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Written Answers

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 14th December 1977

Solicitors (Sole Practitioners)

asked the Attorney-General whether he has considered the difficulties of sole practitioners under the Solicitors Practice Rules 1975; and whether he intends to propose any changes.

The Solicitors Practice Rules 1975 were made by the Council of the Law Society with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls. The needs of sole practitioners were considered when the Rules were made. The Council of the Law Society has power to waive any of the provisions of the Rules in any particular case and in many cases has done so. Neither my noble Friend the

TitleDate of first appearance on Order PaperDate of appearance on effective orders
Draft European Communities (Definition of Treaties) (No. 3) Order 19774th November24th November
Draft European Communities (Definition of Treaties) (No. 4) Order 19774th November24th November
Draft European Communities (Definition of Treaties) (No. 5) Order 197711th November2nd December
Draft European Communities (Definition of Treaties) (No. 6) Order 197715th November
Motion to take note of EEC Document No.:
R/414/76 (Excise duty on cigarettes)10th November14th November
R/1170/77 (seed and plant marketing)15th November
R/3265/76 and R/1961/77 (preservation of birds)17th November
R/1568/77 and R/669/77 (railway costing principles and accounting systems)16th November18th November
R/2147/77, R/2428/77, R/2429/77, R/2434/77, R/2521/77 and R/2642/77 (fisheries)28th November
COM(67)155 (mutual recognition of architectural qualifications)30th November
R/1955/77, R/1959/77, R/2347/77, R/2348/77 and R/2549/77 (energy policy); and R/1901/77, R/1956/77 and R/1958/77 (nuclear energy)7th December

House Of Commons

European Community Documents

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will tabulate in the Official Report the date on which each of the motions on any Definition of Treaty order and motions relating to EEC documents first appeared on the Order Paper of the House in the current Session and the respective dates when each motion appeared on the effective Orders of the Day.

The information is as follows:of the recommendations; to what extent these proposals were rejected, implemented or postponed due to various wages and incomes policies and other stated reasons; and when he expects to implement in full the last Boyle recommendations or arrange a debate on them.

In the answer I gave my hon. Friend on 26th May 1977—[Vol. 932, c. 539]—I provided the following information:

Report, etc., and Date with Notes on Implementation

Select Committee on Members' Expenses (HC 93), March 1946;

Recommendations modified; implemented with effect from 1st April 1946.

Select Committee on Members' Expenses etc., (HC 72), February 1954;

Recommendations modified; Sessional Allowance introduced with effect from 24th May 1954.

Government proposal embodied in statement from Prime Minister, July 1957;

Sessional allowance commuted to fixed sum with effect from 1st July 1957.

Report of the Committee on the remuneration of Ministers and MPs (Lawrence Committee) (Cmnd 2516), November 1964;

Implemented in full with effect from 16th October 1964.

Review Body on Top Salaries Report No. 1: Ministers and MPs (Cmnd 4836), December 1971;

Implemented in full, with effect from 1st January 1972.

Review Body on Top Salaries Report No. 5;

MPs allowances (Cmnd 5701), July 1974:

Implemented in full, with effect from 1st August 1974.

Review Body on Top Salaries Report No. 7: Ministers, MPs and the Peers Expenses Allowance—Part I (Cmnd 6136), June 1975:

Recommendations on allowances and facilities implemented in full with effect from 13th June 1975; recommendation on pay partially implemented.

Review Body on Top Salaries No. 8: Ministers, MPs and the Peers Expenses Allowance—Part 11 (Cmnd 6574), July 1976:

Not implemented.

I also said that the House will have to consider the whole issue of Members' pay in due course, but continuing incomes policy rules out progress at the present time. That remains the position.

Increasing the recommended salary of £8,000 at 13th June 1975 in line with the movement in the index of retail prices between that date and October 1977 produces a figure of £10,880.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Metrication

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what representations he has received from consumers and consumer associations favouring the use of metric measurements in the fabric and textile trade.

The point of view of consumers is that they favour very strongly ending as soon as possible the confusion which exists at the moment where both metric and imperial measurements are in use and where it is impossible to make true value-for-money com- parisons. This attitude was clearly demonstrated at the Metrication Board's meeting of 31st May with representatives of the 17 consumer organisations listed below, specifically on the subject of carpets and fabrics. At that meeting there was general agreement that there should be an early legal cut-off date for the sale in imperial units of these goods and that the particular date accepted by the trade—30th July 1978—should be adopted. Formal consultations with all interested parties on this proposal are now being initiated.

