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Written Answers

Volume 894: debated on Thursday 26 June 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 26th June 1975

Australian Prime Minister

Q4.

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the Prime Minister of Australia to visit the United Kingdom.

Mr. Whitlam knows that he is always welcome here and needs no formal invitation. He was, of course, in London last December and we met again last month during the successful Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kingston.

Tuc And Cbi (Meetings)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his most recent meeting with the CBI.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his most recent meetings with the CBI and TUC.

I refer my hon. Friends to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) on 24th June.

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister when he next proposes to meet members of the TUC.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister when he next expects to meet the leaders of the TUC.

I refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) on 25th June.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement about his talks with the TUC and CBI about inflation.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) on 24th June.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a state- ment on his most recent meeting with leaders of the TUC.

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

Middle East

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his discussions with representatives of Egypt and Israel.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with representatives of Egypt and Israel: and if he will make a statement.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with representatives of Egypt and Israel; and if he will make a statement.

I met with Mr. Rabin, the Prime Minister of Israel, on 10th June at London Airport and entertained Mr. Fahmi, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Egypt, to luncheon on 11th June. We discussed the Middle East situation in the light of President Ford's meeting with President Sadat at Salzburg and Mr. Rabin's forthcoming visit to Washington. I emphasised that a continuing stalemate was in no one's interest.

Prime Minister (Visits)

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to the Island of Islay.

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek an early opportunity to pay an official visit to Ipswich.

Q31.

asked the Prime Minister if he has any plans to visit Chelmsley Wood.

Q33.

Q18.

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

Q21.

I have at present no plans to do so, but, as I told my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) on 15th April, I shall be visiting Scotland next month in connection with the State visit by the King of Sweden.

Central Policy Review Staff

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint an expert on economic affairs to the Central Policy Review Staff.

As I have said before, I do not intend to appoint to the Central Policy Review Staff members with designated responsibility for specific subjects. The Central Policy Review Staff is, however, headed by Sir Kenneth Berrill, formerly head of the Government Economic Service, and its staff includes several other economists.

Ministers Of The Crown

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if he plans to make any further ministerial changes at the Department of Energy.

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister if he will dismiss the Secretary of State for Employment.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if he will appoint a Minister with special responsibility for the working of financial institutions.

Q36.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint to the Cabinet a Minister with specific responsibility for overall control of public expenditure.

No. The House may assume that I do not intend to make any further ministerial changes unless and until I make a statement to the contrary.

Ministry Of Overseas Development

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement concerning the change in status of the Ministry of Overseas Development.

As I said in my written reply on 20th June to the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan), the separate Ministry of Overseas Development will remain in being. I had envisaged that a transfer of functions order would be made in connection with the related ministerial functions; but I have now concluded that an alternative and simpler course will be for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to continue to exercise overall responsibility for these functions as Minister of Overseas Development. This arrangement will not affect the position of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Prentice) as described in my earlier reply.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 26th June.

I chaired a meeting of the Cabinet this morning and I will be having further meetings with my colleagues later today.

Wales Tuc

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if he will arrange to meet the Welsh TUC at an early date.

Paymaster-General (Speech)

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister whether the speech by the Paymaster-General to the Electronics Engineering Association on 11th June 1975 about the economy represents Government policy.

European Community (Prime Minister's Speech)

Q26.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on the EEC in Mansfield on 7th June.

Q29.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on 7th June at the miners' gala, which was concerned with Government policy after the referendum.

Q34.

asked the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a copy of his public speech on the EEC at Mansfield on 7th June.

Incomes Policy

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister what progress has been made on the course of recent discussions with the CBI and the TUC in the formulation of a new incomes policy.

The formulation of future pay policy is currently under consideration and, as I have said, the House will be informed of the outcome before the recess.

National Economic Development Council

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister when he next expects to attend a meeting of the NEDC.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson) on 24th June.

Secretary Of State For Industry (Speech)

Q35.

asked the Prime Minister whether the public speech of the Secretary of State for Industry on industrial policy made to the Industrial Society on 10th June represented Government policy.

Energy

British National Oil Corporation

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the estimate of the cost of establishing the British National Oil Corporation.

The costs of the organising committee which will prepare for the establishment of BNOC are not at present expected to exceed about £1 million. The further administrative costs involved once the corporation is in being will depend on the rate of its build up.

Offshore Oil And Gas (Production Platforms)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied that the existing offshore oil and gas production platforms are structurally sound.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given to the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet) on 19th June—[Vol. 893, c. 500.]

Disconnections Of Supplies

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will seek powers to control the estimated increase in the numbers of disconnections of energy supplies due to non-payment by the winter of 1975–76.

No. I have not seen any reason to suggest that the number of disconnections is likely to increase. The industries disconnect only when bills have remained unpaid for a number of weeks. There are already arrangements to deal with cases of genuine hardship.

Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether there have been any changes to the definition of the "English area" in the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) Order 1968, or whether he has any proposals to make such changes.

Yes. There has been a change in the English area by virtue of the Continental Shelf (Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Order 1971 in which the 8th designated area as defined in that order was added to the English area. My right hon. Friend has no proposals for any further changes.

Oil Development Council

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many times the Offshore Oil Advisory Committee has met this year; and what its recommendations have been.

I have been asked to reply.The Oil Development Council for Scotland, to which I assume the Question refers, has met twice this year.The council's terms of reference are to advise the Government on all aspects of oil development affecting Scotland, and its proceedings are in confidence. Subjects to which particular consideration has been given at recent meetings include pollution, infrastructure and training.

Civil Service

Pensions

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many (a) Civil Service pensioners and (b) Civil Service pensioners' widows are calculated at the latest convenient date in the following age groupings: under 60 years, attained 60 but under 65 years, attained 65 but under 70 years, attained 70 but under 75 years, attained 75 but under 80 years, attained 80 but under 85 years, and over 85 years, respectively.

