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Written Answers

Volume 894: debated on Monday 23 June 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 23rd June 1975

Industry

Diesel Engines

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has completed discussions with firms in the automotive industry on measures to promote energy saving by greater use of diesel engines.

Shipbuilding

asked the Secretary of State for Industry which shipbuilding yards in, respectively, England, Scotland, Wales and Ulster have gone bankrupt since 1970; how much public money granted or loaned towards the cost of vessels under construction at the time of bankruptcy was lost in each year, as a result of the bankruptcy; and how much money towards the cost of building vessels then under construction was lost from private sources.

The following shipbuilding companies have gone into liquidation since 1970:

England

  • Ryton Marine.
  • Bideford Shipyard Ltd.
  • Porthleven Shipyard Ltd.
  • Whitehall Shipyard Ltd.

Scotland

  • Argyll Ship and Boatbuilding Co. Ltd
  • Smith & Hutton (Boatbuilders) Ltd.
  • Bute Ship Dock Co. Ltd.
  • Upper Clyde Shipbuilders.
  • Burntisland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

Northern Ireland and Wales: None.

Apart from a sum of £1,836 paid in 1974, which may still be recovered, no public money granted or loaned towards the cost of vessels under construction has been lost. I regret that I am unable to provide information about the losses from private sources.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what steps he intends to take to encourage capital investment in the British shipbuilding and ship repairing and marine engineering industry and so secure and maintain the British industries' expertise in the building and repairing of product tankers.

The Government are providing assistance under the Industry Act for several of the major investment projects currently being undertaken by British shipyards, including those which build product tankers. The planning of future investment in the shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engineering industries will be one of the first tasks of the new corporation proposed in the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what representations he has received from the Ship and Boatbuilders National Federation with regard to the orders, inquiries and employment situation; and what reply he has sent.

My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister of State has received a letter from the Ship and Boat-builders National Federation enclosing the results of a survey relating to orders, inquiries and employment in the boat-building industry in May 1975. He has asked the federation to continue to keep the Government informed of the situation in the industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what is the total amount of tonnage of product tankers on order in the world's shipyards; how many ships the tonnage represents; and if he will list orders by country;(2) if he will list in the

Official Report the tonnage and number of product tankers on order in each British shipyard;

(3) how many product tankers are on order in foreign shipyards for British owners;

(4) how many product tankers are on order in British shipyards for ( a) British shipowners and ( b) foreign shipowners.

Consistent information on orders for oil product tankers published in "The Motor Ship" quarterly survey "Ships on Order", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House, is summarised below:

OIL PRODUCT TANKERS REPORTED ON ORDER AT 31ST MARCH 1975
United Kingdom yardsForeign yardsAll yards
NumberNumberNumberDeadweight '000 tons
Ordered for:
United Kingdom Registration186
Foreign Registration2
All201474,785
Eleven are on order at Cammell Laird, six at Swan Hunter, two at Harland and Wolff and one at Scott Lithgow, with total deadweight tonnages of 518, 189, 132 and 32 thousand respectively.Abroad, 27 are on order in Norway, 26 in Sweden, 12 in Germany, 11 in Japan, nine in Italy, eight in the Netherlands, seven in Yugoslavia, six each in Denmark and Finland, five in France, three each in Belgium and Pakistan, two in Canada and one each in Australia and Greece.The information may not be wholly accurate to the extent that shipbuilders delay reporting full details of orders and subsequent changes.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) how many large crude carriers on order in British shipyards have been cancelled by the shipbuilder; and how much compensation was paid in each case;(2) how many large crude carriers on order in foreign shipyards for British shipowners have been cancelled by the shipyards; and how much compensation was paid in each case;(3) how many large crude carriers on order in foreign shipyards for British shipowners have been cancelled by the shipowner; and how much compensation was paid in each case;(4) how many large crude carriers, on order in British shipyards, have been cancelled by (

a) British shipowners and ( b) foreign shipowners; and how much compensation has been paid to each shipbuilder.

The available information is that the only three crude carriers of over 200,000 deadweight tons for United Kingdom registration which were cancelled between April 1974 and March 1975 were on order in United Kingdom yards and were cancelled by the shipbuilders. No such carriers ordered for foreign registration in United Kingdom yards were cancelled. The amount of compensation is a matter for the commercial judgment of the parties involved. Figures are not available. Cancellations are notified in the quarterly supplement "World Ships On Order" to "Fairplay International", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Research

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much has been spent by his Department on research in each of the last four years, breaking this sum down into the amounts spent in Scotland, England and Wales, respectively.

Expenditure on research and development by the Department of Industry and its predecessor Departments in the four years 1971–72–1974–75 was as follows:

£m at outturn prices
1971–721972–731973–741974–75 (Provisional)
123·6128·0137·7158·.9
Records of this expenditure are kept only on a United Kingdom basis, and I regret, therefore, that the breakdown requested is not available.

First And Second Class Mail

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proportion of letters were posted first and second class, respectively, in 1973, 1974 and since 17th March 1975.

The Post Office informs me that the proportions were as follows:

First Class Per cent.Second Class Per cent.
1972–7346·153·9
1973–7446·653·4
1974–7546·253·8
I am not in a position to give comprehensive figures of the proportions posted since 17th March. The figures available, based on statistical sampling methods, cover the period 31st March to 3rd May when the proportions were first class, 44·4 per cent., and second class, 55·6 per cent.

Boatbuilding

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the effect, as so far indicated, of the higher rate of VAT on the boatbuilding industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what has been the effect so far of the higher rate of VAT on boats and their accessories on orders, inquiries and employment; and if he will take steps designed to stabilise the situation in the industry.

It is not yet possible to make an accurate assessment of the effects of the higher rate of VAT on the boatbuilding industry, but my Department is in close touch with the Ship and Boatbuilders National Federation and the situation will be kept under review.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the decline in home sales in the boatbuilding industry in the first three months of 1975.

I understand that surveys conducted by the industry show a falling trend in home sales during the first three months of 1975, but I regret that there are no comprehensive statistics available yet on which to base a statement.

Hs146 Aircraft

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will review the HS146 project with a view to recommencing full-scale work at the earliest possible time.

My right hon. Friend made a statement on the HS146 in the House on 9th December. Subsequently he set up a Tripartite Working Group, including the trades unions, Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd. and departmental officials to prepare advice on the future of the project. They have now prepared a report which will be carefully considered. The Government policy as stated on 9th December keeps options open for the future, and a small programme of work has been authorised at HSA to ensure that full-scale work could restart smoothly at a future date if that is decided.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will consult with employees and union representatives from Hawker Siddeley concerning the HS146.

