Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 11th June 1975
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment by what percentage he expects output on new construction work to decline in 1975, compared with 1974; and what action he proposes to improve the current trend.
It is clear that there will be a significant decline in new construction output in 1975 compared with 1974, but the Government have taken a number of measures which together will assist the construction industry, particularly the housebuilding sector in which there has been an encouraging improvement.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on which areas the proposed £50 million cuts in housing capital expenditure will apply to in 1976–77.
I am not yet in a position to make a statement, except to say that the savings will not be found from the housebuilding programme.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent response he has had from local authorities in answer to his circular requesting a cut in expenditure for the year 1975–76; and if he is satisfied with progress so far.
I hope to be able to give a detailed reply in the very near future.
Housing (Occupancy Rates)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what studies have been undertaken by his Department to compare the occupancy levels of private and public sector housing with other countries.
Information about occupancy rates is available in national censuses. Detailed comparative studies are not justified, since housing conditions vary in different countries and density of occupation is only one factor in assessing whether accommodation is satisfactory.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy in connection with the amount of subsidy to be paid to British Railways during the next five years.
This will be decided in the light of reassessments which British Rail is now making of its business prospects.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what priority he proposes to give in the road programme to the construction of by-passes and other road improvements, vis-à-vis the construction of motorways.
We are continuing to give priority to schemes which will take heavy traffic out of towns and villages. Some will be motorways but many will be bypasses and improvements to existing roads.
London Boroughs (Property Acquisition)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in the light of his call on 9th May for a stricter curb on local authority spending, he will now withold approval from all applications for subsidy by one London borough seeking to acquire property within the boundaries of another.
No. My right hon. Friend will continue to consider local authority housing schemes in the London area on their merits.
Drainage (Domestic And Business Properties)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the number of domestic and business properties in England and Wales not connected with main drainage.
The water authorities estimate that about 1 million domestic properties are not connected to main drainage. There are as yet no reliable figures for equivalent non-domestic properties.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress he has made in his consultation with the University Grants Committee on the proposals contained in the Community Land Bill.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is presently in close touch with the University Grants Committee.
Council Houses (Ex-Service Men)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he can now state when he expects to issue his new guidance circular to local authorities about the provision of council accommodation for ex-Service men.
The circular was issued on 9th June. I am sending a copy to the hon. Member.
M6 Linkway, Gravelly Hill
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from or on behalf of householders, adversely affected by physical factors arising from the use of the M6 linkway at Gravelly Hill interchange and other adjacent areas concerning the sums of compensation offered for depreciation under Sections 2 and 4 of the Land Compensation Act; and if he will make a statement.
I have received representations about the principles of compensation under Part I of the Land Compensation Act 1973, and I have had discussions with my hon. Friend. I am satisfied that the Act is operating as intended.
A63, Monk Fryston (Bypass)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he hopes to reach a decision about the projected route of a possible bypass of Monk Fryston on the A63 trunk road.
It will not be possible to make a firm decision about the future of this bypass line until the effects upon traffic on the trunk road A63 not only of the new motorway M62 but also of the proposals to develop the Selby coalfield can be properly assessed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will give guidance to local authorities as to the scale of housing improvement expenditure likely to be approved for the year 1976–77, so as to assist local authorities to programme improvement schemes which cannot be financed out of a single year's allocation.
This matter is being considered by the study group on programmes of social ownership and renovation of council dwellings whose appointment was foreshadowed in the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) on 23rd May. We hope to be able to notify each local authority by November of this year of its allocation for council house improvement expenditure for 1976–77 and provisionally for 1977–78. Meanwhile the Department's regional officers are available to advise local authorities individually of what improvement expenditure may safely be committed for 1976–77.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what relative priority he attached to the renovation of houses in his housing policy.
I attach a very high priority to the renovation of older housing, as can be seen from my Department's Circular 13/75.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning his recent statement of the level of council house rents; and what replies he has sent.
The few representations which I have received so far have asked for a quantification of next year's likely rent increases and a curbing of interest rates. I have made it clear that in recent years rents have been meeting a declining percentage of housing costs, and that in our present economic situation this trend must be reversed.
Local Government Expenditure
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on progress to date with the consultative council concerned with local government expenditure.
The council has had an initial meeting at which we had a useful discussion on how both central and local government could work together in the present difficult economic climates. We shall be meeting again in July.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what indications he has received about the achievement of his targets for local government spending in 1976–77; and if he will make a statement.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen).
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment by what means his Department makes known its views to local and regional authorities on the need to avoid ostentatious spending gestures.
My colleagues and I regularly meet representatives of local authorities and the regional water authorities and make known our views. I also issue circulars on general expenditure matters.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will issue a circular to all water authorities advising them to make available at all their public premises a supply of the official pamphlets summarising the services of the local government ombudsman.
I understand that the official pamphlets are available at all the regional water authorities' public premises.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what financial grants and loans are available to home owners for thermal insulation; and how these compare with those available in France, Holland and Sweden.
