Written Answers To Questions
Friday 11th March 1977
asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will make a statement on the Government's actions or intentions regarding the reductions to be made in the number of civil servants; to what extent reductions have been made or intended; to what extent redundancy payments have been paid or promised; what are the number and grades affected; and to what extent money has been, or is being spent on advertisements calling for persons to apply for vacancies caused in part by these staff reductions.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Forman) on 27th January 1977, in which I gave a breakdown by Department of the savings on forecast Civil Service expenditure announced last July. To these figures must be added the £30 million savings in 1977–78 announced in December and set out in detail in the table below. The number of posts involved is a matter for the Departments concerned, but these expenditure cuts are consistent with a Civil Service of around the ¾ million mark for the rest of this year and 10,000 or 15,000 less over the next two or three years. Our aim is to absorb as many as possible of the surplus staff, either within the Department concerned or elsewhere in the Civil Service, and the level of normal wastage is such that we do not expect many redundancies, although there may be problems in particular locations or areas of work. If redundancy arises, benefits are provided under the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. Staff reductions do not cause vacancies which need to be filled by recruitment.
|£30M SAVING: ALLOCATION TO DEPARTMENTS (All figures at 1976 Public Expenditure Survey Prices)|
|Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food||1.3|
|Civil Service Department||0.4|
|Her Majesty's Customs and Excise||3.6|
|Department of Education and Science||0.2|
|Department of Employment Group||2.1|
|Department of the Environment (including PSA and Transport)||2.2|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office||1.0|
|Department of Industry||0.4|
|Department for National Savings||0.9|
|Her Majesty's Stationery Office||3.0|
Ministry Of Defence (Chief Police Officers)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service in view of his reply on 24th January 1977 regarding the pay of the 10 Ministry of Defence chief police officers, if he will make a further statement as to what are the difficult issues involved, bearing in mind that this matter now goes back to July 1975 and is still not settled.
As I have recently stated, the matter is under active consideration with my ministerial colleagues. There are a number of very difficult national pay policy points to be resolved. The case requires full and careful study in this wider context.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied with the existing security arrangements in the area of Loch Fyne, Argyll.
Civilian Staff And Cars
asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Press officers plus secretarial support staff for them his Department employs; and how many cars it uses for senior staff.
In Ministry of Defence Headquarters there are 21 members of the Information Group dealing with the media and 42 others involved in specialist functions such as writing, film making and exhibitions. They are supported by 28 clerical staff. Outside Headquarters, 74 members of the Information Group work for the three services in commands and districts at home and abroad. In addition, 30 others, who are not members of the Defence public relations staff, are engaged in specialist work for the Services such as the making of training films.The Ministry of Defence London Car Service has a total of 59 cars to meet the transport requirements of Defence Ministers and the most senior military and civilian staff. The service also provides for those official journeys by more junior staff which cannot reasonably be made by public transport.
European Programme Group
asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will encourage Government involvement in the discussions and work of the independent European Programme Group.
The United Kingdom has from the beginning been actively involved in the full range of the work of the European Programme Group. We will continue to contribute towards the successful development of this body, which is now the main European forum for collaboration in the defence equipment field. Further information about the activities of the group is to be found in paragraph 152 on page 16 of the Statement on Defence Estimates 1977 (Cmnd. 6735) which refers in particular to important studies on future aircraft and helicopters.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the number of warships disposed of, and their names, in each of the past 10 years.