In reply to an earlier Question today about the HS146 I explained that recommendations were being prepared by a Tripartite Working Group including the trades unions. The trades union delegation, selected by the CSEU, included employees and union representatives from the factories of Hawker Siddeley Aviation Limited concerned with the project.

Hawker Siddeley (Air Demonstration)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will attend the air demonstration of Hawker Siddeley at Woodford on 28th June 1975.

The Secretary of State for Industry does not expect to be able to attend.

European Community Grants And Loans

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what action is presently taken by his Department to draw to the attention of companies the financial facilities available to industry from the EEC; and if he will take steps to publish the availability of such financial assistance as widely as possible in future.

Details of loans available to industry from the European Investment Bank and the ECSC are widely publicised through, for example, the Department's booklet "Incentives in Industry in the Areas for Expansion", and my Department will continue to take every opportunity to make these facilities known to industry.

North-East England

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the percentage increase or decrease in manufacturing in the North-East Development Area when comparing 1973 with 1970; and if he will make a statement on the prospects for that area in 1975 and 1976.

The decrease in manufacturing employment between 1970 and 1973 in the Northern Standard Planning region was 3·2 per cent. This figure, however, may be misleading as an indicator of the change in the level of manufacturing activity unless taken in conjunction with statistics relating to net output by region, but these are not yet available beyond 1971. Since the whole of the region has either development or special development area status, the Government are able to offer the full range of measures to help attract new employment to the area.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the amount of public money expended during each of the last three years to encourage the movement of industry to the North-East Development Area.

Information in the form requested is not available, but annual amounts of expenditure on regional preferential assistance in the Northern Development Area for the latest available three-year period were:

£ million
1971–721972–731973–74
817192
All expenditure is gross.Regional preferential expenditure on some small items has been excluded because it cannot be broken down by area. No account has been taken of the differential value of tax allowances which were available at various times during the period.

Investment

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to encourage a high rate of private investment in United Kingdom manufacturing industries.

One of the main aims of the Government's economic and industrial strategy is to encourage a high rate of private investment in United Kingdom manufacturing industries and to stimulate the most efficient use of present and future investment.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what studies his Department has made into reasons for low private investment in United Kingdom manufacturing industries, as compared with other industrial countries.

The economists in the Department of Industry have undertaken a considerable amount of work comparing investment in manufacturing in the United Kingdom with that in other major industrial countries. They have concluded that in relation to manufacturing output and growth in the United Kingdom manufacturing investment has not been low by general international standards. The causes of the United Kingdom's low economic growth relative to that of our competitors are a matter of deep concern and are under constant study in the Department.Total investment in manufacturing as a proportion of manufacturing net output for the period 1953–71 is given in the table below:

Investment in manufacturing as a proportion of net output in manufacturing
1953–71
Japan22·8
France*13·9
Italy‡19·5
USA10·8
United Kingdom13·1
Germany FR11·9
Notes.—* Manufacturing construction; † 1956–71; ‡ Manufacturing, mining and quarrying, construction, electricity, gas and water.
Sources: OECD National Accounts for all countries except Germany. Germany FR: Deutsches Institut füur Wirtschaftforschung, Berlin.These figures refer to manufacturing investment in the long term rather than in any part of the cyle. There is currently an investment recession in the United Kingdom.

Regional Policy

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what progress he expects to make in 1975 with the EEC Commissioner for regional policy.

There are frequent contacts between my Department and the Commission about regional policy. From time to time I shall doubtless be in touch personally with Mr. Thomson.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what aspects of present United Kingdom regional policy will need to be changed to comply with the powers and procedures of EEC policy.

European Community Directives

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many directives from the European Economic Community have affected the practice of industry in the United Kingdom; and what advice he has issued on these directives since 1st January.

It is estimated that the European Community had just under 200 directives in force at the end of March 1975, covering areas such as commercial policy, customs, transport and technical standards. It would not be feasible to estimate how many of these might specifically or indirectly affect the practice of industry. Very few directives are the direct responsibility of my Department. My Department provides information and advice to Parliament and to industry and commerce on Community legislation as necessary.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the EEC regulations and directives relating to regional policy, together with draft regulations and directives on regional policy in force.

In pursuance of Community regional policy the EEC Council of Ministers has made the following regulations:

Regulation (EEC) No. 724/75 of 18th March 1975 establishing a European Regional Development Fund;
Financial Regulation (75/184/Euratom, ECSC, EEC) of 18th March 1975 relating to the Regional Development Fund.
No directive has been made to this end.No draft regulation or directive has legislative force.

Northern Region

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many inquiries his Department has received since 1st January 1974 from EEC companies contemplating new projects in the development areas of the Northern Region.

My Department's Regional Office in Newcastle has received 19 inquiries since 1st January 1974 from EEC companies other than United Kingdom companies contemplating new projects in the Northern Region.

Wool

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report the details of the case which he has presented to the European Commission on the need to conclude agreements with low-cost producers of wool textile goods to limit the level of imports into the United Kingdom, and details of the position adopted by the Commission indicating the outstanding differences.

The United Kingdom wool textile industry, which exports its products worldwide and makes a major contribution to the United Kingdom balance of trade, has not put forward a case for limiting imports of wool textile goods from low-cost producers. Imports from State trading countries are already controlled by quotas. In consequence the question of the United Kingdom putting a case to the EEC Commission has not arisen.

Timber

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what steps he proposes to take to reduce the present high cost of imports of timber and timber products.

Timber and timber products are international commodities whose price is set by world supply and demand. The United Kingdom is not self-sufficient in this area, and our ability to influence world prices is, therefore, extremely limited. Imports in 1975 are, however, expected to fall appreciably.

Alfred Herbert Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the Government's guarantee of £5 million of the bank overdraft of Alfred Herbert Ltd. has been granted under Section 8 of the Industry Act 1972.

Environment

Roads (Greater Manchester)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the approximate completion year at the current annual rate of expenditure of the trunk road programme for the Greater Manchester area;(2) if, following Circular 43/75 asking county councils to express their programmes in quantitative terms so they can be properly assessed and progress towards the objectives monitored, he will indicate the trunk road programme for the Greater Manchester area in such terms, including the principal road schemes which the Greater Manchester Council has asked him to adopt as trunk roads.

