Written Answers To Questions
Friday 13th June 1975
asked the Prime Minister whether he proposes to meet Church leaders in view of the recent representations made to him about the effect of Government legislation on the future of Church lands.
I held a meeting with a deputation of Church leaders on 23rd April. I told them that the Government would consider what could be done within the principles of the Government's legislation to meet their representations.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken to improve flight safety within the United Kingdom low-flying system as a result of the fatal collision which occurred last August between a RAF Phantom aircraft and a Piper Pawnee aircraft engaged in crop spraying.
It is a testimony to the effectiveness of the existing safety procedures and the skill of the aircrew that this was the first ever collision between a military and a civil aircraft within the low-flying system. Nevertheless, I considered it necessary, without seeking to prejudge the findings of the accident investigation, to institute a general review of the arrangements governing this type of flying, and as a result we are now introducing certain new measures.The main essential is to improve liaison with civil pilots who need to fly at low level. We are, therefore, initiating a new procedure under which civil pilots intending to operate at heights of 500 ft. or less above ground level will be invited to give advance notification to the military air traffic control authorities, including those at nominated RAF stations. This information will then be included in the pre-flight briefing of military pilots which already covers other types of potential hazard. Details of the procedures are being promulgated by means of a notice to airmen. The new procedure will be brought into effect on 17th July and will be subject to review after a trial period of 12 months.As it will be a voluntary system its success will naturally depend on the willing co-operation of civil operators. At the same time RAF flying stations will be liaising with civil operators and flying clubs in the general neighbourhood in order to explain the new arrangements and, where possible, warn them of any unusual military activity such as special exercises.As a further measure I have decided that in future no low-level training will be undertaken at weekends unless there is advance notification to the contrary through the medium of a notice to airmen. This will give civil pilots a positive assurance of clear airspace for a specified period. It will also be of benefit to the general public, though I should stress that it will not apply to training which is undertaken in the immediate vicinity of some airfields.Finally, we are considering the feasibility of making military aircraft more conspicuous. One of the basic problems here is that the aircraft must retain their camouflage for operational reasons, but we are urgently examining the possibility of fitting an improved type of light. In addition, there will be consultation with the representatives of civil aviation interests to see whether any measures of this kind would be possible in the case of civil aircraft.Given the co-operation of the civil users I believe that these measures will make a significant contribution to flight safety, though we must continue to keep the situation under review.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give figures for the attendance of the Royal Tournament for each of the last five years.
Attendance figures of the Royal Tournament for each of the last five years were: 1974–232,365, 1973–214,203, 1972–257,633, 1971–223,379; 1970–264,425.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many serving soldiers in the British Army are serving in their capacity as bandsmen; and if he will list the musical instruments they play.
The total established strength of the 78 bands in the Regular Army is 23 officers and 2,794 soldiers. These figures include one officer and 41 members of the WRAC Band, and one officer and 59 Gurkha soldiers in the Staff Band of the Brigade of Gurkhas. The main instruments played are as follows: flute and piccolo; E flat clarinet; oboe; B flat clarinet; E flat alto saxophone; B flat tenor saxophone; bassoon; horn; B flat cornet; tenor trombone; bass trombone; euphonium; bass; percussion.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to implement the recommendations of the Sainsbury Report on the Drug Industry.
The Sainsbury Report was published in 1967 and action on some of its recommendations was taken shortly after publication. In relation to those recommendations which referred to prices and profits in the industry a revised voluntary price regulation scheme based on annual financial returns was renegotiated in 1969. Discussions on many of these matters are now taking place in the industry as set out in my reply to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abertillery (Mr. Thomas) on 21st November 1974—[Vol. 881, c. 518.]—and reflect the Government's wish to make a substantial cut in the current cost of sales promotion. Those matters which related to patents were referred to the Banks Committee; the Government's proposals arising from that committee's report have recently been published (Cmnd. 6000) and are also being discussed with the industry.Those recommendations which dealt with the licensing of medicines are covered by the provisions of the Medicines Act 1968 which came into operation in 1971 in relation to products marketed after 1st
September 1971. The committee also recommended that the full licensing procedure should be applied to existing products, and I recently announced, in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould) on 14th May—[Vol. 892, c.
116–7.]—the initiation of a programme to review all existing medicinal products by reference to the criteria of safety, quality and efficacy.
The committee's recommendations about the content of advertising have in part been implemented by the enactment of the Medicines Act and in particular by the introduction of the system of data sheets. As I also announced in my reply to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Abertillery on 21st November 1974 the commission was asked to report on the question of the control of the content of advertising and of information to doctors; the matters considered by the commission include a number of topics dealt with in the Sainsbury Committee's Report. In the light of the commission's advice I have put a series of detailed proposals to the industry which are currently being discussed.
Hearing Impairment (Advisory Committees)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what matters she has referred to the two new advisory committees on hearing impairment.
In the case of the Advisory Committee on Services, gaps in the existing health and personal social services, including, in particular, rehabilitation of the adult hearing impaired, the organisation and staffing structure required for an audiological service, including the place of the graduate scientist, the future priority groups for the behind-the-ear hearing aid and the needs of hearing impaired children.In the case of the Advisory Committee on Audiological Equipment, equipment for audiology units at district general hospitals, environmental aids, monitoring of equipment research and development projects sponsored by the Department, reports of defects and hazards in audiological equipment, monitoring of progress of the issue of behind-the-ear hearing aids, editing of the Medical Research Council's electro-acoustic committee report and the standards for speech audiometry equipment.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many fitters are available to the National Health Service in Scotland, England and Wales to service orthopaedic aids to the handicapped children and adults in each country; and if she will make a statement on the rôle that fitters play in the National Health Service.
