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Written Answers

Volume 892: debated on Friday 23 May 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 23rd May 1975

Defence

Procurement Executive

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what will be the cost of running the Ministry of Defence procurement executive during the current financial year; and what will be the value of the goods and services bought by the executive during the same period.

The gross provision in Supply Estimates for the current year for expenditure by the Procurement Executive in operating its headquarters and outstation establishments and on other common services is £252 million. This includes £156 million for the research and development establishments of the Ministry of Defence. The gross provision for extra-mural research and development and for production by contract on behalf of the Procurement Executive's defence and civil customers is £1,740 million.

Oman

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now withdraw British forces seconded to the Sultan of Oman on the grounds that certain insurgents taken prisoner have been put on trial and sentenced to death contrary to accepted standards of behaviour towards prisoners of war.

No. I believe that my hon. Friend is referring to the Omanis apprehended in Northern Oman last October, four of whom were subsequently sentenced to death, having been found guilty of plotting assassination and armed revolution against the Sultanate of Oman. They were not prisoners of war but members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman, a terrorist organisation.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of any casualties suffered by members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in Dhofar in April and May of the current year.

I regret that Captain P. A. Mann, 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, a volunteer serving on loan with the Sultan of Oman's armed forces, was acci- dentally killed during a mortar firing exercise in Dhofar on 13th April 1975.

Civilians Overseas (Proxy Voting)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the 6,000 United Kingdom civilians employed overseas by his Department have registered to vote by proxy on the current electoral registers.

Training (Internal Security)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if it is a regular feature of army training for exercises in counter-revolutionary operations to be arranged; and if the recent joint Anglo-American training operation in Great Britai-n was organised as a routine exercise;(2) what was the estimated cost to Her Majesty's Government of the recent joint Anglo-American training exercise in counter-revolutionary operations.

The Army regularly trains for its actual and potential internal security commitments. The particular training operation referred to was a routine one-day exercise designed to allow young officers at the Junion Division of the Staff College Warminster, as part of their syllabus, to practice the tactical use of helicopters with the assistance of soldiers of the Demonstration Battalion at Warminster. On this occasion a number of American soldiers who happened to be on a reciprocal visit to the United Kingdom were given the opportunity of taking part in place of some of the soldiers in the Demonstration Battalion. No extra costs were, therefore, incurred.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what training is given in Her Majesty's Armed Forces in counterrevolutionary techniques and operations: and whether any such training is provided in order to deal with contingencies which could arise in Great Britain.

The Armed Forces are given the necessary training in the skills needed to assist the civil authority in countering threats to internal security. The emphasis given to any particular area will depend on circumstances, including, for example, the problems in Northern Ireland, or, in the case of Great Britain, recent terrorist threats.

Northern Ireland

Local Government (Manpower)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement showing what savings of manpower, if any, have been made in local government since the Macrory reform.

Agricultural Holdings

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the number of agricultural holdings returning farmers, partners and directors (at the June agricultural census on the lines of table 63 of the latest volume of the "Digest of Welsh Agricultural Statistics") for June of each year from 1971 onwards for Northern Ireland;(2) If he will publish in the

Official Report a table showing the number of agricultural holdings and the number of farmers, partners, and directors, for June of each year from 1971 onwards, for Northern Ireland;

(3) If he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the proportion of all farmers, partners, and directors, and those who are whole-time and part-time, respectively, who are returned by agricultural holdings with fewer than 275 standard-man-days, between 275 and 600, and more than 600, respectively, in the latest year for which figures are available in Northern Ireland;

(4) what estimate he has made of the number of independently occupied farm businesses, whole-time and part-time, excluding businesses which are run by persons already counted as the occupiers of other farm businesses in Northern Ireland for each year from 1971 to date.

The information sought by the hon. Member is too voluminous to be published in the Official Report, and I am arranging for it to be sent to him.

Refuse Disposal

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his policy with regard to the setting up of incinerators for the disposal of domestic refuse to relieve the pressure on land at present being used or scheduled to be used as council dumps, which are unsightly and dangerous.

The collection and disposal of waste in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of district councils.

Comber

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will institute a survey into traffic flow in the town of Comber with the aim of reducing the level of congestion, and take whatever action is appropriate to eliminate traffic delays and hazards to road users.

Security

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many detainees and internees from Londonderry Ctiy and County have been released since 22nd December 1974; and how many are still detained;(2) how many unsolved murders have taken place in the City of Londonderry and in County Londonderry, respectively, since 1st August 1969 in each year to the latest available date; and how many were of soldiers, police and their reserves, UDR and civilians;(3) how many unsolved murders there have been in Northern Ireland since 1st August 1969; how many of these were soldiers, police and their reserves, UDR and civilians; and what is the present total of the dead in the present disturbances;(4) how many of the present detainees are members of, respectively, the PIRA, the OIRA, the UVF, the UDA, and the UFF; and how many are members of other terrorist organisations;(5) how many murders in the City of Londonderry and in County Londonderry, respectively, which have taken place since 1st August 1969 are known to have had no connection with IRA or other sectarian violence;(6) how many persons were wanted for questioning by the RUC in connection with terrorist offences on 1st January 1974, 1st January 1975 and the latest available date;(7) how many persons who were wanted for questioning by the RUC in connection with terrorist offences have had their names removed from the list of those so wanted since 1st January 1975; and on what grounds such names were removed;(8) what steps have recently been taken to ensure the safety of members of the RUC who have to patrol the walls of Londonderry;(9) how many persons who are wanted by the RUC for terrorist offences are now thought to be living in Eire;(10) what was the cost of repairing the damage caused to the Holy Child School during the attempt to seize or prevent the removal of ballot boxes from the school on 1st May 1975; and over what period of time the trouble extended;(11) what was the nature of the damage caused to the Holy Child School on 1st May 1975;(12) how many policemen and soldiers were injured during the attempt to prevent the removal of the ballot boxes from the Holy Child School, Londonderry, on the evening of the Convention election;(13) how many arrests were made during the attack on the security forces at the "Holy Child" School, Londonderry, on 1st May 1975.

Civil Servants And Police

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many of the civil servants in Northern Ireland Departments are posted there because of the reorganisation of local government;(2) what charges have been made in the control and administration of the Royal Military Police serving with the Royal Ulster Constabulary; what representations have been received from the Northern Ireland Police Federation and other bodies and individuals; and whether he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what special accommodation has been, and is being, obtained, or built for United Kingdom civil servants; and what is the cost to public funds.

No office accommodation has been, or is being, obtained or built especially for United Kingdom civil servants. The accommodation provided by the adaptation of Stormont House for overnight use by Ministers and their staffs, and an adjoining office annex to be built, are planned to meet the overall future needs of public administration in Northern Ireland.Housing is provided, in accordance with Civil Service regulations, for United Kingdom civil servants of the Northern Ireland Office serving on detached duty in Northern Ireland. The cost of such housing purchased to date by the Department of the Environment is about £600,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will tabulate the special allowances and bonus payments payable to United Kingdom civil servants working in Northern Ireland; and what is the total cost to public funds.

