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Written Answers

Volume 932: debated on Wednesday 18 May 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 18th May 1977

Environment

Rents

4.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what he estimates will be the average weekly council rent increase in 1977–78.

I expect it to be about 60p, in accordance with the Government's guideline.

Housing Associations

7.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he intends to take to prevent payment of grants by local authorities to unregistered housing associations.

Loans and grants made to housing associations by local authorities under the Housing Acts are restricted, as is the housing association grant paid by the Government to associations registered and controlled by the Housing Corporation.

Community Land

9.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much land has been acquired by local authorities in the first year of operation of the Community Land Act.

Provisional figures show that authorities in England bought 1,571 acres.

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much land acquired under the Community Land scheme has been disposed of and how much profit has arisen from such disposals.

The provisional information for 1976–77 is that 29 acres were disposed of at a profit. Firm figures will not be available to the Department until later in the year.

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the total administrative cost of the Community Land Act in its first year of operation.

Provisional information will not be available until later in the year.

Windscale

15.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the terms of reference of the public inquiry into the proposed Thorp plant at Windscale.

The inquiry is into the planning application and any considerations material to it. Planning inquiries do not have "terms of reference" as such, but, in accordance with the Inquiries Procedure Rules, I issued a statement on 5th April setting out the points which, on the information so far available, appear to me likely to be relevant to my consideration of the application. It will also be open to the inspector to hear evidence on any other matters which he is satisfied are relevant.The statement is appended:The Chief Executive,Cumbria County CouncilSIR,5

April 1977

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1971

TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (INQUIRIES PROCEDURE) RULES 1974

I am directed by the Secretary of State for the Environment to refer to his direction dated 25 March 1977 that the application made by British Nuclear Fuels Limited for permission to develop land at Windscale and Calder Works. Sellafield, Cumbria, to establish a plant for reprocessing irradiated oxide nuclear fuels and support site services (application A referred to in BNFL's letter to Copeland Borough Council of 1 March 1977), be referred to him.

The Secretary of State will consider all relevant aspects of the proposed development. On the information so far available the following points appear to him likely to be relevant to his consideration of the application:

  • 1. the implications of the proposed development for the safety of the public and for other aspects of the national interest;
  • 2. the implications for the environment of the construction and operation of the proposed development in view of the measures that can be adopted under
  • (i) the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 to control the disposal of solid, gaseous and liquid wastes which would result from the proposed development; and
  • (ii) the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 to provide for the safety of operations at the reprocessing plant;
  • 3. the effect of the proposed development on the amenities of the area;
  • 4. the effect of additional traffic movements both by road and rail which would result from the proposed development;
  • 5. the implications of the proposed development for local employment;
  • 6. the extent of the additional provision that would need to be made for housing and public services as a result of the proposed development.
  • This letter is to be taken as the Secretary of State's statement under rule 6(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) Rules 1974, and your Council are asked to serve copies of it on the applicant and all section 29 parties as soon as possible and in any event within the period specified in the said rule 6(1).

    I am Sir,

    Your obedient Servant,

    R. WILLIAMS.

    Rate Support Grant

    20.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will at the next negotiation seek to in crease the proportion of the rate support grant which goes to counties and diminish the proportion which goes to urban areas.

    We would not wish to prescribe the pattern of grant distribution for 1978–79 without knowing the outcome of the consultations with the local authority associations. These have only just started.

    Empty Houses

    21.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress he has made on the issuing of a departmental circular on empty property.

    A draft circular was sent to the local authority associations last week. It describes and advocates a wide range of measures available to local authorities in tackling the problems of empty and under-used housing.

    Environs (Conurbations)

    22.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he proposes to assist those living in the ring developments around the major conurbations.

    Assistance is provided through rate support grant, and under the main programmes of Government expenditure. Urban programme aid will continue to be available.

    New Towns Commission

    23.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the future role, responsibilities and structure of the Commission for the New Towns.

    I have nothing further to add to the answer given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Rodgers) on 6th April 1977.—[Vol. 929, c. 531–2.]

    Inland Waterways

    25.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the contribution of inland waterways to freight transportation; and what action he has taken or will take to allow such traffic to continue.

    I have no reason to disagree with the view expressed in the transport policy consultation document last year that the future rôle of inland waterways in freight-carrying is limited. Nevertheless, there are places where freight-carrying by inland waterway makes a valuable contribution to our transport requirements and the British Waterways Board, which manages most commercially used waterways, is constantly seeking to maintain and increase traffic on them. The Government's policy remains to encourage the transfer of freight to waterway wherever it is economically, socially and environmentally sensible to do so.

    Manchester

    26.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he proposes to meet the Leader of the Greater Manchester Council to discuss local government.

    The Secretary of State proposes to meet the Leaders of the Greater Manchester Council and the Manchester and Salford Metropolitan District Councils to discuss details of the partnership between the three authorities and the Government proposed in his statement of 6th April about the problems of the inner cities.

    Housing Policy Review

    27.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish his Green Paper on housing policy.

    28.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish his housing policy review.

    I refer the hon. Members to my reply earlier today to the hon. Member for Reading, North (Mr. Durant).

    London

    29.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he pro poses to meet the Leader of the Greater London Council to discuss local government.

    I have already invited the Leader of the Greater London Council to meet me to discuss matters of mutual interest.

    Urban Renewal

    31.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what recommendations his Department will make to local authorities regarding priorities in the use of additional funds for urban renewal made available in 1977.

    The additional funds made available this year are for the construction industry in inner areas. In the coming months my right hon. Friend will give guidance to local authorities on the use to be made of the Urban Programme in future years. In both cases we hope that there will be economic and environmental projects to augment the social projects which have made up the programme up to now.

    Inner Cities

    34.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what special steps he proposes to assist those living in the twilight areas of the major conurbations.

    I would remind the hon. Gentleman of my statement to the House on 6th April—[Vol. 929, c. 1226–44.]

    35.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment for what construction purposes the £100 mil lion allocated to inner city development will be used.

    As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his Budget speech, it is likely that the work will include the rehabilitation and improvement of old housing, industrial site preparation, the building of advance factories, school improvements, community buildings, day centres, health facilities and the reclamation of derelict and neglected land.

