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Written Answers

Volume 933: debated on Monday 13 June 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 13th June 1977

Civil Service

Runnymede

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the Civil Service establishments within the district of Runnymede, and the number of civil servants employed at each of them; how many civil servants at each establishment in Runnymede receive the Outer London weighting allowance; and what is the distance between each Civil Service establishment in Runnymede and the statue of King Charles I at Charing Cross, expressed to the nearest mile.

All of this information is not held centrally. It is being collected and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

House Of Commons

Severn Bridge

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will move to refer the technical examination of the Severn Bridge to the Select Committee on Science and Technology.

The terms of reference of the Select Committee on Science and Technology would already cover any such inquiry, and the Committee no doubt have noted the hon. Member's suggestion.

Members' Telephone Calls

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will arrange for hon. Members to have the opportunity, on request, of claiming back the costs of telephoning ministerial offices and other public offices in the execution of their duties on a similar basis to that now operating for Ministers of the Crown.

No. The Review Body on Top Salaries looked at the general question of extending telephone facilities for Members but decided that it would not be appropriate for this to be done (Report No. 8, Cmnd. 6574).

Postage

asked the Lord President of the Council whether, in view of the further increase in postal charges, he will arrange for supplies of envelopes and postcards prepaid at second-class rates to be made available to hon. Members.

No. There would be no saving to public funds from the use of second-class prepaid envelopes as the postage charges to the House by the Post Office is based on envelope size, not class of delivery.

Members' Pensions

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the pension and other retirement benefits available to Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom, the other countries of the EEC, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th January 1977; Vol. 924, c. 400], gave the following information:The information requested is as follows—UNITED KINGDOM: Members contribute 5 per cent of salary to the pension scheme. Provided that they have four years' reckonable service, once they have left the House of Commons they qualify at age 65 for a pension of one sixtieth of pensionable salary for each year of reckonable service. An actuarially reduced pension may be paid from age 60.BELGIUM: There is a contributory pension scheme to which MPs pay 6½ per cent of their salaries. If they have served for eight years or more they qualify for a pension at the age of 55. The pension represents 3·75 per cent of their salary for each year of service.DENMARK: After eight years' service ex-MPs are entitled to a pension at age 67 but the speaker and his deputies' can authorise payment from an earlier age. Rates are linked to Civil Service (CS) pensions, are adjusted for cost of living increases and vary between DKr 2071 (£207) monthly after eight years' service and DKr 6226 (£623) after 25 years or more. Pensions are abated if the ex-MP receives State old age pension and/or any other public sector, including Ministerial, pension. The total pension may not exceed the highest CS rate, currently DKr 10 240 monthly.FRANCE: A contributory pension is available at age 55. The size of the pension varies with the number of years over which contributions have been paid.FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY: With effect from 1st April 1977 MPs' pensions are non-contributory. Entitlement is from age 65 with eight years' service; from 60 with 12 years; from 55 with 16 years. Rates vary between 35 per cent and 75 per cent of last basic salary, currently between £460 and £1,400 monthly.IRISH REPUBLIC: There is a compulsory contributory pension scheme for all Deputies and Senators. After a minimum of eight years' total service a pension of one fortieth of salary per year of service is payable on retirement. This rises to two thirds of salary after 27 years' service.ITALY: Deputies and Senators com-pulsorily contribute the equivalent of £65 a month. After five years' service and age 60, a retired MP receives a taxable pension depending on the number of parliaments in which he has served. The amount of pension varies from 25 per cent of gross salary, equivalent to £2,200 —after 5 years' service up to a maximum of 85 per cent—£7,530—after 35 years.LUXEMBOURG: MPs receive no special pensions. Few MPs are full-time politicians and most have other occupations.THE NETHERLANDS: There is a non-contributory pension payable at age 65 for Second Chamber Members. For every year of service up to a maximum of 20 years they receive 3·5 per cent of their average salary earned over the last three years of office.CANADA: MPs are entitled to a pension after a minimum of six years' service based on their average annual income as MPs in the best six years. From the sixth to the tenth year the pension is calculated by multiplying the number of years served in Parliament by 3·5 per cent. of annual income calculated above. For each additional year up to the twentieth the MP receives an additional 3 per cent. of his income as calculated above and for the remaining years an additional 2 per cent. per year up to the maximum level of 75 per cent. The MP's pension remains the same until the age of 60 when it is indexed to the cost of living. MPs contribute 7½ per cent. of their income to finance their pension, which includes the State pension element.SWITZERLAND: Members of the

Nat-ionalrat and Standerat do not receive pensions other than general State pensions unless they are Ministers or leaders of the administrations in their own Cantons.

JAPAN: MPS compulsorily contribute 9 per cent. of basic salary after tax. For less than 10 years' service, 80 per cent. Of contributions without interest are returned as a lump sum. For 10 years' service the pension is one-third of basic pay after tax, and this is increased by one one-hundred-fiftieth for every additional month's service. There is no age limit.

AUSTRALIA: Contributions are 11½ per cent. of salaries. Pensions are from A$ 10 625 to A$15 937½50 a year.

NEW ZEALAND: There is a pension after a minimum of nine years' service at age 50 amounting to one-thirty-second of his salary at the date he retired for each year of service. The maximum is two-thirds of his salary. The Member contributes 11 per cent. of his basic salary towards this.

USA: There is a voluntary pension scheme for Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. Participants contribute 8 per cent. of their gross salary annually, and are eligible for an annuity at 62 years of age and after five or more years' service, or at 60 years of age after 10 or more years of service. The annuity is calculated at 2½ per cent. of the average of the salary of the three highest consecutive years, multiplied by the number of years of service, but cannot exceed three-quarters of the final salary.

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the pension and other retirement benefits available to Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom, the other countries of the EEC, Switzerland, Japan, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 2nd May 1977; Vol. 931, c. 18], gave the following information:I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I have given today to the hon. Member for Wycombe (Sir J. Hall).

Overseas Development

Rhodesians

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what steps she will take to ensure that no part of her aid budget will be used to finance the migration or resettlement of white farmers from Rhodesia to Bolivia.

No British aid funds will be used to meet the expenses of such migration and resettlement.

The Gambia

asked the Minister of Overseas Development for what purposes public money is being made available to the Gambia Ports Authority for the provision of a floating post office to ply up and down the Gambia.

My Ministry is contributing £1 million to the cost of a replacement for the motor vessel "Lady Wright". I regard this as a very valuable expenditure from the aid programme. The "Lady Wright" is the major communication link in the Gambia carrying passengers, freight, and also, of course, post. It is a vital element in the economy of the Gambia. The new vessel is to be built in the shipyards of Ferguson Bros. (Port Glasgow) Ltd.

Anglo-Cuban Agreement

asked the Minister of Overseas Development when she expects Cubans to start training in the United Kingdom under the terms of the Anglo-Cuban Agreement on Scientific and Technical Co-operation.

This depends on when the Cuban authorities put forward applications and on the availability of places on postgraduate courses in United Kingdom institutions. At present it is unlikely that any trainees will arrive in the United Kingdom until some time in 1978.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what public funds will be made available to facilitate the activities of the Anglo-Cuban Agreement on Scientific and Technical Co-operation.

Public funds will be provided for a modest United Kingdom technical co-operation programme for Cuba, the cost of which when fully established will be some £100,000 a year in 1976 terms, which has been under consideration for some four years.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she has received requests from the Cuban Government for the provision of British experts on consultancies under the Anglo-Cuban Agreement on Scientific and Technical Co-operation.

Overseas Pest Research Centre

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the cost to public funds of the overseas pest research centre; what are its activities; how many people it employs; when was it formed; and what was the total number of staff employed at its inception.

