Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 29th June 1977
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
European Commission Measures
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what were the main decisions on agriculture and food taken within the European Community during the United Kingdom Presidency.
The Community has taken some important measures during the United Kingdom Presidency, with the aim of restoring a better balance in the markets for some agricultural products or of improving the basic structure of support.The milk action programme, which had been under discussion for some time, has now been adopted and is being acted on. It includes an attack on overproduction through a scheme of incentives to Community dairy farmers to give up milk production or to switch to beef or sheep production; using herd reductions to best advantage by new Community aid for accelerated programmes for eradicating brucellosis, tuberculosis and bovine leukosis; helping consumption through new Community aid for school milk schemes, improved aid for butter consumption by the Community's own consumers including a specially favourable scheme for the United Kingdom and better arrangements for disposal of skimmed milk and skimmed milk powder for animal feed within the Community. The proposals for a margarine tax, a ban on aid for investment on farms and the exclusive use of milk products in certain foodstuffs were abandoned or deferred.For cereals the reformed support system has been finally accepted and will come into effect on 1st August; support for breadmaking wheat will no longer be always given by automatic intervention but by a more flexible reference price system and the support levels for feed grains have been brought into a better relationship.The negotiations on the arrangements and price for sugar imports from ACP countries in 1977–78 were satisfactorily concluded. In view of the prospect of surplus the Council has announced that, if the present market prospects continue, the maximum sugar quota for Community producers will be reduced from the 1978–79 marketing year.The system of slaughter premiums for beef has been continued.Important changes have been made in the basic regulation for hops, in order to restrain over-production and to improve marketing through producer groups. It has been agreed that under the amended regulation Community aid in the United Kingdom will be paid through the Hops Marketing Board.Agreement has also been reached in principle on some changes in the basic regulation on wine.In April agreement was reached on Community agricultural support prices for 1977–78. In view of the importance of counter-inflation programmes in many member States and the need to maintain a balance between supply and demand in product markets, the increase in common support prices, about 3·5 per cent. on average, was the lowest since United Kingdom accession.In the structural field a new regulation, which will make available aid from Community funds for programmes of investment or improvement in the processing and marketing of agricultural products was adopted.Considerable progress has been made in seeking agreement within the Community that priority within the food harmonisation programme should be given to those horizontal measures, such as the draft directive on labelling, which can give real benefits to traders and consumers.In the field of animal health and welfare a new directive on pure bred cattle, which will help to eliminate barriers to trade, has been agreed in principle. We have also made substantial progress on the directive on the welfare of animals in international transport, which will provide valuable safeguards in Community law.
Itinerants (Republic Of Ireland)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate has been made of the annual inflow of itinerants from the Republic of Ireland in each of the years 1970 to 1976.
None. There is in general no immigration control on movement within the Common Travel Area of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the investigation into complaints by John Stevenson, an official of the United Road Transport Union, against the Greater Manchester Police to be completed.
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester informs me
|PERSONS FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER, ATTEMPTED MURDER, MANSLAUGHTER AND VIOLENCE AGAINST THE PERSON IN 1963 AND 1976, ENGLAND AND WALES|
|Number of persons|
|Offence||1963||1976||Percentage Variation 1963–76|
|Violence against the person (including murder, attempted murder and manslaughter)||12,832||38,383||+199|
Deaths In Custody
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the number of persons who have died while in police custody for each year from 1970 to the present; and if he will provide a breakdown to show the causes of death and the police areas in which deaths occurred.
The information requested is not readily available. I have, however, asked for reports from chief officers of police, and as soon as these have been received and considered I shall write to my hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the number of persons who have that the investigation of Mr. Stevenson's complaints against the police is linked in certain respects to inquiries into allegations that he has made of perjury by another person in a recent court case in which he was involved. I understand that a preliminary report has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions who has asked for some further inquiries to be made. Until the results of these are available it is not possible to say when the investigation as a whole will be completed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he now has information on the numbers of convictions for murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and crimes of violence in 1976; and by what percentage these figures, respectively, exceed or are less than the convictions for each category in 1963, the year before the introduction of the Bill to abolish capital punishment.
The information is as follows:died while detained in prison for each year from 1970 to the present; and if he will provide a breakdown to show the causes of death and the prisons in which deaths occurred.
I am sending this information to my hon. Friend.
Children Act 1975
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make an order bringing into effect Section 69 of the Children Act 1975 and an order under that section prescribing the conditions which must be satisfied before a court can commit a young person to a remand centre or prison on the grounds that he is too unruly to be safely committed to the care of a local authority.
I have signed both orders. They will come into force on 1st August 1977.
House Of Commons
asked the Lord President of the Council whether provision could be made for one more bath for the use of Members in the Palace of Westminster, either by converting one of the shower rooms or by the addition of a second bathroom.
There are at present three bathrooms in the area of the Barber's Shop for male Members' use. The provision of a fourth bathroom is being investigated with a view to this item being included in the 1978–79 Works Estimates.
asked the Lord President of the Council if he will make a statement about the pay and allowances of Ministers and Members of Parliament.
The Government propose that parliamentary pay for all Members of this House and salaries for Ministers and Office Holders in the other place should, in line with pay policy, be increased by 5 per cent., subject to a maximum of £208 a year. Members who agreed to forgo the £312 increase last year because their total earnings exceeded £8,500 should continue to forgo that increase in order to comply with the current pay limits.The Government have not been able, because of pay policy, to take any action to settle the future basis for determining Members' pay. However, the Top Salaries Review Body recommended in 1975 that Members' pay should be reviewed every two years, and so the Government now propose that this year's increase of £208 should be added to the proper rate of £8,000, which is the rate for pension purposes. The main rate actually in payment would go up from £6,062 to £6,270.As for Members' allowances, the Government propose that the annual limit for secretarial allowance should be increased by 5 per cent. to £3,687. Additional costs allowance is linked automatically to Civil Service subsistence rates, which are due to be reviewed with effect from 1st July.I will shortly put before the House the necessary motions to approve the increases which under the 12-months rule would take effect from 13th June 1977 for Members' pay and secretarial allowance and from 30th July 1977 for the salaries of Ministers and Office Holders in the other place.
Benefit Claimants (Child Addition Payments)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the value of the child additions paid to claimants drawing supplementary benefit or national assistance for each relevant year since 1948; and if he will express these data as a percentage of (a) the single person's and (b) the married couple's adult rate.
The information is in the following table:
|SUPPLEMENTARY BENEFIT SCALE RATES FOR CHILDREN, IN CASH TERMS AND IN RELATION TO ADULT RATES|
|Child under 5|
|Year||Amount||Percentage of single householder rate||Percentage of married couple rate|
Percentage of single householder rate
Percentage of married couple rate
Percentage of single householder rate
Percentage of married couple rate
Percentage of single householder rate
Percentage of married couple rate
Percentage of single householder rate
Percentage of married couple rate
|*Separate scale rate for age group 13·15 introduced,|
Gas Poisoning (Deaths)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many deaths have been attributable, during the years 1974, 1975 and 1976, to gas fire flue outlets blocked by falls of soot, etc., within the flue into which the gas fire discharges.
Deaths in England and Wales attributed to the blockage of gas fire or boiler flues were as follows: 1974, 12; 1975, 4; 1976, 19.
