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Written Answers

Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 5th April 1977

Energy

Energy Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what terms of reference he proposes for the Energy Commission; and what powers it is to have;(2) how many members he expects to appoint to the Energy Commission; and how far he intends to appoint those who have experience or expertise in the field of energy.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend, the Member for Aberdare (Mr. Evans) on 28th March—[Vol. 929, c. 12.]

Gas And Electricity Disconnections

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many domestic consumers of (a) gas and (b) electricity remained disconnected as a result of nonpayment of bills at the most recent convenient date.

I regret that the information on disconnections of gas is not available in the form requested. However, I am informed that in the month of February 1977 total disconnections—domestic and non-domestic—for non-payment of bills amounted to 1,996. Of these approximately 13 per cent. were reconnected within 14 days.As for electricity, on 28th February 1977, 19,554 domestic consumers were without electricity because of disconnections due to non-payment of bills. I am informed that an average of 60 pet cent. of consumers disconnected are reconnected within two days, this figure rising to 70 per cent. after one week.

Departmental Inquiries (Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has knowledge of the direct and indirect costs incurred by energy industries in providing information on a regular basis to his Department.

I do not have this information and it would be disproportionately expensive to obtain it. However, much of the information which the energy industries provide to my Department on a regular basis is prepared routinely for management purposes and the additional cost of providing it to my Department is minimal.

Nuclear Reactors

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he anticipates making an announcement about the commercial fast reactor.

We are still reviewing our policy on the next stage of the development of the fast reactor, including the possible construction of a full-scale demonstration reactor. My right hon. Friend will make an announcement when a decision is reached.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what recent representations have been made about the need to establish the commercial fast reactor at a site at Dounreay.

During the past year my right hon. Friend has received a number of representations from local union branches, the Highland Regional Council, and the Presbytery of Caithness, as well as from many individuals in the area, in favour of constructing a commercial fast reactor at Dounreay.

Gas Flaring

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will compare the volume of gas flared in the north North Sea in February 1977 with the 190 million cubic metres flared in January 1977 and give his estimate of the volume of gas likely to be flared in each month up to the end of June 1977.

The corresponding figures are 209 million cubic metres—January 1977 revised figure—and 228 million cubic metres—February 1977. The gas flaring proposals of some individual operators are under review but I expect the June 1977 figure to be of the order of 350 million cubic metres.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will express in terms of million tons coal equivalent the amount of gas flared in the north North Sea since production first began in the area.

The amount of gas flared in the northern North Sea from June 1975 when production first began to end February 1977 was about 2 million tons of coal equivalent.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will express in terms of MTCE the 20 billion cubic metres of gas he has authorised to be flared from Brent B Platforrm; and if he will express in similar terms the total volume of gas entering the United Kingdom market from the BGC in 1976.

20 billion cubic feet of gas equals about 0·9 million tons of coal equivalent. During 1976 BGC supplied 14·4 thousand million therms, which is 56·2 million tons of coal equivalent.

Nuclear Power Stations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when the current programme of advanced gas-cooled reactor nuclear power stations is likely to be completed.

I am advised by the CEGB that its latest estimate for completion of the current AGR programme is late 1979, when the second reactor at Heysham power station is due to be commissioned.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what annual tonnage of spent fuel will arise from the operation of the advanced gas-cooled reactor power stations when fully operational.

From about 200 to 300 tonnes per annum once all the five AGR stations are commissioned, depending on operating programmes.

Windscale

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what was the design capacity of the existing oxide fuel reprocessing plant at Windscale;(2) what the capacity of the oxide fuel reprocessing plant at Windscale is likely to be when its refit is completed;(3) when the oxide fuel reprocessing plant at Windscale is due to be commissioned.

I am advised that the existing head and oxide plant, which was adapted from an earlier plant, was designed to handle about 1 tonne a day of oxide fuel. It fed into the main reprocessing plant and its actual throughput was dependent on the extent to which the capacity of that plant was taken up with Magnox fuel. Current forecasts indicate that when the head-end plant is recommissioned in two or three years' time the loading in the Magnox plant will preclude its use up to its design capacity.

Wave Power

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether his Department has any plans to increase the national expenditure on research into methods of harnessing the energy in sea waves.

On 29th April 1976, in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend I announced a two-year study to assess the feasibility of extracting energy from waves around Britain's coast. This work is being carried out under the guidance of an Interdepartmental Wave Energy Steering Committee (WESC). The progress so far has been very encouraging and the committee has therefore under-taken a complete review of the programme to see whether increased expenditure would be justified. It has now recommended that the programme should be increased from £1·01 million in January 1976 prices to £2·5 million in January 1977 prices. My right hon. Friend's Advisory Council on Research and Development (ACORD) has endorsed the recommendation and we have accepted it.The revised programme will take the development further than was originally planned—including larger-scale model work and more generic work—and will provide a better base for judgment on the next phase of the development in the autumn of 1978.

Trade

Gatwick Airport

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proposals he has for the use of the new facilities which are now being provided at Gatwick Airport; and if he will make a statement.

The way in which future London area air traffic should be handled and the longer-term airport developments which will be required are at present the subject of consultations with local authorities, airport committees, airlines, amenity groups, employees' organisations and others.Extensive development work is in progress at the two major international airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, which serve the London area. Improvements and modifications at Heathrow, which will be completed in 1978, should provide capacity for 30 million passengers a year. The reconstruction of the terminal and related facilities at Gatwick, which will also be completed in 1978 at a cost of £70 million, should enable that airport to cater for about 16 million passengers a year. Decisions concerning the longer-term expansion of the London airports, including the possible development of other airports, will be taken in the light of the consultations on airports strategy, which are now nearing completion. However, irrespective of these decisions, it is necessary to ensure that air traffic is distributed in such a way as to use the capacity that is now available and being provided.If the expected increase in London area air traffic over the next few years is to be accommodated without serious congestion at Heathrow, the main objective, in the immediate future, is to ensure that Gatwick, with its new facilities, unrivalled access and other advantages, is used more extensively. The natural growth of existing air services at Gatwick will not be sufficient for this purpose and some transfer of traffic from Heathrow to Gatwick, to be spread over the next few years, is required.First, from 1st April 1978, no whole plane charters of British and overseas airlines will have access to Heathrow, thus providing some immediate relief to terminal capacity at Heathrow. However, to ensure an efficient allocation of air services between the two airports, further action is required, which would involve the transfer of scheduled services of British and overseas operators from

19751976January—February 1977
Metric tons£'000 cifMetric tons£'000 cifMetric tons£'000 cif
Sweden4143773983916170
Austria2763244534797084
Spain1,0356981,2451,067564473
Japan7264961,7831,406238250

Heathrow to Gatwick; this would contribute to the establishment of a viable network of scheduled services from Gatwick. This is one of the issues being considered in the present renegotiation of the United Kingdom/United States air services agreement and discussions have also been initiated with the Canadian, Spanish and Portuguese Governments, and similar discussions may take place later with other countries. I wish to emphasise that the implementation of these policies must be carried out so as to avoid discrimination between foreign airlines and their British competitors.