There are approximately 1,600,70 and 30 surgical appliance fitters available to the National Health Service in England, Scotland and Wales respectively. Some of the fitters based in England undertake work in Scotland and Wales. The great majority of fitters are employed by firms under contract to my Department. Their rôle is primarily to fit a wide range of surgical appliances, including orthopaedic aids, under medical supervision.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will examine the present position of trained technicians on orthotics in this country; and if she will make a statement.
The majority of orthopaedic technicians are employed by firms under contract to my Department to supply surgical appliances to the National Health Service. The recruitment and training of these employees is arranged by the individual firms.
Community Health Councils
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why her Department's paper DS 85/75 has not been made available to community health councils; and what other consultative documents have not been sent to community health councils.
DS 85/75 was sent to health authorities on 7th March 1975 and subsequently sent to community health councils. It was not a consultative document but dealt with the planning tasks for 1975–76 and foreshadowed the issue of a draft guide to planning in the NHS. The guide was sent to health authorities on a consultative and trial basis under cover of Circular HSC(IS) 126 which also went to community health councils. My Department issues a large number of circulars and consultative documents. All health service circulars go to community health councils and, in general, councils would also receive or be able to obtain from their area health authorities any consultative document of concern to them.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what vacancies at present exist on the North-West Surrey Community Health Council; how long they have existed; and why they have not been filled.
I understand that two vacancies were created by resignations of members nominated by voluntary organisations in July 1974 and Januury 1975. The regional health authority is pursuing the filling of these vacancies from appropriate organisations, with the help of the community health council.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she has received a copy of the O'Dowd Report regarding the prescription, supply and manufacture of orthopaedic appliances for the National Health Service; if she will comment on the findings of this report; and if she will make a statement.
I have received a copy of the report and it is being studied in my Department. I will write fully to my hon. Friend when I have reached a view on the report.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what developments have now taken place regarding the research on the swivel-walker which is being undertaken at Salford; and if she will make a full statement on the present position;(2) if she will indicate the production arrangements for the swivel-walker which has been developed at Salford; and if she will make a statement.
The development of swivel-walkers is part of a programme of research into appliances to help people with complex neuro-muscular disorders. The progress of this important project is discussed with the research team from time to time. Following the most recent meeting I am glad to inform my hon. Friend that it has been decided to continue financial support for a further three years from 1st October 1975. One design of swivel-walker has been in production for about two years; we are now preparing production drawings and specifications for a more advanced version of the aid.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why in the tax return guide, in order to qualify for an allowance for a housekeeper, the housekeeper must be a female person resident.
The housekeeper allowance was originally intended to meet the situation where a resident housekeeper was present in the home to care for children who had no mother to look after them, but was later extended to widows and widowers without children. In cases where there are children the allowance has effectively been replaced by the larger additional personal allowance, which does not depend on the presence of a resident housekeeper. The housekeeper allowance nowadays remains as something of an anomaly, and I do not think any extension of it would be justified.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) why it is necessary for an incapable or disabled person, in order to have an allowance for a housekeeper, to be a widower or widow;(2) if he will introduce a housekeeper allowance for incapable or disabled persons who are not widows or widowers.
The housekeeper allowance was never intended to be an allowance for disabled people as such and I do not consider that tax relief is the right way to meet their particular requirements. In our view the better alternative is to provide help through the social security system by measures such as the improvement we have made in the attendance allowance, the new non-contributory invalidity pension, the invalid care allowance and our proposed new mobility allowance.
Investment Income Surcharge
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people over 65 and how many over 70 years of age are called upon to pay the investment surcharge but are not able to draw national insurance retirement pension; and whether he will make a statement.
The estimated number of taxpayers over 65 who are expected to be liable to investment income surcharge for 1975–76 is about 270,000. I regret that it is not possible to distinguish which of these are not able to draw national insurance retirement pension nor how many are over 70 years of age.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will exempt from the increased rate of VAT of 25 per cent. life-saving craft provided for use by the Order of St. John, the Royal Life Saving Society, and the Peter Fry Rescue Trust.
Apart from certain life rafts and lifeboats which are excluded from the scope of the 25 per cent. rate it would, in general, be impracticable to identify for the purposes of VAT boats used solely as life-saving craft.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families claim the child tax allowances in respect of children overseas.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many taxpayers are entitled to the child allowance in respect of children over 19 years of age who are receiving full-time instruction at a university, college or school.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each month since January 1972 the then current rate of inflation based on the same basis as his computation of 8.4 per cent. in October 1974 and include in the table the precise number of weeks on which the calculation is based.
Following is the information:
|Three-month increase in the RPI at an annual rate||Number of weeks on which the calculation is based|
Save As You Earn
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why a banker's order of a London clearing bank is no longer an acceptable standing order instruction in respect of the Save As You Earn savings contract (series 3).
Arrangements which have been made for the payment of contributions in respect of Save As You Earn (Third Issue) contracts, which will be introduced on 1st July, are exactly the same as for current (Second Issue) contracts and include bankers' orders of the London clearing banks.
Blind Persons' Books
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will, in line with the special concessions which exist for printed books and for talking books for the blind, extend at the earliest opportunity Section 4 of the Finance Act 1972 to include single voice readings of books on magnetic tape, bearing in mind that this method of producing a book was not being used when the Act was passed.
I have noted the hon. Member's suggestion.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his present estimate of the annual invisible export earnings of the London-based commodity markets.
The invisible earnings of the United Kingdom commodity markets are estimated in very round terms at £100 million per annum on the basis of figures provided by a large number of commodity traders for the year to May 1975; a firmer estimate will be available later this year. This figure reflects transactions on futures markets in London and abroad as well as the very substantial physical merchanting of commodities carried out through London, and represents the estimated net benefits under these headings to the United Kingdom balance of payments, excluding United Kingdom companies' expenditure abroad on representation, travel, research, etc., as well as their expenses in this country.
International Monetary Fund
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the meeting of the IMF in Paris.