Those of Her Majesty's ships that have been formally placed on the disposal lists over the last 10 years are listed below:
- HMS "Badminton"
- HMS "Caunton"
- HMS "Lanton"
- HMS "Flocton"
- HMS "Picton"
- HMS "Ilmington"
- HMS "Santon"
- HMS "Rennington"
- HMS "Bevington"
- HAM "Tarlton"
- HMS "Adamant"
- HMS "Talent"
- HMS "Token"
- HMS "Aiderny"
- HMS "Anchorite"
- HMS "Thermopylae"
- HMS "Dampier"
- HMS 'Victorious"
- HMS "Dubford"
- HMS "Gifford"
- HMS "Delight"
- HMS "Aisne"
- HMS "Daring"
- HMS "Dainty"
- HMS "Defender"
- HMS "Diamond"
- HMS "Cambrian"
- HMS "Carysfort"
- HMS "Urania"
- HMS "Loch Fyne"
- HMS "Loch Fada"
- HMS "Loch Killisport"
- HMS "Blackwood"
- HMS "Zest"
- HMS "Relentless"
- HMS "Pellew"
- HMS "Grafton"
- HMS "Murray"
- HMS "Trump"
- HMS "Tiptoe"
- HMS "Alaric"
- HMS "Alcide"
- HMS "Ambush"
- HMS "Artful"
- HMS "Amphion"
- HMS "Taciturn"
- HMS "Maidstone"
- HMS "Mull of Kintyre"
- HMS "Protector"
- HMS "Plover"
- HMS "Kildarton"
- HMS "Maryton"
- HMS "Sullington"
- HMS "Carhampton"
- HMS "Penston"
- HMS "Rodington"
- HMS "Dufton"
- HMS "Kemerton"
- HMS "Carlbeston"
- HMS "Letterston"
- HMS "Appleton"
- HMS "Chilcompton"
- HMS "Crofton"
- HMS "Brearly"
- HMS "Dark Adventurer"
- HMS "Dark Hussar"
- HMS "Dark Intruder"
- HMS "Moorpout"
- HMS "Citadel"
- HMS "Portcullis"
- HMS "Lofoten"
- HMS "Girdle Ness"
- HMS "Bryansford"
- HMS "Crossbow"
- HMS "Verulan"
- HMS "Astute"
- HMS "Acheron"
- HMS "Medway"
- HMS "Brave Swordsman"
- HMS "Brave Borderer"
- HMS "Dark Hero"
- HMS "Dark Gladiator"
- HMS "Fiskerton"
- HMS "Coniston"
- HMS "Dartington"
- HMS "Boulston"
- HMS "Burnaston"
- HMS "Centaur"
- HMS "Manxman"
- HMS "Auriga"
- HMS "Quainton"
- HMS "Puncheston"
- HMS "Houghton"
- HMS "Leverton"
- HMS "Derriton"
- HMS "Amerton"
- HMS "Dalswinton"
- HMS "Ledsham"
- HMS "Stalker"
- HMS "Anzio"
- HMS "Striker"
- HMS "Tracker"
- HMS "Kingsford"
- HMS "Diana"
- HMS "Decoy"
- HMS "Eagle"
- HMS "Lion"
- HMS "Agincourt"
- HMS "Barosa"
- HMS "Corunna"
- HMS "Cavalier"
- HMS "Hartland Point"
- HMS "Tyne"
- HMS "Artemis"
- HMS "Invermoriston"
- HMS "Alverton"
- HMS "Blaxton"
- HMS "Oulston"
- HMS "Bottisham
- HMS "Chelsham"
- HMS "Albion"
- HMS "Rapid"
- HMS "Ulster"
- HMS "Malcolm'
- HMS "Belton"
- HMS "Alliance"
- HMS "Dieppe'
- HMS "Puma"
- HMS "Tenby"
- HMS "Scarborough"
- HMS "Caprice"
- HMS "Palliser"
- HMS "Blackpool"
- HMS "Russell"
- HMS "Undaunted"
- HMS "Tabard"
- HMS "Aeneas"
- HMS "Maddiston"
- HMS "Wilkieston"
- HMS "Andrew"
- HMS "Ashton"
- HMS "Chawton"
- HMS "Grenville"
- HMS "Whitby"
- HMS "Highburton"
- HMS "Berryhead"
- HMS "Rorqual"
- HMS "Grampus"
- HMS "Vidal"
- HMS "Hampshire"
- HMS "Keppel"
- HMS "Leopard"
- HMS "Reward"
- HMS "Narwhal"
- HMS "Woolaston"
- HMS "Fittleton"
- HMS "Exmouth"
- HMS "Mermaid"
- HMS "Llandaff"
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what were the value and the age of the furniture and fittings recently sold at RAF Leconfield; and how much replacement will cost.
This answer is not readily available. I will be answering in the Official Report in due course.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much was allocated for race relations research during the years 1973–74, 1974–75 and 1975–76, respectively; how much was actually spent; and in respect of what projects.
A number of Government Departments and statutory bodies have research budgets from which they can fund research in the race relations field. No accurate assessment is available of the total amount of money spent, but it is estimated that in 1975–76 a sum of the order of £270,000 was spent on research into topics with a substantial race relations component.The amounts allocated and spent by my Department on race relations research under Section 26 of the Race Relations Act 1968 in the years specified was as follows:
|Year||Estimates provision||Actual expenditure|
House Of Commons
asked the Lord President of the Council what estimate he has made of the total cost of postage for hon. Members' official letters in 1977–78.
A figure of £119,000 has been included in the 1977–78 House of Commons Estimates (Class XIII Vote 2) for the estimated cost of official paid envelopes supplied to Members. Provision has also been made for a further £51,000 in respect of certified postings—i.e., mail endorsed by the Speaker's frank—but it is not possible to determine what proportion of this is in respect of letters posted by Members.
Medical Research (Patients' Privacy)
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many names of patients on doctors' lists were divulged by the Central Services Agency without the patient's prior consent to the Department of Therapeutics and Pharmacology, Queen's University, Belfast; and what action has been taken following the breach of confidentiality.
