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Written Answers

Volume 931: debated on Monday 9 May 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 9th May 1977

Lichfield Magistrates

asked the Attorney-General how many justices of the peace on the Lichfield Bench are from (a) Burnt-wood and (b) Lichfield.

The information is as follows:

Total number of Justices Lichfield Bench45
Resident in Lichfield19
Resident in Burntwood7

House Of Commons

Members' Secretaries

asked the Lord President of the Council whether in the next review of secretarial allowances, he will ensure that secretaries of Members who die are treated no worse in salary protection terms than Members who are defeated at a General Election.

The terms and conditions of employment of a Member's secretary

HOUSE OF COMMONS VOTE££
Members' Salaries3,921,559·00
Members' Expenses4,619,783·00
Contributions to Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund985,519·00
9,526,861·00
Staff Salaries2,783,243·00
Retired Allowances277,238·00
3,015,481·00
General Expenses1,198,219·00
Refreshment Department (Contribution towards staff costs during the periods of recess in 1976–77 and towards the payment of interest on the Consolidated Fund Loan.)143,997·00
Members' Fund (Grant in Aid)15,000·00
Police294,185·00
14,193,743·00
TREASURY
Salaries and Allowances40,000·00
CIVIL SERVICE DEPARTMENT
Parliamentary Printing and Stationery5,279,000·00
Office Machinery86,000·00
5,365,000·00
DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT
Salaries, Wages etc.1,060,000·00
Capital Expenditure (New Works and Improvements)1,341,000·00
Current Expenditure and Repairs1,078,000·00
3,479,000·00

are matters to be agreed between the individual Member and his secretary. However, this suggestion can be examined when the principles of payment of the secretarial allowances are next substantively reviewed.

Costs

asked the Lord President of the Council what estimate he has made for 1976–77 of the cost of running the House of Commons, including all services of any kind whatsoever, salaries of all staff, maintenance, repairs and improvements, and including all buildings, such as Norman Shaw, Dean's Yard, etc., where Members and/or their secretaries have official working facilities provided; and if he will itemise the main constituent costs on the same basis as the Written Answer to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South, Official Report, 16th July 1975, c. 486.

Scotland

Improvement Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to raise the level for improvement grant.

I have no proposals to raise the general maximum level of approved expense for house improvement grant at present.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the expenditure on improvement grants in Scotland at the last available year; and what part of this was accounted for in the Western Isles.

House improvement grants paid by local authorities in 1976 totalled £6·396 million, and of this £0·156 million was paid by the Western Isles authority.

Croft Houses

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next intends to raise the amount of grant and loan for building crofter houses.

I have no plans for an increase in these grants and loans. Their level is kept under review against the background of the movement of building costs, the extent of the demand and the current financial situation.

Cairngorms (Helicopter Services)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he is taking on the application to fly tourists by helicopter into the heart of the Cairngorms.

I have called in for my decision an application by Travel Centre (Norwich) Ltd. for planning permission to operate a helicopter service from a base at Aviemore; and I have asked the applicant and the planning authority whether they want a public inquiry to be held before I reach my decision on the application.

Construction Industry (Public Contracts)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total amount paid by local authorities to private contractors in the construction industry in the last financial year.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the total amount paid by area health boards to private contractors in the construction industry in the last financial year.

On capital account about £28½ million in 1976–77. On revenue account some maintenance work is carried out by private contractors, but figures are not available.

Northern Ireland

Prisoners (Relatives' Visits)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under what circumstances his Department pays fares and accommodation for the relatives of IRA prisoners, or prisoners convicted of terrorist activities, to visit the prison where the IRA or other terrorist prisoner is held, either in Northern Ireland or in another part of the United Kingdom; on how many occasions this has happened in each year, respectively, since 1969; to which prisons the visits were paid; what was the cost of the fare on each occasion; and what was the cost of the accommodation.

The assisted visits scheme is administered by the Northern Ireland Supplementary Benefits Commission on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office and is based on the scheme which operates in Great Britain. It applies to all prisoners, irrespective of the nature of their offences.The scheme applies to prisoners' close relatives who receive supplementary benefit or who, although in part-time employment, are near the qualifying level for supplementary benefit. Assistance is generally limited to one visit every four weeks. If the visit to the prison involves a lengthy journey and an overnight stay, the cost of bed and breakfast in modest accommodation may be met.Prison records do not separately identify persons convicted of terrorist offences, and in any case figures for particular groups are not readily available.

However, the following table shows the number of payments made under the scheme and the total expenditure for the years 1975 and 1976:

YearPaymentsTotal Amount Paid
19752,344£10,936·88
19761,464£7,560·76

Rates (Expenditure Explanation)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will consider including in future rate demand notes a summary of how the money is to be spent, as is done by local authorities in Great Britain.

Of the total rate demand, approximately two-thirds are on account of the regional rate and one-third on account of the district rate. It is not possible to attribute specific heads of expenditure to the product of the regional rate, which is paid into the Northern Ireland Consolidated Fund together with the proceeds of taxation and other items of revenue. So far as the district rate is concerned, if any district council is prepared to supply the necessary particulars of its planned expenditure, they can be sent out with the rate demand.

Gas Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he now expects to receive, and to publish, the report on the future of the gas industry in Northern Ireland.

The final report has been received today and copies are being sent to the Northern Ireland gas undertakings and representatives of the workers in the industry. I will also arrange for copies to be placed in the Library and to be sent to hon. and right hon. Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies.Wider publication will take place in response to demand and as further copies become available.

Property, Development (Compensation Repayments)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many property developers have had to repay part or all of the compensation under Section 24 of the Land Development Values (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1965, having decided to build on land for which compensation was received on the basis that further development would not take place.

In 52 cases compensation paid under the Land Development Values (Compensation) Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 has been repaid in whole or part. Claims for repayment have been made in a further 10 cases.

Energy

Conservation

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he plans any further initiatives to promote a longer-term energy conservation policy.

A number of possible further initiatives for extending and reinforcing the Government's energy conservation campaign are being evaluated. The Government have decided on a three-year programme for the continuation and development of the "Save It" campaign. We shall announce other decisions as they are taken.

Oil Rigs (Safety)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what further safety precautions have been taken since the Norwegian oil disaster to ensure that if such faults occur in British oil rigs, British workmen are able and available to rectify any faults or breakdowns without having to send for experts to come from the United States of America.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, West (Mr. Campbell) on 27th April.—[Vol. 930, c. 328–9.]

Petroleum (Extraction From Coal)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether, under any treaty with the USSR, he has received information on any Russian scheme to extract petroleum from coal; and whether the exchange of such information is the subject of any agreement between Her Majesty's Government and the USSR.

The answer to both Questions is "No", but I should be glad to know if the hon. Gentleman has any particular suggestion to make in this matter.

