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Written Answers

Volume 928: debated on Friday 25 March 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 25th March 1977

Prices And Consumer Protection

Schoolchildren (Concessionary Fares)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if the increase in concessionary school fares announced by Lancashire County Council from £1·50 per term to £9 per term for primary schoolchildren and from £2·50 per term to £15 for secondary schoolchildren are in breach of the Price Code.

Price Commission (Referrals)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he has any proposals for further references to the Price Commission.

I am asking the Price Commission to examine and report on the prices of, and margins on, decorative paint, in both manufacturing and retailing. Among other things, this study should throw light on the wide variations in the prices at which the same paint is sold by different retail outlets as well as on other factors in the pricing of paint.

Travel Clubs

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) if he plans to introduce legislation to protect travellers in the event of failure of a travel club to which all or part of an air fare has been paid;(2) if he will introduce legislation to prevent travel clubs selling to the public unless they are associated with a travel agents' organisation or are suitably bonded.

Tour operators are already covered by bonding and licensing arrangements administered by the Civil Aviation Authority under legislation for which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade is responsible. I have no plans to introduce any new legislation in this area at the present time.

Scotland

Lewis Radio

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to ensure that the Lewis Radio is not withdrawn from the service of fishermen off the coast of Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

My Department is participating in consultations which the Post Office, as the body responsible for the provision of general maritime communications, is arranging with the various interests affected by the intended closure of Lewis Radio. The maintenance of emergency maritime communications is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade, and his Department is also involved in the consultations.

Prison Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds at the latest available date of keeping a man in prison in Scotland.

In the year ended 31st March 1975 the average cost of keeping a man in prison in Scotland was £47·43 per week. Later figures are not yet available.

Crime

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice he gives to local authority social work departments about how to deal with persons who persistently and deliberately commit petty crimes in order that they may be looked after in prison.

No general guidance has been given on this subject, but it is open to local authorities to consult my Department on the provision of guidance and assistance in any such cases.

Home Department

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the reason for the creation of the new special sub-division of Category A prisoners, known within prisons as Special A's; which prisoners are included in this category; and how their regime differs from that of other prisoners.

No special sub-division of Category A prisoners has been created, but extra precautions are taken over the supervision of visits to those who present the highest security risk.

Mr C A H Mahli

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when a full and definitive report will be available on the case of Mr. C. A. H. Mahli about which the hon. Member for Hampstead first wrote on 6th October 1976.

A report on the interview with Mr. and Mrs. Mahli has been received and is being considered. I will write to the hon. Member shortly to let him know the outcome.

Crime (Explosive Substances)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons in the period since 1935 have been convicted under Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883; how many have been imprisoned for 14 years; and how many terrorist explosive incidents have occurred in the United Kingdom in this period.

Detonators

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many

197319741975
Prosecution (Number of)
Section 30(2) Harassment206100124
Section 30(1) Illegal eviction17292158
Convictions (Number of)
Section 30(2) Harassment1325953
Section 30(1) Illegal eviction1095698
Person prosecuted (Number of)
Section 30(2) Harassment896147
Section 30(1) Illegal eviction1337098
Person convicted (Number of)
Section 30(2) Harassment584622
Section 30(1) Illegal eviction884874
Figures for the years prior to 1973 could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

detonators recovered intact from unexploded bombs have been traced to source; and in how many cases the illegal theft of a detonator has been detected;

(2) how many detonators of the following types have been recovered in the United Kingdom since 14th August 1969: ( a) marked as destined for use in Northern Ireland, ( b) marked as destined for use in the Republic of Ireland, ( c) unmarked, ( d) British Service pattern, ( e) USA origin and ( j) other foreign origins.

Records of detonators recovered in Great Britain have been kept since 1973. On the basis of these records the details in the period from 1973 to the end of 1976 are (a) nil, (b) 432, (c) 235, (d) nil, (e) 117, (f) 14. Additionally 13 detonators have been found with insufficient detail for identification. It would not be in the interest of security to disclose more detailed information.

Harassment And Illegal Eviction

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prosecutions have taken place for harassment and illegal eviction, respectively; and how many have resulted in convictions in each of the years since the Rent Act 1965 came into force;(2) how many people have been prosecuted for harassment and illegal eviction, respectively; and how many were convicted in each of the years since the Rent Act 1965 came into force.

The offences concerned are covered by Section 30 of the Rent Act 1965. The readily available information is as follows:

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the number of fines imposed for harassment and illegal eviction, respectively, in each of the years since the Rent Act 1965 came into force; and what was the average fine in each year;

197319741975
Fines imposed (number of)
Section 30(2) Harassment1165745
Section 30(1) Illegal eviction975079
Average fine
Section 30(2) Harassmentn.a.£63·85£53·66
Section 30(1) Illegal evictionn.a.£39·34£71·50
Sentences of immediate imprisonment (number of)
Section 30(2) Harassment6NilNil
Section 30(1) Illegal evictionn.a.Nil8
Average length of sentence (months)
Section 30(2) Harassment6NilNil
Section 30(1) Illegal evictionn.a.Nil5
Figures for the years prior to 1973 could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there were for harassment and illegal eviction, respectively, in the Metropolitan Police District, the West Midland area and Merseyside area in each of the years since the Rent Act 1965 came

PROSECUTIONS AND CONVICTIONS FOR OFFENCES UNDER SECTION 30 OF THE RENT ACT 1965—BY CERTAIN POLICE FORCE AREAS
Number of offences
Metropolitan Police DistrictWest Midlands*Merseyside*
ProsecutionsConvictionsProsecutionsConvictionsProsecutionsConvictions
Under section 30(2) (Harassment)
19738741N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
19743928N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
1975123NilNilNilNil
Under section 30(1) (Illegal Eviction)
19736544N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
19741910N.A.N.A.N.A.N.A.
197542341175
* West Midlands Police and Merseyside Police Force were formed in April 1974.
Figures for the Metropolitan Police District for years prior to 1973 could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Police (Queen's Visit)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are proposed to prevent inconvenience arising from the holding of the Royal visit to the police service on 5th May, the date of the local authority elections in England and Wales.

(2) what is the number of prison sentences for harassment and illegal eviction, respectively, in each of the years since the Rent Act 1965 came into force; and what was the average term imposed.

The available information covering offences under Section 30 of the Rent Act 1965 is as follows:into force; and how many resulted in conviction.

The offences concerned are covered by Section 30 of the Rent Act 1965. The readily available information is as follows:date fixed for the Queen's visit to the police service, on 5th May, would cause inconvenience to representatives of police authorities in England and Wales who might be invited to be present at Hendon for the visit but would be involved in local authority elections on that date. In order to avoid this inconvenience, the Queen has been graciously pleased to agree that her visit to the police service should now take place on Friday 6th May.

