Written Answers To Questions
Friday 1st April 1977
Cabinet Ministers (Collective Responsibility)
asked the Prime Minister whether the rules laid down regarding collective Cabinet responsibility make any provision for occasions on which Ministers may speak publicly without adhering to that doctrine and without supporting Government policies; and, if so, what the provision is.
The doctrine of collective responsibility reflects an important constitutional principle which cannot, however, be covered by a precise set of rules.
House Of Commons
asked the Lord President of the Council what progress he has made in implementing the resolution of the House of July 1975 which recommended that the salary of a Member should be linked to the salary of an Assistant Secretary in the Civil Service; and what currently is that salary.
The House will have to consider the whole issue of Members' pay again in due course, but continuing incomes policy rules out progress at the present time. The current national salary scale for the Assistant Secretary grade is £8,650–£11,000.
asked the Lord President of the Council when he intends to bring forward a resolution to implement the recommendations of the Top Salaries Review Body which were agreed in July 1975.
The recommendations in the Top Salaries Review Body's Report No. 7 concerning Members' allowances were implemented in full with effect from 13th June 1975. As my predecessor said in his statement of 16th July 1975—[Vol. 895, c. 1503–7]—the recommendation that the Members' salary should be increased to £8,000 could not be supported against the background of the measures the Government had proposed in the attack on inflation. I have at present no plans to introduce a resolution to implement this recommendation.
asked the Lord President of the Council (1) what would be the current salary of a Member at the latest convenient date to take into account the increase in inflation which has occurred since the award which took effect on 1st January 1972;(2) what would be the current salary of a Member at the latest convenient date to take into account the increase in the cost of living which has occurred since the award which took effect on 1st January 1972.
If the gross salary of a Member at 1st January 1972—£4,500 were to be increased in line with the movement of the Index of Retail Prices between 1st January 1972 and February 1977 the resulting gross salary would be £9,450.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will publish in the Official Report figures showing the number of members of the Regular Army, Ulster Defence Regiment, Royal Ulster Constabulary, Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve and civilians killed in Londonderry, Belfast, and other areas, respectively, for each month since June 1976;(2) if he will publish in the
Official Report figures showing the number of injuries suffered by members of the Regular Army, Ulster Defence Regiment, Royal Ulster Constabulary, Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve and civilians in Londonderry, Belfast and other areas, respectively, for each month since June 1976;
(3) if he will publish in the Official Report figures showing the total number of assassinations which have occurred in Londonderry, Belfast and other areas, respectively, for each month since June 1976;
(4) if he will publish in the Official Report figures showing the total number
of explosions which have occurred in Londonderry, Belfast and other areas, respectively, for each month since June 1976;
(5) if he will publish in the Official Report figures showing the total number of shooting incidents, showing separately the number involving the security forces which occurred in Londonderry, Belfast and other areas, respectively, for each month since June 1976.
|Involving Security Forces||24||17||2||6||12||5||7||6|
|Involving Security Forces||45||121||40||47||36||55||46||33|
|Involving Security Forces||23||36||27||20||25||22||28||16|
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement about the supply of money, arms and ammunition to terrorists in Northern Ireland.
Following are the monthly figures for shooting incidents, explosions, assassinations and deaths in Northern Ireland since July 1976. The monthly figures for injuries, divided geographically, could not be provided without disproportionate effort. Quarterly figures showing the number of persons injured in Northern Ireland as a whole were included in the reply I gave to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) on 27th January.—[Vol. 924, c. 778—82.]
As far as arms and ammunition are concerned, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to his Question on 2nd December—[Vol. 921. c. 1141–3]—by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State.
Illegal activities in Ireland, including extortion and armed robberies, probably constitute the most important source of finance for terrorists, although funds from supporters abroad, particularly in the United States, also make a significant contribution. Funds from armed robberies in Northern Ireland appear to have declined during the past years, as also do those obtained from abroad.
Our diplomatic missions abroad, especially in the United States of America, do everything in their power to counter Provisional propaganda, and Ministers on visits to the United States
Number of cases
Contributions received and costs recovered
|Civil legal aid cases||…||…||…||3,675||255,698||182,733|
|Criminal legal aid cases||…||…||…||7,311||533,054||Not applicable|
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he proposes to take to increase owner-occupation in Northern Ireland.
I would like to increase the housing options in Northern Ireland, and I am considering a number of ways in which this might be done.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he intends to make to Hampshire County Council to ensure that the reconstruction of Haslar Bridge will not prejudice the use of the Gunboat Yard at Haslar.
I am informed that the Hampshire County Council is proceeding with design work with a view to rebuilding Haslar Bridge to the 1911 standards only, and that it is not empowered to rebuild it to a standard which would retain the clearance of the present footbridge above water. The reprovision of the 1911 bridge would so curtail access to Haslar Gunboat Yard that it would have to close and its tasks be transferred elsewhere. We are still considering an invitation from the council to make alternative proposals for the bridge's structure. Cost is naturally a major factor.
have taken every opportunity to point out the dangers of contributing to certain organisations.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total amount of legal aid in the latest 12-month period for which figures are available; and in respect of what total number of cases such aid was given.
