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Written Answers

Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 20 April 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 20th April 1977

Home Department

Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the numbers of immigrants within the various local authorities named by him in his reply to the hon. Member for Croydon, North-West, Official Report, 23rd February in columns 582–4.

Place of Birth
New Commonwealth (including Pakistan)Other Countries outside the British Isles
Avon13,24036,280
Bedfordshire15,51545,525
Berkshire20,80051,390
Buckinghamshire10,45032,480
Cambridgeshire7,42032,055
Derbyshire10,05026,895
Gloucestershire6,38520,365
Hampshire25,83569,345
Hertfordshire15,42556,730
Kent22,26060,030
Lancashire18,95542,275
Leicestershire28,15050,755
Northamptonshire6,07023,125
Nottinghamshire14,56538,165
Oxfordshire9,65539,520
Salop……3,1009,335
Suffolk5,78530,840
Warwickshire8,19522,420
West Sussex8,58529,330
Aylesbury Vale2,4457,825
North Bedfordshire Borough Council5,30515,310
Birmingham City Council69,140129,425
Blackburn5,4159,005
Bolton Metropolitan District Council7,57013,095
Bradford Metropolitan District Council22,81538,305
Bristol8,77521,490
Calderdale Metropolitan District Council2,9259,120
Charnwood2,3755,710
Coventry City Council15,19036,960
Derby Borough Council7,76515,465
Dudley Metropolitan District Council4,8358,980
Gloucester City Council2,6855,555
Gravesham District Council3,3405,655
Ipswich2,4906,715
Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council14,39022,825
Leeds Metropolitan District Council14,72534,940
Leicester District Council23,28034,760
Luton Borough Council8,33519,340
Manchester City Council17,29550,910
North Hertfordshire District Council3,1107,520
Northampton2,5808,280
Nottingham, City of10,86021,675
Oldham Metropolitan District Council4,50510,080
Oxford City Council4,06512,400
Pendle2,1103,545
Preston4,8908,483
Reading Borough Council5,65512,375
Rochdale Metropolitan District Council4,92511,900
Rugby2,2505,230
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council15,63021,575
Sheffield District Council8,33517,890

The numbers of persons born outside the British Isles who were resident in these local authorities at the time of the 1971 Census are shown below. The first column includes those in respect of whom a local authority may make expenditure eligible for grants under Section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966. No more recent information is available.

Place of Birth

New Commonwealth (including Pakistan)

Other Countries outside the British Isles

Slough Borough Council8,71015,190
Southampton District Council4,82512,055
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council3,3658,125
Trafford Borough Council3,68514,190
Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council9,32012,460
Warwisk District Council3,7109,395
Wellingborough1,7803,340
Wolverhampton Borough Council20,06527,370
Wycombe District Council4,99010,820
Barking2,7006,980
Barnet16,32551,770
Brent39,18079,380
Camden14,78053,970
Croydon16,98084,815
Ealing33,44063,845
Enfield11,37523,770
Greenwich7,73016,380
Hackney25,45543,020
Hammersmith16,08043,410
Haringey34,59556,075
Harrow7,9752,850
Hillingdon6,05517,705
Hounslow14,30528,040
I.L.E.A.266,510586,420
Islington22,55546,520
Kensington and Chelsea12,63557,495
Lambeth33,47559,790
Lewisham16,60528,840
Merton8,14519,465
Newham20,13527,450
Redbridge7,98518,585
Southwark16,01530,600
Tower Hamlets11,80519,890
Waltham Forest14,50522,165
Wandsworth26,80551,730
Westminster15,45067,075

Football Hooliganism

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the outcome of his consultations on reducing the incidence of football hooliganism.

I hope to complete my recent consultations at the proposed meeting to which I referred in the reply which I gave to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Johnson) on 31st March.—[Vol. 929, c. 560–2.] I cannot at present add to what I said in that reply and to what my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of the Environment, said in the debate on 6th April.—[Vol. 929, c. 1319–1325.]

Armed Robbery

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he will not set in train consultations with interested parties, including the judiciary, as to whether the law should be amended in order to make the imposition of prison sentences mandatory for those convicted of armed robbery.

The discretion of the courts to pass, within the limits laid down by Parliament, what they think to be the appropriate sentence, having regard to all the facts relating to an individual case, is a valued feature of our system of justice. We see no reason to single out offences of armed robbery for special treatment in this respect.

Supervision Orders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government have completed their consultations on Recommendation 23 of the Eleventh Report from the Expenditure Committee on the Children and Young Persons Act 1969, concerning conditions and sanctions relating to supervision orders; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science and I have consulted the various bodies involved in the making and administration of supervision orders. In consequence I propose to put down amendments at the next appropriate stage of the Criminal Law Bill which would modify the existing law on the lines suggested in the report.It should be open to a court when making a supervision order in criminal proceedings in respect of a child or young person to require him (1) to be of good behaviour or (2) to comply during the whole or any part of the supervision period with such requirement as the court, having regard to the circumstances of the case, considers necessary for preventing a repetition by him of the same offence or the commission of other offences. No requirement involving the co-operation of a third party should be imposed save with that party's consent, and a requirement in the second category should be imposed only with the consent of the juvenile or, in the case of a child under 14, the consent of his parents.In the event of a breach of any of these requirements, or any others imposed under Sections 12 and 18 of the 1969 Act in criminal proceedings being proved to the satisfaction of the court on the application of the supervisor, it should be open to the court to impose a fine on the supervised person or in the case of a boy and where an attendance centre is available to the court, to make an attendance centre order. The imposition of either of these sanctions would not affect the continuance in force of the supervision order.The Government further propose, in the interests of greater flexibility, to remove, subject to an overall limit of 90 days, the existing restrictions on the maximum period in any one year for which residential treatment may be ordered by way of intermediate treatment under Section 12(2) of the 1969 Act. The court would retain the power to lay down the maximum period—of 90 days or less—for which the supervisor could give such directions.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Horses And Ponies

