available within two months of the date of the referendum.
  • (d) The accounts will be subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General, who must for this purpose be given all reasonable access he may require to the books of the organisations; and the accounts will be available for publication by the Lord President of the Council.
  • (e) Any portion of the grant remaining unspent will be repaid to the Privy Council Office.
  • (f) The grant may be drawn upon as needed as soon as Clause 3 of the Bill has been approved by the House of Commons in Committee. To draw upon the grant the organisation should submit an application signed by Sir Con O'Neill/the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Neil Marten) to the effect that it has at least £X of bills or immediate commitments awaiting payment and wishes to draw upon the grant to that amount.
  • Auctions (Prosecutions)

    42.

    asked the Attorney-General how many successful prosecutions have been instigated under the provisions of the Auctions (Bidding Agreements) Act since it was enacted.

    Northern Ireland (Trials)

    asked the Attorney-General what percentage of trials, during the year 1974, tried by a judge sitting alone in the superior courts of Northern Ireland, where a plea of not guilty had been entered to all counts of the indictment, concluded with a verdict of not guilty.

    During 1974 the percentage in relation to persons tried by the superior courts of Northern Ireland, and including the Belfast Recorders Court, was 23·8.

    Energy

    Gas Prices

    35.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give a general direction to the Gas Corporation to take steps to reduce the differential between large domestic use and small domestic use gas prices in order to favour the smaller gas consumers.

    No. Direction would be inappropriate. I believe that the corporation can be relied upon to reduce the differential as and when circumstances so justify.

    Offshore Oil

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has about the methods used by other Governments for regulating the exploration for and exploitation of offshore oil.

    My Department keeps itself generally aware of the activities of other Governments in regulating the exploration for and exploitation of off-shore oil. The methods used vary considerably from complete State ownership to a system of licences for concessions.

    Oil Exploration (Midlands)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the granting of 14 petroleum exploration licences to Shell UK Limited, in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire.

    The grant of the licences, covering other parts of Britain as well as areas in the counties mentioned, was announced in the London Gazette on 15th April. The licences, which are in the standard form prescribed by the Petroleum (Production) Regulations 1966 as amended in 1972, authorise surface surveys and drilling to not more than 350 metres to obtain geological information about strata. Planning permission, where necessary, must first be obtained. The licences do not permit the extraction

    19701971197219731974Total
    Universities10·07·57·55·48·044·7
    The corresponding increases for teaches at polytechnics cannot be of petroleum. They are valid for three years but are renewable, at my discretion, for up to three years more.

    Civil Service

    Civil Servants (Pay)

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service what would be the total cost to the Exchequer in 1975–76, of the current Civil Service pay claim, if granted.

    The total additional cost to the Exchequer in the 1975–76 financial year for Civil Service salaries would be £315 million, including back pay of £48 million for the period 1st January 1975 to 31st March 1975.

    "Morning Star"

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many daily copies of the Morning Star are ordered for central Government Departments; and how many copies are placed regularly in the private offices of Ministers.

    Daily newspapers are ordered by Government Departments individually and no central records are, therefore, kept. However, I understand that it is the practice for central Government Departments to order copies of all daily newspapers, including the Morning Star, in quantities sufficient for their needs, and the private offices of Ministers will naturally have copies available to them.

    Education And Science

    University And Polytechnic Teachers (Pay)

    asked the Secretary of Education and Science what have been the percentage increases in remuneration given to teachers at universities and polytechnics over the last five years.

    The percentage increases between 1969 and 1974 in universities teachers' salaries were as follows:Separately identified from those for all teachers in further education.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the effect of the social contract guidelines on the current wage negotiations affecting university teachers; and what proposals have been made for an increase in remuneration prior to October 1975.

    The TUC guidelines provide that a 12-monthly interval between major increases should in general apply. Proposals for an 18 per cent. increase in university teachers' salaries to operate from 1st October 1974 were made on 22nd January last.

    School Premises And Sports Facilities

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what advice he has given to local authorities on the fuller use of school premises and sports facilities by outside organisations out of school hours.

    The Department will continue to encourage local education authorities to make the fullest possible use of their educational premises for community and recreational activities. The Departmental Circular, "The Chance to Share", issued in February 1970, asked local education authorities to consult and co-operate fully with other local authorities or departments within the same authority, and with the bodies concerned with community facilities, so that every possible opportunity for dual provision could be exploited. The Department asks local education authorities, in planning their new projects, to say what dual provision they envisage.

    Woking Sixth-Form College

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in the light of the public expenditure cuts announced in the Budget Statement, it is still intended that the projected new sixth-form college in woking will be built as planned.

    I understand that the local education authority intends to start building the first phase of the college very shortly within its capital authorization for the current year. The recently announced proposals for erductions in public expenditure relate to 1976–77.

    Adult Education

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress he has made in his discussions with the main adult education interests on the recommendations of the Russell Report on adult education.

    I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) on 14th March.—[Vol. 888, c. 251.]

    Lecturers (Pay)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to announce the new rates of pay for part-time lecturers in further education.

    These rates of pay are determined locally by local education authorities.

    Scotland

    Forestry

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his most up-to-date proposals to increase the area of planting of the forestry industry in Scotland in (a) the public and (b) the private sector.

    Planting and restocking by the Forestry Commission will continue within the total of 55,000 acres a year for Great Britain as announced following the recent review of forestry policy. As at present, the greater part of this will be undertaken in Scotland. The Government's new Dedication Scheme, announced on 5th July 1975, gives assistance to the private sector, but the level of planting is a matter for decision by individual landowners.

    Deferred Mortgage Payment Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he experts to issue guidance to local authorities on the operation of the deferred mortgage payment scheme.

    This was done in SDD Circular No. 29/1975, issued on 9th April, a copy of which is in the Library.

    Rights Of Way

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the statutory provisions relating to the enforcement of public rights of way in Scotland.

