Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 892: debated on Friday 16 May 1975

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answer To Questions

Friday 16th May 1975

Trade Unions

asked the Prime Minister if he will advise the establishment of a Royal Commission to study the activity of trade unions, their rôle in a modern industrial society and the extent to which their structure, operations and legislative framework in which they operate might conflict with the national interest.

National Finance

Pensioners' Railcards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will zero-rate rail-cards issued to pensioners for concessionary travel purposes which are at present chargeable with value added tax at the standard rate.

Arrangements have been made for the supply of these Senior Citizen Railcards by British Rail to be zero-rated extracstatutorily with effect from 1st April when the scheme began. British Railways Board will refund the tax paid by present holders of the cards and Customs and Excise are issuing a Press notice today.

National Debt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1945 the national debt on a per capita and per family basis.

Following is the table:

National debt per capitaNational debt per household
££
1945455
1946480
1947518
1948512
1949500
1950510
19515131,741
1952510
1953512
1954521
1955526
1956526
1957523
1958525
1959525
1960528
19615331,704
1962536
1963555
1964558
1965558
19665721,805
1967580
1968617
1969611
1970593
19716001,796
1972641
1973658
1974716
1975818

National debt per capita: Net total national debt outstanding at 31st March, in nominal terms, divided by mid-year estimates of total population of United Kingdom. The population figures used for 1974 and 1975 are projections from a 1973 base. Source: Annual Abstract of Statistics.

National debt per household: Net total national debt outstanding at 31st March, in nominal terms, divided by estimates of households as defined in the Census of Population and relating to census dates. Statistics of the number of families are not appropriate to use in this calculation and those for households are available only for census years. Source: Annual Abstract of Statistics and Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.

Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the level of (a) central Government, (b) local government and (c) central and local government spending on both a per capita and

Central Government ExpenditureLocal Government ExpenditurePublic Authorities' Expenditure
Per headPer householdPer headPer householdPer headPer household
££££££
1946851593
1947781987
1948792189
1949802188
1950792289
1951963262585105358
195210628117
195310731121
195410432120
195511234126
195611537136
195712539147
195812940154
195913643162
196014245170
196115248451164185589
196215956195
196316661205
196418170222
196520378245
196622270085269265837
196725296304
1968280104332
1969287111343
1970314125374
19713561,0641384144191,254
1972403159475
1973454193542
1974578236688
Expenditure per head is obtained using mid-year estimates of total population. The estimate of population in 1974 is a projection from a 1973 base.
Expenditure per household is derived using an estimate of the number of households as defined in the Census of Population and relating to census dates. Statistics of the number of households are available only for census years.
Figures of expenditure by public authorities exclude transactions between central and local Government. All expenditure figures for 1974 are provisional.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of Government expenditure overseas for 1975.

It is not Government practice to provide forward estimates of the balance of payments, or its components, apart from the information given in the Financial Statement and Budget Report and the annual Public Expenditure White Paper.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated yield of increasing the rate of income tax by two pence; and how this compares with the estimated yield of domestic and business rates, respectively.

a per family basis for each of the years since 1945.

The estimated full-year yield of increasing all rates of income tax by 2p for 1975–76 is about £780 million. This compares with estimated yields in 1975–76 for domestic and business rates of £1,674 million and £2,510 million respectively.

Government Stock

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated cost in the current year and in subsequent years of allowing the interest on 3½ per cent. war stock to be tax free to holders who fulfil both of the following conditions, (a) have held the stock since before 1945 and (b) are over pensionable age on or before 5th April; and what would be the estimated extra cost of including all undated Government stock.

I regret that the information on which to base an estimate is not available.

European Community Budget

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what Great Britain's net contribution in sterling to the EEC budget has been from January 1975 to date; and what percentage of Great Britain's total public expenditure this figure represents.

On the basis of provisional figures of outturn the United Kingdom's gross contribution to the European Community budget in the first four months of 1975 was £;97 million with receipts amounting to £146 million. The United Kingdom's receipts from the Community budget, therefore, amounted to £49 million more than our contributions during the first four months of this year. This was largely due to the exceptionally high level of receipts received from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund. Figures for total public expenditure are not available for the first four months of 1975.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was Great Britain's net contribution in sterling to the EEC budget from January 1972 to date; and what percentage of Great Britain's total public expenditure this figure represents.