The Centre for Overseas Pest Research (COPR) is one of the major scientific units of the Ministry of Overseas Development and financed from our aid programme. The cost in the last financial year was £1·1 million: the estimate for this financial year is of the order of £1·4 million.The Centre was formed on 1st June 1971 by a merger of four existing scientific units originally set up by the Colonial Office. These were the Anti-Locust Research Centre, the Tropical Pesticides Research Unit, the Tropical Pesticides Research Headquarters and Information Unit, and the Termite Research Unit. When these four units were amalgamated, the total staff numbered 129 and in the intervening period has increased to 142. The Centre is a unique and most valuable organisation with over 60 years of experience in pest and vector control in tropical countries.The Centre's purpose is to assist overseas countries, particularly developing countries, to solve their problems in the fields of agriculture and public health. It is an internationally recognised institute of high repute.

Cuba

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what other EEC member States, apart from the United

CountryDisbursements(of which Technical Co-operation)
$ million$ million
Federal Republic of Germany0·01(0·01)
Italy0·02(0·02)
The Netherlands0·16(0·16)
Belgium0·40(0·05)

Falkland Islands

asked the Minister of Overseas Development (1) when the four feasibility studies which she is undertaking arising from the Shackleton Report, and recommended by the Falkland Islands Government, will be completed;(2) what plans she has to implement the recommendations contained in the Shackleton Report on the Falkland Islands.

Certain recommendations fall either to the private sector to implement or to the Falkland Islands Government themselves. Some of the major suggestions which do or might involve aid, such as a possible extension of the airport and the development of fisheries and tourism, would require prior investigation which I would be prepared to initiate only when a framework of political and economic co-operation with Argentina has been established.My advisers are at present considering a proposal from the Falkland Islands Government for a new school hostel in Stanley. At the Government's request I am setting up a study of internal communications covering the air service, roads and coastal shipping, to see what the needs in this field are and how they can best be met. I hope it will be completed not later than early next year.I am prepared to set up feasibility studies in other areas recommended in the Shackleton Report when the Falkland Islands Government request them, including sheepskin processing, mutton freezing and local television. I have also offered to provide advice to the Government if and when they enter into negotiations with any commercial enterprises that are

Kingdom, have signed technical co-operation agreements with the Government of Cuba.

In 1975, the last year for which statistics are currently available, four other EEC countries disbursed aid to Cuba. The details are as follows:prepared to explore those Shackleton recommendations which fall outside the aid programme.The already considerable technical cooperation programme in the Falklands covers several of the Shackleton proposals, including an expanding grasslands trials unit and the provision of fiscal advice, which is an essential preliminary to any social and economic development.

Bolivia

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will make a statement on the outcome on the recent talks between the Bolivian Minister of Finance and officials of her Department in London.

No talks have recently been held between the Bolivian Minister of Finance and officials of my Department in London.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she has received any written representations about aid to the Bolivian mining industry.

I have received a number of representations about various aspects of this project and I am taking them all into account. I hope to be able to reach a decision before long.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will advise Her Majesty's Ambassador in La Paz that those development projects most likely to assist the most poverty-stricken section of the Bolivian population and, if possible, any which can assist in the restoration of basic human rights will be given priority in determining British aid to Bolivia.

I can assure my hon. Friend that the emphasis in the Government's aid strategy on help for the poorest people, and the importance we attach to human rights, are well known to Her Majesty's Ambassador at La Paz.

Mr C Cram

asked the Attorney-General when he expects the Director of Public Prosecutions to complete his consideration of the case of Mr. C. Cram, of 43 Heythrop Drive, Acklam, Middlesbrough, Cleveland.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is expecting counsel's advice in the near future. A decision will be made as soon as possible after that advice has been received.

Prosecutions And Imprisonments

asked the Attorney-General how many actions for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment have been instituted in the courts of England and Wales during the last 10 years; in how many cases damages were awarded to the plaintiff; and how many of such cases, both successful and unsuccessful, arose from allegations of rape or attempted rape.

I regret that this information is not readily available and could not be obtained without a disproportionate expenditure of effort and expense.

Wildlife Conservation

asked the Attorney-General if he will refer to the Law Commission for rationalisation and consolidation all wildlife conservation legislation.

I have been asked to reply.I am aware of the suggestions that have been made for the rationalisation and consolidation of wildlife conservation legislation, and my Department is already in touch with the Nature Conservancy Council about the need for and practicability of such a measure. I do not con- sider that a reference to the Law Commission is required at the present time.

Social Services

St Mary's Hospital, Newport (Iow)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are being taken to ensure that feeding bottles for babies in intensive care units can be clearly identified; and whether he will make a statement on the alleged mistake which occurred last Friday at St. Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight.

The Medicines (Labelling) Regulations 1976 which were made last year under the Medicines Act set out standard requirements for labelling medicinal products, in order to ensure that they are correctly described and readily identifiable. These regulations are not legally binding in National Health Service hospitals because of Crown exemption, but area health authorities were invited in Health Notice HN(76)205 to introduce arrangements corresponding to the requirements of the regulations in so far as they are applicable.On Friday 20th May, five babies became ill at the Maternity Unit of St. Mary's Hospital. It is thought that the babies were given a mild antiseptic solution instead of sterile water in a bottle feed; the two bottles have a very similar appearance. Three of the babies are receiving care in the special care baby unit and they are continuing to make satisfactory progress. All the babies are under the constant supervision of a consultant paediatrician.Urgent investigations into the incident are being carried out by chief officers of the Isle of Wight Area Health Authority, and their report will be reviewed by a member of that authority on Tuesday 31st May. I have asked for a copy of this report and will write to the hon. Member when it is to hand.

Giro Cheques

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what statutory authority he prevents a person who has by law the claim to a pension or a social welfare payment and receives the same for a period of as long as 20 months from drawing these benefits for seven weeks where his Department mislays, or misdirects the Giro cheque; and why the payment is not made pending the stopping and tracing of the mislaid Giro cheque.

The Department has the responsibility, under the Social Security Act 1975 and the Claims and Payments Regulations, of paying benefit to those who have established entitlement to benefit. Where a question arises as to whether a person has in fact received benefits, the Department has, in line with its responsibility for the proper administration of the scheme, to establish the facts as far as possible. If a claimant reports that he has not received a Giro cheque recorded as sent to him, he is normally told that replacement will not be considered until seven weeks from the date of issue. This is to give time for the Giro cheque to be traced if it has in fact been cashed. Local offices have discretion to make an immediate replacement if this delay would cause hardship. Replacement would normally follow immediately where it was established that a Giro cheque had been misdirected, or mislaid within the Department, and had not reached the claimant. Giro cheques are encashable at any post office, so that it would not be possible to issue a stop notice when one was missing.

Isle Of Wight Area Health Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will allocate additional financial resources to the Isle of Wight Area Health Authority in view of its present difficulties in meeting its commitments.

No. Revenue resources available for the current financial year have already been allocated to regional health authorities on the basis of the recommendations of the Resource Allocation Working Party.

Benefits (Overpayments)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will explain how £10·5 million was overpaid in social security benefits in the last year; and why it is not possible to recover this sum.

