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Written Answers

Volume 928: debated on Friday 18 March 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 18th March 1977

Northern Ireland

Colleges Of Education

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he is satisfied that the normal rate of staff wastage at the three general colleges of education will be sufficient during the next five years to cope with the decline in the number of academic staff required as a consequence of reduced student numbers.

The number of teaching staff at colleges of education is dependent not upon student intakes, which are under consideration at present, but upon the overall number of training places, including places for in-service training. The number of training places that will be required in the long term at the three colleges of education has not yet been determined. In planning for the future, one of the objectives will be to avoid redundancies in teaching staff so far as is possible.

Total cost to public fundsNumber of schoolsAverage cost per school
££
1971–722,053,6502197,793
1972–732,212,99921105,381
1973–742,664,92621126,901
1974–753,621,47422164,612
1975–765,014,41722227,928
The figures are for recurrent expenditure, not including capital, and also exclude the cost of such items as administration, school transport, milk and meals.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been

Total cost to public fundsNumber of schoolsAverage cost per school
££
1971–725,763,9926096,067
1972–736,789,62560113,160
1973–747,546,21059127,902
1974–759,364,22659158,716
1975–7615,271,49357267,921
These figures are for recurrent expenditure, not including capital, and also exclude the cost of such items as administration, school transport, milk and meals.

University Lands

Grammar Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many voluntary or controlled grammar schools have sixth forms; what is the total number of pupils currently in these forms; and what proportion is expected to proceed to higher education.

78 voluntary and controlled grammar schools have sixth forms, and there are currently 10,123 pupils in these forms. Separate records are not kept in respect of leavers from sixth forms, but for grammar school leavers as a whole on present trends about 48 per cent. may be expected to proceed directly to higher education.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the cost to public funds of the on-going expenditure of controlled grammar schools in each of the last five years; and what was the average cost per school.

The information is as follows:the cost to public funds of support for on-going expenditure of voluntary grammar schools in each of the last five years; and what was the average cost per school.

The information is as follows:existing land holdings of the Queen's University, the New University and the Ulster College are to be reduced in size to what is essential on educational grounds.

The Department of Education for Northern Ireland is advised by the University Grants Committee about the land holdings of the two universities. Land is acquired and disposed of from time to time in the light of the advice received and the foreseen needs of the universities. There are at present no proposals for any general reductions.The Department has recently reviewed the position at the Ulster College and is satisfied that the existing land holdings are essential for the planned development of the college.

Maintained Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the cost to public funds of equipment and maintenance of maintained schools since maintained school status was first introduced.

Information concerning equipment is not available, as the accounts neither of the former local education authorities nor of the present Education and Library Boards break down the total cost of school equipment between maintained and controlled schools. As regards maintenance, the annual accounts of the pre-October 1975

Voluntary (including Maintained) SchoolsControlled SchoolsAll Schools
ActualJanuary 1973182,927175,547358,474
1974187,850181,390369,240
1975188,812181,561370,373
1976190,415182,741373,156
Projected1977370,500
1978367,900
1979363,400

Excluded Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons excluded from Great Britain to Northern Ireland under the Prevention of Terrorism Acts 1974 and 1976 have subsequently been charged, convicted or declared to be wanted in connection with acts of terrorism in Northern Ireland.

No person excluded from Great Britain and removed to Northern Ireland has subsequently been charged with or convicted of a terrorist offence in Northern Ireland. Details of persons wanted by the police are an operational matter for the Chief Constable.

local education authorities do not identify separately the cost of maintaining maintained schools. Since that date the Education and Library Boards have spent the following amounts on the upkeep of maintained schools:

1 October 1973 to 31 March 1974£2·3 million
1974–75£6·1 million
1975–76£9·1 million

These figures do not include the cost of teachers' salaries, which are paid direct by the Department of Education.

Schoolchildren (Numbers)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils are in attendance at (a) voluntary and maintained schools and (b) controlled schools; what the the figures for the three previous years; and what projections have been made for the next three years.

The latest available enrolment figures in the form requested are for January 1976. These and the equivalent figures for the three previous years are given in the table beneath. Separate projected enrolments for voluntary and maintained schools are not available, and only total figures can be given.

Tuc

asked the Prime Minister (1) on how many occasions in the last six months he has officially met Mr. Alan Sapper at No. 10 Downing Street;(2) on how many occasions in the last six months he has officially met Mr. Joe Gormley at No. 10 Downing Street;(3) on how many occasions in the last six months he has officially met Mr. Hugh Scanlon at No. 10 Downing Street;(4) on how many occasions in the last six months he has officially met Mr. Len Murray at No. 10 Downing Street;(5) on how many occasions in the last six months he has officially met Mr. Clive Jenkins at No. 10 Downing Street;

(6) on how many occasions in the last six months he has officially met Mr. Jack Jones at No. 10 Downing Street.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) on 27th January.

Press Office, 10 Downing Street

asked the Prime Minister further to his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Louth, Official Report, 28th February, column 71, why it was necessary for three officers to be employed to do the work of two previous officers; why it was necessary for there to be some temporary double banking of officers at the time of the change of administration; by how much salaries were increased; and what were the increases in employers' national insurance contributions.

Staff levels vary from time to time to match the work load; for instance, as the hon. Member will have noted from my reply to him of 17th February, there are now fewer staff employed in the No. 10 Press Office than at any time between 1970 and 1974. Temporary double banking is also sometimes necessary to enable staff changes to be made without any loss of efficiency. Salary increases were paid as permitted by year one of the counter-inflation policy. Employers' national insurance contributions were raised on 6th April 1976 from 8·5 per cent. to 8·75 per cent. and the limit up to which contributions are payable was raised from £69 to £95 a week.

Government Obligations

asked the Prime Minister (1) if, when there is a change of Government, it is the general practice for the incoming Government to honour legal commitments and obligations inherited from the outgoing Administration;(2) if there are any official commitments entered into by his predecessor as Prime Minister which he has decided not to keep; and if he will list any such commitments giving his reasons for this decision.

If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind I will arrange for it to be considered.

Ministers (Security Vetting)

asked the Prime Minister to what extent it is the practice of his Administration that members of the Government offer themselves for positive vetting.

The Report of the Security Commission, July 1973 (Cmnd. 5367), concluded that there were insuperable practical difficulties against applying the process of positive vetting to Ministers. This conclusion was accepted by the then Government of the day and the position remains the same.

Defence

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the Armagh Barracks were designed to last only 20 years; and what has been the life span to date of the Gough Barracks, Armagh.

The new Army accommodation at Armagh was designed with a view to speedy and economical construction. Gough Barracks were built in 1880.

Submarines

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans any new conventional submarines again being constructed for the Royal Navy.

We are considering whether there is a requirement for a new class of conventional submarine, but no decision has yet been made.

Training (Foreign Forces)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what income is derived from the use of the operational sea training facilities at Portland by other nations.

Several NATO, Commonwealth and foreign countries send warships to Portland for the various forms of operational sea training which can be made available. During the financial year 1976–77 the total amount charged for this training will be marginally over £1 million.

Frigates

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether it is intended that all the frigates of Type 22 shall bear weapon names.

No. It is intended that the names for all Type 22 frigates shall begin with the letter B.

Lynx Helicopters

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the length of the deferment in the timescale of procurement of an anti-tank guided weapons system for the Army's Lynx helicopters mentioned in paragraph 315(c) of the Defence White Paper 1977, Command Paper No. 6735.

Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what increase or decreases in defence expenditure, in real terms, are planned by the United States of America, France and the Federal Republic of Germany in the coming financial year.

The information requested is not yet available on a common NATO basis. From figures published recently I understand that a real increase of 5 per cent. is planned in United States expenditure between fiscal years 1977 and 1978. For France and Germany planned increases between 1976 and 1977 are about 17 per cent. and 1½ per cent. respectively at current prices; we do not know what allowance has been made for inflation in these two figures.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what increase or decreases in defence expenditure in real terms are planned by the United States of America, France and the Federal Republic of Germany in each financial year from 1978–79 to 1983–84.

