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Written Answers

Volume 927: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 2nd March 1977

Prices And Consumer Protection

Diazo Copying Materials

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when he expects to publish the report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the supply in the United Kingdom of copying material sensitised with one or more diazonium compounds.

The report is being published today. The Commission found that a monopoly situation existed in favour of Ozalid Group Holdings Limited on the ground that the company supplied more than 25 per cent.—in 1974–75 over 50 per cent.—of diazo copying materials supplied in the United Kingdom. It also appeared to the Commission that a complex monopoly situation might exist by virtue of the fact that Ozalid and the three other principal United Kingdom manufacturers, namely GAF (Great Britain) Limited, Addressograph-Multigraph Limited and Harper & Tunstall Limited, together supplied at least 25 per cent.—in 1974–75 over 90 per cent.—of all the diazo copying materials supplied in the United Kingdom and so conducted their respective affairs as to restrict or distort competition by charging the same or similar list prices and offering the same or similar discounts.However, early in its investigation, the Commission received indications that there had been agreements between the companies, concerning prices and discounts, which might be registrable under the Restrictive Trade Practices Acts 1956–73, now consolidated into the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976; and Section 10(2) of the Fair Trading Act 1973 precludes the Commission, in deciding whether a monopoly situation exists, from taking account of any provisions of any agreement in so far as they are provisions by virtue of which it is an agreement to which the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1976 applies.After a considerable time the Commission received further information from the companies which revealed differences between them about the terms of the agreements and who had been parties to them. After further discussions the Commission reluctantly decided towards the end of last year, in the light of continuing uncertainty over the extent and duration of, and parties to, the agreements, that it could not delay the completion of its report any longer. This meant that it could not readily tell how much of the information in its possession it was precluded, by Section 10(2) of the Act, from considering. The Commission, therefore, stated that it was impossible for it to reach a conclusion whether a complex monopoly situation existed at present or had existed at the time of the reference. It did, however, firmly record its regret, as I do, that the existence of registrable agreements was not notified within the statutory period allowed and that details were not notified to it for a considerable time after it had started its inquiry.The Commission thought that Ozalid's profits had been higher in recent years than might have been expected in fully competitive conditions, but again it was unable to say how far the profit levels resulted from any limitation of price competition arising from unregistered agreements or how far if at all from the monopoly position of Ozalid. Bearing that in mind, it concluded that the monopoly situation which existed in favour of Ozalid did not operate against the public interest. Because of the possibility of significant changes in the competitive situation within the industry the Commission felt unable to reach a conclusion on the likely future effect of Ozalid's monopoly on the public interest. Within the limitations imposed by Sections 10(2) and 54(5) of the Fair Trading Act 1973 as to the facts which it was able to consider, and bearing in mind the uncertainty about the effect in the future of Ozalid's monopoly situation, the Commission concluded that no facts found by it operated against the public interest or might be expected to do so in future.In the absence of any adverse public interest finding there are no grounds for action by my right hon. Friend. However, the most significant outcome of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's investigation has been the discovery of an extensive series of agreements between the four principal diazo manufacturers, none of which had been registered with the Office of Fair Trading. The agreements were not in writing, and so the process of uncovering all the details of their number, nature and extent has proved to be a very protracted one: but the Director General of Fair Trading has told me that he has today placed 22 agreements on the public register. I understand that all of these agreements have been brought to an end.It is of course, for the Director General of Fair Trading to decide what to do about these unregistered agreements. I understand that he proposes to start proceedings against the companies in the Restrictive Practices Court. The Government take a serious view of the situation that has been disclosed by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's investigation. The largest firms in one sector of industry have ignored a law which has been in existence for 20 years and have operated an extensive series of unregistered restrictive agreements over a period of some five or six years. This is the third time in just over two years that a Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigation has revealed the existence of unregistered agreements. The previous two occasions concerned telephone cables and bread. I find it particularly disturbing that on each of these occasions large firms have been involved which should have been well aware of the requirements of the law.

"Consumer Information Bulletin"

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is the target audience for his Department's "Consumer Information Bulletin".

The target audience is those working in the field of consumer advice and opinion formers and commentators who are in a position to communicate to individuals with particular problems, factual information about the statutory protection available to help them and what steps they should take to make use of it.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will list in the Official Report the number of copies of each respective issue of his Department's "Consumer Information Bulletin" that have been distributed.

Figures for the first 12 issues are not available, but the first issue dated January-February 1973 is known to have been about 1,800 copies, and the circulation has increased steadily. Figures for the issues since January-February 1975 are as follows:

Issue No.Copies
January-February 1975135,500
March-April145,500
May155,500
July-August165,500
September177,000
October 188,000
November198,000
December208,000
January 1976218,500
February-March228,500
April-May238,500
June248,750
July258,800
August268,800
September278,800
October289,300
November299,300
December309,300
January 1977319,600

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what persons and groups are automatically circulated with his Department's "Consumer Information Bulletin".

The bulletin circulation list has been built up mainly in response to requests over the four years since its inception. The list now includes consumer advice centres, citizens' advice bureaux, national consumer groups, consumer journalists, trade union journals, the legal and social studies departments of various universities and colleges, and lecturers and advisers in home economics as well as international consumer experts and organisations.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what has been the cost of producing each respective issue of his Department's "Consumer Information Bulletin".

Since the editor, the typists and those who handle the printing and distribution do not work full time on the bulletin, it would require a disproportionate amount of time and effort to estimate the staff costs involved. But for the two most recent issues the cost of printing alone was £620 for No. 30, December 1976, and £785 for No. 31, January 1977.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many issues of the "Consumer Information Bulletin" his Department intend to produce during 1977.

The bulletin is normally issued monthly and there are expected to be 10–12 issues in 1977.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection who is responsible for planning and editing his Department's "Consumer Protection Bulletin".

The "Consumer Information Bulletin" is planned and edited by a single member of my Department's Information Branch, who undertakes this as one of her several duties.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will list in the Official Report the number of pages contained in each respective issue of his Department's "Consumer Information Bulletin".

As follows:

Pages
1January-February 19738
2March-April 19738
3May-June 19738
4August 197317
5November 19734
6January 19745
7April 197411
8June 197416
9July 197424
10August 197415
11October 197411
12December 197418
13January-February 197518
14March-April 197522
15May 197524
16July-August 197526
17September 197524
18October 197536
19November 197527
20December 197532
21January 197632
22February-March 197636
23April-May 197628
24June 197628
25July 197633
26August 197628
27September 197626
28October 197626
29November 197628
30December 197624
31January 197728

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what was the total cost of distributing issue No. 31 of his Department's "Consumer Information Bulletin".

Issue No. 31–9,600 copies—was distributed by post and by Government transport services. Some copies are sent in bulk, some singly. It would require a disproportionate amount of staff time to estimate the total cost, especially as some copies are distributed together with material from other Departments.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Con-summer Protection how many members of his Department's staff were employed in producing the "Consumer Information Bulletin" (a) when the first issue was published and (b) when issue No. 31 was published.

The first issue of the Bulletin was published in 1973 before my Department was established. The first issue to be published after my Department was set up was dated April 1974. Then, as now, one member of my Department's Information Branch was in charge of editing the bulletin as one of her several duties.

Food Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is the time lag between an increase in the landed price of imported foodstuffs, as recorded in the monthly trade returns; and whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each month since January 1975, (a) the percentage increase in the wholesale price of foodstuffs on the previous month and the percentage increase in import prices in the month in which he assumes such foodstuffs would have been imported, and (b) the percentage increase in the retail price of foodstuffs and the percentage increase in import prices in the month in which he assumes such foodstuffs would have been imported.

