Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 928: debated on Monday 21 March 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Monday 21st March 1977

Energy

Resources

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the latest estimates available for Great Britain's energy resources; and if he will will make a statement.

Following is the information:UNITED KINGDOM ENERGY RESERVES AND RESOURCES

Oil

Publish estimates of proven, probable and possible recoverable reserves for oil amount to between 3,000 and 4,500 million tonnes of oil—5,000–7,500 million tons of coal equivalent—mtce.

Gas

Published estimates of proven, probable and possible recoverable reserves of gas amount to 1,200 million tonnes of oil equivalent—2,000 mtce.

Coal

Estimates proven reserves of coal which are economically recoverable at current coal prices amount to over 6,000 million tonnes of coal (over 3,500 million tonnes of oil equivalent). Total coal reserves thought to be technically recoverable are estimated at 45,000 million tonnes of coal—over 27,000 million tonnes of oil equivalent—but it is not at present possible to estimate how much of this will eventually become economically recoverable.

Oil Shales

There are large reserves of oil shales in the ground, but none has been economically workable in recent years. My Department is currently funding an evaluation of reserves, as part of a study of the possible renewal, in the long term, of shale oil production.

Uranium

The United Kingdom's reasonably assured uranium reserves are estimated at about 2,000 tonnes, but these are not considered economically exploitable under present circumstances. In addition, as a result of the existing nuclear programme, the United Kingdom has stocks of depleted uranium which, if used in fast reactors, could yield around 40,000 mtce of energy.

Renewable Resources

We estimated that it should be technically feasible to obtain a total of up to a maximum of perhaps 40 mtce per year from the sea, wind, sun and possibly from geothermal sources by the end of the century. Research programmes are under way and should help to show how far their development on this timescale might be economic.

Oil And Gas (Research)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to make known to United Kingdom industry the results of research, supported by his Department and directed at improving the efficiency and safety of exploratio nand exploitation of offshore oil and gas.

My Department already publicises non-confidential reports on this subject through the R & D Abstracts of the Technology Reports Centre and also directly to United Kingdom firms known to be interested.It is now supporting a small editorial unit in the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) to produce a free quarterly newsletter, "Offshore Research Focus", giving news of research in progress supported by the Department of Energy. The newsletter is aimed primarily at scientists, technologists and engineers interested in developments in the United Kingdom offshore industry. The first number is issued today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.CIRIA will also publish on behalf of the Department of Energy interim reports of specific projects in hand and guides to civil engineers describing laboratory work distilled from the research supported by my Department.It is hoped that, through this new publishing initiative, industry will be kept informed with the minimum of delay of developments in this vitally important area of offshore technology.

Helsinki Final Act

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action he has taken to implement the proposals in the Helsinki Final Act to organise co-operation between the signatory powers in the use of energy resources, including petroleum, natural gas and coal and the rational use of power stations.

The Final Act of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe considers that the field of energy resources, in particular petroleum, natural gas and coal, is suitable for strengthening long-term economic co-operation, and that there is the possibility for joint projects including the exchange of electrical energy within Europe with a view to utilising the capacity of electrical power stations as rationally as possible. As emphasised in the Final Act there is already much work done by relevant international organisations and it was the wish of all signatories to take advantage of the possibilities offered by these organisations, and particularly by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) for giving effect to the provisions of the final documents of the Conference. The United Kingdom already participates fully in international co-operation in the areas mentioned and Her Majesty's Government has been co-operating with the Secretariat of the ECE in its efforts to pursue further international collaboration on suitable projects.

PRODUCTION OF HARD COAL
1,000 tonnes
19721973197419751976
United Kingdom
Scotland9,84910,5178,6779,9459,434
Northern15,18716,45012,87614,94013,401
Yorkshire30,46133,93128,04932,76631,033
North Western10,65312,38210,87412,39011,568
South Wales9,5459,2027,3868,7527,987
Midlands31,94035,99030,90137,25836,256
Kent767905647730
Licensed mines678654578625582
Opencast10,43910,1239,23010,41311,943
Total119,519130,154109,218127,819122,204
Federal Republic of Germany108,690103,654101,48499,16196,325
France29,76325,68222,89522,41421,879
Italy1515422
Belgium10,5008,8428,1117,4787,238
Netherlands2,9421,829801
Ireland7564684853
OUTPUT PER MANSHIFT*
Kilograms
19721973197419751976
United Kingdom
Scotland2,9502,9842,8632,8932,894
Northern2,7382,8322,6042,8792,728
Yorkshire4,0674,1543,7093,8403,731
North Western3,0973,3253,4603,2593,345
South Wales2,3862,2002,0802,0682,163
Midlands4,4464,5144,3384,4684,217
Kent2,1012,4462,0421,870
Licensed mines··········
Opencast··········
Total3,4603,6433,3503,4933,406
Federal Republic of Germany4,2494,3214;1964,0624,151
France2,7092,7672,7992,7612,785
Italy2,801········
Belgium2,6382,5552,5972,4262,524
Netherlands3,2763,8094,219
Ireland··········
* Average output per manshift of all underground workers except under-officials.
·· Not available.

Coal (Production And Productivity)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the total coal production and output per man-shift in each EEC member State, and in each United Kingdom coalfield, in each of the last five years.

Statistics on coal production and productivity in the United Kingdom and the other coal-producing countries in the EEC are published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities in "Energy Statistics", available in the Library of the House. For convenience, the information for the latest five years, using the definitions of SOEC, is as follows:

Fuel Bills (Poor Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many persons so far have benefited from his Department's scheme to pay 25 per cent. of fuel bills for persons on supplementary benefit; what has been the total cost so far to public funds; and what percentage of those helped were retirement pensioners.

Claims from about 290,000 households at a cost to public funds of just under £2 million have so far been reported to Departments. This is less than I would have expected at this stage. It is not possible to say how many claims came from retirement pensioners but some 60 per cent. of recipients of supplementary benefit who are eligible for the discount are in this category. I am most anxious that everyone eligible for the discount should claim. Claims should be made as soon as possible after the electricity bill arrives or the prepayment meter box is emptied.

National Coal Board (Queensland Investment)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on participation by the National Coal Board in the exploration for coking coal in Queensland, Australia; what is the percentage participation by the National Coal Board; what is the estimated National Coal Board investment; how it will be financed; and what are the marketing arrangements.

This is primarily a matter for the National Coal Board. However, the board tells me that in return for providing technical services it has a 10 per cent. interest in Capricorn Developments Ltd., which has been formed to undertake an exploration project at German Creek, in Queensland. As the present contract is for exploration only questions of production development or of marketing have not yet arisen.

Conservative "Monthly News"

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many copies of Conservative Monthly News are purchased by his Department to keep Ministers and senior civil servants informed of current Conservative policy and thinking.

None. However, an internal Press cuttings service within my Department circulates information relating to energy matters which appears in the national and regional Press.

Waterwheels

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will conduct a study to estimate the number of sites which could be restored or newly developed, for the operation of privately owned waterwheels for the generation of power; why waterwheels continue to fall into disuse; and what action is required to promote this source of energy;(2) if he is investigating the potential of electricity generation from waterwheels; what is his estimate of the number of privately owned water turbines currently operating; and what is the scope for extending this contribution to renewable energy sources;(3) what progress he has made in consultation with the National Water Council, the National Association of Water Power Users, and other interested parties, to encourage the extension of privately operated water turbines; and what efforts he is making to remove disincentives.

In response to representations, we have suggested to the National Association of Water Power Users that our Department, in consultation with the association and with others, should seek to establish the level of energy savings at issue here and any other relevant facts. We are awaiting the association's response.

Nuclear Installations (Picketing)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what assurances he has given to British Nuclear Fuels about the use of troops to deliver essential safety supplies to nuclear plants when this is being prevented by strike pickets.

