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Written Answers

Volume 929: debated on Monday 28 March 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 28th March 1977

Overseas Development

Technology

32.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what steps she proposes to facilitate the transfer of intermediate technology to the rural poor in least developed countries; and if she will make a statement.

As the hon. Gentleman knows, I share his concern about the issue. It essentially concerns maximising the use of appropriate technology. My hon. Friend who was my immediate predecessor instituted a study within ODM, and I expect its report soon.

International Development Agency

33.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what agreement has been reached on the fifth replenishment of the International Development Agency; and what commitments have been made by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Japan, West Germany and France, respectively.

There is now agreement to recommend a replenishment totalling some $7·6 billion, including contributions of or equivalent to $814 million from the United Kingdom, $2,400 million from the USA, $792 million from Japan, $839 million from Germany and $413 million from France.In principle the replenishment should be effective for three years from July 1977. Some Governments will not have completed procedures by then. Agreement has also been reached on a bridging arrangement, in which the United Kingdom has offered to take part, which will provide the IDA with funds until the agreement is fully effective.I shall be seeking the necessary parliamentary authorisation before the Summer Recess.

Uganda

asked the Minister of Overseas Development when British Government aid to Uganda was discontinued.

No new commitments have been made since aid to Uganda was suspended in November 1972.

Bolivia

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if violations of human rights in Bolivia have influenced, or will in the future influence, decisions on the provision of aid to that country by Her Majesty's Government.

The question of human rights is always one of the factors which I take into account when considering the provision of aid to any developing country.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will review the decision to provide aid for equipment to be used in Huanuni mine in Bolivia.

At Huanuni, my Ministry is providing £225,000 for a tin concentrates bagging plant, under an agreement signed after lengthy discussions with the Bolivian authorities in November 1976. Orders have already been placed for this equipment, and I do not propose to revise this agreement.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what was the annual value of aid provided to assist the development of the mining sector of the Bolivian economy for each year from 1970 to the present; and what was the total for the whole period.

The cost of British aid to the mining sector in Bolivia from 1970 until 31st December 1976 was as follows. Figures are accurate to the nearest £1,000.

£1,000
1974240
1975161
1976548
Total949

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what was (a) the annual value of aid provided to Bolivia for each year from 1970 to the present, and (b) the total for the whole period.

The cost of British aid to Bolivia from 1970 until 31st December 1976 was as follows. Figures are accurate to the nearest £1,000.

£1,000
1970112
1971130
1972832
1973901
19741,228
1975791
19761,057
Total 1970–765,051
Of this total, £3,285,000 was provided by means of two specific loans financed by the United Kingdom and administered by the Inter-American Development Bank. It is not possible to quantify aid given by other multilateral agencies, to which the United Kingdom is a contributor.

"Conservative Monthly News"

asked the Minister of Overseas Development how many copies of Conservative Monthly News are purchased by her Department to keep Ministers and senior civil servants informed of current Conservative policy and thinking.

None, but we subscribe to a Press cutting service, and I personally purchase a number of the publications of the Centre for Policy Studies, which I find of great interest.

International Development Association

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will report on the position regarding maintenance of value payments due in respect of the United Kingdom contributions to the first three replenishments of the resources of the International Development Association.

The maintenance of value obligations accepted by the United Kingdom in the arrangements for the replenishments, under the authority of the Overseas Aid Act 1968 and statutory orders made under it, are being met by the deposit of non-negotiable non-interest bearing notes, additional to those originally deposited for our contributions. Arrangements are being made for the deposit of a note for £7,757,816·34. This sum is based on disbursements from our contributions made by the association during the period 1st July to 31st December 1976.

Namibia (United Nations Institute)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she intends to provide assistance to the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka, Zambia.

I have offered the institute a special contribution of £50,000 to be paid through the United Nations. This is in addition to a three-year programme for English language teaching and related activities which has been agreed directly with the institute under technical co-operation arrangements. Parliamentary approval for this special contribution will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Overseas Aid Class II, 8 Vote. Pending that approval, the necessary expenditure will be met by a repayable advance from the Contingencies Fund.

Home Department

Detonators

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what statutory system is in force for accounting for detonators by licence holders; and if such accounts are open to inspection by statutory authority;(2) if he will list the statutory provisions which place an obligation upon those who hold an appropriate licence or a police certificate to report losses of detonators to the police;(3) what statutory system of accounting for the use of detonators by shot firers at the quarry face is in force;(4) what statutory arrangements are in force for the regular inspection by the police of detonators held by construction companies employed on civil engineering works;(5) what statutory arrangements are in force for the inspection by the police of magazines at quarries where detonators are held in store;(6) if he will list the statutory provisions which place an obligation upon those who hold an appropriate licence to keep accounts of the use of, or disposal of, the detonators in their possession.

The controls over explosives, including detonators, in Great Britain are set out in the Explosives Acts 1875 and 1923 and Orders made under the Acts, the Control of Explosives Order 1953 and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.Any person holding detonators must be in possession of either a certificate issued by the police stating that he is a fit person to keep explosives or a licence issued by the Health and Safety Executive. The Control of Explosives Order 1953 requires all holders of police certificates to keep records of acquisition and transfer. These records, which must be kept for five years, must be made available on request to any police officer or to any inspector appointed under the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by the Health and Safety Executive or any body appointed as an enforcing authority under the 1974 Act. The recording system required of Health and Safety Executive licensees is determined either by the conditions contained in any licence granted or may be determined by administrative action. Records must be made available to any inspector appointed under the provisions of the 1974 Act and, if they are defective, such inspectors have powers to require that the system be brought up to the necessary standard. These provisions apply to quarries, although no specific accounting system is required for the use of detonators at the quarry face.The security of the premises in which detonators are to be kept is taken into account by the police in considering whether to issue a "fit-person certificate", and the police undertake as part of their normal functions such duties as are concerned with the security of such premises.There is no statutory requirement for licensees and holders of police certificates to report losses. Although there are arrangements whereby losses are reported to the police and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Explosives, the Government are considering whether to make a formal requirement by regulation under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Murder And Manslaughter

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many patients, having been released from Broadmoor since 1960, have subsequently been convicted of (a) murder and (b) manslaughter.

Of patients discharged into the community from Broadmoor Hospital since 1960 four have subsequently been convicted of murder and three of manslaughter. Of these, five were subject to the special restrictions in Section 65 of the Mental Health Act 1959 at the time of discharge from hospital.

Vandalism

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, as part of his policy against hooliganism and vandalism, he will carry out a study of the effect of television on these forms of behaviour.

A good deal of research, in this country and elsewhere, has been made into the effect of television upon human behaviour, so far without very conclusive results. The matter is among those considered by the Departmental Committee on the Future of Broadcasting, whose Report was published last Thursday. The Report includes a summary of research undertaken on violence in television and a discussion of the results of the principal studies. Consideration of future research on this subject could best await public reaction to the Committee's Report.

Commonwealth Citizens (Entry)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many citizens of each of the following countries have been admitted and how many refused leave to enter in each month since January 1976 to the most recent month for which this information is available: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Cyprus, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rhodesia, Singapore and Sri Lanka; and how many United Kingdom passport holders were similarly refused leave.

The information requested is given in the following tables. The figures in table 2 relate to the month in which the passenger was removed.