The latest period for which this information is readily available is in respect of the year ended 31st March 1976 as shown in the table below:
Nimrod Airborne Early Warning
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce his decision regarding the purchase of the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod AEW for the United Kingdom's airborne early warning requirements.
I would refer the hon. Member to my statement to the House yesterday on airborne early warning.
Gas Gathering Pipelines (North Sea) Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether arrangements have yet been concluded for private sector participation in Gas Gathering Pipelines (North Sea) Ltd.
BP, ICI, RTZ, and Total/EIF have now agreed to participate in GGP Ltd., and will between them hold one-third of the shares, Other companies have promised their full co-operation. Strict arrangements have been made to safeguard commercially confidential information provided to GGP Ltd. by North Sea operators and other companies to attain its objectives. In my answer to my hon. Friend on 9th December last year—[Vol. 922, c. 311–313]—I said that GGP Ltd. would cease operations once it has completed its studies, and that its structure does not anticipate the arrangements which may later be made for the ownership of the pipeline system should one prove viable. In order to avoid pre-empting any decision on subsequent arrangements I have assured participants that, if the GGP studies show that a pipeline is commercially viable and development subsequently takes place on that basis, I will use my best endeavours to secure that a sum be paid that will recover to participants the money that they will have expended for the purchase of these studies. This sum would be at least equivalent to the share capital of GGP plus the funds paid to GGP by participants, though my assurance does not cover a sum exceeding £3 million.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a list of all the national park authorities and the date on which they each publish their national park plan, indicating if any of them will have failed to publish their plans by 1st April 1977.
I understand that four national park authorities are likely to publish their plans in April. These are Dartmoor, Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Yorkshire Dales. The remainder—Exmoor, the Lake District and the Pembrokeshire Coast—will follow later. I am advised by the Countryside Commission that, given the limited staffs of the national park authorities and the need for full public consultations, faster progress could not reasonably have been expected.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state the proportion of local authority housing revenue owed from rents, rate subsidy and Exchequer subsidy, respectively, and the proportion of local authority housing costs represented by maintenance, management, interest and amortisation, respectively.
The make-up of the aggregated housing revenue accounts of local authorities in England for 1976–77 is estimated as follows:
|Repairs and maintenance||17|
|Supervision and management||13|
|Gross rents (dwellings)||…||53|||
|Rate fund contribution||…||7|||
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has made to the tobacco industry on sports sponsorship; and when he expects to meet its representatives.
I am discussing a voluntary agreement and code of practice on sports sponsorship with representatives of the tobacco industry and I hope to meet them again shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to make it obligatory for anyone seeking planning permission to develop property that he does not own to obtain the consent of the owner in the case of owner-occupied property or to give 56 days' notice to the owners of all other property prior to submission to the relevant local authority and to institute an initial, and for subsequent similar applications on the same site, a rising scale of charges for applications other than by owner-occupiers for their own property.
No. Section 27 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 requires an applicant to notify all the persons, other than the applicant, who are owners of the land to which the application relates and also any persons who are tenants of any agricultural holding comprised in the land. My right hon. Friend does not propose to introduce legislation to require applicants to secure the consent of such owners or tenants. As for charging for applications, he is considering the matter.
Government Car Service
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to reduce the size or cost of the Government car pool.
It is planned to reduce the number of cars from the 1976 average of 353 to 283 by 1st April 1978.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the £300 million cuts in housing expenditure for the year 1978–79 at 1975 and at 1976 survey prices;(2) if he will publish a revaluation of the figures on housing expenditure for the years 1971–72 to 1980–81 given in Table 2.7 of Command Paper No. 6721–II 1975 at survey prices.
The figures for the £300 million cuts at 1976 Survey prices are as follows:
|Housing associations (grants and loans)||94|
|Local authority investment:|
|New Towns investment||41|
|Scotland and Wales||45|
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authority employees are involved with administering county council small-holdings; and what is the cost of such administration.
Information is not available to the Department about the number of local government employees engaged on the administration of small-holdings. Table 6 of the twenty-sixth Annual Report to Parliament on Smallholdings in England and Wales, a copy of which is available in the Library, contains information about the central and direct administration expenses of small-holding authorities in the year ending 31st March 1976.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimates have been made of the volume of traffic on the A604 in the vicinity of Haverhill which originates in, or is seeking access to, that town, as compared with the volume of through traffic;(2) what estimate he has made of the cost benefit or loss to the community of constructing a Haverhill bypass.
The A604 in the region of Haverhill is a principle road for which Suffolk County Council is highway authority. Traffic surveys, and estimates of the benefit from a bypass, are matters for the council.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many goods vehicles, over one and a half tons, have been involved in fatal accidents on motorways, including A roads of motorway standard, and other roads during 1976.
The information is as follows:
|Goods Vehicles* Involved in Fatal Accidents—GB 1976 (Provisional)|
|M and A(M) Roads||Other Roads|
|* over 1½ tons unladen weight.|
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a further statement about the prospects for housing homeless families in unoccupied houses at Her Majesty's Prison, Aklington.