Time lags can vary according to the point of entry in the manufacturing and distribution chain and from product to product. I regret that, on the information available, the comparisons requested cannot be made in a meaningful way.

Northern Ireland

Irish National Liberation Army

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to make the Independent National Liberation Army of Northern Ireland a prohibited organisation, in the light of the recent statement made by a representative of that body on Northern Ireland television.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make the Irish National Liberation Army a prohibited organisation in view of the comments of its spokesman on BBC Television on 17th February.

No. Proscription is only a remedy against an identifiable group with an organisational structure and a continuing existence. It is not an effective remedy against casual groups which are prepared to change their names and to dissolve themselves to suit their convenience and possibly to coalesce in a new guise at a later stage. The best way to proceed against terrorists is to bring charges before the ordinary courts of the land for the criminal acts they commit.I have, of course, no responsibility for the programmes put out by the BBC or any other broadcasting organisation. I can, therefore, only take note of the protests which have been made to me by the many people who have taken exception to the provision of facilities by the media to self-confessed terrorists for the propagation of their views.

Londonderry Harbour

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied that under the terms of the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Act discrimination has not been exercised in the employment of the dock labour force at Londonderry port.

This is not a matter for me, but for the Fair Employment Agency, in which powers of investigation have been vested since 1st December 1976.

Shipbuilding

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in view of the new Government policy providing additional finance to stimulate and assist fresh orders for the shipbuilding industry and of the Government undertakings in respect of Harland and Wolff of Belfast, how he expects that firm will benefit from the policy; and on what scale.

As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, Harland and Wolff already has a Government commitment for £60 million between 1975 and 1979. As to my hon. Friend's announcement on 24th February, the close links that have developed between Departments in Whitehall and in Belfast and between the organising Committee for British Shipbuilders and Harland and Wolff will ensure that Harland's has the opportunity to compete equally with other United Kingdom firms for new orders. Like the other United Kingdom firms, Harland's will be eligible to receive financial help, tailored to the requirements of each prospective order and designed to secure maximum benefit at least cost.

Parochial Registers (Search Fees)

43.

asked the hon. Member for Kingswood (Mr. Walker) as representing the Church Commissioners, what proposals will be laid before Parliament in 1977 concerning revised scales of charges for access to the parochial registers.

The Commissioners do not intend to intiate any steps towards a revision of the fees payable under the Parochial Fees Order 1972 for searches in these registers before the overall position with respect to parochial fees has been reviewed by a Commission which has been set up by the General Synod for that purpose.

Clerical Stipends

asked the hon. Member for Kingswood (Mr. Walker), as representing the Church Commissioners, by how much the Commissioners, in their capacity as Central Stipends Authority, intend to raise the recommended range for the stipends of (a) incumbents, (b) non-beneficed clergy of incumbent status and (c) assistant curates from the conclusion of the present pay policy on 31st July 1977; what is the current proportion of incumbents who have to meet their working expenses out of their stipends; and what proposals the Commissioners have for ensuring a greater number of parishes meet these expenses in full.

From 1st April next the recommended stipend range will be increased by £130, the maximum permissible for the lower paid under the present pay policy. The Commissioners will be unable to decide on any further increase until the details of phase III of the Government's pay policy are known.The Commissioners are most conscious, however, that clergy stipends generally are inadequate, and their eventual recommendations will be made with this very much in mind. The Commissioners have taken every opportunity to make it clear to the Government that they regard as a matter of the utmost priority the need at least to bring up to the recommended minimum the stipends of those 2,000 or so clergy who, as a result of adherence to Government policy in the past, still have to live on stipends below the minimum and it is the Commissioners' particular hope that phase III of Government policy will be drawn with sufficient flexibility to enable this to be done.The latest figures available–1976—show that, on average, incumbents are still paying some 43 per cent. of their working expenses out of their stipends, but this is, perhaps, misleading because an average figure tends to give undue weight to the situation of a small minority of incumbents who, for whatever reason, prefer not to claim reimbursement of these expenses. In the present restrictions the Central Stipends Authority has made a special point of urging on dioceses the need to launch a major attack on this problem, and to encourage the laity in the parishes to accept their responsibilities in accordance with general recommendations contained in their fourth report, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member. Evidence that the Authority has been receiving indicates that the diocesan authorities are treating this question as one of great importance.

Trials Security For Costs)

asked the Attorney-General (1) what security for costs can be required by the county court in a case where the plaintiff is a minor suing through a parent;(2) if he is satisfied that the rules regarding provision of security for costs do not discriminate against a minor suing through a parent.

A minor may sue only by an adult as his next friend. This is usually a parent. A next friend is not as such required to give security for costs. The county court rules provide for him to lodge an undertaking to be responsible for any costs of the proceedings which the infant may be ordered to pay. He may be ordered to give security; but only in the circumstances in which an adult plaintiff could be ordered to give it. I am satisfied, therefore, that the rules do not discriminate against a minor suing through a parent. If my hon. Friend has some particular case in mind perhaps he will write to me.

asked the Attorney-General what security for costs can be required by the county court in a case where the plaintiff is an adult.

The County Court Rules require a plaintiff who does not reside in England and Wales to give security for costs, unless the registrar dispenses with it. There are also various circumstances in which the court can order the plaintiff to give security for costs—for example, on the application of a defendant who wishes to defend the action and does not reside or carry on business in the district of the court in which the proceedings have been commenced. These provisions apply whether the plaintiff is an adult or a minor.

Trade

Clothing Federation (Anti-Dumping Application)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what further action has been taken concerning the investigation into the anti-dumping application submitted by the Clothing Federation;

(2) why there has been a delay from the application of the Clothing Federation for an anti-dumping duty on 11th March 1976 and the announcement that investigations would take place on 27th September; why no further statement has been made; and if he will make a statement.

The investigation into allegations of dumping of suits from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania has now been completed. My Department has found a measure of dumping, with material injury to the United Kingdom industry. Negotiations with the supplying countries have resulted in undertakings being received that prices will be increased by appropriate amounts where increases had not already been planned. I am, therefore, closing the case. Prices will, of course, be reviewed from time to time.With the agreement of the industry, I am not proceeding with that part of the application which covered boys' suits as quantities are relatively small, but this can readily be looked at again in future as a separate issue if it is later considered by the industry that there is a major threat.This has been an unusually complex anti-dumping case requiring analysis of a wide range of garments in different styles and materials. This has inevitably been a time-consuming task. In spite of the difficulties, the case has been brought to a successful conclusion with the co-operation of the exporting countries. I hope that there will be general recognition of our determination to take firm action against dumped imports wherever it is justified.

Motor Vehicles (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that measures have been taken by Government to reduce the import of motor vehicles to a level which takes account of the levels of unemployment in those areas of the United Kingdom in which the domestic motor industry is situated.

The level of imports reflects the present inability of the United Kingdom industry to produce sufficient motor vehicles to meet both domestic and overseas demand. This requires therefore in the United Kingdom both a higher utilisation of existing capacity and an increased outlay on productive capacity. The Government approved last summer £100 million loan finance for the sole publicly-owned company of British Leyland as envisaged by the Ryder Report. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Industry said on 28th February—[Vol. 927, c. 28]—the criteria on which further finance would be made available to British Leyland were laid down by the then Prime Minister in April 1974, and that remains the position. The problem of under-utilisation of capacity is for management and unions throughout the industry to resolve.

Hotels

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has plans to introduce legislation to require hotel keepers to display detailed prices for accommodation and other services; and what provisions it will contain.