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many horses or ponies were shipped alive for slaughter on the Continent in each year from 1964 to the latest available date;(2) if he is satisfied with the method in which horses and ponies are shipped alive for slaughter to the Continent;(3) if he is satisfied that the horses and ponies shipped alive for slaughter on the Continent are provided with adequate food and water during the voyage.

The export of horses or ponies to the Continent for slaughter is not permitted and there is no evidence that such exports have taken place.

Sheepmeat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what basis France can refuse to import sheepmeat from Wales if the price falls below a threshold level; what is EEC policy on the matter; and what representations he has made to the French Government and the EEC Commission on this matter.

The sheepmeat sector of the Community is not yet subject to any common regime, and national arrangements continue for the present to apply generally in this sector. These include the present French system of levies and periodic market closure linked to a threshold price. The extension of Community arrangements to this sector is envisaged under the EEC Treaty. There has been consideration within the Community of Commission proposals for improving arrangements for intra-Community trade in which the United Kingdom and French Governments have fully participated, but no conclusions have yet been reached.

Eggs And Poultry

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to receive the EEC Commission's proposals for the establishment of an interprofessional organisation for eggs and poultry; and what action his Department is taking to expedite this matter in view of the delay in receipt of these proposals that has already occurred.

The new Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Gundelach, recently undertook to consider this proposal, which has already received much consideration within the Commission. I cannot say when he will be able to put forward proposals. My officials are constantly in touch with Commission officials, who are well aware of the interest in the United Kingdom and other member States in this matter.

Civil Service

Committees Of Inquiry

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list in the Official Report the names of Royal Commissions and official committees of inquiry currently sitting and the current cost of each to public funds.

The names and estimates of the cost in 1976–77 and 1977–78 of the Royal Commissions now sitting are, with one exception which is not a charge to public funds, contained in the Supply Estimates. The hon. Gentleman may find it convenient to refer to page iv —71 and pages xiii—28 and —29. Departmental committees of inquiry are a matter for the Minister concerned. My Department sponsors the Committee on Political Activity of Civil Servants; the cost of this in 1976–77 was £11,000 and the provision for 1977–78 is £9,000.

Government Car Service

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when the information asked for by the hon. Member for Newham, North-West on 5th April about the number of civil servants with salaries over £5,000 per annum who have the use

DepartmentNon-IndustrialsIndustrialsTotal
Cabinet Office660660
MAFF*14,6401,15815,798
HM Treasury1,1431,143
HM Customs29,35429,354
Inland Revenue82,4902782,517
Department for National Savings12,4019412,495
Department of Education and Science†3,9261034,029
Department of Employment‡49,9821,95551,937
Department of Energy1,335121,347
Department of the Environment§32,35425,55657,910
Ordnance Survey3,8733234,196
Foreign and Commonwealth Office9,82124010,061
Ministry of Overseas Development2,290582,348

of Government cars to take them to and from the railway stations and their offices was supplied; what was the reason for the delay; and whether he will publish these details in the Official Report.

The information was supplied on 19th April. The 14 days taken to produce the information included the Easter holiday and an additional weekend. Eight working days were taken in consulting Departments and preparing the reply. Eleven civil servants with salaries over £5,000 a year—all Permanent Secretaries or their near equivalents in the Science Group—use Government pool cars to take them to and from Waterloo, London Bridge and Victoria Stations and offices in Whitehall, Victoria Street, Marsham Street, Mill-bank, Strand, St. James's Square and Victoria Embankment. Permanent Secretaries of major Government Departments were given discretion to use cars in this way in 1952, and the facility was extended to all Permanent Secretaries in 1973. The provisions of the Finance Act 1976 apply to this usage as to any member of the public. Questions about the tax treatment of individuals are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Civil Servants (Numbers)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will bring up to date the table of Civil Service staff increases given in his reply to the hon. Member for Melton on 24th January; and if he will outline the legislative or policy reasons which caused a variation in manpower between 1st October 1976 and 1st January 1977 wherever applicable.

The number of staff in post as at 1st January 1977, by Department, is given below:

Department

Non-Industrials

Industrials

Total

Home Office28,6573,64732,304
Lord Chancellor's Office and Courts etc.9,9459,945
Land Registry4,92564,931
Civil Service Department3,6081,5375,145
Central Office of Information1,256601,316
HM Stationery Office3,2853,9827,267
Scottish Office9,83969310,532
Department of Transport (including DVLD)≑12,98253613,518
Scottish Courts Administration etc.7674771
Department of Health and Social Security94,22926794,496
Office of Population Censuses and Surveys2,544222,566
Department of Trade7,759457,804
Department of Industry9,0437559,798
Department of Prices and Consumer Protection369369
Export Credits Guarantee Department1,9461,946
Welsh Office1,55621,558
Ministry of Defence¶127,003134,246261,249
All other Departments5,8709816,851
Total569,852176,309746,161
NOTES—All figures include part-time staff counted as one half.