    Local Government (Scotland) Act 1894, Section 24 (as amended by Section 1 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929).Local Government (Development and Finance) Act 1964, Section 2.Countryside (Scotland) Act 1967, Part III.Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1972, Part X.

    Public Inquiries

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements he proposes for public inquiries to be held in court buildings in Scotland.

    It is for the reporter appointed to conduct an inquiry to select suitable accommodation in a convenient place. Court buildings would be considered if suitable and available.

    European Community Membership (Referendum)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make an official television broadcast in Scotland on the Government's position in the forthcoming referendum.

    Road Accidents (A74)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were, respectively, the numbers of fatal accidents and accidents in 1974 on the A74 in Lanarkshire.

    The total number of accidents involving injury was 109, including 12 fatal accidents.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were, respectively, the numbers of fatal accidents and accidents in 1974 on the A74 in Dumfriesshire.

    The total number of accidents involving injury was 99, including eight fatal accidents.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the average number of fatal accidents per mile on the A74 over the last three years.

    Industry

    Shipbuilding

    6.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry why he has not obtained details of the other trading activities carried on by the companies in the shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engineering industries to be nationalised; and whether he now intends to obtain such details.

    My Department possesses considerable information on such activities derived from company accounts and in some cases supplied from time to time by companies.

    Yorkshire And Humberside

    12.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what grants have been received from the EEC to help ease the problem areas of high unemployment in the Yorkshire and Humberside region; and if he is satisfied with the amount of such aid which has already been received or promised for the immediate future.

    Grants from the EEC for industrial development are at present only available from the ECSC for readaptation and other purposes Figures for these are not available on a regional basis. The ECSC and the European Investment Bank have made loans totalling £40·5 million to industry in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. The Government are always seeking to obtain as much benefit as possible from EEC membership.The following loans have been made under Article 54 of the Treaty of Paris:

    £m.
    BSC Scunthorpe25·75
    BSC Templeborough1·25
    NCB Barnsley1·0
    Woodhead Components (Sheffield)0·5
    The following loan has been made by the European Investment Bank:
    £m.
    BSC Thrybergh12·0

    European Community Membership

    18.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the powers which he currently possesses which would be curtailed by continued membership of the EEC.

    The Government's views on this matter were contained in the Prime Minister's statement of 18th March and in the White Paper on membership of the European Community.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list any departmental studies, both those recently completed and those still in progress, on the implications of continued membership of the EEC, indicating which ones will be published before the date of the referendum.

    The views of the Government on this issue are reflected in the White Paper on Membership of the European Community (Cmnd. 6003).

    Electrical Vehicles

    24.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what further information he now has on the progress of research authorised by the National Research and Development Corporation into the development of electrical vehicles; if he will take steps to speed up this development; and if he will make a statement.

    At present the NRDC is not supporting any research programmes on electric vehicles but my Department has commissioned work on the sodium-sulphur battery.

    Steel

    26.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are his latest estimates of the total redundancies over the next four years at the steelworks at Shotton, East Moors and Ebbw Vale, respectively; and what is his estimate of the residual employment at each of these plants when current rationalisation proposals have been fully implemented.

    Following the Government's review of British Steel Corporation's closure proposals, the proposed closure at Shotton has been deferred until 1980–81, and a study is in progress of the economics of modernising steelmaking there. Shotton will continue to employ at least 6,500, and under some proposals this could be substantially higher. In the case of East Moors, the proposed closure has been deferred to not earlier than January 1980; this will be a complete closure. In the case of Ebbw Vale about 4,600 job opportunities will be lost over the next four years, but the number of redundancies is likely to be lower. After completion of the closures Ebbw Vale will continue to employ between 4,500 and 5,000.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the estimated cost to the British Steel Corporation, in each of the next five years. of the deferment of steel plant closures announced in February.

    I do not believe that the British Steel Corporation will suffer any significant financial penalty as a result of the deferments of closures announced on 4th February. The estimates of additional costs which have been cited in the House and elsewhere do not take account of the revenue from sales of the products to be made by the works concerned while they remain open. Any estimate of future profit or loss at each individual plant must depend on assumptions, about costs of raw materials, prices, market outlets etc., and is a matter for the corporation.

    Investment

    25.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry on what evidence he based his estimate that £6,000 million is needed to be invested in British industry.

    This estimate was based on tie assumption that we would need to double the amount of capital investment per worker employed in manufacturing industry in order to match the performance of our competitors.

    Concorde

    27.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement about his meeting with the French Minister of Transport on 25th March about the Concorde project.

    M. Cavaillé and I reviewed the progress made with the Concorde project over the past 12 months. We noted that there is every prospect that Concorde will obtain its certificate of airworthiness this year. We agreed that British Airways and Air France would inaugurate their commercial services on the same date. We also reviewed the sales position and the progress of procedures of the United States authorities which will precede the operation of Concorde services between Europe and the United States. We agreed that we would meet in future at least every six months and more frequently if circumstances such as new orders warranted it.

    Paper Making

    28.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has received representations from the paper making industry as to the effect on employment were the United Kingdom to leave the EEC; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has not had any formal representations from the federation about the effect on employment or any other specific subject in the event of withdrawal.

    Northern Region

    30.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied with the state of industry in the Northern Region.

    Regional assistance is designed to improve the state of industry in the assisted areas. We are seeking powers in the Industry Bill to

    APPLICATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE IN THE FORM OF GRANT OR LOAN UNDER THE INDUSTRY ACT (1972) APPROVED IN THE PERIOD 1ST JANUARY 1975–31st MARCH 1975
    LoansAmountGrantsAmountTotalAmount
    £££
    Regional development grantsN.AN.A.16,68562,983,00016,68562,983,000
    Regional selective assistance (Section 7)4216,830,0001677,097,00020923,927,000
    Wool textile scheme (Section 8)N.A.N.A.281,100,000281,100,000
    Shipbuilding construction grants (Section 11)N.A.N.A.344,168,756344,168,756
    Total4216,830,00016,91475,348,75616,95692,178,756
    Notes:
    1. The number of applications approved relates to qualifying premises in the case of regional development grants, and to companies in the case of other schemes.
    2. No equity investment was approved during the period.

    reinforce these measures. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor last week announced special schemes to encourage firms to bring forward certain categories of investment, and to help certain industries with modernisation plans.

