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Written Answers

Volume 893: debated on Tuesday 17 June 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 17th June 1975

Home Department

Television Licences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many colour television licences were applied for prior to their date of renewal before the fee was increased from £12 to £18 on 1st April 1975.

The number of applicants for premature licences is not known. The number of those who obtained premature licences is estimated at 36,000.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to be able to reply to the letter of 12th May from the hon. Member for Chislehurst concerning the terms of communications to persons who have renewed unexpired television licences at the old rate; and if he will make a statement.

This week; and I would also refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave on 16th June to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy)—[Vol. 893, c. 321–322.]

Juveniles Imprisoned

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many juveniles were held in prison because no specialist assessment centres were available during the last five years for which statistics are available.

A young person aged 14–16 who is awaiting trial may be remanded in custody to a prison or remand centre in England and Wales only if a court certifies that he is so unruly that he cannot safely be committed to the care of a local authority. The following table shows the number of juveniles so received into custody in the last four years.

1971197219731974
Males1,8391,9752,6973,647
Females9691155242
Figures for 1970 are not available.

Hindu Community Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether public funds have been made available for the building of a Hindu shrine or temple in the London area; and, if so, under which Vote.

As I stated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) on 19th May—[Vol. 892, c. 287.]—the Home Office has approved an application by the London borough of Brent for grant aid under the Urban Programme for a community centre in Wembley for use by the Brent Indian Association. Although part of the centre will be used as a shrine it is primarily an educational, social and advice centre, and it is not possible to identify that part of the cost of the centre attributable solely to its use for religious purposes. Grant aid from the Home Office will be payable under the Community Services (Home Office) Vote, Class IX, 11.

Motorway Signals

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drivers have been prosecuted for contravening a stop signal on motorways in each of the last three years.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has yet agreed the standard code of practice for using motorway emergency warning signals;(2) if he will consult with the motoring organisations before finalising the standard code of practice for using motorway emergency signals.

The operation of the motorway signalling system is a matter for individual chief officers of police and not for the Home Secretary. The Association of Chief Police Officers has recently prepared guidelines for the use of the system which will be issued to all police forces concerned in England and Wales as soon as possible.

Education And Science

Student Grants

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about progress on review of student grants and the extent to which account has been taken of students claiming supplementary benefits from the DHSS during university and college vacation.

Details of undergraduate student grants for the academic year 1975–76 were announced on 20th May. The grant includes a contribution towards vacation maintenance. It is not affected by any claims made by a student for supplementary benefit during vacations, but any supplementary benefit paid takes account of the vacation contribution in the grant.

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received following his announcement of the revised level of student grants.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the current cost in a full year of abolishing the means test for the parental contribution on student grants.

The cost of abolishing the parental contribution in Great Britain is estimated to be £65 million to £70 million in the academic year 1974–75.

Direct Grant Schools

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many letters of protest against the phasing out of direct grant schools he has received since 6th May.

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many letters of protest he has received on the subject of his policy towards direct grant schools.

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has had on providing further time for direct grant schools to opt in or out of the comprehensive system of education.

Very few representations have been made on this point since the Department's letters of 1st May to schools and local education authorities indicated that declarations of schools' intentions would be required by the end of this year.

Universities (Finance)

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will institute a review of the whole system of university finance.

Departmental Planning

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is satisfied that the process of forward planning in his Department is sufficiently open to permit adequate public participation.

School Meals

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the present actual cost per meal of providing school meals at primary and secondary schools; and the total estimated cost of the subsidy for these meals during the current financial year.

The latest estimate is that the average cost of providing a school meal is 34·25p and that the subsidy on the meal for the current year will be about £266 million.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the prices of school meals and his proposals for increases in the next 12 months.

Estimates of public expenditure up to 1978–79, given in the White Paper published in January last assumed that the charge for school meals would be increased periodically to maintain the subsidy on the meal at a broadly constant proportion of total cost. I cannot at the moment give any further information about the timing or amount of the next increase in the charge.

Teachers

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a statement about future job opportunities for teachers now completing their training.

My Department has recently sent to colleges of education and university education departments a list of local education authorities with teaching vacancies for September. It is for the local authorities to decide how many teachers to employ, but the rate support grant settlement for 1975–76 allowed for continuing improvement in pupil-teacher ratios and took account of this summer's output of trained teachers.

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he next expects to meet representatives of the teaching profession.

I shall be meeting representatives of the teaching profession informally on 19th June.

Film And Television Techniques (Private Schools)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will consider bringing in a Bill to provide for the registration of private schools of film and television techniques.

University Expansion

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if it is his policy to base planning for university expansion on other than the Robbins principles.

Primary School, Archway, London

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is in a position to announce his decision on the proposed Duncombe-St. Gabriel's Primary School, Archway, London, N.19; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the answer given on 19th November last to a similar Question by my hon. Friend.—[Vol. 881, c. 356.]