Discussions are taking place with the Alnwick District Council and the staff associations concerned but I regret it is not yet possible to announce a decision.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if information is circulated by Interpol on the religions or political opinions or activities of particular individuals with no known or suspected involvement in criminal activities; and if the British police receive or provide such information.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests for information or assistance have been made by the British police to Interpol or vice versa for different categories of crime during the course of each of the last five years for which statistics are available.
The, information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information is available to indicate the extent to which co-operation with Interpol is successful in limiting the activities of international criminals and crime syndicates in Great Britain.
Interpol provides a very important means of exchanging information between British police forces and the police in other countries, and has facilitated successful operations against such major crimes as drug trafficking, forgery, fraud and trafficking in stolen vehicles and airline tickets.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if aliens resident in, or seeking to enter, the United Kingdom are ever excluded or expelled on the basis of information supplied via Interpol; and what provisions exist to ensure that such information is authentic and has not been falsified.
Relevant information transmitted through Interpol may be amongst the factors taken into account in these cases. The reliability of the information is carefully assessed in each individual case.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent studies have been made of the manner in which Interpol functions; and if the participation of the United Kingdom in its activities is satisfactory in all respects.
We have no reason to think that the participation of the United Kingdom police in Interpol is unsatisfactory or that any special study of the operation of Interpol as it affects this country is called for.
Death Certification And Coroners
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will present his consultative document arising out of the Committee on Death Certification and Coroners, or, in view of the fact that the Committee was appointed in 1965 and reported in 1971, if he will now pronounce the matter expired.
We are aiming to circulate a first instalment of the consultative document very shortly.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report details of the usual arrangements for the publication of an important Command Paper which were referred to in his reply to the hon. Member for Gosport on 24th March 1977.
It has been the custom for many years past for copies of Command Papers to be given in confidence to journalists of the Parliamentary Lobby in advance of publication in order that they may have time to present the matter fully and fairly to the public.
Immigration Control, Felixstowe
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why the immigration officials at the port of Felix-stowe failed to adjust their clocks and watches on the day of introduction of British Summer Time, Sunday 20th March, and so delayed passengers and cars for an extra hour, albeit with an announcement as to the oversight and ensuing slumbers.
By an unfortunate coincidence one of the immigration officers detailed for duty overslept and the other forgot to take account of the change to British Summer Time. However, two colleagues responded immediately to a call out, and all the 223 passengers from the ship concerned were cleared within 40 minutes of the scheduled time for disembarkation. None of them was delayed for more than 25 minutes. I apologise for any inconvenience caused by this unusual lapse on the part of the Immigration Service at Felixstowe.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has now received the Fisher Report.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the Report of the Home Office Working Party on Water Safety.
|Body||Post||Number in Post||Remuneration|
|Adjudicator (Non-Participating Employments).||Adjudicator||…||1||£40 fee per day.|
|Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards||Chairman||…||1||£6,700 p.a.|
|Vice Chairman||…||1||£1,200 p.a.|
|Area health authorities||Chairmen||…||90||£2,000 p.a.|
|Attendance Allowance Board||Chairman||…||1||£50 fee per day.|
|Medical members||…||5||£34·80 fee per day.|
|Lay members||…||2||£20 fee per day.|
|British Pharmacopoeia||Chairman||…||1||£32 fee per day.|
|Members||…||16||£27 fee per day.|
|Chief Scientist's Research Committee||Members||…||16||£15·75 fee per day.|
|Committee on Dental and Surgical Materials.||Chairman||…||1||£32 fee per meeting.|
|Members||…||15||£27 fee per meeting.|
|Committee on Safety of Medicines||Chairman||…||1||£32 fee per meeting.|
|Members||…||19||£27 fee per meeting.|
|Committee on the Review of Medicines||Chairman||…||1||£32 fee per meeting.|
|Members||…||20||£27 fee per meeting.|
|Dental Estimates Board||Chairman||…||1||£11,000 p.a.|
|Vice Chairman||…||1||£24 fee per day.|
|Members||…||7||£24 fee per day.|
|Dental Rates Study Group||Chairman||…||1||£25 fee per day.|
|General Practice Finance Corporation||Chairman||…||1||£28 fee per day.|
|Deputy Chairman||…||1||£26 fee per day.|
|Members||…||5||£23 fee per day.|
|Health Services Board||Chairman||…||1||£50 fee per meeting.|
|Members||…||5||£35 fee per meeting.|
|Industrial Injuries Advisory Council||Chairman||…||1||£18·90 fee per day.|
|Members||…||16||£6·30 fee per day.|
My right hon. Friend has received the report and he is considering the next steps to be taken.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a list of appointments under his patronage both full-time and part-time, together with the present scales of remuneration and duration of tenure of office with dates for present terminations.
My right hon. Friend makes paid appointments to the bodies listed in the table below. Apart from the Chairman of the Dental Estimates Board and the salaried members of the pneumoconiosis medical panels, all these appointments are part-time.The other details required, which apply also to some 8,700 unpaid appointments for which my right hon. Friend is responsible, are not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost to public funds.