Energy Saving Loan Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress he has made in reviewing the Energy Saving Loan Scheme; how many inquiries have resulted in how many loans to date; what is the current rate of interest charged; when he expects to lower the minimum loan to £5,000; what has been the total sum advanced to date; and how many loans are under active negotiation.

The review of the Energy, Savings Loan Scheme, including its extension to the commercial sector, is in an advanced stage and we hope to be able to make an announcement fairly soon. Thirty-four applications have so far been received, of which 21 were subsequently withdrawn. Three loans, totalling £97,000, have been made to date and 10 are currently under consideration. The present rate of interest is 14 per cent.

Energy Quick Advisory Service

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to launch the Energy Quick Advisory Service; how it will operate; what is the budget; and how many consultants are expected to participate.

We expect the Energy Quick Advisory Service to be launched within the next three months. Until negotiations are further advanced, it is not possible to indicate the number of consultants who are likely to be involved in operating this service on behalf of the Department or to give an estimate of its cost. The service will cover all sectors other than the domestic sector and will provide free advice on straightforward problems.

Energy Survey Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish the list of those organisations accepted by his Department as eligible to claim grants under the Energy Survey Scheme.

The Energy Survey Scheme is open to all organisations in the industrial, commercial and public sectors on the basis of one grant per site. Only the domestic sector is excluded.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will report the response to date for the Energy Survey Scheme.

We have so far received 16 applications for reimbursement of part of the consultants' fees incurred under this scheme. Users of the ESS need not and in general do not consult the Department in advance, so that the first intimation received of their use of the scheme is the application for reimbursement. Nevertheless, we are aware, through our contacts with potential user organisations and consultants, that there is a good deal of interest in the scheme, which we are anxious should become more widely known and fully used.

Sullom Voe

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he discussed with the Shetland Islands Council the number of pipelines to be laid to Sullom Voe; and if he will make a statement.

I had no discussions with the Shetlands Islands Council on this matter during my visit to the Shetlands on 14th-15th March.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Animals (Health Precautions)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied that the arrangements which replace the United Kingdom's derogations from Community animal health legislation adequately safeguard the country's freedom from foot-and-mouth and other diseases; and if he will make a statement.

The Council of Ministers reached agreement in December 1976 on a number of important animal health measures. These measures were carried into Community law by Directive 77/98 which was published in the Official Journal on 31st January, and I have placed in the Library a statement describing the implications of the agreement in greater detail. My right hon. Friends and I are fully satisfied that the new arrangements will afford adequate protection to the United Kingdom's livestock from foot-and-mouth disease and will provide a better Community framework within which further disease control measures can be instituted.

Butter (Intervention Stocks)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give the estimated or approximate price at which the butter, which was recently sold to the Russians at 17p or thereabouts, was taken into intervention, the cost of storage during such time as it was in intervention, the cost of the various compensatory payments and any other costs chargeable to that butter, expressed in pence per pound.

There is no evidence that intervention stocks of butter were involved. The sale of butter to the USSR was negotiated by a private trader within the normal framework of Community export refund arrangements.

Horticulture (Fuel Costs)

asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with the Gas Council about the provision of natural gas to the horticulture industry; what is his estimate of the comparative price at present paid by British growers per gallon as opposed to that for oil; how this compares with the price paid by Dutch growers for natural gas; what system of payment or subsidy has been used by the Dutch Government to enable the Dutch Gas Authority to extend supplies to the Dutch horticultural industry; and what plans he has to enable British Gas to make fuel available to British growers at competitive prices.

My Department is keeping in touch with the discussions between the British Gas Corporation and representatives of United Kingdom growers about the provision of natural gas, and I understand that the Corporation can now in most cases offer continuous supplies of natural gas to United Kingdom horticulturists who are in or near a gas supply area.The Dutch Government have in the past made grant-aid available to help growers to link up with the natural gas network. A new scheme for 1977–78 will, if approved by the EEC Commission, come into operation in May. A similar type of aid is available in this country under the Horticulture Capital Grant Scheme and the Farm and Horticulture Development Scheme, which also provide grant for works and equipment on the holding.

Prices paid for natural gas by United Kingdom growers are a commercial matter between the consumer and the British Gas Corporation.

The estimated price in terms of pence per gallon paid by growers in Great Britain and the Netherlands in mid-February 1977 are set out below:

Netherlands

  • Gas, 15·7**
  • Heavy Fuel Oil, 24·5***

Great Britain

Heavy Fuel Oil*,25·2***

* The use of natural gas by United Kingdom growers is currently insignificant.

** Heavy fuel oil equivalent prices to users of over 170,000 cu metres.

*** Net of VAT and after repayment of excise duty.

Northern Ireland

Detonators

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many unmarked detonators recovered from an unexploded bomb have been traced as having been manufactured for use (a) in Great Britain, (b) overseas, or (c) as part of old unmarked stock.

It would not be in the interests of security to give details of individual finds. There is, however, reason to believe that most of the unmarked British-made detonators recovered in Northern Ireland represent old stock.

Cullyhanna Community Association

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much grant has been paid to the Callyhanna Community Association since its foundation; what the money was intended to be used for; and whether the books, vouchers and accounts of both the paying authority and of the association have been scrutinised by the local government auditor, or other official auditors.

A sum of £500 was paid to Cullyhanna Community Association in 1974 by the Newry and Mourne District Council. It is the only such grant paid to date and was towards the cost of improvements and renovation of a parochial hall, formerly used as a school, in Cullyhanna. The Local Government Auditor has completed his examination of the district council's accounts for the year ended 31st March 1975. The association's accounts are not subject to audit by the local government or other official auditor.

Northern Health And Social Services Board

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what decision was taken on 19th January 1977 by the Northern Health and Social Services Board on the Strategic Planning Team report about the siting of a new acute hospital in the area.

At its meeting on that date the board resumed consideration of the Report on the Development of Hospital Services in the Northern Area. It voted on a number of issues, including the siting of four or five acute hospitals, but did not reach final conclusions on this matter or on the report as a whole.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the letter sent to the members of the Northern Health and Social Services Board by Dr. Dugdale, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, after the January meeting of the Board; and whether this letter was sent on his instructions.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what decision was taken on 9th March 1977 by the Northern Health and Social Service Board on the Strategic Planning Team report; and if he will institute an immediate inquiry into the pressure put on members of the Board to reverse their previous decision.

The board concluded, in the words of its statement issued after the meeting of 9th March 1977,

"that in the best interests of the people of the whole of the Area of the Northern Board it should endorse, in principle, the recommendations set out in the Report".
This conclusion has now been communicated to the Government, with whom the final decision rests. No pressure was put on members of the board, and my noble Friend has no intention of instituting any inquiry into this matter. The board's final conclusions were reached of its own volition after full and mature deliberation extending over several meetings.

Overseas Development

Departmental Dispersal (Glasgow)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development (1) if, in the light of the 6,000 Ministry of Defence posts now allocated to Glasgow, the move of 1,100 Ministry of Overseas Development posts to that area is necessary, particularly in view of the reservations expressed in the Hardman Report concerning the strain on her Department if such a move were to take place;(2) if the move of 1,100 posts in her Department to the Glasgow area was made on the basis of cost alone; and if she will provide the detailed figures for the estimated cost of such a move;(3) what effect the move of 1,100 posts to Glasgow will have on the efficiency of her Department and its ability to draw up a comprehensive aid programme to assist rural development projects.