The United Kingdom's net contribution to the Community budget for the two years 1973 and 1974 amounted to £135 million. This represented less than 0·2 per cent. of total public expenditure for these two years.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the amount of the 1975 EEC budget to be spent in the United Kingdom; and what is the amount of expenditure for the functions of various Government Departments.

Information on the amount of the 1975 Community budget to be spent in the United Kingdom is not available, but United Kingdom receipts from the Community budget in 1975 were estimated in the White Paper "Membership of the European Community, Report on Renegotiation" (Cmnd. 6003) to be in the order of £230 million-£240 million, giving a net contribution by the United Kingdom to the Community budget in 1975 of about £65 million-£75 million. Receipts in 1975 are now expected to be higher than the forecast quoted in Cmnd. 6003, giving a net contribution a good deal less than £65 million-£75 million. Most United Kingdom receipts in 1975 will be received by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce. Other Departments receiving money from the Community budget include the Department of Employment in respect of grants from the Social Fund.

Corporation Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are his best estimates of yield of corporation tax paid by all companies eligible for small business relief in 1974–75 and the similar figures for the remaining companies in the private sector and for nationalised industries.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his best estimate of the cost in 1974–75 and 1975–76 of reducing the level of small business corporation tax to 39 per cent. and 40 per cent., respectively.

Investment Income Surcharge

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the yield from investment income surcharge in the year 1974–75 and the cost of reducing the surcharge by 5 per cent. and by 10 per cent.

The estimated yield of the investment income surcharge for the year 1974–75 is £175 million. If both the lower and higher rates of surcharge were reduced by 5 or 10 percentage points this yield would be less by about £65 million or £130 million, respectively.

Inflation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the weighted average rate of inflation in those countries, excluding the United Kingdom, on whose currencies the Smithsonian Agreement was based since that agreement was made, and show a comparable figure for the United Kingdom.

The rates of inflation of the countries concerned from December 1971 to March 1975 has been as follows:

per cent.
Belgium35·4
Canada31·2
France37·1
Germany23·6
Italy53·6
Japan55·0
Netherlands32·7
Sweden29·1
Switzerland30·2
United States28·2
The comparable figure for the United Kingdom is 49·3 per cent.It would be misleading to derive a single figure by weighting these domestic inflation rates with the trade weights used in determining the effective exchange rate.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total annual cost of collection of VAT; how many VAT inspectors are currently in employment; and at what cost.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 15th May 1975; Vol. 892, c. 154], gave the following information:It is estimated that the total cost of administering VAT in the current financial year will approach £70 million. About two-thirds of this represents pay and pension provision for the 10,500 staff currently employed on the control and administration of the tax. About 4,500 of this total are involved in making visits to registered traders, but it is not possible to identify the cost of this side of their work.

Mortgages (Tax Relief)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the amount of revenue lost from granting tax relief on mortgages in 1974–75.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 15th May 1975; Vol. 892, c. 157], gave the following information:The estimated full-year cost of tax relief on mortgage interest payments for 1974–75 is about £680 million.

Civil Service

Government Publications (Welsh)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether the Central Office of Information has ever published anything in the Welsh language on behalf of other Government Departments.

Yes. The Central Office of Information produces printed material at the request of other Government Departments and this has included material in the Welsh language.

Defence

Offshore Oil Installations

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the total annual cost for each vessel of the two vessels charged with the duties of protection of offshore oil installations until the five new vessels come into operation.

The estimated annual running cost of each of the vessels is approximately £170,000 on present prices.

Overseas Development

Milk Powder

asked the Minister of Overseas Development by what means and from which date the EEC has sought to ensure that powdered milk provided to third countries under schemes of food aid is not used in commercial sales of powdered baby milk.

As I said in my reply to my hon. Friend's Question of 8th May, most Community milk powder is provided to Governments or international organisations for use in properly supervised projects. Starting from the implementation this year of the 1975 programme the Community will require a guarantee from the few recipient Governments which have expressed the wish to dispose of the skimmed milk on their local markets that it will not be misused, in particular as an artificial feed. The precise form of this guarantee has yet to be determined.

Education And Science

Film Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied with the criteria under which schools of film technique operate.

With the exception of the National Film School, which receives an annual grant in aid from the Government, independent film schools are not subject to my control. They may, however, voluntarily apply for recognition as efficient institutions of further education. No such schools are recognised at the present time.