    Mechanical Engineering

    31.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he next plans to meet representatives of the mechanical engineering industry.

    We are in frequent contact with representatives from both sides of the industry. My right hon. Friend plans to attend the annual conferences of the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers and the Confederation of Shipbuilding Unions in May and June respectively.

    Government Aid

    29.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry for how many companies he has approved, since 1st January 1975, aid under the Industry Act 1972; and how many involved grant, loan and equity investment, respectively, giving the sums involved in each category.

    In general, records of assistance are not kept on a company basis. But in the period 1st January 1975 to 31st March 1975, 237 applications to a total value of £24 million were approved for loans and grants under Part II of the Industry Act, and 34 applications for grants to a total value of £4·2 million under Part III. 16,685 applications for regional development grants were cleared, involving a total grant payment of £63 million. Full details are:

    British Leyland

    32.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is yet in a position to make the principal recommendations of the Ryder Report on British Leyland available to the public; and if he will make a statement.

    Scottish Industrial Estates Corporation

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many people are employed by the Scottish Industrial Estates Corporation.

    companyEmployment (1st quarter 1975)Location of works with over 100 employees
    British Aircraft Corporation35,687Bristol, Preston, Stevenage, Weybridge, Samlesbury. Hurn, Warton, Fairford
    Hawker Siddeley Dynamics6,805Lostock. Hatfield, Stevenage, Chiswick
    Hawker Siddeley Aviation27,195*Kingston, Dunsford, Brough, Hambie, Broughton, Woodford Bitteswell, Bracebridge, Heath Chadderton
    Scottish Aviation2,395Prestwick, Cumnock
    * As at June 1974.
    I will publish information for those shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engineering companies which also give their written consent.

    Post Office (Automatic Mail Sorting)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the anticipated annual saving in wage and salary costs which should accrue to the Post Office once the automatic mail-sorting equipment bought for £3 million over the past five years is brought into operation; what progress has been made between the Post Office and the Union of Post Office Workers on a resumption of the mechanisation programme; and how soon the equipment is now likely to be operational.

    Details of the savings of particular aspects of postal mechanisation are a matter for the Post Office. However, I understand that the equipment in question forms only part of a national mechanisation programme for introduction over several years and thus savings cannot be meaningfully assessed until this has been complete. An

    Aircraft And Shipbuilding

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will now publish in the Official Report the information sought by the hon. Member for Tynemouth on 24th March 1975 in respect of the location of the towns in which the companies listed for nationalisation in his statement of 17th March have a works or yard and the number of people employed by each of those companies.

    I am in contact with the companies in question and can now publish the following information for companies in the aircraft industry:agreement on a resumption of co-operation in mechanisation has been reached between the Post Office and the Executive Committee of Union of Post Office Workers subject to ratification by the union's conference in May.

    Telephones (Equipment Contracts)

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many telephone exchange equipment contracts are currently overdue on their original completion date.

    The Post Office tells me that information based on original completion dates is not readily available. Some contracts have been renegotiated, and it is against completion dates currently in force that delay is measured. On this basis, 410 contracts—23 per cent.—are subject to supplier delay, over half of which are now overdue.

    Postage Rates

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry why he will not give a general direction to the Post Office that it should operate a system of repaying full first class postage rates to those recipients of letters which are known to be delivered in periods of more than two days from date of postage.

    It is for the Post Office, under Section 28 of the Post Office Act 1969, to determine the charges and other terms and conditions applicable to the services provided by it. The Post Office aims to deliver first class letters on the next working day after posting; but it does not and cannot guarantee to do so.

    Transnational Corporations

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will arrange to transmit to the United Nations Commission on Transnational Corporations any submission which the TUC or CBI wish to make.

    Yes. The commission's terms of reference require it to promote the exchange of views among Governments, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations, trade unions, business, consumers' and other relevant groups through the arrangement, inter aha, of hearings and interviews. I am very ready to advise and assist the TUC, CBI or any other interested party wishing to make its views known to the commission.

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will arrange to publish as a White Paper any submission or report by the United Kingdom to the United Nations Commission on Transnational Corporations.

    Environment

    Sports (Deaths And Injuries)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many deaths and how many serious injuries have resulted from sporting activities during each of the past five years for which records are available; and how many of such deaths and how many of such serious injuries have been attributed to rugby football, association football, boxing, wrestling, athletics, swimming, motor racing, motor cycle racing, cycling, gliding or other sports, respectively.

    Rates

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now able to forecast, by types of authority, average percentage rate increases likely in 1975–76 for domestic ratepayers, both with and without taking account of the 1974–75 domestic rate relief scheme and for non-domestic ratepayers.

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) on 14th April 1975.—[Vol. 890, c. 18.]

    Toll Charges (Tunnels)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what criteria he applies for the increase in toll charges on tunnels;(2) what criteria he applied in increasing toll charges on the Dartford-Purfleet Tunnel.

    The local Acts under which the three English tolled tunnels, at Dartford, Mersey and Tyne, are operated specify the purposes to which toll receipts are to be applied. In considering applications for increases in tolls, my right hon. Friend requires to be satisfied, having regard to the general financial position and future prospects of the undertaking, that the tolls proposed will produce sufficient revenue for those purposes.

    Housing (Cheshire)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what discus- sions he has had with local authority representatives in Cheshire about the housing needs in the county.

    I met representatives from several of the district councils in Cheshire earlier this year to discuss generally the need to increase their house building programmes.

    asked the Secretary or State for the Environment what assistance is being provided by his Department to housing associations in Cheshire and in the area covered by the Macclesfield Borough Council in particular.