The dispersal programme announced by the Government in July 1974 has always provided for 1,000 ODM posts to be dispersed to the Glasgow area as well as 6,000 from the Ministry of Defence. They involve posts in the Overseas Manpower Division, Pensions Department, Accounts Department, and Statistics Department of ODM headquarters; and the Directorate of Overseas Surveys.I am confident that my Department will still be able to implement our aid strategy effectively, though there will inevitably be some loss of efficiency. The Government consider that this must be accepted for the sake of the benefits to the Glasgow area.The costs of the dispersal programme as a whole are being reassessed in the light of the moratorium on new building starts announced at the end of last year, and I cannot yet give the figures.

Hydrography

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what steps have been taken to ascertain the extent to which British hydrographic aid is needed to facilitate trade with developing countries; and from which countries such aid has been sought in the past few months.

£500,000 will be available in 1977–78 from the British aid programme towards the costs of the Royal Navy survey fleet, so that it can undertake marine surveys requested by developing countries. Following inquiries by British Government representatives overseas, requests for aid and enquiries have so far been received from Bangladesh, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Ghana, Guyana, Malta, Montserrat, the New Hebrides, Oman, the Philippines, St. Helena, St. Lucia, Thailand, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Tuvalu.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Conservative "Monthly News"

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many copies of the Conservative Monthly News are purchased by his Department to keep Ministers and senior civil servants informed of current Conservative policy and thinking.

No copies of the Conservative Monthly News are purchased for the Ministers and senior civil servants in the Department.

Price Control Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will publish a table showing the current number of civil servants and the current annual cost to public expenditure of administering (a) the Price Code, and (b) the Consumer Credit Act; and whether he will estimate the cost to industry and commerce of seeking to comply with these Acts and the regulations made under them.

(a) The Price Code is administered by the Price Commission. I understand that its staff time and costs cannot readily be apportioned between the administration of the Price Code and the Commission's other functions. At the beginning of March 1977 the Commission had in total a staff of 660 and its grant for the financial year 1976–77 is £4·851 million.

( b) At the beginning of March 1977 120 staff were employed in the Office of Fair Trading in administering the Consumer Credit Act. The cost for the financial year 1976–77 is estimated to be £1·2 million; the Director General of Fair Trading is required to cover the normal expenses of his functions under the Act from the licence fees that he charges. In addition, local authorities will incur some expenditure in enforcing the Act. It is not possible to estimate the cost to industry and commerce of compliance.

Scorpions

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he is satisfied with the regulations concerning the sale of African yellow scorpions to the public.

I have been asked to reply.Under the Pet Animals Act 1951 a pet shop requires a licence from the local authority which has power to attach conditions to such a licence. I have no reason to believe that these powers are inadequate to deal with scorpions, but I will gladly consider any evidence suggesting that further control is called for.

Transport

New Roads (Beneficial Effects)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the benefits of new road building to industry and commerce.

It has been estimated that the savings in working time alone provide a return on investment of about 8 per cent-10 per cent. in real terms for a typical trunk road scheme. This is in addition to savings in nonworking time and accidents, and represents a direct increase in productivity for industry and commerce.

Concessionary Bus Fares

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total cost, in 1976, of rate-funded concessionary bus fare schemes; and what additional costs were borne on these schemes by the Exchequer.

Expenditure on concessionary fare schemes for the elderly by local authorities in England and Wales was about £61 million in 1975–76 and is expected to be about £74 million in 1976–77—both at outturn prices. The aggregate of estimated expenditure on concessionary fares is relevant for rate support grant but within the block grant received by each authority it is not possible to isolate an amount in respect of any particular items such as concessionary fares. Concessionary fares expenditure is not eligible for transport supplementary grant.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many concessionary fare schemes are provided by local authorities; how many of these are in local authority areas which operate municipal bus services and how many are not; if he will list all the schemes in both these categories; and if he will also list those local authorities with municipal bus services that do not provide any rate-funded scheme of concessionary bus fares.

A survey undertaken in August 1976 indicated that at that time there were 274 concessionary fare schemes operated by county or district councils in England and Wales: under these schemes concessions were offered to elderly people in Greater London, the six metropolitan counties, all of Wales and 239 of the English non-metropolitan districts—the eligibility qualifications vary, however, Elderly residents of all the

Thousand Tonnes
Year19691970197119721973197419751976
Foreign Trade5,6285,5604,8954,5965,4095,5694,7544,741
Coastal Trade2,1322,0991,5331,3171,1701,020662618
TOTAL TRADE7,7607,6596,4285,9136,5796,5895,4165,359

North Devon Trunk Road

asked the Secretary of State for Transport why it took him five weeks to acknowledge a letter dated 2nd February asking him to meet the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann), the hon. Member for Tiverton the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) about progress on the North Devon trunk road.

authorities which operate municipal bus undertakings were offered travel concessions on the services run by those under takings. As the lists asked for by the hon. Member are long I will send them to him in a letter.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, following the recent meeting between the Under-Secretary of State in his Department and the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington on the subject of concessionary bus fares for pensioners, he will indicate precisely what recommendations he has made to the National Bus Company on the question of the preparation by it of schemes to supplement or replace the present arrangements whereby local ratepayers fund pensioners' concessionary fare schemes.

The Chairman of the National Bus Company has told me that the company is studying the possibilities for introducing fare concessions for elderly, blind and disabled and I have told him that I look forward to seeing the findings of this study.

Hull Docks

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the figures for the trade passing through the Hull Docks in each of the past eight years.

The quantities of freight passing through the British Transport Docks Board port of Hull during the period 1969 to 1976 were as follows:further delay in giving a substantive reply.

Roads (Detrunking)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport which roads have been detrunked in each of the past 10 years; how many miles in each case; whether each road detrunked was replaced by an alternative road which was trunked; and, in the case of each road, what major improvements had been identified but not carried out at the time of detrunking.

I regret the information is not available in the form requested. Since 1973–74 about 275 miles of road have been detrunked in England, in most cases following the opening of roughly corresponding lengths of newly constructed trunk road. No major identified improvements were outstanding on the superseded roads at the time of detrunking.

Motorways

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria he uses to determine the economic value of a motorway; and at what point or points a motorway scheme is deemed economically non-viable.

Cost-benefit analysis can be used to quantify some of the benefits of a road scheme, while others must be assessed qualitatively. A scheme is considered non-viable if, taking all factors into account, benefits appear insufficient to justify the costs.

Environment

Improvement Grants (Manchester)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his attention has been drawn to the letter of 23rd February from the Town Clerk, Manchester, addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Department of the Environment concerning "Municipalisation — Section 105 and Private Sector Improvement Grants" for Manchester; and if he will review the situation and revise the allocations.

I am aware of the representations made by the city council. A detailed examination of the situation has been undertaken within the Department and I am at present considering the position.

Ealing (Mortgages)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will review his allocation of £178,000 to the London borough of Ealing for mortgage lending in 1977–78, in view of his circular 123/76 which said that such allocations would not be further reduced.

No. The total allocation to local authorities for mortgage lending in 1977–78, announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 22nd July 1976 was unaffected by the changes in public expenditure subsequently announced in December 1976 and summarised in Circular 123/76.

Homeless Families

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the fact that all local authorities are required to make returns regarding numbers of homeless families in bed and breakfast on the Department of the Environment's H.2. forms, he will explain why these returns have not been published and further publish in the Official Report the number of homeless families in bed and breakfast in all local authority areas as at 1st January 1975, 30th June 1975, 1st January 1976, 30th June 1976, and 1st January 1977.

My Department's statistics have indicated the number of homeless households in all types of temporary accommodation.Separate figures about the number in bed and breakfast accommodation have not been included, because of incompleteness in returns and because of more detailed technical difficulties. I can assure the hon. Member that consideration is being given to ways of overcoming these.A recent analysis, however, has indicated that about 1,500 homeless households were accommodated in bed and breakfast in London on each of the dates 30th June 1975, 31st December 1975 and 30th June 1976.