Trunk road schemes in the Greater Manchester area form part of the national road programme. The broad objectives of the national programme and the proposed annual levels of expenditure are set out in the Government's public expenditure plans for the years 1974–75 to 1978–79 (Cmnd 5879) as amended by the Budget Statement of 15th April. On present plans the trunk road schemes in the Manchester area should be completed by the early 1980s. No decision has been reached on the two schemes proposed for trunking by Greater Manchester Council and it is therefore premature to say what priority would be given to them in the national programme if they were to be accepted.

Council Housing Estates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in view of difficulties experienced by tenants on corporation estates established in adjacent authority areas, whether he will hold an inquiry with a view to recommending improvements in the administration of such housing developments.

I recognise that special problems can arise for the tenants of these estates and I am anxious that the local authorities concerned should do their utmost to make arrangements in relation to their management to ensure satisfactory representation of the interests of tenants. I understand that the Manchester City Council has had discussions with the local authorities in whose areas it owns estates and that arrangements acceptable to the authorities have been agreed in at least one case. If the hon. Member wishes to let me know what particular difficulties he has in mind I shall be glad to consider them.

Tied Housing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the number of units of tied or service accommodation provided by British Rail and the number of quarters vacant at 31st March 1975.

This is a matter within the management responsibility of the British Railways Board which says that it has 2,064 such units, 157 of which were vacant on 31st March this year.

Tyres

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether, in view of the recent bus accident causing fatalities and due to a burst tyre, he will cause investigations as to whether burst-proof tyres cannot now be supplied for all public transport;(2) in view of recent fatalities caused by burst tyres, if he will take steps to encourage local authorities to use burst-proof tyres for all public transport.

My Department follows closely any developments in the production of tyres that would improve safety on the roads, but there are formidable technical problems in designing and manufacturing burst-proof tyres for vehicles as heavy as most of those used for public transport, and I am not aware that any tyres of this kind are yet in production.

Vehicle Towing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will ban loose towing on motorways.

My right hon. Friend has no proposals for such a ban, but I shall certainly consider the need for one in the light of any evidence that the hon. Member may produce.

Planning And Local Government Research

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much his Department has spent on planning and local government research in each of the last four years, breaking this sum down into the amounts spent in Scotland, England and Wales, respectively.

The total spent on research into planning and local government in 1972–73, 1973–74 and 1974–75 was £0·90 million, £1·09 million and £1·91 million, respectively. There is no precisely comparable figure for 1971–72—the year in which DOE was formed and its present research requirements machinery set up—but a breakdown of spending for that year in terms as closely comparable as possible produces a corresponding figure of £0·42 million. Most of this work is concerned with problems which arise throughout the United Kingdom, and a precise breakdown in terms of respective amounts spent in respect of England, Scotland and Wales would be extremely difficult. I shall, however, write to the hon. Member about this as soon possible.

A63, Hessle (Footbridge)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is aware that the construction of the footbridge over the A63 at Hessle has again been delayed; and if he will make a statement.

The contractors have experienced difficulty in obtaining suitable steel sections for this footbridge, which I regret will now not be ready until the autumn.

M62 (Pollington—Goole)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment on what date he expects the Pollington to Goole section of the M62 motorway to be opened.

Tarporley And Eaton (Bypass)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when plans for a Tarporley and Eaton bypass will be announced.

Details of a proposed bypass of the A51 Chester—Nantwich route through Tarporley will be announced next week. It may be possible to deal with the A49 traffic through Tarporley and the B5152 traffic through Eaton at a later date but it is unlikely that funds will be available in the near future.

Cavity Wall Insulation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take action to facilitate the process of cavity wall insulation in view of the recent drop in orders.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies given to Questions by the hon. Members for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Mr. Cant) and Cheadle (Mr. Normanton) on Thursday 19th June 1975.—[Vol. 893, c. 513 and 514.]

Hit-And-Run Motor Accidents

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people suffered personal injury from hit-and-run motor accidents in the last full year.

Disabled Drivers

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now make available to disabled drivers from Scotland who visit London the same relief from parking restrictions as is given to disabled drivers from London who visit Scotland.

Disabled drivers from Scotland cannot be given exactly the same relief because unlimited waiting on yellow lines is allowed in Scotland but not in England and Wales, and because parts of central London with special traffic problems are excluded from the national scheme. These are the Cities of London and Westminster, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and part of the borough of Camden, all of which operate schemes for disabled people who live or work in their areas. Elsewhere in London holders of an "Orange Badge" may park without charge or time limit at parking meters, without time limit where limited waiting is allowed, and, by displaying a special orange parking disc, they may park for up to two hours on yellow lines, except in a bus lane or where a loading ban operates.

House Building Costs

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average cost of building a two-bedroomed and a three-bedroomed council house in the Leek parliamentary constituency at the present time.

The hon. Member should be able to get specific information about individual costs from the local authority.

Water And Sanitation (West Lancashire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many dwellings in the area of the West Lancashire District Council are (a) without running hot and cold water, (b) without inside lavatories and (c) without bathrooms, respectively.

The available information from the 1971 Census is as follows:

Dwellings without a hot water supply1,310
Without a flush toilet with entrance inside the building3,075
Without a fixed bath or shower2,025

European Community Directives

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many directives from the European Economic Community have affected the practice of local government authorities in England and Wales; and what advice he has issued in these directives since 1st January.

I regret that no figures are available. Various Government Departments are concerned with local authority functions and each is responsible for giving guidance, if required, on its own subjects. But few Community directives have necessitated the issue of advice to local authorities. No such guidance has been found necessary by my own Department since 1973, when two circulars were issued about the advertisement of public works contracts.

Bursledon

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the cash shortage facing the Greater London Council and of his advice to local authorities to exert a tighter control on public expenditure, he will refuse loan sanction to the Greater London Council to proceed with its plans to develop a 48-acre site in the parish of Bursledon, Hampshire, bounded by Hamble Lane and Lowford Hill.

The GLC has powers under its Money Act and does not require loan sanction. It will, however, be submitting details of the scheme to my Department for payment of subsidy, and provided the scheme meets established design standards and is within housing cost yardstick limits there is no reason why subsidy approval should not be forthcoming. My right hon. Friend has made clear that the proposed cuts in housing capital expenditure in 1976–77 will not be found from the house building programme.

Waste Disposal Sites (Warwickshire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the quantity and nature of the notifiable waste substances dumped on each of the waste sites in Warwickshire during the last 12 months;(2) if he will list in the

Official Report the number, location and ownership of toxic waste dumps in Warwickshire.

This information is not available in my Department, as the maintenance of records for individual sites is a matter for the appropriate waste disposal authorities, who have to be notified of the deposit of hazardous waste under the Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act 1972.

