Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 25th June 1975
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent consultations he has had with African leaders in Southern Africa regarding developments in that area.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about recent exchanges with Governments in Southern Africa.
I am in regular contact with many Governments in Southern Africa about developments in that area. Since the Kingston meeting I have also had discussions with Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Nkomo of the African National Council and Mr. Nujoma of SWAPO.As the House will know, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State is at this moment meeting African leaders in Mozambique.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will in future maintain records of the number of passports issued by consulates in each country to those claiming to have lost their original passport; and why this is not at present done.
No. I am not satisfied that the usefulness of such records justifies the labour and expense of collecting and collating the relevant informtaion.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the future relationship of Her Majesty's Government with the Seychelles.
The report on the Seychelles Constitutional Conference held in March 1975 sets out a proposed timetable leading to independence by 30th June 1976, subject to parliamentary approval. Both the major political parties which recently formed the Coalition Government in Seychelles desire early independence, under Her Majesty the Queen, within the Commonwealth.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received a request for further British financial aid for United Nations forces in the Middle East; and if he will make a statement.
The Security Council renewed the mandate of the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East for a further three months from 15th April 1975 and of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force for six months from 28th May 1975. The United Kingdom's assessment for this period, amounting to £526,000, has been paid within the last few days.
Indian Immigrants (Entry Permits)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any progress has been made towards reducing the time lag at the British High Commission in New Delhi between application and interview for entry permits to the United Kingdom.
No. The time lag at New Delhi between application and interview for settlement entry certificates has remained fairly constant during the first five months of the year at about 16 months. This is because an increase in the interview rate has been offset by the increase in new applications during this period.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what political criteria are applied in deciding whether to sell armaments to any particular country.
Circumstances differ and each case is considered on its merits.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will report on the work of the Hong Kong Medical and Health Department's new division to develop and co-ordinate programmes for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts.
The Narcotics and Drug Administration Division in the Hong Kong Medical and Health Department has now been in existence for some six months. It administers four outpatient methadone clinics and the Methadone Treatment Pilot Scheme and it has regular contact with other drug addiction treatment agencies in Hong Kong.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the arrangements for the visit by the Minister of State to Salisbury, Rhodesia.
Yes. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State is today in Mozambique. He will next visit South Africa and is then due to travel on to Salisbury and return to London next week.
European Armaments Agency
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to create a European Armaments Agency.
The Government are keen to promote co-operation in arms production and procurement both within the Alliance and among its European members. But much is already being done in this respect and we must be careful to avoid any duplication of the work of such existing bodies as the Eurogroup.
United Nations (Peace-Keeping Machinery)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will undertake a study with a view to bringing forward proposals for strengthening the peace-keeping machinery of the United Nations.
Her Majesty's Government participate fully in the work of the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. A paper describing Her Majesty's Government's views was put before the committee in September 1973.
Law Of The Sea Conference
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place since the end of the Geneva session of the Law of the Sea Conference with other countries and bodies on matters relevant to that conference.
The Government maintain close and frequent contact with bodies concerned with the Law of the Sea Conference. Regarding consultations with other countries, I would refer to my answer today to a Question by the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Knox).
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further consultations he has had with the Governments of Mauritius, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia regarding the intentions of the United States Government to build a military establishment on Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory; and whether they have indicated their approval.
Our agreement to the relatively modest expansion of the facilities at Diego Garcia which the United States Government enjoy, jointly with us, under an existing agreement takes account of all the relevant factors, including the views of our Commonwealth colleagues in the area.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those countries within the EEC whose national laws make illegal the coursing of hares.
pursuant to the reply [Official Report, 16th June 1975; Vol. 893. c. 320], supplied the following information:Hare coursing is illegal in Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany. It is legal in Belgium, Ireland and Italy. Hares are not coursed in France.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British subjects are currently being detained by the Uganda Government; and what recent representations the British Government have made on their behalf.
Mr. Hills is now the only British subject in detention in Uganda. I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my statements of 16th and 23rd June for what we have been doing on his behalf.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next proposes to meet EEC Foreign Ministers.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to attend a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the EEC.
At the next meeting of the Foreign Ministers' Council on 15th and 16th July. My right hon. Friend will be meeting the Italian Foreign Minister during my visit to Rome on 3rd and 4th July.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking through EEC institutions to ensure that India is not in a worse position in relation to the European Economic Community than those developing countries which are signatories to the Lomé Convention.
We shall continue to press the Community to improve the situation for India and other Asian Commonwealth countries, in particular on the Generalised Scheme of Preferences. Where much progress already has been made is on the aid front, where a decision in principle to help the Asian Commonwealth countries has already been taken.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made towards the formulation of a jointly agreed policy on the Middle East between Great Britain and the other EEC members.
The Nine consult together frequently on the Middle East in the framework of political co-operation. They have agreed jointly to pursue a dialogue with the Arab States and the first meeting of experts to prepare for this was held in Cairo on 9th June. The Community has also recently signed a trade agreement with Israel to replace one which expires on 1st October 1975.
Commissioner For Regional Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects next to meet the EEC Commissioner for regional affairs.
My right hon. Friend sees Mr. Thomson from time to time but he has no specific plans for a meeting. British officials are, of course, in regular contact with the Commission's Directorate of Regional Affairs.
Central Intelligence Agency
asked the Prime Minister what study he has made of the evidence supplied to him of CIA arms depots in Great Britain; if, in the light of the latest evidence, he will take steps to reduce CIA activities in Great Britain; and if he will make a statement.
On the first part of his Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence to the Question by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) on 20th June; and on the second part of his Question I have nothing to add to what I told my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) on 18th March about alleged CIA activities in this country.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much his Department has spent on research in each of the last four years, breaking down this sum into the amounts spent in Scotland, England and Wales, respectively.
Expenditure by my Department on research in education and science, mostly in the form of grants to research bodies, is as shown below.
|Expenditure on Research|
|£m Out-turn Prices|
Schools (Transmission Of Cash)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what instructions he has given to local education authorities about security in the transmission of cash collected in schools.