* Includes staff of the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce.

† Includes staff of the Victoria and Albert and Science Museums.
‡ Includes staff of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the Health and Safety Executive, the Manpower Services Commission and its Agencies.
§ Includes staff of the Property Services Agency.
¶ Includes staff of the Royal ordnance factories.
≑ The Department of Transport was set up on 8th November 1976.

The reasons for the significant increases were given in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Normanton on 23rd February 1977.—[Vol. 926, c. 580–82.]

Statute Book

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he expects Her Majesty's Stationery Office to publish "Public General Acts and Measures" for the Session 1974–75; and what is the explanation for the continued and unprecedented delay.

The bound volume of "Public General Acts and Measures" for 1975 was published on 4th April 1977. The delay was due mainly to the fact that a substantial amount of legislation in the 1974–75 Session did not receive Royal Assent until late in 1975, thus dislocating the normal printing timetable for the bound volume of Acts.

National Finance

Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration has been given to the corporate plan for Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd. when preparing the public expenditure estimates.

The Rolls-Royce corporate plan for 1977–81 is being considered by the NEB, which is responsible for the financing of the company. The amount of Government funds to be made available to the NEB, to meet this and its other responsibilities, will be reviewed in the normal course of the 1977 public expenditure survey.

Treasury (Studies)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) in how many programme analysis and review studies the Treasury has been involved since March 1974;(2) how many programme analysis and review studies there have been since March 1974; and whether any of them will be published.

The Treasury as a central Department is involved in all programme analysis and review studies. The position on information about the use of this technique and publication of the results was made clear in the Government's reply to the Tenth Report of the Expenditure Committee, Session 1975–76 (Cmnd. 6678) published on 24th November 1976. Programme analysis and review studies are internal to the Government and the reports are part of the confidential advice given by officials to Ministers. For this reason it has been the policy of successive Governments not to disclose or identify them publicly. As the Prime Minister said in the debate on the Queen's Speech on the same date, when the Government make major policy studies it will be their policy to publish as much as possible of the factual and analytical material which is used as the background to these studies. This will include material used in the programme analysis and review studies unless the Government judge that there are good reasons to the contrary.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many Treasury officials are engaged in full-time programme analysis and review work;(2) what the full-time equivalent is of the part-time work done by officials on programme analysis and review;(3) how many officials are engaged full-time in programme analysis and review.

No Treasury officials are engaged in continuing full-time work on programme analysis and review. The management of the programme analysis and review system is among the wider responsibilities of a number of officials in the Treasury, Civil Service Department and the Central Policy Review Staff, in co-operation with officials in other Departments. The conduct of particular studies may be the full-time task of some staff for a limited period. I regret that the cost of collecting information on the full-time equivalent of work on this type of study would not be justified.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he anticipates making further use of the programme analysis and review system in order to effect economies in public expenditure;(2) which Minister is responsible for the programme analysis and review system;(3) whether he will make a statement on the progress of the programme analysis and review system;(4) whether he is satisfied with the programme analysis and review system;(5) whether he intends to make greater use of the programme analysis and review system.

I am the responsible Minister.It is the Government's aim that the justification for, and effectiveness of, public expenditure programmes should continue to be subject to constant and critical scrutiny. The programme analysis and review system remains a useful, though not the exclusive, tool for this kind of scrutiny. There is a wide range of policy issues under consideration, or proposed for review, at any time. The Government periodically take stock of these, and consider what subjects should be pursued and which method of review is most appropriate. The question whether to apply the programme analysis and review system or some other method of review is decided in the circumstances of each case.

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what extent his Department will be involved in the proposed studies at the University of Bath of the expense in time and money to businesses in making VAT returns.

I understand that some preliminary work has been done and that a research team lead by Professor C. T. Sandford is planning to make a major survey of VAT compliance costs. Customs and Excise have been authorised to give the help sought from them in mounting this survey. In particular, Customs and Excise will select a suitable statistical sample of registered traders and co-operate in the addressing and despatch of questionnaires under secure conditions. I should make it clear that the university will not be told the names and addresses of persons to whom questionnaires have been sent; that person receiving a questionnaire will be under no legal obligation to reply to it, though I hope they will do so; and that the services provided by Customs and Excise will be paid for by the University of Bath.

Industry

British Shipbuilders

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if a decision has now been taken on the headquarters of British Shipbuilders.

The headquarters of British Shipbuilders will be in the North-East of England at a location to be decided by the new corporation. In addition to its North-East headquarters, the newly formed corporation will have permanent premises in London for marketing purposes which will be used by the corporation pending the progressive build-up of its North-Eastern head-quarters.

Shipbuilding

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his policy towards a national or European system of tariff proposals or protection to aid the United Kingdom shipbuilding industry against competition from builders in the Far East.

The United Kingdom is a firm advocate of a Community policy to safeguard the shipbuilding industry, but the Government do not believe that the imposition of tariff barriers is an effective way of dealing with the Far Eastern competition in this industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his estimate of the output capacity of the Japanese shipbuilding industry and the percentage of total world orders taken by Japanese yards for the last year for which figures are available.

