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Written Answers

Volume 931: debated on Thursday 12 May 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 12th May 1977

Northern Ireland

Security

2.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement on the current security situation in the Province.

My right hon. Friend fully shares the concern felt by many people about the continuation of violence in Northern Ireland notwithstanding the improvement in the security situation which has taken place. Security measures are constantly under review to adjust them to a changing situation and to increase their effectiveness. He is certain however that the best strategy is to work through the police, with the support of the Army, to maintain the rule of law. This strategy is achieving real results. In the first four months of this year the level of violence measured by the numbers of incidents and numbers of casualties has been running at half the rate of last year. It is all the more regrettable that the UUAC in seeking to compel a stoppage of work, ostensibly in part for the purpose of seeking improvement in security measures, should divert the security forces from their prime task of defeating the IRA. Indeed, the UUAC or men claiming to act in support of them are themselves resorting to terrorism, intimidation and murder. Such action must not be allowed to succeed.

Ulster Defence Regiment And Royal Ulster Constabulary

10.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to what extent the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Ulster Constabulary share common training procedures.

The two forces differ in both nature and rôle, and the training that is appropriate for military forces is not necessarily equally appropriate for the police. What is important is that the operational activities of the two forces are closely co-ordinated, and this is already the case.

Terrorism

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been arrested in the past 12 months for extortion, the demanding of protection money, the running of illegal drinking clubs and other fraudulent crimes related to terrorism.

This information is not readily available and such a time-consuming exercise would not be justified, particularly at this time. I am satisfied, however, that within their resources the police are doing everything possible to eliminate all these activities.

Croy

I have at present no plans to visit either Croy near Kilsyth or Croy near Inverness.

Angola

29.

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek to pay an official visit to Angola.The Prime Minister: I have at present no plans to do so.

Lord President Of The Council (Speech)

30.

asked the Prime Minister if the public speech of the Lord President of the Council made at Kirkby on 26th April concerning the achievement of a Socialist republic in Great Britain represents Government policy.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies given by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council to the hon. Members for Wirral (Mr. Hunt) and Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) on 28th April.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

31.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his engagements for 12th May.

32.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 12th May 1977

35.

45.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 12th May 1977.

46.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will list his official engagements for 12th May 1977.

I refer the hon. Members and my hon. Friends to the reply which I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam).

European Energy Policy

33.

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the international effect of President Carter's declared intentions about nuclear technology, if he will discuss European energy policy at the forth coming economic summit.

The hon. Member will have noted from my statement to the House on 9th May about the Downing Street Summit that energy was one of the subjects discussed. European energy policy was not discussed as such.

Nationalised Industries

39.

asked the Prime Minister when he last met the chairmen of the nationalised industries.

40.

asked the Prime Minister when he last met representatives of the boards of the nationalised industries.

41.

asked the Prime Minister when he last met the heads of nationalised industries.

I refer my hon. Friends to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council gave on my behalf to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson) on 10th March.

Tuc

36.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Corbett) on 3rd February.

Rhodesia

38.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make an official visit to Rhodesia following the recent visit of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Heads Of Government (Downing Street Meeting)

44.

asked the Prime Minister if he has drawn up an agenda for the forthcoming Summit at No. 10.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement which I made to the House on 9th May.

asked the Prime Minister which countries committed themselves to maintaining their present growth projections at the Downing Street Summit.

As was stated in the Appendix to the Downing Street Summit Declaration the Governments of those countries which have adopted reasonably expansionist growth targets for 1977 have committed themselves to them and have also undertaken to adopt further policies, if needed to achieve their stated target rates and to contribute to the adjustment of payments imbalances.

asked the Prime Minister what machinery has been created to monitor the commitments entered into at the Downing Street Summit.

No new machinery was created but the Summit participants have undertaken to review progress on all the measures they discussed and the co-operation of others will be sought through the appropriate institutions.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Cheese

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of cheese consumed in the United Kingdom is currently of United Kingdom production.

In the year ended 31st March 1977, the latest annual period for which figures are available, home production is now calculated to have accounted for about 58 per cent. of total new supplies of cheese to the United Kingdom market.

Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference

asked the Prime Minister whether, during Lord Thomson's recent Commonwealth tour to discuss the arrangements for the forthcoming conference in London, he discussed with the Governments of the countries he visited the question of President Field Marshal Idi Amin's attendance at the conference; and whether it was generally agreed that he should not attend, having regard to the state of affairs in Uganda under his rule.

The purpose of Lord Thomson's tour was to discuss the important subjects likely to be on the agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. But he also discussed the question of President Amin's possible attendance at the conference. The detailed contents of the discussions with Commonwealth Heads of Government must remain confidential.

Civil Service

Ministers Of The Crown (Official Telephone Calls)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether Ministers of the Crown, when telephoning their offices or other ministerial offices from their homes, or other places when away from their homes, have to pay for such calls out of their parliamentary or ministerial salaries, or get allowances or are allowed reverse charges.

The costs of officials calls of this nature may be reimbursed if the Minister so requests.

Parliamentary Questions

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is the present cost of answering an oral and written parliamentary Question, respectively.

The estimated average cost as at the end of March 1977 is £29 for oral answer and £17 for Written Answer.

Parliamentary Papers

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the present dispute affecting the printing of the Parliamentary Papers; and what discussions he has had with the National Graphical Association.

The dispute affecting the printing of Parliamentary Papers involves the NGA and NATSOPA machine room staff at the Parliamentary Press. The origin of the stoppage was a dispute on 5th May over flexibility of staff working on machines producing the London Gazette. Consequent production delays led to a fresh argument about overtime levels associated with the day's production. Failure to resolve the overtime question has resulted in a complete stoppage of work by the NGA and NATSOPA machine room staff from early on in the night shift of 5th May.Officials of Her Majesty's Stationery Office have been in frequent contact with officials of the two unions from the outset. Lengthy discussions have been held at chapel and branch level. National officials of the unions have been involved, and a further meeting with national officers of the unions has been arranged for Friday 13th May. I have also personally received representations from a number of those concerned.

Defence

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the cost to the Exchequer of maintaining British troops in Northern Ireland; and how many British troops are currently there.

The latest estimate of the extra costs of military operations in Northern Ireland in 1976–77 is £65 million. The number of troops currently in the Province is about 17,000, including the reinforcements recently deployed; if these are excluded the number is about 14,000, or 14 major units of the combat arms. The strength figures do not include the UDR.

Baor (Blindfire Radar)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the Rapier units in service with British forces in Germany are to be equipped with Blindfire.

Further to the answer that I gave to the non. Member on 26th April—[Vol. 930, c. 1013]—all the RAF Rapier units will receive the Blindfire radar, but only a proportion of the Army's units will do so because of the different way in which they will be deployed.

Education And Science

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many school teachers were unemployed at the latest count; and whether the number has fallen during the current academic year.

5,195 people were registered by the Department of Employment in March 1977 as seeking posts in schools in England and Wales. This represents a drop of 1,992–27·7 per cent.—from the number registered in September 1976. In January 1977 there were 2,866 new appointments to teaching in maintained nursery, primary and secondary schools from the July 1976 output from teacher training. This compares with 2,318 in January 1976, an increase of 23·6 per cent.

Swimming Lessons (Fees)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science under what existing statutory enactment parents can be asked to pay for swimming lessons in State schools.

It is for the local education authority concerned to justify the statutory basis of such payments. My understanding is that when swimming lessons are provided as an extra-curricular activity, a charge may be made under Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972.