Electro-Convulsive Therapy (Prison Hospitals)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the recommended standards for procedures for the administration of electro-convulsive therapy of the Royal College of Psychiatrists are adhered to in prisons.

I understand that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has not yet published recommended standards for the administration of ECT. When it does so its recommendations will be carefully considered to see if any further guidance is necessary about the administration of ECT in prisons.

Northern Ireland (Detonators)

asked the Attorney-General how many prosecutions for failure to observe the law governing the acquisition, use and disposal of detonators have been brought in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years.

The law relating to the unlawful acquisition, use and disposal of Explosive Substances, including detonators, is governed by the Explosives Acts (Northern Ireland) 1875 to 1970 and the Explosive Substances Act 1883. Figures are available in relation to prosecutions under those Acts covering the period 1st January 1973 to 28th February 1977, but it is not possible, without disproportionate expense, to ascertain how many of these prosecutions involved the acquisition, use and disposal of detonators as opposed to other forms of Explosive Substances.Directions to prosecute for offences contrary to the provisions of these Acts during the period in question were as follows:

The Explosives Acts (Northern Ireland) 1875–1970
197311
19741
19752
19762
1977Nil
Total16
The Explosive Substances Act 1883
1973223
1974170
1975115
1976182
197723
Total713

Defence

Dockyards (Assistant Chief Executive)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why it was necessary to appoint a new Assistant Chief Executive for Her Majesty's dockyards; and if he will make a statement.

The Assistant Chief Executive Royal Dockyards has been appointed to carry out a review, based on his wide experience in industry, of the present systems for providing management information in the Royal dockyards, and to recommend, having full regard for the impact on the work force, improvements aimed at achieving greater economy and cost effectiveness in the planning and execution of the programme of work. He will also advise on the implementation of agreed solutions. The appointment is for a limited period of two to three years.

Broughton Moor Naval Depot

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the total cost to the Exchequer of the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Broughton Moor over the last 10 years.

The costs of RNAD Broughton Moor have been met by the Federal Republic of Germany on whose behalf the depot has been operated since 1962.

Weapons (Riot Control)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has exchanged information with the United States Government on the results of safety testing of impact-based riot-control weapons under the provisions of the ABCA Standardisation Agreement of 1964 or in any other way; and if he will give details.

Exchanges of information have taken place between the United States authorities and ourselves, both by means of forwarding copies of reports and at a meeting, about the ballistics and effects of baton rounds and other projectiles.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether CR gas is exported from the United Kingdom; and, if so, to what other countries.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on 28th February 1977—[Vol. 927, c. 33].—It is not our practice to give details of individual sales.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether any arrangements are made for the use of CR gas within any part of the United Kingdom; and, if so, under what circumstances it is contemplated that the gas might be used.

CR is available in the United Kingdom and is authorised for use in certain special circumstances, particularly when it may enable the use of firearms to be avoided when the Armed Forces have been called in to help deal with terrorists. It is not a gas and is normally available for use in liquid solution.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, having regard to the report of the Himsworth Committee, he will withdraw use of CR gas until the results of tests on its safety have been published in full.

No. In accordance with the recommendations of the Himsworth Committee (Cmnd 4173 and Cmnd 4775), extensive medical and scientific research has been conducted into the nature and effects of CR. This research has been subjected to independent scrutiny by recognised experts in the fields of medicine

At 31st December
1973197419751976
Civilian Personnel
Non-industrial1,4091,4411,4721,489
Industrial4,5224,3184,4184,535
Naval Personnel16161513
Total5,9475,7755,9056,037
To enable comparisons to be made personnel transferred with their tasks to other elements of the naval base in 1975

and biology, and the results give no cause for concern. Details of relevant research are, at an appropriate stage, submitted for publication in scientific and medical journals, and articles have been published in the British Medical Journal (July 1973); Medicine, Science and Law (1973, Vol. 13 and 1976, Vol. 16); the British Journal of Dermatology (1974, Vol. 90); the British Journal of Experimental Pathology (1974, Vol. 55); the Journal of Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (1974, Vol. 29); the British Journal of Pharmacology (1975. Vol. 53 and 1976, Vol. 57); Archives Toxicology (1975, Vol. 34): Acta Pharmacol et Toxicol (1974, Vol. 35); and in a book entitled "Current Approaches in Toxicology" published this year.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether there are arrangements between the United Kingdom and the United States authorities in relation to the development of CR gas, or whether such arrangements are limited to the exchange of information.

There are no arrangements between the United Kingdom and United States authorities for the development of CR; exchanges of information do take place.

Rosyth Dockyard

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list in the Official Report the total number of employees in Her Majesty's Dockyard. Rosyth, in the years 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976; and if he will give separately the number of non-industrial and industrial civil servants in each total.

The numbers of Navy Department employees in Her Majesty's Dockyard, Rosyth, were as follows:—eight non-industrials and 54 industrials—and 1976–12 industrials—have been omitted from the earlier figures.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give the percentage of the total manpower engaged in Her Majesty's Dockyard, Rosyth, which is employed on the nuclear element.

The refitting and refuelling of nuclear submarines accounts for about 30 per cent. of the employment in the Department of the General Manager, Her Majesty's Dockyard, Rosyth.

Redundancy Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what redundancy payments are paid to Service men made redundant by recent defence cuts; for how long such Service men have to have served before qualifying for such payments; and how this compares with payments legally required to civilian employers.

I would refer the hon. Member to Annex H of the 1975 Defence White Paper, Cmnd. 5976, which describes the principles of the Armed Forces redundancy compensation scheme currently in operation. Entitlement to the special capital payments under the scheme begins after one year's qualifying service; in practice, those who leave on redundancy will have completed several years at least in the Armed Forces. Service redundancy compensation is more favourable than that prescribed for the private sector by the Redundancy Payments Act.

Research And Development

asked the Secretary of State for Defence by what percentage defence research and development has been increased or decreased compared to 1974 planned expenditure.

Expenditure on defence research and development in 1977–78 is expected to be 5 per cent. higher at constant prices than in 1974–75, but nearly 8 per cent. lower than was forecast for 1977–78 in 1974. The proportion of the defence budget accounted for by research and development is higher now than in 1974.

Germany (Munitions)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) by what percentage the war stocks in Germany of the Army and the RAF, respectively, have been increased or decreased since March 1974;(2) by what percentage the estimated rate of the British Army of the Rhine and RAF, Germany's wastage of ammunition and missiles in wartime, has had to be increased since 6th October 1973.

Stock holdings for our forces in Germany have been maintained since March 1974 at a level generally consistent with NATO requirements, which have not changed since 6th October 1973.

Airborne Early Warning Systems

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the in-service dates of AEW Nimrod and AWACS, respectively, assuming an immediate decision by Her Majesty's Government.