The date 31st March 1973 is the latest date for which a breakdown by age is available. As at that date the information requested is given in the following table:

Age GroupCivil Service Pensioners (000s)Civil Service Pensioners' widows receiving a pension (000s)
Under 60913
60–65389
65–705613
70–754915
75–803314
80–85124
Over 85

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish a list in the Official Report showing the expectation of life at various ages for civil servants and Civil Service pensioners upon which the actuarial calculations for their pensions are based; and if he will give comparable figures for five, 10, 15 and 20 years previously.

The following table gives the life expectancy according to the mortality tables used most recently for pension calculations:

Expectation of Life (to nearest half year)
AgeMenWomen
601722
6513½18
7010½14
75810½
806
The data for younger ages are not in a convenient form to enable figures for ages below 60 to be produced. Records are not kept in a form which allows direct comparison with earlier years. While there has in general been some improvement in mortality over the past 20 years the improvement is not significant in terms of pension costs.

Defence

Gibraltar Dockyard

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how output per man hour in the Gibraltar Dockyard compares with output in similar work in comparable naval dockyards in the United Kingdom.

Comparison can only be made on the basis of total production costs for similar work and at Gibraltar these are about one-tenth higher than in the home dockyards.

Raf Mansion

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the visit of the Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force to RAF Manston.

I visited RAF Manston to see at first hand the work of the Air Force Department Fire Service Central Training Establishment and the RAF search and rescue helicopters based there. It was part of a series of such visits to RAF stations.

Education And Science

Teacher Training Colleges

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take full account of the claims of mature students when formulating details of his policy to reduce the number of places in teacher training establishments.

No distinction is made between mature and other students in my plans to reduce the number of places devoted to teacher training. Institutions may recruit such numbers of mature students as they think fit but they will, no doubt, take into account the likely demand to local authorities for mature teachers at a time when the average age of the teaching profession is increasing.

Ministerial Appointments

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science 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 information is not readily available and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

Remedial Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many remedial teachers are currently employed by each local education authority in England in primary and secondary schools; and how many have specialist qualifications.Miss Joan Lestor: This information is not available, but I will consider what further assistance I might be able to give the hon. Member if he will write to me.

"Arts With The People"

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place a copy of "Arts with the People" in the Library of the House and ensure that it is given a wide distribution.

Copies have been placed in the Library. It has been given a wide distribution to the Regional Arts Associations and to the CBI, TUC, Chambers of Commerce and many other local organisations.

Employment

Joseph Lucas (Industries) Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action his Department is taking to compensate for the loss of 600 jobs in Great Britain occasioned by the partial closure of the Lucas company's factory at Cwmbran and the transfer of that factory's work to a Lucas factory in France, with consequent damage to the British balance of payments.

I have been asked to reply.I am informed that there has been no transfer of work from the Cwmbran factory to France.

Youth Employment Services (Thanet)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of staff employed by his Department, and by the Training Services Agency, on matters directly concerning youth employment in the Thanet area.

No staff are directly employed by my Department on youth employment in the Thanet area. I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that, with regard to the Training Services Agency, its staff deals with all age groups and it is not possible to identify those concerned with the recruitment and training of young people.

Western Isles (School Leavers)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many boys and girls, respectively, resident in the Western Isles constituency, who left school in 1974 have not yet started in a first job.

Factories Acts (Breaches)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many breaches of the Factories Acts occured in factories in (a) Merseyside (b) Kirkby and (c) Ormskirk in the last year for which figures are available.

The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission regrets that this information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many breaches of the Factories Acts in factories in (a) Merseyside (b) Kirkby and (c) Ormskirk have been the subject of prosecutions in the last year to the latest available date; in how many cases was the maximum fine imposed; and how many firms were prosecuted.

I have been informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that for the twelve month period ending 30th April 1975 the number of prosecutions for breaches of the Factories Act 1961 and associated regulations in factories in the areas of Merseyside, Kirkby and Ormskirk were as follows. No maximum fines were imposed.

Prosecutions (informations laid)Number of firms prosecuted
Merseyside4116
Kirkby*102
Ormskirk11
* Kirkby is part of the new Metropolitan County of Merseyside, and so the Kirkby figures are also included in those for Merseyside.

Health And Safety Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the operations of the Health and Safety Commission under Section 11(2)(c) of the 1974 Act, in so far as employees and organisations representing employees are concerned.

Yes. A Directorate of Information and Advisory Services has been set up within the Health and Safety Executive. This Directorate embraces the normal communications functions of Press Relations, Exhibitions, Films, Advertising etc. It will also take over responsibility for Library and Intelligence Services, the permanent Health and Safety Centre in London and those other functions which should logically form part of an overall Information and Advisory Service.At present an investigation is being conducted to determine the most effective way for these services to be amalgamated and, where necessary, expanded.Other activities have included an advertising and leaflet campaign to bring to the attention of all sections of the public including employees their various responsibilities under the Health and Safety Act.

Bournemouth

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is the total number of unemployed males and females in the Bournemouth, East parliamentary constituency currenly notified to his Department; and what were the comparable figure for the nearest convenient date in each year from 1970 to 1974, inclusive;

Bournemouth
Notified vacancies remaining unfilled
UnemployedEmployment OfficeCareers Office
MalesFemalesMalesFemalesMalesFemales
June 19752,5963974414792547
June 19741,106150633695254309
June 19731,114203728826282361
June 19721,768249418588114155
June 19711,55019636458194204
June 19701,345251353564148162
Because of possible duplication the vacancy figures for Employment Offices and Careers Offices should not be added together.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the proportion of persons of working age presently unemployed in Bournemouth; what were

PERCENTAGE RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT*
Bournemouth Travel-to-work AreaSouth East and South West RegionsGreat Britain
June 19754·92·73·7
June 19742·21·52·3
June 19732·11·52·4
June 19723·52·13·4
June 19713·32·03·1
June 19702·91·62·3
* The unemployed expressed as a percentage of the estimated number of employees (employed and unemployed).

