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Written Answers

Volume 930: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 27th April 1977

Environment

Sheffield (Urban Renewal)

29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has now given to the urban renewal schemes put forward to him by the Sheffield City Council; and if he will make a statement.

I do not know of any such schemes I am awaiting a submission from Sheffield on its case for inclusion in the partnership arrangements announced on 6th April.

York (Archaeological Deposits)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, in view of the unique wealth of archaeological deposits in the area of the city of York and in particular the Copper gate site, if he is satisfied that this national heritage can be freely explored within the time scale and with the total financial resources available to the York Archaeological Trust.

The city council has deferred redevelopment for two years to permit archaeological excavation of the Copper gate site. Grants by my Department have enabled the trust to take full advantage of this opportunity. I hope that there will be a generous response to the appeal by the trust to the public for additional funds.

Northern Region

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in view of the representations made by the Northumberland Association of District Councils, he will extend the period for consultation and comment on the report of the Northern Region Strategy Team.

Taking account of the views of the other commissioning parties, my right hon. Friend is anxious to make good progress with consideration of the Strategic Plan for the Northern Region, and he has asked for comments by 31st May. If, however, it becomes clear that this deadline would cause serious difficulty in individual cases, it might be possible to consider extending it by, at the most, a few weeks in those cases.

Rating (Disabled Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has now, one and a quarter years after the House of Lords judgment in Vandyk v. Oliver, reached a decision about rating relief for the disabled.

My right hon. Friend regrets the delay and expects to reach a decision soon.

Cemeteries

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will take action to grant private cemeteries the same facility for the removal of kerb-stones on graves as pertains in the case of public cemeteries.

I have seen no evidence to justify such action. Section 214 of the Local Government Act 1972, which enabled my right hon. Friend to confer powers on local authorities by the Local Authorities' Cemeteries Order 1977, does not enable him to confer similar powers on private cemetery managements The Open Spaces Act 1906 does, however, enable local authorities to exercise certain functions in respect of such cemeteries by agreement, including removal of tombstones and monuments in disused burial grounds.

Water (Purity)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much oestrogen is currently entering the supply of drinking water from the use of the contraceptive pill or other sources; what proportion of this in water is regarded as medically safe; what progress has been made in the development of processes for its removal; and if he will make a statement.

There is no evidence of the presence of oestrogen in drinking water supplies, although traces have been found in rivers. Contraceptive pills add little to the total natural excretion of oestrogen by animals and humans Oestrogen is removed during conventional water treatment processes.

Walton Triangle, Liverpool

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the Liverpool City Council regarding the proposed building of houses on the land in Walton, Liverpool, known as the Walton Triangle; whether he has agreed to the proposals of the city council; whether he has proposed any modifications; and when a start is likely to be made in view of the housing needs in the area.

Officers of the Department's North-West Regional Office met representatives of Liverpool City Council on 9th December 1976 and again on 27th January 1977 to discuss proposals for housing development on the Walton Triangle site.The Department has substantially agreed to the city council's proposals. In March the Department issued loan sanction for £219,221 under the Community Land Act for acquistion and associated costs in connection with the site On 26th April a further loan sanction of £932,100 was issued under the Community Land Act for site clearance, demolition and pre-development works.The only modification by the Department to the proposal put forward by the city council is that the cost of the spine road linking the Walton Hall access road and the access point to Rice Lane, estimated to be £393,400, should be excluded from the cost of the predevelopment works carried by the Community Land Account and instead apportioned to the developers carrying out the five phases of housing development.The development is to take place in five phases, involving 1,000 dwellings in total. Two phases of the development are for rent and three for sale. Liverpool City Council's present plans envisage that tenders in respect of the three phases of the "Build for Sale" scheme involving 600 dwellings should be invited in July next. It is anticipated that tenders for phase I of the rented scheme involving 190 dwellings be accepted in October 1977 and building with commence in January 1978. Construction of a new access road essential to phase 2 of the rented scheme is dependent on confirma- tion of the Sandon Road compulsory purchase order only recently submitted to the Department for confirmation.

Transport

Motor Vehicle Licensing (Computer Records)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport for how long the name of a vehicle owner is retained on the computer record at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre as the registered keeper of the vehicle after he has notified the centre particulars of its disposal.

At present, until the new keeper notifies acquisition, which he should do forthwith to fulfil his legal obligation.

Lorries

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the total number of registered goods vehicles at the latest available date in each of the following categories: three to five tons, five to eight tons, 16 to 24 tons and 32 tons.

Goods vehicle registration statistics are not available by gross plated weight. The following figures have been derived from the operators' licence records as at September 1976.

Gross Plated Weight TonesNumber of Vehicles
OverNot over(000)
532
5894
816255
162458
243022
303264
323
Not specified8
Total536

A41 And A405 (Hertfordshire)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has rejected the upgrading of the A41 and A405 as an alternative to new motorway construction between Micklefield Green and South Mimms.

My right hon. Friend does not consider that the improvement of the A41 and A405 would constitute a satisfactory alternative to the construction of a new road between Micklefield Green and South Mimms. Following public consultation on alternative routes for the section of the M25 between these two points, routes 2 and 6B were selected for further development with a view to the preparation of draft statutory proposals. When these are published, objectors will be able to put forward any alternative proposals.

M25 Motorway

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish draft orders for the Micklefield Green to South Mimms section of the M25 motorway.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Tuck) on 6th April.—[Vol. 929, c. 1215–16.]

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when the report of the inspector who held the public inquiry into the proposals for the A10-A12 section of the M25 motorway will be published.

My right hon. friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and the Environment are at present considering this report, which will be published as soon as their decision is announced. My right hon. Friends hope to be able to make an announcement in the course of the next few months.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the inspector's report following the public inquiry into the proposed route of the A10 to A12 sections of the M25; and if the delay in publication can be expected to affect the announced target dates of 1981 for the A10 to M11 section and 1980 for the M11 to A12 section.

My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and the Environment are at present considering this report, which will be published as soon as their decision is announced. My right hon. Friends hope to be able to make an announcement in the course of the next few months. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the statutory procedures and to the availability of funds, it is hoped that the sections of the M25 between the A10 and the M11 and between the M11 and the A12 will be open to traffic in early 1982 and late 1980 respectively.

Railway Lands (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how much land, in acres, in Scotland is owned by British Railways.

Treasure Trove

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what are the arrangements for making items of treasure trove accruing to the Duchy available for academic study.

It is the practice that all items due to the Duchy of Lancaster as treasure trove are sent to either the British Museum or a museum in the provinces for examination and cataloguing. The result of this work is available for academic study.

Braehead (Explosion And Fire)

asked the Lord Advocate if he is yet in a position to make a statement on the results of the investigation into the explosition at the Braehead Container Depot in January.

I have completed my investigations into the Braehead explosion. On the information presently before me I do not propose to take criminal proceedings in regard to it. There is insufficient evidence that this disastrous fire was started by a criminal act on the part of any person. The reasons why a conflagration of this magnitude occurred and had such alarming consequences are being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive. The results of this investigation will be embodied in a report which will be made public.