Nuclear Reactors

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the reactors including prototypes at nuclear power stations which have already been installed or authorised, giving the type,

I MAGNOX
Date CommissionedDeclared Station Net Capability
Site1st Reactor2nd Reactor (MWSO)
Berkeley19621962276
Brad well19621962250
Dungeness A19651965410
Hinkley Point A19651965460
Hunterston A19641964300
Oldbury-on-Severn19671968416
Sizewell A19661966420
Trawsfynydd19651965390
Wylfa19711971840
II AGR
Date Commissioned/Estimated Commissioning DateNominal Station
Site1st Reactor2nd ReactorCapacity (MW)
Hinkley Point BSeptember 1976Mid 19771,320
Hunterston BFebruary 1976*March 1977*1,320
Dungeness BLate 1978Early 19791,200
HartlepoolEarly 1979Late 19791,320
HeyshamMid 1979Late 19791,320
* These dates refer to synchronisation with the grid, which is the statistic used by the SSEB. Comparable dates for Hinkley Point B are February 1976 and October 1976.
The following reactors have been installed in stations operated by AEA and BNFL:
TypeNumber of ReactorsOperatorSiteDate of Start-upGross Capacity (MW)
Magnox4BNFLCalderHall.1956 (2 reactors) 1958–1959 (2 reactors)240
Magnox4BNFLChapelcross.1958–1959240
AGR1AEAWindscale196233
SGHWR1AEAWinfrith1967100
PFR1AEADounreay1975250
The Government are reviewing thermal reactor choice for future orders.

Wales

Haverfordwest County Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether, in the light of the Report of the Steering Committee on Resource Allocations in Wales, he will now make the necessary resources available to the Dyfed Area Health Authority to enable it to retain the county hospital at Haverfordwest.

I shall be meeting a deputation from the authority on 19th May to hear its representations for additional resources for this purpose. The

capacity, site and dates at which they came, or are planned to come, into commission.

The following reactors have been, or are being, installed at nuclear power stations operated by the CEGB, and SSEB which is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland:enhanced allocation made to Dyfed AHA for 1977–78 already gives effect to the recommendations in the report.

Leukaemia

asked the Secretary of State for Wales why leukaemia, which was formerly classified as a regional speciality, has been removed from the list of prescribed specialties as set out in the document on resource allocation for Wales.

Because, with the appointment of an increasing number of consultant haematologists in Wales treatment for leukaemia is now normally available in most district general hospitals.

Porthmadog Cob Tollgate

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales on what date he sought counsel's opinion on the Porthmadog Cob Tollgate; on what date he received counsel's reply; and what steps have subsequently been taken to make progress with this matter.

Counsel's opinion was originally sought last August 1976 and received in October. Following correspondence with the solicitors for the toll owners further advice was sought in January and received in February. There has been further correspondence and another letter from the solicitors received within the last few days is now being considered.

Civil Service

University College At Buckingham

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether it is his policy that holders of the licence of the University College at Buckingham should not be eligible to enter graduate competition for appointment to the Civil Service; and whether he will make a statement.

The responsibility for assessing and approving academic qualifications for entry to the Civil Service rests with the Civil Service Commissioners, who have discussed the question of recognition with the University College at Buckingham. I understand that they have told the college authorities that it is as yet too early for them to accept any equivalence between the college licence and degrees awarded by United Kingdom universities or validated by the Council for National Academic Awards. The Commissioners have undertaken to review their decision in due course, and to do so in any case if the college were to be granted a charter.

Disabled Persons

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish in the Official Report the figures showing the achievement of each Government Department in recruiting registered disabled people during 1976 which he gave in a letter to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South.

The figures, which I gave in a letter to my hon. Friend showing the number of unemployed registered disabled persons recruited by Departments in 1976 to non-industrial posts in the Civil Service, are as follows:

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food2
Ministry of Defence9
Department of Employment1
Export Credits Guarantee Department1
Office of Fair Trading1
Department of Health and Social Security12
Inland Revenue8
Department for National Savings6
Training Services Agency1
HM Treasury1
Foreign and Commonwealth Office1

Civil Service College

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many places at the Civil Service College are currently and were in each of the past five years taken by persons not employed in the Civil Service; and what proportion this represents of the total numbers attending courses during this period.

So far in the current academic year, 1976–77, 759 people not employed in the Civil Service have attended courses and seminars run by the Civil Service College. This represents 12·9 per cent. of the total numbers attending the college during this period. Of these total numbers, many would have been on courses not likely to be useful except to civil servants.In the preceding five years, the total numbers attending have been as follows:

Academic YearNumber of non-civil servants attending Civil Service College coursesProportion of the total numbers attending Per cent.
1975–761,44513·5
1974–751,42513·8
1973–741,06811·3
1972–731,12313·0
1971–7291511·0

Government Hospitality Fond

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if it is the policy of his Department to instruct the Government Hospitality Fund not to purchase goods or supplies from any supplier or manufacturer where there is an industrial dispute.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if, pursuant to information supplied to the hon. Member for Christ-church and Lymington in his letter dated 2nd May 1977, he will indicate whether any hotels or catering establishments are currently barred from use by the Government Hospitality Fund due to the presence of circumstances that might cause embarrassment to guests of Her Majesty's Government; and if he will list all such establishments.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Moss Side (Mr. Hatton) on 3rd May. No hotels or catering establishments are specifically barred from use by the Government Hospitality Fund.

Her Majesty's Stationery Office

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what was the cost of (a) pay settlements and (b) increased payments of employer's national insurance contributions in respect of staff of HMSO in the period 1973–74 to 1976–77.

In the period 1973–74 to 1976–77 the cost of pay settlements was £11·1 million and increases in payments of employer's national insurance contributions amounted to £1·4 million.

Home Department

Albany Trust

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what grants are paid from public funds to the Albany Trust; for what purposes and on what conditions; and if he will list the governing body of the Trust and its terms of reference.

The Home Office Voluntary Services Unit makes a grant towards the central administrative costs of the Albany Trust and I understand that the Department of Education and Science is making a temporary grant for the employment of a full-time youth officer. Both grants are made subject to the usual departmental conditions relating to reports and accountability. Details of the governing body of the trust and its objectives are available from the trust.

Police Interrogations (Tape Recordings)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received on the report "Feasibility of an Experiment in the Tape-Recording of Police Interrogation", Command Paper No. 6630, since he received the report in October; if he is now in a position to take action on the report; and if he will make a statement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to his Question on 31st March.—[Vol. 929, c. 199.] My Department is awaiting the remaining comments on the report from those whose views have been particularly invited; a reminder has been issued. Meanwhile, we are considering the helpful, though divergent, comments already received.

Firearms Certificates

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if it is his policy to issue firearms certificates to those threatened with attack by the Irish Republican Army or other organisations;(2) if Sidney John O'Shea, of 54 Eaton Road, Liverpool, a member of West Derby Conservative Club, was issued with a firearm certificate in order to protect himself following threats to the club from the Irish Republican Army.

The issue of a firearms certificate under the Firearms Act 1968 is a matter for the chief officer of police, who has to be satisfied that the applicant has a good reason for purchasing or acquiring and having the firearm in his possession.

Football Cap Tie (Sheffield)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in the light of his visit to the Manchester United versus Leeds United match at Sheffield on 23rd April, if he will consider making a supplementary grant to cover the additional cost to the ratepayers of South Yorkshire, estimated at £7,500, of providing police protection for law-abiding citizens.

No. In accordance with the standing arrangements for police grant, the costs of policing will attract a specific grant of 50 per cent. and will also be regarded as relevant expenditure for rate support grant purposes.

Police (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to announce the membership of the three-man committee of inquiry that is to review the negotiating machinery for the pay and conditions of the police; and if he has reached agreement among the parties concerned on the terms of reference for this review.

