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Written Answers

Volume 939: debated on Friday 25 November 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 25th November 1977

Civil Service

Ministerial Advisers

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the 28 special advisers to the Government, their status and the Departments to which they are attached.

The list is as follows:

  • No. 10 Downing Street
  • Mr. B. Donoughue
  • Mr. T. McNally
  • Mr. J. Corr
  • Ms. E. Arnott*
  • Mr. L. Davies
  • Mr. D. Lipsey
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
  • Mrs. A. Carlton
  • Cabinet Office
  • Mr. G. Richardson*
  • Department of Education and Science
  • Mrs. S. Greenall
  • Mr. J. Lyttle
  • Department of Energy
  • Dr. F. Cripps*
  • Mrs. F. Morrell
  • Department of the Environment
  • Mr. D. Cowling
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Mr. M. Stewart*
  • Mr. D. Stephen
  • Department of Health and Social Security
  • Professor B. Abel Smith*
  • Mr. A. Lynes*
  • Mr. M. Hartley-Brewer
  • Mr. D. Townsend
  • Professor D. Metcalf
  • Home Office
  • Mr. R. Darlington
  • Ministry of Overseas Development
  • Mrs. M. Sidgreaves
  • Department of Prices and Consumer Protection
  • Professor M. Peston
  • Mr. D. Hill
  • Privy Council Office
  • Mrs. E. Thomas
  • Department of Transport
  • Mr. R. Liddle
  • Treasury
  • Mr. D. Scott
  • Welsh Office
  • Mr. G. Prys Davies*
  • *Denotes a part-time appointment.

Scientists And Technologists

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what was the total expenditure, in the latest 12-month period for which figures are available, on advertisements for scientific and technical staff appointments within the Civil Service; how many such staff were in fact recruited; and how this compares with the corresponding period three years ago.

The latest 12-month period for which this information is available is 1975. Figures for that year are, therefore, given below together with comparable figures for 1972. They exclude recruitment to certain junior scientific and technical grades which is the responsibility of individual employing Departments under delegated arrangements agreed with the Civil Service Commission. Corresponding information about recruitment to these posts could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Advertising Expenditure Staff Recruited
1975£375,7112,651
1972£113,2071,930

Environment

Archaeology (Thameside)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to preserve for the national heritage the valuable archaeological finds from the banks of the Thames and to protect the sites; and whether he will make a statement.

I am concerned that important archaeological sites on the banks of the Thames and elsewhere in Greater London should be preserved wherever possible. Several riverside sites have been given the protection of scheduling under the Ancient Monuments Act which requires notice before work can be undertaken and therefore gives me power to intervene. If destruction is absolutely unavoidable, we try to ensure that proper excavation and recording takes place. The disposal of finds is primarily a matter for the landowner, to whom they belong, but valuable finds are subject to the law of treasure trove.

Departmental Abbreviations

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a list of the abbreviations commonly used by his Department in parliamentary speeches, statements and answers to Questions with their respective meanings.

In general my colleagues and I try to minimise the use of abbreviations, except those that are very well known, or where the context makes their meaning clear. If the hon. Member has in mind any particular abbreviations which he has found confusing. I will gladly clarify them.

Community Land

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many times he has given permission for local authorities to dispose as freehold land acquired since the first appointed day under the Community Land Act for (a) commercial development and (b) industrial development.

The information is not available in precisely this form. Specific permission has been given, however, only where there was a commitment to freehold disposal from before the first appointed day, or the land was of no significance in community land scheme terms.

Government Buildings (Fire Services)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will give details of the fire-fighting services in operation at Government buildings in and around London; what are the wages and salaries of these firefighting forces; and how they compare with those currently received by the firemen who are on strike.

No Department of the Environment fire-fighting services are in operation in the Greater London area.

Sheffield And South Yorkshire Navigation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will give further consideration to the proposed improvement of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation in view of the evidence of economic advantage and international approval and likely support which is now available;(2) if he is aware that the proposal to improve the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation has immense and wide ranging support in South Yorkshire; and if he will consider the evidence of the advantages offered by the scheme recently published by the South Yorkshire County Council;(3) if he will consider the proposal to improve the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation in the light of the considerable environmental benefit which would result from the implementation of the scheme.

A revised scheme for the improvement of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation submitted by the British Waterways Board and the South Yorkshire County Council is currently under consideration.

Skehnersdale New Town Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the housing and associated estates of Skelmersdale New Town Corporation are likely to be transferred to the West Lancashire District Council.

Southwood Farm

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will instruct the district auditor to hold an inquiry into the purchase by Farnborough Council, Hampshire County Council and Rushmoor Council of the land originally known as Southwood Farm; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has no power to order such an inquiry. He could, under Section 165 of the Local Government Act 1972, direct the district auditor to hold an extraordinary audit of the accounts of the authorities concerned. This is in effect only an ordinary audit held earlier and I am not aware of any need for this.

Homeless Households

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements are being made under Section 5 of the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977 to deal with questions about homeless households with no local connection with the area of the authority they approach.

My right hon. Friends yesterday laid a draft order under Section 5 of the Act to give effect to arrangements agreed by the associations representing housing authorities in England and Wales. The order is subject to affirmative resolution in both Houses. Under the terms of the draft order, authorities which cannot agree as to on which of them responsibility rests are to appoint a referee to determine the issue between them. If the authorities cannot agree on the appointment of a referee, they are to report this to the chairman of their local authority association. The chairman would then appoint a referee from a panel established by the associations. In those cases where the authorities belong to different associations, the two chairmen concerned would jointly appoint a referee from the panel.I would, however, hope the need to invoke these arrangements will arise very seldom. I would expect that authorities would reach agreement in the vast majority of cases and I think that the general arrangements for handling cases of this kind which have been worked out and agreed between the associations representing authorities, and which have I understand recently been sent to housing authorities, will substantially help in this. I very warmly appreciate the constructive approach by the associations in the development of the arrangements set out in that procedure and in the order.

Northern Ireland

Disabled Drivers

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why two concessionary schemes are needed to issue disabled drivers with special authorisation to park their vehicles; and what is the administrative cost of each of the two schemes.

The two schemes have different origins. The first was originally established by the former Belfast County Borough Council to exempt certain disabled drivers from the statutory meter charges and time limits, and otherwise to facilitate their parking, in the Belfast central area. Certificates under this scheme have since 1st October 1973 been issued by the Road Services (Belfast Division) at an annual cost of about £1,200.The second scheme covers the whole of Northern Ireland, was originated in 1961 under the former welfare authorities, and is now operated by the health and social service boards.Precise costs cannot be obtained without disproportianate effort and the sums involved are very small.As I told the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) on 9th November, I hope to introduce legislation to amend the Road Traffic Act (NI) 1970 to enable the granting of parking concessions to disabled persons similar to those operating under the Orange Badge scheme in Great Britain. This would eliminate the need for the existing schemes.

Rathlin Island

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will announce the date when the work on a water supply will commence on Rathlin Island.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24th November 1977; Vol. 939], gave the following information:Before work can commence on the Rathlin Island water supply scheme it is necessary for the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment to acquire the necessary water rights under Article 11 of the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1973. The Department has already begun the consultative procedures, but as the proposal to abstract water may be subject to appeal it is impossible to predict an exact starting date for the scheme.

Overseas Development

Trades Union Congress

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether the memorandum setting out the purposes of her Department's grant to the TUC is made available to the public.

I have arranged for a copy of the memorandum to be placed in the Library of the House.

Communist Countries

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will list the individual loans and grants to Communist governed countries authorised by her Department since her taking office.

The following aid commitments to Communist-governed countries have been made since my appointment last February. All are in grant form.

Vietnam

The technical co-operation programme for English language training was doubled in 1977–78 to an estimated £200,000.
A contribution of £25,000 to the British Hospital for Vietnam.
Bilateral food aid of 4,750 tonnes of flour, estimated to cost £760,000.
A contribution, estimated at £188,000, to the EEC's 1977 butter oil food aid programme.
A contribution, estimated at £160,000 to the EEC's 1977 dried skimmed milk food aid programme.

Cuba

Negotiations for a technical co-operation agreement started in 1975 and the agreement was signed in April 1977, but no specific commitments have yet been made.

Ministerial Travel

asked the Minister of Overseas Development why she returned to London for one day during her recent official visit to Tanzania; and what was the cost of the air travel involved.