I regret that I cannot disclose these dates, but either the Boeing AWACS or the Nimrod AEW could be introduced into service in time to meet the operational requirement.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will confirm that every month's delay in Government decision on a replacement for the AEW Shackleton will result in an equivalent delay in decommissioning of the Shackle-ton; and whether any structural modification will be required to keep these aircraft flying up to 1983.

Any delay in Her Majesty's Government's decision on the replacement for the AEW Shackle-ton is likely to delay its decommissioning, but I cannot be precise. The Shackleton aircraft will, however, be able to remain in service, subject to certain modifications, until replaced by either AWACS or Nimrod.

Nato

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those NATO countries that have announced their intention to increase their defence expenditure for the financial year 1977–78 or calendar year 1977 and those that have announced a decrease.

The United States, Norway, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, West Germany and the United Kingdom have announced increases in defence expenditure in terms of current prices; no NATO country has announced a decrease. In real terms there will be an increase in the cases of the first three countries named and a decrease in the case of the United Kingdom. The position in the other countries named is less clear since we do not know what allowance they have made for inflation, but we would expect a decrease in real terms in the case of West Germany.

Gratuities

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will issue to Her Majesty's Forces, a brief statement of Her Majesty's Government's latest position in regard to the gratuities of short-service officers; and if he will publish it in the Official Report.

An immediate signal reflecting my right hon. Friend's statement to the House—[Vol. 928, c. 1099]—was sent to all units of the three Services on 22nd March. Detailed written instructions are in preparation for issue to all units as soon as possible. I will arrange for the main points to be published in the Official Report.

United Kingdom Mobile Force (Land)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence by how many men the United Kingdom Mobile Land Force has been reduced since March 1974.

Since March 1974 the United Kingdom Mobile Force (Land) has been reduced by one air-portable brigade. It is not our practice to give manpower strengths of operational formations.

Energy

Drax B Power Station

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is now in a position to announce the commencement of the Drax B power station.

The ordering of Drax, and the other recommendations of the CPRS Report, are still under active consideration.

National Coal Board (Investment)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the average investment per person employed by the National Coal Board in each year since 1964, overall and by coalfield; and what projections have been made for future years.

The average investment per person employed by the National Coal Board each year from 1964–65 to 1975–76 is shown below. I have asked the Chairman of the Board to send to the hon. Member a breakdown of the figures by coalfields. Investment under "Plan for Coal" will mean a continuation in the years ahead of a high level of average investment per person employed by the Board.

Average investment per person employed by NCB
£
1964–65159
1965–66162
1966–67167
1967–68170
1968–69140
1969–70148
1970–71190
1971–72176
1972–73239
1973–74226
1974–75372
1975–76696

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions have been held with the National Coal Board concerning the importation of coking coal in the light of the proposed investment by the National Coal Board in Queensland; and if he will make a statement.

The Board has kept me informed of its involvement in the Queensland project, which for the present at least is only an exploration project, with the NCB supplying technical services, as set out in my reply of 21st March to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost)—[Vol. 928, c. 363] The question of the disposal of any coking coal that might later on be developed under subsequent contracts has not, therefore, yet arisen.

Gas And Electricity Disconnections

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many consumers of (a) gas and (b) electricity were disconnected for non-payment of accounts in each of the past five years for which figures are available; and how many of these were domestic consumers.

Disconnections for the past five years for non-payment

GasElectricity
YearTotal number of disconnectionsTotal number of disconnectionsDisconnections of domestic premises
1972–7332,934117,369
1973–7432,701113,778
1974–7534,872120,330
1975–7639,842138,399125,483
1976–77*32,624*90,706*
* Figures for three quarters up to 31st December 1976.
From 1st April 1976 the figures for electricity disconnections have been revised to exclude disconnections which do not relate to domestic premises in regular occupation.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many domestic consumers (a) gas and (b) electricity were disconnected for non-payment of accounts during the quarters ended 30th June 1976, 31st September 1976 and 31st December 1976.

Disconnections of gas and electricity consumers for non-payment of accounts during the past three quarters are given in the following table. In the case of gas separate figures for domestic and non-domestic consumers are not available.

Quarter endingGas Number of disconnectionsElectricity Number of disconnections
30th June 19769,64232,276
30th September 197613,57433,288
31st December 19769,40825,142

Statutes (Enforcement)

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

Within my area of responsibility I am aware of no Acts which exclude the police from their application.

Nuclear Power

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has considered the questions relating to the social and political implications of nuclear power which have been submitted to him by the Friends of the Earth and the Council for the Protection of Rural England; what inquiries he is making into them; when he expects to be in a position to

payment of accounts are given in the following table. In the case of gas separate figures for domestic and non-domestic consumers are not available; for electricity they are available for 1975–76 only.

reply; and if he will place a copy of his reply in the Library.

My Department is currently preparing replies to these questions in consultation with others concerned. The work will be completed as soon as possible, and I will certainly place copies of the answers in the Libraries of both Houses.

Gas (Flaring)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what basis he uses to compute the amount of gas flared in the northern North Sea fields; and what degree of accuracy he achieves.

Gas flared in the northern North Sea fields is measured mainly by orifice meters, but a few turbine meters are also in use. The accuracy of gas meters is very difficult to assess but is considered to be within the range of 1 to 2 percentage.

Oil Production

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the amount of stabilised crude produced during January 1977 in northern North Sea fields.

Electricity Discount Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will consider extending the electricity discount scheme to mobile home owners; and, if not, what alternative proposals he has.

The scheme has had to be based on electricity board bills. These are uniform, easily recognisable documents, from a responsible source, and provide a valid basis for the issue of discount vouchers at post offices. Mobile home owners do not receive such bills, and I regret that it is not, therefore, possible to extend the scheme to them. Supplementary beneficiaries, including those living in mobile homes, who either need extra heating on health grounds or have homes that are unusually expensive to heat, may receive a heating addition to their social security allowance.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy why those supplementary benefit claimants whose rent includes an amount for fuel are currently excluded from the electricity discount scheme; and what steps he will take to make sure that they will be included before the scheme ends.

Discount vouchers are issued at post offices on the evidence of uniform, easily recognisable bills from statutory undertakers which provide a valid basis for calculating the discount. Tenants who do not pay for electricity directly to an electricity board do not receive such bills. It is not generally possible to specify the element of an inclusive rent which is attributable to fuel costs.

Social Services

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish his estimates of the various categories of persons included in the total of registered unemployed who do not receive any unemployment or supplementary benefit.

On 7th February 1977, the latest date for which figures are available, 207,000 registered unemployed persons were in receipt of neither unemployment benefit nor supplementary benefit. Of these, 56,000 had exhausted their flat-rate unemployment benefit; 81,000 were awaiting a decision on a claim for unemployment benefit; and 70,000 were not receiving any benefit for other reasons.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the estimated cost of paying flat-rate national insurance benefit to the unemployed for the entire duration of unemployment.