Any proposals by newcomers to start operations from Heathrow, and requests by existing operators to introduce additional capacity to and from Heathrow, will be considered by the Civil Aviation Authority and my Department in the light of this policy.

Steel (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what was the volume and value of tool steel imported into the United Kingdom from Austria in 1975, 1976 and the first three months of 1977; and what were the comparable figures of imports from Sweden, Spain and Japan;(2) what was the volume and value of stainless bar steel imported into the United Kingdom from Austria, in 1975, 1976 and the first three months of 1977; and what were the comparable figures of imports from Sweden, Spain and Japan.(3) what was the volume and value of high speed steel imported into the United Kingdom from Austria in 1975, 1976 and the first three months of 1977; and what were the comparable figures of imports from Sweden, Spain and Japan.

Figures for tool steel and high-speed steel are not available, as imports are not recorded in sufficient detail in the overseas trade statistics to distinguish them separately. The latest figures for imports of stainless and heat resisting bar steel are as follows:have been made to his Department by the British Independent Steel Producers Association in the past 12 months about the dumping of special steels from Austria, Sweden, Spain and Japan; and what action has been taken;(2) how many representations have been made to his Department by the British Steel Corporation in the past 12 months about the dumping of special steels in the United Kingdom market from Austria, Sweden, Spain and Japan;(3) what anti-dumping duties have been levied on (

a) tool steel, ( b) high-speed steel and ( c) stainless steel bar within the past 12 months on imports from Austria, Sweden, Spain and Japan;

(4) what discussions are currently taking place within the EEC concerning the dumping of special steels from Austria, Sweden, Spain, or Japan; and if he will make a statement.

The British Independent Steel Producers Association has made a series of inter-related formal applications for action against allegedly dumped imports of special steels. There have been no formal applications from the British Steel Corporation covering these products.In September last year, in discussions with the Commission acting on our behalf, the Japanese gave forecasts of their exports to the United Kingdom of high-speed, tool and stainless steels. These forecasts have been broadly adhered to. Discussions about future trends are continuing.BISPA is also concerned about imports of high-speed and tool steel bars from Sweden and Austria. These countries are

SECTIONS 2 AND 4 OF SITC(R)
£million cifPrincipal commodities
South Africa139·1Fur skins; pulp; wool; silver and platinum ore.
Morocco43·3Phosphates.
South West Africa29·2Fur skins.
Nigeria25·0Palm nuts; rubber.
Ivory Coast18·0Timber.
Ghana16·0Timber; bauxite; manganese ore.
Mauritania14·8Iron ore.
Ethiopia13·1Silver and platinum waste.
Senegal12·4Phosphates.
Sudan8·2Cotton.
Liberia7·8Timber; iron ore.
Malawi7·1Groundnuts.
Other countries62·2
Total397·0

associate members of the European Coal and Steel Community. For their ECSC products the ECSC price alignment rules are used to maintain fair competition. Possible breaches of these rules are being investigated by the European Commission, which, at our request, has approached the Swedish and Austrian authorities. Non-ECSC products are covered by the normal antidumping rules. In the case of Sweden, a detailed case prepared by the Department with the assistance of BISPA was sent to the Swedish authorities. There have been a number of exchanges about the content of our dossier and we hope to receive a substantive reply shortly.

In the case of Austria, a formal antidumping investigation into imposts of high-speed and tool steel bars was announced on 25th March.

On Spanish stainless steel bars and billets a provisional charge has been in force since October 1976.

Africa

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the total value of raw materials imported from African countries showing the approximate amounts and description from each country for the most convenient period.

Imports of raw materials other than fuels in 1976 were as follows. More detailed information is available from Tables II and III of the December 1976 issue of the "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom".

Scotland

Partick Health Centre, Glasgow

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is now in a position to announce the starting date for the construction of the Partick Health Centre in Glasgow; and if he will make a statement.

The Greater Glasgow Health Board has not yet been able to acquire a suitable site, but the difficulty is due to be considered by the liaison committee on sites for health centres in Glasgow set up between the board and the district council.

Ambulances (Single Manning)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has figures to show the extent of single manning of ambulances in (a) the Tayside Region and (b) Scotland; and what estimates he has of the cost of eliminating this method of working.

Figures supplied by the Scottish Ambulance Service, for day shift vehicles only are as follows:

ScotlandTayside
Single-manned ambulances35637
To eliminate single manning in Scotland would, it is estimated, cost about £2 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy towards the on-call system and single manning of ambulances in Scotland; and when he expects to eliminate the need for these methods of working.

It is the intention of the Scottish Ambulance Service to eliminate both systems of working, so far as practicable, when financial circumstances allow.

Improvement Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he now proposes to take to raise the limit of £100 rateable value above which a house cannot qualify for improvement grant; and if he will make a statement.

The Housing (Limits of Rateable Value for Improvement Grants) (Scotland) Order 1977, which was laid before the House on 29th March, replaces the present all-Scotland limit of £100 by separate limits for each district. The effect will be to raise the limit in those areas where rateable values tend to be above the average and to depress it where they are lower.

Electricity Demand

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of maximum demand for electricity in 1983–84.

As I informed the hon. Member on 11th November 1976—[Vol. 919, c. 261–2]—the Scottish electricity boards estimated in January 1976 that peak load in 1982 would amount to some 8,200 MW. Experience of the growth of demand for electricity since then has now led the boards to conclude that a peak load of this magnitude will not be achieved until some time in 1984.

Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the number and age of chronically sick and disabled patients under 65 years of age, resident in accommodation in Dundee, not conforming to Section 17(1) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 on 1st October 1975 and 1st October 1976.

On 1st October 1975 there were four patients aged 51, 57, 60 and 64, respectively, so accommodated. The provisional figures for 1st October 1976 are three patients aged 52, 61 and 64, respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons in Dundee in 1975 and 1976 were covered by Section 18(3) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970; and whether he is satisfied with the provision so made.