I returned to attend a Cabinet meeting. The cost of my air travel was £1,036.

India

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what special assistance has been offered to the Government of India following the recent cyclone.

On 22nd November my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister expressed his concern and sympathy to the Prime Minister of India over the loss of life and damage caused by the cyclones and told him that if there was any help the British Government could give we stood ready to provide it. My Ministry's Disaster Unit has been in close touch with the United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator's Office in Geneva and with the Disasters Emergency Committee of the voluntary societies in the United Kingdom and has made arrangements to fly out relief aid and to provide such other help as may be required.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Skateboards

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will refer to the Price Commission for investigation the profit margin on the sale of skateboards.

My right hon. Friend has no current plans to direct the Price Commission to examine the prices of these products but will bear my hon. Friend's suggestion in mind. Complaints about price increases made by individual firms should be directed to the Price Commission.

Inflation

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection on what date the inflational spiral began to decline; what were the amounts of such falls to date; and if he will publish a detailed list of price increases made since this inflationary decline.

The annual rate of increase in the Retail Price Index declined steeply from August 1975, falling from 26·9 per cent. to 12·9 per cent. in July 1976, when the decline was interrupted mainly in consequence of the fall in the pound. However, the decline was resumed in June this year, since when it has fallen from 17·7 per cent. to 14·1 per cent. in October. On the listing of price increases I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 24th November 1977.—[Vol. 939, c. 816.]

Questions To Ministers

asked the Prime Minister further to the reply given to the hon. Member for Harrogate on 22nd November, if he will direct Ministers, in replying to Written Questions and referring to previous Written Answers, to submit for publication in the Official Report the text of the previous Questions and answers referred to.

Scotland

Solway Firth

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the inspections of fish and crustacea made by him in order to determine the level of pollution in the Solway Firth, specifying the areas involved, the species inspected, the frequency of inspection, the sorts of pollution for which inspection is made, and the results so far obtained.

Monitoring of pollution levels in fish and shellfish landed for human consumption is carried out in the Solway Firth as part of a United Kingdom programme. Details of the results in relation to radioactivity are given in the publication "Radioactivity in Surface and Coastal Waters of the British Isles, 1976, Part I", which is available in the Library. In all cases, the levels of activity are low and present no hazard to the public. In addition, a report on pollutant levels, particularly of heavy metals, organochlorine pesticide residues and polychlorinated biphenyls (P.C.B.S.) will shortly be published and also placed in the Library.

Rateable Valuations

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimates of increased gross annual value under the current revaluation he has received; and what shares of the increases in percentage terms are to be provisionally borne by the industrial commercial and domestic sectors.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. White) on 18th November 1977. I do not have figures of gross annual values.

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether any special inducement payments are made in Scotland to secure doctors for rural areas with low and scattered populations.

Yes. An inducement payment may be made where my right hon. Friend has determined, after consultation with the Scottish Medical Practices Committee, that it is essential to maintain a medical practice in an area sparsely populated or otherwise unattractive and which yields too little by way of ordinary remuneration to ensure the maintenance of a satisfactory medical service.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what he regards as a minimum viable size of single doctor medical practice.

There are no criteria laid down as to what constitutes a viable single-handed practice. Apart from existing or potential inducement payment practices, which are considered by the Secretary of State on the individual merits of each case, it is for the Scottish Medical Practices Committee to determine whether or not a successor should be appointed when a doctor who is on a health board's medical list dies or leaves, regardless of whether he is in a single-handed practice or in a partnership or group.

Sheriff Peter Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the order for the removal of Sheriff Peter Thomson.

On 22nd July 1977 I made the Sheriff (Removal from Office) Order 1977, removing Sheriff Peter Thomson from the office of Sheriff for the Sheriffdom of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway. The order was laid before Parliament on 27th July 1977. Under Section 12(3) of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 the order must lie before Parliament for 40 days, excluding any period during which Parliament is adjourned, and may be annulled in pursuance of a resolution by either House. In this case the period will expire on 6th December 1977.The procedure for the removal of a sheriff in Scotland is laid down in detail in Section 12 of the 1971 Act. Although the order is made by me I have no power to make the order without first receiving a report from the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk, the two senior members of the Scottish Judiciary, to the effect that, after investigation, they have found that the sheriff is unfit for office by reason of inability, neglect of duty or misbehaviour. The procedure requiring a report from the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk before a sheriff can be removed from office has been in existence since 1838, and has been re-enacted, with only minor variations, in Acts of Parliament passed in 1877, 1907 and 1971.My attention was drawn in April of this year to the publication of a pamphlet entitled "Scottish Plebiscite—Report by Sheriff Peter Thomson". The pamphlet, which referred to Sheriff Thomson by the title of his office as "Sheriff of South Strathclyde, Dumfries and Galloway at Hamilton", advocated the holding of a plebiscite on Scottish home rule. There had been a similar incident in 1974, when Sheriff Thomson, again using his judicial title, had circulated to voters in the Rutherglen area a voting card containing specific questions about the establishment of a Parliament in Scotland. Along with the voting cards Sheriff Thomson sent out a return envelope addressed to himself as "The Returning Officer". At that time the returning officer in parliamentary elections was the sheriff principal of the county, and sheriffs commonly acted as deputy returning officers in counties containing more than one constituency. An investigation was instituted by the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk. Sheriff Thomson was invited to make written representations to the judges, and to meet them, but he ignored the invitations. The judges then reported to me that Sheriff Thomson's conduct was incompatible with his judicial office, but that, in view of his otherwise satisfactory service, they did not yet find him unfit for office. They added that if Sheriff Thomson should engage in any similar activity in the future it might be extremely difficult to resist the conclusion that his fitness for his office was at an end. A copy of the report containing the judges' finding and their warning against similar activity in the future was sent to Sheriff Thomson and the Sheriff Principal of the Sheriffdom was asked to reinforce the warning at a private meeting with Sheriff Thomson.In view of the 1974 episode just referred to, and the warning given to Sheriff Thomson by the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk in their report on the case, I decided that the renewal of Sheriff Thomson's activities by the publication of the fresh pamphlet in 1977 made it necessary to request a further investigation by the judges. I accordingly wrote to the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk requesting them to report on Sheriff Thomson's fitness for office.As in 1974, the judges wrote to Sheriff Thomson, informing him that they were undertaking an investigation into his fitness for office and inviting him to make written representations, and to appear before them either personally or by counsel. As in 1974, Sheriff Thomson did not acknowledge the invitations, and neither made written representations nor appeared before the judges.The Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk then, after investigation, reported to me that the publication of the pamphlet could only be regarded as a repetition of the kind of activity condemned in the earlier report and in clear defiance of the warning then given to the Sheriff. They added that, in the light of the previous similar conduct of the Sheriff, his refusals to heed warnings and advice, and his apparent disrespect for authority, it would be unrealistic to hope that he would never do anything of the kind again. They accordingly decided that because of his misbehaviour Sheriff Thomson was no longer fit to hold his judicial office.On receiving the report by the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk I decided that, notwithstanding Sheriff Thomson's refusal to communicate with the Judges, he should still be given an opportunity to comment on the report. A copy of the report was accordingly sent to him on 23rd June 1977. His attention was drawn to the finding of the judges that he was no longer fit to hold his judicial office, and to Section 12(2) of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 under which I may, on receiving a report of unfitness by the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk, make an order removing the sheriff from office. Sheriff Thomson was invited to send any comments he might have on the report to me by 15th July 1977. Sheriff Thomson did not acknowledge the letter, and sent no comments on the report.

I then considered the whole matter, and decided, in the light of the most recent report by the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Justice Clerk, to make an order under the 1971 Act removing Sheriff Thomson from office.

Sheriff Thomson will receive a pension of £5,233 and a lump sum, payable when he reaches the age of 65 in April 1979.

Transport

Rochester Bypass

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when are the proposed commencement and completion dates for the construction of the Rochester bypass.

This is a local authority scheme for which Staffordshire County Council is responsible. It is included in the council's transport policies and programme for a start to be made in 1978–79, subject to the availability of funds.

Uttoxeter Bypass

asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) by what amount at current prices the estimated cost of the proposed Uttoxeter bypass has been revised by the decision to build it as a single carriageway;(2) what is the estimated cost at current prices of the proposed Uttoxeter bypass.