Overseas Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is satisfied with the current level of foreign students at British universities.

The admission of overseas students is a matter for individual universities. The number of such students in universities and other institutions of higher education and further education has increased considerably in recent years, and I am considering, in consultation with the University Grants Committee and local education authorities, the practical aspects of some kind of limitation.

Schools Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the expenditure per capita on each pupil in secondary schools in England and Wales, respectively.

In 1975–76, the latest year for which information is available, the net recurrent cost per pupil at maintained secondary schools in England was £404—at 1976 survey prices, the corresponding cost per pupil in Wales was also £404.

Adult Literacy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how people have benefited from the adult literacy programme in (a) Gloucestershire, and (6) West Gloucestershire in 1975–76 and 1976–77; and what the figures should be for 1977–78;(2) if she will publish in the

Official Report the numbers by county who have been assisted by the adult literacy programme in 1975–76 and 1976–77; and what is the figure for 1977–78.

Student numbers in adult literacy schemes in 1975–76 were published in Appendix II of the Adult Literacy Resource Agency's report "Adult Literacy: Progress in 1975/76" a copy of which is available in the Library. The figure for Gloucestershire is 260. Returns from local education authorities on activity in 1976–77 are still being collated by the agency for inclusion in its report on that year shortly to be made to my right hon. Friend. Student numbers in 1977–78 are a matter for conjecture at this stage.Information is not available centrally on student numbers in West Gloucestershire.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish in the Official Report the bids made by counties to Adult Literacy RA in 1975–76 and 1976–77; and what is the figure for 1977–78.

After the agency has invited initial bids from local education authorities and others for assistance in any one year, informal discussions take place about possible allocations from the limited funds available. Formal bids are then made which are usually accepted by the agency. Details of the 1975–76 allocations were published in the agency's report for that year and those for 1976–77 will be in the report shortly to be made to the Department. Allocations for 1977–78 have been notified to individual authorities and reflect generally the staff commitment made in 1976–77.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if she will publish in the Official Report the amounts contributed by each county to support the adult literacy programme in 1975–76 and 1976–77; and what is the figure for 1977–78;(2) what were the contributions from Gloucestershire County Council towards providing for an adult literacy programme in the county for 1975–76, 1976–77 and 1977–78.

I regret that these details of local education authority expenditure are not available centrally.

Regional Conferences

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the cost to public funds of the regional conferences on education.

The total cost of the seven regional conferences in England was £11,940.

University Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what assumptions were made regarding increases in salaries and wages and the effects of inflation on non-pay items of expenditure in the determination of the 1977–78 recurrent grant for universities, announced on 28th March 1977.

The assumptions used in the 1977–78 recurrent grant settlement conformed to those which underlay the calculation of cash limits generally for 1977–78, announced in Cmnd. 6767. The assumptions on salary increases were consistent with the second stage of pay policy which continues until 31st July 1977. Thereafter an increase at an annual rate of 5 per cent. was assumed. The assumption on non-pay increases was consistent with an expected trend of general price rises of about 13 per cent. at an annual rate by the fourth quarter of 1977, with some decrease thereafter.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish for each university in receipt of grants from the University Grants Committee the amount of recurrent grant and of furniture and equipment grant for 1977–78.

1977–78 RECURRENT GRANT AND FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT GRANT ALLOCATIONS
University or CollegeRecurrent grantFurniture and equipment grant
£m.£m.
Aston7·6410·836
Bath4·9610·321
Birmingham16·9200·860
Bradford8·0830·453
Bristol12·5560·718
Brunel5·1000·332
Cambridge17·1600·973
City5·6200·399
Durham5·8890·318
East Anglia5·4580·404
Essex3·8170·263
Exeter5·4620·254
Hull6·2380·293
Keele4·0800·160
Kent4·1300·309
Lancaster5·3140·385
Leeds17·6391·776
Leicester6·5641·062
Liverpool15·5931·177
London Graduate School of Business Studies0·4740·007
London University112·5917·556
Loughborough7·1670·497
Manchester Business School0·4620·005
Manchester20·7920·934
University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology8·7950·675
Newcastle12·7181·051
Nottingham10·5520·901
Oxford17·6701·368
Reading8·2800·470
Salford8·2290·655
Sheffield13·0741·060
Southampton9·9940·707
Surrey6·3130·402
Sussex6·5680·337
Warwick5·3540·303
York3·9310·402
University of Wales30·4881·724
Aberdeen10·9090·580
Dundee7·0040·536
Edinburgh18·5370·773
Glasgow17·8551·104
HeriotWatt4·3890·310
St. Andrews4·9320·280
Stirling3·6300·205
Strathclyde9·5410·715
Reserve for local authority rates32·000 0·250*
General Reserve2·526
Total Great Britain553·00035·100
* Reserve.
The total recurrent grant excludes provision for the recent increase in National Insurance contributions from which universities, as charities, have been exempted.

Employment

Public Agencies

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the sources and amounts of finance provided for the Employment Services Agency, the Unemployment Benefits Office and the

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 7th April 1977; Vol. 929, c. 691], circulated the following information:Training Services Agency in Hertfordshire.

The sources of finance for the Unemployment Benefit Service are the National Insurance Fund—for unemployment benefit—and voted funds—for supplementary allowances. The Employment Service Agency and the Training Services Agency are financed through a grant in aid, borne on the Vote of the Secretary of State for Employment.Information as to the amount of such finance provided in Hertfordshire is not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what amount of consultation, discussions and work sharing schemes take place between the Employment Services Agency, the Unemployment Benefits Office and the Training Services Agency; and what plans he has for future co-operation between the three agencies in Hertfordshire.

There are close working links and regular discussions between the Employment Service Agency, the Training Services Agency and the Unemployment Benefit Service, both at head offices and locally, to ensure the effective operation of the related functions of the respective services.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment to what extent there is an overlap between the functions of the Employment Services Agency, the Unemployment Benefits Office and the Training Services Agency in Hertfordshire; and if he will make a statement on the functions of all three.

The Manpower Services Commission's agencies, the Employment Service Agency and the Training Services Agency, and my Department's Unemployment Benefit Service have related but distinct functions. The Employment Service Agency's central aim is to help people choose and obtain the right jobs and to help employers recruit the right people as quickly as possible. The aim of the Training Services Agency is to promote the development of an efficient national training system which contributes effectively to meeting the manpower needs of the economy and provides individuals with training opportunities in preparation for and throughout their working lives. The main function of unemployment benefit offices is to deal with claims for unemployment benefit and to pay unemployment benefit and supplementary benefit. The Department of Employment Group is presently the subject of a joint Civil Service Department and Department of Employment Group management review, which is examining the relationships between the various parts of the group, including the Manpower Services Commission and its agencies. But I have no reason to believe that there is any wasteful overlap between the work of the three bodies named, in Hertfordshire or elsewhere.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment to what extent the staff of the Employment Services Agency, the Unemployment Benefits Office and the Training Services Agency in Hertfordshire are interchangable; how many of the staff work for all three; and if he has any plans to encourage such sharing of staff.