Minerals (Planning Inquiries)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now make a statement on the recommendation of the Stevens Committee on Mineral Planning concerning the holding of planning inquiries in private.

My right hon. Friend will publish his views later in the year when he has completed his consideration of the Stevens Report.

Liverpool

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the Under-Secretary of State's recent visit to Liverpool.

I visited Merseyside on 14th March to attend a meeting of the Sports Council. I also took the opportunity of seeing work in progress on the Crown courts project in Liverpool and on the Inland Revenue office building at Bootle. I also visited the proposed site for dispersal offices at the Exchange Station in Liverpool.

Housing Associations (Site Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many housing sites are being put up for sale by housing associations because of lack of funds for their development; and if he will publish a list of such projects, the cost of acquisition of each site, the capital sum denied for each development, the estimated loss on each resale and the extent to which public money will be required to make good each such loss.

On 19th Novembe I gave the House full details of the 27 Housing Corporation projects, which were cancelled as part of the July 1976 public expenditure savings. The projects were chosen by the corporation, in full consultation with the Department, because they represented lower priorities than new projects now being approved in areas of housing stress. We do not yet know the exact loss which will be incurred on the resale of each site, or on abortive fees, but the total loss, which will fall upon public funds, is estimated to be about £4 million, as against a saving of £34 million estimated total cost of the schemes had they proceeded.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State (I) if he is satisfied that the new arrangements whereby additions to yardstick for wheelchair and mobility housing for disabled people come out of an overall fixed budget will not adversely affect the provision of such housing; and if he will make a statement;(2) what changes are being made in the arrangements for financing housing for disabled people.

My right hon. Friend is making no changes which specifically affect the arrangements for new house building for disabled people. The introduction of housing investment programmes will enable authorities to continue to respond to our drive for more housing for disabled people in the light of a more comprehensive assessment of needs and I shall certainly look to authorities to do this.

Scottish Assembly

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what use is now to be made of the accommodation in Old Saint Andrew's House, Edinburgh, about 50 per cent. of the entire property, which was to have been used for purposes related to a Scottish Assembly.

The accommodation will continue in civil service use until it is required for other purposes.

Trade

Books (Export Promotions)

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will appoint a committee to advise him on the promotion of book exports.

I am not aware of any need to appoint a committee, having in mind the close contacts which my Department and the British Overseas Trade Board have with the industry and in particular with the Book Development Council.

Company Returns

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many companies in the city of Leicester have failed to file returns under the Companies Acts for 1974–75 and 1975–76, respectively.

Records are maintained by registered number on incorporation and not by geographical area.

Aircraft Noise

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his latest estimate of the number of people affected by noise at Gatwick as measured by the population living within the 35 noise number index contour at the following dates: 1970, and 1975; and what is his estimate for 1980.

NNI contour calculations were not prepared for 1970, but, using 1972 instead, the comparative figures are as follows:

Thousands
197230
197534
198061
The 1980 estimate assumes a passenger throughput of 10 million and 106,000 aircraft movements.

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many representations he has received in the last 12 months concerning the rate of climb of aircraft taking off from Heathrow.

Precise figures on the number of representations which have included the point are not readily available.

Shipping (Safety)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what plans he has for further legislation regarding safety at sea.

A short Bill to permit early ratification of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention 1974 has been introduced into the House of Lords. A longer Merchant Shipping Bill covering such matters as discipline on board ship, safety standards, pilotage, limitation of damages paid to seafarers and carriage of passengers is in course of preparation and consideration is being given to introducing it in the next Session.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he now expects to introduce a new Merchant Shipping Bill.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull today.

Rhodesia

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will now review the Customs regulations which permit the return without let or hindrance of the personal effects of British subjects who have been working on contract in Rhodesia, but which order the confiscation of any part of such effects which are sent separately as presents to persons in this country.

No. While unsolicited gifts sent separately are allowed entry provided their value is small, this is not the moment to extend this concession.

Companies Registration Office (Inquiry)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade for what purpose the Companies Registration Office is seeking to establish contact with the late Arthur Bourchier of the Garrick Theatre, London.

I presume the hon. Member refers to a reminder letter addressed to Mr. Bourchier as a director of a company in default on its statutory obligations. Such letters are sent in all cases of continued default unless the Registrar has been notified officially by the company that the individual is no longer a director.

Industrial Democracy

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, in his consultations on the Bullock Report, which specific recommendations of the majority and of the minority reports, respectively, the Government have already accepted or rejected as the case may be; and upon which recommendations in both reports the Government retain an open mind.

As I made clear in my statement on 26th January, the Government are committed to a radical extension of industrial democracy by representation of the workforce on company boards, and to the essential rôle of trade unions in this process. We have not come to any conclusions on the specific recommendations in either the majority or minority report.

Manufactures

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether exports of manufactures are rising faster or more slowly than the exports of manufactures by EEC countries as a whole, and by Germany, Japan, France and the United States individually.

The availability of information on exports of manufactures by the individual main manufacturing countries varies. Information on value, some of which is still provisional, is available for the first half of 1976 for all the countries covered in the question, but figures for EEC relate to the original six member countries. Exports of manufactures by Ireland and Denmark are comparatively small. Between the first halves of 1975 and 1976, the dollar value of exports of manufactures by the United Kingdom increased slightly faster than those of the original EEC and faster than France, but more slowly than for Japan, United States and the German Federal Republic. The picture remains the same for the individual countries for a comparison based on the first three quarters of 1975 and 1976, but complete information for the third quarter of 1976 for the EEC is not available. The latest information is published in Table 13, page 656, of the 11th March issue of Trade and Industry. The table also contains information on the volume of exports of manufactures by the main manufacturing countries, although, generally, this is less up to date than the value figures.

Aircraft Sales (Overseas Credit)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will review the provision of long-term overseas credit to assist the sales of British aircraft of Third World countries and in particular to assist the marketing of the HS748 and, if developed, the HS146.

I see no reason to do so. I am satisfied that the existing arrangements for ECGD to offer support for export sales on credit of British aircraft, including the types mentioned, provide a full back-up. Where it is alleged that other Governments may have broken internationally agreed rules, we thoroughly investigate and would if necessary offer matching terms.

Scotch Whisky (French Taxation)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has made to the French Government about discriminatory taxation measures against Scotch whisky.

We have made repeated representations to the French authorities concerning the increases in duty on Scotch whisky that came into effect on 1st February and which have exacerbated the discriminatory treatment of Scotch whisky that existed prior to that date. These representations were in addition to the proceedings initiated by the European Commission against France on the same subject. The Commission is continuing with its Article 169 procedure and in December 1976 sent France a reasoned opinion in which the Commission took account of the exacerbation of discriminatory treatment.

Fishing Vessels (Safety)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what consultations he had with the fishing industry before he laid the Fishing Vessels (Safety Provisions) (Amendment) Rules 1977 before Parliament; and whether he has considered alternative appeal procedures to those which will apply under the rules.

Organisations representing fishing vessel owners, skippers, fishermen and others concerned were consulted on the draft text. Consideration was given to one proposal for a simpler statutory appeals procedure but this could not be adopted under existing legislation. In response it was explained that appeals to senior professional staff of the Department and to the Secretary of State could be made before the new appeals procedure was invoked.

Conservative "Monthly News"

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many copies of Conservative Monthly News are purchased by his Department to keep Ministers and senior civil servants informed of current Conservative policy and thinking.

Exports Promotion

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether it is the policy of the British Overseas Trade Board now to allow a second company representative on outward missions but only where that representative is a shop floor trade unionist working in the applicant company.