Swimming Lessons

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will issue a circular to local education authorities concerning the provision of facilities for children to learn to swim.

No. My Department publishes general advice on the provision of swimming facilities, including safety precautions. But it is for local education authorities to decide what provision needs to be made according to local circumstances.

Special Schools (Staffing)

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the present position regarding the implementation of Circular 4/73 regarding staffing in special schools and classes: and if he will make a statement.

Circular 4/73 suggested as a target for March 1975, 1,000 extra teachers, apart from those required because of growth in the number of special school places. The latest available information is that between January 1973 and January 1974 the number of teachers in special schools increased by 924, and about 600 of these represented improvements in staffing standards. Corresponding figures for special education classes are not available.

School Transport (Working Party's Report)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has yet reached a decision on the report of the Working Party on School Transport.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave earlier this afternoon to Questions from my hon. Friends the Members for Belper (Mr. MacFarquhar) and Aberdare (Mr. Evans).

University Teachers (Pay)

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received with regard to the pay of university teachers at Brunel University and elsewhere; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Prentice) received about 900 letters on behalf of such teachers, and he held talks with representatives of university authorities and teachers. He announced on 5th June the decision of the Board of Arbitration on university academic salaries. When the fuller report of the Board of Arbitration has been received I will have it published.

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to receive the report from the Arbitration and Conciliation Service on the pay claim of university teachers.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave earlier today to Questions by the hon. Members for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) and Ripon (Dr. Hampson).

Expenditure

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a further statement about his Department's proposals for public expenditure reductions.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the progress of the review of expenditure under consideration in his Department.

Dental Education

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps are being taken to improve dental education in schools.

The development of dental health education in schools is a matter for local education authorities and schools themselves to consider in consultation with the school dental services.

University Grants Committee

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will next meet the UGC.

I have no plans to meet the University Grants Committee at present, but my noble Friend the Minister of State and I and my Department are in regular contact with its Chairman and officers.

Staff-Student Ratios

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the overall staff-student ratio in universities in England and Wales and the staff-student ratio in the polytechnics in England and Wales—full-time students and full-time staff.

In the academic year 1973–74 for universities in England and Wales the ratio of full-time students to each full-time member of the academic staff wholly financed from university funds was 8·0. In polytechnics in England and Wales the ratio of full-time students to each full-time member of the teaching staff was provisionally estimated at 5·8; allowing for the substantial number of part-time students on taught courses this ratio would be approximately 6·9.

Secondary Education Selection

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now introduce legislation to enforce the abolition of selection in secondary education.

As has been said on several occasions, the Government will consider the introduction of legislation to enforce their policy for the reorganisation of secondary education in the light of LEA replies to Circular 4/74 and of discussions with LEAs whose responses were, in some way, unsatisfactory. My right hon. Friend would prefer, if it is possible, to proceed without legislating on this issue. He is not yet ready to announce his decision. His intention is to do so later this year.

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the authorities which have informed him that they still desire to continue selection for secondary education.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 22nd May to a Question on the same subject by my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Ovenden).—[Vol. 892. c. 563].

Students (Accommodation)

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from student bodies on the provision of accommodation for students.

The subjects covered in recent representations from student bodies have included the shortage of accommodation for students and the level of residential charges in institution-provided accommodation. As part of a process of consultation the National Union of Students also offered comments on a proposal to set up a scheme for the registration of student lettings.

Teachers And Educational Administrators

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what have been the ratios between teachers and educational administrators in each of the last three years; and what estimate he has made of the future trends.

Information is not available in the form specified in the Question. My right hon. Friend has made no forecasts of future trends, but the Government and the local authorities have recently agreed to keep a joint watch on the number of staff local authorities employ.

Arts Council (Grants)

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what the grant to the Arts Council in 1975 would be if it were to reflect the real value of the grant in 1970.

The arts do not necessarily follow the same indices of price as other goods and services, and there is no specialised cost index which can with confidence be applied to them. However, on the basis of indices of the internal purchasing power of the pound the grant in aid to the Arts Council for 1970–71, which was £9·3 million, would be £14·85 million in terms of March 1975 prices. As my hon. Friend will know, the current grant in aid to the Arts Council for 1975–76 is £26·15 million.

Orions, Peterborough

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science in view of the fact that the proposed development of the Ortons as part of Peterborough new town will require the building of a number of new schools to accompany this development, whether he will ensure that funds are allocated for this purpose as requested by the authority.

Under present school building programme arrangements, lump sum allocations of resources are made to local education authorities to meet needs throughout their area; they are not attributed to specific projects. My right hon. Friend will take account of the needs for additional school places in the Peterborough new town area in determining the Cambridgeshire authority's allocations for 1976–77 and 1977–78.