Overpayments of social security benefits arise from fraud, from a mistake by the claimant, or from other causes, mainly official error. In fraud cases, we do all that we can to recover overpayments including recourse to law, but the individual does not always have resources from which recovery can be made.In cases arising from the claimant's mistake which involve insurance benefits the issue has to be referred to an insurance officer for review. Section 119(1) of the Social Security Act 1975 provides that, subject to Section 119(2), the decision given on review shall require repayment except where the claimant has used due care and diligence to avoid overpayment. Where the insurance officer's decision requires repayment, we do our best to recover, otherwise we have no power to pursue the matter. Similar considerations apply to the recovery of other benefits such as supplementary benefit, except in cases where recovery would cause hardship.In cases of official error, where an insurance officer's decision is not in question, we notify the beneficiary that an overpayment has occurred and request repayment, but cannot compel it. Similar procedures apply for supplementary benefit except that no such request is made where hardship would result. Irrecoverable overpayment in 1975–76 represented a little over 0·1 per cent. of the total benefits paid by the Department.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the amount of public money that will be overpaid in social security benefits in the current year; what steps are being taken to minimise it; and what efforts will be taken to recover any such sums that are overpaid.

It is not possible to make a reliable estimate of overpayments which might arise in the current year. The number and value of overpayments are influenced by several factors, including the total number of claimants and beneficiaries, and the frequency with which claims have to be reassessed, for example because of benefit uprating or rent and rates changes.Payments are subject to checks and audit. In addition, information relating to overpayments caused by official error is used as a basis for appropriate staff training. Last year I announced a programme of work to combat overpayments caused by fraud and abuse of the social security system.I have outlined the procedures relating to the recovery of overpayments in reply to the hon. Member's other Question today.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how he accounts for the increase in total irrecoverable overpayments by his Department from approximately £4,624,000 in 1971–72 to approximately £10,692,750 in 1975–76

During the period 1971–72 to 1975–76 the benefits paid by my Department rose from £4,222 million to £8,942 million, mainly due to the increase in benefit levels, but the total number of beneficiaries also rose, partly because of the introduction of several new benefits and the increase in the numbers claiming unemployment benefit and retirement pensions. These increases in the value and number of payments provide the main reason for the increase in the value of irrecoverable overpayments; in 1975–76 such overpayments represented just over 0·1 per cent. of the total benefit paid.

Mental Health Services

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many emergency panels are operating in the mental health sector similar to that recently announced to examine the findings of the Committee of Inquiry into St. Augustine's Hospital;(2) whether he will make a statement on the details of the objectives of the working group set up by him to follow up the recent mental hospital inquiry reports.

An emergency panel was set up by Kent Area Health Authority to consider the findings of the St. Augustine's Hospital Inquiry; and Durham Area Health Authority has set up committees to consider the implications of the recommendations of the Darlington Memorial Hospital Inquiry.My decision to set up a working group to examine the organisational and management problems of mental illness hospitals and units in the light of recent mental hospital enquiry reports was

announced in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, South (Mr. Pavitt) on 31st March.—[Vol. 929 c.

234.] The terms of reference of this working group, which will begin work later this month, are:

"to examine the main problems arising from recent mental hospital enquiry reports and in particular the organisational and management problems of mental illness hospitals and units, in relation both to the new National Health Service structure and to the development of District Services; to examine in relation to mental handicap services those problems and solutions common to mental illness and mental handicap; and to make recommendations".

Pharmacies

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the total number of independent pharmacies in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years.

The number of registered pharmacies in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years has been as follows:

YearRegistered Pharmacies
196714,293
196813,990
196913,510
197013,137
197112,852
197212,542
197312,266
197412,042
197511,733
197611,507

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the percentage number of closure of pharmacies in 1975 and 1976; and, in view of the nature of the service rendered by pharmacies, what proposals he has to arrest the decline.

The number of pharmacies in Great Britain on the register of the Pharmaceutical Society declined by 2·5 per cent. in 1975 and 1·9 per cent. in 1976. This will be one of the matters that my right hon. Friend will be discussing with representatives of the Pharmaceutical Services Nogotiating Committee when he sees them on 16th June.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement concerning the current levels of NHS remuneration paid to chemist contractors for the provision of the NHS Pharmaceutical Service to the general public.

The current levels of remuneration are intended to meet the labour and all other costs of chemist contractors including a notional salary for the working proprietor, and to provide a profit margin of 16 per cent. on capital employed. My right hon. Friend will be discussing this matter with representatives of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee on 16th June.

Abortion

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate he has made of the number of girls who, while attending school, had abortions in each of the last five years.

This information is not available. But the number of legal abortions to girls under 16 usually resident in England and Wales is as follows:

19722,804
19733,090
19743,335
19753,570
19763,412
Provisional

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what conclusions he has reached on the Merrison Report, Command Paper No. 6018, on General Practice; and what steps he intends to take to implement them.

I hope to be able to make a statement shortly on the Merrison Committee's proposals for the regulation of the medical profession.

Sickness Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the basic weekly rate of invalidity benefit payable to a married man whose wife does not work and who has two children aged 12 and 16 years;(2) what is the basic weekly rate of sickness benefit payable to a married man whose wife does not work and who has two children aged 12 and 16 years.

The standard flat-rate sickness benefit in these circumstances is £26·50 a week. In addition, an earnings- related supplement of up to £12·18 a week may be payable. An invalidity pensioner with the same family circumstances receives £36·90; and, depending on the age at which he became incapable of work, an invadility allowance of up to £3·20.

Disabled Persons (Vehicles)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Peterborough and District Disabled Drivers Club concerning the issue of a batricar in lieu of an electric invacar to disabled persons; what reply he has given; and if he will make a statement.

Representations were received from the Peterborough and District Disabled Drivers' Club on 28th February and 21st March 1977, in support of the requests for the supply of Batricars to two members of the club, both of whom had been issued with electrically propelled three-wheeler vehicles. The reply stated that it was not the intention to issue these vehicles. As my hon. Friend is aware, recent legislation will enable users of tricycles supplied under the former vehicle scheme to switch to a no-age-limit mobility allowance. This will be £7 a week from November, which I am advised compares favourably with the cost of obtaining such a wheelchair.

Dental Health

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the nature and extent of the current programme of dental health education provided for schools by the Health Education Council.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science and I see the role of the Health Education Council here as providing support for schools and area health authorities in the form of curriculum development, research, expert advice and educational materials. The Council's expenditure on dental health education for schools is not recorded separately from that for other dental health education.

Health Services (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the allocation of grants between National Health Service regions, postgraduate hospitals, individuals and other purposes in 1977–78.(2) what was the allocation of funds between the National Health Service regions and each of the postgraduate teaching hospitals in 1976–77; and what funds were allocated for national purposes

1976–771977–78
£ million£ million
Regional Health Authority
Northern241263
Yorkshire276300
Trent327367
East Anglian133150
North West Thames323356
North East Thames360390
South East Thames342366
South West Thames274293
Wessex195218
Oxford162179
Southwestern236258
West Midlands369402
Mersey213236
Northwestern321359
Postgraduate Boards of Governors
Hospitals for Sick Children11·2212·08
National Hospitals for Nervous Diseases7·148·58
Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital3·113·48
Moorfields Eye Hospital5·365·69
Bethlem Royal Hospital and The Maudsley Hospital6·206·87
St. Johns Hospital for Diseases of the Skin1·191·34
National Heart and Chest Hospitals10·4711·63
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospitals4·865·24
St. Peter's Hospitals2·763·12
Royal Marsden Hospital7·798·42
Queen Charlotte's Hospital for Women4·884·44
Eastman Dental Hospital1·731·84
As regards funds voted for other purposes of the Health and Personal Social Services, England, I would refer my hon. Friend to the annual Supply Estimates, Class XI, Vote 1.

Personal Incomes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will bring up to date the net weekly spending power figures published in reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North on 15th October 1976, Official Report, column 245, showing the relative financial position in and out of work for each family grouping, on the assumption that earnings or previous earnings were: £25, £35, £45, £55, £65, £75, £85, £95 and £105, and using the new rates of benefits announced on 25th May 1977.

These figures cannot be supplied, because the qualifying levels of the means-tested benefits which will apply when the November 1977 benefit

and for what purposes by the Department.