    36.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will include proposals to aid areas on the fringe of inner areas of the large urban conurbations in the forthcoming White Paper on urban problems.

    The White Paper will be addressed to the problems of our inner cities. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend earlier today to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Steen).

    Liverpool

    38.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated amount to be allocated to the Liverpool inner area from the £1,000 million to be spent in the next decade.

    As launching aid, about £11 million will be available immediately for construction works in inner Liverpool in the next two years. How much of the expanded Urban Programme is allocated to Liverpool over the decade will depend upon the proposals which emerge from the partnership.

    Local Government Finance

    37.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce Her Majesty's Government's conclusions in relation to the Layfield Report.

    42.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce his decisions on the Layfield Report.

    Rented Housing

    39.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he pro poses to amend current legislation so as to increase the supply of private rented accommodation.

    Some 700 representations have now been received from interested organisations and individuals in response to the consultation paper of 31st January. These representations are now being considered. We will be announcing conclusions in due course, but it is not yet possible to forecast the timing of any legislation arising from the review.

    Dogs

    40.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether any official census of the canine population of the country has ever taken place; and if any plans exist to take such a census in the near future.

    Housing Subsidy And Mortgage Interest Relief

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will estimate the total cost to date of housing subsidy and rate fund contribution of a local authority house of average cost built for letting in 1950 and the cost of mortgage interest tax relief on a similar house built at the same time for owner-occupation, assuming an average frequency of transfer; and what is his estimate of the average respective costs of the same houses over the next 27 years assuming the continuation of present trends.

    A local authority house built in 1950 would have attracted £363 of Exchequer subsidy and £33 of rate fund contribution in the period to 1971–72, when subsidies on individual houses ceased. If a similar owner-occupied house had been bought with an average size mortgage in 1950 and resold with average size mortgages at seven-year intervals thereafter—the average frequency of resale—with occupiers on standard rate tax relief, mortgage interest tax relief less Schedule A would have totalled about £550 over the same period. Only some of these assumptions would apply in most cases.

    Planning Appeals

    41.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the prescribed procedures and conduct of all public inquiries following appeals against local authority planning decisions.

    In general we believe that these procedures work well, but if my hon. Friend has a particular point in mind I shall naturally be willing to look into it.

    Local Authorities (Partnership Schemes)

    43.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a further statement on the operation of the principle of partnership as it will apply to the inner urban programme.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. MacKay).

    Anglian Water Authority (Chairman)

    45.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will dismiss the Chairman of the Anglian Water Authority.

    Thermal Insulation

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the various forms and amounts of financial assistance so far provided by his Department towards the costs of insulation and draught-proofing in local authority dwellings and in private dwellings.

    In the case of local authority dwellings where loft insulation is provided as part of a comprehensive improvement scheme or to meet the special needs of an elderly or disabled tenant, the capital cost of provision qualifies for housing subsidy, which is paid at the rate of 66 per cent. of the loan charges arising on the capital cost. It is not possible to identify separately the amount of subsidy paid for this purpose.In the private sector, local authorities may pay an improvement grant, normally of 50 per cent. of the cost, where loft insulation is provided to meet the special needs of elderly or disabled applicants who cannot reasonably meet the whole cost themselves. Prior to the issue of DOE circular 38/77, which abolished the need to obtain the consent of the Secretary of State to the making of such a grant, consent was given in three cases covering 10 dwellings. For nine of these dwellings the grant paid totalled £172: the amount paid on the other dwelling is not known. This expenditure attracts a Government contribution of 75 per cent. of the notional loan charges.Neither subsidy nor grant is generally available for other forms of insulation or in circumstances other than those described above.

    New Towns

    46.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the transfer of the industrial assets in new towns.

    I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend's answer on 6th April to my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Rodgers).

    Dhss Office, Kirkby

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if, in view of the present condition of the Department of Health and Social Security office in Kirkby and of the fact that construction of a new office will help the local employment situation, he will authorise the building of the new office now;(2) when a start is to be made on the new Department of Health and Social Security office in Kirkby;(3) why the new office for the DHSS in Kirkby is not among the 180 national schemes that have been given the go-ahead.

    I hope that, funds permitting, work on the new DHSS office in Kirkby can start in June 1978. It cannot start sooner because the detailed architectural design work is not yet complete. Unlike the schemes exempted from the one-year deferment of new contracts, it was not in the original 1977–78 programme.

    Government Car Service

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total capital and running costs of cars in the Government service pool for civil servants and Ministers of the Crown in 1976–77.

    Quarries

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many quarries, used and unused, there are presently in the Forest of Dean.

    The information available to the Department indicates that there are well over 200 quarries in the Forest of Dean, many of which are very old and quite small. Currently only eight limestone quarries and one sandstone quarry are fully active, but a few are also worked intermittently on a very small scale.

    Marchington (Ministry Of Defence Property)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has for the disposal through the Property Services Agency of the empty Service homes at the former Central Vehicle Depot at Marchington; and whether they will be made available to the East Staffordshire District Council.

    East Staffordshire District Council was formally asked by the PSA on 11th May whether it was interested in purchasing 82 vacant Service houses at Marchington. The council has not yet replied. If the houses are not purchased by the council or by any other public body, the PSA will arrange for them to be offered for sale to the public.

    Property Services Agency

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why he is unable to estimate the cost of the plan to disperse parts of the Property Services Agency from London to Tees-side.

    Because, although the general location has been chosen, actual site boundaries have not yet been determined, soil surveys have not been completed and design work is in its earliest stages. As regards staff costs, it is not yet known what proportion of the staff will be locally recruited.

    Rivers (Pollution)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if the provisions in the Control of Pollution Act 1974 covering pollution of freshwater rivers have been brought into force.

    Pollution control in relation to inland waters, estuaries and some other tidal waters is exercised at the moment under the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Acts and the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Acts. The main provisions of Part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974, which are intended to replace these Acts and which provide, in particular, for the extension of full control to all tidal waters, have not yet been implemented. The Government are keeping the position under review in order that implementation may take place as soon as practicable.

    Urban Blight

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what resources he will be making available for urban areas other than the six cities included in the partnership arrangement.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Grant).