Self-Employed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest estimated number of self-employed people, excluding those with employees.

The 1971 Census of Population provides the latest estimate which is that there were 1,119,330 persons in this category.

Short-Time Working (Wales)

(2) what is the total number of job vacancies for males and females in the Bournemouth, East parliamentary constituency currently notified to his Department; and what were the comparable figures to the nearest convenient date in each year from 1970 to 1971, inclusive.

The following table shows information for the Bournemouth Employment Office area at June each year. The vacancy figures relate only to vacancies notified to Employment Offices and Careers Offices and are not a measure of total vacancies. The statistics are shown for each June from 1970 to 1975.the comparable figures for the nearest convenient date in each year from 1970 to 1974, inclusive; and what are and were the comparable figures for (i) the South East and South West Regions of England and (ii) Great Britain.

Following is the information for June each year:—firms were known to be on short-time working in Wales at the end of May.

I regret that information is not available for the end of May. However in the week commencing 9th June 1975, 96 establishments in Wales were known by my Department to be on short-time working.

Council Of Social Affairs Ministers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the meeting held by Social Affairs Ministers on 17th June 1975.

At the Council of Social Affairs Ministers held in Luxembourg on 17th June, the United Kingdom was represented by the Secretary of State for Social Services, the Minister of State at the Home Office (Lord Harris) and the Joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Employment (Mr. Fraser).As indicated in the Government's forecast of Council business for June lodged with Parliament on 20th May 1975, the main items for this council were the draft directive on equal treatment for men and women workers; the draft recommendation on the application of the principle of the 40 hour week/four weeks annual paid holidays; the draft decisions on pilot schemes and studies to combat poverty and on intervention by the Social Fund to encourage structural adjustment measures.Subject to approval of final texts, agreement was reached on the recommendation on hours and holidays to be achieved by 31st December 1978 and on a decision covering the poverty programme. In considering the Commission's proposals for the Social Fund, agreement was reached on a new scheme for Social Fund assistance in favour of young workers. Other aspects of the proposals will be the subject of further deliberation. The directive on equal treatment was taken at the meeting but discussion was limited to the question of its application to social security. The Directive has now been

FROM WEEK COMMENCING
5.7.4828.7.5225.4.5527.1.583.4.6127.5.6329.5.65
£££££££
Standard rate national insurance widow's pension1·301·6252·002·502·8753·3754·00
Corresponding Industrial death benefit for widows1·501·852·252·803·203·754·50
%%%%%%%
Percentage difference15·413·812·51211·311·112·5
30.10.673.11.6920.9.712.10.721.10.7322.7.747.4.75
£££££££
Standard rate national insurance widow's pension4·505·006·006·757·7510·0011·60
Corresponding Industrial death benefit for widows5·055·556·557·308·3010·5512·15
%%%%%%%
Percentage difference12·2119·28·17·15·54·7

referred back to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further study.

The Council also took note of a Commission communication on work in the field of employment.

School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the job prospects on South Tyneside for the boys and girls who will be leaving school at the end of July.

It is still too early to make reliable estimates. The number of vacancies immediately available will be shown in the monthly count preceding the school leaving date. But the process of settling school leavers into employment normally extends over the period, July to November.

Social Services

Widows' Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish a table in the Official Report showing the difference between basic widow's pension and the industrial-caused death pension for widows for each year since 1948, together with the corresponding percentage of basic widow's pension which this difference represented in each year.

Vaccine-Damaged Child

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what reply she has sent to Mr. Roy Stokes, of 66 Newton Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire, in answer to his letter of 2nd April 1975, seeking action in respect of his vaccine-damaged son Keith Stokes following his petition to Parliament.

There is no indication that a copy of Mr. Stokes' letter of 2nd April was received in my Department, but I have obtained a copy of this circular letter which asks for a reply to Mr. Stokes' earlier letter and petition. A reply to Mr. Stokes' petition was conveyed in my letters of 4th and 12th March to the hon. Member. I regret that, because of a misunderstanding, a separate letter was not, as promised, sent to Mr. Stokes and I am arranging for a reply to be sent to him.

Wife Maintenance

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether there has been any increase or decrease over the past decade in the number of women receiving supplementary benefits arising from the failure of their husbands to pay maintenance.

I regret that this information is not available as the reasons for payment of supplementary benefit—formerly national assistance—are not analysed. My hon. Friend may, however, wish to know that, on the basis of information obtained annually on the payment of supplementary benefit to various categories of claimants, it is estimated that in 1965 national assistance was being paid to about 104,000 separated wives where it was necessary to pursue the question of liability to maintain, as compared with about 133,000 separated wives receiving supplementary benefit in 1974.

Mental Health Visitors

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in view of the increase in the numbers of mentally ill and mentally handicapped people being visited by health visitors from 28.000 in 1966 to 59,000 in 1973, what training programmes are in operation to equip health visitors for this type of work.

Preparation for these aspects of health visitors' work is included in the training course leading to the health visitor's certificate. Increased emphasis was placed on these subjects in the revised syllabus introduced in 1965. In addition provision is made in the programmes of refresher courses, which are particularly directed to health visitors who have been qualified for some time, for courses dealing with problems of mental illness and mental handicap.

Fraudulent Claims

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimated cost to the nation of fraudulent social security claims which are not investigated because of shortage of staff in the investigation departments.

No such estimate can be made. All cases in which there is a firm suspicion of fraud are investigated, but because of shortages of specialist staff it is not always possible to start an investigation immediately the suspicion arises. It is not possible to quantify the financial effect of such delays.