The allocation of revenue and capital to the NHS regions and postgraduate teaching hospitals including funds for the joint financing of local authority personal social service projects were as follows:rates come into operation have not yet been announced.

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the pensions increase announced on 25th May 1977 is expected to be covered by contributions paid by those already retired.

None, other than by a very small amount of Class 4 contributions still due from retired people on profits or gains made in their last year of income-tax assessment. Retired people are not liable for Class 1 or Class 2 contributions, even when they have occasional earnings; and from April 1978 no one over minimum pension age will have to pay contributions of any class, whether or not he has retired.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the original amount of the non-contributory retirement pension for those over 80 years; what is the current amount and what is the present equivalent of the original amount in terms of purchasing power.

Non-contributory old person's pensions were first introduced in November 1970, the rates being £1·85 a week for married women and £3 for any other person. The present rates are £5·60 and £9·20 respectively. Since September 1971, all pensioners over 80 have also received an age addition of 25p.On the basis of the movement in the general index of retail prices between November 1970 and April 1977, the latest date for which a figure is available, the present equivalents of the original rates of £1·85 and £3 are £4·44 and £7·20. respectively.

Hospital Land

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will require regional health authorities to consult all the joint consultative committees within their region before deciding how to allocate the proceeds of sales of hospital land;(2) what advice has been given to regional health authorities concerning their duty to consult other bodies in determining how to allocate the proceeds of sales of hospital lands;(3)from what date the decision on how to spend the proceeds of sales of hospital land has been vested in regional health authorities.

Proceeds from land sold since 1st April 1973 have been made available to regional health authorities as additions to their normal allocations for capital expenditure within the regions. Capital spending should be in accordance with strategic and operational plans drawn up by area health authorities and agreed with regional health authorities. In drawing up their plans, health authorities are obliged to consult a wide range of bodies, including joint consultative committees.

Tuberculosis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what screening for tuberculosis exists of immigrants entering the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what action he is taking to increase vaccination against tuberculosis of immigrants, especially children, entering the United Kingdom who have no immunity.

Foreign nationals and Commonwealth citizens coming to settle in this country are normally seen at ports of entry by a medical inspector appointed under the Immigration Act 1971. Arrangements have also been made in most Commonwealth countries for the local medical examination of applicants for employment vouchers or entry certificates. These arrangements include X-ray examination where necessary.The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended that immigrant children should be vaccinated with BCG either as soon as practicable after entry to this country or at birth if born in this country. This advise was circulated to all doctors by the Chief Medical Officer in October 1975. In the following year in England some 13,000 children—immigrants and others—were vaccinated with BCG at birth and over 550,000 under the school children and students scheme. The problem is being kept under close review in consultation with medical officers for environmental health.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will list in the Official Report the total number of persons aged 16 to 21 years to whom unemployment benefits and social security were paid in each of the years from 1972 to 1976;(2) if he will list in the

Official Report the total amount paid hi Social Security to persons aged between 16 and 21 years in each of the years from 1972 to 1976;

(3) if he will list in the Official Report the total amount paid in unemployment benefits to persons aged between 16 to 21 years in each of the years from 1972 to 1976.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 17th May 1977; Vol. 932, c. 117], supplied the following information:The available information is given below, but because data is not collected in the form requested by my hon. Friend, the figures shown in the table are subject

PERSONS AGED 16 TO 21 YEARS
Financial yearEstimated average number in receipt of unemployment benefit and or supplementary benefit at any on e time (thousands)Amount paid in supplementary benefit (£ million)Amount paid in unemployment benefit (including earnings-related supplement) (£ million)
1971–721702321
1972–731723418
1973–741253112
1974–751424417
1975–762889852
Notes:
1. The figures do not include persons treated as dependants of other claimants to benefit.
2. All young persons became eligible for the full adult-rate of unemployment benefit and earnings-related supplement from April 1975.

Energy

Thistle Oil Production Platform

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the cost to the British National Oil Corporation in payments to the VIE French Company to compensate its work force at Cherbourg in order to extract modules for the Thistle Platform from the shipyard at Cherbourg and get it into position.

This is a matter for the Corporation, and I am asking the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

Research

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the number, staffing and costing of research projects being undertaken or based, respectively, in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Energy research and development projects are carried out through the agency of a large number of bodies such as the nationalised fuel industries, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and outside contractors. As the details are not aggregated under the locations in which the projects are being undertaken it would involve disproportionate expense to compile such information.However, I can confirm my reply of 12th November 1976 to the hon. Member that some 20–25 per cent. of that expenditure for which my right hon. Friend has responsibility, including that of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority in direct support of the power programme

to a wide margin or error.

plus fusion, was spent in Scotland in the last financial year. I would expect this proportion to be maintained during the current financial year.

Oil Pollution

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has completed his examination of the lessons of the Ekofisk blow-out; and what improvements he believes are necessary to strengthen national and international arrangements for preventing and dealing with pollution.

On 6th May my right hon. Friend told the House that the study group had produced a log of departmental responses to the Ekofisk blow-out, and a copy was placed in the Library. The study group is continuing with its further work and aims to report soon.

Turbines

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether the four flow exhaust turbines of the type being installed at Littlebrooke power station represent a capital cost saving over a six flow exhaust machine of the type installed at Drax A.

Four-flow exhaust turbines would normally be cheaper than six-flow machines of equivalent capacity, but the choice between different types of turbine depends on many factors in addition to initial capital costs. I am, however, asking the chairman of the generating board to write to the hon. Member with further information about this matter.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when the first four flow exhaust turbines of the type being installed at Littlebrooke power station were purchased in the United Kingdom; and how many have been sold abroad.

The first 660 MW four flow exhaust turbine of the type subsequently provided for Littlebrooke D was ordered in June 1973. Six machines of this type have been sold abroad.

British Goods

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will advise public and private sector bodies which come within his field of responsibility to insist on being given not only a price but also the United Kingdom added value for the goods they purchase and thus encourage them to purchase goods with a high United Kingdom added value percentage.

No, I am not convinced that such a requirement is necessary or would be effective.

Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will estimate the volume of additional gas which is likely to be available when an effective gas gathering system is developed; what value this represents in terms of both United Kingdom and Western European current prices and the coal equivalent of the volume of gas involved.

The Williams Merz report estimated that up to 1,500 million cubic feet a day of methane and up to 9 million tons a year of heavier gases, in total approximately 34 million tons of coal equivalent a year—on the unlikely assumption that they were all used for energy purposes—might be brought ashore via a gas gathering system in the North Sea. These estimates were preliminary and are insufficiently precise to be used to ascribe values. Gas Gathering Pipelines (North Sea) Ltd. is at present carrying out detailed studies to assess the viability of a gas gathering system. The company has been asked to submit its initial report, which will cover estimated gas quantities and the economics of collection, by the end of this year and update it by April 1978.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the price paid for gas from the southern basin of the North Sea by British Gas and the current price paid for natural gas by the mainland countries of Western Europe.

These prices, both in the United Kingdom and on the Continent, are commercially confidential matters for the buyers and sellers concerned.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the yield of gas expected from offshore sources in 1980.

Supplies of gas from offshore sources are expected to be about 5,000 mcfd in 1980.

