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Written Answers

Volume 938: debated on Thursday 10 November 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 10th November 1977

Public Prosecutions(Investigations)

asked the Attorney—General if he will list the occasions, since 1960, when the Attorney—General has instructed the Director of Public Prosecutions to cease investigations into cases before the investigations have reached their conclusion.

The Director of Public Prosecutions does not conduct investigations into cases. This is a matter for the police or for other persons or bodies with investigatory powers. However, the Director, upon receipt of reports from investigators, frequently advises whether further inquiries are necessary or desirable. Sometimes he does so after consultation with me.

House Of Commons

Government And Liberal Party

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will now answer Questions on arrangements for consultations between Her Majesty's Government and Liberal parliamentary spokesmen.

No. I have nothing to add to what has previously been said both by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and by myself on this subject.

Members' Pay

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will give an assurance that the reports of the Review Board on Top Salaries will not be implemented for any other groups before that on hon. Members' salaries is implemented.

I appreciate the sentiment behind the hon. Member's Question, but I cannot give such an assurance. Under the 12–months rule, Members' salaries are not now due to be increased before the anniversary of their phase 2 increase on 13th June 1977, and I cannot say that no increase will be given before next June to groups who received their phase 2 increase before Members did and whose pay was last reported on by the Review Body before it reported on Members' pay. The Government will continue to be guided by their counter-inflation policy in considering the implementation of the salaries recommended by the Review Body

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the salaries of hon. Members, expressed in United States dollars, and of Members of Parliament in each of the countries of the Community in 1977.

The basic annual salaries of parliamentarians in the EEC countries compare as follows:

National CurrencyUS Dollars
United Kingdom£6,27011,350
Belgium1,310,277 BF37,050
Denmark128,240 Kr21,000
Federal Republic of Germany.90,000 DM39,900
France98,000 FF40,750
Ireland£6,06911,000
Italy15,428,956 Lire17,550
Luxembourg282,000 Lux. F7,950
Netherlands51,255–80,518 Fl21,050–33,100
is table takes no account of supplementary allowances and other entitlements.

Devolution

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will communicate with the Zetland County Council specifying those clauses of the Zetland County Council Act 1974 which, assuming the Scotland Bill will pass in its present form, could be amended by the Scottish Assembly, and those which could not.

The Scottish Assembly would only be able to amend the 1974 Act if the amendment related to a devolved matter as defined in Schedule 10 to the Scotland Bill. This would exclude amendments relating to ports or energy. It is not practicable to list which sections of the 1974 Act may or may not be amended by the Assembly, because this would depend on the nature of the amendment. I shall be meeting representatives of Shetland Islands Council on 16th November.

Political Parties (State Aid)

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will make a statement about the Houghton Committee's Report on State Aid to Political Parties.

The Committee's recommendations are still under consideration, but I have no proposals to put forward on this matter at present.

Palace Of Westminster(Staff)

asked the Lord President of the Council what is the size of the staff currently employed at the Palace of Westminster; and what was the cost of the same to public funds in 1964, 1970, 1974 and at the latest convenient date, respectively.

I am having this information assembled and shall reply as soon as possible.

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q4.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 10th November.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 10th November.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will list his official engagements for 10th November.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 10th November.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 10th November.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 10th November.

Q25.

asked the Prime Minister what are his official engagements for 10th November.

This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be holding further meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.

Prime Minister(Broadcasts)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister when lie next plans to make a broadcast to the nation.

Pay Settlements

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Employment and the Secretary of State for Trade regarding the imposition of Government sanctions on firms found to be in breach of the pay guidelines under stage 2 of the wages policy and under the current pay round.

Netherlands (Prime Minister)

Q7.

asked the Prime Minister when he next expects to meet the Dutch Prime Minister.

I expect to meet the Dutch Prime Minister at the next European Council in Brussels on 5th and 6th December.

Welsh Office

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister what further functions and responsibilities he proposes transferring during the current year to the Welsh Office.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) on 8th November.

Cbi

Q11.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke—on—Trent, South (Mr. Ashley).

House Of Lords

Q12.

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any plans to recommend to Her Majesty the appointment of new life peers committed to the abolition of the House of Lords.

Economic Situation

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if he remains satisfied with the Government's progress with the economy.

In a number of respects the development of the economy has been encouraging, but I am not satisfied with the overall progress of either the British or the world economies.

Construction Industry

Q16.

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied that the measures proposed by the Government will provide help for the construction industry in the coming winter.

The substantial increases of £230 million in public sector construction programmes announced in March, May and July will help the construction industry in the coming winter and later. The £400 million announced on 26th October by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide additional help for the industry in 1978–79.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister what were the results of his meeting with representatives of the construction industry.

I met representatives of the construction industry on 16th June. I told them that I shared the con- cern about the serious problems facing the construction industry and that the Government would continue to do all they could, within the general economic constraints, to help the industry. The hon. Member will be aware that the Government have since then announced additional public sector construction programmes of £500 million.

Southern Africa

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if he has any plans to visit Southern Africa.

asked the Prime Minister when he next expects to discuss the problems of Southern Africa with President Carter.

I have no immediate plans to meet President Carter. Our two Governments continue to be in close touch on the problems of Southern Africa.

Tuc

Q19.

Q26.

I refer my hon. Friends to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Mr. Arnold) on 8th November.

Personal Incomes

asked the Prime Minister if, pursuant to his reply to the

1973–741977–78£per week in 1977–78 at the prices of 1973–74
Average gross earnings44·8080·0041·24
Tax and national insurance contributions, less family allowance or child benefit 8·9717·398·96
The earnings figures are for full—time adult male workers in all occupations; the 1973–74 figure is the average of the figures for April 1973 and April 1974, and the 1977–78 figure an estimate for August 1977, the most recent figure available.

City And Financialinstitutions (Inquiry)

Q28.

asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the progress of the Wilson Commission into the City and financial institutions; and when he expects it to report.

Yes; I understand that the committee may be issuing a progress report fairly soon.

Investment Potential(Report)

asked the Prime Minister what steps he is taking to coordinate the Departments of Industry, Environment and Employment in their response to the recommendations of the National Enterprise Board contained in its report "Investment Potential in the North East and North West of hon. Member for Chingford, Official Report, 3rd November, column 40, that the man on average industrial earnings with two young children is as well off now as he was at the time of the last General Election, he will state the figures of net take-home pay in real terms upon which he based his statement.