Civil Service

Official Records (Suez)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if all official documents relating to the Suez invasion, 1956, were deposited in the Public Record Office; and, if not, on whose authority any such documents were destroyed.

Although I have no ministerial responsibility for this matter, I understand that the documents referred to are still in the possession of the Departments concerned.

Dispersal

asked the Minister for the Civil Service (1) why only 10 Civil Service posts were dispersed from London to Merseyside between 1st October 1974 and 30th September 1976 compared with 312 to Basingstoke, 56 to Sunningdale, 19 to Worthing and 31 to Eastbourne;(2) if, in view of the high level of unemployment in Kirkby, he will alter his policy on the dispersal of Civil Service posts and disperse a substantial proportion to the town;(3) what are the 56 Civil Service posts dispersed to Sunningdale; and what was the reason for the choice of location;(4) how many Civil Service posts are to be dispersed from London to (a), Merseyside, (b) Kirkby and (c) Orsmkirk;(5) why more Civil Service posts have so far been dispersed to the South as opposed to the high unemployment area of Merseyside.

The Government's dispersal programme announced in July 1974 provides for about four-fifths of the dispersed posts to go to assisted areas, including 3,400 to Merseyside, including Southport. The other moves referred to in the Question were all to existing offices of the Departments concerned and did not require the long lead times for construction work and planning necessary for the larger moves in the programme.The 56 posts dispersed to Sunningdale are part of the Civil Service College, which has its headquarters there, and Sunningdale was given in the announcement of the programme—[Vol. 878, c. 493–4]—as an existing dispersal centre.There are currently no plans to disperse Civil Service work to Kirkby or Ormskirk. The location decisions already announced will not now be reopened; but in any future location decisions the interests of Kirkby and Ormskirk, as well as those of other areas, will be borne in mind.

Northern Ireland

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether any special allowance is paid to civil servants based in England currently serving in Northern Ireland; and when the rate was fixed.

No special allowance is paid to United Kingdom civil servants serving in Northern Ireland, but certain modifications to normal conditions of service were introduced some years ago to assist in the particular problems facing staff who serve in the Province.

Wills (Publicity)

asked the Attorney-General whether, in view of the distress and risk which may be caused to widows, he will introduce legislation to seek to prohibit the inclusion of the address of the deceased person or his widow when wills are published in newspapers.

No. Whilst I sympathise with the hon. Member's objective, I do not think that it would be achieved by prohibiting publication of the address of the deceased person or his widow so long as wills remain public documents open to inspection.

Pornography

asked the Attorney-General what proposals he has for tightening up the administration of the law concerning pornographic display.

I have no such proposals, but I am willing to consider any specific aspect of this matter which is giving concern to the hon. Member.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Pig Farmers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers have gone off pig production in the past 12 months.

No figures relating to changes in the number of farmers engaged in pig production over the past 12 months are available. The June census records the numbers of holdings on which pigs are kept. The latest figures relate to June 1976 when there were 32,300 such holdings in England and Wales.

Brucellosis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of the national dairy herd has been accredited free from brucellosis in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement of his future intentions.

The proportion of the dairy herd in England and Wales that was accredited at the end of each of the last five years was as follows:

Per cent.
197240·0
197353·1
197456·5
197564·3
197669·2
As to the future, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 8th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy) which dealt with all types of cattle in Great Britain.—[Vol. 927, c.

451–2.]

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of the dairy herd in each county is now accredited free from brucellosis.

The position at 31st March 1977 was as follows:

CountryPer cent
Avon47
Bedford97
Berkshire96
Buckingham67
Cambridge96
Cheshire48
Cleveland53
CountryPer cent
Cornwall44
Cumbria95
Derby41
Devon83
Dorset59
Durham41
Essex98
Gloucester59
Hampshire53
Isle of Wight100
Hereford and Worcester64
Hertford96
Humberside53
Kent87
Lancashire94
Leicester64
Lincoln58
Greater Manchester57
Merseyside56
Norfolk99
Northampton65
Northumberland60
Nottingham70
Oxford63
Salop74
Somerset66
Stafford41
Suffolk99
Surrey96
Sussex, East85
Sussex, West98
Tyne and Wear58
Warwick57
West Midlands39
Wiltshire47
Yorkshire, South68
Yorkshire, North68
Yorkshire, West72
Isles of Scilly100
Greater London91
Clwyd79
Dyfed99
Glamorgan, South88
Glamorgan, Mid-90
Glamorgan, West94
Gwent89
Gwynedd99
Powys99
Total England and Wales71

Food Prices

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food further to his Written Answer to the right hon. Member for Battersea North, (Mr. Jay) Official Report, 21st April 1977, column 121, what is the exact timing of the direct food price rises referred to in 1977; and what will be the relevant percentage price rise in each commodity mentioned.

The next transitional steps are due to take place for butter and cheese on 1st May; for beef on 2nd May; and for pigmeat, eggs, poultry and cereals on 1st August. The final step is due in each case by the end of the year. The retail equivalent of the changes in CAP institutional prices arising from the remaining two transitional steps related to recent average retail prices is approximately 4 per cent. for beef, 2 per cent. for pigmeat, 2 per cent. for poultrymeat, 4 per cent. for eggs, 20 per cent. for butter, 8 per cent. for cheese, up to 4 per cent. for bread, and 8 per cent. for flour.

Employment

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list the projects undertaken under the Job Creation Programme in the Maldon District Council area; and what has been the cost of each project to public funds and the number of jobs created on each project; (2) if he will list the projects undertaken under the Job Creation Programme in the Rochford District Council area; and what has been the cost of each project to public funds and the number of jobs created on each project.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that no projects are being undertaken in the areas of the Maldon or Rochford District Councils.

Professional And Executive Recruitment

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total cost of operating the Professional and Executive Recruitment Service in each of the years 1974,1975 and 1976, respectively.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the total cost of the Professional and Executive Recruitment Service in the 1974–5 and 1975–6 financial years was £4· million and £4·3 million and £4·3 million respectively. The outturn expenditure figure for 1976–7 is not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people registered with the Professional and Executive Register; how many were placed; and what was the percentage of successful placing in each of the years 1974,1975 and 1976, respectively.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that, in the three financial years 1974–5, 1975–6 and 1976–7 the number of people enrolling with Professional and Executive Recruitment was 142,869, 171,375, and 196,871 respectively. The number of successful placings was 8,102; 6,701; and 8,921, representing 6 per cent., 4 per cent., and 5 per cent. respectively of those enrolling.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has for the future of the Professional and Executive Recruitment Service.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the most recent information on the plans for the future of Professional and Executive Recruitment is as given in my reply to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Steen) on 1st March 1977—[Vol. 927, c. 176.]

University Graduates

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many university graduates entered industry and commerce in each of the last five years; and what percentage of the total university graduates starting employment these figures represent.

The following table gives the information requested for the most recent five years for which it is available. It is based on figures published by the University Grants Committee. Both columns relate to the number of first and higher degree university graduates known to have taken their first employment in the United Kingdom.