Wave Power

, pursuant to the answer to a supplementary question by Mr. Ronald Atkins [Official Report, 28th March 1977; Vol. 929, c. 8–9], gave the following further information:The Department is today publishing a paper outlining its present position with regard to tidal power generation in the Severn Estuary. (Energy Paper Series No. 23.) The paper contains summaries of studies made for the Department by the Netherlands Engineering Consultants Foundation (NEDECO), The Hydraulics Research Station, Wallingford (HRS), and the Institute of Geological Sciences (IGS). These studies themselves are also being published today. Copies of the paper and reports are being placed in the Library of the House.My right hon. Friend's Advisory Council on Research and Development for Fuel and Power (ACORD) considered the question of tidal power from the Severn Estuary in 1975 and recommended that two particular technical questions should be investigated in detail.These were:

Could the barrage be constructed using proven engineering techniques; in particular could final closure be achieved and what would be the resulting time scale and costs?
What effect would a barrage have on the tidal regime?

The studies published today embody answers to these questions. The conclusions very briefly are that construction of the barrage would be technically possible but at very high cost, and that the question of the effect of a barrage on the tidal regime will require considerable further study before an unambiguous answer is possible.

These studies have been presented to ACORD, which will consider them further; I am expecting the Council to report in the autumn with its recommendations.

North Sea Oil

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what conferences or exhibitions in the United Kingdom or abroad dealing with North Sea oil have

VenueEventDate 1976Cost to BOTB (£)
SingaporeOffshore Oil Exhibition & Technical ConferenceFebruary51,918
AmsterdamEuropean Exhibition for Petroleum TechnologyApril29,754
Houston8th Annual Offshore Technology Conference & Exhibition. May136,196
TulsaInternational Petroleum ExpositionMay11,228
CalgaryNational Petroleum ShowJune15,278
StavangerOffshore North Sea Oil & Gas Exploitation Exhibition.September50,784
New YorkInternational Liquid Nitrogen Gas/Liquid Petroleum Gas Exhibition Congress. October26,507
Rio de JaneiroBritish Marine & Offshore Equipment Exhibition and Seminar.November25,280
The Stavanger promotion was the only event concerned exclusively with the North Sea. 21 firms took part under the sponsorship of the Association of British Oceanic Industries.BOTB support is not available to firms participating at exhibitions or conferences held in the United Kingdom.

Drax B Power Station

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is now in a position to announce the order for the Drax B power station completion.

At this stage, I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on 26th May.

Defence

South-East Asia (Five Power Defence Arrangement)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Government contributed towards the five Powers defence arrangements in South-East Asia since their inception in 1971; and under what headings the expenditure has been made.

either been sponsored or financed by the Government; and if he will give the location, general theme and cost of each such conference held during 1976.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27th May 1977; Vol. 932, c. 629–30], gave the following information:In 1976 the British Overseas Trade Board supported participation by United Kingdom firms at eight overseas exhibitions and associated conferences concerned with the offshore oil and related fields. Details are as follows:

Her Majesty's Government contributed forces from all three Services to the ANZUK force, set up in support of the Five Power Defence Arrangement, from November 1971 until March 1976. The full cost of stationing these forces in the area throughout this period involved expenditure on all Defence Votes and could not be calculated without disproportionate time and effort.

Marchington Camp

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he now has for the disposal of the land and non-residential buildings at the former Marchington Army camp.

The land and non-residential buildings at the former Army depot at Marchington are surplus to defence needs and will be disposed of by the Property Services Agency in accordance with the established procedure.

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what were the circumstances in which Mr. Daniel McCooey was detained by the Army in Belfast; how long he was detained; what time he was released; and whether he was given medical attention whilst in Army custody.

I have nothing to add to the reply given today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Low-Flying Aircraft

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in view of the potential danger created by low-flying Royal Air Force aircraft operating along the North Wales coast in the area of Colwyn Bay Abegele, particularly during the summer months, whether he will take steps to ensure that such aircraft avoid these holiday resorts, wherever possible, during the tourist season and fly at safe altitudes at all times.

The regulations already forbid pilots to fly over Colwyn Bay and Abergele at less than 2,000 feet when they are engaged in low-level training.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the Army has refused to recover from the River Bann at Toome an agricultural digger.

pursuant to his answer [Official Report, 27th May 1977; Vol. 932, c. 626], gave the following information:Removal of the digger is not the responsibility of the Army since it does not present a threat to Security. I understand, however, that the owner of the equipment has been unable to secure the services of a civilian contractor, and the Army authorities in Northern Ireland are considering whether they can provide assistance on repayment terms.

Education And Science

British Library

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total number of photocopies of journal articles supplied by the British Library Lending Division to overseas customers in the latest year for which figures are available; what was the revenue from these overseas sales; and what were the marginal and total cost of supplying these photocopies.

255,745 in 1976–77, receipts from which are estimated to be £520,000. Expenditure directly attributable to this activity was estimated to be £225,000. Total costs of overseas photocopying of journal articles cannot be separated from the total costs of the Lending Division's operations without a detailed analysis of all the activities of the Lending Division in relation to the various services it supplies.

Dental Health

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the nature and extent of the current programme of dental health education provided in schools; and to which age groups it is directed.

Advice on dental health and on diet is given to children and to parents by means of talks and demonstrations, illustrated by leaflets, posters and films. Increasingly, too, dental health is being chosen as a topic for project work, especially in primary schools. But overall responsibility for school curriculum rests with the local education authorities, and local practice varies.

School Closures

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement about the consultations she has had with the local authority associations and others about school closures in the light of the falling school population.

My right hon. Friend has considered carefully the detailed and helpful observations she has received on the document she circulated in February and has decided to issue a circular to local education authorities in England. Copies of the circular "Falling Numbers and School Closures" are available in the Library of the House.

European Community

Commissioners (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, assuming the basic salary of an EEC Commissioner of approximately £56,000 per annum, what would be his retirement pension after five years in £ sterling.

As I made clear in reply to the hon. Member's question on 26th May, a member of the Commission retiring after five years' service would receive for the first three years after his retirement a so-called "transitional allowance" amounting after deduction of tax to 1,250,172 Belgian francs (£20,164) per annum. During these three years the Commissioner would continue to receive household, family and education allowances. Subsequently, assuming he has reached the age of 65, he would receive a pension amounting, after deduction of tax and social security payments, to 626,052 Belgian francs or £10,098 per annum. A retired Commissioner who completes the three-year transitional period at an age between 60 and 65 will receive a proportionately lower pension. The remarks on conversion into sterling in my answer to the hon. Member's question of 24th May apply. The actual gross basic monthly salaries of members of the Commission, expressed in sterling at current market rates were set out in the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 22nd April.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Law Of The Sea Conference

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made by the United Nations Law of the Sea Conference on outstanding issues; when a final act or treaty is likely to be concluded; and if he will make a statement.

The first three weeks of the Sixth Session of the Conference, which began on 23rd May, have been devoted to informal negotiations on the system of exploitation of the deep sea-bed. I regret to say that so far little or no progress has been made on resolving the oustanding issues on this subject. Intensive efforts are, however, continuing to try to reach a generally acceptable agreement. As the Special Representative of Her Majesty's Government at the Conference, I will be attending the Session on 21st and 22nd June.There is little prospect of a Convention being adopted at the current session. However if satisfactory progress can be achieved in the negotiations, we hope that it will prove possible for it to be adopted in the course of 1978.

United States Of America (Her Majesty's Ambassador)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what pension arrangements have been made for the new ambassador to Washington.

Weapons

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will remove as one of the conditions for supporting prohibitions of, or restrictions on, the use of certain weapons that they are acceptable to militarily significant States.

No. To be realistic and effective, prohibitions and restrictions must have widespread acceptance and observance. Implementation of a proposal by a limited number of States would not be effective and might prejudice national security in a way which could be destabilising.

Napalm

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action has been taken at the recent 1977 session of the Ad Hoc Committee on Conventional Weapons towards prohibitions of, or restrictions on, the use of napalm.