All the bodies represented on the Police Council for the United Kingdom have been invited to take part in the review and have been sent draft terms of reference. A number have still to reply, including the Police Federation of England and Wales I hope that all those concerned will reply as quickly as possible, so that I can set up the review and announce the membership and the terms of reference.

Animals (Welfare)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of reported cases of cruelty to animals arising from transportation or treatment in (a) horse and pony markets and (b) cattle, sheep and pig markets in each of the previous three years.

Such statistics are not kept in my Department or in that of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of prosecutions for cruelty to animals other than domestic pets in each of the last five years by counties.

Information in the form requested is not available; it is not possible from the data received centrally to distinguish domestic pets from other animals. Because of changes in police force boundaries comparable figures for counties are not available for the last five years. The total number of persons proceeded against for offences under various Acts dealing with cruelty to Animals is as follows:

1971776
1972736
1973823
1974790
1975922
For 1975 the following table shows the statistics by police force area:

PERSONS PROCEEDED AGAINST FOR OFFENCES UNDER VARIOUS CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACTS—BY POLICE FORCE AREA
ENGLAND AND WALES 1975
Police Force AreaNo. of Persons
Avon and Somerset32
Bedfordshire10
Cambridgeshire6
Cheshire19
Cleveland34
Cumbria11
Derbyshire24
Devon and Cornwall29
Dorset5
Durham13
Essex21
Gloucestershire16
Greater Manchester50
Hampshire41
Hertfordshire9
Humberside18
Kent28
Lancashire25
Leicestershire17
Lincolnshire9
London City2
Merseyside28
Metropolitan Police District25
Norfolk12
Northamptonshire11
Northumbria13
North Yorkshire22
Nottinghamshire30
South Yorkshire37
Staffordshire28
Suffolk8
Surrey7
Sussex31
Thames Valley16
Warwickshire14
West Mercia32
West Midlands43
West Yorkshire38
Wiltshire10
England824
Dyfed Powys19
Gwent19
North Wales21
South Wales39
Wales98
England and Wales922

Marriages Of Convenience

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications to remain in the United Kingdom on the grounds of marriage had been received but not decided when the new rules relating to marriages of convenience came into force on 22nd March.

Play Projects

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the year ended 1st April 1977 how many urban aid applications were concerned with play projects run by voluntary organisations; what percentage were funded; and what proportion this was of the total urban aid budget.

The information is being assembled and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Social Services

Prescription Forms

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what will be the cost of providing a new set of doctor's stamps for prescription forms which include the GPC area concerned, as against the saving due to the cessation of printing headed prescription forms for each GPC area.

The once and for all cost of providing new stamps is estimated to have been about £30,000. Direct savings in printing costs from the introduction of a standardised form are estimated as £6,000 per annum. To this must be added unquantifiable savings from simplified handling and storage and greater flexibility in use.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the new National Health Service prescription form 7P 10 Rev 76 is longer than the old one.

To meet the wish of the representatives of the medical profession for an increase in the prescribing area on the form. The current size is the most economic non-international stationery size.

Handicapped Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the assessment for retraining facilities operated by his Department for physically and mentally handicapped persons; and if he will make a statement.

Retraining in social and daily living skills is provided by medical rehabilitation departments in hospitals and by local authorities and voluntary bodies. For mentally handicapped persons social and work training is provided either in local authority adult training centres or in hospitals for the mentally handicapped. As with other health and social services demand is not evenly met in all areas and there are shortages of trained staff. In my Department's advice on priorities for the health and personal social services, having regard to limitations on growth of public expenditure, the development of rehabilitation services in general and of occupation and training facilities for the mentally handicapped has been recommended as a priority.

Police

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate he has made of the number of serving police officers receiving supplementary or other benefits from his Department.

I regret the information is not available, but I would remind the hon. Member that a person in full-time work is not eligible for supplementary benefit.

Ambulance Services

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set out the average times taken by ambulances on both emergency and non-emergency journeys from Abbey Wood, Belvedere and Plumstead to the Brook, Greenwich District and St. Nicholas hospitals over any recent seven-day period, differentiating between peak and off-peak traffic periods.

I regret that journey details are not recorded in this form; and the information could not be obtained without disproportionate expenditure and effort.

Children

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the total population was represented by those aged under 16 years, in each year since 1945.

The figures for the United Kingdom are estimated to be as follows:

Mid YearPercentage of Population Aged Under 16
194522·5
194622·5
194723·0
194823·3
194923·5
195023·6
195123·8
195223·9
195324·0
195424·0
195524·1
195624·3
195724·4
195824·5
195924·6
196024·6
196124·8
196224·9
196324·8
196424·7
196524·8
196624·9
196725·0
196825·3
196925·4
197025·4
197125·5
197225·5
197325·4
197425·1
197524·9
197624·5

Multiple Sclerosis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what sum has been allocated in the current estimates to research into the problems of multiple sclerosis.

Research on multiple sclerosis from Government funds is carried out mainly by the Medical Research Council from support by the health departments and the Department of Education and Science. Estimated expenditure by the Council in 1976–77 directly related to the disease was £829,000. Estimated expenditure in 1977–78 cannot be forecast but the Council anticipates it will remain at about that level.In addition to research directly related to the disease the Council also supports a substantial amount of work under other headings which may be of considerable relevance.Research directly related to the disease and under other headings which may be of relevance is also undertaken in universities and medical schools but details of the sums involved are not known centrally.The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland also promotes research from its own funds.

Public Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether there is any rule-of-thumb formula relating to the age structure of the population to public expenditure on social services programmes, assuming that the levels of provision remain broadly as at present.

There is no formula which links public expenditure provision for the personal social services with age structure. But as indicated in the White Paper "The Government's Expenditure Plans" (Cmnd. 6721) it is the Government's policy to maintain existing standards of service and demographic change is one of the factors taken into account in broad terms.

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied that the provision of grants for students qualifying in the social sciences is sufficient, having regard to the increasing and widening responsibilities and demands of his Department, calling for an increase in the number of specialised social workers; and if he will make a statement.

About 40 per cent. of field social workers hold a professional social work qualification and in residential and day services the percentage is much smaller. I am anxious to see an increase in the percentage of qualified staff, but in the present economic circumstances progress must be slower than I would wish. I have however been able to allocate a further £500,000 from my Department's budget this year, to increase by about 300 the number of grants the Department will make to graduate students accepted on courses leading to the certificate of qualification in social work. I hope that, despite the difficulties with which they are faced, local authorities in England and Wales will be able to avoid a reduction in the number of non-graduate students they support this year and will increase their support in the future as their resources may allow.

Pensioners

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing the value of personal assets above which pensioners may be debarred from receiving supplementary benefits; and how this figure has increased since the schemes' introduction.

There is no fixed amount of capital which debars a person from receiving supplementary benefit. With capital of £1,250 or more a notional income is assumed and set against the claimant's supplementary benefit requirements and these may be greater or less than the assumed income. The Supplementary Benefits Commission's annual report for 1975 pages 24 and 25 contains a fuller explanation of the treatment of capital.

Marriage Guidance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many marriage guidance councillors will receive training in the treatment of sexual difficulties under the scheme of the National Marriage Guidance Council which is being supported out of public funds; how long their training will last; and what qualifications they will already be expected to have.