None: this is a matter for the local authority.
Park Hall Camp, Oswestry (Shooting Incident)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the police report he has received on the shooting incident at Park Hall Camp Oswestry; and make a statement on disciplinary action arising from that occasion.
The Chief Constable of West Mercia tells me that following the incident, but in circumstances connected only indirectly with it, a police officer was found guilty of disciplinary offences and was required to resign. It would not be appropriate for my right hon. Friend to publish the police report.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much is owed to the courts through unpaid fines taking the most recent available figures; and what are the comparative figures for the four previous years.
Outside the Inner London area—for which figures are not available—the amount of unpaid fines outstanding on 31st December 1974 was £11,883,276. This included fines not yet due for payment because the time allowed for payment had not expired. The corresponding figures for the four previous years were £6,001,454, £7,030,003, £8,207,065 and £10,200,710. Over the same period the annual receipts from fines—excluding Inner London—rose from £16,656,121 in 1970 to £31,090,093 in 1974.
Manchester Prison (Young Persons)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the average time young persons are imprisoned at Strangeways Prison before transfer to borstal institutions.
Young men sentenced to borstal training who were received at the borstal allocation centre, Manchester Prison, in the month of March 1975—the last month for which figures are available—remained there for an average of 28 days before transfer to a training borstal.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the total number of young persons in the allocation wing at Strangeways Prison awaiting removal to borstal institutions.
The number of young men sentenced to borstal training in the borstal allocation centre at Manchester Prison, awaiting transfer to a training establishment, was 397 on 13th June 1975.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers have been murdered in the course of duty in each of the past five years.
In England and Wales, none.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the use of fog warning lights on motorways; and if he will make a statement.
Chief officers of police make the most effective arrangements possible. Some signs that give warning of fog or other hazards on motorways still have to be switched on and off individually, which causes delay. These signs are, however, gradually being replaced by remote-controlled signs.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many policemen have been murdered in the course of duty in each of the past five years.
The information requested is as follows:
|Year offence recorded||Offences currently classified as Murder|
British Summer Time
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to change the current arrangements for the operation of British Summer Time.
Drowning Deaths (Mill Lodges And Reservoirs)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths have occurred from drowning in mill lodges and mill reservoirs in each of the last five years; and of these deaths how many were of children under five years of age, from six to eleven years of age and over eleven years, respectively.
I regret that I cannot add to the reply I gave to a similar Question by my hon. Friend on 11th November last.—[Vol. 881, c. 26–7.]
Mentally Handicapped Persons (Preston)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many places are available in Preston for mentally handicapped school leavers; and what plans there are to improve the facilities for the mentally handicapped in the Preston district.
Eighty places at the adult training centre, Deepdale. I am informed that Lancashire County Council is planning to increase the number of places available in the district by building extensions to the adult training centres at Chorley and Bamber Bridge and a new 80-place centre in Preston.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average stay of trainees at the Deep-dale mentally handicapped adult training centre.
Currently six years three months.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many adults pass through the mentally handicapped training centres in Preston.
87 attend daily, of whom five joined in the year ended 31st March 1975, replacing five who left in that year.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the net cost of training mentally handicapped adults in Preston in the last financial year; and how this cost compares with the cost of the three preceeding years;(2) how many centres in Preston exist exclusively as sheltered workshops for mentally-handicapped adults;(3) how many centres there are in Preston which are exclusively used for the training of mentally-handicapped adults;(4) what is the net cost of sheltered workshop facilities in Preston for the last financial year; and how this compares with the three preceeding years.
The only such centre in Preston is the adult training centre, Deepdale, where both activities are conducted. Figures of cost in 1974–75 are not readily available. Actual expenditure on both activities together was £29,090 in 1973–74, £23,760 in 1972–73 and £21,330 in 1971–72. Figures for each activity separately are not available.
National Health Service (Administrative Staff)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many administrative staff are employed now as compared with the period immediately before reorganisation of the National Health Service; and what was the cost in the financial year 1974–75 as compared with the financial year immediately prior to reorganisation.
Returns of NHS staff are normally collected to show the position as at 30th September each year. The latest figures at present available relate to September 1973; at that time there were 11,339 staff in administrative grades in the former regional hospital boards, executive councils and other NHS bodies. I regret that information on the numbers of staff administering the former local authority health services is not available.Costs are not collected centrally in regard to administrative staff alone; they relate to administrative and clerical, with other similar staff groups, as a whole. The relevant figures for the financial year 1974–75 are not yet available since only 85 per cent. of the relevant returns have so far been received.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will list in the Official Report those health authorities which have decided on fluoridation of water.
Area health authorities in England wholly or partly supplied with fluoridated water are as follows:
- Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
- Hereford and Worcester
- North Tyneside
Disabled Persons' Vehicles
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what con- ditions a disabled person's vehicle is taken away from him or her.
Vehicles can be withdrawn from disabled people for a variety of reasons. I shall write to my hon. Friend to set these out specifically.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will institute a review of the repair, and availability, of spare parts for disabled persons' vehicles.
The repair service for invalid vehicles is continuously under review. In recent months there have been problems throughout the motor repair trade in obtaining supplies of certain spare parts. Particular difficulties have been experienced in regard to spares for invalid vehicles which are bought in relatively small quantities and some of which have to be specially made. However, most spare parts are now readily available from the Department's central store and urgent action is in hand to supplement our stocks.If my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind, I will gladly look into it.
Disabled Drivers' Petrol
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she has any proposals for introducing a voucher system for disabled people to purchase a quantity of petrol at a lower price.
The Government's priority in promoting the mobility of disabled people is the new mobility allowance, which will benefit drivers and non-drivers alike. A petrol voucher system would only benefit drivers and would be expensive to administer.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the increased cost of fuel, and the fact that the newer tricycles consume approximately twice as much as the old models, she has any further proposals for helping users financially.