Following discussions on price notification with the industry and the statutory tourist boards, I am considering the whole question with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales. We hope to make an announcement very shortly.

Self-Employed Persons (Certificates Of Experience)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many certificates of experience have been issued so far by his Department to British self-employed persons wishing to set up businesses in other member States of the EEC.

Environment

Rotherham (Councillors' Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has seen the report of the district auditor for Rotherham Council; and whether he will make a statement on allowances claimed by Rotherham councillors.

My right hon. Friend has recently received the district auditor's interim report and is considering what action, if any, should be taken. He has no plans to make a statement.

Noise

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken to expedite the international study of the harmful effects of noise, which was pledged in the Helsinki Final Act.

The problem of noise is being studied in a number of international organisations and is included in the work programme of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).The aim of the ECE's study is to asses the present status of knowledge and to recommend methods for the prevention and abatement of noise. A task force has been established and has held two meetings, the most recent was held in December 1976. Nine countries, including the United Kingdom, have provided background information on a number of agreed topics and a synthesis paper has been prepared. At a later stage a seminar on this subject may be organised.Her Majesty's Government regards the ECE as the main channel for the multilateral implementation of the economic sectors of the Helsinki Final Act. The work now being carried out in the ECE is therefore in full accord with the provisions of that document.

Waste Material

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action has been taken to study the recovery and regeneration of waste materials; and if any research has been carried out on non-biodegradable substances as agreed in the Helsinki Final Act.

Her Majesty's Government regard the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) as the main channel for the multilateral implementation of the economic sections of the Helsinki Final Act. In full accord with the provisions of that document work is now being carried out in the ECE on the recovery and re-use of waste materials, and a project for the review of research on non-biodegradable substances is being considered.In addition, studies on the recovery and re-use of waste materials are being undertaken by the Waste Management Advisory Group and by the newly-appointed EEC Waste Management Advisory Committee.

Property Services Agency

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the reasons for the proposed removal of the Property Services Agency headquarters from Croydon to Teesside; how long ago the headquarters were removed to Croydon from London; and whether he will make a statement.

Dispersal of the bulk of the headquarters of the Property Services Agency to Teesside was one of the proposals put forward by Sir Henry Hardman in his alternative "regional" solution for dispersal of more Government work from London. The proposal was adopted by the Government and included in their 10-year programme for dispersal, announced in 1974, which was designed to improve the range and quality of employment opportunities especially in assisted areas.The headquarters directorates at present in Croydon moved there between 1969 and 1973. It is unlikely that the work of all these directorates will move to Teesside.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many civil servants are currently employed at the Property Services Agency headquarters at Croydon; and what is his estimate of the number of those who will decline to remain so employed when the headquarters is removed to Teesside.

2,580. Dispersal to Teesside is not scheduled to begin until the 1980s, and it is not possible to estimate how many staff who will then be serving in mobile grades in Croydon, will wish to seek other posts to avoid moving with the work.

Planning Appeals (Cornwall)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will indicate the number of planning appeals relating to the county of Cornwall awaiting determination in the month of January for each of the years 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977.

Departmental Questionnaires

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of different questionnaires requiring an answer which were sent out by his Department in 1976; and how many of each sort were sent out.

According to information obtained by survey control procedures there were 52 regular and one ad hoc statistical inquiries to local authorities.In addition, there were seven

ad statistical questionnaires to members of the public and seven regular statistical inquiries to businesses. These are listed below.

A: Ad Hoc Surveys

No.

1. English House Conditions Survey9,000
2. Housing and dwelling count pilot survey2,000
3. Housing experiences of newly married couples.1,060
4. Family homelessness in London900
5. Acceptibility of small homes for first-time buyers.620
6. Household movement in three London Housing Action Areas.500
7. Housing problems of handicapped children.290

B: Regular Enquiries

No.

Frequency

1. Sample of Building Society Mortgages.2,500Monthly
2. Estate Agents350Quarterly
3. Construction Output 20,000Quarterly
4. Employment in the Construction Industry.88,000Annually
5. Orders for new construction8,300Monthly
6. Overseas construction contracts.330Annually
7.Private enterprise housing2,0004 monthly

St Enoch Square, Glasgow

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the St. Enoch Square site to be acquired by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

The portion of the St. Enoch station site in Glasgow which is required for Ministry of Defence dispersal offices will be bought by the Property Services Agency on completion of the related demolition work undertaken by the Scottish Development Agency.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Cheese

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the fob price of New Zealand cheese imported into the United Kingdom under the Treaty of Accession; and if he will quote this cost, transport, costs, wholesale and retail margins, and EEC levies and taxes, respectively, in pence per pound of the retail price.

Information on fob prices of cheese in New Zealand and details of transport arrangements and costs are not readily available. The New Zealand cheese now being sold was imported some months ago at a price, including monetary compensatory amounts, equivalent to between 30·8p and 33·9p per lb. It incurred an EEC net variable levy of between 7·5p and 4·4p per lb. The first-hand price now being charged is equivalent to about 40·7p per lb. and the retail price during January averaged 51·6p per lb.

Civil Service

Disabled Persons

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish the total number of registered disabled people employed by (a) Government Departments with over 1,000 staff and (b) Government Departments with under 1,000 staff; and what percentage of the total workforce each of these figures represent.

The total number of registered disabled people employed by (a) Government Departments with over 1,000 staff and (b) Government Departments with under 1,000 staff and the percentage of the total work force each of these figures represent are:

Total Registered Disabled EmployeesPercentage
(a) Departments over 1,000 staff15,051·52·09
(b) Departments under 1,000 staff159·52·01

Government Car Service

asked the Minister for the Civil Service further to his Written Answer, Official Report, 21st February 1977, column 472, if he will list the grades of the 34 civil servants entitled to the use of chauffeur-driven cars.

24 Permanent Secretaries or Second Permanent Secretaries, one Deputy Secretary, three Under-Secretaries, one Chief Inspector of Constabulary and five Inspectors of Constabulary.

Dispersal

asked the Minister for the Civil Service (1) whether he has completed his review of the programme for dispersing Government offices to the Glasgow area; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he has yet decided on revised starting dates for the commencement of construction work on the new Foreign Office building in East Kilbride and of the new Ministry of Defence office in Glasgow.

A revised timetable for the dispersal programme as a whole will be announced as soon as possible.

Home Department

Rape

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average length of sentence served by those convicted of rape since 1969.

I regret that the information requested is not readily available and could be provided only by special inquiry and at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give figures for incidents of rape reported to the police in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976; in how many of the incidents arrests were made; and how many of those so charged were found guilty.

The number of offences of rape recorded as known to the police in England and Wales is given in the following table:

Year of police recordingOffences recorded as known to the police
1970884
1971784
1972893
1973998
19741,052
19751,040
Arrest figures could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Information about those arrested who were charged is not available, but the following table shows the number of people proceeded against in the courts:
PERSONS PROCEEDED AGAINST BY THE COURTS FOR OFFENCES OF RAPE—BY RESULT ALL COURTS—England and Wales
Number of persons
Year of court decisionProceeded againstFound guilty
1970471305
1971438269
1972509281
1973504331
1974540343
1975546336

Imprisonment Remission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider revising the system whereby remission of sentence on prisoners excludes the period which they have spent on remand in custody, bearing in mind the period of time which this frequently involves and the overcrowding in prisons.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Prison (Amendment) Rules 1972. These ensure that remission is granted on all the period spent in custody on remand which counts towards a prisoner's sentence under Section 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967. The existing provisions, therefore, already meet the point that the hon. Member has in mind.