GRADUATES ENTERING INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE
(a)(b)
YearTotalAs a percentage of all new graduates starting employment
197111,20954
197211,39353
197313,54957
197413,97956
197512,36453

North Hampshire Disablement Advisory Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what considerations he took into account in making his decision to disband the North Hampshire Disablement Advisory Committee; and whether he will make a statement.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 7th April 1977; Vol. 929, c. 676], gave the following information:I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that no decision has yet been taken concerning the future of the North Hampshire Disablement Advisory Committee. The views of the Committee on the proposal to disband it have been considered, and a fresh proposal will be put to members of the committee shortly for consideration. A decision will be taken in the light of the Committee's views and the views of the Employment Service Agency.

Low Incomes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the appropriate number of persons in full time employment where income is less than the current level of supplementary benefit, indicating the sectors of employment concerned.

I have been asked to reply.From the latest available data it is estimated that in December 1975 there were in Great Britain about 120,000 families of which the family head was employed in full-time work and where the family's net income was below the appropriate supplementary benefit level. This estimate, which is derived from an analysis by the Department of Health and Social Security of the incomes and other information recorded by respondents to the Family Expenditure Survey, is subject to sampling error. For families with the head in self-employment, it is not possible to estimate the numbers in full-time work with incomes below the supplementary benefit level. It is, however estimated that there were about 90,000 such families where the head was in part-time or full-time work.

It is not possible to state the employments concerned.

These estimates are rounded to the nearest 10,000 and are subject to sampling error. They are based on an analysis by the Department of Health and Social Security of Family Expenditure Survey data for 1975. The Family Expenditure Survey refers to the household population only.

The supplementary benefit level is taken as being the supplementary benefit scale rate appropriate to the family. This is compared with the family's net income less net housing costs, less work expenses.

The estimates do not indicate unclaimed entitlement to supplementary benefit since persons in full-time work are not normally eligible to claim.

The comparison is based on the family's normal income in the normal employment situation of the head. The above estimate might therefore include families where the head has been off work due to sickness or unemployment for less than three months, if the family income when the head was at work was below supplementary benefit level.

Northern Ireland

Harland And Wolff Limited

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he is yet in a position to make an announcement about further orders for Harland and Wolff Limited.

Yes. Agreement has been reached in principle on financial arrangements to enable two liquefied petroleum gas carriers, each of 58,000 cubic metres—together worth between £60 million and £70 million—to be ordered from Harland and Wolff by a leasing company for long-term charter to Shell. The final prices of the ships and other details are still the subject of negotiation, and must remain confidential. But the House will wish to know the basis on which agreement in principle has been reached.It is intended that a joint venture leasing company will be set up whose ordinary share capital will be owned by United Kingdom banks. Harland and Wolff will invest in the leasing company to the extent of £12 million in the form of redeemable preference shares, to be financed by the Northern Ireland Department of Commerce which is the sole owners of Harlands. The preference shares will earn a cumulative, but not compounded, dividend of 7½ per cent. a year, and it is expected that they will be redeemed out of the sale proceeds of the ships at the end of the lease. In addition, the ordinary shareholders will from time to time be expected to make loans available to the leasing company up to a maximum of £14 million. The leasing company will have access to normal credit terms under the Home Credit Scheme for shipbuilding. It will also benefit from the tax incentives generally available for leasing operations, namely the 100 per cent. first year capital allowances for the expenditure on the construction of the ships, the benefit of which will be accelerated through group relief.The EEC Commission has been notified.This is an important contract, involving new technology, which will provide work for 2,000 men for two years.

Prison (Maghaberry)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement on the progress made on the building of the new prison, including the expenditure incurred so far and the anticipated expenditure in 1977–78.

Work on the construction of the perimeter wall for the new male prison at Maghaberry has already started and tenders have been received for the provision of main services and site development. It is anticipated that tenders for the main building programme will be sought in the latter part of the summer. Up to 31st March 1977, £1,308,000 has been spent on site acquisition and other works and it is expected that a further £1·8 million approximately will be spent in the financial year ending March 1978.

Civil Service (Recruiting Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total cost of advertising vacancies in the Northern Ireland Civil Service in 1976–77.

The total cost of recruitment advertising by the Civil Service Commission for Northern Ireland during the financial year 1976–77 was £74,125.

Energy

Norwegian-United Kingdom Co-Ordinating Committee

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will report on his recent official visit to Norway.

I visited Norway on 14th to 16th April as the guest of the Norwegian Government and had meetings there with the Prime Minister and with the Minister of Industry, Mr. Gjerde. The joint communiqué issued by Mr. Gjerde and me after our meetings—of which I attach the text—makes it clear that we reached agreements on a number of important matters relating to our common interests in offshore oil and gas and laid the foundation for continuing co-operation which will be of real benefit to our two countries.FROM THE MEETING OF THE UNITED KINGDOM/NORWEGIAN CO-ORDINATING COMMITTEE IN OSLO ON 14TH AND 15TH APRIL 1977The first meeting of the Norwegian/United Kingdom Co-ordinating Committee to foster closer co-operation between the two countries on North Sea oil and gas matters was held in Oslo on 14th and 15th April 1977.The discussions were held under the joint chairmanship of Mr. Bjartmar Gjerde, Norwegian Minister for Industry, and Mr. Tony Benn, United Kingdom Secretary of State for Energy.The Committee was formed following meetings in London in September 1976 between Mr. Benn and Mr. Gjerde. It is intended that it should meet twice a year alternately in Norway and the United Kingdom.The agenda covered a wide range of subjects and these are dealt with under the headings set out below.1.

World oil situation

Under this heading the Ministers reviewed the general energy situation against the background of OECD and national supply and demand forecasts.

2. Progress on median line fields

The Committee took note of the progress made in the development of the three median line fields—frigg, Statfjord and Murchison. A unitisation agreement for the Frigg field—the first of its kind in the world—has been signed by the Norwegian and United Kingdom authorities. Unitisation negotiations between the two Governments for the Statfjord and Murchison fields are progressing well.

3. Industrial opportunities

The Ministers reviewed discussions between officials of the Norwegian Ministry of Industry and the United Kingdom Department of Energy on developing the procedures to give Norwegian and United Kingdom industry the opportunity to win orders, on a competitive and non-discriminatory basis, for supplies for offshore oil and gas operations throughout the North Sea.

They agreed, in conformity with the traditional policies of the Norwegian and British Governments of not discriminating against third countries, that the industries in their respective countries, should have a really fair opportunity to tender for contracts. This also applies to the development and operation of median line fields.

Accordingly, the Ministers asked officials to examine how these joint objectives might be achieved in practice beginning with the median fields.

The Co-ordinating Committee reiterates that the traditional non-discriminatory shipping policy pursued by the two Governments also applies to shipping services for offshore oil and gas operations throughout the North Sea.

4. Encouraging contacts between Norwegian and United Kingdom companies

The Co-ordinating Committee welcomed the prospect of greater co-operation between Norwegian and British Industry in the offshore sector.