    Hawden Farm, Tonbridge

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will reconsider his decision in his letter of 7th April 1977 concerning the extraction of sand and gravel at Hawden Farm, Tonbridge, if new grounds of objection are brought forward.

    No. Once my right hon. Friend's decision is given on an appeal made under Section 36 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, he has no further jurisdiction and cannot reopen the matter to consider any further representations or complaints. There is provision under Section 245 of the Act for persons aggrieved by the decision to appeal to the High Court within six weeks of the date of the decision on the grounds set out in that section.

    Sarum Farm, Winchester

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to give his decision concerning the public local inquiry held in January 1977 relating to Sarum Farm, Sarum Road, Winchester.

    The decision has now been issued and I have sent a copy of the decision letter to the hon. and gallant Member.

    Bromham Bridge, Bedford

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total amount which has been spent on the repairs to the Bromham Bridge, Bedford (A428), in the past five years, including an estimate of the amount required to repair the structure following recent accidents.

    I have been asked to reply.About £13,000 since August 1972, of which about £2,000 was in respect of recent accidents.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the cost of widening Bromham Bridge, Bedford, to enable heavy vehicles to pass with safety.

    Scotland

    Herring Fishing

    47.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made in securing agreement on the regulation of herring fishing.

    We have been seeking agreement within the Community on urgent measures to safeguard those stocks which are of major importance to our industry. Following pressure from us at the Council of Agriculture Ministers this week, it has been decided to extend the existing ban on herring fishing in the North Sea for the month of June, subject to a very limited concession to the Netherlands to enable it to continue its small traditional fishing in this month. It has also been decided to introduce a ban during June on fishing in the West of Scotland stock which is also seriously depleted. Further measures relating to these stocks are to be considered at a Council meeting next month.

    Police (Pay)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the real value of police basic wages for each grade for each of the last 10 years, taking 1967 as a base 100.

    Hospitals (Expenditure)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report the fees incurred by the former regional hospital boards for consultant fees for capital works for each of the years 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73 and 1973–74 and by health boards for consultant fees on capital works for each of the years 1974–75 and 1976–77.

    The figures requested are as follows:

    Regional Hospital Boards£000 at out-turn prices
    1970–711,309
    1971–721,773
    1972–732,413
    1973–742,235
    Health Boards
    1974–752,889
    1975–762,976
    Figures for 1976–77 are not yet available.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report the salaries bill of the former regional hospital boards for architects, engineering and quantity surveyors for each of the years 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73 and 1973–74 and for the building division of the Commons Services Agency for each of the years 1974–75 and 1976–77.

    The figures requested are as follows:

    Regional Hospital Boards£000 at out-turn prices
    1970–71597
    1971–72727
    1972–73941
    1973–741,041
    CSA building division
    1974–751,534
    1975–761,912
    Figures for 1976–77 are not yet available.

    Adult Education (Alexander Report)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recommendations contained in the Alexander Report have been implemented; and what further recommendations he expects to be implemented in the current year.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 22nd December 1976 to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. White). My right hon. Friend is anxious to set up a Scottish Council for Community Education as soon as possible and, following consultations with the bodies concerned, it is hoped that a further statement can be made later in the year.—[Vol. 923, c. 218.]

    Police (Numbers)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate has been made of staffing requirements in the police force were present manning levels to be maintained in the absence of overtime hours.

    Partick Health Centre

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, in view of the fact that one of the favoured sites for the proposed new Partick Health Centre would require that a school with swimming pool would need to be demolished, if he will refuse permission for any such demolition until after a replacement pool serving the same area has been opened.

    The education authority has made it clear that the site in question will not be released until a replacement swimming pool is available, and has proposed that the cost should be met by the Health Service. Although, in these circumstances, it is unlikely that Partick Health Centre will be built in that location, negotiations are still continuing.

    Teachers

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many trained teachers are unemployed in Scotland at the last count.

    I have been asked to reply.At 10th March, the latest date for which information is available, 580 unemployed people were registered at employment offices in Scotland for employment as school teachers.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Hong Kong

    48.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the population of Hong Kong, the annual exports figure and the Hong Kong Government's budget for 1952; what are the figures for population, annual exports and budget for 1977; if he will outline the Hong Kong Government's programme from 1977 to 1983 setting out the details of the expected growth in communications, new towns, social programmes, housing, education, hospitals, clinics, &c.; and how the programme from 1977 to 1983 will be financed.

    The population of Hong Kong in 1952 was 2·126 million and in 1976, the last date for which figures are available, 4·443 million.Annual exports, including re-exports, were HK$2,899 million in 1952 and HK$41,557 million in 1976.The budget was HK$288 million in 1952–53 and HK$8,245 million in 1977–78.79 new secondary schools will be completed between 1977 and 1981. These and other measures will enable every primary school leaver from 1978 onwards to have at least three years' secondary education. A new technical institute will be opened this year and another in 1979, and places for a further 10,000 full-time or part-time students will be provided at the Hong Kong Polytechnic by 1980–81. An additional 1,800 places will be provided at the two universities in Hong Kong over the same period.Three major hospitals will be opened between 1977 and 1984: a mental hospital with 1,300 beds; a teaching hospital with 1,200 beds; and a district hospital with 1,200 beds. A health centre which will provide 210 additional beds and special rehabilitation facilities will be completed in 1981. In all, the number of hospital beds will be increased from 19,063 at present to 23,594 by 1984. The completion of five new clinics and three poly-clinics in the next five years will increase the total number of consulting rooms from 227 at present to 305 by 1983.New public housing will be completed for approximately 1,330,000 persons by 1983.The programmes outlined above are currently being financed from general revenue. It is expected that there will be a shortfall of HK$650 million in 1978–79 and another of HK$200 million in 1979–80. If necessary, these shortfalls may be met by borrowings on capital account or by drawing on the fiscal reserves.

    Ambassadorial Appointments

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in cases where persons are appointed as ambassadors from outside the Diplomatic Service, in what way the period of such appointments is agreed; and what provisions are made for compensation in the event of such an office being prematurely terminated.

    There is no standard period for which persons appointed as ambassadors from outside the Diplomatic Service are appointed. The term of appointment is agreed in the same way as that for any other contract appointment in the Diplomatic Service, subject to a maximum of five years. It is normally subject to a short period of notice from either side. Provision for compensation in the event of premature termination of an appointment depends on the terms of the contract in each individual case.