Number in post
|Medical appeal tribunals||Members||…||318||£34·80 fee per day.|
|Medical boards||Members||…||1,400||£11·37 fee per session.|
|£14·36 When action as chairman|
|Medical practices Committee||Chairman||…||1||£8,580 p.a.|
|Members||…||8||£30–£32·50 fee per day.|
|Medical Commission||Chairman||…||1||£32 fee per meeting.|
|Members||…||15||£27 fee per meeting.|
|National Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped.||Chairman||…||1||£25 fee per day.|
|Members||…||2||£21 fee per day.|
|3||Secondment arrangements (Department reimburses employing authority).|
|National Insurance Advisory Committee.||Chairman||…||1||£18·90 fee per day.|
|Members||…||7||£6·30 fee per day.|
|Occupational Pensions Board||Chairman||…||1||£5,289·84 p.a.|
|Deputy Chairman||…||1||£4,039·84 p.a.|
|Members||…||12||£21 fee per day.|
|Pneumoconiosis, Byssinosis and Miscellaneous Diseases Benefit Board.||Chairman||…||1||£50 fee per day.|
|Deputy Chairman||…||1||£40 fee per day.|
|Members||…||6||£20 fee per day.|
|32||Civil Service rates of pay.|
|Pneumoconiosis Medical Panels||Members||…||22||£11·37–£17·39 fee per session.|
|Regional health authorities||Chairmen||…||14||£2,000 p.a.|
|Supplementary Benefits Commission||Chairman||…||1||£9,600 p.a.|
|Deputy Chairman||…||1||£2,000 p.a.|
|Workmen's Compensation (Supplementation) Board.||Chairman||…||1||£50 fee per day.|
|Deputy Chairman||…||1||£40 fee per day.|
|Members||…||6||£20 fee per day.|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the continuing provision for the treatment of thalassaemia at Whittington Hospital, Highgate; and whether it is his policy to curtail expenditure on this disease.
I understand from the area health authority that there will be no impairment of the continuing provision for treatment of thalassaemia at the Whittington Hospital.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South may expect a definitive reply to her letter of 22nd December 1976 about the treatment of thalassaemia under the NHS.
A definitive reply will not be possible before the completion of present studies. I am writing to my hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements are being made for the diagnosis and treatment of thalassaemia at University College Hospital, London, and elsewhere.
Diagnosis and treatment of thalassaemia by consultant staff, including haematologists, continues at University College Hospital and other acute general hospitals.
Doctors And Dentists (Locums)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the recommendations made in the Puxon Report on the supply of locums has been accepted; and what progress has been made in putting them into effect.
The report of the committee of inquiry appointed by the South-East Thames Regional Health Authority under the chairmanship of Mrs. Margaret Puxon to investigate procedures followed in the appointment of locum hospital medical and dental staff has been accepted in its entirety by that authority and commended to its area health authorities for action. The committee's main recommendations concerned the checks on registration, identity and references which health authorities should carry out before appointing a locum. All health authorities were reminded of the importance of carrying out such checks on locum medical and dental staff, including those provided by agencies, as well as on permanent staff, in a circular issued by my Department in January this year. I am sending a copy to the hon. Member.
Doctors (European Community)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what response he has sent to the Fedération Européenne des Médecins de Collectivités concerning its report on unemployment among doctors in EEC countries.
I cannot trace having received a copy of this report, nor have I been asked to comment on it.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which health districts in England and Wales have two or more vacancies for permanent posts of full-time equivalent consultant radiologists, giving the number of vacancies in each instance.
This information is not collected centrally on a district basis. The table below gives the number of vacant posts at 30th September 1976 in each regional health authority, with whole-time equivalents in brackets. About half the vacant posts were occupied by locums.
|North West Thames||…||2||(1·8)|
|North East Thames||…||12||(7·8)|
|South East Thames||…||4||(3·3)|
|South West Thames||…||9||(6·1)|
Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received concerning local authorities who withdraw assistance given under Section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 although the need which the authority had accepted has not diminished; what reply he has given; and if he will make a statement.
I have received representations in three cases. I understand that one is sub judice and it would not be appropriate for me to intervene at this stage. In the second, I have written to the hon. Members concerned reiterating what I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Mr. Douglas-Mann) on 13th December 1976.—[Vol. 922, c. 609.]—What I then said was that, according to the advice I have received, once need has been accepted the services given under the section cannot be withdrawn in the absence of a reduction of need. Representations about the third case have only just been received and I am making inquiries.
Deaf And Blind Children
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is taking to increase public awareness about the needs of children who are born both deaf and blind.
As I informed my hon. Friend in my reply on 14th February,—[Vol. 926, c. 39—41.]—I am maintaining close contact with the National Association for Deaf, Blind and Rubella Handicapped, the Deaf-Blind Helpers' League, the Royal National Institute for the Deaf and the Royal National Institute for the Blind. I entirely share my hon. Friend's view of the importance of increasing public awareness of the needs of deaf-blind children and am pleased to acknowledge the efforts of these four organisations to that end.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many letters he has received since 1st January on, respectively, invalid tricycles and the needs of children who are born both deaf and blind.
I have received approximately 600 letters about invalid tricycles and approximately five about the needs of deaf-blind children.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many prosecutions for the employment of minors there have been in the latest 12-month period for which figures are available; and in what trades the minors were working.