To enable the Department of Therapeutics and Pharmacology, Queen's University, to undertake an analysis of the prescribing and use of drugs, as part of an international study, the Central Services Agency provided it with the names of 2,423 patients on doctors' lists. The Agency did not obtain the consent of the patients before giving the names to the University Department but imposed a number of conditions to safeguard confidentiality, including a requirement that no patient should be visited without his or her prior permission and agreement to participate in the project. The Department of Health and Social Services has now written to the Central Services Agency and to the Health and Social Services Boards to make it quite clear that in future, when proposals for research projects are being considered, names of patients are in no circumstances to be divulged without their consent.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total estimated subsidy for council housing in Northern Ireland for 1976–77; and what this represents in terms of subsidy per council house.
The total sum estimated in 1976–77 for subsidy on dwellings owned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive is £45 million. This represents a subsidy per dwelling of over £307.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons, presently serving as members of children's panels, are known to have previous criminal convictions.
I am having the available information compiled and I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on his policy of appointing as members of children's panels, persons with previous criminal convictions.
Persons with previous criminal convictions are not automatically excluded from consideration for appointment as panel members. Before advising me on the suitability of persons for appointment children's panel advisory committees obtain extensive information on and interview potential candidates; full account is taken, amongst other factors, of the nature and date of any previous convictions, before decisions are reached.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement on the appointment as a member of the North-West Area Children's Panel in Glasgow, of a person who has previous convictions for reset and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
I am having inquiries made into the case to which the hon. Member refers and I shall write to him as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number and percentage of managers and farmers in Scotland who have undergone formal agricultural training; and what steps he plans to take to extend the scope of such training in Scotland.
I regret that the information requested is not available. Government assistance towards the educational needs of Scottish agriculture will continue to be made through the annual grants paid to the three Scottish Colleges of Agriculture. Agricultural courses are also provided through local authority further education colleges and centres.
asked the Attorney-General (1) whether he will make it his policy following the liberation of Zimbabwe to institute proceedings against those in authority in the rebel régime responsible for the sentencing and hanging of Africans engaged in the liberation struggle;(2) whether he will introduce measures to prosecute for treason those Britons who join and fight in the forces of the rebel regime in Southern Rhodesia.
Each case will be considered on its merits, regard being had to the evidence available, the question whether any person concerned is within the jurisdiction of the courts of this country, and the public interest.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the way in which the Advertising Standards Authority code on cigarette advertising has worked since he agreed its provisions; what discussions he has had with the authority with a view to strengthening some of the provisions within the code; what progress has been made in the discussions he has had with the tobacco industry to curb the level and style of cigarette advertising promotion of sales to young people; and if he will make a statement.
I would refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend's reply to his Question on 8th March—[Vol. 927, c 463–5]—I expect discussions involving the industry, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Government on the text and the method of implementation of a revised code of practice for cigarette advertising to be concluded shortly.
Hospitals (Capital Projects)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total cost of capital projects valued at £200,000 or more which have been undertaken by the South-East Thames Regional Health Authority since 1st April 1974 or are now planned in (a) Greater London, (b) East Sussex and (c) Kent.
The information is as follows:
|Expenditure since 1 April 1974||Estimated cost of schemes now in planning|
|£ million||£ million|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list those area health authorities in England which have decided that having regard to priorities no additional expenditure can reasonably be incurred on the family planning service in hospitals.
This information is not held centrally, and to require it of area health authorities would involve disproportionate cost. If my hon. Friend has a particular concern I shall be glad to make inquiries if he will let me have the details.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many (a) civil servants and (b) other persons are involved, by region, in the hearing of appeals against refusal of supplementary benefit; and what was the estimated total cost to public funds of the appeal procedure in each of the last three years;(2) what is the number of appeals against refusal of supplementary benefit awaiting hearing at the latest convenient date by region; and how this compares with the situation 12 months and 24 months earlier;(3) what is the shortest and longest time taken in each region for the hearing of appeals against refusal of supplementary benefit in each of the last three years.
I regret that this information is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many appeals against refusal of supplementary benefit there have been in each of the last three years by region; how many succeeded; and how many failed.
I will let my hon. Friend have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest estimate of the number of people entitled to supplementary benefit but who are not claiming it; and how this compares with the position 12 months and 24 months ago.
The latest estimates available relate to 1973 and 1974 and are contained in chapter 6 of the Supplemen- tary Benefits Commission's Annual Report for 1975. When the information for 1975 is available I will circulate it in the Official Report.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest take up of child benefit by one-child families.
I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Members for Braintree (Mr. Newton) and Greenwich, Woolwich, West (Mr. Bottomley) on 8th March.—[Vol. 927, c. 487.]
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will now answer the letters dated 14th February 1977 sent to him by the right hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford about child benefit, in view of the fact that child benefit is due to start in four weeks.