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs upon whose advice Her Majesty appoints ambassadors.

    On mine. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is consulted on all senior appointments.

    Transport

    Humber Bridge

    49.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of construction of the Humber Bridge and associated roads.

    It is understood that construction of the bridge is proceeding satisfactorily. The Humber Bridge Board, which is responsible for the project, has not recently revised its target opening date of March 1979. The associated roadworks on both the north and the south sides of the river are under construction and are expected to be in use by the time the bridge is opened.

    Bus Companies (Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what statistics are kept by his Department relating to the relative cost per passenger mile of bus companies.

    The Department has no comprehensive source of information on costs per passenger mile of bus companies, as this is a statistic that the industry itself has considerable difficulty in assessing.

    Oulton, Woodlesford And Swillington (Bypass)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to make an announcement concerning the bypass of Oulton, Woodlesford and Swillington, which will form part of the motorway linking the M62 and the Al.

    Two of the four alternatives put forward for public consultation on the proposed new Kirkhamgate-Dish-forth route would bypass Oulton, Woodlesford and Swillington. My right hon. Friend hopes to make an announcement about the preferred route within the next few weeks.

    British Railways Board

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received the British Railways Board Annual Report and Accounts for 1976: and if he will make a statement.

    Yes. They were published today. Copies have been laid before the House.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Food Exports And Imports

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what are the total exports from the EEC to non-EEC countries of each of the 10 most important items of food in the diet of the average United Kingdom family;(2) what were the imports of food for the 10 most important items in the diet of the average United Kingdom family in 1971; and from which countries they came;(3) if he will set out the 10 most important items of food in the diet of the average family; what percentage of total consumption of these items is produced in the United Kingdom; and what percentage is imported from (a) the EEC and (b) the rest of the world.

    The information requested is being assembled and I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

    Consumption

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which foods have declined in consumption in the United Kingdom as the result of price rises.

    Figures of domestic food purchases, obtained from the National Food Survey, are published in "Food Facts" each quarter. It will be appreciated that consumption varies for a number of reasons and, although there are other factors involved, price is clearly a most important factor affecting consumption levels.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the estimated fall in consumption of liquid milk as the result of recently announced price rises for the next 12 months.

    The consumption effect will depend on the timing of the price increase later in the year, which has yet to be announced.

    Council Of Ministers (Meeting)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) meeting in Brussels on 16th and 17th May.

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made earlier today.

    Defence

    North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions were held at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council meeting in London on 10th May regarding standardisation of equipment.

    I have nothing to add to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on 12th May.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what he intends the United Kingdom should do to strengthen NATO.

    I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Watkinson) on 12th May.

    Footwear

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if Service boots and shoes are treated with sperm whale oil; and, if so, for what reason.

    There is no Ministry of Defence specification which calls for the use of sperm whale oil during manufacture of footwear or as a treatment for storage or preservative purposes. I am looking into the extent to which industry uses this substance on defence contracts.

    Quarters (Marchington)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Service homes at the former Central Vehicle Depot at Marchington have been kept empty; and for how long.

    87 of the 97 married quarters at Marchington are currently vacant. Many of these have been vacant or occupied only intermittently since 1967 due to uncertainty about the further defence use of the other facilities at Marchington.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the annual cost of maintenance of the empty Service homes at the former Central Vehicle Depot at Marchington.

    It is not possible for the Property Services Agency, which is responsible for maintenance of Service married quarters, to separate the cost of maintaining empty quarters at Marchington from that for occupied houses. For the last three financial years a total of £41,000 has been spent on all 97 married quarters, including fixed costs for sewerage, repair of storm damage, etc.

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence when the 82 empty Service homes at the former Central Vehicle Depot at Marchington were put into the hands of the Property Services Agency of the Department of the Environment; and when the remaining empty homes are expected to be transferred.

    The 82 empty married quarters were finally transferred to the Property Services Agency for disposal on 28th January 1977. Five quarters which are now also unoccupied, and 10 others which are still occupied, will all be so transferred by March 1978, when it is expected that they will all become vacant. Meanwhile, such preliminary disposal action as is possible is already being taken in respect of the occupied quarters.

    Departmental Staff (Dispersal)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence what posts in his Department are currently being considered for dispersal from the London area (a) to Glasgow and (b) to Cardiff.

    Various areas of Ministry of Defence work are being considered for dispersal to Glasgow, but no final decision has been taken. It is expected that the posts to be dispersed to Cardiff will come mainly from the departments of the Master General of the Ordnance and Controller, Aircraft.

    Warships

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence at what point in the ship's history the Government will disclose the cost of warships such as HMS "Invincible".

    We are willing to disclose the cost of warships as soon as we can do so without prejudicing contractual negotiations. We cannot, therefore, make estimated costs public before a ship is accepted from the shipbuilder, but it is not usually long after that before a final price is agreed; the cost can then be disclosed publicly.

    Ugandan Air Force

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many times aircraft of the Uganda Air Force have landed in the United Kingdom so far in 1977.

    Civil Service

    Trade Union Negotiations

    asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will publish a timetable of the negotiations with the trade unions involved in central Government, in a typical year.

    There are a wide variety of negotiations between trade unions and central Government on many subjects. As far as Civil Service pay is concerned, settlements for the bulk of the non-industrial Civil Service have normally in the past been based on pay research evidence. The timetable for pay research laid down in the 1974 Pay Agreement provides for an operative date of 1st April and for the Pay Research Unit to deliver its reports by mid-November the previous year. Analysis of the reports and negotiations are completed by about mid-March, taking into account information on changes in pay rates and benefits provided by the Pay Research Unit up to the beginning of February. In the case of the industrial Civil Service, the operative date is 1st July. Claims are usually tabled in March and negotiations take place in the intervening period.

    Education And Science

    British Film Institute

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total financial assistance given by her Department last year to the British Film Institute; and what conditions are placed on this grant.

    The British Film Institute's grant in aid for 1976–77 was £2·514 million. £100,000 was earmarked for the Housing the Cinema Fund. The Institute has discretion to spend the remainder within the objectives laid down in its constitution.