Opticians (Goods And Services)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the value of goods and services provided by opticians under the National Health Service in the United Kingdom in each of the past three years.
Information in the form requested is not available. However, the estimated costs of the provision of general ophthalmic services by opticians in the United Kingdom were as follows:
|Year ended 31st March||£ million|
|* Includes about £9 million arrears due in respect of earlier years.|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the Committee on Safety of Medicines to report its findings on ways of improving the recognition and reporting of adverse reactions from drugs; and if there will be an interim report.
The committee has announced its intention to consult the professions, the pharmaceutical industry and other interested parties on ways to improve the recognition and reporting of adverse reactions to drugs. I am sure that it will give its advice as soon as it can.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the Medicines Commission to report on its findings about the testing, marketing and safety of drugs; and if there will be an interim report.
The Medicines Commission has the continuing duty to advise on a wide range of matters of this kind and it gives advice on specific issues as soon as it is formulated.
Births And Deaths (Coventry)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total of live births and deaths, respectively, in Coventry in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; and what were the comparable totals for each of the previous 10 years.
The information is as follows:
|Residents of Coventry Country Borough;|
|Residents of Coventry County District:|
|* The boundary change on 1st April 1965 excluded just over 3 per cent. of the population.|
|† The boundary change on 1st April 1974, when Coventry County District was formed, increased the population by about 0·5 per cent.|
Doctors' Lists (Transfers)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what remedy a patient has when, wishing to transfer from one general practitioner's list to another, he is refused by another doctor of his choice.
The chosen doctor is entitled in his turn to exercise his right of choice. If he decides to refuse the patient, the latter should seek acceptance by another doctor. Family practitioner committees are always ready to help and can, if necessary, assign a patient to a doctor in the area.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied that patients wishing to transfer from one general practitioner's list to another of their choice, in the event of the death or retirement of their doctor, or if they are dissatisfied with the treatment they receive, are able to do so.
Yes, provided that the chosen doctor is willing and able to accept them.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many complaints he has received about doctors refusing to accept patients wishing to transfer from one general practitioner's list to another in the same area.
No separate record is kept of such correspondence, and extraction of this information would involve dispro-
|NUMBER OF FAMILIES RECEIVING FAMILY INCOME SUPPLEMENT PRIOR TO THE UPRATING IN JULY 1977|
|Type of family and number of children||(a) On maximum before and after uprating||(b) Brought on to maximum by uprating||(c) Unaffected by maximum at uprating||All families|
|Lone parent families:|
|2 or more children||…||…||1||1||13||15|
|All lone parent families||…||…||3||3||30||36|
|Two parent families:|
|2 or more children||…||…||2||2||31||35|
|All two parent families||…||…||3||3||40||46|
|Total, All families||…||…||6||6||70||82|
1. All figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.
2.The immediate increases received at the uprating could be reduced or extinguished when each individual claim is reassessed upon renewal and any increase in earnings is taken into account.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the number of deaths from hypothermia during 1974, 1975 and 1976, respectively.
Deaths in England and Wales attributed solely or mainly to hypothermia numbered 16 in 1974 and 25 in 1975. The figure for 1976 is not yet available.
Local Authority And Voluntary Homes (Costs Of Residence)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) in what circumstances health authorities are empowered
portionate expense. Complaints of this nature are almost invariably resolved by the appropriate family practitioner committee.
Family Income Supplement
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the estimated number of (a) one-parent families and (b) two-parent families by family size who will receive less than the full increase in their family income supplement from 20th July 1977 because of the maximum amount rule; and how many will receive the full increase.
The estimates requested are given in the following table:to pay the costs of residence in local authority and voluntary homes; and it they may apply means tests;(2) how many residents are supported in local authority and voluntary homes, respectively, by health authorities; and what was the expenditure on this by health authorities in the last financial year.
Where persons are accommodated under NHS arrangements in local authority and voluntary homes, area health authorities may contribute to their costs of residence, but AHAs have no powers to charge individuals for such costs. Information about total numbers and expenditure involved is not centrally available.
Surgical Dressing Packs
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he will take to stop the subsidy paid to Park-fields for surgical dressing packs by the West Midlands Regional Health Authority; and what he is doing to bring new rehabilitation work to patients in St. Wulstan's, now without their production work on surgical dressing pads.
Parkfields is a manufacturing unit built and managed by the West Midlands Regional Health Authority with a view to the efficient and economical production of standard sterile supplies. The unit opened last November and when production reaches full capacity it is expected to cover its running costs and there should be no need for a subsidy. The authority has offered area health authorities help in finding alternative work for patients in rehabilitation units, and the Hereford and Worcester Area Health Authority has taken up this offer in respect of St. Wulstan's.
Hospitals (Isolation Of Patients)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of the decision of the European Commission of Human Rights in the case of Clarke v United Kingdom, application No. 6840/74, what guidance he intends to give on the use of isolation at Broad-moor and at other special hospitals and National Health Service hospitals.
In the case of Clarke v the United Kingdom, the European Commission on Human Rights has declared his complaint under Article 3 of the convention to be admissible. This does not imply any judgment as to the merits of the complaint. It means only that the Commission regards the complaint as proper for investigation. Whether any additional guidance is necessary will be considered in the light of the Commission's eventual conclusions.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many oilfields have been discovered as commercial propositions within a distance of 50 miles of the Scottish coast.
Only one oilfield has been found within 50 miles of the coast on Block 11/30 in the Moray Firth. The operators are now appraising possible development methods.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much crude oil was produced from the United Kingdom sector of the Continental Shelf during the latest 12-month period for which figures are available; and how much of this was exported as crude oil.
The gross production of North Sea oil in the 12 months May 1976 to April 1977 inclusive was 20·1 million tonnes, of which 6·6 million tonnes were exported.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is able to give an assessment of the benefits gained in the energy field since the United Kingdom became a member of the EEC.
It is too early to attempt any real assessment of benefits gained. I have been seeking a realistic Community energy policy to the benefit of the United Kingdom and other member States. The recent agreement on the Euratom loans scheme, the provision of loans and grants to the coal industry by the European Coal and Steel Community, and of loans by the European Investment Bank to the gas, coal and electricity supply industries are examples of what has been done. In addition, along with other member States we have discussed energy conservation, where there have been many useful exchanges of views and experience. There has been similar progress already in the field of research and development, where a modest four-year programme financed by the Community and research organisations in member States on a shared cost basis is under way to study energy conservation, solar energy, geothermal energy, production and use of hydrogen, and system modelling, and where several United Kingdom organisations have already been awarded contracts by the Commission. We also participate in the Community's research programmes on radioactive waste management, plutonium recycling and radiobiology, and in the Euratom fusion programme of which the fusion work of the UKAEA's Culham laboratory forms a part.
Ici Gas Purchase
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make a statement on the decision reached by the arbitrators regarding the price at which the British Gas Board sells gas to ICI Ltd.
The decision of the arbitrator regarding the price at which the British Gas Corporation sells gas to ICI concerns contract terms between the two parties, and these are confidential. I am asking the Chairman of the Corporation to write to my hon. Friend.