The meeting of the Interim Committee of the International Monetary Fund in Paris on 10th-11th June was held with the aim of settling certain questions relating to the structure and Articles of the IMF which had been left unresolved at the previous meeting of the committee in January in Washington. The main questions were gold, exchange rate arrangements, and increases in IMF quotas.It proved impossible to reach agreement and, although progress was undoubtedly made in narrowing some of the differences of view between particular countries which have prevented agreement, it is disappointing that the few further steps which could have secured that agreement were not achieved.Arrangements have been made for further exploration of the areas of dispute, and the committee will meet again on the occasion of the Annual IMF/IBRD meeting at the end of August. I remain confident that the desired result will be achieved. It is a pity that the timetable must now be slower than had been hoped.The text of the Communiqué published at the end of the meeting is reproduced below.
Press Communiqué of the Interim Committee of the Board of Governors on the International Monetary System.
The Committee was of the view that the Executive Directors should be asked to study the question of gold further in order that a final agreement can be reached on the basis of these principles.
The Executive Directors should study the establishment of a Gold Substitution Account through which members would be able to exchange a part of or all of their gold holdings for SDRs issued by the Fund for this purpose.
5. The Committee also discussed the exchange arrangements that members of the Fund should observe. There was widespread agreement that members should have a basic obligation to collaborate with the Fund and with other members in order to promote exchange stability, to maintain orderly exchange arrangements, and to pursue exchange policies that contribute to adjustment, and that the Fund should adopt policies in order to enable members to act consistently with their basic obligations whatever their exchange arrangements might be. The Committee reiterated its agreement that provision should be made for stable but adjustable par values and the floating of currencies in particular situations, subject to appropriate rules and surveillance of the Fund, in accordance with the Outline of Reform.
6. The Committee endorsed the principle of the improvement of the Special Drawing Account and the General Account and agreed that the Executive Directors should be asked to find agreed solutions on the few remaining issues. The Committee attached particular importance to the inclusion of effective provisions in the amended Articles under which the Fund's holdings of the currencies of all members would be usable, in accordance with appropriate economic criteria, in its standard operations and transactions. It was agreed that the Executive Directors should study a power to invest a part of the Fund's assets equal to its reserves for the purpose of raising income that would enable it to meet any administrative or operational deficits, and to report on this subject as soon as possible.
7. ( a) It was agreed that a Council should come into being when a decision is taken by the Fund for that purpose under an appropriate amendment. The Council would strengthen the Fund by providing it with an organ composed in the same manner as the Committee of Twenty and the Interim Committee but with authority not only to exercise advisory functions, but also to take decisions under specific powers. The Committee shares the view of the Executive Directors that, except for a few powers of a political or structural character that should be reserved to the Board of Governors, all powers of the Board of Governors should be delegable in principle to the Council, to the Executive Directors, or to both concurrently, by decisions of the Board of Governors.
( b) On the question of the majorities for the adoption of decisions of the Fund on important matters, it was agreed that an eighty-five percent majority should be required under the amended Articles for those decisions that can be taken now by an eighty percent majority.
( c) The Committee noted with approval the draft of an amendment by which amendments to the Articles would become effective when accepted by three-fifths of the members having
eighty-five per cent., instead of eighty per cent. as at present, of the total voting power.
8. The Committee considered various proposals to assist members in dealing with problems arising from sharp fluctuations in the prices of primary products. In this connection, the Committee requested the Executive Directors to consider appropriate modifications of the Fund's facilities on the compensatory financing of export fluctuations and on assistance to members in connection with their contributions to international buffer stocks. It was agreed that, after amendment, a member using the Fund's buffer stock facility would be able to retain any portion of its reserves held in the form of a reserve position in the Fund; this provision now applies to drawings under the Fund's compensatory financing facility.
9. The Committee considered the Report of the Executive Directors on the progress made toward implementation of the understandings reached in the Committee last January with regard to increases in the quotas of members as a result of the Sixth General Review of Quotas. The Committee noted with satisfaction that progress had been made in reaching agreement on quota increases to be proposed for individual countries. The Committee agreed that for the quota increases proposed as a result of this review, and subject to the amendment of the Articles, members should be given an option to pay 25 per cent. of the increase in quota (which in the past members have had to pay in gold) in special drawing rights (SDRs), the currencies of certain other members, subject to their concurrence, or in the paying member's own currency. The question of payment in gold by agreement with the Fund would be settled as part of the provisions on gold. The balance of the increase in subscription would be paid, as in the past, in the paying member's own currency. The Committee also recommended that there should be no obligation for a member to repurchase the amount of its own currency paid in excess of 75 per cent. of the increase in its quota. The Executive Directors have been asked to prepare and submit as promtly as possible to the Board of Governors, for consideration at its Annual Meeting in September 1975, a Resolution that will include proposed increases in the quotas of individual members and provisions on the payment of corresponding subscriptions on the basis of the understandings reached by the Committee.
10. The Committee agreed to meet again in Washington, D.C., immediately before the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors. The Committee agreed to meet in Jamaica in January and expressed its gratitude to the Jamaican authorities for the invitation.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the percentage change in world prices for beef, butter, cheese and lamb over the past 10 years; what has been the change in EEC common agricultural policy prices for the same commodities over the same period; and if he will express the percentage changes in real terms.
Ten years ago there were no EEC common support prices for the products in question. There are also problems about determining world prices. In the case of butter, cheese and lamb the following table is based on the cost to the United Kingdom of imports from New Zealand, taking account for butter and cheese of the operation of EEC monetary adjustments.
|Movements in "world" prices||Percentage Change 1965 to 1974|
|Australian light bullocks, Brisbane||+25|
|USA choice steers, Chicago/Omaha||+62|
|Butter—United Kingdom imports from New Zealand||+27|
|Cheese—United Kingdom imports from New Zealand||+42|
|Lamb—United Kingdom imports from New Zealand||+121|
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, since the lifting of the ban on the export of live food animals, he has had representations concerning the conditions under which such animals are slaughtered at certain abattoirs in France, particulars of which have been sent to him; whether steps have been taken to investigate such representations; and whether he is now satisfied generally that all exported live food animals are transported and slaughtered in humane fashion.