Staff employed by the Employment Service Agency, Training Services Agency and the Benefit Service of the Department of Employment are interchangeable only in the sense that, being also part of the staff of the Department of Employment Group, they enjoy common opportunities for career development, including promotion, and may in that context be transferred from one organisation to another within the group. No employees of these three organisations work on a day-to-day basis for any organisation other than the one by which they are employed. I have no plans to encourage transfer of staff on a day-today work basis between the organisations named.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total annual cost of running each of the Employment Services Agency, the Unemployment Benefits Office and the Training Services Agency in Hertfordshire.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of people employed by each of the Employment Services Agency, the Unemployment Benefits Office and the Training Services Agency, in Hertfordshire together with the total number in each grade.

The following table analyses the staff in post, including casuals, employed in Hertfordshire on 1st April 1977 by grade within the Employment Service Agency, Unemployment Benefit Offices and the Training Services Agency.

The figures for ESA include staff employed in employment offices, jobcentres, a district manager's office and an employment rehabilitation centre.

STAFF EMPLOYED IN HERTFORDSHIRE ON 1ST APRIL 1977

Grade

Employment Service Agency

Unemployment Benefit Offices

Training Services Agency

Total

Senior Executive Officer134
Higher Executive Officer72615
Cadet11
Executive Officer32201264
Clerical Officer7610263241
Clerical Assistant10371865
Training Service Officer I11
Training Service Officer II123
Training Service Officer III55
Instructional Officer I13031
Instructional Officer II85664
Occupational Psychologist11
Social Worker11
Deputy Hostel Manager11
Welfare Recreational Officer11
Shorthand Typist11
Typist3·5238·5
Data Processor0·50·5
Switchboard Operator0·50·5
Cleaner0·56·57
Senior Storeman44
Storeman44
Storekeeper11
Assistant Storekeeper11
Timekeeper11
Assistant Timekeeper22
Driver123
Millwright22
Labourer21719
Night Gateman33
Canteen staff3131
Hostel Housekeeping staff1717
Total147164·5292603·5

Note: Part-time staff have been counted as half units.

Job Creation (Macclesfield)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report projects approved to the latest convenient date under the Job Creation Programme in

PROJECTS APPROVED TO DATE
SponsorProjectJobs
Congleton Borough CouncilBungalow roof insulation for old people5
Bollington Swimming Pool CommitteeConstruction of swimming pool20
Bollington Trading Estate Ltd.Environmental improvements on trading estate9
Macclesfield Rugby Union and Sports ClubRenovation work5
Macclesfield Borough CouncilEnvironmental improvements5
Macclesfield County Youth CentreRebuilding cabin cruiser for youth club use7
Gingerbread Area OfficeCommunity Service3
Bollington Leisure CentreConstruction of leisure facilities18
Macclesfield Borough CouncilEnhancement of parish church30
Macclesfield Council for Voluntary ServiceGardening and minor home repairs for elderly and disabled16
PROJECTS UNDER CONSIDERATION
Congleton Borough CouncilHousing survey7
Manchester UniversityConstruction of working models at Jodrell Bank2

The figures for TSA include staff employed in a skillcentre, an hostel, an area stores, an instructor training centre and a part of head office.

the area covered by the Macclesfield constituency and also those under consideration, giving the sponsor and the number of jobs created.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the information is as follows:

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the unemployment figures for the unemployment

Employment Office AreaApril 1973April 1974April 1977
Acton5804351,064
Barking6646071,541
Barnet385368802
Beckenham and Penge5344741,313
Bermondsey5544211,146
Bexley5114971,210
Borough1,3271,2512,546
Brixton3,0723,1198,813
Bromley7797991,643
Camberwell1,7481,3634,597
Camden Town1,5841,5003,901
Canning Town1,2981,0872,530
Chiswick351323918
Clapham Junction1,4521,2693,720
Croydon1,7571,4685,138
Dagenham (including Becontree)1,1041,0762,356
Deptford and Greenwich1,1631,1163,171
Ealing1,1641,0082,368
East Ham7945051,980
Enfield5024191,557
Erith446409990
Feltham192140569
Finchley6536471,013
Fulham1,6501,5924,244
Hackney1,9452,0104,780
Hammersmith3,2632,7836,882
Harrow9389402,633
Hayes275238864
Hendon4765111,444
Holloway1,7741,7105,121
Hornchurch4984441,041
Hotel and Catering Trades1331061,883
Hounslow5114271,470
Ilford1,2051,1972,630
Kings Cross1,0579642,452
Kingston-on-Thames7107331,830
Lewisham2,1231,9964,026
Leyton and Walthamstow2,0721,8384,822
Mill Hill3514241,207
Orpington5325321,695
Poplar1,3721,2202,905
Richmond6498171,563
Romford9018482,392
Ruislip383336918
Shoreditch (includes City of London)6666251,832
Sidcup5955061,038
Southall3812621,745
St. Marylebone1,8641,6706,737
Stepney1,8001,3962,804
Stratford9147392,496
Sutton8229042,026
Tooting (including Mitcham)2,0811,6284,631
Tottenham1,0699723,184
Uxbridge2963541,250
Wembley5483221,580
Westminster*2,8062,3844,978
Willesden (including Kilburn)1,2569643,603
Wimbledon8127781,909
Wood Green1,2471,0513,420
Woolwich1,6261,5773,961
* Includes some professional and executive registrants from other areas.

office areas within Greater London at the latest convenient date, and for the same period in 1973 and 1974.

Prices And Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the percentage increase in prices and earnings, respectively, between November 1973 and August 1974, between August 1974 and

PeriodPrices (United Kingdom)Average earnings (Great Britain)
November 1973 to August 197412·717·1
August 1974 to March 197513·214·6
March 1975 to March 197621·219·4
March 1976 to March 197716·7See below
By February 1977 the monthly index of average earnings was 9·5 per cent. higher than in March 1976. Estimates to March 1977 are not yet available.

Energy

Fuel Bills

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has studied the report on the fuel problems of retirement pensioners produced by Wandsworth Task Force, a copy of which has been supplied to him by the hon. Member for Woolwich East; and what action he proposes to take to improve conditions for pensioners before next winter.

In so far as it refers to fuel costs this report covers much the same ground as those of the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries and the National Consumer Council on which I would refer my hon. Frend to the reply my right hon. Friend gave him on 5th May.

Environment

Horsecleave Quarry, Bampton (Planning Appeal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the cause of the delay in announcing the result of the planning appeal concerning the use of a quarry at Bampton, Devon, known as Horsecleave Quarry, the inquiry having been held on 28th June 1976; and when he will announce his decision.

The delay has been caused by the increased number of mineral inquiry cases coming to the Department for decision during the past year. The Horsecleave Quarry appeal has raised issues of some complexity but it is now

March 1975, between March 1975 and March 1976 and between March 1976 and March 1977.

The percentage increases in the general index of retail prices and in the monthly index of average earnings were:at an advance stage of consideration and my right hon. Friend's decision will be issued as soon as possible.

Option Mortgage Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the total expenditure on the option mortgage scheme for each year since 1968; and if he will express these sums in 1977 prices.

Following is information on option mortgage subsidy payments made in Great Britain for each financial year since 1968–69:

OPTION MORTGAGE SUBSIDY PAYMENTS: GREAT BRITAIN
£million
Financial yearCurrent Prices1976–77 Prices
1968–69716
1969–70921
1970–711327
1971–721835
1972–732851
1973–745084
1974–7575107
1975–76104118
1976–77140140

Rent And Rate Rebates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people have received (a) rent rebates, (b) rent allowances for unfurnished accommodation, (c) rent allowances for furnished accommodation, and (d) rate rebates for each year since the introduction of the different schemes; and what has been the cost of each scheme in each year to date.