It is estimated that, if payment of flat-rate unemployment benefit did not cease after 12 months, the extra cost of unemployment benefit in 1976–77 would have been about £230 million. The net additional public expenditure after taking into account offsetting savings in supplementary benefit would have been of the order of £80 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many men and women, respectively, in the Bournemouth employment exchange area have exhausted their entitlement to unemployment benefit; and what percentages these represent of the total number of unemployed males and females.

The information, which relates to those registered as unemployed on 7th February 1977 in the area covered by the Bournemouth unemployment benefit office, is as follows:

ENTITLEMENT TO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT EXHAUSTED
NumberPercentage total registered unemployed
Males53013·7
Females706·3
Total60012·0

Health Education Council

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has given any advice to the Health Education Council on the particular uses or campaigns to which he expects it to devote the extra £1 million added to its budget for 1977–78; and what proportion of that money he expects to be devoted to the campaign against cigarette smoking and the campaign to educate the public on the need to treat medicines with respect, respectively.

Among the projects which the Health Education Council is considering financing from the extra £1 million added to its normal budget for 1977–78 are measures to promote better health among the public, a scheme to support the training of health education officers and a further regional campaign on alcoholism. I understand that the proposed better health campaign is likely to take the form of a series of messages on specific health topics, and this could well include smoking and health. The HEC is currently considering this campaign and the problem of educating the public to treat medicines with respect, and we shall shortly be discussing its proposals with it.

Fraud

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many cases of suspected fraud on the system of social security in England and Wales in 1976 were reported by his officials to the police; and what was the comparable figure in 1974 and 1975.

The numbers reported by my Department and by the Department of Employment in 1974, 1975 and 1976 were 10,196, 12,574 and 16,686, respectively

Student Nurses

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many student nurses are currently undergoing training in National Health Service hospitals.

54,670 in England on 30th September 1975, the latest date for which figures are available.

Electricity Bills

asked the Secretary of Social Services if he will give details of the number of supplementary benefit claimants who do not receive an electricity bill direct from their electricity board because the fuel is supplied to the landlord as part of the rent.

I understand that it is difficult from the statistics available to make a reliable estimate, but only a small proportion of supplementary beneficiaries are likely to be ineligible for the electricity discount.

Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the total reduction in his Department's budget for 1977–78 compared with forecast expenditure in money and percentage terms.

There has been no reduction. The anticipated expenditure for which my Department is responsible in 1977–78 is, at 1976 survey prices, £76 million, or about 0·4 per cent., higher than that forecast in the Public Expenditure White Paper Cmnd. 6393.

Environment

Rent Officers

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many rent officers over the age of 70 years were notified of compulsory retirement by 31st March 1975 as a result of his Department's letter dated 3rd September 1974 under reference H5/782/7; how many of these have since received gratuities; and what was the average amount of gratuity paid.

The Department's letters of 3rd September 1974 under the reference quoted by the hon. Member dealt with the circumstances in which discretionary gratuities might be paid and not with compulsory retirement. The Department has been informed of the retirement of 17 rent officers over 70 years of age during 1974 and 1975, but this information may be incomplete. 10 of the 17 officers mentioned received gratuities. The average amount was £1,700.

Windscale

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment now that the period for making representations about the planning application by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. for an oxide fuel reprocessing plant at Windscale has expired, when he will call it in for his own decision.

I am doing so today. The public inquiry which will follow will open at Whitehaven on 14th June.

Offices Building (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of applications for office development permits refused in the Greater London area in the last two years.

101 applications were refused between 1st January 1975 and 31st December 1976.

Burial Charges

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the average percentage increase in burial charges at council-owned crematoria and cemeteries during the last five years.

No. My right hon. Friend has no function to approve such charges and maintains no statistics of them. Crematoria statistics up to 1974–75, published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, are available in the Library of the House but any comparisons with pre-1974 charges would have to take account of the changes in local government areas in April 1974.

Government Offices, Edinburgh

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to rationalise Government office accommodation in Edinburgh by transferring Government Departments and agencies from residential properties to Old St. Andrews' House, where there is surplus accommodation, so that these former residential properties may be reconverted to provide housing accommodation in the city centre.

At present there is no surplus accommodation available in St. Andrew's House to receive significant numbers of staff from offices in former residential properties elsewhere in Edinburgh. The Property Services Agency continually seeks opportunities to reduce and rationalise its property holdings where the cost can be justified and can be contained within present expenditure limits.

Oil Pollution

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many incidents of oil pollution affecting coastal waters have been observed by, or reported to, officers of his Department in each of the nine months from July 1976 to February 1977, inclusive; and what has been the cost to the Exchequer in each month undertaking any remedial measures to deal with such pollution.

In the six months from July 1976, English local authorities reported 19 minor incidents of oil pollu- tion on or near the coast. Monthly figures are shown in the table below. Reports for January and February this year are not yet complete. There was no cost to the Exchequer in remedial measures associated with these incidents. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade maintains records of oil sighted at sea.

MonthNo. of reported incidents of oil pollution
July 19769
August 19764
September 19763
October 19761
November 1976Nil
December 19762

Tenancies (Security)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is his estimate of the number of tenants of resident landlords who enjoy restricted security only;(2) what is his estimate of the total number of resident landlords.

In 1973, the last year for which figures are available, there were an estimated 400,000 private tenants living in the same building as their landlord: 190,000 in unfurnished accommodation, 210,000 in furnished. I cannot give precise figures, but at that time the large majority of furnished tenants enjoyed restricted security only. There is no estimate of the number of resident landlords.

Local Authorities (House Purchasing)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number of properties which can be acquired from the private rented sector with the municipalisation funds allocated for 1976–77, 1977–78 and 1978–79; and how many properties he estimates can be improved under the Section 105 allocations for the same years.

It is estimated that the present public expenditure provision for municipalisation will enable local authorities to acquire about 16,000 dwellings in 1976–77, 10,500 in 1977–78 and 15,000 in 1978–79. It is not possible to estimate separately the number of private rented dwellings which will be bought, but the bulk of the acquisitions are likely to be from this sector. Provision for expenditure under Section 105 of the Housing Act 1974 is estimated to be sufficient to cover the improvement of 50–60,000 dwellings in each year.In addition it is estimated that registered housing asosciations will be able to purchase and improve about 5,500 properties in 1976–77, 6,000 in 1977–78 and 6,000 in 1978–79.

Beckton (Sewerage)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the timetable for initiation and completion of existing and future programmes for surface and foul water drainage schemes at Beckton within the London dockland designated area; and if he is satisfied with the progress of drainage schemes in this new housing area.

I am advised that the surface water sewerage scheme is under construction and on schedule for completion early next year, and that the foul sewerage scheme was provisionally due to start in April 1978 to phase in with the occupation of houses. I understand, however, that all the authorities concerned are meeting today to discuss this timetable. On present information I have no reason to be dissatisfied with progress.