I have received many representations based on secondhand and generalised reports and allegations of ill-treatment of animals in foreign abattoirs. The allegations are mainly repetitions of those fully investigated by the O'Brien Committee and found to be not entirely accurate. Only one report, received on 11th June, concerns the period since United Kingdom exports were resumed and I am having it examined. In general I am satisfied that exported food animals are now transported and slaughtered humanely.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he now has for the establishment of a system of routes for heavy lorries; and when he hopes that such proposals can be operated.
I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate) on 7th May 1975.—[Vol. 891, c. 444.]
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he hopes local authorities will conclude the preparation of structural plans; and what action he then proposes to take.
All structure plans should be submitted by 1st April 1978. County planning authorities have been advised to concentrate on those issues which are of key structural importance to the area concerned and their inter-relationships. It is the intention that the Secretary of State's decision on a structure plan shall be given as soon as possible after submission, though the necessary statutory procedures, including the examination in public of selected matters from the plan, require at least a year to complete.
Water And Sewerage Charges
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the fact that owners of commercial premises without drainage and without main water supplies are called upon to pay water and sewerage rates in full, he will consider measures to provide relief for them.
There are appeal proceedings on the recent High Court ruling that the Water Act 1973 does not permit charges for sewerage and sewage disposal to be levied on properties not connected to mains drainage, so I cannot comment on this aspect. I am not aware of water charges being levied on properties without a mains supply.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many accidents, fatal and non-fatal, involving passengers have occurred on British Rail since 1955.
|Year||Significant Collisions and Derailments involving Passenger Trains||Passengers Killed||Passengers Injured|
Petrol (Lead Content)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now take steps to reduce the lead content in petrol; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy informed the House on 9th December that the medical and economic factors affecting the possible need for reductions in the lead content of petrol were to be reviewed. We hope to be able to announce the conclusions of this review before the Summer Recess.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to implement the intended £65 million reduction in housing subsidies by reducing the amount of assessed relevant expenditure for the purposes of rate support grant by an equivalent figure, so as to bring about an equivalent reduction in rate fund contributions; and how he proposes to ensure that local authori-
The number of significant accidents involving passenger trains on British Railways is listed below for each year from 1955 to 1974, together with the number of passengers killed and injured in train accidents. Significant accidents are those of a kind likely to cause casualties, but which did not necessarily do so. Figures for 1974 are provisional.ties will increase council rents to meet this reduction in RSG, rather than increasing rate calls or drawing on balances.
Of the £65 million reduction in housing subsidies £53 million relates to local authority housing in England and Wales. It is intended that the whole of this £53 million should be a reduction in forecast rate fund contributions. My right hon. Friend will be discussing how this is to be achieved, and the implications for rents in 1976–77, with the local authorities. A circular of guidance will be issued in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to take any legislative or administrative steps to require alterations in the types of expenditure charged by local authorities to their housing revenue accounts, along the lines recommended by the 1969 report of the working party on housing revenue accounts.
The working party's recommendations were many and varied and some have already been adopted. However, the matter will be looked at again in the course of our present review of housing finance. If the hon. Member has any particular recommendation in mind I should be glad to write to him about it.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to publish details of the high cost element of housing subsidy under the Housing Rents and Subsidies Act 1975.
Priority is being given to the administrative arrangements for the elements of subsidy payable this year. The high costs element does not become payable until 1976–77 and I intend to publish the details later this year, after consultation with the local authority associations, in time for the preparation of local authority estimates for 1976–77.
Motorway Grass Verges
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the quantity of fuel, the number of man-hours and the total cost that will be expended on cutting the grass verges of motorways and trunk roads in England and Wales this year; and how this compares with the position in 1973.
I regret that separate manpower and fuel costs are not available. The total cost in 1973, including some hedge maintenance costs, was £1·35 million. The estimate for 1975, on present practice, is £1·95 million.
Rate Relief (Institutions)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list the powers he has to compensate local authority ratepayers against the effect of applications for rate relief, under Section 40 of the General Rate Act 1967, on the part of organisations such as the Animal Virus Research Institute at Pirbright which draw most, if not all, of their funds from Government sources.
My right hon. Friend has no such powers, but I will write to the hon. Member about the particular case he mentions.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average water service charge and the average domestic rate bill for each district authority in England in 1975–76.
Details of the water service charges are not available. The following table, based on reports to my Department, lists the average domestic rate bill for each district authority in England in 1975–76.
|Authority||Average domestic payment|
|City of London||…||…||207|
|Kensington and Chelsea||…||199|
Average domestic payment
|Windsor and Maidenhead||…||115|
|North East Derbyshire||…||67|
Average domestic payment
|Weymouth and Portland||…||89|
|Forest of Dean||…||63|
Average domestic payment
|Tonbridge and Malling||…||75|
|Hinckley and Bosworth||…||77|
|North West Leicestershire||…||62|
|Oadby and Wigston||…||87|
Average domestic payment
|Vale of White Horse||…||90|
|Shrewsbury and Archam||…||76|
Average domestic payment
|Epsom and Ewell||…||149|
|Reigate and Banstead||…||118|
|Stratford on Avon||…||104|
Winson Green Prison
asked the Attorney-General on what date he received the report of investigations into allegations that six prisoners on remand were assaulted by warders at Her Majesty's Prison, Winson Green, in November last; and when he expects to complete his consideration of the report.
I have not yet received the report on this matter.
asked the Attorney-General whether he will put a copy of the Graham-Green Report on cost in criminal legal aid cases in the Library.