TABLE 1
COMMONWEALTH CITIZENS AND CITIZENS OF PAKISTAN GIVEN LEAVE TO ENTER THE UNITED KINGDOM
JANUARY—DECEMBER 1976

Country or Territory issuing Passport

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

*

December

*

Total

*

Australia18,69011,85817,67323,70833,82236,02335,65737,70330,97921,81215,06319,477302,465
Bangladesh1,3451,2361,4749451,6211,3391,7741,7081,6071,5961,1971,05116,893
Canada14,18211,50623,11027,74543,50840,80551,39045,52047,57728,20516,42818,153368,129
Cyprus1,6009251,0441,5441,4541,7162,9033,0283,5731,9031,4021,71422,806
Ghana1,5218701,2401,4761,5171,5932,6972,7922,7751,9811,5411,62521,628
Hong Kong1,8691,0471,3151,9071,7802,1802,9503,9114,0331,8301,1641,55125,537
India9,5008,4009,19610,65912,58813,26914,38113,71214,39611,4489,18510,040136,774
Jamaica3,5281,6281,3481,8462,2572,9344,3655,9773,5162,3772,2261,55633,558
Kenya1,1517801,0121,5391,3911,5162,0092,2892,2111,3218841,07117,174
Malaysia2,2991,4711,9073,2192,7333,5494,3345,4458,4563,7881,8932,28541,379
Malta1,5408961,1331,4091,6211,9162,6553,3992,0471,8101,4511,77721,654
Mauritius1,3309799911,4301,5121,9373,1183,2342,2651,3359151,31720,363
New Zealand3,2122,9053,3755,5306,7667,6237,4907,4657,7315,3153,3203,37264,104
Nigeria4,4172,0233,1483,8093,7564,5148,65410,1599,0235,1524,3965,09664,147
Pakistan4,3773,6174,3575,0015,2285,5907,2846,4755,4045,2004,0644,33260,929
Rhodesia14585761381511631342473601761521641,991
Singapore7716197961,4362,2882,9991,8991,9232,6521,4911,0541,00618,934
Sri Lanka1,4597879631,3171,2681,3621,7341,8282,3391,4609111,03216,460
UKPH2,2931,9842,4752,8783,1393,0564,0404,6433,9902,9442,1552,49036,087

* Provisional.

TABLE 2
COMMONWEALTH CITIZENS AND CITIZENS OF PAKISTAN GIVEN LEAVE TO ENTER THE UNITED KINGDOM
JANUARY—DECEMBER 1976

Country or Territory issuing Passport

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

*

December

*

Total

*

Australia34321352336439
Bangladesh342428214032303248324154416
Canada5653645532549
Cyprus231414191521302731422934299
Ghana222126272420164128403134330
Hong Kong51552066241011112217152
India583247528087947657695965776
Jamaica1171146627
Kenya4214471091042158
Malaysia85976415108610997
Malta121116
Mauritius101754108191196811118
New Zealand1214
Nigeria464038484527697066493661595
Pakistan5052688076748411060757787893
Rhodesia11442417111013161126129
Singapore2221811425533
Sri Lanka76855105410611582
UKPH971361621151622131925182

* Provisional.

Police (West Midlands)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what percentage the West Midlands Police Force is below establishment strength up to the latest date; and if he will make a statement.

On 28th February 1977, the West Midlands Police deficiency was 11·5 per cent. of the establishment of 6,509. Since the force was set up on 1st April 1974 the strength has increased by 525, to 5,760 on 28th February. The police authority has made provision for an increase of 240 in the financial year 1977–78, and for expenditure of £50,000 on local recruitment activities. The force also benefits from the national recruitment campaign run by the Home Office.

Citizenship (Delayed Application)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the regulations on applications for British citizenship from the children of British citizens who have been born overseas, with a view to allowing such persons to register for citizenship with the British embassy when they reach the age of 18 years, in a similar manner to the way in which their parents can register them for British citizenship at birth.

Energy

Gas (Flaring)

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many cubic metres of gas are being flared daily from the northern North Sea pool; and when he expects that facilities ashore will be available to use this large amount of valuable feed stock.

About 8 million cubic metres of gas are currently being flared each day from the seven producing oil fields in the northern North Sea. Some temporary gas flaring is unavoidable for operational reasons in the early stages of production. In a number of cases it is possible to reinject gas to enhance oil recovery or for storage pending the completion of a gas gathering pipeline system. Minimising flaring in the longer term depends on the development of economically viable means of transporting the gas ashore. This is being studied by Gas Gathering Pipelines (North Sea) Ltd. the establishment of which my right hon. Friend announced in the House on 9th December.—[Vol. 922, c. 311–313.]

Oil Depletion

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on oil depletion policy.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Hastings (Mr. Warren) on 17th January 1977.—[Vol. 924, c. 1.]

North Sea Oil (Production And Revenue)

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the estimated production of North Sea oil, and what is expected to be the revenue for 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980, at 1977 prices and taking account of any recent OPEC increase.

The 1977 Brown Book, to be published shortly, will give revised estimates of oil production. The latest estimate of Government revenue, unp to 1980, of around £5,500 million at 1976 prices, was given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Treasury, on 27th January.—[Vol. 924, c. 761.]—This estimate stands, and is subject to the uncertainties set out by my hon. Friend.

Energy Commission

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to make a statement about the composition and functions of the proposed Energy Commission.

Final consideration of these issues is currently taking place, and my right hon. Friend will announce his decision as soon as possible.

Research

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will state the current proportions of annual United Kingdom expenditure on research relating to the following energy sources: (a) nuclear, (b) coal and gas and (c) alternative sources of energy, including solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and wave power.

Total expenditure for the United Kingdom is compiled every three years; figures from the 1975–76 survey are not yet available.The estimated expenditure on energy R & D by the Department of Energy, the UKAEA and the nationalised fuel and power industries, for 1976–77, is as follows:

£ million
Nuclear (including fusion work) by UKAEA and Electricity Council130
Other nuclear (Department of Energy expenditure on development contracts with industry and the tripartite centrifuge project)29
Electrical plant, generation, transmission and distribution28
Gas18
Coal24
Offshore energy technology10
New energy sources and conservation1·8

Pricing Policy

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on his policy on prices on the fuel industries and its relationship to the counter-inflationary policy.

The Government's policy is that the nationalised energy industries should charge economic prices which avoid subsidies and encourage conservation. The Government will continue to give careful consideration to the precise level of prices proposed in the context of their policies overall, and will, as necessary, take steps to modify the impact on the poorer members of the community.

Solar Energy

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much is to be contributed by the Government during the coming financial year towards research and development into harnessing of solar energy.

The total Government spend over the next four years will be about £6 million. Expenditure is expected to reach about £1 million in the next financial year and exceed £1·5 million in each of the subsequent three years.

Windmills

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what designs of windmill for producing electricity are currently under study by his Department.

My Department is not currently supporting work on any particular design of windmill. The Department's Energy Technology Support Unit has completed an assessment study on wind power and prepared a report which my right hon. Friend's Advisory Council on Research and Development is considering. The Council will be advising my right hon. Friend shortly on its views.

Electrocution (Hampshire Farm)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to be able to answer the letter from the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington asking for a full inquiry into the death by electrocution of over 300 pigs at Vaggs Farm, Hordle, Hampshire, following a road accident and the discovery that very few of the electricity poles in Vaggs Lane are earthed.

As the hon. Member knows, the Department's Engineering Inspectorate has been asked to investigate this unfortunate accident. I will write to him again as soon as the Department's findings are complete.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Monetary Compensatory Amounts

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the total value of monetary compensatory amounts paid to United Kingdom traders and the tonnages covered for imports from third countries for the period 17th May to 31st December 1976 for the following commodities (a) wheat, (b) barley, (c) maize, (d) sugar, (e) beef/veal, (f) milk and milk products and (g) pigmeat and pigmeat products.