Concorde

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what action he proposes to take in view of the fact that the report of the Noise Advisory Council, due to be published about Easter, includes the statement that on the basis of the Civil Aviation Authority's noise monitoring programme at Heathrow Concorde is considerably noisier than any other commercial airliner;(2) what action he proposes to take in the light of the criticism of the Government for having exempted Concorde from Heathrow noise regulations, which is contained in the report of the Noise Advisory Council due to be published at Easter.

I have no intention of commenting on this, or any other report, before it is published.

Transport

A66, Penrith-Workington

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the total estimated cost of the improvements to the A66 from Penrith to Workington and the estimated time of the completion of these works.

The estimated total cost of the improvements to the A66 between Penrith and Workington is of the order of £32 million. Subject to the satisfactory completion of statutory procedure and to the availability of funds, it is expected that work will be completed by late 1984.

Overseas Development

Belize

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she will provide technical assistance through extension officers provided for a five to 10 year period to aid small citrus farmers in Belize, together with credit through the Development Finance Corporation, on reasonable terms to enable them to improve and develop more efficient cultivation.

I can consider proposals of this character if a request is received from the Government of Belize. They have made no request to me for support of the kind described in my hon. Friend's Question.

Citrus Cultivation

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she will make provision of loans on a longer term than those currently provided by the commercial banks which are limited to one year, in view of the fact that citrus cultivation is essentially based on a longer-term cycle.

Provisions of this kind can, of course, be made in schemes supported by ODM funds provided such schemes are developmentally sound and have the support of the recipient Government concerned.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Whales

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if his Department treats as Royal fish, whales taken outside the three-mile territorial limit but inside the 200-mile fishing limit;(2) whether any non-EEC country has been granted, or is likely to be granted, a right to take whales, dolphins or porpoises inside the United Kingdom's 200-mile fishing limits; and what action would be taken if an unauthorised vessel were found doing so.

Whales are Royal fish, but this has no effect outside territorial waters. No country has sought the right to take whales, dolphins or porpoises inside United Kingdom fishery limits. If any action were necessary it would be taken in the light of the provisions of the Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act 1934.

Milk Marketing (Committee Of Investigation Report)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the report of the Committee of Investigation for England and Wales set up under the Agricultural Marketing Act 1958 which he received in February this year.

This independent committee is established under Section 19 of the Agricultural Marketing Act 1958. It has reported to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and myself on a complaint about the operation of the milk marketing scheme in respect of Channel Islands milk which was referred to the committee in 1976. The committee's principal conclusions were that (a) the Milk Marketing Board was not guilty of any improper act, or omission, in its administration of the scheme in respect of the complainants; and (b) neither the public interest nor the interests of consumers were adversely affected by the arrangements for Channel Islands milk.My right hon. and learned Friend and I have now considered the report and reached the conclusion that the public interest does not require us to take any further action in the matters of the complaint. The committee considered some questions which were additional to the complaint and I understand that the Milk Marketing Board is examining the detailed points which were covered in this way; it would not be appropriate for me to comment on these questions, which are for the Board to discuss with interested parties.

Industry

Government Shareholdings

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the present quoted value of the Government's shareholdings in each of the companies in the industrial sector for which his Department is responsible.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State listed my Department's shareholdings in the answer he gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Jones) on 3rd March. None of these shares is quoted on the London Stock Exchange.

Thwaits And Reed Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proportion of the equity in Thwaites and Reed the NEB intends acquiring; how many shares this entails; what is the cost of this acquisition; and what is the net current asset value of the shares.

The NEB has announced that it has agreed to subscribe for 240,000 ordinary shares in the company at a cost of £240,000, this being equivalent to 90 per cent. of the equity. The net current asset value of the shares is a matter for the NEB and the company.

Fish (Reserves)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimated tonnage of marketable fish exists within 6, 12, 25, 35 and 50 mile bands around the coast; and what tonnage exists within 6 and 12 mile bands, when calculated on the same headland to headland basis as used by Iceland.

I regret that the figures are not readily available in the form requested, but figures are attached giving estimated catches within 12, 50 and 200 miles of the United Kingdom:

ESTIMATED CATCHES OF DEMERSAL AND PELAGIC SPECIES WITHIN 12,50 AND 200 MILES OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
Within 12 miles*Within 50 milesWithin 200 miles
United Kingdom fleetUnited Kingdom fleetOther EEC fleetsThird Countries' fleetsTotalUnited Kingdom fleetOther EEC fleetsThird Countries' fleetsTotal
(000's tonnes whole weight)
(a) Demersal
1972166·9304·4154·882·0541·2366·5233·9130·4730·8
(22)(40)(48)
1973137·7258·8180·975·4515·1315·2247·0118·3680·5
(19)(35)(43)
1974112·7227·3183·2118·9529·4282·2251·4219·0752·6
(17)(34)(42)
1975119·7214·2N.A.N.A.N.A.259·9N.A.N.A.N.A.
(20)(35)(43)
Average 1972–74139·1263·5173·092·1528·6321·3244·1155·9721·3
(19)(37)(45)
(b) Pelagic
1972202·9233·7111·9418·1763·7234·7172·5444·5851·7
(86)(100)(100)
1973249·4288·6202·2504·9995·7290·7267·9637·51,196·1
(86)(99)(100)
1974245·6275·6152·5481·3909·4275·8160·2589·41,025·4
(89)(100)(100)
1975208·1233·3N.A.N.A.N.A.234·2N.A.N.A.N.A.
(89)(99)(100)
Average 1972–74232·6266·0155·5468·1889·6267·1200·2557·11,024·4
(87)(100)(100)
(c) Norway Pout/Sandeels
19724·46·8166·632·4205·86·8350·157·5414·4
(65)(100)(100)
197313·521·9132·241·4195·528·2272·973·7374·8
(48)(78)(100)
197416·936·9166·878·6282·353·0327·5141·5522·0
(31)(69)(98)
197518·634·8N.A.N.A.N.A.46·8N.A.N.A.N.A.
(40)(74)(100)
Average 1972–7411·621·9155·250·8277·929·3316·890·9437·1
(39)(74)(99)
N.A.=Not available.
* Foreign catches within 12 miles cannot be estimated reliably from available data.
† Figures in brackets show United Kingdom catch within each area as percentage of that year's total United Kingdom catch of species in question.
Source: MAFF Fisheries Laboratory.

Departmental Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the total manpower of his Department on 1st January 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977, respectively; and how many of the staff are currently engaged in statistical work.

My Department was created on 5th March 1974. Its total manpower on 1st April 1974 was 9,700; on 1st January 1975, 9,909; 1st January 1976, 10,142; and 1st January 1977, 9,798. The Economics and Statistics Division, which provide an integrated service to my Department and to the Departments of Trade and Prices and Consumer Protection, including the Business Statistics Office, which also serves many other Departments, have a total manpower of 1,550.