The Ministers emphasised their determination to secure from oil and gas developments the maximum industrial and employment benefits.

They recognised that the establishment of joint ventures was primarily for the commercial interests concerned. Both sides agreed, however, that to the extent possible, they should seek to facilitate such commercial initiatives.

5. Gas Gathering Pipeline Systems

The Co-ordinating Committee decided to establish a sub-committee on gas gathering pipelines. The sub-committee will look into the possibilities of a joint scheme for gas gathering. The British and Norwegian bodies investigating on the respective Continental Shelves the possibilities of gas gathering systems will be instructed to try to harmonise their approaches to the collection of data. The first meeting of the sub-committee will be held in London in June 1977.

6. Co-operation between National Oil Companies

The Co-ordinating Committee discussed the possibilities of further contact between BNOC and Statoil, and is of the opinion that areas of co-operation could best be defined through direct contacts between the two organisations.

7. Safety, including Research and Development and Emergencies

Ministers decided to establish a special Working Group to bring forward proposals for co-operation in the field of safety, safety related research and emergency preparedness and to facilitate and develop the exchange of information.

Ministers placed great emphasis on the need for close collaboration within the context of existing official contacts on environmental, operational and security matters, on measures to deal with accidents and other emergencies offshore.

8. Conclusion

The Ministers agreed that the first meeting of the Co-ordinating Committee had provided an extensive and valuable exchange of views and information. They expressed their determination to secure a regular and systematic follow-up through the Co-ordinating Committee. The next ministerial meeting will be held in Britain in the spring of 1978.

Coal (Exploration)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many boreholes per year will be sunk in the next phase of the programme of exploration and proving of coal reserves in the United Kingdom; and when the contracts will be placed for that phase.

The National Coal Board intends to drill a further 400 deep bore-holes between now and 1980. It is presently receiving and assessing tenders for the programme. Until it has completed doing this it is unable to give a year-by-year breakdown.

Nuclear Power Stations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the sites of Magnox nuclear power stations showing the date of commission, the current generating life-expectancy of each station and the work force at each station.

The commissioning dates of the CEGB's eight stations, the SSEB's one station, which is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, and the UKAEA's two Magnox stations, now transferred to BNFL, are listed below:

Berkeley1962
Bradwell1962
Calder Hall1956
Chapelcross1958
Dungeness A1965
Hinkley Point A1965
Hunterston A1964
Oldbury-in-Severn1967
Sizewell A1966
Trawsfynydd1965
Wylfa1971
When the Magnox stations were planned the boards cautiously assumed that they would have an operating life of 20 years. However, continuing studies are being made by the generating boards, in conjunction with the UKAEA, in the light of developing operating experience. Currently there are good reasons to hope that the stations' operating lives will exceed 20 years and there are no plans for their early retirement.The work force depends upon the particular operational circumstances at each station. I am, therefore, asking the Chairmen of the CEGB and BNFL to write to my hon. Friend. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will make arrangements for the Chairman of the SSEB to write to my hon. Friend.

Drax B Power Station

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

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

National Coal Board (Lands)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much land, in acres, in Scotland is owned by the National Coal Board.

I am informed by the National Coal Board that its figures for land holdings are prepared annually and that the latest date for which this information is available is 27th March 1976. At that time the Board and its subsidiaries owned in total about 49,000 acres of land in Scotland. The total acreage comprises land of all kinds—i.e., colliery and other operational sites, agricultural land, disused collieries and waste heaps, woodland, etc.

Oil And Gas Rigs (Safety)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will inquire into the feasibility of combining the development of wave power with the need to reduce environmental hazards in offshore oil and gas installations by the construction of strings of floating ducks as wave barriers, extracting energy in the northern areas of the North Sea adjacent to oil and gas platforms, and so reducing the risks of storm damage, making development and maintenance work easier, safer, quicker and less costly;(2) if he will inquire into the advantages that could result for the offshore oil and gas industry if development and long-term operations could be conducted in calmer seas that would exist behind protective floating barriers, such as are being experimentally developed for the extraction of wave energy; if such wave barriers would reduce the risks of accidents; if they would reduce capital costs of oil and gas development; if they would reduce costs of maintenance; and if they would make the exploitation of marginal fields more profitable.

My Department is already supporting a project aimed at providing a zone of calm water around offshore oil installations. However, as was made clear during the deliberations of the Offshore Energy Technology Board, the breaking away of a substantial floating barrier from its moorings could pose an even greater danger to a rig, platform or service vessel than the weather itself. The present project, therefore, pays particular attention to avoiding this problem. The type of device more suitable for extracting useful power from the waves is likely to be more massive than the one designed only to reduce wave motions, and is, therefore, less likely to be acceptable for this purpose as well as being at an earlier stage of development. The basic techniques are, of course, related, and through its support of both types of device my Department will be able to ensure that the benefits of the researches are shared.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what further steps he has taken to re-examine, in the light of the Ekofisk blow-out, United Kingdom arrangements for dealing with North Sea accidents.

Ministers are keeping in close touch with the Ekofisk blow-out situation and Her Majesty's Government have offered assistance to Norway—e.g., air surveillance and clean-up measures. A study group under the aegis of the Interdepartmental Committee on Marine Safety has been set up urgently to evaluate the adequacy of the departmental responses to the blow-out and to identify the implications for the United Kingdom national interest offshore, including fisheries. The group comprises officials of the Departments of Trade, Environment, Defence, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Scottish Office and the Health and Safety Executive; my Department will take the chair. Other countries and interests such as the offshore operators and local authorities will be consulted as necessary. I had a meeting with the United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association on 26th April to discuss the preliminary lessons to be learnt from the Ekofisk blow-out and plan to resume the discussion with them next week.

Defence

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what number of Army personnel, excluding the UDR, were stationed in Northern Ireland on 31st March 1977, 31st December 1976, 30th September 1976, 30th June 1976 and 31st March 1976, respectively.

Approximate troop strengths, excluding the UDR, in Northern Ireland on the dates quoted were:

31st March 197714,000
31st December 197614,000
30th September 197614,500
30th June 197614,500
31st March 197615,500
The figure for 31st March 1976 includes the Spearhead Battalion which was deployed in Northern Ireland during the early months of 1976.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in view of the court decision in Belfast exonerating the late Leo Norney of any involvement in terrorist activities, he is now prepared to hold an inquiry into the circumstances of the killing by members of the Army.

As part of the out of court settlement of the action brought by Leo Norney's parents, my Department accepted that Leo Norney was innocent of involvement in the shooting incident which led to his death. As for the question of a further inquiry, I would remind the hon. Member of the reply of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 22nd February—[Vol. 926, c. 552–31]—in which he pointed out that there had been an inquest and a full police investigation.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if the soldiers responsible for the killing of Leo Norney are still members of the Army.

All but one of the soldiers involved in the incident have left the Army.

Crime

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if a member of the Army in Northern Ireland convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment remains a member of the Army.