Technician And Business Education

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to ensure that the Technician Education Council and the Business Education Council are working in concert on common issues, and to encourage the closest possible relationship between the two councils in the interests of present and future students for the awards of the councils.

The two councils have recently established a joint consultative working party to assist co-operation in areas of common interest. They have also publicly announced their intention of working closely together.

Illiteracy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schemes he has approved designed for the purpose of cambating adult illiteracy.

The Adult Literacy Resource Agency was established to help combat adult illiteracy. I understand that by 6th June it had made allocations in respect of literacy schemes and projects from 58 local education authorities and 19 other bodies.

Physics (European Projects)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what support Great Britain now gives to European projects on high energy physics; and if he will make a statement.

Her Majesty's Government support European collaboration in high energy physics by contributing to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). The subscription for the current year amounting to about £15·3

TEACHERS' SALARIES: ENGLAND AND WALES
£m.
Financial yearNursery, primary, secondary and special educationFurther education, including polytechnicsTeacher trainingTotal
1970–7169215722870
1971–72824183251,032
1972–73984219281,231
1973–741,123234301,388
1974–751,656346432,045
1975–761,866387462,298
1976–771,926394462,367
Notes:
1. Data for 1970–71 to 1974–75 inclusive are out-turn figures at out-turn prices, those for 1974–75 being estimated.
2. Data for 1975–76 and 1976–77 are the estimates in Public Expenditure to 1978–79 (Cmnd. 5879) revalued to November 1974 prices, including adjustments to take account of the Houghton award.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of the education budget, in both money and percentage terms, was devoted to education and training of the mentally handicapped and to education and training of the registered disabled, respectively, in the last convenient period for which figures are available.

Training of mentally handicapped adults is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. Training of the registered disabled is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.Information available to my Department is not sufficiently detailed to enable public expenditure for the education of mentally handicapped children to be distinguished from expenditure on special

million is included in the 1975–76 estimates for the Science Research Council. Through our membership of CERN British scientists gain access to a range of powerful facilities and to opportunities to participate in extensive co-operative research programmes.

Teachers' Salaries

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what the salary bill for teachers was in each of the last five years; and how much he expects it to be this year and next.

The information is as follows:schools generally. In 1973–74 the latter expenditure amounted to some £114 million, over 3 per cent. of all expenditure on education.

Public Lending Right

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress is being made on the remaining technical investigations being carried out in connection with public lending right.

I recently visited libraries in Welwyn and Tottenham where procedures for recording book loans and purchases respectively are undergoing practical tests, and discussed the results so far with those involved. Findings on some other topics under investigation will shortly be reviewed by the Technical Investigation Group. The programme as a whole is running to schedule and I expect the investigations to give clear indications by the autumn on which the Government's detailed legislative proposals can be based.

Scottish Universities

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the Government's plans for the future of Scottish universities, and the salaries of qualified university teachers in Scotland.

All universities, including the Scottish, have now been informed by the UGC of their recurrent grant allocations for 1975–76. I will let the UGC know what is available for allocation in 1976–77 as soon as I can. The decision of the Board of Arbitration on academic salaries which my predecessor announced on 5th June applies to universities in Scotland as to those in England and Wales.

Social Services

National Health Service

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether there is anything in the terms of the United Kingdom's membership of the EEC which will interfere with the operation of the National Health Service or affect the ability of the United Kingdom to operate its national social security system.

No. The Treaty of Rome and the Treaty of Accession place no obligation on Member States to change the level or pattern of their social expenditure.

Ambulance Service

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she has studied the Press statement issued after a meeting at Montagu Hospital, Mexborough, on Thursday 29th May between the Trent Regional Health Authority and ambulance personnel; and if she will now make a statement on the failure of the National Health Service to operate a cardiac ambulance service in the Sheffield-Rotherham area, although this equipment has been donated by private subscription for some 18 months.

Both my Department and the Trent Regional Health Authority have agreed to the use of this equipment and the Trent Regional Health Authority has been notified of the interim arrangements, agreed by the Ambulancemen's Whitley Council, for the remuneration of ambulancemen undertaking this work. The ambulancemen locally, however, have not found these arrangements acceptable.

Departmental Forms And Publications

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many application forms for social security benefits are published by her Department in (a) Welsh and (b) in bilingual-Welsh and English-form;(2) how many application forms for social security benefits are published in languages other than English; if she will give details of the individual forms available and the languages of publication: and whether they are monolingual or bilingual.