Bournemouth Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many schools, primary and secondary, were in use in Bournemouth at the latest convenient date; and how many pupils there were at each of those schools;(2) what was the pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools and secondary schools in Bournemouth on some convenient date since 1st January 1975.

The Department has no later figures than those given in the Official Report on 25th February.—[Vol. 887, c. 89–90.]

Theatres

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what channels of advice are open to him concerning the provision of theatres and theatre buildings; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I are satisfied with the existing channels of advice through the Arts Council and the Theatres Advisory Council.The Arts Council is about to undertake a national survey of all arts buildings, including theatres, in order to identify significant gaps in their provision. It has the capacity to contribute through the Housing the Arts Fund, for which I have already announced the presentation of an Estimate to Parliament for 1975–76 for £1·15 million.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I have also been considering carefully, in consultation with the Arts Council and the Theatres Advisory Council, the future of the Advisory Committee on Theatres which was established by the previous Government. We have decided that it should be wound up. The chairman and members have been informed. The committee was set up in January 1974, but it has met only once, and my right hon. Friend and I are satisfied that the rôle envisaged for it is best fulfilled by the Arts Council and the Theatres Advisory Council.

Environment

House Building Costs

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department has any evidence to show whether a national building contractor is any cheaper or more efficient than a local contractor when building traditional type housing.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to her similar Question on 12th May.—[Vol. 892, c. 19.]

Geographers

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many graduate geographers there are within the administrative grade of officers in his Department.

Rochester Way Relief Road

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received proposals from the Greater London Council for the construction of the Rochester Way relief road between Falconwood and the Blackwall Tunnel southern approach; and when he expects to reach a decision on the building of this road.

No proposals have been received from the Greater London Council. I understand this scheme is at an early stage of design and it is accordingly not possible to forecast when decisions on the building of the road may be taken.

Road Accidents (Parked Vehicles)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of the increased accident figures since regulations governing lighting requirements have been changed, he will now review his policy on this matter.

I am closely watching the position following the change in the unlit parking regulations in 1972, in view of

Total Rate Payments
ScotlandUnited Kingdom
DomesticNon-DomesticDomesticNon-Domestic
£ million£ million£ million£ million
1965–6661·256·5598·7617·0
1966–6766·771·7663·0738·4
1967–6864·874·4676·6782·6
1968–6969·182·5708·7836·9
1969–7074·592·5755·7922·3
1970–7184·6108·7810·01,019·3
1971–72101·5119·5946·21,181·8
1972–73106·1126·81,071·21,336·7
1973–74*113·2140·71,177·91,486·0
1974–75*124·1168·61,162·11,975·6
* Provisional estimates.

Departmental Correspondence

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when Mr. G. F. Bailey of Pipers, Barrack Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, may receive an answer to his inquiry repeated on four occasions, as to why the forms relating to the Rent Act 1974 are not available, apart from a printed acknowledgment (reference H5/4B/666).

Among the 60 or so letters he has sent to this Department on rent matters, Mr. Bailey made inquiries about forms relating to the Housing Rents and Subsidies Act 1975, and I understand that he was sent an answer on 15th May referring him to the Rent Regulation (Forms etc.) Regulations 1975 SI 541 which came into force on 30th April.

Home Department

Rape

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the increase in accidents of which my hon. Friend gave details to the hon. Member on 12th May—[Vol. 892, c. 15.] The regulations will shortly be amended so that cars may park without lights in certain additional places off the main carriageway, where it is safe to do so.

Rates Income

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the total contribution from (a) domestic and (b) non-domestic ratepayers in Scotland and the United Kingdom, in money terms, towards local authority expenditure in each of the last 10 financial years.

The figures are as follows:representations have been made to him in regard to the effects on the safety and legal rights of women of the recent Law Lords judgment that a man cannot be convicted of rape if be believes the woman consented; and what has been his reply.

A number of organisations and individuals have asked me to consider legislation to amend the law on rape so as to reverse the recent decision of the House of Lords in R. v. Morgan and Others. I am informing them that, as I stated on 15th May in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley)—[Vol. 892, c. 159.]—I have the judgment in this case and its implications under consideration.

Taxi Trade

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what intentions he has to implement the recommendations of the Maxwell Stamp Committee on the subject of the reform of the law governing hackney carriages and licensed taxi cabs.