My right hon. Friend replied on 9th March to one of the four letters about child benefit which the right hon. Gentleman sent to me on 14th February. Replies to the other three will be sent shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many of the 1,000 pay beds to be phased out under Section 3 of the Health Services Act will not be made available as beds for NHS patients.
When health authorities were asked to submit proposals for effecting the reductions in pay bed authorisations required by Schedule 2 to the Health Services Act 1976 their attention was drawn to the requirement that the beds released as a result of the initial reduction should so far as practicable be made available for the use of NHS patients. Pay beds are not necessarily particular, identified beds; admission of paying patients may take place to any bed up to the total authorised "pay beds" for a hospital. I am still considering authorities' proposals, some of which are still awaited. However, none of the replies so far received suggests that authorities envisage any difficulty in meeting the requirement.
Occupational Pensions Board
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has any proposals for amending the constitution of the Occupational Pensions Board.
In Chapter 7 of (Cmnd. 6514) "The Rôle of Members in the Running of Schemes", the Government said that they intended to review the constitution and membership of the Occupational Pensions Board in the light of the new responsibilities which the Government's proposed legislation outlined in the White Paper would place on the Board. In the light of consultations, particularly with the TUC and the CBI, the Government have concluded that the statutory constitution of the Board should be amended.At present, the Board is composed of a chairman, deputy chairman and 12 other members. The Government intend to amend Section 66(2) of the Social Security Act 1973 so that the Board would consist of a chairman and not less than 12 members nor more than 15 members, of whom five—four if only 12 members are appointed—would be appointed after consultation with organisations representative of employers, and the same number after consultation with organisations representative of employed earners. All members would, as now, be appointed by the Secretary of State for Social Services, and provision would be made for him to appoint any one of the members to be deputy chairman.The main effect of the proposed changes would be to increase significantly the proportion of members appointed after consultation with organisations representative of employers and employed earners, since only two members are currently appointed after such consultation. We intend to include provisions amending the constitution of the Board on the above lines in the Bill designed to give effect also to our proposals on member participation, disclosure of information and equal treatment for men and women in occupational pension schemes. As already announced, this Bill will be introduced as soon as opportunity allows. However, to avoid changing the Board's composition at a time when it is in course of preparing to implement the contracting-out provisions of the new State pension scheme, the Government would not propose to reconstitute the Board on the above basis until after 6th April 1978 when the new scheme starts.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is taking to ensure that the recommendation of the Trades Union Congress that the standard of 0·2 fibres per cubic centimetre shall apply for any type of asbestos including crocidolite.
I have been asked to reply.I am informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that the TUC's submission to the Advisory Committee on Asbestos in which this recommendation was made is being carefully considered by the Committee but it is not yet in a position to express its views on this issue. I am sure that my hon. Friend will realise how important it is that the Committee throughly investigate the various alternative proposals that have been submitted to it, together with the data and assumptions on which they are based, in order to ensure that appropriate recommendations are made when it has completed its work.
Education And Science
Education Management (Studies)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science to what extent the substantial courses in education management provided in the North-West by higher education institutes are concerned with the development of professional, managerial skills, such as skills in staff appraisal, as against the development of academic knowledge.
Courses in education management, in the North-West as elsewhere, differ in the relative emphasis which they place on academic studies and on the development of skills and techniques relevant to the management of educational institutions.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps she will take to ensure that, in future, any further resources for programmes of education management in the North-West are concentrated in those institutions where expertise in this area of work already resides.
Courses lasting one month or more full-time, and equivalent part-time courses, require my right hon. Friend's approval, and the resources and expertise available in the institution concerned are factors which she takes into account in considering proposals.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will indicate what steps are being taken to ensure that those institutions in the North-West engaged in the provision of education management programmes of a substantial nature are adequately resourced.
The allocation of financial resources in the institutions concerned is a matter for their governing bodies and maintaining local education authorities.
|COURSES LEADING TO A QUALIFICATION|
|Institution||Course||Number of students, academic year 1976–77|
|Preston Polytechnic||CNAA Diploma in Management Studies (Education Management): 3 years part-time.||18|
|Manchester Polytechnic||Polytechnic Diploma in Management in Education: 2 years part-time.||90|
|Bolton College of Education (Technical).||University Diploma in Advanced Study in Technical Education:|
|1 year full-time||13|
|2 years part-time||17|
|Padgate College of Higher Education||College Certificate in Middle Management in Schools: 1 year part-time.||24|
|Millbank College of Commerce, Liverpool.||College of Preceptors Diploma in School Management Studies: 2 years part-time.||39|
|South Cheshire College of Further Education, Crewe.||College of Preceptors Diploma in School Management Studies: 2 years part-time.||8|
|SHORTER COURSES NOT LEADING TO A QUALIFICATION|
|Institution||Number of students, academic year 1976–77 (to date)|
|North-West Educational Management Centre, Padgate||…||…||…||…||…||79|
|Bolton College of Education (Technical)||…||…||…||…||…||37|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of head teachers in England and Wales have attended substantial courses in education management.