At 31st March 1976, 10 chronically sick and disabled persons, seven mentally handicapped persons and five persons suffering from undisclosed handicaps, all under age 65, were resident in local authority homes for the elderly in the City of Dundee District. In addition, three chronically sick and disabled persons and seven suffering from undisclosed handicaps, aged under 65, were resident in homes for the elderly run by voluntary organisations. Of the total of 32 persons, only one was uder age 55.The figures above cannot be readily compared with those for earlier years, since there have been some adjustments of classification and the City of Dundee District, to which the latest figures relate, covers a wider area than that of the former Dundee Corporation.It is for Tayside Regional Council to decide, from a detailed assessment of individual cases, as to the residential provision which is required.

Community Service

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations have been made to him regarding the adequacy of powers available to sheriffs for the ordering of community service orders; and whether he has plans for interim legislation.

During the consultations which took place about the introduction of experiments in community service doubts were expressed by some sheriffs about the competency of requiring community work under existing powers. The question of competency is one for the individual sentencing court, subject to appeal to the High Court of Justiciary. However, my right hon. Friend is advised that it would be competent for the court to add a requirement to undertake community work to a probation order if, in terms of Section 183(4) and 384(4) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1975, it considered such a requirement necessary for securing the good conduct of the offender or for preventing a repetition by him of the offence or the commission of other offences. The offender's willingness to comply with such a requirement would be a prerequisite, as it is to the making of the probation order itself. The four regional councils have been invited to proceed with the experiments subject to local consultation to ensure that the facilities are likely to be used by the courts for which it is proposed to make them available.My right hon. Friend proposes to consider whether at a suitable opportunity legislation may make specific provision for requirements to undertake community work.

Hospital Beds (Young Chronic Sick)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what formula he has approved for the number of young chronic sick beds per 1,000 of the population; and how this number relates to the actual amount of available beds at present in the area of the Monklands District Hospital Authority.

The recommended level of provision of beds for young chronic sick patients is 0·2 beds per 1,000 population. On this basis the Monklands and Cumbernauld District of the Lanarkshire Health Board requires 35 beds; there are 22 beds designated for young chronic sick patients in Wester Moffat Hospital.

Waste Disposal

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will report on progress in connection with the enforcement of Section 2 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974.

My right hon. Friend is discussing with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities when it might be possible to bring into operation certain waste disposal provisions of the Control of Pollution Act, including Section 2, which has been precluded so far by the staff and expenditure it would entail.

European Regional Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those projects in Scotland which would not have gone ahead without support from the EEC Regional Fund from the inception of the Fund to the most recent convenient date.

The responsibility for infrastructure projects rests with their promoters, local authorities and other public bodies, and it is difficult for me to say whether any specific project would not have gone ahead without the Fund's assistance. Claims in respect of industrial projects are based on regional assistance already approved by the Government, and the amounts received from the Fund have no direct effect on the progress of the projects.

Self-Employed Businesses

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest number of persons employed by the self-employed in Scotland.

Advance Factories

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Government advance factories are under construction at present; and where they are located.

I have nothing to add to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) on 9th March.—[Vol. 927, c. 587–8.]

Teacher Training Colleges

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many factual errors in the document "Teacher Training from 1977 Onwards" have been notified to him or to his Department.

No factual errors have been notified, but two bodies—not the boards of governors concerned—have questioned the estimates of college capacity.

Fish Boxes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his Department is represented on the White Fish Authority Study Group established to evaluate different types of fish boxes.

My Department is not represented on the study group but is being kept in touch with its work. The White Fish Authority is providing secretarial facilities for the group, which was established recently on the initiative of the industry. The group's report will be made to the industry for its consideration.

Home Department

Party Political Broadcasts

53.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the system of allocating of television broadcasting time as between the Government and leaders of other political parties represented in the House of commons.

Yes: although party political broadcasting itself is the responsibility of the Committee on Party Political Broadcasting, of which my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is chairman.

Equal Opportunities Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Departent what payments have been made by the Equal Opportunities Commission to outside bodies from its current budget; and what is the total sum available for such payments.

The Equal Opportunities Commission has powers under Section 54 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 to assist other bodies to undertake research and educational activities. I am informed that during the financial year 1976–77 the Commission has made the following grants to other bodies:

£
National Council for Civil Liberties5,000
Spare Rib3,772
Virago Press3,250
Fawcett Society3,000
Brent Community Law Centre1,000
Rights of Women3,000
Women's Research and Resources3,000
The total provision for expenditure under Section 54 is £40,000; this covers research and educational activities undertaken by the Commission itself and those undertaken by the bodies listed above.

Legal Aid

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total amount of legal aid in the latest 12 months for which figures are available in England and Wales; and in respect of what total number of cases such aid was given.

As regards legal aid in criminal proceedings, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to his Question on 24th March—[Vol. 928, c. 600.]I understand from my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor that in the financial year 1975–76 the total

expenditure on legal aid and advice in civil proceedings was as follows:

£
Legal aid16,258,668
Legal advice and assistance4,281,086
Administration6,402,385
During the same period 203,908 legal aid certificates for civil proceedings were issued and 254,558 bills for advice and assistance were paid.

Broadcasting (Annan Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish a popular edition of the Annan Report on Broadcasting similar to that accompanying the earlier Pilkington Report on the same subject.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave on Thursday 31st March to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr Jenkins)—[Vol. 929, c. 200.]

Parliamentary Constituencies

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the parliamentary constituencies in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales, and (d) Northern Ireland in order of the size of the 1977 electorate, indicating for each the extent to which it exceeds, or falls short of the quota for the region.

The information is not at present available in the form requested. It is being prepared and will be sent to my hon. Friends as soon as possible. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House.

Community Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what surveys are currently being carried out to assess the effectiveness of community service orders; how many experiments are in progress; what is the cost to date of these experiments; and what are his interim conclusions.

Experimental community service schemes were established in six probation and after-care areas in 1973. In August 1974, in the light of a report by the Home Office Research Unit which concluded that these schemes were viable, all probation and after-care areas were invited to submit proposals for the introduction of community service arrangements from 1st April 1975. The total cost, at outturn prices, of the experimental schemes was £17,000 in 1972–73; £104,000 in 1973–1974; and £193,000 in 1974–75.Schemes have so far been established in 53 out of 56 areas, in the whole of 31 of these areas and in parts of 22 others. My Department's research unit has carried out a study of the reconviction rates of those offenders who were the subject of community service orders in the six experimental areas; this will be published shortly.