The French forward defence plan published last year forecast an increase in defence expenditure of about 15 per cent. a year at current prices from 1977 to 1982. We do not know what allowance has been made for inflation in these figures. Corresponding information for the United States and Germany is not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the annual spending per annum on defence per head of the population aged over 18 years: and how this figure compares with Great Britain's NATO allies;(2) what is the defence spending per person aged 18 years or over in the current year; and how this compares with the other NATO countries.

United Kingdom defence spending per head of the population aged over 18 years, in US $, is estimated to have been $290 in 1976. Corresponding information for the other members of NATO is not readily available. The table below shows estimated per capita expenditure, in US $, by NATO members based on the population of working age, defined as those between 15 and 64 years, for 1975, the latest year for which these population figures are available.NATO COUNTRIES

Per Capita Defence Spending for Population of Working Age (15–64) for 1975
US $
Belgium307
Canada208
Denmark287
France396
Federal Republic of Germany386
Greece235
Italy133
Netherlands329
Norway364
Portugal145
United Kingdom323
United States661

Minesweepers

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the second of the new class of mine counter-measures vessels which was stated in last year's Defence White Paper as to be ordered during the year had not been ordered before the publication of the current year's White Paper.

At the time the 1976 Defence White Paper was published, we expected to order the second of the Hunt class of mine countermeasures vessels well within the current financial year. There have unfortunately been delays in negotiating the contract for the vessel; negotiations are in the final stages and we hope to place an order at an early date.

Personnel

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of men between the ages of 18 and 45 years is in the Regular and reserve forces; and how these figures compare with those for the other European countries in NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

About 4·4 per cent. of men in the United Kingdom between the ages of 18 and 45 are in the Regular and reserve forces. Comparable information in respect of other NATO and Warsaw Pact countries is not readily available.

Pay

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the defence budget is spent on pay; and how this percentage compares with the United Kingdom's European NATO Allies.

In 1977–78 it is estimated that 40 per cent. of the United Kingdom defence budget will be devoted to Service and civilian pay allowances. The latest figures for other NATO countries relate to 1976. On the NATO definition of defence expenditure the United Kingdom position, compared with those of our European allies who report this information to NATO, is as follows:

per cent.
Belgium48·7
Denmark53·3
FRG37·0
Italy38·1
Netherlands49·6
Norway48·4
Portugal52·0
United Kingdom (financial year 1976–77)38·6 (40·3 per cent· on national definition)

Chemical Defence Establishment

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the resources of the Chemical Defence Establishment at the Microbiological Research Establishment, Porton Down, are provided by his Department.

All the resources of the Chemical Defence Establishment and the Microbiological Research Establishment are provided by the Ministry of Defence. In 1975–76 repayment for services to non-Defence customers offset total costs to the extent of 3 per cent. at the Chemical Defence Establishment and 32 per cent. at the Microbiological Research Establishment.

Weapons

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list in the Official Report the total annual expenditure on maintaining and enlarging Great Britain's stockpile of chemical and biological weapons at November 1976 prices for the years 1966 to 1976;(2) what is the Government's policy toward the continued stockpiling of biological weapons.

This country does not manufacture or possess chemical or biological weapons of any nature. There is no stockpile of such weapons.

Deaths

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Service men and women died during the period covered by the Defence White Paper 1977, Command Paper No. 6735; how many of these deaths were caused by accidents whilst on duty; and how this compares with the situation in each of the three previous years.

Figures readily available are collated by calendar years. Subject to that reservation, the information sought by the hon. Member is:

YearNumber of DeathsNumber of Accidental Deaths on Duty
197353283
197442452
197542275
197641371

Aircraft Accidents

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the accidents involving loss or serious damage to aircraft operated by each of the three Services, which took place in the period covered by the Defence White Paper 1977, Command Paper No. 6735, indicating what casualties were caused to Service personnel or civilians in each case.

Details of accidents involving loss or serious damage to aircraft of the three Services which took

Service Casualties
DateAircraftParent ServicesKilledSeriously Injured
3rd March 1976BuccaneerRAF
3rd March 1976BulldogRAF
4th March 1976GazelleRN1
12th March 1976HarrierRAF
31st March 1976Sea KingRN
21st April 1976HunterRAF
30th April 1976Gnat (2 aircraft)RAF4*
3rd May 1976WessexRN
4th May 1976HunterRAF1
25th May 1976GazelleArmy
3rd June 1976BulldogRAF
2nd July 1976JaguarRAF1
6th July 1976HarrierRAF
22nd July 1976BulldogRAF1
22nd July 1976BulldogRAF
23rd July 1976PhantomRAF
27th July 1976BulldogRAF
30th July 1976LightningRAF
3rd August 1976SiouxArmy
4th August 1976LightningRAF
16th August 1976HunterRAF1
26th August 1976WaspRN
27th August 1976PumaRAF8
15th September 1976JaguarRAF1
17th September 1976JaguarRAF1
21st September 1976HunterRN
28th September 1976VictorRAF
8th October 1976GnatRAF2
11th October 1976WessexRN
25th October 1976HunterRAF
29th October 1976BuccaneerRAF
13th December 1976WessexRN1
14th December 1976JaguarRAF
2nd January 1977SiouxArmy
4th January 1977GazelleArmy11
17th January 1977VulcanRAF
3rd February 1977BuccaneerRAF
24th February 1977LightningRAF
25th February 1977JaguarRAF1
26th February 1977GazelleArmy
* One of the fatalities involved was a USAF exchange officer.
† There were no Service casualties, but the civilian pilot employed on contract work for the Royal Navy was injured.
There were no other civilian casualties.

Invalids

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Service men and women were invalided out of the Service during the period covered by the Defence White Paper 1977, Command Paper No.

Cause1973197419751976*
1. Infective and parasitic diseases21281615
2. Neoplasms30312322
3. Psychiatric disorders996810439342
4. Diseases of the nervous system and sense organs364315248259
5. Diseases of the circulatory system1351289280
6. Diseases of the respiratory system107878368
7. Diseases of the digestive system1591499167
8. Diseases of the genito-urinary system25141118
9. Diseases of the skin and sub-cutaneous tissues1371035753
10. Diseases of the musculo-skeletal system363370326306
11. Congenital anomalies64694050

place in the 12 months preceding publication of the 1977 Defence White Paper are as follows:

6735; what were the main contributory causes; and how this compares with the situation in each of the three previous years.

Cause

1973

1974

1975

1976

*

12. Other ailments18015596103
13. Injuries277277275246
TOTALS2,8582,5361,7971,629

* Provisional figures.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Departmental Expenditure (Publications)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent funds allocated to his Department have been used to finance publications other than those appearing under Her Majesty's Government's imprint; if such practice has ceased, when it ceased; and if he will make a statement.

In accordance with longstanding practice, funds allocated to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are used to support a variety of publications in the furtherance of British interests overseas Whether or not these bear an official imprint depends on the nature of the publication.

Scotland

Renal Dialysis

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will investigate the claim by Dr. Douglas Briggs, consultant in charge of the kidney unit at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, that patients are going to die because of the shortage of funds for kidney machines; and whether he will take urgent action, if necessary, to remedy the situation.

My right hon. Friend is aware of the problem facing the Greater Glasgow Health Board in meeting the demand for renal dialysis arising in the West of Scotland as a whole. The responsibility for determining the priority to be attached to the development of this service is for the Health Board itself, which is currently spending about £500,000 a year on the service including £320,000 on home dialysis alone, compared with £100,000 in 1973–74. At the same time, the particular difficulty which the rapid growth of this service is creating is fully recognised and my right hon. Friend has recently made limited arrangements for the cost of the further extension of home dialysis to be shared between health boards in 1977–78.

