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Written Answers

Volume 892: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 21st May 1975

Prices And Consumer Protection

Tea, Coffee And Cocoa

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will publish in the Official Report the estimate she has made of the cost to consumers of the Community arrangements for tea, coffee and cocoa in 1974 and in 1975 to date, taking into account the increase in customs duties since 31st December 1972; what the rate of protective duty on these items was on 1st January 1972 and on 1st January 1975; and what the rate will be on 1st January 1978.

The latest estimate of the effect of membership on food

1st January 19721st January 1975Full CET
Bulk teaFreeFreeFree
Raw cocoa beansFree2·4 per cent.4 per cent.
Raw coffee£0·4625 per 100 kg4·2 per cent. plus £0·1850 per 100 kg7 per cent.

Lamb (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how much more consumers had to pay for lamb imported into the United Kingdom in 1973, 1974 and 1975 to date by virtue of United Kingdom membership of the Common Market; what the United Kingdom tariff was on 1st January 1972, and on 1st January 1975; and what it will be on 1st January 1978.

The latest estimate of the effect of membership on food prices, which shows that membership is at present having no significant effect overall, take into account the effect of community-financed subsidies as well as levies and duties. In the first quarter

1st January 19721st January 1975Full CET
Lamb£0·9335 per cwt.£0·3734 per cwt. plus 12 per cent20 per cent.

Beef

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will publish in the Official Report the estimate she made, in calculating the

prices, which shows that membership is at present having no significant effect overall, takes into account the effect of Community-financed subsidies as well as levies and duties. In the first quarter of 1975 membership was responsible for a slight overall reduction in prices. This was because cereals and sugar prices were lower as a result of membership, although there was no significant effect on the retail price of tea, coffee or cocoa. The most favoured nation rates of duty on imports into the United Kingdom of tea, coffee and cocoa on 1st January 1972 and 1st January 1975, and the present MFN CET rate are set out below. The bulk of the United Kingdom's imports of tea, coffee and cocoa continue to enter duty free from the developing countries of the Commonwealth.

of 1975 membership was responsible for a slight overall reduction in prices because cereals and sugar were cheaper as a result of membership, although the estimate assumes a slight increase in the price of imported lamb. The most favoured nation rates of duty on imports into the United Kingdom of lamb on 1st January 1972 and 1st January 1975 and the present full MFN CET rate are set out below. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture gave notice in the Council of Ministers on 4th March that he will be seeking a substantial reduction in the Community tariff on lamb. Tariffs on foodstuffs generally will be negotiated as part of the multilateral trade negotiations which are currently in progress. It is not possible to say, therefore, what they will be in 1978.

cost of the EEC membership, of the cost to the United Kingdom consumer and taxpayer, respectively, of the Common agricultural policy on beef in 1974 and in 1975 to date, taking into account quantitative restriction on imports, the increase in duties on importation since 31st December 1972 and the removal of Irish beef from the United Kingdom market into intervention storage.

The latest estimate of the effect of membership on food prices, which shows that membership is at present having no significant effect on food prices overall, takes into account the effect of Community-financed subsidies as well as levies and duties. In the first quarter of 1975 membership was responsible for a slight overall reduction in prices. On the retail price of beef, however, membership is thought to have had no significant effect.Market prices have been low because United Kingdom beef production reached record levels in the marketing year 1974–75, providing 86 per cent. of total supplies. Despite the restriction of imports from non-member States for much of the period in question, total net imports continued at a high level, at prices which benefited from monetary compensatory amounts.Prices were not sustained by intervention buying. Instead premium payments, derived from the United Kingdom deficiency payments system, were negotiated in the course of the year by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, so that producers' incomes are supported out of Community and Exchequer funds.The withholding of Irish beef from the market and its purchase by the Irish intervention authorities is, of course, a consequence of Irish and not of United Kingdom membership of the EEC.

Environment

Lewisham (Housing Acquisition)

37.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give full details of the subsidy arrangements approved by his Department for the purchase by Lewisham Borough Council of 28 houses in Coniston Road, Bromley, including the capital cost of the acquisitions and the estimated total cost to the ratepayers of Lewisham.

The relevant subsidy arrangements are contained in the Housing Rents and Subsidies Act 1975. I would refer the hon. gentlemen to the Lewisham Borough Council for the particular information he is seeking.

Housing Finance Review Group

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why he has not appointed to the Housing Finance Review Group any representatives of the tenants; and if he will now appoint two such representatives to the group.

The members of my right hon. Friend's advisory group are serving in a personal capacity and not as representatives of particular interests. The group includes members with extensive knowledge of the problems of both tenants and owner-occupiers.

Local Authorities (Work Publicity)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment with reference to the joint circular of the Department of the Environment, Circular 45/75, "Publicity for the Work of Local Authorities", if he will ask local authorities to indicate to what extent the provisions of paragraph 8 will be carried out.

No. Each local authority should make such arrangements as are best suited to the needs of its locality and my right hon. Friend is confident that the great majority of authorities are doing this.

High-Rise Flats (Strengthening)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what assistance was given by his Department to those local authorities which were obliged to strengthen high-rise flats in the light of the Ronan Point disaster.

My Department made available a capital grant equivalent to 50 per cent. of the total admissible costs falling on local authorities in connection with the appraisal and strengthening of blocks of flats of seven storeys and over. The admissible costs and arrangements for the payment of grant are set out in Ministry of Housing and Local Government Circular 29/70 which is obtainable in the Library.

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities have disregarded his guidelines for local government expenditure in 1975–76.

Local authorities were asked to limit the growth in services in 1975–76 to inescapable commitments Returns to my Department indicate that total planned expenditure could be slightly above the growth figure that was an essential feature of the rate support grant settlement. I have discussed the situation with local authority associations leaders in the new consultative

DWELLINGS STARTED
Public sectorPrivate sectorTotal
Cornwall (with the Isles of Scilly)7201,6032,323
England and Wales123,87394,758218,631
Corresponding figures for 1970 to 1973 are on pages 40 and 1 of issues 17, 21, 25 and 29, respectively, of Local Housing Statistics, England and Wales; copies are available in the Library.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total stock of dwellings in Cornwall.

It is estimated that the number of dwellings in Cornwall—including Isles of Scilly—at December 1974 was about 159,000. This is based primarily on the count of 147,900 at the 1971 Census.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing, for Cornwall, and for England and Wales, the total number of occupied dwellings; the number of these having one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10 or more rooms per dwelling; and in the above categories how many have one, two, or three or more, household spaces.