General Elections (Candidates' Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the occasions since 1945 when the permitted expenditure by candidates in General Elections has been changed; and by how much it was changed on each occasion.

The limits of 6d for each elector in a county constituency and 5d in a borough constituency were replaced by Section 32 of the Representation of the People Act 1948 with limits of £450 plus 2d for each elector in a county constituency and £450 plus 1½d for each elector in a borough constituency. The limits were raised, by Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act 1969, to £750 plus 1s 0d for every six electors—or fraction thereof—in a county constituency and £750 plus 1s 0d for every eight electors—or fraction thereof—in a borough constituency. The present limits, prescribed by the Representation of the People Act 1974, are £1,075 plus 6p for every six electors—or fraction thereof—in a county constituency and £1,075 plus 6p for every eight electors—or fraction thereof—in a borough constituency.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the occasions when the deposit required by candidates fighting General Elections has been changed; and by how much it was changed on each occasion.

Prison Visits (Channel Islanders)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what study he has made of the difficulties experienced by Channel Islands families in visiting prisoners in United Kingdom prisons; if he will take steps to improve these visiting arrangements; and if he will make a statement.

Offenders sentenced in Channel Islands courts may be transferred to prisons in the United Kingdom, on request by the island authorities, who have no suitable accommodation for long term prisoners. On transfer they may receive visits on the same conditions and at the same frequency as other prisoners; the problems for their families is mainly that of distance and cost of travel. Any question of help to relatives in meeting the expense of travel, such as may be available to those resident within the United Kingdom, is a matter for the island authorities. Governors have discretion to allow two or three visits to be taken together, on successive days, to enable the number of journeys to be reduced. Prisoners may be returned periodically to a prison in Jersey or Guernsey to receive visits on an accumulated entitlement, the costs of the transfer being met by the Island authorities.

One-Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now considered recommendations 1 and 2 of the Finer Report on One-Parent Families; and what action he intends to take.

I have no present intention of introducing legislation to implement these recommendations. I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 4th April—[Vol. 929, c. 321–2.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now considered the reforms of matrimonial law and practice outlined in recommendation 41 of the Finer Report in the light of the Law Commission's Report on matrimonial proceedings in magistrates' courts; and what action he intends to take.

Legislation to implement the Law Commission's recommendations will be introduced when parliamentary time permits.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now considered recommendation 53 of the Finer Report in the light of the Law Commission's Report on matrimonial proceedings in magistrates' courts; and what action he intends to take.

We accept the principle of the recommendation that a new system of statistics of domestic proceedings in magistrates' courts is needed. We are considering how, within the current restraints on public expenditure, this information can be provided.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken on recommendation 224 of the Finer Report and in particular if he has commissioned any research on the difficulties faced by the children of women prisoners and the families of long-term hospital patients.

Industry

Telecommunications

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will include discussions about the future of the telecommunications industry in his next talks with the TUC.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is willing to discuss the future of the telecommunications industry with the TUC if and when the Council of the TUC so wishes.

Power Plant Manufacturing

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he accepts the conclusion of the Central Policy Review Staff that, unless action is taken, the prospects of the power plant manufacturing industry are for a reduction in employment, in the industry and its suppliers, of some 30,000 over the next two to three years; and what action the Government propose to take.

Yes. I shall announce decisions on measures to help the industry proposed in the CPRS report as soon as possible.

Tuc

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will seek to address the TUC General Council.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Corbett) on 1st February.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister how many trade union leaders he has met in the last month.

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

United Nations Assembly

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Cartwright) on 17th February.

Labour Party Policy Programme

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if, pursuant to his reply of 22nd March, he will identify the four-fifths of his party's 1974 election manifesto which has been completed and the one-fifth which awaits completion.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister what is the 20 per cent. of the Labour Party manifesto which remains to be completed.

I refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Chertsey and Walton (Mr. Pattie) on 25th March.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q11.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will list his official engagements for 5th April.

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister if he will state his public engagements for 5th April.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his engagements for 5th April.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 5th April.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will list his official engagements for 5th April.

Q23.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will list his engagements for 5th April 1977.

I refer the hon. Members and my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Corbett).

Elson, Gosport

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any current intention to visit Elson, Gosport.

European Community (Direct Elections)

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in his recent discussions with EEC Heads of Government, the matter of direct elections to the European Parliament was raised.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) in the exchanges following the statement I made to the House on 28th March.

East Midlands

Q19.

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to the East Midlands.

Government-Liberal Party (Joint Consultations)

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for an official meeting with the Leader of the Liberal Party.

If there are announcements about any such meetings, they will be made in the usual way.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Mackerel Catch

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will seek to represent the best interests of the Cornish mackerel industry, both in performance and future investment, in all negotiations with the EEC regarding future total allowable catches.

Yes. My colleagues and I are seeking a settlement that takes full account of all sectors of the fishing industry, and of consumers.

Fire Precautions (Factory Farms)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to establish statutory provisions relating to fire precautions to cover factory farm buildings where there is a significant hazard to the life of substantial numbers of animals; and if he will make a statement.

As I explained on 9th March—[Vol. 927, c. 531]—these buildings are already subject to statutory fire precautions designed to promote human safety. Standards of fire protection are also included in the livestock welfare codes, and my officials ensure that such standards are observed in livestock buildings benefiting from grant-aid. I see no need to introduce further measures.

Farm And Horticulture Development Scheme

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the terms and conditions for the Farm and Horticulture Development Scheme are uniform for all members of the EEC.

No. the Farm Modernisation Directive, 72/159/EEC, lays down basic conditions and maximum rates of assistance but leaves scope for variations of detail to take account of national differences.

Feeding Stuffs

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department has instituted checks on the import of meat and animal feed stuffs from the USA to ensure that none is contaminated by PBB.

Early in 1973 polybrominated biphenyls were accidentally supplied, in place of a feed supplement, to a feeding stuffs manufacturer in the State of Michigan, USA, which in consequence sold contaminated feed to local farmers. The herds affected were subsequently quarrantined, many were slaughtered, contaminated produce was destroyed, and monitoring against the presence of PBB still continues. The effect was confined to Michigan, and the United States Department of Agriculture has confirmed that there have been no known exports of contaminated animal products from Michigan to the United Kingdom since that time. In these circumstances I have not considered it necessary to institute any special checks on meat and feeding stuffs from the USA, but there are powers under the Imported Food Regulations 1968 to prevent the import of food which is unfiit for human consumption.