Trees

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the acreage of trees planted in Scotland by the Forestry Commission and the private sector, respectively, in each of the last five years.

The acreages planted and replanted in Scotland by the Forestry Commission and the private sector in each of the last five years are as follows:

Year endedForestry CommissionPrivate Sector*
31 March 197248,50040,000
31 March 197343,90040,800
31 March 197441,10041,900
31 March 197545,60040,300
31 March 197640,50022,800
* Based upon grants paid during the year.

Crime

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the top 10 categories of more frequent criminal offences in Scotland in 1976, or the latest 12 months for which figures are available, giving the percentage of such crimes committed by juveniles.

The 10 most frequently occurring crimes and offences made known to the police in Scotland in 1975 were as follows:

Crime or offenceNumber made Knonwn
Housebreaking97,400
Theft95,602
Breach of the peace73,148
Exceeding speed limit relating to built-up areas29,850
Malicious mischief26,218
Taking motor vehicle without consent of owner22,754
Driving recklessly; careless driving etc.20,540
Drunkenness19,757
Construction and Use Regulations (other than lighting)17,730
Police Acts, Bye-laws, regulations13,597
Figures are not available for the percentage of such crimes committed by juveniles.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the numbers of all crimes committed in Scotland in 1976, or the latest 12 months for which figures are available, broken down by regions, and giving the percentage of Scottish crime occurring in each region.

The total number of crimes (Group I-VI) made known to the police in Scotland in 1975 was 232,482. The number made known in each region and the percentage distribution are as follows:

RegionNumber made knownPercentage
Highland5,6312·4
Orkney
Shetland
Western Isles
Grampian14,4496·2
Tayside16,6607·2
Fife9,0403·9
Lothian37,22916·0
Borders2,0310·9
Central9,0123·9
Strathclyde1,35,24258·1
Dumfries and Galloway3,1881·4
The regional figures are approximations obtained by adding the post-regionalisation (16th May to 31st December) figures for each region to the pre-regionalisation (1st January to 15th May) figures for the constituent authorities.

Drink, Drugs And Tobacco

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list all the measures currently, or over the last year, taken by his Department, or by local authorities of whose action he has knowledge, to bring home to school pupils the danger of alcoholism; what was the cost of these measures; and how this compares with measures taken to combat drugs and cigarettes.

The Scottish Health Education Unit undertakes health education work on behalf of my Department and of the health boards. The national publicity measures on alcoholism, drugs and cigarettes which are outlined below are related to young people of school age. The publicity is not necessarily channelled through the schools, although it is hoped that education authorities, who determine the school curriculum, take account of these initiatives as part of their overall responsibility for health education in schools. Detailed information on the health education activities of education authorities is not collected centrally. In addition to the publicity measures, a research project costing £24,000 is in progress at Strathclyde University into the acquisition of attitudes to alcohol, drinking etc. among 10–14 year olds.

Current Cost
£
Alcoholism
3 films—"Dying of Thirst" (12–14 year olds); "Just a Habit" (14–16 year olds); and "Getting Drunk—the Teenager Speaks". (Produced two years ago but still in regular use.)35,000
2 leaflets—"Drinking and Young People" and "Drinking and Your Child" (aimed at parents)16,000
1 leaflet—"Understanding Alcohol and Alcoholism" in Scotland, contained references to young people6,000
Drugs
A booklet (not yet available) aimed at teachers, policemen, social workers etc.6,000
Cigarettes
A series of television commercials and poster campaigns66,000
A television campaign "Are you hooked?" backed up with a campaign on local radio25,000

Anglers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, pursuant to the reply given to the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire, Official Report, 26th January 1977, column 656, he will now make an announcement about the composition of the consultative body of anglers as defined in the Salmon and Fresh Water Fisheries (Scotland) Act 1976; and what angling organisations have been consulted.

The following is a list of the angling organisations which have been consulted. Apart from the bodies mentioned in the reply I gave to my hon. Friend on 26th January 1977, the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation and the Scottish Trades Union Congress have also been consulted for their interests on behalf of angling members. I cannot add at present to my reply of 26th January about the composition of the consultative body.

Angling Organisations

Ayrshire Angling Association.

Borders Anglers' Federation.

Dumfries and Galloway Angling Association.

Federation of Highland Angling Clubs and Associations.

Forth Federation of Anglers.

North-East of Scotland Anglers' Federation.

Salmon and Trout Association.

Scottish Anglers Association.

Scottish National Angling Clubs Association.

Shetland Anglers Association.

Strathmore Angling Improvement Association.

United Clyde Angling Protective Association.

Social Services

Benefit Claims (Testing)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Louth, Official Report, 28th February 1977, column 58, what steps are being taken to ensure that staff at the Social Security Office near Croydon at which Mr. Kwok Fong recently claimed benefit fully ascertain claimants' assets before making social security payments.

As was implicit in my reply to the hon. Member on 28th February, I am satisfied that Mr. Kwok Fong was properly questioned about his assets and that he made a deliberate false statement.During training, staff are instructed on the importance of thorough questioning and of verification of statements and management supervises interviewing to see that it is carried out as effectively as possible. It is inevitable that, in a scheme designed to meet needs when they arise, some cases of deliberate fraud will occur. Our defence must be thorough investigation, vigilance and awareness—and a determination to prosecute offenders of this kind when found.I set out the action we are taking on such matters in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Lamond) on 17th February.—[Vol. 926, c.

303–6.]

Benefits And Pensions (Rural Areas)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will seek powers to increase the level of social security and pension payments to residents in rural areas where the cost of food and transport is substantially higher than in urban areas.

No. The national insurance scheme is a contributory one, and I can see no reason to depart from the well-established principle that people in all parts of the country pay contributions and receive benefits on the same basis. I do not think it would be possible to quantify price and other cost of living variations in different parts of the country—some of which would be counterbalancing—and reflect them in the supplementary benefits scheme in a way which would be both equitable and workable.

Squatters

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) under what circumstances his Department makes grants to squatters or on behalf of squatters, in respect of telephone bills; how many such payments were made in 1976; and what was the total cost to public funds;(2) under what circumstances his Department makes grants to squatters, or on behalf of squatters, in respect of bed and bedding; how many such payments were made in 1976; what was the total cost to public funds; and whether the circumstances regarding such grants have changed within the last 12 months;(3) under what circumstances his Department makes grants to squatters, or on behalf of squatters, in respect of essential furniture, other than beds and bedding; how many such payments were made in 1976; what was the total cost to public funds; and whether circumstances regarding such grants have changed in the last 12 months;(4) under what circumstances his Department makes grants to squatters, or on behalf of squatters, in respect of gas bills; how many such payments were made in 1976; what was the total cost to public funds; and whether circumstances regarding such grants have changed in the last 12 months;(5) under what circumstances his Department makes grants to squatters, or on behalf of squatters, in respect of electricity bills; how many such payments were made in 1976; what was the total cost to public funds; and whether circumstances regarding such grants have changed in the last 12 months.

Claims from so-called "squatters" are decided, like all claims, according to the circumstances of the individual case and are not recorded separately. The Supplementary Benefits Commission's policies on exceptional needs payments are set out in its handbook and in its Administration Paper (No. 4) on this subject, copies of which are in the Library.

Holidaymakers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what circumstances his Department pays the balance of the cost of a holiday for a person on social security who had paid a deposit on the holiday before becoming redundant; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. member to my reply on 11th November 1976.—[Vol. 919, c. 220–1.]

Mrs E M Williams (Death)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has conducted any inquiry into the death of Mrs. E. M. Williams in Mossgreen Hospital on 20th January; what were the results of any such inquiry; and if they are of general application.