Wales

Public Authorities (Costs)

asked the Secretary or State for Wales if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the nominated bodies in Wales whose members he appoints together with the corresponding costs incurred by such appointees during the most recent year for which information is available.

The following table gives the required information for 1975–76 in respect of bodies whose expenses are met out of Welsh Office Votes:

Remuneration (where applicable) and expenses of members
£
Area health authorities45,000*
Celtic Sea Advisory Committee470
Community health councils13,000*
Council for the Welsh Language1,600
Historic Buildings Council for Wales660
Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales12,400
Place Names Advisory Committee70
Rent Assessment Panel for Wales25,000
Sports Council for Wales8,800
Wales Tourist Board19,500
Welsh Committee for the Development of Health and Social Research200
Welsh Council6,600
Welsh Development Agency3,700
Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board160
Welsh Language Advisory Translation Panel130
Welsh Health Technical Services Organisation4,600
* Includes costs incurred by members appointed by other bodies.

Caernarvon (Inner Relief Road)

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will reconsider his decision not to meet representatives of local authorities of Caernarfon to discuss possible modifications to the proposed inner relief road at Caernarfon.

No. The local authorities of Arfon and Caernarvon are aware of the lengthy delays and abortive expenditure on preparatory work already completed which would follow from modifications to the approved scheme at this late stage. As I stated in the debate on 21st February, it is hoped to invite tenders before the end of this year.

Industry

Planning Agreements

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he is now in a position to make a statement under Section 21(3) of the Industry Act 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry of the assistance granted to industry under Sections 7 and 8 of the Industry Act 1972 as amended by the Industry Act 1975, if he will give the total value granted on the basis of the planning agreement negotiated under Section 21 of the 1975 Act.

No 1972 Industry Act financial assistance is currently covered by the provision of Section 21 of the 1975 Industry Act.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he now proposes to implement planning agreements; and whether he proposes to introduce further legislation.

Planning agreements remain a central feature of the Government's industrial policy. Legislative proposals are not at present under consideration.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the companies which have so far concluded planning agreements.

Co-Operatives

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to be able to announce proposals for the involvement of the co-operative movement in his consideration of the concept of a co-operative development agency.

It has been decided to establish a joint working group to develop further the idea of a co-operative development agency. The group will include officials from Government Departments concerned with the various forms of co-operative activity and representatives of the principal co-operative organisations.My right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Industry, will chair the first meeting of the working group later this month.

British Leyland

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will review the payment of Government grants to British Leyland so that money is not paid to that company unless full work is in progress.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer which my hon. Friend the Minister of State gave the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) on 28th February.—[Vol. 927, c. 28–34.]

Computer-Aided Design Centre

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether a decision has been made on the future of the Computer-Aided Design Centre at Cambridge.

It has been decided that the centre will remain at Cambridge as one of the Department's industrial research establishments.

"Trade And Industry"

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what is the total circulation of the magazine Trade and Industry;(2) what was the income received from sales of

Trade and Industry in the last year for which figures are available;

(3) what was the cost to public funds of advertising for subscribers to Trade and Industry in January and February 1977.

The average net weekly circulation of Trade and Industry for the period January-December 1976 as certified by the Audit Bureau of Circulation Limited is 13,788 copies. The average weekly number of copies sold in the last four-year period was:

197310,581
197410,932
197512,246
197612,870

Income received from sales of Trade and Industry in 1976 was £125,679, while revenue from advertising in the same period totalled £44,502.

The cost to public funds of advertising Trade and Industry in January and February 1977 is estimated to be £9,600. The total cost of such advertising during the 1976–77 financial year will be £23,600. Cost of advertising in January and February is estimated, because invoices for the later insertions have not yet been received.

Departmental Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many members of his departmental staff of the rank of Under-Secretary or above have had executive experience of not less than a year in manufacturing industry; and what proportion this represents.

My staff at senior level includes industrial advisers, the Director and Deputy Directors of the Industrial Development Unit and regional industrial directors, all specially recruited for their industrial or financial expertise. None of the career civil servants at these grades has such experience.

Scotland

Science Degrees (Students And Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many undergraduates there are at Scottish universities studying for an interrelated science degree; and what is the total amount of money made available to them in grants over the seven years required to obtain such a degree.

83 medical students are studying for an intercalated science degree at Scottish universities. At current rates of grant and fees, the average student grant over the seven years required to do a medical degree and an intercalated science degree would be about £6,000.

Defence

Industrial Democracy

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how he expects the Bullock Report on Industrial Democracy to be implemented in the Services and in other defence industries; and if he will make a statement.

The recommendations of the Bullock Committee Report are not appropriate to the Armed Services. The extension of industrial democracy in the public sector and in the defence industries in the nationalised and private sectors raises special issues, which are under consideration.

Ulster Defence Regiment

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the differences between the equipment issued to the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Regular Army.

Members of the UDR are equipped for their rôle to the same high standard as members of the Regular Army performing the same rôle, and their personal equipment and weapons, vehicles and stores are, in general, the same as those used by the Regular Army for the same tasks. Since the UDR is essentially a part-time force it is not necessary for it to be equipped in all respects to the same scale as the Regular Army. The scale of issue is, however, adequate for normal operational needs and can be supplemented when necessary from the Regular Army pool of equipment.

Army Vehicles

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what was the total number of vehicles held by the Army, including trailer-mounted equipments, at the end of 1955, 1960, 1964, 1970, 1973 and 1976.

pursuant to his answer [Official Report,14th February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 107], gave the following information:The total numbers of vehicles held by the Army, including trailer-mounted equipments, at the end of 1970, 1973 and 1976 were 101,092, 96,579 and 97,738, respectively. Comparable figures for the earlier years are not available.

Energy

Fuel Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will revise the table con- tained in the Written Answer, Official Report, 26th January 1977, column 637, domestic fuel prices, giving the comparative figures for both gas and electricity on the basis of useful heat in pence per therm; and whether it is Government policy to close the price gap between these two fuels.

The average fuel prices quoted in the Written Answer to which the hon. Member refers are a combination of different types and levels of tariffs and standing charges and they are quite unsuitable for any comparison of fuel prices per therm of useful heat or of heating costs. The calculation of fuel prices per therm of useful heat requires information on efficiency in use. User efficiency varies widely according to type of appliance and installation, method of use, personal habits and circumstances. Further, in the case of electricity, space heating costs should be based largely on the cheap night-rate tariffs, which are much lower than any overall average price for electricity. For both gas and electricity one would also need to include annual operating and maintenance costs, and in many cases allowance would need to be made for the cost of purchasing and installing modern, well-designed appliances with efficiencies higher than overall averages. It is not practicable to calculate the changes in costs, prices and efficiencies over time for all these items, so that it is not possible to produce meaningful comparative figures on the basis of useful heat in pence per therm. However the relevant factors have been assessed for present-day conditions and the resulting total annual heating costs covering four locations in the United Kingdom are published in a set of four booklets with the title "Compare your home heating costs." Copies are available in the Library of the House.

Radioactive Waste

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will list (a) the places where the Atomic Energy Authority will make test borings with a view to the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in geological formations and (b) against each place the month and the year in which the borings will be begun;(2) if he will indicate by Ordnance Survey references where the Atomic Energy Authority will make test borings in the rocks of North-West England with a view to the possible disposal of high-level radioactive nuclear waste.