    Welsh Film Board

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the level of assistance given by her Department directly or indirectly towards the Welsh Film Board.

    £2,500 was allocated last year to the Board by the North Wales Association for the Arts. In the current financial year the Welsh Arts Council has allocated £23,000 to the Board. The size of these grants is determined locally, and they are made mainly with money deriving from the general grant made by my Department to the Arts Council of Great Britain and to the British Film Institute.

    Teachers (Mentally Handicapped Children)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students in colleges in England and Wales have completed a course during the past five years in the special area of teaching mentally handicapped children; and which colleges make provision for this course.

    Many colleges give students some opportunity for studying the special methods needed to teach mentally handicapped children, but the numbers successfully completing courses of initial training with a particular emphasis on these methods have been:

    197237
    1973103
    1974219
    1975292
    1976 (estimate)368
    The following 19 institutions currently provide such courses: Culham College, Abingdon; Westhill College, Birmingham; Bristol Polytechnic; Crewe and Alsager College of Higher Education; Hull College of Higher Education; Leeds Polytechnic; City of Liverpool College of Higher Education; Avery Hill College, London; West London Institute of Higher Education; Didsbury College of Education, Manchester Polytechnic; Matlock College; Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic; Gwent College of Higher Education, Newport; Keswick Hall College, Norwich; Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham; Preston Polytechnic; Sheffield City Polytechnic; Hertfordshire College of Higher Education, Watford; and King Alfred's College, Winchester.

    Employment

    Merseyside

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects to start the emergency crash programme designed to provide increased employment

    Number of employers prosecutedNumber of CasesConvictionsPenalties (in £'s)
    ChildrenYPTotalChildrenYPTotalChildrenYPTotalChildrenYPTotal
    197277142939682939681,1603801,540
    1973851340105040105037975454
    197426531862411079241031,4966002,096
    1975134173110412810387703501,120
    197610616111526101523595295890

    Young People's Handicrafts (Exhibition)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will opportunities for young people on Merseyside.

    The Government and the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) are examining the report of the MSC's Working Party on Young People and Work, which proposes a more extensive and unified programme of training and work experience for unemployed young people in all parts of Great Britain.

    Minors

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many cases of the employment of minors were known to his Department in each of the last five years; how many resulted in prosecution; and what was the outcome of the prosecutions.

    I am advised by the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that the employment of children of school age in industrial undertakings is prohibited by the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act 1920. Under the Factories Act 1961 young persons aged 16 and 17 may be employed in factories, subject to certain restrictions on the hours worked. The employment of children and young persons in other employment is controlled under other Acts of Parliament which are not relevant statutory provisions under the Health and Safety at Work, etc., Act 1974, and for which neither the Commission nor my Department has responsibility. No record of the number of instances of the employment of minors is kept centrally.The number of prosecutions in those cases for which the Commission is responsible and the result is shown in the following table:arrange for an exhibition of products made by young people engaged on the Job Creation Programme in Scotland to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall during the week beginning 23rd May.

    I have arranged for the Manpower Services Commission to exhibit items, made by employees engaged on job creation projects in Scotland and elsewhere, in the Upper Waiting Hall, for three days beginning on Tuesday 24th May.

    Yeovil

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the present number of unemployed in Yeovil; and whether this figure includes total redundancies at Westland Helicopters Ltd.

    At the latest count, on 14th April, 1,860 people were registered as unemployed in the Yeovil travel-to-work area. This figure does not include total redundancies at Westland Helicopters Ltd.

    Earnings

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, using his estimate of the rise in earnings since April 1976, he will publish a list of occupations where the highest decile is over £140 per week.

    No. We have made no estimate for specific occupations since April 1976. We are in the course of doing so at present for April 1977. When the information has been received from employers it will be processed and published. In the meantime, only aggregate earnings figures are available.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the average annual earnings of full-time adult male employees in April 1977, based on the new earnings survey figure for April 1976, adjusted for the increase in the monthly index of average earnings between April 1976 and April 1977.

    Estimates on this basis can be made up only to March 1977, for which month the estimate is about £80 per week, or around £4,150 per annum.

    Disabled Persons

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South on 28th March 1977, he is now able to say which employers will be covered by the Manpower Services Commission scheme of capital grants and adaptations to premises and equipment for disabled people; when the scheme is to be introduced; and what will be the extent and level of employers' contributions.

    I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that all private employers will be covered by the scheme, as will local authorities, health authorities and nationalised industries. The position relating to Government Departments is still under consideration. It is hoped to introduce the scheme within the next few months. The extent and level of employers' contributions is still under consideration.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the operation of the temporary employment subsidy for employers recruiting registered disabled people.

    The Temporary Employment Subsidy (TES) is not a recruitment subsidy. TES offers a subsidy of £20 per week for up to a maximum of 12 months—18 months if TES supplement is obtained—for each full-time job preserved where an employer agrees to defer an impending redundancy affecting 10 or more workers in an establishment. The scheme covers all employment in the private sector of industry and commerce throughout Great Britain and all employees may be included. There are no special provisions relating to disabled people.

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the number of unemployed registered disabled people over the age of 60 years; and what proportion of these have been unemployed for (a) over one year and (b) over five years.

    I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that on 13th January 1977, the latest date on which information is available, 14,104 registered disabled people over the age of 60 years were unemployed in Great Britain, of whom 9,062, or 64·3 per cent., had been unemployed for over one year. No information is available about the number unemployed for over five years.

    Young People

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects publication of the Report of the Manpower Services Commission's Working Party on Young People and Work.

    The report is being published today and copies are available in the Vote Office. The recommendations in the report are now being considered by the Government.

    Wages (Underpayment)

    asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects to publish the results of the Wages Inspectorate "low-pay blitz" on Wolverhampton.

    , pursuant to his reply[Official Report, 16th May 1977], gave the following information:The results have already been published in local media. One-quarter of the employers inspected were found to be underpaying.

    Nuclear Reprocessing

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy, upon the assumption that nuclear reprocessing facilities were disallowed in the United Kingdom, if he will compare the area of storage required for the spent fuel element and the benefits likely to be gained by the United Kingdom through the separation of fissile materials in spent fuels, waste products and the vitrification of that waste.