No. The document to which the hon. and learned Member refers consists of confidential advice to my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor as to whether any, and if so what, modifications should be made to guidance given in 1972 to taxing officers in the Crown court. It has never been my noble Friend's intention that this advice should be published.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the terms of the note sent to the Soviet Government expressing regret for any distress and injury which may have been caused to a Russian diplomat during the recent visit of ex-KGB chief Shelepin; who the diplomat was; what was the nature of the distress and injury which formed the subject matter of the regret expressed; and by whom the distress and injury referred to were caused.
As the hon. and learned Member is aware, this matter has been the subject of an exchange of Notes between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Soviet Embassy. It is not customary to make public the details of such exchanges.
International Women's Year
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the composition of the United Kingdom delegation to the World Conference of the International Women's Year, to be held in Mexico City from 19th June to 2nd July.
The United Kingdom delegation to the World Conference of the International Women's Year will be as follows:
- My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Alternate Leader and Representative
- My hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Mrs. Miller).
- Dr. Janet Cockcroft, OBE, United Kingdom Delegate to the Status of Women Commission.
- Mrs. C. M. Carmichael, Senior Lecturer on Social Work, Glasgow University, and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Social Policy in Scotland.
- Mr. J. E. C. Macrae, United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations in New York.
- Mr. C. T. Gerard, Ministry of Overseas Development.
- Dr. M. T. Spens, Ministry of Overseas Development, Consultant on Social Development with special reference to the rôle of women.
- Mr. D. Broad, United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations in New York.
- Miss E. M. L. Waller, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
- Miss B. M. Breden, Delegation Press Officer.
- Mrs. E. Crossley, Private Secretary to the Delegation Leader.
- Mr. B. Longfellow, Private Secretary to the Delegation Leader.
South African Sportsmen
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the admission of professional white South African sportsmen to compete in tournaments in Great Britain.
Policy on the admission of aliens to this country is a matter for the Home Secretary. The Government disapprove of sporting links between British competitors and racially based South African teams but would not interfere with the right of individuals to decide these matters for themselves.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultations he has had with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand following their decisions not to admit South African sportsmen associated with racially segregated sports bodies.
Education And Science
Teachers (Careers Courses)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is the total number of teachers in England engaged full time and part time, respectively, in careers education in secondary schools and in colleges of further education, respectively;(2) what proportion of careers teachers in England have received professional training for careers work;
(3) of the total number of careers teachers in England, what percentage proportion is employed in comprehensive, secondary modern, grammar and direct grant schools, respectively.
Information is not available in the form requested, but I am sending my hon. Friend for his information a report of a survey made by Her Majesty's Inspectorate in 1971–72.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage proportion of English secondary schoolchildren aged 14+ are attending comprehensive, secondary modern, grammar and direct grant schools, respectively.
In January 1974, the latest year for which figures are available, the proportions of all 14-plus pupils attending different types of school were as follows:
|Direct grant schools||…||…||3·2|
|All other types of school*||…||…||11·8|
|* Comprising other maintained, special and independent schools.|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage proportion of English secondary schoolchildren go directly from comprehensive, secondary modern, grammar and direct grant schools, respectively, to full-time further and higher education when they leave school.
The information for leavers from the different types of school in 1973–74 is as follows:
|Maintained comprehensive schools||14·3%|
|Maintained secondary modern schools||11·3%|
|Maintained grammar schools||45·2%|
|Direct grant schools||62·0%|
Research Institutions (Rate Relief)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the instructions from the Agricultural Research Council to the Animal Virus Research Institute at Pirbright to apply for rate relief under Section 40 of the General Rate Act 1967 were issued with the prior approval of his Department; and what other organisations funded by the Agricultural Research Council have made similar applications for rate relief.
Responsibility for the general oversight of the Agricultural and other Research Councils rests with me, but matters such as applications for rate relief are primarily for the day-to-day management of the research council concerned. The Agricultural Research Council was advised last year by my Department that a rate relief application by an independent institute grant aided by the council was a matter for the institute itself to pursue if it so wished. The prior approval of my Department was, therefore, not required in the case of the Animal Virus Research Institute.I understand from the Agricultural Research Council that to date eight other research institutes grant aided by the council have made applications for rate relief.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment for each year since 1965, how many firms were listed with 20 or more workers; and what number and percentage of such firms did not fulfil their 3 per cent. quota of registered disabled persons.
Following is the information up to 1974. Figures for 1975 are not yet available.
|Year||Number of firms with 20 or more workers||Number and percentage of firms which did not fulfil their 3 per cent. quota|
|* Per cent.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many firms in the Luton area do not employ the required quota of registered disabled people.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the unemployment figures for the Bedford district for the most recent month for which statistics are available; and how the figures compare with other East Anglian and East Midlands centres.
At 12th May, 1,502 unemployed people were registered at Bedford and the rate of unemployment was 2·3 per cent.The following table shows rates of unemployment at that date for other areas of East Anglia and East Midlands:
|East Anglia||Per cent.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those wages councils which provide for a working week in excess of 40 hours.
The following wages councils at present provide for a working week in excess of 40 hours:
- Hairdressing Undertakings Wages Council (Great Britain).
- Retail Newsagency, Tobacco and Confectionery Trades Wages Council (England and Wales).
- Retail Newsagency, Tobacco and Confectionery Trades Wages Council (Scotland).
- Unlicensed Place of Refreshment Wages Council.
- Licensed Non-residential Establishment Wages Council.
Under orders which become effective on 23rd June basic hours will be reduced to 40 for workers covered by the Hairdressing Undertakings and Unlicensed Place of Refreshment Wages Councils, and there are proposals for a similar reduction for workers covered by the Retail Newsagency, Tobacco and Confectionery Trades Wages Council (England and Wales).
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with present policies for helping geographical mobility of workers.