The Board's grant is limited to one representative per company but should the company see advantage in also including a shop floor representative, a second grant is offered. This does not necessarily mean that a company could not send additional representatives at its own expense, but this would be a matter for discussion with the trade association or chamber of commerce organising the mission.

Retail Trading (Inquiry)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many companies are involved in the Business Statistics Office's inquiry into retail trading for 1977; and what is the total cost of this exercise to date.

Trade Deficit

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the visible trade deficit with the EEC on a balance of payments basis for the quarter December 1976 and January and February, provisional, 1977 expressed on a yearly basis.

Figures of visible trade with the EEC on a balance of payments basis are compiled only for calendar quarters. The latest available information relates to the fourth quarter of 1976, in which the United Kingdom's visible deficit with the EEC was £2,296 million at an annual rate. Our crude trade deficit with the EEC in the same period was £2,468 million at an annual rate, and in the three months December 1976-February 1977 was £2,500 million at an annual rate.

Agricultural Products (European Community)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement about trade with the EEC in agricultural products.

Trade in agricultural goods with the EEC countries is developing steadily in both directions. In the four years 1972 to 1976 our exports of food and live animals to these countries rose nearly four times in value, from £150 million to £570 million, and our imports from them rose by just over three times, from £650 million to £1,994 million.

Home Department

Sunday Trading

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will bring forward legislation to liberalise and bring conformity to the Sunday trading laws, particularly in the context of sales of food.

Paroles

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider the need to state reasons in any decision to refuse parole to a prisoner.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Grocott) on 10th March.—[Vol. 927, c. 607.]

Diplomatic Immunity

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many times and in connection with what offences each of the diplomatic missions accredited to the Court of St. James have claimed diplomatic privilege in each of the last five years for which records are available;(2) in how many theft cases during each of the past five years diplomatic missions accredited to the Court of St. James have invoked diplomatic privilege;(3) in how many cases involving violence during each of the past five years diplomatic missions accredited to the Court of St. James have invoked diplomatic privilege;(4) in how many cases involving sexual offences during each of the past five years diplomatic missions accredited to the Court of St. James have invoked diplomatic privilege;(5) in how many criminal cases other than those involving sex, violence or theft during each of the past five years diplomatic missions accredited to the Court of St. James have invoked diplomatic privilege.

The following tables shows the number of offences alleged to have been committed in the years 1972–76 by persons entitled to diplomatic immunity where the possibility of criminal proceedings was not pursued in consequence of

OFFENCES ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY PERSONS ENTITLED TO DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
19721973197419751976
Violence against the person14133
Sexual offences2312
Offences against the Theft Act 19682019222525
Road traffic offences*222208227225248
Other offences118852
TOTAL256239258256280
* Excluding those dealt with by fixed penalty notices.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Libyan diplomat involved in the recent rape case left Great Britain prior to, or after, the conclusion of police inquiries into that case.

The Libyan Ambassador has notified my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs that the appointment of the diplomat concerned was terminated with effect from 11th March. He is understood to have left the country on the same day, at which time police inquiries into the case had not been completed.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases involving parking violations each of the diplomatic missions

FIXED PENALTY NOTICES CANCELLED ON GROUNDS OF DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
Number of notices cancelled
197219731974January to May 1975October to December 19751976
Afghanistan651064262091
Algeria731161497351322
Argentine Republic4234667802972621,092
Australia333993371769
Austria233731123784
Bahamas23
Bahrain52201955850444
Bangladesh421440913588441
Barbados21049145880127403
Belgium1252932706142178
Bolivia1728855628156
Botswana1555223
Brazil4124931671411,200
Bulgaria5636579255304512,510
Burma661132234135412
Cameroon2534182895637338
Canada1242312897034324
Chile23619910250287
China183513811352333
Colombia3975351333320

that entitlement. I do not think it would be appropriate to identify individual missions in relation to alleged offences not proved.

accredited to the Court of St. James have claimed diplomatic privilege during each of the last 10 periods of six months for which records are available.

The following table, compiled from provisional figures available from the Metropolitan Police, gives particulars of the total number of fixed penalty notices cancelled annually on grounds of diplomatic immunity for the years 1972 to 1976, except for the period June to September 1975 for which, because of a major revision of the Metropolitan Police computer system, figures broken down by diplomatic mission are not available. It is not possible to give a breakdown by diplomatic mission of the final annual figures derived from statistical returns from all police forces in England and Wales. This information cannot be given in six-monthly periods without disproportionate cost.

Number of notices cancelled

1972

1973

1974

January to May 1975

October to December 1975

1976

Costa Rica11956613527
Cuba1,7472,1632,7081,2467554,571
Cyprus1,1852,0692,1917486553,807
Czechoslovakia631441756642183
Dahomey11175
Denmark742132585549190
Dominican Republic584452232986
Ecuador26133620712649197
Egypt1,3182,0081,6515326074,923
El Salvador5739686896358
Ethiopia247281222384284
Fiji1817422
Finland68169338163167592
France4816501,1016914952,196
Gabon1462994176253
Gambia41163525873240
German Democratic Republic514433165
Germany, Federal Republic of1351662607151315
Ghana1,3941,5741,2094223412,186
Greece7371,5751,3272972991,732
Grenada14
Guyana1042772555314107
Haiti1628266320
Honduras7423988373867
Hungary1,0421,3631,3753292501,311
Iceland1212771340
India45651148510686449
Indonesia5786776462651982,060
Iran1,2911,4962,8079426563,584
Iraq1002903451111641,410
Ireland, Republic of136152995138181
Israel170599954387222861
Italy145217301130102469
Ivory Coast2753492799295537
Jamaica7919918314323282,669
Japan2578272194132950
Jordan3075165042432351,391
Kenya3193054361771101,215
Khmer Republic17234714
Korea6321,2171,0473683521,032
Kuwait4209258863071832,274
Laos41320349
Lebanon91901699137305
Lesotho812442633156
Liberia16514813037837
Libya462658598219821,143
Luxembourg3182413717
Malagasy Republic21253537711723
Malawi1752881186536204
Malaysia5211,0411,1603442641,531
Malta, Republic of96190215110113680
Mauritius62881825016197
Mexico306398363225190474
Monaco14
Mongolia7253021042
Morocco2922062577146387
Nepal19117747
Netherlands1113198816
New Zealand41
Nicaragua3316814557
Nigeria, Federal Republic of2,7923,2103,1241,1041,4786,450
Norway786471371176
Oman8291307078463
Pakistan1,2051,8481,4027544642,315
Panama611411246375279
Paraguay22533720210872262
Peru34454542416256468
Philippines33541554527118
Poland5488581,5494832683,148
Portugal1192701807564456

Number of notices cancelled

1972

1973

1974

January to May 1975

October to December 1975

1976

Qatar121153362051951,710
Romania85253341185232846
Rwanda3
Saudi Arabia1,5182,3751,9376925692,970
Senegal1561921902250300
Seychelles11
Sierra Leone2985466143581821,663
Singapore183831261957
Somali Democratic Republic4391434029172
South Africa Republic of23286710133
Soviet Union2114216723012301,243
Spain69166245156166567
Sri Lanka18834727111357404
Swaziland15601723203
Sweden31116512113
Switzerland345333251541
Syrian Arab Republic141397622547
Tanzania82259389196151626
Thailand3836681,068360228820
Tonga117419
Trinidad and Tobago12734835110755233
Tunisia31742348413894412
Turkey1,2071,0701,0523201811,046
Uganda163370481116149536*
United Arab Emirates10511918170322
United States of America6265855535185
Uruguay565649121859
Venezuela192270332182136953
Vietnam8811211038
Yemen Arab Republic652592825753307
Yemen, People's Democratic Republic1723822535322
Yugoslavia7941,3049674323451,658
Zaire178330378164131623
Zambia5216958583071811,168
Commonwealth Secretariat4062763325128
Eastern Caribbean Commission51
EEC Commission51563213
International Cocoa Organisation6
International Coffee Organisation86449433585
Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation2146891477
Western European Union132213131
United Nations157
Totals31,89248,79852,83920,39816,10692,985

* This figure relates to the period up to 28th July 1976 when diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Uganda were broken off.