Consumer Organisations

  • Age Concern
  • Consumers' Association
  • Consumer Standards Advisory Committee
  • Co-operative Women's Guild
  • Good Housekeeping Institute
  • Help the Aged
  • National Association of Women's Clubs
  • National Consumer Protection Council
  • National Council of Social Services
  • National Federation of Consumer Groups
  • National Federation of Women's Institutes
  • National Housewives Association
  • Soroptimists International
  • United Kingdom Federation of Business and Professional Women
  • National Consumer Council
  • Scottish Consumer Council
  • Welsh Consumer Council

Soft Drinks

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he will request the Price Commission to investigate the variation in prices of soft drinks between different shops.

In its report on soft drinks and mixers sold in licensed premises, the Price Commission investigated the variations in prices of soft drinks sold on licensed premises and found that there were noticeable regional differences. I have no evidence to suggest that the variations in prices between different shops are other than one would expect in normal circumstances.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether, in the light of the fact earlier in the year the Price Commission found that public houses were charging too much for soft drinks and advised a reduction in the charge for mixed drinks containing tonic, soda and ginger ale, and that these prices have now increased, whether he will now refer this matter to the Price Commission for further investigation.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) what action he has taken on the report on mixer and soft drinks issued by the Price Commission on 31st March 1977 and, in particular, in relation to their recommendation that the price should be reduced by at least two pence;(2) what action he has taken on the recommendations in the report of the Price Commission in relation to prices charged for shandy and lager and lime;(3) if he will take action as suggested in the Price Commission report, namely to prevent licensees charging higher prices than necessary for soft drinks when sold separately, in order to discourage this trade; and if he will take such action as necessary on those matters prior to Christmas and the New Year.

A number of outstanding issues arising from the Price Commission's report remain to be resolved. These will be included in the discussions which my right hon. Friend will be opening with the trade this week.

Toys

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) what steps he is taking to tighten up the standards of toy safety; if he will ensure that the same rigid standards are applied to all imported toys; and if he will make a statement;(2) what studies he has made of the selling and importation of dangerous toys; what representations on dangerous toys he has received recently and if he will give details of these in the

Official Report; what steps he is taking to minimise the danger from such toys; and if he will make a statement.

The technical committee of the British Standards Institution concerned with toys, on which my Department is represented, is participating in the preparation by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) of a comprehensive safety standard for toys which is to be the basis of an EEC directive. This, when adopted, will be implemented by all member States. In the meantime, all toys offered for sale in this country, including imported toys, must comply with the Toys (Safety) Regulations 1974, which already cover the major hazards.Since January this year, my Department has received 103 complaints about dangerous toys, of which 59 were found to be justified. Most of these toys have been modified or withdrawn from sale following approaches to the manufacturers or importers concerned. The hazards identified were as follows:

Toxicity6
Sharp edges and points14
Mechanical7
Flammability2
Suffocation4
Small toys and parts26

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what are the latest figures available for the number of accidents attributed to dangerous toys; if he will classify these, indicating the type of accident; and if he will make a statement.

As indicated in the report published by my Department last month summarising the data collected during the first six months of operation of the Home Accident Surveillance System, 351 out of 30,000 home accidents recorded by the 20 participating hospitals during that period involved toys. A study of the data has shown that 244 of these accidents were in no way attributable to defects in the toys. The classification of the remaining 107 cases where the toys may have been to blame is as follows:

Ingestion and objects stuck in ears, nose and mouth85
Injuries caused by sharp edges and points14
Fingers or hand trapped by part of toy8
These initial data are insufficient to produce accurate national estimates.

Unsolicited Goods

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) what is the law relating to unsolicited goods sent through the post, or the post in addition to goods the consumer has already contracted to buy; and if he will make a statement;(2) what is the law relating to unsolicited goods sent through the post, or delivered by hand or any other method; and what action the consumer should take if this happens.

The recipient of unsolicited goods—whether sent by post, by hand or any other method and whether additional to goods ordered or not—is under no obligation to pay for them or return them. Further protection was given by the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971, which provides that, after 30 days if the recipient gives notice in writing to the sender, or six months if he does not, the goods may be regarded as an unconditional gift provided that the sender has been given reasonable access for collection. The Act also makes it an offence to demand payment for unsolicited goods, but only in cases where the sender knows the goods are unsolicited and where he has no reasonable cause to believe there is a right to payment. Any consumer who is worried about his position should contact a solicitor or get in touch with his local trading standards officer, consumer advice centre or citizens advice bureau.