Following the announcement in the Chancellor's Budget speech that more money would be made available for assisting the mobility of workers, the policies are now under
|NUMBERS OF YOUNG PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED|
|South-East||East Anglia||South-West||West Midlands||East Midlands||Yorkshire and Humberside|
|Boys, aged under 18|
|January 1975||…||Not available—see footnote.|
|Girls, aged under 18|
|January 1975||…||Not available—see footnote.|
|Boys, aged under 18|
review. The present mobility schemes provide a useful means of improving overall efficiency in the use of manpower resources.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total number of boys and girls, respectively, registered as unemployed nationally and in each region in each quarter from March 1971 to the latest date for which figures are available.
The following table shows the available information. Following the reorganisation of the employment services, which came into effect in April 1974, separate statistics of unemployed young people aged under 18 are normally compiled half-yearly only, in January and July.
Boys, aged under 18
|January 1975||…||Not available—see footnote.|
Girls, aged under 18
|January 1975||…||Not available—see footnote.|
|An age analysis of the numbers unemployed was not made in January 1975 because of industrial action at local offices of the Employment Service Agency.|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of the total number of persons registered as unemployed was aged between 18 and 25 years in each quarter from March 1971 to the latest date for which figures are available.
The following table shows the available information. Statistics of unemployed people aged 18 and under 25 are normally compiled for January and July each year. Owing to industrial action at local offices of the Employment Service Agency figures for January 1975 are not available.
|UNEMPLOYED AGED 18 AND UNDER 25 AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL UNEMPLOYED: GREAT BRITAIN|
|January 1974||…||…||…||Not available— see footnote|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the average duration of unemployment for individuals registered as unemployed in each quarter since March 1971 to the latest date for which figures are available.
I regret that the information requested is not available. However, for people on the register on the day of the count, an analysis of the duration of their unemployment until then is compiled at quarterly intervals. The following table shows this information for April 1971 and subsequent dates, except that the analysis was not made in January 1974 because of the emergency situation and in January 1975 because of industrial action at local offices of the Employment Service Agency. The figures for October 1974 include estimates for some offices.
|DURATION OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN WEEKS|
|One or less||…||…||71,978||72,856||69,323||69,699||74,550||74,493|
|Over 1 and up to 2||…||…||52,333||62,879||62,990||60,636||40,523||62,663|
|Over 2 and up to 3||…||…||41,841||42,999||47,906||27,018||50,940||41,979|
|Over 3 and up to 4||…||…||33,403||34,492||40,741||38,283||37,885||31,846|
|Over 4 and up to 5||…||…||30,442||29,490||35,879||36,834||31,575||27,807|
|Over 5 and up to 6||…||…||29,714||31,475||37,967||37,698||30,489||28,690|
|Over 6 and up to 7||…||…||23,448||18,714||21,331||33,411||27,470||16,396|
|Over 7 and up to 8||…||…||21,507||20,987||23,771||29,646||25,597||19,187|
|Over 8 and up to 9||…||…||20,850||20,002||22,822||28,926||24,920||18,614|
|Over 9 and up to 13||…||…||70,429||71,748||76,670||102,426||82,243||61,924|
|Over 13 and up to 26||…||…||123,289||115,100||138,617||180,467||174,950||123,742|
|Over 26 and up to 39||…||…||61,789||63,128||65,827||89,499||105,171||81,349|
|Over 39 and up to 52||…||…||34,497||38,955||42,288||48,001||61,011||57,941|
|One or less||…||…||61,288||62,507||60,600||57,904||46,975||..|
|Over 1 and up to 2||…||…||54,280||45,644||54,327||43,643||39,036||..|
|Over 2 and up to 3||…||…||38,830||28,693||39,720||28,205||26,694||..|
|Over 3 and up to 4||…||…||34,941||39,928||26,724||21,708||22,937||..|
|Over 4 and up to 5||…||…||31,220||30,133||21,383||18,024||20,078||..|
|Over 5 and up to 6||…||…||32,294||26,852||19,698||18,180||20,188||..|
|Over 6 and up to 7||…||…||18,506||23,816||16,833||10,523||10,677||..|
|Over 7 and up to 8||…||…||21,398||22,066||16,109||12,386||12,164||..|
|Over 8 and up to 9||…||…||21,388||22,253||15,115||11,509||11,241||..|
|Over 9 and up to 13||…||…||71,418||72,435||52,265||36,379||36,397||..|
|Over 13 and up to 26||…||…||120,128||134,012||103,342||73,144||65,311||..|
|Over 26 and up to 39||…||…||67,015||67,205||66,171||44,374||36,312||..|
|Over 39 and up to 52||…||…||49,523||43,501||39,102||34,440||25,746||..|
|One or less||…||…||70,817||70,093||53,699||..||54,206|
|Over 1 and up to 2||…||…||65,292||52,891||51,419||..||86,703|
|Over 2 and up to 3||…||…||48,515||34,560||39,224||..||56,869|
|Over 3 and up to 4||…||…||30,679||25,403||30,497||..||85,004|
|Over 4 and up to 5||…||…||21,119||21,019||26,181||..||41,276|
|Over 5 and up to 6||…||…||19,622||21,578||24,538||..||33,231|
|Over 6 and up to 7||…||…||17,031||12,381||24,592||..||31,416|
|Over 7 and up to 8||…||…||16,350||13,535||13,496||..||26,523|
|Over 8 and up to 9||…||…||15,382||13,136||16,158||..||23,463|
|Over 9 and up to 13||…||…||52,150||39,153||54,776||..||84,908|
|Over 13 and up to 26||…||…||93,335||76,559||88,332||..||147,926|
|Over 26 and up to 39||…||…||46,679||42,138||42,864||..||74,391|
|Over 39 and up to 52||…||…||24,864||27,251||29,138||..||38,865|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the average duration of unemployment for boys and girls registered as unemployed in each quarter since March 1971 to the latest date for which figures are available.