There is no satisfactory measure of shipbuilding capacity as such. Japan's annual output of approximately 17 million gross tons in the peak production years of 1974 and 1975 is the best available indication of its capacity. According to Lloyd's Register of Shipping, 56 per cent. of world orders by gross tonnage were placed in Japanese yards in 1976.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many of the United Kingdom shipbuilding companies operate in development areas and how many out side; and whether shipbuilding aid will be made available to all builders regardless of location.

Of the shipbuilding companies or groups of companies employing 250 or more persons in the third quarter of 1976, 13, including Harland and Wolff, are located wholly or mainly in development or special development areas. Of the remaining six, three are located in intermediate areas and three are located in non-assisted areas. The companies in the assisted areas employ over 90 per cent. of the total work force engaged in Ship-building. Any assistance to shipbuilding companies will be based on the merits of the case; the location of the yard and other relevant factors will be taken into consideration.

Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he next expects to consider the corporate plan for Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd.

My right hon. Friend expects to receive the National Enterprise Board's corporate plan for Rolls-Royce Ltd, covering the period 1977–81, within a month or so.

Power Plant Manufacturing

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether his proposals for the future of the power plant manufacturing industry will ensure the continuation of turbine manufacture on Tyneside.

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 19th April.—[Vol. 930, c. 30.]

Environment

Town Planning

4.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his plans for relieving urban problems in the smaller towns and cities.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will include Bristol among those cities to be helped with reconstruction funds.

I refer the hon. Member and my hon. Friend to the statement I made to the House on 6th April.—[Vol. 929, c. 1226–46.]

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

19.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimated expenditure for relieving urban deterioration in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for 1977–78; and how that compares with 1975–76 and 1976–77.

Expenditure in relief of urban deterioration is a matter for local authority decision. According to the latest information, Government grants and subsidies to the city in 1975–76 and 1976–77 were £45·9 million and £49·9 million respectively. I cannot provide a comprehensive estimate for 1977–78.

Rent Subsidies

21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the cost of council house rent subsidies during the year ending 5th April 1978.

On the latest available information I estimate that in England central Government subsidy and rate fund contributions to housing revenue accounts will be £1,199 million; plus a cost of £318 million for rent rebates. These figures do not take into account any reduction which the most recent fall in interest rates is likely to produce.

Solar Heating

22.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what support his Department is giving to the promotion of solar heating.

We have substantial research and development work in hand on solar heating systems.

Sewerage Charges

23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will seek to amend legislation so that domestic ratepayers whose premises are without sewerage become liable for the general sewerage charges levied by water authorities and are exempted from all other charges by public authorities for the collection and disposal of sewage.

The consultative document on the review of the water industry raised the question of responsibility for cesspools. A White Paper will be published later in the spring setting out the Government's intentions.

Rent Act 1974

24.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he intends to introduce legislation to seek to amend the Rent Act 1974 in the present Session.

Housing Starts And Completions

26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the latest figures for housing starts and completions in the private and public sectors; and if he will make a statement.

The figures for February were published on 5th April. In Great Britain in the public sector there were 7,100 starts and 11,400 completions: private sector starts were 7,600 with 10,070 completions. These are lower figures than for comparable periods last year but I expect some improvement in both sectors.

Inner City Development (London)

27.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on his plans for inner city development in London.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply earlier today to the hon. Members for Harrow, East (Mr. Dykes), Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), and Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Macfarlane).

Housing Expenditure (London)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the effect in London of the cuts in the Housing Corporation announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his December statement.

Following the Chancellor of the Exchequer's December statement on public expenditure cuts, the Housing Corporation has authorised 75 per cent. of its original 1977–78 programme. In London this represents 6,900 houses. My right hon. Friend hopes to make an announcement very shortly about the Corporation's negotiations to obtain private loan finance, which should enable it to increase this programme.

River Coquet

29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied that serious levels of pollution will not arise in the lower reaches of the River Coquet and in the sea off Amble this summer.

The lower reaches of the River Coquet are shown as class 2 in the River Pollution Survey and no scientific evidence is available on the condition of the sea off Amble. I have no reason to expect any serious increase in pollution in either this summer.

Urban Problems

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the allocation of special funds to deal with inner city problems will be made; and on what criteria it will be based.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply earlier today to the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Bottomley).

Local Government Finance

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to finish his consultations about the reform of local government finance consequential upon the publication of the Layfield Committee Report; and when he expects to be able to announce the Government's plans for the reform of the rating system.

Discussions with the local authority associations on the committee's proposals have continued until recently. We are now considering the views of the associations and of the other organisations which have commented. My right hon. Friend will make a statement on the Government's reactions to the Layfield Report as soon as possible.

St Paul's Cathedral

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied with the operation of the Clean Air Acts in the light of the damage caused to the fabric of St. Paul's Cathedral by pollution from the Bankside Power Station.

Emissions to the atmosphere from Bankside Power Station are controlled by the Alkali and Clean Air Inspectorate under the Alkali etc. Works Regulation Act 1906 and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Gases are washed prior to discharge and the station is operating within the inspectorate's requirements.Air pollution levels in the City area have fallen significantly in recent years and I am not aware of any evidence linking emissions from the power station with damage to St. Paul's Cathedral. If the hon. Member has any specific information and will write to me with details I will certainly have the matter investigated further.

Air Pollution

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he proposes to take to reduce further the sulphur pollution in the atmosphere; and whether he will make a statement.