No grants are available generally for thermal insulation, although my right hon. Friend will give sympathetic consideration to requests by local authorities to allow improvement grant for roof insulation where elderly or disabled owners would have difficulty in meeting the cost. Local authority powers to make loans for improving dwellings can cover the provision of thermal insulation. Various grants, loans, or tax incentives are available in the continental countries referred to in the Question, but I believe that the resources made available by Her Majesty's Government for the improvement of houses are better deployed at present in tackling the basic defects of substandard homes.
Conservation Areas (Advisory Committees)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total number of conservation area advisory committees notified to him as having been set up by 1st April 1975 in accordance with paragraph 50 of Circular 147/74; and if he will make a statement.
Not all authorities have yet supplied the information required in Circular 147/74 but my right hon. Friend has been notified of 103 conservation area advisory committees. It would be inappropriate in present circumstances to urge local authorities to take action which would involve extra expenditure, even though this would be marginal.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many properties his Department has acquired in Greater London; how many are currently empty; and how many are let to housing associations and local councils.
The Department has acquired 1,788 residential properties in Greater London for highway and other development purposes. 76 of these are currently unlet. One is let to a housing association and 618 to local authorities.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made on the redrafting of the Highway Code; and when he expects the final version to be published.
Comments are still being received. I will prepare a final version, taking account of all the views expressed, when the Green Paper has been debated in Parliament.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the average rate increase for domestic ratepayers between the financial years 1974–75 and 1975–76.
For England and Wales, I estimate that the average increase in the domestic rate levied for local authority services in 1975–76 over the rate levied in 1974–75 is 23 per cent. If we take into account last year's special domestic rate relief scheme the increase in the average amount paid by domestic ratepayers is 34 per cent.
New Town Corporations (Assets)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce legislation to transfer the assets of new town corporations and the New Towns Commission to the local authorities responsible in each case.
I am considering the comments which have been made on the Consultation Document "New Towns in England and Wales", and the Report of the Working Party on the Transfer of Rented Housing in New Towns; and I will make a statement in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will introduce plans to bring empty properties into the available housing stock.
I would refer my hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction's reply on 25th February to my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Jeger)—[Vol. 887, c. 69–70.] We shall shortly be consulting the organisations concerned on a range of measures concerned with improving the use of the existing housing stock.
Local Government Finance (Consultative Council)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many meetings of the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance have been held.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave the hon. Member for Reading, North (Mr. Durant) earlier today.
House Building (Policy And Programmes)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider arranging meetings with the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians and other professional bodies connected with the building and construction industry to discuss policy and programmes essential to the building of houses and homes.
I am always ready to consider requests for such discussions.
Water Authorities (Direct Billing)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why water authorities are being encouraged in departmental circulars to transfer to direct billing.
The water authority chairmen have recently impressed on me the substantial financial and operational advantages of direct billing, but I am seeking the views of the local authority associations before issuing any guidance on this subject.
Community Land Bill
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from Mr. Maurice Ash, Chairman of the Town and Country Planning Association, in respect of the Community Land Bill; and what reply he has sent.
I have received no formal representations from Mr. Ash personally. But I have discussed with representatives of the Town and Country Planning Association, including Mr. Ash, a memorandum submitted by the association.
Greater London Council (Housing Estates)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the Government's policy regarding the transfer to local authorities of Greater London Council housing estates situate outside Greater London.
It is important that the Greater London Council should have under its control sufficient housing stock, including estates outside London, to fulfill its rôle as strategic housing authority.
Motor Rally Routes
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in the consideration of possible improvements to the control system for motor rally routes; and if he will make a statement.
The Motor Rallies Advisory Committee is considering a number of proposals to this end. My Department hopes to have its report in the autumn.
Old People's Homes
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the net expenditure of local authorities on homes for the elderly, welfare homes and sheltered housing schemes in England and Wales, respectively, in each of the last five available years; and if he will also express these sums in terms of per capita expenditure for people aged 65 years and over in the respective countries.
The expenditure of local authorities on homes for the elderly and welfare homes is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. I regret that it is not possible to give figures for expenditure by local authorities on sheltered housing schemes in England and Wales.In tenders accepted by local authorities the number of dwellings specially designed for old people which will have the services of a warden is as follows per 1,000 people aged 65 and over:
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress of the trials of the prototype electropneumatic suburban passenger train.
These are proceeding satisfactorily. Design modifications to reflect passenger comments will include more seating, improved seat design, and more hand holds.
Local Authority House Purchasing
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total sum of money which has so far been approved for loan sanction for the purchase of existing and new dwellings, respectively, by local authorities under Circular 70/74; and what is the total number of dwellings in each case.
We estimate that English and Welsh local authorities spent some £180 million in 1974–75 on the acquisition of some 23,000 existing dwellings for continued housing use. Final details are not yet available.As regards new dwellings, approval was given for the purchase of about 13,100 dwellings at an estimated cost of about £132 million between 1st April 1974 and 15th May 1975.