My right hon. Friend has not conducted an inquiry in this case. There was a coroner's inquest on 14th March 1977 following which the Hampshire Area Health Authority (Teaching) has decided, on this basis of the evidence available to it at this stage, that further inquiry is not necessary.

Home Visits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of supplementary pensioners received an exceptional needs payment last year; and in how many of these cases the need for such additional payments was appreciated only after home visits by staff from his Department.

In the year ending 30th November 1976 it is estimated that nearly 300,000 exceptional needs payments were made to supplementary pensioners. As some pensioners will have received more than one payment it is not possible to estimate what proportion of the 1,682,000 supplementary pensioners at that date had received a payment. The other information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) in view of recent research on the reading age required to understand his Department's forms and leaflets, if he remains satisfied that the numbers of his staff will be sufficient to visit those claimants who have difficulty in understanding leaflets and to explain their rights;(2) if he is proposing to continue to make payments to meet claimants' exceptional needs without their being visited to confirm their entitlement; how much public money has already been paid out in this way; and what steps he is taking to ensure there is no abuse of public funds;(3) what proposals he has for those claimants who are too ill, aged or disabled to visit local offices in order to ensure that their needs are adequately catered for if visits are not to be made regularly;(4) what provisions he has made within a postal review system for dealing with those claimants who have difficulty with or are incapable of reading and completing official forms;(5) if he is satisfied that the visiting strength of his Department is sufficient to prevent abuse of public funds;(6) how many visits are paid in a five-year period to unemployment claimants over the age of 55 years; and whether he expects the frequency to diminish as a result of rising unemployment;(7) how many visits are paid in a five-year period to elderly recipients of supplementary pensions; and whether this frequency is sufficient to assess teir increasing needs;(8) if he will give an estimate of the number of supplementary pensioners who will remain unvisited as a result of the proposed reduction of home visits;(9) in the light of the fact that home visiting of supplementary benefits claimants is the most effective means for determining the needs and entitlements of claimants and for preventing and detecting abuse, if he will withdraw proposals for a reduction of staff who are necessary to carry out this type of work;(10) if, in view of the fact that during a period of five years the health and condition of a person over pensionable age can deteriorate, he will give instructions to revert to the previous system of visiting pensioners normally once a year in order to ensure that entitlement to vital additions such as those for heating and dietary needs can be identified and awarded at the proper time;(11) whether he is planning to extend his Department's practice of reviewing claimants' needs by post, bearing in mind the Report on the Supplementary Benefits Commission's Review of Home Visiting and Postal Investigation which, in paragraphs 4.67, 4.72 and 4.79 establishes that a high proportion of claimants received less than their full entitlement for long periods;(12) what is his policy on visits to supplementary pensioners in the light of their need to be made aware of their full entitlement and receive prescribed payments to meet their needs.

At present, regular visits are made only to claimants for supplementary benefit, and I have no plans to extend these arrangements to other benefits, which are usually dealt with by post. The most expensive, and not always the most effective methods of dealing with claims for supplementary benefit is home visiting, and, in the light of the Government's decision to reduce administrative expenditure, consideration is being given to whether greater use could be made of other methods such as interviews, correspondence and telephone discussions. The objective is to strike the right balance between administrative economy, establishing the full extent of needs and preventing and detecting abuse. I think it will be possible to reduce the number of staff employed on visiting and still provide an effective service, but no decisions have yet been taken. I can assure my hon. Friend that the various factors which she has mentioned in her Questions are all being borne in mind.I regret that the information requested about frequency of visiting in some cases and exceptional needs payments made without visits is not available and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether, as part of his Department's share of the cut-back in expenditure in the Civil Service, it is intended to reduce the number of supplementary benefit child rates from five to three;(2) if he will give details of the proposed new bandings of supplementary benefit rates; and how many children it is estimated will be covered by each in comparison with the numbers in the present bandings;(3) if, as a result of the proposed reduction in the number of supplementary benefit child scale rates from the present range of five without cost, he anticipates that any families will be deprived of the full increase of benefit at any future uprating;(4) whether he will ensure, if the proposed reduction in the number of child rates of supplementary benefit is implemented at the time of a general uprating exercise, that all recipients of the then present rates receive the full cost of living increase to which they would be entitled;(5) whether, if the number of supplementary benefit scale rates for children is reduced, he will (

a) meet the increases in the needs of children in proportion to their age by increasing the rate of child benefit at the different rates and ( b) raise the lower rates.

A reduction in the number of supplementary benefit children's rates is under consideration, along with other ideas, as part of the Government's efforts to reduce the growth of the Civil Service. The aspects touched upon in my hon. Friend's Question are among those being carefully considered before my final decision is taken on this matter.

Blood Transfusion

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many units of blood the National Blood Transfusion Service provides annually; and what proportion is supplied to private hospitals and nursing homes.

In 1975, the latest year for which complete figures are available, the National Blood Transfusion Service in England and Wales collected 1,768,838 donations of blood. Most of this was supplied to hospitals as whole blood, but a substantial proportion was fractionated to provide individual blood components. Details of the proportions supplied to private hospitals and nursing homes are not available centrally, but I am having inquiries made and will write to my hon. Friend.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the annual overall cost of the National Blood Transfusion Service.

The cost of the National Blood Transfusion Service in England and Wales, including the central blood products laboratories, was £15,759,427 in 1975–76.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the circumstances in which charges are made for services relating to the supply of blood to private hospitals or nursing homes; if such charges include an appropriate proportion of the overheads of the National Blood Transfusion Service for each unit supplied; what is his estimate of the present cost of overheads in terms of units supplied; and if he will make a statement.

No charge is made for the blood itself. When blood is supplied by a NHS hospital to a private hospital or nursing home the hospital is expected to levy a charge for the pathological services involved, including a contribution to overheads. Where a regional transfusion centre supplies blood direct to a private hospital or nursing home no charge for the services involved is made at present. I am having inquiries made into the amounts of blood and blood components supplied to private hospitals and nursing homes, to see whether the introduction of a charge involving the apportionment of all relevant overheads would be justified.

European Community (Reciprocity)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker), if he will include supplementary benefits in the list of health and other social security benefits covered or not covered by reciprocal agreements between each EEC and other country and the United Kingdom.

As a social assistance benefit, British supplementary benefit is not covered by the EEC Regulations on Social Security for migrant workers nor by any bilateral agreement on health or social security.All the EEC countries, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Norway and Sweden have ratified the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance of the Council of Europe under which nationals of any of those countries, lawfully present in another, are entitled to claim the local social assistance benefit on conditions similar to those applying to local residents.

Fuel Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will take steps to deal with the situation which has arisen from the payment of the 25 per cent. fuel subsidy to claimants of supplementary benefit who have their fuel allowance directly deducted to pay for gas or electricity.

I can assure my hon. Friend that those supplementary beneficiaries who have benefit deducted at source to pay their fuel bills can still benefit from the electricity discount scheme announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy.

Students' Spouses

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will reexamine the guidelines for social security payments in respect of the spouses of students undertaking a full-time course of study.

This is being examined as part of the wider question of the entitlement of married women to supplementary benefit in the review of the supplementary benefit scheme.

Bonemeal

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made by the working group he set up in 1975 to consider the sale of unsterilised bonemeal.

Officials of my Department have had discusions with the trade associations concerned, and with other interested Government Departments, on this matter generally, and on the question whether there should be a requirement to sterlise imported bonemeal. However, this issue presents a number of difficulties and I will write to my hon. Friend.