The Queen's Regulations for the Army dictate the discharge of a soldier sentenced to a term of imprisonment unless his retention is desirable in the interests of the Service.

Lands

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much land, in acres, in Scotland is owned by his Department.

Squatters (Islington)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Ministry of Defence dwellings in Barns-bury Park, Islington, have been squatted upon; and what action is being taken to regain possession.

Seven Ministry of Defence flats in Barnsbury Park, Islington, have been occupied by squatters. The flats were recently modernised by the Property Services Agency and were occupied by the squatters before they could be allocated to Army families. The Treasury Solicitor has been requested to initiate urgent legal action to regain possession of the flats, which are needed for Army families.

Civil Service Personnel (Northern Ireland)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what special allowance is paid to members of the Civil Service from his Department who are serving in Northern Ireland; and when the rate was fixed.

No special allowance is paid, but certain modifications to normal conditions of service were introduced some years ago to assist in the particular problems facing staff who serve in the Province.

Education And Science

Bachelor Of Education Courses

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish in the Official Report

Number of teachers
InstitutionYear 1Year 2Year 3Total
Bath College of Higher Education11
Bishop Otter College, Chichester2929
Bolton College of Education (Technical)55
Bognor Regis College of Education13181546
Bristol Polytechnic61181796
Brighton Polytechnic7171
Bromley Institute of Higher Education11
Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education145
Bulmershe College of Higher Education, Reading701888
Chester College32941
Christ Church College, Canterbury11
City of Manchester College of Higher Education332154
College of All Saints, Tottenham5752109
College of Sarum St. Michael, Salisbury1818
De La Salle College of Education, Manchester80585
Dorset Institute of Higher Education1010
Dudley College of Education1109872280
Ealing College of Higher Education11516
East Sussex College of Higher Education2222
F. L. Calder College of Education, Liverpool112
Ilkley College222244
I. M. Marsh College of Physical Education, Liverpool213
Kingston Polytechnic25193276
La Sainte Union College of Education, Southampton1515
Leicester Polytechnic538
Liverpool Institute of Higher Education431356
Manchester Polytechnic666637169
Nene College, Northampton1010
Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic11
North East Wales Institute of Higher Education728759218
Northumberland College of Education316441
North Worcestershire College6060
Padgate College of Higher Education73216100
Portsmouth Polytechnic182240
Preston Polytechnic11710594316
Roehampton Institute of Higher Education322355
St. Martin's College, Lancaster29534
St. Paul's College, Cheltenham11
Sheffield University Institute of Education463026102
Shoreditch College, Egham1111
Sittingbourne College of Education201232
Sunderland Polytechnic544241137
University College of North Wales, Bangor45212187
University College, Cardiff909159240
University College, Swansea646711142
West Midlands College of Education, Walsall12489213
Worcester College of Higher Education22
Totals1,6639855453,193

information showing the number of teachers pursuing part-time B.Ed. degree courses; and what are the names of the institutions responsible for courses, together with the number of students graduating from them during the last three years for which figures are available.

Returns from institutions providing part-time B.Ed. degree courses for serving teachers show the following numbers of teachers pursuing such courses in 1976–77. Information is not available centrally about the numbers graduating each year.

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is considering any proposals which would restrict the right of non-graduates holding a certificate of education to obtain employment in teaching.

Berwick (Further Education)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she has given further consideration to the case for some further education facilities in Berwick in the light of representations made by the headmaster of Berwick High School; and whether, in the light of the emphasis she places on further education, she will take action to remedy the situation whereby there are no opportunities for it within 50 miles of Berwick.

The provision of further education facilities at Berwick-upon-Tweed will be reconsidered when the higher and further education major building programme for 1977–78 is reviewed in the summer.

School Starting Age

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if she will list the education authorities in England and Wales, showing where children were normally able to start school below the statutory age in autumn 1976 and where they could not expect to start until the statutory age;(2) which education authorities are having to stop taking children into school below the statutory age as a result of the rate support grant cuts.

Information about the ages of children attending school is collected in January each year. In January 1976, the latest date for which information is available all local education authorities in England offered some school places to children below compulsory school age. I have no information about local authorities' intentions in this respect for the current financial year but, as I told the hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker) on 24th March—[Vol. 928, c. 621–2]—the number of under-fives in school is not expected to decline nationally.

Primary education in Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Centre For European Education

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is prepared to grant financial support to the United Kingdom Centre for European Education in addition to the assistance given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

I regret that I see no prospect of my Department providing any financial assistance for the proposed United Kingdom National Committee of the Centre for European Education.

Social Services

Death Grant

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent representations he has received concerning the level of the death grant.

I would refer the hon. Lady to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Craigen) and to the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) on 19th April.—[Vol. 930, c. 82–3.]

Mentally Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he is satisfied with the services available for mentally handicapped persons in the Ormskirk area; and what steps he proposes to take to improve the available facilities and services;(2) what provision will be made for mentally handicapped persons in the Ormskirk area in need of the facilities of an adult training centre and hostels now the projects for a training centre and a hostel have been deferred by the Lancaster County Council.

The level of provision for the mentally handicapped in Ormskirk is not as good as I would wish. Priorities for the improvement of services within the limited resources available are for the local and health authorities to decide, within the framework of my Department's guidance on national priorities. The county council has no further proposals at present for extending hostel and training centre provision in the Ormskirk area. The Lancashire Area Health Authority is providing a new child development and assessment centre which will come into operation shortly and, for the longer term, is considering the provision of additional hospital day facilities for children.

asked the ecretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the report of the Development Group for the Mentally Handicapped in St. Margaret's Hospital, Great Barr.

The Development Team report to authorities which seek its advice, with copies to my Department. Any further distribution of its reports is at the discretion of the receiving authorities.

Mental Health Services

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total revenue expenditure on services for the mentally ill in the Wessex Regional Health Authority for 1975–76 and for each area health authority within that region.

It is not possible from the accounts of NHS authorities to identify expenditure on the treatment of patients suffering from specified diseases or conditions, except where treatment is given in hospitals in which the beds are provided exclusively or predominantly for the use of a single speciality. Services for the mentally ill are provided not only in such special purpose hospitals but frequently in acute and other hospitals, and also as part of the Community Health Services. I regret, therefore, that the information is not available in the form requested.Expenditure in 1975–76 of area health authorities within the Wessex Regional Health Authority on hospitals specifically designated as psychiatric (mental illness) was as follows:

Area Health Authority£
Dorset3,109,812
Hampshire (Teaching)9,518,866
Isle of Wight1,081,110
Wiltshire4,865,430
Total for Region18,575,218

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total revenue expenditure in 1975–76 on services for the mentally ill for the West Midlands Regional Health Authority and for each area health authority within that region.