    The reprocessing of Magnox fuel will continue. Should oxide reprocessing not be undertaken in the United Kingdom, additional storage for AGR fuel would be required. The capacity needed will depend on the method of long-term storage adopted but would be significantly greater than that required for concentrated waste arising from reprocessing in either liquid or vitrified form.In addition to this environmental advantage, reprocessing gives the United Kingdom access to recovered uranium and plutonium which may be recycled in either thermal or fast breeder reactors.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy, if the United Kingdom failed to reprocess its fuel element pursuant to President Carter's recommendations, what additional uranium 235 would be required up to 1990 to complete its nuclear programmes.

    The United Kingdom will continue to have access to uranium through the reprocessing of Magnox fuel. Since the proposed oxide reprocessing plant at Windscale would not be operational until the late 1980s a decision not to proceed with it would have only a small effect on our uranium requirements up to 1990. I am advised that thereafter the recovered uranium from reprocessing would reduce by about 20 per cent. the lifetime uranium requirements of our AGR stations currently in operation and under construction.

    Power Stations

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his attitude to the European Commission's proposals relative to the consultation procedure affecting the siting of power stations which are likely to affect member States within the Community, Document 506/76.

    The Government are not committed to either the draft Council resolution to set up a consultative body or the Council regulation on the consultation procedure. The proposals have policy implications for the United Kingdom and further substantive discussion is necessary.

    Caesium Discharges

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what percentage of the annual caesium discharges referred to in the answer given to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 7th April was attributable to light water reactor fuel rod contamination of cooling pond water.

    Taxation Policy

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what additional revenue he estimates Her Majesty's Government would secure if the Government pursued a policy of taxing industry which failed to convert from oil to coal; and if he will make a statement.

    Most heavy oils used as fuel are, of course, already subject to taxation, and are expected to yield £265 million in revenue in the current year. The additional revenue that might accrue from tax measures designed to encourage substantial switching by industry from oil to other fuels would depend on the form and weight of the measures contemplated.

    Oil Rigs (Maintenance)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps are being taken to train a professional skilled group of British and European engineers capable of dealing with an oil blow-out on a North Sea rig.

    The essential factor when a blow-out occurs is quick access to skilled personnel with relevant experience. Oil companies have traditionally relied on the expertise, knowledge and confidence which calling in Mr. Red Adair and his associates provides. In the light of the Ekofisk blow-out my right hon. Friend and I hope to discuss a number of points with Mr. Adair, including the possibility of developing the United Kingdom capability in this area.

    Home Department

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received any representations about the book "Negotiated Justice", to be published as a result of research at Birmingham University commissioned by the Home Office; and if he will make a statement.

    The main subject matter into which the Home Office, in 1974, commissioned research by Birmingham University is acquittals at contested criminal trials in the Crown Court. Dr. John Baldwin and Dr. Michael McConville of the University, who are conducting this research, plan to write a book, "Negotiated Justice", of which I have been shown a draft, about late changes of plea by defendants who plead guilty in the Crown Court. This is not an issue which we had contemplated would be treated at such length and it is questionable whether the research has shown enough evidence to allow any particular conclusions on it.I have received representations from the Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar. In reply, I have told the Senate that, as has already been made clear in response to Press inquiries, the Home Office has no desire—and, indeed, no power—to stop publication of this book. We point out to the authors what we believe to be errors, but it is not our job to act as censors. Nor is there any question of stopping the grant payable to the university for the main research project. It has, indeed, largely been paid already. The authors have told us that their preliminary report on the main project should reach us next month, and we look forward to receiving it. Any further applications by the university for Home Office grants towards research will be considered on their merits.But since the Bar and the judges—whose views are essential to any assessment of injustice connected with plea bargaining—have not been consulted about individual cases the authors have had to rely almost entirely on the interviews they have had with convicted defendants, aided by assessors whose views were based only on such paper evidence as was available to them. This is an insubstantial basis for the criticisms that the authors have made of the judicial system and the police, and I must make it clear that, therefore, the Home Office gave no encouragement to the preparation of this book. The good faith in which the authors have come to their conclusions is, of course, not in question, but we do not believe that the conclusions are made out.I very much share the Senate's concern that allegations that there have been miscarriages of justice should be most carefully investigated. I have, therefore, instructed officials to write to the authors to express doubts whether the steps the the authors have so far taken to alert convicted defendants to their rights are enough. The authors will be urged to write again to all the convicted defendants who said they were innocent, except perhaps those whom the authors confidently disbelieve, to point out to them that they ought seriously to consider whether they might pursue the remedies that are open to them; that is, seek leave to appeal or apply to the Secretary of State for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. The Home Office would, if necessary, be willing to give what help it could in tracing convicted defendants whom the authors found difficult to trace.

    Industry

    Plessey Company Ltd

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has issued any general directives to nationalised industries and public corporations on the use of British-manufactured Plessey electronic communication equipment; and which industries or corporations were involved and on what dates the directives were issued.

    Helicopters

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement as to the future development of the helicopter, and if he will conduct discussions with other EEC members to consider joint development of prototypes, involving Westlands of Yeovil.

    My Department is in touch with Westlands about possible development of civil helicopters. I understand that the company has similar contacts with the Ministry of Defence about future military helicopters. Opportunities for European collaboration are being examined. I am fully aware of the Yeovil situation, having already received a deputation from the work force. I am visiting the company shortly.

    British Aerospace

    asked the Secretary of State for Industry if Her Majesty's Government intend to pay in full for the net assets of British Aerospace estimated by the Corporation's Financial Director as in excess of £300 million after deducting current trading liabilities and depreciation from the gross figure of approximately £600 million.

    Compensation for companies vesting in British Aerospace will be determined on the basis provided in the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977.

    National Finance

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the revenue cost of implementing proposals which would limit the total tax payable by any individual to 50 per cent. of his total income.

    Assuming a basic rate of 33 per cent., the cost of limiting the total tax payable by an individual to 50 per cent. of his total net income would be about £400 million for 1977–78. Total net income is total income after allowable deductions but before reliefs and allowances for tax.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the revenue if the basic rate of tax were reduced to 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. respectively, if both rates were to apply to bands of taxable income up to £10,000.