This is a local authority scheme for which Staffordshire County Council is responsible. Although an Eastern bypass of Uttoxeter is referred to in the latest transport policies and programme submitted by the county, it is regarded as a long-term project, outside the current five-year programme, and no costs are available to me.

Departmental Abbreviations

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a list of the abbreviations commonly used by his Department in parliamentary speeches, statements and answers to Questions with their respective meanings.

I dislike abbreviations and seek to avoid them. I am not aware of any that Ministers commonly use in the course of parliamentary business.

Children

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislation to enable all children in full-time education to travel half-price irrespective of age; and if he will make a statement.

I have much sympathy for the idea of half fares on public transpor for children in full-time education, but this is not a matter for legislation. Individual operators must make their own decisions about whether and how they can provide for this in the light of the consequences for revenue and the higher fares that adult passengers would need to pay.

Passenger Vehicles (Experimental Areas) Act 1977

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, in the light of the Passenger Vehicles (Experimental Areas) Act 1977, he will publish guidance to all users of others' vehicles who may wish to contribute to running costs and insurance, in return for obtaining lifts to and from places of work.

The Passenger Vehicles (Experimental Areas) Act 1977 makes no change in the general law as it applies to the giving and taking of lifts. In the course of the Government programme of rural transport experiments, guidance will be offered to people affected by authorisations granted in the areas being designated under the Act as part of the programme. This material would be available at the appropriate time to local authorities for any further experiments of this kind which may be authorised under the Act.

Home Department

Blundeston Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners of Blundeston Prison of African or Caribbean nationality who were involved with either the possession or trafficking or drugs, and who were under recommendation for deportation, during the period since 1st January 1976, have been considered for parole, or awarded parole, respectively; and what was the average length of parole granted for these offences.

As a result of a special inquiry it has been established that since 1st January 1976, 10 inmates of Blundeston prison born in African or Caribbean countries who were involved with either the possession or trafficking of drugs and who were recommended for deportation have been considered for parole. Of these, nine were granted parole, and the average duration of their licences was eight months.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many Blundeston prisoners who arc other than African or Caribbean in origin who have been involved with either the possession or trafficking of drugs and who were under recommendation for deportation during the period since 1st January 1976 were considered for parole, or awarded parole, respectively; and what was the average length of parole granted;(2) what is the average length of parole granted to prisoners from Blundeston Prison at first review, during the period since 1st January 1976, who are of African and Caribbean origin, and of indigenous origin, respectively;(3) what percentage of prisoners granted parole at first review from Blundeston Prison, during the period since 1st January 1976, are of African or Caribbean origin, or indigenous origin, respectively.

(4)

Information about the nationality and ethnic origin of prisoners is not centrally recorded and I regret that it would not be possible, without disproportionate effort and expense, to correlate information about parole in individual cases with related information about place of birth.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners serving sentences at Blundeston Prison for offences involving either the possession or trafficking of drugs, and who were under recommendation for deportation, during the period since 1st January 1976 are (a) nationals of African or Caribbean countries and (b) nationals of other countries;(2) what has been the average length of sentence given to prisoners who are nationals of African or Caribbean countries, at Blundeston Prison, for offences involving either the possession or trafficking of drugs, and under recommendaion for deportation, during the period since 1st January 1976;(3) what is the average length of sentence given to prisoners who are nationals of countries other than African or Caribbean countries at Blundeston Prison, for offences involving either the possession or trafficking of drugs, and who were under recommendation for deportation, during the period since 1st January 1976.

Since 1st January 1976, 67 persons recommended for deportation have served sentences in Blundeston Prison for drug offences. Information regarding their nationality is not recorded centrally. However, 16 of them were born in African or Caribbean countries and 51 in other overseas countries. The average sentence length of the former was 3 years 10 months and of the latter 4 years 2 months.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average period of time which prisoners recommended for deportation have spent in Pentonville Prison between the date of completion of sentence and the date of actual deportation.

There is considerable variation in the circumstances of those held to await deportation after serving custodial sentences. Examination of records of the 74 people discharged from Pentonville Prison in the first half of 1977 shows that a quarter of those recommended for deportation spent less than 21 days in custody between the completion of their sentence and their deportation, a half spent 43 days or less, and three-quarters spent 63 days or less. Examination of the records over a longer period would involve disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the prison population took public examinations in 1976.

Crime Prevention

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what resources have been allocated to the spreading of crime prevention information by his Department in each of the past five years.

Estimated expenditure on national crime prevention publicity sponsored by the Home Office was:

£
1972–73243,300
1973–74177,900
1974–75342,300
1975–76443,700
1976–77316,000
Expenditure on the Home Office Crime Prevention Centre at Stafford in spreading crime prevention information through its crime prevention courses for the police and others was:
£
1972–7324,732
1973–7428,133
1974–7533,782
1975–7639,627
1976–7751,118
These figures do not include Home Office staff costs, nor the payment of grant on relevant expenditure incurred by individual police forces.

Magistrates' Courts, Cambridgeshire

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will publish the locations of magistrates' courts in operation in Cambridgeshire in each of the last six years; and how many courts are currently expected to be operative in April 1978;(2) what will he the estimated savings for the proposed closures of magistrates' courts in March and Whittlesey; and how much redundancy pay is to be made to court officials.

This information is not readily available, but I am making inquiries and will write to the hon. Member.

Open University

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average pass rate in 1976 of prisoners entering for public examinations; what was the pass rate of prisoners entering for Open University examinations; how many prisons the Open University scheme covers; and how many prisoners arc taking part in it.

Seventy per cent. for prisoners and trainees entering public examinations, and 77 per cent. for prisoners entering Open University examinations. In 1977 the Open University scheme covered 20 establishments and 128 prisoners were enrolled in it at the beginning of the year.

Departmental Staff

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many men employed in his Department on 14th November 1977 were in receipt of wages and salaries at or below those paid at the basic rate for firemen.

The precise information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. There are, however, some 4,400 men on rates and scales of pay below the basic rate for firemen and there are a further 14,800 on scales of pay with minima below the basic rate.

Immigration Control (Dover)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of abuse of the procedures, particularly at night, he will pay a personal visit of inspection to immigration facilities at Dover; and what action can be taken to deal with these abuses.

I do not accept that there is widespread abuse of immigration control procedures at night or at any other time. I have no immediate plans to visit the immigration offices at Dover. I am satisfied that the staff there are vigilant, as ever, to detect abuses. If my hon. Friend has any information of abuses of the controls which have escaped the attention of my staff, I should be glad to receive it.

Attendance Centres

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will indicate the number of attendance centres currently in existence, the number planned for future development and the number that existed in 1973.

There has been no increase in the number of attendance centres since 1973, when there were 62. Additional resources are now available which should make it possible for new centres to be opened wherever it is likely that full use would be made of them and suitable premises and staff can be found. Consultations have already taken place on the establishment of several new centres, the first of which will open in Warrington next month.

Fires

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give, for each of the weeks in November 1977, the number of reported public fires, the actual or estimated costs of same, and the losses in money and lives; and how these figures compare with 1976.

In the seven days from 14th to 20th November 1977, 3,992 fires and 18 fatalities in fires were reported. I regret that the other information asked for is not available.

Swartzsturm

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many members of the German SS have attempted to enter the United Kingdom since the Second World War; in how many cases permission has been granted and in how many cases has it been refused; and if he will undertake to refuse to admit all such future applicants.

I regret that the information requested is not available.I do not consider that I would be justified in excluding from the United Kingdom everyone who served in the SS. I have, however, recently demonstrated that I am prepared to use the powers available to me, when I consider that the purposes for which such people wish to come here on a particular occasion make it conducive to the public good to exclude them.

Special Constables

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what official arrangements exist to provide compensation for special constables who are injured whilst on duty;(2) what are the current arrangements for pay and allowances for special con stables; and when these were last reviewed.

Apart from reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, special constables in England and Wales do not normally receive payment for their services. They are entitled to an allowance—up to £9·70 a day—for loss of remuneration in their private employment if required for duty or unable to work because of injury suffered on duty. There are no central records to show how often this allowance is claimed. The allowance is based on the pay of police officers. The present allowance reflects the increase effective from 1st September 1976. A further increase will in due course be made with effect from 1st September 1977.

Defence

Gan

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if Her Majesty's Government have taken any steps since withdrawing the British military presence from Gan, to ensure that the important military installations on the island do not fall into Soviet hands.

I understand that the former airfield at Gan is now in a totally unusable condition and that all but a few of the items of airfield equipment have been removed by the Maldivian Government.