The most up-to-date information available is published in the 1971 Census reports. The figures for Cornwall are contained in Table 30 of the County Report Part III for Cornwall and those for England and Wales, in Table 8 of the Housing Volume Part III. These are available in the Library.

Valuation Panels (Members' Expenses)

council and I shall be making a statement shortly.

Housing (Cornwall)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the number of public and private sector housing starts for Cornwall over each of the last five years; and how this compares with similar figures for England and Wales.

Following are the numbers reported in 1974:will take steps to introduce a sessional attendance allowance payable to members of valuation panels to bring them into line with lay members of other comparable tribunals; and if he will make a statement.

No. I have had no request from the national body representing valuation panel members to make this change.

Odours

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for laying down guidelines and a code of practice to enable local authorities and industry to deal with odour problems in an effective and efficient manner, as recommended by the Working Party on Odours in its Second Report.

I fully accept the working party's view that there is a general need for guidance on odour control, and a code of practice dealing with the specific problem of odours caused by the animal by-products processing industry is already in preparation. Further guidelines and codes of practice will be issued in due course as the results of the Warren Spring Laboratory's research and development programme on odour control become available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for reviewing the legal position with regard to offensive trades and odour nuisance, as proposed by the Working Party on Odours in its Second Report.

I am considering how best to apply the working party's recommendations, including that for a review of the legal position with regard to offensive trades and odour nuisance. A number of meetings with the animal by-products industry and the local authority associations have already taken place.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he accepts the recommendation in the Second Report of the Working Party on Odours published by his Department on 1st May 1975; and if he will make a statement.

I welcome this report and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the working party for their work. The report is particularly valuable in advancing the knowledge of odour measurement and setting out clearly and comprehensively the best practicable means available to industry for dealing with odours. The detailed recommendations are now being studied within the Department.

Lead Pollution

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he is satisfied that the existing facilities for measuring atmospheric lead content in urban areas are adequate;(2) what are the latest measures of atmospheric lead content for the 10 largest towns in the United Kingdom.

Airborne lead is being measured at the roadside in London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cambridge. Average values for the first three sites are 1.4, 1.8 and 2.3 microgrammes per cubic metre respectively; data for the two remaining sites are not yet available. A further site in the centre of London away from the influence of traffic records an average of about I microgramme per cubic metre. Twenty sites in urban areas are now being established at which a range of elements, including lead, will be determined. When complete this network will provide adequate information on the atmospheric burden of lead in the general environment.

Transport Policy

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to make a further statement on his overall transport policy.

I have at present nothing to add to the reply my right hon. Friend gave my hon. Friend on 7th May.—[Vol. 891, c. 1425–6.]

Accommodation (Students)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to bring forward recommendations concerning the registration of student accommodation contracts.

Proposals have now been circulated to and considered by bodies likely to have an interest in a registration scheme, and my right hon. Friend hopes to introduce this Session the legislation to provide for it.

Rates (Caravan Sites)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in his next legislation to amend the rating Acts, he will propose that the only change in respect of holiday caravan sites will fall on the site owner and not on individual caravan owners on the site.

I will certainly consider the question of the rating of caravans when relevant legislation is next contemplated.

Building Contractors

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report a list of contractors approved by his Department for construction work.

No. It would not be appropriate to do so as the number of companies approved by my Department for construction work runs into many thousands, and the list is regarded as of commercial confidence.

Asbestos Waste (Disposal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that the standards set in the Code of Practice for Disposal of Asbestos Waste Materials issued by the Asbestos Research Council are adequate; and if he is satisfied that the regulations are being implemented.

I am satisfied that on present knowledge the disposal standards set out in the Asbestosis Research Council's code of practice are adequate and are normally followed. Under the Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act 1972, local and water authorities must be notified of the disposal of asbestos waste and can take action if any environmental hazard results. The code of practice is a major factor in assessing the risk of an environmental hazard.

M2 (Road Signs)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current position regarding the rewording of the road signs on the M2 to show the name Ramsgate.

New gantry-mounted directional signs to include the name Ramsgate will be erected at Brenley Corner on the M2 during 1975–76.

Church Lands

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will exempt from the provisions of the Community Land Bill all land held by trustees on behalf of religious bodies at the date of the introduction of the Bill.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I recently told a deputation from the Churches, the Government are considering to what extent, within the principles of the land scheme, some of the difficulties seen by them can be overcome. I would not at this stage like to anticipate what provisions will be appropriate.

Atmospheric Pollution

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action is being taken to reduce the level of atmospheric pollution of industrial origin in the North-East.

In the North-East as elsewhere, the control of industrial emissions to the atmosphere rests partly with the Alkali and Clean Air Inspectorate and partly with the local authorities. The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution is at present making a special study on the whole subject of air pollution control and is expected to report later this year.

Housing Finance (Local Authorities)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the figures for local authorities housing debt up to the latest available date.

The outstanding loan debt of local authorities in England and Wales related to their housing revenue accounts is estimated to have been about £11,300 million at 31st March 1975.

Councillors

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what was the total amount paid to elected members of local authorities for loss of earnings in 1973–74;(2) what was the total amount paid in attendance allowance to elected members of local authorities in 1974–75.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what was the total number of elected members of local authorities, excluding parish councils, in 1973–74, excluding those belonging to the new authorities which took up their powers on 1st September 1974;(2) what was the total number of elected members of local authorities in 1974–75, excluding parish councils.

Including aldermen, the approximate figures for England are: 1973–74, 38,000; 1974–75, 22,000.

Housing Improvement (Norfolk)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, since it has now been established that there are 152 council houses in the West Norfolk district without running hot and cold water, 144 without inside lavatories and 76 without bathrooms, that the numbers for the North Norfolk district are, respectively, 94, 98, and 54, and that there are a further 40 houses in North Norfolk which have a bathroom with no hot and cold water, if he will now review the assistance for these councils under his policy of giving special help towards tackling dwellings without standard amenities.

We are at present considering how to ensure the most effective use of the additional resources which, as my right hon. Friend announced on 5th May, are to be made available for local authority house improvement this year. The needs of West Norfolk and North Norfolk for priority work of this nature will be fully taken into account along with those of other authorities.

Empty Housing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total number of empty houses and flats in the public sector in the United Kingdom revealed by the 1971 Census.