Marginal Land

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what approaches have been made by the Government to the EEC to include marginal land in the category of land with special handicaps within the EEC less favoured areas directive; and what response has been forthcoming.

Rabies

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why recommendation No. 5 of the interim report of the Waterhouse Committee on Vaccination of Dogs Prior to Entry was not implemented.

This recommendation in the committee's intermin report was not carried through into its final report, and I would refer the hon. Member to paragraph 6.9 of the Final Report (Cmnd. 4696). The main reasons for not requiring anti-rabies vaccination prior to import are that in many parts of the world it would be difficult to guarantee the authenticity of the vaccines and the related certification: and in some countries vaccines are not available or their use is prohibited. We prefer to rely on mandatory vaccination of dogs and cats immediately on arrival in Great Britain, allied to quarantine measures, in line with the committee's final recommendations.

Fish Boxes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department is represented on the White Fish Authority Steering Group established to evaluate different types of fish box; what funds have been allocated by the White Fish Authority for this project; and what is the length of time the study will take.

My Department is not involved in the limited study initiated by certain Scottish interests in association with the White Fish Authority. I understand that the study is informal and self-financing. The length of time will rest with the participants.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Hong Kong (Urban Council)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the names of political parties involved in the recent urban council elections in Hong Kong.

Two political parties were involved in the recent urban council elections in Hong Kong: the Reform Club and the Civic Association, which put up five and four candidates, respectively. There was also one independent candidate.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the estimated population of Hong Kong over 18 years old; how many people have the franchise to vote in urban council elections; how many voted in the urban elections; what was the percentage of votes cast for those with voting rights; and how these figures compare with the adult population in the Colony.

The estimated population of Hong Kong over 18 years old is 2,752,590. The qualifying age for voting in elections to the urban council is 21 and it is estimated that there are 2,451,360 persons of this age or over. Of this number, an estimated 400,000 are eligible to register as voters in urban council elections. The number that actually registered for the recent elections was 37,174 and the number that voted was 7,308—or approximately 1·8 per cent. of those estimated as qualifying to vote and approximately 0·3 per cent. of the estimated population over 21.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the franchise for the urban council elections in Hong Kong; and if he will make a statement.

The urban council franchise requires voters to be over 21, resident in Hong Kong for three years and qualified under a broad range of categories, including regular taxpayers, ratepayers, school certificate holders, civil servants, teachers and members of various specified professions. There are at present no plans to extend the franchise.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report the names of candidates in the recent urban council elections in Hong Kong, together with the votes polled and percentage of votes cast for each candidate.

The candidates in the recent elections and the numbers of the votes each received were as follows:—

NameOccupationDate of First Appointment/Election to Council
A. De O. SalesCompany Chairman and Managing Director.Appointed 1st April 1957
Henry H. L. HuBarrister-at-LawElected 1st April 1965
B. A. BernacchiBarrister-at-LawElected 31st May 1952
Hilton Cheong-LeenCompany DirectorElected 1st April 1957
Mrs. Elsie ElliottSchool SupervisorElected 1st April 1963
R. H. LoboCompany Chairman and DirectorAppointed 1st May 1965
H. M. G. ForsgateCompany DirectorAppointed 1st April 1965
Kenneth T. C. LoSolicitorAppointed 1st April 1966
Dr. Denny M. H. HuangMedical PractitionerElected 1st July 1967
Peter P. F. ChanAccountantAppointed 1st April 1968
Peter C. K. ChanBarrister-at-LawElected 1st April 1969
J. MackenzieCompany Director and Business Consultant.Appointed 26th March 1971
Miss Ceilia L. Y, YeungSchool SupervisorElected 1st April 1971
Tis Sai-NinSchoolmasterElected 1st April 1973
Edmund W. G. ChowSolicitorElected 1st April 1973
Ambrose K. C. ChoiCompany DirectorElected 1st April 1973
Dr. Wong Pun-CheukPhysicianElected 1st April 1973

Percentage

Mr. Edmund Chow4,54014·07
Mr. Brook Bernacchi4,36313·52
Henry H. L. Hu4,06012·58
Peter C. K. Chan4,03012·49
Mr. Tsin Sai-Nin3,92512·16
Ambrose K. C. Choi3,73311·56
Mr. Wilson W. S. Tuet2,7958·66
Mr. Francis Chaine2,5397·87
Mr. Yu Sak-Kwong1,1843·67
Mr. Tang Man-Sit1,1033·42

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which candidate received the highest number of votes in the urban council elections on 1975 and 1976; and what was the percentage of votes cast for the candidates.

Elections are held every second year and there was no election in 1976. In 1975 the highest number of votes was cast for Mrs. Elsie Elliot who received 8,886 out of a total of 49,474 valid votes cast by 10,903 voters—or approximately 18 per cent. of the vote. Each voter may vote for up to six candidates.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report the names and occupations of members of the urban council of Hong Kong and the year in which they were first elected.

Name

Occupation

Date of First Appointment/Election to Council

Hu F. A. KuangEngineer and Company DirectorAppointed 1st April 1973
Wong Shiu-CheuckCompany Assistant Vice PresidentAppointed 1st April 1973
Shum Choi-SangJournalistAppointed 1st December 1974
Mrs. Grace HoCompany Deputy and General ManagerAppointed 1st December 1974
Henry H. O. LukJournalistElected 1st April 1975
Lawrance H. L. FungCompany DirectorAppointed 1st April 1976
Kim Y. S. ChamUniversity LecturerAppointed 1st April 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the limit on candidates' election expenses in urban council elections in Hong Kong; and what accounting system is used to check that no candidate exceeds the limit.

Permitted expenses are based on the number of registered voters. This year they were HK$11,652·20 for single candidates and HK$8,434·80 for joint candidates. Candidates must submit, within 28 days of the election, a declaration of election expenses which has been certified as a true record before a notary public or similar official.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the functions and powers of the urban council in Hong Kong; and if there are any plans to widen its powers.

The urban council is responsible for a number of activities in the urban areas of Hong Kong and Kowloon. These include open spaces and parks, public entertainment and sports competitions, libraries and museums, food hygiene, licensing of food premises and cleansing and refuse disposal services. There are no plans at present to widen its powers.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if there are any plans to extend the franchise for the urban council elections in Hong Kong.