I am informed by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that, during 1976, 16 employers were convicted of a total of 25 offences relating to the employment of children and young persons. The industries concerned were:
|Aluminium door Manufacture||1|
|Concrete Product manufacture||1|
|Motor vehicle repair||6|
|Silk screen printing||5|
Prices And Consumer Protection
Price Control (Social Accountability)
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will define the term "socially accountable" in the context of his Consultative Document on Price Control after 31st July 1977.
Social accountability in the context of prices policy means that the Price Commission will in particular cases ask companies to explain their price increases or pricing policies in detail and will include these explanations, with their own assessment and recommendations, in reports which will be published.
Prices And Profits
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will ensure that after 31st July 1977 any price control policy recognises that where the historic reference level for price control is unrealistic to the continuing viability of the enterprise, a flexible approach can be taken by the Price Commission towards implementing controls on such prices.
Under the present Price Code firms may apply to the Price Commission for a modification of their net profit margin reference level or their permitted gross margin ceiling. My right hon. Friend is considering how, under the margin controls which he proposes to continue after 31st July, the Commission can be given more explicit guidance on the factors to be taken into account in the exercise of its discretion. The Price Commission Bill, under which the Commission will be empowered to investigate price increases, prices and margins, was introduced today. In carrying out such investigations the Commission will be guided by criteria set out in the Bill, which make clear that efficient firms are not to be prevented from earning adequate profits.
Education And Science
Schools Inspectors (Pensions)
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools who have themselves necessarily had teaching service do not receive the concession which is made to teachers and other civil servants that one-half of their service in Her Majesty's Forces should be taken into consideration in calculating their pensions; and what proposals she has for remedying this.
The situation arises with those inspectors who had transferred from the teacher's superannuation scheme to the Civil Service scheme before the concession to teachers was made. It is not confined to Her Majesty's Inspectors but affects also many others who have transferred from one public service superannuation scheme to another. The matter is receiving attention by those Departments with responsibility for the public service schemes.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will initiate immediately an inquiry into the death of Mehran Sarkeshik which recently took place at Millfield School.
No. My right hon. Friend has no power to initiate inquiries into incidents at independent schools. I understand that this particular incident has been thoroughly investigated by the school and that an inquest has already been held by the coroner.
"Black Paper 1977"
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many copies of "Black Paper 1977" her Department has purchased.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what additional sums at current prices, she is seeking to raise from overseas student fees during the financial years 1977–78 and 1978–79.
The estimated net increase in fee income from overseas students in 1977–78 is about £14 million at November 1976 prices. Fees for 1978–79 are not yet settled.
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she can now announce the level of assistance for self-financing students from home and overseas who suffer hardship from increased fees and obtain no benefit from increased grants.
It will be for universities, authorities and colleges to determine what level of assistance to offer from the total resources available to them. These resources will include the £1 million allowance for hardship made in the rate support grant and university grant settlements for 1977–78.
Bingley College Of Education
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consultations are planned in regard to the future of Bingley College of Education in Yorkshire; and if he will make a statement.
I am meeting a deputation from the Bradford Local Education Authority on 5th April.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how the level of industrial production for the last two months for which figures are available compares with the levels of production during the three-day week in 1974.
Provisional figures for December 1976-January 1977 suggest that the level of industrial output was some 1 to 2 per cent. higher than in January-February 1974.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are the criteria on which Merseyside meets those already determined for the headquarters of British Shipbuilders; and what other factors need to be determined before a decision is taken.
It has been made clear that the headquarters of British Shipbuilders will be located in an assisted area with a tradition of shipbuilding.
Japanese Television Manufacturing
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what factors relative to the national interest he will take into account in evaluating any application by Hitachi of Japan to set up a television assembly plant in Great Britain.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry under what conditions he would permit Japanese colour television producers to extend their operations in the United Kingdom.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) in 22nd March.—[Vol. 928, c. 502.]
asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many Japanese television manufacturers are now producing within the United Kingdom; how many persons they employ; and how many colour television sets they produced in 1976.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to similar Questions by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Lyons) on 22nd March.—[Vol. 928, c. 500.]
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his estimate of the ratio of colour television sets produced in the United Kingdom, for home and export sales, respectively, as between United Kingdom-based Japanese manufacturers and British producers.
I regret that this information is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will undertake with the appropriate sector working party a complete review of the tanning industry; and, until such a review is completed, ask the National Enterprise Board to halt any financial assistance to any firm in this industry.
There is no sector working party for the tanning industry, but my Department is meeting regularly with representatives of leather manufacturers and unions about the problems facing the industry. I can, therefore, see no need for the review suggested by the hon. Member, nor can I see any reason for asking the National Enterprise Board to halt any financial assistance to any firm in the leather industry.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the 26th annual report to Parliament on smallholders in England and Wales up to 31st March 1976, and when the 27th annual report up to 31st March 1977 will be available.
The 26th Annual Report to Parliament on Smallholdings in England and Wales was laid before both Houses on 29th March 1977 and copies are available in the Libraries. It is expected that the 27th report will be available about the same time next year.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated average income to the tenant arising from a county council smallholding of 41 acres.
I regret that I have no information on which to base an estimate. The information on farm incomes which is collected by the Ministry in the Farm Management Survey does not distinguish between county council smallholdings and other small farms.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has made in reviewing the adequacy and personnel of agricultural land tribunals with regard to their new duties in relation to the succession of farm tenancies; and of how many cases of disputed succession he is so far aware.