    Generous new grants are now available to housing associations that are registered under the Housing Act 1974 and my Department and the Housing Corporation are always ready to advise associations on design or financial aspects of schemes. This applies generally and there is no different approach to housing associations operating in Cheshire, or Macclesfield in particular.

    Water Supply

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many dwellings in England and Wales are without a mains water supply; what is the cost yardstick per dwelling to supply water in rural areas; and whether there are any special remoteness grants available.

    No precise information is available about the number of dwellings without a mains water supply although the number is believed to be proportionately very small. There is no cost yardstick per dwelling as such but grant is available under the Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage Acts towards costs up to £615 per property incurred in the extension of rural water supplies.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the statutory provisions governing the provision of a mains water supply in rural areas of Great Britain.

    The main statutory provisions relating to the provision of mains water supplies in rural areas in England and Wales are Sections 36 and 37 of the Water Act 1945 and Sections 29 to 31 of the Third Schedule to that Act, Section 11 of the Water Act 1973 and the Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage Acts 1944 to 1971.

    Road Accidents

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the average number of fatal accidents per mile on non-urban dual carriageway trunk roads other than motorways in England over the last three years.

    This information is not available in the form requested but in 1973 there were 32 fatal accidents per 100 miles on all dual carriageway roads other than motorways in England.

    Dual Carriageways

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the mileage of all-purpose dual carriageways in use on trunk roads on 31st March 1975.

    The length of all-purpose dual-carriageway trunk roads in England as at 31st March 1975 was 1,245 miles.

    Islington (Improvement Scheme)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to be able to respond to Islington Borough Council's request for authorisation of improvement expenditure in Stonefield Street and Milner Square.

    I hope to give a decision on the Stonefield Street improvement scheme shortly. Discussions have already been held about the Milner Square scheme and a revised grant application is awaited from the borough.

    Housing And Construction Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment on what dates the last six editions of "Housing and Construction Statistics" have been made available by him for public purchase in HMSO; on what dates he has issued a Press release giving an abstract of their contents; and whether he will consider the more frequent publication of some of the information contained in housing and construction statistics in a form other than by Press notice.

    The publication dates of Housing and Construction Statistics were:

    • No. 6–20th November 1973
    • No. 7–25th March 1974
    • No. 8–5th July 1974
    • No. 9–23rd October 1974
    • No. 10–7th January 1975
    • No. 11–7th March 1975.
    There are no general Press releases giving an abstract of their contents, but several important short-period housing and construction statistics are issued to the Press as soon as possible after the results for each of them become available.The frequency and method of publication of the information contained in Housing and Construction Statistics are matters which I keep under constant review.

    Architects' Commissions

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet received a request from the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects for a meeting to discuss the level of architects' commissions; and what response he has made.

    This was one of a number of matters I discussed with the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects on 17th February 1975. I have in addition written in reply to the memorandum which he sent my right hon. Friend on the workload of the architectural profession.

    Construction Industry

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress is being made by his construc- tion industry liaison group; how many meetings have so far taken place; what dates have been fixed for meetings for the remainder of 1975; what programme of work has been set in motion; and what action has so far ensued.

    The first meeting of the Construction Industry Liaison Group will be held on 24th April, when I propose to discuss with the group its programme of work and the arrangements for further meetings.

    House Building

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, following his answer to the hon. Member for Melton on 6th March, he regards the value of new orders for public sector the further decline in January 1975 on housing as due to chance variations.

    The low figure in January following the high one in December is an example of the chance variations in order statistics, referred to in answering the hon. Member's earlier Question. New orders, at constant prices, for public sector housing were 2 per cent. higher in November to January than in the previous three months and 22 per cent. higher than a year earlier.

    Land Prices

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion the 1,467 land transactions in England and Wales published by him on 3rd April represents of total land transactions in the year; and whether he is satisfied that they represent a sufficiently representative and up-to-date sample to draw general conclusions about land price movements.

    The transactions analysed are sites sold in the private sector with planning permission for four or more dwellings. Over a period of several years, it is estimated that the regular analysis has included 35 to 40 per cent. of all private housing land transactions reported to Inland Revenue. Nearly all excluded transactions are the small sites, so that over 75 per cent. of the area and over 80 per cent. of dwelling plots sold have been covered. Therefore, this source is adequately representative of housing land.Transactions are usually reported about six weeks after completion of sales and the lag between prices being agreed and sales being completed is thought to average about three months.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the basis of his calculation that the present-day market value for building land for new development is £20,000 per acre over Great Britain on average; on how many transactions this calculation was based; and what was the particular period of time on which the calculation was based;(2) what is the basis of his calculation that the present-day current use of value for land for new development is £1,000 per acre over Great Britain on average; on how many transactions this calculation was based; and what was the particular period of time on which the calculation was based.

    A broad assessment of recent average values for all types of land over the country as a whole.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his projected figure of land acquisition costs by local authorities in England and Scotland of £300 to £400 million per annum assumes a basis of market value net of 80 per cent., development land tax, or of current use value only under the proposed arrangements after the second appointed day.

    As the Financial Memorandum to the Community Land Bill says, its estimates reflect the situation when the community land scheme is in full operation—that is, after the second appointed day, when the basis on which public authorities acquire land will be current use value.

    Mortgages

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice Ministers have given, directly, or through the Joint Advisory Committee to the Building Societies Association or individual building societies within the last three months about imposing quantitative ceilings on mortgage advances in order to restrain house prices; and what is his policy on this matter.

    The Government and the Council of the Building Societies Association have agreed on a further step towards achieving their joint objectives of stabilising the flow of mortgage funds and avoiding an excessive increase in house prices.Building societies are planning their lending policies so as to support an active housing market during 1975 and this could involve lending at a somewhat higher level than the current monthly rate. The agreed arrangements, by providing for adjustment in lending, are aimed at averting a house price explosion.In addition to their lending during 1975, the aim of societies will also be to set aside adequate funds for the maintenance of a high and stable level of lending for house purchase in the future. The Government and the Building Societies Association believe that in this way builders can be assured there will be mortgages available for new houses, and that this will encourage them to commit resources to a programme of new construction.