There are 15 application forms for claiming social security benefits published in Welsh. No application forms are printed in any other language except in English. They are all monolingual. The forms are numbered as follows and are for claiming the benefits indicated:

  • BF 11A, BF 11C, BF 11CW, BF 11W-Sickness Benefit and Injury Benefit.
  • BF 225—Invalidity Pension, Retirement Pension and Unemployability Supplement.
  • BM 4, BM 4B—Maternity Benefit.
  • BR 1, BR 1A, BR 1C—Retirement Pension.
  • BW 1—Widow's Benefit.
  • FAM 2, FAM 497(LO)—Family Allowances.
  • FIS 1—Family Income Supplement.
  • SB 1—Supplementary Pensions and Allowances.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her estimate of the total cost of supplying every retirement pensioner with a copy of leaflet NI15 in advance of normal retirement date; and if she will take steps to do so.

Leaflet NI15 is in fact issued with all claim forms for retirement pension, normally about four months before the person concerned reaches pensionable age. Only one leaflet is issued to husband and wife where they are invited to claim together. The cost of these leaflets is estimated at about £8,000 a year exclusive of VAT.

Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the anticipated effect on the provisions made under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act of the proposed cut in capital expenditure for 1976–77.

My right hon. Friend is at present discussing with local authorities provisional lists of schemes for which loan approval can be given in 1975–76. This will affect capital expenditure in 1976–77. It has been made clear that my right hon. Friend is concerned to give authorities the greatest possible freedom to determine their own capital priorities within overall resources constraint. There is at present no information about the way in which authorities will make their decisions next year. I am, however, confident that they are well seized of the needs of disabled people and, in particular, of the need to ensure that the younger disabled are suitably accommodated. As regards hospitals, my right hon. Friend has not yet made allocations of capital expenditure to health authorities for 1976–77.

Heating Allowances

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will place in the Library the calculations on which she bases the statement in her Written Reply of Tuesday 10th June 1975 to the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East that there is no evidence to suggest that the numbers of those eligible for but not receiving supplementary heating additions are large.

As my hon. Friend explained in his reply to my hon. Friend on 10th June—[Vol. 893, c. 164–5.]—there is no way of knowing how many beneficiaries at any one time might be entitled to an extra heating addition but do not receive it. As at February 1975, 744,000 beneficiaries, including 644,000 supplementary pensioners, were receiving such additions compared with 503,000–445,000 pensioners—in November 1973. The increase has been the result of easements in the qualifying criteria, increased publicity and continuing efforts by local officers of the Department. Given that such additions can only be awarded where there are exceptional circumstances the Supplementary Benefits Commission considers that the scope for further improvement in these figures is limited and has no evidence to suggest that the potential is large.

Pensioners (Truro And Penzance)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of people currently registered at the area offices of her Department at Truro and Penzance who are currently in receipt of the basic retirement pension and the number of those receiving any form of supplementary benefit, respectively.

There are respectively 4,445 and 2,665 retirement pensioners in receipt of supplementary benefit through the Truro and Penzance local offices. Information is not available about those receiving the basic pension only as these pensions are administered centrally.

Lymington Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total cost involved in preparing part of Lymington Hospital as a temporary home for those mentally handicapped children being transferred there due to the refusal of the Wessex Regional Health Authority temporarily to keep open Field Place Children's Home, New Milton.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when and why full X-ray facilities ceased being available at Lymington Hospital; why a delay has occurred in their reinstatement; when they will be available again at Lymington; and what arrangements are being made for patients at the present time

The only X-ray facility to be temporarily interrupted at Lymington Hospital is screening involving barium type examinations. This ceased to be available on 1st April 1975, because the X-ray machine concerned needed repair. There has been no avoidable delay in the reinstatement of the facility; replacement parts having been obtained, work on installation started on 9th June and is expected to be completed by 28th June. In the meantime, patients requiring barium examinations are being referred to Southampton General Hospital.

Retirement Pension

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of average national earnings was the married couple's and single person's retirement pension at February 1974,

Standard rate of retirement pension as a percentage of average earnings*
Single person†Married couple†
DateGrossNetGrossNet
February 1974‡19·126·330·841·0
August 197421·230·533·846·6
* Estimated average earnings of male, adult, full-time manual workers in manufacturing and certain other industries based on the Department of Employment's regular October inquiry.
† Earnings after deduction of tax and national insurance contributions.
‡ The figures reflect temporary reductions in earnings while three-day working and other restrictions were in operation.

Hospital Building

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many best buy hospitals have now been commissioned in two or more phases, each phase being under £6 million; and if she will give early sanction to building a new district general hospital at Maidstone on this basis.

None. The two best buy hospitals already built and the one under construction are all single-phase projects. It has not yet been possible to notify regional health authorities of the planning assumptions to be adopted for the years 1976–77–4978–79. When these arc notified the authority will need to decide what relative priority can be afforded to this development and then to consider the design and phasing of the project.

Emphysema

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she is aware of any evidence linking incidence of emphysema with occupations involving work with hessian or similar materials; and whether any research on the possibility of such a link is currently in progress.