This information is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of senior staff from schools and colleges are seconded by each local education authority in the North-West for education management courses; and, of those seconded what percentage are head teachers and deputy head teachers in each local education authority.
This information is not available centrally.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will list the courses in education management available in institutions of higher education in the North-West of England on a full-time basis and on a part-time basis leading to the award of a qualification recognised by her Department and local education authorities, and on a part-time basis but not leading to a qualification, and for a convenient date the number of students on each course.
The information is as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what research has been undertaken to identify the needs of senior staff in the education service in terms of management skills by those institutions currently engaged in the provision of education management courses of a substantial nature in the North-West of England.
It is common practice for institutions providing in-service courses of any kind to keep under review the training needs of those for whom the courses are intended. I understand that educational management training needs and provision in the North-West have recently been reviewed by a working party of the North-West Associated Education Authorities.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps she is taking to encourage nursery schools and nursery classes to open earlier and to close later.
This must be a matter for local education authorities who would have to take into account the additional staffing required for the longer day. Provision for children in need of full-time day care and education normally requires the co-operation of local education and social services departments, which my Department and the Department of Health and Social Security sought to encourage in the joint circular letter issued last year.
Classrooms (Mobile And Demountable)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many mobile and demountable classroom units are in use as educational buildings in England and Wales.
In 1976 the number of temporary places erected since 1940 at schools in England and Wales and still in use was 879,000. Of these 129,000 are known to be of a non-moveable type. Most of the remaining 750,000 will be either demountable or fully mobile, but a precise figure cannot be given.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in view of the decline in the school population, she will issue guidance to local authorities on the alternative uses to which mobile and demountable classroom units can be put.
My right hon. Friend is certainly willing to consider pre- paring and issuing guidance an this and related aspects of the redeployment of surplus mobile and demountable classroom accommodation if it were thought helpful. The views of the local authority associations will be sought.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what estimate she has made of the number of pupils who will be in maintained schools in (a) the Inner London Education Authority area and (b) each of the outer London boroughs for the years 1980 and 1986, respectively; and how these figures compare with the present totals.
The number of pupils in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools in the ILEA area and in each of the outer London boroughs at January 1976, the latest year for which figures are available, was as follows:
|Local Education Authority and No. of Pupils in Maintained Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools at January 1976*|
|*Part-time pupils under the age of 5 counted as 0·5 of a full-time pupil.|
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps are being taken to see that the religious and moral areas of the curriculum are adequately featured both in the preparatory working papers and in personal representation at the regional conferences on school education in England and Wales.
The present debate on education is concerned primarily with the secular curriculum, and this is reflected in the background document prepared for the regional conferences. The importance of the religious and moral aspects of education is, however, fully recognised, and the conferences are being attended by representatives of the main religious organisations in the country.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what provisions are being made for the training of an adequate number of religious education specialists in the North-East of England; and what plans she has for St. Mary's College, Fenham, in particular.
The Department has asked institutions and providing bodies in the North-East and throughout England and Wales to make forward plans on a regional basis to ensure that specialist initial training provision in religious education is, if possible, increased in proportion to total provision in a reduced teacher training system.Recent proposals by my right hon. Friend envisage the cessation of teacher training at St. Mary's, Fenham, and further discussion within the region in consequence about the future provision of particular courses or facilities.
Workers' Educational Association
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on future grant to the Workers' Educational Association.
In November 1975, my predecessor invited the WEA to review its rôle in the light of priorities he saw, and which I fully endorse, for education for the socially and culturally deprived; work in an industrial context; and education in the nature and function- ing of our social and political system. The WEA has accepted the challenge of shifting the emphasis of its work towards these areas of work. I have now agreed, on the basis of its detailed proposals and subject to parliamentary approval, to increase the grant to the association by about £100,000, and to amend the regulations to allow this to be applied to non-teaching as well as teaching costs so that this work can be adequately funded. I shall also be meeting the deficits of the WEA districts in the current financial year.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consideration he is giving to the report from the Advisory Council on Energy Conservation, on road vehicle and engine design, recommending the withdrawal of five-star petrol, the rifting of radial-ply tyres to all vehicles and other proposals aimed at energy conservation; and what response he is planning to make.
The paper, published on 8th March as Energy Paper 18, was prepared by a working group of my Advisory Council on Energy Conservation. The Council has so far given it only preliminary consideration, but decided on prompt publication so as to promote public discussion of the proposals made in it. Comments and criticisms are invited and should be sent by 30th April next. The Council will thereafter complete its consideration of the paper and decide what advice it should offer the Government in this field.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has to make use of the breakthrough in the improved conversion of solar power into heat, claimed by Australian scientists in the United Kingdom research and development programme.