I refer to the reply I have given to another of my hon. Friend's Questions today.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many members of the Urban District Council of Hong Kong are elected; and how many are appointed by the Governor.

Twelve members of the Hong Kong Urban Council are elected and 12 are appointed by the Governor.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what expenses and assistance are given to members of the Hong Kong Urban Council to enable them to carry out their duties.

Urban council members are entitled to monthly allowances of up to HK$4,000 towards out of pocket expenses incurred on council business. They are also provided with ward office facilities and clerical assistance and the urban council secretariat helps members generally in performing their duties.

Employment

Income And Wealth (Royal Commission)

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will now recommend the abolition of the Royal Commission on the Distribution of Income and Wealth.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his similar Question on 29th March 1977—[Vol. 929, c. 95.]

Disabled Persons

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had regarding the practical effects on registered disabled persons of the operation of the travel-to-work scheme.

I have had discussions on this matter with a number of interested parties. In addition, the National Advisory Council on Employment of Disabled People, which advises the Secretary of State and which includes members representing disabled people's groups, has also discussed it. I am informed by the Chairman of the Manpower Services Commission that officials of the Employment Service Agency, which operates the scheme, have also had discussions on the subject with a number of organisations.

Electronics Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish figures showing the change in the level of employment in the consumer electronics industry in the United Kingdom, as on 1st January and 1st July for each half year since 1973.

Separate statistics for the electronic components industry are not available. The following table shows changes in the level of employment in the radio and electronic components industry, MLH 364 of the Standard Industrial Classification.

Number of employeesHalf yearly changes
January 1973131,100+2,900
July 1973139,600+8,500
January 1974149,400+9,800
July 1974155,200+5,800
January 1975142,800-12,400
July 1975128,500*-14,300*
January 1976124,800*-3,700*
July 1976126,200*+1,400*
January 1977128,800*+2,600*
* Provisional.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish figures showing the change in the level of employment in the electronics components industry in the United Kingdom as on 1st January and 1st July for each half year since 1973.

Separate statistics for the consumer electronics industry are not available. The following table shows changes in the level of employment in the broadcast receiving and sound reproducing equipment industry, Minimum List Heading 365 of the Standard Industrial Classification.

Number of employeesHalf yearly changes
January 197368,000+6,100
July 197369,700+1,700
January 197468,700-1,000
July 197465,000-3,700
January 197560,300-4,700
July 197555,500*-4,800*
January 197652,600*-2,900*
July 197651,500*-1,100*
January 197752,600*-1,100*
* Provisional.

Jobcentres

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many of the 245 new jobcentres planned for the period up to April 1979 will be in Wales.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that at the present moment funds have been allocated for 20 jobcentre projects planned in Wales during 1977–78. It is not possible to predict how many of those projects will be completed during the year nor how many may be planned for 1978–79.

Job Transfer Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have taken advantage of the job transfer scheme; what is the cost to public funds of the scheme; if he is satisfied that there are no abuses of the scheme; and if he envisages that the scheme will be maintained permanently.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information on expenditure is not available in the form requested. The total number of moves assisted and the annual expenditure on the Employment Transfer Scheme, the Job Search Scheme, the Key Workers Scheme and the Nucleus Labour Force Scheme since 1st April 1972 are available and are recorded in the table below, together with the number of moves under the Employment Transfer Scheme in brackets.

Period—year endedExpenditureNumber of moves
£
31st March 19734,463,00019,406 (18,557)
31st March 19744,518,00015,995 (15,237)
31st March 19754,372,00015,120 (14,333)
31st March 19765,965,00016,143 (15,701)
1st April 1976–30th September 1976.4,734,00011,193 (10,955)
Any such scheme which is of a general application and which is designed to help individuals in particular circumstances is open to the risk of attempted abuse Employment Transfer Scheme procedures are designed to keep opportunities for abuse to a minimum without discouraging workers who are entitled to benefit I have no evidence that abuse is on anything other than a very small scale.There are at present no plans to discontinue the Employment Transfer Scheme. The scheme is, however, under consideration by the Employment Service Agency and the Manpower Services Commission at official level as part of a general review of geographical mobility.

Self-Employed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the numbers of self-employed in Scotland in the last five years.

Following is the information available about the numbers of self employed persons working on their own account—with or without employees—in Scotland in each of the years from 1970 to 1974, the latest date for which these estimates have been compiled:

1970138,000
1971139,000
1972137,000
1973139,000
1974137,000

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the 10 principal categories in which self-employed persons are to be found.

The 1971 Census of Population shows that the following ten occupations were those in which most self-employed persons* in Scotland were to to found:

  • Shop Proprietors.
  • Farmers, Farm Managers, Market Gardeners.
  • Proprietors of Boarding Houses and Hotels.
  • Clergy, Ministers, Members of Religious Orders.
  • Hairdressers, Manicurists, Beauticians.
  • Carpenters and Joiners.
  • Restaurateurs.
  • Painters, Decorators.
  • Drivers of Taxis and the like.
  • Medical Practitioners (Qualified).

* Working on their own account (with or without employees).

Training (Welding Courses)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average waiting time for courses in welding at the training centre at Killingworth, Tyne and Wear; and whether he is satisfied with the situation.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that recruitment for courses in plate welding at the Training Services Agency's skillcentre at Killingworth, Tyne and Wear, has been temporarily suspended because of long waiting lists. The average waiting time for courses is 18 months.There are no plans to expand TOPS training facilities for welders in the Tyne and Wear area. Current training provision is considered to be sufficient to meet the estimated needs of industry.

Training (Self-Employment)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in view of the large numbers of former executives who are now unemployed or retired prematurely who would find a rôle contributing to or developing small businesses, he will instruct the training opportunities scheme to provide training in self-employment.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the Training Services Agency's (TSA) Training Opportunities Scheme (TOPS) covers training for self-employment.

One-Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what action he has taken on recommendation 182 of the Finer Report on One-Parent Families.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the specialist needs of women who have to combine care of children with employment have always been recognised by the staff of the Employment Service Agency when trying to find them work.The ESA is now planning to improve further the service available to job seekers—including lone parents—who encounter special problems in getting work.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in the light of recommendation 181 of the Finer Report on One-Parent Families, he will publish on a regular basis statistics relating to all aspects of women's employment.

My Department published a special booklet in 1974 entitled "Women and Work: a statistical survey". Statistics about women's employment are published regularly in the Department Gazette as they become available.