I have been asked to reply.No special allowances or bonus payments are paid to United Kingdom civil servants working in Northern Ireland. Officers who have been transferred to Northern Ireland on public interest terms before 1st April 1962 and who have maintained a substantial personal link with Great Britain since the date of transfer and all officers on public interest terms since 1st April 1962 and officers who, having been recruited outside the Province were sent there on first appointment since 1st April 1962 may, after serving a minimum period of 12 months in the Province, be reimbursed the return cost of conveying the officer, his wife and dependent children and motor car by sea ferry from Northern Ireland to Great Britain once a year. They may also be granted boarding school or guardianship allowance on the same basis as a United Kingdom civil servant sent on an overseas tour of duty if their children are left at a boarding school or in the care of a guardian in the United Kingdom.

Civil Service

European Community

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many civil servants from the United Kingdom have visited the EEC during the past year in connection with the work of the Community; how many civil servants in the United Kingdom are engaged in work arising directly or indirectly from EEC regulations, directives, et cetera, and what has been the cost involved, including apportionment of salaries.

Information on visits made by United Kingdom civil servants to the EEC is not held centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost. So far as my own Department is concerned, four of my officials have visited Brussels during the past year in connection with EEC work. On the latter part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) on 5th February.

Unestablished Service

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether any further progress has been made on the question of full reckoning of unestablished service rendered prior to 14th July 1949, following the exchange of letters between the National Staff Side and his Department in January last.

There was further correspondence in February. Because of the cost of this claim, and of other claims of comparable merit in the public service field which would inevitably follow, the National Staff Side has been told that it is not possible to hold out any hope of the claim being met.

Education And Science

National Portrait Gallery (Reynolds Portrait)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will detail, after consultation and agreement with the trustees of the National Portrait Gallery, individual contributions from private sources of £1,000 or more towards the residue obtained above the special grant of £10,000 in effecting their acquisition of Reynold's portrait at Sterne, together with the separate global sum to cover also the proceeds from many small public subscriptions.

The Gallery informs me that it received a contribution of £24,000 from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, gifts of £5,000 each from the National Art Collections Fund and the Pilgrim Trust, and a total of £4,688 in contributions which were individually less than £1,000. The Government's appreciation is especially warm towards all those who have never doubted it.

Church-Aided Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether Church-aided schools will be allowed to retain their powers of selection under his plans to extend the comprehensive system.

The arrangements for admission of pupils to a voluntary aided school are a matter for the governors and the local education authority in accordance with the school's articles of government; they may provide for admission on any basis which is reasonable and, in particular, compatible with the character of the school. Arrangements for admission based wholly or partly on selection by reference to ability or aptitude would not be compatible with the character of a comprehensive school.

Welfare Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the numbers of education welfare officers in Leicestershire and throughout the United Kingdom; what is the full complement in each case; and if he is satisfied that they can adequately carry out their work with their present numbers.

According to the latest available information, which is contained in the Ralphs Report, in 1972, 97 per cent. of some 2,380 established posts were filled. I do not require returns from individual authorities but I am satisfied that they are fully persuaded of the importance of this service and are doing their best to develop it within present financial constraints.

Fast Neutron Cyclotron Machines

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take the necessary action to increase the number and range of fast neutron cyclotron machines for biological and medical research; if he is aware of the initial successful treatments with such a machine at Hammersmith Hospital; and if he will make a statement.

Home Department

Incitement To Disaffection

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will review the working of, and the need for, the Incitement to Disaffection Act 1934.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave on 12th March to a Question by the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas)—[Vol. 888, c. 148–9].

Police Interviews (Tape Recording)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the steering committee appointed to make a feasibility study into the use of tape recordings of police interviews has yet met; and if he will make a statement on its progress.

The steering committee has held its first meeting, and will be meeting again in June and July.

Trials (Evidence Of Identification)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration is being given to the question of legislation on the subject of evidence of identification.

All aspects of the law and procedure relating to evidence of identification in criminal cases are being considered by a committee under the chairmanship of the noble and learned lord, Lord Devlin. It would be premature to consider the question of legislation before the committee's report has been received.

Crime Victims

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the present arrangements for meeting the human and emotional needs of the victims of crime.

Many of the needs of crime victims can be met by existing agencies, and I am conscious of the valuable work which has been done for them by voluntary organisations and individuals. I doubt whether the emotional needs of victims of crime can be met by the State.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will invite chief constables to consider the minimum action they should take to ensure the safety and welfare of victims of crime who are known to them.

We shall be consulting chief officers of police on this subject, and my noble friend will let the hon. Member know the outcome.

Animal Experiments

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to amend the section of the Animals Act 1856 which allows the holder of a licence to perform experiments on live animals other than the type for which he is licensed.

Bearing in mind the general safeguards contained in the 1876 Act, and the requirement for certificates in particular circumstances, my right hon. Friend is not persuaded that it is necessary to amend the Act so as to require a separate licence for each experiment.

Vietnamese

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that no child brought from Vietnam by Project Vietnam Orphans with the consent of the then South Vietnam Government for adoption by British parents will be returned to Vietnam.

The welfare of the children must be the primary consideration. I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government would not consider removing any of these children from the United Kingdom unless we were advised by those concerned with the care of the children in this country that such a move was in the interests of the children and were satisfied about the arrangements for their reception and care.

Trafalgar Square (Traffic Control)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the cost to public funds of the extra police employed at Trafalgar Square in connection with the traffic experiment being conducted on the west side of the Square.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the cost to public funds of the deployment of extra policemen at Trafalgar Square in connection with the traffic experiment on the west side of the Square.

The deployment of police officers in the course of ordinary duty during the initial stage of the new traffic arrangements has entailed no additional costs.

European Community (Migration)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many citizens of other EEC member States have become resident in the United Kingdom; and how many United Kingdom citizens have become resident in other EEC member States.

Between 1st January 1973 and 31st December 1974, 4,888 nationals of EEC member States, excluding the Republic of Ireland, were accepted for settlement in the United Kingdom. The information asked for in the second part of the Question is not available.

Equal Opportunities Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give an assurance that equal numbers of men and women will be appointed to the proposed Equal Opportunities Commission.

Such an exact stipulation would, in my right hon. Friend's view, be wrong, although it is his expectation that at least half of the first appointements to the commission will be women.

Race Relations

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements he has made for the co-ordination of research in the field of race relations.

I have decided that my Advisory Committee on Race Relations Research should be superseded by a new advisory committee with a mixed official and non-official membership under the chairmanship of the Home Office. Nine Government Departments will be represented on the committee and I am inviting representatives of the Race Relations Board, the Community Relations Commission and the Social Science Research Council, together with a number of persons from outside Government, to join it. The task of the committee will be to review research in progress relevant to race relations and to the efficacy of policies to promote equality of opportunity for coloured minorities in Great Britain; to consider the needs for further research of this kind; and to make recommendations.A starting point for the new committee's work will be the recommendations in the report which the Advisory Committee has made to me. This report has been published today. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of the Advisory Committee, Professor Marie Jahoda, and her colleagues for producing such a valuable report.

Government Bills (Financial Implications)

asked the Prime Minister whether he will arrange for all Government Bills to contain details in the Explanatory Memorandum of likely increases in local rates as a result of new duties to be placed upon local authorities by Parliament, calculated on the basis of a range of penny rate products throughout the country.