About 100 by the end of the current three-year project; one year of basic training and a further year of close supervision: National Marriage Guidance Council training and experience and the recommendation of their local National Marriage Guidance Council tutor.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what would be the extra cost of allowing periods where persons are in receipt of a national insurance benefit or non-contributory benefit for those not in work to count towards the qualifying period for the long-term supplementary benefit rate if the long-term rate were paid to all claimants under pensionable age after (a) two years, (b) one year and (c) six months;(2) what would be the extra cost of paying the long-term rate of supplementary benefit to all claimants under pensionable age after six months on benefit.

Information regarding the length of time a person was in receipt of some other benefit before claiming supplementary benefit is not recorded centrally and no estimate of the cost which would be incurred if that period was allowed to be counted towards the qualifying period for the long-term supplementary benefit rate can be given. The additional cost in 1976–77 of paying the long-term rate to all claimants under pensionable age after the receipt of supplementary benefit for only six months would be of the order of £70 million.

Pensions (Reductions)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the approximate income accruing to his Department as a result of reduction in pension paid to retirement pensioners after eight weeks' stay in normal hospitals.

Information is not available as to the numbers of people in different categories of hospital who are actually receiving retirement pension. The reductions in retirement pension for retirement pensioners in all hospitals is estimated to amount to about £46 million in a full year at present benefit rates.

Bank Accounts (Privacy)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether officials of his Department have the power to make bank managers reveal the state of bank accounts of persons on, or asking to go on, social security benefits; and if he will make a statement.

No, but a claimant is required to satisfy the Supplementary Benefits Commission as to his financial circumstances and, if he has a bank account, this involves either producing a bank statement or giving his authority for the Commission to approach his bank.

Sick Pay

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to publish the report of the recent survey on sick pay schemes.

Departmental Work (Private Contractors)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total amount paid to private contractors in respect of work carried out for his department in the last financial year.

I regret that information about the total payments made to private contractors for work of various kinds and chargeable to Departmental Votes cannot be obtained without disproportionate cost. Payments embrace a wide variety of contractual arrangements.

Hospital Kitchens (Hygiene)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has now met the Environment Health Officers Association to discuss hygiene standards in hospital kitchens; what action he intends to take; and if he will make a statement.

Officials of the Welsh Office and of my Department met representatives of the Environmental Health Officers Association on 27th April. It was agreed that new arrangements will be developed to enable prompt and effective action to be taken at hospitals where the standards of food hygiene are found to fall below those laid down by the Food Hygiene (General) Regulations. New guidance will be published by the Department on food hygiene in hospitals and officials of my Department and the Welsh Office will continue to keep in close contact with the association.

Mobility Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will reconsider the decision which makes it impossible for an invalid who has opted to have a tricycle since 1st January 1976 to receive the no-age-limit mobility allowance.

No. Those who have claimed, under the new arrangements in operation from January 1976, whether claiming a tricycle or a mobility allowance, have done so subject to and in full knowledge of the upper age-limit laid down for mobility allowance. They are in a quite different position, therefore, from those with reserved rights under the old scheme. It would be inconsistent and unfair to remove the upper age-limit for tricycle optants alone; and removing it generally would be prohibitively expensive.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now amend paragraph 3(1)(b) of the Mobility Allowance Regulations SI 1975 No. 1573 to include all persons who are advised by their doctor that they must not walk; and if he will make a statement.

Mobility allowance is payable to anyone who is within the prescribed age-limits and who is unable or virtually unable to walk because of physical disablement; who is likely to remain so for at least a year; and who can benefit from the allowance. Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Mobility Allowance Regulations provides that a person shall be treated as unable or virtually unable to walk if the exertion required to walk would constitute a danger to his life or would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in his health. If the age and duration conditions are satisfied, then any person who is not allowed to walk, because the medical advice is that the exertion required to do so would constitute a danger to his life, or would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in his health, is likely to qualify without any amendment of the regulations. If my hon. Friend has a particular case or point in mind, however, I shall be glad to have it considered and to write to him.

Disabled Persons' Vehicles

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements he has made with the Renault Company for the purchase and conversion of cars for use by disabled drivers; and if he will make a statement.

The Department buys Renault 4s on discount terms as required for issue to elegible disabled persons for whom our standard issue car, the British Leyland Mini, is not suitable and for whom a Renault 4 is medically prescribed. Any necessary adaptations of the foot controls to hand operation is carried out by a specialist firm—Reselco Ltd. of Hammersmith—which has been under contract to the Department for such work for many years. At present, there are about 500 Renault 4s on issue to eligible disabled persons in the United Kingdom.

Mill Road Maternity Hospital, Liverpool

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the proposed closure of Liverpool Mill Road Maternity Hospital, details of which has been sent to him by

ALLOCATIONS TO AREA HEALTH AUTHORITIES
(£ million)
Regional Health Authority AllocationLambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (T)Greenwich and BexleyBromleyEast SussexKent
1974–75208·75464·58428·70015·96729·55267·327
1975–76279·58789·48737·37220·80339·01488·759
1976–77317·940101·66642·07623·17345·61299·884
1977–78352·261112·03146·49825·11751·475109·998
ALLOCATED EXPENDITURE PER HEAD OF POPULATION
(£)
Regional Health Authority AllocationLambeth, Southwark and Lewisham (T)Greenwich and BexleyBromleyEast SussexKent
1974–7557·664·665·955·749·945·2
1975–7677·698·291·777·268·763·1
1976–7788·9111·2103·286·080·371·0
1977–7898·5121·8114·093·290·678·2

Notes:

1. All the figures for the Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham Area, Greenwich and Bexley Area and Bromley Area include a share of the cost of the London Ambulance Service.

2. The figures of expenditure per head are not adjusted for differences in the morbidity and age/sex structure of area populations. The figures are influenced by the payment of London Weighting Allowance to staff and by the incidence of additional expenditure in the provision of facilities for the clinical teaching of medical and dental students.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied that the financial allocations for 1977–78 by the South-East Thames Regional Health Authority to its area health authorities satisfy the principles laid down by the Resource Allocation Working Party; and if he will make a statement.

the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange.

It would be inappropriate to comment until such time as the health authorities have completed their local consultations and discussions. I am writing to my hon. Friend.

Health Authorities (South-East Region)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the revenue allocation to the South-East Thames Regional Health Authority for 1977–78; what sums have been allocated to each area health authority in the region; what these represent in terms of finance per head of population; and how these figures compare with the last three years.

The revenue allocations are as follows:in accordance with the principles recommended by the Resource Allocation Working Party, what the eventual pattern of distribution of resources within the region might be. It considered however, having regard to the Press statement made by my right hon. Friend on 21st December 1976 and to guidance given by my Department on allocations within Regions, that in 1977–78 a breathing space was needed to meet immediate commitments and make possible proper planning for the rationalisation of services in relation to need. My Department will be discussing with the RHA the effect of its decisions upon the services in the region.

Hospital Closures

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the consultative machinery set up to consider hospital closures; and if he will make a statement.

My Department has issued guidance to health authorities on procedures to be followed for proposed closures, including arrangements for consultation. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy. The procedures generally are operating satisfactorily, but if my hon. Friend is concerned about consultation arrangements in any particular case, I shall be glad to consider the position if he will let me have details.

Liverpool Teaching Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he can now give a date for the opening of the new Liverpool Teaching Hospital.

asked the Secretary of State fo Social Services (1) what obstetric facilities will be provided at the new Liverpool Teaching Hospital;(2) if he is satisfied with the provision of prenatal and antenatal facilities which will be provided at the new Liverpool Teaching Hospital.