Mortgages

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress he has made in his efforts to find a solution to the problem of the high interest rates obtaining for local authority mortgages; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the points that my right hon. Friend made in answer to supplementary questions arising out of the Question by the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) on Wednesday 11th June—[Vol. 893, cols. 405–7].

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much noise was given of new Government restrictions on the level of mortgage advances made by local councils; and what he intends to do about those councils which have already exceeded these limits.

A circular announcing the restriction on local authority lending for house purchase to 50 per cent. of last year's advances was issued on 9th June 1975, following consultations with the local authority associations. Those local authorities who had at that time already exceeded the new limit on their home loans will be permitted to borrow sufficient funds to enable them to meet outstanding commitments as defined in the circular.

Kensington Palace

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated cost of the restoration and renovation of the north wing of Kensington Palace; and if he will give details of the expenditure involved.

This part of the palace suffered severe war damage not so far made good and its condition has now deteriorated so far as to give cause for serious concern about the effects on the historic structure both of this and other parts of the palace. Accordingly a programme of work—estimated to cost £500,000—has been put in hand to rebuild structural walls, roofs and floors, to treat dry rot, to restore carved timber and fine plasterwork of the surviving historic interiors, and to re-provide essential services.

Housing Finance (Southend Council's Scheme)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the Southend Borough Council about its housing advances scheme; if he will grant its request to make an extended allocation to cover commitments as defined in Circular 6565 and also for an additional allocation on account of advances to staff and advances to persons who show that they cannot get assistance from a building society; and if he will also permit the council to operate a guarantee scheme in accordance with Section 45 of the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1958.

My Department will be informing the Southend Borough Coun- cil that I am prepared to sanction further borrowing to cover sums unavoidably committed in excess of the limit set by Circular 64/75. The question of an additional allocation will need to be considered in the light of the situation nationally. I can give no assurance about the operation of a guarantee scheme until details of the proposals have been examined, and my Department is in touch with the council on this matter.

Roads (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the central Government expenditure on trunk roads in England in each year from 1955 to 1975.

Following is the information:

Financial YearExpenditure £ million
1955–5611·1
1956–5715·3
1957–5819·1
1958–5937·5
1959–6045·5
1960–6142·0
1961–6249·3
1962–6372·2
1963–6489·3
1964–65106·5
1965–66100·9
1966–67113·3
1967–68133·0
1968–69142·3
1969–70195·1
1970–71255·4
1971–72225·2
1972–73242·9
1973–74311·0
1974–75324·1*
*Provisional figure.

M1 (Kirkhamgate-Dishforth)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the needs case for extending the M1 motorway from Kirkhamgate to Dishforth.

There is no good quality road connecting the M1 and the M62 south of Leeds with the North-East. In consequence, traffic uses a number of unsuitable roads passing through cities, towns and villages. A new road is therefore urgently required. These factors are fully described in the consultative document, which sets out four possible routes and which has been widely distributed in the area.

Disabled Persons (Housing)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will advise local authorities to use their powers to reduce the required standard, where appropriate in special cases, in respect of applications for improvement and intermediate grants for dwellings for disabled occupants; and if he will make a statement.

In DOE circular 160/74 local authorities were recommended to use their powers to waive or reduce the requirements for both intermediate and improvement grants in any individual case where they were satisfied that there were good reasons for doing so. I certainly expect local authorities freely to exercise their discretion in this respect in dealing with applications for the renovation of dwellings with disabled occupants.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if local authorities have been empowered under Section 56(4) of the Housing Act 1974 to make improvement and intermediate grants in respect of dwellings for a disabled occupant which were erected after 2nd October 1961; what plans he has to issue a direction; and if he will make a further statement.

I do not think it right that certain amendments made during the passage of what is now the Housing Act 1974 should adversely affect the way in which dwellings may be made suitable for the accommodation, welfare or employment of a disabled occupant or for the provision of accessible standard amenities. My right hon. Friend, therefore, proposes shortly to issue by means of a circular a general direction under Section 56(4) of the Act, under which local authorities will be able to entertain applications for improvement and intermediate grants for dwellings for disabled occupants regardless of the date they were built.

Energy

Double Summer Time

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, as part of his policy to save energy, he will introduce Double Summer Time.

No. Any energy savings would be small and would not in my view offset the penalties.

Conservation

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to announce his next proposals for energy conservation, to follow the interim measures of last December.

My right hon. Friend will study carefully this Department's ongoing programme for energy conservation, to which he attaches great importance. He will announce further measures at the appropriate time.

Power Stations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) how many applications for planning consent or investment consent for new coal-fired and oil-fired power stations, respectively, are now being considered by him;(2) which coal-fired and oil-fired power stations, respectively, have received planning consent but await financial consent.

The Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) has applied for consent under Section 2 of the Electric Lighting Act 1909, together with deemed planning permission under Section 40(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, for four proposed oil-fired power stations. No applications have been made for new coal-fired power stations.The above consent and deemed planning permission but not investment approval has been given for the following power stations:

Killingholme, Lincs., Inswork Point, Cornwall: oil-fired.
Drax B, Yorkshire, West Burton B, Notts: coal-fired.

Electricity Generation Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the price margin between oil and coal for power generation and industrial under-boiler heating in view of the Prime Minister's statement that the prices are now evenly matched.

In respect of the cost of fuel for electricity generation, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer he received on 12th May 1975. The prices of fuel, oil and coal for industrial use for the first quarter of 1975 show that while on average coal is about 20 per cent cheaper than oil, there is a significant overlap between high cost coal and lower cost oil.

Celtic Sea Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress has been made in oil exploration in the Celtic Sea; and if he will make a statement.

To date two wells have been drilled in licensed areas of the United Kingdom part of the Celtic Sea but no discoveries have been made. It is now unlikely that further exploration drilling will take place this year. Thus licensees will have rather more than two years in which to complete the drilling obligations prescribed in their licences: the expectation is that these will be fulfilled.

Fuel Consumption

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will now review the measures for cutting fuel consumption and reducing dependence upon imported oil.

The Government's strategy for reducing dependence on imported oil depends primarily on the development of our indigenous energy resources, but measures to reduce fuel consumption can make an important contribution and they are constantly under review in my Department.

Oil Refining

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what recent estimate his Department has made of (a) the oil refining requirement and (b) the oil refining capacity in the United Kingdom during 1975 and each of the subsequent 10 years.