I have been asked to reply.The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that he is not aware of any evidence linking the incidence of emphysema with occupations

August 1974, May 1975 and the estimated percentage following the upratings due in November 1975.

The figure for November 1975 will depend upon the future movement in earnings, and information about earnings in May 1975 is not yet available. The figures requested for February 1974 and August 1974 are as follows:involving work with hessian or similar materials or if any research on the possibility of such a link is currently in progress.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of the National Health Service budget, in both money and percentage terms, was devoted to mental health and the mentally handicapped, geriatric care, and facilities for the registered disabled, in the last convenient period.

The accounts of the former hospital and local health authorities do not provide information in the form requested, but estimates for England in 1973–74 are as follows:

Estimated expenditure £ millionPercentage of total NHS expenditure Per cent.
Mental health, including mentally handicapped31017
Geriatric care and chronic sick age 65 and over1709
Younger physically handicapped*201
* Information is not available to enable separate estimates to be made of National Health Service expenditure on handicapped persons registered with local authorities under section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948.

Mrs Bandaranaike (Meeting)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his meeting with Mrs. Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, on 13th May 1975.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mr. Tomlinson).

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his meeting of 13th May with Mrs. Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his meeting with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Bandaranaike, on 13th May 1975.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on his meeting with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on 13th May.

asked the Prime Minister if lie will make a statement on his meeting with Mrs Bandaranaike, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, on 13th May.

I refer my hon. Friends to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Ovenden).

Film Industry

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the results of the meeting held at 10 Downing Street on 13th May 1975 to discuss the future of the film industry.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the future of the film industry in the light of the meeting at 10 Downing Street on 13th May 1975.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the future of the film industry following the meeting at 10 Downing Street on 13th May 1975.

I had a full and constructive discussion with representatives from all sides of the industry. It was agreed to establish a small working party to follow up our discussion and to report back on the future needs of the industry and on its relationship with Government. The membership of the working party will be announced shortly.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the future of the film industry, following the meeting he attended at 10 Downing Street on 13th May.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the future of the film industry in the light of his meeting on this subject on 13th May.

I refer my hon. Friends to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Weetch).

Prime Minister (Broadcast)

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister, whether he will place in the Library a transcript of his interview on the television programme "This Week" on 15th May about the EEC and other matters.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will place in the Library a transcript of his interview on the television programme "This Week" on 15th May about the EEC.

National Enterprise Board

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement about future appointments to the National Enterprise Board.

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on 12th June.

Referendum

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister what changes of policy he proposes to make in the light of the result of the referendum.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Mid-Oxon (Mr. Hurd).

Pay Negotiations (Prime Minister's Speech)

Q18.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on the need for restraint in pay negotiations delivered at Limehouse Town Hall on 19th May.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place a copy of his public speech on wage restraint at Poplar on 19th May in the Library.

Q33.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on inflation at Poplar on 19th May.

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will place in the Library a copy of the public speech on economic policy which he made in Poplar on 19th May.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech at Poplar about the social contract on Monday 19th May.

I refer the hon. Members and my hon. Friends to the reply I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson).

Tuc And Cbi

Q19.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister when he next plans to meet the TUC and the CBI.

Following this morning's meeting of the NEDC, I shall be seeing representatives of the CBI this afternoon and of the TUC tomorrow.

Prime Minister (Visits)

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Lossiemouth.

Q28.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will pay an official visit to Coventry.

Q31.

Inflation (Prime Minister's Speech)

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on inflation made at the National Museum of Labour History on 19th May.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on inflation made at the National Museum of Labour History on 19th May.

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on inflation at the National Museum of Labour History, Limehouse, on Monday 19th May.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on inflation on 19th May at the Museum of Labour History.

I refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson).

Honours

Q24.

asked the Prime Minister when his criteria for putting forward recommendations for honours were last reviewed.

I keep all aspects of the Honours System under continual review, and changes are made in it from time to time as appropriate.

Rhodesia

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister what further discussions he has had with Commonwealth Heads of Government on the situation in Rhodesia.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs told the House on 11th June, we have been keeping in touch with the Presidents of Zambia, Tanzania and Botswana and Heads of other Commonwealth Governments over Rhodesia.

Trade Unions

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library of the House a copy of his public speech on the power of the trade unions given at the Museum of Labour History, Lime-house, on 19th May 1975.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson).

Government Policy Implementation

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the pro- gress of the implementation of the policies as outlined in the Gracious Speech.

Aircraft Noise

38.

asked the Prime Minister if he will transfer responsibility for aircraft noise from the Secretary of State for Trade to the Secretary of State for the Envionment.

Offices Of Profit

39.

asked the Prime Minister how many offices of profit outside the appointments system of the Civil Service Commission were within the gift of Ministers on 1st January 1963 and 1st January 1975, respectively; and what was their respective value.