In third country trade sums paid or charged on imports into the United Kingdom of the commodities concerned are the net amounts resulting from the deduction from the full EEC import charge of the United Kingdom's accession and monetary compensatory amounts. Where these deductions result in a negative sum a net payment is made. Separate figures for the component parts of this calculation are not readily available but the net payments made between 17th May and 31st December 1976, were as follows:

£
Wheat5,242,235
Barley1,549,215
Maize6,025,510
Sugar36,330,180
Beef and veal1,974,587
Milk and milk productsnil
Pigmeat and pigmeat products611,300
Information about the quantities covered by these net amounts is not readily available.

Intervention Board (Annual Report)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report the equivalent figures for calendar year 1976 to those given for 1975 in Tables M, N and O of the Intervention Board's Annual Report, Command Paper No. 6535.

This information will be be presented to Parliament in the Board's report for the calendar year 1976 which is now being prepared.

Civil Service

Press Officers And Government Car Service

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many Press officers and supporting staff and how many cars for senior staff exist in the

Economic Planning RegionAssistedPercentage of Civil Service numbers
NorthernNorthern Special Development Area0·003
North WestMerseyside Special Development Area0·001
North-West Intermediate Area0·006
Yorkshire and HumbersideYorkshire and Humberside Intermediate Area0·01
ScotlandScottish Special Development Area0·02
WalesSouth-East Wales Development Area0·10
South-East Wales Special Development Area0·01
South-East Wales Intermediate Area0·001

Department of Health and Social Security, the Department of Education and Science and the Department of the Environment.

Information of this sort is not held centrally. Inquiries of the Departments concerned, however, indicate that there are 13 Press officers, including four part-time, and five support staff in the Department of Health and Social Security; seven Press officers and one support staff in the Department of Education and Science; and 24 Press officers and 10 support staff in the Department of the Environment.The Department of Health and Social Security has one car allocated for the use of its Permanent Secretary and three other cars allocated primarily for senior staff but also available for general use, and the Department of the Environment has one car allocated for the use of its Permanent Secretary. The Property Services Agency of the Department of the Environment is responsible for the Government Car Service.

Dispersal

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what percentage of the total number of civil servants is represented by those who have been dispersed to each of the assisted areas within the economic planning regions in 1976.

Records of civil servants transferred from London to the assisted areas are not readily available. Records of Civil Service posts so transferred are not maintained by calendar year: information for the 12 months ended on 30th September 1976 is as follows:

The hon. Member will, of course, be aware of the plans announced by the Government in July 1974 to disperse 31,000 Civil Service posts, mainly to the assisted areas.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service, if any discussions are currently taking place with unions representing civil servants involved in the dispersal of jobs programme; and if he will make a statement.

Dispersal is under continuous discussion between individual Departments and their Staff sides. Representatives of the Staff Side of the Civil Service National Whitley Council discussed dispersal with the Lord Privy Seal on 1st February.

Wales

Housing Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the amounts allocated to each local authority in Wales for 1977–78 in respect of (a) grants for local authority housing improvements, (b) municipalisation of housing and (c) improvement grants in the public sector.

No specific allocations have been made for the purposes stated. Each housing authority in Wales has received block allocations covering housing expenditure, and has a wide discretion to decide for itself what proportion of the allocation to apply to any particular purpose.

Trade

Export Credits

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether the ECGD facilities for exporters engaged in trade with Egypt are less favourable than those available for trade with neighbouring countries; and if he will make a statement.

ECGD cover is available to support British exports to Egypt at the present time. As for other markets, the extent of such cover is subject to reguar review against ECGD's normal under- writing criteria. For commercial reasons, especially the possible reaction of overseas countries against British exports if they considered their credit provisions were relatively unfavourable, it is not normal practice to publicise the extent of EGCD facilities in detail for individual markets.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether there has been any recent change in the ECGD facilities available for exporters of goods to Zambia; and if he will make a statement.

For commercial reasons, especially the possible reaction of overseas countries against British exports if they considered their credit provisions were relatively unfavourable, it is not normal practice to make statements about ECGD facilities in detail for particular markets. Cover is available for exports to Zambia, but, as for other markets, it is subject to regular review against ECGD's normal underwriting criteria.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps are being taken to monitor the adherence of member States of the EEC to the European Commission's experimental guidelines for Government-supported export credits to third countries; whether Her Majesty's Government intend to adhere to these guidelines; whether member States will notify any intended breaches of these guidelines to the Commission; and whether he will make a statement on the guidelines generally.

Details of the guidelines were given in my announcement on 15th June 1976—[Vol. 913, c. 124–125]—of the United Kingdom's decision to adhere to them. The Community's proposed adherence to them was the subject of a debate in the House on 3rd March. All countries observing the guidelines on export credits are required to notify or consult all other subscribing countries before supporting more favourable terms. With the recent endorsement of the guidelines by the EEC as a whole the Commission now participates in the notification and consultation procedures and is, therefore, in a position to monitor Member States' and other adherents' performance.

Heathrow Airport (Fourth Terminal)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what objections have been lodged by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to the proposed development of a fourth terminal at Heathrow Airport by the British Airports Authority.

My right hon. Friend received last week a letter from the Royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, expressing the Borough Council's opposition to this proposal.

Common Fund For Commodities

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what use is being made of the 50 pence payments being sent to him by individual citizens as their contribution to the establishment of a common fund for commodities.

The contributions are being returned where possible, with a letter explaining that it is too early to say on what basis a common fund might be established, or what its financial needs might be.

Pyramid Selling

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many applications for winding-up of companies, under the Companies Act, have been reported to his Department since 1974 in respect of companies engaged in pyramid selling; how many are still outstanding; and if he will publish a list of those so wound up.

Full information is not readily available and could be provided only after undue expenditure of time. However, since 1st January 1974 the Department has made inquiries into the activities of seven companies which had been engaged in pyramid selling, and winding-up orders were made by the court on the petitions of the Secretary of State against the following three companies: Revolution Auto Products (UK) Limited; Worldwide Household Products Limited; Golden Chemical Products Limited. In three of the companies there were inadequate grounds on which to found petitions for their winding up, and the remaining company, Computex Consumers Services Limited, has since resolved to wind up voluntarily. The Department has at present no inquiries still outstanding.

Aviation (Mole Valley)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade on what day he proposes to publish his consultation document on the Mole Valley flight path.

I cannot yet give an exact date. The document will be published as soon as all the relevant information is assembled.

Company Returns

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what action he proposes to take in view of the breach of the requirements of the Companies Acts in respect of the filing of annual returns or accounts by the following companies: Sproat Communications, Sproat Electronics, Sproat Trading, Sproat Publishing, Sproat Films, Cyadmarc Sproat, Syston Estates and Syston Publishing; and if he will make a statement.

The Syston Estates Co. Ltd. is up to date in filing annual returns and accounts. The present position with respect to the other copies mention is as follows:

  • (a) Sproat Communication Ltd.—No. 1100924. Incorporated 9th March 1973, Annual Returns and Accounts for 1974, 1975 and 1976 outstanding.
  • (b) Sproat Electronics Ltd.—No. 1139551. Incorporated 15th November 1973. Annual Returns and Accounts for 1975 and 1976 outstanding.
  • (c) Sproat Trading Ltd.—No. 1166844. Incorporated 16th April 1974. Annual Returns and Accounts for 1975 and 1976 outstanding.
  • (d) Sproat Publishing Ltd,—No. 1140702. Incorporated 22nd October 1977. Annual Returns and Accounts for 1975 and 1976 outstanding.
  • (e) Sproat Films Ltd.—No. 1139586. Incorporated 15th October 1973. Annual Returns and Accounts for 1975 and 1976 outstanding.
  • (f) Cyadmarc Sproat Ltd.—No. 1191481. Incorporated 25th November 1974. Annual Return for 1976 outstanding.
  • (g) The Syston Publishing Co. Ltd.—No. 1132820. Incorporated 6th September 1973. Annual Return for 1976 outstanding.
  • Default letters have been sent to these companies to remind them of their obligations under the 1948 Companies Act. I have also written to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) concerning

    those companies listed (

    a) to ( f). Appropriate action will be taken if there is continued failure to file statutory returns.