I regret that the information requested is not available. However, for people on the register on the day of the count an analysis is made of the duration of their unemployment until then. For boys and girls aged under 18, the analysis was made quarterly up to April 1974, and six-monthly thereafter, following the reorganisation of the employment services. The following table shows this information for April 1971 and subsequent dates except that the analysis was not made in January 1974 because of the emergency situation and in January 1975 because of industrial action at local offices of the Employment Service Agency.
Duration of unemployment in weeks
|One or less||…||…||…||11,332||12,571||9,573||9,927||12,384||13,226||8,453|
|Over 1 and up to 2||…||…||…||5,371||10,007||7,629||6,490||7,600||9,948||7,157|
|Over 2 and up to 3||…||…||…||3,657||4,429||5,866||2,980||5,604||4,919||5,366|
|Over 3 and up to 4||…||…||…||2,862||3,055||4,609||3,500||3,305||3,381||4,417|
|Over 4 and up to 5||…||…||…||2,238||2,541||4,083||3,140||2,889||2,792||4,004|
|Over 5 and up to 6||…||…||…||1,883||2,182||3,686||2,717||2,393||2,323||3,557|
|Over 6 and up to 7||…||…||…||1,498||1,390||2,373||2,521||2,171||1,520||2,332|
|Over 7 and up to 8||…||…||…||1,289||1,420||2,451||2,229||2,001||1,530||2,612|
|Over 8 and up to 9||…||…||…||1,146||1,215||2,418||1,892||1,854||1,362||2,712|
|Over 9 and up to 13||…||…||…||3,355||3,764||11,003||5,828||5,415||4,124||11,788|
|Over 13 and up to 26||…||…||…||3,819||4,461||6,687||9,872||7,756||6,456||7,579|
|Over 26 and up to 39||…||…||…||1,325||1,428||1,954||2,938||3,996||2,471||2,677|
|Over 39 and up to 52||…||…||…||443||595||744||1,024||1,464||1,724||1,260|
|Over 52 weeks||…||…||…||343||422||582||769||1,064||1,143||1,452|
|One or less||…||…||…||8,227||5,197||7,006||4,361||..||9,866||..|
|Over 1 and up to 2||…||…||…||4,419||3,795||5,330||3,194||..||6,822||..|
|Over 2 and up to 3||…||…||…||2,591||2,543||2,423||2,135||..||3,919||..|
|Over 3 and up to 4||…||…||…||3,210||1,890||1,841||1,567||..||2,386||..|
|Over 4 and up to 5||…||…||…||2,636||1,568||1,396||1,371||..||1,588||..|
|Over 5 and up to 6||…||…||…||2,169||1,301||1,118||1,074||..||1,508||..|
|Over 6 and up to 7||…||…||…||1,968||1,055||627||660||..||888||..|
|Over 7 and up to 8||…||…||…||1,610||947||740||639||..||834||..|
|Over 8 and up to 9||…||…||…||1,610||799||562||568||..||665||..|
|Over 9 and up to 13||…||…||…||4,557||2,577||1,646||2,252||..||1,940||..|
|Over 13 and up to 26||…||…||…||8,728||3,547||2,187||1,815||..||1,832||..|
|Over 26 and up to 39||…||…||…||2,674||2,296||781||487||..||576||..|
|Over 39 and up to 52||…||…||…||1,305||917||708||239||..||256||..|
|Over 52 weeks||…||…||…||1,357||1,027||682||488||..||285||..|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of the number of job vacancies for boys and girls which will be available in July 1975.
It is too early to make a reliable estimate. Careers officers are still contacting employers to obtain vacancies for summer school leavers, and these will be shown in the monthly vacancy count immediately preceding the school leaving date.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of staff employed by his Department and by the Training Services Agency on matters directly concerning youth employment; and, in each case, what are the functions of those so engaged.
I regret that the information could not be obtained in the time available but I will circulate it in the Official Report as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if there was any disorder in Dungiven on Sunday 8th June 1975 as a result of the church service attended by Orangemen;(2) if there are any prosecutions pending against members of the Orange Order as a result of the attendance of the Orange Brethren at a church service in Dungiven on Sunday 8th June 1975;(3) how many claims have been lodged for compensation for acts of civil disorder or terrorism carried out in the Dungiven RUC subdistrict during the last 12 months;(4) how many complaints have been made to his office about acts of terrorism in Dungiven RUC subdistrict during the last 12 months;(5) how many incidents of armed robbery, hijacking, arson, illegal use of firearms or explosives, intimidation or similar acts of terrorism or associated with terrorism are known to the RUC to have occurred in the Dungiven RUC subdistrict during the last 12 months;(6) how many persons have been charged in connection with acts of violence associated with armed robberies, hijacking, arson, illegal use of firearms or explosives, intimidation or similar acts of terrorism which occurred during the last 12 months in the Dungiven RUC subdistrict;(7) how many parades, processions and marches are known to the police to have taken place within two miles of Dungiven RUC during the last 12 months; and of how many such marches etc. the police were given the required statutory notice;(8) on how many occasions the RUC in Dungiven, during the last 12 months, witnessed marches, parades or processions of persons wearing paramilitary dress or uniform; in how many such cases the persons concerned were acting under orders of any member of the march, parade or procession, behaving in a military manner; and what was the number of RUC and its reserves and Army personnel deployed in Dungiven on each such occasion;(9) on what grounds he banned the Orange procession in Dungiven on Sunday 8th June 1975;(10) how many Army personnel were on duty within two miles of Dungiven, County Londonderry, on Sunday 8th June 1975 between 12 noon and 6 p.m.;(11) how many members of the RUC and its reserves were on duty within two miles of Dungiven, County Londonderry. on Sunday 8th June 1975 between 12 noon and 6 p.m.(12) how many members of the RUC and its reserve and of Army personnel, respectively, would have been required to ensure the safe conduct of the proposed Orange procession in Dungiven on Sunday 8th June 1975 in the circumstances proposed by the local Orange leaders;(13) what representations he received concerning the banning of the Orange procession in Dungiven on Sunday 8th June 1975.