In my speech on 3rd November I said that the burden of total tax and benefits is not greater today than it was when the Conservative Government left office. The figures to which I referred show that, as I stated, after taking account of child benefits and family allowance, the tax and national insurance contributions paid by a married man with two children under 11 on average earnings are the same this year, in real terms, as in 1973–74. The figures are as follows:England"; and how many of the recommendations have been accepted and implemented.

I have been asked to reply.The report has been considered by an appropriate inter-departmental committee. Eleven of the report's recommendations have been accepted and nine have been, or soon will be, implemented. The implementation of the remaining two is under consideration.

Civil Service

Pay Research Unit

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will reactivate immediately the Pay Research Unit to research the differential between the public and private sectors of wage levels since its last report in 1975 and ensure that the agreement of 1974 with the Civil Service unions be honoured.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Ellis) on 7th November.—[Vol. 938, c. 11.]

Energy

Energy Commission

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will take the chair at a special meeting of the Energy Commission.

The first meeting of the Energy Commission, which I shall chair, has been arranged for Monday 28th November. I have no plans for a special meeting.

Fuel Bills (Arrears)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish figures showing the aggregate value of outstanding debt currently owed by individual consumers to the gas and electricity boards, respectively, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively.

The electricity industry in Scotland, and the gas and electricity industries in Northern Ireland, are the responsibilities of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively. In respect of the areas falling within my responsibility I have asked the chairmen of the British Gas Corporation and the Electricity Council to write to the hon. Member about the information that he seeks.

Conservation

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many energy savings loans have been approved up to 1st October 1977; and what is the budget for this scheme for 1978.

Ten, although four of these were subsequently withdrawn by the applicants before completion of the arrangements for the advance of the loans. Five further applications were still under consideration at 1st October 1977. The budget for the Energy Saving Loan Scheme in the financial year 1977–78 is £500,000. As the hon. Member knows, the Government are currently engaged in a wide—ranging review of our energy saving policies, which may affect the Energy Saving Loan Scheme. No budget has therefore yet been agreed for the scheme in the financial year 1978–79.

Voluntary Organisations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the total sum granted to voluntary organisations in each of the years 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77; and what is the size of the grants budgeted for 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80.

The Department of Energy made no grants to voluntary organisations between 1973–74 and 1976–77, and existing estimates for subsequent years do not make any such provisions.

Combined Heat And Power Group

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the members of the Combined Heat and Power Group; and how many times it met in 1977.

The Combined Heat and Power Group have met three times so far this year with the membership shown. Much of the ongoing work on combined heat and power has been delegated by the main group to various working parties. For example, further work on estimating the national potential for combined heat and power is being carried out and five areas of Britain are being surveyed for this purpose.Dr. W. C. Marshall, UKAEA—Chairman of Group.Mr. A. N. Britten, Imperial Chemical Industries.Mr. P. L. Bakke, Building Research Establishment.Mr. J. A. Burchnall, The Electricity Council.Mr. G. G. Campbell, Department of Energy.Professor J. M. Cassels, University of Liverpool.Dr. E. Clatworthy, British Gas Corporation.Sir H. Clay, McLellan and Partners.Mr. J. Cohen, Department of Energy.Mr. D. C. Gore, Department of Energy.Dr. G. F. Hewitt, Atomic Energy Research Establishment.Dr. J. H. Horlock, University of Salford.Mr. R. C. Huxford, National Coal Board.Professor N. Kurti, University of Oxford.Miss P. R. Tindale, Department of the Environment.Mr. J. C. Waterton, South of Scotland Electricity Board.Dr. J. K. Wright, Central Electricity Generating Board.

Coal Miners (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what effect the implementation of the National Union of Mineworkers' Union claim for £135 a week for miners would have on both the price of coal and the retail price index, assuming it were implemented as regards different grades in the way envisaged by the National Union of Mineworkers and also assuming no increase in productivity.

Transport

Road Construction (Kent)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are the estimated completion dates for all motorway and trunk road schemes in Kent that are now under construction in the firm programme and in the preparation pool.

The schemes are listed in the table. The expected start dates for those not yet in construction must be approximate, and they are shown in time bands. Most will be built with two-year contracts.

Under ConstructionEstimated Completion Date
M25 Westerham-Sundridge RoadSummer 1979
M25 Sevenoaks InterchangeSpring 1980
M20 West Kingsdown-WrothamAutumn 1980
M26 Dunton Green-WrothamAutumn 1980
In Firm ProgrammeEstimated Start Date
A2 Canterbury Bypass (Railway Bridge)(a)
A2 Canterbury Bypass (Main Works)(b)
M20 Ashford-Sellindge(b)
M20 Sellindge-Folkestone(b)
M20 Maidstone-Ashford(c)
In Preparation Pool
M25 Swanley-Sevenoaks Link(c)
A21 Pembury Bypass(c)
A20 Folkestone-Dover(c)

Footnote: Start dates are quoted in bands and are subject to change.

( a) 1977.

( b) 1978 and 1979.

( c) 1980–1982.

M20 (Ashford-Folkestone)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce the proposed starting dates and design stan- dards for the various sections of the Ashford-Folkestone M20 motorway.

As soon as we have completed our review of schemes in the light of the White Paper on Transport Policy.

W & C French (Construction) Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether W. & C. French (Construction) Ltd. has now repaid all amounts due under the arrangement whereby it was given financial assistance to complete his Department's trunk road contracts.

Yes. Under the arrangements anounced on 22nd May 1975 the Government undertook to make an ex-gratia payment to W. & C. French (Construction) Ltd., of £9·5 million and additionally to make available a loan of up to a maximum of £4·5 million. If the total loss on the contracts was less than the forecast loss, the company undertook to repay half the difference. The Department's independent accountants have stated that in their opinion no repayment on this account is likely. Apart from some outstanding claims still to he settled, the aggregate losses on the contracts exceed the forecast loss by over £5 million.The company drew £1·5 million of the £4·5 million loan facility. This amount would have been repayable in six equal instalments beginning in September 1977, but at the company's request the Department agreed to allow early repayment of the loan, either in whole or by instalments, for an additional lump sum premium of 9 per cent. This negotiated settlement also provided that, prior to September 1978, the Department would not exercise its rights to convert any outstanding amounts of the loan into equity. In the event, the company repaid the whole of the loan, together with the premium of £135,000, on 12th August 1977.

Northern Ireland

Road, Water And Sewerage Schemes

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the road, water and sewerage schemes in the council areas of Londonderry, Limavady and Coleraine which will begin in the current and in the next financial year as a result of the statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 26th October.