United Kingdom net refining capacity at the end of 1974 was about 130 million tons per annum, compared to a throughput of 110 million tons in that year, and a surplus of capacity is expected to persist in 1975 and 1976. Some expansions at existing refineries can be expected, but the main propects for increased capacity are new refinery projects in the Thames Estuary and Cromarty Firth, which have either received planning permission or been the subject of public inquiries. If most of these developments go ahead, total net capacity is expected to be of the order of 150 million tons per annum in the early 1980s, which should be sufficient to meet our own needs and provide for some exports of refined products. My Department is in continuing discussion with the oil companies about their refining plans.

Uranium

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many British-registered companies are engaged in exploring for and mining uranium salts abroad; and what percentage of free world reserves of uranium is available to the United Kingdom through these companies.

No full list is available, but three major mining companies or finance corporations have some interests in these fields. In some countries where uranium is found there are disposal restrictions in favour of local requirements, but subject to this uranium is traded on a world market basis and output from mines owned or partly owned by British companies is not necessarily sold to the United Kingdom.

North Sea Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are his latest estimates of the output from North Sea oil by 1980, in the light of the latest drilling results.

Estimates of total oil production in 1980 of 100 million-130 million tons were given to Parliament in the previous Secretary of State's Report on Offshore Oil and Gas Development presented on 14th April 1975. The figures included an allowance for possible 1980 oil production from other discoveries likely to be made in the rest of 1975.

North Sea Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he proposes to set up the commission to study the development of associated gas in North Sea oil fields; and if he will indicate its terms of reference, membership and anticipated date of report.

My right hon. Friend does not propose to set up a commission but to comission an independent feasibility study as the previous Secretary of State said in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen), on 20th May—[Vol. 892, cols. 333–4]. Terms of reference are at present prepared and my right hon. Friend hopes early next month to invite selected consultants to submit tenders. It is too early to forecast the date of the consultants' report.

European Policy

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with United Kingdom interests on EEC common energy policy; and if he will make a statement about the implications of North Sea oil.

My Department has regular consultations on proposals for EEC common energy measures both with the nationalised industries in the fuel sector and with appropriate firms in the private sector. Consultations of this kind are normal in the formulation of all aspects of energy policy. On the implications of North Sea oil, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Farnworth (Mr. Roper)—[Vol. 891, c. 330.]. I would of course always be ready to consider any ways in which these consultations could be improved.

Oil Allocation Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the current state of readiness of the IEA to implement its oil allocation scheme.

I understand that the IEA scheme is ready for implementation when necessary, although some details still need to be settled. The United Kingdom continues to play a full part in working out the arrangements.

Oil-Related Projects (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress is being made by his Department in spreading oil-related projects throughout the North-East of Scotland and away from the already con- gested areas around Aberdeen and Peterhead.

Many oil-related projects require to be sited in areas which satisfy certain criteria—good transportation facilities, housing, availability of labour, easy access to the sea and a developed urban infrastructure. In the North-East of Scotland, Aberdeen and Peterhead have been well placed to meet these requirements, but oil-related development has also taken place in other areas, such as Montrose, Dundee, Inverness and Fraserburgh. In addition, a firm of consultants has reported in detail on the prospects of Wick and Thurso in Caithness.

Wales

A55 Coast Road

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the timetable for the completion of raising the A55 coast road in North Wales to dual carriageway standard.

About 12 miles of dual carriageway have been built or are under construction. A further 45 miles are planned. Progress will depend on the satisfactory completion of statutory procedures and the availability of funds.

Road Works

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what effects he estimates cuts in expenditure will have on road works in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Priority will be given to building the M4, and, subject to satisfactory tenders being received, some 30 miles of this motorway will be under construction at the end of this year. The starting dates of other schemes are being reviewed in the light of the resources available, but, apart from the Britannia Bridge scheme, progress within the next 18 months is likely to be confined to some schemes costing less than £1 million.

A5, Llangollen

asked the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects road improvement works to be carried out on the A5 trunk road in the vicinity of the golf links at Llangollen, Clwyd.

These works are to be carried out at the same time as an improvement of the trunk road east of Fron near Froncysyllte. Work will start as soon as the outstanding statutory procedures have been completed and financial resources can be made available.

Local Authority Staff Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) which county authority in Wales has the highest staff costs on a per capita basis;(2) which district authority in Wales has the highest staff costs on a per capita basis.

Information about local authority staff costs is published annually in "Local Government Financial Statistics". The information which the hon. Member seeks, however, is not expected to be available until next year.

Roads (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the central Government expenditure on roads in Wales in each year from 1955 to 1975.

The information is as follows:

YearExpenditure
1955–563·9*
1956–573·7*
1957–584·8*
1958–595·1*
1959–606·3*
1960–617·0*
1961–627·8*
1962–639·5*
1963–6412·2*
1964–6516·2*
1965–6616·8
1966–6719·2
1967–6814·7
1968–6914·3
1969–7015·9
1970–7121·0
1971–7230·1
1972–7333·4
1973–7432·8
1974–7533·6
1975–7647·9†
* These figures are estimates since precise figures are not available prior to 1965·66.
† Estimate.
The figures are not comparable throughout because there have been changes in the system of assisting local authorities over the period.

Agriculture

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what effects he estimates cuts in expenditure will have on the agricultural industry in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

The planned level of public expenditure for 1976–77 as set out in the White Paper on Public Expenditure to 1978–79 (Cmnd. 5879) entails no reduction in forecast expenditure on agricultural grants and subsidies and will not, therefore, bear directly on the agricultural industry in Wales. There will be some reduction in the funds allocated to the Welsh National Water Development Authority for its arterial drainage programme, which includes both urban and agricultural projects. It is for that authority to decide its own priorities.

Livestock Subsidies

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the level of payments permitted under the EEC Less Favoured Areas Directive; how this compares with the current rates of hill subsidies and payments; and what conclusions he has reached on his policy in this matter.

I have been asked to reply.Livestock subsidies are limited to 50 u.a. per livestock unit and per hectare, equivalent to £26·07 per cow and £3·91 per sheep and £10·31 per acre. Investment assistance is limited to a 7 per cent. interest rate subsidy, equivalent to a capital grant of about 40 per cent. for land improvement and buildings, with further payments available at national expense.Hill cow subsidy in the United Kingdom is paid at the rate of £24·50 per cow with a maximum of one cow per four acres, equivalent to £6·13 per acre. It is expected that hill sheep subsidy will be paid, at a basic rate of £2·85 per ewe and a maximum rate of £3·60 per ewe, or £9 per acre, on flocks qualifying. Investment assistance in the United Kingdom takes the form of capital grants, at a variety of rates, compatible with the limits of the Directive.I hope to announce, in the autumn, plans for putting the Directive into effect.