The Government's priority in spending on mobility for disabled people is to introduce the new mobility allowance, at the enhanced rate of £5 a week, for drivers and non-drivers alike, with the invalid tricycle as an optional alternative. While the Model 70 tricycle can be run much more economically than the Question suggests, we are preparing some useful advice about petrol saving for incorporation in the Model 70 driver's handbook.
Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the number of chronically sick and disabled persons in the area covered by the Wakefield Metropolitan District Council who have been newly identified by their local authority since the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 was enacted, and the numbers of handicapped persons assisted under the provisions of Section 2 of the Act in this area;(2) what is the number of chronically sick and disabled persons in the area covered by the North Yorkshire Non-Metropolitan County Council who have been newly identified by their local authority since the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 was enacted, and the number of handicapped persons
|Wakefield CB||Barnsley CB||North Riding CC|
|(a) Persons newly registered under s. 29 National Assistance Act 1948, 1st January 1970 to 31st March 1974 excluding the period 1st January 1971 to 31st March 1971||650||620||3,980|
|(b) Households assisted under s. 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 in:|
|Year ending 31st March 1973||2,140||190||1,060|
|Year ending 31st March 1974||1,960||200||1,400|
Control Of Pollution Act 1974
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he can yet say when he proposes to bring into force Part I of the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
I hope to reach a decision soon.
assisted under the provisions of Section 2 of the Act in this area;
(3) what is the number of chronically sick and disabled persons in the area covered by the Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council who have been newly identified by their local authority since the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 was enacted, and the numbers of handicapped persons assisted under the provisions of Section 2 of the Act in this area.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 23rd June 1975; Vol. 894, c. 75], circulated the following information:The information available to my Department relates to the period to 31st March 1974. This is shown in the following tables, but I should point out that the areas of the local authorities shown in the tables bear little relation to those of the present authorities to which my hon. Friend's Questions refer. This is because of the effects of local government reorganisation which took place on 1st April 1974.
"Hit-And-Run" Motor Accidents
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the present arrangements for bringing the Motor Insurers' Bureau scheme to the notice of "hit-and-run" accident victims.
The Motor Insurers' Bureau has been paying compensation to victims of untraced drivers since 1946. The completion of a formal agreement in 1969 and its revision in 1972 both received considerable publicity. I am sure that solicitors, trade unions and organisations such as Citizens' Advice Bureaux, from whom victims of hit-and-run accidents naturally seek advice, are well aware of these arrangements; but I welcome the opportunity to draw them again to public attention.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when a review of the working of water authorities and membership of such authorities will take place.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in the House on 27th June 1974 that he proposed to review the progress of the new system after it had been running for two years or so. This will be after 1st April 1976.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to be in a position to announce his proposals for the future administration of the largely completed new towns.
This must wait until I have concluded my consideration of the comments made on the consultation document "New Towns in England and Wales". I shall also need to take into account comments on the report of the working party on the transfer of rented housing in new towns, presented in April and now being considered by interested parties.
Sizewell Power Station
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent discussions he has had with the Central Electricity Generating Board concerning planning requirements in relation to the proposed SGHWR station at Sizewell.
None, but prior to May 1974 we expressed views about the proposal to the Department of Energy over the whole range of DOE interests.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what delays there have been in the granting of detailed planning permission for the construction of the SGHWR station at Sizewell.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy granted consent on 5th February 1975 for the construction of an SGHWR generating station at Sizewell and at the same time directed that planning permission be deemed to be granted under the provisions of Section 40 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971.The planning permission was subject to conditions requiring the agreement of details concerning design and siting of the buildings and landscaping with the local planning authorities which are matters for negotiation between the Central Electricity Generating Board and the local planning authorities, but I know of no delays in this connection.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people are employed by his Department at the latest available date; what is their total wage bill; and what are the comparable figures for each of the past five years.
The information is as follows:
|1st April 1975||…||70,649||208|
|(as in printed Supply Estimates 1975–76)|
|1st April 1974||…||69,488||200|
|1st April 1973||…||70,025||153|
|1st April 1972||…||69,725||132|
|1st April 1971||…||71,590||121|
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what fare increases, over and above those already planned, would result directly from increases in wages of British Rail employees of 27½ per cent., 30 per cent. and 35 per cent., respectively, assuming no increase in financial support by central or local government and no immediate manpower reductions.
Fare levels depend on a wide range of factors such as passenger market by class of travel, length of journey and sensitivity to fares changes. Calculations on fares structures need to take all these considerations into acount.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received on rating and valuation increases imposed on holiday caravans; and if he will make a statement.
Yes. My right hon. Friend has received representations from right hon. and hon. Members on behalf of their constituents, from certain local authorities and from individual members of the public. I welcome this opportunity to make the position clear.Prior to 1966 caravan sites were rated as whole units and the site owners were the rateable occupiers. The individual caravans had no rateable value and caravan owners paid an inclusive rent to the site owner in respect of the pitch. In a certain case decided in that year and in subsequent cases it has been held that caravans in one place for not too transient a period were separately rateable. Technically such caravans were liable to be entered in the valuation lists from that date, but the earliest available opportunity came in the course of the 1973 revaluation. Although nearly all residential sites were separately valued then, the work load caused by the revaluation meant that some holday sites could not be dealt with.Valuation officers of the Inland Revenue are independent statutory officers and have a duty to apply the relevant statute and case law as they find it. They are therefore assessing all caravans individually to which the decided cases apply and the occupiers of such caravans will in due course receive a rate demand from the rating authority in whose area the caravan is situated. The rating authority has no option but to levy a rate on all property appearing in the valuation list.The representations my right hon. Friend has received are of two sorts. First, rating authorities have claimed that the cost of collecting the rates due on the large number of caravans involved will be high and extra staff will be needed. My right hon. Friend agrees with them that this is not an efficient method of collecting the rate and he is concerned at the staffing implications at this time.Secondly, holiday caravan owners have complained that the separate rating of their caravans will increase the cost of this particular leisure activity. I have sympathy with them and, indeed, with all ratepayers whose rates have increased. But I see no reason why occupiers of leisure caravans should be treated differently from occupiers of country cottages or other second homes and, indeed, residential caravans.The only way in which the decisions of the courts can be reversed would be by primary legislation and my right hon. Friend does not consider, for the reasons I have just mentioned, that a valid case exists for removing from caravan occupiers their legal obligation to contribute to the finances of the local authority in whose area the caravan is situated. But he is most concerned at the implications I have mentioned for local authority expenditure and staffing. My right hon. Friend is therefore considering what can be done to ameliorate the position.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will examine ways of helping elderly caravan owners on restricted sites who, as a result of individual rating, cannot now afford to use the facility.