Prescription Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the present charge for prescriptions under the National Health Service was introduced; what the present charge would be if it had the same real value as when it was introduced; and what is the estimated revenue from prescription charges during the current financial year.

The main prescription charge of 20p has applied since 1st April 1971. The equivalent charge would now be about 30p. The estimated revenue from prescription charges during the financial year 1975–76 is £23·7 million for England.

Invalidity Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many invalidity pensioners were also in receipt of supplementary benefit in 1974; and what percentage of all invalidity pensioners this represented.

About 72,000 invalidity pensioners were in receipt of supplementary benefit in November 1974, representing about 16 per cent. of all invalidity pensioners.

Widows

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many widowed mothers in receipt of supplementary benefit in November 1974 and at the latest available date were not also in receipt of national insurance widow's benefit.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (a) how many widows were in receipt of widowed mother's allowance in November 1973, November 1974 and at the latest available date; (b) how many of these were also in receipt of supplementary benefit; and if she will express (b) as a percentage of (a).

The information is as follows:

NovemberNovember
19731974
(a) Widows in receipt of widowed mother's allowance131,000130,000
(b) Numbers receiving supplementary benefit21,00015,000
(b) As a percentage of (a)15·811·4
The latest available information relates to November 1974.

One-Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many single-parent families headed by a man were in receipt of supplementary benefit in November 1974 and at the latest available date.

About 8,000 at November 1974, the latest date for which information is available.

Mobility Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the proposed disabled mobility allowance will be taxable.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the new mobility allowance will be payable and what is the ensuing timetable for its extension to cover non-drivers of working age.

We hope to start payment to the first eligible group in January 1976 and to complete the phasing-in of all eligible adults of working age, and of eligible children aged between 5 and 15, by March 1979. Phasing will be by broad age bands of 15 to 50, 5 to 14 and finally 51 to pension age, but smaller age groups within these broad bands will be progressively introduced.

Child Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many fathers have been found, in the last available year, to have received a child or children's allowance, which have not been paid over to the mother who is caring for the child or children.

Where a father qualifies for an allowance or increase of benefit for a child living with his separated wife, it is paid on condition that he uses it as a contribution towards the child's maintenance. If he fails to pay over the appropriate amount, he ceases to be entitled to the benefit for the child and may be required to repay benefit he has retained.However, the records of decisions made by the adjudicating authorities are not analysed to show separately cases where allowances for children have been overpaid for the reason my hon. Friend gives in his Question; and I regret that such an analysis could only be made at a disproportionate cost to public funds. But it is not thought that the number of defaulters is large.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average amount of supplementary benefit paid to those claimants of supplementary benefit who would otherwise be in paid employment but who stay at home to care for disabled, sick or elderly relatives.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many women living apart from their husbands are receiving supplementary benefit in consequence of the failure of their husbands to honour undertakings with regard to maintenance.

I regret that I am unable to add to the information I gave my hon. Friend in reply to his earlier Question today.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the unemployed was receiving unemployment benefit in 1974.

The information requested, relating to specific dates in 1974, is as follows:

Percentage of the registered unemployed receiving unemployment benefit
Per cent.
In May 197443·1
In August 197439·1
In November 197444·4

Registration Officers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many letters she has received with regard to proposed salary scales for registration officers; and if she will make a statement.

None. As I understand negotiations on salary scales for registration officers are still proceeding on the national joint council, it would be inappropriate for me to make a statement.

Low-Income Families

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will publish in the Report Official the number of working families with incomes below the supplementary benefit level and the number of children in these families; and if she will classify the information between one and two parent families.

It is estimated that at December 1973 the number of such families with children was 50,000 and that the number of children in these families was 140,000. Less than 20 per cent. were one-parent families or children in one-parent families.These estimates are based on Family Expenditure Survey data and are subject to sampling error.

National Insurance Contributions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the national insurance contribution of an employed adult male is attributable, upon an actual basis, to each of the various possible services thereby wholly or partially financed.

The primary class I contribution of 5·5 per cent. and the secondary class 1 contribution of 8·5 per cent., of earnings between £11 and £69 a week, are allocated as follows:

Primary contribution (percentage)Secondary contribution (percentage)
National Insurance Fund5·17·7
NHS0·40·6
Redundancy Fund0·2

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the national insurance contribution of a self-employed person—adult male—is attributable, upon an actual basis, to each of the various possible services thereby wholly or partially financed.

The class 2 contribution of £2·41 a week and the class 4 contribution of 8 per cent. of profits or gains between £1,600 and £3,600 a year are allocated as follows:

Class 2 contribution (percentage)Class 4 contribution (percentage)
National Insurance Fund927·4
NHS80·6

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether she will make immediate arrangements for individuals deriving their income from multiple directorships or other sources of income to limit their total contributions to national insurance to a maximum of £400 from all sources in any one year, or to a maximum of £200 in excess of the maximum national insurance contribution due from any individual;(2) what estimates she has made of the number of individuals already paying the maximum national insurance contribution who will now be paying two or more contributions and claiming refund;(3) what she estimates to be the extent of the repayable contributions resulting from the over-payment of national insurance by those paying more than one contribution although already paying the maximum from one employment or self-employment;(4) what she estimates to be the administrative costs of collecting and refunding national insurance contributions to individuals who are now required to pay national insurance contributions on each category of earned or self-employed income;(5) whether she will, at the end of the present financial year for national insurance purposes, extend to individuals who have contributed sums in excess of the maximum an option to leave half the excess sum so contributed as a loan and thereafter to have only one maximum payment deducted from one source of income;(6) whether she will instruct her Department to make rapid arrangements for individuals who are already paying the national insurance maximum to be given a document by their local insurance office entitling them to exemption from any further and unnecessary payments on national insurance account;(7) what she estimates to be the number of company directors with more than one directorship who will be paying more than five times the maximum national insurance contribution.