It is not possible from the accounts of NHS authorities to identify expenditure on the treatment of patients suffering from specified diseases or conditions, except where treatment is given in hospitals in which the beds are provided exclusively or predominantly for the use of a single specialty. Services for the mentally ill are provided not only in such special purpose hospitals but frequently in acute and other hospitals, and also as part of the community health services. I regret, therefore, that the information is not available in the form requested.Expenditure in 1975–76 of area health authorities within the West Midlands Regional Health Authority on hospitals specifically designated as psychiatric (mental illness) was as follows:

Area Health Authority£
Hereford and Worcester6,012,487
Salop2,076,263
Staffordshire4,869,494
Warwickshire2,804,226
Birmingham (Teaching)9,744,791
Coventry996,613
Dudleynil
Sandwellnil
Solihull2,141,198
Walsallnil
Wolverhamptonnil
Total for Region28,645,072

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total revenue expenditure for 1975–76 on services for the mentally ill in the Mersey Regional Health Authority and for each area health authority within that region.

It is not possible from the accounts of NHS authorities to identify expenditure on the treatment of patients suffering from specified diseases or conditions, except where treatment is given in hospitals in which the beds are provided exclusively or predominantly for the use of a single specialty. Services for the mentally ill are provided not only in such special purpose hospitals but frequently in acute and other hospitals, and also as part of the community health services. I regret, therefore, that the information is not available in the form requested.Expenditure in 1975–76 of area health authorities within the Mersey Regional Health Authority on hospitals specifically designated as psychiatric (mental illness) was as follows:

Area Health Authority£
Cheshire13,094,517
Liverpool (Teaching)5,705,877
St. Helens and KnowsleyNil
SeftonNil
WirralNil
Total for Region18,800,394

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total revenue expenditure on services for the mentally ill in 1975–76 for the South-Western Regional Health Authority and for each area health authority within that region.

It is not possible from the accounts of NHS authorities to identify expenditure on the treatment of patients suffering from specified diseases or conditions, except where treatment is given in hospitals in which the beds are provided exclusively or predominantly for the use of a single specialty. Services for the mentally ill are provided not only in such special purpose hospitals but frequently in acute and other hospitals, and also as part of the community health services. I regret, therefore that the information is not available in the form requested.Expenditure in 1975–76 of area health authorities within the South-Western Regional Health Authority on hospitals designated (mental illness) was as follows:

Area Health Authority£
Avon (Teaching)4,132,101
Cornwall3,138,165
Devon7,029,772
Gloucester2,932,625
Somerset4,234,792
Total for Region21,467,455

Mental Handicap Hostel (South-West London)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will institute an inquiry by the South-West Thames Regional Health Authority into the construction expenditure, exclusive of interest, of £236,000 planned for the 16-person mental handicap hostel by the Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority and the Wandsworth Borough Council.

The estimated cost of the project is under discussion with the authorities concerned.

Meals On Wheels

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the procedure for obtaining meals on wheels.

This is a matter for individual social services authorities, who would be able to advise on the procedure applied locally.

International Reciprocal Arrangements

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what reciprocal agreements are in force with the Government of Poland about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in that country;(2) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively;(3) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Hong Kong, respectively;(4) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of the Seychelles and Mauritius, respectively;(5) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran, respectively;(6) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Mozambique and Angola, respectively;(7) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi, respectively;(8) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, respectively;(9) what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana, respectively.

The United Kingdom has no reciprocal agreement on social security with any of these countries.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Montserrat, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, St. Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla, Dominica, Antigua, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Barbados, Grenada, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Belize and Guyana, respectively.

The United Kingdom has reciprocal agreements on social security with Bermuda—given effect in SI 1969 No. 1686—and Jamaica—SI 1972 No. 1587—but not with the other countries listed.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what reciprocal agreements are in force about the payment of social security benefits to United Kingdom citizens resident in the countries concerned, with the Governments of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, respectively.

There is no bilateral reciprocal agreement between the United Kingdom and any of the countries listed. Tunisia and Morocco have signed co-operation agreements with the European Economic Community, which include social security provisions, but these agreements have not yet been ratified, and are not expected to affect payment of United Kingdom social security benefits in those countries.

Cohabitation

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how much money has been recovered from widows alleged to have been cohabiting between 1974 and 1976;(2) how much money is spent upon attempting to recover money paid to widows suspected of cohabitation.

I regret that this information could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much benefit is estimated to have been overpaid to widows suspected of cohabitation between 1974 and 1976.

National insurance widow's benefit can only be said to have been overpaid in such cases where it has first been decided by the insurance officer that the widow was drawing widow's benefit during a period when she was living with a man as his wife. Money overpaid as a consequence of such decisions amounted to £95,000 in 1974, £147,000 in 1975 and £197,000 in 1976.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many widows in receipt of State benefit and accused of cohabitation were represented at local national insurance tribunals and appeals to the National Insurance Commissioner between 1974 and 1976; and how many of these representatives were legally qualified.

Information relating to representation before national insurance local tribunals is not available. In the oral hearing of appeals before the National Insurance Commissioner where cohabitation was in question widows were represented in four cases in 1974; five cases in 1975; and one case in 1976. The representative was legally qualified at one hearing in each year.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of appeals by widows accused under the cohabitation rule before the supplementary benefits tribunal and the national insurance local tribunal, respectively, during the years 1974, 1975 and 1976 were successful; and how many were represented.

In appeals to supplementary benefits appeal tribunals where cohabitation was in question, 16 per cent. of widows were successful in 1974; 21 per cent. in 1975; and 16 per cent. in 1976*. 149 widows were represented in 1974; 135 in 1975; and 161 in 1976*.In appeals to national insurance local tribunals where cohabitation was in question, 30 per cent. of widows were successful in 1974; 32 per cent. in 1975; and 37 per cent. in 1976. Information relating to representation before National Insurance Local Tribunals is not available.

* First nine months only.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, what is the average length of time during which widows who had their books withdrawn upon suspicion of cohabitation were without their books; and how many who eventually appealed had their order books returned, for the years 1974, 1975 and 1976.

The length of time a widow may be without her national insurance widow's benefit order book before a decision is reached in such a case will depend on the particular circumstances, but is unlikely to exceed three months. Those who appealed successfully against the withdrawal of their national insurance benefit, and, therefore, had their order books returned, numbered 33 in 1974; 31 in 1975; and 63 in 1976.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many widows accused of cohabitation and having had their pension books withdrawn appealed to the National Insurance Commissioner in the years 1974, 1975 and 1976.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of widows accused under the cohabitation rule exercise their right to have their case heard by an independent tribunal.

Where national insurance benefit is concerned, the average over the past three years has been 12 per cent. of the widows involved.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many widows had their order books withdrawn on suspicion of cohabitation between 1974 and 1976.

The number of national insurance benefit order books withdrawn from widows on these grounds was 829 in 1974; 1,013 in 1975; and 999 in 1976.

Sickness Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the saving to the National Insurance Fund of raising to six days the period before which a person may be eligible for sickness benefit.

The saving to the National Insurance Fund of extending the period of "waiting days" before which a person may be eligible for sickness benefit from three days to six days would be of the order of £50 million in 1977–78 at current rates of benefit, but as a consequence it is estimated that there would be additional expenditure on supplementary allowances of about £3 million.