Steel

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what information has been supplied to Commissioner Davignon concerning expected reductions in British steel making capacity which will counter balance the expansion of the Shotton and Port Talbot steelworks.

My hon. Friend the Minister of State informed Commissioner Davignon on 21st March about Government policy on the development of the British steel industry and plant closures set out in the Beswick reports of 4th February and 6th August 1975 and in my right hon. Friend's statement to the House on 16th March on Port Talbot and Shotton.

British Leyland

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he proposes to direct the National Enterprise Board to make the loan of £30 million to British Leyland Limited which was authorised by Parliament on 3rd August 1976.

I have directed the National Enterprise Board, under Section 3 of the Industry Act 1975, to exercise my powers under Section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 for the purpose of making a loan not exceeding £30 million to British Leyland Limited as approved by Parliament on 3rd August 1976. I have laid a statement to that effect before Parliament today in accordance with Section 3 of the Industry Act 1975.

Labour Party Policy Programme

asked the Prime Minister if, further to his answer in the House on 22nd March, he will list the four-fifths of the Labour Party manifesto already achieved and the one-fifth yet to be carried out.

I refer the hon. Member to the article in Labour Weekly on 18th March, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Trade

Overseas Relatives Reunion Club

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement about the difficulties arising from the winding-up of the Overseas Relatives Reunion Club.

I understand that "Overseas Relatives Reunion Club" is a trading style of, or is managed by, R. J. Manners Limited. A petition for the compulsory winding-up of that company is to be heard in the High Court of Justice on 25th April 1977. In the event that a winding-up order is made the Official Receiver will investigate the position.

Shipping (Pollution)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list in the form of an official report every outstanding technical problem which requires to be overcome before the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships can be fully implemented; and if, in relation to each such outstanding problem, he will outline the steps which his department proposes to take in order that it might be speedily overcome.

The principal problems concern the following:

The development of suitable oil content meters and oil/water separating equipment in accordance with the specification now agreed;
The provision of adequate port reception facilities for oil and chemical residues;
The relationship between Annexes I and II in so far as it affects petroleum product and clean oil tankers carrying certain chemicals, and
The discharge requirements for effluent containing certain noxious liquid substances.
There are a number of technical points, both additional and related to the above problems, described in a paper which I have sent to the hon. Member.The United Kingdom is doing all it can within its available resources to help in resolving these problems in consultation with other interests in this country, bilaterally and internationally under the agis of IMCO—as it did in helping to secure the coming into force of the important 1969 Amendments to the current 1954 Convention.

Hoteliers

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list these 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.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 355], gave the following information:I held a useful informal meeting on 14th March with a number of hoteliers, in order to hear their views on the future outlook of the industry. We covered a wide range of topics, but I do not propose to make a statement.

Education And Science

Student Wives

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will relax the rules for mandatory grants for married women returning to university after a period when they have not been in higher education.

My right hon. Friend is considering, as part of the review of student grants, some relaxation of the rules whereby students are disqualified from mandatory awards because of previous study. An announcement will be made shortly. I see no reason to treat married women differently from other students in this respect.

Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the total reduction in her Department's budget for 1977–78 compared with forecast expenditure in money and percentage terms.

In respect of the expenditure in Table 2.10 of Cmnd. 6721-II "The Government's Expenditure Plans" for which my right hon. Friend and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales are responsible, the reduction on the expenditure forecast in Cmnd. 6393 is £88 million at 1976 Survey prices, or just over 1 per cent.

National Finance

Child Tax Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the number of persons who claim for as many as six dependent children for tax relief purposes in Great Britain with as many claims additionally for children overseas where no birth certificates or documents are available, thus obviating the payment of any income tax, whether he will investigate the best means of dealing with these practices.

The Inland Revenue already investigates claims for dependent children so far as is possible within the resources available to it. I would remind my hon. Friend that child tax allowances are to be phased out under the new child benefit scheme

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give, for the longest and most convenient period of time, the number of persons claiming tax allowance for their children not resident in Great Britain, the number of children for whom the allowance was being claimed, the amount of such allowances and the estimated cost to the revenue of these allowances; and on what basis investigations are generally made to ascertain that the persons concerned are entitled to claim such allowances especially where no birth certificates or registration of the children are available.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 13th January to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) and, as regards the steps to prevent false claims, to the answer the Minister of State gave on 4th August 1976 to the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart). Where a claimant is asked to produce a birth certificate and is unable to do so such other evidence as is available is considered.

Tax Form P3 (C 13)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why Inland Revenue form P3 (C 13) does not state that the tax allowances referred to in it are only Government proposals and are subject to Parliament's approval; and what steps he is taking to ensure that this point is not overlooked again.

If my hon. Friend is referring to form P3 (CB), his point is met in paragraph 1, which makes it clear that these are proposals subject to parliamentary approval.

National Land Fund

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of interest has accrued to the Land Fund from 31st March 1976 to 28th February 1977.

The amount of interest received in the perod 31st March 1976 to 28th February 1977 was £1,407,000. The market value of the capital of the National Land Fund at 31st March 1976 was £17,525,000. On this capital the percentage of interest received in the period was 8 per cent. or about 8¾ per cent. per annum.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the effect of VAT exemption procedures on the export trade in antiques.

Since the introduction of VAT some representations have been made by antique dealers that the procedures of the retail export schemes are too demanding on them and their customers and have caused a loss of export trade. On the other hand there have also been representations that relief from VAT on exports is a fiscal incentive to antque dealers to export goods, with a consequential loss of part of our national heritage.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the net yield of VAT on antiques after the costs of collection have been deducted.

I regret the information is not available, but in 1975–76 net receipts of VAT paid by antique dealers, second-hand furniture shops, picture framers, and coin and stamp dealers, who are classified together for VAT statistical purposes, were £4·3 million. It is not possible to separate administrative expenses for a particular group of traders or kinds of goods and services, but the overall cost of administering VAT is about 2p per £ of revenue.

Construction Industry (Tax Exemption Certificates)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why a 714 certificate has not been sent to Mr. E. Southern, of 8 Ley Orchard, Willersey, Gloucestershire, although he has been informed that he is to receive one.

Development Land Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to exempt provisional agreements for lease or funding, made before commencement of development, from being treated as disposals for the purposes of development land tax; and if he will make a statement.

Where, under the terms of a lease or an agreement for a lease, the owner of an interest in land undertakes to bear some or all of the cost of a building subsequently to be erected on that land, no account can, as the law now stands, be taken of those costs in calculating his development land tax liability. Accordingly, where the rent reflects the value of the site as developed, more tax may be charged than is justified. My right hon. Friend proposes to include in the coming Finance Bill provision to allow costs incurred in such circumstances as expenditure on improvements. This provision will take effect from the appointed day for development land tax purposes, 1st August 1976.