Whooping Cough

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will give the estimate of the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination of the approximate number of cases of whooping cough, from which one case of brain damage is likely to arise and if he will publish the evidence for the estimate;(2) if pursuant to his statement in the House of 8th February, he will state whether the four cases of brain damage which the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vacccination estimates arise each year from whooping cough, are cases of temporary or permanent brain damage.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 25th February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 727–8], gave the following information:In my reply to my hon. Friend's Question about the number of cases of encephalopathy which have arisen from whooping cough since 1960 on 17th January, I said that the number arising from whooping cough since 1964 up to 1975 was not known but had been estimated as about 50.In my reply to my hon. Friend's further Question on 3rd March I said that this estimate was based on a Public Health Laboratory Service study in the winter of 1974–75 which reported two cases of encephalitis among 8,000 cases of whooping cough. This study is by Miller and Fletcher and a report on it was published in the

British Medical Journal on 17th January 1976. The publication reports on the nine deaths in the 10 per cent. of patients admitted to hospital, on the 45 who were considered to be critically ill, including 27 who needed intensive care, and on the patients judged to be severely ill and to have associated complications. Of the latter, two children developed encephalitis and the report states that both were unvaccinated, recovered—apparently without sequelae.—[Vol. 924 c. 151–2; Vol. 927, c. 305–6.]

Blind Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the number of people receiving the additional supplementary benefit needs allowance for blind persons in 1976–77; what is the cost of the extra allowance; and what would have been the cost of this allowance in 1976–77 if it had retained in real terms its value when it was introduced.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 17th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 265], gave the following information:A more firmly based estimate of the numbers for 1976 will not be available until later in the year, but about 40,000 persons are believed at present to be receiving supplementary benefit on the basis of the special scale rates for the blind. The cost of the extra provision for the blind cannot be estimated because information is not available on the proportion of blind people who are householders and non-householders. The additional cost of restoring the real value of the margin over the normal householder scale rates would be at least £5 million in a year.

Civil Service

Disabled Persons

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is the number of Government Departments currently fulfilling their quota obligations to employ disabled people and the percentage disabled people form of each Department's work force.

Three of the major Departments listed below and eight smaller Departments—with less than 1,000 staff—are currently fulfilling their quota obligations to employ disabled people. Details of the percentage disabled people form of each Department's work force are given in the table below. The figures relate, however, to those disabled people who are known to be registered. Registration is voluntary, and many disabled employees choose not to register. Likewise, there is no obligation to disclose registration to an employer.

Departments%
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Ministry of2·9
Civil Service Department (including Parliamentary Counsel and Civil Service College)1·4
Customs and Excise1·7
Defence (including Procurement Executive)2·3
Royal Ordnance Factories2·0
Education and Science (including UGC and V and A and Science Museums)2·0
Employment Group3·0
Energy1·6
Environment (including Property Services Agency)1·8
Export Credits Guarantee Department1·4
Foreign and Commonwealth2·2
Health and Social Security2·1
Home Office0·8
Industry1·8
Information, Central Office of2·1
Inland Revenue1·9
Land Registry1·8
Lord Chancellor's Office and Courts, etc.1·6
Mint, Royal4·3
National Savings, Department for2·4
Ordnance Survey2·3
Overseas Development2·0
Population Censuses and Surveys, Office of2·5
Stationery Office, HM3·0
Trade2·1
Treasury (including Treasury sub-departments)1·4
Scottish Office (excluding Scottish Prison Service, State Hospital, Carstairs and Royal Scottish Museum)1·8
Scottish Prison Service0·3
Welsh Office2·5
Other Departments (less than 1,000 staff)2·01

Energy

Coal Mining (Ancillary Activities)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will clarify the meaning of the phrase in Clause 9(1) of the Coal Industry Bill to the effect that those (petroleum) activities "may lead to the development of chemical processes or methods, or acquisition of commercial, industrial or technological experience or knowledge which may lead to new or improved uses of coal or products of coal" and illustrate it by examples;(2) if he will clarify the meaning of the phrase in Clause 9 of the Coal Industry Bill to the effect that those (petroleum) activities may "provide an outlet for coal or products of coal" and illustrate it by examples.

Lines 20 to 25 of Clause 9(1) of the Coal Industry Bill in effect define the purposes for which the power is sought for the National Coal Board to carry on the activities described in lines 14 to 19. The Board's main object in seeking to carry out these activities will be to achieve a better understanding of the technical, commercial and marketing aspects of petroleum refining and chemical production with a view to identifying the ways in which coal might in the longer term supplement petroleum as a chemical feedstock. It is already technically possible to derive products alternatively from coal or petroleum. As resources of oil decline and the price of oil increases there will be a need to look increasingly to coal as a source of chemical feedstocks. Oil and chemical companies are already engaged in studies of the use of coal, as is the Board, and the Board would intend to co-operate with them.As an illustration of the way in which the activities defined in Clause 9(1) may provide an outlet for coal or products of coal, the National Coal Board would intend to investigate the following possibilities: use of coal instead of petroleum for the provision of steam and power generation at refineries; use of coal for the production of hydrogen for hydrogenation of heavy oil fractions to produce lighter and more valuable products; the blending of coal extract with petroleum-based liquids to produce needle coke for manufacture of electrodes; interchange between coal and petroleum derivatives for the production of benzene, phenol and other aromatics for further processing.

Oil Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the current cost per therm of producing middle distillate gas oil and of providing heavy fuel oil and the current prices being charged for contracted supplies of both products.

A high proportion of the costs of the oil industry are common to its many products and markets. It is not possible to apportion such costs to particular products in a meaningful way. Prices charged for gas oil and heavy fuel oil in medium-sized new or renewed contracts are published quarterly in the department's statistical bulletin Energy Trends, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The latest available figures will be published in the March issue and are equivalent to 18·7 pence a therm for gas oil and 13·5 pence a therm for heavy fuel oil. Both prices include duty.

Severn Barrage

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is seeking firm cost estimates for a full-scale feasibility study for a Severn Estuary tidal power scheme; what procedures are involved; what terms of reference are being requested; and when he expects to have these cost estimates and for what purpose.

I would refer the hon. Member to my answer of 14th March. When the results of the current studies have been analysed and views sought from interested parties, our Advisory Council on Research and Development will be making recommendations to us on how we should proceed.

Electricity Supply

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action he intends to take on the report of the committee of inquiry into the structure of the electricity supply industry in England and Wales.

The Government are still considering the report. My right hon. Friend will make a statement as soon as possible.

COMMODITY PRICES
£ per tonne
SugarCocoaCoffeeCopperTinLead
1973—
1st March893354415931,744151
31st August906504088171,999178
1974—
27th February2416425661,1753,365324
2nd September3457554526874,120233
1975—
28th February2717404455563,001226
1st September1926007295913,140168
1976—
1st March1607408236243,298179
1st September1251,4691,5458434,490268
1977—
1st March1232,6443,9908616,145428
Source:
Public Ledger.
Sugar: London daily raw price cif United Kingdom.
Cocoa: Accra/Lagos nearest London futures.
Coffee: Uganda Robustas nearest London futures.
Copper: Wire bars settlement price.
Tin: Settlement price.
Lead: Settlement price.
Because of time lags, and changes in other costs, it is not possible to estimate how much changes in the market prices

Prices And Consumer Protection

Johnston Group Cleaners Ltd-Sketchley Ltd (Proposed Merger)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he has yet decided whether or not to refer the proposed take-over of the Johnston Group Cleaners Limited by Sketchley Limited to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, in view of the monopolistic position which would be created in King's Lynn, Market Harborough, Tamworth, Stevenage and 15 other towns.

Commodity Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what was the price of copper, tin, lead, cocoa, coffee and sugar on 1st March and 1st September in each of the years from 1973 to March 1977; and to what extent price alterations in these commodities have contributed to the rate of inflation.

Prices at which these commodities were being traded on London markets for the nearest available dates are as follows:for these commodities have contributed to the rate of inflation. The Price Commission examined the effect raw material price movements have on the retail price of goods. Its findings are given in Report No. 17 published in July 1976.

Angling Fees

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if, in the light of price increases of up to 600 per cent. in the rental of fishing rights by the Anglian Water Authority, he will refer these price increases to the Price Commission; and if he will make a statement.