I do not think it would be fair to single out one class of domestic ratepayer for special treatment at a time when all ratepayers are hard pressed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to ascertain what financial benefit will accrue to the East Lindsey District Council from the change in the system of overall rating on a restricted caravan site to one of individual liability.
The council the hon. Member mentions is best placed to make an estimate, and if it will do so and send it to me I will certainly study it.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will consider measures for reducing the individual rates paid by caravan owners on restricted sites to be commensurate with the use they make of the services of the area.
As rates are a local tax, not a payment for services, such measures would not be appropriate.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the boards, committees and organisations to which he has the power to appoint in the North-West of England.
The list is as follows:North West Economic Planning Council.North West Regional Water Authority.North West Regional Sports Council.Central Lancashire New Town Development Corporation.Skelmersdale New Town Development Corporation.Runcorn New Town Development Corporation.Warrington New Town Development Corporation.Lake District National Park Special Planning Board.Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.Lancaster Port Commission.Greater Manchester and Lancashire Rent Assessment Panel.Merseyside and Cheshire Rent Assessment Panel.North West Area Archaeological Advisory Committee.North Western Traffic Commissioners.
Water And Sewerage Rates
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that relief comparable to that available for domestic and mixed hereditaments under Statutory Instrument No. 396, 1975, is made available to commercial properties which are not on main drainage or sewerage.
The High Court has recently declared the Water Authorities (Collection of Charges) Order 1974 ultra vires in so far as it purports to authorise any charge for sewerage and sewage disposal on unconnected properties. There is an appeal before the House of Lords, so that I cannot comment at this stage on the hon. Member's proposal in relation to the Collection of Charges Order 1975 (S.I. No. 396/1975).
Toxic Waste Sites (Merseyside And Lancashire)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many toxic waste sites there are on Merseyside and in Lancashire; where they are situated; and who owns them;(2) what was the nature and volume of notifiable waste dumped on each of the toxic waste sites on Merseyside and in Lancashire in the last year for which figures are available.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Litterick) on 23rd June.—[Vol. 894, c. 16.]
Railways (Concessionary Fares)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make available concessionary rail fares for student nurses on the same lines as those provided for other students.
I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Fletcher) on 23rd May.—[Vol. 892, c. 685.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met representatives of the Churches in relation to the effect of the Community Land Bill on church land; and what, if any, assurances he gave.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I, together with the Paymaster-General, met a deputation of Church leaders on 23rd April. The deputation were given the assurance that the Government would consider carefully whether anything could be done within the principles of the legislation to meet the points they raised.
Council House Building (Cost Control)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in his investigation of changes needed in the cost control system for local authority house building.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have decided to make immediate changes in the present cost yardstick. These are described in DOE Circular 61/75 (Welsh Office Circular 109/75), issued to local authorities in England and Wales on Monday.The basic yardstick has been increased by 12 per cent. to take account of increases in tender prices for local authority schemes since yardstick levels were last adjusted in September last year. Regional variations reflect tendering experience in different areas.In addition, we are introducing a new allowance of £250 per dwelling, subject to regional variation, for one-, two- or three-person dwellings. This is an important innovation which reflects the need, emphasised in DOE Circular 24/75 (Welsh Office Circular 42/75), to concentrate new housing on providing for smaller households.The vast majority of council housing schemes will be able to proceed without difficulty within the new yardstick levels, but to deal with exceptional cases which may arise additional allowances may be authorised by the Department to deal with abnormal local market conditions. I am arranging for the level of tender prices to be reviewed quarterly in order to maintain the basic yardstick at a realistic level.We have also been investigating fundamental changes in the cost yardstick system, and have now reached the stage
|CHANGES FROM COMMAND NO. 5519 REVALUED|
|Policy Changes||Other Changes|
|Rate Fund contributions||…||42·8||38·3||67·1||76·7|
|Rent rebates and allowances||-10·3||-0·1||29·3||35·8|
Civil And Military Aid
asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is his latest estimate of the totals of civil and
where it is desirable to consult local authority associations in order to develop a new system aimed at reducing the time taken to scrutinise individual schemes, to place more responsibility for cost control on local authorities themselves, and to provide more flexibility in types and sizes of accommodation required to meet local needs. We have therefore invited the local authority associations to join a working party to examine future arrangements for cost control of house building and to make recommendations.
Housing Associations And Societies
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report a detailed breakdown of the following estimates for housing expenditure contained in pages 70–71 of the Public Expenditure Survey (Command Paper No. 5879): (1) subsidies: 1975–76, 1204.3, 1976–77, 1252.4, (2) gross investment: 1975–76, 1356.8, 1976–77, 1378.1 (3) local authority improvement investment: 1975–76, 296.7, 1976–77, 249.9, (4) changes from Command Paper No. 5519 revalued: policy changes: 1975–76, 329.9, 1976–77, 360.2, other changes: 1975–76, 852.7, 1976–77, 1091–8.
pursuant to the reply [Official Report, 9th June 1975, Vol. 893, c. 40–41], circulated the following information:military aid, respectively, to developing nations in the last and current financial years.
Official development assistance disbursements to developing countries from member countries of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD totalled $9,408 million net in 1973. The estimated net figure for 1974 is $11,300 million. Figures are not available by financial year. Other groups of donors do not provide comparable information about their activities.I have no information about military assistance provided by other countries. As far as the United Kingdom is concerned, I am advised that expenditure is now confined almost entirely to military training assistance for the Service personnel of other countries. Estimated expenditure is £2·6 million in 1974–75 and £1·6 million in 1975–76.