Green Belt Land
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has now completed his study of the report of the Standing Conference on London and South-East Regional Planning regarding green belt land; if he will now publish it; and for what date his next meeting with the chairman has been arranged.
The Standing Conference has completed the exercise. A formal report is unnecessary and no further meeting has been arranged. It will now be for the local planning authorities to publish the location of the sites. I have written today to the Chairman of the Standing Conference in the folowing terms:
"We met in January to review progress on the exercise to identify 2,000 acres of land in the Green Belt which might be released for housing without damage to basic Green Belt policies. You told me that your member authorities had identified approximately 950 acres for this purpose and that the balance was accounted for by land released co appeal since the exercise began and other land which you considered might ultimately have to be released as a consequence of the appeal decisions. I felt that more time was needed to consider the outcome of the exercise before any details were publshed. I would now be very happy for the local planning authorities concerned to identify the 950 acres and to enter into whatever public consultations about them they consider desirable.
"Following our meeting, an opportunity of reaffirming the Government's commitment to the Green Belt arose in my reply to Michael Latham's Parliamentary Question on 31st January. I said then that there would be firm Government support for local planning authorites' resistance to development involving unacceptable encroachment on the Green Belt, bearing in mind that it was the Secretary of State's statutory duty to consider all planning appeals on their merits. This is still the Government's position.
"Finally, I would like to thank you and the local authorities concerned for their co-operation in carrying out this exercise."
Building Societies' Loan
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much of the £500 million loaned by the Government to building societies has so far been repaid.
£490 million of the £500 million loaned to the building societies has now been repaid.
Local Government Staffs
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department will publish details of the survey of staff levels in local authorities; and if he will publish them in such a form that it is possible to compare for each local authority in England and Wales the costs of salaries, and numbers of staff, in each grade and department per head of local population served.
I have already indicated, in reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Howell) on 7th May 1975—[Vol. 891, c. 445]—that figures will be published as soon as possible. The Department's Circular No. 30/75, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member, makes it clear, however, that the watch on staff numbers will focus at national level upon changes in the total work force and in the main components of that total.
Divorce Law (Scotland)
asked the Lord Advocate what representations he has received from the Law Society of Scotland regarding the reform of divorce law in Scotland following the society's discussion of this matter at its recent meeting in Aviemore.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what efforts were made by his Department to secure the sale of Nimrod aircraft to the Government of Australia; and why they failed.
Every effort was made by my Department and the firm concerned to secure this sale. Only the Australian Government could say why our efforts failed.
United States Air Force (Aircraft Trials)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether and when he gave permission for the use of Wethersfield air base by five United States U-2 planes; what is the purpose of their presence there; whether he will ask for their withdrawal, particularly in view of the possible effect on the international peace and arms reduction conference this summer; and if he will make a statement.
The use of RAF Wethersfield for this purpose was approved earlier this year. The aircraft in question are engaged in a three months' operational trial over allied countries of a precision high altitude navigation system. They are not taking photographs and they are not armed. In these circumstances we have no intention of asking for their withdrawal in advance of the termination of the trial.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what will be the approximate cost of each of the two new cruisers, including the cost of their complements of aircraft.
It is not the practice to give such information.
Raf St Mawgan
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many aviation and defence staff personnel will lose their jobs at RAF St. Mawgan as a result of the deployment proposals in the Defence Estimates.
As publicly announced at RAF St. Mawgan on 6th June, the station will not now be affected by the Royal Air Force redeployments directly arising from the proposals put forward in Defence Estimates. As a separate economy measure, however, the aircraft establishment of No. 7 Canberra Squadron at RAF St. Mawgan is to be reduced in early 1976 by up to a third. In consequence the aircraft servicing task, which is carried out at the station by a civilian firm under contract, will also be reduced. The effect on the labour force will be a matter for the contractor to decide.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on his most recent meetings with representatives of the Scottish fishing industry.
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for agriculture and fisheries met
|Number of paid appointments created||…||14||16||12||31||6|
|Total (cumulative) cost in each year*||…||£6,247||£20,932||£29,306||£97,474||£122,099|
|* In certain cases the salary included is the appropriate proportion of the total annual salary.|
representatives of the Scottish fishing industry on 12th and 20th May to discuss the law of the sea, the modification of the common fisheries policy of the EEC, the need for adequate international conservation agreements and other topics. In addition, my officials are in frequent contact with the industry's representatives.
Sheriff Courts (Boundaries)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many complaints he has received about the new sheriff court boundaries in Scotland.
I have received 10 complaints concerning the boundaries of four sheriff court districts, two of which involved court closures.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to what extent private woodland planting has slowed down since the Budget.
Information about the amount of private woodland planting is collected only for complete years, and no estimate can be given of the level of activity by private woodland owners during the last few months, but since most of the annual planting programme in Scotland is normally completed by March it is unlikely that many trees will have been planted since the Budget.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, of the 400 paid public appointments within his gift at an annual cost of £500,000, how many were created in each of the last five years and at what additional cost in respect of each year.