The liability of people with two or more employments to pay contributions in respect of their earnings in each employment is inherent in the contribution structure established under the Social Security Act 1973. The new system has been in operation for less than three months and it is not possible at this early stage to provide the detailed information the hon. Member is seeking.Arrangements already exist for deferring contributions by the self-employed where they also have substantial earnings as employed earners and, as the hon. Member knows, contributions paid by employed and self-employed earners in excess of prescribed annual maxima are refundable. Present procedures for collecting and recording employed earners' contributions do not however permit the payment of excess amounts to be identified before the end of a tax year. My Department is currently reviewing these procedures to see whether some arrangements can be made, within the constraints imposed by the structure of the scheme, which would minimise the extent to which employed earners with two or more employments are required to pay more than the annual maxima. I will write to the hon. Member when these investigations have been completed.

Hillingdon Hospital (Children's Ward)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is aware of the unsatisfactory conditions which exist in the children's ward at Hillingdon Hospital; whether she has received and considered plans for the construction of a new unit; and if she will make a statement.

I am aware of the need to replace the paediatric department of Hillingdon Hospital. The area health authority has given this project very high priority but detailed planning has not yet started. The regional health authority will be drawing up long-term plans for capital works, and the timing of this scheme will depend on the resources that will be available.

Pharmaceuticals (Sales Promotion)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total expenditure on sales promotion by British and foreign pharmaceutical companies.

Information for 1973 is as follows, relating to companies with over £1 million turnover.

Nationality of Parent CompanySales PromotionPercentage of United Kingdom Sales
£ millionPer cent.
British9·511·4
United States12·314·9
Others10·115·4
31·913·8

Mr Ronald Cobbett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is in a position to add to the Minister of State's reply of 12th May in connection with the case of Mr. Ronald Cobbett.

The Sheffield Metropolitan District Council and the Sheffield Area Health Authority have set up a joint working party to examine existing arrangements in Sheffield for social work services in psychiatry and, if necessary, to make recommendations for improvements. The working party has been given wide terms of reference covering the arrangements for social work services to the psychiatric units in Sheffield and for psychiatric assistance to the local authority's family and community services department; the relationship between doctors and social workers and their mutual professional expectations; the collaborative machinery between the two authorities including the rôles of certain key personnel; and the question of coterminosity between the district health and social services boundaries. The working party will consider the types of problem raised by the case of Mr. Cobbett and I do not consider that any useful purpose would be served by instituting a separate inquiry specifically related to that case.

National Finance

Coinage

35.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now take steps to put into circulation a £1 coin and a redesigned 10p coin.

The balance between notes and coin is reviewed from time to time, but I have no present intention of making a change.

Post-War Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is satisfied with the rate of claims for the reayment of post-war credits.

Despite extensive publicity, it is disappointing that some 2·4 million of the 17 million credits originally created still remain unclaimed, and I shall be considering whether anything more can be done to increase the flow of claims.

Birth And Marriage Certificates

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proportion of birth and marriage certificates returned to the issuing authorities by the Inland Revenue are never returned to the Department;(2) what proportion of birth and marriage certificates referred to the issuing authorities by the Inland Revenue Department take longer than six months to be returned to the Department;(3) how many birth and marriage certificates are referred back to the countries of origin of immigrants by the Inland Revenue Department;(4) what is the proportion of birth and marriage certificates checked by the Inland Revenue Department which are found to be false;(5) if he will take steps to ensure that allowances are given by the Inland Revenue Department on a provisional basis in those cases where the Department has not verified the birth and marriage certificates within a period of four months;(6) what proportion of birth and marriage certificates of immigrants are referred back to the countries of origin by the Inland Revenue Department;(7) what the average time is for the Inland Revenue Department to obtain notification of birth and marriage received in Urdu and Bengali when those certificates are not referred overseas for such verification;(8) how many staff are employed by the Inland Revenue Department to deal with the translation and verification of birth and marriage certificates of immigrants;(9) What is the average time taken by the Inland Revenue Department on the translatioin and verification of birth and marriage certificates of immigrants.

The number of new cases involving the examination of certificates in support of claims by immigrants for personal allowance is at present about 9,000 a year and in each case there may be several certificates. Nearly one-third of the cases received involve some false certificates.Records have not been kept of the figures for which the hon. Member asks, but it is estimated that in about one-fifth of the total cases copies of certificates are referred to the country of origin and that in about one-third of the cases so referred the reply takes more than six months and that in about half of these cases so referred no reply is received.It is not possible to state the average time needed for translation and verification of certificates, but where the inspector is satisfied that the allowances claimed are, subject to a check of the certificate, likely to be due, provisional allowances should normally be given at the most within four months of receipt of the certificate, even though verification is not completed. The equivalent of 41 full-time staff in head office and of about 170 full-time staff in local offices are engaged on this work in the Inland Revenue.

£ Sterling Value

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, taking the first quarter of 1945 as 100, what would be the index number for the value of the £ sterling in each of the quarters from 1945 to the latest quarter for which information is available.

No information is available for 1945; quarterly information is not available before 1962. Taking the internal purchasing power of the pound to be 100p in 1946 its value in the periods 1947 to 1st quarter 1975 are as follows:—

1946100195469
194793½195566½
194887195664
194985195762
195082½195860
195176195960
195271½196059
195370196157½
1st2nd3rd4th
YearQtr.Qtr.Qtr.Qtr.
196255½56555555
196354½54½5454½54
196452½545352½52
196550½51½505049½
196648½49½48½4848
19674747½4747½46½
19684546454544½
19694343½4342½42
19704041½40½4039
197137383736½36
19723435½34½3433
197331½32½31½3130
19742727½27½26½25½
197524
The basis for these estimates is that given in the leaflet "The Internal Purchasing Power of the Pound", obtainable from the Press and Information Service of the Central Statistical Office.