The apportionment of additional money in the financial year 1978–79 for the construction industry has not yet been finalised.The additional funds will enable a number of small water and sewerage schemes to be brought forward, particularly in those areas which are most in need of mains services. For road schemes it is proposed that the main use of the additional funds will be to bring forward within the five—year programme the starting date of major schemes already programmed.Consultation will take place with the district councils affected as to priorities within their area and I shall advise the hon. Member when this has been completed.

Prices And Consumerprotection

Voluntary Organisations

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what was the total sum granted to non-statutory organisations in each of the years 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77; what is the size of the grants budgeted for 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80; and if he will detail them.

Grants made by my Department to bodies not established by statute were as follows:

£000
1973–741974–751975–761976–77
1,1831,4402,1532,965
Part APart B
Size ofNet Weekly Income in £p
Family123456
138·00
245·4044·15
352·8051·5550·30
460·2058·9557·7056·45
567·6066·3565·1063·8562·60
675·0073·7572·5071·2570·0068·75
" Size of family" means the number of dependent children in the family who have not attained the age of 19.
For families which have more than six dependent children under the age of 19:
(a) £7·40 is to be added at each incremental point in every additional line, and
(b) £1·25 is to be deducted at each incremental point in every additional column.
Where the net weekly income of the parent of a family of any size specified in Part A is less than any amount shown in the corresponding entry in Part B, the number of children entitled to free school meals is as given at the head of the column in Part B showing the lowest amount in that entry which exceeds that income.

The figures for these years are out—turn prices. For the year 1977–78 the amount of grant payable is expected to be no less than for 1976–77. A final decision has not yet been taken for the years after 1978.

Education And Science

Maritime Environment

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will arrange for an exhibition relating to the maritime environment to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.

I understand that arrangements have been made with the authorities of the House for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from 21st November to 2nd December.

School Meals

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish figures showing the new income limits for free school meals.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will publish in the Official Report the scale rates of income used to decide the eligibility of school pupils for free school meals.

Details are contained in the Provision of Milk and Meals (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 1977 which were laid before Parliament on 24th October 1977 and will come into effect on 14th November. The regulations are subject to negative resolution procedure. The rates are as follows:

Net weekly income is arrived at by deducting income tax, national insurance contributions and certain expenses, and by disregarding a number of resources specified in regulations. The gross income will, of course, vary in individual circumstances, but as an illustration, a family living in rented accommodation and with two children both at school would be likely to qualify for free meals for both of them if the gross parental income was not greater than about £70; and a similarly placed family with four children at school would receive free meals for all if the gross parental income was not more than about £80.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent steps were taken by her Department to inform parents of the new regulations for eligibility for free school meals.

The circular (7/77) announcing the changes which came into effect in August urged local education authorities to use all possible means of publicising information about the revised remission scale. My Department also provided briefing material for the national and local Press and for radio and television. The scale will be further raised as from 14th November as a consequence of the increase in the levels of supplementary benefit, and local authorities have been invited to take steps to draw the new scale to the attention of parents. Briefing will again be provided for the press and broadcasting services. Posters about eligibility for free school meals are being displayed in post offices, libraries, citizens advice bureaux and elsewhere; there will be versions in eight minority languages, as well as in English and Welsh. Details of the November scale have also been incorporated in the latest leaflet about family benefits, prepared by the Department of Health and Social Security.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is. her estimate for September 1977 of the take—up rate in England and Wales of free school meals expressed as a percentage of those who are estimated to qualify:and what is the corresponding figure for September 1976.

Our latest estimate is that 75 per cent. of the pupils eligible to receive free school meals in 1976–77 took up their entitlement. A comparable figure for 1977–78 is not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will list, for each education authority in England and Wales, the number of school pupils receiving paid school meals and free school meals, respectively, in September 1977 and the corresponding figures for September 1976.

The information for the current school term will not be available until next month, and will relate to a day in October. I will arrange for a copy of the complete return to be placed in the House of Commons Library. The comparable information from the October 1976 Census was placed in the Library last year.

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of university students received the maximum grant during the year 1976–77.

It is estimated that 24 per cent. of university students receiving full value awards from local education authorities in England and Wales received a maximum grant in the academic year 1975–76, the latest year for which information is available.

School Population

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will list, for each education authority in England and Wales, the total school population in September 1977 and the corresponding figures for September 1976.

Figures of pupils in schools are collected only as at January of each year. The number of pupils attending either maintained or non-maintained schools in the area of each local education authority in Eng-

January 1976January 1977
Full-time pupilsPart-time pupilsFull-time pupilsPart-time pupils
Barking29,34318029,259312
Barnet52,0061,48751,7101,554
Bexley41,34748441,256521
Brent45,66449345,026791
Bromley54,75428654,810250
Croydon67,12433966,507374
Ealing51,7451,08851,2401,339
Enfield47,4051,01647,4291,247
Haringey41,1971,32240,2321,447
Harrow37,62237437,499480
Havering48,06165047,735637
Hillingdon43,4341,38043,4461,520
Hounslow35,9061,67335,9241,725
Kingston-upon-Thames22,8291,27622,8481,175
Merton29,1641,29529,1141,468
Newham43,0161,90042,3862,325
Redbridge39,98734739,766502
Richmond-upon-Thames25,6661,27125,3561,295
Sutton28,69465928,661635
Waltham Forest40,01054439,8141,062
Inner London430,93213,562420,05813,337
Birmingham224,2572,260219,8002,633
Coventry71,18985270,6071,027
Dudley57,2801,28457,1131,280
Sandwell65,4921,54065,2101,892
Solihull45,61682246,141950
Walsall60,1192,78460,4603,360
Wolverhampton57,3882,03557,0262,655
Knowsley47,32546446,155645
Liverpool118,4352,732114,9203,145
St. Helens39,88347739,764858
Sefton66,9361,31566,4061,511
Wirral72,8301,39272,7211,411
Bolton55,78393256,4451,175
Bury34,84910035,166271
Manchester108,6452,296106,3952,147
Oldham45,23024345,852380
Rochdale43,5681,16043,7361,244
Salford56,39258855,447473
Stockport61,88987161,789846
Tameside43,52791843,6201,076
Trafford45,59839845,289517
Wigan64,0851,69865,0901,797
Barnsley45,5651,88745,6212,331
Doncaster62,5621,68962,1152,326
Rotherham52,8521,30753,2681,651
Sheffield108,1753,102107,9173,210
Bradford93,2092,75793,2173,052
Calderdale38,69744139,415108
Kirklees73,5231,49574,1931,680
Leeds144,7392,480144,3862,879
Wakefield65,6051,39965,6002,126
Gateshead42,76052042,062734
Newcastle upon Tyne59,05590957,900906
North Tyneside39,42494839,3811,256
South Tyneside33,88183233,0501,026
Sunderland64,2311,04564,0931,526
Isles of Scilly345342
Avon178,7491,717178,4591,829
Bedfordshire101,446981102,7471,628
Berkshire138,7852,865138,8573,438
Buckinghamshire104,7821,704106,2411,969
Cambridgeshire104,1832,992105,9542,992
Cheshire185,6262,585186,8353,659
Cleveland128,4374,361127,6575,087
Cornwall71,8591,66173,2281,913
Cumbria95,0761,32694,9611,555
Derbyshire173,9292,589174,9883,409
Devon163,6641,228165,0651,414

and and Wales in January 1976 and January 1977 are given below.