Pension Schemes (Public Corporations)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many public corporations have so far decided to contract their superannuation schemes out of the new State pension scheme to be established next year; and what number of employees it is therefore estimated will so far be effectively contracted out.

I am advised by the Occupational Pensions Board that one public corporation has so far made an election to contract out, covering 209,000 employees. My hon. Friend will appreciate that before an election can be made employers have to consult their recognised trade unions and give three months' notice to their employees of their intention to contract out.

Pensioners (Allowance)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what review is intended of the 25p allowance for pensioners aged 80 years and over; and what that allowance should be currently to allow for the loss in value of the £ sterling since the allowance was introduced.

It has not been the practice of successive Governments to review or increase this allowance, as greater priority must be given to maintaining

GREAT BRITAIN
£ million at 1976 survey prices
1973–741974–751975–761976–771977–781978–79
Gross5,3395,4175,5655,6655,7005,762
Net5,1895,2715,4215,5265,5465,613

Geriatric Patients (Macclesfield)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the staff-patient ratio in geriatric wards in the hospitals within the Macclesfield constituency.

The nurse staff-patient ratios are as follows:

West Park Hospital1: 1·2
Moss Lane Hospital1: 1·4
West Heath Hospital1: 1·2

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many beds are reserved for geriatric patients in the area covered by the Macclesfield constituency.

There are 109 beds allocated in this area for geriatric patients—41 at West Park Hospital, 24 at Moss Lane and 44 at West Heath. In addition, patients from the Alderley Edge area of the constituency are referred to Cranford Lodge Hospital, Knutsford, where there are 54 geriatric beds for patients from the Macclesfield health district.

and, when possible, improving the value of the basic rates of benefit. To allow for the rise in prices between September 1971, when the allowance was introduced, and March 1977, the latest date for which a figure is available, the allowance would have to be raised to 55p.

National Health Service (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will set out actual or planned total expenditure, before income from various charges, on the National Health Service in Great Britain at 1976 survey prices in each of the years 1973–74 to 1978–79, inclusive.

The following table shows the actual or planned total expenditure upon the National Health Service gross and net of estimated income from various charges.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the length of the waiting list for geriatric patients in the area covered by the Macclesfield constituency.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average time a patient spends on the waiting list in order to gain admission to a geriatric bed in hospitals in Macclesfield, Congleton and Alderley Edge; and how this compares with 1976, 1975, 1974, 1973 and 1972.

The information for previous years cannot be provided without disproportionate effort. Recently no patient has had to wait longer than six months.

Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the conclusions of his recent review of national insurance benefits under Section 125 of the Social Security Act 1975.

I would refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's reply to the right hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Jenkin) on 6th April.—[Vol. 929, c. 568–9.]

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services how many non-English speaking doctors from EEC countries he expects will seek registration in the United Kingdom in the next six months.

I would not expect that a doctor who spoke no English would be able to earn a living in the United Kingdom. It is, therefore, in my view, unlikely that such doctors will seek registration here under the terms of the EEC Medical Directives.

Pension Age

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the extra cost at the current pension rate to the National Insurance Fund of reducing the pension age for men by annual stages down to 60 years, giving separately the cost of each stage.

The extra cost to the National Insurance Fund of reducing men's pension age to 60 would be nearly £1,900 million in a full year, at current pension rates. If the reduction were phased in over five years, the first step would cost about £325 million, the second about £365 million, and each further step about £400 million. These figures take account of the extra cost of pensions, the savings from other benefit payments to men over 60, and the losses of contribution income to the fund.

Lassa Fever

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what hospital services exist in London for the treatment of lassa fever; and how many cases of lassa fever were treated there last year.

The isolation unit for dangerous infectious diseases for London and the South-East is at Coppett's Wood Hospital in the London borough of Haringey. Only one case of lassa fever was confirmed in England and Wales during the year 1976. The disease was contracted abroad. The patient was treated at Coppett's Wood.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what efforts have been made to trace train passengers from London to Glasgow who last week were in close proximity to the victim of lassa fever; how successful such efforts have been; and if he will make a statement of policy in dealing with such cases;(2) what efforts have been made to trace air passengers who last week were in close proximity to the victim of lassa fever in the flight from West Africa to the United Kingdom; how successful such efforts have been; and if he is satisfied with the manner in which the health and quarantine regulations for the treatment of tropical diseases were implemented in this case.

The possibility of transmission of infection to other passengers on the planes, trains, and other forms of public transport concerned is thought to be slight, but as a precautionary measure any passengers who develop a feverish illness within 21 days have been advised to consult a doctor immediately. This advice was given in a Press notice dated 22nd April 1977.Policy on dealing with cases of lassa fever is contained in the Department's Memorandum on Lassa Fever (1976).It is, of course, impossible to institute control measures unless a patient is known to be ill and a tentative diagnosis has been made. If a person entering this country is not overtly ill or does not disclose the fact that he is feeling ill to the port health authorities it is impossible to institute control measures.I understand that the condition of the patient is now much improved, but the possibility of lassa fever cannot definitely be excluded until the laboratory results are available from MRE Porton at the end of the week.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advance notice of the arrival by air from West Africa was given to the public health authorities in connection with the citizen found last week to be suffering from lassa fever; and what precautions or arrangements for treatment or quarantine were made as a consequence.

I understand that an individual has been placed in isolation in Scotland because of the possibility of lassa fever but no diagnosis has yet been made. Advance notice of arrival was not received and no arrangements were made in consequence.

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how entitlement under the Government's new pension scheme will be affected by gaps in an individual's contribution record; and if he will make a statement.

Regulations governing this situation will be brought before the House early next Session. It is the Government's intention that, where a contribution record does not justify the payment of full pension, basic pension will be reduced according to the same formula as now applies to the flat-rate pension. The new earnings-related additional pension will not be affected; like the present graduated pension it will be payable regardless of the amount of entitlement to basic pension and even, in certain circumstances where no basic pension is payable at all.

Industry

International Investment

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what progress is being made with the operations of OECD guidelines on multi-national investment in the United Kingdom; and if these guidelines require further strengthening.

The OECD package, agreed in June 1976, on international investment was published in Cmnd. 6525, in which I commended to United Kingdom companies the guidelines for multinational enterprises. The CBI and TUC gave their support and have also taken steps to bring the guidelines to the attention of British industry and trade unions. I believe that more experience is needed to evaluate the operation of the guidelines. The package is to be reviewed by mid-1979, and we shall draw on the experience gained through the OECD's inter-govermental consultation machinery, which provides the main forum for monitoring and review.

British Aerospace

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is now able to make an announcement about the location of the headquarters of British Aerospace.

The Corporate Headquarters of British Aerospace will be located at Weybridge.

Development Areas

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what percentage of British employees now works in development, special development and intermediate areas, respectively, following the recent changes in those areas.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry on what criteria he decides whether or not to grant development area status.

Those prescribed by the Local Employment Act 1972 as amended by the Industry Act 1972.