No such facilities will be provided at the new hospital. The region's strategic plan envisages that obstetric, antenatal and post-natal facilities for Liverpool will be provided at Broadgreen, Liverpool Maternity and Sefton General Hospitals.

National Health Service Staff

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will give the number of National Health Service staff leaving the service because of psychiatric assessment during the periods 1973–74, 1974–75 and 1975–76 by category; male and female, nurses and professional staff and technical staff;(2) what is the number of National Health Service staff who have been forced to leave the service because of psychiatric assessment during the periods 1973–74, 1974–75 and 1975–76.

There are no figures available centrally for the number of staff leaving the National Health Service on account of psychiatric assessment. But if my hon. Friend has a particular difficulty in mind and he would write to me with details I would be happy to have it looked into.

Pension Rights (Home Responsibility)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he proposes to make regulations governing the pension rights of people with home responsibilities; and if he will make a statement.

Regulations for this purpose under the Social Security Pensions Act 1975 will be laid before the House before the Summer Recess. It is intended that they will prescribe as a year of home responsibility any complete tax year in which a contributor is receiving child benefit for a child under the age of 16, is looking after a relative receiving attendance allowance or constant attendance allowance, or is receiving supplementary benefit to enable him or her to stay at home to look after an incapacitated or elderly relative. Any wider definition of home responsibility has, for the time being, to be ruled out on grounds of administrative cost.When it comes to calculating the basic pension, years of home responsibility will be deducted from the number in which a contributor must pay contributions, or have them credited, in order to secure pension at the full rate. However, it will not be possible to derive a full pension from a smaller number of years of contributions than the minimum laid down in the Act, nor will the regulations apply to women who are maintaining a current option to pay reduced-rate contributions. Where a person has some record or contributions or credits in a year which can also be reckoned as a year of home responsibility, the regulations will allow that year to count for pension purposes in whichever way is more favourable.

St Marks Hospital, Finsbury

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish an analysis of the figures given in his reply to the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury on 4th May for the savings resulting from the closure of one ward at St. Mark's Hospital, showing how much is saved for each kind of expenditure avoided, such as on nurses' wages, heating, drugs, and on other things.

The estimated savings are as follows:

£ per month
Nursing Staff2,934
Administrative and Clerical Staff750
Ancillary Staff1,633
Medical and Surgical Supplies258
Drugs125
Provisions150
Linen and Laundry150
Total£6,000

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the number of patients not admitted to St. Mark's Hospital during 1977 because of the closure of one ward; how many of these have consequently been treated in other hospitals; and whether this factor has been taken into account in calculating his figure of £6,000 a month as the savings resulting from the closure of the ward.

In comparison with the first three months of last year 84 fewer patients have been discharged from St. Mark's Hospital in the first three months of this year. The number of patients admitted to other hospitals because of bed closures at St. Mark's is not known and no account should be taken of them in calculations.

Private Beds (London Hospitals)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report (a) how many wards in the following hospitals contain private beds: St. Bartholomew's, St. Mark's, St. Matthew's, Eastern, Hackney and German, (b) how many of the wards containing private beds are now closed and (c) how many wards containing National Health Service beds are currently closed in each hospital.

Cohabitation

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.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27th April 1977; Vol. 930, c. 341], gave the following additional information:The statistics for the supplementary benefit appeal tribunals do not distinguish between sex and marital status and the figures in the first paragraph of my reply relate to all claimants where cohabitation was in question and not solely to widows.

National Health Service (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services what was the expenditure per head of the population by central Government on the National Health Service for the years 1970 to 1976.

Child Allowances

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for how many children child's special allowance is paid.

Awards of child's special allowance current on 31st December 1976 covered about 1,100 children.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for how many children guardians' allowance is paid.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services for how many children an allowance is paid under Section 70 of the Social Security Act 1975, relating to children to the deceased under industrial death benefit.

Allowances were in payment for 11,576 children on 1st June 1976, the latest date for which figures are available.

Pay Beds

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a comprehensive and detailed list of charges currently made for pay-beds within the NHS.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 4th May 1977; Vol. 931, c. 211–12], gave the following additional information:The following acute and other hospitals in teaching districts are also included in Class C:

  • Milford-on-Sea War Memorial Hospital, Milford-on-Sea, Hants.
  • Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Headington, Oxford.
  • Horton General Hospital, Banbury, Oxon.
  • Horton Maternity Hospital, Banbury, Oxon.
  • Watlington and District Hospital, Watlington, Oxon.
  • Victoria Cottage Hospital, Thame, Oxon.
  • Winford Orthopaedic Hospital, Bristol.
  • Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester.
  • Salford Royal Hospital, Salford, Lanes.
  • Hope Hospital, Salford, Lanes.
  • The Skin Hospital, Manchester.
  • Prince of Wales Hospital, Rhydlafar, Cardiff.

Trade

Helicopters (Safety)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the current regulations or other rules in respect of authorised helicopter air corridors over built-up area of London, other than those designated over or near to the River Thames; and if he will make a statement concerning helicopter safety in the London area.

The general arrangements for the regulation and routing of helicopter flights in the London area are matters which fall within the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority and I have drawn the attention of the Chairman of the Authority to my hon. Friend's inquiry. With regard to the safety of helicopter flights in the London area, this is also a matter for Authority, and I have been assured that the helicopter route structure in the London control zone has been designed to ensure that in the event of a failure of a power unit a helicopter can alight in an open space. In the Greater London area, as in other built-up areas, helicopters are required to fly at a specified height, clear of obstacles, from which they can alight without danger to persons or property on the surface in the event of a power unit failure. These requirements have been satisfactory but, nevertheless, the subject is kept under continuous review.

Public Corporations (Board Vacancies)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish a list of the vacancies for membership of the boards of public corporations for which he is sponsoring authority which have been advertised publicly in the last five years.

Export Credits Guarantee Department

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the profit or loss on the operations of the Export Credits Guarantee Department for each of the last five years.

The Department's financial objective on the credit insurance operations representing its main trading activity is to operate at no net cost to the Consolidated Fund after providing such reserves against its liabilities as may be agreed with the Treasury. Since 1974 these operations have produced the following results:

1974–751975–76
Increment to reserves (£m)
Section 129·219·2
Section 221·221·7
Value of reserves (£m)
Section 1152171·2
Section 2109·8131·5
Reserve as percentage of amount at risk at year end
Section 12·82·4
Section 24·24·2

Comparable figures for the previous three years are not available, because the form of accounts was changed in 1974. But the best measure of performance

Balance held with the Consolidated Fundmillion)

1971–72

1972–73

1973–74

Section 193·586·7109·4
Section 275·872·275·5

Chile

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the total value of exports to Chile in 1976; what was the corresponding figure for Chilean imports; and what are the figures to date for 1977.

United Kingdom exports to Chile in 1976 and January to March 1977 were £36 million and £7 million fob, respectively, while imports into the United Kingdom were valued at £81 million and £20 million cif, respectively. These figures are published in the "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom" copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.

Hong Kong

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that Hong Kong carriers such as Cathay Pacific are adequately protected from retaliation in the light of United Kingdom withdrawal from the Bermuda agreement concerning fifth freedom rights previously granted to American and Thai airlines to pick up passengers in Hong Kong.