January 1976

January 1977

Full-time pupils

Part-time pupils

Full-time pupils

Part-time pupils

Dorset97,5442,20698,4042,218
Durham122,3422,329122,1873,021
East Sussex105,3802,290105,4732,521
Essex275,3981,597277,6751,711
Gloucestershire100,685395100,465316
Hampshire280,0322,019281,9761,997
Hereford and Worcester119,144439121,024398
Hertfordshire202,0465,332201,4376,405
Humberside176,6121,357176,6362,289
Isle of Wight,20,21216520,473182
Kent281,4241,777283,4152,036
Lancashire266,7944,170267,8804,550
Leicestershire166,7834,100168,1413,826
Lincolnshire102,642658103,390773
Norfolk122,3571,659121,7703,190
North Yorkshire124,5611,403125,3882,006
Northamptonshire104,1461,269105,6641,334
Northumberland54,48650354,807614
Nottinghamshire197,9883,893197,4366,732
Oxfordshire106,7051,639105,0611,672
Salop73,65198775,212983
Somerset78,19543079,233415
Staffordshire200,1141,658201,1422,683
Suffolk107,2501,371108,6081,371
Surrey189,7213,864189,3173,651
Warwickshire97,2141,72897,4372,021
West Sussex113,408705113,264720
Wiltshire103,739315103,635330
Total—England9,103,954153,8659,099,310178,958

Wales:

Clwyd77,8091,12578,4081,378
Dyfed62,19951761,885774
Gwent93,4081,98592,6752,122
Gwynedd44,19798644,6571,028
Mid-Glamorgan114,1841,381114,2141,582
Powys21,18615321,09829
South Glamorgan79,1341,69578,7211,833
West Glamorgan73,1682,65773,0103,066
Total—Wales565,28510,499564,66811,812
TOTAL—England and Wales9,669,239164,3649,663,978190,770

Employment

Statistics (Wales)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will arrange for Welsh unemployment statistics to reflect the position in each individual town in rural Wales and not merely that within an employment exchange area.

Unfortunately it is not practicable to provide unemployment figures for areas smaller than whole employment office areas.

Merseyside

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many workers in Merseyside and Greater Liverpool have been unemployed for three years, two-and-a-half years, two years, 18 months, one year and for six months, respectively; how many are receiving unemployment pay; and how many are receiving supplementary benefit.

At 13th October the number of people unemployed in the Merseyside special development area included 27,285 who had been registered for more than 52 weeks and 15,270 who had been registered for more than 26 and up to 52 weeks. The analysis does not provide information for the periods specified which are in excess of 52 weeks.I am informed by the Secretary of State for Social Services that at 2nd August 1977, of those recorded at the unemployment benefit offices which cover the Merseyside special development area, 18,500 were receiving unemployment benefit only, 5,300 were receiving un- employment benefit and supplementary benefit, and 47,300 were receiving supplementary benefit only.

Job Vacancies

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the proportion of job vacancies notified to his Department.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the Employment Service Agency has estimated that, in the period 1966 to 1975, about a quarter of the flow of all job vacancies were notified to the agency.

Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish

ANNUAL AVERAGE PERCENTAGE INCREASE OF GROSS HOURLY EARNINGS OF MANUAL WORKERS IN THE

MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES IN SELECTED COUNTRIES:1955–75
Annual average percentage rate of increase
CountryNotes1955–601960–651965–701970–75
United Kingdom(1)(2)6817
Belgium(2)4(3)7½(3)17
France(1)(4)8½(5)916
Federal Republic of Germany(6)10
Netherlands111015½
Sweden6½(7)9(7)9(7)12
USA435
Canada411
Japan(8)61014½18
Source: International Labour Office "Year Books of Labour Statistics ".
(1) Adults only.
(2) Males only.
(3) Based on daily (not hourly) earnings.
(4) Wage rates (not earnings).
(5) Four year period 1956–60.
(6) Including family allowances paid by employers.
(7) Including mining and quarrying.
(8) Based on monthly earnings of manual and non-manual workers; these include family allowances paid by employers and end of year bonuses.

Manchester

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people were unemployed in Manchester at the latest available date; and how these figures compare with 1974, 1975 and 1976.

At July 1977, the latest date for which the half yearly age analysis is available, the numbers of young people under 20 years of age registered as unemployed in the area covered by the Manchester, Didsbury, Levenshulme, Moss Side, Newton Heath, Openshaw and Wythenshaw employment offices was 6,145. The corresponding figures for July 1975 and July 1976 were 2,981 and 5,058. Information for July 1974 is not available.

a table comparing annual average rates of change in average earnings during each five-year period since 1955 in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United States of America, Canada and Japan.

Comparable intern-national earnings statistics, from 1955 onwards for the countries requested, are available only for manual workers in the manufacturing industries as defined by the International Standard Industrial Classification. The information available is shown in the table below. In making comparisons account must be taken of differences in methods of compilation by the various national statistical offices, the more important of which are referred to in the notes.

Part-Time Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will publish in the Official Report the number of part-time workers registered as unemployed, given the figures separately for men and women;(2) if he will publish in the

Official Report the number of notified part-time job vacancies.

Unfair Dismissal Claims

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether employers can claim costs in which unfair dismissal is not proven.

Parties to industrial tribunal cases must normally bear their own costs whatever the outcome. The tribunal may, however, award costs if it considers that either party has acted frivilously or vexatiously; or if a party has requested a postponement of the proceedings.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of unfair dismissal claims was successfully upheld in tribunals in 1976 and 1975.

In 1976, 36 per cent. of unfair dismissal applications that went to a hearing at industrial tribunals were upheld and in 1975 38 per cent. were upheld.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many cases of unfair dismissal were brought in 1976 and 1975; and if he will give a breakdown of these figures by size of firm involved.