Chrysler (Uk) Ltd (Industrial Dispute)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the current dispute which is threatening the position of the Chrysler car manufacturing plants.
I understand that, following protracted talks begun yesterday with the help of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, a formula has been reached which could lead to an early return to work. This is to be recommended to the strikers at a meeting this afternoon.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many factory inspectors there are at present; and what specific plans there are for expansion of these numbers.
I am informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that on 2nd June, 1975 there were 762 factory inspectors in post. This total comprised 543 general inspectors, 169 specialist inspectors and 50 assistant inspectors.By 31st March 1976 it is proposed to increase the cadre of general inspectors by 80 and specialist inspectors by 60. Competitions are being held by the Civil Service Commission to fill these posts.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many supporting staff are employed in the Factory Inspectorate, apart from qualified factory inspectors; and whether any changes are contemplated, including increase or decrease in such staff or change in the balance of numbers as between inspectors and supporting staff.
I am informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that the number of supporting staff employed in the Factory Inspectorate, apart from qualified factory inspectors, was 676 on 2nd June 1975. It is proposed to increase the number of supporting staff to maintain a proper balance as the number of factory inspectors is increased.
Trade Unions (Registration)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment, in view of the number of trade unions which have failed to file returns by 1st June 1975 with the Registrar of Friendly Societies, if he is satisfied with the effectiveness of Section 11 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 for this purpose.
I have no reason to think that trade unions will not submit their returns as soon as it is possible for them to do so.
Retraining (European Community Assistance)
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to encourage industry in the West Midlands to make full use of financial facilities available for retraining from EEC sources; and if he will make a statement.
No financial facilities are available from EEC sources for retraining in the West Midlands. The main EEC instrument for assistance for retraining is the European Social Fund. The effect of the fund's regulations is to concentrate such assistance on development areas. Moreover, the fund will only assist schemes run by private industry where a public authority is making a contribution to the expenditure.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what grants and loans have been made available to industry in the West Midlands to assist retraining from EEC sources since the date of Great Britain's membership.
The main source of EEC assistance for retraining is the European Social Fund. No grants have been made by the fund for retraining by industry in the West Midlands. The reasons for this are given in my answer to the other Question on this subject put down today by my hon. Friend.
Works Closure And Transfers
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs have been lost in the United Kingdom as a result of the closure or partial closure of plants in Great Britain and the transfer of the order book or work load of those factories to plants and enterprises in other EEC member countries.
I have been asked to reply.The allocation of work between factories is a normal function of management. The evidence available to me does not suggest that any net loss of jobs to the United Kingdom has been significant.
asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish the numbers of registered disabled people employed by each Government Department; and what percentage of each Department's total work force this figure represents.
The latest figures readily available centrally relate to the position on 1st October 1974. The number of registered disabled people employed by each Government Department and this figure as a percentage of the Department's staff is as follows:
|Department||Disabled Persons||Per cent.|
|Agriculture, Fisheries and Food||495||3·29|
|Civil Service Department (including Parliamentary Counsel and Civil Service College)||52||0·99|
|Customs and Excise||363||1·38|
|Department||Disabled Persons||Per Cent.|
|Defence (including Procurement Executive)||5,417||2·26|
|Royal Ordnance Factories||440||2·45|
|Education and Science (including UGC, Victoria and Albert, and Science Museums)||95||2·38|
|Employment (including Office of Manpower Economics)||664||4·00|
|Export Credits Guarantee||27||1·56|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Diplomatic Service etc.)||147||2·09|
|Health and Social Security||1,956||2·29|
|Information, Central Office of||36||2·78|
|Population, Censuses and Surveys||86||3·05|
|Treasury (including Treasury sub-departments)||18||1·70|
|Scottish Prison Service||10||0·48|
|Total—Departments with over 1,000 staff||14,732||2·22|
|Other Departments employing under 1,000 staff||150||2·06|
Rhodesia (Special Air Service Members)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether those members of the British Special Air Services who go to work for the illegal régime in Rhodesia are given (i) letters of reference from British Army officers under whom they have served and (ii) any guarantee or undertaking of, or understanding on, re-employment by Her Majesty's Government when they have completed their service under the illegal régime.
There are no members of the British Special Air Service Regiment serving in Rhodesia. Army personnel on leaving the Service are given an official certificate of discharge, which is designed to assist them in seeking employment generally. They may also seek testimonials direct from officers under whom they have served, but my Department does not keep records of these. We do not give any form of undertaking on re-employment when personnel leave the Army.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Blowpipe missiles have been ordered to date;(2) how many Scorpion tracked reconnaissance vehicles have been ordered to date.
It is not the practice to reveal details of this kind.
Iran (Arms Sales)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance his Department has made to the Vickers Company to sell submarines to the Government of Iran; and on what factors the sale was lost to a United States company.
My Department gives appropriate help to all British firms in promoting exports of defence equipment, but it is not our practice to reveal details of individual transactions. The second part of the Question would be for the Government of Iran to answer.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in the Official Report the terms on which land occupied by Her Majesty's Armed Forces at Lyemun Fort, Shonson Hill, Chatham Road, Sai Kung Camp, Shamshuipo Barracks and Argyle Street, Hong Kong, is to be handed back to the Hong Kong Government; and if he will indicate the use to which this land and its installations are to be put.
I am afraid that this information is not immediately available. I will write to my hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will now answer Parliamentary Questions relating to the number of particular defence weapons in service;(2) if he will now answer Parliamentary Questions relating to the cost of defence projects and the cost of particular defence equipment.
It is the Government's intention to continue to be as forthcoming as possible in these matters but each case must be judged on its own merits.
Dockyards And Fleet Support Establishments (Industrial Relations)
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his consultations on the future of industrial relations in the Royal dockyards and fleet support establishments, with particular reference to the arrangements for consultation with industrial and non-industrial staff.