My Department's programme will include assessment and investigation of new technological developments, including the recent claims by Australian scientists. The gathering of information on such new developments and the assessment of their relevance to the United Kingdom is also part of the ongoing activities of my Department's Energy Technology Support Unit.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has to make use of the breakthrough in nuclear fusion research by United States scientists in the research development programme of the United Kingdom and the EEC.
A close watch is kept on all developments in laser fusion, but the EEC programme, of which United Kingdom work forms part, is concentrated on the magnetic confinement route to fusion power.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action his Department took recently in connection with the movement of essential supplies into the nuclear power plant at Windscale, in view of the current industrial dispute.
I have overall responsibility for safety at Windscale. On 4th March the strike committee at the plant asked me for confirmation that certain supplies were essential for safety, and needed to be taken on to the site. I provided this confirmation. I am currently engaged in discussions on this question and will report further to the House.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what estimates are available of the current stocks of smokeless solid fuels broken down by types of fuel; what steps are being taken to increase the availability of these fuels; and what plans he has for encouraging the increase of British production of solid smokeless fuels.
Estimates of stocks of solid smokeless fuels at the end of January 1977 by types were:
|Coke and semi-coke||3·356|
|Anthracite and dry steam||0·025|
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the Common Market commodity surpluses at present located in the United Kingdom, stating the qualities in each case, at the latest date for which information is available, and where such surpluses are located.
On 4th March 1977 intervention stocks held by the United Kingdom amounted to some 4,500 tonnes of beef, 1,928 tonnes of butter and 2,806 tonnes of skimmed milk powder. Of these about 900 tonnes of beef and 870 tonnes of butter had been contracted for sale. Stocks are located in approved commercial stores depending on availability and the location of the production point.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage adjustment is needed in the green pound to bring it into line with the prevailing value of the £ sterling compared with other EEC member countries' currencies.
To bring the green pound into line with the market rate used for calculating monetary compensatory amounts would require a devaluation of 26·6 per cent.
Dairy Farmers (Beef Production)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what grants are available either from EEC funds or United Kingdom sources, for dairy farmers wishing to convert to beef production; and, if none is currently payable, whether any such schemes are contemplated.
No such grant schemes are currently open, but instalments are still being paid on premiums approved under the dairy herd conversion scheme before it closed on 31st December 1974. The EEC Commission has proposed, as part of its package of measures to restore the equilibrium of the dairy sector, a scheme under which milk producers would, subject to certain conditions, be eligible for premiums if they undertook to retain cattle or sheep on their land and to refrain from selling milk.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations he had with the Confederation of British Industry, the Institute of Directors, the Association of British Chambers of Commerce and the Independent Businesses Association before authorising the recent investigations into low pay undertaken by the Wages Inspectorate.
None. The saturation inspections formed part of the programme of random selection to which my Department has long been publicly committed.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the cost to public funds of the recent investigations into low pay organised by the Wages Inspectorate.
The cost over and above the total cost of the Wages Inspectorate was negligible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many wages inspectors were involved in the investigations into low pay; and what they would have been occupied in doing had there not been such an investigation.
Approximately 100 inspectors have spent one or two weeks each on these inspections since September 1976. Had the inspections not taken place those inspectors would have been carrying out other routine wages inspections or investigating complaints.
Health And Safety
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ensure that any regulations brought into effect under the Health and Safety Act 1974 will be such that the expenditure involved will be reasonable.
Before approving and implementing any proposals for regulations under this Act put forward by the Health and Safety Commission, the Government will have regard to the nature and seriousness of the risks the regulations are designed to minimise or eliminate, but account will also be taken of any costs that might result.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide figures for the percentage unemployed in the public and private sectors of the economy in February 1977, on the same basis as those contained in the table published in Written Answers, Official Report, 22nd February 1977, column 557.
, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 1st March 1977; Vol. 927, c. 161 –2], gave the following information:Separate unemployment rates for the public and private sectors can be calculated only in an imprecise way by allocating the figures for each Minimum List Heading of the Standard Industrial Classification to the sector appropriate to the majority of those in that classification. On this basis, the unemployment rates for the public and private sectors at 10th February were 2·7 and 5·8 per cent. respectively. I am sorry the information was not available before now.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many work permits have been issued to Polish citizens in each of the past five years.
The number of work permits issued—for workers overseas—together with permissions given—for workers already here—for Polish citizens in each of the years 1971 to 1975 was as follows:
Prices And Consumer Protection
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many mergers of companies his Department could have referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission since 1974 under the Fair Trading Act 1973; and how many were so referred.
452 and 14 respectively, in the three years to end—1976.