No. Water authority charges are effectively governed by the Water Act 1973, and provided that, taken as a whole, they do not result in higher revenue in any accounting year than is required to comply with their statutory duty—as is the case with the Anglian

At date of designation of assisted areaAt 10th February 1977
Unemployment rate for assisted United area Kingdom
Date of designationper cent.per cent.Ratio of assisted area to United Kingdom ratesUnemployment rate for assisted area per cent.Ratio of assisted area to United Kingdom rate of 6 per cent.
Development Areas and Special Development Areas
South Western DA19th August 19662·91·51·9:111·41·9:1
Merseyside DA19th August 19662·31·51·5:1
Merseyside SDA14th August 19746·82·92·3:110·61·8:1
North Yorkshire DA19th August 19661·91·51·3:16·61·1:1
Northern DA19th August 19662·51·51·7:17·91·3:1
North-East SDA10th August 19727·84·02·0:18·71·5:1
West Cumberland SDA10th August 19727·14·01·8:18·21·4:1
Scottish DA14th August 19744·12·91·4:18·31·4:1
West Central Scotland SDA10th August 19728·24·02·1:19·61·6:1
Girvan SDA10th August 19726·14·01·5:111·72·0:1
Leven and Methil SDA10th August 19727·04·01·8:18·01·3:1
Glenrothes SDA10th August 19727·04·01·8:18·01·3:1
Livingston SDA10th August 19727·54·01·9:110·41·7:1
Welsh DA14th August 19744·52·91·6:17·71·3:1
South Wales SDA10th August 19726·94·01·7:18·11·4:1
North-West Wales SDA14th August 19747·12·92·4:112·42·1:1
Intermediate Areas
South-Western10th March 19714·33·41·3:18·31·4:1
Oswestry10th March 19715·73·41·7:18·11·4:1
High Peak22nd March 19725·64·21·3:13·30·6:1
North Lincolnshire22nd March 19725·74·21·4:18·61·4:1
North Midlands14th August 19743·42·91·2:14·80·8:1
Yorkshire and Humberside22nd March 19724·74·21·1:15·50·9:1
North-West22nd March 19724·44·21·0:15·81·0:1
North-Wales22nd March 19724·54·21·1:110·11·7:1
South-East Wales22nd March 19723·74·20·9:16·41·1:1

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list all the trades for which he has separate monthly unemployment figures.

Water Authority proposals—the Price Commission has no grounds to intervene.

Employment

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the date when each present special development area, development area and intermediate area was so designated, the unemployment rate of each such area at the date of designation, the ratio of that unemployment to the United Kingdom average unemployment rate at the time, the latest unemployment rate for each area, and the latest ratio of unemployment artes in each area to the United Kingdom average unemployment rate.

Following is the information:offices are analysed by occupation quarterly. The occupations for which information is available are shown at pages 1236 to 1245 of the November 1976 issue of the

Department of Employment Gazette.

Community Industry (Wales)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the total expenditure in Wales for each year since the scheme was initiated under the community industry scheme; and how many are currently being employed under this scheme in Wales.

The figures below show the actual amount of departmental grant expended on Community Industry units in Wales since inception of the scheme:

Financial YearActual Expenditure
£
1971–72442
1972–7349,949
1973–74120,312
1974–75106,226
1975–76280,759
The above figures do not contain any contribution towards the operating costs of Community Industry's head office.On 18th February, the most recent date for which statistics are available, Community Industry was employing 372 young people in Wales.

Aliens

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his latest estimate of the number of aliens currently resident in the United Kingdom and registered as unemployed.

Home Department

Police (Essex)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in the county of Essex for 1974, 1975 and 1976.

The figures, which cover the whole of the county except those parts lying within the Metropolitan Police District, are as follows:

YearStrength at 31st December
19742,168
19752,312
19762,337
This increase is broadly in line with the overall increase in strength in the police service in England and Wales over the same period.

Sean Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current condition of Sean Campbell, a prisoner in Albany Prison; and whether he is still on hunger-strike.

Mr. Campbell is now in Long Lartin prison. He resumed eating normally on 3rd February and his general health is good.

Interpol

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the annual cost of maintaining the Interpol Bureau in Scotland Yard; and what contribution is made by the United Kingdom to the running of the international headquarters of Interpol.

The annual cost of maintaining the National Central Bureau of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) is at present approximately £430,000. The United Kingdom contribution towards the costs of the general secretariat of Interpol was £96,655 in 1976.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what monitoring is done of the activities of Interpol in the United Kingdom; and what methods of supervision or control over the international activities of Interpol are available to national Governments.

Requests for information or assistance from the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) are sent to the National Central Bureau at New Scotland Yard which is manned by British police officers. The bureau is under the administrative control of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis who is responsible for the work of its staff. The international activities of the general secretariat of Interpol are determined by the decisions of the annual general assembly which consists of representatives of police forces of all member countries. The British police representative keeps in close touch with my Department. We are satisfied that these arrangements are adequate in keeping Her Majesty's Government aware of the policies and work of the organisation as they affect this country.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests for information made by Interpol to Great Britain police authorities (a) concern people with no criminal record, (b) do not specify the purpose for which the information requested is to be used and (c) do not identify the person or authority requesting the information.

I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that requests for information are received about a range of individuals, including missing persons or those arrested abroad, who may or may not have criminal records. The figures requested at (a) are not, therefore, available. As regards (b) and (c), the answer in both cases is "None".

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish an inquiry on the activities of Interpol on the same lines of that of the General Accounts Office of the United States of America.

Homeless Families

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of prisoners in British gaols is from homeless families.

I regret that the available information is too limited for any estimate to be given.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of prisoners in British gaols is classified as mentally subnormal.

Such information as is available suggests that in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales the proportion is much less than 1 per cent.

Asian Passport Holders (Rhodesia)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he proposes to introduce changes in the application of the Immigration Control Act 1971 to British Asian passport holders resident in Rhodesia.

We have no plans to do so. Each case is considered on its merits in the light of the Immigration Rules.

Legal Aid

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for legal aid were found to be based on an underestimate of the applicant's income in 1976, or the latest available 12-month period; and what percentage this was of the whole.

A court grants legal aid in criminal proceedings in England and Wales if it appears desirable to do so in the interests of justice and if it appears that the means of the accused are such that he requires assistance in meeting his costs. The court may subsequently order the accused to contribute to his costs, and about 30,000 such orders were made in 1975. In 1975 two people were charged with offences under Section 90(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1967 relating to the provision of false statements of means in connection with applications for criminal legal aid.

Official Secrets Act

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now take steps to implement the recommendations of the Franks Report in respect of Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

The Government propose to introduce a Bill as soon as possible, but, as I announced in my statement on 22nd November 1976, it cannot be in the current Session.

Overseas Visitors

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list under country of origin the number of refugees, students, visitors and others whom he has asked to leave the country voluntarily during the past 12 months.

I know of no case where a person accepted by this country as a refugee has been asked to leave this country during the past 12 months. There have been instances during this time where students, visitors and others, who have overstayed, have been asked to leave the country. But I regret that detailed information about the numbers and countries of origin of such people are not available.

Holloway Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether a physician superintendent has yet been appointed for Holloway Special Hospital; and, if so, what is his or her name;(2) how many beds there will be in Holloway Special Hospital;(3) what is the projected cost of the building of Holloway special hospital;(4) whether there will be a segregation wing built in Holloway special hospital; and, if so, how many cells it will contain;(5) whether there are any windowless, soundproofed constructions being built or planned to be built in Holloway Special Hospital; and, if so, for what purpose.

Holloway is not being redeveloped as a special hospital but as a women's prison. It will, therefore, continue to be in the charge of the Governor and not a medical superintendent. It will also provide medical facilities for the whole of the women's system. When the development is complete 378 of the 517 places will be usable as hospital accommodation. The current estimate of the cost of the whole project, including the provision of staff housing is approximately £10·5 million. There are no windowless soundproofed rooms being built or planned and there is to be no segregation wing.