    Housing (Municipal Purchase)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how much has been spent by each of the local authorities in England and Wales on the purchase of private accommodation in the year ending April 1975;(2) how much has been spent by each of the local authorities in England and Wales on the repurchase of former council houses in the year ending April 1975.

    Prices And Consumer Protection

    Petrol

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will hold an inquiry into the different prices being charged for petrol by garages in various parts of the country; and if she will make a statement.

    Competition seems to be reasserting itself in this market. Garages, like other traders, are free to adjust their prices provided they do not overstep the margin controls in the Price Code. Retail prices also vary in different parts of the country because oil companies charge according to what zone the garage is in. The Price Commission has recently made an interim report to me on petrol margins in which it comments that when sales are falling

    "the only way an individual garage can protect itself is to cut its price".—["Motor Fuel Retailers' Margins: An Interim Report", HMSO.]
    The commission will be making a final report shortly with the results of its more detailed analysis and in the circumstances I do not think any further inquiry is necessary.

    Fish (Scotland)

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, when she makes her promised statement on an inquiry into retail prices in the fish trade, if she will ensure that her inquiry extends to Scotland and gives a part of her statement specifically to the position in Scotland.

    Details of the inquiry to be carried out by the Price Commission into prices and margins in the distribution of fish were announced on 16th April in reply to a Question from the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, West (Mr. Johnson). The inquiry will include Scotland.

    Trade

    Nation Life Insurance Co Ltd

    33.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his latest estimate of the net liabilities of Nation Life.

    The statement of affairs required under Section 235 of the Companies Act 1948 contains an estimate of the liabilities which shows them, in total, to exceed £25 million. Agreement of the liabilities and the admission or rejection of the resultant claims are primarily matters for the liquidator appointed by the court. He is seeking the directions of the court on the bases to be used in making the necessary calculations.

    Bankruptcy Law

    34.

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the recent report by Justice stressing the inadequacies of the present bankruptcy laws; and what plans the Government have for their reform.

    Yes. Its recommendations will be considered. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) on 24th February 1975.—[Vol. 887, c. 35.]

    European Community Membership

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list any departmental studies, both those recently completed and those still in progress, on the implications of continued membership of the EEC, indicating which ones will be published before the date of the referendum.

    During the course of renegotiaion my Department and other Departments have naturally considered the implications for this country of continued membership. The views of the Government on this issue are reflected in the White Paper on Membership of the European Community (Cmnd. 6003).

    Exports And Imports

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the distribution of United Kingdom external trade, both exports and imports, for each of the last 10 years for which figures are available, with the United States of America, Com- monwealth, EEC, EFTA, USSR and Eastern Europe, China and the rest of the world.

    19651966196719681969
    Exports*
    USA (including dependencies)10·612·412·314·212·4
    Commonwealth26·223·822·421·120·4
    EEC26·426·226·627·028·1
    EFTA11·612·012·311·412·1
    USSR and Eastern Europe2·42·93·33·63·1
    China0·50·60·70·50·7
    Rest of world22·322·122·422·223·2
    Total100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0
    Imports*
    USA (including dependencies)11·712·212·613·513·6
    Commonwealth28·626·224·022·222·1
    EEC23·625·226·526·125·9
    EFTA10·410·811·411·712·1
    USSR and Eastern Europe3·84·03·93·84·0
    China0·50·60·50·40·5
    Rest of world21·421·021·122·321·8
    Total100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0
    19701971197219731974
    Exports*
    USA (including dependencies)11·711·912·512·210·7
    Commonwealth19·720·618·516·616·4
    EEC29·229·030·232·433·4
    EFTA13·212·613·814·013·6
    USSR and Eastern Europe3·22·82·82·62·6
    China0·60·30·30·70·4
    Rest of world22·422·821·921·522·9
    Total100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0
    Imports*
    USA (including dependencies)13·011·210·610·29·8
    Commonwealth22·821·019·017·114·2
    EEC27·029·731·632·933·4
    EFTA12·612·914·515·013·0
    USSR and Eastern Europe3·93·53·53·42·9
    China0·40·30·30·30·3
    Rest of world20·321·420·521·126·4
    Total100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0
    * These area definitions are based on the 1974 basis.

    West Africa

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) whether his Department is at present contemplating sending a trade mission to Nigeria during the year; what other steps his Department is presently taking to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement on the present state

    Using the 1974 classification of areas, the following are the percentage distributions by value:of trade between Great Britain and Nigeria;(2) whether his Department is at present contemplating sending a trade mission to Dahomey during the coming year; what other steps his Department is presently taking to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement upon the present state of trade between Great Britain and Dahomey;(3) whether his Department is at present contemplating sending a trade mission to Ghana during the coming year; and what other steps his Department is presently taking to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement upon the present state of trade between Great Britain and Ghana;(4) whether his Department is at present contemplating sending a trade mission to Togo during the coming year; what other steps his Department is presently taking to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement upon the present state of trade between Great Britain and Togo;(5) whether his Department is at present contemplating sending a trade mission to Sierra Leone during the coming year; what other steps his Department is presently taking to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement upon the present state of trade between Great Britain and Sierra Leone;(6) whether his Department is at present contemplating a trade mission to the Ivory Coast during the coming year; what other steps his Department is taking at the present time to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement upon the present state of trade between Great Britain and the Ivory Coast;(7) whether his Department is at present contemplating sending a trade mission to Guinea during the coming year; what other steps his Department is presently taking to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement upon the present state of trade between Great Britain and Guinea;(8) whether his Department is at present contemplating sending a trade mission to Liberia during the coming year; what other steps his Department is presently taking to study the potential market for British exports to that country; and if he will make a statement upon the present state of trade between Great Britain and Liberia.