A Dutch proposal to protect civilians from the indiscriminate use of incendiaries and flame weapons, including napalm, attracted the widest support of any on this subject. The United Kingdom worked to increase this support by tabling an amendment. However, since no final agreement was reached on it or on a number of proposals on other matters, the United Kingdom co-sponsored a resolution to set up a further conference by 1979 to complete the work of the Ad Hoc Committee.

Falkland Islands

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the new airstrip in the Falkland Islands has been completed and is now in operational use; and, if so, whether the Argentine Government are paying any landing charges for the use of these facilities by their aircraft.

The new airfield is completed but is not yet operational. A Civil Aviation Authority inspector is now inspecting the airfield, and will report to the Governor on its fitness for operation. The agreement with Argentina concluded in 1972 and covering the operation of the weekly air service, exempts from landing charges the Argentine State Airline (LADE). This arrangement is likely to continue when the new airport is operational.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what income he estimates the new airstrip in the Falkland Islands will generate; and from what sources.

There are at present no estimates of any income which the new airfield might generate. The level of landing charges will be for the Falkland Islands Government to determine.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to encourage the commercial development of fishing for blue whiting off the Falkland Islands and their dependencies.

The commercial development of fishing for blue whiting and other species of fish in Falklands and Dependencies waters is being considered, in consultation with the industry.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimates he has received of the gross value of the probable annual catch of shell fish and blue whiting within the territorial waters of the Falkland Islands and their dependencies.

Blue whiting is not found in significant quantities within the territorial waters of the Falkland Islands and their Dependencies. As for shellfish around the Falkland Islands, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on 22nd March.—[Vol. 928, c. 527.] There are no estimates for the Falkland Island Dependencies.

Namibia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, during the course of the negotiations between the five Western Powers and South Africa over the future of Namibia, what contact there has been between representatives of those Powers and the South-West Africa Peoples Organisation.

The five Powers have informed SWAPO of the development of their talks with the South African Government. In particular, representatives of the five Powers saw the President of the South-West Africa People's Organisation, Mr. Nujoma, in Maputo on 15th May. I also saw Mr. Nujoma in Maputo and discussed the five-Power initiative with him.

Wimpey Construction Company

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what use has been made by the Wimpey construction company or its subsidiaries of the facilities available at British embassies and consulates abroad in furtherance of their overseas business.

The Wimpey Organisation is in frequent contact with many of our overseas posts. The full range of advice and assistance offered by British embassies, high commissions and consulates overseas is available to them as it is to all British exporters.

Union Jack

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what instructions are given to British embassies abroad concerning the flying of the Union Jack on embassy buildings.

The proper flag to be displayed at British embassies is the British diplomatic flag; only at Commonwealth posts is the Union flag flown. The flag is flown at the Chancery building on all working days during office hours. Other flags—for example, the flag at the Ambassador's residence—are flown only on days of local celebration or mourning, on British anniversaries, and on other days when, by command of Her Majesty the Queen, flags are to be flown. Her Majesty's representatives have discretion to depart from these rules where local conditions and practice makes it undesirable to follow them.

Home Department

Police (Numbers)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he

Cleveland ConstabularyMetropolitan PoliceAll forces England and Wales
DateActual deficiencyPer cent. deficiencyActual deficiencyPer cent. deficiencyActual deficiency Per cent. deficiency
1st April 19741178·305,28920·8214,48312·73
31st December 19741238·725,77821·6913,90712·13
31st December 1975664·675,40120·2810,2668·84
31st December 1976835·884,38316·468,7987·52
31st March 1977946·664,33316·278,7527·49

Firearms Dealers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the different application of the provisions of the Firearms Act 1968 by chief constables, he will issue general guidelines so as to obtain some consistency in their requirements when licensing dealers in firearms.

No. I know of no reason to suppose that chief constables are not fully aware of the law relating to the registration of firearms dealers.

Parliamentary Elections (Postal Votes)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to enable all persons who intend to be away from their parliamentary constituencies on holiday at the time of any General Election and by-election to claim a postal vote.

It would be appropriate for this matter to be further considered by a Speaker's Conference before any decision were taken on new legislation.

Work Permit Holders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long, on average, work permit holders from non-EEC countries remain in the United Kingdom.

Statistical records are not maintained in a way which permits the calculation of the average length of stay of work permit holders. The annual White Papers on the Control of Immigra-

will list the annual shortfall in police manpower in the Cleveland county up to the present; and what are the equivalent national and Metropolitan Police figures.

The figures, covering the period from the creation of Cleveland Constabulary on 1st April 1974, are as follows:tion Statistics show the numbers granted settlement after four years in approved employment.

Young Offenders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give consideration to introducing on an experimental basis in Great Britain the practice of young offenders visiting prison establishments such as that instituted at Rahway State Prison, New Jersey, United States of America; and if he will make a statement.

Persons under the age of 18 are not normally permitted to enter prisons except to visit relatives, and I am not at present persuaded that it would be beneficial to make an exception for the purpose suggested by my hon. Friend.

Civil Defence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision has been made for Civil Defence in the East Staffordshire District area.

Under the Civil Defence Act 1948 the statutory responsibilities for Civil Defence lie with county and district councils: in this area, the Staffordshire County Council and the East Staffordshire District Council.

Police (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters he has received on the subject of police pay during the last six months; and how many of these letters were from (a) the general public; (b) the police and (c) hon. Members.

During the last six months I have received 617 letters about police pay of which 203 were from the public, including the wives of policemen, 168 were from members of the police, and 246 were from hon. Members.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give for a convenient

POLICE OFFICERS' PAY SCALES
1st April 19751st September 1975 (Award during Phase 1—average 29.·8 per cent.)1st September 1976 (Phase 2 award)
RankProvincialMetropolitanProvincialMetropolitan
£ £ £ £
Constable:
Minimum1,6321,9072,4002,719All officers are to receive a pay supplement of 5 per cent., subject to a weekly minimum of £2·50 and maximum of £4.
Maximum2,5622,8373,4023,721
Sergeant:
Minimum2,5892,8643,4023,721
Maximum2,9763,2513,9604,279
Inspector:
Minimum3,0243,4043,9604,495
Maximum3,4053,7854,6145,155
Chief Inspector:
Minimum3,4053,7084,6145,155
Maximum3,7834,1665,2865,830
Superintendent:
Minimum4,2484,8756,2226,979
Maximum4,8455,1876,9187,342
Chief Superintendent:
Minimum5,1395,5267,1107,582
Maximum5,6616,0517,7048,179
1st April 19751st July 19751st July 1976 (Phase 1 award)1st July 1977 (Phase 2 award)
Senior Provincial Ranks
Assistant Chief Constable:Some officers received £6 a week subject to the £8,500 p.a. cut-off.All officers to receive £4 a week.
Minimum£5,994£8,142
Maximum65 per cent. of Chief Constable's salary.67 per cent. of Chief Constable's salary.
Deputy Chief Constable:
Minimum£6,120£8,268
Maximum75 per cent. of Chief Constable's salary.75 per cent. of Chief Constable's salary.
Chief Constable:
Range of minimum salaries.£8,898–£10,788£11,016–£13,320No increase.
Senior Metropolitan Ranks££
Commander:
Minimum6,315Plus £201 per annum London allowance8,532Plus £201 per annum London allowance increasing to £245 per annum with effect from 1st September 1975No increase
Maximum6,7478,964
Deputy Assistant Commissioner:
Minimum7,4169,576
Maximum8,21110,683
Assistant Commissioner10,11413,089
Deputy Commissioner11,18614,445

date in the past the salary and pay levels of ( a) the police generally and the Metropolitan Police in particular and what increases they have subsequently had together with names and dates, and ( b) similar details for civil servants in his Department for similar scales of salary and wage rates.