Commission For Racial Equality

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he

Forestry CommissionPrivate Sector*
EnglandWalesEnglandWales
Year ended 31st March—
197210,3006,00015,2004,100
19737,8005,50014,2003,800
19747,2005,40010,7003,700
19756,5005,1009,1003,400
19766,4004,0006,1001,300
* Based upon grants paid during the year.

Holy Island (Jetty)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Berwick-on-Tweed on 18th November 1976 about the extension of the Holy Island

will announce the names of the remaining members of the Commission for Racial Equality.

Wales

Council For The Welsh Language

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has yet completed his discussions with the Council for the Welsh Language on ways in which the Council can most effectively offer advice in the coming months.

The Council is to prepare a report for me containing its recommendations for a comprehensive policy for the Welsh language. To assist it in this task the Council will be arranging a series of discussions throughout Wales. I hope to receive the Council's report within a year.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Trees

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the acreage of trees planted in England and Wales by the Forestry Commission and the private sector, respectively, in each of the last five years.

The acreages planted and replanted in England and Wales by the Forestry Commission and the private sector in each of the last five years are as follows:jetty, it he will now make a statement in the light of the £1,000 increase in the cost of the project as a result of the delay in reaching a decision.

Examination of the project in original form revealed shortcomings. Important technical revisions have been agreed and formal approval given enabling the scheme to proceed.

Departmental Staff

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total number of civil servants employed to look after Health and Safety Regulations in 1973 and 1974 in his Department until the transfer of responsibilities to the Department of Employment.

On 1st October 1973, 54 staff were employed full-time on farm safety work in the headquarters administration branch and in the safety inspectorate, and 342 field officers were engaged on it for about 30 per cent. of their time. The corresponding figures for 1st October 1974 were 57 full-time and 360 part-time, and for 1st October 1975, 120 full-time and 320 part-time. In addition a number of other administration and support staff were engaged on this work for part of their time. Responsibility was transferred to the Health and Safety Executive on 1st March 1976.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of the civil servants in his Department he estimates will retire within the next 12 months.

Saccharin

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will introduce regulations to phase out the use of saccharin in manufactured food and drink, following the proposed ban on the use of this substance in the United States of America and Canada; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will take action on the use of saccharins, similar to that of the United States Government who have banned it; and if he will make a statement.

$ billion
197719781979198019811982198319841985
HMG0·10·10·71·22·01·10·80·70·1
Other public sector0·00·71·72·02·71·60·80·60·1

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the use and safety of the artificial sweetener, saccharin, in view of the announcement made by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Following recent research in Canada, the Governments of the United States and Canada have announced that they propose to phase out the use of saccharin. On information available to me, I see no reason why we should follow suit. But the data and results of this research will now be examined by our expert committees, and I shall only decide whether further action is necessary when I have their advice.

National Finance

Welsh Language

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that income tax assessment forms sent out by the Inland Revenue in Wales are always in a bilingual format.

No. Welsh versions of most of the notices of assessment for personal taxation can, however, be obtained on request.

Public Sector Debt

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what, expressed in US $, are the actual payments for the years 1977 to 1985, or in cases where actual figures may not be available, the maximum estimates currently being made, due against foreign borrowings which have been made by, respectively, Her Majesty's Government, local authorities, nationalised industries, and other borrowers so far as their liabilities are known, in each case divided between capital repayment and interest.

Foreign currency borrowing by Her Majesty's Government and public sector bodies which was outstanding at the end of February falls due for repayment broadly as follows:

In this series, it has been assumed that drawings on the IMF oil facility and on the credit tranches will be repaid over the fourth and fifth years after drawing.

A large part of the total amount outstanding is on a floating interest rate basis, with the interest payable in any period determined by the level of Eurodollar interest rates then prevailing. It is thus not practicable to give estimates for interest payments in each year; interest payments are however, currently running at about $1·2 billion a year.

Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the amount of public expenditure per head for Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales

IDENTIFIABLE PUBLIC EXPENDITURE PER HEAD*
Northern IrelandScotlandWalesEngland
££££
1969–70277326283237
1970–71329349303263
1971–72378392349296
1972–73444446385335
1973–74†519492437409
1974–75763662582545
* Excluding the capital expenditure of the nationalised industries but including Government grants and net lending to them, to reflect the new representation of public expenditure used in Cmnd. 6721. For comparability between countries, Northern Ireland electricity industry is treated as a nationalised industry, though this is not so in Cmnd. 6721.
† Figures for 1973–74 and earlier years exclude finance for the British Steel Corporation.

Pay (Civil Service And Local Government)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total cost to public funds, in each of the past three years, of incremental pay awards to employees of central and local government; and what, in the same periods, has been the cost of percentage salary increases awarded to the same employees under the pay policy.

I am consulting the Departments concerned and will write to the hon. Member.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the yield of a 1 per cent. VAT on those food sales on which no VAT is at present collected.

and England, respectively, for each year from the financial year 1969–70, calculated on a comparable basis to the figures given in his reply of 24th February 1977 to the hon. Member for Epping Forest.

There is insufficent information readily available to calculate figures for public expenditure per head for all four countries which are strictly comparable with those given in my reply to the hon. Member on 24th February 1977—[Vol. 926, c. 682–3]—The figures below are partly estimated. In particular, capital grants to nationailsed industries are allocated to countries pro rata to their identifiable expenditure in each country, and not, as in the case of the 1975–76 figures given previously, according to the location of the projects financed.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many additional civil servants would be required to collect VAT on food assuming that there were a single rate of VAT applicable to all foodstuffs and that the exemption limit for turnover remained unaltered.

It is estimated that Customs and Excise would require about 500 extra staff.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many extra staff have been employed to administer multi-rate value added tax since its introduction.

Additional staff numbers arising from the higher rate of VAT cannot be isolated from those relating to the administration of VAT as a whole, but it is estimated that the equivalent of about 250 staff in Her Majesty's Customs and Excise are now employed in the collection and administration of the higher rate of VAT.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the variation in yield from value added tax if the rates of 8 per cent. and 12½ per cent. were abolished and replaced by a rate of 10 per cent.

It is estimated that the revenue would increase by about £550 million in a full year.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer at what rate it would be necessary to levy value added tax to obtain the same yield if all exemptions and zero rates were abolished and one overall rate introduced.

A single rate of 5 per cent. on goods and services which are currently taxed at the higher rate, standard rate and zero rate would yield approximately the present VAT revenue. There are technical difficulties in taxing many of the supplies which are at present exempt from VAT, and for this reason these items have been excluded.

Cars (Form P522)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of officials of the Inland Revenue who have been engaged in sending out 300,000 car benefit forms (P522) and in processing the forms on their return.

Drink And Tobacco

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the current total annual spending on (a) alcohol (b) tobacco by drinkers and smokers, respectively; and what is the average spending per head of population aged over 18 years on these items.

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the maximum in- crease in salary which a person earning £8,500 at the time when this limit on increases was introduced could have earned since 1st March 1974 under the various incomes policies; and, allowing for inflation, by how much his real income after tax would have fallen since that date, assuming that he was married with two children.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing for 1970–71, 1973–74 and 1976–77 the effective rates of income tax for a married man with two children under 11 years, with average income, all earned, equivalent to average male earnings, twice average, three times and five times average.

Statutes (Enforcement)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a list of the Acts of Parliament for whose administration he is responsible from which the police are statutorily excluded.

National Economic Development Council

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he proposes to follow up the suggestion of the Director-General of the National Economic Development Council that the Opposition should be invited to meetings of the council alongside Her Majesty's Government, the CBI and the TUC.

The Opposition have many opportunities of making their views known.