Hang Gliding

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the inspector expects to publish the findings on the inquiry into hang gliding at Mill Hill, Shoreham.

The barrister who conducted the inquiry hopes to submit his report to my right hon. Friend by the end of this month. He will then need to consider it before reaching a decision. Copies of the report will be supplied to interested parties when his decision is announced.

Conservative "Monthly News"

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many copies of Conservative Monthly News are purchased by his Department to keep Ministers and senior civil servants informed of current Conservative policy and thinking.

None. Ministers and those who advise them in the Department depend on reading Hansard for gleaning the views of the Conservative Party.

Cypriots

asked the Secretary of state for the Home Department how many applications have been received in the years 1974–1975 for temporary work permits for refugees from Cyprus; how many have been granted; how many have been refused; if he will give the

PermitsPermissionsTotals
YearLongShortTotalLongShortTotalLongShortTotal
19744975652116310118119
19751015215358308815988247
Short-term permits are those for less than 12 months;Long-term are for 12 months.The analyses by nationality of issues for 1976 are not yet available. Refusals are not analysed by nationality. Applications are rejected when the conditions of the work permit scheme are not met.The Government have recognised that a number of citizens of Cyprus who were already in this country as visitors or students could not, in view of the situation in Cyprus, be expected to return there for the time being. We have accordingly been prepared in many cases to vary the conditions of stay of such people to enable them to take temporary employment.

Harmondsworth Detention Quarters

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people can be accommodated in the detention quarters at Harmondsworth;(2) what arrangements are made for people to telephone their friends and relatives who are detained at Harmondsworth; who answers the telephone when calls are made to people detained there; why an official is not responsible for handling incoming calls to detainees; what would be the cost of providing such a service; and what precautions are taken to ensure that a detainee is actually in the centre when an inquiry is received;(3) how many public telephones are installed at Harmondsworth detention quarters; if all these telephone numbers are given to a person making an inquiry who desires to contact a detainee; and

reasons for the rejection of these applications; and if he will make a statement.

The numbers of work permissions given for workers already in this country to citizens of Cyprus under the work permit scheme in 1974 and 1975 permits issued for workers overseas and were as follows:what is the procedure if a person making an inquiry after a detainee telephones the number given fails to make contact, and once more contacts the immigration officer;(4) if the same arrangements as at Harmondsworth about telephoning friends and relatives apply to other detention quarters in the United Kingdom.

At the present time some 55 people can be accommodated at Harmondsworth.Relatives and friends wishing to contact people held at Harmondsworth are given the telephone numbers of the public call boxes provided there; these telephones are usually answered by one of the detainees. For incoming calls to be handled by an official it would be necessary to provide additional staff and a special exchange at an estimated cost of some £8,000 per annum. It would be impracticable to ensure that a detainee was always accessible whenever a call for him was received. There are two public telephones at Harmondsworth and a third will shortly be installed. Under revised arrangements which have been made since my hon. Friend draw attention to the matter an inquirer will be given the numbers of each public telephone. He will be advised that if he is unable to contact the detainee and telephones the immigration officer he may leave a telephone number where the detainee, to whom a message will be passed, can contact him.Similar arrangements are being made at Gatwick. At other ports where the detention accommodation is smaller contact can usually be made through the Immigration Service.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to release a number of people from prison as part of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations and, if so, how many people he proposes to release and what categories of prisoners will be involved.

Election Expenses

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is intending to apply new limits on election expenses for parliamentary elections as are being currently proposed for local government elections; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) on 3rd February.—[Vol. 925, c. 720.]

Civil Service

Nuclear Power And The Environment (Flowers Report)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he will make available from HMSO further copies of the Flowers Report.

I understand that the Flowers Report in question is that on Nuclear Power and the Environment (Cmnd. 6618). This report was reprinted during the middle of January and delivery of copies to the bookshops began on 18th January. Adequate stocks are still available.

Parliamentary Papers

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is the reason for the difference between the figures given for the total extra capital cost of retaining the present variety of sizes of parliamentary papers instead of standardising on A4, contained in his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Park) Official Report, 9th March, c. 549–51, viz.: £182,000 plus £417,000, totalling £599,000, and the figure given for the total saving on capital cost consequent on standardising on A4, contained in his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Blaby, Official Report, 14th March, c. 26–7, viz., £805,000.

Web-fed lithographic printing machines that are capable of producing both Royal Octavo and A4 are considerably more expensive than those that are suitable only for A4. The saving of £182,000 plus £417,000 totalling £599,000 was calculated on the assumption that Bills, Acts and Select Committee Reports would remain in the current Royal Octavo size but that other major items would change to A4. A capital saving of £805,000 applied to the standardisation of all items on A4.

Education And Science

Bristol Polytechnic

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is aware that the Avon Education Authority proposes to move all non-poolable courses out of the Bristol Polytechnic for the purpose of increasing its claims on the advanced education pool; if she will look into this matter, particularly as regards its educational effects; and if she will make a statement.

It has always been envisaged that polytechnics would eventually concentrate on courses of advanced further education. The disposal of the very small amount of non-advanced work at this polytechnic is a matter for the local education authority in consultation with the polytechnic and the other colleges sharing in the provision of further education for the area.

Race Relations

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps Her Majesty's Inspectorate are taking to promote the education of children for life in a multi-racial society.

The multiracial nature of our society is relevant to many educational subjects and activities. Her Majesty's inspectors are asked to recognise its importance when visiting schools and other institutions and the inspectorate's activities in this field are co-ordinated by a chief inspector. One schools and one further education inspector have national responsibilities, and there is also a national HMI Committee now entitled "Education in a Multi-Racial Society". Her Majesty's Inspectors work with various bodies concerned with this subject and take part in conferences on the education of different minority groups. Aspects of multi-racial education are included in many HMI short courses for teachers; four in the 1977 programme are particularly relevant—" Education in a Multi-Cultural Society", "Education for Teaching in a Multi-Racial Society", "Music, Language and the Multi-Racial Classroom", and "Religious Education in a Multi-Faith Society".

Student Fees

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will give an estimate of the global sum involved in the allowances made in the rate support grant for 1977–78 and in the universities' recent grant for 1977–78 to cover hardship cases arising from the increase in students' fees; and what proportion of the total she expects to be used for self-financed students.

A margin of £1 million has been allowed, divided equally between the rate support grant for 1977–78, and the universities recurrent grant for 1977–78, which I hope to announce shortly, to help local education authorities and universities to meet cases of hardship arising from the recommended increases in student fees. It will be for the authorities, universities and colleges to decide what provision to make from the total resources available to them. It is expected that they will have particularly in mind the needs of students paying their own fees.

Open University

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on the withdrawal of sponsorship for the Open University summer schools in the various counties of England and Wales.

I would refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to his Question on 14th March.—[Vol. 928, c. 46.]

Sports Studies

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what grants, if any, will be or have been made available for a centre for international sports studies in the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement.

No request for a grant has been made to my right hon. Friend. I understand that the steering committee of the proposed centre hopes to raise funds from outside sources during its first five years.

Colleges Of Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will list the colleges of education in the North-West region which Her Majesty's Government regard as redundant; and if she will make a statement as to the use the Government intends to make of these facilities.