Electricity (Off-Peak Tariffs)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what would be the increase in the annual electricity bill for the average household in the United Kingdom if the Government subsidy element in off-peak tariffs were completely removed; and what would be the cost or benefit to the Exchequer if financial help in paying the increased electricity prices were confined to those on or below the official poverty line.
The temporary special rebate on electricity off-peak tariffs was withdrawn in March 1976 at the same time as compensation in general for the effects of price restraint.
Electricity (Price And Consumption)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will set out in tabular form (a) the movement in the real price of electricity from 1945 to the latest available date and (b) in a parallel table, the movement in electricity consumption per capita over the same period.
Inquiries are being made for all the data and a reply will be made as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the average domestic consumption of electricity units in England and Wales in the most recent annual period for which figures are available; and what was the average domestic annual bill.
The average domestic consumption of electricity in England and Wales in 1975–76, the latest year for which accounts have been published, was 4,290 kWh. The average revenue obtained by area electricity boards from domestic consumers in that year was £82.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the coal in the new Warwickshire coalfield; and whether these reserves can be exploited from existing mines at Daw Mill and Coventry.
Some 100 million tons of general purpose coal have been added to the reserves for Daw Mill and Coventry collieries as a result of recent exploration. Reserves of a comparable quantity are reckoned to extend further south towards Kenilworth, but exploration in this area is incomplete, and no plans can yet be made concerning their future exploitation. Plans are, however, being considered for exploiting the additional reserves available to Daw Mill and Coventry collieries. These could include the construction of a new drift entry at Daw Mill.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the Government expenditure in the last financial year on research to extend knowledge on the effects of atomic radiation on persons and on the environment; and what proposals the Government has to increase this sum in future years.
I have been asked to reply.Expenditure in the financial year 1976–77 totalled about £2·9 million covering biomedical research into the dispersion of radioactiviity and its effect on man and other forms of life in marine and other environments; and techniques for measuring and monitoring.The White Paper "Nuclear Power and the Environment" (Cmnd. 6820) published last month placed responsibility for this area of research jointly on me and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales. We are not yet in a position to estimate the level of expenditure in future years.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proposals the Government have considered for the reduction or abolition of financial assistance for regional development under Section 7 of the Industry Act 1972; from whom they were received; and if any such changes are still under consideration.
There have been no general proposals to reduce or abolish selective financial assistance under Section 7 of the Industry Act 1972. One proposal to withdraw temporarily Section 7 assistance from a particular sector of industry—isoglucose manufacture—has been received from the Commission of the EEC and has been accepted, and the Commission is considering making a further proposal relating to milk products.
Govan Shipbuilders Limited
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he intends to make any alteration in the financial structure of Govan Shipbuilders Limited before the company vests in British Shipbuilders; and if he will make a statement.
The then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry told the House on 30th June 1972 that the Government would provide adequate financial support for Govan Shipbuilders Ltd. for a period of five years or until it attained commercial viability if that was earlier. In August 1975 I announced an extension of this period of support to the end of 1979 subject to certain conditions. The House was informed that the Government's financing of the company would take the form recommended by Hill Samuel; viz., equity for fixed capital, loan for working capital, and grants for losses. As a matter of convenience the greater part of the Government's investment has initially taken the form of loans with the intention that these should in due course be converted into the form recommended.To meet the intention previously announced to the House I propose before the company passes to British Shipbuilders to convert £14 million of the outstanding loan to shares, so that the Government equity investment will equal the direct assistance given to the company for acquision of fixed assets; to convert the remainder of the loan at present outstanding of £9·25 million to grant to meet past losses. I shall also pay to Govan Shipbuilders as grant the remainder of its unpaid losses as at 30th June 1977, some £6·6 million.The sum to be paid to Govan will exceed the sum currently provided in Estimates and approval for a Supplementary Estimate will be sought in due course. The conversion of loan to equity and to grant, although involving no new public expenditure, will also necessitate Supplementary Estimates.
Scott Lithgow Limited
asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether negotiations have taken place to bring Scott Lithgow Group's remaining shipbuilding operations into British Shipbuilders.
Certain subsidiary companies of Scott Lithgow Limited are listed in Schedule 2 to the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977 as companies which will vest in British Shipbuilders on 1st July 1977. Certain of its remaining subsidiaries are, nevertheless, an integral part of the group's shipbuilding operations, as are the facilities owned by Scott Lithgow Drydocks Limited. With the agreement of the Scott Lithgow Group and British Shipbuilders arrangements have been made for Scott Lithgow Limited, which manages the shipbuilding business, and Scott Lithgow Drydocks Limited, which is its ship-repair company, to vest in British Shipbuilders on 1st July 1977 in the same way as companies listed in Schedule 2 to the Act. The companies in the Scott Lithgow Group at present listed in Schedule 2 to the Act will thus now come into public ownership as subsidiaries of Scott Lithgow Limited rather than being vested directly in the Corporation.
asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will sponsor a programme of building advance flatted factories in inner city areas to create jobs and encourage small businesses which will not damage amenity to return to those areas.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 22nd June 1977; Vol. 934, c. 32], gave the following information:The Department has already adapted its advance factory programmes so as to locate factory units in inner city areas. Some 52 of these are small units suitable for smaller firms. I am asking the English Industrial Estates Corporation to advise me on the potential of flatted factories to satisfy the industrial development needs of inner city areas within the Department's advance factory programme.
Textile Machinery (Hong Kong)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what has been the level of exports of textile machinery to Hong Kong in each of the last five years.
Following is the information:
|UK EXPORTS OF TEXTILE MACHINERY * TO HONG KONG|
|£ million f.o.b.|
|* SITC Codes 717·11, 717·12, 717·13, 717·14 and 717·15 (part). Includes parts and accessories.|
Tourist Accommodation (Registration)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proportion of the total stock of available bedroom accommodation in hotels and guest houses he estimates is registered under the voluntary registration schemes currently being operated by the various statutory tourist boards.
Precise comparisons of the voluntary registration schemes with other statistics of such bedroom accommodation are not possible, but it seems likely that they cover about half of the stock.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade in which other EEC countries there is in operation a compulsory system of registration of all accommodation where rooms are offered to the general public in hotels or guest houses.
The information is not readily available. I am arranging for it to be collected and I will then write to the hon. Member.
Works Of Art (Export Licences)
asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many export licences in respect of works of art purchased in the sale at Mentmore Gardens have been applied for since 18th March.
I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
East European Countries
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give the balance of trade between the United Kingdom and Yugoslavia, the USSR, Romania, Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia, respectively.
Figures of the United Kingdom's crude trade balance—that is, the difference between exports valued fob and imports valued cif—with each of these countries can be derived from information in Table 1B of the monthly publications "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom", copies of which are in the House of Commons Library.
Grunwick Processing Laboratories Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied that the Grunwick company has furnished, in the correct time, all the returns required of it by the Companies Act; and, if not, what action he proposes to take.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade in view of the fact that the last accounts of Grunwick Limited were filed at Companies House more than three years ago, and that the directors are liable to fines of up to £400 under the Act, what action he proposes to take.