Widows

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the compensation payable to the widow of an Army private who loses his life in the course of his duty; and how this compares with the compensation of a fireman's widow who loses her husband in the line of duty.

The childless widow of a private whose death is regarded as attributable to service would receive, first, a short-term pension for 91 days equivalent to her husband's rate of military salary. This pension would be affected by his qualifications and length of service. Thereafter she would be entitled to a pension of £1,137 per annum from the Ministry of Defence together with lump sum payments amounting to £3,810, both rates being regardless of length of service. She could also be entitled to a pension from the Department of Health and Social Security.The methods of assessing the pensions for widows of firemen and soldiers are complicated and vary considerably from each other. No direct comparison can therefore be made between attributable benefits payable under the two schemes.

Fire Brigades (Substitution)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will confirm that certain members of Her Majesty's Forces, currently working an 84-hour week while standing in for striking firemen, are receiving no more than 50 per cent. of the hourly gross rate of pay of the firemen they are replacing.

The Services are used to working long hours in an emergency and a liability for duty at any time is one of their conditions of service which is taken into account in fixing their rates of pay. The pay and conditions of firemen are fixed quite differently and any comparison of the kind drawn by the hon. Member would therefore be inappropriate.

Education And Science

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is satisfied with a ratio of one man to every 13 women trainee teachers following courses specifically designed for intending teachers in the infant and junior age range; and what ratio she considers desirable.

I do not think that it would be desirable to recommend a figure of the kind suggested. The present position reflects long-standing patterns of student choice and of employment for the teaching of young children.

Ministerial Responsibilities

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which of the matters for which she is responsible in England she is not responsible for in Scotland; for which matters she is currently responsible in Scotland; and which matters for which she is currently respon sible in Scotland will become the responsibility of the Scottish Assembly and Executive under the terms of the Scotland Bill.

My right hon. Friend is responsible in Scotland for none of the matters for which she is responsible in England except universities, the research councils and the arts. I refer the hon. Member to Schedule 10 to the Scotland Bill, which sets out the matters it is proposed should become the responsibility of the Scottish Assembly and Executive.

European Community Law

asked the Attorney-General if he will publish a White Paper describing in a consolidated form the cumulative consequential changes to English law of all EEC legislation and all decisions of the Court of the Community that now form part of the law of England.

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor has no plans to publish such a White Paper.

Social Services

Benefits (Unclaimed)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his latest official estimate of the amount of social security benefits unclaimed for the latest available 12 months; and if he will itemise all constituent items of this over £1 million.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, East (Mr. Clemitson) on 8th February—[Vol. 905, c. 1215–17.]—and to Chapter 10 of the Supplementary Benefits Commission's Annual Report for 1976.

Armed Services (Wives)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what social benefits are not available to wives of British Service personnel serving in West Germany which could be payable if they were resident in the United Kingdom.

Wives of British Service personnel who claim benefits administered by my Department cannot acquire title to non-contributory invalidity pension, attendance allowance or mobility allowance while they are in West Germany. If they had title to any of those three benefits before they left the United Kingdom they could continue to receive them in Germany, though attendance allowance and mobility allowance would normally continue for only a limited period. The position with regard to unemployment benefit is explained in my reply to the hon. Member on 24th November.

Deafness Disability Pension

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the list of trades qualifying under the deafness disability pension scheme was last revised.

The prescription of occupational deafness as a compensatable disease for industrial injuries purposes was first made with effect from February 1975. My right hon. Friend has since asked the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council to review the operation of these provisions and to identify the processes where noise levels are nearest in severity to those already covered, with a view to extending categories as and when financial and other resources become available.

Rickets

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the percentage increase in the number of cases of rickets in each of the last three five-year periods.

I regret that the information is not available. Rickets is not a notifiable disease.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will conduct a departmental inquiry into the measures taken to deal with the preventable disease of rickets which led to outstanding success for the previous generation of children, and examine where present measures fall short of those proved successful in the past;(2) if he will take immediate and urgent action to ensure proper dietary prophylactic measures within the sections of the community at high risk of contracting rickets in children; and if he will make a statement.

Rickets in children is caused by a deficiency in vitamin D, a vitamin which is present naturally in foods that form part of a normal diet, or is produced by the action of sunlight on skin. The need for special dietary measures to prevent rickets in children has long been recognised. Preventive measures date from the 1940s, when margarine was fortified with vitamin D; the welfare foods scheme included vitamin D supplements, and national dried milk was fortified with vitamin D. Preventive measures today are provided by the continuing fortification of margarine; the provision of drops containing vitamin D which are available at health authority clinics either free or cheap for children up to the age of 5 years; and the fortification of most proprietary infant milk foods.The availability of vitamin D through normal diet, together with the fortification of certain foods and welfare food tablets for mothers and drops for children containing vitamin D, has eradicated rickets from most of the child population. However, I recognise that rickets continues to be a problem amongst a minority of children, particularly the children of some Asian immigrant families who have a diet low in vitamin D. My approach to this problem is twofold: to encourage, as part of the educative process, the spread of information about the dietary preventive measures; and to consider whether further steps are necessary to fortify foods with vitamin D. A useful educative booklet was published in 1976 under the auspices of the Panel on Child Nutrition of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. This Booklet, "Topics of Our Time: 1: Vitamin D Deficiency and Osteomalacia", which discussed the prevention and cure of the vitamin D deficiency disease, rickets in children and osteomalacia adults, is one which I commend to all doctors, midwives, health visitors, teachers and others in close contact with those at risk, so that the preventive measures available and the need to make use of them are widely publicised.A Working Party of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy is at present considering the problems associated with the fortification of food, other than margarine, with vitamin D; and I expect to receive proposals before too long. Vitamin D can be toxic if too much is introduced into the body from the diet, and I am aware of the dangers of hypercalcaemia, which occurred in the 1950s when fortification of infant foods was increased.

Cohabitation

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what recent instructions have been given to officers of his Department on the use of the terms "cohabitation" or "cohabiting" in dealing with the public.

Since these terms have been replaced in the legislation by the phrase "living together as husband and wife", officers are being advised to use the new terms in preference to the old.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether officers of his Department have been instructed that in future when considering prosecution for the improper drawing of social security benefits in cases of a woman and her children allegedly living with a man, but drawing benefits as a single parent, they have to consider that although the woman may indeed be living with the man, if their relationship together might not last more than six months, it can qualify as an "unstable relationship", which need not disqualify the woman from drawing benefits as though living alone.

The Supplementary Benefits Commission considers that the expression "living together as husband and wife" clearly implies more than an occasional or very brief association. Officers are, therefore, instructed to have regard to the stability of the relationship as one of the criteria for deciding whether a couple are living together as husband and wife. The question has, however, to be decided in the light of all the facts of the case, and cannot be reduced to a rule of thumb.

Supplementary Benefit (Pregnant Women)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services at what state of pregnancy supplementary benefit can be paid to an unsupported childless woman, without requiring her to register for work.

A pregnant woman claiming supplementary benefit is not required to register for employment if there are 11 or fewer weeks remaining before the expected date of confinement. This period may be extended where there is good reason for doing so.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, for the latest available period, how many childless pregnant unsupported women have received supplementary benefit; and what is the average length of time they spend on supplementary benefit before the birth of the child.

I regret this information is not available and there is no practicable way in which it could be obtained.

Chiropodists

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received regarding the refusal of the Medicines Commission to meet the Chiropodists' Board to discuss the implementation of the Medicines Act 1968; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Hertfordshire. South-West (Mr. Dodsworth) on 17th November.—[Vol. 939, c. 322.]

Living Standards

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report the number of persons living (a) below, (b) on and (c) up to 140 per cent. above the supplementary benefit level in 1976, giving a breakdown between these above and below pensionable age and a further subdivision into family types and employment status.

Birth, Deaths And Marriages

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will publish in the Official Report a detailed list of the recently announced increase in fees of registry office marriages and birth, death and marriage search certificates; what percentage increases these will represent; and why these are being made in view of the fall in the inflationary spiral.