(a) No places are being sought as actual disposal sites for high level radioactive wastes. However, with other European countries, the United Kingdom is proposing to study certain rock types to obtain basic data for an assessment of their suitability for this purpose.The United Kingdom, with France, is to study hard rocks; Germany and the Netherlands, salt formations; and Italy and Belgium, clay. Sites for actual disposal could not be sought until the research is completed in at least three years' time. At this stage test borings for the research programme are being considered in Galloway and Dumfriesshire. In Cornwall it is the intention to use existing holes as far as possible, but some further holes may need to be drilled.(

b) Borings could not commence until any necessary planning permission had been granted and the weather conditions were suitable. The earliest possible time would be late April 1977.

Methanol And Ethylene

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what price for crude oil would be required to enable methanol to be produced economically from coal;(2) what price for crude oil would be required to enable ethylene to be produced economically from coal; and when it was last produced in the United Kingdom from this source in substantial quantities.

The price of crude oil relative to coal would have to double before the production of methanol or ethylene from coal could begin to appear economic. No significant quantities of ethylene have been derived from coal in the United Kingdom.

North Sea Oil (Gas Flaring)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is considering pro-rationing of oil in the North Sea to conserve associated gas from being flared, or whether he is prepared to flare extensive quantities of this gas due to the absence of a pipeline to the shore grid.

In considering each application for consent to flare gas we take into account all relevant factors, including the findings of the Williams-Merz study of gas pipeline systems in the North Sea. Producers are left in no doubt about the importance that we attach to their ensuring that the amount of gas flared is kept to an absolute minimum.

British National Oil Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he first announced that the headquarters of the British National Oil Corporation would be in Glasgow; and if he will make a statement on the progress which has been made in implementing this decision.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will meet the Chairman of British National Oil Corporation to discuss the lack of progress in complying with the Government's decision to set up the BNOC headquarters in Glasgow.

The decision to site the headquarters of the British National Oil Corporation in Glasgow was first announced during the course of the Second Reading of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Bill—[Vol. 891, c. 489]. We are in close contact with the corporation on its progress towards fulfilling the remit given to it by Parliament.

Oil Rig (Government Order)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on the Government-assisted purchase by the British National Oil Corporation of a drilling rig from the Marathon Shipbuilding Company (UK) Limited.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he intended giving a specific direction to BNOC to place an order for a new class Rig 385 deep water jacket so as to maintain work at Marathon's yard in Clydebank before the corporation found a buyer for the rig; and what would be the estimated cost.

pursuant to the answer [Official Report, 23rd February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 606], gave the following information:On 21st December 1976, the Government announced their decision to provide substantial financial assistance to BNOC in order that the corporation should purchase a drilling rig from Marathon's Clydebank yard. Since then we have been discussing with BNOC and Marathon the type of rig to be ordered and the arrangements for this assistance. As a result of these discussions the Government have concluded that the most appropriate design to build is the type 84 jack-up. Marathon has had most success with this type of rig at Clydebank and it is a well-proven exploration tool in various areas of the world. It will ensure the earliest possible build-up of work at the Marathon yard. Accordingly, I have asked BNOC to enter into substantive negotiations with Marathon for the purchase of such a rig, within guidelines laid down by the Government.In view of the fact that the Government have such a large financial commitment to the contract, they will require to approve the terms and conditions of the contract, though the detailed conduct

PERCENTAGES OF ALL SCHOOL LEAVERS
No "A" levels one or more CSE grade 1 and "0" level grades A-CNo "A" levels CSE grace 2–5 "O" level grades D and EOne or more "A" levels
(a) ILEA26·132·915·6
(b) Outer London Boroughs34·230·317·7
Percentages derived from a 10 per cent. sample survey. The figures exclude leavers from special schools and independent schools not recognised as efficient.

Teacher-Pupil Ratios

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the pupil-teacher ratios for primary schools and secondary schools respectively in (a) the Inner London Education Authority area and (b) each of the outer London boroughs.

This information is collected by my Department as at January each year. Information for January 1977 is still being collected. Pupil-teacher ratios were published by my Department for each local education authority for 1976 on 16th December and are available in the Library.

London

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which are the designated education priority areas

of negotiations will be in the hands of BNOC, which will be placing the order for the rig on its own account.

Education And Science

School Examination Passes

asked the Secretary of State of Education and Science what percentage of schoolchildren in (a) Inner London Education Authority schools, and (b) schools in the outer London boroughs are leaving school with qualifications at CSE O-level and A-level, respectively.

The percentage of school children in (a) ILEA schools and (b) schools in the outer London boroughs leaving school in 1974–75 (the latest year available) with qualifications at CSE, GCT "O" levels, and "A" levels respectively is as follows:within the Greater London area; and what are the special facilities and extra resources made available to such areas which are not available to other areas.

No education priority areas have been designated in any part of the country by the Government. However, extra assistance has been and is still being given to local education authorities with special social needs in a variety of ways, such as the urban aid programme and Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966. Allowances additional to normal salaries are paid to teachers in social priority schools designated by the Burnham Committee. In the allocation of capital resources for the improvement of school buildings and the provision of nursery education, priority has been given to projects which will serve areas of special social need identified by local education authorities. Local education authorities operate procedures of their own for weighting the allocation of staffing and other resources to schools in accordance with their different needs.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total cost in the last full year for which figures are available of (a) teachers' salaries, (b) administration, and (c) capital projects in the inner London

Gross expenditure (outturn prices) £000Percentage of ILEAs total expenditure
Teacher's salaries (including National Insurance and Super-annuation)180,05944·2
Administration and Inspection21,4555·3
Capital Expenditure27,8786·8

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many people are currently employed in the Education Officer's Department of the Inner London Education Authority and in the education department of each of the outer London boroughs; and what these figures represent as a percentage of the full-time teaching staff employed in each case.

Separate information for the ILEA and the outer London boroughs is not available centrally. These authorities or the Local Authorities' Conditions of Service Advisory Board (LACSAB) may be able to provide information which relates to the hon. Gentleman's Question, but it may not be exactly in the form requested.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the ratio of teaching to non-teaching staff in (a) Inner London Education Authority schools and (b) schools in the outer London boroughs.

Literacy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of the children leaving school in (a) the Inner London Education schools and (b) schools in the outer London boroughs are leaving primary schools with (i) a reading age equivalent to or above their chronological age and (ii) a reading age below their chronological age.

Information about reading standards defined in this education area; and what percentage of the overall cost of Inner London Education Authority each represented.

In the financial year 1975–76 the gross expenditures were as follows:way in individual local education authority areas is not collected by the Department.

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many full-time teachers and how many part-time teachers were in post in (a) Inner London Education Authority schools and (b) schools in the outer London boroughs at the most recent convenient date; and what was the average length of time that they had been in post in each case.

In January 1976, the number of qualified teachers in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in each of the local education authorities of Greater London was as follows. Information about the average length of time in post could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

Local Education AuthorityFull-time teachersPart-time teachers
ILEA20,5123,389
Barking1,44787
Barnet2,243471
Bexley1,772196
Brent2,285162
Bromley2,154255
Croydon2,607461
Ealing2,361186
Enfield1,975286
Haringey1,893180
Harrow1,538178
Havering2,135199
Hillingdon1,911234
Hounslow1,761143
Kingston-upon-Thames1,013131
Merton1,248183
Newham1,969141
Redbridge1,615290
Richmond-upon-Thames933136
Sutton1,165173
Waltham Forest1,887235

Higher And Further Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will list all the institutions of higher and further education that are the responsibility of (a) the Inner London Education Authority and (b) each of the outer London boroughs.