Grunwick Processing Laboratories Ltd. has submitted an annual return in respect of every year since its incorporation in 1965, with the exception of 1976. Almost all, however, were lodged after the period allowed by the Act. Accounts and related documents required by the Act to be annexed to each return covering a period in which such accounts were laid before a general meeting of the company, have also been submitted for each year between 1969 and 1974, but, because no general meetings have been held since 1969, except in 1973, it is not possible to identify the extent of the default in filing such accounts in terms of the Companies Act 1948.The company is in default in respect of the annual return for 1976. As the latest accounts filed relate to the year ending 31st March 1974 it also appears to be in default in that respect for 1975 and 1976. As on previous occasions the company has been advised that these defaults may lead to criminal prosecution of its directors, and accordingly, the matter will be referred to the Department's solicitors if the default persists.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the latest balance of trade between Israel and the United Kingdom.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27th June 1977; Vol. 934, c. 8] gave the following information:Figures of the United Kingdom's crude trade balance—that is, the difference between exports valued fob and imports valued cif—with Israel can be derived from information in Table IB of the monthly publications "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom", copies of which are in the House of Commons Library.
Prices And Consumer Protection
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is his estimate of the effect on prices of the 40 per cent. increase in profits over the last 12 months.
Based on the latest provisional estimate, the increase in company profits for the first quarter of 1977, over the same quarter for the previous year was just under 30 per cent. This resulted in part from North Sea oil operations and from exports. It is impossible to give a reliable estimate of the effect of the increase on domestic prices.
Temporary Nurse (Agency Fee)
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he will refer to the Prices Commission a fee charged by the M & S Employment Agency, 124 Gloucester Road, London SW7 4SF, of about £170 for the introduction of a nurse for temporary employment.
The Price Commission is responsible for ensuring that prices and fees charged by individual firms are in accordance with the provisions of the Price Code. If my hon. Friend has any evidence to suggest that the Price Code is not being observed he may care to send particulars to the Chairman of the Price Commission.
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he will submit the forthcoming increases in television rental charges to the new Price Commission, under the Price Commission Bill when enacted.
No. The facts about TV rental were set out in the report which the Price Commission completed last winter. The new Commission will be able to take account of them, and of other relevant factors, when considering any increases in TV rentals prenotified to it. Increases prenotified up to 31st July must comply with the present Price Code.
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what effects he estimates will result from the proposed EEC Directive on Consumer Credit and what is the general justification for it.
A preliminary draft of a Commission proposal for a directive on consumer credit is under consideration by experts of the Nine. Such a directive would be intended to effect a degree of harmonisation of consumer credit laws in the Community. An aspect of particular importance to us is, of course, how far any proposals would impinge upon the arrangements under our own Consumer Credit Act.
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection by what percentage prices have risen since February 1974; and if he can give separate percentages in respect of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Between 19th February 1974 and 17th May 1977 the Retail Price Index rose by 78·7 per cent. A separate percentage for Scotland is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce the date for the commencement of improvements of the A21 as a trunk road.
I expect to announce the addition of schemes to the preparation pool shortly. The timing of construction will depend on the outcome of more detailed studies to settle the priorities that the schemes merit within the programme as a whole and on the satisfactory completion of statutory procedures.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of railway lines were closed between November 1964 and June 1970, July 1970 and February 1974 and since March 1974.
The information is available only for calendar years and is as follows:
|Year||Passenger and Freight Route Miles Closed|
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to institute a special licence and driving test for motorists towing caravans.
I am not convinced that such a scheme would bring sufficient benefit to road safety to justify its imposition on caravan owners and hirers or outweigh the cost of its administration.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to introduce a three-year roadworthiness MOT test for caravans towed on the public highway.
Caravans are subject to the construction and use regulations, and the speed limits which apply to them are designed to ensure their stability. They are involved in less than one-eighth of 1 per cent. of road accidents. I have no evidence to suggest that they should be made subject to special roadworthiness testing.
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what study he has made of the arrangements for taxation of caravans in Australia and Canada; how the schemes are administered in each country; and what is the level of tax or licence fee.
Practice, I believe, varies among different states or provinces.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (Driving Licences)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to public service vehicle licence holders being entitled to drive heavy goods vehicles.
This was permitted under the licensing scheme in use before the war, but the entitlement was removed by the Road Safety Act 1967. Although the technical characteristics of some public service and heavy goods vehicles are comparable, their general operation requires different skills and experience.
London Transport Executive (Shared Lines)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek powers similar to those under the Railways Act 1974 to extend payment of grants to the London Transport Executive on lines shared between the British Railways Board and the London Transport Executive.
London Commuter Services (Subsidies)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is now his policy on phasing out subsidies for outer London commuters; and what is his latest estimate of the consequent saving to public funds and the effect on fare levels.
The White Paper on transport policy states that the Government have decided not to impose upon the Railways Board a specific financial objective for reducing the subsidy to the London and South-East rail commuter services.
Trunk Roads (Overloading)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the mileage of rural trunk roads which is overloaded, according to present design standards; and which road designs are (a) most and (b) least affected.
I have been asked to reply.I regret that the information is not available.
asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the Hawk aircraft will provide full fast jet training for the RAF; and if he will make a statement.
The first of the Hawks ordered for the Royal Air Force was delivered in October 1976. The programme to replace the Gnat with the Hawk for RAF fast jet training is under way and is planned to be completed in 1979. The programme to replace the Hunter with the Hawk for RAF weapons training should start later this year and is planned to be completed towards the end of 1980. The first RAF students to receive full fast jet/weapon training in the Hawk are due to graduate towards the end of 1978.
Education And Science
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the percentage of students studying science subjects at British universities and, from international sources available to her, what are the comparable figures in the United States of America and in the other member countries of the EEC.
The percentage of full-time and sandwich students studying science—including medicine, engineering, agriculture and related subjects—at British universities in 1975–76 was 49·6. Internationally comparable figures are not available on the basis requested.
Regional Development Fund
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the EEC proposal for money available to the United Kingdom in 1978 in £ sterling from the European Regional Development Fund; what is the net figure after the United Kingdom contribution to the fund; and how this compares with Her Majesty's Government's own expenditure on regional aid.
I have been asked to reply.The Commission has proposed that the European Regional Development Fund for 1978 should comprise 750 million European units of account (EUA) or approximately £495 million, of which 650 million EUA, or approximately £429 million, would be allocated according to national quotas, and that the United Kingdom quota should be 28 per cent. as at present. If this proposal is endorsed, the United Kingdom can therefore expect to receive about £120 million from the quota section of the fund—a proportion of this aid will be for infrastructure projects—and would also be able to apply for assistance from the non-quota section.The United Kingdom contributes to the Community budget as a whole. The European Commission presented the preliminary draft budget for 1978 to the Council on 15th June; it totals 11,850 million EUA, equivalent to about £7,745 million. The Council and the European Parliament have not yet taken their decisions on the Commission's proposals and it is not, therefore, possible to indicate now the likely total United Kingdom contribution to the 1978 budget. The latest forecast of the United Kingdom contribution to the budget in 1978 is £810 million gross as shown in Cmnd. 6721—II.The fund contributes towards the cost of assistance to industrial projects and the cost of infrastructure projects. It is estimated that national expenditure on United Kingdom regional aids to industry will be £583 million in 1977–78 and £649 million in 1978–79. It is not possible to produce comprehensive estimates of expenditure on the infrastructure projects which might qualify for assistance for the fund since these programmes—for example, water, sewerage and ports—are not determined on a regional basis.