RENT REBATES, ALLOWANCES AND RATE REBATES: NUMBER AND COST: ENGLAND AND WALES, 1968–77

Rent Rebates

Rent Allowances

Rate Rebates

Date

Number (000s)

Costm.)

Unfurnished number (000s)

Furnished number (000s)

Costm.)

Financial year ending March

Number (000s

Costm.)

March 196836012 (1967–68)196878612
March 196935014 (1968–69)196979213
March 197035015 (1969–70)197080814
March 197135018 (1970–71)197179515
March 197227017 (1971–72)197280618
May 197370070 (1972–73)485 (1972–73)197390523
April 197484087 (1973–74)1201211 (1973–74)197491028
April 1975870107 (1974–75)1501117 (1974–75)19752,30085
April 1976970130(1975–76)1901329 (1975–76)19762,580117
January 1977990151 (1976–77)1901140 (1976–77) estimated

Notes:

1. The costs are for financial years and exclude administrative costs.

2. Householders receiving supplementary benefit are excluded.

3. The costs of rent allowances include both furnished and unfurnished cases.

Community Land Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the operation of the Community Land Scheme by local authorities in England in 1976–77.

I am grateful for this opportunity to make known the way in which the scheme has been implemented in England. Despite the background of a difficult economic climate the land scheme made a good start. Provisional figures indicate that, in the financial year 1976–77, 1,571 acres of land were acquired, of which 832 acres were for housing, 730 for industry and nine for commerce. This is about one-third more than the acreage figure incorporated in

COMMUNITY LAND SCHEME: END OF YEAR POSITION 1976–77
Preliminary Assessment (England)
Land Acquired
HousingIndustryCommerceTotal
Region£m.Acres£m.Acres£m.Acres£m.Acres
West Midlands2·02830·8870·0572·85377
East Midlands0·51090·6761·1185
Yorkshire and Humberside0·71151·12231·8338
Northern0·71210·61921·3313
NorthWest0·2890·4430·6132
Eastern0·2120·1170·310·630
SouthWest0·4320·4400·0810·973
South East1·1660·5420·011·6108
London0·455·40·99·61·3515
Total6·25832·45·4729·60·44912·11,571

Notes:

The expenditure figures:

(1) are at actual prices.

(2) are net of DLT.

(3) exclude staff and administration.

(4) include an estimated £0·1m. of interest and infrastructure expenditure. Department of the Environment, May 1977.

Rate Support Grant (Nottingham)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the amount of rate support grant paid by the Exchequer to the Nottingham City Council in each of the years from 1966–67 to 1976–77.

Rate support grants were first paid for the year 1967–68. A new grant structure was introduced with local government reorganisation in 1974–75. Payments made to Nottingham City Council for the years 1967–68 to 1975–76, and the latest estimate of the council's entitlement for 1976–77 are as follows:

Cmnd 6393. The corresponding provisional expenditure figure at outturn prices—net of Development Land Tax—is approximately £12 million or roughly one-third less than the figure which went into Cmnd 6393. Of this expenditure, 52 per cent. was for housing land, 45 per cent. for industrial land and 3 per cent. for land for commerce. A regional breakdown is given in the table.

Provisional figures for staff and administration costs relating to these land acquisitions and to the initial setting up of the local authority arrangements for operating the scheme will be issued later when available. There will be more loan sanction available this year than last, and this will provide authorities with the opportunity to build effectively on last year's sound start.

Year

Grant

£
1967–686,325,151
1968–696,923,514
1969–708,099,375
1970–719,414,477
1971–7211,023,653
1972–732,702,279
1973–7416,260,040
1974–756,757,532
1975–7610,979,706
1976–7711,999,492

Nottingham did not qualify for the resources element of RSG until 1973–74. Since 1974–75 the needs element grant has been paid to the county council; it is not included in the table above for the last three years.

Housing Subsidy (Nottingham)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the amount of housing subsidy paid by the Exchequer to the Nottingham City Council in each of the years from 1966–67 to 1976–77; and what was the average amount per housing unit in Nottingham.

The amount of housing subsidy—excluding rent rebates and rent allowance subsidies—paid by the Exchequer to Nottingham City Council in each of the years 1966–67 to 1976–77 and the average amount per council dwelling in Nottingham were as follows:

Exchequer housing subsidyAverageamount percouncildwelling
£million£
1966–670·49613·64
1967–680·59115·88
1968–690·79420·73
1969–701·14628·39
1970–711·70939·66
1971–l722·02144·62
1972–730·82618·07
1973–741·07623·02
1974–753·03262·68
1975–766·271122·86
1976–779·554179·25
The amounts paid include the estimated entitlement for the year in question plus or minus adjustments following the auditing of claims for previous years.

European Community

Parliament Site

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will pursue a policy of having the European Parliament meeting at a permanent site.

The Government's view is still that it is essentially for the European Parliament itself to agree on a proposal. I understand that its Political Affairs Committee is considering the question and will make recommendations in due course. Until then I see no merit in any member State raising the issue.

Parliamentary Salaries And Expenses

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what are the proposed expenses and secretarial scale for Members of the European Parliament;(2) if he will make it his policy that salaries of elected European Members of Parliament should be no more than the prevailing salaries paid to Westminster Members of Parliament at the time of the election.

I refer the hon. Member to the replies which I gave on 4th May to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten)—[Vol. 931, c. 452.] These are matters for decision on a Community basis.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 10th and 11th May.

The meeting was very valuable. First, it gave President Carter the opportunity to assure his allies that the United States Administration will continue to make the Alliance the heart of their foreign policy. This reaffirmation of the United States' commitment to NATO was warmly welcomed by everyone, including my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. President Carter also made some specific proposals to improve the functioning of NATO, namely, a special alliance review of East-West relations; the development of a long-term defence programme for the 1980s; and the consideration of other measures in the defence field, including questions of equipment procurement. We welcome his ideas which, in company with our allies, we shall be studying carefully.The meeting also gave Heads of NATO Governments an opportunity to consider together the preparations for next month's CSCE Review Conference in Belgrade.The Council's proceedings are well reflected in the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting yesterday. This reads as follows:

Final Communique

1. The North Atlantic Council met in London on 10th and 11th May 1977, with the participation of Heads of State and Government.

2. The essential purpose of the Alliance is to safeguard the independence and security of its members, enabling them to promote the values of democracy and respect for human rights, individual freedom, justice and social progress, and to make possible the creation of a lasting structure of peace. The Allies are firmly resolved to maintain and enhance the effectiveness of the Alliance and the ties which unite them.

3. Although there have been some improvements in East-West relations in recent years, elements of instability and uncertainty persist. Of particular concern is the continuing growth in the strength of offensive capabilities of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact countries. In these circumstances, the Allies emphasise the need for the Alliance to maintain at an adequate level the forces required for the common defence and for deterrence. They are resolved to strengthen their mutual support efforts and co-operation.

4. The Allies are determined to co-operate closely in all aspects of defence production. Their aims are to achieve the most effective use of available resources and to preserve and promote the strong industrial and technological capability which is essential for the defence of the Alliance and to develop a more balanced relationship between European and North American members of the Alliance in the procurement of defence equipment. The means of deepening this co-operation should be reviewed in appropriate fora.

5. Leaders of states taking part in the integrated defence structure of the Alliance requested their Defence Ministers to initiate and develop a long-term programme to enable NATO forces to meet the changing defence needs of the 1980s and to review the manner in which the Alliance implements its defence programmes to ensure more effective follow-through.