As part of our management of the dockyards and fleet support establishments, we have been reviewing industrial relations policy within these areas. This review is proceeding and will have involved a number of consultations as well as discussions on the advisory Royal Dockyard Policy Board.As part of the consultations we held a symposium on 6th June particularly oriented towards the rôle of industrial civil servants working in these areas. With the full co-operation of the trade unions concerned, a wide cross-section of the labour force was represented, together with national, district and frontline trade union officers. On 23rd June we held a further symposium for a cross-section of junior and middle-level management and other supervisory grades at which their views as managers and supervisors were sought. There is also to be consultation with Staff Side representatives on a basis to be agreed between the Official and Staff Sides of the Ministry of Defence.During these consultations the relevance of concepts of industrial democracy to industrial activities in these establishments has been discussed in general terms. Any eventual specific proposals in this sphere will naturally only be forthcoming in the context of Government policy generally and following formal negotiations through the existing official channels.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is being done by his Department to co-ordinate research in the energy field and to avoid extensive overlapping by his Department and British National Oil Corporation with work already done by companies engaged in the energy sector.
The energy research programmes of private industry are not, of course, submitted to the Government. Members drawn from private and nationalised industry do, however, sit on the advisory councils and boards concerned with energy research, and the energy related research programmes of Departments are co-ordinated by a committee chaired by my Department's Chief Scientist.The Petroleum and Submarine Pipelines Bill, which provides for the setting up of BNOC, is at present before Parliament.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report the boards, committees and organisations to which he has the power to appoint in the North-West Region of England.
The only board, committee or organisation wholly in the North-West Region of England to which I have power to appoint members is the North Western Electricity Board. I also appoint members to the Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board, whose boundaries lie partly within the North-West Region.
"A Right To Fuel"
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has considered the British Association of Settlements report "A Right to Fuel"; and if he will make a statement on his policy towards its proposals.
My Department is considering this report in consultation with the electricity industry.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made in discussion with his EEC partners on the problem of fish conservation in EEC waters.
The problem of fish conservation in waters around EEC countries, apart from the Mediterranean, is dealt with in the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission. The problem is difficult, but I believe the Commission is having considerable success. All EEC countries are members of it except Italy and Luxembourg.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps within the European Economic Community designed to dispose of all outstanding intervention surpluses suitable for consumption at present held in the United Kingdom under the provisions of the common agricultural policy and thereafter distribute such surpluses to pensioners, unemployed persons, disabled persons and persons classified as being poor by criteria currently recognised by the Government.
Apart from a quantity of beef held by the Irish Intervention Agency, the intervention stocks at present held in the United Kingdom under the provisions of the common agricultural policy are very small and in general there is no need to take any special steps to dispose of them. I have, however, been pressing for further improvements in the beef intervention system and the whole question of surpluses, including their disposal in the event of their arising in future, is one of the issues that will be considered in the stocktaking review of the common agricultural policy.
Common Agricultural Policy
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he proposes to take in respect of allegations of fraud in connection with CAP funds of the EEC raised recently at the Assembly of the EEC.
I can assure my hon. Friend that so far as the United Kingdom is concerned we treat FEOGA funds in the same way as Exchequer funds—that is to say, they are subject to departmental audit and are open to independent investigation by the Comptroller and Auditor General's staff. They may, therefore, be drawn to the attention of the Public Accounts Committee.My hon. Friend will have seen from my reply to the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing) on 10th June 1975.—[Vol. 893, c.
171]—that the Community is itself already taking measures against fraud and irregularities.
Horticulture (Glasshouse Sector)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the total amount of grants and aids paid to heated glasshouse growers in each of the last five years.
No statistics are available of improvement grants actually paid to particular sectors of the horticulture industry and it would not be practicable to estimate the amounts paid to growers using heated glasshouses. Growers using fuel oil have benefited from repayment of the 1p per gallon excise duty on fuel oils throughout the period and from the temporary subsidy which amounted to 6p per gallon fuel used in the first half of 1974 and 4p per gallon during the second half of the year.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total number of civil servants in his Department administering food subsidies on 1st June 1975; and what was the annual administrative cost on that date, including both salaries and administrative overheads.
The number of civil servants administering subsidies in my Department on 1st June 1975 was 151, at an annual cost of £820,670.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the annual cost to public funds, both in salaries and administrative expenses, of the cheese subsidy section of his Food Subsidies Division at its current establishment.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what changes there have been in the staffing establishment of the cheese subsidy section of the Food Subsidies Division of his Department since 20th January 1975.
There has been a reduction of two posts, one at executive officer level and one at clerical officer level.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will now set out in tabular form the total sums paid out to date in respect of cheese subsidy under each of the headings listed in his answer to the hon. Member for Melton on 20th January 1975.
The amount of cheese subsidy authorised for payment up to 31st May 1975—the latest date to which final figures are available—was:
|Cheddar and Cheshire||23,838,420|
|Other United Kingdom Territorials||7,134,105|
|(a) Cheddar and Cheshire||13,164,975|
|Edam and Gouda||2,825,701|
|All other varieties||1,219,361|
|(b) Processed Cheese||299,627|
European Community Less Favoured Area Directive
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the application of the EEC's Less Favoured Area Directive to British agriculture.
We aim to implement the directive early in 1976. The interested organisations will be consulted on the details in the autumn before the necessary statutory instruments are presented to Parliament for approval.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had or proposes to have with the Scottish universities on their position when a Scottish Assembly is established.
The principals of the Scottish universities were invited to comment on the Government's consultation document of June 1974. Subsequently I discussed with them at a private meeting in January this year the implications of devolution for the universities. On consultations generally, I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply given to
|Number of prosecutions||Number of convictions||Fines||Costs including recoveries from sale of confiscated gear and catches|
Salmon Fishing (Gill Nets)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the names of the representative organisations and individual interests from whom representations had been made to him on the banning of gill nets for salmon fishing.
Prior to my announcement on 7th March I had received representations from five individuals and the following organisations:—
- The Association of Scottish District Salmon Fishery Boards.
- The Salmon Net Fishing Association of Scotland.
my hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council on 5th March.—[Vol. 887, c. 445.]