    My right hon. Friend has recently returned from a visit to Nigeria. Over the next 12 months five trade missions sponsored by chambers of commerce and trade associations and assisted by the British Overseas Trade Board will be visiting Nigeria and several others are under consideration. Firm arrangements have been made for two missions to Ghana and another is under discussion; one mission has been arranged for Sierra Leone. The board has as yet no proposals for missions to Dahomey, Togo, Ivory Coast, Guinea or Liberia but a mission has just returned from Ivory Coast.My Department and the Commercial Departments of the High Commisions and Embassies in the countries mentioned are keeping a close watch on the potential for British exports to these markets. A considerable flow of information to exporters about them is maintained through the Export Intelligence Service and other channels. We pay particular attention to new prospects arising from developments such as the publication of Nigeria's Third Development Plan, 1975–80, and the signature of the Lome Convention.The Tropical Africa Advisory Group has recently been re-established to assist the Department and British Overseas Trade Board in the promotion of British exports to all the countries of Tropical Africa.Details of our trade with these countries are published in the Overseas Trade Statistics.

    National Finance

    Industrial Investment

    36.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now take steps designed to improve confidence in industry, in particular by encouraging an improvement in the return on capital in new investment, with a view to stimulating new orders and employment opportunities.

    The stock relief measures introduced last November and now continued and expanded to embrace companies which did not previously qualify, and the recent Price Code relaxations, will greatly improve the financial position of the corporate sector this year. My right hon. Friend also announced in his Budget speech that we intend to make full use of the powers of selective assistance under the Industry Act to prime the pump for viable investment projects. The Government are committed to the maintenance of a profitable manufacturing sector, but in difficult times industry must continue to bear its share of the burden.

    Tax Yields (Motor Spirit And Derv)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated revenue obtained from value added tax on motor spirit and derv, respectively, in 1974–75 and in the current financial year.

    It is estimated that net receipts in 1974–75 from VAT on petrol were about £130 million. The estimate for 1975–76 is £400 million. Net revenue from sales of diesel oil is likely to be small.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated revenue obtained from excise duty on motor spirit and derv, respectively, in 1974–75 and in the current financial year.

    Net receipts for excise duty on motor spirit and derv are published in the Annual Reports of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. Provisional figures for 1974–75 are not yet available. The estimate for all road fuel in 1975–76 is £1,400 million; separate estimates for motor spirit and derv are not available.

    Vehicle Taxation Yield

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated revenue obtained from value added tax on motor vehicles in 1974–75 and to be obtained in the current financial year, respectively.

    Gold Coins

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report the monthly figures for the import and export of gold coins of legal tender for the year to March 1975 and the resulting monthly and annual balance of trade figures for gold coins of legal tender for the same period.

    I refer my hon. Friend to Table VIII—Imports and Exports of Gold and Coin—of the "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom", copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.

    Expenditure (Wales And Scotland)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will cause leaflet COIN 1 to be revised so as to show expenditure on Wales and Scotland on the same basis as that on Northern Ireland.

    No. The figure shown for Northern Ireland in the leaflet covers that part of the expenditure in the Province which has customarily been included in the "Northern Ireland" programme in the Public Expenditure White Paper. Precisely comparable figures are not available for Scotland and Wales.

    Public Expenditure

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table breaking down into as much detail as possible the reductions in public expenditure now proposed for roads and transport, housing, and other environmental services.

    I would refer the hon. Member to the table published in the Official Report on 17th April—[cols. 143 and 144]—in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Evans).

    Stock Appreciation Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the benefit to industry of the deferment of tax on stock appreciation made in his last two Budgets.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    United Kingdom Regional Policy

    37.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent the powers of implementing United Kingdom regional powers are inhibited by membership of the EEC.

    We are satisfied that Parliament retains the powers needed to pursue an effective regional policy.

    Textile Industry (European Court Judgment)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations are being made by Her Majesty's Government to the EEC to ensure early enforcement of the judgment of the European Court "re Aids to the Italian Textile Industry (December 1974)".

    The Commission of the European Communities informed us on 14th March that the Italian Government had informed it that they had taken the necessary measures to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice.

    European Regional Fund

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the amount of the EEC Regional Fund which will be spent in Scotland will be regarded as a reimbursement to the British Government or as a supplement to the United Kingdom regional expenditure.

    Under the regulation establishing the Regional Development Fund, money may either reimburse or supplement national expenditure. The Government have not yet decided their policy on this matter.

    Hong Kong (Trade Preferences)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking in connection with the exclusion of Hong Kong by the United States from the first list of beneficiaries of its generalised scheme of preferences; and if he will make a statement.

    Hong Kong has in fact been included in the list of countries and territories drawn up by the United States Administration for consideration as potential beneficiaries under the scheme, subject to the United States Government being satisfied on certain points. I am hopeful that the consultations which are currently taking place with the United States Administration will result in Hong Kong being admitted to the benefits of the United States generalised preference scheme.

    Namibia

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of the fact that four United States oil companies have all withdrawn their operations off the coast of Namibia, he will seek powers to prohibit British companies from any involvement in the exploitation of national resources of Namibia so as to comply with United Nations resolutions covering the unlawful occupation of Namibia by South Africa.

    No. On the principle involved, I have nothing to add to the relevant passages of my right hon. Friend's statement in the House on 4th December 1974.

    West Africa (United Kingdom Citizens)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many citizens of the United Kingdom, apart from military personnel, if any, are known currently to be working or otherwise residing in Dahomey, Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Togo. respectively.

    Our records show that the following numbers of United Kingdom citizens have registered with British representatives in the countries concerned:

    Dahomey21
    Nigeria13,650
    Guinea38
    Liberia460
    Sierra Leone2,380
    Ivory Coast185
    Ghana3,650
    Togo53
    There may be others who have not registered.

    European Community (Foreign Ministers' Meeting)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement concerning the meeting of EEC Foreign Ministers held near Dublin on 12th–13th April.