Sulphur dioxide concentrations in urban areas in this country have fallen significantly in recent years as a result of controls applied to domestic and industrial emissions and changes in the choice of fuel. My right hon. Friend is keeping under review the need to take any further measures, bearing in mind the recommendations contained in the Fifth Report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, and discussions taking place on this subject within the EEC.

Sheffield And South Yorkshire Navigation

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give further consideration to the proposed improvement of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation.

No. I am not aware of any new information since my right hon. Friend's decision a year ago which justifies further consideration.

Property Services Agency

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment for what purpose the Property Services Agency has entered into a lease of Belgrave House. Northampton; and what accommodation has been released as a result.

The Property Services Agency has leased the fifth floor of Belgrave House, Northampton, to house a new area office for the Health and Safety Executive, which will pay the rent. The staff will come from various premises in Northampton and elsewhere. Accommodation at 33 Bridge Street and 15 Castilian Street, Northampton, will be released. Accommodation elsewhere is required for other uses.

British Waterways Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of British Waterways Board's annual expenditure is spent on administration.

Expenditure by the British Waterways Board on administration—staff costs and related expenses for accommodation, etc., at its principal offices—represents around 17 per cent. of total expenditure.

Rating (Site Values)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any proposals to introduce site value rating.

Site value rating has been considered by a number of official committees over the past 50 years, including the Layfield Committee of Inquiry into Local Government Finance, and it has been recommended by none of them. But, as with other rating issues, a final decision will be announced when the Government have concluded their consideration of the Layfield Report.

National Building Agency

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will give details of the work carried out by the National Building Agency for which it received a £330,000 grant in aid from his Department in 1976–77.

The 1976–77 grant in aid funded the following work: (i) advisory studies and publications to give guidance and support to the housing association movement, and help to self-build housing associations; (ii) housing action areas and rehabilitation—advisory and support work for local authorities; studies, pub- lications, exhibitions and films on housing action areas; (iii) other technical studies, including work on small dwellings, starter homes, design and build tendering procedures, and the development of information services.The remainder of the grant in aid was provided to meet capital expenditure requirements and a proportion of the Agency's general expenses.

Water Resources

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has yet received a further report from the National Water Council on the studies on the drought.

I have now received the report which I referred to in my statement of 16th November. It is being published today. I am arranging for a copy to be placed in the Library. I am grateful to the Council for the work that has gone into the preparation of this report, which should prove valuable to all concerned in dealing with any future severe drought. I will study carefully and discuss further with the Council the various recommendations for Government action in the report.

Gipsies

25.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on progress made in implementing Part II of the Caravan Sites Act 1968.

Latest available figures show that local authorities in England and Wales have provided 146 sites, accommodating 2,328 gipsy caravans. This leaves about three-quarters of the gipsy population with no legal stopping place. As I announced in the House on 6th April—[Vol. 929, c. 528–9]—the report by Mr. John Cripps on this problem has now been published and consultations on it are proceeding.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how the counties of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex, respectively, have so far discharged their statutory responsibilities regarding the provision of caravan sites for gipsies; in each case how many vans are allowed for; and how these stops compare with the estimated gipsy population from time to time in these counties.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 7th April 1977; Vol. 929, c. 644–5], gave the following information:

Number of sites providedNumber of pitchesEstimated total number of gipsies
Norfolk11560
Cambridgeshire237200
SuffolkNILNIL60
Essex41*68250
* Includes 1 temporary site.

Social Services

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how he intends to ensure that a non-English-speaking doctor from the EEC who arrives in the United Kingdom, secures immediate registration as set out in his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Reading, South (Dr. Vaughan), Official Report, 5th April, column 479, and sets up in private practice will be able to communicate with patients sufficiently to practise medicine to acceptable standards.

I think it most unlikely that a doctor who has obtained registration in the United Kingdom under the terms of the EEC Medical Directives will find patients prepared to seek his services at their own expense if he cannot communicate adequately with them.

Mobility Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if the group which is studying the possibility of commuting the mobility allowance includes any member of his Department;(2) when he expects to receive the report from the Central Council for the Disabled on the feasibility of commuting the mobility allowance.

Discussions with the Central Council for the Disabled are not concerned with commutation as such, but with various possible ways by which mobility allowance beneficiaries might be helped to use their allowance to obtain transport appropriate to their needs. A number of my officials are involved in the discussions. I cannot yet say when conclusions are likely to be reached.

Figures for the gipsy population in each county are necessarily only an estimate based on information received form time to time from local authorities and gipsy organizations. The latest figures available show the following position:

Prescription Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will draw the attention of the public to the escalating cost of prescriptions by arranging for their cost to be written on the labels at the time of issue from chemists' shops.

This is among a number of possible means for informing the public about the cost, uses and limitations of modern drugs which is under consideration and which I shall be discussing with the professions concerned.

Supplementary Benefits Handbook

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to publish an up-to-date edition of the supplementary benefits handbook.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Sowerby (Mr. Madden) today.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the new edition of the supplementary benefits handbook is to be published.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 1st March 1977; Vol. 927, c. 114], gave the following information:According to my latest information, the new edition of the supplementary benefits handbook will be published on 12th May 1977. We shall be providing each hon. Member with a copy.

Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he has taken or intends to take shortly to offset for pensioners and those on supplementary benefit the increase in prices occasioned by (a) withdrawal of Government subsidies and (b) increased EEC prices.