Education And Science

School Classes (Size)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of classes in primary schools in the Leek parliamentary constituency has 40 or more pupils; and how this compares with each of the past five years.

This information is not compiled for individual parliamentary constituencies in my Department. The following figures relate to the Staffordshire education authority in the last five years before the reorganisation of local government on 1st April 1974:

JanuaryPercentage of classes in maintained primary schools with more than 40 pupils
197012·0
19716·8
19723·1
19732·9
19743·1
The Staffordshire Local Education Authority may have this information on a constituency basis.

Children (Special Schools)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the number of maladjusted pupils in (a) special schools or units for the maladjusted child, and (b) in ESN and other schools in England in each of the last five years; and what are his plans for encouraging local education authorities to develop the number of schools and units for the maladjusted child.

From 1970 to 1974 the number of maladjusted children in special schools and units in England was as follows:

YearSpecial Schools for Maladjusted ChildrenOther Special Schools and Units
19704,4953,383
19714,8574,983
19725,4195,362
19736,0295,920
19746,5176,901
In the round of regional conferences on special education now taking place provision for the maladjusted is one of the main issues which local education authorities are being asked to consider on a regional basis.

Pre-School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many 16-year-old children who are not due to leave school until the end of the present term are not attending school at the present time.

Comprehensive Schools (New Entrants)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidelines his Department is laying down for local education authorities engaged in the transition to a fully comprehensive system with regard to the placement of new entrants to comprehensive schools; and if he is satisfied with the working of those guidelines so far.

The allocation of school places is a matter for local education authorities. Parents who are aggrieved by the operation of a local allocation procedure may complain to my right hon. Friend, who will consider such complaints in the light of the particular circumstances and the relevant provisions of the Education Acts.

Medical Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish the criteria of the UCCA with regard to advice to medical schools.

UCCA does not advise medical schools, but acts as a clearing house for those applying for undergraduate courses in universities. The council advises all candidates, including those wishing to study medicine, to ensure that they can satisfy both university and course requirements before applying. In addition, overseas candidates for medicine are advised to ensure that their chosen medical school will entertain their application, as some schools are unwilling to consider candidates who can study in their own country.

Correspondence Courses

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in view of the cut-back in discretionary grants forced on local education authorities by the economic situation, he will give encouragement to students to study for professional qualifications through correspondence courses by recognising appropriate courses as eligible for grant aid.

I do not think that it would be appropriate for me to give direct assistance to those private colleges which run such courses or to the students in question.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in view of the fact that about half of the people engaged in accountancy and banking have gained professional qualifications by correspondence courses, and the fact that home 160,000 students are studying for business qualifications by this method, he will consider adding to the Business Education Council someone with direct experience of correspondence education.

The Business Education Council already has appropriate experience available within this field, Mr. J. F. Phillips, its Vice-Chairman, is also a member of the Council for the Accreditation of Correspodence Colleges and will become chairman of that body next month.

Northern Ireland

Ballymena And Harryville

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the first stage of the redevelopment plan for Ballymena and Harryville will commence.

The inspector's report on the public inquiry into objections to the proposed order vesting land for the first stage of the redevelopment of Ballymena town centre is awaited and it is not possible to predict when work will commence.It is not yet clear whether after redevelopment land at Harryville will be required for industry or for housing. The Northern Ireland Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning is endeavouring to resolve this issue so that plans can be drawn up for redevelopment of the area.

Public Duties (Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why members of education boards and members of the Northern Ireland Housing Council are paid an attendance allowance for meetings when such an allowance is not payable to members of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

These are different types of bodies and different arrangements are appropriate.

Trade

Import Controls

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the provisions of the Treaty of Rome which relate to the introduction of import controls by a member country of the EEC; and if he will make a statement.

The main provisions of the Treaty of Rome relating to import controls are; Articles 30–37, which require the elimination of quantitative restrictions between member States; Articles 108 and 109, which concern balance of payments difficulties; and Articles 110–116 which concern commercial policy.

Japan

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make representations to the Japanese Government asking them to consider outlawing the registration of British geographical names as trade marks in view of the effect of their present practices on British trade.

Our embassy in Tokyo has made representations on the use of British geographical names as trade marks which the Japanese authorities have undertaken to consider carefully.

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total value of exports to and imports from Japan for each of the last three years for which figures are available.

During 1972, 1973 and 1974, imports were £315, £444 and £570 million cif and exports £173, £273 and £319 million fob, respectively.

Trade Figures

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the trade figures for the latest available date.

So far this year substantial progress has been made in reducing our overseas visible trade deficit. In the three months ended May 1975 our visible trade deficit was £424 million, seasonally adjusted, compared with £958 million in the previous three months. Trade in non-oil goods improved to show a surplus of £221 million compared with a deficit of £96 million while the deficit on trade in oil at £645 million was £217 million lower than in the previous three months.

Civil Aviation

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to announce the results of his review of civil aviation policy.

I would refer the hon. Member to the anwsers I gave today to Questions from the hon. Members for Chertsey and Walton (Mr. Pattie) and Chingford (Mr. Tebbit).

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he received the report on the civil aviation policy review; and whether he intends to publish it.

International Trade

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what discussions he has had recently in OECD regarding the balance of international trade; and if he will make a statement.

The international balance of payments situation was discussed at the meeting of Ministers of OECD countries, under the chairmanship of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which I attended on 29th May. The Ministers decided to renew for a further year the declaration which they adopted in May last year and under which they declared their determination to avoid introducing new restrictions on trade and other current account trans- actions. In accepting this declaration on behalf of the United Kingdom, I made it clear that I did so only on the understanding that the countries in a stronger economic position recognised the obligation to play their part by following sufficiently expansionary domestic policies so as to sustain international demand and to avoid making the problem for the deficit countries intolerable.

Textile Imports

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in view of Her Majesty's Government's rejection of the British Textile Confederation's plan, he has any alternative proposals for safeguarding the United Kingdom textile industry against unfair overseas imports.

I have nothing to add at present to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23rd May.—[Vol. 892, c. 1803–1821.]

Export Promotion

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will study the possibility of setting up a public export agency to promote markets not developed by private firms.

The idea of a public export agency or selling corporation is looked at from time to time. I am doubtful, however, that such a body could make a significant contribution in promoting exports, nor is it likely to attract the support of companies with worthwhile export potential given the services provided by export merchants, buying houses, the British Overseas Trade Board, banks, and the like.

British Caledonian Airways

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to make a statement on the future of British Caledonian Airways.