The number of unfair dismissal applications registered by the Central Offices of the Industrial Tribunals in 1975 was 30,153 and in 1976 was 37,869. Applications are not analysed by size of firm.

International Labour Organisation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, in the light of the decision by the American Government to withdraw their support from the International Labour Organisation, whether he intends that the United Kingdom should also withdraw from this organisation.

No. The Government very much regret the circumstances which led to the United States' decision to withdraw from the International Labour Organisation. We share many of the United States' concerns at recent trends within the organisation, but the Government have no intention that the United Kingdom should withdraw. The ILO since its foundation in 1919 has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of social justice, to the improvement of international labour standards and working conditions and to the defence of human and trade union rights throughout the world, and the Government intend to continue to make every effort to help the organisation to pursue these objectives.

National Finance

Building Industry

17.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about unemployment in the building industry and what plans he has to increase the additional £400 million allocated to this industry in his 26th October financial statement.

My right hon. Friend has received representations from many sources. The increases in expenditure on construction which he has announced for 1978–79 will offset the reductions made last year, and the programmes for the following year are being increased so as to maintain next year's level of expenditure. It is this stability which many of those in the industry have been seeking.

Employment

18.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration regional differences in unemployment played in his 26th October statement.

I believe that the measures announced on 26th October will help to promote growth in industrial investment and bring down the rate of unemployment throughout the United Kingdom.

29.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what financial measures he has in view which are likely to promote immediate improvements in the United Kingdom employment position.

The measures which my right hon. Friend announced in his statement to the House on 26th October should, on the conventional arithmetic, produce an increase in employment of about 30,000 by the first quarter of 1978 and of 170,000 by the first quarter of 1979.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated effect, adverse or favourable, of the recent revaluation of the £ sterling upon employment prospects during the next 12 months in the 12 most important labour-intensive manufacturing industries; and by what number total unemployment is likely to increase or decrease during this period as a consequence of this revaluation.

Any estimate made at this stage would be highly speculative. Much will depend on the actual path of the exchange rate, on the response of domestic costs, and hence on the impact on output.

International Monetary Fund

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next proposes to meet the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

As chairman of the interim committee my right hon. Friend will be keeping in touch with Mr. Witteveen. My right hon. Friend met him on Tuesday when he came through London.

Free Collective Bargaining

24.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied with the extent to which the Government's guidelines for a gradual return to free collective bargaining have been observed.

The vast majority of workers covered by settlements reached since 1st August have settled in accordance with the Government's pay guidelines.

Inflation

25.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current rate of inflation as compared with November 1976.

The Retail Price Index rose by 12 per cent. from November 1976 to September 1977.

26.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects inflation to reach the level obtaining when he first took office.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest annual rate of inflation in the United Kingdom United States of America, Japan and West Germany, respectively.

In the 12 months to September the rate of inflation in the United Kingdom was 15½6 per cent., in the United States 6½6 per cent., in Japan 7½6 per cent. and the Federal Republic of Germany 3½7 per cent.

Widows

27.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received concerning the taxation of widows and what replies he has sent.

I have received a number of representations during this year concerning the taxation of widows from hon. Members, from widows' organisations and others. In reply to these representations I have explained generally that the substantial increases made in widows' pensions since this Government came to power have been a more effective way of helping all widows than providing special tax reliefs. The further increases in allowances this autumn will, of course, be of substantial benefit to widows as to other taxpayers.

Value Added Tax

28.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the effect on revenue of levying a single VAT rate of 10 per cent.

39.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward legislation to exempt the provision of legal services or legal aid from VAT.

Economic Growth

33.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the British economy has grown since March 1974; and how this compares with the growth in the economy between July 1970 and February 1974.

Growth is usually measured by the index for gross domestic product and this is only published quarterly. The average growth rate from the first quarter of 1974 to second quarter 1977 has been 1½1 per cent. compared to 1½4 per cent. from the third quarter of 1970 to first quarter 1974. There are many factors which are reflected in the difference between the growth rates, of which the most important was the world boom from 1971 to 1973, followed by the worst world recession for a generation.

Film Industry

31.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in view of the fact that the present taxation system is proving a serious deterrent to investors in the British film industry and discouraging film makers and actors from working in Great Britain, he will bring forward proposals to alleviate this problem.

Capital Movement

32.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now remove all controls upon the movement of capital out of the United Kingdom.

35.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now take steps to eliminate controls on the outward movement of capital.

European Assembly

34.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the taxation of salaries and other emoluments of Members of any European Assembly.

Current United Kingdom members of the European Assembly are not salaried. Any allowances received for this duty count as taxable incomes in the United Kingdom to the extent that they exceed the expenses necessarily incurred. Discussion is continuing within the EEC on the provision of salaries and allowances for future, directly-elected Members of the Assembly. But, as yet, no firm proposals have been made about taxation.

Bank Of England

36.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet the Governor of the Bank of England.

My right hon. Friend maintains close contact with the Governor of the Bank of England, meeting him on a regular basis and also as and when circumstances require.

37.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the statutory authority on which he relies in controlling the activities of the Bank of England.

The Bank of England Act 1946. But co-operation between the monetary authorities does not rely on statutory controls.

£ Sterling

38.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it was Government policy to hold down the value of the £ sterling against the pressure of world demand until 31st October.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin) and to the hon. Members for Eastleigh (Mr. Price) and Norfolk, South (Mr. MacGregor).

Wives

40.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to end the situation whereby a wife's investment income is added to her husband's income.

I have no proposals at the present time for altering the long-established principle of aggregation as it applies to a married couple's investment income. A wife can, of course, opt for separate assessment of her own income, including her investment income, if she so wishes, though this does not affect the total tax due on the joint income.

Departmental Correspondence

41.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the hon. Member for Newham, North-West first wrote to him concerning the person who had deliberately refused to pay £40,000 income tax; how many letters were received; why no prosecutions ensued; when these amounts will be paid; and when the hon. Member can expect a reply to his last letter concerning this subject.

My hon. Friend's letters of 1st and 17th October to my right hon. Friend the Financial Secretary will be answered shortly. I have been unable to trace any correspondence on this matter with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I cannot comment on the tax affairs of any individual.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total net tax liability in the current financial year of (a) a childless married couple paying £2,000 mortgage interest and where the husband earns £4,500 and his wife £3,500 and (b) a married couple with two children under 11 years paying £1,000 mortgage interest, where the father earns £8,000.

The tax liabilities for 1977–78, taking account of the Chancellor's proposals of 26th October 1977, would be £1,224 and £1,761, respectively.

asked the Chancellor of Exchequer if he will provide a series of figures showing, for the last 10 years, the number of persons in the United Kingdom liable to income tax, taking married couples as separate individuals where appropriate.