This information is not readily available in the form requested since there is no central record covering all offices of profit within the gift of Ministers at the dates mentioned. For the latest available information I would refer my hon. Friend to the answers which he has received between 4th-loth July 1974 and on 18th March 1975.

Corruption

asked the Prime Minister if he will now propose setting up a tribunal of inquiry under the 1921 Act to carry out a wide-ranging inquiry into corruption in public life.

In so far as the hon. Member has in mind matters arising from the Poulson bankruptcy hearing I would refer him to the reply I gave on 12th June to a Question by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon). If he has in mind a more general investigation, a tribunal of inquiry would not be an appropriate instrument; the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921 stipulates that the object of a tribunal under the Act should be to inquire into a definite matter of urgent public importance. The Royal Commission sitting under the chairmanship of the noble lord Lord Salmon is inquiring generally into standards of conduct in public life.

National Finance

Expenditure

52.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations were made to him at the last meeting of the NEDC about the need to reduce Government spending in the current financial year.

At the May meeting of NEDC, there was a wide-ranging and constructive discussion on the Budget and its implications for the economy.

Child Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families are not able to make full use of child tax allowances because of insufficient taxable income; and how many families are able to make no use of these allowances for the same reasons.

Corporation Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing the proportion of revenue provided by corporation tax in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, West Germany, France and Japan, respectively.

The following information, which is taken from Revenue Statistics of OECD Member Countries 1965–72, Part III Table 15, shows taxes on corporate income as a percentage of total taxation—including social security contributions and local taxes—in the countries specified for 1972:

United Kingdom7·1per cent.
USA11·19per cent.
West Germany4·67per cent.
France5·94per cent.
Japan18·24per cent.
I regret that this information is not available for later years.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will express as a percentage of average industrial earnings the level at which (a) a married man with three children under 11 years of age commences paying tax at the standard rate (b) a single man commences paying tax at the standard rate and (c) if he will give the corresponding figures for 1960, 1965 and 1970.

The figures are as follows:

Standard or basic rate threshold for earned income as percentage of average earnings
YearSingle manMarried man (3 children under 110
Per cent.Per cent
1960–6186·8154·7
1965–6665·7124·2
1970–7128·664·0
1975–7624·055·9

Burmah Oil Company Ltd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy in seeking any further Government participation in Burmah Oil's Ninian and Thistle North Sea oilfields to take into consideration during the making of any such arrangements the profit made by the Bank of England over the acquisition in January of Burmah Oil shares.

I presume that the hon. Member is speaking of the Bank of England's acquisition of the shares in BP formerly held by the Burmah Oil Company. The price paid for these shares is a separate issue from the negotiations with the Burmah Oil Company over participation in the North Sea oilfields which are now taking place.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider meeting with the board of Burmah Oil to discuss with it a possible renegotiation of the terms by which in January the Bank of England acquired shares in that company.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present estimate of the increase in value of Burmah Oil shares acquired in January by the Bank of England since that acquisition.

I presume the hon. Member is referring to the Bank of England's acquisition of the shares in BP formerly held by the Burmah Oil Company. The Bank purchased from the Company 77·8 million ordinary stock units of the British Petroleum Company for a sum of nearly £179 million. On the assumption that so large a holding could be sold at the current market price, which is by no means necessarily the case, the value of the holding at the close of business on 12th June was just over £395 million, or £216 million more than cost.

£ Sterling (Purchasing Power)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, given current annual earnings before tax of (a) £250, (b) £500, (c) £750, (d) £1,000, (e) £1,500, (f) £2,000, (g) £3,000 and (h) £5,000, what would have been the figures necessary to provide the same purchasing power in January 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965 and 1970 respectively.

Inflation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the rate of inflation is increasing or decreasing; and if he remains satisfied by the progress towards reducing the rate of inflation towards his estimate made in September 1974 of what could be achieved, namely an annual rate of less than 10 per cent. by the end of 1975.

The rate of inflation has been increasing over past months but there are good prospects that this trend will be reversed in the second half of 1975 and that the underlying annual rate will fall to between 12 per cent. and 16 per cent. Our ability to achieve any further reduction in the inflation rate will largely depend on our success in bringing wage and salary increases below their present level as we enter the next pay round.

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

The rate of increase in the retail prices index in the three months to May, expressed at an annual rate, is 53·1 per cent. A similar calculation made on 10th October 1974 would have shown an annual rate of inflation of 8·4 per cent.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the monthly rate of inflation last exceeded the May figure.

The rate of inflation last exceeded the figure of 4·2 per cent. in one month in September 1939.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the rate of inflation last exceeded the latest three-month figure.

The rate of inflation last exceeded the figure of 10.3 per cent. in a three-month period in the three months to December 1939.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the rate of inflation last exceeded the latest 12-month figure

The annual rate of inflation last exceeded the figure of 25 per cent in one year in the year to November 1920.