Inland Revenue (Staff)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff were em-

Permanent StaffStaff serving on short-period engagementsTotal
At 1st January—
197782,5491,38783,936
197679,0883,19582,283
197573,4704,38377,853
197469,3594,80774,166
197370,7764,05374,829
197272,8751,38074,255

Invisible Earnings

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, pursuant to the Written Answer provided to the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Hoyle) on 21st March, Official Report, c. 401 –402W, he will publish a breakdown of the invisible earnings for the years 1970 to 1976, in-,

£ million
Public SectorPrivate sector
CreditsDebitsNetCreditsDebitsNet
197071328-2571,375562813
1971109302-1931,369676693
1972179306-1271,553900653
1973207384-1772,6851,1651,520
1974278608-3302,8891,2261,663
1975315820-5052,6441,2191,425
1976310949-6393,2881,5631,725

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, pursuant to the Written Answer provided for the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Hoyle) on 21st March, Official Report, columns 401 –2, he will publish a breakdown of the invisible earnings for the years 1970 to 1976, inclusive, attributed to other services by providing separate tables for financial services and non-financial services; and if he will further publish a breakdown of each of these two subdivisions into its major components such as banking, insurance and construction.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977], gave the following information:

ployed by the Inland Revenue on 1st January 1977; and how many were employed on the same date in each of the five preceding years.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977], gave the following information:clusive attributed to interest, profits and dividends by providing separate tables for public-sector interest, profits and dividends and private-sector interest, profits and dividends.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977], gave the following information:The information is given below:Details of the credits and debits for each component of "other services "for the years 1970 –75 were published last September in Table 12 of" United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1965 –75". As reported in the Press Notice containing the first balance of payments estimates for the year 1976—a copy of which is available in the Library—earnings from financial and allied services in 1976 totalled £935 million, compared with a total now estimated at £755 million in 1975. Earnings from construction work overseas were £476 million in 1976. Full details for 1976 will be given in "United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1966 –76" which will include firmer estimates for each component than are now available.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a breakdown of the United Kingdom's invisible earnings for the years from 1970 to 1976, inclusive, by providing separate tables showing the total of credits, debits, and net balance for each year (a) for the private sector, and (b) for the public sector.

£ million
SERVICES
GovernmentPrivate (including public corporations)
CreditsDebitsNetCreditsDebitsNet
197051360-3093,3172,595722
197159378-3193,7982,954844
197272427-3554,0663,137929
1973104518-4145,0363,9331,103
1974110653-5436,4034,9461,457
1975139767-6287,2345,5061,728
1976210970-7609,1486,4482,700
INTEREST PROFITS AND DIVIDENDS
Public sector (including public corporations)Private sector
CreditsDebitsNetCreditsDebitsNet
197071328-2571,375562813
1971109302-1931,369676693
1972179306-1271,553900653
1973207384-1772,6851,1651,520
1974278608-3302,8891,2261,663
1975315820-5052,6441,2191,425
1976310949-6393,2881,5631,725
TRANSFERS
GovernmentPrivate
CreditsDebitsNetCreditsDebitsNet
19700177-177192226-34
19710205-205215228-13
19720210-210231288-57
197363422-359295386-91
1974130450-320355441-86
1975363742-379395476-81
19762211,017-796420481-61
* The headings "Government" and "Public sector" reter to the Government and public sectors of the United Kingdom. Transactions between foreign Governments—e.g., through their embassies in London—and the United Kingdom private sector are included under "Private".

Tax Demands (Postal Delays)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in view of the fact that for several weeks earlier in the year there was serious interference with the post in East London, what guidance was given to collectors of taxes in the

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977], gave the following information:A breakdown of the United Kingdom's invisible earnings into the earnings of the private and public sectors cannot be made satisfactorily. The relevant information which is available is given in the table below.

*

area about pursuing taxpayers for taxes alleged to be overdue but unpaid because applications for payment and final notices were delayed in the post; and if he will make a statement.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977], gave the following information:

Practical steps were taken to ensure that, so far as possible, reminders reached taxpayers whose payments were overdue. Collectors were instructed to take account of the delays to the post when deciding what action to take about the collection of outstanding tax and generally to deal as reasonably and sympathetically as the circumstances required with difficulties which might emerge for taxpayers.

Employment

Pay And Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish figures for 1950, 1964 and 1976 for a married man with no children earning a salary equal to that of a Permanent Secretary, the Prime Minister, the Chairman of British Railways, the Chairman of Cable and Wireless, a motor industry worker receiving the average earnings for that industry and a farm worker receiving the average earnings for agricultural workers, showing the length of time, after taking into account income tax liability and national insurance contribution, necessary to pay for each of the following items: (a) three pounds of beef sirloin, (b) two pounds of fresh cod, (c) 14 pounds of potatoes, (d) a large loaf, (e) a half pound of tea, (f) a pint of fresh milk, (g) one pound of butter, (h) five hundredweight of best coal, (i) five gallons of petrol, (j) a weekly season ticket betwen Surbiton and London, (k) postage on five letters, (I) a telegram of 12 words, (m) 20 cigarettes, (n) a pint of beer and (o) a bottle of whisky.

I am collecting the information and will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Kirkby And Ormskirk

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many of last year's school leavers are still unemployed in (a) Kirkby and (b) Ormskirk; what steps are being taken to find them jobs; and when he expects them to find employment.

On 10th March 1977 the number of unemployed school leavers in Kirkby was 350, and in Ormskirk was eight, but the statistics do not identify the date on which they left school. Officers of the careers service are doing all they can to assist these young people, and the full range of the Government's special measures to alleviate unemployment will continue to be made available on Merseyside as elsewhere.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take steps to set up a skillcentre in Ormskirk.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the Training Services Agency has no plans at the present time to establish a skill-centre in Ormskirk. The Agency has recently undertaken a review of the training facilities in the area and is satisfied that the training needs can be met by the existing skillcentres located at Aintree, St. Helens and Kirkby. Plans are well advanced to establish a new centre in Preston and this will also help to meet the needs of the Ormskirk area.

Work Force (Deployment)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the number of people currently employed in the business of funerals, soft drink mixers sold in public houses, hearing-aids, prescribed school clothing and intruder alarm systems, respectively; and if he will express these as a percentage of the employed population.

I regret that the information is not available. This Department's employment estimates are analysed according to complete minimum list headings of the Standard Industrial Classification. There is no separate information for the activities specified, which are parts only of minimum list headings.

North-West England

asked the Secretary, of State for Employment if he will give a complete list of the number of persons for whom temporary employment subsidy and the school leaver recruitment subsidy is currently being paid in (a) the North-West, (b) Merseyside, (c) Kirkby and (d) Ormskirk.