    This was an informal meeting of Community Foreign Ministers at which there was a general discussion and exchange of views. These, like similar discussions with Foreign Ministers of any country, are traditionally confidential.The meeting was called on the initiative of the Foreign Minister of Ireland, and its timing had no relation to the United Kingdom referendum which is a matter for the British people alone.

    Home Department

    Lord Justice Scarman's Lectures

    38.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government will reconsider the appointment of a Royal Commission to consider the need for a Bill of Rights in the light of the remarks of Lord Justice Scarman.

    I have read Lord Justice Scarman's recent lectures with much interest, and appreciate the relevance and importance of the issue which he raises. But while I hope these lectures will stimulate further public discussion of the issue I doubt whether the time is yet ripe for the appointment of a Royal Commission.

    Prisoners

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of prisoners serving sentences over four years is at present qualifying for the pre-release employment scheme.

    Of all prisoners sentenced to more than four years' imprisonment who were released in 1974, 34 per cent. were selected.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prisoners serving over four years is at present taking courses leading to educational qualifications.

    I regret that the information is not readily available. Information recorded centrally about education courses does not distinguish between people serving sentences of over four years and other prisoners. More detailed information could be obtained only by a large number of individual inquiries, the cost of which would not be justified.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to allow conjugal visits for long-term prisoners.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of prisoners, who take construction industry training courses while in prison, is able to obtain employment in this industry after completing their sentence.

    Information about the employment record of prisoners after their release is not available. But the construction industry training scheme operating in prison service establishments has been recognised by the National Joint Council for the Building Industry since 1973, and over 1,400 prisoners have so far secured trade union membership with trainee status before their release. The Prison Department has received a number of offers of employment for men trained under the scheme.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the results of the research into the pre-release employment scheme, which is currently being undertaken by the Home Office Research Unit, to be made public.

    We are currently reviewing the operation of the scheme and hope to announce the results in the course of the year, when reference will be made to the research data collected.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will reduce the threshold of the prerelease employment scheme from four years to two.

    Possible alterations in the qualifications prisoners must satisfy will be considered as part of the current review of the operation of the scheme.

    Immigration Act (Detainees)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if compensation for loss of earnings is made to aliens detained under Rule 42 of the Immigration Act but not subsequently deported;

    (2) if compensation for loss of employment arising from police detention under Rule 42 of the Immigration Act is available to individuals so detained, but not subsequently deported.

    Police (Weapon Training)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers in England and Wales were given training in the use of hand guns and/or rifles during each of the last three complete years for which records are kept.

    This is a matter for each chief officer of police, and I regret that the information could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers in England and Wales were given training in the use of automatic firearms during each of the last three complete years for which records are kept.

    No police force in England and Wales possesses or uses such weapons, and I am not aware of any training given to any police officer.

    Reading Prison

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the changes in the use of Reading Prison, outlined in a letter of 30th May 1974 from the Home Office to the hon. Member for Newbury, have now been carried out; whether the building's accommodation has been improved; and, in particular, whether it has facilities to handle the cases of young persons from Berkshire being held on remand.

    Work to improve the accommodation in Reading Prison and to adapt it to serve as a local prison is still in progress. Facilities for persons under the age of 21 remanded in custody will not be available until it has been completed.

    Prison Rules

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he is not considering the elimination of sex discrimination in prison by amending Prison Rule 26(2) and (3) so that men's hair is not cut without their consent.

    Because the present provision, which takes account of the consideration of safety at work, appears to be operating reasonably.

    Young Persons (Remands In Custody)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the charges against each of the seven girls and 15 boys held on remand in prisons on 31st March 1975.

    On 31st March 1975 there were in fact 17 not 15 unsentenced boys in prisons in England and Wales. I regret the error in the answer given in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend on 10th April—[Vol. 889, c. 1401–02.]—when the figure for the number of convicted and unsentenced boys in remand centres on 31st March was given as 257 instead of 255.With this correction, the information requested is as follows:

    Principal OffenceBoysGirls
    Theft14
    Theft of a motor vehicle1
    Taking a motor vehicle without authority6
    Burglary71
    Assault occasioning actual bodily harm1
    Robbery1
    Soliciting1
    Loitering with intent to commit an arrestable offence1

    Magistrates' Courts And Police Headquarters (Woking)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in the light of the public expenditure cuts announced in the Budget Statement, it is still intended that the projected new magistrates' courts and police headquarters in Woking will be built as planned.

    The cuts in public expenditure relating to 1976–77 will involve reductions in future programmes for magistrates' courts and police buildings. We are considering with the Surrey County Council whether it is right in these circumstances for the Woking project to go ahead.

    Tribunal Witnesses (Protection)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to implement the recommendations of the Salmon Commission and of the Salmon Committee to protect the reputations of innocent persons and strengthen the position of witnesses at ad hoc tribunals set up under the Act of 1921.

    I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to a Question by the hon. Member on 20th March.—[Vol. 888, c. 530.]

    James Kelly (Prison Visits)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the fact that any visit will be in sight and hearing of a prison officer, if he will give reasons why James Kelly, a remand prisoner at Winchester, is not being allowed an open visit with his wife.

    Because facilities for an open visit which would provide a sufficient degree of security are not available.

    Mr Shelepin (Visit)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many hours of police time of all categories of police, whether secret, special. uniformed or otherwise, were involved in providing guards, escorts, decoys and general care and protection for Mr. Shelepin on his recent visit, when Mr. Shelepin was attending functions on private premises or otherwise visiting private premises.

    It would involve considerable work to make the calculations needed to obtain this information.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Poultry Food (Arsenical Additives)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the annual tonnage of poultry food that contains arsenicals; what percentage of poultry food production this represents; what percentage of these foods are fed to laying hens; how many manufacturers include arsenicals in the rations of laying hens; what powers he has to prevent the inclusion of arsenicals in these feeds; and what is his policy towards excluding them and his plans for so doing.