    Bolivia

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what was the value of British imports from Bolivia for each year from 1970 to the present;(2) what was the value of British exports to Bolivia for each year from 1970 to the present.

    Following is the information:

    Import (£ million cif)Export (£ million fob)
    197028·52·2
    197116·11·8
    197217·01·8
    197320·02·2
    19749·74·3
    197519·05·3
    197624·510·0

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade what percentage of British imports of sugar cane and its products were supplied by Bolivia for each year from 1970 to the present.

    Scotland

    Shetland (Electricity Generation)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what consideration he has given to the construction of a base load power station on Shetland whose power would be transmitted to the mainland; and whether he will make a statement;(2) what studies he has initiated into the feasibility of the use of gas piped ashore at Sullom Voe for the generation of electricity useable on the main grid.

    The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board is actively pursuing with the British Gas Corporation and the oil companies the possibility of using gas landed at Sullom Voe for the generation of electricity to meet demand in Shetland.Decisions about the provision of additional generating capacity in Scotland are taken in the first instance by the Scottish electricity boards in the exercise of their commercial judgment. The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board has not yet submitted any proposal to me for the construction of a generating station on Shetland to transmit power to the mainland.

    Fishing Industry (Faroes Negotiations)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will seek a meeting with the Scottish representatives of the British Fish Federation regarding the latest situation in the negotiations with the Faroes.

    The Scottish representatives of the British Fishing Federation have requested a meeting to discuss the situation at Faroe and I intend to meet them shortly.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the latest situation in the negotiations with the Faroes.

    On 9th March the Faroese authorities notified the EEC Commission of temporary measures which they intended introducing for the period from 15th March to 30th April of this year restricting fishing for cod and haddock by foreign vessels in their waters. Following strong representations by the United Kingdom Government consultations took place with the Faroese authorities which resulted in modifications to their original proposals and a delay in their implementation until 22nd March.I am very concerned about the damaging effect that these temporary proposals will have on traditional fishing by United Kingdom and particularly Scottish boats at Faroe. We have therefore insisted that the earliest possible start is made to the negotiations between the Community and the Faroese on the arrangements for fishing in these waters for the remainder of 1977. The Faroese are heavily dependent on access to United Kingdom waters and we are determined to take whatever appropriate action is necessary to safeguard our fishing industry's interests at Faroe.

    Prisoners Discharged

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what financial support was given in 1974, 1975 and 1976 by (a) his Department (b) local authorities to assist in the provision of accommodation for released offenders; and what financial support (i) his Department and (ii) local authorities intend to provide in the financial year 1977–78 for this purpose.

    Grants paid by my Department to voluntary organisations to assist in the provision of accommodation for persons in need, including released offenders, in the financial years 1974–75, 1975–76 and 1976–77 were, respectively, £24,529, £46,399 and £31,468. Some £80,000 has been provisionally set aside for this purpose in the financial year 1977–78. It is not practicable to identify separately the extent to which use is made by released offenders of accommodation receiving grant support. Information is not available centrally about the financial support given for this purpose by local authorities.

    Colleges Of Education

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has received to date concerning the possible closure or merger of colleges of education in Scotland, and how many of these representations included reference to (1) Dunfermline College of Physical Education for Women, (2) Craiglockhart College, (3) Craigie College, and (4) Callendar Park College, giving the figures in each case.

    My right hon. Friend has received about 2,700 letters and petitions about his proposals. Of these over 160 included references to Dunfermline College of Education, over 1,600 to Craiglockhart College of Education, over 500 to Craigie College of Education and over 90 to Callendar Park College of Education.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Bolivia

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the staff of the British Embassy in La Paz includes a labour attaché and if he will make a statement of his policy on this issue.

    There is no labour attaché at the British Embassy in La Paz. It would be premature to make a statement on this subject whilst the rôle of labour attachés is being considered by the Central Policy Review Staff team as part of their review of our overseas representation.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Bolivian demand for an exit to the sea has been raised at the Law of the Sea Conference; and if the representative of Her Majesty's Government has made any recent statement on this issue.

    The Bolivian delegation to the conference has supported the general principle that landlocked states should have a right of transit to the sea. The British delegation has made no statement on the question of a Bolivian exit to the sea.

    Hong Kong Polytechnic

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the number of full-time students in the Hong Kong Polytechnic over the last four years.

    The number of full-time students at the Hong Kong Polytechnic over the last four years was as follows:

    1973–742,419
    1974–753,488
    1975–764,279
    1976–774,741

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many students graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic last year; how many have now been placed in employment; and how many are moving on to further studies.

    989 students, including those taking part-time courses, graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic in July 1976. A survey conducted between late September and early November 1976 showed that 758 graduates (76·6 per cent.) were in employment at that time and that 179 graduates (18·1 per cent.) were undertaking further studies locally or abroad. The remaining 52 (5·3 per cent.) were either unemployed or their occupation was not known.

    Uganda

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Ugandan citizens have been awarded the Victoria Cross.

    There are no living Ugandan holders of the Victoria Cross. No records are readily available of the nationality of deceased holders of the award.

    United Nations Conference On Trade And Development

    asked the Prime Minister which Ministers are representing the United Kingdom in the UNCTAD negotiations in Geneva; and if he will make a statement.

    A negotiating conference on a Common Fund for commodities is now taking place in Geneva, in accordance with UNCTAD Resolution 93(IV). The United Kingdom, like most other participating countries, is represented by officials. I have reported separately to the House on discussions about a Common Fund at the European Council meeting in Rome on 25th and 26th March.

    Aid And Trade Policy

    asked the Prime Minister if he will establish an interdepartmental committee to consider the more constructive co-ordination of aid and trade policy formulation; and if he will make a statement.

    Interdepartmental machinery already exists to co-ordinate policy on aid and trade. This machinery works effectively.

    Defence Policy

    asked the Prime Minister whether the Government's defence policy was discussed at his meeting with representatives of the Liberal Party before his statement to the House of 23rd March 1977.

    I refer the hon. Member to the description of the contents of these discussions which I gave to the House in my speech on 23rd March.

    Government-Liberal Party (Joint Consultations)

    asked the Prime Minister (1) which subjects are to be referred to the first meeting of the joint consultative committee on policy;(2) whether he will publish regularly the names of those who attend the Joint consultative committee on policy which he announced on 24th March;(3) whether the conclusions of the joint consultative committee on policy will be made public;(4) which Minister will be answerable in the House for the conclusions of the joint consultative committee on policy.

    asked the Prime Minister (1) if persons other than hon. Members will take part in the proceedings of the joint consultative committee of Liberal and Labour representatives;(2)which Minister will answer questions concerning the joint consultative committee of Liberal and Labour representatives chaired by the Lord President of the Council;(3)if he will arrange to publish the agenda of the joint consultative committee of Labour and Liberal representatives before the meetings take place;(4) in what way the proceedings of the joint consultative committee of Liberal and Labour representatives will be reported to the House;(5)what arrangements he will make to ensure that confidential matters discussed in the joint consultative committee of Liberal and Labour representatives are not leaked to outside bodies.