Hospitals (West Glamorgan)
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what capital sums have been invested in district hospitals in West Glamorgan since 1974; and what capital expenditure is projected for the new Morriston General Hospital.
£3½ million. Capital expenditure of £8 million is projected for the new Morriston General Hospital. Improvement of the operating threates at Morriston at a cost of £200,000 will start this financial year.
Barclodiad Y Gawres Cairn
asked the Secretary of State for Wales how much public money has been spent on preserving Barclodiad y Gawres Chambered Cairn (SH 328708) during the last 10 years; how many people were admitted to the chamber of the cairn in each of the last 10 years; and how the policy on access has changed during that period.
£2,500 has been spent from public funds on the preservation of Barclodiad y Gawres Chambered Cairn during the last 10 years. No records of admission to this monument are available. Up until April 1977 access to the passage and burial chamber within the cairn was available on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays from June to September, from 2 p.m. till 5 p.m. Since April 1977 access to the passage has been available at all times. Access to the burial chamber has been by application to the local office of Ancient Monuments Branch, Wales, at Caernarfon.
asked the Secretary of State for Wales in view of the withdrawal by the Government of the Scotland and Wales Bill, if he will now take steps to set up a Countryside Commission for Wales.
It is the Government's objective that legislation to set up a Welsh Assembly should be enacted next Session. Proposals for dealing with countryside matters in Wales will be considered in the context of that legislation.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether in view of the election of a new Spanish Government, he will consider approaching them on the question of Gibraltar to discuss the reopening of the frontier, in order to allow British Service and other personnel the opportunity of visiting Spain.
The lifting of Spanish restrictions and reopening of the frontier are matters of long-standing concern to the British Government. The effect of the closed frontier on British Service men is only one aspect of the situation. I hope that the new Spanish Government will themselves take a fresh look at a policy which isolates the people of Gibraltar from contact with their neighbours. The question is one which will be raised in the contacts which the British Government look forward to having in due course with the new Spanish Government.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the loss in revenue to the Treasury of each tax-deductible item, respectively, in 1976–77.
I am not sure what the hon. Member has in mind. If he is interested in the separate costs of the main tax reliefs and allowances relating to income tax I would refer him to the reply given on 2nd May 1977—[Vol. 931, c. 83–4]—to the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Silvester). For corporation tax, I would refer him to the reply given on 3rd May 1977 to my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Mr. Gourlay)—[Vol. 931, c. 137].—If the hon. Member also requires information relating to the capital or other taxes perhaps he will write to me.
Industrial And Provident Societies
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total amount of share interest paid by societies registered under the Industrial and Provident Acts for the last year to which the report of the Chief Registrar refers.
Share interest amounting to £8,420,000 was paid in 1975 by societies registered under the Industrial and Provident Acts and classified by the Registry of Friendly Societies as retail, wholesale and productive societies. Figures for 1976 are now being collected and will be published in the Chief Registrar's report later this year.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has made to the letter to him from the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, dated 26th May, about extending tax relief on foreign earnings to partners in professional practice; and if he will make a statement.
Companies (Motor Insurance)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what circumstances companies can claim, as tax deductible, premiums paid for motor insurance policies which offer cover against penalties for drinking and driving involving loss of mobility.
Such a premium would normally be allowable as a deduction in computing profits for tax purposes if paid to avoid costs which would themselves be deductible for tax purposes.
National Land Fund
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will list all those objects and properties required by, through, or with the assistance of, the National Land Fund since its establishment in 1946.
Property acquired with moneys provided from the National Land Fund is shown in the accounts of the National Land Fund from 1947–48 onwards. Copies of the accounts up to 1975–76 are available in the House of Commons Library.So far as concerns property acquired during 1976–77, I would refer the hon. Member to the answers my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary gave on 31st March to my hon. Friend the Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds).Items which have been accepted so far during 1977–78, at a total net cost to the National Land Fund of £1,324,193, are as follows:
The first two items have been transferred to the National Trust to be held for the enjoyment of the public. An announcement of the destination of the last six items will be made by the Minister with special responsibility for the Arts in due course after taking advice from
the Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South-West on 22nd June, he will indicate how much cash contributions have been made to the National Land Fund by institutions and members of the general public.
In 1947–48 a bequest of £3,895 9s. 2d. was made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and credited to the National Land Fund. A gift of £10 was received last year.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will amplify the level of use of a private home as a guesthouse which he deems to be carrying on a trade.
A number of factors determine whether the letting of furnished accommodation amounts to a trade, including the scale, type and frequency of the letting and the provision of personal services. Where meals and accommodation are regularly provided to paying guests, such activities would usually be treated as trading, but I should be glad to look into any particular case which the hon. Member may have in mind.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of extending the housekeeper allowance at a current rate of £200 per annum, at £300 per annum and at £400 per annum, respectively, to women with children under 11 years of age and to women in work who care for elderly dependants.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what percentage real disposable incomes have increased since February 1974; and if he can give separate percentages in respect of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Monthly figures for real disposable incomes are not available. Between the first quarter of 1974 and the fourth quarter of 1976 real personal disposable income is estimated to have fallen by about 1 per cent. On the basis of real national disposable income, which is available only on a half-yearly basis, there was a rise of nearly 3 per cent., between the first half of 1974 and the second half of 1976; on the same half-yearly comparison real personal disposable income rose by 1 to 1½ per cent. I regret that separate estimates for Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom are not available.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington on 24th March 1977, if he will give details of the method of levying the tax referred to in the six EEC countries mentioned; whether they refer to all tourists or only to foreign visitors; if the former, how each country defines a tourist; and to what goods and services the tax applies.
I assume the hon. Member is referring to my answer on 24th June 1977 in which I stated that six EEC countries operate a tourist tax—France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and West Germany. Luxembourg charges a simple percentage supplement on hotel tariffs. In the other five countries various rates of tax are applied—usually not on a simple percentage basis—to hotels and other forms of holiday accommodation such as rooms, villas, and caravan and camping sites. In Belgium, the Netherlands and West Germany taxes are levied at the discretion of local authorities. In France and Italy the tax is devied on a national basis, but varies according to the standard or location of the accommodation.
Income And Expenditure (Public Sector)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing public sector expenditure and receipts for each of the last four years in current prices, distinguishing between public consumption and gross capital formation and between social security contributions and taxes, showing the resulting financial balance, and expressing
|PUBLIC SECTOR ACCOUNTS|
|National insurance etc. contributions||4,099||5,409||7,174||8,827|
|Interest and dividends from public corporations||948||1,161||1,389||1,583|
|Gross trading surplus, rents and other non-trading income||2,453||3,111||3,616||5,055|
|Capital transfers from:|
|Public sector financial deficit:|
|General government (from above)||2,799||4,409||5,691||5,652|
|Public corporations (from above)||879||2,151||2,804||2,222|
|Total, per cent. of GDP at market prices||5·1||7·5||7·8||6·3|
|General Government consumption||…||…||13,949||18,217||23,747||27,161|
|Other current expenditure||…||…||8,813||11,975||15,382||17,764|
|Total current expenditure||…||…||25,737||33,784||43,603||50,626|
|Gross domestic capital formation†||…||…||4,062||4,432||5,382||5,274|
|Capital grants to public corporations||…||…||123||234||290||325|
|Other capital expenditure||…||…||825||976||943||1,171|
|Interest and dividends to:|
|Gross domestic capital formation†||…||…||2,216||3,874||4,818||5,265|
|* Preliminary estimates.|
|† Including stockbuilding.|
that financial balance at a percentage of gross domestic product.