National Insurance Contributions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied that a firm whose name has been supplied to him met its obligations in paying over employees' social services contributions after deducting them from wages.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated revenue from the sales of burglar alarm equipment suitable for domestic use at the 25 per cent. rate of VAT.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16th June 1975; Vol. 893, c. 346–7], gave the following information:The amount is likely to be small.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the staff numbers, annual salary costs and total costs for Customs and Excise officers involved in visiting and checking the returns of companies and other bodies responsible for the collection and payment of VAT.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16th June 1975: Vol. 892, c. 347], gave the following information:I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on 16th May pursuant to a reply to the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Welsh).—[Vol. 892, c. 191].

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria he employed in deciding that burglar alarms and ancillary equipment should be charged at the 25 per cent. rate of VAT.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16th June 1975: Vol. 893, c. 347], gave the following information:In deciding which goods and services should be chargeable at the 25 per cent. rate of VAT I tried as far as possible to impose the extra burden on those best able to bear it. It was, however, necessary to apply the higher rate to some goods used in most homes, including all but the most basic domestic electrical equipment.I did not consider that there was a strong case for excluding burglar alarm equipment from the scope of the higher rate. I was, of course, aware that the first-time installation of alarm equipment as a fixture in the course of the construction or alteration of a building continues to be zero-rated under Group 8 of Schedule 4 to the Finance Act 1972: and that input tax on subsequent supplies of such equipment to a taxable person for the purpose of his business is deductible subject to the normal rules.

Development Gains Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the revenue to date received from the development gains tax in Wales.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16th June 1975; Vol. 893, c. 348], gave the following information:This information is not available, but the amount so far received cannot be significant.

Law Reviews (Damages For Injuries)

asked the Attorney-General when he now expects to receive the report of the Pearson Commission on common law actions for damages for personal injury.

The Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury is still receiving evidence, and it is not yet possible to say when it is likely to report.

Environment

Severn Bridge

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many persons are employed in administering and maintaining the Severn Bridge; and what are the annual costs of administration and maintenance, respectively.

55 people are employed full time on administering and maintaining the Severn Bridge. The average annual cost of administration and maintenance over the past four financial years has been respectively £110,046 and £118,380.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the revenue obtained from the toll on the Severn Bridge in 1974, 1973, and 1972

I regret that this information is not readily available in respect of calendar years. However, the revenue obtained from the bridge toll over the last four financial years is as follows:

£
1971–72991,991
1972–731,173,915
1973–741,225,667
1974–751,131,882

Bedfordshire County Council

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated capital debt of the Bedfordshire County Council; and up to what figure may the county borrow during the next financial year.

The gross loan debt of Bedfordshire County Council at 31st March 1975 is estimated to be £42·5 million. Local authorities are not given an overall borrowing authorisation for each financial year. What they may borrow depends upon the total of approvals given for a variety of purposes.

Bedfordshire (Footpaths Map)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to make available a definitive footpath map for North Bedfordshire.

All the necessary information in respect of the outstanding appeals has now been obtained and decisions will be issued shortly. The decisions will then be notified to the appellant and to the surveying authority, Bedfordshire County Council, which can then proceed to publish the provisional map. Owners and occupiers of land affected may then challenge the inclusion of paths on the map by application to the Crown court. When any such cases have been resolved the definitive map will be published.

A1 (Warenford Bypass)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he now expects work to start on the A1 Warenford bypass.

Work is expected to begin in September 1975. I anticipate that it will take 24 months to complete.

A11 (Newmarket-Cringleford)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now in a position to announce the date for the public consultation on the improvement of the A11 trunk road between Newmarket and Cringleford.

Housing Action Areas

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has placed any restriction for the time being on the number of housing action area declarations which he is prepared to allow to be made by any individual local authority.

No. Clearly, a decision whether or not to intervene under Section 37 of the Housing Act 1974 will be influenced by the extent to which a local authority possesses sufficient resources to take effective action in its declared areas, but there is no question of an arbitrary limit having been imposed. On the contrary I want to encourage those authorities which are dealing with their areas of housing stress and which are able to demonstrate that they have the resources to do so. I hope, too, that they will programme the declaration of priority neighbourhoods and further general improvement areas.The following is a list of housing action area declarations notified to the Department up to 31st May 1975—England only.

Declaring AuthorityNumber of areas declared
Birmingham4
GLC1
Halton1
Haringey1
Kensington and Chelsea1
Newcastle-upon-Tyne7
Pendle1
Salford1
Sandwell1
Sheffield2
South Ribble2
Southwark1
Wandsworth1
Westminster1
Wolverhampton1

Housing Improvement

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has now decided how to allocate the additional resources which are to be made available for local authority house improvements during the current year.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) on 23rd May.—[Vol. 892, c. 682.]—Since then, further supplementary allocations have been made to a number of authorities, including the District Councils of North Norfolk and West Norfolk.