The number of new paid appointments created and the total cost of these appointments in each of the last five years is given in the following table:
Housing (Handicapped Persons)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to encourage greater provision of housing suitable for occupation by physically handicapped people.
A circular was Issued on 29th May to housing and social work authorities providing general guidance on ways of effectively meeting the special housing needs of physically handicapped people and urging local authorities to give greater priority to these needs in allocating their housing resources. The contents of the circular will also be drawn to the attention of housing associations, the new town development corporations, the Scottish Special Housing Association and regional and district health boards. The circular recommends that housing for physically handicapped people should be integrated with general needs housing and provides other guidance on the considerations which housing authorities should take into account in determining locations for such housing. Comprehensive design standards for housing for physically handicapped people will be issued as soon as possible.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment has been made of the likely danger to bees derived from the expansion of the bean and oilseed rape crops with the consequential use of sprays; and what advice is being offered to minimise such danger.
Statistics so far available do not show whether the number of incidents involving damage to bees has increased with the acreage under field beans and oilseed rape, but my right hon. Friend accepts that the risks from spraying must be greater where more of these crops—which are so attractive to bees—are grown. These risks can best be countered by care on the part of farmers and contractors and by their co-operation with local beekeepers. The Ministry, in co-operation with the pesticides industry, has accordingly stepped up its efforts to provide detailed advice to all concerned, and particularly that they should wherever possible select for use those insecticides and formulations which are less toxic to bees, avoid spraying at flowering stage and spray in the early morning or late evening, and maintain liaison with beekeepers to let them know of their spraying plan in good time.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has completed his review of the health risks associated with the importation of psittacines and other birds; and if he will make a statement.
I have reviewed this matter and take the views of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. While controls are not considered justified on human health grounds alone, a review of the disease risks to poultry posed by unrestricted imports of psittacines and other captive birds gives cause for concern. I am therefore considering the form and timing of appropriate import controls and I shall be consulting the trade and other interests.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the report of the committee of inquiry into the veterinary profession is expected.
We have now received this report. It will be published and laid before Parliament in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons are now in the control unit at Wakefield Gaol; and on which dates they were placed there.
Three; 22nd May.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will suspend his current practice with regard to television licences bought at the old rate by persons already in possession of a licence until the completion of the investigation of this matter by the Parliamentary Commissioner.
No. The Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 provides that an investigation by the Commissioner shall not affect any action taken by the Department concerned, or any power or duty of that Department to take further action with respect to any matters subject to the investigation. I shall, of course, give most careful consideration to the Commissioner's report of the results of his investigation.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total sum of money which has so far been approved for loan sanction for the purchase of existing and new dwellings, respectively, by local authorities under Circular 111/74; and what is the total number of dwellings in each case.
Returns so far received from authorities in Wales indicate a total committed expenditure of £384,804 under the general consent contained in Circular 111/74 for specified categories. I have approved the issue of loan sanction in the total sum of £285,432 for the acquisition of existing dwellings falling outside the categories and of £7,641,225 for new dwellings. The number of dwellings involved is 109. 33 and 842 respectively.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many and what percentage of cases dealt with by conciliation officers after claims have been made for compensation for unfair dismissal have been withdrawn through the efforts of the conciliation officer; in how many and what percentage of such cases the claimant obtained no compensation; and in how many and in what percentage of such cases the claimant obtained compensation between £1 and £100, £101 and £200, £201 and £500, £501 and £1,000, £1,001 and £2,000, £2,001 and £3,000, £3,001 and £4,000, £4,001 and £5,200, in each of the six-month periods since the commencement of the right to claim compensation for unfair dismissal.
The latest figures available on the outcomes of complaints of unfair dismissal which are resolved during conciliation relate to the period from 28th February 1972 to 27th December 1974. These figures are analysed in the following tables:—See Tables on columns
917 to 200.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many and what percentage of claims for compensation for unfair dismissal which have been heard by industrial tribunals since the commencement of the right to claim compensation for unfair dismissal have resulted in success for the applicant; in how many and what percentage of such cases a recommendation was made for reinstatement and in how many and what percentage of cases in which such recommendation was made it was complied with; and in how many and what percentage of cases in which the claimant was successful he was awarded between £1 and £100, £101 and £200, £201 and £500, £501 and £1,000, £1,001 and £2,000, £2,001 and £3,000, £3,001 and £4,000, £4,001 and £5,200 in each of the six-month periods since the commencement of the right to claim compensation for unfair dismissal.