Rent Allowance

In addition, all police officers are provided with a house or quarters free of rent and rates, or a rent allowance in lieu the maximum of which varies from force to force and is effectively free of tax.

Some examples of recently approved weekly maxima for federated ranks are:

Avon and Somerset£18·69 payable from 1st April 1977
Kent £22·32 payable from 1st April 1977
Metropolitan£22·55 payable from 1st April 1977
South Yorkshire£13·28 payable from 1st April 1977

CIVIL SERVANTS' PAY SCALES

1st April 1975

1st April 1976

1st April 1977

Provincial £

Inner London £

(Phase 1 award)

(Phase 2 award)

Grade5

Clerical Officer:All officers received a pay award of £6 a week subject to the £8, 500 p.a. cut off.All officers received a pay supplement of 5 per cent. Subject to a weekly minimum of £2·50 and maximum of £4.
Minimum (age 18)1,5402,005
Maximum2,5403,005
Executive Officer:
Minimum (age 18)1,8852,350
Maximum3,6704,135
Higher Executive Officer:
Minimum3,9004,365
Maximum4,7005,165
Senior Executive Officer:
Minimum4,9005,365
Maximum5,9006,365
Principal:
Minimum5,6806,145
Maximum7,4507,915
Assistant Secretary:
Minimum8,6509,115No increase.
Maximum11,00011,465

1st January 1976 (Phase 1 award)

Senior grades6

Assistant Under Secretary12,00012,465No increase.
Deputy Under Secretary14,00014,000

Metropolitan Police (Motor Cycles)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the fact that the Metropolitan Police Motor-Cycle Precision Team is equipped with Triumph 650 c.c. "Saints", which are sufficiently free of vibration to enable the team to carry out very precise manoeuvres at varying speeds in confined areas as well as for normal patrol duty, if he will now advise other police authorities to purchase these as a replacement for German machines at present in use.

Indictable Offences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) indictable and (b) non-indictable offences were known to the police in each of the past five years.

The number of indictable offences recorded as known to the police in England and Wales in each of the past five years is as follows:

INDICTABLE OFFENCES RECORDED AS KNOWN TO THE POLICE—ENGLAND AND WALES
YearNumber of offences (millions)
19721·7
19731·7
19742·0
19752·1
1976 2·1
Information is not collected centrally on non-indictable offences known to the police.

Public Order Act 1936

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to introduce legislation to amend Section 3(2) of the Public Order Act 1936.

Scotland

Mink

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what estimate he has made of the increase in the population of feral mink over the last 10 years;(2) what estimate he has made of the numbers of feral mink in each of the regions;(3) what steps he is taking to eliminate feral mink.

I recognise that this non-indigenous species is now widely present in Scotland, mainly along rivers, but no realistic estimates of numbers are available. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland is at all times willing to give advice on control techniques to all concerned, and is prepared to lend, when available, suitable traps. Pest control is, in general, the responsibility of occupiers and further activity on my right hon. Friend's part would not be justified.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the damage to fishing caused by mink in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.

No estimates are available of the damage done by mink to fisheries.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what precautions he is taking to prevent the spread of rabies through mink.

The Government's policy is to keep rabies out of Great Britain. Mink, like most other mammals, may be imported only under licence and subject to six months quarantine.Should rabies occur in captive mink, the premises concerned would be declared an infected place under the Rabies (Control) Order 1974 and restrictions would be imposed to prevent any spread of the disease. In the event of a rabies outbreak in wildlife, the Rabies Act 1974 provides powers for the destruction within an infected area of such species as may be prescribed. This would include feral mink should they be considered to be acting as vectors of the disease. There is, however, no record of mink having been a significant vector.

District Heating (Pinkston Power Station)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has now completed his consideration of the South of Scotland Electricity Board's study of the feasibility of district heating based on Pinkston Power Station; and if he will make a statement.

No. The Combined Heat and Power Group, which was established in 1974 under the aegis of the Secretary of State for Energy's Advisory Council on Research and Development to examine the future role of combined heat and electricity generating systems in the United Kingdom, has recently published a discussion document—as Energy Paper No. 20 published by the Department of Energy—which took the Pinkston study into account. The Government will give very careful consideration to the group's final report and recommendations, which will be prepared and published when interested parties have been able to comment on the discussion document. It would be premature to take decisions on any particular scheme until this report is available.

Eggs (Grading)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when, and in what form, official advice will be made available to Scottish poultry producers and processors regarding egg grading requirements, costs and financial aids to the industry consequent on the new EEC egg grading regulations.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food gave to him on 27th May 1977 on this subject.—[Vol. 932, c. 662.]

Crops And Livestock

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish comparative figures showing the differences between financial returns for Scottish farmers on crops and livestock since 1974; and if he is satisfied with these trends.

I refer the hon. Member to the financial results for the different types of farming in Scotland published annually in the Annual Review White Paper (Table 24) and, in greater detail, in "Scottish Agricultural Economics". These show substantial increases in income on all types of farm in 1975–76 as compared with 1974–75, and in the latter publication a further improvement was forecast for every main type in the 1976–77 year just finished.

Housing (Renewal Options)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he plans to issue a Scottish equivalent of the English Department of the Environment Circular on Economic Techniques for the Evaluation of Renewal Options; and what consultations and studies he has initiated with Scottish local authorities on the question of cost-benefit analyses of renovation schemes.

Economic appraisal of improvement was one aspect of the Scottish Office research project whose report "Local Housing Needs and Strategies: A Case Study of the Dundee SubRegion" (HMSO 1976) was published and drawn to the attention of local authorities in March 1976. Guidance on the application of economic techniques in the assessment of housing authorities which is to be published shortly as Part I of the Scottish Housing Handbook.

House Building

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many houses have been constructed in Scotland using the Mopin or similar systems; and where they are situated.

I have no knowledge of the Mopin building system, or any similar system, having been used for housing in Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what changes are planned in methods of assessing local authority house building programmes in Scotland; and if he has any plans to introduce standardisation in methods of assessing housing requirements in each district.

In SDD Circular No. 6/1977, we asked each local housing authority in Scotland to prepare a five-year housing plan, designed to meet assessed local needs and including its own capital expenditure programme. As part of our efforts to encourage local authorities to a common approach to assessing housing needs we are preparing a manual of guidance for local authorities, which should be published in June. I am arranging for a copy of the circular to be placed in the Library.

Neighbourhood Management Schemes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many neighbourhood management schemes he has initiated in Scotland and in which housing districts and what grants he has made available for such schemes.

This is a matter for local authorities, but my right hon. Friend has given grants for projects recommended under schemes of this kind

Hill Cows

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the number of hill cows in Scotland in each of the last five years.

The numbers of breeding cows in Scotland which qualified for payment of subsidy under the hill cattle scheme in the years 1972 to 1975 and for payment of hill livestock compensatory allowances in 1976 were as follows:

1972395,901
1973429,920
1974462,962
1975478,718
1976459,799 (provisional)

Statistical Office

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will re consider the case for the establishment of a Scottish Statistical Office to house all returns relating to economic activity in Scotland.

Community Land

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the amount of land purchased in Scotland under the provisions of the Community Land Act, the purposes for which this land is to be used and the cost involved, region by region and nationally.

Community Land Scheme: Position at 31st March 1977
IndustryCommerceTotal
Region£acres£acres£acres
Central16,5005·9016,5005·90
Dumfries and Galloway27,00015·5027,00015·50
Fife20,40018·4820,40018·48
Grampian43,50010·5122,7500·1466,25010·65
Lothian137,88215·01137,88215·01
Strathclyde159,0001·00159,0001·00
Total245,28265·40181,7501·14427,03266·54

Notes:

(1) Provisional figures subject to revision when Community Land accounts for 1976–77 are submitted.