The following increases reflect rising costs since the last increase in October 1975. An element for future inflation in 1978–79 as indicated in the

CurrentAs in OrderPercentage increase
(£)(£)
The overall cost of a marriage when attended by a registrar is:
Without licence when both parties live in the same district5·008·0060
Without licence when parties live in different districts7·0011·0057
By licence13·0020·0054
The cost of a certified copy after a search of indexes keep at General Register Office2·502·50
General search of indexes of register book kept by Superintendent Register6·008·0033⅓
A certified copy of entry issued at Register Office2·502·50
Certified copy at reduced fee for purposes of certain Acts of Parliament0·751·0033⅓

Family Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services until what date the Family Fund, administered by the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust, will continue its work in the service of handicapped children; and if he will make a statement.

I am very pleased to be able to confirm to my hon. Friend that the trustees have now agreed to continue responsibility for the Fund's administration for an indefinite period. For our part, the Government have conveyed to the trustees our intention to maintain the fund at around the present level of expenditure. At the same time, we have undertaken to keep the present arrangements under regular review. I take this further opportunity to pay tribute to the Joseph Rowntree Memorial Trust for its consistently efficient and dedicated work in administering the fund. As my hon. Friend appreciates, its work has been of great benefit to very large numbers of severely handicapped children and their families.

Doctors (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average pay of (a) general practitioners in single-doctor practices and (b) all general practitioners in the United Kingdom for the most recent available date.

Budget Report for 1977–78 is also incorporated. The significant increases in the marriage fees result from a more detailed examination of costs.

there is no reliable information about the earnings of single-handed general medical practitioners from the National Health Service. The average net income per practitioner in respect of general medical services in Great Britain, in 1974–75, the latest year for which firm figures are available, was £6,250.

Departmental Correspondence

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will forthwith review the administration and related deficiencies at Alexander Fleming House and elsewhere which have resulted in the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge receiving a ministerial reply dated 22nd November to a submission on behalf of a National Health Service constituency patient made in a letter of 12th September.

My Department is conscious of the need to deal with correspondence as quickly as possible and an interim reply is sent when detailed inquiries are needed which may delay the final reply. In this particular case, my office wrote to the hon. Member on 6th and 25th October telling him that our inquiries were continuing. Inquiries took longer than usual because they were first directed to the area health authority, in which the hon. Member's constituent resided, and it was subsequently found that he had attended a hospital in another area. This inevitably caused delay.I am always ready to look into an hon. Member's complaints and problems, but I should like to take this opportunity to remind parliamentary colleagues that a considerable amount of time can often be saved if an approach is made direct to the authority concerned.

Incomes Policy

asked the Prime Minister whether he will move to appoint a select committee to investigate the possibility of establishing a fair and equitable wages and incomes policy covering all sections of the population bearing in mind such factors as the type of work, its use to the community, its dangers and unsocial aspects and the need for differentials in each type of employment.

Energy

Coal Mining

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what undestanding he has reached with the National Coal Board and the mining unions about a future planning agreement.

The Government, the National Coal Board and the mining unions—the British Association of Colliery Management, the National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers and the National Union of Mineworkers—have entered into an agreement on future joint planning procedures embracing a formal planning agreement. Starting from next year, the annual medium-term development plan, covering the strategy of the industry for the succeeding five years, will be submitted to the Secretary of State by the Board in consultation with the mining unions and will be regarded as the vehicle for a formal planning agreement which will be renewed annually.The other elements in the agreement on future joint planning procedures are: the tripartite arrangements for discussion of matters of strategic importance to the industry and for reviewing progress with long-term plans; and the financial framework of the Board.

Drax B Power Station

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if parliamentary approval for compensation to the Central Electricity Generating Board for the early ordering of Drax B power station will be included in the Bill foreshadowed in the Queen's Speech on the reorganisation of the electricity supply industry, or be sought in a separate piece of legislation specifically designed for the purpose.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) on 8th November—[Vol. 938, c. 91.]

North Sea Oilfields

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the North Sea oilfields currently on stream: and what has been the offtake from each field each month since the field began production.

Argyll, Auk, Beryl, Brent Claymore, Forties, Montrose and Piper are on stream. The 1977 Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics, table 37, page 59, gives 1976 production for the whole year for each field on stream and the aggregate monthly totals for all fields. Energy Trends published by my Department each month gives total production from all fields for the previous month. Month by month totals for individual fields are not available as this information is confidential under the conditions of current licences.

Planning

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the status of the planning letter he proposes to issue to the energy industries; and if he will indicate whether it is intended that the private sector shall also be a recipient.

The planning letter forms an integral part of the corporate planning system which my Department and the nationalised energy industries have jointly developed over the past year or so. It is intended to record my first response to important matters in an industry's latest corporate plan; to convey further policy guidelines for the future; and to mention specific matters to be specially featured in the next corporate plan.These arrangements do not extend to the private sector.

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the report of the Working Group on Energy Strategy which explains the corporate planning system more fully.

Wales

Doctors

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many single-doctor medical practices there are in Wales; and what is the average number of patients on the lists of such doctors.

There were 177 single-handed general medical practitioners in Wales at 1st October 1976, the latest date for which information is available. The average number of patients on the lists of these doctors was 2,279.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if it is his policy to replace the

PeriodChange in total working population (thousands)Percentage of total change accounted for by women (per cent.)
June 1971 to June 197210100
June 1972 to June 197318100
June 1973 to June 1974—11*
June 1974 to June 19752259
June 1975 to June 19762152
June 1976 to June 1977†5100
June 1971 to June 197765100
* The percentage of total change accounted for by women cannot be calculated for this period as the total working population declined, although the female working population increased by 7,000.
† The June 1977 working population is provisional.

Industry

Wigtown

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will now accord special development area status to the Wigtown District.

Although I am not persuaded that it would be appropriate to make Wigtown a special development area my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has offered to meet a delegation from the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council to discuss the problems of the area.

National Enterprise Board

medical services of rural single-handed general practitioners by health centres and partnerships based on the nearest large centre of population.

No. It is for the Medical Practices Committee taking into account local circumstances to determine whether a successor should be appointed when a general practitioner dies or otherwise leaves his practice.

Women In Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what proportion of the annual increase in the working population of Wales since 1971, employed and unemployed, has consisted of women;(2) what has been the annual increase in the working population in Wales, employed and unemployed, since 1971.

Following are the statistics:West have been given new National Enterprise Board offices with unlimited budgets.

The NEB (Guidelines) Direction of 17th December 1976 requires the NEB to

"effectively discharge their employment responsibilities in areas of high unemployment, including action through regional offices in the North East and North West of England".
This reflects Government undertakings during the passage of the Industry Bill. Offices were established in Liverpool and Newcastle in early 1976 for this purpose.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, further to the reply to the hon. Member for Surrey, North-West on 22nd November, if he will give details of the actions taken by the National Enterprise Board in the exercise of the statutory duty to promote industrial democracy in undertakings it controls, and of the arrangements made with its subsidiaries to ensure that the latter play their part in furthering Government policies in this field.

The first part of the Question is a matter for the Board. As to the second part, I understand that the Board has drawn the attention of its subsidiaries to the requirement laid on the Board in paragraph 29 of its guidelines.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the pay of Mr. R. Dickinson, a director of the National Enterprise Board.

The pay of Mr. J. L. Dickinson as a part-time member of the National Enterprise Board is £1,000 per annum.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many part-time members will be appointed to each of the National Enterprise Board's regional boards in the North and North-West; and what they will be paid.

Shipbuilding

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects the contract between British Shipbuilders and the Polish Government to be signed.

A principal agreement was signed by representatives of British Shipbuilders and the Polish Steamship Company (Polska Zegluga Morska) on 21st November.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how soon he expects to be able to announce the terms and conditions of the contract between British Shipbuilders and the Polish Government.

The terms and conditions of the agreement between British Shipbuilders and the Polish Steamship Company are commercially confidential.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the total in gross tons of new orders by United King- dom shipowners in the first nine months of the current year or up to the latest available date and the total new orders given by United Kingdom shipowners to United Kingdom shipyards.

Latest figures are in respect of the first six months of 1977, when new orders for merchant vessels for United Kingdom registration amounted to 248,000 gross tons. Of this, 243,000 gross tons were placed with United Kingdom shipyards.

Cars (Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his forecast for British car sales at home and abroad, assuming no further change in the exchange rate.

No official forecasts are published. The motor industry forecasts increases in sales of British assembled cars of about 10 per cent. in both home and export markets between 1977 and 1978.

Trade

Ministerial Responsibility

asked the Secretary of State for Trade which of the matters for which he is responsible in England he is not responsible for in Scotland; for which matters he is currently responsible in Scotland; and which matters for which he is currently responsible in Scotland will become the responsibility of the Scottish Assembly and executive under the terms of the Scotland Bill.