No cases have been considered by agricultural land tribunals so far, but a total of 24 firm applications had been received by mid-March. I am confident that the tribunals will deal with family succession cases with their customary efficiency.
Forests (Recreational Use)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list in the Official Report any new schemes introduced during 1976, or proposed for introduction during 1977, to encourage the public or allow the public to make greater use of Forestry Commission land for recreational and educational activities.
The following are the main developments:
Introduced in 1976
Camping and Caravan Sites
- Tangham (59 pitches) (Suffolk).
- Swarland (40 pitches) (Northumberland).
Galloway Forest (Dumfries and Galloway Region).
- Queen Elizabeth Forest (Hampshire).
- Hamsterley Forest (Durham).
- Coed Taf Forest (Powys and Mid Glamorgan).
- Crowthorne Wood (Berkshire).
- Dalby Forest (North Yorkshire).
- Hamsterley Forest (Durham).
- Queen Elizabeth Forest (Hampshire).
- Forest of Dean (Gloucester).
- Achray Forest (Central Region).
- Glentress Forest (Borders Region).
- The Queen's Forest (Highland Region).
- Beddgelert Forest (Gwynedd).
- Gwydyr Forest (Gwynedd).
- Tair Onen Forest (Mid Glamorgan).
- Margam Forest (West Glamorgan).
- Wentwood Forest (Gwent).
Proposed in 1977
Kernow Forest 30 cabins (Cornwall).
Camping and Caravans Sites
Balmacara 60 pitches (Highland Region).
Achray Forest (Central Region).
- Alice Holt Forest (Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey).
- Thornthwaite Forest (Cumbria).
- Westonbirt Arboretum (Gloucester).
- Rheidol Forest (Dyfed).
- Strathyre Forest (Central and Tayside Region).
- Kirkhill Forest (Grampian Region).
- And 4 other sites to be determined.
In addition, the Forestry Commission provided many small schemes, such as forest walks, nature trails, and picnic sites, at a number of forests during 1976, and will continue to increase such facilities as circumstances permit. In consultation with the Field Studies Council and other educational bodies, training aids for teachers have been provided at nine forests during 1976 to improve the value of visits by schoolchildren, and more will be introduced in 1977.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the amount of corporation tax which will have been paid in the current tax year by companies qualifying to pay the small companies' rate; and how many companies paid the lower rate in each of the past four tax years.
I would refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave him on 10th May 1976—[Vol. 911, c. 55 and 56] No later estimates are available.
Wines And Spirits
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide for a free charge for wine and spirit clearance from bond which would entail no loss to the Treasury but which would minimise the transition problems of the wine and spirits industry.
No, but I am continuing to look at the impact of fiscal legislation on the wine and spirits industry. However, any concession to the industry must initially entail some loss of revenue to the Exchequer.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why a large-scale smuggler has been allowed to escape prosecution through a deal with Her Majesty's Customs whereby he paid £500,000; and whether all those caught smuggling are given the same opportunity.
Under Section 288 of the Customs and Excise Act 1952 the Commissioners of Customs and Excise are empowered to compound any proceedings for an offence under that Act. The circumstances of each smuggling incident are examined, and where offence action is considered to be necessary a compounded settlement is frequently offered. The Commissioners gave careful consideration to all aspects of the case mentioned before allowing proceedings to be compounded for £500,000. It is not their custom to reveal the circumstances which they took into account in reaching individual settlements.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many smugglers have been caught in each of the last three years; how many were prosecuted and what fines were imposed; how many settled for an agreed penalty to avoid prosecution and what were the penalties agreed; and in each of the two categories what was the value of the smuggled goods.
The number of persons convicted of smuggling offences or against whom proceedings were compounded under Section 288 of the Customs and Excise Act 1952 in the past three financial years were:
Information about the value of the smuggled goods is not readily available and could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost to public funds.
Construction Industry (Tax Exemption Certificates)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage of No. 714 forms his Department found proved to be untraceable to any person paying tax in the latest 12 months for which figures are available; what this number of forms was; and what was the amount of tax thus lost;(2) how many different names purporting to be names of sub-contractors appeared on all No. 714 forms in the latest 12 month period for which figures are available.
The form No. 714 is the tax certificate issued by an Inspector of Taxes which is retained by the subcontractor. I assume, therefore, that the hon. Member has in mind the forms No. 715, which are the vouchers returned to the Inland Revenue as evidence of payments made without de- ductions for tax. I regret however, that the information he seeks is not available.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as waitresses;(2) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as waiters;(3) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as window cleaners;(4) how many persons in 197–576 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as bookmakers' chalkers;(5) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as bingo callers;(6) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as self-employed hairdressers;(7) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as self-employed repair men;(8) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as clothing trade outworkers;(9) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as prostitutes;(10) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as minicab drivers;
(11) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as barmen;
(12) how many persons in 1975–76 declared income for purposes of income tax assessment as deriving from employment, part-time or full-time, as barmaids.