Price Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will fill the outstanding vacancy on the Price Commission.

I have decided to appoint Mr. R. G. Opie as a part-time member of the Price Commission. Mr. Opie, a Fellow of New College, Oxford, will continue to be a part-time member of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission

Citizens Advice Bureaux

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many citizens advice bureaux there are in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region; and if he will list them, showing the addresses in each case together with details of any grants which have been made to them and the number of full time officers employed at each.

There are 46 citizens advice bureaux and one regional office in the Yorkshire and Humberside Region. The two tables below give the further information requested. The grant assistance described refers only to those parts of the total national grants which my department has provided to the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and which the national association has decided to allocate to that region.

HUMBERSIDE AND YORKSHIRE CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAUX (INCLUDING EXTENSIONS)
Grants made available in 1977–78Full time paid officers
Citizens Advice BureauxAmount
£
Boothferry
Hull2,6601
Beverley*
Scunthorpe110
Barton on Humber*
Brigg*
Harrogate1600
Northallerton
Richmond
Ripon
Scarborough825
Whitby*
Selby1,825
Tadcaster*
Skipton
Town Hall Settle*
York1,0001
Askern
Barnsley800
Penistone*
Doncaster6001
Thorne*
Mexborough
Rotherham1,0001
Sheffield (Pitsmoor)8,1151
Middlewood Hospital*
Sheffield (Sharrow)3,895
Stainforth
Bradford3,0002
Brighouse750
Chapeltown (Leeds)6,075
Dewsbury250
Elland350
Halifax600
Hebden Bridge350
Huddersfield550
Batley*500
Keighley1,100
Leeds1
Ossett800
Pontefract500
Pudsey750
South Elmsall500
Spen Valley250
Todmorden350
Wakefield1
Area Office5,0003
Training Centre2,320
46,42512
* Extension Bureau.
YORKSHIRE AND HUMBERSIDE

Humberside

  • Boothferry—Red Lion Street, Pasture Road, Goole, (South Humberside).
  • Hull—Parliament Buildings, Alfred Gelder Street, Kingston-upon-Hull, HU1 2BP.
  • *Beverley (Extension)—14 Toll Gavel N. Humberside).
  • Scunthorpe—31 Francis Street, (S. Humberside).
  • Barton-on-Humber (Extension)—Trinity Methodist Hall, Vestry Lane, Holydyke, (S. Humberside).
  • Brigg (Extension)—St. John's Church Hall. Bigby Street, (S. Humberside).

North Yorkshire

  • Harrogate—101 Station Parade, HG1 1HB.
  • Northallerton—Standard House, 48 High Street.
  • Richmond—85 Frenchgate, Richmond.
  • Ripon—The Town Hall, Market Square, HG4 18Z.
  • Scarborough—13 Elders Street, Y011 1BR.
  • Whitby (Extension)—Golden Lion Bank Chambers, Golden Bank, Whitby, Y021 3BS.
  • Selby—30 New Lane.
  • Tadcaster (Extension)—7 Bridge Street.
  • Skipton—Bus Station Cottage, 26A Keighley Road, BD23 2NS.
  • Skipton Settle (Extension)—Town Hall, Settle, North Yorkshire.
  • York—10 Priory Street, YO1 IEZ.

South Yorkshire

  • Askern—The Community Centre, Doncaster Road.
  • Barnsley—10 Regent Street South.
  • Penistone (Extension)—St. Paul's Methodist Church, High Street.
  • Doncaster—40 Nether Hall Road, DN1 2PZ.
  • Thorne (Extension)—Assembly Rooms, Town Council Offices, Field Side.
  • Mexborough—Old Market Hall.
  • Rotherham—Transport Buildings, Frederick Street.
  • Sheffield (Pitsmoor)—30 Spittal Hill, Sheffield, S4 7LG.
  • Middlewood Hospital (Extension)—Middle wood Psychiatric Hospital, Sheffield.
  • Sheffield (Sharrow)—Wesley House, London Road, Sheffield, S2 4UR.
  • Stainforth—14 Church Road.