Those matters that are within my responsibility which, under the Scotland Bill, will be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Assembly and within the powers of the Scottish Executive, are listed in Schedule 10 to the Bill. Matters within the powers of the Scottish Executive but not within the legislative competence of the Assembly are listed in Schedule 11 to the Bill.

Contraband

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total value of contraband confiscated by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise for the latest year for which figures are available; and how much of this was alcohol and cigarettes.

I have been asked to reply.These details could not be obtained except at a disproportionate cost to public funds. Such information as is available is published in the annual report of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise and relates only to the number of seizures and to the quantities of goods principally involved. In the Commissioners' Report for the year ended 31st March 1976 the following details of seizures of tobacco and spirits were published:

Tobacco: 20,761 lbs.
Spirits: 2,824 proof gallons.

Pilotage

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if lie has yet reached any conclusions about the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Pilotage for the establishment of a Pilotage Board; and if he will make a statement.

I intend to accept the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Pilotage on the appointment of Pilotage Commissioners. The Advisory Committee's Report will provide the basis of pilotage legislation which I hope to introduce as part of a Merchant Shipping Bill in this Session.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what percentage of seagoing traffic, both British and foreign, entering the Thames and proceeding above Southend, is obliged to take on fully qualified and licensed pilots; and whether he is satisfied that the practice of permitting some ships entering the river for the first time without such qualified and licensed pilots does not constitute a risk to shipping.

The information requested in the first part of the Question is not available and could be obtained only at excessive cost.The 1974 Steering Committee on Pilotage recommended that exemptions from compulsory pilotage should be based principally on the competence of a ship's personnel as demonstrated by their holding pilotage certificates. This wider use of pilotage certificates, together with a review of the type of exemptions from compulsory pilotage referred to in the second part of the Question has also been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Pilotage—ACOP. I hope that, in the interests of improving safety of navigation, legislation to implement the ACOP Report will soon be brought before the House.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Diplomatic Representation (Zambia And Tanzania)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will list, by grade and function, the British diplomatic representation in Zambia and Tanzania.

The list, by grades and functions, of the British diplomatic representation in Zambia and Tanzania is as follows:

Zambia

  • High Commissioner.
  • Deputy High Commissioner and Coun-sellor (Economic and Commercial).
  • First Secretary (Development).
  • First Secretary and Head of Chancery.
  • First Secretary (Chancery).
  • First Secretary (Information).
  • First Secretary (Commercial).
  • First Secretary (Consular).
  • Second Secretary (Administration).
  • Second Secretary (Chancery).
  • Second Secretary (Commercial).
  • Second Secretary (Economic).
  • Attaché (Consular).
  • Attaché (Consular).
  • Attaché (Communications).

Tanzania

  • High Commissioner.
  • Counsellor and Head of Chancery.
  • First Secretary (Chancery).
  • First Secretary (Aid).
  • First Secretary (Commercial).
  • First Secretary (Aid).
  • Second Secretary (Administration).
  • Second Secretary (Information).
  • Second Secretary (Consular).
  • Attaché (Commercial Officer).
  • Attaché (Passport Officer).

In addition, there are junior United Kingdom based and locally engaged support staff in both countries.

Rhodesia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now announce the names of the expert advisers who are assisting Mr. Thomas Bingham, QC, in his inquiry into the alleged breaking of sanctions against Rhodesia by British oil companies; and when he now expects to receive the report of this inquiry.

I have appointed Mr. S. M. Gray, an accountant, and Mr. J. R. La T. Corrie, an adviser on oil marketing, to act with Mr. Bingham in conducting the inquiry. It is too soon to indicate when I expect to receive the report of the inquiry. Mr. Bingham is fully aware of the need to complete his investigations urgently.

National Finance

Social Wage

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the proportion of the social wage received by each of the groups in the Registrar-General's classification of the population; and the value per head in each.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the

A: TAX THRESHOLD AS A PERCENTAGE OF AVERAGE MANUAL EARNINGS
YearSingle person percentageMarried couple percentageMarried couple with 2 children aged under 11 percentage
1945–4628·649·885·1
1946–4741·166·6102·9
1947–4841·166·4109·6
1948–4940·164·3106·1
1949–5039·462·8103·2
1950–5137·359·698·0
1951–5233·856·997·5
1952–5335·360·3107·3
1953–5433·356·9101·2
1954–5530·952·793·8
1955–5632·955·299·5
1956–5731·051·993·4
1957–5829·449·188·4
1958–5928·948·386·8
1959–6027·445·782·2
1960–6125·542·676·6
1961–6225·641·673·8
1962–6324·740·271·4
1963–6432·850·584·5
1964–6530·446·778·1
1965–6627·843·071·9
1966–6726·841·569·4
1967–6825·539·466·0
1968–6923·736·657·4
1969–7025·437·456·1
1970–7128·741·057·6

hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) on 15th November.—[Vol. 939, cc. 193–94.]

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total amount of the social wage paid for each of the last five years.

Following is the information requested:

Social Wage: £ per head of the United Kingdom working population
1972–73629
1973–74763
1974–751,053
1975–761,301
1976–771,460
The figure for 1976–77 is provisional.

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1945 the percentage of average male national earnings represented by the tax threshold for a single person, a married couple and a married couple with two children, respectively.

Year

Single person percentage

Married couple percentage

Married couple with 2 children aged under 11 percentage

1971–7225·837·058·3
1972–7332·141·960·5
1973–7428·036·552·5
1974–7524·233·550·1
1975–7621·530·444·0
1976–7720·730·546·0
1977–7824·938·347·9

B: TAX THRESHOLD AS A PERCENTAGE OF AVERAGE EARNINGS IN ALL OCCUPATIONS

Year

Single person percentage

Married couple percentage

Married couple with2 children aged under11 percentage

1970–7125·736·751·6
1971–7223·133·052·1
1972–7329·037·854·6
1973–7425·533·347·9
1974–7522·230·745·8
1975–7619·627·740·1
1976–7718·827·741·8
1977–7822·634·846·7

Table A uses the earnings of manual workers, since these are the only figures available for the whole of the period. For years up to and including 1969–70 the estimates are based on the Department of Employment's estimates of the average earnings of full-time adult male manual workers in October of each year, except for 1945–46 where the figures relate to July 1945. For the years 1970–71 to 1976–77 the figures used are the averages of the New Earnings Survey estimates of the earnings of full-time adult male manual workers for April at the start and finish of each income tax year. To give an estimated figure for 1977–78 the April 1977 NES figure has been updated to September 1977 by the monthly index of average earnings.

Table B uses the same sources for the years from 1970–71, except that the NES estimates relate to workers in all occupations, manual and non-manual.

In both tables, the tax thresholds used take account of the family allowance deduction—"clawback"—and represent the amount of earnings which could be received in each year, as a proportion of average earnings, before incurring liability to tax.

For years up to and including 1972–73 the tax threshold takes account of the effects of earned income relief.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in assessing the employ ment creation effects of the recently announced reduction in personal taxation, what adjustments were made to take account of the marginal propensity to save of net income receivers (a) up to £5,000, (b) £5,001 to £10,000, (c) £10,001 to £20,000 and (d) above £20,000.

The estimates of the employment effects of the tax changes announced on 26th October were produced with the aid of the Treasury economic model. The consumption function in the model distinguishes between three different sources of income—wages and salaries, current grants, and other personal income such as self-employment income and dividends—and not different sizes of income. The short-run marginal propensity to consume is different for each source of income since source and size of income are assumed to be related. Information on the average income per head affected by different tax changes is used, however, to make ad hoc adjustments to the marginal propensities to consume.

Nationalised Industries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the totals for each of the nationalised industries for (a) the total amount of capital written off and (b) the total net profit or loss since each became a statutory corporation.

The amounts of capital debt and revenue deficits written off for each of the nationalised industries are shown in Table A. The total accumulated surplus/deficit for each industry since nationalisation is shown in Table B.