Yes. In our negotiations with the United States and with Thailand we take full account of the interests of Cathay Pacific.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the estimated benefit to the United Kingdom balance of payments derived from negotiated landing rights at Kaitak airport in Hong Kong.

The principal beneficiary from negotiated landing rights at Hong Kong is Hong Kong itself from the trade and tourism which air services facilitate and from the very substantial revenues earned by the Hong Kong-based airline, Cathay Pacific Airways. It is not possible to give other than a best approximation of the benefits accruing to the United Kingdom balance of payments.

over this period is provided by the level of the Department's balances held with the Consolidated Fund. These were as follows:

This is put at around £10 million per year at the present time.

Morgan Heating Services (South West) Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will establish an inquiry into the insolvency of Morgan Heating Services (South West) Limited and the closure of its Bristol branch.

Insolvency is not regarded as a ground for an investigation under the Companies Acts. Nevertheless, if my hon. Friend will let me have all the relevant facts he has about this company it will be considered, together with other information available.

Manufactures

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what was the increase or decrease in the first quarter of 1977 in volume terms of (a) British exports and (b) imports into Great Britain of finished and semi-finished manufactured goods.

Following is the information:

VOLUME OF UNITED KINGDOM EXPORTS AND IMPORTS
(Overseas trade statistics basis)
Percentage Change† Q1 1977 on Q4 1976
ExportsImports*
Finished manufactures-2½+3½
Semi-manufactures+2½+2½
† Based on seasonally adjusted data.
* The percentage changes for imports are likely to be overstated as a result of difficulties in allowing fully in the seasonal adjustment for the effects of the 1976–77 Christmas/New Year holiday period. Exports are probably little affected.
Source: Tables B13 and E7 of the April issue of "Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics".

Trade

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether Hong Kong will be separately represented at the next round of talks within GATT on the Multi-Fibre Arrangement, or whether the Hong Kong delegation will sit as part of the United Kingdom delegation.

General Agreement On Tariffs And Trade

3.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will report on the progress being made in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations, and in the negotiations on a new Multifibre Arrangement.

At the Downing Street Summit Conference in London at the weekend it was agreed that a new impetus should be given to the GATT negotiations and that the objective should be to achieve substantive progress in key areas this year. As regards the renegotiation of the multi-fibre arrangement, the Community is now agreed on its general objectives but has yet to reach a final decision on the method it should propose to deal with the problem of cumulative disruption.

Catering (Statistical Inquiry)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what explicit Government requirements will be satisfied by the statistical inquiry into catering being carried out by the Business Statistics Office for 1977.

Information is needed for estimates of consumers' expenditure, capital expenditure, stocks and output included in the national accounts. It will provide firm estimates as the bases for the published quarterly series of capital expenditure and catering turnover, together with Information on purchases by the catering trade from other industries which will be used in the construction of input-output tables. It will also provide information on the structure of the catering trade as shown by the number and turnover of different kinds of establishments, and on its size in the separate countries of England, Scotland and Wales.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what explicit outside-of-Government user requirements will be satisfied by the statistical inquiry into catering being carried out by the Business Statistics Office for 1977; and which questions are included for which there is no explicit Government requirement.

It will provide information about the structure of the catering trade to which parts of the trade attach importance. The breakdown of turnover by commodity groups is of interest to market researchers and to some catering trade users. The firm base provided by this inquiry for the quarterly series of catering turnover is also of importance to some catering trade users. The needs of the tourist boards for separate country information on catering turnover are met by the inquiry. No questions are included for which there is no explicit Government requirement.

Cars

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what effect on the balance of payments he estimates will have resulted from the loss of car exports caused by the recent disputes at British Leyland.

Queen's Awards

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the criteria for the presentation of the Queen's Awards to Industry for Export.

The criteria which applicants for the Queen's Award for Export Achievement have to meet are set out in paragraph 29 of the Report of the 1975 Review Committee on the Queen's Award to Industry. A copy of the report is available in the Library; I am also sending a copy to my hon. Friend.

Concorde

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, as part of the renegotiation of the Bermuda Agreement, he will seek to withdraw all traffic rights for non-stop flights between New York (John F. Kennedy) and British airports until Concorde has obtained landing rights to John F. Kennedy Airport in accordance with current treaty obligations; and if he will encourage the French Government to take similar steps concerning traffic rights between John F. Kennedy Airport and French airports.

I do not think it would be helpful if I were to disclose to the House my tactics for the concluding stages of the renegotiation of the Bermuda Agreement. As for the intentions of the French Government, it is not for me to speak. I am, of course, in close touch with them.

Bankruptcies And Liquidations

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what are the latest figures for bankruptcies and liquidations; and by what percentage they exceed or fall short of the average for 1972 and 1973, respectively.

In the 12 months ending 31st March 1977 there were 6,529 receiving and administration orders and 5,911 company liquidations in England and Wales. These exceeded the averages of 1972 and 1973 by 62 per cent. and 110 per cent. respectively.

Industrial Democracy

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether it is now his intention to bring forward revised proposals for employee participation before the end of the present Session of Parliament.

Tourism

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what net contribution he expects tourism to make to the British balance of payments in the current financial year.

The Government do not publish forecasts of tourism earnings and expenditure. The latest published figures, relating to the calendar year 1976, have already been supplied to my hon. Friend.

Seafarers (Safety)

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with the measures of safety at sea for seamen and fishermen; and if he will make a statement regarding any proposed future legislation on this matter.

Our measures to protect the safety of seamen and fishermen are already of a high standard but are being further improved. There is before Parliament a Merchant Shipping (Safety Convention) Bill to permit United Kingdom ratification of the 1974 International Convention for the Safety of Life at sea and a larger Merchant Shipping Bill including further safety measures is in course of preparation. New regulations regarding certificates of competency are also due to be made shortly.

Footwear

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his policy toward the level of United Kingdom imports of footwear of all types in the first quarters of 1977 from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

I am aware that imports from these sources in the first quarter of 1977 have increased by comparison with the same period of last year. I am awaiting a submission from the industry, which I am told will be made very soon, requesting import restraints on non-EEC countries not already covered by such restraints, and I will give this urgent consideration as soon as I receive it.

Steel (Imports)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress is being made in the discussions between the EEC and Japan concerning the dumping of steel and, in particular, special steels.

Negotiations about the quantities of Japanese exports of special steels to this country during the remainder of this year are in their final stages. I expect to be able to report the results very shortly.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his estimate of the proportion of domestic consumption of tool and high-speed steel which was met by imports during each of the last four years and in the first quarter of 1977.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the level of imports of steel in the main categories, by volume and by value, into the EEC during each quarter of 1976 and the first quarter of 1977 and the comparable figures of imports into the United Kingdom in the same periods.

Complete information is not available but I will write to my hon. Friend and place copies of the letter in the Library of the House.

Tools

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will now take steps in conjunction with the EEC to put anti-dumping duties on sets of ratchets, as recently drawn to this attention by hand-tool manufacturers, and make efforts to speed up the process of preventing hardship on British and other EEC manufacturers.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the application concerning socket sets. A team from our Anti-Dumping Unit is now in Japan, acquiring evidence on which a final decision can be made. I have considered very carefully the request for a provisional charge to duty but I have concluded that it would not be appropriate. So far as I am aware, there is no wider Community interest in this problem.