West Yorkshire

  • Bradford—Thorpe Chambers, 12A Ivegate, BD1 1SW.
  • Brighouse—47 Bethel Street, HD6 1JR.
  • Chapeltown—Roscoe Methodist Church, Buildings, Francis Street, Chapeltown Road, Leeds, LS7 4EE.
  • Dewsbury—The Town Hall, Railway Street.
  • Elland—The Council Offices, Southgate, Elland, HX5 0ER.
  • Halifax—32 Clare Road, HX1 2HX.
  • Hebden Bridge—Council Offices, St. George's Street.
  • Huddersfield—35 Kirkgate, HD1 1QT.
  • Batley (Extension)—6 Branch Road.
  • Keighley—Sandywood Street.
  • Leeds—Westminster Buildings, 31 New York Street, LS2 7DT.
  • Ossett—32 Station Road, WF5 SAD.
  • Pontefract—County Savings Bank Chambers, Market Place.
  • Pudsey—The Market Place.
  • South Elmsall—107 Barnsley Road, Moorthorpe.
  • Spen Valley—2 Mortimer Street, Greenside, Cleckheaton, BD19 5AR.
  • Todmorden—Basement, Weavers Institute, Burnley Road.
  • Wakefield—First Floor, Unity House, Smythe Street, WF1 1ER.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if it is his policy to encourage local authorities to make grants to citizens advice bureaux.

My Department encourages any assistance which is given to this very valuable service. The Government take into account local authority assistance to citizens advice bureaux in the total annual rate support grant settlement.

Civil Service

Public Expenditure (Administration)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether, in the light of the recurring examples of neglect and maladministration, etc., in the Civil Service causing the loss of public money, as in the recent case of the Crown Agents, he will seek to introduce legislation to create a Freedom of Information Act.

No. The Crown Agents are not a Government Department and their staff are not civil servants. As my hon. Friend is aware, the Government have now decided to establish a 1921 Act inquiry into this matter.

Education And Science

Secondary Schools (Avon)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many secondary schools in the County of Avon provide education for pupils aged 11 to 16 years without sixth form facilities; and how many of these schools are in the Kingswood constituency.

There are 14 maintained secondary schools in the county of Avon providing education for pupils aged 11 to 16 years without sixth form facilities. Six of these are in the Kingswood constituency.

Immigrant Children

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is now in a position to comment on the amounts of money which will be required by the education authorities to comply with the directive on the training of immigrant children; and what specific plans she has to enable immigrant children to be taught in the language of their mother tongue.

The teaching of English as a second language has long been a normal part of our educational provision, and no specific extra expenditure is contemplated. The directive does not confer an individual entitlement to tuition in the mother tongue, and I do not envisage any signficant increase in expenditure in present circumstances.The promotion of tuition of this type must initially involve research into the educational implications of introducing such provision on a large scale and how the curricular and logistical difficulties might be overcome. A pilot project, financed by the European Social Fund, investigating the educational effects of mother tongue and culture tuition, is under way in several Bedford schools, where Italian and Punjabi children are taught their mother tongue as part of the curriculum.

Degrees And Diplomas

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will bring forward proposals to stop the sale of bogus degrees and diplomas.

My right hon. Friend has considered this possibility, but while she deplores this traffic she does not think that she can usefully take any measures at this time.

Energy

Electricity Bills (Arrears)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is able to estimate, by region, the amount of electricity bill arrears in each of the past two years.

The electricity industry in Scotland and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively. With reference to those regions falling within my Department's responsibility, the debt owed to each area electricity board for electricity and work done is set out in the Electricity Council's statement of accounts for 1976–77, as follows:

DEBTORS (LESS PROVISION FOR BAD AND DOUBTFUL DEBTS)
Electricity (consumption read in year) and work done
£'000 at 31st March
Area Board19771976
London68,63652,399
South Eastern35,35130,144
Southern45,92737,209
South Western24,08519,396
Eastern53,29345,544
East Midlands38,75130,897
Midlands51,38343,236
South Wales23,37519,126
Merseyside and North Wales*30,40825,675
Yorkshire56,41348,046
North Eastern31,43626,588
North Western40,38634,232
Total499,444412,492
* Comprises part of England and part of Wales

Nuclear Reactors

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the effective energy recovery from uranium by using an advanced gas-cooled reactor, a pressure water reactor and a fast reactor, respectively.