Government Securities (Overseas Holders)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in the light of improvements in the present and prospective external financial position of the United Kingdom economy, he will consider discontinuing the arrangements under which overseas holders of Government securities are exempted from tax.

Yes. I have decided that, until further notice, the Treasury will not make any further issues of new Government securities on the terms which have become customary in recent years and under which the securities are exempted from United Kingdom taxation present or future so long as they are in the beneficial ownership of persons not ordinarily resident or for certain purposes neither domiciled nor ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. There is no question, however, of withdrawing any exemption that attaches to outstanding gilt-edged stocks. Overseas holders of Government securities will continue to be exempted or relieved from United Kingdom tax where this is provided for by the Tax Acts or a double taxation agreement, and the change will not affect any immunity to which overseas Governments may be entitled under international law.

Widows

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the Exchequer of making the widow's short-term benefit paid for the first six months of widowhood tax free.

The information on which to base a precise estimate is not available, but the cost in 1976–77 would be about £10 million.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the annual cost of exempting from tax the short-term social security benefits received by widows and widowed mothers during the first six months of widowhood.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 17th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 269], gave the following information: The information on which to base a precise estimate is not available, but the cost in 1976–77 would be about £10 million.

Maternity Pay

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the six weeks' maternity pay payable by employer to employee is taxable.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 237], gave the following information:I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to maternity pay payable under the Employment Protection Act 1975. This pay will be taxable.

Environment

Public Paths (Mapping)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he will take steps to ensure that roads used as public paths are shown on county definitive maps as greenways;(2) whether he will consider extending tree preservation orders so as to include lengths of ancient hedgerows;(3) whether he will now take immediate steps to identify and protect the physical existence of roads used as public paths in fulfilment of his duties under Section 11 of the Countryside Act 1968.

"Greenway" is simply a descriptive term for an ancient track, and rights of way along such tracks vary. The term is, therefore, inappropriate for inclusion on definitive maps of public paths. However, I am aware that there is widespread concern about threats to these tracks and to ancient hedgerows, and I have decided to ask the Countryside Commission and the Nature Conservancy Council t study and advise me on these matters.

Mentmore Towers

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the latest initiative by the National Trust, he will now instigate discussions with those concerned to establish a permanent endowment fund for the preservation of Mentmore Towers and its contents.

I welcome the initiative, but what is lacking is the essential private contribution of £2 million or thereabouts towards the purchase of Mentmore Towers and its contents. Discussions about endowment funds would be premature until we know whether it will be possible to buy the property.

Rate Support Grant (Lancashire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the percentage increase in rate support grant payable to Lancashire in each of the last three years.

Lancashire's entitlement to needs element under the main RSG order for 1975–76, 1976–77 and 1977–78 showed increases of 50 per cent., 30 per cent. and 7 per cent., respectively, over the corresponding payments for the preceding year. The county does not receive resources grant.

Rate Equalisation (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how the method of rate equalisaion in Greater London will differ in 1977–78 from the system used in 1976–77; and how much more or less resources the new system will give to each London borough in 1977–78 than under the previous system.

The 1977–78 equalisation arrangements between London boroughs are in the main incorporated in the provisions of the 1976 Rate Support Grant Order, and are described in Appendix E of the Report to the House on that Order. The scope and design of these arrangements differ very significantly from those for 1976–77 and valid comparisons are not possible.

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the total rate and grant borne expenditures of each London borough, metropolitan county, metropolitan district, non-metropolitan county and non-metropolitan district in England and Wales for the years 1974–75, 1975–76, and 1976–77 at November 1976 prices.

Information on expenditure at November 1976 prices is not available for individual local authorities for the years mentioned.

Government Car Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the cost of the Government car pool over the last 12-month period for which figures are available; how many cars were involved; and what was the average mileage covered by each car (a) whilst occupied by official passengers and (b) whilst being driven without passengers.

The cost of the Government Car Service in the United Kingdom for the 12-month period ending 31st December was £2·85 million for an average of 353 cars. Statistics showing separate mileages for journeys with and without passengers are not avaialble. The average mileage of London based cars was 12,000. For the regions it was 11,000.

Concorde

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why the report of the Noise Advisory Council on Concorde, completed in December, remains unpublished.

The final drafting of the report was not completed until mid-January. It is at present with the Stationery Office, and is expected to be published about Easter.

Industry

British Aircraft Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what arrangements he will make to ensure that all assets necessary for the business of the British Aircraft Corporation come into British Aerospace.

British Aircraft Corporation (Holdings) Ltd. ("BAC Holdings") has certain important assets and liabilities appurtenant to the business of its subsidiary, British Aircraft Corporation Ltd. ("BAC Ltd."), which is the company listed in Schedule 1 to the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act. These assets and liabilities, which would vest in BAC Ltd. on the aircraft industry vesting date under Section 20 of the Act, are the only assets of BAC Holdings apart from the shares of BAC Ltd. As a matter of mutual convenience, therefore, it has been agreed with BAC Ltd. and its ultimate shareholders that the shares of BAC Holdings instead of those of its wholly-owned subsidiary BAC Ltd. should be acquired by British Aerospace. To this end, BAC Ltd. has transferred certain works to BAC Holdings, and in consequence the Secretary of State will serve a notice of acquisition under Section 26 of the Act on BAC Holdings, and a notice under Section 27 on BAC Ltd. to the effect that that company will not vest, though it will come fully under the control of British Aerospace as a wholly-owned subsidiary of BAC Holdings. By agreement under Section 26, BAC Holdings will now vest in British Aerospace on the aircraft industry vesting date. The effect is to acquire the parent company, BAC Holdings, as well as the listed subsidiary, BAC Ltd.

Transport

Cars (Testing)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what tests are being carried

Appendix A
HYUNDAI PONY
A.Approvals applied for National Type Approval
SerialECE Reg./EEC Directive
1.Door locks and hingesReg. 11/EEC/70/387
2.Radio interference suppressionReg. 10/EEC/72/245
3. TCProtective steeringReg. 12/EEC/74/297
4. TCExhaust emissionReg. 15/EEC/74/290
5. TCHeadlamps and bulbsRegs. 1, 2, 5
6. TCSide, rear and stop lampsReg. 7
7. TCRear reflectorsReg. 3
8. TCDirection indicatorsReg. 6
9. TCRear view mirrorsEEC/71/127
10. TCAnti-theft devicesReg. 18/EEC/74/61
11. TCSeat belt anchoragesEEC/76/115
12.BrakesEEC/75/524
13.Noise and silencersEEC/70/157, 73/350
14. TCSeats and seat anchoragesReg. 17/EEC/74/408
B.Other approvals application
15. TCAudible warning devicesReg. 28/EEC/70/388
16.Front impactReg. 33
17.Prevention of fire risksReg. 34
18. TCHead restraintsReg. 25
19.External projectionsReg. 26
20. TCRear registration platesEEC/70/222
21.Steering equipmentEEC/70/311
22.Speedometer and reverse gearEEC/75/443
23. TCIllumination of rear registration plateReg. 4
24.Reversing lightsReg. 23
25. TCRear protective devices and fuel tanksEEC/70/221
Note: "TC"=Testing Completed.

Trade

Hoteliers

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list those hoteliers who attended his meeting at his Department on 14th March; what topics were discussed; what specific proposals were put to him; and if he will make a statement on the meeting.

out on the Hyundai Pony; what stage has been reached; and when a decision will be made to approve the car so that it can be sold in the United Kingdom.

The tests being being carried out on the Hyundai Pony are listed below. These are only component and system approvals. Testing should be completed by mid-April 1977. After satisfactory completion of testing it will be necessary for Hyundai to apply for whole vehicle approval under Minister's approval certificate procedures. This will entail whole vehicle inspection and will not take place until completion of the individual approvals. No application for whole vehicle approval has yet been received.

Tourism

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the average cost to the public of each additional job created by grants for the development of tourism.