    I have been asked to reply.I would refer the hon. Members to the answer I have today given to the hon. Member for Surrey, North-West (Mr. Grylls).

    asked the Prime Minister whether official cars will be made available to Liberal Party spokesmen attending meetings of the joint consultative committee.

    Budget Proposals

    asked the Prime Minister whether the Government's financial proposals covered by the forthcoming Budget have been discussed or are to be discussed with representatives of the Liberal Party.

    I have been asked to reply.I have received representations from the Liberal Party, as I have from a number of organisations. I discussed its submission at a meeting on 3rd March. The proposals I make tomorrow will at no stage have been revealed to it.

    Environment

    Local Authority Mortgages

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council concerning the allocation for mortgage advances in 1977–78; and what reply he had made.

    Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council wrote to the Department on 9th March seeking an increase in mortgage lending quotas. A number of similar requests from other local authorities have been received, and replies will be sent shortly.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report those district councils in the North-West and Yorkshire and Humberside Regions where the allocation under the building societies support scheme is less for 1977–78 than it was in 1976–77.

    28 local authorities in the North-West Region will be participating in the new building society replacement lending scheme. Of these, the following have received an allocation for 1977–78 which is less than that made under the £100 million scheme: Knowsley, Lancaster, Liverpool, Oldham, Salford, Stockport.

    Local authorities in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region did not receive specific allocations under the £100 million scheme, but they were free to operate within an overall limit for the region.

    Building Society Mortgages

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to encourage building societies to advance mortgages for properties valued at less than £4,000 or with a life of less than 30 years under the building societies support scheme.

    Building societies loans under the replacement lending scheme will be confined to the same priority categories as local authorities' own mortgage lending in 1977–78. These will normally include the types of property mentioned by the hon. Member.

    Mortgages (First-Time Buyers)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he will take to make mortgages more readily available for first-time house buyers in areas of older or low-cost housing.

    We expect that the building society replacement lending scheme will be of particular assistance to first-time purchasers buying older and cheaper houses, since local authorities' own lending has concentrated on such applicants. There has also been a welcome shift in societies' lending generally: 23 per cent. of all their loans in 1976 went on pre-1919 property compared with 19 per cent. the previous year. For the future, our overall Review of Housing Policy is looking, inter alia, at the needs of first time purchasers.

    Concorde

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he sent a copy of the report on Concorde by the Noise Advisory Council to the New York Port Authority.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of the need for more accurate information on the noise of Concorde, he will take steps to implement the recommendations of the Noise Advisory Council on the distribution of pre-publication copies of the Council's report.

    Mentmore Towers

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has entered into discussions with the National Trust in connection with its offer of help to accept Mentmore and its contents for the nation; and whether he will make a statement.

    I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 18th March 1977 to the Question from the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross).—[Vol. 928, c. 352.] The National Trust is aware of this position.

    Parliament Square (Flagstaffs)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment on which dates and occasions flagpoles will be erected in Parliament Square during the course of the current year; and what is the total cost of each such operation.

    Thirty-six Commonwealth flags were flown from 11th to 21st March for Commonwealth Day at an estimated cost of £5,700. The annual Europe Day display will be flown during the first week of May, and special Jubilee display of either Union Jacks or Commonwealth flags will be flown from June to September. The total cost of the Europe Day and the Jubilee displays will be about £7,000. The annual United Nations display will be flown during the last week of October at an estimated cost of £2,200.

    Transport

    Driving Licences (Foreign Acceptance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport in which countries which have a system of driving tests and licences the holder of a British driving licence is entitled to drive without any other licence or to obtain a local driving licence without taking any further test; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of countries that accept a British test and licence.

    Anyone who holds a full British driving licence and who satisfies local requirements in relation to minimum driving age may drive, under that licence or an international driving permit, as a visitor to any country which is a party to the Road Traffic Conventions of 1926 and 1949. For residents the laws of each State determine the qualifications for obtaining its own driving licence. Nobody can obtain a full British driving licence until he has passed the British driving test, and my right hon. Friend cannot, therefore, ask other States to exchange British licences for their own without a test. He will, however, continue to support moves to secure the mutual recognition of driving licences provided it is based on minimum standards for driving tests and medical assessment.

    Road Accidents (Casualties)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers and passengers in cars, commercial vehicles, public service vehicles and other types of three- and four-wheeled vehicles were killed or seriously injured in road accidents during 1974, 1975 and 1976.

    The information is as follows:

    DRIVERS AND PASSENGERS KILLED OR SERIOUSLY INJURED: 1974–76: GREAT BRITAIN
    197419751976*
    Cars39,19735,18234,930
    Commercial vehicles4,7474,1983,931
    Public service vehicles1,6161,6551,365
    Other vehicles (3 and 4 wheel)507449501
    * Provisional

    Yorkshire-North-East Road Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has now considered the various opinions about the route of the proposed new road between Yorkshire and the North-East and has taken into account the knowledge gained by the Under-Secretary of State for Transport during his visit to the area on 18th March 1977; and when he expects a decision about the route to be announced.

    My right hon. Friend is currently considering the alternative proposals for the new Kirkhamgate-Dishforth route and the knowledge gained from my tour of the area will be taken into account. My right hon. Friend hopes to be able to make an announcement during the first half of this year.

    Gamston-Lings Bar Road

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department will now assume responsibility for the construction of the proposed Gamston-Lings Bar link road in Nottinghamshire, following the proposal to designate the A52 between Nottingham and Grantham as a trunk road; and whether he will make a statement on the progress that has been made so far towards the construction of that road.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 22nd February.—[Vol. 926, c. 516.] This proposed scheme, which is, I understand, at a very early stage of preparation, will be considered along with other possible improvements once the A52 becomes a trunk road.

    Blind Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will exclude blind persons from fares increases in view of the dependence of blind persons on public transport.

    Local authorities generally have powers to arrange for free or concessionary travel for blind people, and the great majority of blind people live in areas where such arrangements obtain. Some bus operators themselves also provide concessions to blind people.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will halt the tendency to replace compulsory by request bus stops having regard to the difficulties caused to blind persons.

    My right hon. Friend has no power to act in this matter. However, he has every sympathy with the needs of blind people and would urge bus operators to have proper regard to them.

    Subsidies

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport, further to his reply, Official Report, 9th March, column 1400, what account he is taking in his forthcoming White Paper on Transport of the percentage of costs provided by public funds for foreign railway administrations and urban transport authorities, respectively, operating in conditions similar to those found in the United Kingdom; and if he will publish a table showing the approximate percentage support received by such bodies, including the principal operators in the European Economic Community.

    I shall consider relevant overseas experience, although reliable comparisons are difficult.The European Conference of Ministers of Transport has published the following information about the amounts paid by States in 1975 to railway undertakings in respect of compensation for public service obligations, revenue support subsidies, normalisation of accounts and other compensating payments, expressed as a percentage of railway costs:

    per cent.
    Austria53
    Belgium52
    France32
    Germany25
    Ireland36
    Italy62
    Luxembourg54
    Netherlands41
    Norway27
    Sweden15

    Certain kinds of support, however, including assistance for pensions are not included in these figures.The following table, based on 1975 information for urban undertakings in a number of European countries, shows the percentage of operators' costs, excluding depreciation and provision for renewals, which was met by fares:

    CountryNumber of citiesFares revenue as per cent. of operating costs
    France440–75
    Germany450–75
    Italy215–20
    Denmark, Norway, Sweden440–60
    Austria, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland650–55

    Railways

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, as part of his preparations for his White Paper on Transport, he will estimate the approximate net additional cost to public funds of bearing all the existing cost of track and signalling costs of British Railways and any percentage reduction in fares that could result.