I am advised that the effective energy recovery per tonne of natural uranium is: AGR, 14,500 tonnes coal equivalent; PWR, 18,000 tonnes coal equivalent.If used fuel is reprocessed and recycled through these systems, the energy extraction could be increased by about 50 per cent. If the used fuel is reprocessed and recycled through the fast reactor system, about 60 per cent. of the potential energy content of the uranium can be extracted—that is, about 2 million tonnes of coal equivalent per tonne of natural uranium.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the uranium charge of each magnox reactor and advanced gas-cooled reactor in use in the United Kingdom; and how much separately the amount of plutonium he estimates will be produced by each during the effective life of the stations.

The table below shows the tonnage of uranium which I am advised is required for a full charge for each of the nuclear power stations currently operated by or under construction for the United Kingdom generating boards:

StationTonnes U at Equilibrium
Magnox (Natural uranium)
Bradwell470
Berkeley460
Hinkley A700
Trawsfynydd590
Dungeness A610
Sizewell640
Oldbury580
Wylfa1,190
Hunterston A500
AGR (approximate natural uranium equivalent of low enriched fuel elements)
Dungeness B960
Hinkley B840
Harlepool880
Heysham880
Hunterston B840
I am advised that at 31st March 1977 there were 7·5 tonnes of separated plutonium in stock arising from the reprocessing of fuel from Magnox stations operated by the home generating boards. The plutonium expected to be obtained from that date on present estimates of their operating lives amount to some 49 tonnes, as follows:

StationTonnes
Bradwell
Berkeley
Hinkley A
Trawsfynydd5
Dungeness A5
Sizewell6
Oldbury5
Wylfa9
Hunterston A
49

Radioactive Material (Reprocessing And Storage)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy, assuming that no fuel elements were reprocessed in the United Kingdom, what accumulated tonnage of untreated fuel elements would have to be stored; and on the basis of reprocessing, what tonnage of waste will have accumulated in the United Kingdom by 1980.

I am advised that some 250 tonnes of uranium as irradiated fuel elements will have been discharged from commercial AGR power stations and the prototype AGR and SGHWR at Winfrith by the beginning of 1980. The reprocessing of this fuel would give rise to about 75 tonnes highly-active liquid waste for storage. This fuel could not be reprocessed by 1980 whatever the outcome of the Windscale inquiry.These figures do not include irradiated fuel from Magnox reactors, since it is generally accepted that this must be reprocessed. From the end of 1977 to the beginning of 1980, up to some 2,800 tonnes uranium as Magnox fuel is expected to be reprocessed at Windscale. This would give rise to about 230 tonnes of highly-active liquid waste.

Plutonium

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much plutonium 500MW and 1000MW (a) magnox, (b) advanced gas-cooled reactor and (c) pressure water reactor stations would produce annually.

Assuming a station of 1000 MW(E) operating continuously, I am advised that the plutonium produced in irradiated fuel elements each year would be some

TypeTonnes
Magnox0·75
AGR0·25
PWR0·35
On the same assumption, the amounts from a station of 500 MW(E) would be approximately half these quantities.

Uranium

asked the Secretary of State for Energy, assuming the life of a nuclear power station to be 20 years and its capacity 1000MW(E), what would be the total requirement of uranium over that period; and if he will estimate the total U238 requirements for nuclear stations already built, and in the course of completion.

I am advised that for a modern thermal reactor power station operating for 20 years at 70 per cent. load factor, the total uranium requirement would be about 3,250–3,500 tonnes depending on reactor type. The total requirements in terms of natural uranium of all the generating boards' stations now in operation or under construction is estimated to be about 60,000 tonnes on the basis of current information about station lives and fuel cycle needs. This figure would be reduced by the recycling of uranium recovered from the reprocessing of irradiated fuel elements.

Coal Mining

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how the National Coal Board's estimated expenditure on major projects, as given on page 11 of "Coal for the Future", is distributed by area.

I have asked the Chairman of the National Coal Board to write to the hon. Member with this information.

Social Services

Cigarettes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what effect the new EEC tax regulations on tobacco duty will have on the Government's health policy in relation to cigarette smoking;(2) in the light of the expected reduction in the price of plain cigarettes, what steps he intends to take to encourage the smoking of tipped cigarettes rather than plain ones; and if he will make a statement.