The latest figures available on the outcomes of tribunal hearings of complaints of unfair dismissal relate to the period from 28th February 1972 to 27th December 1974. These figures are analysed in the following tables. No information is readily available on the extent of compliance with recommendations of reinstatement or re-engagement.See Tables on columns
193 to 196.
|OUTCOMES OF TRIBUNAL HEARINGS OF COMPLAINTS OF UNFAIR DISMISSAL|
|Recommendations of re-engagement†||13||1·4||14||1·7||27||1·5||46||2·2||45||2·4||91||2·3||30||1·7||29||1·8||59||1·7|
|Awards of compensation||234||24·8||240||28·6||474||26·6||552||26·8||458||24·1||1,010||25·5||498||27·9||474||29·6||972||28·7|
|Redundancy payment awards||49||5·2||47||5·6||96||5·4||177||8·6||151||7·9||328||8·3||154||8·6||117||7·3||272||8·0|
|Other successful cases‡||9||1·0||11||1·3||20||1·1||26||1·3||22||1·2||48||1·2||20||1·1||33||2·1||53||1·6|
* Statistics were not kept on a six-monthly basis in 1972.
|† Separate figures for recommendations of reinstatement were not kept until the last quarter of 1974. There were 3 recommendations of reinstatement in tha quarter.|
|‡ Findings of unfair dismissal or unfair dismissal with another remedy apart from those listed in the table.|
|The numbers and percentages of outcomes given for each category of outcome total more than the numbers and percentages given for "Total Hearing" due to a small element of double counting where the complainant received more than one remedy.|
|The figures do not include 31 cases completed in 1973 for which there is no record of the outcome, so that it is not known whether the cases were resolved during conciliation or at a tribunal hearing.|
|AMOUNTS OF TRIBUNAL AWARDS OF COMPENSATION*|
Compensation Size Bands†
|Less than £100||…||84||35·9||65||27·1||149||31·4||141||25·5||129||28·2||270||26·7||111||22·3||113||23·8||224||23·0|
* These figures do not include cases where a redundancy payment was awarded.
|† Size bands of compensation differ by £1 in each case from those stated in question due to method of collection of statistics. Amounts of compensation have been rounded up or down to the nearest £.|
|‡ Statistics were not kept on a six-monthly basis in 1972.|
|OUTCOMES OF COMPLAINTS OF UNFAIR DISMISSAL RESOLVED DURING CONCILIATION|
|Cases completed in conciliation||1,628||100·0||1,406||100·0||3,034||100·0||2,391||100·0||2,177||100·0||4,568||100·0||2,688||100·0||2,988||100·0||5,676||100·0||13,278|
|Withdrawals (no remedy)||884||54·3||751||53·4||1,635||53·9||1,245||52·1||1,153||53·0||2,398||52·5||1,365||50·8||1,300||43·5||2,665||47·0||6,698||50·4|
* Statistics for 1972 are not available on a six-monthly basis.
|† No separate statistics for re-instatement were kept until the last quartet of 1974.|
|‡ This category was introduced into the computer statistics in the last quarter of 1974 to take account of cases where there was no re-engagement, compensation or redundancy payment, but where there was some other remedy.|
|The percentages given may total more than 100 per cent due to a small element of double counting where claimants received more than one remedy.|
|In 1973, there were 31 completed cases for which the outcome was not recorded in the computer statistics. These cases are not included in Table I because it is not known whether they were resolved during conciliation.|
|AMOUNTS OF COMPENSATION AGREED IN CONCILIATED SETTLEMENTS|
Compensation Size Bands†
|Less than £100||…||324||56·5||272||47·6||596||52·1||482||47·4||402||43·7||884||45·7||518||44·8||671||43·7||1,189||44·2|
* Statistics for 1972 were not kept on a six-monthly basis.
|† The size bands differ from those stated in the question by £1 because of the basis on which the statistics have been collected. Amounts of compensation have been rounded up or down to the nearest £.|
|This analysis does not include redundancy payments.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of people unemployed in the Thanet area at 31st May 1975; what percentage this is of the total work force; and what E re the comparable figures for this period last year.
At 12th May, 2,123 people were unemployed in the area covered by the Margate, Ramsgate and Sandwich Employment Offices and the rate of unemployment was 4·7 per cent. The corresponding figures for 13th May 1974 were 1,446 and 3·2 per cent. respectively. Rates of unemployment are calculated by expressing the numbers unemployed as a percentage of the estimated total number of employees, including the unemployed.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how much money has been paid to those declared redundant under the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 in each of the last five years.
The following information relates to employees in respect of whom payments were made from the Redundancy Fund during the last five years:
|1975 (Jan.-March inc.)||33,116,000|
Advisory, Conciliation And Arbitration Service
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many cases have been dealt with by the Conciliation and Arbitration Service since its inception; and how many of these were settled without an industrial stoppage.
I have been informed by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service that from its inception on 1st September 1974 to 31st May 1975 it has dealt with 1,732 requests for conciliation and arranged arbitration in 205 cases. I am advised that it is not prac- ticable at this stage to identity which of these cases were settled without stoppage of work.
Regional Employment Premium
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how much additional money has been left with business firms since the doubling of the regional employment premium in the March Budget last year.