    Assuming full implementation of the Budget proposals, the additional costs for 1977–78 would be about £1,770 million and £4,280 million, respectively.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Written Answer given to the hon. Member for Blaby on 7th April, Official Report, column 624, how much of the £1,454 million of tax reliefs for those with net incomes of £4,000 or more a year is attributable to the slice of such incomes above £4,000.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, pursuant to the Written Answer given to the hon. Member for Blaby on 7th April, Official Report, column 624, he will provide a breakdown of the £1,454 million of tax reliefs for those with net incomes of £4,000 or more a year into the amounts accruing to those with net incomes of £4,000 to £4,999, £5,000 to £5,999, £6,000 to £6,999, £7,000 to £7,999, £8,000 to £8,999, £9,000 to £9,999, and £10,000 and over, respectively.

    European Community (Council Of Ministers)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total cost of the Council of Ministers in Brussels and of their supporting administrative services.

    The provision for the Council of Ministers and their supporting administrative services in the 1977 Community budget totals 58·2 million units of account. At the rate of exchange used for the budget the sterling equivalent of this is £24 million approximately.

    Value Added Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the United Kingdom practice of charging VAT on the lodging charges paid by workers living in hostels run by charities is in accordance with that followed in other member countries of the EEC.

    Practice currently varies between EEC member countries. The EEC Sixth Directive on VAT recognises the need to tax services provided by charitable organisations where this would otherwise lead to distortions of competition with similar services provided by non-charitable organisations.

    Jubilee Crowns

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the Royal Mint has been able to provide Tesco supermarkets with large supplies of Jubilee Crowns, in view of the fact that clearing banks have had difficulty in obtaining their requirements.

    The Royal Mint has not provided Tesco supermarkets with Jubilee Crowns. Coins are issued in bulk exclusively to banks and post offices.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the availability of Jubilee Crowns to organisations hoping to provide Crowns for children during the Jubilee Week celebrations.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to the replies given on 10th and 16th May respectively to Questions by the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Sir B. Braine) and my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Wilson).

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current daily production figure of Jubilee Crowns being produced by the Royal Mint.

    Between 150 and 200 thousand, yielding on average 1 million per week.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many machines are curently in use by the Royal Mint for the production of Jubilee Crowns.

    Five heavy-duty presses. Various ancillary equipment is also in use.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether and by what amount the Royal Mint has underestimated the number of Jubilee Crowns required by the general public.

    At present it is not clear what the total demand might be, although there is no doubt that it will exceed what was expected by Jubilee week. The Mint plans now to cater for a total demand of 20 million cupro-nickel coins by Jubilee week and, if necessary, to continue production at the rate of 1 million per week thereafter.

    Exchange Rate

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what movements in the exchange rate for the £ sterling have been assumed for the purposes of his forecast that inflation will be down to single figures by the second quarter of 1978.

    The Budget forecasts to mid-1978 were constructed on the assumption that the competitive position of the United Kingdom relative to other countries is broadly maintained.

    Northern Ireland

    Road Accidents (Casualties)

    asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were killed in road accidents in Northern Ireland between 1st January and 30th April 1977.

    Rices And Consumer Protection

    Hearing Aids

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will refer to the Price Commission the rise in cost from £130·50 to £281 of the Peters Speech Trainer for hearing-impaired children.

    I do not consider that a reference under Schedule 1 to the Counter-Inflation Act 1973 would be appropriate. Price increases must comply with the Price Code. Questions about particular increases are for the Price Commission, with which the increase in the price of this equipment has been raised by users' representatives.

    Barristers

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when he expects to implement the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the supply in Scotland by senior counsel alone of their services; and if he will make a statement.

    As a result of the discussions which have taken place, at my right hon. Friend's request, between the Director General of Fair Trading and the Faculty of Advocates, in the light of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report, all existing provisions which restricted the freedom of senior counsel in Scotland to appear alone have now been lifted and in their stead the Faculty has now formally adopted a resolution which permits senior counsel to appear alone if they wish.In its report the Monopolies and Mergers Commission concluded that the restrictions on supply by senior counsel alone of their services operated against the public interest because on occasions they caused unnecessary expense to litigants and wasted junior counsel's time.Under the new resolution, before sending instructions to a senior counsel to act alone, a solicitor will be expected to ask him in good time whether or not he would be prepared to accept instructions in that particular case on that basis. In reaching his decision, a senior counsel will be entitled to take into account not only the circumstances of the case but also his personal circumstances and other commitments.Since 1970 senior counsel in Scotland have been free, though not obliged, to appear alone in criminal cases. The effect of the Faculty's resolution is to extend this ruling to court appearances in civil cases. As far as drafting work is concerned, the previous restrictions prevented senior counsel from drafting documents themselves related solely to the preparation of pleadings. The Faculty's resolution incorporates a relaxation of these restrictions where the pleadings are incidental to a court appearance in which the senior counsel is acting alone.The arrangements introduced by the Faculty appear to me to be a satisfactory method of implementing the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report. However, in order to appraise the success of the resolution in operation the Director General of Fair Trading has agreed with the Faculty that the new arrangements should be reviewed after two years.

    Prime Minister (Parliamentary Questions)

    asked the Prime Minister (1) if it is his intention to answer Questions about his Government's policy towards human rights in South Africa;(2) if it is his intention to answer Questions about his Government's policy towards human rights in Cambodia;(3) if it is his intention to answer Questions about the balance of strength between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Warsaw Pact forces.

    I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 12th May and the subsequent exchanges.

    Ambassadorial Appointments

    asked the Prime Minister what criteria he uses in deciding whether a statement should be made on the appointment of ambassadors.

    Employment

    asked the Prime Minister if, during his recent discussions in London with other Heads of Government, he discussed (a) his Government's target for the reduction of unemployment or (b) his estimate of the level of unemployment at the end of 1977 and 1978.