I share the hon. Member's concern that the House should be fully informed of the financial implications for local authorities of Government Bills. The Explanatory Memoranda on Government Bills now separately distinguish the financial manpower implications for local authorities. I do not think it would be helpful to attempt to estimate the effects of individual Bills on the rate poundages determined by local authorities.

Referendum Information Unit

asked the Lord President of the Council why the Referendum Information Unit took nearly three weeks to provide information requested by the National Referendum Campaign about food surpluses in the EEC.

Much of the information asked for was of highly technical and detailed nature which required considerable research by officials in a number of different Departments. Of the 27 questions covering more than 80 separate points sent to the Unit on 14th April, only six questions took as long as nearly three weeks to answer.

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will make arrangements for the Government EEC Information Unit to provide a priority service for the official umbrella organisations between 23rd May and 5th June.

No. The Referendum Information Unit will continue to provide information to all inquirers as quickly as possible.

Overseas Development

Agricultural Development

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on the proceedings of the United Nations conference convened in Rome earlier this month to consider the funding of an International Fund for Agricultural Development, arising from the decisions taken by the World Food Conference in November 1974.

Sixty-five countries, as well as several multilateral aid institutions, were represented on 5th-6th May at the consultative meeting in Geneva on the proposed International Fund for Agricultural Development. The meeting agreed to set up an ad hoc working group to consider and make recommendations on the establishment and operation of the Fund. The target date for the establishment of the Fund is January 1976. The United Kingdom representative reaffirmed Her Majesty's Government's readiness to make a contribution to the Fund if it seems likely to add usefully to international efforts for agricultural development. I believe that there are hopeful prospects of adding to the resources available for this purpose. We propose to play a constructive part in the working group, which is expected to have its first meeting in early July.

Research

asked the Minister of Overseas Development how much her Department spent on research in each of the last four years, showing the figure broken down as between Scotland. England and Wales, respectively.

I regret that the information is not readily available, broken down as requested, but I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Beer

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether she will ask the Price Commission to conduct an investigation into beer prices and brewers' margins.

Beer prices and brewers' profit margins are already subject to control under the Price Code. However, if my hon. Friend cares to give me any evidence he has of particular pricing problems. I will bear it in mind when considering future references to the Price Commission.

Price Increase Proposals

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will seek powers requiring all proposed price increases to be referred to her Department and accept any such increase only when the need for an increase has been established to her satisfaction.

Price increases for Category I and II manufacturing and service firms have to be notified in advance to the Price Commission. Proposed increases are rejected or modified if they are not in accordance with the provision of the Price Code. In addition, I have the power to refer to the Price Commission for inquiry any question

Percentage Change
Fish retail price indexFish wholesale price index
April 1972 to April 1973+25·7+58·8
April 1973 to April 1974+31·7-4·9
April 1974 to April 1975+7·1+20·3 (Provisional)
1974
January to February-2·0-9·8
February to March-15·4
March to April+1·0-3·3
April to May……+1·0-5·6
May to June-1·0-4·8
June to July-1·0-1·5
July to August+1·0-6·6
August to September+1·0+28·9
September to October+2·2
October to November+2·6
November to December+1·0+7·6
December to January+3·0+4·6
1975
January to February-1·0-25·5
February to March+3·7
March to April+2·9+23·8 (Provisional)

Family Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will publish retail price data for each of the past four years showing changes in the items making up the official index in terms of pence per week

relating to prices or charges. I have recently made references on the margins of coal merchants and on the prices of sanitary towels and tampons, special diabetic foods and food in outlying areas.

Fish Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what has been the yearly increase in the price of fish in the retail and wholesale price indices in the last three years and for each month from January 1974.

The index of retail fish prices quoted below is the fish sub-group of the Retail Price Index. This sub-group covers fresh fish, fish fingers, canned sardines and canned salmon. The wholesale price index quoted is that for home landings of fish going to processors for use in manufactured foods such as canned fish and fish paste. Its coverage is, therefore, different from that of the retail price index; but there is no index of wholesale prices which can be linked directly with retail prices for fish as sold by fishmongers.for a family of two parents and two children, a single person, a pensioner couple, a childless couple of working age and a couple with four children, respectively.

The analyses requested cannot be produced in the time available. However, average retail prices for many food items are published monthly in the Department of Employment Gazette, and the National Food Survey Committee's Annual Report shows patterns of expenditure on food by households of different compositions. The Annual Report of the Family Expenditure Survey gives expenditure patterns for all categories of consumption, including food, according to income groups.

Poison Containers (Labelling)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will take steps to ensure that all household containers of poisonous substances are labelled with clear instructions for action to be taken if wrongly used.

Manufacturers of products which contain potentially harmful ingredients generally include on the labels warnings on hazards and advice about safe use. We are carrying out a study of poisoning accidents involving household products with a view to possible improvements in labelling requirements and I shall certainly bear the hon. Member's suggestion in mind. In emergencies of this nature, however, it is generally advisable to seek medical help immediately rather than lose time in attempts at first aid.

Prams And Push-Chairs

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when she intends to make regulations for perambulators and push-chairs based on British Standard 4139/1967 for perambulators and 4792/1972 for pushchairs; and if she will make a statement.

A first draft of the regulations, based on the provisions in these British Standards relating to stability, locking devices, and efficiency of brakes, will shortly be circulated to interested bodies for comment. The regulations will be made as soon as possible after consultations are completed.

Cereal Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, in comparing the cost of food in the EEC with that available outside, what weighting is attached to cereal prices in reaching conclusions about the overall effect of EEC membership on food prices in Great Britain.

The latest estimate of the effect of membership on food prices shows that at present membership is having no significant effect overall, and in the first quarter of 1975 was responsible for a slight reduction in food prices. The estimate of the effect on cereals prices has been one of significant savings. The weighting attached to cereals prices is related to the annual volume of grains used directly for human consumption in the United Kingdom.

Oil Heater Regulations

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when she now intends to revise the oil heater regulations by the inclusion of a regulation based on the amended British Standard 3300; and if she will make a statement.

Revised regulations, based on British Standard 3300: 1974, are being prepared. They will be circulated in draft for comment within the next few weeks.

Scotland

Toxic Waste Disposal

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what research has been, undertaken into investigating the safety of toxic waste sites in Scotland.

As part of a research programme into the behaviour of wastes in land-fill sites, the Institute of Geological Sciences has carried out investigations at Eastfield Quarry, West Lothian and Leoch Quarry, near Dundee. The Institute has recently received approval to carrying out similar investigations at Greenoakhill Quarry. Uddingston.

Fish Farming

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what encouragement he is giving to fish farming in Scotland; and what grants he has made.

Financial assistance is available to freshwater fish farmers engaged in food production through the Farm and Horticulture Development Scheme. It is also open to fish farmers within the area of the Highlands and Islands Development Board to apply to that board for assistance. My fisheries laboratories undertake a substantial amount of research and development work on many aspects of fish farming and a new comprehensive programme of research is being planned. Diagnostic work and certification of exports is also undertaken. General advice is available from my Department. One grant has so far been approved for a fish farmer under the Farm and Horticulture Development Scheme.

Teachers' Work To Rule

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the likely effects in session 1975–76 of the continuation of the work to-rule campaign by teachers in Scottish schools.

It is not possible to quantify what the effects on the schools might be of the work-to-rule plans which teachers' organisations have announced for session 1975–76, but if these plans were implemented schools would experience considerable difficulty.