    The arrangements for Government support for British Rail are among the matters which are being considered in the current review of transport policy. In 1976, however, support to the Board's railway operations exceeded its track and signalling costs.

    Land Compensation Payments

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce amending legislation to Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973, seeking to extend the claim period from two to four years; and if he will issue instructions that all residents affected by motorway building are notified individually and not merely by means of a newspaper which it is assumed the residents will read.

    I have no plans to introduce legislation extending the claim period. The provisions governing the validity of claims are complex, and so are the effects of a new highway on property values. It would not be possible to identify all owners of interests that would qualify for payment of compensation, nor to avoid raising false hopes in others whose interests would not qualify.

    Churches

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many churches have been demolished in road construction or widening schemes since 1945; and if he will list them.

    So far as concerns trunk roads for which my right hon. Friend is the highway authority the information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. We are, in any case, unable to provide this information in respect of roads for which local highway authorities are responsible.

    Tachographs

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government concerning the compulsory use of tachographs in com- mercial vehicles in line with EEC regulation 1463/70.

    I refer the hon. Member to my statement in the House on 12th January 1977.—[Vol. 923, c. 1428–9.]—I hope shortly to make regulations which will empower the Government to approve tachograph calibration centres and thus enable vehicles on international journeys to comply with EEC Regulation 1463/70.

    Government-Liberal Party (Joint Consultations)

    asked the Lord President of the Council (1) if he will be publishing the agenda and minutes of the Liberal Party-Labour Party liaison committee.(2) if he will state the membership and details of the constitution of the Liberal Party and Labour Party liaison committee.(3) who will be responsible for deciding the agenda of the Liberal Socialist Parliamentary joint consultative committee meetings;(4) whether he will place in the Library copies of the minutes of the Liberal-Socialist Party joint consultative committee meetings.

    As these matters concern Inter-party relations, I do not intend to report on them to the House.

    Industry

    Power Plant

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to be able to make a statement on the outcome of his discussions on the CPRS report on the power plant industry.

    Concorde

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proposals he has received for the funding of Concorde wing and engine developments; and what are the sums of money involved in these proposed developments.

    The British and French authorities have already agreed to the manufacturers undertaking certain limited modifications to Concorde and to continuing engine development. The cost of the airframe modifications is estimated to be £460,000. The cost of engine development cannot be estimated at this stage.

    Computers

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry, following his answer to the hon. Member for Surrey, North-West of 23rd March, if he will publish those suggestions from the sector working party on Computers that do not contain commercially confidential information.

    Two reports by the computer sector working party have been issued. It will be for it to decide what further information to publish about the progress of its work, including any recommendations.

    Departmental Forms

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) how many forms his Department has issued since 1st January 1977; and what were their subjects;(2) what was the total number of forms issued by his Department in each of the following years: March 1974 to March 1975, March 1975 to March 1976 and March 1976 to March 1977, respectively;

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) how many forms his Department has issued since 1st January 1977; and what were their subjects;(2) what was the total number of forms issued by his Department in each of the following years: March 1974 to March 1975, March 1975 to March 1976 and March 1976 to March 1977, respectively.

    I have also been asked to reply to the Questions addressed to the Secretary of State for Trade. Figures are not readily available for financial years or for periods shorter than a calendar year. Full details of the wide range of statistical inquiries which are carried out to meet the needs of Government, the EEC, the business community and the public generally were given in answer to the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Mitchell) on 21st December 1976.

    Prices And Consumer Protection

    Calor Gas

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if the sale of Calor Gas is subject to the Price Code; and if he will make a statement on the price increases which have taken place during the last 18 months.

    Both the manufacture and distribution of Calor Gas are subject to the Price Code. Questions about particular price increases are for the Price Commission, but if my hon. Friend cares to send me details of the particular problem he has in mind I will be happy to look into it.

    Sports Equipment

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he has given further consideration to referring the matter of profit margins on sports equipment to the Price Commission; and when a decision will be made.

    The allocation of references under the present programme is almost completed. If, however, a reference to the Price Commission proves to be the best way of investigating the matters to which my hon. Friend has drawn attention my right hon. Friend will consider a reference in the programme for the new Commission starting after July.

    National Finance

    Concessionary Fares And Coal

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if taxation is charged on the concessionary fares available to employees of British Rail and on concessionary coal given to employees of the National Coal Board; and at what rates tax is levied.

    No, except in the case of British Rail employees earning £5,000 a year or more who are charged to tax at the rate appropriate to their income on an amount taken to represent the value of their travel concessions.

    National Coal Board

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements exist between the Inland Revenue and the National Coal Board for taxed or tax-free travel allowances for employees of the Board.

    Payments made by the Board towards the cost of its employees' journeys between home and work are taxable as part of their emoluments.

    Value Added Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is satisfied with the consistency of the legislation applying VAT to work done by people on their own homes on a do-it-yourself basis.

    Yes, but if the hon. and learned Member has a particular difficulty in mind I should be glad to consider it.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the yield of value added tax in 1973–74, and what would be the yield in 1977–78 if the rate of value added tax were 10 per cent. and the rate band were also charged at 10 per cent.

    Net receipts of VAT in 1973–74 were £1,470·7 million. Because VAT is collected in arrear and relief was given on duty and purchase tax paid on goods held in stock at the introduction of VAT, receipts in 1973–74 were less than for a full year.It is estimated that if the standard and higher rates of VAT had been 10 per cent. the yield in the full year 1976–77 would have been £4,200 million. It is not the practice to give estimates for future years before the relevant Budget.

    Widows

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the respective revenue costs of allowing (a) all widows and (b) employed or self-employed widows an additional personal tax allowance equal to half the difference between the single person's allowance and the married man's allowance.

    Council Of Ministers (Meeting)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the latest meeting of EEC Finance Ministers, in particular on value added tax.

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what was the estimated increased yield in personal income tax between 1975–76 and 1976–77 due solely to the effect of inflation on gross incomes;(2) what would be the estimated effect on personal tax yield if all individuals moved over to self-assessment; and what would be the saving in the Treasury's costs;(3) what would be the estimated loss of revenue to the Exchequer in the tax year 1976–77 of reducing the starting rate on tax to (

    a) 30 per cent. and ( b) 25 per cent.

    Comecon

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is now the total indebtedness of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the members of the COMECON, listed separately and in United States $ terms, as the result of medium and long-term credits granted to them since 1st August 1975 by major Western creditor countries generally and specifically by the United Kingdom;(2) what proportion of the total indebtedness of COMECON to the United Kingdom that has accrued since February 1974 was calculated in sterling for repayment purposes; what has been the average rate of interest on these loans and their average duration terms capital before redemption; what was the relevant exchange rate of sterling vis-à-vis the rouble at the time; and what is the comparable rate today.

    Parliamentary Questions

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in his Department are employed in answering parliamentary Questions.

    Drink, Tobacco And Petrol

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, at 5th April 1977, the following duties were to be levied at rates revalorised to take account exactly of the change in the value of money since April 1973, what revenue they would yield and what revenue yielded in 1973–74, viz.: tobacco duty, spirits, wines, beer, petrol (including value added tax) and vehicle excise duty.