(2) Figures exclude staff and administration costs and interest charges.

Housing (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing a detailed breakdown of the changes announced in Scottish housing expendi

£ million at 1976 Survey prices
1977–781978–79
Lending by local authorities to private persons for house purchase and improvements.—8·5
Lending to housing associations (by the Housing Corporation)—2·8
Local authority new dwellings—30·0
—11·3—30·0
It proved possible subsequently to restore the reductions in lending in 1977– 78 because of estimated underspending on local authority new dwellings. The change in 1978 is a reflection of the reduced level of submissions for new building by local authorities.

Abortion

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the number of girls who, while attending school, had abortions in each of the last five years.

The closest available approximation to the information requested is in respect of girls aged under 16 years. Details are as follows:

Number of abortions performed on girls under 16 years
1972 167
1973230
1974208
1975211
1976218
The figure for 1976 is provisional.

Following is the information:ture on 22nd July and 15th December 1976 for 1977–78 and 1978–79 at 1976 survey prices.

The following information represents the Scottish housing component of Table 5.7 of Cmnd 6721–II.

Tourism

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he plans to establish pilot areas for the expansion of tourism in fragile districts of Scottish development areas.

As my right hon. Friend explained in his reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. White) on 27th May—[Vol. 932, c. 633–4.]—the Scottish Tourist Board has been asked to prepare for my right hon. Friend's consideration proposals for tourism development schemes to stimulate economic growth in areas of special need.

Council House Rents

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the estimated average weekly council house rent and the total rental income in Scotland in each year from 1976–77 to 1978–79 and the estimated total and average cen- tral Government subsidy and rate fund contributed to housing revenue accounts for each of those years, all expressed in 1976 survey prices.

The forecasts of public expenditure on housing require a

1976–771977–781978–79
£££
(a)Rental income…154 million163 million180 million
(b) Average weekly rent (per house)3·403·603·90
(c) Central government subsidies to housing revenue accounts.162 million156 million160 million
(d) Average central government subsidy (per house)186177180
(e) Rate fund contributions to the housing revenue accounts.35 million51 million38 million
(f) Average rate fund contribution (per house)405843

Panbride Primary School, Angus

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received financial or other estimates of fire damage at Pan-bride Primary School, Angus; and if he will give figures showing a detailed breakdown of the exact extent of this damage.

My right hon. Friend has received no information about the cost of repairing recent fire damage at Panbride Primary School.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received regarding the proposed closure of Panbride Primary School by Tayside Regional Council; and when he expects a decision to be made.

Representations against the proposed closure have been received from the hon. Member, the Panbride School Parents' Action Committee and the staff of the school. The regional council has been asked for further information about the proposal; when this has been received, my right hon. Friend will reach a decision as soon as possible.

Wimpey Construction Company

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what grants have been made by his Department or contracts awarded by his Department for public works in Scotland to the Wimpey Construction Company and its subsidiaries; and what was the value of such grants or contracts for the past two years.

From the inquiries which have been made in the time available, there is no record of my right hon.

variety of assumptions to be made, including some on matters which are within the discretion of local authorities, such as relative rent and rate fund contributions. Subject to this, the estimates are as follows:

Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland's Departments having paid any grants or awarded any contracts for public works to these companies in the past two years. An exhaustive check would involve disproportionate expense and effort.

Highways Acts (Draft Orders)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland to which organisations he sends copies of all draft orders made by him under the Highways Acts.

Copies of draft trunk road orders are normally sent to the interested Government Departments and bodies and to the following organisations:

  • Scottish Rights of Way Society
  • The National Trust for Scotland
  • The Countryside Commission
  • Scottish Landowners Federation
  • Scottish Telecommunications Board Headquarters
  • British Railways Scottish Region
  • National Farmers Union
  • The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board
  • South of Scotland Electricity Board
  • The Automobile Association
  • Royal Automobile Club
  • Royal Scottish Automobile Club
  • Freight Transport Association.

Transport

Birmingham Inner Ring Road

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set up an inquiry into the safety of inner ring road construction in Birmingham.

It appears to me that the West Midlands County Council and the Birmingham City Council which are together responsible for this road are taking all necessary measures to deal with the situation. Officers of the two authorities are jointly investigating the problem and are to present their report to both councils on 21st June. The Department is in close contact and expects to receive a copy of the report when prepared.

George Wimpey And Co Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Transport to what extent the Wimpey construction company and its subsidiaries have been employed in publicly funded road construction projects during the past two years; and what was the value of the contracts involved.

The only information available to the Department relates to trunk road contracts. During the past two years, George Wimpey & Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries have been employed on five trunk road contracts with a total tender value of £10,947,836.

Wales

Local Government Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether the six months' moratorium placed on local authority spending in December 1976 will be lifted during June; if so at what date; and whether there will be any continuing restriction of this nature on local authorities after that date.

The moratorium has already been lifted on local authority transport services and will end in respect of all remaining local authority services on 15th June 1977.

Wimpey Construction Company

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what grants have been made by his Department or contracts awarded by his Department for public works in the Principality to the Wimpey construction company and its subsidiaries; and what was the value of such grants or contracts for the past two years.

One contract for the Coryton-Miskin Section of the M4 Motorway, valued at £14·2 million, was let to a consortium of George Wimpey & Co., and Leonard Fairclough Ltd., in September 1975 by South Glamorgan County Council acting as my agents.

Employment

Mr T Dan Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement on the appointment, under the Government's job creation scheme, at £2,600 per annum, of Mr. T. Dan Smith; how many other persons were offered this situation; and why preference was given to this man.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that Mr. T. Dan Smith was appointed as a development officer by the North-East Branch of the Howard League for Penal Reform, which is sponsoring a project under the job creation programme, to provide advice for ex-offenders in seeking employment and to liaise with, and compile a register of, employers willing to employ ex-offenders. The JCP grant of £5,337 for the project includes £2,841 for the wages of the development officer for a period of 52 weeks.I understand that the vacancy was notified to the Professional and Executive Recruitment Service of the Employment Service Agency which was not able to submit any other suitably qualified applicant.

Industrial Tribunals

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what he expects the number and percentage of men and women serving on industrial tribunal panels to be in October 1977 under his new proposals if the 44 independent women members are not sponsored by the TUC and CBI.

I cannot forecast these figures with any precision since they will depend, inter alia, very much on the response of the nominating bodies to the recent letter which I sent to them.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number and percentage of men and women, respectively, currently serving on industrial tribunal panels.

The numbers and percentages of men and women serving as lay members of industrial tribunals are at present:

No.Per Cent.
Men1,76078·6
Women47821·4

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of nominations for industrial tribunal panels coming forward from the TUC and CBI, respectively, were men and women, respectively, in the latest convenient period.

During the first nine months of 1976 the proportions were as follows:

Men per cent.Women per cent.
TUC8911
CBI and other employer organisations.919

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make his proposed changes in the industrial tribunal panels conditional on all the independent women members who lose their seats, being replaced by other women nominees.

No. To do so would appear to breach the principle of non-discrimination and to be contrary to Section 86 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. However, I have asked the sponsoring bodies, when putting forward their nominations, to continue to bear in mind my concern that the composition of the tribunal membership should if possible broadly reflect the proportion of women in the working population.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department complies with Section 86 of the Sex Discrimination Act in appointments to industrial tribunal panels.

I can assure my hon. Friend that I am very conscious of the need to comply with the Act. During the period of the most recent major recruitment to the panels my Department urged the nominating bodies to have regard to the desirability of seeking to ensure that the proportion of women on tribunals reflected the proportion of women in the working population.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will now consider nominations from the Institute of Personnel Management for industrial tribunal panels.

Training