6. At the same time, the Allies reaffirm their conviction that security in Europe and in the world, without which detente could not produce its beneficial effects, cannot be achieved by statements of intent, but requires concrete efforts to reduce the level of armaments through realistic measures of disarmament and arms control. They will continue to move towards this goal in a manner consistent with Allied security, while recognising that progress also depends on a constructive attitude on the part of the Soviet Union and East European states.

7. The Allies warmly welcome the effects of the United States to negotiate with the Soviet Union an agreement to limit and reduce strategic arms which takes into account Allied interests.

8. With respect to MBFR, the participating Allies emphasise the importance they attach to these negotiations, the goal of which is to contribute to a more stable relationship and to the strengthening of peace and security in Europe. They call for a positive response to the additional offer they made to the Warsaw Pact countries in December 1975, and reaffirm their overall objective of establishing approximate parity in ground forces in the form of a common collective ceiling for ground force manpower and the reduction of the disparity in tanks, which would ensure undiminished security at a lower level of forces.

9. The collective security ensured by the Alliance, in addition to enhancing global stability, provides the strength and confidence that enable the member countries to persevere in their efforts to lessen the tensions between East and West and to increase progressively the areas of co-operation. In this connection, the Allied leaders requested the Council in Permanent Session to make a fresh study of long-term trends in East-West relations and to assess their implications for the Alliance. Improvement in East-West relations will depend on the extent to which all concerned show moderation and self-restraint both in Europe and in other parts of the world. With regard to Berlin and Germany as a whole, the other Allies fully associated themselves with the views expressed by the Heads of State and Government of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany in their statement of 9th May 1977, and noted in particular that the strict observance and full implementation of the Quadri partite Agreement of 3rd September 1971 are essential to the strengthening of détente, the maintenance of security and the development of co-operation throughout Europe.

10. The Allies stress the great importance they attach to the implementation by the CSCE Signatory States of all the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. There has been limited progress in certain fields. While welcoming this, the Allies emphasise that much still remain to be done if the potential of the Final Act is to be realised both in terms of inter-state relations and in the lives of the inhabitants of all the countries concerned. The forthcoming Belgrade meeting will provide a useful opportunity for a thorough review of the implementation of the Final Act, and for an exchange of views on ways of developing the process of détente in the future. At that meeting the Allies will work for a constructive outcome which will promote better relations between the participating states and be beneficial to all their peoples.

11. The Allies recognise as wholly legitimate the aspirations of people throughout the world to human rights and fundamental freedoms. They are convinced that respect for these rights and freedoms, in accordance with the commitments accepted by governments in the Charter of the United Nations and in other international documents including the Helsinki Final Act, is essential for peace, friendship and cooperation among nations.

12. The Allied leaders reaffirm their support for an equitable world system in which all countries, developing as well as developed, will see their best interests served and which can sustain the economic progress of all. They intend to mobilize their efforts towards the attainment of that objective, in the appropriate form. They invite the Warsaw Pact countries to do the same.

13. Recognising the vitality and vigour shown by the Alliance over the years, the Allied leaders reaffirm their determination to maintain and strengthen their close association and cohesion within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty. On that firm foundation they will persevere in the task of building a more just and peaceful world.

Car Loans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there is any entry in the Appropriation Accounts for 1975–76 which covers in whole or in part the cost of interest-free car loans to Foreign Office staff.

There is no entry covering car loans as such. Repayments are made by withholding moneys payable to individual officers from Sub-heads A1 and B1 of the Vote.

Home Department

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has to reduce the existing prison population.

I refer the hon. Member to what was said by my right hon. Friend during the Supply Day debate on 27th January and by myself in replying to the debate on prisons on the motion of the hon. and learned Member for Royal Tunbridge Wells (Mr. Mayhew) on Friday 18th March.

Vandalism

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further steps he is taking to enlist public support for a campaign against vandalism following the favourable response to the Home Office working party report on protection against vandalism.

Many campaigns to increase people's awareness of the part which they can play in preventing vandalism—for example, by reporting acts of vandalism to the police and exercising their responsibilities as parents—have been mounted locally by the police, and, for example, by crime prevention panels. I support these efforts.

One of the purposes of the conference that I and some of my right hon. and hon. Friends held on 28th April was to give our support to the many organisations who were represented there and whose activities had a bearing on the prevention of vandalism.

Miss Janie Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Miss Janie Jones, who has still to complete her term of imprisonment, will be able to have her story of breaking the law published and to enter contracts for a television play whilst serving her parole; and whether all prisoners are entitled to the same treatment.

A prisoner released on parole is subject to the conditions of a licence until the normal release date but these conditions would not prohibit the courses of action mentioned. Restrictions which go beyond precautions against further offences are not imposed.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on whose authority a car was allowed to enter Holloway Prison to pick up Miss Janie Jones, contrary to normal rules and practice; and whether he will make a statement.

The governor exercised the discretion she has and admitted the car under close supervision in view of the numbers of Press and public immediately outside the gates.

Legislation (Renton Report)

asked the Lord President of the Council if, prior to the Summer Adjournment, he will place in the Library the views of Her Majesty's Government on those recommendations of the Renton Report on the Preparation of Legislation that have not yet been adopted.

The recommendations made in the Renton Report are regarded by Ministers as comprising a comprehensive and valuable summary of the best drafting practice. The relevant recommendations are being taken into account in the drafting of all current Government legislation.

The Government consider, however, that it is essential that parliamentary draftsmen should retain discretion to apply the recommendations relating to drafting practice in accordance with the requirements of particular legislation.

Transport

Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what is the total expenditure on British Rail and Underground services expressed as a percentage of the combined total of expenditure on roads and transport and capital expenditure on the surface transport industries for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(2) what is the total expenditure on British Rail expressed as a percentage of the combined total of expenditure on roads and transport and capital expenditure on the transport industries for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(3) what is the total of bus-related expenditure expressed in money therms at 1976 survey prices and as a percentage of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(4) what is the total expenditure on motorway construction, improvement and maintenance, local authorities capital and current expenditure on roads construction, improvement and maintenance and on car parks, and all other roads-related expenditure expressed as a percentage of the combined total of expenditure on roads and transport and capital expenditure on the surface transport industries for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(5) what is the total expenditure on British Rail and Underground services expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as a percentage of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(6) what is the total expenditure on British Rail activities expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as a percentage of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(7) what is the total of bus-related expenditure expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as a percentage of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(8) what is the total expenditure on motorway construction, improvement and maintenance, local authorities capital and current expenditure on roads construction, improvement and maintenance and on car parks, and all other roads-related expenditure expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as a percentage of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(9) what are the main elements of expenditure on roads and transport administration expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as percentages of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(10) what are the road, rail and other components in expenditure on transport research and other services expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as percentages of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(11) what is the division among rail, bus and other services in current expenditure on concessionary fares by local authorities expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as percentages of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(12) what is the breakdown of passenger transport subsidies to local authorities between bus, Underground and ferry services expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as percentages of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81;(13) what are the component elements of capital investment in public transport by local authorities expressed in money terms at 1976 survey prices and as percentages of annual expenditure on roads and transport for each year from 1971–l72 to 1980–81.

Following is information based on Cmnd. 6721 "The Government's Expenditure Plans". Allocations for future years are subject to revision following the current review of transport policies.