National Finance

Child Benefit

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk North, Official Report, 28th February 1977, c. 94, if he will show by how much child benefit and/or residual child tax allowances would need to be increased in order to maintain their April 1976 value in April 1977.

The percentage changes necessary in the combined net value of child benefit and child tax allowances for 1977–78 in order to maintain the real net value to the basic-rate taxpayer of 1976–77 rates of child tax allowances and family allowances are as follows:

Percentage change required
FIRST CHILD
Child aged not over 11-1·3
Child aged over 11 but not over 16+0·1
Child aged over 16+1·1
EACH SUBSEQUENT CHILD
Child aged not over 11+13·4
Child aged over 11 but not over 16+13·4
Child aged over 16+13·4
The figures are based on the increase in the retail price index between April 1976 and February 1977 and the 1976–77 basic rate of income tax.

Mortgages

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost of mortgage tax relief for the financial year 1977–78 in the light of the income tax changes announced in his recent Budget.

Widows

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent representations he has received from the British Association of Retired Persons urging the exemption of widows' pensions from taxation;(2) what recent representations he has received from the British Association of Retired Persons, urging that the tax burden on widows be relieved or reduced.

The British Association of Retired Persons wrote to my right hon. Friend before his Budget about the tax burden on the elderly retired, but he has no record of any recent representations from them relating specifically to the tax burden on 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.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 28th March 1977; Vol. 929, c. 38], gave the following information:The estimated cost of an additional allowance of £210, which is half the difference between the single and married person's allowances proposed for 1977–78, would be about £50 million, if given to all widows, or £27 million if given only to employed or self-employed widows. If those already receiving the additional personal allowance were excluded the costs would be some £5 million, and £4 million lower.

Pay Differentials

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the Government's policy of not permitting toolmakers at British Leyland to maintain their differentials, what action he will take to apply such a policy generally to all workers.

One-Parent Families

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he has taken on recommendation 130 of the Finer Report on One Parent Families.

Resources (Supply And Use)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table, in the same form as his answer to the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) on 10th March 1977, showing the supply and use of resources in demand terms in 1973 at 1973 factor

THE SUPPLY AND USE OF RESOURSE IN DEMAND TERMS
£ million
1973 at 1973 factor cost prices1976 at 1976 factor cost prices
A. SUPPLY OF RESOURSE
1. Gross domestic product (GDP)63,675107,000
2. Net flow of resources into (+) or out of (-)-2,175-2,300
3. Available for domestic use65,850109,300
B. DOMESTIC USES OF RESOURSE
1. Investment
(a) Private investment8,3759,825
(b) Nationlised industries' investment1,7753,600
2. Available for other public expenditure and private consumption55,70095,875
C. USES OF RESOURSE
1. Public expenditure
(a)Public consumption12,77525,000
(b)Other Public investment3,5505,725
(c)Total direct public expenditure16,30030,700
(d) Indirect public expenditure7,05013,850
(e)Total public expenditure23,35044,550
2. Personal consumption
(a) Privately financed personal consumption32,35051,325
(b) Public financed personal consumption7,05013,850
(c) Total personal consumption39,40065,175
Note: Figures may not add due to rounding

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the net weekly incomes after tax of single men and of married couples with one and two children and earning approximately the national average wage in the first quarter of 1977; and what will be their net weekly incomes after tax and child benefit at the same level of earnings in accordance with the initial changes proposed in his Budget.

Inflation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportions of the inflation rate in 1976 were the result, respectively, of (a) increases in wage costs, (b) increased profit levels, (c) increases in prices of imported food and raw materials, apart from the depreciation of the £sterling, (d) increases in prices of imported manufactures and semi-manufactures, apart from the depreciation of the £sterling, (e) increases in (c) and (d) as a result of the depreciation of the £ sterling and

cost prices, and in 1976 at 1976 factor cost prices.

The figures are as follows. Estimates for 1976 are based on provisional national income figures.(

f) other factors; and what are the equivalent figures forecast for 1977.

The RPI increased by 15 per cent. over the year to the fourth quarter of 1976. There is no precise method of attributing this increase to its component factors because of the difficulty of accurately establishing both appropriate weightings and the time taken for each factor to feed through into the price level. But the Treasury forecasting model would suggest that, in terms of proximate causes of inflation, very roughly one-third of the 15 per cent. might be attributed to wage cost increases; about a half to import price increases—of which depreciation accounts for rather more than half; and the remainder to rents, rates, taxes, subsidies, profit margins and the 1976 summer drought. Equivalent figures for 1977 are not available, since it is not Government practice to publish forecasts for the exchange rate.

Trade Balance

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he expects there to be a large drop in the surplus on trade in goods and services, with the exception of oil; and what are the implications of this for employment.

I would expect the surplus on trade in goods and services—excluding oil—expressed in constant prices as in table 5 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report, to increase over the next year, thus improving the prospect for employment.

Credit Unions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to provide a more satisfactory statutory framework within which credit unions might operate.

The Government will take the opportunity of the proposed legislation on the licensing and supervision of deposit-taking institutions to put before the House legislative provisions to enable credit unions to operate and develop within a suitable statutory framework.

Peers (Allowances)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent a Member of the House of Lords who is also the chairman or member of a Government or statutory board or committee is permitted to draw, in addition to the salary for these appointments and the travel allowances and tax-free expenses, the tax-free £16.50 a day allowance for attending the House of Lords.

I have been asked to reply.Claims to peers expenses allowances may be made only in respect of expenses necessarily incurred in attending the House of Lords.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table of figures giving for the longest and most convenient period of time the number of Peers who have drawn the tax-free expense allowances, the actual or average amounts drawn by these Peers and the annual costs.

I have been asked to reply.As I have previously made clear, the administration of the peers expenses allowance is a matter for another place. Consequently I cannot provide the precise details requested, but I refer my hon. Friend to Tables 6A and 6B of the Top Salaries Review Body Report No. 9 (Cmnd. 6749). The amount provided in the House of Lords Estimates for the year 1976–77 to cover peers expenses allowance is £470,000.

Scottish Assembly

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money has been authorised to date for expenditure on an Assembly building; what part of such sum is irretrievably committed in terms of contract; and how such expenditure was authorised.