The table is below:
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average payment of income tax made by wage and salary earners in the year 1973–74; and what estimate he has made of the average payment in the current financial year.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a detailed list of the dates when his Department has made statements concerning actual or estimated developments in economic affairs of the United Kingdom in relation to such matters as taxation and where such estimates have had to be subsequently altered and amended; and if he will give details
|Gross earnings equivalents|
|Annual earnings||Annual £||Weekly £||Percentage of gross earnings Per cent.|
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he intends to take any action to implement the proposals made by Finance for Industry to the Wilson Committee on the functioning of financial institutions, whereby the expenses of capital raising, including discounts on issues of loan stock, should be allowable for taxation purposes; whether he intends to take action on the freeing of issues of loan stocks from capital gains
of the latter and the dates when they were made.
I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in tabular form the gross pay equivalents of the Budget income tax changes for a married couple with two children under 11 years of age for the following annual incomes: (a) £2,000, (b) £4,000, (c) £6,000, (d) £8,000, (e) £10,000, (f) £15,000 and (g) £25,000, showing the increases on an annual, weekly and percentage basis.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27th June 1977; Vol. 934, c. 84–5], gave the following information:Assuming that income is all earned, the figures are as follows:tax; and what would be the cost of these two changes to the Exchequer.
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27th June 1977; Vol. 934, c. 85–6], gave the following information:I have noted these proposals, but have no action in mind at present. The cost of the two changes referred to cannot be estimated.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he is taking to draw in extra-mural departments of universities and colleges to assist in the Job Creation Programme.
The Manpower Services Commission, which administers the Job Creation Programme, welcomes assistance from all departments of universities and colleges, a number of which are currently sponsoring projects.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if a job, sponsored by the North-West Arts Association, has been created by the job creation scheme which will allow a community musician to produce music from scrap metal and old bicycle wheels; what wage is paid for this job; and whether unanimous approval was given to this job by the North-West Committee of the job creation scheme.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that a project sponsored by the North-West Arts Association under the Job Creation Programme has provided eight jobs, the purpose of which is to develop community interest in the arts, particularly among school-children. The job descriptions did not specifically mention activity of the kind described in the question, but it is understood that the employee concerned has sometimes used this method to stimulate the interest of young people in different kinds of music and in various methods of creating musical sounds. All employees on the project are paid £56 per week. The project had the full agreement of the North-West Area Action Committee.
asked the Secretary of Stale for Employment how many jobs have been created, to the latest convenient date, in the Cumbria County Council area, under the job creation programme; who are their sponsors; and what is the total sum made available to each project.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that up to 31st May 1977 grants have been made under the Job Creation Programme amounting to £2,677,064 for 242 projects to create 2,228 jobs in the Cumbria County Council area.I regret that details of all individual projects could not be published without disproportionate cost to public funds.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs have been created to date in the Humber- side county council area under the job creation programme; and what proportion of the total has been created by private organisations.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that to date 912 jobs have been created under the Job Creation Programme in the Humberside County Council area. Eighty-four per cent. of the 149 projects approved have been sponsored by local authorities, area health authorities or nationalised industries and the remaining 16 per cent. by voluntary and charitable organisations. No projects have been sponsored by private employers.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many firms are known to be on short-time working in the West Midlands region; and how this compares with 1976 and 1975.
The official statistics of short-time working relate to numbers of operatives and not to numbers of firms, and so precise figures are not available. However, other information obtained from our Midlands regional office, based on local reports covering all industries and services, suggests that during the first week in June 1977 about 100 establishments were affected by short-time working. The comparable 1976 figure is 309, and for 1975, 592.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many young persons who left school in the city of Birmingham in the last 12 months have not yet been placed in employment;(2)what is the estimated number of job opportunities for young persons leaving school in the city of Birmingham at the end of the present school term, including those available through Government schemes;(3)how many school leavers will be registering for employment in the city of Birmingham at the end of the present school term.
I regret that I am unable to supply the precise information. In June there were 1,979 school leavers registered as unemployed in the City of Birmingham, but the statistics do not identify the dates on which they left school. It is estimated that of about 2,000 Easter leavers between 500–600 registered as unemployed, but it is not known how many of these were still unemployed in June. About 20,000 young people are expected to be leaving school to seek employment this summer, and about 600 of these have so far registered for employment.It is not possible to make reliable estimates of job opportunities for this year's leavers, but in June the number of vacancies for young people remaining unfilled was 2,969. In the normal course the placing of summer leavers into employment is spread over a period of several months and many employers have not yet completed their recruitment programmes. The special measures introduced by the Government to alleviate unemployment have been extended and expanded to meet the needs of school leavers who have difficulty in obtaining jobs.
|Scheme||Numbers benefited||Estimated cost|
|Temporary Employment Subsidy||…||…||…||18,762||17,700,000|
|Temporary Employment Subsidy (Supplement)||…||…||…||(77 included in figure above)||18,500|
|Job Creation Programme||…||…||…||9,226||13,700,000|
|Work Experience Scheme||…||…||…||2,510||1,100,000|
|Recruitment Subsidy for School Leavers||…||…||…||2,529||253,000|
|Youth Employment Subsidy||…||…||…||1,954||455,000|
|Job Release Scheme||…||…||…||1,483||428,000|
|The time limits for the receipt of assistance under the current schemes are as follows:|
|Scheme||Maximum period of benefit||Commencement date||Closing date for applications|
|Temporary Employment Subsidy||12 months||18th August 1975||31st March 1978|
|Temporary Employment Subsidy (Supplement)||6 months||30th March 1977||31st March 1978|
|Job Creation||12 months||9th October 1975||31st August 1977|
|Work Experience Scheme||normally 12 months||21st September 1976||31st August 1977|
|Youth Employment Subsidy||26 weeks||1st October 1976||31st August 1977|
|Job Release Scheme (appropriate to Assisted Areas only)||12 months||3rd January 1977||30th June 1977|
Temporary Employment Subsidy
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are covered by the temporary employment subsidy scheme in each major sector of industry, and in each of the regions of the United Kingdom.
As announced by my right hon. Friend, the Government have accepted the proposals in the report of the Manpower Services Commission, "Young People and Work" and the new programme of opportunities for young people will be set in motion without delay.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will analyse the 30,000 jobs saved in Wales by the Government's counter-unemployment measures, indicating under which scheme these jobs have been saved, the cost of saving them, and for what length of time assistance is available under each scheme.