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prosecutions for illegal trawling by foreign vessels in Scottish waters took place in each of the last 10 years; how many convictions resulted; and what was the total of the fines in each of these years.
There were 21 prosecutions for illegal trawling by foreign vessels in Scottish waters in the last 10 years, resulting in 20 convictions. The amount of the fines and costs recovered is set out in the table below.The River Tweed Commissioners, and The East Coast Salmon Net Fishing Association.Subsequently I received 33 further representations (21 for and 12 against) from 24 individuals and the following organisations:—The Lochy District Fishery Board.The Spey District Board.The Transport & General Workers' Union.The Salmon & Trout Association (Scottish Committee).The Scottish Salmon Angling Federation.The Eyemouth and District Fishermen's Association.The Mull Fishermen's Association.The Shetland Crofters Fishing Rights Protection Society.The Oban and District Fishermen's Association.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prisoners serving sentences of 10 years or more were held in Her Majesty's prisons in Scotland in 1974, 1969, and 1964.
I regret that this information is not available in the form requested. I shall write to the hon. Member on the subject.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list in the Official Report the boards, committees and organisations to which he has the
|AMOUNT SPENT ON REGIONAL PREFERENTIAL ASSISTANCE* PER EMPLOYEE† BY ASSISTED AREA|
|Northern Development Area||…||8·7||35·8||56·9||65·6|
|South-West Development Area||…||7·2||14·8||44·4||44·1|
|Merseyside Development Area||…||11·0||3·6||63·9||74·4|
|Scottish Development Area||…||8·2||26·9||48·7||51·1|
|Welsh Development Area||…||10·6||34·3||66·0||69·7|
|All Assisted Areas‡||…||9·1||31·5||56·1||62·2|
|Northern Development Area||…||65·7||60·4||52·7||66·9|
|South-West Development Area||…||58·4||48·9||34·0||39·9|
|Merseyside Development Area||…||75·9||75·1||54·2||70·2|
|Scottish Development Area||…||50·7||44·1||50·4||57·1|
|Welsh Development Area||…||76·1||65·4||61·3||82·3|
|All Assisted Areas‡||…||51·3||43·8||26·7||35·8|
|* All expenditure is gross and the totals used in the calculations include some small items which cannot be broken down by area. The boundaries of the Assisted Areas have altered over the period.|
|† Numbers of employees for each area have been taken from the mid-year card count from 1966–70 from the mid-year census from 1971–74.|
|‡ Excluding Derelict Land Clearance Area.|
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will tabulate for each year from 1964 to 1974 the value of total regional aid, the amount of regional aid paid to firms operating in the North-West and the percentage of the total that this represents.
Following is the information:
power to appoint in the North-West Region of England.
The National Computing Centre Limited and the North West Industrial Development Board are the only such bodies based in the North-West Region.
Regional Development Incentives
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will estimate the cost of all types of regional development incentives available in each development area, respectively, per insured employee in that area since 1964–65.
The information is not available in precisely the form requested for all the years in question. The table below shows the amount per employee spent on regional preferential assistance by assisted area since 1966–67.
|North-West Region||Great Britain|
Figures are for regionally preferential expenditure only and some small items have been excluded from the North-West totals because amounts cannot be broken down by area. All expenditure is gross and no account has been taken of the differential value of tax allowances which were available at various times during the period.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what further programme of advance factory construction he proposes for the assisted areas.
In conjunction with the wide range of financial incentives made available to industry by the Government in the assisted areas, advance factories play an important and effective role. They attract industry to the particular locations which most need new jobs and provide for a diversification of job opportunities in areas heavily dependent on a few large employers.
|LOCATION AND SITE OF FACTORIES|
|(sq. ft.)||(sq. metres)|
|Derwentside (Consett or Tanfield Lea)||…||…||…||…||25,000||2,250|
|Blyth||…||…||…||…||10,000 (Terrace Units)||900|
|Thornaby||…||…||…||…||15,000 (Terrace Units)||13,50|
|North West Region|
|Barrow-in-Furness||…||…||…||…||15,000 (Terrace Units)||1,350|
|Bacup or Haslingden||…||…||…||…||10,000||900|
|Yorkshire and Humberside|
Beginning in July 1974 the Government have announced four separate programmes in their new series of rolling programmes designed to respond more frequently and more flexibly to the needs of the assisted areas. 47 of these factories are already under construction, and preparatory work on the remainder is well advanced. To encourage further investment in the assisted areas I have now authorised an additional 30 factories totalling some 550,000 sq. ft. Allowing for necessary preparatory work, construction is expected to begin in the financial year 1976–77, and so the programme will provide a continued flow of building as the present series is completed. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be announcing the locations of the factories to be built in Scotland. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales announced in the Welsh Grand Committee on 7th May the Welsh part of the programme. The following is the list:
Prices And Consumer Protection
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will list in the Official Report the boards, committees and organisations to which she has the power to appoint in the North-West Region of England.
I have power to make appointment to the following bodies based in the North-West Region:The North Western Gas Consumers' Council.The North Western Transport Users' Consultative Committee.The North Western Electricity Consultative Council.The Merseyside & North Wales Electricity Consultative Council.
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she will ask the Price Commission to report to her on its monitoring of the effect that the cuts in steel prices recently announced by the British Steel Corporation have on the prices to the consumer of motor vehicles, cookers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.; and if she will publish this information in the Official Report.
Immediately the BSC announced these price reductions, the Price Commission wrote to manufacturers in the relevant sectors to ask them about the effect. I have asked the Price Commission to let me know the result and to deal with this matter in its report for the June-August quarter, which will be laid before the House under Schedule 1 to the Counter-Inflation Act.
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is the average weekly saving for a typical family of two adults and two children arising from the cheese subsidy.
On the basis of the National Food Survey results for the first quarter of 1975, the estimated average saving is about 9p per week.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will extend the import surveillance of textile goods to include knitwear and other garments.