The figures are as follows:

YearNo. of taxpayers
(000's)
1967–6823,300
1968–6924,250
1969–7023,800
1970–7123,150
1971–7223,400
1972–7321,750
1973–7423,300
1974–7524,500
1975–7625,300*
1976–7725,650*
Married couples are counted as two individuals when the husband pays tax and the wife also pays tax on her earnings.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what levels the higher rate of income tax levels would need to be raised in order to maintain their real value at April 1973; and what the increases would cost in terms of revenue.

On the basis of the change in the retail prices index between April 1973 and September 1977—the latest date available—the comparable thresholds of taxable income would be as follows:

1973–74Revalorised equivalent£
££
5,00010,079
6,00012,095
7,00014,111
8,00016,127
10,00020,159
12,00024,191
15,00030,239
20,00040,318
The number of bands of taxable income in 1973–74 was one less than in 1977–78 and the highest rate was 75 per cent. If this system was substituted for the present system with the thresholds as above, the estimated cost for 1977–78 would be about £600 million.

Personal Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what levels the main personal allowances would need to be raised now in order to maintain their real value at April 1973; and what these increases would cost in terms of revenue.

On the basis of the change in the retail prices index between April 1973 and September 1977 —the latest date available—the level of the main personal allowances would be as follows:

£
Single and earning wife's allowance1,199
Married allowance1,562
Age Allowance—Single1,411*
Age Allowance—Married2,016*
*equivalent to age exemption levels in 1973–74.
The estimated cost of increasing the allowances to these levels, after taking into account the changes for 1977–78 proposed in the Chancellor's statement of 26th October, would be about £1,480 million.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total cash value for each year since 1965–66 of personal tax allowances, child tax allowances, and family allowances or child benefit for a married couple with one, two, three and four children, respectively, paying the standard rate of tax and with only the husband working; and what will be the cash value of such allowances and benefits in 1977–78 and 1978–79 assuming that the current proposals for child benefit increases are implemented and that there are no further charges in tax rates or allowances.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total cash value for each year since 1965–66 of personal tax allowances and wife's earned income allowance for a married couple with no children where both parties were employed and subject to the standard rate of tax; and what will be the corresponding value for the current year.

Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps have been taken to obtain for 1975, 1976 and 1977, figures comparing the tax burden in the United Kingdom and other industrialised countries, such as were shown for 1974 in the Treasury "Economic Progress Report" for September 1977.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 9th November to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison.)

Tax Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of increasing married person's tax allowance to £2,140, single person's tax allowance to £1,070 and of abolishing wife's earned income allowance.

About £1,280 million, after taking account of the changes in personal allowances proposed by the Chancellor on 26th October, but assuming no increase in the married age allowance.

Social Wage

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the social wage for 1976–77 in terms comparable with the figures given in a Written Answer, 27th May 1976, Official Report, column 325; and if he will make a statement on how it was composed.

The social wage in 1976–77 amounted to an estimated £1,460 per member of the United Kingdom working population, made up as follows:

£
Social Security441
Education and libraries, science and arts314
Health and personal social services281
Housing195
Other environmental services104
Law, order and protective services80
Food and transport subsidies including concessionary fares45
1,460
The figures are all provisional.

Scottish Arts Council Awards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to abolish taxation at standard rate on awards, bursaries and other scholarships awarded by the Scottish Arts Council which are currently being assessed as earned income.

I see no reason why the tax treatment of these awards should not be decided in accordance with the normal rules.

Travel Expenses

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether in his recent Budget he will arrange for all workers to be entitled to claim full cash of their travel to and from their place of work and home without tax deductions, at the same rates as that enjoyed by Ministers of the Crown and the two former Prime Ministers.

The tax treatment of the expenses of travel between home and work is exactly the same for Ministers of the Crown and former Prime Ministers as it is for employees generally.

Wine, Beer, Spirits And Tobacco

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state, for the member States of the EEC, the levels of excise duty and value added tax, stated separately, on representative quantities of wine, beer, spirits and cigarettes.

The most recent information from available sources, applying currency conversions at rates quoted on 7th November 1977, is as follows:

RATES OF EXCISE DUTY AND VAT

Table wine

Fortified wine

Beer

Rate of VAT

Spirits

Rate of VAT

Cigarttes

Rate of VAT

£ per gallon

£ per gallon

£ per gallon

Per cent.

£ per proof gallon

Per cent.

£ per thousand

Percentage of retail price

Per cent.

United Kingdom3·2504·415(1)0·661(1)827·090811·160(4)228
Ireland2·2993·4801·2551026·03761015·400(5)10
Denmark3·0885·7441·2751860·3581834·26618·5618
France0·0473·6350·02317·617·216(2)17·647·2(6)33⅓
West Germany1·3070·1511112·4151112·08824·311
Netherlands0·8591·8390·1971812·424180·45752·3(6)12·28
Belgium0·8571·8280·1972512·417250·77057(6)14
Luxembourg0·4291·4000·149106·921100·50356(6)2
Italy0·4820·189143·433(3)35(3)Up to 6835
(1) The duties on fortified wine and beer have been calculated on a strength of 20 per cent. Gay Lussac and 4 per cent. Gay Lussac, respectively.
(2) The rate of duty is the highest rate applicable to spirits.
(3) The rates of duty and VAT are those applicable to grain-based spirit.
(4) Based on the average duty content of cigarettes (including leaf duty).
(5) Based on the duty content of standard plain cigarettes.
(6) There is a minimum total duty burden (excluding VAT) as follows:
France £3·436 per thousand.
Netherlands £7·861 per thousand.
Belgium £12·569 per thousand.
Luxembourg £5·970 per thousand.

Capital Gains Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether the relief from capital gains tax where a loss is made on a loan to a business, proposed in his statement on the economic situation of 26th October 1977, will be allowed with effect from that date;(2) how many cases involving claims for relief from capital gains tax where a loss had been made on a loan to a business were outstanding on 26th October 1977.

No. It is not intended that the new relief which we have promised to consider before next year's Finance Bill should be backdated. Claims cannot therefore arise at present. No information is available centrally about claims which may be outstanding at 26th October 1977 for those losses on loans which do qualify at present, that is, loans which constitute a debt on a security or which have been assigned by the original creditor.

Agriculture, Fisheries Andfood

Brucellosis

43.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will take steps to speed up the notifica- tion of laboratory tests for brucellosis, which have been seriously delayed in recent months, resulting in a disrupting effect on the farms concerned, particularly in Berkshire; and if he will make a statement.