Social Wage

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report comparative figures to the £1,000 social wage to which he referred in his Budget speech, for each member State of the EEC, giving a breakdown of the components of the social wage figure for each member State.

For a breakdown of the components of the social wage for the United Kingdom I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) on this subject on 22nd April. Figures comparable with those used in estimating the United Kingdom social wage are not available for the other member countries of the EEC.

Nationalised Industries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1964 the level of subsidies to the nationalised industries on both a per capita and per family basis.

The information relating to amounts paid by central Government is given in the table below.

SUBSIDIES TO THE NATIONALISED INDUSTRIES
Per capitaPer household
££
1964–652·31
1965–662·57
1966–672·708·45
1967–683·27
1968–693·20
1969–702·55
1970–711·94
1971–723·7611·16
1972–733·87
1973–749·29
1974–7519·92

Notes:

Subsidies per capita are based on mid-year population estimates.

Subsidies per household are based on estimates of the number of households as defined in the Census of Population.

Statistics of the number of households are available only for census years.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the Revenue of increasing the minimum turnover for VAT registration from £5,000 to £10,000.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. Freud) on 19th March.—[Vol. 888, c. 453.]

Gross National Product

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if estimates are made of regional contributions to gross national or gross domestic product; and if he will indicate the basis of any such calculations.

Yes. Estimates have been prepared for regional contributions to the gross domestic product. The latest available estimates, and a full description of the methods used, were published in Economic Trends, May 1975.

National Insurance

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated reduction in tax yield for the year 1975–76 if the recent increases in national insurance contributions for self-employed persons were to be designated as an allowable expense.

On the assumption that the hon. Member has in mind the introduction of the self-employed earnings related Class 4 contributions, information on which to base a precise calculation is not available but it is estimated that the cost would be about £25 million.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated increase in the tax yield for income tax for the year 1975–76 if the employer's national insurance contribution for each employed person were to be regarded as a taxable emolument of the employee.

Income Tax (Age Allowance)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will amend the scheme of the new age allowances for income tax purposes so as to provide for a proper reduction in the allowance at the rate of £1 in £5 or some other less severe rate of reduction; and what would be the estimated reduction in the tax yield for income tax for the year 1975–76 as a result of granting such relief.

Public Sector Deficit

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the best available comparative estimates of the public sector deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product in each of the EEC countries, the USA and Japan in the current financial year and in the two preceding financial years.

The table below shows for seven countries the financial deficit or surplus of general government (i.e. the net acquisition of financial assets) as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product at market prices. General government is a United Nations concept which corresponds roughly to the central or federal government plus local government. To obtain comparability figures are given on a calendar year basis. Figures for the remaining countries and forecasts for 1975 are not available.

Deficit (-) or surplus of general government as percentage GDP at market prices
19731974
Denmark4·4n.a.
France0·5n.a.
Germany1·6-0·9
Italy-8·0n.a.
Netherlands1·4n.a.
United Kingdom-3·7- 4·4
United States0·1-0·5
n.a.: not available.

Sources:

Denmark: National Accounts of OECD countries 1962–73, Vol. I.

France: OECD Economic Survey, 1975.

Germany: National Accounts of OECD countries 1962–73, Vol. I: Monthly Report of the Deutsche Bundesbank.

Italy: National Accounts of OECD countries 1962–73, Vol. I.

Netherlands: National Accounts of OECD countries 1962–73, Vol. I.

United Kingdom: Figures are consistent with those given in "Preliminary estimates of national income and balance of payments 1969–74", Cmnd. 6019. The figures for 1974 are provisional.

United States: National Accounts of OECD countries 1962–73. Vol. I: Survey of Current Business.

While every attempt has been made to ensure consistency between the figures, they should none the less be taken only as a broad indication of the relative size of deficits or surpluses. Differences in statistical treatment remain, and, above all, no account has been taken of differences in the range of activities financed by Government.

Regional Employment Premium

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is intended to bring the payment of regional employment premium for female employees up to the level of male employees before 29th December 1975 to reflect the requirements under the Equal Pay Act.

When my right hon. Friend announced the continuation of the Regional Employment Premium in his Budget Statement in March last year he said that consideration would be given to possibilities for the future. The regional unemployment problem, particularly in the most difficult areas, is largely one of male unemployment and there is therefore a case to be considered for a higher premium for male jobs, but the implications of the Equal Pay Act will of course be taken into account in the review and the Government's intention will be made clear in due course.

Northern Ireland

Arms Smuggling

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent evidence he has received of arms and money from the United States and Canada coming into Northern Ireland for illegal use; and if he will make a statement about these matters.

A proportion of the illegally-held arms recovered by the security forces in Northern Ireland are clearly identifiable as originating in the United States. At least 20 persons have been convicted in the United States for offences connected with gun-running to Ireland, and in Canada four were successfully prosecuted earlier this month. All these had Republican connections. In December and January three men were convicted at Winchester and two in Toronto, all with Loyalist connections, on charges relating to the smuggling of arms for Northern Ireland from Canada.As regards the transfer of money, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the Questions from the hon. Members for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Lamont) and Surbiton (Sir N. Fisher) and the hon. and learned Member for Blackpool, North (Mr. Miscampbell).

Security Situation

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the latest situation in Northern Ireland.

I have nothing to add to what I told the House on 16th June.—[Vol. 893, cols. 955–961]. The debates tonight on the draft Northern Ireland Act 1974 (Interim Period Extension) Order 1975 and the draft Northern Ireland (Various Emergency Provisions) (Continuance) Order 1975 and the debate tomorrow on the Emergency Provisions (Amendment) Bill will enable the House to consider the security and policing situation.