I have been asked to reply.I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Lord President on 14th April 1976. The house subsequently approved an Estimate authorising expenditure in 1976–77 of £1·05 million on the acquisition and conversion of the former Royal High School buildings in Edinburgh, and Estimates for 1977–78 to continue the work were published on 29th March. To date, a purchase price of £0·65 million has been paid and contracts to an aggregate value of £1·03 million have been let.

Education And Science

Autistic Children

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many autistic children reside in the Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley educational areas; and if she will list the numbers in each authority who are receiving special training by qualified teachers in autism.

The latest information provided by the three authorities is as follows:NUMBER OF CHILDREN AND PLACEMENTBarnsley:

1 Independent establishment

Doncaster:

nil

Rotherham:

2 ESN(S) special school
ESN(S) hospital special school

These children are taught by qualified teachers: there is no special qualification for teachers of autistic children.

Eaton Bray Primary School

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will include a visit to Eaton Bray Primary School, near Dunstable, during her official visit to Bedfordshire on 22nd April.

The programme proposed by the Bedfordshire Education Authority for my visit on 22nd April does not include a visit to Eaton Bray Primary School, near Dunstable.

Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if she will give the number of full-time students estimated for each of the years 1976–77 and 1977–78 in the following categories: (a) home postgraduate; financed by the Research Council or DES; self-financed; total, and (b) overseas postgraduate;

STUDENT OF FULL-TIME AND SANDWICH COURES: GREAT BRITAIN
thousands
1976–771977–78
Self-supporting*TotalSelf-supporting*Total
Home students—
University—
Postgraduate13321029
Undergraduate1020910219
Further education—
Advanced61196133
Non-advanced6029560313
Overseas students†—
University—
Postgraduate14191419
Undergraduate63156415
Further education—
Advanced1919
Non-advanced3132
* Estimated numbers of students not supported by awards from the Department of Education and Science, Scottish Education Department, the Research Councils, and the local education authorities.
† In 1975–76, the latest year for which figures are available, the Ministry of Overseas Development supported some 11,000 overseas students, including 4,823 postgraduate students and 2,121 students in other courses of higher and further education. It is expected that the numbers for 1976–77 and 1977–78 will not differ significantly

One-Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action has been taken on each of the recommendations 214 to 220 of the Finer Report on One-Parent Families.

As indicated in the reply given on 2nd March 1976 to my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk

financed by the Ministry of Overseas Development; self-financed; total;

(2) what is the number of full-time students estimated for each of the years 1976–77 and 1977–78 in the following categories: ( a) overseas advanced further education; financed by the Ministry of Overseas Development; self-financed; total, ( b) home non-advanced further education; self-financed; total, and ( c) overseas non-advanced further education; financed by the Ministry of Overseas Development; self-financed; total;

(3) what is the number of full-time students estimated for each of the years 1976–77 and 1977–78 in the following categories: ( a) home graduates; self-financed; total, ( b) overseas undergraduates; financed by Ministry of Overseas Development; self-financed; total, and ( c) home advanced further education; self-financed; total.

Assessments based on the recent consultations with the University Grants Committee and the local authority associations are as follows:(Mr. Kilroy-Silk) these recommendations relate to matters which are primarily the responsibilities of local education authorities, school managers and governors, and individual headteachers. My right hon. Friend has no central record of their actions on the recommendations.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action she has taken on recommendation 184 of the Finer Report on One-Parent Families.

One of the recognised difficulties about universal day release for young people, apart from the cost, is the need for preliminary curriculum development especially related to the less academic school-leaver. The Education Departments and the Training Services Agency have mounted a programme of pilot schemes to discover what forms of vocational preparation will meet the needs of young workers and win the support of their employers. The programe is aimed at young people who leave school and enter jobs where they receive little or no further education or training: a group which includes a disproportionate number of girls.

Medical Research Council

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will list (a) the total grants made by the Medical Research Council in each year since 1965, (b) the grants made by the Medical Research Council, by subject and amount, which have been given to members of the Council, or its committees, as principal investigators or other leading participants in these projects in each year since 1965, and (c) the total grants by the Medical Research Council to members of the Council or its committees, as a percentage of the total grants given by the Council in each year since 1965.

The answer to the first part of the Question is as follows:

YearTotal £'000
1965–663,202
1966–673,404
1967–683,677
1968–693,990
1969–704,303
1970–715,904
1971–727,216
1972–738,068
1973–748,778
1974–7510,215
1975–7613,932
Answers to the second and third parts could not be provided without disproportionate expenditure of time and effort.

Overseas Students

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is her estimate of the decline in the numbers of overseas students in the United Kingdom in the academic year 1977–78 compared with 1976–77.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish the numbers and proportions of students on degree and advanced engineering and technology courses who come from overseas countries.

The latest available information, which relates to 1975–76, is that there were 9,365 students, of whom 26 per cent. were from overseas, on full-time and sandwich degree courses at universities in Great Britain and 5,855, of whom 24 per cent. were from overseas, on degree and other advanced courses at further education colleges in England and Wales.

Education Welfare Officers' Conference

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she plans to visit the Education Welfare Officers' conference at Sheffield on 15th April; and if she will make a statement.

I was very glad to be able to accept an invitation from the Education Welfare Officers' National Association to address its conference at Sheffield, and I look forward to meeting the members of the association there.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish a table to demonstrate the rates of growth in the public and university sector of students studying for first degrees, for HNDs, for HNCs and for other advanced courses over the period 1965 to 1975, indicating the relative proportions studying technological courses, other science courses, social science, and arts courses.

Following are the numbers of full-time and part-time students on such courses in 1965–66 and in 1975–76. The corresponding figures for the intervening years may be obtained from published volumes of "Statistics of Education" copies of which are available in the Library.

Universities in Great Britain

Grant aided major establishments of further education in England and Wales, excluding former colleges of education

Subject of course

First degree

*

First degree

HND

HNC

Other advanced courses

Total advanced courses

1965–66
Engineering and Technology:
Number26,1245,5716,80642,50920,54075,426
Percentage193371832850
Other science including medicine:
Number53,7464,4924584,8859,91619,751
Percentage38265101413
Social Science:‡
Number30,8125,2452,3773,49531,06342,180
Percentage22312574328
Arts, including Language:
Number29,4971,66610,69212,358
Percentage2110158
Total140,17916,9749,64150,88972,211149,715
Percentage100100100100100100
1975–76
Engineering and Technology:
Number29,42813,3617,08619,41720,10559,969
Percentage142036541624
Other science including Medicine:
Number77,44711,2633,8858,08614,39137,625
Percentage371720231115
Social Science:‡