I regret that precise information is not available in the form requested. Estimates are:

Temporary Employment Subsidy (TES) and
Recruitment Subsidy for School-Leavers (RSSL)
(Jobs preserved and in payment)(Applications in payment)
(a) The North West45,50041
(b) Merseyside7,00020
(c) Kirkby1802
(d) OrmskirkNilNil

Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will state the national average earnings in each of

AVERAGE GROSS HOURLY EARNINGS OF MANUAL WORKERS IN THE COUNTRIES OF THE EEC
Average gross hourly earnings*
CountryOctober 1964October 1975
££
United Kingdom0·331·26
Belgium0·311·83
Denmark0·43†2·52
France0·261·32
Germany, Federal Republic of0·361·87
Ireland‡0·231·15
Italy0·220·99§
Luxembourg0·411·99
Netherlands0·291·88
* Conversion of earnings from national currencies to sterling has been made on the basis of contemporary foreign exchange rates.
† Figure for quarter ended September 1964 converted on basis of average of exchange rates for July, August and September 1964. Taken from a different source, it is not strictly comparable with the 1957 figure.
‡ Earnings figures for Ireland are not strictly comparable with the data for other countries. The 1964 figure relates to October but as earnings data for Ireland are now published in respect of March and December only, the 1975 figure relates to December.
§ Figure for April 1975 is the latest available.
Sources:
(1) Earnings
Denmark, 1964—Year book of labour statistics, ILO.
Ireland—Irish Central Statistical Office.
Others—Eurostat series "Hourly Earnings and Hours of Work", Statistical Office of the European Communities.
(2) Foreign exchange rates—Bank of England.

Women

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of women working full time earn less than (a) £30, (b) £40, (c) £50, and (d) £60 per week; and how many and what percentage earn more than the national average for male workers.

the EEC countries expressed in £ sterling at the latest date for which figures are available and compare these with similar figures for 1958 for all nine countries.

The following table gives the average gross hourly earnings of manual workers in industry in each of the EEC countries at October 1964 and October 1975, the earliest and latest dates respectively for which comparable information is available. The earnings are expressed in pounds sterling and have been converted on the basis of foreign exchange rates prevailing in October 1964 and October 1975. The comparisons are considerably affected by fluctuating market exchange rates and to a lesser extent by the differences in the way countries compile the data.

The most recent estimates relate to April 1976. The New Earnings Survey indicates that the percentages of women aged 18 and over in full-time employment in Great Britain and whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence, then earning less than £30, £40, £50 and £60 per week, were respectively about 14, 43, 69 and 83 per cent. The figures exclude those who were not members of PAYE schemes. About half a million such women, about 10 per cent. earned more than the average gross weekly earnings—£70·20—of males aged 18 and over.

Bournemouth

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement about the employment position and prospects for the Bournemouth area and the rate of unemployment.

The unemployment rate for the Bournemouth travel-to-work area in March 1977 was 7·1 per cent. which was above the regional, 6·9 per cent., and national, 5·8 per cent., average rates. However, there was a welcome decrease in the number unemployed in the area both between January and February and between February and March. There has also been a significant increase in the numbers of notified vacancies over the last month. I hope that this encouraging trend will continue. I am also pleased to say that a total of 295 people, up to mid-March, have been helped by the special measures in Bournemouth.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what was the total number of job vacancies in the area covered by the Bournemouth employment office on a convenient date in January and February 1977, respectively;(2) what was the total number of unemployed males and females in the area covered by the Bournemouth employment office on a convenient date in January and February 1977, respectively.

Following is the information:

Bournemouth Employment Office Area
Notified vacancies remaining unfilled
Employment OfficeCareers Office
January 197751
February 197717253
Number unemployed
MalesFemales
January 19773,6291,281
February 19773,7291,173
The unemployment figures include young people registered at the Bournemouth careers office. The vacancy figures relate only to those notified to the employment office and careers office. Because of possible duplication the two series should not be added together, nor do they constitute a measure of total vacancies in the area. Vacancy information for January 1977 is not available for the employment office because of industrial action.

Dock Labour Board

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he will announce the composition of the new Dock Labour Board.

Docks

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects the new dock labour scheme to be prepared for presentation to Parliament.

Construction Workers (Continental Employment)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he proposes to take to assist construction workers who take up jobs in the Netherlands and Germany offered by advertisement in the United Kingdom and are frequently left penniless and in distress in those countries, so that they become a charge to public funds; what proposals he has to deal with advertisements of this character; and if he will make a statement.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 22nd March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 454], gave the following information:The Employment Agencies Act 1973 provides for the licensing and control of private employment agencies and employment businesses (staff contractors) in Great Britain by the Secretary of State for Employment. Regulations made under the Act require an employment agency or business to identify itself clearly in any advertisement. It must not supply a worker to an employer abroad without first obtaining a written statement from a reliable source that the proposed employment will not be detrimental to the worker's interest. If the employer abroad is an employment business, the British agent must ensure that the employment business is not prohibited by the law of the country concerned from acting in that capacity.In general, every worker supplied by an employment agency or employment business for employment abroad must, before departure, be given full details in writing of specified terms and conditions of the employment in a language he understands. A staff contractor who supplies workers to an employer abroad must make arrangements for payment for the workers' return fare.Failure to comply with the regulations is an offence and any complaints made to my Department will be fully investigated.Article 2 of EEC Regulation 1612/68 provides that any national of a member State of the European Community and any employed pursuing an activity in the territory of a member State may exchange their applications for and offers of employment. They may conclude and perform contracts of employment in accordance with the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action without any discrimination resulting therefrom. In pursuance of these provisions employers from other countries of the Community may advertise in the United Kingdom Press and are subject only to those restrictions when advertising which apply generally to British employers.I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that when European employers notify their vacancies directly to the Employment Service Agency (ESA) arrangements have been made to check their bona fides with the employ- ment services of the country of origin before any action is taken to submit applicants to these vacancies.The Employment Service Agency is prepared, on behalf of workers contemplating replying directly to Press advertisements, to approach the employment services of the countries concerned for information about the employers advertising. Whether and to what extent such information can be provided must depend on the knowledge and practices of those employment services.ESA has also produced two leaflets on "Working in Europe" and" Working in the Federal Republic of Germany" which are freely available to all workers using the Agency's service and otherwise on request to people seeking to take up employment in other member states. More general information on living and working conditions in other countries of the Community is also available on request.I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services that a British worker who becomes unemployed in one of the member States of the EEC may benefit from the EEC social security regulations which make provision for a worker moving within the Community to carry with him rights to unemployment benefit acquired in another member State. In addition all the EEC countries, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Malta have ratified the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance under which a national of the United Kingdom in any of those countries is entitled to social assistance on the same basis as a local resident.