Normal working has now been resumed by staff at the Central Veterinary Laboratory engaged on brucellosis testing. It will take a week or so to deal with the backlog of blood samples awaiting tests, but thereafter the interval between sampling and notification should revert to its normal period of about 10 days.

Voluntary Organisations

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total sum granted to voluntary organisations in each of the years 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77; and what is the size of the grants budgeted for 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80.

Certain grants are available to any eligible agricultural businesses and separate records are not kept of those made to voluntary organisations. Other grants to voluntary organisations are as follows:

1973–74£9,000
1974–75£9,500
1975–76£9,435
1976–77£10,514
1977–78 (estimate)£11,750
The figures for later years are not yet settled.

Wheat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why there is an import duty of £37 a tonne on North American hard wheats for United Kingdom bread making, when similar wheat is not produced in the EEC.

All imports of wheat from outside the EEC are subject to a variable levy to raise their price to the level of the threshold price. The main purpose of the levy is to maintain prices on the internal Community market at a level which will ensure an adequate return for the Community producer and provide a stable market within the Community for producers and consumers. Although there are quality differences between Community and North American strong wheat, the latter is competitive with EEC-produced soft wheat in so far as it can replace Community wheat in milling or breadmaking.

Fish (Import Tariffs)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in view of the diminishing supplies of cod, haddock, plaice and halibut in the United Kingdom, why it is necessary to have an EEC tariff of 15 per cent. on cod, haddock and plaice and 8 per cent. on halibut imported from Norway.

The tariffs in question constitute a measure of protection for firsthand prices and hence producers' returns. There is no evidence that they have an adverse effect on the volume of fresh supplies which arc small anyway. Tariffs on frozen products, which account for the main bulk of supplies, are 3 per cent.

International Sugar Agreement

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why the EEC did not accede to the International Sugar Agreement due to come into effect on 1st January 1978.

The new International Sugar Agreement will come into effect on 1st January 1978 provided that a sufficient number of importing and exporting countries signify by then their intention to ratify the agreement. The European Economic Community will not be among these as the agreement does not provide for the detailed terms of Community membership. Towards the end of the recent United Nations Sugar Conference the Community put forward a proposal on the terms on which it would be prepared to join a new agreement but time did not allow full discussion of these. Accordingly, as my right hon. Friend stated in his reply to the hon. Member on 26th October—[Vol. 936, c. 841–2]—the agreement contains a provision under which the EEC can accede on special terms to be negotiated.

Food Prices

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report the percentage by which world food prices are now below EEC prices, using the same list and basis of calculations as used by the EEC Commission in its annual report "The Agricultural Situation in the Cornmunity—1976 ".

The Commission has not published any revision of the list given in "The Agricultural Situation in the Community 1976 Report" issued in January 1977, and since that report does not make completely clear how the Commission defines either EEC entry prices or "world market" prices, it is not possible to give precisely equivalent figures for a more recent date. On the basis of other Commission publications, however, the figures below give broadly equivalent information for the six months to the end of June 1977. They give EEC entry prices as a percentage of "world market" prices but since the prices used to represent "world market" prices are in general based on the lowest offer prices of individual consignments, they can in no sense be taken to represent the prices at which regular trade takes place.

Common wheat223
Durum wheat253
Husked rice160
Barley154
Maize168
White sugar221
Live bovine animals160
Pigmeat130
Eggs123
Butter389
Skimmed milk powder (spray)559
Olive oilN/A
OilseedsN/A

Improvement Grants

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will now abandon the six months' delay in Haying farm improvement grants.

The three month deferral of payment of farm improvement grants was announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 22nd July 1976—[Vol. 915, c. 2015]—as part of his policy to reduce public expenditure. The arrangements cannot be abandoned for the time being.

Eggs (Marketing)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent proposals or decisions have been made by the EEC concerning the marketing of eggs:and if he will set out any changes this will mean for the present system in the United Kingdom and state the regulation concerned and whether it has been considered by the House of Commons.

In July the Commission put forward to the Council a proposal—draft instrument R /1890/ 77—for a Council regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No. 2772/75 on marketing standards for eggs.My Department provided an explanatory memorandum on 15th August describing the proposed changes, but 1 understand that the Scrutiny Committee has not yet completed its examination of the proposal.

Social Services

Retirement Age

Mr.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will bring forward legislation to make financial provision for the reduction of the voluntary retirement age for men to 60 years.

No. The cost of introducing even a phased reduction of men's pension age to 60 would, at the present time, be prohibitively expensive. The extra expenditure would reach over £2,000 million a year in the long term.

Benefits And Allowances

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the reply given to the right hon. Member for Wanstead and Woodford

Weekly amount for
Benefit or allowanceFirst childEach other childWhether that amount is taxable
Unemployment benefit
(1) where the beneficiary is under pensionable age£3·50£3·00No
(2) where the beneficiary is over pensionable age£7·40£6·90No
Sickness benefit
(1) where the beneficiary is under pensionable age£3·50£3·00No
(2) where the beneficiary is over pensionable age£7·40£6·90No
Invalidity pension£7·40£6·90No
Maternity allowance£3·50£3·00No
Widow's allowance£7·40£6·90Yes*
Widowed mother's allowance£7·40£6·90Yes*
Retirement pension£7·40£6·90Yes*
Child's special allowance£7·40£6·90Yes*
Non-contributory invalidity pension£7·40£6·90No
Invalid care allowance£7·40£6·90Yes*
Injury benefit£3·50£3·00No
Disablement benefit (unemployability supplement)£7·40£6·90No
Industrial death benefit:
Higher rate£7·40£6·90Yes*
Lower rate£3·50£3·00Yes*
Guardian's allowance£7·40£6·90Yes*
Supplementary benefit†
age under 5£4·10£4·10No
age 5–10£4·95£4·95No
age 11–12£6·10£6·10No
age 13–15£7·40£7·40No
age 16–17£8·90£8·90No
age 18 and over£11·60£11·60No
Family income supplement†Payable up to a maximum of £9·50 Where there is one child; the maximum is increased by £1 for each extra childNo
War widow's pension£8·40£8·00No
Motherless and fatherless children (War pension scheme) £9·15£9·15Yes
Unemployability supplement (War pension scheme)£7·40£6·90No
Additional treatment allowance (War pension scheme)£7·40£6·90No
Basic war disability pensionBetween 8p and 38p according to degree of pensioner's disablementNo
*The first £52 per annum of each payment is not taxable.
†Child benefit would be taken into account as income when arriving at the amount of award.