The information is as follows:INSTITUTIONS OF FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION MAINTAINED OR ASSISTED BY THE INNER LONDON EDUCATION AUTHORITY

  • City and East London College
  • South East London College
  • Hammersmith and West London College
  • * The Cordwainers' Technical College
  • Hackney College
  • Kingsway Princeton College
  • Brixton College of Further Education
  • Vauxhall College of Building and Further
  • Education
  • Southwark College
  • London College of Printing
  • South London College
  • Morley College
  • Paddington College
  • North London College
  • London College of Furniture
  • * London School of Nautical Cookery
  • South West London College
  • South Thames College
  • The College for the Distributive Trades
  • Westminster College
  • Woolwich College
  • London College of Fashion
  • Merchant Navy College
  • * Goldsmiths' College
  • * Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts
  • Chelsea School of Art
  • Central School of Art and Design
  • St. Martins School of Art
  • * Polytechnic of North London
  • * Polytechnic of the South Bank
  • * City of London Polytechnic
  • * Polytechnic of Central London
  • * Thames Polytechnic
  • Avery Hill College
  • Shoreditch College
  • Philippa Fawcett and Furzedown College of Education
  • Dartford College of Education
  • Garnett College

INSTITUTIONS OF FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION MAINTAINED OR ASSISTED BY THE OUTER LONDON BOROUGHS

Barking

  • Barking College of Technology North East London Polytechnic (maintained jointly by Barking, Newham and Waltham Forest)

Barnet

  • Barnet College of Further Education
  • Hendon College of Further Education
  • Middlesex Polytechnic (maintained jointly by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey)

Brent

  • Kilburn Polytechnic
  • Willesden College of Technology

Bromley

  • Bromley College of Technology
  • Orpington College of Further Education
  • Ravensbourne College of Art and Design
  • Stockwell College of Education

Croydon

  • Croydon College of Design and Technology

Ealing

  • Acton Technical College
  • Ealing Technical College
  • Southall College of Technology
  • Thomas Huxley College

Enfield

  • Southgate Technical College
  • Edmonton College of Further Education
  • Theobalds Adult Residential and Conference
  • Centre
  • Capel Manor Institute of Horticulture

Haringey

  • Tottenham College of Technology
  • North West Haringey Adult Education Centre

Harrow

  • Harrow College of Technology and Arts
  • Harrow College of Further Education

Havering

  • Havering Technical College

Hillingdon

  • Uxbridge Technical College

Hounslow

  • Hounslow Borough College

Kingston-upon-Thames

  • Kingston-upon-Thames College of Further Education
  • Kingston Polytechnic

Merton

  • Merton Technical College
  • Wimbledon School of Art

Newham

  • West Ham College
  • East Ham College of Technology

Redbridge

  • Redbridge Technical College

Richmond-upon-Thames

  • Twickenham College of Technology

Sutton

  • Carshalton College of Further Education
  • Sutton College of Liberal Arts

Waltham Forest

  • Waltham Forest College

NOTE

1. An asterisk (* ) indicates that the institution is assisted by the local education authority.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of the children leaving school in (a) the Inner London Education Authority area, and (b) the outer London boroughs go on to institutions of higher and further education.

The percentage of children leaving school in 1974–75—the latest year available—in (a) the ILEA area and (b) the outer London boroughs going on to full-time courses at institutions of higher and further education is (a) 14–6 per cent. and (b) 19–4 per cent. These figures exclude leavers from special schools and independent schools not recognised as efficient.

PUPILS IN MAINTAINED SCHOOLS
Full-time and part-time pupils under 5 as a percentage of the nursery age group*
Local education authority(A) In nursery schools and in nursery classes in primary schools(B) Attending primary schools, but not in nursery classes
ILEA26·014·8
Barking8·127·1
Barnet15·729·2
Bexley7·113·0
Brent9·728·1
Bromley1·413·4
Croydon3·823·7
Ealing13·929·1
Enfield9·727·5
Haringey22·328·3
Harrow8·515·6
Havering2·026·9
Hillingdon17·528·8
Hounslow20·828·1
Kingston-Upon-Thames28·221·0
Merton21·222·6
Newham26·211·7
Redbridge5·514·2
Richmond-Upon-Thames7·224·8
Sutton12·70·9
Waltham Forest7·820·7
* One half of the population 1–4 according to the Registrar-General's estimate.

Overseas Development

Crown Agents

asked the Minister of Overseas Development when she expects to introduce legislation based on Command Paper No. 6445 of April 1976.

Nursery Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of children of nursery school age is currently benefiting from nursery education either full-time or part-time in (a) the Inner London Education Authority area and (b) each of the outer London boroughs.

Information for the current academic year is not yet available. On the assumption that the number of children of nursery age in any given local education authority can be estimated as about one-half of the 1–4 age group, the percentages for local education authorities in Greater London in January 1976 are shown in column (A) below. Comparable figures in respect of under fives attending maintained primary schools but not in designated nursery classes are given in column (B).introduce legislation as soon as the parliamentary timetable permits.

Malawi

46.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what views she has on continuing the provision of overseas aid for the Viphya pulp project in Malawi, and, in particular, whether the proposed pulp mill is considered economically viable.

Our financing of the plantations has created a substantial asset. and resulted in valuable community development in a deprived area. The question of further aid for Viphya and the prospects for the proposed pulp mill will be discussed at our next triennial aid talks with the Malawi Government in mid-May.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Zambia (Rhodesian Children)

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Zambia to obtain the return to their parents of the children taken from the mission school in Rhodesia and now in Zambia; and whether he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply my hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on 25th February.

Hong Kong

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there has been any change in the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards Hong Kong since they came to office; and if he will make a statement on the aims of the present Government's policy towards Hong Kong.

No. Her Majesty's Government's policy, like that of previous Governments, is to administer Hong Kong in the interests of those who live there.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many refugees from the Chinese mainland have been sent back by the Hong Kong authorities; what information and assurances are received about their treatment on return; how many such refugees have been allowed to remain in Hong Kong; how many have moved from Hong Kong to third countries; whether he will specify such countries; and whether he will make a statement about the policy of Her Majesty's Government in this regard.

Since the reintroduction on 30th November 1974 of the policy of refusing entry approximately 2,300 persons have been apprehended trying to enter Hong Kong illegally from China and have been returned. I have no reason to believe that those returned have suffered unduly harsh treatment. I shall write separately in amplification of these points in answer to the other Questions raised by the hon. Member.

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the trend in crime figures for the last year in Hong Kong.

I am pleased to inform the hon. Member that in 1976 the trend in crime figures in Hong Kong continued to show the consistent decline which had begun in 1975, so that by the end of 1976 the level of crime was back to that recorded at the end of 1973.

Anguilla

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under what circumstances the Leader of the Anguilla Council was changed; and how the new Leader was selected.

On 1st February a motion declaring lack of confidence in the Government of Anguilla was carried by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the elected members of the Legislative Assembly. In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, Her Majesty's Commissioner revoked the appointment of Mr. Webster and appointed Mr. Emile Gumbs.

Cambodia

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement about current British relations with Cambodia.

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave the hon. Member on 22nd December.

New Hebrides

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now fix, in consultation with his French counterpart, a target date for the independence of the Condominium of the New Hebrides.

My right hon. and noble Friend expects to discuss such matters with his French colleague and with a delegation from the Representative Assembly later this year.

Gilbert Islands

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the visit of Mr. Richard Posnett to the Gilbert Islands.

Mr. Posnett visited the Gilbert Islands from 12th to 21st February. After completing his other discussions in the area, he will return to the United Kingdom around the middle of March to report to my right hon. and noble Friend.

Iraq

22

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions officials of his Department have authenticated signatures on negative or discriminatory certificates of origin as required by the Government of Iraq.

Falkland Islands

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Minister of State's recent visit to the Falkland Islands.