NATIONALISED INDUSTRIES
TABLE A
Capital Debt and Revenue Deficits written off to date (November 1977)
Industry£ million
National Coal Board864·6†
Electricity Council
North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board
South of Scotland Electricity Board
British Gas Corporation
British National Oil Corporation
British Steel Corporation350·0‡
Post Office207·1§
British Airways Board135·0║
British Airports Authority
British Transport Commission*487·4
British Railways Board1,451·1¶
London Transport Board*269·8
British Transport Docks Board
British Waterways Board15·5
National Freight Corporation
National Bus Company
Scottish Transport Group
British Aerospace
British Shipbuilders
* The BTC ceased to exist in 1963. The LTB ceased to be a nationalised industry in 1970.
† Includes £90·8 million in respect of accumulated revenue losses at March 1965, £24·8 million provision for revenue losses in the year ended March 1966 and £174·6 million in respect of accumulated revenue losses to March 1973.
‡ This amount was transferred to reserves under the Iron and Steel Act 1972: against this £166·5 million had been written off by 2nd April 1977.
§ Including £13 million in respect of PO banking services recreated into the form of public dividend capital.
║ Including £30 million reconstituted as a reserve, which has since been capitalised as public dividend capital.
¶ Including £705 million debt suspended under the Transport Act 1962 and finally written off under the Transport Act 1968.
TABLE B
Surpluses/Deficits to 31st March 1977 (31st December 1976 for BNOC and surface transport industries)
IndustryProfit/Loss*
£ million
National Coal Board—488·2
Electricity Council396·3
North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board—1·8

Industry

Profit/Loss*

£ million

South of Scotland Electricity Board-0·1
British Gas Corporation80·4
British National Oil Corporation-1·3
British Steel Corporation315·3
Post Office†275·4
British Airways Board‡6·4
British Airports Authority37·0
British Transport Commission§-720·5
British Railways Board-935·1
London Transport Board§-35·1
British Transport Docks Board19·0
British Waterways Board-43·9
Transport Holding Company§59·5
National Freight Corporation-65·4
National Bus Company-22·2
Scottish Transport Group-10·6

* Profit/Loss figures have in each case been calculated before Government grants to meet deficits on revenue account or as compensation for price restraint, but after grants for specific purposes. They are after depreciation and interest charges and, where applicable, extraordinary items, minority interests, taxation and dividend on public dividend capital.

† The Post Office has been included since 1961–62, when it was decided that it should be treated in matters of finance as though it were a nationalised industry.
‡ Including, until 1971–72, profit/loss figures for both BOAC and BEA.
§The BTC ceased to exist in 1963 and the THC in 1971. The LTB ceased to be a nationalised industry in 1970.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the amount in personal tax concessions that would have to be made to reduce the number of people paying income tax to the number in February 1974.

The estimated number of taxpayers is as follows:

Numbers ('000)
1973–741977–78
Married12,05011,940
Single7,6408,330
Wives with earnings3,6204,420
Total: single and wives with earnings11,26012,75
To reduce the total number of single persons and earning wives paying tax in 1977–78 to the same number as in 1973–74 would require an estimated increase in the personal allowance for single persons and earning wives of about £245.

Gross Domestic Product

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the latest available figures for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the English regions which show (a) gross domestic product at factor cost, (b) gross domestic product per capita at factor cost, (c) identifiable public expenditure, and (d) identifiable public expenditure per capita.

Gross domestic product at factor cost, 1975*Identifiable public expenditure, 1975–76
£m£m/capita£m£m/capita
Scotland8,3421,6024,458856
Wales4,0231,4552,146776
Northern Ireland1,9191,2481,511983
England78,3231,68631,833686
North4,9301,577
Yorkshire and Humberside7,7991,594
East Midlands6,0031,610
East Anglia2,6831,506
South East31,5841,865
South West6,4091,514
West Midlands8,4031,623
North West10,5121,598
* Excluding profits from North Sea oil and gas offshore operations.

Inland Revenue Department

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total number of civil servants employed in the Inland Revenue.

The total at 1st November 1977 was 86,336, including 1,242 staff serving on short-period engagements.

Manufactures

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) in assessing the employment creation effects of the recently announced reductions in personal taxation, what adjustment was made for the increase in consumers' expenditure on imports of finished and semi-finished manufactured goods;(2) what would be the estimated increase in employment arising from the recently announced reductions in personal taxation if the import penetration of finished and semi-finished manufactured goods were reduced by a half.

As my right hon. Friend said in his statement on 26th October, the measures he was then announcing could produce an increase in

Estimates of regional gross domestic product are given in the table below for 1975, the latest year for which figures are available. Identifiable public expenditure is shown for the financial year 1975–76, the closest period for comparison, for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. No estimates of identifiable public expenditure are available separately for the regions of England.employment of 30,000 in the first quarter of 1978 and 170,000 in the first quarter of 1979 compared with what otherwise would have happened. These estimates were produced with the aid of the Treasury economic model which takes full account of the fact that the increase in consumers' expenditure would lead partly to a rise in imports and partly to a rise in domestic output. An estimate of the effect on employment if the increase in imports were reduced by half could be produced only at the cost of disproportionate time and effort.

Public Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish details of his estimate of the following in relation to the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies: (a) devolved public expenditure and (b) identifiable public expenditure, in similar form to Tables 1 and 2 of Command Paper No. 6890 for financial years 1971–2, 1974–5, 1976–77, for Scotland and Wales, and for England, Northern Ireland and the English regions.

I regret that the only information at present available is shown in the tables below:

IDENTIFIABLE PUBLIC EXPENDITURE
1974–75

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Agriculture, fisheries, food and forestry89870·519014·9866·71017·91,274
Trade, industry and employment90464·324917·71067·514710·51,405
Government lending to nationalised industries51876·87811·5182·7619·0675
Roads and transport1,53981·121011·1955·0532·81,898
Housing3,61282·748011·01874·3862·04,365
Other environmental services1,51380·322111·71035·5482·51,885
Law, order and protective services1,00578·41148·9503·91148·81,282
Education and libraries, science and arts4,76781·463210·82925·001662·85,857
Health and personal social services3,93781·452210·82374·91473·04,843
Social security5,82082·16609·33895·52193·17,087
Other public services41279·9519·8356·8183·5515
Common services28885·1247·1113·2164·6339
Total identifiable public expenditure25,21280·23,43110·91,6075·11,1753·731,424
Population estimates (millions)46·44483·05·2179·32·7574·91·5472·855·965

IDENTIFIABLE PUBLIC EXPENDITURE
1975–76

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Agriculture, fisheries, food and forestry1,06073·120214·0855·81037·11,450
Trade, industry and employment1,15261·338520·51437·619810·61,879
Government lending to nationalised industries55373·4638·310013·2385·1754
Roads and transport1,81479·826611·71245·4703·12,273
Housing3,64081·054512·11944·31152·64,494
Other environmental services2,07379·732712·61284·9732·82,602
Law, order and protective services1,33478·21528·9694·01518·91,705
Education and libraries, science and arts6,03481·081610·93725·02283·17,451
Health and personal social services5,22580·970711·03204·92063·26,458
Social Security7,95182·48929·25225·42893·09,655
Other public services58978·2689·1749·8222·9752
Common services40986·1357·3163·4153·2475
Total identifiable public expenditure31,83379·64,45811·22,1465·41,5113·839,948
Population estimates (millions)46·43583·05·2069·32·7644·91·5372·855·943

IDENTIFIABLE PUBLIC EXPENDITURE
1976–77

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

£m.

As percentage of United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Agriculture, fisheries, food and forestry69864·220018·4807·310910·01,087
Trade, industry and employment1,39563·444520·21818·21788·12,199
Government lending to nationalised industries-132185516
Roads and transport1,93479·128811·81445·9783·22,444
Housing4,01680·458811·82134·31763·54,993
Other environmental services2,17779·834612·71304·8752·72,727
Law, order and protective services1,54678·51728·7804·11718·71,969
Education and libraries, science and arts6,90881·391410·84204·92593·08,501
Health and personal social services5,97180·980710·93634·92403·37,381
Social security9,39782·21,0599·36245·53493·011,429
Other public services62877·6779·6809·8243·0809
Common services45586·1387·1203·8163·0529
Total identifiable public expenditure34,99379·44,93511·22,4205·51,7263·944,074
Population estimates (millions)46·41883·05·2069·32·7674·91·5382·855·928

Identifiable public expenditure is expenditure which can be identified from official records as having been incurred in a particular country, excluding debt interest and expenditure on defence and overseas services which is incurred on behalf of the United Kingdom as a whole. The extent to which expenditure can be identified varies between countries and different years. The coverage of the figures, therefore, may vary even when similar services are being provided. The figures are at current prices.