ITEMS OF EXPENDITURE
£million: 1976 survey prices

1971–72

1972–73

1973–74

1974–75

1975–76

1976–77

1977–78

1978–79

1979–80

1980–81

(A) Roads and Transport(l)2,0422,2072,3592,6612,6972,6212,2982,1342,2032,201
(B) Roads and Transport together with Capital Investment by Nationalised Surface Transport
Industries(2)2,2942,4692,6672,9702,9232,8332,5052,3682,4352,438
Total on British Rail(3)312388488790730690653605623621
as a percentage of (A)15·317·620·729·727·126·328·428·428·328·2
as a percentage of (B)13·615·718·326·625·024·426·125·525·625·5
Total on Roads and related expenditure1,6781,6791,7841,6311,5861,5151,2741,2361,3141,333
as a percentage of (A)82·276·175·661·358·857·855·457·959·660·6
as a percentage of (B)73·168·066·954·954·253·550·852·254·054·7
Transport Research and Other Services:
(i)Road14131313161211101110
as a percentage of(A)0·70·60·60·50·60·50·50·50·50·4
(ii) Rail3333222222
as a percentage of (A)0·10·10·10·10·10·10·10·10·10·1
(iii) Other10116820000
as a percentage of (A)0·60·30·1
Roads and Transport Administration(4)22242426262523232222
as a percentage of (A)1·11·11·01·01·01·01·01·11·01·0
Local Public Transport Investment(5):
(i)Bus49527579687171716565
as a percentage of (A)2·42·43·23·02·52·73·13·33·03·0
(ii) Rail and Underground269059699010296879090
as a percentage of (A)1·34·12·52·63·33·94·24·14·14·1
Concessionary Fares(6)1222345883889497101102
as a percentage of (A)0·61·01·42·23·13·44·14·54·64·6
Current subsidies to Bus, Underground and Ferry Services(7)711251431891791471149474
as a percentage of (A)0·30·51·15·47·06·86·45·34·33·4
as a percentage of (B)0·30·40·94·86·56·35·94·83·93·0

Notes:

(1) Roads and transport consist of Table 2.6 of Cmnd 6721 less shipping and civil aviation.

(2) Capital investment consists of entries for surface transport industries in Table 3.1 less support for investment already included in ( a). Net Exchequer lending to nationalised industries in Table 2.5 is excluded.

(3) Comprises BR share of ( b) plus grants under Section 8 of the Railways Act 1974.

(4) Central Government only: local authority administration is included with roads and related expenditure. Further analysis is not readily available.

(5) Includes negligible provision for ferry terminals.

(6) Further analysis not available.

(7) Further analysis not readily available. Total bus-related expenditure and combined expenditure on BR and Underground consequently cannot be shown.

Roads (Trunking)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made with the trunking of roads, which properly form part of the national

M69/A46 Leicester Ring RoadLeicester Western bypass added to trunk road preparation pool 10th December 1976.
A46/A15 proposed relief road for LincolnLincoln relief road added to trunk road preparation pool 10th December 1976.
A52 Nottingham to GranthamDraft trunking order published 11th February 1977.
New route. Gateshead bypass extensionNewcastle Western bypass added to trunk road preparation pool 15th February 1977.
Scotswood Bridge to A69 and from A69 to A696.
A21/M25 near Sevenoaks to HastingsTrunked on 1st April 1977.
New route. Manchester Outer Ring Road: Eastern section, Bradbury—Denton—Middleton to M62.Added to trunk road preparation pool 30th December 1975.
New route. Darlington A1(M) eastwards to A66.Added to trunk road preparation pool 10th December 1976.
Of the rest, some are still the subject of consultation with the local authorities concerned and others will be trunked after improvement schemes are completed.

Insurance

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if any EEC countries requires by law that the basis of rating motor insurance be by total mileage driven; whether this is the practice in any of the countries where no legal requirement exists; and if he has any plans to introduce legislation to the same effect in the United Kingdom.

We are not aware that motor insurance premiums in any EEC country are fixed solely by reference to mileage driven, but information to check this is not readily available. Mileage is only one of several factors affecting risk and my right hon. Friend has no plans to introduce legislation to the effect referred to by the hon. Member.

House Of Commons

Interview Rooms

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will indicate how long the interview rooms of the House will be used for secretarial purposes; and what alternative arrangements he has made for Members.

I apologise for the inconvenience caused, but while the present difficulties last interview rooms G, H and

network, proposed by the Minister of Transport in his reply to a parliamentary Question, Official Report, 21st October 1975, column 126.

The position is as follows:J on the Lower Ground Floor will be required for the production of alternative copies of Parliamentary Papers and it will be necessary for Members who are arranging meetings to book rooms on the Committee Corridor or the Conference Room in the Norman Shaw North Building.

National Finance

Widows

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, further to his Written Answer, Official Report, 3rd May, column 136, to the hon. Member for Arundel relating to his meeting with representatives of the National Association of Widows, if he is now able to make a statement on his discussions so far as they relate to treatment of widows as single persons for tax purposes.

Immigrants

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the fact that persons with four wives and 12 children are being admitted into Great Britain; and to what extent tax allowances can be claimed for these persons as dependants.

My right hon. Friend is not responsible for the admission of persons to this country. A married man is entitled to claim only one married man's allowance, and, only one wife's earned income allowance. A child tax allowance may be claimed for each child of any legitimate marriage, and for any other child of whom the claimant can show that he has custody and whom he maintains at his own expense.

Owner-Occupiers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list in the Official Report the amount of tax relief made available to owner-occupiers in each year from 1966–67 to 1976–77; and what was the average annual amount per mortgagee.

Council House Tenants

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will

GROSS WEEKLY HOUSEHOLD INCOME OF LOCAL AUTHORITY TENANTS AS A PROPORTION OF THAT OF OWNER OCCUPIERS
United Kingdom
Lowest decile income Households with:Median income Households with:
One childTwo childrenFour childrenOne childTwo childrenFour children
19720·680·730·800·850·780·70
19730·690·830·690·870·810·75
19740·710·780·790·800·820·67
19750·710·800·900·880·820·84

Notes:

1. Information obtained from the family expenditure surveys and subject to sampling errors.

2. In 1972, the FES defined children as all persons under 16 years of age: subsequently children were taken as all unmarried persons under 18 years of age.

3. The data are representative of almost all households in the United Kingdom with one, two or four children.

Car Loans (Diplomatic Service)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what money was transmitted from the Consolidated Fund or National Loans Fund or other source originally to put in funds the suspense account used by the Foreign Office to make interest-free loans to members of the Diplomatic Service to buy cars; on what date; what further credits, other than repayment of car loans, have been made to the account since that date; from which sources; on what dates; and what parliamentary authorisation has been obtained for such credits.

Issues are made by the Treasury each year to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from the Consolidated Fund for Supply Services voted by Parliament as stated in Estimates presented by the Treasury. In addition, repayable advances are made from the

publish in the Official Report the median income of council tenants expressed as a ratio of median income of owner occupiers for households with one, two and four children for each year since 1970;

(2) if he will publish in the Official Report the lowest decile income of council tenants expresed as a ratio of the lowest decile income of owner occupiers for households with one, two and four children for each year since 1970.