I regret that this information is not available. Inland Revenue analyses both of employed and self-employed persons are based broadly speaking on the Minimum List Headings within the Standard Industrial Classification (1968 Revision) and it is not possible to provide a more detailed breakdown.
|At current Prices||At 1976 Prices|
|(a) Single person's allowance|
|50 per cent. of average earnings||0·12||0·59||4·95||1·08||3·15|
|100 per cent. of average earnings||0·19||0·95||4·95||1·72||5·08|
|150 per cent. of average earnings||0·46||0·95||5·02||4·15||5·08|
|200 per cent. of average earnings||0·53||0·95||6·62||4·79||5·08|
|300 per cent. of average earnings||0·53||0·95||8·63||4·79||5·08|
|(b) Wife's earned income allowance|
|50 per cent. of average earnings||—||—||4·09||—||—|
|100 per cent. of average earnings||—||0·39||4·95||—||2·08|
|150 per cent. of average earnings||0·06||0·94||4·95||0·54||5·02|
|200 per cent. of average earnings||0·07||0·95||5·78||0·63||5·08|
|300 per cent. of average earnings||0·24||0·95||8·32||2·17||5·08|
|(c) Married person's allowance|
|50 per cent. of average earnings||0·12||0·66||7·30||1·08||3·53|
|100 per cent. of average earnings||0·26||1·46||7·30||2·35||7·80|
|150 per cent. of average earnings||0·58||1·56||7·38||5·24||8·34|
|200 per cent. of average earnings||0·85||1·56||9·65||7·67||8·34|
|300 per cent. of average earnings||0·95||1·56||12·67||8·58||8·34|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer further to his reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North Official Report, 2nd February 1977, column 186, if he will publish a table comparing the total net weekly value, at current and at constant prices, of single person's tax allowance, wife's earned income allowance, and married person's tax allowance, in 1938, 1946 and 1976, assuming total earnings, including the wife's where applicable, to be 50 per cent. 100 per cent., 150 per cent., 200 per cent. and 300 per cent. of average male manual earnings in each case.
The net weekly values of the allowances are as follows:1976 the index is the average general index of Retail Prices.The figures relate to the income tax year commencing in April of each calendar year.It has been assumed that the wife's earnings are sufficient to qualify for the maximum amount of wife's earned income allowance, and this has been set against the income taxable at the highest marginal rate remaining atfer first setting the married allowance against the highest slice of income.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of retirement pensioners, when single or a couple if married, have an income, apart from their old-age pension, of more than £5,000 a year, at the latest available date.
The latest information available relates to 1974–75, when the proportion was between 1 and 2 per cent.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will extend the relief given under Section 27 of the Taxes Act 1970 to those British subjects not resident in the United Kingdom who are blind and who are at present unable to obtain the relief under Section 18 of the Act which limits the relief to persons registered as blind with a local authority.
I have noted the hon. Member's suggestion, but successive Governments have taken the view that the relief should be subject to the objective test of registration with a local authority.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates would be the cost of encouraging small savings generally by disregarding the first £20 of interest to persons liable to tax at the standard rate only.
I regret that information is not available on which to base a precise estimate, but the cost would be unlikely to exceed £25 million.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a figure for the estimated percentage rise in total tax yield resulting from (a) economic growth of 1 per cent. and (b) inflation of 1 per cent., allowances and tax rates remaining unaltered and show the individual figures for each tax in turn, together with the weighting for each tax as it contributes to overall fiscal drag.
It is not possible to state with any accuracy the effect on total tax revenue of a 1 per cent. increase in economic growth. Such a calculation depends crucially on the pattern of growth at least in the short run. For example, if the increase in economic growth were concentrated in consumers' expenditure, more revenue would be raised from direct taxes than if it occurred through, say, growth in investment. However, in the long run the average tax yield might be expected to rise by between 1·2 and 1·5 per cent. for every 1 per cent. rise in GDP.The table below shows the percentage increase in revenue of individual taxes for a 1 per cent. rise in inflation. This is taken to mean a 1 per cent. rise in prices, money incomes, profits, the value of stocks, the value of estates at death, and for capital gains tax the value of disposals.
|Percentage change in revenue as a result of a one per cent. rise in prices|
|VAT and car tax||1·0|
|Other Customs and Excise Taxes||0·8|
|Capital Gains Tax||6·25|
|Capital Transfer Tax/Estate Duty||2·0|
|Total Tax Revenue||1·3|
British Gas Corporation
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the British Gas Corporation was the only public corporation to be asked to repay existing borrowings to help reduce the public sector borrowing requirement; and if he will make a statement.
Although other nationalised industries contributed to the public expenditure savings, they did so by reductions in planned borrowing rather than the premature repayment of debt.
Value Added Tax
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can now make available a current text of the proposed Sixth EEC Directive on the harmonisation of the basis of assessment of VAT.
Yes. The Council of Ministers has reached a common position on the Directive, which is now subject to further consideration by the European Parliament before it is adopted by the Council. I am arranging for copies of the Directive, as forwarded by the Council to the European Parliament, to be placed in the Library of the House.
Public Expenditure (Cash Limits)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether allowance has been made in the cash limits on Supply Estimates for 1977–78 for the expenditure measures he announced in his Budget Statement.