Roads

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is comparison between Northern Ireland and Great Britain of vehicles per mile of first-class road.

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the comparison of motorways per head of the population between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The figure for Northern Ireland is 266 vehicles per mile of first-class road and for Great Britain, 577 vehicles per mile of first-class road.The ratio of population per mile of motorway in Northern Ireland is 25,000: 1. In Great Britain the figure is 45.000:1.

Rent Rebates

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have taken advantage of the introduction of the rent rebate scheme in Northern Ireland.

Up to 30th May 1975, 8,730 representing approximately 5 per cent. of Housing Executive tenants had applied for a rent rebate. 4,484 rebates have been granted; 1,553 applications have been refused and 2,693 are still being processed. This response is disappointing.

Water Charges

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how the rate of industrial water charge in Northern Ireland compares with that in Great Britain.

The charge in Northern Ireland for water supplies through meter is 14p per 1,000 gallons. I understand that the comparable average charge in England and Wales is 40p. The charge in Northern Ireland will have to go up, though it will not be possible to close the gap in one step.

Rents

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the comparison between average private rents in Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The latest figures available are for 1973. The average rent, exclusive of rates, paid by tenants of private landlords for unfurnished accommodation in Northern Ireland was about 90p per week. The comparable figure for Great Britain was £2·36 per week. I am looking at this in the light of the report of the Porter Committee on the operation of the Rent Restriction Acts in Northern Ireland.

Planning Appeals

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many planning appeals in the past 12 months have been heard by architects in private practice; and how many of these architects have been heard in other planning appeal cases for the same period.

During the year ended 31st May 1975 there were 42 occasions on which planning appeals were heard by chartered town planners in private practice as architects and planning consultants who had been engaged by the Northern Ireland Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning or its predecessor the Ministry of Development to hear such appeals. In the same period there were 10 occasions on which one or other of these architects appeared at different planning appeal hearings on behalf of appellants. The figure of 42 does not relate to appeals from planning decisions made on and after 1st October 1973; such appeals lie to the Planning Appeals Commission.

Terrorist Charges

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of the IRA have been before the courts in Northern Ireland for offences of a terrorist nature committed since 1st January 1974.

There have been 1,935 persons charged with offences of a terrorist nature since 1st January 1974. One obviously cannot know accurately how many of these were members of the IRA or had associations with IRA organisations.What I can tell the hon. Member is that at 22nd June, of the prisoners admitted to special category status, since 1st January 1974, 501 were Republican and 400 were Loyalist.

Prison Sentences (Appeals)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will specify the dates during the last 20 years when a convicted prisoner has had his prison sentence increased by the Court of Criminal Appeal; what were the sentences imposed by the trial judge and the increased sentence imposed on appeal; and when was the last occasion when such increased sentence was imposed by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

It would take disproportionate effort and cost to search courts records for the past 20 years to provide this information.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether, since the Criminal Appeal (N.I.) Act 1968, any memorandum or instruction has been issued to or by the Lord Chief Justice regarding the practice of imposing a prison sentence of greater severity by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

The case the hon. Member no doubt has in mind is entirely a matter for the courts of Northern Ireland. I have no authority to issue instruction to the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland.

European Community Grants And Loans

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what grants and loans have been given to the Province by the EEC under the regional policy; and whether he will seek to provide more employment opportunities by encouraging further applications.

The procedure for assistance under the Regional Development Fund is still to be settled. No grants or loans have yet been paid in Northern Ireland or any other part of the United Kingdom.With regard to other assistance from the European Social Fund, the European Investment Bank and other EEC sources, there is nothing to add to the replies, given to questions by the hon. Members for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison) and Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder) on 30th April 1975 and 22nd May 1975 respectively.My right hon. Friend is anxious to promote employment opportunities by every appropriate means; steps have been taken to disseminate information about applications under the various EEC schemes.

Health And Safety At Work

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consultations are taking place between employers, trade unions and Her Majesty's Government concerning health and safety at work; and if he is satisfied with the present regulations.

Consultations are taking place in a joint consultative group comprising representatives of employers, trade unions and the Northern Ireland Department of Manpower Services, with particular regard to legislative changes made in this field in recent years in Great Britain. When the consultations are complete my right hon. Friend will consider the need for new legislation in Northern Ireland.

European Community

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects an EEC office to be opened in the Province.

Portavogie (Fishermen)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied with the financial return which the Portavogie fishermen have been receiving during the past six months for their catch; how this compares with the profit made by the wholesaler; what steps are proposed to protect the fishermen against unfair competition from outside the Province; and if he will make a statement.

The United Kingdom Government are considering extending the scheme which provides temporary assistance to the fishing industry on a daily rate subsidy basis and which is due to expire on 30th June. Recent fish prices are among the factors being taken into account. There is no information available on which to compare the profits of fishermen and fish wholesalers in Northern Ireland. I am not aware that Northern Ireland fishermen have to face any unfair competition.

Portaferry, Co Down (Car Parking)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when adequate car parking facilities will be provided in Portaferry, County Down; how many cars can be parked at the lough side in the town; and if he will make a statement.

The Northern Ireland Department of the Environment has been negotiating for some time with the owners of land to be used for the construction of two car parks in Portaferry, but because of legal difficulties no agreement has yet been reached. The Department is pressing for the negotiations to be concluded.Information on the number of cars which can be parked at the lough side in the town is not readily available. I shall write to the hon. Member.

Small Claims Court

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will introduce legislation establishing a small claims court similar to that which exists in England and Wales by means of which a complainant can speedily, cheaply and personally pursue a claim for compensation for a limited amount; and if he will make a statement.

In England and Wales the system for dealing with small claims of the consumer type has been provided by modifying and simplifying county court procedures. I am currently considering whether such a service can best be provided in Northern Ireland by similar or by alternative means.