Forthcoming Events (Publicity)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he takes to ensure that Her Majesty's Stationery Office monthly publication "Coming events in Britain" includes full coverage of coming events in Scotland.

The Scottish Information Office regularly provide a comprehensive catalogue of events in Scotland for inclusion in this publication.

Grant-Aided Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland which existing Acts or statutory instruments will have to be amended for the purpose of phasing out grants to grant-aided schools.

The Grant-Aided Secondary Schools (Scotland) Grant Regulations 1959, as amended.

Shipping Services

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in view of the widespread public concern with the service of Cale- donan MacBrayne, as shown in the correspondence sent to him by the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire, if he will initiate discussions with the authorities to seek an improvement of the service.

I regret the inconvenience caused to the people of Cumbrae by the difficulties experienced in operating the vehicle ferry service to the island in recent months. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State has pointed out to the hon. Member in discussion with him about these difficulties, these are operating and management matters which are the primary responsibility of the Scottish Transport Group. I have, therefore, been glad to learn that the hon. Member is to meet the general manager of the Group's shipping services on 30th May to discuss them.

Social Services

Emergency Surgical Cases (Nuneaton)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on how many occasions in each of the past four years emergency surgical cases have not been able to be admitted to Nuneaton hospitals because there were no beds available; and whether she will make a statement.

In November 1973 a 28-bed ward at George Eliot Hospital was closed for 12 days for redecoration. Advance arrangements were made for urgent cases to be admitted to Coventry or Leicester hospitals if necessary. The number of patients so admitted is not known, but most urgent cases continued to be admitted to the George Eliot Hospital. I am not aware of any other occasions, but if my hon. Friend will let me know of any particular case which has caused him concern I shall be pleased to have inquiries made.

Unemployment Calculations

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what level of unemployment is assumed for 1975–76 for national insurance purposes.

For his report on the Social Security Benefits Bill, 1974 (Cmnd. 5788) the Government Actuary based his estimates on the illustrative assumption that the average number of unemployed, excluding school leavers and adult students, would be 650,000, with the qualification that a change of 100,000 would alter the balance of income and outgo by £ 105 million. The Government Actuary will shortly be issuing a further report covering 1975–76, in connection with the uprating promised for later this year.

Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many permanently and substantially handicapped people were newly registered by local authorities in the years ended 31st December 1970, 31st March 1972, 31st March 1973 and 31st March 1974, respectively; and what is her estimate of the numbers newly registered in the three months 1st January to 31st March 1975 and in the year ended 31st March 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her estimate of the number of permanently and substantially handicapped people identified by local authorities in each of the last five years in each instance, what is the percentage increase on the previous year; what is her estimate of the number of people who become newly eligible for registration each year; and if the present rate of increase in identification were maintained nationally, how long she estimates it will be before the backlog in identifying the "missing million" will be overcome.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will give her best estimate of the total number of permanently and substantially handicapped people who have been identified under Section 1 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act since 29th May 1970 and if she will make a statement on further progress towards full identification of everyone who is entitled to help under the Act.

The available figures for local authorities in England are shown below. They relate to the numbers of persons added to the registers of physically handicapped persons and include the visually and hearing impaired.

Twelve months endedNew registrationsPercentage increase
31st December 196960,000
31st December 197067,00012
31st March 197296,00044
31st March 1973137,00042
31st March 1974144,0005
Figures for the 12 months ending 31st March 1975 will not be available until the autumn. Separate figures are not available for the number of persons who may have been identified but whose names have not been added to the registers. I regret that I am not in possession of the necessary information to enable me to formulate reliable estimates of the numbers of persons annually becoming eligible for registration.As regards progress with implementing Section 1(1) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, I cannot add to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Moonman) on 21st May.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what information she has on the implementation of Section 1(2)(b) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 by local authorities; and if she will make a statement.

I have no comprehensive and detailed information centrally available which specifically relates to the implementation of this provision of the Act. The requirement can be met in a variety of ways, notably in the course of on-going contacts between handicapped people and staff of social services departments. My Department's booklet "Help for Handicapped People" was designed to assist local authorities in the discharge of this responsibility. As previously announced, the booklet is being revised and the new edition will be available in a few months' time.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if her Department would be willing to prescribe page turners for severely handicapped people for employment, educational and recreational purposes.

These devices may be provided by the Employment Services Agency of the Department of Employment, or by local education authorities, or by local authority social service departments according to the circumstances of the individual case and the main purpose for which the device is required. They do not normally fall to be provided as part of medical treatment and care.

Ambulances (East Anglia)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will ascertain and list the number of ambulances available to the various area health authorities of East Anglia.

The number of ambulances avilable to the three area health authorities of East Anglia is as follows:

AreaAmbulances
Cambridgeshire41
Norfolk52
Suffolk41
In addition, the following other vehicles are also available:

Cambridgeshire
Sitting case vehicles with stretcher facilities6
Sitting case vehicles11
Norfolk
Sitting case vehicles with stretcher facilities6
Sitting case vehicles2
Other operational vehicles7
Suffolk
Sitting case vehicles with stretcher facilities4
Sitting case vehicles7

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will ascertain and publish the increase in the number of ambulances made available to the catchment area of Doddington Hospital since the reduction in hours of the casualty ward.

It has not been found necessary to increase the number of vehicles operating in the Doddington Hospital catchment area since the reduction in hours of the casualty ward, but the situation has been met by increasing the number of staffing hours to cover the longer journeys to Peterborough.

Radiotherapists

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is aware of the shortage of radiotherapists for training in treatment by ionising radiation; if she will take steps to improve the supply of radiotherapists for additional training; and if she will make a statement.

I am not aware of any general shortage. If my hon. Friend has any specific evidence of difficulty in particular places, I should be glad to look into it.

Medical Personnel Secondment (European Community)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the proposed EEC regulation for the free secondment of qualified medical personnel within the EEC now applies to those employed by the National Health Service; and if she can now assess its effect on that service.

The proposed directives for the freedom of movement of doctors, which apply to both employed and self-employed doctors, were agreed in principle at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on 11th February. They have, however, not yet been signed and would come into effect 18 months after signature. No substantive action to implement them will be taken before the national referendum on membership of the Community.It is difficult to forecast exactly what the effect of implementing the directives would be since there is already a certain movement of doctors into and out of this country, particularly for further training and experience. Differences in language also are a barrier to movement.

Eye Disease Treatment

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is satisfied with the facilities available in NHS hospitals for eye diseases.

These facilities, as much as any others in the NHS, can and do benefit from the constant process of renewal and further improvement of services which goes on as resources permit. But if my hon. Friend has in mind any particular aspect, perhaps he would care to write to me.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will list the hospitals where the eye disease retina pigmentosa can be successfully treated in the United Kingdom.

Retinitis pigmentosa is an eye condition leading to blindness which it unfortunately has not been possible to date to treat successfully. Palliative treatment is readily available within the NHS.

Mental Illness Services

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the estimated proportion of the total annual NHS capital expenditure in the Northern Regional Health Authority for the years 1976 to 1980 for services for the mentally ill;(2) what is the estimated annual National Health Service capital expenditure in the Northern Regional Health Authority on services for the mentally ill for the years 1976 to 1980.