Two of the recommendations in this report have already been implemented. Consultations on the others have revealed certain differences of view which have not yet been resolved; but my right hon. Friend hopes to be in a position to make a statement fairly soon.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is now in a position to state when he will permit an increase in the tariff in respect of London taxi cabs.

Discussions with representatives of the London taxi trade are still in progress. I hope that these discussions will shortly be concluded so that an announcement about London taxi fares can be made soon.

Television Licences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider enabling holders of television receiving licences to obtain a refund on the unexpired portion of a licence in any particular 12-month period; and if he will make a statement.

In order not to add further to the cost and complexity of administering the licensing system my right hon. Friend considers that we should not go beyond the existing provisions for licence refunds.

Immigration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what new legislation on immigration the Government intend to introduce.

Our present plans are not to introduce immigration legislation until we have brought our nationality law up to date; but we shall keep the position under review in the light of any change in relevant circumstances.

Illegal Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons appearing before the courts in 1973 and 1974 were found to be illegal immigrants in how many of these cases were deportation orders made and carried out in how many of such cases was a sentence of imprisonment imposed and served before deportation was effected and what was the average length of sentence served.

I regret that this information is not available. But in general illegal immigrants are not charged with an offence and brought before a court, with a view to formal deportation, but are removed from the country by the exercise of the appropriate statutory power. In 1973 and 1974, respectively, 167 and 135 illegal immigrants were so removed.

Juveniles Imprisoned

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children at the latest available date were in Shrewsbury Prison.

On 14th May 1975 three boys aged 15–16 were held on remand in Shrewsbury Prison.

Police (Complaints)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made on his consideration of the reform of the procedure for complaints against the police.

The consultations with the police service and police authorities on my detailed proposals are near-ing completion.

Chileans

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria he applied in giving his consent to 683 Chilean refugees entering the country.

The last administration, in response to an appeal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, expressed willingness to consider applications on an individual basis, from those in need of refuge in consequence of events in Chile who wished to be resettled in the United Kingdom. We made it plain on taking office that applications would be considered more sympathetically. The main factor has been, and continues to be, whether the applicant is in need of refuge, since, as I said in reply to a Question from the hon. Member on 14th April—[Vol. 890, c. 24.]—our purpose has been to participate in the relief of suffering in company with many other countries. Personal acceptability has, however, continued to be a requirement in every case.

Scotland

Bridge Of Earn Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the financial savings that will accrue in a calendar year from the transfer of the eye unit from Bridge of Earn Hospital to Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

Since all the staff will continue to be employed and the patients will be treated at Ninewells, the only direct savings will be in respect of heating, lighting, cleaning and maintenance of the unused accommodation at Bridge of Earn; the health board estimates that this will amount to about £10,000 per annum. If, however, the facilities were provided in two sepaarte units at Bridge of Earn and Ninewells additional expenditure of about £31,000 per annum would be incurred.

Village Halls

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland on what date the amount of the annual budget for grants and loans for village halls under the Physical Training and Recreation Act 1937 was last raised; and when he proposes to make the next increase.

Since 1st September 1971 all new offers of capital grant to local voluntary youth and community organisations for social and recreational facilities have been made under the Further Education (Scotland) Regulations 1959. These offers have increased from £193,000 in 1971, including £44,000 for village halls and community centres, to £509,000 in 1974, including £229,000 for village halls and community centres. I intend to continue to assist social and recreational projects by local voluntary bodies as far as economic circumstances permit.

Community Development

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, in the light of the Department of the Environment's report, Census Indicators of Urban Deprivation, if he will take steps to introduce community development projects to meet the needs expressed in that report.

I have recently set up within the Scottish Office an Urban Renewal Unit, whose main task will be to encourage and co-ordinate, as between the Scottish Office Departments and local authorities concerned, the development of comprehensive policies and activities for tackling multiple urban deprivation. The unit will also consider how to apply elsewhere the experience gained on the community development project currently in progress in Paisley, to which I referred in my reply to the hon. Member on 2nd May.

Further Education (Day Release)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give details of the numbers of young people under 18 years obtaining day release from employment for further education in Scotland at the latest date available.

The latest available figures are those for session 1973–74, when about 26,000 young people were released from employment to attend part-time day further education courses either on one day per week or for continuous periods—blocks—of between two and six weeks at a time.

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has in regard to students' grants.

The rates of student grants for session 1975–76 are under review, and it is hoped to make an early announcement.

Invalid Vehicles

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report the accident statistics relating to motor invalid tricycles with manual gearbox, automatic transmission, electrically propelled tricycles and four-wheeled vehicles, respectively, in Scotland for the years ended 30th September 1973 and 1974, and the six months ended 31st March 1975, respectively, listing all categories of information in the form kept by his Department.

The only accident statistics kept at present by my Department relate to the number of drivers of invalid vehicles killed in accidents. For the relevant figures for the years ended 30th September 1973 and 1974, respectively, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Monro) on 6th November 1974.—[Vol. 880, c. 110–12.]—In the six months ended 31st March 1975 one driver of an invalid tricycle with automatic transmission was killed.

Police Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reply he has sent to representations from the Police Federation that war service in the Armed Forces should count for police pension purposes.

The claim that war service be counted for police pension purposes was considered by the appropriate committee of the Police Council for the United Kingdom on 18th March 1975, and it was agreed that all officers who joined the police before 30th June 1950 following war service in the Armed Forces could, by purchase, count that service at half rate.

Social Services

Disregards

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when she will implement the new disregards for supplementary benefit entitlement incorporated in the Social Security Benefit Act 1975.

Doctor-Patient Ratio

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the present ratio of patients to general medical practitioners in the Bournemouth area;(2) what is the present ratio of patients to general medical practitioners in the Wessex regional hospital board area;

(3) what is the present ratio of patients to general practitioners in central southern England.

Estimated ratios of patients per general medical practitioner—unrestricted principals as at 1st October 1974—are as follows:

AreaRatio
Dorset Family Practitioner Committee*2,188
Wessex Regional Health Authority2,308
South-Western Regional Health Authority†2,170
Oxford Regional Health Authority†2,409
South-West Thames Regional Health Authority †2,293
Notes
* Separate information about the Bournemouth area is not available.
† The area of central southern England is not defined for statistical purposes. The regions for which information is given are those adjacent to the Wessex Region.

Bournemouth District General Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in view of the large elderly population in Bournemouth and the present shortage of hospital beds and operating theatres in the area, she is yet able to give a firm commitment that construction of the new Bournemouth District General Hospital will commence as planned in 1977.

It has not yet been possible to notify regional health authorities of the planning assumptions to be adopted for the years 1976–77 to 1978–79. When these are notified it will, of course, be for the authorities to determine the content of their health building programmes for these years, taking account of resources, my right hon. Friend's priorities, and the principles recently notified to them.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the present ratio between patients and the number of hospital beds suitable for acute medical and surgical cases in the Wessex regional hospital board area.

The ratio of acute beds to population in the Wessex Region is 29 per 1,000.

Hospital Beds

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the present ratio between patients and the number of hospital beds suitable for acute medical and surgical cases in the central southern England area.

The area of central southern England is not defined for statistical purposes. Following are the figures for the regional health authorities adjoining Wessex Region:

Region Health Authority and number of acute medical and surgical beds per 1,000 population
South-western3·6
Oxford2·81
South-West Thames3·01

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the present ratio between patients and the number of hospital beds suitable for acute medical and surgical cases in the Bournemouth area.

Facilities for patients from the Bournemouth-Poole area are available at the hospitals in the East Dorset Health District. The ratio of acute medical and surgical beds to population is 2·8 per 1,000.

Wales

Welsh National Water Development Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he has had any discussions with the Welsh National Water Development Authority concerning worker participation in the management of the undertaking.

Water And Sewerage Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what are the estimated water and sewerage charges as a percentage of the most recently notified average domestic rate for each district authority in Wales.

Water and general service, including sewerage, charges do not form part of the domestic rate. The average water services charge and average domestic rate bill for each district in 1975–76 are shown below. The figures for rate bills are the average amounts paid by domestic ratepayers after the deduction of the domestic element of the rate suppor grant—36p in the £.

Water Services Charge (water plus general services charge)Average Domestic Rate Payments (after plus allowing domestic rate relief)
££
Clwyd
Alyn-Dee43·80*
Colwyn43·9458·19
Delyn41·3558·98
Glyndwr34·5542·81
Rhuddlan45·3462·44
Wrexham-Maelor29·4744·06
Dyfed
Carmarthen29·8635·85
Ceredigion31·9138·14
Dinefwr26·8327·55
Llanelli31·2541·80
Preseli29·3037·49
South Pembrokeshire34·4655·40
Gwent
Blaenau Gwent28·3240·29
Islwyn32·1438·63
Monmouth40·4650·98
Newport44·8755·42
Torfaen33·5146·51
Gwynedd
Aberconwy42·6860·31
Arfon29·91*
Dwyfor30·7838·27
Meirionnydd31·7345·34
Ynys Mon35·4349·86
Mid Glamorgan
Cynon Valley24·8637·60
Merthyr Tydfil26·1346·95
Ogwr35·2953·58
Rhondda21·5632·87
Rhymney Valley31·5356·51
Taff-Ely30·88*
Powys
Brecknock32·1736·22
Montgomery20·1729·95
Radnor29·3431·04
South Glamorgan
Cardiff49·8170·20
Vale of Glamorgan47·9061·57
West Glamorgan
Afan31·4062·62
Lliw Valley29·0942·15
Neath31·9645·52
Swansea38·6969·55
* Information not yet available.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Departmental Publications (Welsh)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many forms, pamphlets or leaflets, booklets and books published by or on behalf of his Department are currently available to the public or to sections of the public in the Welsh language.

The number of forms, leaflets and booklets published by or on behalf of my Department in the Welsh language and currently available to the public is 76.

Energy

European Community Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what grants from EEC sources to the mining industry would be at risk by United Kingdom withdrawal from the Community.

The National Coal Board may claim grants from ECSC funds for coal research and for assistance to mine workers affected by colliery closures. To date the board has received grants totalling £5·45 million for research and £10·44 million for readaptation assistance. The board has also received some £50 million in loans at favourable rates of interest towards a number of its development projects.

Power Station, Inswork Point

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the current position concerning the application of the Central Electricity Generating Board to construct an oil-fired power station at Inswork Point, Millbrook; whether the CEGB has made the necessary application for financial approval; and if he will make a statement.

The Central Electricity Generating Board has received consent under Section 2 of the Electric Lighting Act 1909 and deemed planning permission for a 1320-MW oil-fired power station at Inswork Point. The board sought capital investment approval to build this station last year but has subsequently revised its future plant requirements in the light of the reduced forecast, announced by the Electricity Council in March, of electricity demand for 1981–82. I am reviewing the CEGB's power station ordering programme in the light of this revised forecast and other relevant considerations. I cannot anticipate the outcome of this review.

National Coal Board (Land Sales)

asked the Secretary ol State for Energy how much of the capital receipts of the National Coal Board for 1974–75 arises from the sale of land.

The NCB informs me that final figures are not yet available but that it estimates that proceeds from the sale of land and buildings will be of the order of £3·5 million.

Electricity Council (Land Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much of the capital receipts of the Electricity Council and boards for 1974–75 arises from the sale of land.

The council informs me that final figures are not yet available but it estimates that proceeds from sales of land and buildings will be of the order of £2 million.

British Gas Corporation (Land Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much of the capital receipts of the British Gas Corporation for 1974–75 arises from the sale of land.

The British Gas Corporation informs me that final figures are not yet available but that it estimates that proceeds from the sale of land and buildings will be of the order of £4 million.

British Petroleum Co Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give an assurance that no part of the equity of British Petroleum held by the United Kingdom Government will be sold to a foreign Power.

As I told my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Hoyle) on 12th May, the questiou of the disposal of the BP shares held by the bank has still to be decided. However, since we shall need to consider the naional advantage carefully, I would not at this stage wish to rule out any options.

Offshore Supplies Office

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will now open a branch of the Offshore Supplies Office in Aberdeen; and if he will make a statement.

The question of setting up local offices of the Offshore Supplies Office is constantly under review and appropriately located offices will be opened whenever these may prove to be necessary.

Industry

British Steel Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will place in the Library a copy of all his recent correspondence with the Chairman of the British Steel Corporation concerning the corporation's employment policy.

Yes. The correspondence between the Chairman of the BSC and myself that began with my letter of 28th April has been released to the Press. I have arranged for copies of the four letters to be put in the Library.

Advance Factories

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will locate advance factories in areas affected by the decline in the textile industry and in areas affected by cuts in the defence programme.

Advance factories are announced in a series of programmes designed to allow a flexible response to employment problems of particular areas. The areas my hon. Friend has mentioned will, of course, be borne in mind when further programmes are considered.

British Leyland Motor Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will take action to protect the jobs of those people employed by suppliers to British Leyland such as Dynasafe Seating Ltd. of Bolton.

I understand that British Leyland proposes to transfer Dynasafe Seating work to one of its own subsidiaries. In general the Government's decision to support British Leyland will protect the jobs of large numbers of people employed by its suppliers.

Welsh Language Publications

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will confirm that the only information for public use published in the Welsh language by or on behalf of his Department is that released through the Small Firms Information Centre in Cardiff.

I confirm that the only information for public use published in the Welsh language by or on behalf of my Department is that released through the Small Firms Information Centre in Cardiff.

Trade

Hong Kong

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will now establish a Hong Kong shipping register.

Although there have been consultations over a considerable period of time covering this subject, I have no plans to do so at present.

French And Italian Corporations

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give the return on net assets of ELF ERAP of France and the profitability of the corporation over the past five years.

Financial information for the company can be obtained from its United Kingdom subsidiary, Elf Oil Exploration and Production (UK). In using information obtained from the ELF ERAP accounts it needs to be remembered that it is not necessarily comparable with corresponding information for a United Kingdom company because of differences between accounting conventions in the two countries.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give the return on net assets of ENI of Italy and the profitability of the corporation over the past five years.

Financial information for the company can be obtained from the ENI office in London. In using information obtained from the ENI accounts it needs to be remembered that it is not necessarily comparable with corresponding information for a United Kingdom company because of differences between accounting conventions in the two countries.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he can now give up-to-date figures from information sources available to him of the net assets and profits of Italian IRI, particularly the return on net assets for 1974.

I have nothing to add to the answer my right hon. Friend gave on 11th November 1974 [Vol. 881, c. 6] to the hon. Member for Bosworth (Mr. Butler). In using information from the IRI accounts it needs to be remembered that it is not necessarily comparable with corresponding information for a United Kingdom company because of differences between accounting conventions in the two countries.

Norway And Sweden

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, under associated agreements negotiated between the EEC and Scandinavian countries, to what extent Norway and Sweden have to subscribe to the fair competition rules of the Rome Treaty and Treaty of Paris.

The trading relations of Norway and Sweden with the Community are governed by their Free Trade and ECSC Agreements. As regards the Free Trade Agreement, Article 23, dealing with competition, sets out matters which are incompatible with the proper

PERCENTAGE SHARE OF IMPORTS FROM UNITED KINGDOM
19691970197119721973
Algeria2·73·35·0*6·0*4·0*
Libya12·39·410·08·87·1
Nigeria34·830·731·929·527·1
Kuwait12·711·911·510·29·7
Saudi Arabia10·57·49·111·0*8·0*
Iran12·39·711·111·510·0
Iraq12·012·09·29·78·1
Qatar22·625·037·326·827·4
United Arab Emirates25·0*24·0*23·0*18·0*16·0*
Indonesia3·53·54·34·33·2
Ecuador5·04·04·16·36·0*
Venezuela5·45·15·25·33·7
Total OPEC11·010·111·711·09·1
Figures for 1974 are not yet available from OPEC countries.
* IMF estimates.
Source: IMF and UN.
Qatar—National publication.

functioning of the Agreements. The provisions of the ECSC Agreements on competition are similar. Additionally there are provisions under the ECSC Agreements binding on Sweden and Norway on pricing practices for iron and steel products covered by the Treaty of Paris. Moreover, the provisions of Article 60 of the Treaty of Paris itself and related decisions on pricing policies are extended to Norway and Sweden.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade to what extent Norway is able to give its industries a preferential price for Norwegian oil, and thus discriminate against EEC buyers.

Their oil pricing policies are primarily a matter for the Norwegian Government. The effects of any differential pricing of exported oil, to the extent that they were discriminatory, would need to be considered in the light of Norway's international treaty obligations; in the case of Community buyers particularly the provisions of the Free Trade Agreement between the Community and Norway would apply. The interpretation of that agreement is a matter for parties to it.

Opec Countries

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the United Kingdom share of the OPEC market as a whole, and by individual countries, for each of the latest five years for which figures are available.

Boats

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the estimated total value of small boats and equipment exported during 1974–75; and what is the estimate for 1975–76.