I have been asked to reply.The following table contains the information requested for the years 1972 to 1975. Information for 1970, 1971 and 1976 is not readily available.Contingencies Fund when voted funds are insufficient. The detailed administration of all these funds is a matter for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office within the provisions of the Exchequer and Audit Department Acts, and may include the funding of any suspense accounts necessarily maintained by that department. The precise timing and amount of any transactions on these accounts is not a matter for the Treasury.

Mr Jacques Rotenberg

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he or his Department was consulted about the decision to allow Mr. Jacques Rotenberg to pay a £500,000 fine for offences under the Customs and Excise Act.

After considering all the facts, the Commissioners of Customs and Excise acted under their own statutory powers in the Customs and Excise Act 1952.

Child's Special Allowance

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much it would cost to disregard for income tax purposes the child's special allowance.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 9th May 1977], gave the following answer:I regret that the information on which to base an estimate is not available, but the cost would be small.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Footwear

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is the average gross profit margin in the footwear retail trade; and how this compares with the average for all retailing.

My hon. Friend will realise that information given to the Price Commission in pursuance of its obligations under the Counter-Inflation Act is confidential to it. However, I understand that the gross margins of retail footwear outlets vary to a great extent, but are on average in the order of 40 per cent. This compares with an average of 31·6 per cent. for non-food retail outlets in the year ending December 1976.

Hotels

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will refer to the Price Commission profit margins made by five star hotels catering for foreign visitors in London.

Baby Clothes

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he will refer price and profit margins of baby clothes to the Price Commission.

Scotland

Social Work Departments

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to publish statistical information regarding the services provided by social work departments for offenders during 1975 and 1976.

As a result of the introduction last year of a new system of social work statistics, no information is available about services provided in 1975. Statistics of services provided in 1976–77 are at present being processed and will be published as soon as practicable.

Terrorists

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons in each year since 1969 have been kept in prison in Scotland for Irish Republican Army or other terrorist activities.

This information is not available. All convicted prisoners in Scottish prisons have been sentenced for offences against the ordinary criminal law. There is no separate category of offences related to terrorist activities and prisoners are not classified according to their political sympathies.

Scottish Association Of Citizens Advice Bureaux

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what funds were made available by his Department to the Scottish Association of Citizens' Advice Bureaux in 1975 and 1976; and what funds he expects to make available for 1977.

In the financial years 1975–76 and 1976–77 grants of £10,000 and £18,600 respectively were offered by my Department to enable the association to develop the housing advice work of citizens advice bureaux. A grant of £18,600 is expected to be made in 1977–78. The main financial assistance to the citizens advice bureaux network in Great Britain is given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection to the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, and the Scottish association also benefits from these grants.

Probation

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many males aged 16 to 21 years, and 21 years and over were put on probation in each of the years 1971 to 1976 inclusive by (a)courts of solemn procedure and (b) courts of summary procedure;(2) how many females aged 16 to 21 years, and 21 years and over were put on probation in each of the years 1971 to 1976 inclusive by (

a) courts of solemn

PERSONS PLACED ON PROBATION

After full committal

Summary

Males

Females

Males

Females

Number of previous convictions

0

1–3

Total No.

0

1–3

Total No.

0

1–3

Total No.

0

1–3

Tota1 No.

Aged 16–20:
197116184463211,1611071,3312617268
19721918442461,0311181,21524011251
1973291854516962701,09427010281
1974269475161,000651,12623513248
19751919567210988381,0602577266
197629236516420980261,0301897196
21 and over:
197128747196267835290138718415
197214739123167554488242519455
1973191043115177124083140719430
1974131345126196444274337122402
1975211358124175702264540211417
19762185818121629116523953404

Social Services

Hospital Patients (Visitors' Travel Expenses)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what mandatory and what discretionary powers are vested in area health authorities, in county and district councils, and in his Department's local offices to help pensioners, disabled persons and others on low incomes travel to visit close relatives in hospital.

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular HM(73)20 issued in May 1973 by my Department and the Welsh Office for the guidance of health authorities.There are no specific mandatory or discretionary powers under which local authorities may provide a person with assistance towards the cost of visiting close relatives in hospital. However, Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides local authorities with very wide financial powers to meet expenditure not covered by other enactments

procedure and ( b) courts of summary procedure;

(3) if he will publish figures distinguishing by sex, by age groups 16 to 21 years and 21 years and over, and by type of procedure showing in how many cases of persons put on probation in each of the years 1971 to 1976 inclusive, the probationer ( a) had no previous convictions, and ( b) had at least one but not more than three previous convictions.

The information is given in the following table.and it would be for each individual authority to decide whether it would be justified in using the powers for this purpose.

Heating Allowances

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to make supplementary heating allowances available to all low-income families on a similar basis to rent and rate rebates.

Heating additions are an integral part of the supplementary benefit scheme and are not payable to people who do not qualify for supplementary benefit. The Government are, however, keeping under review the need for helping those on low incomes with the cost of fuel.

Hospital Kitchens (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the approximate expenditure per patient on new kitchens and kitchen equipment in National Health Service hospitals; and how this compares with current costs for similar services in industry generally and in the hotel and catering industries.

I regret that the information is not available, and could not be obtained without disproportionate expense.

Widowed Mothers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will tabulate the net weekly spending power, after taking into account tax, benefit,April 1976: rent £4·72; rates £1·90; work expenses £1·75.April 1977: rent £5·60; rates £2·20; work expenses £2.

(a) WIDOWED MOTHER NOT WORKING
Widowed mother's allowanceFamily allowances/Child benefitRent rebateRates rebateFree school mealsFree Welfare milkNet weekly spending power
April 197624·801·504·721·900·7527·05
April 197727·702·505·602·200·7530·95

Note: There was no entitlement to supplementary benefit or liability for tax.

(b) WIDOWED MOTHER EARNING £30 PER WEEK

Widowed mother's allowance and earnings

Tax

National Insurance

Family allowances/Child benefit

Rent rebate

Rates rebate

Free School meals and Welfare milk

Net weekly spending power

April:
197654·808–370·601·500·0839·04
1977(a)57·708·790·602·500·510·3141·83
1977(b)57·708·280·602·500·510·3142·34

Notes:

1. The figures for April 1977 reflect the proposed tax changes announced in the Budget, (a) based on a tax rate 35 per cent. and (b) a tax rate of 33 per cent.

2. There was no entitlement to family income supplement.

3. National Insurance contributions at the reduced rate.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the use of the word "normally" in the reply of the Minister of State for Social Services, Official Report, 25th April, c. 252, means that in certain cases someone who is suspended from work for misbehaviour will not be considered for disqualification from receiving unemployment benefit for up to six weeks; and, if so, what sort of cases will not be considered by the independent adjudicating authorities.

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, all claims for unemployment benefit are decided by the independent adjudicating authorities. The use of the word "normally" in the reply given to the hon. Member for Aberdeen. South (Mr. Sproat) on 25th April—[Vol.

national health contribution, means-tested benefits and travel expenses, & c, of a widow with two children in April 1976 and in April 1977, that is before and after introduction of child benefit, assuming ( a) that she is solely dependent on widow's pension and ( b) that she also earns £30 per week.

The tables below show the net weekly spending power of a widow with two children aged four and six, on the basis of the following assumptions:930, c.

252]—was intended to convey that, as a matter of standard practice, where a claimant is suspended from work because of alleged misbehaviour the question whether his loss of employment is due to his misconduct is one of the matters which the adjudicating authority will consider; but that it does not follow that disqualification for the receipt of benefit will necessarily result in every case. For instance, disqualification would not be imposed if, upon full consideration of the facts, the evidence was judged insufficient to prove that misconduct had taken place.