As I said in reply to earlier Question I shall make a statement to the House in due course on my conclusions on the review of civil aviation policy which my officials have recently completed. I shall deal with the future of British Caledonian Airways in that statement.

Pvc Leathercloth

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will take steps to reduce the level of imported PVC leathercloth.

Representatives of the industry recently met officials of my Department and the Department of Industry. They are now considering in the light of the advice they were given whether to submit a formal application for action against imports.

Research

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how much has been spent by his Department on research in each of the last four years, breaking this sum down into the amounts spent in Scotland, England and Wales, respectively.

Expenditure on research and development by the Department of Trade in the four years 1971–72–1974–75 was as follows:

£'000 at outturn prices
1971–721972–731973–741974–75 (Provisional)
305417392398
Records of this expenditure are not kept on a country basis, and I regret, therefore, that the breakdown requested is not available.

Commonwealth Countries

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what percentage of the United Kingdom's exports went to Commonwealth countries in each of the past three years.

Eighteen, 17 and 16 for 1972, 1973 and 1974 respectively. The 1972 figure excludes Bangladesh for which no separate information was available.

Trade Agreements

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the products, whether agriculture or industrial, concerning which the United Kingdom as a member of the EEC no longer has authority to conclude trade agreements with third countries.

The United Kingdom no longer has authority to conclude agree- ments with third countries covering trade questions, such as tariffs and quotas, which fall within the common commercial policy of the EEC. This applies whatever the products concerned. We are still free to conclude agreements covering questions, such as economic co-operation, which do not fall within the common commercial policy.

Oil Imports

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total volume of oil imports into the United Kingdom in 1973 and 1974; and what percentage of the total was derived, respectively, from each of the oil-producing countries.

Total imports of petroleum and petroleum products during 1973 and 1975 were 133 and 127 million tons respectively. The percentage distribution by country of consignment was as follows:

Per cent.
19731974
Saudi Arabia20·327·9
Kuwait15·713·7
Iran15·611·6
Libya8·97·0
Nigeria6·66·1
Qatar3·13·7
Venezuela3·43·1
Abu Dhabi2·03·3
Iraq1·82·5
Other Countries*22·621·1
* Includes goods consigned from, inter alia, Netherlands and the Irish Republic.

Tobacco

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what is the value in pounds sterling of United Kingdom imports of tobacco from the EEC for the last three years;(2) what is the value in pounds sterling of United Kingdom imports of tobacco from Commonwealth countries for the last three years.

Figures for tobacco and tobacco manufacturers are published under SITC(R) Division 12 in Table II of the December 1973 and December 1974 issues of the monthly "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom". Comparable figures for 1972 can be obtained from Table I in Volume I of the "Annual Statement of the Overseas Trade of the United Kingdom", but adjustments have to be made by adding the Irish Republic and Denmark to the EEC figures and by excluding Pakistan from the Commonwealth.

Concorde

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will arrange a series of Concorde landings and take-offs at Heathrow so that those living near the airport may assess the noise nuisance this aircraft will cause under normal airline service conditions.

No. A substantial number of Concorde flights to and from Heathrow are, however, planned to take place between July and September as part of the endurance flying programme. These flights will be monitored for noise purposes.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the latest figures for the landing and take-off noise of Concorde; and how these compare with the current generation of large jets in airline service.

I have been asked to reply.The manufacturers' latest estimate remains as quoted in the reply which my hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member on 17th December last. This is that Concorde's noise levels on certification at the increased weight of 400,000lb. will be 118 EPNdB on take-off and 115 EPNdB on landing. These compare with large jets currently in airline service as follows:

EPNdB
Take-offLanding
VC10110112
Boeing 707–320C114120
DC8–61115116
Boeing 747–200 B/F108107
Lockheed 10–1197103
DC 10–30104107

Bacon And Pork

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether duties on pork and bacon have ceased on United Kingdom adoption of the Community pigmeat regulation.

From 1st February 1973 the United Kingdom adopted the Community pigmeat régime in accordance with the provisions of Article 60 of the Act of Accession. The Import Duties (General) (No. 4) Order 1972 (S.I. 1972, No. 1909) operative from 1st February 1973 removed the import duties applicable to pork and bacon imports from both the EEC members and other countries. In certain circumstances these goods may be subject to levies in accordance with the pigmeat régime.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Tractors (Noise Levels)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied that adequate resources are available to the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering at Silsoe for the purposes of carrying out research into the reduction of noise levels on tractors, without loss of power; what support the Government are providing; and if he will make a statement.

I am satisfied with the adequacy of resources available to the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering for carrying out research into the reduction of noise levels on tractors. This study includes noise reduction at source in relation to engine design and rating. Also receiving consideration is the acoustic absorption of cabs, tractor and cab structural resonance, optimum mounting arrangements for cabs and investigation of acoustic materials. My Department supports the work under the arrangements for commissioning research and development with the Agricultural Research Council and in the current year expenditure is expected to be about £15,000.

Badgers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated total number of badgers, and the number killed officially over the past five years per annum for the purpose of containing the spread of tuberculosis to cattle.

No official estimate has been made of the badger population for any part of Great Britain. It is believed however, that the national population can be measured in terms of some hundreds of thousands. Up to the present time no badgers have been killed officially for the purpose of containing the spread of tuberculosis to cattle. A total of 1,181 carcases have, however, been received at Ministry laboratories for diagnostic examination since 1971; 457 of these were carcases of badgers that had died from natural causes or as a result of road accidents. Of the remainder, the majority were submitted by farmers, but a small proportion were obtained by Ministry officials.

Hydroponics

77.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department is sponsoring any research in hydroponic growing in the United Kingdom.

Yes. My Department has commissioned research on hydroponics with both the Agricultural Research Council and the Agricultural Development Advisory Service. Research is being carried out at the ARC's Glasshouse Crops Research Institute on the development of the nutrient film system of crop

1971–721972–731973–741974–75
£m.£m.£m.£m.
England and Wales5·46·714·619·5
Scotland0·10·50·50·5
5·57·215·120·0
1. It is not possible to show separate figures for England and Wales.
2. MAFF expenditure in Scotland covers the Torry Research Station (from 1st April 1972, prior to which date it was the responsibility of the Department of Trade and Industry) and the Lasswade Laboratory, Edinburgh.

Farming Bankruptcies

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, if he will list the number of bankruptcies in farming in the last 10 years to the end of 1974.