Employment

European Community Membership

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what evidence he has of the extent to which membership of the European Economic Community has resulted in the loss of jobs.

The provisional information about employment changes collected by my Department shows a decline in the number of jobs in manufacturing industry but does not show reasons for the decline.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish from international sources avail-

RATES OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE U.S.A., JAPAN AND THE COUNTRIES IN EFTA AND IN THE EEC
1975 later information where available
NoteJanuary 1974January 1975(month in brackets)
(Per cent.)
United Kingdom2 (i)2·73·33·7 (May)
U.S.A15·69·09·1 (March)
Japan11·42·02·1 (February)
Belgium2 (ii)4·15·76·2 (April)
Denmark34·813·912·2 (March)
France22·84·64·5 (March)
Germany Federal Republic of2 (iii)2·85·14·7 (April)
Ireland2 (vii)7·911·612·3 (February)
Italy1 (iv)3·03·1
LuxembourgNot available
Netherlands23·74·84·8 (April)
Finland1 (v)2·42·2
IcelandNot available
Norway21·11·2
Sweden1 (vi)2·91·91·5 (March)
SwitzerlandNot available
PortugalNot available
Austria22·72·82·2 (March)
Explanatory Notes:
1. Labour Force Sample Surveys.
2. Employment office statistics of registered unemployed.
3. Unemployment among insured members of trade union funds.
(i) Excludes persons temporarily laid off.
(ii) Wholly unemployed receiving insurance benefits.
(iii) Includes Berlin.
(iv) Figures relate to fourth quarter of 1973 and 1974 respectively.
(v) Persons aged 15 to 74 years.
(vi) Persons aged 16 to 74 years.
(vii) Excludes agriculture, fishing and private domestic services.
Sources:
United Kingdom—Department of Employment.
U.S.A., Japan, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Sweden and Austria—Main Economic Indicators (OECD).
France and later information for Belgium, Germany and Netherlands—Press Release, EEC Commission.
Norway and earlier information for Belgium, Germany and Netherlands—Bulletin of Labour Statistics, International Labour Office.

able to him and on as comparable a basis as possible, indicating major difference in calculation where necessary, estimates of the level of unemployment as a percentage of the working population, in January 1974, January 1975, and the latest month for which figures are now available, for the United States of America, Japan and the countries in EFTA and in the EEC.

The attached table gives the information which is available. It is regretted that the rates for Luxembourg, Iceland, Switzerland and Portugal are not available from international sources. It should be noted that the official percentage figures published in some countries are calculated in relation to total wage and salary earners rather than working population.

Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the working of the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. The Act requires employers to display their current certificate of insurance for the information of employees and this continues to be a satisfactory means of alerting the enforcing authorities to possible contraventions.Until 1st April 1975 the administration of the Act was dealt with by officials of the Department of Employment and these duties have, since that date, been transferred to officials of the Health and Safety Executive. The majority of complaints, relating to non-display of the certificate of insurance, have been and continue to be dealt with by correspondence.Since the Act came into force on 1st January 1972, two employers have been prosecuted for failing to take out the necessary insurance and two cases are under investigation at the moment. These low levels of non-compliance suggest that the aims of the Act are being fulfilled.

Manchester

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest unemployment figures for Manchester travel-to-work area and the percentage rate of unemployment; and what was the number of persons wholly unemployed and the percentage (a) six months ago and (b) 12 months ago.

Following is the information:

NUMBERS UNEMPLOYED AND PERCENTAGE RATES OF UNEMPLOYMENT TN THE MANCHESTER TRAVEL-TO-WORK AREA
NumberPer cent.
May 197525,8603·7
November 197420,4012·9
May 197417,7242·5

Petroleum Keeping (Licensing)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether any local authorities have informed him that their resources are inadequate properly to operate the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928.

I am advised by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that no indication has been given to the commission that any local authority regards its resources as inadequate to carry out its functions under the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many appeals his Department received in each of the past five years under Section 3 of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928; and how many were upheld.

I am advised by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that appeals under Section 3 of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 made during the years 1970 to 1974 inclusive were as follows:

YearAppealsUpheld
19702310
197152
197294
1973113
197412
The Health and Safety Commission assumed responsibility for the administration of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 on 1st January 1975. The figures above relate to a period during which responsibility for the administration of the Act lay with the Home Office.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many prosecutions have been made under Section 1 of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 in each of the past five years.

Prosecutions under Section 1 of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act 1928 are made by the local authorities responsible for licensing under that section. I am advised by the Chairman of the Commission that no central record of prosecutions is maintained and he is, therefore, unable to supply the information sought by my hon. Friend.

Dangerous Substances (Storage)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the progress of discussions with local authorities concerning the storage of potentially dangerous substances.