Information about the ownership of vacant dwellings was not collected in the 1971 Census.

Vehicle Testing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to lift the embargo on the appointment and reappointment of garages as authorised examiners for MOT tests: and if he will make a statement.

The embargo will be lifted on 30th June, and applications for appointment will then be received. Garages which have been compulsorily withdrawn from the scheme may apply when the appropriate time has elapsed since the date of their withdrawal; this is two years in the case of a documentation offence and five years in all other cases.Applicants will be expected to provide the wider range of equipment and facilities to which I referred on 29th July 1974, and which has now been specified in detailed consultation with the garage industry and other interests. I know that there is a long list of garages waiting to apply, and the process of fulfilling the requirements of the scheme and installing the new equipment will inevitably take time. I am sure that those wishing to join the scheme will bear this in mind.This scheme is designed to protect the public from the dangers of defective vehicles, and my predecessors in office have always taken a serious view of failures to carry out the prescribed test with proper care. I believe, however, that a garage's authorisation should not normally be withdrawn without at least one warning; and the present practice will be modified accordingly.

Motor Rallies Advisory Committee

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet appointed a chairman to the Motor Rallies Advisory Committee.

I am pleased to announce that Lord Montagu of Beaulieu has accepted the invitation of myself and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales to chair this committee. The membership has been revised and is now as follows:Mr. F. A. Butters, MIPR, AMIPA. Association of County Councils.Mr. J. W. R. Graham. Association of Metropolitan Authorities.Mr. G. Bowden. Association of District Councils.Nomination awaited. Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.Mr. W. Farley, MC, QPM. Association of Chief Police Officers (England and Wales).Mr. J. Russell. Association of Chief Constables in Scotland.Mr. J. Kemsley. Royal Automobile Club.Major R. Tennant-Reid, MC. Royal Scottish Automobile Club.Mr. M. V. Osmond, MA. Council for the Protection of Rural England.Mr. D. M. G. Chidson, MC. Caravan Club.Mr. J. Whyman. Vintage Sports Car Club Ltd.Mr. R. Seth-Smith. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd.Mr. D. Paling. Federation of Midland Motor Clubs.Mr. R. W. Bracher. Auto-Cycle Union.Mr. D. B. Smith. Federation of British Scooter Clubs.Mr. John Brown. Independent.Mrs. Douglas Jay. Independent.Meetings are also attended by assessors from the following bodies:Department of the Environment.Scottish Development Department.Welsh Office.Countryside Commission.

Community Land

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for further consultation on the operation of the community land scheme.

A general consultation document was issued when the Bill was published. My Department is today issuing a further document dealing in more detail with the scope of powers and duties under the scheme, and seeking views on how these might apply to different types of development. The bodies consulted have been asked for views by the middle of June, in time for these to be taken into account in the drafting of regulations and guidance under the scheme.

Somerset House

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what delays have occurred in the completion of the Somerset House contract allocated by his Department arising from an official trade union dispute concerning the employment of labour-only subcontractors; and if he will make a statement.

The painting contractor at Somerset House had given the Department an assurance that the letting of the labour-only subcontract was in accordance with the declaration of intent in the working rules of the NJCBI. However, an unofficial dispute arose on the contract on 16th April and was made official on 17th April. The present estimate is that completion will be delayed by four to five weeks.

Building Contracts

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the Government's conditions of contract as applied to building contracts allocated by his Department so far as the ability to exclude labour-only sub-contractors is concerned.

Yes. A contractor is required to obtain the consent of the superintending officer to any subletting and in any case of a labour-only subcontract to give an assurance that the proposed employment will be in accordance with the declaration of intent issued by the NJCBI, namely that all building trade operatives shall be in direct employment and at rates of wages and conditions laid down by the national joint council.

Local Government Finance

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has put to the chairmen of the representative associations to set up a consultative council on all matters of policy affecting local authorities which have major financial implications; when the council will hold its first meeting; and if he will publish the names of the members of the council in the Official Report.

I have now set up the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance. It had its first meeting on 12th May. Local authority association elected members welcomed this proposal to bring them into central Government economic thinking and to provide a forum for considering the implications for local authorities of financial and economic decisions. The council consists of a small group of senior Ministers from Departments concerned with local authority expenditure, and leading elected members of local authority associations.Those attending this first meeting were:The Secretary of State for the Environment.The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr Oakes).The Secretary of State for Education and Science.The Secretary of State for Wales.The Chief Secretary to the Treasury.The Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Security, the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen).Lord Harris, Minister of State, Home Office.

Association of Metropolitan Authorities

Sir Robert Thomas.

Councillor J. Smart.

Councillor C. Wilkinson.

Association of County Councils

Sir Meredith Whittaker.

Mr. F. D. Pickering.

Mr. N. R. L. Cowan.

Association of District Councils

Commander Duncan Lock.

Councillor S. Smith.

Greater London Council

Sir Reg Goodwin.

Mr. I. Harrington.

London Boroughs Association

Alderman Sir Lou Sherman.

Labour-Only Subcontractors

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning use of labour-only subcontractors on Government contracts; and what replies he has sent.

Four letters have been received recently, including one from my hon. Friend to which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has replied.

Bus Lanes

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make regulations to allow the use of cycles in contra-flow bus lanes.

No. I believe that it would increase the risk of accidents to cyclists.

Employment

Oil-Related Jobs (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list, to the latest available date, the number of oil-related jobs created in Scotland on a constituency by constituency basis.

I regret that information is not available in the form requested. However, the following table gives estimates of the number of workers employed at 30th April 1975 in companies wholly engaged in activities related to the North Sea oil industry in six areas of Scotland. It does not include additional jobs created in the construction industry, nor all those in firms supplying goods or services to the oil industry.

AreaEstimated employment at 30th April 1975
Inverness and Easter Ross5,200
Rest of Highlands and Islands2,300
Aberdeen and Buchan7,600
Tayside800
East Central Scotland2,000
West Central Scotland1,000
18,900

Wales

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many men between the ages of 20 and 40 years are registered as unemployed in Wales; and what were the corresponding figures for 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Owing to industrial action at local offices of the Employment Service Agency the normal half-year analysis of the unemployed by age is not available for January 1975. The following table shows information for July 1974, July 1973, and July 1972.

Unemployed males aged 20 and under 40 in Wales
July 197216,093
July 197310,716
July 197412,999

Factories Acts (Breaches)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many breaches of the Factories Acts in factories in the Birmingham area have been the subject of prosecutions during the last 12 months to the latest date available; in how many cases the maximum fines prescribed by law have been imposed; how many companies and firms have been prosecuted; and if he will make a statement.

268 breaches of the Factories Act and associated regulations in factories in the Birmingham District Council area were the subject of prosecutions during the period 1st April 1974 until 31st March 1975. These resulted in 253 convictions. The maximum fine prescribed by law was imposed in three of the cases. The number of firms and companies involved was 70.

Factory Inspectorate

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what decrease there was in time spent on inspection by factory inspectors in the two reorganised trial areas, based upon Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Slough, because of increased travel;(2) what increase there was in time spent on travel by factory inspectors in the two reorganised trial areas based upon Newcastle-under-Tyne and Slough;(3) what increase in the number of factory inspectors employed by the Health and Safety Commission will be necessary when the service is fully reorganised because of the increased amount of time spent on travel by the inspectors;(4) where the factory inspector responsible for Penketh, Sankey, Padgate, Croft, Winwick, Burtonwood, Poulton-with-Fearnhead, Woobiton, Cuerdly, Rixton-with-Glazebrook, and Culcheth, all in the Newton constituency, will be based following reorganisation; what other areas he will have to cover; and what is the distance from his office to the above localities;(5) where the factory inspector for Newton-le-Willows, in the Newton constituency, will be based following reorganisation; what other areas he will have to cover; and what is the distance from his office to Newton-le-Willows;(6) where the factory inspector for Haydock, in the Newton constituency, will be based following reorganisation; what other areas he will have to cover; and what is the distance from his office to Haydock;(7) where the factory inspector for Golborne and Lowton in the Newton constituency will be based following reorganisation; what other areas he will have to cover; and what is the distance from his office to Golborne and Lowton;(8) where the factory inspector for Irlam and Cadishead, in the Newton constituency, will be based following reorganisation; what other areas he will have to cover; and what is the distance from his office to Irlam and Cadishead;(9) how many factory inspectors he expects to leave the service because of reorganisation;(10) how many clerical and administrative staff he expects to leave the factory inspectorate because of reorganisation;(11) what financial savings will accrue from the reorganisation of the Factory Inspectorate; and if he will list the savings under the appropriate headings.

These are matters for the Health and Safety Commission and I am asking the Chairman to write to my hon. Friend.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the results of the studies of the two reorganised trial areas of the Factory Inspectorate, based upon Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Slough.

I have asked the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission to send my hon. Friend a copy of the agreed statement prepared by the Joint Working Party on the reorganisation of the Factory Inspectorate. I am arranging for copies to be placed in the House of Commons Library.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs in the Thanet area are currently being filled by disabled people.

In April, 1,335 people in the Thanet travel-to-work area were registered as disabled; and 200 of these were unemployed. Most of the remainder were probably in employment, but it is not possible to give a precise figure.

Wages

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the average percentage increases in weekly basic wages, over the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available, of male manual workers in manufacturing industry, female manual workers in manufacturing industry, all male manual workers and all female manual workers, respectively.

Following is the latest information available taken from the Department's indices for basic weekly wage rates of manual workers:

Percentage increases over the 12 months to end-April 1975
Manufacturing industries
Men aged 21 years and over28·1
Women aged 18 years and over38·6
All industries & services
Men aged 21 years and over30·5
Women aged 18 years and over35·8

Cyprus

41.

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will move for the appointment of a Select Committee of this House for the purpose of visiting Cyprus on a fact-finding mission and to report upon steps likely to assist the island which Great Britain can take as a guarantor Power.

42.

asked the Lord President of Council if he will move to set up a Select Committee of this House for the purpose of visiting Cyprus on a fact-finding mission and to report upon steps likely to assist the island which Great Britain can take as a guarantor Power.

Palace Of Westminster (Residences)

asked the Lord President of the Council how many units of residential accommodation are occupied in the Commons part of the Palace of Westminster; by whom they are occupied; and what area of space is involved.

The information is as follows:Apart from Mr. Speaker the following have residential accommodation:

Square footage
Serjeant-at-Arms3,415
Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms2,278
Head Office Keeper980
Second Office Keeper1,443
The Speaker's residence includes some accommodation used by Mr. Speaker's secretary.

Political Parties (Financial Assistance)

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will announce the name of the one remaining member of the Committee on aid to political parties whose membership he announced on 8th May 1975.

Civil Service

Income Redistribution, Taxation And Social Policy

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will publish details of the content of course S17 at the Civil Service College on the distribution of wealth.

Senior seminar S17, entitled "Income Redistribution, Taxation and Social Policy", will be held at the Civil Service College at Sunning-dale from 2nd to 6th June 1975. The published aim of the seminar is

"to examine alternative policies for redistributing income and personal wealth in the United Kingdom".
It is intended primarily for civil servants with a need for information about relewhat is his policy in connection with the field. Those attending will mainly be at assistant secretary, economic adviser and statistician level. The programme will include talks on the following subjects:
the distribution of income; distribution of wealth; education, ability and earnings; collective bargaining and occupational earnings differentials; fiscal methods of redistribution versus price or wage fixing; the problem of low pay; causes of the distribution of wealth; poverty and social security; tax credits; the effects of direct and indirect taxation; wealth tax; wealth transfer taxes; distributional aspects of public expenditure; and education and the redistribution of lifetime earnings.
I regret that the detailed seminar programme has not yet been finally settled. As soon as it is available, I shall send a copy to the hon. Member.

Defence

Sales Office (Staff)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many military and civilian personnel are currently attached to the Defence sales office.

Housing (Ex-Service Men)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to issue, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for the Environment, revised guidelines to local authorities on the subject of the allocation of council housing to ex-Service men.

Scottish Personnel

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Scottish nationals are currently members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces; and what percentage of the total numbers they represent.

Home Department

Kurdish Refugees

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy in connection with the granting of entry visas to Kurdish refugees, in the light of the current situation in Iraq.

I am prepared to grant applications for resettlement by Kurdish refugees who have a record of Crown service or who have some other connection with the United Kingdom which makes it appropriate for them to be given refuge here. In all cases I would require responsible sponsorship in this country, to assist in resettlement.

Sentencing

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to enable or to require courts to take into account the length of time spent on remand when imposing a custodial sentence.

Section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 already provides for the length of a sentence of imprisonment to be treated as reduced by any period spent on remand in custody before sentence. My right hon. Friend is ready to consider whether similar provision would be appropriate in respect of other kinds of custodial sentence.

Children (Detention)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date Michael Johnson, aged 15 years, was committed by the juvenile court to the Crown Court; on what date his case was heard; and for what period during each day of his detention in Brock Hill Remand Centre he was kept locked in his cell.

This boy was received in custody, on committal to the Crown Court, on 23rd October 1974. On 21st March 1975 the court exercised its power under Section 1 of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 to defer passing sentence on him for a period of six months. He enjoyed full association for work, recreation and education during his stay at Brock Hill. The period for which he was located in his cell during the day varied between 2½ hours and 4 hours.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many children under the age of 14 years were in remand centres in the last month and year, respectively, for which figures are available;(2) where and for how long each of the children under 14 years of age were held in the last month and year, respectively, for which figures are available.

During the month ending 11th May 1975, two children under the age of 14 years were in a remand centre. These were the only two such children received in a prison department establishment in the year up to that date. Both were held for 47 days in Thorpe Arch Remand Centre, of which four days were in the final month.

Prisoners (Correspondence)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances prison authorities are empowered to censor letters written by prisoners to their Member of Parliament.

Current practice, which is under review, rests upon Rule 33(3) of the Prison Rules 1964. A copy of the relevant prison standing order is in the Library of the House.

Golder Case

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is yet in a position to announce the means by which he intends to give effect to the court's ruling in the Golder case.

Fire Precautions (Hotels)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state for England and Wales the number of hotels that have received fire certificates under the Fire Precautions Act 1971, the number that have been inspected for certification purposes, the number that have registered but have not yet been visited and the estimated number that still have not registered.

By 31st December 1974, fire authorities in England and Wales had issued fire certificates for 3,302 hotels and boarding houses. A further 13,202 premises had been inspected for the purposes of certification and 24,985 remained to be inspected. The number of premises being operated as hotels or boarding houses without application for a fire certificate was estimated to be about 14,000.

Vietnamese Refugees

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now apply the same criteria to South Vietnamese refugees wishing to come to the United Kingdom with special reference to those who found a temporary haven in Hong Kong, as he did to the 683 refugees from Chile; and if he will make a statement.

I do not accept the implication in the hon. Member's Question. Each refugee situation has to be considered in the light of all the relevant circumstances and an appropriate decision taken about admission to the United Kingdom. That is the course we have taken with regard to Chile and Vietnam, and it is too soon to review the criteria I announced on 8th May. We cannot yet assess what our commitment will be on the basis of those criteria.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Law Of The Sea Conference

6.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress at the Law of the Sea Conference.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's policy concerning the law of the sea.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement regarding the Law of the Sea Conference at Geneva.

As I said in reply to the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Knox) on 14th May, the Geneva session which took place from 17th March to 9th May produced single negotiating texts on the substantive questions before the conference. This was an important step forward. Copies of the negotiating texts have been placed in the Library of the House. The United Kingdom put forward a number of proposals in an attempt to secure agreement on a generally accept able convention.

Cyprus

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in pursuance of their responsibility as guarantor Power to maintain security in the island of Cyprus, Her Majesty's Government will have discussions with the Turkish Government designed to secure the protection, supervision and maintenance of the churches, icons and antiquities of Cyprus, and to ensure the freedom of movement for each of those persons deputed with the task of inspecting, identifying and preserving the churches, religious symbols and the antiquities forming part of the civilisation of Cyprus.

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations within UNESCO designed to secure the preservation of the churches, icons and antiquities in Cyprus and freedom of movement for those responsible for action in this field to travel, inspect and supervise every church or object which is necessary to the pursuit of their responsibilities.

UNESCO has taken cognisance of this problem. Two senior UNESCO officials visited Cyprus and inspected sites in both Greek and Turkish-held areas and reported to the Director-General of UNESCO. It is for the Director-General to consider their recommendations for further action.

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place with the Greek and Turkish Governments to facilitate the reopening of Nicosia Airport; what proposals there are to secure that there is an effective management; whether Her Majesty's Government have offered as guarantor Power any assistance to ensure the full operation of the airport; and if he will make a statement.

I am glad to say that agreement was reached at the Vienna talks for the United Nations to repair the airport as the first measure towards its eventual reopening for civilian use. Her Majesty's Government have made available, at no cost to the United Nations, an assessment team to survey the requirements and draw up plans for repair.

Rhodesia

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now put forward further proposals to the Security Council for intensifying sanctions against Rhodesia.

We continue to work at the United Nations, at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, in the EEC and elsewhere to intensify the impact of sanctions on Rhodesia. I believe that it is the intention of Mozambique to apply sanctions after independence, and this will increase their effect. The Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed at Kingston on the importance of helping her to do so and I am in discussion about this.

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on the situation in Rhodesia.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given at the end of Questions this afternoon to the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison).

Rudolph Hess

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the latest position of the Soviet Government on the possible release of Rudolph Hess; and if he will make a statement.

There have been no signs of any change in the negative Soviet attitude on this question. It remains the view of Her Majesty's Government that Rudolph Hess should be released on humanitarian grounds.

Vietnam

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the state of relations between the United Kingdom and South Vietnam following the recognition of the new Government; and if he will indicate the steps to be taken to implement the new relationship.

We recognised the new Government in Saigon on 12th May and intend to reopen our embassy there as soon as possible. We are discussing the practical arrangements with the South Vietnamese. We are, of course, ready to receive diplomatic representatives of the Republic of South Vietnam in London.

Cambodia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the state of relations between the United Kingdom and Cambodia following the recognition of the new Government; and if he will indicate the steps to be taken to implement the new relationship.

Her Majesty's Ambassador in Peking has informed the Royal Cambodian Embassy there that Her Majesty's Government extended recognition to the Royal Government of National Union on 2nd May. When the Royal Government are ready to resume diplomatic relations with foreign countries, we stand ready to discuss the question with them.

International Women's Year

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he can now announce the names of the United Kingdom delegation to the United Nations conference in Mexico in connection with International Women's Year.

I am not yet in a position to announce the names but I hope to do so soon.

Turkey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy that no further arms will be supplied to Turkey until the present difficulties in Cyprus are resolved.

Her Majesty's Government will continue to consider all applications for arms sales to Turkey individually and on their merits. The relevance of any request to Turkey's ability to discharge her obligations toward NATO defence, the situation in Cyprus and the continuing unsatisfactory position of British residents in the Turkish-held part of the island are factors which are taken into account. We shall review our policy if there is a serious threat of renewed fighting in Cyprus. We are also prepared to consider Greek applications for arms sales.

European Community

Commonwealth Foreign Ministers (Talks)

32

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he personally had with other Commonwealth Foreign Ministers in Jamaica, concerning Great Britain and the EEC.

A considerable number of Heads of Commonwealth Governments, speaking for their own national interest, expressed the view to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and to me that they hoped Britain would remain in the EEC.

Council Of Ministers

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is satisfied that the ministerial veto in the Council of Ministers is an adequate substitute for parliamentary control over policy issues.

The veto does not act as a substitute: it makes a positive contribution to the maintenance of effective parliamentary control. It enables Ministers to ensure that decisions are not taken which would conflict with the policy of the Government.

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the nature of any business discussed by the Council of Ministers additional to those listed in his last business statement concerning provisional agendas.

The main additional items discussed by the Foreign Affairs Council were the state of negotiations on agree- ments with countries in the Mediterranean area, Portugal and the extension of the International Wheat Agreement. The Finance Ministers also discussed yesterday the Community exchange régime.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has published a forecast of business in the Council of Ministers of the EEC during the month of June 1975.

A forecast of business likely to appear on the agenda of the Council in June has been deposited in the House.

Lomé Convention

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had at the Commonwealth Conference about the operation of the Lomé Convention.

As the final communiqué (Cmnd. 6066) makes clear, the Commonwealth Heads of Government gave a warm welcome to the Lomé Convention and expressed the hope that its principles could usefully contribute to the further development of relations between the developed countries, on the one hand, and developing countries, including the Asian and other Commonwealth countries, on the other.

European Assembly

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish any concluded proposals by the EEC Commission for strengthening the powers of the European Assembly.

The only current proposal relates to the budgetary powers of the European Assembly. It is contained in a draft treaty on which agreement was reached by the Council of Ministers on 4th June 1974 subject to a United Kingdom reservation on ratification. Copies of the original draft treaty and of the changes agreed by the Council have been deposited in Parliament and examined by the Scrutiny Committee. If Her Majesty's Government sign the treaty, it will be published as a Command Paper and brought before the House in an affirmative order under Section 1(3) of the European Communities Act.

Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current number of unemployed in each of the member States of the EEC.

According to the latest available figures, the number of unemployed in each of the member States is:

Member StateMonth1975
BelgiumApril160,366
(6·2%)
DenmarkMarch109,700
(12·2%)
GermanyApril1,087,078
(4·7%)
FranceMarch754,800
(4·5%)
IrelandApril95,585
(8·5%)
ItalyFebruary1,100,200
(5·7%)
LuxembourgMarch134
NetherlandsApril183,462
(4·8%)
Great Britain and Northern IrelandApril939,867
(4·0%)
These figures, which originate from EEC member Governments, reflect different national practices in measuring unemployment. They are collated for publication by the EEC Commission but are not strictly comparable as they are not produced on a uniform basis. In particular, the method of arriving at the Danish figure means that the percentage is seriously overstated.

Education And Science

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to introduce a system of mandatory maintenance grants for young people who remain in education after the age of 16 years; and if he will make a statement.

The Expenditure Committee has made recommendations on this. The Government's response will, as I said in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) on 6th May—[Vol. 891, c. 1201.]—be set out in a White Paper.

Educational Psychologists

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give separate figures for the number of approved posts for educational psychologists in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively; and in each case, what ratio of psychologists to pupils this represents.

On 31st December 1973 the numbers of educational psychologists in full-time equivalents were 626 in England and 37 in Wales. The ratio of psychologists to pupils in England was 1:13,400 and in Wales 1:14,500. The educational services in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretaries of State for those countries.

School Discipline

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has any progress to report on his proposed consultation on school behaviour problems.

A consultation document is being sent this week to a number of interested bodies. Copies are being placed in the Library.

Cornwall

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give details of the following in primary and secondary schools in Cornwall: total number of classes with 1 to 30, 31 to 40, 41 to 50, and 51 and over pupils, and his estimates for these categories in each of the next five years.

At January 1974, the latest year for which information is available, the details for maintained primary and secondary schools in Cornwall were as follows:

Size of classesPrimary (Classes as registered)Secondary (Classes as taught)
1–305881,028
31–40656189
41–50346
51 and over112
Total1,2791,235
Estimates for these categories for the following five years are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give figures of the capital expenditure and capital expenditure per head of schoolchildren, spent in Cornwall over the last 10 years, and give similar comparative figures for England and Wales.

MAINTAINED PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Financial YearCornwall LeaEngland and Wales
Total Capital ExpenditurePer PupilTotal Capital ExpenditurePer Pupil
£000s Outturn££000s Outturn£
1969–7054310·0143,84418·2
1970–7194716·9178,00422·0
1971–721,99134·0235,64228·4
1972–732,30437·6297,14235·1
1973–743,41152·6473,54454·1

Overseas Development

Gozo Hospital

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on the control exercised over the granting of aid for the building of hospitals; what inquiries have been made into the financing of the Gozo Hospital, Malta; and with what results.

Proposals for capital aid for hospital building projects are subject to the same processes of appraisal as other projects.Under the 1964 Agreement on Financial Assistance between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Malta, a request for capital aid towards the construction of the Gozo Hospital was made by the Government of Malta. This was considered and approved in 1968 by the then Minister of Overseas Development in accordance with the procedures in force at that time. Funds were subsequently issued to the Government of Malta as the work proceeded until the termination by mutual agreement of the 1964 agreement in 1971.

Scotland

Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether preparations are being made for jobs to replace oil-related industry when it begins to decline.

Our regional policy measures, together with the establishment of the Scottish Development Agency, are designed to stimulate employment in Scotland and to deal with problems of

Capital expenditure figures for Cornwall are not available prior to 1969–70. Data for 1969–70 and later are as follows:employment decline from whatever source. I should add, however, that we foresee oil-related industry making an important contribution to employment in Scotland for many years to come.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action is being taken designed to protect long-term jobs and services in oil development areas.

The need to protect long-term jobs and services is fully taken into account in the Government's policies. For instance, the various schemes of regional assistance continue to be available to help existing industry in the oil development areas. Local authorities and the SSHA have on hand a large programme of house building to accommodate incoming workers for oil-related developments.

Schooling (Part-Time)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children in Scotland are receiving part-time education.

Returns from education authorities show that about 39,100 primary and secondary pupils were receiving part-time education on 5th May.

Ballochmyle Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what effect if any he expects the new North Ayrshire district general hospital to have on the services and staffing at Ballochmyle Hospital.

It is not yet possible to be specific, but the opening of the new hospital will involve some redeployment of services and staff in the area. Proposals by the Ayrshire and Arran Health Board are at present under consideration by the bodies concerned.

Housing

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will specify the areas of housing expenditure to be affected by the reduction of planned spending for 1976–77 of £10 million; and if he is satisfied with the situation that Scotland is suffering from a higher than proportionate share of these housing cuts.

I expect rents to make a contribution towards increased housing costs and therefore to help reduce public expenditure. The projected reduction of £10 million in public expenditure in Scotland reflects the proportion of public authority housing in Scotland to that in England and Wales.

List D Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many vacancies existed in list D schools on the last most convenient date; how many unfulfilled requests have been received from juvenile panels for vacancies; and if he will make a statement about progress in the building programme.

At 11th May 1975 the number of vacancies in List D schools expected in the ensuing four-week period was 11. The number of outstanding applications for places in respect of children appearing before children's hearings was 492. Responsibility for the provision of residential accommodation for children under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 rests upon local authorities. Projects due to be completed this autumn at existing List D schools will provide 69 additional places.

Homeless Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the figures on 31st December 1973 and 1974 for availability of temporary accommodation in Scotland in number and as expressed as a ratio to population.

Local authority returns for 31st December 1973 show temporary accommodation totalling 474 places, representing just under one place per 10,000 of population. The figures for 31st December 1974 are not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received the report of the committee on links between the housing and social work services; what action has been taken pursuant to the report to improve statistical and other information on homelessness; and if he will now estimate the number of homeless families in Scotland.

Yes. The report published on 13th March recommended that consideration should be given to the need for guidance to local authorities on means of improving the quality of statistics on homelessness. I intend to consult the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the relevant professional associations about this, and the other recommendations of the report, with a view to determining how reliable statistics might be obtained.

Child Welfare

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the number of children in care in institutions in Scotland on 31st December 1973 and 1974, the average weekly cost of maintenance of each child in institutions, and the weekly payments made in each year to foster parents; the total saving thereby to local authority and public funds; and if he will take steps to encourage fostering of children outside institutions.

Figures for 1974 are not yet available. At 31st December 1973, 6,074 children were in residential care. Weekly average costs, as estimated recently, are about £31 for the care of a child in a residential establishment and £7 in the case of payments to foster parents. But the latter figure does not represent the full cost of fostering placements, and in any event the needs of many children cannot be met otherwise than by residential care. The recruitment of foster parents for children who can appropriately be boarded out is a local authority responsibility, and I have no reason to think that special encouragement from me is required.

Health Authorities

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make available in the Library a list of the names and experience of all health board members in Scotland, indicating those whom he appointed to fill the vacancies occurring at 1st April 1975.

Mentally Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list, for the Scottish region for the years 1965 to 1975, (a) the total annual capital expenditure on social services, (b) the total annual capital expenditure on services for the mentally ill within the social services provision and (c) the total annual capital expenditure on services for the mentally handicapped within the social services provision;(2) if he will list, for the Scottish region for the years 1976 to 1980, (

a) the estimated total capital expenditure on social services provision, ( b) the estimated total capital expenditure on services for the mentally ill within the social services provision, and ( c) the estimated total capital expenditure on services for the mentally handicapped within the social services provision.

The table below shows total capital expenditure on social work from 1969–70 to 1975–76, at constant 1974 prices. Information is not available for any year before 1969, when the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 came into operation. The level of capital expenditure in the years from 1976–77 is being reviewed in the light of the savings in public expenditure announced in the Budget.The table also shows capital expenditure on projects for the mentally handicapped or mentally ill in respect of which borrowing consents were issued up to 1974–75; outturn figures for such projects are not separately available. The projects included several day care centres for mentally handicapped children, the responsibility for whom has now been transferred to education departments. None of the projects was for the mentally ill. About a quarter of the social work building programme for 1975–76 is in respect of projects in the mental health field. This programme, which was essentially based on the submissions of the former social work authorities, will be subject to review by the regional and islands authorities.

Total Capital Expenditure£m. at 1974 prices Borrowing Consents for Projects for Mentally Handicapped
1969–703·60·8
1970–713·80·6
1971–723·91·0
1972–736·10·8
1973–746·2*0·7
1974–755·5*0·8
1975–766·9†
* Provisional.
† Estimated.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what proportion of the total annual National Health Service capital expenditure in Scotland was spent on services for the mentally ill for the years 1965 to 1975;(2) what proportion of the total annual National Health Service capital expenditure for 1965 to 1975 in Scotland was spent on services for the mentally handicapped.

From 1964–65 to 1973–74—the latest year for which actual figures are available—about 11 per cent. of the total annual National Health Service capital expenditure in Scotland was spent on services for the mentally ill, and about 4½ per cent. on services for the mentally handicapped.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much has been spent on mental health after-care in Scotland in the past three years.

National Finance

European Community Funds (United Kingdom Contribution)

39.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he is able to make of the likely net contributions by the United Kingdom to the different funds and institutions of the Community in 1975–76 as a result of the renegotiation of the terms of British membership concluded at the Dublin summit.

The Budget correcting mechanism agreed in Dublin will result in a refund when our gross contribution to the Community budget goes significantly beyond what is fair in relation to our share of Community GNP. Because of the limit on our contributions under the Treaty of Accession, we do not expect to qualify in 1975–76. However, the United Kingdom's net contribution to the Community budget in 1975–76 is likely to be substantially lower than the £130 million forecast in "Public Expenditure to 1978–79" (Cmnd. 5879), because of higher than forecast receipts—for example, from the new United Kingdom beef régime.

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increase in gross income would be required on 1st May 1975 to maintain the real disposable income of a married man with two children under 11 years of age, taking account of payments of tax, national insurance and 5 per cent. superannuation fund contributions, who, on 1st May 1974 earned (a) £30 per week and (b) the average industrial earnings at that date, respectively.

Assuming that the man was not contracted out of the graduated pension scheme the figures are as follows:

Gross weekly earnings in May 1974Disposable income*Approximate increase in gross income required to maintain (2) in real terms
(1)(2)(3)
£££
30·0025·997·77
43·87‡34·1811·36
* Disposable income is earnings plus family allowances, less tax, national insurance contributions and superannuation contributions.
† The calculations take account of the increase in the general index of retail prices between 21st May 1974 and 15th April 1975, the latest date for which the index is available. 1974–75 rates of tax have been assumed in column (2) and 1975–76 rates for column (3).
‡ Estimated average earnings of full-time adult male manual workers in manufacturing and certain other industries at May 1974.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish from international sources available to him a table showing the top 20 countries in order of income per head of population in 1974.

The following estimates of gross national product (GNP) at market prices in 1972 per head of population, expressed in terms of United States dollars, have been published by the World Bank. Later figures are not available at present in the international sources. The rates of exchange for conversion to United States dollars from national currencies do not necessarily reflect differences in relative internal purchasing power. There are special difficulties in producing comparable estimates for centrally planned economies, where national accounts are compiled on the basis of the system of material product balances. Estimates of GNP for these countries on a comparable basis have been made by the World Bank, but more than usual caution in the use of the figures is advised.The list relates only to countries with a population of 1 million or more.

CountryGNP per hed 1972
US $
United States5,590
Sweden4,480
Canada4,440
Switzerland3,940
Denmark3,670
France3,620
Germany3,390
Norway3,340
Belgium3,210
Australia2,980
Netherlands2,840
Finland2,810
Israel2,610
United Kingdom2,600
New Zealand2,560
Austria2,410
Japan2,320
Czechoslovakia2,180
German Democratic Republic2,100
Puerto Rico2,050
Source: World Bank Atlas (World Bank, 1974)

Company Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total tax paid during each of the last three financial years by companies which will be subject to nationalisation under the terms of the legislation which is currently before the House.

Child Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the cost to the revenue of child allowances in 1974–75.

The estimated full-year cost of child tax allowances for 1974–75 is £1,160 million.

Members Of Parliament (Pay)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for an hon. Member of this House, married with two children between 11 and 18 years of age, who has no other income or expenses, what gross salary would have to be received in order for him to receive the same purchasing power after tax, that he received when the £4,500 salary was first introduced.

To maintain in real terms the net value after tax of an annual salary of £4,500 between January 1972 and April 1975 would require a gross salary of about £7,720 at the tax rates proposed for 1975–76.

Public Corporations (Borrowing)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total contingent liability currently incurred by the Government as a result of guarantees provided for non-sterling borrowing by public corporations.

I assume the hon. Member is referring to the foreign currency borrowing of public sector bodies, which is covered by a Government guarantee as to principal and interest. The outstanding amount of such borrowing for domestic purposes at end April was equivalent to some $5·0 billion.

£ Sterling

asked the Chancellor of the Excequer whether he will make a statement indicating the financial resources available in foreign currencies for the support of the £ sterling from the Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund, Central Bank Swap agreements and the EEC.

If it were decided to augment the official reserves, which stood at $7,132 million at the end of April, from sources other than the continuing public sector foreign currency borrowing programme, the Government could consider the use of the following facilities:

$ billion
Swap arrangement with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York3·0
IMF general account, excluding the United Kingdom's reserve position at the fund, which counts as part of the reserves3·2
IMF oil facility—at prescent a maximum of1·2
EEC short- and medium-term facilities—a theoretical maximum of5·0
If we remain in the EEC another possibility would be to take up on external loan raised by the EEC, which has powers to borrow up to $3 billion principal and interest.These existing facilities are available on a variety of terms and conditions. They do not exclude the possibility of additional

ad hoc arrangements or the development of other multilateral facilities.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount of VAT paid by charities on their trading activities.

I regret that this information is not available. Sales of donated goods by charities established primarily for the relief of distress are, of course, zero rated for VAT.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will recommend a means of collecting the increased rate of VAT at 25 per cent. for business providing the use of coin-operated telescopes at coastal and other sites where the present charge, including 8 per cent. VAT, is made by the insertion of a 5p coin.

It is inherently difficult for operators of coin-operated machines to take precise account of changes in their operating costs, whether these arise from tax changes or from any other source. No single method could appropriately be recommended for every case.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated revenue to be produced during a year from the increased VAT rate at 25 per cent. on coin-operated telescopes.

National Insurance Contributions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost to the revenue of giving tax relief to employers on class I secondary national insurance contributions.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the revenue of giving tax relief on the class I primary national insurance contributions paid by employees.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the revenue of giving tax relief on class II and class IV national insurance contributions paid by Self-employed contributors (a) if relief were given on the total of both contributions and (b) if relief were given only on the amount by which the total of both contributions exceeded 5 per cent. of earnings.

Income Tax Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the increase in tax that would be payable if all personal allowances, single, married and married woman's earned income allowance, were reduced by £20.

Economic Planning

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he has to ensure that national strategic economic planning is carried out, particularly in relation to resource management.

Resource management is under continuous review through a well-established system of assessment. Regular appraisals of the short-term outlook for the economy are carried out. These are supplemented by the medium-term economic assessment and the annual public expenditure survey, which are designed to ensure that the Governments own spending plans are in line with the likely availability of resources.

Industry

State Control

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each member country of the OECD the percentage of industry directly controlled or owned by the State for each year since 1945.

I regret that this information is not available, and I am writing to the hon. Gentleman to give him a full explanation of the reasons why.

Low-Cost Automation Centres

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied with the cost effectiveness of the low-cost automation centres.

Yes. The service makes a valuable contribution to increasing productivity in the smaller firm.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the average number of inquiries received by the low-cost automation centres in each of the years 1973 and 1974; and in how many cases practical help was provided.

Many inquiries are dealt with orally and records of these are not kept. Inquiries requiring a fuller response averaged 160 per centre in both 1973 and 1974. Practical help was provided in all cases.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what contribution was made by the Department to the maintenance of low-cost automation centres for the years 1973 and 1974.

The Department's financial contribution amounted to £51,000 in 1973–74 and £39,000 in 1974–75. In addition, the Department provided promotional and information services.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what plans he has to expand the service provided by the low-cost automation centres in the future.

The scale and scope of the service and the level of the Department's future contribution to it are currently under review.

Private Companies (Government Finance)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the total sum of public money paid or promised to private companies in the last 12 months; and if he will list the companies and sums involved in as much detail as possible, together with the periods over which the money is payable.