As my right hon. Friend said in reply to a Question from the right hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Jenkin) on 6th April—[Vol. 929, c. 568–9]—he has recently reviewed the benefits payable under the Social Security Act 1975 and will be bringing forward proposals for a general uprating of contributory and supplementary benefits, to take effect in November. In that uprating he is required by the Act to raise retirement pensions and other long-term benefits in line with earnings or prices, whichever is more favourable to the pensioner, and the calculation of price increases for this purpose will take account of those mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Child Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list those DHSS benefits, long-term and short-term, which can be reduced following a payment of the new child benefit.

The rates of the following benefits were reduced, under Regulation 3 of the Child Benefit and Social Security (Fixing and Adjustment of Rates) Regulations 1976 (SI 1976/1267), to take account of the introduction of child benefit on 4th April 1977:

Child's special allowance.
Guardian's allowance.
Increase in respect of dependent children of unemployment benefit, sickness benefit. invalidity pension, maternity allowance, widow's allowance, widowed mothers allowance, retirement pension, child's special allowance, non-contributory invalidity pension, invalid care allowance, injury benefit, industrial injuries disablement pension (unemployability supplement).
Allowances in respect of children of deceased persons under the industrial injuries scheme.
Reductions were also made from 4th April 1977 in the rates of allowances in respect of children paid with war disablement unemployability supplement, additional treatment allowance, allowances for motherless and fatherless children and, for the first child only, with war widow's pension. Child benefit is taken into account in assessing entitlement to supplementary benefit.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the number of families, where the head of household is a retirement pensioner, who as a result of the introduction of child benefit for the first child have had (a) no net increase in income and (b) a net decrease in income.

As at 26th November 1976 there were 26,000 retirement pensioners who were receiving an increase of retirement pension for children. In all these cases the retirement pension would be reduced by £1 with effect from the first pay day on or after 4th April 1977 to offset the payment of child benefit at £1 a week for the first child, and the net result would be neither an increase nor a decrease in income.

Transport

A21

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give a time scale for the completion of the various stages leading up to the completion of the main improvement schemes required on the A21 trunk road.

It is too early to say. A21 became a trunk road on 1st April. The next step is to establish what improvements are needed and add schemes to the trunk road preparation pool. Then we can consider their priority within the trunk road programme as a whole.

Roads (Maintenance)

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether, in view of the continuing cut-back in overall road maintenance expenditure by local authorities, he will revise the terms of Circular 1/77 with regard to transport supplementary grant submissions for 1978–79 with a view to making it clear that the drop in these maintenance standards is not proving unacceptable to local authorities.

No. It remains the responsibility of local authorities to decide how and for what purpose they distribute their funds, and to establish their priorities in the maintenance of their roads.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether, in view of the numerous complaints which have been made by local authorities in their transport policies and programme submissions of 1977, he will review and modify as necessary the statement in the annual circular issued by his Department with regard to such submissions to the effect that the drop in maintenance standards has not yet proved unacceptable.

No. I see no reason at present to modify the terms of the annual circular. It remains the responsibility of local authorities to decide how they apportion resources within the local transport field, and to establish their own road maintenance priorities.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether the cost, in terms of extra maintenance and rebuilding inadequate foundations, of under-estimating the traffic forecast to use particular roads as in the case of the Anstey-Coleshill section of the M6, will in future be brought to the attention of the Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment.

We do not yet know the extent to which damage to the road was a result of under-estimating the traffic. The Committee's terms of reference do, however, include a requirement to review the Department's methods of traffic forecasting and its application of the forecasts.

M6 (Anstey-Coleshill)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how much the relaying of the Anstey-Coleshill section of M6 will cost; how much this section cost to build at current prices; how much it would have cost if it had been built to the standard necessary for the amount of traffic using it; and why the traffic forecasts were too low.

Total repair costs are not yet known since investigations are still in progress. In the current financial year critical sections will be treated at an estimated cost of £0·6 million. The Anstey-Coleshill section of M6 was built to the standard motorway design applicable at the time, at a cost at today's prices of £30 million. If built to today's standards, which take account of individual traffic forecasts, the section would have cost about £0·7 million more.

M6—Telford Link

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether, in the light of the Secretary of State for the Environment's announcement of the new and greatly reduced growth target for Telford New Town and in view of the continued necessity to contain public expenditure, he will now abandon proposals to link Telford and the M6 by a motorway and concentrate his resources on progressively improving the A5 between these two points.

No decisions will be made until my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I have completed our consideration of the inspector's report on the public inquiries relating to subsidiary orders for the M54 Telford to M6 scheme held in February 1976.

Lorry Drivers

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the number of registered unemployed lorry drivers in the United Kingdom as at the end of February 1977.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 7th April 1977; Vol. 929, c. 649], gave the following information:At 10th March 1977, 19,855 unemployed people were registered at employment offices in the United Kingdom for employment as heavy goods vehicle drivers.

Education And Science

National Film Theatre

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what sum of public money was paid to the National Film Theatre in 1976; and what sum will be paid in 1977.

It is for the British Film Institute to decide whether, and to what extent, the earnings of the National Film Theatre, which is part of the Institute, need to be supplemented from its grant in aid. I understand that in 1975–76, the most recent year for which audited figures are available, the Institute allocated £207,000 from its grant in aid.

French (O-Level Passes)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what were the total number of passes in French for the O-level examinations in the year 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1976, respectively.