The number of workers in Wales who have benefited under the Government's special measures to alleviate the worst effects of unemployment now totals over 36,000. This is made up as follows:
An industrial breakdown by region for the whole of Great Britain as at the 31st March 1977 is set out below. More up to date figures will be available after the end of June.A separate scheme operates in Northern Ireland and is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
|NUMBER OF WORKERS IN APPROVED APPLICATIONS BY INDUSTRY AND BY REGION—18TH AUGUST 1975–31ST MARCH1977|
Yorkshire and Humberside
|1.||Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing||…||70||60||133||40||396||145||26||622||1,492|
|2.||Mining and Quarrying||…||223||50||—||1,195||159||64||160||10||1,861|
|3.||Food, Drink and Tobacco||…||113||1,161||690||785||378||165||717||1,544||5,553|
|4.||Coal and Petroleum Products||…||—||—||—||—||—||230||—||—||230|
|5.||Chemicals and Allied Industries||…||38||986||450||—||361||70||763||13||2,681|
|10.||Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering||…||40||369||1,405||176||10||—||828||1,236||4,064|
|12.||Metal Goods not elsewhere specified||…||270||423||1,041||111||883||2,872||3,087||723||9,410|
|14.||Leather, Leather Goods and Fur||…||243||759||883||20||91||154||688||635||3,473|
|15.||Clothing and Footwear||…||6,660||7,741||6,173||1,176||4,673||10,555||17,503||9,557||64,038|
|16.||Bricks, Pottery, Glass, Cement, etc.||…||92||80||20||334||450||2,515||890||523||4,904|
|17.||Timber, Furniture, etc.||…||839||780||1,493||594||531||1,141||1,352||434||7,164|
|18.||Paper, Printing and Publishing||…||92||394||6,797||1,505||359||757||1,796||759||12,459|
|19.||Other Manufacturing Industries||…||320||213||151||307||1,387||447||1,505||507||4,837|
|21.||Gas, Electricity and Water||…||—||—||—||—||—||20||—||—||20|
|22.||Transport and Communication||…||20||131||301||60||56||295||466||114||1,443|
|24.||Insurance. Banking, Finance and Business Services||…||—||30||10||22||—||90||97||29||278|
|25.||Professional and Scientific Services||…||—||—||124||43||—||20||27||48||262|
|27.||Public Administration and Defence||…||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of persons employed in each of the coalfields of the EEC during each of the last 10 years.
I regret that notwithstanding careful inquiry it has not been possible to provide the information requested.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will publish an index of the ratio between the old and new indices of average earnings; whether he can explain any significant variations in that index; and whether he will list the differences between the coverage of the old and new indices.
No. The new index covers virtually the whole economy, whereas the old index has a smaller coverage. The main differences, as explained in the April 1976 issue of the Department's Gazette, are the inclusion in the new index of distributive trades; insurance, banking and finance; professional and scientific services; public administration; forestry; Post Office; certain miscellaneous services; and Government employees in manufacturing and construction industries. A ratio of the old and new indices would have no particular meaning, because it would fluctuate from month to month depending on experience in the additional activities covered in the new index, where differential monthly fluctuations might be expected on account of the timing of pay settlements, bonuses and other periodical payments, seasonal movements and shortterm variations in earnings.
Job Release Scheme
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications under the job release scheme have been received from those registered as unemployed and those in employment; and what is the current rate of applications being received.
At 23rd June 1977, 10,395 applications from people registered as unemployed and 5,977 from those in employment, had been approved under the Job Release Scheme. Applications are currently being received at the rate of about 400 a week, and about half of these are from those in employment.
asked the Secretary of Stae for Employment what information regarding the net cost of the job release scheme is now available as a result of the sample investigations which he has been making; and if he will make a statement.
The net cost of the Job Release Scheme is running at about 45 per cent. of the gross cost.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the system of seasonal adjustment currently applied to the figures for unemployment and vacancies published by his Department; and whether he will make a statement on the possible disturbances to the published seasonally adjusted estimates stemming from exceptional conditions in the construction industry or any other relevant sectors.
Yes. The seasonal adjustment factors used are brought up to date annually and the method is kept under review. Figures over many years are taken into account in calculating the average variation each month that may be attributed to seasonal influences. Greater weight is given to recent years in order to allow for developments in the seasonal pattern.The unemployment rate in the construction industry in February and May this year was high, but little different from a year ago; it does not appear that this industry, or other sectors, have caused significant erratic disturbance to the seasonally adjusted series.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of the present unemployment total is (a) under 18 years of age, (b) under 21 years of age and (c) under 25 years of age; and what was the position at the same time of year in 1974.
Detailed age analyses of the numbers registered as unemployed are made only in respect of January and July. The following table shows the numbers unemployed in Great Britain at January 1977 in the age ranges below 25 years for which data arc compiled and expresses them as percentages of the total number unemployed.
|Number||Percentage of total unemployed|
|Under 18 years||…||122,366||8·8|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish figures to show in which age groups unemployment has risen proportionately the fastest over the period 1973 to 1977.
The following table gives an age breakdown of the numbers registered as unemployed in Great Britain at January 1977, the latest date for which this half-yearly analysis is available, and at January 1973, with percentage changes between these dates.
|Age range||January1973||January 1977||Percentage increase January 1973-January 1977|
|60 and over||121,717||139,977||15·0|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment by what percentage unemployment has increased since February 1974; and if he can give separate percentages in respect of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Based on seasonally adjusted figures, which exclude school leavers, the increases between February 1974 and June 1977 were 134·2 per cent. for the United Kingdom, 97·8 per cent. for Scotland, and 140·4 per cent. for the rest of the United Kingdom.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the 30 employment exchange areas with the highest rate of employment of registered disabled people.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the required information is not available, without mounting a special exercise at disproportionate cost.
Textiles And Shipbuilding
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will list those towns in the United Kingdom in which 10 per cent. or more of the working population are employed in the textile industry;(2) if he will list those towns in the United Kingdom in which 10 per cent. or more of the working population are employed in the shipbuilding industry.
The information is being assembled, and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number and percentage of unemployed persons registered with the Camberley employment office; and how these figures are divided between the various employment categories.
At 9th June, 1,098 people—797 males and 301 females—were registered as unemployed in the area covered by the Camberley employment office. Camberley is a part of the Weybridge travel-to-work area, which comprises the Weybridge, Camberley and Woking employment office areas. Unemployment rates are calculated only for the whole of this area and not separately for its constituent parts. At 9th June the provisional rate was 3·2 per cent.The following table gives an industrial analysis of the number unemployed in Camberley at 12th May. The analysis
is based on the industry in which the unemployed last worked.
|Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing||31|
|Mining and Quarrying||3|
|Food, Drink and Tobacco||5|
|Coal and Petroleum Products||4|
|Chemicals and Allied Industries||31|
|Vehicles, Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering||14|
|Metal Goods not elsewhere specified||7|
|Leather, Leather Goods, and Fur||2|
|Clothing and Footwear||3|
|Bricks, Pottery, Glass, Cement, etc.||11|
|Timber, Furniture, etc.||4|
|Paper, Printing and Publishing||11|
|Other Manufacturing Industries||31|
|Gas, Electricity and Water||3|
|Transport and Communication||80|
|Insurance, Banking, Finance and Business Services||39|
|Professional and Scientific Services||53|
|Public Administration and Defence||88|
|Not classified by Industry||149|
|All Industries and Services||1,017|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number and percentage of unemployed persons registered with the Staines employment office; and how these figures are divided between the various employment categories.