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when he proposes to issue regulations in relation to (a) the content and method of calculation of total credit charges and (b) the determination and publication of true or effective interest rates under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Regulations stipulat-what charges are to be included in the total charge for credit and how the rate is to be calculated were among those published on 8th March. I hope to make regulations requiring disclosure of the rate later this year.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total cost from public funds of the inquiries into retail trading for 1976 and 1977 by the Business Statistics Office; and what is the estimated cost of the further inquiry that is to be held in 1978.
The estimated cost of the annual inquiry into retail trading for 1976, being conducted in 1977, was given in my reply to the hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Forman) on 11th February. [Vol. 925, c. 889] On the same basis, the cost of the 1977 annual retail inquiry, to be conducted in 1978, being the second of the series of annual inquiries and asking for more limited information, is expected to be about £340,000 at current costings.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many foreign cars have been imported into the United Kingdom since the beginning of the British Leyland strike; how this compares with the import position before the strike; and from what countries these imports have come.
The import statistics are compiled on a calendar monthly basis and the latest information available relates to January 1977. This is published under heading SITC (R) 732·1 in Table III of the January issue of the "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom", which is available in the House of Commons Library.
Metal Goods (Inquiry)
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether the returns from the survey "Miscellaneous Metal Goods—Quarterly Inquiry into Manufacturers' Sales" P.Q. 399·12 are only calculated annually; and if he will order that the form in future be circulated annually.
On the first point I refer the hon. Member to my answer to him on 21st January. No change is envisaged.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the share of new car registrations achieved by British Leyland in each half year period June-December since 1968.
This information is published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether British Leyland and the National Enterprise Board have made and proposals to him for changes in their future investment plans from those contained in the National Enterprise Board report to him on the performance and plans of British Leyland, June 1976, as a result of British Leyland's failure to meet its improved efficiency and industrial relations target, in the period since the report was published.
Local Authority Mortgages (Yorkshire And Humberside)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what amount he has approved for local authority mortgage advances for each district council in Yorkshire and Hum-
|Mortgage Lending Allocations||Reported Mortgage Advance|
|Authority||1977–78 combined||1977–78 direct only||1976–77||1975–76||1974–75|
|North Wolds||…||…||…||25,000||25,000||21,250||No returns made|
|Richmond||…||…||…||75,000||75,000||21,250||116,340||No returns made|
|City of Bradford||…||…||…||2,819,000||874,000||2,362,150||2,686,510||2,134,074|
berside; and what amounts were approved for each district council in each of the past three years.
Local authority lending for house purchase was not subject to expenditure limits during 1974–75 and 1975–76, except that, in June 1975, local authorities were required to restrict lending in that year to 50 per cent. of expenditure in 1974–75. By then, however, many local authorities had already exceeded the new limits.The following table shows actual expenditure on house purchase loans made to district councils in Yorkshire and Humberside during 1974–75 and 1975–76, where this has been reported by local authorities, and the allocations made by the Department for 1976–77 and 1977–78. The allocations for 1977–78 are shown as a combination of direct lending and building society replacement lending, and, separately, the amount included for direct lending. The allocations for direct lending in 1977–78 include provision for house improvement loans which have not previously been within the controlled category of expenditure.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the future of Cambridge Circus and the neighbouring area.
I appreciate my hon. Friend's long-standing concern about this matter. The borough of Camden and the Greater London Council have had protracted discussions with the developers about the redevelopment of a substantial site on the north side of Cambridge Circus, but until now the schemes proposed have been unacceptable on social, planning or financial grounds. I recently met local authority members and representatives of the developers and I understand that there is now much common ground for agreement between the parties on proposals for a mixture of redevelopment and rehabilitation; but a firm planning application has yet to be made to Camden. I am ready to consider the necessary ODP application when submitted and the GLC will also require my right hon. Friend's consent to sell to the developers the small part of the site owned by them and surplus to their needs.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish for public consideration the Report of the National Committee for Rescue Archaeology on the scientific treatment and conservation of material from rescue archaeology.
I shall consider the question of publication when I receive the report from the Ancient Monuments Board for England.
Water Conservation (United Nations Conference)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many officials are attending the Water Conservation Conference in South America; what is the total cost of sending the delegation to South America; and what will be learnt that is not known already by water conservationists and others in the United Kingdom.
The United Nations Water Conference, to which I assume the hon. Member refers, will focus on the means of ensuring adequate supplies of good quality water for the world's population. The United Kingdom delegation will be contributing rather than learning. It will include three officials from my Department, two of them on the strength of the Central Water Planning Unit; and two from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The cost to my Department will be about £5,500.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many district councils have urban populations of over 200,000; and how many metropolitan districts have less.
The following non-metropolitan districts in England have Total Populations of over 200,000—separate figures for urban areas are not available;
|Kingston upon Hull||279,700|
|Stoke on Trent||255,800|
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will state for each reservoir in Cumbria, to what extent in percentage and gallonage terms, they are now full.