No decisions have been taken about the proposals announced by my right hon. Friend on 24th January. The future use of colleges at which it is decided to cease teacher training will be a matter for the local education authority or voluntary body concerned.

Industry

Conservative "Monthly News"

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many copies of Conservative Monthly News are purchased by his Department to keep Ministers and civil servants informed of current Conservative policy and thinking.

Waste Paper

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the tonnage of waste paper imported and exported in the years 1975 and 1976, respectively.

The figures are:

1975 (tonnes)1976 (tonnes)
Imports23,630100,625
Exports66,61554,929

Northern England

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, in the light of the recent statement of the Northern Industrial Development Board, if he intends to allocate some £10 million to the Northern Region for the creation and assistance of jobs; if he will give details of the Cumbrian firms involved and the number of new jobs expected as a result; and if he will make a statement.

The Northern Industrial Development Board announced on 10th March that it had recommended the granting of some £2 million in regional selective assistance. This recommendation has been accepted. Three out of the 14 projects involved are in Cumbria; they account for about £70,000 worth of financial assistance and are expected to give rise to more than 40 new jobs. The assistance referred to in this announcement accounts for only a small part of the assistance granted in the North. Total expenditure in 1975–76 on regional preferential assistance to industry in the Northern Development Area was some £185 million.

British Leyland

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what guarantees of payment he has, can or will offer to major component suppliers to British Leyland, whose continuance of supplies, on credit, is vital to Leyland's survival, yet who are supplying components on terms related to the fact of Government ownership of Leyland, rather than to normal commercial credit arrangements, under which payment would have been demanded as a condition of the granting of further credit; and if he will ensure a commitment of credit guarantee until such time as Her Majesty's Government ceases to provide financial support for Leyland.

British Leyland trades on a normal commercial basis. It has not sought such guarantees fom the Government.

Industrial Development Certificates

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if, in view of the fact that in 1976 no industrial development certificate applications for the West Midlands region were rejected, this means that if a firm from outside the region or from abroad applied for a certificate in the West Midlands region during 1977 it would be granted;(2) if he will agree to treat those inner areas of London and Liverpool that have rates of unemployment about 6 per cent. in exactly the same way for industrial development certificate applications as the development regions;(3) how many industrial development certificates have been applied for in the West Midlands region in each of the calendar years since 1970, together with the numbers that have been rejected.

Energy Audit Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will report progress on the Energy Audit Scheme managed by the Energy Unit at the National Physical Laboratory.

The first report, on the non-ferrous metals industry, is expected to be published in June 1977. Further reports, on the mechanical engineering, textiles, ceramics, glass and paint industries, are expected to be published between September 1977 and February 1978.Information is being obtained on the energy consumption within each of these industries. This is being used to identify where energy savings can be made.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will report progress on the industrial energy thrift schemes managed by the Energy Unit at the National Physical Laboratory.

1,607 industrial sites have been visited. Each company concerned has received or will receive a confidential report on the economic energy-saving opportunities identified. About 3,500 sites will be visited in total during the operation of the scheme.It has been shown that the majority of the companies visited can improve their energy efficiency through simple measures. Further improvements could also often be obtained by capital investment which would be recouped in a matter of a year or two.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list the consultants and research associations under contract to the Energy Unit at the National Physical Laboratory, engaged in work on the Industrial Energy Thrift Scheme and the Energy Audit Scheme; and what is the budgeted expenditure for these schemes.

The research associations carrying out the Energy Audit Scheme are:

British Ceramic Research Association
BNF Metals Technology Centre
British Glass Industry Research Association
Building Services Research and Information Association
Electrical Research Association
Paint Research Association
PIRA (the Research Association for the paper and board, printing and packaging industries)
Production Engineering Research Association
Shirley Institute (cotton, silk and man-made fibres Research Association)
The Research Associations carrying out the Industrial Energy Thrift Scheme are:

British Ceramic Research Association
British Glass Industry Research Association
British Leather Manufacturers Research Association
BNF Metals Technology Centre
Electrical Research Association
HATRA (formerly Hosiery and Allied Trades Research Association)
Lambeg Industrial Research Association
PIRA (the Research Association for the paper and board, printing and packaging industries)
Production Engineering Research Association
Rubber and Plastics Research Association of Great Britain
Shirley Institute (cotton, silk and man-made fibres Research Association)
Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association
Timber Research and Development Association
WIRA (formerly Wool Industries Research Association)
Visits to companies in Northern Ireland under the Industrial Energy Thrift Scheme are being carried out for the Department of Industry by the Fuel Efficiency Service and the Industrial Science Division of the Northern Ireland Department of Commerce.
Additionally, the Research Associations draw on fuel consultants to carry out visits to companies under the Industrial Energy Thrift Scheme drawing from a list of 264 consultants supplied by the Energy Unit.
The total budget of the schemes is £1 ¾ million.

National Finance

Construction Industry (Tax Exemption Certificates)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the mistaken action of the Inland Revenue in claiming tax, which was not in fact due, from Hawker Engineering (Bangoed) Limited, of Riverside Works, Greenmeadow, Pengam, Blackwood, Monmouthshire, he will now instruct the Revenue to issue that firm a 714 certificate.

The rules of confidentiality do not allow me to make public information about the tax affairs of individual businesses.

Construction Industry (Tax Exemption Certificate)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why no 714 certificate has been sent to Ford and Wiston (South West) Limited, which applied for one on 8th September 1975 and has been told by Cheltenham tax office that it will not receive it before 28th March 1977.

The rules of confidentiality do not allow me to make public information about the tax affairs of individual businesses. The hon. Member may, however, care to check again on his information.

Building Societies

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will request building societies to inform the Inland Revenue immediately changes in interest rates take place so that tax codes can be kept up to date and any additional relief made available to the borrower without having to wait until the end of the financial year.

Price Increases

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report, in relation to the most recent increase in the general level of prices which he has announced, statistics of the factors contributing to this rise in the form contained in the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin for December 1976, page 422, Table B.

This analysis was carried out by the Bank of England; the approach adopted by the Treasury would differ in certain aspects from that used by the Bank of England. However, the analysis cannot be updated, at present, because basic data for the latter part of 1976 are not yet available.

Invisible Earnings

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total of invisible earnings for the years from 1970 to 1976; and if he will break these down into sections to show the amount earned or lost for each year under the different types of invisible earnings.

The information requested is given in the table below. It will be published in the March issue of Economic Trends which will be available in the Library.

GOVERNMENT SERVICES
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
197051360-309
197159378-319
197272427-355
1973104518-414
1974110653-543
1975139767-628
1976210970-760
SEA TRANSPORT
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
19701,3611,437-76
19711,6181,672-54
19721,6101,687-77
19732,0582,159-101
19742,6752,780-105
19752,6482,63612
19763,0883,139-51
CIVIL AVIATION
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
197031626650
197135429757
197241033377
197348039684
197462552996
1975779648131
19761,050780270
TRAVEL
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
197043238250
197148643947
197254652719
1973681682-1
1974837683154
19751,111875236
19761,619990629
OTHER SERVICES
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
19701,208510698
19711,340546794
19721,500590910
19731,8176961,121
19742,2669541,312
19752,6961,3471,349
19763,3911,5391,852
INTEREST PROFITS AND DIVIDENDS
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
19701,446890556
19711,478978500
19721,7321,206526
19732,8921,5491,343
19743,1671,8341,333
19752,9592,039920
19763,5982,5121,086
GOVERNMENT TRANSFERS
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
19700177-177
19710205-205
19720210-210
197363422-359
1974130450-320
1975363742-379
19762211,017-796
PRIVATE TRANSFERS
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
1970192226-34
1971215228-13
1972231288-57
1973295386-91
1974355441-86
1975395476-81
1976420481-61
TOTAL INVISIBLES
£ million
CreditsDebitsNet
19705,0064,248758
19715,5504,743807
19726,1015,268833
19738,3906,8081,582
197410,1658,3241,841
197511,0909,5301,560
197613,59711,4282,169

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases concerning value added tax have been referred to tax tribunals since the inception of the tax; on how many days tribunals have met to consider value added tax cases; what has been the overall cost to public funds of those meetings; and what proportion of total cases referred to tribunals has been concerned with value added tax.