Bridlington

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) what other methods he has in mind to deal with the unemployment problems of Bridlington if it remains excluded from the development area;(2) what incentives are available to Bridlington in order to attract new industry and reduce its high level of unemployment;(3) what advantages are made available to the Bridlington area to persuade parent companies, attracted there when development area incentives were offered, to expand their activities in or near Bridling, ton rather than elsewhere;(4) what incentives he proposes to offer to young men and women to find work in the Bridlington area rather than emigrate elsewhere.

Industrial development in Bridlington is encouraged by the availability of intermediate area incentives. In addition, the Government's measures to promote employment throughout the country such as the special investment scheme and the temporary employment subsidy are available in Bridlington.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what estimate he has made of the disadvantage of the Bridlington area in attracting necessary industry and providing tourist incentives in relation to the areas immediately to the north and the south of it.

In reaching my decision over the grading of Bridlington I took into account the grading or prospective grading of adjacent areas.

Seaside Resorts

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proposals he has for seaside resorts, such as Bridlington, to create employment, other than seasonal work, in order to establish and maintain a balanced economy.

The Government's measures to promote investment and employment such as the special investment scheme and the temporary employment subsidy are available in seaside resorts as elsewhere. In addition, industrial development is encouraged in a number of seaside resorts, including Bridlington, by their inclusion within the assisted areas.

Multinational Corporations

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has proposals to make to the Council of Ministers at the Council of Europe to require multinational corporations to fulfil more stringent social obligations in the Social Charter of the Council of Europe and that they respect human rights in all countries in which they operate.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 21st April 1977; [Vol. 930, c. 155], gave the following information:No. The Social Charter of the Council of Europe is concerned with the rights of all employees, not solely with the employees of multinational corporations, and is limited in its territorial application. It is Her Majesty's Government's policy to encourage all companies, including multinational corporations, to fulfil their social obligations and responsibilities and to respect human rights in those countries in which they operate. To this end the United Kingdom is playing an active part in the discussions on employment and social aspects of multinational corporations currently taking place in other fora, notably the International Labour Organisation and the UN Commission on Transnational Corporations.

Scotland

Spina Bifida And Mongolism

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated annual cost of screening all expectant mothers for the purpose of determining the possibility of the birth of babies with spina bifida or mongolism.

The best estimates which can be made are about £75,000 for spina bifida screening and about £6 million for mongolism screening for all expectant mothers in Scotland.

Community Service Orders

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress is being made with the introduction of community service orders in Scotland.

At my invitation, the regional councils of Grampian, Lothian, Strathclyde and Tayside have prepared experimental community service schemes for offenders. Subject to consultations with the courts involved, I expect that the experiments will come into operation later this year.

Fishing Industry

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a White Paper on the future structure of the Scottish fishing industry.

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will publish estimated figures of the total allowable catch of the different species of fish in the waters within the fishing limits around Scotland for the present year, with forecasts for the next three years.

The Liaison Committee of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea will shortly be publishing the scientists' latest recommendations on stocks in the North-East Atlantic. However, the total allowable catches proposed by them will necessarily relate to the areas of sea inhabited by the stocks in question and not to the limits of any particular country.

A92 (Detrunking)

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what studies have been made on the effects of detrunking the A92, Dundee to Arbroath road and what improvements are planned for this particular road.

Departmental studies show that the proposed alternative inland trunk route is capable of improvement to a much higher standard than A92. No major improvements are planned for A92, and if it is de-trunked this would be a matter for the Tayside Regional Council.

Teachers

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now introduce the legislation to revise the machinery for negotiating salaries and conditions of service of Scottish teachers, proposals for which were made in July 1976 and subsequently deserted on the introduction into the House of the Scotland and Wales Bill.

My right hon. Friend is unable at present to say when it will be possible to introduce legislation on this subject.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now publish the information about the shortage of mathematics teachers.

Detailed information about the deficit and excess of teachers by subject will be published next month. The results of the annual School Census indicate that at September 1976 there was no net deficit of mathematics teachers nationally but that deficits still persisted in parts of Strathclyde Region.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now publish the information about changes in the teaching force.

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 24th March.—[Vol. 928, c. 668–9.]

Empty Houses

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now make a national survey throughout Scotland of council houses which have been empty for over eight weeks; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Mr. Corrie) on 23rd February.—[Vol. 925, c. 621.]—The vacancy rate is a factor which authorities will themselves be bound to take into account in the housing plans I have asked them to prepare.

Grampian Regional Council

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he intends to take to ensure that Grampian Regional Council amends its standing orders to comply with the Local Government (Scotland) Act.

The making or amendment of standing orders under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 are matters for the council itself to determine; my right hon. Friend has no power to intervene.

Dental Auxiliaries

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what provision is made in Scotland for training dental auxiliaries.

The training of dental auxiliaries is undertaken at present on a United Kingdom basis at the School for Dental Auxiliaries at New Cross, London. The school has an annual intake of 60 students for the two-year course, about 10 of them on average recruited from Scotland.

Peripheral Maritime Regions (Conference)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what will be the extent of the involvement of the Regional Department of the Scottish Office in the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of the EEC, taking place in Inverness from 3rd to 6th May.

My noble Friend the Minister of State has accepted an invitation to open the proceedings at the conference. An official of my Department will be attending as an observer.

Hypothermia

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons were admitted to hospital suffering from hypothermia in the latest 12 months for which figures are available; and how many died as a result of it.

Information concerning the number of people admitted to hospital suffering from hypothermia and the number of people who died from hypothermia in hospital is not available. In 1976 there were in all 25 deaths in Scotland attributed to hypothermia as the underlying cause of death.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what financial assistance is being given to the British Association for the Disabled to enable it to carry out its rehabilitation work in Scotland.

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind the body recently formed by the merger between the Central Council for the Disabled and the British Council for Rehabilitation for the Disabled. I have no reason at present to think that it will be necessary to assist this body in Scotland, where similar activities are already undertaken by the Scottish Council on Disability with financial assistance from my Department.

Police

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with present levels of police recruitment in Scotland; and if he will give figures to show the rates of wastage over the past three years by region.

In general, yes. The number of losses to the Scottish police service from all causes other than retirement on pension was:

1974527
1975426
1976503
The breakdown by police area for 1975 and 1976 was:

Wastage
Force19751976
Central1520
Dumfries and Galloway819
Fife1929
Central1520
Grampian2219
Lothian and Borders6367
Northern2139
Strathclyde243282
Tayside3528
Total426503
Comparable figures for 1974 are not available.

Colleges Of Education

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many letters he has received from people in Scotland requesting him to reconsider his policy in respect of the colleges of education, following the vote in the House on 5th April.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of the colleges of education have been visited by himself or the junior Minister responsible for education since he issued his consultative document about the future of the colleges.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has received from district Labour councillors in Ayrshire on the need to retain Craigie College of Education; how many of these representations sought a favourable decision and announcement before 3rd May; and what replies he has sent.

None of the correspondents supporting the retention of Craigie College of Education has identified himself as a district Labour councillor.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he or any other Scottish Office Minister intends to visit Craigie College now that the consultation process is completed before he makes a final announcement in respect of the college.