    Trade Financing

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the total amount involved in the switch from sterling to foreign currency financing for trade between non-British ports; and how much of this has already taken place.

    Construction Industry (Tax Exemption Certificates)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why there is a delay in issuing tax certificate No. 714C required under the Finance (No. 2) Act 1975 from the Bristol tax office.

    I understand that, because of staff illness, there was a delay in issuing some C certificates at one of the Bristol tax offices, but that they have all now been issued.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has any plans to combat the unemployment which will be caused by the refusal of a No. 714 certificate to firms like Messrs. A. Bailey and Sons;(2) why he is refusing No. 714 certificates to firms like Messrs. A. Bailey and Sons who are not labour only subcontractors, but cannot operate without such a certificate.

    , pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 644–5], gave the following information:I wrote to the hon. Member on 23rd March about this case. The rules of confidentiality do not allow me to make public information about the tax affairs of individual businesses. A certificate is refused where the applicant fails to meet the conditions laid down in Schedule 12 to the Finance (No. 2) Act 1975. I do not think that any special plans are needed to deal with the effect of such refusals on employment.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many independent building trade workers have to date been granted the No. 714 tax exemption certificate; how many have been refused certificates; and how many applications are being processed at the present time.

    , pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 645], gave the following information:At the latest count, on 11th March 1977, a total of 294,774 applications had been received from individuals, partnerships and companies, of which 26,081 had been refused and 220,160 had been approved. As regards the balance which were outstanding, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) on 10th March 1977.—[Vol. 927, c. 647–8.]—The proportion of these figures which relates to individuals trading on their own account could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why a No. 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.

    , pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 25th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 718], gave the following information:These certificates are prepared by security processes and cannot, therefore, be issued immediately the application is approved.

    Social Services

    Departmental Staff

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many persons employed by his Department have been detained in prison or mental institutions; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will take steps to ensure that persons employed by his Department who have been in prison or mental institutions do not in future have access to confidential information about persons on social security;(3) if he will order an inquiry into how Mr. John King, formerly an inmate in Broadmoor, and subsequently convicted on 16th March 1977 of murder within the Department of Health and Social Security local office at Great Yarmouth, came to be employed by his Department, with access to confidential information about persons on social security;(4)whether it was known by his Department that Mr. John King, employed by his Department, and convicted in Norwich Crown Court, on 16th March 1977 of murder inside the local Department of Health and Social Security office at Great Yarmouth, had been detained at Broadmoor before joining his Department; and if he will make a statement;(5) how long Mr. John King, convicted in Norwich Crown Court on 16th March 1977, of murder inside the local Department of Health and Social Security office in Great Yarmouth, had been employed by his Department;(6) what his Department's policy is about employing former inmates of prisons and criminal lunatic institutions; and whether any special ban is put on giving such employees of his Department access to confidential information about persons on social security;(7) whether Mr. John King, a Department of Health and Social Security employee convicted of murder in Norwich Crown Court on 16th March 1977, and formerly an inmate of Broadmoor, had official access to the information which he used to invite his victim to attend the Department of Health and Social Security office where he murdered her.

    The recruitment of clerical staff to established posts in the Civil Service is the responsibility of the Civil Service Commission. Departments may act on behalf of the commission, but a certificate of qualification can be issued only by the commission, which has to be satisfied about the candidate's health and character.In 1967 Mr. John King was considered fit for discharge from Broadmoor Hospital, where he had been detained since August 1963. The hospital social worker concerned sought the help of a Government Department in Norwich, which accepted him for employment in the knowledge of his record. The Civil Service Commission deferred establishment initially and Mr. King's employment was unestablished until 1969, when establishment was confirmed, Mr. King's service during the intervening period having been satisfactory.In February 1973, Mr. King was transferred as an established civil servant to my local office at Great Yarmouth, where he was living with his parents, with the object of shortening his daily travelling. His Broadmoor history was not known to DHSS until after the transfer had taken place, but no special action was then thought necessary in view of his satisfactory service since 1967.Most members of DHSS local office staff have access, in the course of their duties, to the case documents of persons claiming social security benefits; Mr. King was no exception. It is a matter of extreme regret that Mr. King seems to have made use of information so gained to further a tragic crime, even though his knowledge of his victim does not seem to have originated from information in case documents.My Department does not maintain a record of staff who have been detained in prison or a mental institution prior to recruitment. The engagement of such a person would be a matter of judgment by the Civil Service Commission and my Department, each case being considered on its merits. In such instances, both the commission and my Department have regard to the needs of the service and the public and to the general desirability of employers helping to rehabilitate ex-prisoners and ex-patients. An individual would be assigned to a local social security office only if he were considered suitable for the duties involved. Once engaged and assigned, I do not think it would be either right or practicable to place restrictions on the duties of a member of the staff of a local office by reference to past convictions or illnesses.

    Death Grant

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the years in which the rate of death grant paid by his Department has risen since its inception.

    Since it first became payable in 1949, the death grant has been increased twice, in 1958 and in 1967.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the costs of burial for which death grants would apply in each of the years since 1967.

    Death grant is a sum payable on the death of an insured person and does not relate specifically to the costs of burial. My Department does not maintain a record of burial costs, but I understand the average cost is at present about £170, whereas in 1967 it was about £85.

    Eye Testing

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) in what different light conditions field of vision is tested for the purpose of completing form BD8; and if he will give his assurance that it is the minimum field of vision that is entered on the form;(2) what factors affecting vision when assessing eligibility for certification as blind or partially sighted are taken into account additional to those described in form BD8.

    I am advised that the visual field is measured objectively and recorded on form BD8. Where the field of vision varies with environmental or other factors, the field recorded takes account of those factors which the patient would expect to encounter in his daily life. For example, tests would be carried out in daylight and at customary night time illumination levels. It follows that it is not the "minimum" field of vision which is recorded. In this matter, and in any other arising from the examination for completion of form BD8, the consultant ophthalmologist concerned will exercise his judgment and draw attention to any unusual features.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when form BD8 was last revised; and what arrangements are being made for its further revision.

    Form BD8 was last revised in 1968. My Department is at present in consultation with representatives of the British Medical Association and of the Faculty of Ophthalmologists about a further revision. It is not yet possible to say when the revised form will be available for distribution.

    Ormskirk And District General Hospital

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the vacancy for a radiologist at Ormskirk and District General Hospital to be filled; when direct access facilities for general practitioners for X-rays at the hospital will be restored; and if he will give an assurance that the establishment for radiologists at the hospital will not be reduced.

    The post was re-advertised on a locum tenens basis on 26th March and will later be advertised as a permanent appointment. Discussions are being held with the District Medical Committee and the Medical Executive Committee with a view to the speedy resumption of open access to general practitioners for radiography. There is no intention of reducing the establishment of radiologists for Ormskirk district.

    Supplementary Benefit

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what would be the cost of paying the long-term rate of supplementary benefits to the unemployed after (a) one and (b) two years on benefit;(2) what would be the cost of paying the long-term supplementary benefit rate after one year on benefit.

    It is estimated that the additional cost in 1976–77 of paying long-term supplementary benefit rates in the following circumstances would have been of the order of:

    £ million
    All claimants after one year35
    Unemployed claimants after one year20
    Unemployed claimants after two years10

    Disabled Persons (Vehicles)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will list the number of (a) Minis, (b) Renault 4s and (c) other vehicles with automatic transmission issued to eligible disabled persons in each of the last 20 years;(2) if he will list the number of (

    a) Minis, ( b) Renault 4s and ( c) other vehicles with manual transmission issued to eligible disabled persons in each of the last 20 years.