Following is the information for 1972 to 1975:

NUMBER OF PASSES IN GCE O-LEVEL FRENCH SUMMER EXAMINATIONS
YearNumber
197287,831
197386,940
197489,174
197592,053
The figure for 1976 is not at present available.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) on 14th March.—[Vol. 928, c. 72.]

South Africa

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he intends to take to prevent any further supply of military materials by ICI to the Republic of South Africa, as detailed in a report presented by Christian Concern for Southern Africa to Sir Rowland Wright, Chairman of ICI.

ICI. like any other British company, are subject to the Government's policy on the embargo on arms sales to South Africa. I have seen nothing in the report of Christian Concern for Southern Africa to suggest that it is in breach of that policy. On the question of the activities of South African companies in which ICI has an interest, I refer my hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Defence's reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun) on 8th February.—[Vol. 925, c. 658.]

Passports

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why Gibraltar is not spelled correctly on British visitors' passports currently available through general post offices.

I am sorry that a printer's error at Her Majesty's Stationery Office led to Gibraltar being misspelt in one batch of British visitors' passports. The correct spelling appears in supplies now being distributed to post offices.

Energy

Petrol Consumption

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his best estimate of (a) the likely saving in petrol consumption in the first full year as a result of the increased petrol duty imposed in the Budget, and (b) the likely dissaving in petrol consumption in the first full year as a result of the proposed ending of the 50 m.p.h. and 60 m.p.h. energy-saving temporary speed limit.

First, the Budget increase in road fuel duty is expected to reduce motor spirit consumption by about 1 per cent. to 2 per cent. in 1977–78 below what it would otherwise have been, and by more in the longer term.Secondly, precise estimates of the effect on motor spirit consumption of ending the 50 m.p.h. and 60 m.p.h. speed limits cannot be made because of the many different factors involved.However, it is expected that any consequential increase in motor spirit consumption would be much less than 1 per cent.

Overseas Development

Common Fund

asked the Minister of Overseas Development (1) if he will set out in the Official Report the arguments urged by the developing States for a common fund designed to stabilise commodity prices and the posture of the industrial States;(2) what was the attitude of the United Kingdom on the North-South dialogue involving a common fund which was deadlocked recently in Geneva; and what is the alignment of the major industrial States;(3) what details have been produced by the developing States of their scheme for a common fund; in particular, how it is intended to be financed; and how minimum prices are to be established.

I have been asked to reply.The positions of the main groups of countries participating in the recent Geneva conference on the Common Fund are outlined in the conference chairman's summing up, the text of which was given in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Thornaby (Mr. Wrigglesworth) 6th April 1977.—(Vol. 929, c.

517–8].

Together with other members of the EEC, the United Kingdom agrees that there should be a Common Fund. Our views on the objectives and purpose of such a fund and certain other questions which would need to be resolved are reflected in the documents setting out the views of the developed countries.

While the UNCTAD Secretariat has put forward detailed proposals on the operation of a Common Fund, the developing countries have not done so. Their ideas on certain particular points were, however, set out in a preliminary way in the summing up documents.

Copies of documents referred to in the summing up, which set out in greater de-

For Economic Reasons

For Other Reasons

Over 80 feet

Up to 80 feet

Over 80 feet

Up to 80 feet

December 1976422468
December 19751948135
"Other reasons" include sale and major repairs. Very small craft are excluded from the table.

Comprehensive information is not collected on non-fishing duties, but my Department's survey showed that, at the end of 1976, 18 fishing vessels over 80 ft. were employed on oil-related duties compared with 13 in 1975.

tail the views of the developed and developing countries on the mattes raised by the hon. Member, are being placed in the Library.

Scotland

Local Government Staff (Car Purchase Aid)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will issue a circular to Scottish regional authorities advising them against offering five-year credit to employees for car purchase.

No. The assisted car purchase scheme for local authority employees is an integral part of the terms and conditions of their service. It is for the local authorities themselves, as employers, to approve the period over which a loan should be repaid within the terms agreed by the National Joint Council for Local Authority Services (Scottish Councils).

Fishing Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the number of fishing vessels laid up or transferred to non-fishing duties in the latest 12 months for which figures are available; how many persons this has rendered unemployed directly or indirectly, respectively, or transferred from work connected with fishing to work not connected with fishing.

Movements of Scottish vessels in and out of fishing occur constantly. The following table shows the numbers laid up at the time of surveys by my Department:The effect on employment of particular vessels entering or leaving the active fishing fleet cannot readily be isolated from other developments in the industry, but during 1976 the number of regularly employed fishermen rose from 7,507 to 7,560.

Spina Bifida And Mongolism

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the number of expectant mothers in Fife who in the year ended 31st March 1977 have been tested to ascertain whether their babies would be the victims of spina bifida or mongolism.

Fife is within the area covered by two screening research projects, and in the course of these projects 2,893 expectant mothers in Fife were tested for spina bifida and 49 for mongolism in the year in question.