The number of bankruptcies—receiving orders administered—in agriculture in England and Wales during the last 10 years was:

1965204
1966234
1967232
1968174
1969225
1970214
1971193
1972108
197371
197493
Company liquidations are not included.I regret that similar figures are not available for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

production under protection to establish the correct cultural conditions for the main range of protected crops, particularly tomato. The system is also being used to investigate the interaction between the aerial and root environment and in particular those between air temperature, root temperature and nutrition. The technique is being further developed and evaluated by ADAS on a wider range of protected crops.

Research

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much his Department has spent on research in each of the last four years, breaking this sum down into the amounts spent in Scotland, England and Wales, respectively.

Expenditure by my Department during the last four years on research and development in agriculture, fisheries and food is estimated as follows:

Livestock Subsidies

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list by county and by acreage those areas in Great Britain which will be eligible for assistance under EEC Less Favoured Areas Directive; and whether such areas coincide with those farming areas currently eligible for hill subsidies.

The county lists are set out in EEC directive 75/276/EEC of 28th April 1975, which was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities dated 19th May 1975. As the list for Great Britain covers some 30 pages I will, with permission, send the hon. Member a copy; the publication in question is available in the Library of the House. All the existing areas eligible for the hill subsidies, totalling some 17¼ million acres, are included. No county acreage can be made available without disproportionate work and cost.

Horticulture (Glasshouse Sector)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is prepared to suggest to the Council of Ministers that the energy aid proposal in the Lardinois package of special measures for the glasshouse sector of horticulture be paid from FEOGA funds rather than at the discretion of Governments; and whether, in the event of this being left to the discretion of Governments, Her Majesty's Government will be prepared to comply with the Commission's authority to the full extent of 33⅓ per cent. of the increase in fuel costs since September 1973.

The payment from national funds of temporary fuel oil subsidies within specified limits and on certain conditions has been authorised by the Commission. The approval of the Council of Ministers is not required to confirm this authorisation. I am not prepared to suggest to the Council that it should request the Commission to submit proposals for a mandatory scheme of energy aid financed by FEOGA. It is not at present proposed to reintroduce the subsidy paid to British growers in 1974.

Import Duties

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further increases in import duties on foodstuffs imported into the United Kingdom are due to be made in 1975 under the Import Duties Act 1958 arising out of the Treaty of Accession with the EEC.

No further increases in import duties on foodstuffs are due in 1975 under the transitional arrangements laid down in the Treaty of Accession. Some changes in duty rates under other agreements, including the Lomé Convention, will be introduced on 1st July.

Civil Service

Pensions

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what has been the cost to the taxpayer of making Civil Service pensions inflation-proof under the terms of the Pensions Increase Act 1971 for each of the years 1972, 1973 and 1974; and what would be the cost for the current year assuming an inflation rate of no more than 25 per cent.

For figures relating to the 1972, 1973 and 1974 reviews I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) on 23rd April—[Vol. 890, c. 321–322.] In that reply I also said that the percentage increases to be given from 1st December 1975 will not be known until the end of July. However, assuming a 25 per cent. increase from 1st December, the annual cost of Civil Service pensions would rise by some £40 million. The cost to the taxpayer is less than these figures suggest since pensions are taxed as earned income.

Crown Courts, Bedford

asked the Attorney-General whether the repairs to, and the modernisation of, the cells and staff quarters of the Crown courts in Bedford have yet been completed.

I have been asked to reply.Work to improve the custody area of the Bedford Crown Court will begin on 18th August 1975 to enable the bulk of the work to be done during a three-week recess—18th August to 15th September 1975. The remainder will be completed by January 1976, the date given in the reply to the hon. Member's Question on the same subject on 27th March.—[Vol. 889, c. 292.]

Defence

Amble, Northumberland (Degaussing Station)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with plans for a naval degaussing station at Amble, Northumberland; and what bodies have been consulted about the proposal.

Plans are going ahead for the proposed degaussing dock at Warkworth Harbour, Amble. Discussions have already taken place with the Northumberland County Council, the Alnwick District Council, and the Warkworth Harbour Commissioners, and full consultations with these and other interested parties will continue as a normal part of the planning process.

Stationery And Printing Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the cost to public funds of the pamphlet "Defence—British Policy and the Rôle of the Services".

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of production and distribution of the pamphlet "Defence—British Policy and the Rôle of the Services", produced by the Ministry of Defence.

The pamphlet cost £1,764 for 35,000 copies—5·04 per copy. I have no estimate of distribution costs, but they would have been minimal.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide a breakdown in the Official Report for the £24,620,000 spent on stationery and printing under Programme 14.2 of the Defence Supply Estimates.

I have been asked to reply.The estimated expenditure from the Vote for Stationery and Printing, 1975–76, on behalf of Programme 1, Defence Budget is as follows:

Supplies Purchased£'000
Paper (excluding printing paper)5,350
General Office Supplies2,167
Books and Periodicals828
Office Machinery Purchase1,977
Office Machinery Hire and Maintenance3,949
Printing and Binding Procured
Printing Paper1,975
Printing and Binding8,573
Reprographic Services819
25,638
Less
Sales of publications etc.942
Sales of waste paper76
24,620

Expenditure Cuts

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how the £110 million cuts announced as part of the Budget will be divided between the Army, the Navy and the RAF, respectively.

Defence Sales Organisation

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the functions of the Defence Sales Office; what is the annual cost of staff salaries and other office expenses; and what is its revenue.

The functions of the Defence Sales Organisation are to promote defence exports within the policy laid down by the Government. The administration expenses in 1975–76 are estimated to be £2·9 million. The Defence Sales Organisation makes no charge for its services.

European Community

Council Of Ministers (Veto)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many times before and after United Kingdom entry the veto has been used by member States in the Council of Ministers; and if he will give details of dates and subjects involved.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those occasions since 1965 on which a member of the European Community has exercised a veto on the Council of Ministers.

In practice the Council has in recent years only rarely resorted to formal voting procedures—for example, when establishing the budget. The question of formal vetoes has not arisen, because the practice of the Council is to continue discussion of questions of policy until there is sufficient area of agreement to enable a consensus to emerge.

Economic And Political Union

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Comonwealth Affairs if he will list the United Kingdom and Common Market legislative obligations that would be incurred as a result of commitment to Common Market economic and political union.

There is no agreement among the Nine on what economic or political union might comprise. The legislative obligations which might eventually be incurred would depend on what new agreements might be reached among the member States.

Ministerial Meetings

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to meet the Foreign Secretaries of the EEC countries.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Rhine Navigation

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for how long a British representative has been appointed to the commission for the navigation of the River Rhine; and what are his duties.

Mr. Hattersley