    During 1976 the following new or reconditioned vehicles were issued:

    Motor-cars

    • 1,190 Minis with manual gear change.
    • 545 Minis with automatic transmission.
    • 180 others (predominantly Renault 4)—all with manual gear change.

    Three-wheelers

    • 211 with manual gear change.
    • 3,448 with automatic transmission.

    The Renault 4 is not available with automatic transmission. All three-wheelers manufactured since the middle of 1971 have automatic transmission. Information in respect of earlier years could not be extracted without a disproportionate use of resources.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost of providing driving tuition in each of the last 20 years to disabled persons issued with (a) cars with manual transmission (b) cars with automatic transmission (c) invalid tricyles with manual transmission and (d) invalid tricycles with automatic transmission.

    The information could not be extracted without a disproportionate use of resources.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will publish in the Official Report the full accident statistics relating to invalid tricycles with manual gearbox, automatic transmission, electrically-propelled models and four-wheeled vehicles, respectively, in England for the years ended 30th September 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, respectively, listing all the information, under the categories as supplied by his Department for publication in Motor magazine on 14th August 1974;(2) if he will list the total number of injury accidents per 1,000 disabled drivers and the accident involvement rate resulting in injury to drivers per 100 million miles for England, for invalid tricycles with manual gearbox, automatic transmission and four-wheeled vehicles, respectively, for the years ended 30th September 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, respectively;(3) if he will publish in the

    Official Report the incidence of drivers injured in accidents involving invalid tricycles with manual gearbox, automatic transmission and electrically-propelled models, respectively, in England for the years ended 30th September 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, respectively, under each appropriate type.

    (4) if he will list in the Official Report the injury accident rate per million miles for invalid tricycles with manual gearbox, automatic transmission and four-wheeled vehicles, respectively, in England for the years ended 30th September 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, respectively.

    The information relating to the years ended 30th September 1973, 1974 and 1975 is set out in my replies to my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle (Mr. Lewis) on 29th October 1975 and 19th October 1976 and to the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) on 11th November 1975.—[Vol. 898, c. 522–6; Vol. 917, c. 389–90; Vol. 899, c. 632–4.]The following tables set out the information for the year ended 30th September 1976. Information relating to injury accidents involving invalid three-wheelers is now separately identified in the Digest of Statistics "Road Accidents Great Britain" published annually by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport and available from Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

    DRIVER INJURY ACCIDENTS INVOLVING DEPARTMENTAL THREE-WHEELERS AND CARS REPORTED DURING THE YEAR ENDED 30TH SEPTEMBER 1976 ENGLAND

    Per 1,000 drivers

    *

    Per million miles

    Per 100 million miles

    Three-Wheelers:
    Manual174·46446
    Automatic4012·951,295
    Electric1411·671,167
    All three-wheelers319·67967
    Cars121·87187

    Information about non-driver injuries is not recorded.

    * Net figures relating to the number of drivers at risk at the end of the period which is smaller than the total number of drivers at risk during the period. The figure for car drivers does not include additional drivers who may share the driving with either the disabled person to whom the car is issued or the person nominated to drive for him. The numbers of such drivers are now known.

    † Including reserve vehicles. Vehicle mileage covered has been estimated and it is assumed that manual and automatic petrol three-wheelers cover the same mileage.

    ACCIDENTS INVOLVING DEPARTMENTAL CARS AND THREE-WHEELERS REPORTED DURING THE PERIOD 1ST OCTOBER 1975 TO 30TH SEPTEMBER 1976 ENGLAND

    Type of vehicle

    Vehicles at risk (000)†

    Total accidents

    Collision with another vehicle or pedestrian

    Collision with immovable object

    Overturned (including those allegedly blown over)

    Fire

    Others including theft, vandalism, damaged whilst parked

    Fatalities

    Manoeuvring

    Travelling

    Manoeuvring

    Travelling

    Model 70 3-wheelers11·93,7997901,08768435224046428
    Other petrol 3-wheelers7·71,00427537469633401892
    Electric 3-wheelers1·21613846391150220
    All 3-wheelers20·74,9641,1031,507792426279485310
    Departmental cars10·31,996428795102116125410

    DRIVER CASUALTIES

    Type of Injury

    Three-Wheelers

    Cars

    Automatic

    Manual

    Electric

    Minor cuts, bruises or concussion350741078
    Severe cuts and bruises7919320
    Broken ribs etc., necessitating admission to hospital3010119
    Serious multiple injuries2002
    Fatalities8200

    INJURY ACCIDENTS INVOLVING DEPARTMENTAL CARS AND THREE-WHEELERS REPORTED DURING PERIOD 1ST OCTOBER 1975 TO 3RD SEPTEMBER 1976—ENGLAND

    Total accidents

    Collision with another vehicle or pedestrian

    Collision with immovable object

    Overturned (including those allegedly blown over

    Fire

    Others including theft, vandalism, damaged while parked

    Manoeuvring

    Travelling

    Manoeuvring

    Travelling

    Three-Wheelers:
    All accident injuries (excluding fatalities)578382821911911604
    Minor cuts, bruises, concussion4343020612958803
    Severe cuts, bruises, etc.1017516152200
    Broken ribs/limb necessitating admission to hospital4112419501
    Serious multiple injuries20100100
    Fatalities100703000
    Departmental Cars:
    All accident injuries1191883311004
    Minor cuts, bruises, concussion78135129003
    Severe cuts, bruises, etc.2041501000
    Broken ribs/limb necessitating admission to hospital1911511001
    Serious multiple injuries20200000
    Fatalities00000000
    Including reserve vehicles. Fleet size at 30th September 1976.
    Manoeuvring—D.H.S.S. vehicle in collision while parking.
    Travelling—D.H.S.S. vehicle in collision while travelling on public road.

    Dentistry (European Community Directive)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements have been made under EEC Directive (1856) R2196/76 to provide the two-year additional training courses and examinations; if these students would take up places which could be used by United Kingdom candidates; how much extra money will be needed; and if this will be provided in additional payments from the EEC.

    Under the draft EEC Dental Directives R2196/76 the United Kingdom is not required to provide two-year additional training courses and examinations.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements he is making to prevent a person from a Common Market country on the Medical Register, but who has no special qualification in dentistry or periodental diseases, from practising in these specialities under revised Draft Directive (1856) R2196/76.

    Attention is being given to the position under Draft EEC Directive R2196/76 of those doctors from Common Market countries who apply successfully to have their names included in the Medical Register bearing in mind that no United Kingdom national on the Medical Register is by virtue of Section 34(1) of the Dentists Act 1957 at present prevented from practising dentistry.

    Rents

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many supplementary benefits claimants in each office in the North-West (Manchester) Region now have their rent paid directly to the landlord; and how these numbers compare with previous years.

    Information about payment of rent direct to landlords is not available on a local or regional basis and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.Information on a national basis is obtained from an annual sampling inquiry and this shows that in November 1974 there were 26,000 direct rent payments and in December 1975 51,000. Information about numbers in 1976 is not yet available.

    Fuel Bills

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many supplementary benefit claimants in each area office in the North-West (Manchester) Region now have deductions made from benefit for direct payment of fuel accounts rendered by the North-Western Electricity Board and North-West Gas, respectively.

    Information about payment of fuel accounts direct to electricity and gas boards is not available on a local or regional basis and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.Sample information on a national basis will be published later this year. There is no such information at present because the present arrangements were not introduced until between February and May 1976.

    Disabled Persons (Fares)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many disabled people received payments under the Employment Services Agency's "fares to work" scheme in the last year for which figures are available.