I refer the hon. Member to the account of my visit to the Falkland Islands which I gave when concluding the Foreign Affairs debate on 1st March.

Turkish Ambassador

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last had a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador.

My right hon. Friend has not himself had a meeting with the Ambassador, but the Ambassador is of course in close and frequent contact with my right hon. Friend's Department.

Uganda

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, at the forthcoming conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers, he will initiate steps to secure the expulsion of Uganda from the Commonwealth.

Her Majesty's Government share the strong feelings of the House about recent events in Uganda. The issue of the expulsion of a country from the Commonwealth has far reaching implications and would require very careful consideration by all members of the Commonwealth.

Nuclear Explosions

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what initiative the Government will take to support President Carter's proposal for a ban on all nuclear tests, whether underground or in the atmosphere.

We are studying with interest President Carter's recent statements on the importance of achieving a comprehensive test ban and look forward to detailed proposals. We have consistently stated that the British Government favour such a ban provided that it contains effective verification provisions and that it covers peaceful nuclear explosions.

Rhodesia

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will specify the atrocities committed by the security forces in Rhodesia.

We are not able to investigate allegations of specific atrocities committed by either side. But the regime have admitted publicly that civilians have been killed by the security forces for being in prohibited areas or while out after curfew. Published accounts by international organisations have also described incidents involving indiscriminate and ruthless action by the security forces.

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now publish the note submitted by Her Majesty's Government in September to the Security Council's Committee on Sanctions against Rhodesia, accusing the USSR, Romania and East Germany of trading in metals and tobacco with the Rhodesian régime.

Yes. Because of the publicity it has aroused, and in order to set the record straight, I am prepared, quite exceptionally and without precedent, to place a copy of the Note in the Library of the House. These Notes are confidential documents to the United Nations Sanctions Committee. Although they name the countries concerned they make no accusations. They convey to the Committee information which appears to indicate sanctions breaking which merits further investigation.

Helsinki Agreement (Review)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise at the Belgrade review conference the progress made by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in implementing the Helsinki Agreement.

One of the main purposes of the Belgrade meeting will be to carry out a thorough review of the progress made in implementing the Helsinki Final Act. Her Majesty's Government will not hesitate to state their views frankly if they consider the performance of the Soviet Union or of any other country has been unsatisfactory.

East African Airways Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government will make to the Governments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania about the situation of British employees of East African Airways following nationalisation of the corporation by those Governments.

I am naturally concerned that the interests of the British employees of the East African Airways Corporation, which ceased operation in January, should be fully protected. Her Majesty's Government will keep an active watch on developments and consider what further action is necessary. I am hopeful that a settlement will be reached in discussions in which the trade unions concerned are taking part. Recourse may be possible to the provisions of the United Kingdom Employment Protection Act.

European Community

Ministerial Meetings

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on his last meeting with the EEC leaders; and if he will make a statement.

I have had a number of individual meetings. I also represented the United Kingdom at the Council of Ministers meeting on 8th February on which a statement was made in the House on 10th February.

Security And Co-Operation

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further consultations he will have with EEC Foreign Ministers before the Belgrade Conference.

The Foreign Ministers of the Nine are resolved to maintain the closest co-operation in preparing positions for the Belgrade review meeting of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe. The next formal meeting at ministerial level in the EEC political cooperation context will be on 18th and 19th April.

Fisheries

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he is satisfied with the progress achieved in the last month towards agreement on the revision of the common fisheries policy and on the admission of non-EEC fishing vessels within the 200-mile limit.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with progress in negotiating the common fisheries policy.

There is still a long way to go in reform of the common fisheries policy, though the recent agreement on conservation measures, which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture explained to the House on 10th February, represents a most welcome pragmatic step in the right direction. On the external side, fisheries negotiations have opened with the Soviet Union and Poland, and the Community's fisheries agreement with the United States has been signed.

Direct Elections

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has had with regard to the date of publication of a Bill for direct elections to the European assembly.

None. The publication of the Bill is, of course, a matter for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Employment

Fibre Glass (Research)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update the information in his answer to the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. Cryer), Official Report, Vol. 904, c. 552–3, on fibre glass; and if he will make a statement with regard to the progress of research.

The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that the joint programme of research into the health hazards of inhaled manmade mineral fibres planned by the Joint European Medical Research Board of the Comite International de la Rayonne et des Fibres Synthetiques (CIRFS) and the European Insulation Manufacturers Association (EURIMA) is now under way. Three linked studies have been funded by them: animal and other biological experiments are proceeding at the Medical Research Council's Pneumoconiosis Unit: the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh, has investigated methods of sampling airborn concentrations of man-made mineral fibre and have begun a series of environmental surveys at manufacturing plant: and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organisation is well advanced in establishing populations of European workers manuafcturing man-made mineral fibres for a mortality study.The research on novel techniques for the recognition and estimation of fibres sponsored by the Health and Safety Executive is still continuing at the Medical Research Council's Pneumo- coniosis Unit. A description of the basic principles and how they might be applied was given by V. Timbrell in "Annals of Occupational Hygiene", volume 18, pages 299 to 311. Related research has also been commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive with the aim of producing a portable instrument providing for direct monitoring and rough-size classification of airborne fibres. This research is still at an early stage.As any serious health hazard arising from the inhalation of these fibres is likely to take many years to develop, the research now being planned or undertaken is unlikely to yield definitive results in the near future.In the meantime the Health and Safety Commission has set up a working party of representatives from industry, trades unions and Government to review the present policy in relation to the health risk from man-made mineral fibres and to make recommendations to the Advisory Committee on Toxic Substances.

Construction Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many construction workers are unemployed in the Northern Region and Mid-Northumberland local employment areas, respectively; and how these figures compare with other regions.

The following table shows the numbers of registered unemployed people at August 1976 who last worked in the construction industry:

North Region18,109
Mid-Northumberland768
South East45,107
East Anglia4,695
South West15,690
West Midlands14,900
East Midlands9,147
Yorkshire and Humberside14,762
North West27,936
Wales15,182
Scotland28,290
The information is from an industrial analysis which is normally made quarterly. However, because of industrial action by some staff within the Department of Employment Group, information for November 1976 is not available. Comparable information for February 1977 will be available in about a week's time.

School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of school leavers unemployed in each employment office area in the Macclesfield constituency at the most recent convenient date; and what was the corresponding figure for each of the last five years.

Following is the information:

Macclesfield Employment Office areaCongleton Employment Office area
February 1972*9
February 1973*3
February 1974*1
February 197586
February 19761312
February 1977259
* For these dates, the figures for Congleton are included in those for Macclesfield.

Remploy

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many disabled workers were employed by Remploy at the latest convenient date; and what were the comparable figures for each of the past five years.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the figures are as follows:

As atTotal of severely disabled people employed by Remploy
31st December 19767,845
2nd January 19768,201
3rd January 19758,037
4th January 19747,785
5th January 19737,818
31st December 19717,353
These totals include shopfloor workers and staff appointments in factories and at head office.

Job Creation Programme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what projects have been undertaken under the job creation programme in the Sowerby constituency; and what was their cost to public funds.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report the job creation projects proposed or under way in the Wakefield, Leeds and Calderdale districts, respectively, indicating the number of jobs involved in each project.

Merseyside

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to pay an official visit to Merseyside to discuss unemployment problems.

My right hon. Friend at present has no plans to do so, but I plan to visit Ellesmere Port on 18th March.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the unemployment figures issued recently for Merseyside.