The doubling of regional employment premium from 5th August 1974 was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 22nd July 1974. The overall amount of REP paid from 1st August 1974 to 31st March 1975 was £120·5 million. This total includes claims for periods prior to 5th August 1974 as REP is paid on a quarterly basis in arrear and employers may choose to claim for it at any time thereafter. Separate records of amounts paid at the doubled rates are not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied that his Department's retraining effort sufficiently takes into account the attitudes of redundant men to retraining; and if he will make a statement.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that workers declared redundant are wherever possible interviewed before discharge and facilities for training as well as employment opportunities are discussed. The range of courses provided under the Training Opportunities Scheme at skillcentres, colleges of further education and in employers' establishments is now about 600 and is flexible enough to meet most needs. Every effort will be made to meet individual requirements in a redundancy situation. With the co-operation of employers, redundant workers can be accepted for training while still employed.
Manpower Services Commission
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of resource requirements, over and above those announced, which will be needed fully to transform the MSC into a body able to execute a comprehensive manpower policy.
I am still discussing with the commission the implications of the decision to expand its rôle in manpower policy. The commission has now appointed a Director of Manpower Intelligence and Planning who will be examining the question of what further resources the MSC may need for this purpose.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he proposes to ask the Manpower Services Commission to formulate a work creation programme.
The commission is already undertaking detailed contingency planning for a work creation programme at its own initiative, with the knowledge of the Government but at this stage without Government commitment.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he proposes to change the line of demarcation between his Department and the MSC in the areas of providing advice on regional economic and industrial development matters.
There is no rigid line of demarcation between my Department and the Manpower Services Commission on the provision of advice on regional economic and industrial development matters. We are at present discussing with the commission ways in which it can be fully involved in the development of manpower policy and in advice on the manpower aspects of wider policies.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action is taken by job centres to ensure that jobs in wages council industries which the job centres advertise are not at rates below wages council minima.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that current instructions to all employment offices—which term includes job centres—stipulate that where a vacancy, in an industry in which a wages council operates, is notified the Wages Inspectorate is to be consulted if the wage offered is thought to be below the minimum required by wage regulation order.To enable staff to identify any such vacancies all employment offices are
furnished with copies of the Department of Employment publication "Time Rates of Wages and Hours of Work" which quotes wage rates determined by wage regulation order. This document is published annually and changes in wage rates are notified in the Department of Employment
Gazette, published monthly, which is also furnished to all employment offices.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if the Government's policy on industrial democracy will follow that outlined in paragraph 49 of Command Paper No. 3888 of January 1969.
The Government are committed to a far-reaching extension of industrial democracy, which naturally will go further than the experimentation outlined in paragraph 49 of Cmnd. Paper No. 3888.
Employees (Public Duties)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has for requiring employers to allow their employees time off for public duties; and whether he intends to undertake further considerations on the subject.
Clause 53 of the Employment Protection Bill would require employers to allow their employees reasonable time off to serve as justices of the peace, and as members of local authorities, statutory tribunals, regional and area health authorities, managing and governing bodies of educational establishments and water authorities. There would be power to modify the list by order. The amount of time off to be allowed is that which is reasonable in all the circumstances having regard in particular to the time required for the performance of the public duty, the time off allowed to the employee for other purposes, the circumstances of the employer's business and the effect of the employee's absence on the running of that business.The intention is to confine the right to time off under the Bill to employees serving as justices of the peace, or as members of the principal statutory bodies, which are primarily local in character, which deal with matters affecting the community as a whole and for which specialist knowledge or qualifications are not required. Many employers already allow their employees time off for other public duties and the Bill's provisions will not, of course, interfere with this.The Government's broad intentions were made clear in the consultative document on the Employment Protection Bill which was published last year. Now that detailed proposals have been published and are before Parliament, my right hon. Friend is prepared to consider any representations which may be made by interested organisations either about the list of bodies and offices to be covered—bearing in mind the considerations referred to above—or about the criteria for determining what is reasonable time off.
Power Sharing (Local Government)
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to what extent there is power sharing on local authorities.
Paragraph 7 of Schedule 2 to the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 provides that all acts of a district council and all questions coming or arising before a council shall be done and decided by a majority of the councillors present and voting thereon at a meeting of the council. At least 12 separate political parties are represented amongst the membership of the 26 district councils and there is a sizeable number of non-party and independent members. In those councils in which the representation of the major parties is fairly equally divided the tendency is to share offices and appointments to committees and other public bodies, but the pattern is not quite the same in every council.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what date and by what method the capital grant paid by him on MV "Springbok", renamed "Regina Coeli", was repaid to his Department by the first owners following disposal within three years of launching.
The capital grant was not repaid. The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture has now taken possession of the vessel.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the security forces in Northern Ireland have done to combat the problem of sectarian assassinations.