Multi-Fibre Arrangement

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list the countries with which the EEC has negotiated an MFA agreement; and if he will list the countries with which the EEC are currently negotiating or shortly to negatiate MFA agreements.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 6th May 1977], gave the following information:The EEC has negotiated MFA bilateral restraint agreements with Pakistan, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Colombia, Brazil, Egypt, Yugoslavia, Romania and Thailand. The most recent, with Thailand, was initialled on 3rd May. The EEC also plans to negotiate agreements with Hungary, Poland and Mexico later this year.

Overseas Development

Lesotho

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what response will be made by Her Majesty's Government to the recommendations of a UN mission that a programme of assistanace be given to Lesotho to overcome economic difficulties rising from South Africa's closure of border posts between Lesotho and the Transkei region.

We have only recently received the report, which recommends a substantial investment programme of development in Lesotho. We are studying the recommendations with a view to determining what response we may be able to make.

Industry

Public Corporations (Board Vacancies)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish a list of the vacancies for membership of the boards of public corporations for which he is sponsoring authority which have been advertised publicly in the last five years.

In the case of the National Research Development Corporation the Managing Director's post was advertised in January 1974 and those of three other board members in January and February 1977.

Footwear

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to publish the report of the footwear study group; and if he will make a statement.

The report of the Foot-wear Study Steering Group should shortly be submitted to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry, after which a decision about its publication will be made.

Post Office (Chairman)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what consultations he will be having with the Union of Post Office Workers before appointing a new chairman of the Post Office Corporation.

My right hon. Friend would certainly expect that the general secretary of the union would let him have his views before my right hon. Friend appoints a new chairman.

Iron And Steel Production

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proportion of United Kingdom crude steel, pig iron and tinplate was produced in Wales in 1976.

Following are the figures:

Percentage of UK Production in Wales in 1976
Crude steel28
Blast furnace iron33
Tinplate100
Source: Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many tons of steel were produced in 1967 in England, Scotland and Wales, respectively; and how many tons it is estimated will be produced in 1977.

Following is the information:

Crude Steel Production
million tonnes 1967
England13·5
Scotland2·6
Wales8·1
Source: Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau. Estimates for 1977 are not available.

British Steel Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what discussions he has had with EEC Commissioner Davignon relating to possible joint ventures between the British Steel Corporation and other European steel companies; and if he will make a statement.

Power Plant Manufacturing

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his policy towards a continued United Kingdom power plant manufacturing industry for the future of the electricity generating industry.

To enable the industry to overcome its problems through a series of co-ordinated measures based on those proposed in the CPRS report.

Government Aid

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list all payments made under Section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 from 1st March 1974 to 30th April 1977, listing payments to individual companies and payments under schemes of assistance.

Payments under Section 8 of the Industry Act 1972 between 1st March 1974 and 30th April 1977 are as follows:

Individual CompaniesPayments (£m)
Norton Villiers Triumph0·275
Kearney & Trecker Marwin6·250
Meriden Co-operative4·954
Moira0·120
Automatic Oil Tools0·500
Cambridge Instruments Co. Ltd4·500
Salvesen Offshore Drilling0·490
Dri-Co0·500
Alfred Herbert26·200
Chrysler (UK) Ltd41·500*
Seaforth Maritime0·950
British Leyland30·000
Drake & Cubitt Ltd0·598
Wolverhampton Industrial Engines0·200
Schemes of Assistance
Accelerated Project Scheme6·748
Offshore Supplies Interest Relief Grant Scheme6·165
Wool Textile (I)11·432
Clothing Industry0·320
Ferrous Foundry3·665
Machine Tools0·564
Paper and Board0·125
Poultry Meat0·063
* This figure represents payments made under clause 2(6) of the Agreement with Chrysler dated 5th January 1976. Additionally, certain advances in respect of the guaranteed loan have been made in accordance with clause 5 of the agreement. For confidentiality reasons I am not prepared to disclose the amount of the advances.

Government Factories

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many Government factories are currently unoccupied; what was the date of their construction; and where they are located.

At 30th April 1977 the number of unoccupied Government factories in England was 109, including 40 terraced units i.e., small factory units contained in blocks of terraced factories. Their locations, and in the case of new advance factories, their dates of completion, are as follows:

Advance Factories (1)Completed
Northern Region
Cleator Moor (2TUs)Aug 74
Hebburn (2TUs)Mar 77
HebburnApr 77
WorkingtonSept 74
WorkingtonFeb 76
ConsettSept 74
ConsettFeb 76
StanleyAug 75
StanleyNov 76
Team Valley, GatesheadAug 75
Team Valley GatesheadMar 76
Houghton-le-SpringJan 76
Houghton-le-SpringJan 76
Houghton-le-SpringJan 76
Houghton-le-SpringMar 77
JarrowFeb 76
CramlingtonFeb 76
CramlingtonMar 77
SunderlandApr 76
SunderlandApr 76
TeessideJune 76
TeessideJan 76
TeessideMar 77
Millom (DC) (2)June 76
Millom (DC)Oct 76
Berwick (4TUs) (DC)June 76
BlythApr 77
BlythOct 75
BlythMar 77
TynemouthJan 76
TynemouthJan 76
AshingtonFeb 76
AshingtonFeb 76
AshingtonMar 77
HartlepoolAug 75
NORTH-WEST REGION
BromboroughMar 77
LancasterOct 76
St. HelensFeb 76
Knowsley (4 TUs)Mar 76
Knowsley (3 TUs)Mar 76
KnowsleyJan 76
KnowsleyFeb 76
KnowsleyFeb 76
KnowsleyFeb 76
KnowsleyMar 76
WiganJan 76
WiganJan 76
WiganFeb 76
YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE REGION
NormantonDec 75
DoncasterMay 76
DoncasterMay 76
Doncaster (1 TU)July 74
RotherhamMar 77
BrighouseApr 77
HullFeb 76
Barnsley (2 TUs)Mar 76
Bridlington (2 TUs)Dec 75
SOUTH-WEST REGION
CallingtonJuly 76
NewquayDec 74
TruroJan 77
TruroAug 74
PenrynNov 76

EAST MIDLANDS REGION
WorksopApr 77
ClaycrossAug 76

Previously occupied factories currently unoccupied (3 ):—

NORTHERN REGION

  • Ashington (3)
  • Hartlepool (2)
  • Cramlington
  • Houghton-le-Spring
  • Houghton-le-Spring
  • South Shields
  • North Tees (3)
  • North Tees (1 TU)
  • St. Helen Auckland (3)
  • Jarrow (3)
  • Shildon
  • Team Valley, Gateshead (4)
  • Team Valley, Gateshead (1 TU)
  • Brandon
  • East Middlesbrough (2)
  • Teesside (1 TU)
  • Sunderland (2)
  • Blyth
  • West Chirton

NORTH-WEST REGION

  • Huyton

SOUTH-WEST REGION

  • Penryn
  • Plymouth
  • (1 ) 19 advance factories listed, including eight terraced units, have been allocated to prospective tenants.

    (2 ) (DC)=factories funded by the Development Commission.

    (3 ) 32 previously occupied factories, including three terraced units, are undergoing modernisation or renovation; 20, including one terraced unit, remain leased to tenants.

    By 31st March 1977, 24 million square feet of Government factory space in England was occupied by 439 tenants providing 83,681 jobs.