On 2nd March, 26 or North West Water Authority's 30 reservoirs in Cumbria, including Thirlmere, were overflowing; with the situation at the other four as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the city of Hull concerning his proposals to help inner cities with urban decay; and whether he will make a statement.
Following the publication in January of the summaries of the three inner area studies, the City Council has sent my right hon. Friend its views on the content and on the inner city problems that Hull faces. These views will be taken into account in the review of inner city policies now going forward and on which my right hon. Friend hopes to make an announcement next month.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) on what criteria he intends to base his proposals to help inner cities with urban decay;(2) whether he will confirm that any schemes to help inner cities with urban
|Authority||Average unmeasured water rate||Average sewerage rate (connected properties)||Average environmental services rate||Average metered water charge per '000 gallons||Average unmeasured water bill £||1977–78 Average domestic water bill £|
decay will apply to cities which as a result of local government reorganisation are now district councils and will not be restricted to metropolitan cities or inner London;
(3) whether aid given under any proposals for help to inner cities with urban decay will be limited merely to development areas and parts of the London conurbation;
(4) when he intends to publish his proposals for help to inner city areas with urban decay; and if he will make a statement.
I must ask my hon. Friend to await the Government's statement on inner city policy which is likely to be made next month.
Water And Sewerage Charges
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing (a) the unmeasured water rate, (b) sewerage and general services rate, (c) the metered water rate, (d) the estimated average bill for unmeasured water supplies, (e) the estimated average bill for measured water supplied and (f) any surcharges not included in (a), (b) or (c) for each water authority in England and Wales in 1977–78.
The indications from preliminary information supplied on (a)—(d) by the water authorities is as follows:I do not understand the reference to surcharges on water services charges. The water authorities' final budget estimates will be forwarded to my Department shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement of his policy towards the making of grants by local authorities to housing associations.
My general policy is set out in Departmental Circulars 170/74 and 52/75; but I think my hon. Friend is referring in particular to the recent television programme "Goodbye, Longfellow Road ". I discussed this with the Chairman of the GLC Housing Development Committee on Wednesday and he has undertaken to inform me quickly and fully on a number of issues which arise. I understand that the GLC had already conducted investigations of its own before this television programme appeared; that certain matters have been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions; and that the television company has agreed to a GLC request for the right of reply. We shall be better able to judge the issues when this has been done.
Lake District (Power Boats)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has now received his inspector's report
|1973–74 per cent||1974–75 per cent||1975–76 per cent|
|(a) Road construction||…||…||…||42||33||31|
|(b) Public transport (bus and rail)||…||…||…||19||33||35|
Transport Supplementary Grant
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how much was given in transport supplementary grant to local authorities in England and Wales, respectively, in 1975–76.
£281 million and £13 million.
Paye Form P7np
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will investigate why the
on the public inquiry held to consider the use of power boats in the Lake District; and when he expects to announce his decisions.
I have been asked to reply.My right hon. Friend received the report on 7th March. We shall need some time to consider the complex issues with which it deals, but we will announce our decision as soon as we can.
Severn Bridge (Tolls)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether collection of dues on the Severn Bridge will be suspended for the duration of single line traffic.
I have been asked to reply.No.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of public expenditure on transport has gone on road construction and on public transport by bus and rail during each of the past three years.
Following is the information:Inland Revenue sent, on 18th February 1977, to Mr. Charles Barnett, of West Market Place, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, form No. P7Np, dealing with new PAYE regulations coming into force on 6th April 1973.
Form P7NP was intended for use only when the arrangements described on it first came into effect in 1973–74. Mr. Charles Barnett was sent the form by mistake, and his attention should have been drawn to these arrangements in another way. I understand the Inland Revenue is writing to him to apologise for the mistake and to tell him about the arrangements in a more appropriate manner.
Stamp Duty (House Sales)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the revenue raised through stamp duties on house sales in each year over the past five years.
The latest estimates of United Kingdom net receipts of stamp duties on house sales in the last three years are given below. I regret that sufficient data to make estimates for previous years is not available.
|* Northern Ireland receipts are included only from 1st January 1974.|
Health Insurance (Companies)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek to make health insurance policies an allowable expense against corporation tax for public companies and for close companies alike.
Where a company incurs expense on insurance for an employee against the cost of medical treatment, the expense is normally allowable for tax purposes, whether the company is close or not. If the hon. Member has a particular case in mind I should be glad to look into it.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates is the present cost of the British Leyland strike on the balance of payments.
It is not possible to quantify the immediate effects of the most recent stoppages at British Leyland on the balance of payments.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
Organisation Of African Unity
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has read the text of the resolution passed by the Liberation Committee of the Organisation of African Unity and published in Lusaka on Friday 4th February; and if he will make a statement.
Yes. I have read the substantive parts of the resolution. I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend said in the House on 2nd March.