Sectarian assassination is a much abused term in Northern Ireland. It should be restricted to cases where there is knowledge—not just suspicion—that a member of one community is killed by a member of the other community for purely sectarian reasons."Inter factional" is the term applied to murders within one or other community for reasons connected with the security situation. In practice this means that until a case has been cleared it is impossible to be certain whether the murder was carried out by a member of the other community. A murder which may appear to be sectarian could turn out in fact to be a "disciplinary" killing. Again, the motive of the murder may have been basically criminal—for example, to pay off old debts under the cloak of sectarian strife. Identification of killings falling within the category of "sectarian murder" must, therefore, always be tentative until police investigations are completed and charges made.Furthermore, sectarian murders are connected with all the other security problems in Northern Ireland and it is difficult to relate the security forces' successes solely to the problems of sectarian violence. For example, a man arrested for possessing illegal firearms may be a potential or past sectarian killer or may be intending to act against the security forces.The first set of figures itemised below deals with identified sectarian murders. Forty-five cases of sectarian murders since 1st January 1972 have led to charges being made; 35 out of the 45 have been dealt with so far. As a consequence:
Further evidence of recent successes of the security forces is provided by the statistics of charges for terrorist type offences other than murder. During the period 1st January to 9th June 1975, 52 attempted murder charges, 199 firearms charges, 35 explosive charges, 131 theft charges and 45 other security type charges were made. During this period, 150 "travelling gunmen", i.e., people carrying illegal weapons, have been apprehended. To deal with these activities both the Army and RUC have increased their forces in the relevant areas, their patrolling along sectarian interfaces and the checking of individuals and cars, and the RUC have redeployed more detectives to Dungannon and Belfast.
All these figures show a creditable performance given the immense volume of other crimes. It is particularly creditable in that it represents charges to be brought before the courts—not interim custody orders issued under the Emergency Provisions Act. The performance would be even better if more people would come forward and support the police with more information. More public support will mean more charges and convictions. Successful convictions before the courts is the best way to stamp out these murders and punish those who have committed them.
Mortgages (Residential Property)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to lift the present restriction of £13,000 for mortgages on residential property.
The case for an increase in the limit above which building societies must treat mortgages as special advances is under consideration at the moment, and I hope to be able to make an early announcement.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he made about the effects of the higher rate of VAT on the horticulture industry when he was considering its introduction.
For the general effects of the Budget which will fall in part on the horticulture industry, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General to the hon. Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers) on 25th April.—[Vol. 890, c. 405–6.] The direct effects of the higher rate of VAT on the industry should be negligible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost for this financial year and next to the horticulture industry of applying the righer rate of VAT to horticultural appliances using electricity and internal combustion engines.
No estimate is available but the amount involved should be small. VAT on purchases by a taxable person for the purpose of his business is, of course, deductible as input tax subject to the normal rules.
Prices And Consumer Protection
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what steps she is taking in the interests of consumer protection to prevent the practice of repricing existing stocks on shelves.
I amended the Price Code last year to deal with this, and any complaints should be referred to the Price Commission, which will investigate them.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make publicity available to all applicants for family passports clarifying the limitations on their use.
The "Notes for Guidance" which accompany each passport application form state that a wife or husband included in a family pasport cannot use the passport without the spouse to whom it was issued. A similar note appears inside the back cover of the passport itself.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the discussions between the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Turkish Foreign Minister on Friday 23rd May in regard to the conditions of British citizens living in Cyprus.
The Turkish Foreign Minister's response was encouraging. He promised to give the matter serious consideration tempered with "a sense of justice". The Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary had a further useful exchange with the Turkish Prime Minister in Brussels. We have reason to hope that some real progress will be made soon.
Post Office (Mechanised Letter Sorting)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry when the mechanised sorting of letters was first introduced; how many mechanical sorting machines have been purchased; how many are in use; what percentage of letter is currently being mechanically sorted; how this figure compares with the original mechanisation proposals; what was the cost of the machines purchased and not yet used; what orders are at present outstanding for further machines; when it was originally proposed to complete the mechanisation programme; and when it is now hoped to do so.
Detailed answers to these questions must be a matter for the Post Office, and I am drawing the chairman's attention to the hon. Member's question. Various types of mechanised letter-sorting equipment have been used for many years, and the current plan is to bring the code-sort system of mechanization into use nationally during the next eight years.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry why the purchase price of £16 million paid by the Government for the Court Line companies was £1·2 million more than their net asset value.
Net asset value was only one of the factors considered in determining the purchase price. Account was also taken of the past trading record and future prospects of the companies and the immediate risk to 9,000 jobs, all in assisted areas.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what were the numbers of people employed in manufacturing, in its broadest definition, in 1950, 1960, 1970, and 1974; what estimates he has made for 1980 and 1990; and what proportion these figures represent of the total working population.
I have been asked to reply.The numbers employed in the manufacturing industries in Great Britain, and the percentages these estimates represent of the total working population, are available on a comparable basis for the years 1960, 1970 and 1974. Estimates refer to mid-year.
|Year||Numbers employed (thousands)||Previous column expressed as a percentage of the total working population|
Gazette for May of this year, suggest that, on certain assumptions, including an unemployment rate of 2 per cent. for 1981, the numbers employed in manufacturing industries might be around 7,650,000, which represents some 29½ per cent. of
the total working population expected in 1981.