    Exact figures about the use of arsenicals in poultry feeds are not available but I understand that their use in feed for laying hens is very small.The incorporation of medicinal products in animal feedingstuffs is regulated under the Medicines Act 1968, which enables me to revoke or vary licences on specific grounds related to the safety, quality or efficacy of the product or to misconduct by the licence holder, or by agreement.As I stated in the House on 16th April—[Vol. 890, c. 585.]—the licences for products containing arsenical compounds have been varied with the agreement of the licence holders so as to exclude their incorporation in feed for commercial laying poultry.

    Glasshouse Industry

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from Commissioner Lardinois on the possibility of fuel oil subsidies for United Kingdom horticulturists.

    Mr. Lardinois has not been in touch with my right hon. Friend on this subject.

    Franco-Italian Wine Dispute

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated cost to the EEC of ending the Franco-Italian "wine war"; what is the estimated cost to the United Kingdom of its share in the necessary subsidy; and to what use the surplus wine is to be put.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated contribution which will fall upon Great Britain as the result of the Franco-Italian settlement of the wine dispute.

    The Council of Ministers approved in Luxembourg on 15th April a Community programme to subsidise the distillation of about 110 million gallons of surplus wine into alcohol. Community expenditure from the European Agricultural Guarantee and Guidance Fund is estimated at £20·8 million. The United Kingdom contribution is made to the Community budget as a whole and represents 13·57 per cent. in 1975.

    Agricultural Productivity

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report statistics showing the rate of increase of labour productivity in British agriculture during the 10 years up to and including 1974.

    Information on the gross agricultural product per person engaged in agriculture in the United Kingdom is shown in Table 19 of the 1975 Annual Review White Paper (Cmnd. 5977). Over the 10 years 1964–65 to 1974–75 the rate of increase of labour productivity in agriculture averaged 6 per cent. per year.

    Defence

    North Sea Oil Installations (Russian Vessels)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the incidents on 10th April 1975 in which five Soviet vessels approached British oil installations in the North Sea.

    The five Soviet vessels concerned were a destroyer, submarine, two intelligence-gathering vessels and a support vessel. On 10th April they were operating on the high seas in the vicinity of installations on the United Kingdom continental shelf. As I told the hon. and gallant Member for Winchester (Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles) on 15th April, their activities were kept under surveillance.

    Recruiting (Advertisements)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will withdraw the Army advertisements of the type "Are you looking forward to work tomorrow?" in view of its effect on the mobility of industrial labour; and if he will make a staement.

    No. I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 3rd February 1975, which dealt with advertisements of this kind.—[Vol. 885, cols. 401–402.]

    Hms "Hermes"

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when HMS "Hermes" first entered service; and for how long she has been operating anti-submarine aircraft or helicopters.

    HMS "Hermes" entered service as a fleet carrier in 1960. She has always operated some helicopters in the anti-submarine rôle.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is intended that in her anti-submarine rôle HMS "Hermes" will be equipped with Sea King helicopters; and, if so, whether these machines will come from new purchases or from a redeployment of our existing anti-submarine helicopter strength.

    HMS "Hermes" will be equipped with Sea King helicopters for her anti-submarine rôle. These helicopters will be provided initially from within the total number of Sea Kings available for Royal Naval tasks. New purchases are made from time to time to maintain the total number needed and these will take into account the requirement for HMS "Hermes".

    Hms "Engadine"

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what effect the commitment to NATO in an apparently operational anti-submarine rôle of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary "Engadine" will have on the civilian deck and engine crew and their conditions of service.

    Should RFA "Engadine" be assigned to NATO in an anti-submarine rôle, her civilian crew would be replaced by naval personnel.

    Canberra Aircraft

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he proposes to phase out of service the 20-year-old Canberras recently committed to NATO for defence of the Eastern Atlantic; and what type of aircraft will replace them.

    These aircraft continue to be adequate for their peacetime tasks and for the wartime NATO reconnaissance role for which they have recently been earmarked. There are, therefore, no plans to replace them in the foreseeable future.

    Raf Colerne

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he can give an assurance that the married quarters at Colerne will continue to be fully occupied by RAF personnel in spite of the proposed closure of RAF Colerne.

    It is too early to say whether the married quarters will be required, in whole or in part, if RAF Colerne is closed.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans for a service unit to take over the RAF station at Colerne; and when he anticipates he will be in a position to announce his decision.

    We are currently examining the possibility of another defence requirement for Colerne if it is vacated by the Royal Air Force. I am unable to forecast when a decision will be reached, although the outcome will not be unduly delayed.

    Employment

    Rehabilitation Centres (Scotland)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the locations of all existing and planned industrial rehabilitation units in Scotland.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the location of existing employment rehabilitation centres—formerly known as industrial rehabilitation units—in Scotland is as follows; Bellshill, Dundee, Edinburgh and Hillington (Glasgow). The Edinburgh ERC has a hostel and offers residential facilities for people living beyond daily travelling distance of an ERC.The Commission has no present plans for further ERCs in Scotland.

    Coventry

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what facilities are available in the Coventry area for training and retraining; and what numbers can be accommodated.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that there are over 570 training places available under the Training Opportunities Scheme (TOPS) in the Coventry travel-to-work area of which 265 are in Coventry Skillcentre, the rest being in colleges of further education and employers' establishments. The facilities available are flexible as TOPS trainees can be placed in any college vocational course to meet individual training requirements. On 16th April 1975, 442 people were receiving training under TOPS.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of persons wholly unemployed in the Coventry area; and what was the number of such persons (a) six months ago and (b) 12 months ago.

    At March 1975, 8,811 people were unemployed in the Coventry travel-to-work area compared with 8,265 at September 1974 and 6,049 at March 1974.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of persons presently working short time in the Coventry area; and what was the number of such persons (a) six months ago and (b) 12 months ago.

    My Department knows of 9,600 persons who are currently on short-time in the Coventry travel-to-work area. Comparable figures for the earlier dates are not available.

    Redundancy Payments