At 9th June, 1,109 people—864 males and 245 females—were registered as unemployed in the area covered by the Staines employment office. Staines is a part of the Greater London travel-to-work area and unemployment rates are calculated only for the whole of this area and not separately for its constituent parts. At 9th June the provisional rate was 4 per cent.The following table gives an industrial analysis of the number unemployed in Staines at 12th May. The analysis is based on the industry in which the unemployed last worked.
|Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Mining and Quarrying||21|
|Food, Drink and Tobacco||13|
|Coal and Petroleum Products||22|
|Chemicals and Allied Industries||10|
|Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering||4|
|Metal Goods not elsewhere specified||36|
|Textiles, Leather, Clothing and Footwear||6|
|Bricks, Pottery, Glass, Cement, etc.||6|
|Timber, Furniture, etc.||3|
|Paper, Printing and Publishing||7|
|Other Manufacturing Industries||18|
|Gas, Electricity and Water||3|
|Transport and Communication||175|
|Insurance, Banking, Finance and Business Services||52|
|Professional and Scientific Services||35|
|Public Administration and Defence||60|
|Not classified by Industry||112|
|All Industries and Services||1,042|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of persons reported to have been made redundant in Wales in each of the past five years.
I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the numbers of redundancies recorded as due to occur in Wales in each of the last five years and in the period January to May 1977 were:
|1977 (January to May)||…||5,120|
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he has evidence that workers are being dismissed for joining trade unions;(2) which sections of which statutes specifically protect the right of a worker to join a trade union without for that reason incurring his dismissal.
I will reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment by what percentage wages have risen since February 1974; and if he can give separate percentages in respect of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
The seasonally adjusted monthly index of average earnings of all employees in Great Britain in the industries covered by the old series index increased by about 70 per cent. between March 1974 and April 1977. Earnings in February 1974 were markedly affected by three-day working week and other restrictions. The index covers production industries and some transport and service industries. Corresponding estimates are not available for Scotland or other parts of the United Kingdom. However, the New Earnings Survey indicates that between April 1974 and April 1976 the average gross weekly earnings of full-time men aged 21 and over, in all industries and services in Scotland increased by about 56 per cent. and those of full-time women, aged 18 and over, by about 74 per cent; the corresponding figures for Great Britain were about 51 per cent. and 72 per cent., respectively.
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether his Department, or the Health and Safety Executive, intends to participate in the Conference on Ecotoxicology to be held at the University of Surrey, on the question of planning for a major industrial disaster; and if he will make a statement on his attitude to the conference.
pursuant to the reply [Official Report, 28th June 1977; Vol. 934, c. 65–6], gave the following information:I presume the hon. Member is referring to the NATO Workshop on Ecotoxicology to be held from 11th July to 8th August this year at the University of Surrey. This is, I understand, to be a closed workshop limited to 50 invited scientists from Europe, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is not my understanding that any part of the proceedings are to be devoted to "planning for a major industrial disaster".In any event, neither my Department nor the Health and Safety Executive has been asked to be present for the whole of the proceedings. An invitation to speak on the Health and Safety at Work Act during the third week has been accepted by the Director of the Health and Safety Executive, and a member of the Toxic Substances Branch of the Executive will speak on "The Evaluation of the Properties and the Control of Toxic Substances used at Work". These lectures will be part of an open symposium limited to industrial toxicology and I have no reason to doubt that the outcome of this symposium will be beneficial and in accordance with the aims and purposes of the executive.
Grunwick Processing Laboratories Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, pursuant to his statement, Official Report, 23rd June 1977, c. 1738, that on three occasions at least in the last few years people have been dismissed by the Grunwick company for joining a trade union, he will list the persons concerned and the dates of their dismissal.
Detained Persons (Interrogation)
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if, in view of the widespread anxiety, and resentment at the treatment of members of the Roman Catholic community held in Royal Ulster Constabulary interrogation centres under Section 10 of the Emergency Provisions Act 1973 and Section 12 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1976 especially since the Appointment of Mr. Kenneth Newman as Chief Constable of the RUC, he will set up an inquiry into the operation of detention and the conduct of the interrogation centres.
No. The RUC is committed to the enforcement of the law within the law, and I am satisfied that there are adequate procedures for the protection of the rights of persons in police custody and for the investigation of any complaints.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will call for a report from the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary concerning the circumstances in which Mr. Owen Roe O'Neill, and Mr. Eugene McStravick, of Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, were arrested on Thursday 12th May and held for seven days in Cookstown police station and their condition on release, in view of the fact that the Royal Ulster Constabulary informed the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, during their detention, that they did not need a doctor, though they had to be given medical treatment on their release;(2) if he will call for a report from the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary concerning the circumstances in which Mr. Eugene McStravick, of Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, was arrested on 3rd June and held in Castlereagh police station under Section 10 of the Emergency Provisions Act 1973, in view of the treatment given to Mr. McStravick while in custody, of which he was told not to complain to his doctor or anyone else;(3) if he will call for a report from the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary into the actions of detectives in ill treating Mr. Damien O'Hagan, of Annagher, Coalisland, and Mr. Fergus Harte, of Meenagh Park, Coalisland, while the town of Dungannon was sealed off by Loyalists on tractors for six hours without any action being taken against them by the police.
I understand that formal complaints have been made to the Chief Constable by the persons concerned, and these are being investigated. It therefore would be inappropriate for me to make further comment at this moment in time. All complaints are dealt with by a separate department at RUC headquarters or by a senior officer from another division, and where a complaint alleges a criminal offence by a police officer, the investigation report must be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland for indepenedent decision on whether or not criminal proceedings should be brought.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to alleviate the feelings of public unease created by the ill-treatment at some centres of Roman Catholic detainees arrested under the emergency powers legislation; and if he will bring forward proposals for a system for handling complaints against the police which would have general public support, in the light of the loss of confidence in the present system.
The Police (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 provides for the establishment of a Police Complaints Board, which will receive copies of police investigation reports into complaints. The Board is empowered in certain circumstances to require that disciplinary charges be preferred against a police officer or that they be heard by a tribunal on which the Board is represented. The new procedures are expected to come into operation later this year.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many complaints against the police under the present system have been successful.
In the two year period 1975–76 a total of 3,200 complaints were made by members of the public against members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Of these, 173 were subsequently withdrawn by the complainants. On 31st December 1976, 575 were still under investigation or awaiting decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Of the remainder, 221 were found to be substantiated.
Personal Security (Police Protection)
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of the RUC will now be available for other duties following the withdrawal of police protection from a number of public figures in Northern Ireland.
It would not be in the interests of security to disclose details of any such charges in police deployment.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have absconded in Northern Ireland in 1977 to date when they were released from prison or police custody to attend the funerals of, or to visit, seriously ill relations; how many of these persons were charged with or convicted of terrorist-type offences; and how many were from RUC divisions N, O and P.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons have been released from prison or police custody to attend funerals or to visit seriously ill relatives in each of the following years: 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977 to date; and how many in each year were charged with or convicted of terrorist-type offences.
Prison records do not separately identify persons convicted of terrorist offences. However, all special category prisoners have been convicted of offences connected with the civil disturbances and committed before 1st March 1976.The following were granted compassionate leave from prisons:
|Total||Special Category (included in total)|
|1977 (to 22nd June)||…||69||55|
Persons in police custody are not normally granted such leave.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many new jobs have been created in Northern Ireland in each of the years 1972 to 1976.