Departmental Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list all the documents produced by the Scottish Information Office in the 12 months March 1976 to March 1977 and the quantities of each printed, by title.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 7th April 1977 Vol. 929, c. 650], gave the following information:The leaflets, posters and booklets published by Scottish Information Office on behalf of my departments during the year 1st April 1976 to 31st March 1977, and quantities printed were:

Benefits of North Sea Oil (Booklet)5,000
Thank God They're Here (Poster)20,000
Regulated Tenancies (Booklet)50,000
Tulliallan Jubilee (Booklet)1,000
Rooms to Let (Leaflet)25,000
Landlords and the law (Leaflet)25,000
Protection under the rent act (Leaflet)25,000
Letting your own home (Leaflet)25,000
Notice to Quit (Leaflet)50,000
When you leave it lock it (Poster)15,000
Expanding in Scotland (Leaflet)12,000
For Your Information—Scottish Agriculture (Leaflet)22,000
Water in Scotland (Booklet)5,000
Water in Scotland (Leaflet)2,000
Blazebuster (Fire Prevention Children's Comic)70,000
Check the Car Thief (Card)110,000
Give Him an Inch (Poster)20,000
Police Recruitment (Booklet)12,000
Prison Officers Recruitment (Leaflet)13,600
Crime Prevention Starts with You (Poster)15,000
Training for North Sea Oil (Booklet)4,000
Registers of Scotland (Booklet)1,000
Scottish Office (Booklet insert)5,000
Check the Car Thief (Leaflet)80,000
Sheriff Courts (Leaflet)2,000
Notice to Travellers (Leaflet)20,000
Scottish Education and North Sea Oil (Leaflet)2,000
Vandalism (Poster)15,000
State Hospital Carstairs Recruitment (Leaflet)5,000
Old People's Week (Poster)10,500
Sheep Scab Restriction (Poster)300
Money on the Move (Leaflet)15,000
Pickpockets (Poster)10,000
Police Guide to Security (Booklet)45,000
Crofting in the Next Decade (Booklet)2,500
Guide to Summary Cause in Sheriff Court (Leaflet)10,000
Controlled Rents to Fair Rents (Booklet)15,000
Information to Potential Jurors (Leaflet)200,000
Career Prospects for University Graduates (Leaflet)500
Nursing Conference (Programme)100
1977 Crime Prevention Calendar200,000
Rabies (Leaflet)20,000
Land Community Scheme (Booklet)25,000
Vandalism (Poster)10,000
Make Sure of Your Vote (Poster)10,000
Legal Aid (Poster)5,000
Community Land Scheme—Disposal (Booklet)2,000
Fire Prevention (Poster)5,000
Blazebuster (Fire Prevention Comic—new issue)70,000
Rent Rebates (Leaflet)400,000
Rate Rebates (Leaflet)300,000
Carry on Learning (Poster)5,000
Rent and Rate Rebates (Poster)2,500
Fuse Rating (Leaflet)60,000
Never… While Its Lit (Fire Prevention Poster)5,000
Perpetual Calendar for Fire Prevention10,000
Scotland Where the Action is (Leaflet)5,000
Good Neighbours (Poster)22,000
North Sea Oil (Booklet)5,000
Disabled Week (Poster)7,500
Good Neighbout (Leaflet)100,000
Lay Observer (Leaflet)2,500
Holiday Security Pochettes75,000
Kidney Donor (Cards)34,000
Kidney Donor (Poster)4,000
Electricity Special Payments Scheme (Leaflet)707,000
Gas Heaters (Leaflet)20,000
Community Councils (Poster)5,000
Community Councils (Leaflet)25,000
Never Go With Strangers (Bookmark)52,000
Cycle Safety (Leaflet)65,000
Cycle Safety (Poster)5,000
Police Recruitment (Leaflet)20,000
Community Parents (Leaflet)5,000

Factsheets published during the same year were:

Title

Quantity

Children's Hearings4,000
The National Health Service1,000
The State Hospital, Carstairs2,000
The Economy of Scotland4,000
The Licensing (Scotland) Act 19762,000
Scottish Office and North Sea Oil and Gas5,000
Land and the Community2,000
The Divorce (Scotland) Act 19761,000
Scottish Education4,000
Scottish Courts3,500
Industry and the Secretary of State2,500
Prisons and Other Penal Establishments1,500
Community Land Act2,000

In addition, the Scottish Information Office distributed a total of 1,426 Press notices. The number of copies issued of each notice varied from about 30 to 800 depending on the content and circulation required. "Newsletter from Scotland", features service for distribution overseas and to London-based correspondents of the overseas Press, was produced each month and 850 copies of each issue circulated.

Wales

Land Authority For Wales

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total acreage so far acquired by the Land Authority for Wales; what is the cost to date; how much land has so far been sold by it; and what receipts have been obtained.

This information can be obtained from the authority. I shall write to the hon. Member.

Agriculture

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had regarding Welsh agriculture with Mr. Gundelach, Commissioner for Agriculture in the EEC; and if he will make a statement.

None. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State—the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Alec Jones)—was, however, present at the Council of Ministers' Meeting on 25th March 1977.

Cheese

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what will be the total tonnage of cheese produced in Wales in 1977; what were the corresponding figures for the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

The level of cheese production in Wales in 1977 will depend on a number of factors, and I regret I am unable to make a forecast. As regards earlier years, statistics on production are unfortunately not readily available.

School Discipline

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he is satisfied with standards of discipline in primary and secondary schools in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Standards of behaviour in primary schools do not in general give rise to concern. Secondary schools face much greater problems if indiscipline and absenteeism. Local education authorities, teachers and others are facing up to these problems and there is much useful interchange of information and ideas, which the Welsh Office is encouraging and assisting.