The White Paper "Cash Limits 1977–78", like the Supply Estimates, does not take account of the expenditure measures which were announced by my right hon. Friend in his Budget Statement. Where these measures affect services covered by cash limits, the limits will be suitably adjusted. Similarly, for those measures which are financed from Votes, Supplementary Estimates will be presented as necessary.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the percentage rate of income tax which levied at the same percentage on every taxpayer, would yield the same total as the present system of variable income tax rates yields.
Assuming that the uniform rate of tax was applied to the total income of persons as defined on page 159 of Inland Revenue Statistics 1976, the rate required to produce the 1976–77 yield of income tax would be about 22½ per cent.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what would the standard rate of income tax need to be increased assuming that the upper rates remained unchanged, if the national insurance contribution paid by employees and the self-employed were abolished and if the total income of the Government were not to fall as a consequence (a) in the current financial year and (b) in each of the past five financial years.
The basic rate of income tax would need to be increased to 43 per cent. for 1976–77 and rates for earlier years would be as follows:
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what investigations he has made of the introduction of a self-assessment income tax system similar to that operating in the United States of America;(2) what is his estimate of the amount of manpower which could be saved in the Inland Revenue by the introduction of a self-assessment income tax system in the United Kingdom.
The possibility of a change to a self-assessment income tax system in the United Kingdom has been studied on a number of occasions. The essential feature of such a change would be that the taxpayer or his agent would become responsible for the calculation of his own tax liability, a task which is currently undertaken by the Inland Revenue. The extent of the saving would depend on such considerations as the type of system adopted, the degree of checking undertaken, and so on. But there would only be net saving to the economy so far as the reduction in Revenue staff were not offset by increases in private compliance costs.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer 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' costs.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report 28th March 1977; Vol. 929, c. 38], gave the following information:Self-assessment of personal income tax would not affect the yield of tax in principle; in practice, however, it is unlikely that self-assessment would be feasible without changes in the tax system. The effect on the yield and on Inland Revenue costs would depend on the nature and extent of these changes.
Child Tax Allowances
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the considerations which led him to the decision that it would not be justifiable to extend into later years the special arrangements applying to child tax allowances in 1977–78 children living abroad which he announced on 14th December 1976.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 31st March 1977; Vol. 929, c. 237], gave the following information:In the context of a fundamental change in our system of help for families with children it would be inappropriate, and administratively costly, to retain child tax allowances for this group alone when the allowances generally have been phased out.
National Land Fund
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many requests for financial contributions from the National Land Fund have been refused since it was established in 1946.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 31st March 1977; Vol. 929, c. 238], gave the following information:Such requests are sympathetically considered, but it would involve disproportionate time and effort to assemble the information requested.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received a formal request for the resources of the National Land Fund to be used for the purchase of Mentmore Towers and its contents; if so, when the request was made; and what sum was involved.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 31st March 1977; Vol. 929, c. 238], gave the following information:I would refer the hon. Member to a reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment on 7th March to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds). The Government's contribution towards the cost of purchasing Mentmore Towers and its contents would involve a call on the resources of the National Land Fund.
Government—Liberal Party (Joint Consultations)
asked the Minister for the Civil Service why official cars will not be made available for Liberal Party spokesmen attending meetings of the joint consultative committee.
Because it is not necessary.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total deficit between the United Kingdom's exports to and imports from the EEC for the period commencing 1st January 1973 to 31st December 1976.
£7,596 million, on visible trade, on a balance of payments basis. Figures of our trade with the EEC were published in Trade and Industry, 4th March 1977, table 3, page 590.
Mr Joseph Jackson, Qc
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what were the grounds which led him to select Mr. Joseph Jackson, QC, as the inspector into the affairs of CST Investments Ltd.; and if Mr. Jackson's previous association with Mr. Selmes was declared by him and known to him at the time of appointment.
Mr. Jackson is an eminent silk whose qualifications make him fully competent to investigate the affairs of this company. My Department was aware that he had previously advised Mr. Selmes on a matter wholly unconnected with the present inquiry, and did not consider that that fact was relevant, a view which was subsequently endorsed by the Bar Council.
Film Industry (Interim Action Committee)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the cause of the delay in calling the first meeting of the preparation committee for the British Film Authority; and if he will make a statement.
My hon. Friend no doubt has in mind the proposed Interim Action Committee on the Film Industry. The date of the first meeting will be a matter for the committee itself to decide. I am not yet in a position to make a statement, but will announce the names of the members as soon as possible.
Overseas Relatives Reunion Club, Scarborough
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the collapse of the Overseas Relatives Reunion Club of Scarborough which arranges flights for elderly people visiting their relatives abroad; and if there is any action his Department can take to assist those who have made travel arrangements through that firm.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th March 1977; Vol. 928, c. 672], gave the following information:A petition for the winding up of the company which manages the club will be heard in the High Court of Justice on 25th April 1977. If the company is wound up, those who have lost money may be able to claim in the liquidation as unsecured creditors. I understand from the CAA that as far as is known ORRC was not required to hold an air travel organiser's licence so it did not pay contributions to the Air Travel Reserve Fund. There is no action which I can take to assist it. I am, however, considering whether this is a problem which should be remedied in future, bearing in mind the administrative and legal difficulties involved.