The Government are considering the British Textile Confederation's request for import surveillance to be extended to cover clothing, made-up goods and knitwear. An announcement will be made shortly.
Nation Life Insurance Company
asked the Secretary of State for Trade at what date the liquidator for Nation Life Insurance Company will commence paying bond holders.
I cannot at present give a date because the liquidator is seeking a ruling from the court upon the bases to be used in determining the rights of participation for the various classes of policyholders. It would not be appropriate for me to intervene but I understand that the liquidator is doing all he can to expedite the hearing and, subject to the views of the court, to effect a distribution as soon as possible thereafter.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list in the Official Report the boards, committees and organisations to which he has the power to appoint in the North-West Region of England.
None of the boards, committees and organisations to which I have the power to appoint is based in the North-West Region.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in view of the rapidly diminishing number of Indian elephants, he will restrict the imports of raw and polished elephant tusks and all products made out of ivory.
It is the Government's intention to implement later this year the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. We would expect then to restrict imports of parts of endangered species that are readily recognisable. This would certainly cover elephant tusks.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will press for an early resumption of negotiations between Spain and the enlarged Community to eliminate the difference in duty levels between United Kingdom exports to Spain and from the original EEC countries.
Yes. I am anxious that a new agreement should be reached between the Community and Spain as soon as possible. My latest information is that the negotiations will resume shortly.
Capital Transfer Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if failure to claim legal rights by a testator's children or grandchildren or surviving spouse is regarded as a capital transfer.
An election not to claim legal rights under Scots law would not be chargeable to capital transfer tax if the election was made within two years of the death—or within the extension of that period allowed by Section 47(5) of the Finance Act 1975—and otherwise satisfied the provisions of Section 47.
Where the provisions of Section 47 do not apply, an election not to claim legal rights or ultimate failure to do so would be a transfer of value and may be chargeable to capital transfer tax.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when capital transfer tax is payable on a testator's estate, if legal rights, being a debt on the estate, will be deductible before tax is assessed at all; and, if legal rights are a chargeable item, on what portion tax will be assessed, since under estate duty rules such claims were calculated after payment of duty.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 20th June 1975; Vol. 893, c. 556], gave the following information:Legal rights under Scots Law are not a liability that can be taken into account in determining the value of the estate transferred on death. Capital transfer tax is chargeable on the whole of that estate other than exempt items. These exempt items include the surviving spouse's legal rights.
Inland Revenue Department
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is the estimated shortfall in revenue to the Treasury caused by shortage of staff in the Inland Revenue Department;(2) what would be the annual cost of filling all the present vacancies in the Inland Revenue Department;(3) what is the total staff shortage in the Inland Revenue Department; and if he will give the figures on a regional basis.
At 1st June 1975 the number of staff in post in the Inland Revenue Department, excluding casual staff, was about 1,650 less than the manpower forecast. A division of this total by regions is not readily available. The annual salary cost of filling these vacancies would be in the region of £4·5 million. It is not possible to make any realistic estimate of revenue lost because of shortages of staff.
Open University (Course Fees)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to make open university course fees tax-deductible.
I am afraid I could not justify a departure from the normal rule.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make an early statement on the principles which will govern Government support for the nationalised industries in 1976.
It remains our firm intention to phase out subsidies for price restraint completely by April 1976. Subsidies for social reasons for coal and the railways will have to be kept under the strictest control.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) on what basis of economic/financial projections and considerations he has considered it appropriate to set the TUC a six-week deadline for tightening up the social contract as opposed to, say, three or nine weeks;(2) whether, in setting the TUC a six-week deadline for the tightening up of the social contract, he took into consideration the fact that this period coincides with the normal Adjournment of the House for the Summer Recess; and if he will take steps to lay developments before Parliament and make it his policy to avoid the situation where the House is presented with a
fait accompli in these matters.
The urgency of the situation requires decisions at the very latest by the end of July and preferably sooner. This would be consistent with parliamentary consideration before the Summer Recess.
Estate Duty (Works Of Art)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if any further works of art have recently been accepted in lieu of estate duty.
Yes, three pictures, one by Auguste Renoir entitled "The Two Sisters—Mesdemoiselles Lerolle" one by Alfred Sisley entitled "Quatorze Juillet a Manly" and one by Signac en- titled "La Seine a Argenteuil, 1890" have been accepted. The total cost borne by the National Land Fund after allowing for relief from estate duty and capital gains tax is £111,840.The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science with responsibility for the arts, after taking advice from the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries, will in due course announce the destinations of these works of art.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the additional yield to the Revenue in a full year (a) if unemployment benefit were subject to income tax, (b) if sickness benefit were subject to income tax and (c) if supplementary benefit were subject to income tax.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th June 1975; Vol. 894, c. 108], circulated the following answer:The estimated additional yields for 1975–76 from taxing unemployment and sickness benefits are £150 million and £160 million respectively. I regret that the information on which to base an estimate of the yield to the Revenue from making supplementary benefits taxable is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the cost of the notices erected on the M4 motorway informing traffic of the Motorways Traffic (Length of the M4) (Restriction of Overtaking) (Experimental) Order 1975.
National Eisteddfod (Pavilion)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what grants have been made to date by the Government towards the Pavilion Fund of the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
None to date, but as I informed my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) on 18th November 1974, I have offered a grant in aid of £50,000 in August of last year to the Eisteddfod Council towards the cost of acquiring a new pavilion.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what are the geographic terms of reference of the Welsh Oil Advisory Council.
The attention of the Celtic Sea Advisory Committee is currently focused on the Celtic Sea, but its advice covers the implications of oil and gas exploration for the whole of Wales.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will seek to initiate a study by local authorities in Wales of the effects on land use of the conversion of fully farmed smallholdings into holiday or second homes.
These are matters which fall within the normal functions of local planning authorities and it is for them to undertake any studies they consider necessary.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what form the Government's proposed review of the reorganised water industry is intended to take.
The review will be into the workings of the Water Act 1973 and the reorganised water industry. Detailed arrangements have yet to be decided.
Caernarvon Inner Relief Road