Child Patients' Pocket Money
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements are made for the payment of pocket money to children in hospital for whom provision is not made by their parents; what is the average weekly sum paid; and if she will make a statement.
If a child in a psychiatric hospital does not receive an adequate allowance from his parents hospital authorities should provide an appropriate amount of pocket money. No formal arrangements are made in the case of children in non-psychiatric hospitals who do not receive pocket money from their parents, but I understand that help is often available for such children from voluntary sources.No information is available centrally on the average weekly amounts paid to children in hospital.
Hospital Staffs (West Midlands)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will conduct an official inquiry into the staffing of hospitals in the West Midlands with a high proportion of medical staff who are not proficient in English and who have received training outside the United Kingdom to standards which are not equal to those applying in Great Britain and the effect this problem is having on medical services; and if she will make a statement on the measures she is currently
|Cirrhosis of liver, alcoholic*||…||176||167||190||204||331|
|Toxic effect of alcohol†||…||26||41||61||48||58|
|* Great Britain only.|
|† England and Wales only.|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many minors were sterilised on social grounds
taking to improve the supply of adequately trained and fully proficient doctors both for the hospital and general practitioner services in the West Midlands.
No. I already have the necessary information on the medical staffing position in the West Midlands, and elsewhere. The registration of doctors for practice in this country is the statutory responsibility of the General Medical Council. The council is introducing tests later this month of clinical and language proficiency for overseas doctors seeking temporary registration. Additionally, overseas-trained doctors are normally required to complete a period of supervised attachment before employment in National Health Service hospitals. The Merrison Report acknowledged the contribution made by such doctors and made recommendations about future conditions for them to practise in this country, which are under consideration by the council, the profession and the Government. I am concerned both to reduce the country's over-dependence on overseas doctors by expanding the medical schools and to reduce disparities between regions.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish a table giving the number of alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom for the last five years, respectively.
Figures of all deaths to which alcohol has contributed are not available nor are figures for 1974. The number of deaths specifically attributed to consumption of alcohol by the individual were as follows:in the last year for which figures are available.
No figures are readily available. I will write to my hon. Friend when the information has been obtained.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidelines are laid down in respect of the sterilisation of minors; and if operations on social grounds are allowed for.
As sterilisation cannot be carried out with any guarantee of reversibility and is, therefore, normally regarded as suitable only for men or women who have completed their families, extra care should be taken when considering the operation for someone who is younger. When this involves a minor it raises serious moral and ethical issues.Guidelines, which include advice, on both vasectomy and female sterilisation were included in the Family Planning Service Memorandum of Guidance issued in May 1974 by my Department to health and local authorities. This set out details of the arrangements for the provision of the family planning service under Section 4 of the NHS Reorganisation. Act 1973. A copy of the memorandum was placed in the Library. The booklet "Consent to Treatment" issued by the Medical Defence Union advises that in the rare case in which sterilisation of a minor is under consideration the surgeon would be well advised to consult his defence organisation before carrying out the operation. Each proposed operation on whatever grounds is considered very carefully before any advice is given.I have already indicated in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 24th April—[Vol. 890, c.
369.]—that these delicate issues are best decided after discussions with all those most closely concerned with any individual case, and I think it is always wise for at least two consultants to agree together before undertaking any sterilisation of a minor.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will list the circumstances in which the parent of a child is entitled to the tax allowance but is not entitled to family allowance.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 22nd May 1975; Vol. 892, c. 587], gave the following information:
The income tax child allowance is given to a parent broadly in respect of a child, including a stepchild and an adopted child, under the age of 16, and above that age if the child is receiving full-time instruction at a university, college, school or other educational establishment, or undergoing training for a trade, profession or vocation for at least two years. The allowance may also be claimed by someone, other than the parent, who has the custody of a child whom he or she maintains at his or her own expense. The child allowance is reduced £1 for £1 if the child's income exceeds £115 per annum.
It is given for an income tax year of assessment, whereas family allowances are weekly benefits and depend on the child's circumstances week by week. The child allowance, unlike family allowances, may be apportioned between claimants where, for example, the parents of a child are divorced or separated and each claims the allowance.
Family allowances are payable for families with two or more children, in respect of each child after the first. The children must be under school leaving age, but may count up to age 19 if in full-time education or apprentices with net earnings not exceeding £2 a week. A parent has overriding title in respect of a child living with him, or living elsewhere provided he is contributing not less than a prescribed amount towards the child's upkeep. Special provisions apply where the parents are permanently separated. Where no parent has title, family allowances may be paid to another person provided he is contributing not less than a prescribed amount towards the child's support and more than anyone else.
The most common circumstances in which income tax child allowances may be claimed but there may be no title to family allowances are: