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Written Answers

Volume 895: debated on Thursday 17 July 1975

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 17th July 1975

National Economic Development Council

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister whether he attended the meeting of the NEDC on 2nd July 1975.

Civil Service

House Journals (Government Departments)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the house journals published within all Government Departments, and the intervals of publication in each case.

No comprehensive central record is maintained. However, among die Departmental house journals known to my Department are:ting up the Scottish Assembly or the consequential effects which this might have on staffing costs in London.

Pensioners

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1955 the number of pensioners who received a pension from the Government due to their past employment in Government service; and whether he will provide a detailed breakdown of such individuals on the basis of the nature of their last year of public service.

The numbers of pensions in payment to retired civil servants on 30th September of each year was as follows:

1955116,265
1956122,588
1957136,498
1958146,525
1959159,648
1960172,312
1961181,385
1962192,968
1963202,284
1964209,395
1965217,010
1966223,599
1967231,593
1968236,985
1969161,924
1970166,147
1971173,169
1972179,556
1973192,850
1974203,486
The figures include former officers of the Post Office until 1968. Details of the grades and salaries of these pensioners before they retired or of the Departments in which they were employed in their last years of service are not available.

Pay

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is his estimate of the cost to public funds in a year if the agreed maximum of an extra £6 a week is paid in full to all those in Government service not already earning more than £8,500.

The cost in the Home Civil Service, for which I am responsible, of an extra £6 a week to staff currently earning £8,500 or less a year would be approximately £215 million.

Household Income Group
SubsidiesLowest 20%Next 20%Middle 20%Next 20%Top 20%Total
For concessionary bus fares for pensioners, and others5719699100
For general subsidies to bus fares1018212427100
As to railways, the worst off make little use of them, and so obtain little benefit from railway subsidies.There is insufficient information on which to base a reliable breakdown of the subsidies between the remaining income groups.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service in what circumstances the Government will be prepared to grant the agreed maximum of an extra £6 a week to those in the public service, not already earning more than £8,500.

For most groups pay rates are determined by negotiation, and I cannot anticipate the outcome of the next round of negotiations. Nor can I anticipate the recommendations of the established review bodies in respect of the groups within their remit.

Environment

Railway Land (Bury St Edmunds)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to determine the appeal by Allen Contracts (Melton) Limited against refusal by the former Bury St. Edmunds Borough Council to grant planning permission for developments on land at the railway goods yard, Bury St. Edmunds.

The issues are complicated, but my right hon. Friend hopes to give a decision soon.

Transport Subsidies

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how the cost of the total amount of all direct or indirect subsidies relating to transport breaks down by income group.

I estimate that the benefits of transport subsidies on buses are distributed as follows. These figures are based on an analysis of information in the National Travel Survey for 1972–73. ft is possible that more recent data would show changes in the distribution of benefits, but I would not expect them to be very great.

Driving Licences

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is now the approximate time for issue of new licences from Swansea; and how this compares with 1973 and 1974.

Figures for driving licences are issued from the driver and vehicle licensing centre:

May 19755·6 working days
May 19746·7 working days
May 19739·10 working days

Dog Licensing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made by his working party on the control and licensing of dogs set up following representations made by the hon. Member for Hornsey during the passage of the Control of Pollution Act 1974; and if he will make a statement.

The working party is still considering oral and written evidence which has been submitted by many interested organisations and individuals. Its report should be available to me by about the end of the year.

Improvement Grants

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide evidence to illustrate the Minister for Housing and Construction's reply to the Written Question from the hon. Member for Hornsey on 12th June in which he stated that the proposed limits on rateable values for improvement grants in the White Paper "Better Homes—the Next Priorities" were more restrictive than the limits introduced on 2nd December 1974.

Statutory Instrument No. 2139/1973 sets out the formulae for converting gross values into rateable values. It shows that a gross value of £200 equates to a rateable value of £140 which in turn compares with the rateable value limit of £175 applicable, under the provisions of Section 62 of the Housing Act 1974, to relevant applications for improvement grant throughout England and Wales, other than in Greater London. A gross value of £400 equates to a rateable value of £306.

Statutory Instruments

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his practice not to have a gap of less than two weeks between laying an order before Parliament and its implementation, as was the case with the rateable value limits for improvement grants last December.

It is my practice to follow, in so far as circumstances permit, the normal arrangements for the laying of orders agreed with the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.

Severn-Trent Water Authority

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the members of the Severn-Trent Water Authority and the areas from which they come.

The following list gives the present membership of the Severn-Trent Water Authority:

Chairman Appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment: Sir William Dugdale.

Members Representing County Councils:

  • Mr. W. E Jarvis, West Midlands.
  • Mr. T. McLatchie, West Midlands.
  • Mr. J. J. Carty, Derbyshire.
  • Mr. H. K. Fisher, Gloucestershire.
  • Mr. J. C. Cadbury, Hereford and Worcester.
  • Mr. B. Simms, Nottingham.
  • Mr. J. W. Griffiths, Powys.
  • Mr. E. C. J Whittingham, Salop
  • Mr. R. B. Kettle, Warwickshire.
  • Mr. J. Rodgers, Leicestershire.

Members Representing Groups of District Councils:

  • Mr. J. M. Gavin, Walsall.
  • Mr. F. J. Chamberlayne, Tewkesbury.
  • Mr. A. H. Humphries, Wyre Forest.
  • Mr. E. Marston, Leicester.
  • Mr. L. Lees, Mansfield.
  • Mr. C. A. Hopkinson, Montgomery.
  • Mr. T. G. Ryder, Shrewsbury.
  • Mr. J. N. James, Nuneaton.
  • Mr. S. Pemberton, Sandwell.

In addition the members appointed by the Secretary of State are:

Messrs. E. J. Franklin, J. O. Grieves, T. Rees-Jones, W. L. Sims, J. C. Holliday, I. J. Wallace, R. H. Taylor, Mrs. H. P. Waudby, Mrs. D. Moye, Messrs. P. Galliford, F. M. Baker, B. Mathers, F. Leath, F. Stevenson, Professor M. J. Hamlin, Mr. P. L. Marriott.

Members appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food are:

Messrs. F. A. Jennings, C. G. Hawthorne, G. W. Hart, J. Lloyd-Hughes.

The Water Act 1973 states that members appointed by the Secretary of State shall be persons who have had experience of and shown capacity in some matter relevant to the functions of water authorities. Similarly, members appointed by the Minister shall be persons who have had experience of, and shown capacity in, agriculture, land drainage or fisheries. These members do not, therefore, represent areas, though, in fact, almost all members of the Severn-Trent Water Authority live and work within the area of the authority.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the executive members of the Severn-Trent Water Authority and the salaries which they receive.

The Chairman is the only executive member of the Water Authority. He receives a salary of £7,790 a year. Other members of the authority have no executive responsibilities and are unpaid, with the exception of the Chairman of the Land Drainage Committee, who receives a salary of £1,000.

Motorway Verge Grass

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps, if any, are taken in the United Kingdom to use the grass which grows along the sides of motorways.

In general our policy is to cut as little grass as is consistent with highway safety and drainage having regard to amenity in built-up areas. There has been no attempt to use the grass which grows along the verges.

North-West England

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on his policy towards the Strategic Plan for the North-West.

The Government's response to "Strategic Plan for the North West" will be published as soon as possible.

Ports

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Government programme for ports will include in each major port provision for the establishment of statutory panels, representing the interests of port users, with the right to be consulted on any proposals to change port charges, facilities and method of operation.

This will be considered in the review of comments on the Government's second consultation document.

Central Lancashire New Town Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish his decision on the plan submitted by the Central Lancashire New Town Corporation.

Submission of the inspector's report on the inquiry into this extensive and complex plan is imminent. The plan must be studied in the light of that report. I cannot yet forecast a date for my right hon. Friend's decision.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the need to extend the offices of the Central Lancashire New Town Development Corporation at Cuerden Hall at an approximate cost of £272,000 whilst empty office accommodation is available in Preston; and whether he will make a statement.

No application has been made to my right hon. Friend by the Central Lancashire New Town Development Corporation for financial approval to extend its offices at Cuerden Hall.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfield that the payments to legal advisers employed by the Central Lancashire New Town Development Corporation for the public inquiry held at the Guild Hall, Preston, of over £20,000 was a reasonable use of public funds.

Such matters are primarily for new town development corporations to decide. They customarily employ counsel. I see no reason to dispute the Central Lancashire Development Corporation's decision to do so in this case.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied that the Central Lancashire New Town Development Corporation can give adequate consideration to the needs of public transport now that it no longer employs a transport planner.

I am content to leave such matters for decision by the development corporation.

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will send out a circular to local authorities encouraging them, as part of the Government's inflation policy (a) to cut down on civic hospitality and official visits, (b) to employ no extra staff, (c) to review their establishment of staff, (d) to defer schemes which while desirable are not essential and (e) to limit their rate increases.

I have already given full advice to authorities about their expenditure in 1975–76 in Circular 171/74. I shall be discussing their expenditure in 1976–77 with the authorities in the course of the rate support grant negotiations and in the Consultative Council.

Defence

Films And Audio-Visual Productions

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was the number of film and audio-visual productions commissioned by his Department over the last five years which were made by Scottish-registered and English-registered production companies, respectively; and what was the total sum involved in each case;(2) what was the total number of films and audio-visual productions commissioned by his Department in each of the last five years;(3) what was the total sum spent by his Department on film and audio-visual productions in each of the last five years, detailing expenditure under the headings films and shorts and others;(4) whether it is his policy to put all film and audio-visual productions commissioned by his Department out to competitive United Kingdom tender.

I will write to the hon. Gentleman as soon as the information he requires is available.

South Africa

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the military training and advisory links, such as staff college exchanges, that Great Britain has with the South African defence forces.

Great Britain has no regular military training and advisory links.

Departmental Staff And Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many civil servants are employed in his Department; what is the total cost of running the Department for the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will itemise the main constituent costs.

The total number of United Kingdom civil servants employed by the Ministry of Defence at 1st April 1975 was 247,600 of which 16,300 were in the Whtitehall organisation.The cost for 1975–76 of the Department's Whitehall organisation was estimated to be £90 million. Apart from civilian salaries and wages totalling £57 million this included about £15 million for the pay and allowances of some 2,800 Service personnel employed in the Headquarters, and also covered certain staff costs of the Property Services Agency as well as general and administrative support costs.

Doctors (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the salary increases available to Army doctors taking account, respectively, of the evidence before the review body conducting an inquiry into Armed Forces' medical pay, recent awards to doctors in the National Health Service, and the policy set out in Command Paper No. 6151.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the pay settlement now under consideration for doctors in the Armed Forces will be made before the £6 per week limit is introduced.

The Armed Forces Pay Review Body has submitted its report on the pay of medical and dental officers in the Armed Forces, and the Government are considering it. I cannot make any further statement at the moment.

Middle East (Arms Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the sale of hovercraft to the Israeli navy; and whether any such sales have so far been made.

I have nothing to add to the reply given to my hon. Friend on 10th June 1974—[Vol. 874, c. 426]—by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Information on individual sales and sales negotiations has been regarded as confidential by successive Governments.

Yachts

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the total expenditure on new and secondhand yachts for 1974 and 1975, to the most recent practicable date, by the Armed Services.

From 1st April 1974 to date some £653,000 has been spent on the purchase of new and secondhand yachts, to be used for training purposes.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Service men are employed as boat keepers on yachts and small craft in the Armed Services.

Nine Service men are employed full time on boatkeeping tasks—i.e., day-to-day repair and maintenance of yachts and other sailing craft at their parent establishments. Other Service men do occasional or part-time work of this nature.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many small craft and yachts are owned by the Armed Services and not registered with Lloyd's;(2) what is the annual cost of maintaining the sail training craft of the Armed Services;(3) what has been the total expenditure in 1974 and in 1975, to the most recent practicable date, on refitting yachts in the Armed Forces.

The information is not readily available, but I shall write to my hon. Friend.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give the number of yachts belonging to the Armed Services which are registered with Lloyd's.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the strategic use of the yachts and smal craft owned by the Armed Services.

Royal Naval Reserve

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will publish his plans to reorganise the Royal Naval Reserve, and, in particular, what changes he envisages for the Tyne Division; and whether the division is to retain a mine countermeasure reserve based on the Tyne.

The decisions on the future role and structure of the Royal Naval Reserve which I announced in the debate on 9th July—[Vol. 895, c. 552 and 663–4]—apply to Tyne Division. On present plans a mine countermeasures vessel will continue to be based there.

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the issue of the Ingram sub-machine pistol to security forces in Northern Ireland.

I have seen Press reports on this subject. A limited number of Ingram sub-machine guns have been issued to the Army in Northern Ireland. They are for self-defence purposes only and are not issued with the silencer shown in Press photographs. I wish to stress once again that no members of the SAS are serving in Northern Ireland. Any allegation that the British Army is engaged in assassination is, of course, entirely without foundation.

National Finance

Tax Concessions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the value of all allowances made to companies each fiscal year since 1970 to the latest convenient date, and including any forecast for the current year, such allowances to include stock appreciation provisions. first year allowances, regional allowances and grants.

The estimated value in terms of tax of stock relief and capital allowances due to companies for the last five years is as follows:

£ million
Capital Allowances
AP's ending in financial yearStock ReliefAllFirst-year
1970–7195075
1971–721,275625
1972–731,7501,025
1973–741,0702,7001,750
1974–752,5503,1502,225
The estimates are of the tax equivalent of the reliefs due for any year, regardless of whether companies had sufficient profits in that year to take advantage of them. Generally, reliefs affect tax payable in the following or a subsequent year.Questions relating to assistance to industry including investment grants and regional assistance are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry.

Company Taxation Yield

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current estimate of the annual reduction in the company sector tax payments due to the tax relief on stocks initiated in the November Budget.

The cost in 1974–75 is estimated to have been £775 million as shown in Table 6 of the Supplementary Financial Statement and Budget Report for 1974–75. The cost in 1975–76 is estimated at £1,230 million as given in footnote 2 to Table 4 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report for 1975–76.

Nationalised Industries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the rate of interest on the most recent capital borrowings of each nationalised industry.

The terms on which overseas loans are raised by the industries normally remain a confidential matter between the borrower and lender concerned. Loans from the National Loans Fund are made at rates which vary according to the period of the loan—which relates to the average life of assets in the industry—and the method of repayment. The current applicable rates are:

Nationalised IndustryPeriod of Loan (Years)Rate per cent. per annum
National Coal Board1512⅛
British Steel Corporation1713⅞
Electricity Council2513⅞
South of Scotland Electricity Board2513⅞
North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board2513⅞
British Airports Authority2013⅞
British Airways Board711¼
British Gas Corporation1011¼
British Railways Board2514¾
British Waterways Board2514¾
British Transport Docks Board1514¼
National Freight Corporation1013¼
National Bus Company1013¼
Scottish Transport Group1013¼
Post Office913¼
2914⅞

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost to the nationalised industries of applying the agreed norm of an extra £6 a week to their workers; and by what percentage it is estimated this will increase their prices assuming other factors remain unchanged.

Wage costs are only one of the determinants of nationalised industry prices. However, with the lower rate of pay increase which will result from applying the limit of £6 a week there are good prospects that the rate of price increase in the nationalised industries as a whole should be markedly lower next year.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government's policy, expressed in paragraph 19 of their White Paper "The Attack on Inflation" (Command Paper No. 6151) that they will not foot the bill for excessive settlements in the nationalised industries through subsidies, by permitting extra borrowing or by allowing excess costs to be loaded on the public through increased prices or charges, will cover applications by nationalised industries to raise prices and charges currently in the pipeline—e.g. British Rail, British Gas and the Post Office Corporation—following pay settlements before 11th July 1975.

The Government's policy as set out in Cmnd. 6151 applies to all wage settlements implemented after 1st August. The price increases now in the pipeline are necessary to enable the Government to achieve their objective of phasing out price restraint subsidies to the gas industry and to the Post Office and to limiting the subsidies paid to British Rail.

Public Services Financing (Cash Limits)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those services financed by central and local government currently financed by techniques involving cash limits and which are referred to in paragraph 45 of Command Paper No. 6151.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer to similar Questions by the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. Taylor) on 16th July.—[Vol. 895, c. 495.]

Wages And Salaries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the approximate percentage of total current expenditure by central Government, local government and the nationalised industries which is accounted for by wages and salaries.

In 1974 wages and salaries—including forces' pay and national insurance contributions, superannuation, etc.—accounted for 20 per cent. of the total current expenditure of central Government and 55 per cent. of total current expenditure of local authorities. Public corporations' wages and salaries in the same period represented about 40 per cent. of their revenue account expenditure, excluding depreciation.

Corporation Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates the yield of corporation tax would be for 1975–76 if the rates were reduced to 45 per cent., 40 per cent. and 35 per cent.

The yield of corporation tax in 1975–76 if the rate on profits arising in 1974–75 was reduced to 45 per cent., 40 per cent. and 35 per cent. respectively is estimated at £2,020 million, £1,950 milion and £1,880 million on the basis of the Budget estimate.It has been assumed that the small companies rate remains 10 percentage points below the ordinary rate and that the consequential marginal relief also remains undisturbed.The estimates do not take into account any increase in payments of advance corporation tax which might result from consequential changes in companies' dividend payments.

Economic Prospects

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the consequences for the British economy of the trends in world trading conditions.

The world recession in the first half of this year has been deeper than was foreseen earlier, and this has led to some decline—but fortunately not a commensurate decline—in United Kingdom export volumes. The timing of the recovery in world trade remains uncertain. There are already signs of an incipient upturn in the United States; but elsewhere recovery is likely to be more delayed. Even so, there remains a good prospect that world demand and trade will grow strongly during next year, and this should be reflected in a strong recovery in United Kingdom export volume. The new pay policy will help to make United Kingdom exporters more competitive, thus enabling them to take full advantage of the upswing.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many businesses operate coin-in-the-slot telescopes at the seaside and places of interest, the takings from which are subject to VAT;(2) what has been the amount of VAT derived from coin-in-the-slot telescopes in each of the two years starting from 1st April 1973;(3) what is his estimate of the loss to the Revenue in the current year from VAT derived from coin-in-the-slot telescopes if businesess operating these no longer do so, owing to the cost of renewing the coin-operated clock mechanisms.

Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much he estimates that the Government's borrowing requirement will be reduced as a result of the application of the agreed limit of an extra £6 a week.

I estimate that the £6 limit will not significantly change the forecast public sector borrowing requirement for this year, since the consequent reduction in public expenditure is likely to be broadly offset by the reduction in tax receipts.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in the light of the publication of the Government's White Paper "The Attack on Inflation" (Command Paper No. 6151) on 11th July, he intends to make any changes to his Budget estimates that public expenditure in 1975 would be £53,600 million and that the total public borrowing requirement for 1975–76 would be £9,100 million.

The Budget estimates of public sector income and expenditure and the borrowing requirement are regularly reviewed during the year. It is not customary to publish estimates of the borrowing requirement between Budgets.

Prices And Purchasing Power

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the effect on prices and the purchasing power of the pound as compared with the present time of the Government's proposed limit of an extra £6 a week on incomes during the coming year.

Strict adherence to the £6 limit will enable us to meet our price target of a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent. in the retail prices index by the third quarter of 1976, provided there is no major surge in import prices over which we have no control. On this assumption, the purchasing power of the pound will be about 91p in the third quarter of next year compared with its value in the third quarter of this year.

Bank Deposits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total of the current account balances with United Kingdom banks of the public sector on 31st December 1972, 1973 and 1974 and at the latest date for which figures are available; and why these balances are excluded from the domestic money supply as calculated under the M1 definition.

Public sector deposits with United Kingdom banks were:

£ million
31st December 1972625
31st December 1973725
31st December 1974656
21st May 19751,035
Separate figures have not hitherto been available for current accounts but it is assumed that the majority of these deposits were in such accounts.M1 is a measure of the private sector's holding of money essentially as a medium of exchange. When the monetary aggregates were defined it was considered that it would be less illuminating to aggregate this with comparable public sector deposits. The public sector can pool its cash resources more easily than the private sector and the central Government can create additional cash if necessary. This means that changes in the total of public sector deposits usually bear little relation to the size or frequency of public sector transactions.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what effect he estimates the increase in the gross liabilities of United Kingdom banks to non-residents from the sterling equivalent of £16,795,000,000 at the end of 1970 to £51,131,000,000 at the end of 1974 has had of an inflationary character on the domestic economy;(2) what are the reasons for the exclusion of non-resident deposits with United Kingdom banks from the money supply figures; if he will consider the practice in the United States of including nonresident deposits with American banks in the American money supply figures; and if he will make a statement.

The great majority of non-resident deposits are acquired by United Kingdom banks in the course of their operations in the Euro markets: the increase in deposits referred to was largely matched by an increase in advances to non-residents of over £30,000 million in the same period. This activity only affects the United Kingdom economy directly to the extent of the net balance between banks' non-resident deposits and assets, and to the extent that it constitutes a source of invisible earnings. The former is small in relation to the changes in the domestic monetary aggregates in the period, and it is therefore not possible to distinguish its effects on the economy.In the case of the United Kingdom the inclusion of banks' gross liabilities to non-residents in the monetary aggregates would virtually remove their value as indicators of domestic monetary conditions since the vast majority of such holdings are not held to finance business in this country. Changes in net liabilities to non-residents are, however, one component of the difference between domestic credit expension and the change in the money supply (M3).

Chemists, Opticians And Sub-Postmasters

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is intended that the powers outlined in paragraph 24 of the Command Paper No. 6151 will ensure that the income of chemists, opticians and sub-postmasters will not increase by more than £6 per week.

The Government will limit that part of the income of these groups which is based on a negotiated notional salary in accordance with the new policy, and will assume for the purpose of reimbursing expenses that the policy is also applied to the staff which they employ.

Government Purchasing

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the public purchasing policy set out in paragraph 23 of Command Paper No. 6151, "The Attack on Inflation", will override Her Majesty's Government's normal policy of buying in the cheapest market.

As I informed the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) on 5th May 1975, the primary objective of Government purchasing is to obtain what is needed and get value for money, while at the same time having regard to industrial objectives. We have in Command 6151 served notice on all firms which may hope to obtain public contracts in future that if they fail to observe the pay limit they will jeopardise their chances.—[Vol. 891, c. 333.]

Standard Of Living

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what percentage he expects living standards to be cut on average in the coming year.

There is no fully satisfactory overall measure of changes in living standards. But on the basis of the White Paper "The Attack on Inflation", Cmnd. 6151, it is estimated that a married man on average earnings with a non-working wife and two children will face a l¾ per cent. fall in post-tax real income between the third quarter of 1975 and the third quarter of 1976, assuming unchanged tax and national insurance regulations.

Social Services

Personal Incomes And Unemployment Benefit

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in view of the fact that a man with a wife and two children earning £35 per week, with rent of £6 and rates of £2 per week, would have £26·90 a week spending power when at work and £40·15 when unemployed for up to 14 weeks per year, if she will take steps to remedy such anomalies.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to a similar Question on 18th June 1974.—[Vol. 875, c. 90–91.]

Supplementary Benefit (Roof Insulation Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the Supplementary Benefits Commission treats the installation of roof insulation as appropriate for an exceptional needs grant, or, on a weekly discounted basis, as allowable in a heating allowance.

The commission does not generally regard it as appropriate for supplementary benefit to be awarded for what are in effect house improvements, and would not meet the cost of roof insulation. But where the need is for simple draught-proofing the commission will consider meeting the cost of materials in those cases where the claimant's available capital is £150 or less.

Boratton Park School, Baschurch

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimated cost of the proposed rebuilding of Boratton Park School, Baschurch, Salop; how this cost is shared between tax and rate finance, respectively; what advice was sought by and tendered to the West Midland Children's Committee on the relative advantages of continuing with the present building; and if she will make a statement.

The Childrens Regional Planning Committee for Area 4—the West Midlands—has accepted a recommendation, from a working party of the committee, that Boratton Park School should be rebuilt. It has also recommended that the project should have first priority in the capital programme for 1976–77. Local authorities have not yet, however, been invited to submit their bids for projects to be included in that programme.The estimated cost of the main phase of the rebuilding is £850,000 and no estimate has yet been received for the rest of the project. Expenditure on the building would be met by local authority borrowing, the loan charges on which would be relevant expenditure for rate support grant purposes, but a secure unit embodied in the project could in due course attract direct Government grant if the enabling powers I propose to seek by way of an amendment to the Children Bill are granted.

Tobacco Advertising

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the estimated cost of using public funds to replace the sponsorship given by tobacco companies to cricket and motor racing if such sponsorship were made illegal.

The industry has not revealed its promotional expenditure through sponsorship but I will gladly ask its Tobacco Advisory Committee for the information sought by the hon. Member.

Fraudulent Claims

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many special fund inquiries or drives aimed at social security abuse were carried out by her Department in 1974; what was the average cost of each such drive; how many cases were investigated; how many cases of overpayments were thereby brought to light; what percentage of suspicious cases that represented; what were the major causes of overpayment; how many criminal prosecutions resulted; and what was the estimated saving to public funds.

One-Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is her latest estimate of the total number of children in Great Britain and in each English region in one-parent families; and what proportion this represents of all children and of all families.

The latest information about one-parent families is available from the 1971 Census Household Composition Tables which were laid before Parliament on 4th April 1975.The 1971 Census records 1,110,120 dependent children in lone-parent families in Great Britain, representing 7·9 per cent. of all dependent children; one-parent families with at least one dependent child represent 8·8 per cent. of all families with at least one dependent child.Corresponding statistics for the regions of England are not available.A family is defined in the census as either a married couple with or without their never-married child(ren), or lone parent together with his or her never-married child(ren) or grandparents and their never-married grandchildren where there are no parents in the household.A dependent child is defined as a child in a family who is either under 15 years of age, or under 25 years of age and in full-time education.

Anti-Smoking Campaign

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether she will extend her anti-smoking advertising campaign by offering to sponsor an anti-smoking Sunday cricket league, an anti-smoking tennis tournament and an anti-smoking motor racing team.

Departmental Staff And Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many civil servants are employed in her Department; what is the total cost of running the Department for the latest year for which figures are available; and if she will itemise the main constituent costs.

The total number of non-industrial and industrial staff employed in the Department of Health and Social Security on 1st April 1975 was 88,629.The estimated cost of salaries and other administration charges included in the Supply Estimates for 1975–76 is £159,467,000 after allowing for Appropriations-in-Aid. This total is made up as follows:

£
Salaries and wages226,298,000
Travelling and subsistence6,580,000
Post Office Services77,400,000
Other Expenditure11,092,000
321,370,000
Less Appropriations in Aid161,903,000
159,467,000

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will introduce an incentive system to attract doctors to hospitals in areas of special need.

Allowances of up to £324 per annum may already be paid where hospitals have difficulty in filling certain training grade posts, but I shall have my hon. Friend's point in mind during future discussions with the profession on the consultant contract.

Abortion

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many abortions were notified in 1974 for women whose usual residence was in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Coventry and Liverpool, respectively; and how many of these were performed in a NHS hospital in the home region, in non-NHS premises in the home region, in a NHS hospital in another region and non-NHS premises in another region.

I regret that the data for 1974 are not yet available in the detail necessary to answer this Question. I shall write to my hon. Friend when the information becomes available later in the year.

Students (Benefit)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average number of adult students who received unemployment benefit, national assistance or supplementary allowance by registering as unemployed in each year since 1949.

Mentally Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she is now able to announce further details of her inquiry into mental handicap nursing and care.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what study she has made of the Briggs Report on the care of the mentally handicapped; what plans she now has for implementing the report; and if she will make a statement.

A committee to inquire into the nursing and care of the mentally handicapped has been appointed with the following terms of reference:

"To consider recommendation 74 of the Report of the Committee on Nursing (Briggs Committee), in particular to enquire into the nursing and care of the mentally handicapped in the light of developing policies, to examine the roles and aims of nurses and residential care staff required by the health and personal social services for the care of mentally handicapped adults and children; the interrelationship between them and other health and personal social services staff; how existing staff can best fulfil these rôles and aims; in the interest of making the best use of available skills and experience, the possibilities of the career movement of staff from one sector or category to another; the implications for recruitment and training; and to make recommendations".
In addition to the Chairman, Mrs. Peggy Jay, whose appointment has already been announced, I have appointed the following members:

  • Mr. N. Bosanquet, Economic Consultant Lecturer, Kings Fund College.
  • Mr. J. B. Cottrell, Principal Nursing Officer, Hensol Castle Hospital, Mid Glamorgan.
  • Miss M. Faulds, Formerly Director of Social Work, Inverness County.
  • Mr. A. Hunt, Director of Social Services, Hampshire.
  • Dr. G. Kerr, Consultant Psychiatrist, Dovenby Hall Hospital, Cumbria.
  • Mr. N. Lees, Area Nursing Officer, Derbyshire Area Health Authority.
  • Mr. H. McCrce, District Nursing Officer, Winchester & Central Hampshire Health District.
  • Councillor W. Merritt, Vice Chairman, Social Services Committee, Association of Metropolitan Authorities.
  • Mrs. B. Nicolas, Education Officer, General Nursing Council.
  • Mr. R. Olsen, Lecturer in Social Work, University of North Wales.
  • Dr. D. Ricks, Consultant Psychiatrist, Harperbury Hospital, Hertfordshire.
  • Dr. D. Thomas, Principal Psychologist, Northgate and District Hospital, Northumberland.
  • Mr. D. O. Williams, Chairman of the Staff Side of the General Whitley Council for the Health Services.
  • Mrs. J. M. Williams, Staff Tutor in Social Studies, University of Birmingham.
  • Mr. D. Williamson, Nurse Tutor, Lennox Castle Hospital, Scotland.
  • Miss P. Young, Director, Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work.

One further member has yet to be appointed.

The committee expects to hold its first meeting today, Thursday 17th July.

Hearing Aids

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will make a statement on further development of the scheme for supplying the new behind-the-ear hearing aid under the National Health Service.

My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and I have consulted a wide range of interests including the professional and national voluntary bodies concerned with the deaf and hard of hearing. The general weight of opinion was that the scheme should now be extended to those normally in employment or receiving education, of whatever age. It was felt that there should, however, also be discretion to deal with other cases of exceptional need.In the light of this advice, I propose to notify health authorities that from 1st September 1975 the scheme may be extended to workers and students with discretion for individual cases of exceptional need.

The position will be kept under review in the light of progress, bearing in mind that we are engaged on a programme which may involve the issue of 1 million of the new hearing aids. Not all hearing aid centres will be in a position to extend the scheme immediately on 1st September, but those centres which have completed issues to the existing priority groups will be able to go ahead according to their capabilities.

My hon. Friend will recall that the first priority groups included war pensioners requiring aids for accepted disability; mothers with young children under the age of five years; children and young people up to age 18–21 if still receiving full-time education; people whose head-worn aids have been replaced by body-worn models on leaving school; people with an exceptional medical need not already included in these groups; and people with an additional severe handicap such as blindness.

Heating Allowances

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to ensure that the rates for heating allowances due to be introduced in November 1975 are increased further in line with the recent rises in the cost of living.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 4th July 1975; Vol. 894, c. 594], circulated the following information:Provision for normal heating requirements is included in supplementary benefit scale rates which are being increased in November by the same cash amounts as the main national insurance benefits. The forthcoming increase of 37½ per cent. in extra heating additions, payable under the discretionary powers of the Supplementary Benefits Commission, takes account of the overall movement of the fuel component of the retail prices index, irrespective of the rises of particular fuels, and of further price rises that had been announced when the new rates were fixed. The commission will be keeping the levels of extra heating additions under review.

Benefit Payments (Giro Cheques)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will give, for each region of the United Kingdom, the total number of claimants for statutory payments made by Giro cheques by her Department, and the total amount for each region reported as not received by payees during the 12 months ended 31st May 1975.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 15th July 1975; Vol. 895. c. 472], circulated the following information:Information is not available for the 12 months ended 31st May 1975, but for the 12 months ended 31st December 1974 the figures for regions in Great Britain

RegionGiro orders issuedGiro orders reported as not received lost, stolen or destroyed
(Number)(Estimated valued—£)
(1)(2)(3)(4)
East Midland and East Anglia4,289,0003,25548,000
London North4,089,0003,98259,000
London South4,341,0005,22778,000
London West3,720,0005,17677,000
Northern3,166,0003,41451,000
North West Manchester4,415,0004,76471,000
North West Merseyside4,343,0004,20662,000
South Western2,891,0002,24033,000
West Midlands4,731,0002,94844,000
Yorkshire and Humberside5,564,0003,91758,000
Wales3,962,0002,43436,000
Scotland6,443,0006,18692,000

Home Department

Independent Broadcasting Authority

3.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the income of the IBA from commercial broadcasting since its inception.

Animals (Experiments)

5.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Advisory Committee on Experiments on Animals encompasses all the proposals in Recommendation 71 of the Littlewood Committee; and, if not, how its composition and aims differ from Littlewood's recommendations.

The reconstituted Advisory Committee follows Recommendation 71 of the Littlewood Report in that it now includes four independent non-scientific members and will be asked to advise my right hon. Friend on

are as in the following table; figures for Northern Ireland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Giro orders issued by the Department of Employment for unemployment benefit and supplementary allowance are not included. The figures in columns 3 and 4 are the number and estimated value of Giro orders reported not received, lost or stolen which were investigated either because they had been found cashed after replacement or because the claimant whose order had not been replaced admitted receipt and encashment when confronted with the original order.

individual proposals of a novel or controversial character, taking into account a wider point of view than the scientific and technical. We are also examining the possibility of seeking the committee's advice on proposals for experiments involving stress. The main differences from the recommendation are a slight difference in the composition of the scientific membership; that the committee's terms of reference do not include general oversight of, or the giving of advice on, a variety of practical matters affecting the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876; and that the committee will not submit an annual report.

26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how soon he now expects to receive the report of the Advisory Committee on the Administration of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 on the experiments which have been using dogs and other animals to test new smoking materials; and if he will publish the full text as soon as he makes known his decision whether or not these experiments should be stopped.

We expect to receive the report in the autumn. Publication, and its form, will then be immediately considered.

Parliamentary Representation

21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to amend the Representation of the People Acts so as to ensure, in proportion to populations, a reasonable parity between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in their representation in the House of Commons.

I have no proposals for changing the present allocation of seats to the different parts of the United Kingdom.

Prisons

22.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many control units have been built in prisons since 1973; and if he has plans further to extend the scheme.

There is one control unit at Wakefield and there are no plans for any more.

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now close the control unit at Wakefield Prison.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 14th July.—[Vol. 895, c. 315.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated cost of the prison workshop building programmes at Norwich and Rochester; when are the estimated dates of completion; and whether any inmate labour has been used in any of these schemes.

The reinstatement of a laundry damaged by fire at Norwich prison and the construction of a new laundry at Rochester borstal are shortly to commence at an estimated cost of £20,000 and £100,000, respectively, and should be completed during 1976. Inmate labour will be used on both of these schemes.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated cost of the projected prison workshop building at Channings Wood, Newton Abbot; and if inmate labour will be used in the construction of the building.

The permanent buildings for prison industries at Channings Wood are still in process of design and costings are not yet available. Prisoners will be employed on the construction as far as practicable, but the technical nature of the work is likely to require much of it to be put to contract.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has had from the psychiatric profession and the prison service itself concerning the introduction of prisoner control units.

There have been no representations from the psychiatric profession. Representations from within the prison service have concentrated on the need for a central facility to relieve individual prisons from time to time of the burden of persistently disruptive prisoners.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what monitoring of control units has been carried out; and if he will publish the results.

The one unit in operation at Wakefield is being monitored, on normal management principles, by the governor, the medical officer, the regional director and Prison Department headquarters. The Board of Visitors also exercises general oversight. Additionally, the psychology department at Wakefield Prison is collecting information with a view to assessing the characteristics, behaviour, and response of the very few prisoners involved, before, during and after their stay in the unit. All this information will be taken into account in the review which I announced on 14th July in response to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley).—[Vol. 895. c. 315.]

Urban Deprivation

23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish a White Paper on the Government's plans for tackling urban deprivation.

No. My right hon. Friend does not think a White Paper would be appropriate.

Crime (Young Persons)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision the Government make for facilities and projects designed to prevent unemployed young people becoming involved in crime.

Help for young people without jobs is not dependent on the risk that, in a small minority of cases, they will become involved in crime. The first priority is to help them to secure employment and training opportunities, which is a task for the careers services run by local education authorities and for the Manpower Services Commission and its agencies. There is a wide range of local authority and voluntary effort in the fields of education, leisure and recreation for young people to which the Government make a direct or indirect contribution.

Immigration

25.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any indication that there will be a decline in the number of immigrants to the United Kingdom; and if so, when he expects this to be.

New immigration now consists almost entirely of dependants of people already settled here, of United Kingdom passport holders to whom we have a special commitment, and of people accepted for settlement by reason of marriage. While it has never been the practice to make forecasts of future entry, which would be highly speculative, we expect that after a few years there will be a significant decline in the numbers of dependants and of United Kingdom passport holders arriving for settlement.

47.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the levels of legal and illegal immigration, respectively.

As to legal immigration, I would refer the hon. Member to the Immigration Statistics 1974 (Cmnd. 6064) published on 28th May, and to the answer given today to a Question by the hon. Member for Halesowen and Stourbridge (Mr. Stokes).It is not possible, and cannot by its nature be possible, to measure the scale of illegal entry; but as to the steps currently taken to counter it I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given today to Questions by the hon. Members for Esher (Mr. Mather) and Barkston Ash (Mr. Alison).

British Board Of Film Censors

28.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he next intends to meet the British Board of Film Censors.

Remands In Custody

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present number of people in prison awaiting trial; and what is the average time which elapses for such people before trial.

On 30th June there were 3,527 persons in prison awaiting trial. In 1974, the average period which elapsed between date of first reception into prison and conviction or acquittal on the same charges was 28 days. For many people this period included some time on bail as well as time spent in custody.

Shrewsbury Pickets

27.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received the report from the special committee dealing with the Shrewsbury pickets; and if he will make a statement.

29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet received the report of the special review into the positions of Mr. Warren and Mr. Tomlinson.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has yet received the report on the cases of Mr. Tomlinson and Mr. Warren; and if he will make a statement.

There is no special committee.The special review for Mr. Tomlinson has been concluded. The Parole Board has recommended parole and I have accepted the recommendation. Mr. Tomlinson will be released within the next 10 days.As I said in answer to Questions on 19th June—[Vol. 893, c.

476.]—the special review of Mr. Warren's case should be concluded in September.

Police

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by how many the Humberside Police Force is under the allowed number.

On 30th June 1975, 219 below the authorised establishment of 1,939.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the police pay award due to be implemented on 1st September will be paid in full.

I shall lay before Parliament, in time for the new rates to be paid from 1st September, regulations which will provide for payment of the settlement in full.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he believes it to be necessary to discourage members of the police force to refrain from commenting on the role of Parliament and Government, regarding the maintenance of respect for law and order.

Comment of the sort referred to by the hon. Member must be judged in the light of the long-established principle, embodied in the Police Regulations, that police officers must be seen to be impartial in the exercise of their duties, and that in particular they should take no active part in politics.

Matrimonial Matters (Legislation)

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to bring the reliefs in matrimonial matters available in magistrates' courts into line with the modern divorce law.

I am in favour of such legislation in principle, but am awaiting the final recommendations of the Law Commission.

Rape

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the advice he has asked for on the law of rape.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convicted rapists in 1974 and 1973 received (a) suspended sentence, (b) less than one year's prison sentence, (c) more than one year but less than three years' prison sentence, (d) more than three years but less than five years' prison sentence, (e) more than five years but less than seven years' prison sentence, (f) more than seven years but less than nine years' prison sentence, and (g) more than nine years but less than 11 years' prison sentence, respectively.

The figures for 1974 are not yet available. 17 persons were found guilty of rape and received suspended sentences in 1973. The following table gives the information readily available on persons found guilty of rape in 1973 and sentenced to immediate imprisonment:

PERSONS FOUND GUILTY OF RAPE AND SENTENCED TO IMMEDIATE IMPRISONMENT: BY LENGTH OF SENTENCE: ENGLAND AND WALES, 1973
Length of sentenceNumber of persons
Less than 1 year13
Over 1 year, up to and including 3 years92
Over 3 years, up to and including 5 years76
Over 5 years, up to and including 7 years25
Over 7 years, up to and including 10 years8
Over 10 years1
Life imprisonment2
TOTAL217

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were convicted of rape in 1974, 1973 and 1972, respectively.

The numbers of persons convicted of rape in England and Wales in 1973 and 1972 were 331 and 281, respectively. The figures for 1974 are not yet available.

Race Relations Board (Report)

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the Report of the Race Relations Board for 1974.

I am studying the Report of the Race Relations Board for 1974 and will take it fully into account in my review of race relations legislation.

Civil Servants (Official Secrets Act)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will seek to amend the Official Secrets Act so as to clarify the liability of civil servants to prosecution.

This point is being taken into account in the Government's consideration of the law and practice on the protection and disclosure of official information.

Parole

39.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to review the parole system; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to my answer earlier this afternoon to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Grocott).

43.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners, whilst eligible, made no application for parole during 1974.

In England and Wales during 1974, 804 eligible prisoners declined to be considered for parole.

Nationality Law

40.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the review on the law on British nationality to be completed.

A good deal of progress has been made, but I cannot yet say when the review will be completed.

Identity Cards

41.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department is making any contingency plans to introduce identity cards.

Crime Prevention (Expenditure)

42.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the total expenditure on law enforcement and crime prevention in real terms and the total number of reported crimes in 1950, 1960, 1970, and 1974, respectively.

The main responsibility for law enforcement and crime prevention rests with the police. Following are details of the total actual expenditure on the police service in England and Wales for the years in question; the total expenditure adjusted to 1974–75 prices; and the number of offences recorded as known to the police.

(1)(2)(3)
Total expenditure (£ million)Offences known to the police
YearActualAdjusted
195053·1183·0461,435
1960115·5269·5743,713
1970321·9501·61,555,995
1974592·8592·81,635,983
(estimated)(estimated)
(i) The figures in column (2) relate to the financial year beginning 1st April: the figures in column (3) relate to the calendar year.(ii) The totals in column (2) comprise expenditure by police authorities together with the cost of services supporting the police borne by the central government. Expenditure is also incurred on law enforcement and crime prevention by other Government Departments, public corporations, and private business.(iii) Because of changes in the law and recording practice the figures in column (3) for any one of these years are not fully comparable with those for the others.

Parliamentary Elections (Deposits)

45.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will ask the next Speaker's Conference on Electoral Law to examine the amount of the deposit for parliamentary election candidature.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 7th July to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich East (Mr. Cartwright).—[Vol. 895, c. 44.]

United Kingdom And Ireland (Movement Control)

44.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any contingency plans to tighten up control over movement between the United Kingdom and Northern and Southern Ireland.

Metropolitan Police

46.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present stage of investigations into allegations of corruption arising out of the pornography trade in the West End of London against senior officers of the Metropolitan Police; and whether he will make a statement.

I understand that, since I answered a similar Question by my hon. Friend on 11th February—[Vol. 886, c. 77]—additional reports on these investigations have been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Further inquiries remain to be completed, however, and it would not be appropriate for me to make any statement.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will draw up and publish regulations governing the circumstances under which senior Metropolitan Police officers give evidence on behalf of persons charged with serious criminal offences.

No. A police officer, like anyone else, must respond to a subpoena. If my hon. Friend has any particular problem in mind perhaps he will let me know.

Squatters

48.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he will consider making squatting a criminal offence in his forthcoming (review of the law relating to the subject;(2) when he expects the final report of the Law Commission on offences of entering and remaining on property; and whether, in view of the growth of the problems, he will urge the Law Commission to expedite this report;(3) whether he will consider giving powers to the police, home owners and local authorities to evict people found in occupation of residential premises without the owner's consent in his forthcoming review of the law relating to squatters.

I recognise the urgency of this matter and the strength of public concern over it. I should prefer not to consider amendments to the criminal law until the Law Commission's report on conspiracy, which will deal with offences of entering and remaining in property, is available. I believe that the Law Commission will have regard to the urgency of the problem in the preparation and completion of its report.

Courts (Special Security Trials)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will institute discussions with local authorities with a view to arriving at agreed arrangements for the designation of courts for, and the financing of, trials requiring conditions of special security.

The selection of the place at which a person is to be tried on indictment is a matter for the courts. On the question of financing I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to a Question by the hon. and learned Member for South Fylde (Mr. Gardner) on 4th July.—[Vol. 894, c 571–2.]

Taxi Fares

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the tariff application of the London cab trade.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply earlier today to a Question from the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes).

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is now the index or average cost per mile for the hire of taxi cabs in the London area, the provinces and the country as a whole, respectively; and how this compares with the comparative indices or costs for 1st April 1975, 1974 and 1970.

The cost per mile of a hiring in London varies according to the length of the journey, the number of persons carried, the time of day and other factors. Similar variations apply outside London. For these reasons it is impossible to calculate a single average cost per mile for taxi fares. For reasonably typical journeys the average cost per mile in London might range from around 20p to 30p. For earlier years the comparable London figures would have been 17p to 22½p—1st April 1974—and 13p to 18p—1st April 1970—but changes in the fare structure during this period make strict comparisons impossible. Outside London the range over the period as a whole would be broadly comparable, with a tendency at present for the fares outside London to be slightly higher.

Privacy (White Paper)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish a White Paper on privacy.

It will not be possible to publish the White Paper before the recess, but good progress has been made with its preparation and the Government hope it will appear quite soon.

Police (Complaints Procedure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now make a statement about the new police complaints procedure.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to his Question on 15th July.—[Vol. 895, c. 423–8.]

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to discover whether any of the three first men confined in the prison control unit at Wakefield suffered lasting psychological damage.

We have seen reports on all three prisoners. Nothing in those reports suggests that any of them has suffered psychological damage as a result of his stay in the control unit.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department from which prison or prisons the three men at present confined in the prisoner control unit at Wakefield were transferred; and if he is satisfied that there are no shortcomings in staff-inmate relationships in those establishments which could have been a contributory factor to the alleged misconduct of the prisoners.

Hull. My right hon. Friend is not aware of any evidence that the persistently disruptive behaviour which led to their being transferred was caused by any shortcomings in staff-inmate relationships.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present stage of the inquiry ordered by his Department into allegations that six prisoners on remand at Her Majesty's Prison, Winson Green, were assaulted by warders; whether he has yet received the report; and if he will make a statement.

I cannot at present add to the answer given to a Question by my hon. Friend on 13th June.—[Vol. 893, c. 298.]

Heart Surgery (Baboon's Blood)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if recent experiments linking a boy's heart to a baboon's blood system were carried out on premises licensed under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876.

The part of the premises where these operations were carried out is not registered under the Act.

Mentally Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now publish further administrative directives to the Judges' Rules indicating to the police how mentally retarded persons should be treated during interrogation.

I am consulting chief officers about current police practice in this matter, and the extent to which further guidance may be required.

Polling Secrecy

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in order to ensure complete secrecy of the polls, he will introduce legislation to prevent a person's electoral roll number being placed upon the counterfoil of his ballot paper at parliamentary and local government elections.

This question was considered by the Speaker's Conference in 1967, who recommended no change in the present procedure. It could be one of the matters for consideration by a reconvened Speaker's Conference.

Industry

Energy Auditing

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what is the cost per man-day of the consultancy contracts to carry out energy audits so far awarded; and what other quotations have been received per man-day;(2) if he will seek open competitive tenders before placing the contracts to carry out the recently-announced energy audits which his energy Thrift Unit intends to carry out.

The Department is developing and carrying out, jointly with the Department of Energy and in association with the CBI, a new form of energy analysis for auditing of industrial processes and products. The precise methods which will be used in these studies are a matter for research, since fuel, materials, and other factors are included, and discussions are taking place both nationally and internationally to obtain agreement on the way the analysis should be performed.The Department has selected certain of the research associations to perform this task. The research associations were established with Government assistance to serve their own industries. They are supported and guided by their industries and have a detailed understanding of their industrial problems. They are directly concerned with the efficiency of industrial processes, including the use of energy, and are in the best position to obtain the required information on process and energy efficiency from their own industries. For these reasons it is not our intention to seek tenders for this work and no quotations have been received.The work will be performed by the appropriate research associations at their normal rates and on a non-profit-making basis. The contracts will be subjected to the normal processes of Government financial audit. Three contracts have been placed so far. It is not possible to provide at this stage estimates of the cost of the work to be carried out by the associations on the basis of cost per man-day. Precise costs have yet to be agreed but are expected to be about £45,000 for each contract.

Post Office Charges

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will appoint a committee of inquiry into the proposals for increased postal and telephone charges before such increases are permitted to be introduced.

I have nothing to add to my speech during the debate on the Post Office in the House on 15th July.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry to what extent the proposals for containing and reducing inflation will affect the proposals of the Post Office to increase its charges to its customers.

I have discussed this with the Post Office and it advises me that its proposals, as put to the Price Commission and the Post Office Users National Council on 10th July, were adjusted to take account of the Chancellor's statement of 1st July.

Ministerial Directions

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the statutes under which he has power to issue a specific, as distinct from a general, direction.