The figures for 1975–76 supersede those given in Table 2 of Command No. 6890.

The figures for 1976–77 are provisional.

It is not meaningful to express the figures for Government lending to nationalised industries in 1976–77 as a percentage of similar United Kingdom expenditure.

The figures are rounded separately and in certain cases do not add to the totals.

National Land Fund

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now discontinue the practice of compensating the Inland Revenue from the resources of the National Land Fund whenever historic houses or works of art are accepted in satisfaction of capital transfer tax.

Capital Transfer Tax (Late Lord Scarsdale's Estate)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider accepting the offer of the executors of the late Lord Scarsdale, of Kedleston Hall, in satisfaction of capital transfer tax.

No such offer has been received by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.

Press Inquiries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to see that Press inquiries to his Department are dealt with more expeditiously.

I understand that there were problems in handling telephone inquiries from the Press, following the retirement of the keyboard operator in the Treasury's Press Office. A new operator has now been engaged and I hope that the present service will be found to be fully satisfactory.

Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in assessing the cost of the recently announced reductions in personal taxation, what adjustment was made for the likely increase in indirect taxation revenue due to increased personal consumption.

The cost of income tax changes is usually expressed in terms of either the full year revenue cost or the first year revenue cost. In his statement on 26th October my right hon. Friend said that the full year revenue cost in 1978–79 of a 12 per cent. increase in personal tax allowances is around £1,200 million and that the cost in 1977–78—that is, the first year cost—of bringing this increase forward is £940 million. Neither the full year or first year revenue costs of income tax changes take into account changes in indirect tax revenue. Estimates of the change in the public sector borrowing requirement and other economic effects resulting from a package of measures as a whole are produced with the aid of the Treasury economic model which takes full account of the change in indirect tax revenue.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated average percentage of indirect taxation borne by families of two adults and four children in the following net income brackets: (a) up to £3,500, (b) £3,501 to £5,000, (c) £5,001 to £10,000 and (d) over £10,000.

The available information is not reliable in the detail which my hon. Friend requests. The percentage in 1976 for the larger groups of households of two adults and three, four or five children are 2·3, 2·5 and 1·7;7 of net income—(a) up to £3,500, (b) £3,501 to £5,000 and (c) over £5,000 respectively. The figures given above should be treated with caution since they are based on low sample sizes and involve a considerable number of assumptions in their estimation.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the increase in direct and indirect tax revenue if the level of unemployment were reduced to 700,000.

It is not possible to say how much tax revenue the Government would receive if unemployment were reduced to 700,000. This would depend on the way in which the reduction had been achieved. An expansion of demand—and reduction in unemployment—brought about by tax cuts, for example, would have a different effect on tax revenue from one brought about by increases in public expenditure, and each feasible combination of tax and public expenditure changes would similarly have a unique effect. Furthermore, the impact of changes in either taxation or public expenditure on the economy depends on how it is financed, and hence on the associated monetary policy. Alternatively, it could be assumed that unemployment was reduced as a result Of an autonomous increase in private sector expenditure—for example, exports, or personal consumption—with different revenue implications again.

£ Sterling

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give a direction to the Bank of England not to spend any money from the reserves to stop the pound from floating down.

It is not the practice to comment in detail on intervention policy in the exchange markets.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the effective appreciation of the £ sterling against the German, French and Italian currencies over the latest convenient period.

I assume my hon. Friend is interested in the appreciation of the £ sterling against these currencies after allowance is made for relative rates of inflation. The figures are:

Appreciation of £ sterling over last six months
Deutschemark3 per cent.
French franc2 per cent.
Italian lira2 per cent.
The figures are calculated by taking the change in the current spot rates over the rates at end-April 1977 and adjusting these by the relative changes in the consumer price indices over the period April 1977 to October 1977. For the French franc the period used was March 1977-September 1977.

Tax Avoidance Schemes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will seek to amend the law so as to prevent schemes of the kind described in the Sunday Times of 9th October, marketed with the object of reducing tax by creating losses through partnerships of companies and individuals dealing in commodity futures.

I have read the Sunday Times article and I am aware of these schemes, under which arrangements are made for a partnership to be formed with the definite intention that a tax loss should arise and that the person for whose benefit the arrangements are made should then leave the partnership. The Revenue tells me that it does not recognise the ensuing claims as valid under existing law. However, its refusal to accept them will doubtless be contested and it could be some years before certainty is reached through the judicial process. To put the matter beyond doubt. therefore, the Chancellor will introduce appropriate legislation in next year's Finance Bill. He will be considering from what date legislation against a claim to loss relief contrived in this kind of way should be effective.

Employment

Incomes

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1945 the average industrial wage in terms of 1970 prices.

Estimates of average earnings at constant prices are not available.The average gross weekly earnings of full-time manual men aged 21 and over in manufacturing industries in an October pay-week of each year from 1946 derived from the Department's regular enquiries are given below. They are also expressed as percentages of the 1970 figure, alongside corresponding figures for retail prices.

Amount (in October) £As percentage of October 1970 figureIndex of retail prices* for October as percentage of October 1970 figure
19466·3321·938·8
19476·7123·239·3
19487·1724·842·0
19497·4025·643·6
19507·8327·144·6
19518·6029·750·0
19529·2432·053·4
19539·8334·054·3
195410·6136·755·9
195511·5540·058·8
195612·2842·561·1
195713·0645·263·7
195813·2745·965·1
195914·2149·265·0
196015·1652·466·3
196115·8955·068·9
196216·3456·570·9
196317·2959·872·5
196418·6764·675·5
196520·1669·779·1
196620·7871·982·1
196721·8975·783·7
196823·6281·788·4

Amount (in October)

As percentage of October 1970 figure

Index of retail prices* for October as percentage of October 1970 figure

196925·5488·393·1
197028·91100·0100·0
197131·37108·5109·4
197236·20125·2118·0
197341·52143·6129·7
197449·12169·9151·8
197559·74206·6191·1
197667·83234·6219·3

* The figures are derived from:

(i) The General Index of Retail Prices 1956 to date.
(ii) The Interim Index of Retail Prices June 1947 to January 1956.
(iii) The Cost of Living Index. 1914 to June 1947.

Small Businesses

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will consider changing the regulations concerning the small firms employment subsidy to allow building companies to qualify for it.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Denbigh (Mr. Morgan) on 22nd November.—[Vol. 939, c. 580.]

Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how he calculates average industrial earnings; and what is the average Service man's earnings.

Average earnings in industry can be compiled on a number of different definitions. One frequently used is that of average gross weekly earnings of men aged 21 and over, employed on a full-time basis, in manual occupations, in manufacturing industries, and including those men paid for only part of the working week. Estimates of this kind are available for April each year from the New Earnings Survey—Great Britain—and for October from the Department's regular—United Kingdom—survey of manual workers in these industries. The averages are calculated first for individual industries, by dividing the total gross amount paid—before PAYE, national insurance and other deductions—by the number of men receiving payment. These industry figures are then combined using appropriate weights to give overall averages.

Some variations on the above definition are to extend the coverage to include other production industries—for example, mining or construction—or to exclude men paid for only part of the week, or to include non-manual workers, or to calculate, in addition, figures relating to women. All these variations can be calculated using data from the New Earnings Survey.

I understand that general averages of earnings of Service men are not kept by the Ministry of Defence.

Messrs Brian Walden And David Coleman

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will cause an investigation to be made into the salary payments made to Brian Walden and David Coleman, two television commentators, to establish to what extent their increased payments are within the Government's pay policy.

I understand that the payments made to the individuals concerned are consistent with the pay guidelines.

London Co-Operative Society

asked the Secretary of State for Employment to what extent the Government's 10 per cent. incomes limit will apply to the 20 per cent. increase to London Co-operative Society former employees' pensions increases resulting from the recent High Court decision.

Improvements in the pension arrangements for retired employees may be made outside the pay guidelines.

Old Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give his estimate of the number of (a) men and (b) women over normal retirement age, engaged in part-time and full-time employment, respectively.

Very approximate estimates can be made by applying the proportions of men and women working full-time and part-time who are over retirement age, as shown by the Family Expenditure Survey, to the appropriate figures from the June 1976 census of employment for Great Britain.The figures thus obtained were approximately 400,000 male employees in employment aged 65 and over and 550,000 females aged 60 and over and the proportion working part-time about 70 per cent. in both cases.

Unemployed Persons

Mr. Knox