In February 1977 there were 80,175 persons registered as unemployed in the Merseyside special development area. This figure shows only a very slight decrease since January when there were 80,572 people unemployed in the area. Merseyside's unemployment rate of 10–6 per cent. is still far too high; this rate reflects both the structural problems from which Merseyside continues to suffer and also the national economic recession. The Government are aware of the problems of Merseyside and have taken action to help the area, for example, through our regional industrial policy; by providing more support for the Manpower Services Commission to increase training; and through the special measures that have now helped over 20,000 people on Merseyside.

Construction Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations his Department has received from trade unions in the construction industry concerning unemployment among construction workers on Merseyside.

My Department has frequent formal and informal contacts with trade unions and other interested parties concerning unemployment among construction industry workers on Merseyside and elsewhere. These have chiefly concerned the effects of the public expenditure cuts on construction industry employment in general and the Local Authorities (Works) Bill.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to alleviate unemployment in the construction industry on Merseyside; and if he will make a statement.

The existing special employment measures, the temporary employment subsidy, the job creation programme, the youth employment subsidy and the job release scheme and the expanded training opportunities programme are available to help workers in the construction industry who are unemployed or threatened with redundancy. The prime responsibility for employment in the construction industry, of course, lies with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is the percentage of unemployed construction workers on Merseyside at the latest available date; and how this figures compares with other regions;(2) if he will publish in the

Official Report details of unemployment of construction workers on Merseyside in each of the past three years to the latest available date.

I shall reply to my hon. Friend in a few days, when figures for February 1977 become available.

Pottery (Lead Poisoning Risk)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will investigate the extent of health risks from lead poisoning in the pottery industry, the extent to which employers observe the health regulations for the industry and the efforts made to control lead-bearing dusts.

I am informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that the health risks from lead poisoning in the pottery industry have been under investigation for many years and their extent is well known. Approximately 1,500 lead workers in the pottery industry are subject to statutory medical examinations and between 1971 and 1976 inclusive three cases of lead poisonings in potteries have been notified under the Factories Act 1961.

Compliance by employers with the Pottery (Health) Special Regulations 1947 and the Pottery (Health and Welfare) Special Regulations 1950 is checked on a routine basis by Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate, which enforces these regulations. There have been 47 convictions for offences under the latter regulations since 1st January 1971 and action has been completed on 22 improvement notices under the same regulations since 1st January 1975 using powers under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The appropriate control measures for lead-bearing dusts are well established and, where properly used, result in effective control of the lead risk. The Joint Standing Committee for the Pottery Industry, representative of both sides of industry and the Factory Inspectorate, has considered and made recommendations on suitable control methods over the years. The pottery regulations are included in the review of existing lead legislation which is currently being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive.

For these reasons additional investigations are not considered necessary.

Working Days Lost

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, aggregating statistics of working days lost through industrial disputes and through unemployment, what was the total number of working days lost for the 12 months between March and February 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1974–75 and 1975–76, respectively.

Working days lost through unemployment can be estimated only on an imprecise basis. Following is the information available for Great Britain:

Working days lost through industrial disputes and unemployment
March-February(millions)
1970–1971148
1971–1972197
1972–1973194
1973–1974137
1974–1975149
1975–1976235

Overtime

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the full-time job equivalent, assuming a 40-hour week, of the hours of overtime worked in each sector of manufacturing industry at the latest date; and how these figures compare with the numbers of registered unemployed in each sector at a similar date.

Statistics of overtime relate to hours worked by operatives. The unemployment figures cover all workers, including administrative, technical and

Hours of overtime worked by operatives divided by 40: Week ended 14th August 1976Unemployed on 12th August 1976
Food, drink and tobacco48,20038,962
Coal and petroleum products2,1002,270
Chemicals and allied industries18,00016,063
Metal manufacture28,30026,079
Mechanical engineering46,40039,752
Instrument engineering3,9004,661
Electrical engineering19,50030,496
Shipbuilding and marine engineering13,4008,332
Vehicles29,00027,079
Metal goods not elsewhere specified25,50036,651
Textiles16,80027,923
Leather, leather goods and fur1,4003,552
Clothing and footwear2,20020,994
Bricks, pottery, glass, cement, etc.18,20014,417
Timber, furniture, etc.11,40016,557
Paper, printing and publishing24,90018,570
Other manufacturing industries14,30017,859

National Finance

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the loss to the revenue if the top rate of income tax were 50 per cent., 45 per cent. and 40 per cent. on earned income alone, and on earned income combined with investment income.

The cost of reducing the top rate of income tax on earned income to 50 per cent., 45 per cent. and 40 per cent. would be about £235 million, £330 million and £460 million respectively at 1976–77 levels of income. The costs if applied to both earned and investment income would be about £430 million, £570 million and £760 million respectively, assuming that the restriction to the maximum rates excludes the investment incomes surcharge. To apply the maximum rate to earned and investment income on the basis that the restriction includes the investment income surcharge would involve complex calculations, and regretfully it has only been possible to provide a figure in respect of a 50 per cent. maximum. The cost on this basis at 1976–77 levels of income would be

clerical employees. Following is the information for August 1976, the latest date for which an industrial analysis of the unemployed is available. This analysis of the unemployment is available. This analysis is normally made quarterly but because of industrial action by some staff in the Department of Employment Group, information for November 1976 is not available.

£630 million. This assumes that investment income is treated as the top slice of a mixed income.

Tax Assessment (Assumptions)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the practice of Her Majesty's inspector of taxes in issuing coding notices for 1977–78 of assessing individuals for possible rises in both superannuation payments and State retirement pensions, on what basis the estimate of State pension rises is made; and if he will make a statement.

Since the age allowance is reduced by reference to the amount by which the total income exceeds £3,250, the inspector must, in determining the code number to be allocated to a taxpayer over 65 years of age whose income is likely to exceed this figure, make an estimate of his income, including any pension. The estimate is based on broad assumptions as to the likely increase in total income, rather than on specific assumptions as to particular sources of income. If the income is under-estimated, the taxpayer may be faced with an underpayment of tax at the end of the year. It is, of course, open to any taxpayer to appeal against his coding if he considers it is incorrect.

Cars (Business Perquisites)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will estimate how many car benefit forms (P522) have been sent out and how many will need to be submitted by taxpayers in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 7 to the Finance Act 1976.

Self-Employed Persons

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost in loss of revenue of increasing to 30 per cent. the earnings limit for self-employed pension contributions.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 14th February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 96], gave the following information:The cost would depend on the extent to which the increase in the limit was taken up, but assuming that the 30 per cent. limit was applied in conjunction with the present income limit of £15,000 and that all those presently getting relief took full advantage of the increase, the additional cost could be up to £100 million.

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, pursuant to his reply of 16th December 1976, he will now update the table he then published in the Official Report in answer to a Question from the hon. Member for Chingford which showed changes in the real take-home pay of an average worker.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 21st February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 421], gave the following information:The revised figures are as follows:

Real Take-home pay at December 1976 prices
£ per week
December 197360·72
December 197462·96
December 197558·32
December 197656·92
The figures have been calculated on the same basis as those given in reply to the hon. Member's previous Question on 16th December 1976—[Vol. 922, c. 785–6]—except that the average earnings figure and the price index now relate to December 1976.

Social Services

Departmental Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many civil servants are currently employed in his Department.

The total number of non-industrial and industrial civil servants employed in the Department on 1st February 1977 was 94,923 and 264 respectively. The figures include staff in the special hospitals and other special units.

Whitley Councils (Mccarthy Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether since Lord McCarthy's Report on Whitley Councils in the National Health Service is out of print, a further print has been ordered.

Hospitals (Greenwich)