    Employment

    School Leavers

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how much a 16-year-old school leaver can be paid if he works on the work experience scheme; and how this compares with the unemployment benefit for a 16-year-old.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that young people participating in the work experience programme are paid a flat-rate maintenance allowance of £16 per week. The allowance is free of income tax and national insurance contributions. An unmarried 16-year-old who was entitled to unemployment benefit would receive an allowance of £12·90 per week.

    Hertfordshire

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish an analysis of the latest available unemployment figures for Hertfordshire, showing

    COUNTY OF HERTFORDSHIRE
    Duration of unemploymentAges of the unemployed
    16–17 years18–19 years20–24 years25–29 years30–34 year35–39 years
    One week or less1191282151257572
    Over 1 and up to 2 weeks871402361068946
    Over 2 and up to 3 weeks515790534925
    Over 3 and up to 4 weeks6178136864730
    Over 4 and up to 5 weeks5572130784533
    Over 5 and up to 6 weeks6366134723242
    Over 6 and up to 7 weeks3554105664334
    Over 7 and up to 8 weeks395595693819
    Over 8 and up to 9 weeks395982624335
    Over 9 and up to 13 weeks13517332416211391
    Over 13 and up to 26 weeks186262510328199190
    Over 26 and up to 39 weeks939122415011287
    Over 39 and up to 52 weeks133279736551
    Over 52 weeks13441331509977
    TOTAL9891,3112,4931,5801,049832
    Ages of the unemployed
    Duration of unemployment40–44 year45–49 year50–54 year55–59 year60–64 year65 years and overTotal
    One week or less43354033392926
    Over 1 and up to 2 weeks48333945883960
    Over 2 and up to 3 weeks2015914211405
    Over 3 and up to 4 weeks41282816231575
    Over 4 and up to 5 weeks36262530291560
    Over 5 and up to 6 weeks2722342430546
    Over 6 and up to 7 weeks20223018512480
    Over 7 and up to 8 weeks31282117381451
    Over 8 and up to 9 weeks2927322628462
    Over 9 and up to 13 weeks8086928815551,504
    Over 13 and up to 26 weeks140145151153369102,643
    Over 26 and up to 39 weeks6872848536051,431
    Over 39 and up to 52 weeks513857762061742
    Over 52 weeks90116154179494131,562
    TOTAL7246937968041,9314513,247

    Disabled Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will confirm that the Employment Service Agency recruited no unemployed registered disabled person during 1976; and how many the Agency expects to recruit in 1977.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the Employment Service Agency recruited 91 registered disabled persons for permanent employment during 1976, most of whom are likely to have been unemployed at the time of their employment. The Agency does not set itself recruitment

    age groups and the length of time registered as unemployed.

    Following is the information at January 1977, the latest date for which an analysis by age and duration of the unemployed is available:targets, but in 1977 it will continue to encourage suitably qualified disabled persons to apply for its vacancies through the normal open competition arrangements.The Department of Employment Group, of which the Agency is part, is one of the three Government Departments which currently satisfy their statutory obligation to employ a 3 per cent. quota of disabled persons.

    Temporary Employment Subsidy

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the estimated cumulative total, to date, of temporary employment subsidy commitment to each region per capita.

    Estimated cumulative total of subsidy commitment (assuming 12 months payment)Total approved applications (cumulative total)Total number of workers covered (cumulative total)
    £
    Northern13,874,00016014,666
    Yorkshire and Humberside23,402,00033924,738
    South-Eastern30,233,00055531,959
    South-Western12,287,50029512,989
    Midlands45,015,50061647,585
    North-Western59,066,50085862,438
    Wales16,457,50025217,397
    Scotland29,491,50045531,175
    Totals229,827,5003,530242,947
    The average gross cost per job saved, assuming 12 months' payment in each case is estimated at £946.

    Redundancies (Scotland)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the figure of redundancies notified in Scotland in each of the last 12 months.

    The number of redundancies in Scotland notified to the Secretary of State under Section 100 of the Employment Protection Act in each of the last 12 months were as follows:

    April8,938
    May8,246
    June5,942
    July6,351
    August4,189
    September8,076
    October7,243
    November7,407
    December12,602
    January 19779,456
    February5,353
    March5,477

    West Hampshire Water Company

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will new revise the figure given in the Written Answer to the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington relating to the grant made to the West Hampshire Water Company in the light of evidence sent to him by the hon. Member.

    , pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 4th May 1977; Vol. 931, c. 169–70], gave the following information:I regret that the information given in my reply to the hon. Member's previous Question was incorrect. I am informed

    Details, as at 29th April 1977, were as follows:by the Manpower Services Commission that the correct figure is £2,480.

    Tyneside

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he proposes to take having regard to the 1,600 redundancies announced by C. and A. Parsons and the rate of unemployment on Tyneside.

    I am in close consultation with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Industry and for Energy over measures to safeguard employment as far as possible in the power plant manufacturing industry. In considering these measures the Government are of course very much aware of the serious unemployment position on Tyneside.As far as the proposed reduction in the labour force at C. A. Parson's Newcastle plant is concerned I understand that the company hopes to achieve this reduction between August and the end of 1978, and that this is currently the subject of negotiations between the trade unions and the management. The Manpower Services Commission will, of course, do everything possible to help those who may be made redundant find alternative employment or train for other jobs.

    Self-Employed Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment in what form the Training Services Agency will carry out the training of self-employed workers and people intending to set up on their own in business; how soon it will commence; and what will be the cost involved and the places in which instruction will be given.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that applicants who wish to train under the Training Opportunities Scheme (TOPS) for self-employment may now be offered training for occupations which fall into two broad groupings, viz.: (1) occupations carried out by both employed and self-employed people. Training courses in this category are already widely available in skillcentres and colleges. They are comparatively short in duration and provide intensive tuition. Trainees are advised to have a period of supervised experience in employment before entering self-employment. (2) occupations normally carried out by self-employed people only. Training will be made available on a selected basis provided that the Training Services Agency (TSA) is satisfied that such training will lead to the resettlement of the individuals concerned.

    ANNUAL PERCENTAGE INCREASE OF GROSS HOURLY EARNINGS IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES IN EEC COUNTRIES
    Annual Percentage Increase
    CountryNotes19711972197319741975
    United Kingdom1, 2, 311·814·013·220·125·4
    West Germany4, 1011·78·710·911·38·4
    France212·512·214·721·415·3
    Italy1218·314·618·724·524·9
    Netherlands2, 614·715·415·418·214·4
    Belgium2, 1113·616·614·025·515·2
    Luxembourg2, 117·514·411·325·48·2
    Ireland6, 715·813·822·920·832·8
    Denmark3, 8, 914·111·417·320·419·1

    Explanatory notes: Unless otherwise stated the figures represent annual averages of hourly earnings of males and females.

    1Males only.
    2October of each year.
    3Adults only.
    4Including family allowances paid directly by the employer.
    5Including the value of payments in kind.
    6Including juveniles.
    7September of each year.
    8July to September of each year.
    9Excluding Vacation pay.
    10Sampling design revised 1973.
    11From 1972 new industrial classification.
    12April of each year.

    Source: "Year Book of Labour Statistics", ILO except Italy: "Hourly Earnings and Hours of Work", Eurostat.

    Transport

    Rural Bus Services (Cumbria)

    A number of proposed courses are already under consideration. The TSA has been given authority for a limited development in this area and it is looking into the potential demand and the kind of facilities that will be required.