I will write to the hon. Member.
Royal Ulster Constabulary
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many members of the RUC reserve there are attached to RUC stations in Londonderry and Limavady, respectively, at the latest available date;(2) how many members of the RUC reserves are stationed at Limavady and Londonderry, respectively, on a full-time basis at the latest available date;
(3) how many members of the RUC reserves are stationed at Limavady and Londonderry, respectively, at the latest available date.
As at 11th June the information is as follows:
|Full-time Reserve||Part-time Reserve||Total|
Industrial Development Certificates
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many industrial development certificates have been issued in Kent since the reduction of the exemption level from 10,000 sq ft. to 5,000 sq. ft.; and how these compare with the numbers issued in the previous two years.
The numbers of industrial development certificates issued in the employment exchange areas approximating to the county of Kent from 1st September 1974, when the exemption limit for the South-East was reduced from 10,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft., to 30th April 1975 and for the corresponding periods in the previous two years are as follows:
|1st September 1974 to 30th April 1975||…||87|
|1st September 1973 to 30th April 1974||…||63|
|1st September 1972 to 30th April 1973||…||55|
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, as under Article 46 each ECSC country may be allocated a percentage of Community output, what is the figure allocated to the United Kingdom steel industry.
Article 46 of the ECSC Treaty does not provide any powers for the allocation of steel output between member countries. It requires the European Commission to prepare forward programmes indicating foreseeable developments in the industry, including production levels, but a system of production quotas can only be established under Article 58 and would require the assent of the Council of Ministers.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will make a statement on the Government's proposals for the enlargement of industrial democracy with special reference to the application of those proposals to British Leyland as recommended in the Ryder Report.
The Government are considering how to carry out their commitment to a far-reaching extension of industrial democracy in both the private and the public sectors. Our aim will be to develop a flexible scheme suited to the varying needs of different sectors of British industry and the employees who work in it. We regard the Ryder Report proposals as being consonant with this approach in the particular circumstances of British Leyland.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the dates on which the Tripartite Working Group on the HS146 project have met; and what was the rank of the representative of his Department attending the meetings.
Full meetings of the working group were held on 11th February, 22nd April and 16th May. Between those dates a good deal of work has been carried out by correspondence. Several senior officials of the Department of Industry have participated and the working group was chaired by the Under-Secretary in charge of the Air Division.
Prices And Consumer Protection
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she has yet received the advice from the Health Education Council on ways of discouraging the practice of sniffing cleaning fluids.
I am informed that the council has concluded that to publicise the health hazards of solvent sniffing might have the opposite effect to that intended and cause some young people to experiment with the products in question. The matter will, however, be reconsidered if evidence becomes available of any significant increase in the practice, which does not at present seem to be widespread.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report a list of the shipping services of which he is aware that are operated by British flag vessels between non-British ports.
I am not readily able to provide a representative list, but the number of such services is certainly very large. Additionally, of course, British ships make individual voyages between non-British ports as tramps.
Third Flag Carriers
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether it continues to be the policy of Her Majesty's Government to protect the rights of third flag carriers, whether British or foreign, to seek whatever legitimate trading opportunities they can find between foreign harbours or airports.
The policy of Her Majesty's Government on shipping matters continues to be based on the principle that ships of all nations, irrespective of flag, should be equally free to compete for the international carriage of cargo or passengers. A different international régime governs rights at airports.
Commodity Stabilisation (Committee)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give the names and qualifications of the experts appointed to represent British interests on the Committee of Experts preparing a report for Commonwealth Ministers on plans for commodity stabilisation.
The United Kingdom will be represented on the Committee of Experts, set up by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at their recent meeting in Kingston, by Sir Donald Maitland, CMG, OBE, Deputy Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Sir Donald has been a member of the Foreign Service since 1947 and was Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1973–74. His current duties include supervision of the Trade Relations and Exports Department of the FCO.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what effect upon the prospects of trade balances in future he estimates to have been made by the decision of 5th June to remain within the Community.
No such estimates are available. However, I hope that our exporters will take their opportunities, both in the EEC and elsewhere, especially in the fast growing markets of the oil producing countries, to help bring about an improvement in our trading position.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will show, for each year since the implementation of the Development of Tourism Act 1968, the amount of finance that has been allocated for expenditure on approved projects in development areas under Section 4; and what were the corresponding amounts for the South-West Development Area.
The annual Estimates provisions from 1971–72, when allocations began, up to 1975–76, have been as follows:
|English Tourist Board||Scottish Tourist Board||Wales Tourist Board|
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will now remove the surcharge on petrol imposed at the time when the Suez Canal was closed in 1967.
The temporary surcharge on the prices of petroleum products imposed following the closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 was reduced in December 1967, July 1968 and February 1969 and finally ceased on 16th July 1969.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated cost of preparing and publishing the annual register of electors; and by how much this figure would be increased if the register were produced twice a year.
The most recent available figure is for the 1974 register of electors of England and Wales, where the net cost of preparation and publication was £5,267,000. The cost of producing twice a year a register based on a full canvass of householders would be approximately double.
Winson Green Prison
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet received a copy of the report which he ordered into the allegations that six prisoners on remand at Her Majesty's Prison, Winson Green, were assaulted by warders; and if he will make a statement on the conduct of the inquiry.
No. The investiga-was carried out on behalf of the Chief Constable of the West Midlands, and a report has been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. It would not be appropriate for me to make any further statement at present.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he hopes to implement his proposals for a new procedure to include an indepen- dent element in the consideration of complaints against the police.
I would refer my hon. Friend to what I said on this subject in the debate on the renewal of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1974 on 19th May.—[Vol. 892, c. 1158.]