The information is not available as the authority has not completed its consideration of the estimates of expenditure for 1975–76 and allocations for 1976–77 onwards have not yet been made.

National Health Service Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total annual NHS revenue expenditure for the Northern Regional Health Authority for the years 1965 to 1975.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Graham) on 21st May.

Pensions (Women)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many women aged 60 to 64 years in each of the categories single, widowed, and divorced are receiving a National Insurance retirement or widow's pension including any graduated pension or increment which would total more than £675 in the tax year 1975–76 (a) assuming no pension increase is paid in December, and (1)) assuming a pension increase of 16 per cent. paid from the week beginning 8th December 1975.

I am obtaining this information and will let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.

Huntington's Chorea

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what research is currently being conducted in the United Kingdom on the nature and cure of Huntington's chorea; and whether any public money is available for such research.

A wide range of basic neurological work which could advance the knowledge of the nature of Hunting-ton's chorea is being promoted by the Medical Research Council. The major part of the research programme at the MRC neurochemical pharmacology unit is concerned with studies of the biochemical changes underlying the disease. Other biomedical investigations are In progress at the MRC brain metabolism unit and in the division of molecular pharmacology at the National Institute of Medical Research. The department of social medicine at Edinburgh University is engaged on a project on the incidence and family distribution of the disease. My Department is also supporting from its own research funds a project in the NHS on various aspects of the disease.

Child Minders

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate she has made of the number of children of preschool age in the care of child-minders.

At 31st March 1974, the most recent date for which figures are available, 85,000 children in England were in the care of registered persons; of these, 57,000 were receiving all-day care and 28,000 sessional care. It is not possible to make an informed estimate of the total number of children being cared for by unregistered minders.

Medicines Act Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make a statement about the new committee to be set up under the Medicines Act 1968.

On the advice of the Medicines Commission, the health Ministers plan to make an order shortly to set up a Committee on the Review of Medicines under Section 4 of the Medicines Act. This committee will advise the licensing authority on the safety, quality and efficacy of medicines for human use in connection with the forthcoming review of product licences for all such medicines on the market. It is hoped that it will hold its first meeting later this year. I am pleased to announce that Professor Sir Eric Scowen, MD, DSc, FRCP, FRCS, FRCPE, FRC, Path, Professor of Medicine at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, has agreed to serve as the first Chairman of this body.Sir Eric will continue to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Safety of Medicines for the time being. Professor G. M. Wilson, PhD, DSc, FRCP, Regius Professor of the Practice of Medicine at the University of Glasgow has agreed to join the Committee on Safety of Medicines as chairman designate from a date to be arranged.

Mobility Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will make a statement about the Government's proposals for a mobility allowance for severely disabled people.

I am glad to be able to say that my right hon. Friend has

Announcement (date and reference)MeasureAmountm.) in 1975–76Current or Capital
Official Report, 16th April 1975; Written Answers, Cols. 107–111.Scottish Transport Group Shipping Services. New annual grant to Caledonian MacBrayne Shipping Services.2·5Current grant.
Official Report, 24th April 1975; Cols. 1,742–1,762.British Leyland265·0Capital.
Official Report, 28th April 1975; Cols. 33–170.Employment Protection Bill0·1Current
Official Report, 29th April 1975; Cols. 236–382.Community Land Bill0·1Current
Official Report, 30th April 1975; Cols. 482–614.Petroleum and Submarine Pipelines Bill100·0 (provisional)Capital.
Official Report, 30th April 1975; Cols. 477–478.Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries BillNil
Official Report, 8th May 1975; Cols. 1,759–1,786.Northern Ireland (Shipbuilding) Order (financial assistance to Harland and Wolff Ltd.).25·0Both.
Official Report, 6th and 8th May 1975; Cols. 427–523.Additional Expenditure on Energy and Technology Support Unit Harwell and Marine Technology Support Unit.0·5Current.
Press Release, 12th May 1975Armed Forces Pay213·8Current.
Official Report, 14th May 1975; Cols. 457–467.Ferranti15·0Capital.
Press Release, 14th May 1975Triangup to 3·5Both.
Official Report, 20th May 1975; Written Answer.Increase in student grants from September30·0Current.
All of these potential requirements were taken into account in preparing the fore-

tabled an amendment to the Social Security Pensions Bill providing for a mobility allowance of £5 a week both for severely disabled adults of working age and for severely disabled children aged five or over, who are unable or virtually unable to walk. The new allowance will be available to those whose mobility handicap is likely to last for at least 12 months. It is intended that the mobility allowance should be phased in over approximately a three-year period, with payments to the first group starting at the beginning of 1976. The allowance is a most important advance for perhaps 100,000 severely disabled adults and children whose mobility needs are in no way met under the existing scheme for mobility help.

National Finance

Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all the increases in public expenditure that have been announced since 15th April, stating the amount, whether it is current or capital expenditure, and whether it was included in the Budget estimates of expenditure.

The information requested is shown in the table below:casts shown in the Financial Statement and Budget Report, but, in the case of British Leyland and Harland and Wolff, not to the full extent now foreseen.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the case of a married man with two children who has a pay rise from £2,700 a year to £2,800 a year, how much of the increase would be payable in direct taxation in Germany, Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, and the United Kingdom, respectively.

I regret that the information is taking some time to assemble and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are now income tax payers; what was the equivalent figure in 1965; and how many people he estimates have been removed from or added to the number of taxpayers in each Budget since then.

War Widows' Pensions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to propose exempting war widows' pensions, either in part or as a whole, from tax, at the next opportunity.

This subject was discussed on 20th May during the Committee stage debates on the Finance Bill, and I would refer my hon. Friend to what I said on that occasion.—[Vol. 892, c. 1305–8.]

European Community

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the latest available figures for the total sums received by the United Kingdom from EEC institutions since the beginning of British membership, and the total sums contributed by the United Kingdom to the same institutions during the same period.

The following is the information, based in some cases on figures of provisional outturn.

Community Budget

In the period from 1st January 1973 to 31st March 1975 the United Kingdom received approximately £337 million from the budget of the European Communities. Of this total about £275 million was received by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce under the Guarantee Section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund for market regulation under the common agricultural policy; about £22 million was received from the European Social Fund and about £37 million was the refund of the cost of collecting "own resources". Other miscellaneous sums totalling £3 million were also received in the period. During the period 1st January 1973 to 31st March 1975 the United Kingdom contributed £424 million to the Community Budget.

In addition to the sums, listed above, which have already been received from the Community budget, a further £32 million has been allocated to the United Kingdom from the European Social Fund and there are commitments to pay the United Kingdom about £12 million from the Guidance Section of the EAGGF. The Community is also committed to pay £3 million to United Kingdom companies in respect of projects in the hydrocarbons sector.

European Investment Bank (EIB)

Up to 31st March 1975 the EIB had made loans totalling about £136 million to United Kingdom organisations, most of which has been received. In this period approximately £46 million was paid by the United Kingdom as a contribution to the capital and reserves of the bank.

European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)

Grants to the United Kingdom totalling about £13 million were approved by the ECSC in the period from 1st January 1973 to date. Of this about £1 million has been received so far. The ECSC has also contracted to pay about £7 million in research grants to the United Kingdom. In the same period the ECSC approved loans for the United Kingdom steel industry of about £64 million in total of which about £47 million has been received to date. This does not take account of the loan of £15·5 million for modernisation of the Ebbw Vale tinplate works announced by the Commission on 21st May 1975. In addition, a further £70 million has been received so far in respect of projects submitted to the ECSC by the National Coal Board with requests for loans.

The United Kingdom has paid approximately £24 million as a contribution to the reserves of the ECSC in this period and up to 31st March 1975 approximately £15 million in production levies.

Wealth Distribution

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if of the percentage of wealth held by the richest individuals in 1961, 28·4 per cent. was held by 1 per cent. of the population in the United Kingdom, what was the position in 1951; and what are the figures for each of the years following up to 1973.

The figure of 28·4 per cent. for 1961 refers to the wealthiest 1 per cent. of wealth owners identified from estate duty statistics. In all, such wealth owners comprised 46·3 per cent. of the adult population of Great Britain. Comparable figures for 1962 to

Current balanceCurrent balance per householdCurrent balance per head of population
£ million££
1946-230-4·67
1947-381-7·69
1948+26+0·52
1949-1-0·02
1950+307+6·07
1951-369-24·78-7·30
1952+163+3·21
1953+145+2·85
1954+117+2·29
1955-155-3·03
1956+208+4·04
1957+233+4·51
1958+344+6·63
1959+152+2·91
1960+255-4·85
1961+6+0·36+0·11
1962+122+2·28
1963+1312·44
1964-353-6·52
1965-27-0·50
1966+103+5·93+1·88
1967-300-5·44
1968-274-4·95
1969-460+8·27
1970+698+12·51
1971+1,052+56·49+18·88
1972+82+1·47
1973-1,117-19·94
1974-3,828-68·26
NOTES:
(1). The current balance per household is derived from estimates of the number of households as defined in the Census of Population. Statistics of the number of households are available only for census years.
(2) The current balance per head is obtained using mid-year estimates of total population. The 1974 estimate is a projection from a 1973 base.

1973 inclusive are: 27·2, 26·7, 25·9, 24·4, 23·6, 23·0, 24·2, 21·4, 20·7, 20·4, 22·1 and 21·8 per cent. respectively. These figures are subject to the qualifications spelled out in the notes to the Tables in Inland Revenue Statistics 1974 and in particular take no account of personal wealth held in trusts which were not liable to estate duty which it is thought has grown substantially in this period. No official estimates of personal wealth have been made for years before 1960.

Balance Of Payments

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1945 (a) the balance of payments surplus or deficit (b) the balance of payments surplus or deficit expressed in terms of £ sterling per family and (c) the balance of payments surplus or deficit expressed in terms of £ sterling per head of population.

Pay And Prices

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the people of Nottinghamshire in suport of a pay and prices freeze.

Capital Movements

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the movement of capital between the United Kingdom and the EEC compares with the movement of capital between the United Kingdom and the rest of the world in each of the years 1970 onwards; and how these figures compare with investment in United Kingdom private manufacturing industry in these years.

Comprehensive estimates of capital movements between the United Kingdom and other EEC countries are not available. Information on some components, including direct investment flows to and from the Six original member countries for years up to 1972 is published in "United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1963–73"—the Pink Book—and direct investment flows up to 1973 are shown in more detail in the 14th March 1975 issue of "Trade and Industry". Following are figures for gross fixed investment in United Kingdom private manufacturing industry, consistent with those published in the April issue of "Economic Trends "; the published figures also include the British Steel Corporation and ordnance factories.

£ million (1970 prices)
19702,000
19711,800
19721,604
19731,769
19741,945

Inflation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current rate of inflation expressed as an annual rate based upon the most recent three months' statistics; and what was the annual rate of inflation based upon a similar calculation on 10th October 1974.

The rate of increase in the retail prices index in the three months to April expressed at an annual rate is 34·4 per cent. A similar calculation made on 10th October would have shown an annual rate of inflation of 8·4 per cent.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made towards reducing the rate of inflation towards his estimate made in September 1974 of what could be achieved, namely an annual rate of less than 10 per cent. by the end of 1975.

As my right hon. Friend told the House in his Budget Statement, there are good prospects that the cost of living will rise on average by little more than 1 per cent. a month in the second half of this year, provided that there is no acceleration in the present rate of wage and salary increases.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when the rate of inflation last exceeded the April figure of 3·9 per cent. in one month;(2) when the rate of inflation last exceeded the latest three-month figure of 9·2 per cent.;(3) when the rate of inflation last exceeded the latest 12-month figure of 21·7 per cent.

The rate of inflation, as measured by the General Index of Retail Prices, and previously by the Interim Index of Retail Prices and the Cost of Living Index, last exceeded the figure of 3·9 per cent. in one month in September 1939; it last exceeded the figure of 9·2 per cent. in the three months to the beginning of December 1939; and last exceeded the figure of 21·7 per cent. in one year in the year ending in November 1920.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now take further measures designed to reduce the rate of inflation.

In his Budget my right hon. Friend took a series of measures aimed at bringing down the inflation rate and offsetting the effect of excessive pay settlements. He has made clear that, if pay settlements continue to be excessive, he will have no alternative but to increase taxation or reduce public expenditure further.

Whisky

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the average retail cost of whisky represents duty and tax.

Taking an average of bar and off-licence prices, duty and VAT together represent about 57 per cent. of the retail price of whisky.

Beer

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the average retail cost of beer represents duty and tax.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now raise the exemption limit for registration for value added tax from £5,000 to the sum necessary in order to take account of the fall in the value of money since the tax was first introduced.

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.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 21st May 1945; Vol. 892, c. 427], gave the following information:Information on which to base a precise calculation is not available. However, it is estimated that the full-year cost for 1975–76 of allowing tax relief to employees on class I primary national insurance contributions would be about £730 million.

Employment

Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give details to compare the average weekly earnings of persons in each county of the United Kingdom at the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will rank them in order, from the highest to the lowest, with percentage differences.

The latest available estimates for most of the new counties of England and Wales and the new administrative regions of Scotland, obtained from the new earnings survey and relating to April 1974, were published in the Department of Employment Gazette, January 1975, pages 27 to 35. I am sending an offprint to the hon. Member.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the average weekly earnings of male manual workers in Scotland at the latest available date.

In industries covered by the Department's annual inquiry into the earnings and hours of manual workers, the average weekly earnings of full-time manual men aged 21 and over in Scotland were £48·37 in October 1974. The industries covered are manufacturing, mining and quarrying (excluding coal mining), construction, gas, electricity and water, transport and communication (excluding railways and sea transport), certain miscellaneous services and public administration.

Pay Methods

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of the working population is paid weekly; what percentage is paid monthly; and how that percentage has varied since 1950.

The new earnings survey indicates that, among males in full-time employment, about two-thirds are paid weekly, about one-quarter are paid monthly and a small proportion at other frequencies. Among females in full-time employment, about three-fifths are paid weekly and about one-third monthly. Corresponding estimates for 1950 are not available, but there has certainly been a substantial decline in the proportion paid weekly.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of the working population is paid in cash; what percentage by other forms of money transfer; and how that percentage has varied since 1950.

Information of this kind is not collected systematically by my Department.

School Leavers (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many school leavers are currently unemployed in Scotland; and what percentage this is of all school leavers last year.

At this month's count, 1,215 school leavers were registered as unemployed in Scotland. This is 1·8 per cent. of the total number of leavers during the previous year.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the situation at the end of this school term on the unemployment situation for school leavers in Scotland.

It is expected that about 48,000 school leavers in Scotland will be seeking employment at the end of this year's summer term. Careers officers are now in touch with employers about finding jobs for these young people, but it is too early to make a firm judgment of their employment prospects.

Steel

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were employed in the steel industry in each of the last five years and in each of the last 18 months for which figures are available.

The following table shows final mid-year estimates from June 1970 to June 1973 and provisional monthly estimates thereafter. The midyear figures are from a new series of statistics prepared on a continuous basis so that past estimates are consistent with those for the latest date. The estimates for each month from July 1973 have been made by applying a ratio of change, as shown by a sample survey, to the latest mid-year figures which are for June 1973. The monthly estimates are subject to revision when the results of the June 1974 annual census of employment become available.

Estimated numbers of employees in employment in Iron and Steel (general) and Steel tubes in Great Britain

June 1970344,100
June 1971322,700
June 1972302,600
June 1973300,700
July 1973*301,600
August 1973*302,700
September 1973*303,200
October 1973*302,400
November 1973*301,800
December 1973*301,900
January 1974*299,900
February 1974*299,400
March 1974*298,000
April 1974*297,800
May 1974*297,300
June 1974*299,400
July 1974*300,700
August 1974*302,800
September 1974*303,300
October 1974*304,600
November 1974*305,200
December 1974*306,400
January 1975*306,200
February 1975*307,300
March 1975*308,200

*Provisional

Iron and steel (general) and Steel tubes are Minimum List Headings 311 and 312 of the Standard Industrial Classification.

Training

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the number of (a) men and (b) women currently waiting to take part in a Training Services Agency course who have established their suitability for such training who have been waiting for allocation for under six months and between six to 12 months.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that on 27th March 1975 there were 24,476 suitable applicants awaiting allocation under the Training Opportunities Scheme: 12,908 were awaiting allocation to skill centres; 9,395 to colleges of further education; 1,962 to employers' establishments and 211 to residential training colleges for the disabled. It is not possible to identify the numbers of women on the waiting lists, but waiting lists are common for men and women as courses are equally available to both sexes. It is not possible without disproportionate cost to identify applicants who have been waiting allocation for under six months and between six to 12 months.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the present average time between establishing suitability to take part in a Training Service Agency training course and the allocation of a course place.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that because of the variety of courses and training institutes it is not possible to calculate an average time between accept-

TradesScotlandNorth EastNorth-WestMidlandsWales and WestSouth-EastLondon
Construction:
BricklayingAAAAAAA
Carpentry and JoineryAAABAAB
Heating and Ventilating FittingAAABAA
HousepaintingABBB
Pipe Fitting (PCI)A
PlasteringABBBA
PlumbingAAABAAA
Slating and TilingB
Street Masonry and PavingAAB
Woodcutting MachiningAAAAAA
Welding—Pipe CITBA
Engineering Production
Automatic Lathe SettingAAAAA
Boring Setting/MachiningAAAAA
Capstan Setting/OperatingAAAAAAA
Centre Lathe TurningAAAAAAA
Engineering—Blind Persons
Milling Setting/OperatingAAAAAAA
Precision GrindingAAAAAAA
Sheet Metal Working (MEC)AAAAAA
Sheet and Plate Metal Fab/WeldingAAAAA
Toolmaking Fitting and MachiningAAAAA
Welding—Electric Arc (Pipe)BABB
Welding—Electric Arc PlateBABABA
Engineering Servicing
DraughtsmanshipAAAABAA
Engineering InspectionAAA
Fitting—GeneralABAAAA
Fitting—Jig and ToolAAA
Fitting—Machine Tool MaintenanceAAAAB
Fitting—Pneumatic and HydraulicAAAAB
Instrument Fitting and MachiningAAAAAA
Electrical/Electronics
Electrical Installation and Maintenance A (C and G)BBBBBB
Electrical Installation and Maintenance B (C and G)B
Electronic Wiring and Circuiting TestingAABBAAA
Fitting ElectricalAAAA
Instrument MaintenanceAAAABAB
NC Machine Electronic MaintenanceA
Radio, TV and Electronic ServicingBABBBBB
Television Field ServicingBAA
Industrial ElectronicsAAA
Plant and Automotive Trades
Agricultural Machine Repair/MaintenanceAAAB
Contractors' Plant Repair/MaintenanceAABABAA
Heavy Vehicle Repair and MaintenanceAAABBAA
Motor Vehicle—Body BuildingAA
Motor Vehicle—Body RepairAAAAAA
Motor Vehicle—Repair and MaintenanceAAAAAAA
Motor Vehicle—Spray PaintingAAAAAA
Motor Vehicle—Combined SP and BRBB

ance and allocation. Waiting periods for skillcentre courses vary between trades regions. Most engineering trades, for example, are available immediately suitability is established. Exceptions are pipe welding and electric arc welding in certain regions.

A summary of estimated allocation delays between acceptance and allocation to a skillcentre by trades and regions is as follows:

Trades

Scotland

North-East

North-West

Midlands

Wales and West

South-East

London

General Servicing

Air Conditioning and RefrigerationB
Sewing Machine Mechanic……AA
Typewriter Repair and MaintenanceABBBAA
Watch and Clock RepairAABA

Miscellaneous

Boat FittingAB
Commercial CookeryAABAAB
Furniture—Cabinet MakingA
Hairdressing (Men's)AAAAAAA
Scientific Glass BlowingA
Screen Process PrintingB
Sewing MachiningA
Store KeepingAAAAAAA
TailoringA

Limited Skills

Miscellaneous EngineeringAAAA

Kev: A = up to 6 months.

B = over 6 months.

Professional And Executive Register

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) whether literature in connection with the Professional and Executive Register makes clear that there is an upper age limit for acceptance on to it;(2) why an upper age limit is imposed for acceptance on to the Professional and Executive Register;(3) what is the lower and upper age limit imposed for consideration of acceptance on to the Professional and Executive Register.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that no reference is made to any upper age limit in publicity material issued by the Professional and Executive Recruitment service since neither an upper nor a lower age limit is imposed. Each application is considered individually with age in some cases being one of the many factors taken into account. The overriding aim throughout is to register the individual with that part of the public employment service most likely to be able to help him or her.

Pay Awards

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list all the major pay awards which have been agreed in the public sector since the end of phase 3, showing in each case the maximum, minimum and average percentage increases awarded, the maximum, minimum and average weekly value of the awards and the top level of wage salary, before and after the awards, which was affected.

I regret that the comprehensive information requested is not available. The monetary increases in the rates of pay of the main groups of manual workers in the public sector are included in my Department's monthly publication "Changes in Rats of Wages and Hours of Work".

Humberside

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list grants which have been made available from the European Social Fund to firms, institutions or other organisations in Humberside.

No grants have been made specifically to firms or other organisations wholly located in Humberside. The area shares in the benefits of grants made in respect of national schemes of training rehabilitation and resettlement, which are not made specifically for particular areas of England.

Trade Unions

asked the Secretary of State for Employment now many trade unions appoint their full-time officials and what is the total membership of these unions; and how many trade unions elect their full-time officials by the votes of rank and file members and what is the total membership of these unions.

There are about 500 trade unions in Great Britain, with a total membership of about 11½ million. Among 22 large trade unions which between them have a total membership of 8 million—that is, nearly 70 per cent. of all trade unionists—there are nine, with 2⅓ million members, which appoint their full-time officials; six, with 1,800,000 members, which elect their full-time officials by the votes of rank-and-file members; and seven, with 3,800,000 members, which use a combination of both methods.

Telephone Exchange, Maidenhead

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ask the Conciliation and Arbitration Service to seek to resolve the dispute between GEC and ASTMS which has caused a hold up in the installation of telephone equipment in the Maidenhead telephone exchange; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has been actively involved in bringing the two sides together. The ASTMS is consulting its members on an improved offer made by the company on Friday 16th May.

Skillcentres

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to increase the number of skillcentres in the United Kingdom.

The Manpower Services Commission informs me that the Training Services Agency plans to open the following 13 new skillcentres in Great Britain in its expansion programme up to 1977:

CentreEstimated completion dateEstimated places available
NewportAutumn 1975174
SwindonEarly 1978118
PeterboroughLate 1976112
IpswichSpring 1977112
Milton KeynesAutumn 1976158
ReadingEarly 1978140
Castle BromwichSummer 1975308
South StaffsAutumn 1975216
DoncasterSummer 1977150
RochdaleSummer 1976188
PrestonAutumn 1977196
BradfordAutumn 1976176
SE LondonEarly 1978350

asked the Secretary of State for Employment which skillcentre is closest to West Gloucestershire.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that there is a skillcentre in Gloucester.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many skillcentres there are in the South-West Region; and where are they located.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that there are four skillcentres in the South-West Region—at Bristol, Gloucester, Plymouth and Redruth.

Blackpool

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of job vacancies for males and females in Blackpool currently notified to his Department; and what were the comparable figures for each year from 1970 to 1974.

The following table shows the information for May each year. The vacancy figures relate only to vacancies notified to employment offices and careers offices and are not a measure of total vacancies.

Blackpool Employment Office Areas Notified vacancies remaining unfilled
Employment OfficeCareers Office
MalesFemalesMalesFemales
May 19751282561462
May 197420836846106
May 19733234904370
May 19721271672159
May 1971432643177
May 197011923372116

Environment

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for reducing expenditure on municipalisation in the light of his injunction to local authorities to restrain their spending.

None. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply by my right hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Cartwright) on 5th May, when he announced our intention of maintaining the municipalisation programme at its 1974–75 level.—[Vol. 891, c. 308.]

Palace Of Westminster

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the proposed use for the new offices at present being constructed on the West Front staircase.

The Administration Committee of the House of Lords has decided that the new offices should be allocated to Hansard and the typing agency, whose present accommodation would then be released for use by peers and clerks.

Playgrounds

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to make funds available for the building of children's adventure playgrounds in the Thanet area.

Funds for adventure playgrounds are normally obtained through the urban programme. However, any local authority may apply for subsidy in connection with the provision of play space on new or existing housing estates to the extent that it does not exceed the standards set out in the Department's Circular 79/72.

Local Government Employees

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet completed his consideration of the desirability of making it possible for council manual employees to serve on the councils which employ them; and if he will make a statement.

Not yet. This matter is still under consideration, but final decisions must await the views of the Royal Commission on Standards of Conduct in Public Life.

Rates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek powers to oblige councils to give a discount to ratepayers who pay in advance.

Rating authorities may already, at their discretion. grant dis- counts to ratepayers who pay the whole of the net amount due by a specified date.

Housing Improvement

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how he proposes to allocate the extra expenditure of £44 million which he has made available for the improvement and repair of local authority dwellings.

I am urgently reviewing cases of special difficulty which have been brought to my attention to decide how these additional funds might best be used. In addition to helping those authorities whose commitments, arising from contracts for house renovation let before 1st April 1975, were not adequately reflected in their original bids, I shall give priority to the improvement of sub-standard municipalised dwellings; to work needed to bring empty dwellings back into use; and to the initial provision of standard amenities in purpose-built stock. My officials are discussing with individual local authorities the various problems that have been brought to our attention, and my decision on each case will be notified to the authorities concerned shortly. Some £10 million is already being allocated on the basis of the priorities outlined above; the remainder will be allocated to certain authorities whose priority needs have been clearly established within the next few weeks.For the future, the study group I propose to set up, with the local authority associations, to look into municipalisation and rehabilitation programmes should help me to assess needs and priorities for 1976–77 and later years. It is the Government's intention progressively to shift resources away from the refurbishing of council dwellings already in acceptable condition to deal with the really worst housing, especially those dwellings bought from private owners in pursuance of the renewal policies inherent in the Housing Act 1974, that is, in housing action areas, priority neighbourhoods and general improvement areas.

Pedestrian Crossings

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will issue a circular to all local authorities advising on the need to ensure that existing and new light controlled pedestrian crossings are fitted with audible signals to assist the blind in locating them.

The audible signal is a standard part of the equipment of Pelican crossings, but it is not fitted at sites where there is more than one crossing since this could confuse people relying on it. If my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind, I shall be glad to look into it.

Cavity Walls (Thermal Insulation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, following the issue of the recent circulars published by his Department on the subject of cavity wall insulation, he will review the present position in order to expedite the use of these methods in the interests of insulation and energy conservation.

The Government fully recognise the contribution which cavity-fill insulation, when properly carried out, can make towards energy conservation, and the method is commended in the information material widely distributed by the Department of the Environment and the Department of Energy.

Haverhill, Suffolk

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of the two fatal accidents which occurred within seven days on Millfields Way, Haverhill, he will consult the Suffolk County Council and the St. Edmunds-bury District Council with a view to improving safety measures in the vicinity of Chalkstone School.

Millfields Way, Haverhill, is an unclassified road for which the Suffolk County Council is the highway authority. I understand that the council is considering whether measures are necessary to improve road safety conditions there.

London Government (Capital Debt)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated total capital debt of the GLC and of the individual London boroughs; and what limits are imposed upon their borrowing powers during the current and the next financial year.

The latest published figures for the gross loan debts of the GLC and London boroughs are as at 31st March 1973. The figures are:

London BoroughTotal gross loan debt
£000
Barking59,516
Barnet64,945
Bexley52,679
Brent79,229
Bromley72,771
Camden117,518
Croydon85,898
Ealing69,883
Enfield85,592
Greenwich66,261
Hackney101,886
Hammersmith49,854
Haringey92,642
Harrow29,922
Havering52,671
Hillingdon73,693
Hounslow75,486
Islington104,649
Kensington and Chelsea43,095
Kingston upon Thames35,636
Lambeth93,563
Lewisham80,402
Merton42,563
Newham128,395
Redbridge48,218
Richmond upon Thames29,794
Southwark128,152
Sutton35,416
Tower Hamlets62,907
Waltham Forest78,664
Wandsworth99,382
Westminster97,273
City of London120,016
Greater London Council1,312,020
The GLC money Bill would authorise borrowing of £518·2 million by the GLC for 1975–76, together with an additional sum of £64·0 million which must be authorised by the Treasury. No authorised borrowing figures are available for individual London boroughs. These would depend on approvals for individual projects within the key sector.

Maplin Rail Link (Lands)