Statistics of exports of boats under 80 gross tons for year 1974–75 can be derived from headings under SITC(R)735 in Table VII of the March and December 1974 and March 1975 issues of the "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom". Details of some equipment for small boats are also given in this publication—e.g., outboard motors and marine engines under heading SITC(R)711·5—but most equipment is not separately distinguished. The outlook for 1975–76 depends upon a number of uncertain factors, not least of which will be the state of overseas demand, and I prefer not to venture an estimate.

Sail Making

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what estimate he has made of the export opportunities for United Kingdom sail makers; and whether he has made an estimate of the effect on their export competitiveness as a result of the introduction of VAT at 25 per cent. on the home market.

No global estimate is available of export opportunities for United Kingdom sail makers, but the British Overseas Trade Board will be glad to assist firms in their search for export markets. No estimate is available of the effect of the increase in VAT on export competitiveness, which also depends, of course, on other factors, such as the state of overseas demand and the strength of competition in particular markets.

British Airports Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how much of the capital receipts of the British Airports Authority for 1974–75 arises from the sale of land.

Pilotage

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what plans he has to introduce new legislation to supersede the Pilotage Act 1913.

I hope to introduce new legislation on pilotage as soon as can conveniently be arranged.

Japanese Cars

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) whether he has received any representations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders about imports of Japanese cars;(2) whether he has received any evidence concerning the dumping of Japanese cars.

Discussions have taken place between the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and my Department about the possibility of antidumping action against Japanese cars. The society has been advised as to what evidence would be required to constitute a prima facie case of dumping under the Customs Duties (Dumping and Subsidies) Act 1969, and has now submitted a formal application under the Act.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what consultations have taken place between his Department and the Japanese Government regarding imports of Japanese cars.

Consultations are currently in progress on reciprocal arrangements for testing cars.

Scottish Exports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what percentage of Scotland's exports went to EEC countries in 1972, 1973 and 1974, respectively; and what percentage of these exports were exported by companies, firms and industries operating within the Lothian Region.

The information is not available, as the overseas trade statistics are compiled for the United Kingdom as a whole.

Book Trade

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on his recent consultations on the effect on British publishing of American action, evidence of which has been supplied to him by the hon. Member for Basildon.

We have expressed to the United States Government our serious concern about the possible effect of this United States anti-trust case on the British book trade and British rights. We are continuing to follow the matter closely.

Higher Educational Establishments (Residential Accommodation)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his estimate of the effect on the hotel and catering industry of higher educational establishments letting their residential accommodation during vacation periods for commercial purposes when there is no academic or other associated reason for such activities; and whether he will investigate this practice with a view to satisfying himself about the standards of accommodation offered and the desirability of introducing a code of practice to regulate this matter.

I have no evidence that this practice, which assists higher educational establishments to balance their books and normally provides conference and allied facilities of a kind not readily available elsewhere at the time, has any significant effect on the hotel and catering industry or that it involves unsatisfactory standards of accommodation.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Law Of The Sea Conference

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will publish a White Paper on the attitude of Her Majesty's Government towards the Law of the Sea Conference.

I do not think this would be appropriate when we are in the middle of complex negotiations. Our main aim at the conference is to seek a new convention which will be generally acceptable to all States.

Northern Ireland

Labourers' Cottages (North Antrim)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the result of his consutations with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive about the sale of old labourers' cottages in North Antrim to sitting tenants at a reasonable price; and when these tenants will receive official word from the Housing Executive.

Agreement in principle to the sale of certain limited categories of Housing Executive dwellings, including labourers' cottages, was announced on 15th May in a reply given to a Question by the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Mr. Dunlop). It will now be for the Housing Executive to deal with applications from individual tenants to purchase their homes.

Human Rights Advisory Committee (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the first annual report of the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights, established under the 1973 Constitution, to be published.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 25th April—[Vol. 890, c. 408].—When I receive the report I shall lay it before Parliament in accordance with Section 20(7) of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.

Civil Rights

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to bring forward proposals for the implementation of the Gardiner Committee recommendation in respect of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.

Prisoners' Escape (Newry)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the appeals in connection with the recent escape of prisoners from Newry courthouse to be disposed of; and when he expects to be able to make a statement on the causes of this occurrence and the steps taken to prevent repetition.