Disabled Persons (Vehicles)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which firms are currently under contract to the Government to carry out research into a possible replacement of the invalid tricycle; and if he will make a statement on the progress which has so far been made.

There is no contractual arrangement with particular firms. My Department and the Department of Transport are in touch with a number of development projects and are jointly considering what further research is desirable in order to identify, among the possible lines of development of car adaptations or specialised vehicles, those which have the best prospects of effectively meeting the needs of disabled people. While the main Government benefit is now the mobility allowance, we shall be looking on home and world markets to see what is available to meet the needs of drivers of tricycles issued under the old vehicle scheme who still need a specialised vehicle when eventually—in 1982 or possibly 1983—we shall no longer be able to replace tricycles which wear out.

Hospital Equipment (Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how the price for equipment no longer in use in hospitals is evaluated.

It is for the National Health Service authority disposing of equipment that is surplus to requirements or obsolete to get the best possible price it can.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the value of second-hand equipment sold by his Department in 1976, 1975 and 1974.

The only information readily available relates to proceeds from the sales of civic defence stockpile items as follows: 1973–74. £16,507; 1974–75, £69,282; 1975–76, £3,577.

Pensions (Uprating)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would have been the increase of pensions and benefits in November 1976 if the historical method of uprating had been used; how this compares with the increases actually given, what would be the reference period for the calculation of the movement of prices and earnings for the purposes of the November 1977 uprating if the historical method were to be used; and what percentage increase in pensions this would yield.

Had the Government not decided to alter their practice of basing benefit increases solely on a historical calculation, upratings in November 1976 and November 1977 would each have been determined by the movement of earnings and prices in a 12-month period ending in the previous March. In the year ending March 1976 prices rose by 21·2 per cent., and in the year ending March 1977 by 16·7 per cent.: in each case this exceeded the rise in earnings, and would therefore have governed the increase in both long-term and short-term benefits. In practice, pensions and other long-term benefits were raised in November 1976 by 15·0 per cent. and short-term benefits by 16·2 per cent.; these increases were sufficient to restore the loss of value which price inflation had caused since the previous uprating.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now up-date the list of new help made available to disabled people under the present Government since the appointment of the first Minister for the Disabled in March 1974.

In my reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) on 24th January—[Vol. 924, c. 471–5]—I listed the major decisions and actions taken by this Government to help disabled people. This is now in process of being updated. In response to my hon. Friend's request, I shall be publishing the updated list as soon as possible and will ensure that my hon. Friend receives a copy.

Youth Treatment Centre, Brentwood

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether investigations into the allegations made by a national newspaper in connection with the St. Charles Youth Treatment Centre, Brentwood, Essex have been completed; and whether he will make a statement.

I have received a report on allegations made in some newspapers during April about conduct at St. Charles Youth Treatment Centre, Brentwood.

The most important single fact about St. Charles is that it cares for children whom the rest of society has been unable to help, many of them themselves unwilling to accept help. Almost all have serious problems and difficulties. In such circumstances incidents, sometimes serious have to be expected, though it is only right to say that those quoted in the newspapers during April occurred over a period of three years.

One of the most serious allegations was that a member of the staff had a sexual relationship with one of the girls in his charge. This was three years ago. He was first suspended and then dismissed.

Another allegation referred to a girl of 17 who was discharged last June to live with a married—although separated—young man and his parents. The sequel has been unhappy, but the discharge was decided on the girl's interests, was discussed with her parents, and was agreed with the Social Services Department of her local authority, who accepted responsibility for her.

It was also alleged that this girl was put on the pill at 15, and that teenage girls and boys at the centre were allowed to sleep together. Some girls at St. Charles are prescribed oral contraceptives either for medical reasons or for their own protection because of the possibility of promiscuity outside the centre. Boys and girls at the centre are not

Allegation

Comment

1. A boy did not return to the Centre after a week-end's leave that "lasted six months".When the boy did not return the police were immediately informed, but the boy's local authority decided to leave him at home on trial. The boy was removed from the centre's register three weeks after his failure to return.
2. Staff laid bets for boys.This did occur last year in the case of one boy and was stopped by the director immediately it came to his attention. The member of staff has since left.
3. Staff took the young people drinking in pubs.This has occurred in two incidents and appropriate action was taken. The centre's instructions state clearly that young people are not to be taken into public houses.
4. That staff purchase cigarettes for children and that even 10-year-olds smoke.It is usual for young people and the staff to ask each other to do some shopping. Smoking is, however, actively discouraged. There have never been any 10-year-old children at St. Charles; the youngest child admitted was over 11 years old.
5. That a girl was bought a glass of cider and stole a glass from a pub in London, which was condoned by the member of staff with her.The girl was bought a Coca Cola and when returning to the centre disclosed that she had stolen a glass. The member of staff remonstrated with her, reported her behaviour to the centre and took away the glass.

The House will not wish me to go into great detail. My general attitude is that any serious allegation should be

allowed to sleep together. They are under constant observation; landing doors separating the boys from the girls are locked at 10 p.m. each night, and there are two members of the staff on duty in each house unit throughout the night.

One article said that the Director of St. Charles was suspended from duty for a period in 1976. This occurred because the Department received a report that the director had allowed his personal affairs to interfere with the work of the centre. He was reinstated after an investigation which indicated that the work of the centre had not suffered.

The most recent allegation that a member of the staff tried to strangle a 17-year old boy is at present being investigated by the police. A further allegation about this incident was that the boy was subsequently sent home secretly from the centre without the knowledge of the police. This is untrue. The decision to discharge the boy was taken jointly by the centre and the boy's local authority. The police and the boy's mother were informed of the decision before the boy left.

No evidence has been found to support allegations of lesbianism, of sexual intercourse taking place in public, of staff members being drunk on duty or of a member of staff giving money to a girl to abscond.

I list below some further allegations with comments:

investigated. This we have done in the spirit that the interests of the children must be our main concern. I am satisfied

that the staff at the centre are a dedicated group who are doing valuable work in what are often difficult circumstances.

Outset

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make a grant to the voluntary organisation named OUTSET to help them in their work on behalf of disabled people.

I am glad to be able to tell my hon. Friend that I have authorised payment of a grant of £7,500 per annum for three years to OUTSET to help it in its work for disabled people. I am also glad to have this opportunity to acknowledge the very valuable services provided by this organisation in respect of a wide variety of socially valuable projects.

Trade

Looe Coastguard Station

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what decision has been made concerning the future of the Looe Coastguard Station in the light of the Department's proposals for the re-organisation of Her Majesty's Coastguard Service.

Pending the completion of discussions with the Departmental Staff Side, I am not yet able to make an announcement on the future of the Looe coastguard station, but I will write to the hon. Member when a decision has been made.

Package Tours (Levy)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he plans to terminate the 2 per cent. levy on package tours in respect of the reserve fund;(2) at what level the 2 per cent. levy on package tours may be discontinued; and when such a level will be reached.

I have no plans to discontinue the levy at the present time but I shall institute a review of the level of the Air Travel Reserve Fund and the contributions in the near future.

Hong Kong (Gatt Representation)

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.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 9th May], gave the following information:The United Kingdom has acceded to GATT on behalf of Hong Kong and is responsible for Hong Kong's GATT rights and obligations. According to the usual practice, a member of the United Kingdom delegation in Geneva will speak for Hong Kong at these talks.