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what would be the cost in a full academic year of abolishing the parental contribution on student grants.

It is estimated that it would cost in excess of £1½ million in a full academic year to abolish parental contribution on grants to Northern Ireland students attending institutions in the Province and elsewhere.

Construction Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received from the construction industry in recent months, regarding the state of the industry; and if he will make a statement.

Representations have been received from the Federation of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (Northern Ireland) Limited, the Association of Consulting Engineers and the Northern Ireland Quarry Owners Association. As explained in the Budget Statement, the present serious economic situation requires a significant reduction in domestic demand in 1976–77. In Northern Ireland this entails a reduction of £9·5 million in the planned public capital programme in 1976–77 after allowing for the exemption of priority sectors such as housing. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State discussed these matters with the Northern Ireland Construction Industry Advisory Council on 25th June.

Doctors (Emigration)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are recent figures for doctors emigrating from Northern Ireland.

No precise figures are available. However, some surveys that have been made suggest that of those graduating in medicine in Northern Ireland, including medical students from Great Britain and overseas, about 60 per cent. leave to work elsewhere.

Overseas Development

Agricultural And Rural Development

40.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he will take steps to increase official aid to promote agricultural and rural development in poorer countries.

As my predecessor informed the House on more than one occasion, British aid policy has for some time been increasingly directed towards rural and agricultural development. We also plan to increase our aid to the poorer countries.

Aid Policies

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he will summarise in the Official Report the provisions of EEC documents S/406/75 and S/407/75 concerning co-ordination of members' aid policies; and if he will make a statement.

The first document puts forward specific Commission proposals for Community financial and technical assistance to the "non-Associated" developing countries, totalling 766 million units of account (approximately £375 million) over the period 1976–1980.The second document outlines forms of consultation between the Community and its Member States designed to harmonise their policies and make their actions in international organisations more effective. Explanatory Memoranda on both documents have been placed in the Vote Office for the convenience of Members.I am pressing for an early meeting of the Community's Development Ministers to discuss these proposals. I shall continue to work for the provision of Community financial aid to the poorest developing countries outside the areas covered by the Lome Convention and by Association Agreements; and for appropriate forms of harmonisation and co-ordination.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Poultry (France)

27.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information is available to his Department regarding the progress made by the French Government in their proposal of 14th March to encourage the slaughter of 2 million hens.

I understand that implementation of the proposal by the French Government to encourage the slaughter of laying hens was delayed until the beginning of June to allow for the completion of discussions with producers. I understand 500,000 laying hens have already been slaughtered and that a further 500,000 will be slaughtered next week. The scheme is intended to cover up to 2 million birds altogether.

Fishing Industry

28.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the continuation of the operational subsidy for fishing vessels.

31.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fischeries and Food if, in view of the fact that the present oil subsidy granted to the fishing industry expires on 30th June this year, he will make a statement on the future economic position of the industry.

We have received representations seeking an extension of the present scheme of temporary aid. They

'000 tones
June-May years
1969–701970–711971–721972–731973–74
6972737585
Estimates of United Kingdom output of the other major glasshouse vegetable crops are available only for heated and
'000 tons
June-May years
1969–701970–711971–721972–731973–74
Cucumbers3433383430
Lettuce1821212428

are currently under urgent consideration. However, the future economic position of the industry depends on many factors as well as the temporary aid. They, too, are under urgent consideration and it would not be helpful to make a statement at this stage.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the present state of the fishing industry; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier this afternoon to the hon. Members for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) and Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn).

Horticulture

30.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied that British horticultural growers are competing with continental horticultural growers on free and fair terms of competition; and if not, how he intends to rectify the situation.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total estimated production of the major vegetable crops in each of the last five years from heated glasshouses.

Tomatoes are the only major vegetable crop for which estimates of United Kingdom output under heated glass are available. These are as follows:Unheated glass together. These are as follows:the total acreage of heated glasshouses in 1960, 1970 and in each year since.

The information is as follows:—

Area of heated glass (acres)
July 19603,070
July 19703,069
July 19713,121
July 19723,218
June 19733,304
June 19743,354
The figures relate to holdings in England and Wales with 1,000 sq. ft. or more of glass. Comparable information is not available for Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Dairy Products

29.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his plans for expanding the output of United Kingdom dairy products, indicating which sources of overseas supply of butter, cheese and milk he considers will be affected in consequence.

We are currently discussing with the interests concerned what specific measures may be needed to achieve the expansion which is set out in the recent White Paper. The projected expansion will reduce our dependence on imported supplies of milk products, but the precise effects on imports will depend on many factors, including the market situation at the time.

Farm Tenancies

32.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he can yet make a statement on the Government's policy relative to the provision of legislation in Wales and England to safeguard the succession of tenancy for the sons of tenant farmers.

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave on 7th May to my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Grocott).—[Vol. 891, c. 455.]

Guaranteed Prices

33.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he can estimate by what percentage United Kingdom guaranteed prices for agricultural commodities would rise if the green pound was devalued by the entire difference between the present representative rate of the green pound and the £ sterling's current true market value; and to what prices the guaranteed price of wheat, barley, oats, milk and beef and pigs would rise.

The difference between the representative rate and the market rate of the £ sterling in the week ending 24th June was almost 20 per cent. The guaranteed price for pigs will end next month. If the representative rate were altered to the market rate, decisions on the guaranteed prices for milk and cereals would be a matter for the United Kingdom Government, subject to the rules under the Act of Accession. The maximum permitted guaranteed price for milk, which is set in units of account in EEC regulation 587/75, would rise to 40·52p per gallon until 15th September and to 42·36p per gallon from 16th September to the end of the marketing year. Decisions on the United Kingdom monthly target prices for beef would also be for the United Kingdom Government.

Sheep Meat Regulations

34.