Epidermonlysis Bullosa

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the incidence of the skin disease epidermonlysis

(Mr. Jenkin) on 15th November 1976, showing all the benefits and allowances which include an element for child support at the rates operative from November 1977, distinguishing between those which are taxable and those which are not.

Following is the information based on the rates coming into force in the week commencing 14th November 1977. Child benefit, which replaced family allowances in April 1977, is currently £1 a week for the first or only child and £1·50 for each additional child. Except where indicated, the increases—allowances are payable in addition to child benefit, which is not taxable.bullosa in the United Kingdom; how many deaths are caused by it; and if his Department has any funds available for research into its treatment and prevention

I regret that no figures are available on the incidence of epidermonlysis bullosa in the United Kingdom, but it is known that the number who suffer from it is not large. My Department has no central statistics on deaths from the disease, but I understand that the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys considers them likely to be less than 10 a year. The extraction of more accurate information from death certificates for past years would be a major undertaking. Research into the treatment of the disease and its prevention would be the responsibility of the Medical Research Council and not of my Department.

Pensioners (Christmas Bonus)

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will consider increasing the Christmas bonus for pensioners in 1977 to £15.

No, Sir. The proposed bonus, which the Government are pleased to introduce, is part of the package of measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and, since the money available is limited, a bonus of £10, costing a total of £100 million, is considered to be fair.

Pharmaceutical Products

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements he has made to monitor the code of practice of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry and, in particular, to ensure that each individual free sample does not exceed four days' treatment for a single patient; if he also monitors free samples provided for clinical evaluation free of charge to hospitals; and if he will make a statement.

The agreement with the pharmaceutical industry which my right hon. Friend announced in his reply to my hon. Friend on 28th April provides that the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry will introduce a new and stronger code of practice. The Code of Practice Committee, which adjudicates alleged breaches of the code, is being strengthened by the addition of two independent doctors.The code of practice will provide that samples are supplied only in response to a signed request from a doctor and, wherever practicable, an individual sample will not represent more than four days' treatment for a single patient. These arrangements also apply to samples supplied to hospitals.My Department will be keeping the situation under review and any apparent breaches of the code will be referred to the Code of Practice Committee whose decision will be notified immediately to my Department.—[Vol. 930, c. 390–3.]

Liverpool Health Authority

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects the report on the Liverpool Health Authority to be presented to him and if he will make a statement.

The decision of the Mersey Regional Health Authority to set up an independent inquiry into certain aspects of Liverpool's health services followed the discussions to which I referred in my Answer to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange (Mr. Parry) on 26th July. The Committee of Inquiry met first on 2nd October and up to this week had held five meetings in all. The membership is as follows:CHAIRMANProfessor Roger Dyson, PhD, Director of Adult Education, University of Keele.MEMBERS

Nominated by the Mersey Regional Health Authority

Mr. Ivor Baggs, CChem, BSc, MRIC, FIPM, FIISO, lately Personnel Director, Tioxidc Ltd.

Mr. John Bettinson, LLB, Chairman, Birmingham Area Health Authority (Teaching).

Sir Charles Stuart-Harris, CBE, MD, DSc, FRCP, lately Associate Postgraduate Dean, University of Sheffield Medical School.

Nominated by the Staff Side of the Liverpool Standing Area Joint Conference

Mr. Robert Fryer, MA, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick.

Mr. Tony Smythe, Director, MIND.

Mr. Lawrence Toale, BSc Econ, MIPM, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Relations, Carlett Park College of Technology.

The Committee's terms of reference are:

To invite evidence from all organisations recognised by the DHSS, the MRHA, Liverpool AHA(T), local authorities and CHCs, and:

1. To examine the present deployment of health resources in the area served by the Liverpool AHA(T) and to consider what changes are desirable in the interests of the population served, with due regard for

  • (i) the Secretary of State's criteria of equity, effectiveness, efficiency and economy; and
  • (ii) the current allocation of resources.
  • 2. To consider the financial and staffing requirements of the new Royal Liverpool Teaching Hospital and their impact on the current resource allocation of the Liverpool AHA(T), the effect of the opening of the hospital on health care within the area, and the arrangements necessary to ensure that it is brought into use as soon as practicable.

    To consider the present state of industrial relations in the area and districts and submit recommendations for their improvement.

    To consider existing management arrangements (including overall direction by the authority) for the provision of health care since the reorganisation of the NHS in 1974, and to submit recommendations for their improvement, but excluding consideration of the proposal to establish a single district area, currently being considered by the Secretary of State.

    To submit a report of the findings and recommendations for consideration by the Regional Health Authority, as soon as possible, and not later than 15th December 1977. The Committee has received written submissions from organisations and individuals and is now taking oral evidence. Its report, which will be made public, is due to be considered by the Regional Health Authority at its meeting in January. The authority has been asked to submit a report to my right hon. Friend on the action it proposes to take in the light of the committee's findings.

    I would like to express my gratitude to the committee's members, which I know is shared by the Regional Health Authority, for their readiness to undertake this difficult and important task.—[Vol. 936, c. 113–14].

    Kidney Donor Scheme

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made with the proposal to make kidney donor scheme cards available to the public through pharmacies.

    In 1974, pharmacists were asked to co-operate in the kidney donor card scheme by making donor cards available to the public, and display material was distributed to all pharmacies. A renewed approach to pharmacists, together with a further distribution of donor cards, is to be made shortly.

    Pharmacies

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the net loss of registered pharmacies in England and Wales in each month over the last two years.

    According to the records of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, the monthly decline in the number of registered pharmacies over the past two years in England and Wales was as follows:

    1975
    October24
    November2
    December19
    1976
    January10
    February24
    March15
    April14
    May14
    June16
    July19
    August15
    September7
    October28
    November3
    December19
    1977
    January12
    February11
    March13
    April17
    May18
    June8
    July14
    August10
    September21

    Pensions

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many single retired persons and retired married couples living abroad are currently in receipt of a retirement pension, which does not attract increases to the pension first awarded.

    I regret that information is not available in the form requested. Retirement pensions restricted to the rate payable on departure abroad, or on the first award of pension if after the date of departure, were in payment in November 1976 as follows:

    To men42,000
    To women, on their own contribution records24,000
    To married women, on their husbands' contribution records25,000
    To widows, on their late husbands' contribution records19,000

    Voluntary Organisations

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the total sum granted to voluntary organisations in each of the years 1973–74, 197475, 1975–76, 1976–77; and what is the size of the grants budgeted for 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80.