Since the beginning of 1973, 1,683 appeals have been referred to VAT tribunals. A tribunal consists of a chairman sitting either alone or with one or two members. While records are not maintained of the number of days on which a chairman has sat alone to deal with applications on subsidiary matters and make preliminary study of appeals lodged, tribunals comprising a chairman and one or more members have sat on 512 days up to and including 11th March 1977. The total cost of the VAT tribunals to date is estimated at £1,600,000. Value added tax tribunals deal only with appeals relating to VAT.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost of compliance with VAT regulations for retailers with annual turnover less than £15,000 per annum, between £15,000 and £30,000 per annum, between £30,000 and £50,000 per annum, and between £50,000 and £100,000 per annum.

The cost to retailers of administering VAT varies from one business to another and I know of no authoritative source of information on which estimates could be based. The VAT system has, however, been designed as far as possible to fit in with normal

£ million at 1976 Survey prices
1976–771977–78
Gross expenditureChargesExpenditure net of chargesGross expenditureChargesExpenditure net of charges
Defence6,126-5055,6215,980-5365,444
Overseas aid and other overseas services1,065-31,0621,254-21,252
Agriculture, fisheries, food and forestry1,010-71,003559-8551
Trade, industry and employment3,187-1133,0742,261-1092,152
Government lending to nationalised industry800800750750
Roads and transport2,794-782,7162,450-822,368
Housing4,6804,6804,2864,286
Other environmental services2,765-2052,5602,497-2022,295
Law, order and protective services1,899-511,8481,895-591,836
Education and libraries, science and arts7,891-3727,5197,799-4927,307
Health and personal social services6,784-2516,5336,812-2886,524
Social security*11,16811,16811,65911,659
Other public services884-46838854-47807
Common services851-2849785-2783
Northern Ireland1,642-151,6271,557-191,538
TOTAL53,546-1,64851,89851,398-1,84649,552
*After deducting the increase in tax revenue resulting from the associated reduction allowance.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a graph to show defence and Department of Health and Social Security expenditure expressed as a percentage of the total Budget since 1960, including forecast figures to 1980.

I understand that the Library could, on request, prepare a graph of this description using published figures up to 1978–79. Forecasts of total

commercial procedures and accounting practices and there are special VAT schemes to assist retailers to account for VAT.

Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state for each of the 15 major public expenditure programmes for 1976–77 and 1977–78 for which estimates of net expenditure are given in Command Paper No. 6721-I, the estimated gross expenditure and the appropriation in aid in 1976 survey prices.

The following table shows gross expenditure for the years 1976–77 and 1977–78 together with estimates of charges which are classified as offsets to public expenditure.expenditure in later years are not available.

Mr Stan Godfrey

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the rank and salary payment of Mr. Stan Godfrey, his Press officer; what public duty he carried out on 15th February in travelling to and from the Independent Television News news studio; what fees he received; and whether he will make a statement.

I assume, that my hon. Friend has in mind the Press report that Mr. Godfrey accompanied Mrs. Healey to the ITN News studio on 15th March. Mr. Godfrey is a principal information officer. The salary scale for this grade is £5,680–£7,450 p.a., and in addition he receives £465 p.a. London weighting and £313·20 p.a. pay settlement. His responsibilities include liaison between the Treasury and broadcasting institutions, and this was the rôle that he was carrying out on that occasion. He received no fee.

Credits (Eastern Europe)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the total indebtedness of COMECON to major Western countries that has accrued since February 1974 applies to the United Kingdom; and what is the figure involved quoted in United States terms.

Approximately 22 per cent.—$5½ billion—of the increase of about $25 billion in total COMECON debt which was referred to in my reply to the hon. Gentleman's Question on 10th March 1977—[Vol. 927, c. 643–4]—is estimated to be due to the claims of creditors situated in the United Kingdom, including branches of overseas banks.

Cash Transactions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost in direct loss of revenue or recovery of benefit otherwise payable of a provision guaranteeing that no one should be liable to a deduction in the form of tax or loss of entitlement greater than 50 per cent. on any cash transaction; and what would be the eventual gain in revenue through the eventual changes consequent upon such a pension.

I regret that there is insufficient information on which to base the estimates requested.

Chancellor Of The Exchequer

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many luncheons and dinners he has attended, in his capacity as Chancellor.

I try to limit my attendance at dinners and luncheons to not more than two each per week.

Personal Incomes And Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in which of the countries listed in the answer to the hon. Member for Braintree (Mr. Newton) on 10th March 1977 average earnings are below those in the United Kingdom and in which average earnings are more than (a) 25 per cent. and (b) 50 per cent. higher than in the United Kingdom for the periods given in the answer.

I will let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give for 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1975 and 1976 overall average male manual gross weekly earnings, namely the figure for male manual employees as shown in the October earnings survey, the corresponding amount a married man with two children under 11 years of age would have paid in income tax and national insurance contributions and net income after tax and national insurance con tributions including family allowance.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the maximum increase 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 in flation, by how much his real income after tax would have fallen since that date, assuming that he was married with two children.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 349–50], gave the following information:I regret that estimates cannot be made for the higher income levels without knowledge of the change in such incomes over the whole of the period in question. Information on the movements of such incomes over the whole period since 1st March 1974 is not available separately for individuals or for particular levels of income.

Oil Industry (Offshore Workers)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from offshore oil workers or organisations representing their interests, regarding proposed changes by the Inland Revenue in their treatment for income tax purposes.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 237>–8], gave the following information:I have received no representations about the Inland Revenue's actions, which are designed to ensure that the existing obligations to operate PAYE are properly complied with. I have, however, received a suggestion, from a company operating in the North Sea, that divers should be allowed to spread their earnings for tax purposes.

Drink And Tobacco

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

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 349], gave the following information:In 1976 consumers' expenditure at current prices on alcoholic drink is estimated to have been £5,980 million and on tobacco to have been £3,106 million. Expressed as an average per head of the home population aged over 18, these figures become: alcoholic drink £148, tobacco £77.

Social Services

Self-Employed Building Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of paying social security and unemployment benefits to self-employed building workers made unemployed as a result of being refused 714 tax certificates.

No estimate can be given, since benefit expenditure is not recorded under the occupation of the beneficiary.

Whooping-Cough Vaccine

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to publish its review of the evidence about whooping-cough vaccine and the basis of its advice to him.

I cannot anticipate the decision of the joint committee on this matter, although I am sure that it will have in mind the considerable public interest in its review.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply on 8th March, if he will give details of the study that is being made of the relationship between social class and whooping-cough deaths, indicating when the decision was taken to instigate the study and who is conducting it.

In pursuance of my reply on 8th March 1977, death records are being extracted by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys for the deaths of infants attributed to whooping cough to which I referred in my reply to my hon. Friend on 1st March. When the analysis by social class of parent is available I will send it to my hon. Friend.—[Vol. 927, c. 474; Vol. 927, 119–20.]

Vaccine-Damaged Children

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now meet a deputation of Members from both sides of the House, medical experts and parents to discuss compensation for vaccine-damaged children and the need for an independent inquiry into the whooping-cough vaccine.

My right hon. Friend has agreed to meet a deputation of Members from both sides of the House and representatives of the Association of Parents of Vaccine-Damaged Children later today.

Routine Vaccination For Babies