    North wick Park HospitalWembley HospitalCentral Middlesex Hospital
    General medicine1–10 weeks1–2 weeks1–2 weeks
    General surgery6–22 weeks3 weeks1–2 weeks
    Paediatrics1–3 weeks1 week1 week
    Orthopaedics19–39 weeks10 weeks3–26 weeks
    (fractures)1 week1 week1 week
    Ear, Nose and Throat26 weeks8 weeks4–18 weeks
    Gynaecology21 weeks2–5 weeks5–10 weeks
    Neurology8 weeks7–18 weeks
    Neurosurgery2 weeks
    Dermatology3–6 weeks2 weeks1–4 weeks
    Ophthalmology18–20 weeks6 weeks
    Geriatrics3 weeks3 weeks1 week
    Psychiatry1–7 weeks4–5 weeks3–6 weeks

    Social Services

    Hospital Waiting Times

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report the waiting time for each specialty at Central Middlesex, Northwich Park and Wembley hospitals for a non-urgent appointment as an outpatient.

    The waiting time will depend on the condition of the patient and the consultant to whom the patient is referred. For patients put on the waiting list now the range of estimated waiting times is:

    No. Cigarettes have been identified as the product which in general has higher yields of harmful substances such as tar and nicotine. They also constitute by far the most widely used smoking product. Small cigars, generally known as cigarillos, account for only 0·1 per cent. of the total consumption of tobacco. Nevertheless, all forms of smoking should be regarded as potentially injurious to health.

    Hospital Waiting Times

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report the waiting time in each specialty at Central Middlesex, Northwich Park and Wembley hospitals between the decision taken for admission as an in-patient and the date of admission.

    The waiting time will depend upon the condition of the patient and on the particular consultant under whose care the patient is to be admitted.

    Northwick ParkWembleyCentral Middlesex
    General medicineUrgent 1–3 weeks1–7 daysUrgent 1–3 days
    Routine up to 3 monthsRoutine 1–2 weeks
    General surgeryUrgent 1 weekUrgent 1–7 daysUrgent 1–7 days
    Routine 2–5 monthsRoutine 14 months (Varicose veins up to 2 years).Fairly urgent 7 days- 2 months
    Routine 6 months-2 years.
    Paediatrics1–7 days1–7 days.
    OrthopaedicsUrgent 2 weeks-2 months Routine 6 months-2 yearsUrgent 1–2 weeks Fairly urgent 2–6 weeks Routine 1–2 years
    Ear, Nose and ThroatUrgent 1–7 days up to 14 months. Tonsils and adenoids up to 16 months.Children 1–6 weeks Tonsils and adenoids 2–10 months.
    Adult urgent 1–6 weeks Routine 1–2} years
    GynaecologyWithin 2 monthsUrgent 1–7 days Minor surgery up to 8 months Major surgery up to 18 months.Urgent 1–7 days. Routine 4–6 months
    NeurologyNo in-patients.Urgent 1–7 days Routine 3–6 months
    Neurosurgery1–7 days.
    Dermatology1–7 days1–7 days
    OphthalmologyUrgent 1–7 days Fairly urgent 1–2 months.
    Routine 12–15 months
    Geriatrics1–7 daysNo in-patients1–7 days
    Psychiatry1–7 days1–7 days

    Contraceptives

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current annual cost of the provision of contraceptives under the National Health Service.

    I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Ravensbourne (Mr. Hunt) on 22nd February.—[Vol. 926, c. 527–8.]

    Attendance And Invalid Care Allowances

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider widening the classification group of dependants for whom attendance allowance and invalid care allowance may be claimed.

    I take it that the hon. Lady's Question refers to the condition, for the receipt of invalid care allowance (ICA), that the severely disabled person receiving attendance allowance must be a prescribed relative of the carer claiming ICA. We have always acknowledged that it is not only relatives who may care for a severely disabled

    For patients put on the waiting list now the range of estimated waiting times is:

    person, but in the present economic circumstances extending ICA to non-relatives is not possible.

    Doctors

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report the main specialties of hospital consultants leaving the United Kingdom to work or reside overseas in the latest available period.

    During the year 1974–75, 75 consultants who left the grade in England and Wales stated that they were doing so with the intention of leaving the country. This represents 16 per cent. of those leaving the grade that year, and 0·6 per cent. of those in the grade at the end of the period. The main specialties involved, with the number of doctors in the specialty, were radiology, 12; anaesthetics, nine; mental illness (adult), seven; radiotherapy, five; general medicine, five; gynaecology and obstetrics, four; child and adolescent psychiatry, four; histo-pathology, four; traumatic and orthopaedic surgery, three; and medical micro-biology, three.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of (a) consultants, (b) junior hospital doctors and (c) general practitioners employed in the NHS trained overseas; and what are the numbers in each case.

    Information on country of training is not available. At 30th September 1976, 1,753 out of 11,882 consultants—14·7 per cent—8,691 out of 18,256 junior hospital doctors—47·6 per cent.—and 4,101 out of 21,837 unrestricted principals in the general medical service—18·8 per cent.—in England and Wales were born outside the United Kingdom or Irish Republic.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the latest figures for the total number of doctors leaving the United Kingdom to

    PeriodDoctors born in the United Kingdom or Irish RepublicDoctors born outside the United Kingdom and Irish Republic
    (1st October—30th September)OutflowInflowOutflowInflow
    1966–671,0305801,3901,870
    1967–681,0705901,3502,100
    1968–698405208902,100
    1969–709306501,2501,630
    1970–718505301,5101,450
    1971–728007001,3101,730
    1972–731,0106301,2301,760
    1973–749005501,0401,800

    Population Statistics

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the population of the United Kingdom in each of the years 1971–1976; and what are the estimates for the next 10 years.

    The information is as follows:

    Mid-year estimates(Thousands)
    197155,712
    197255,882
    197356,021
    197456,053
    197556,23
    197656,001
    Projections(Thousands)
    197755,992
    197855,946
    197955,907
    198055,892
    198155,910
    198255,966
    198356,057
    198456,178
    198556,317
    198656,467
    The projections are based on a mid-1975 population estimate of 56,042,000 which has since been revised.

    work overseas in each of the last 10 years; and what proportion of these are consultants.

    Figures are not available on a United Kingdom basis. The table shows the number of fully or provisionally registered civilian doctors leaving and returning to Great Britain during the years 1966 to 1974. Information about subsequent years is contained in my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) on 8th March, Vol. 927, c. 482. Temporarily registered doctors are not included in the table, and all figures are subject to amendment as more information becomes available. Information available about consultants is limited to their stated intentions when leaving the NHS and I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply to his other Question on this point today.

    Overseas Patients