The consequences for health policy of the introduction from 1st

1964196819721976
1 Dreadnought Seamen's143141133140
2 St. Nicholas244286276221
3 Brook General31729339338
4 Miller General160
5 St. Alfege's221
6 Greenwich District—
Miller Wing176126377
St. Alfege's Wing183245
7 Memorial1181182929
8 Eltham and Mottingham3224
9 Goldie Leigh1107676

Fraudulent Claims

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why it took his Department four years before discovering that Mrs. Eleni Kyriakapoulou was illegally claiming social security payments for her mother who was for most of the time living in Greece and for some two years when her mother was dead; whether he is aware that there have been substantiated reports of other persons claiming for relatives abroad who are not relatives and when they are dead; and whether he will have a thorough investigation made into these wilful abuses.

January 1978 of a revised tax structure for cigarettes cannot yet be fully assessed. However, the general effect of the changes in manufacturers' prices which have now been announced will be either to maintain or to increase prices of the major brands. In particular, the prices of nearly all plain cigarettes, although these are to bear a lower tax burden, are not being reduced. Two major manufacturers have stated publicly that they were influenced in this decision by health considerations. Plain cigarettes represent in total only 12 per cent. of the cigarette market, and I have no reason to expect that that proportion will not continue to fall.

Hospital Beds (Greenwich)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many acute beds were available for National Health Service use at each of the hospitals in the London borough of Greenwich in 1964, 1968, 1972 and at the latest available date.

Retirement Age

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the cost of giving men the opportunity to retire on full pension at age 64 years.

On the assumption that the pattern of retirement amongst men aged 64 to 69 would be the same as it is now amongst men aged 65 to 70, the additional annual cost to the National Insurance Fund of a reduction in men's pensionable age to 64 is estimated to be about £370 million, at current contribution and benefit rates.

Unemployment Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what, at the latest date for which figures are available, are the main reasons for the unemployed not receiving unemployment benefit; if he will indicate the relative importance of this factor in making unemployed persons dependent on supplementary benefit; and if he will distinguish under both headings, the proportion of those with a

PERSONS REGISTERED AS UNEMPLOYED BUT NOT IN RECEIPT OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT AS AT 6TH MAY 1976
Reason for non-payment of unemployment benefitEstimated number of personsEstimated percentage of persons in column 2 in receipt of supplementary benefit
Exhausted flat-rate benefit222,00077
Contribution deficiency207,000*83
Awaiting decision on claim108,00032
Disqualified from receipt of benefit for voluntarily leaving employment or industrial misconduct39,00044
Waiting days being served7,50020
Other reasons29,00050
* Includes:—
Persons aged 16 to 1967,20086%
Married woman13,60044%

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many unemployed are not receiving unemployment benefit (a) because this benefit is exhausted and (b) because of a contribution deficiency; and how many of the latter group are school leavers, married women and those in and out of employment at the latest date for which figures are available.

Information is not held in precisely the form requested. However, as at 2nd August 1977, the latest date for which figures are available, 999,000 persons registered as unemployed were not in receipt of unemployment benefit. Of these persons, 297,000 had exhaused their flat-rate benefit, 172,000 were awaiting a decision on a claim to unemployment benefit and 531,000—including 238,000 school leavers and students and 30,000 married women—were not receiving unemployment benefit for other reasons. It is not known how many of this latter group had a deficient contribution record or how many had a history of intermittent employment during the relevant past period.

Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table comparing, for a family with three children aged 16, 14 and 12 years, the total weekly value of (a) child bene-

contribution deficiency who are ( a) school leavers, ( b) married women and ( c) in and out of employment.

The available information, which is not held in precisely the form requested, is set out in the following table:fit, (b) unemployment benefit child additions plus child benefit, and (c) supplementary benefit children's rates including free school meals.

On the assumption that the hon. Member is referring to a two-parent family with three children aged 16, 14 and 12, all of whom are still at school, the information requested is given below:

Age of childChild benefitIncrease of unemployment benefitSupplementary benefit scale rate
£££
161·003·508·90
141·503·007·40
121·503·006·10
Total4·009·5022·40
NOTES1. Child benefit and increases of unemployment benefit may be paid together but they are offset against entitlement to supplementary benefit.2. The rates of child benefit shown in the table will be increased to a standard rate of £2·30 for each qualifying child from 3rd April 1978. The rates of children's dependency increases payable with unemployment benefit will be reduced accordingly.3. Free school meals, which are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, are worth £1·25 a week during school terms for each qualifying child. They are not restricted to families on supplementary benefit.4. The income limits for entitlement to free school meals are appreciably higher than those for supplementary benefit, as will be seen from a comparison of the tables on pages 29 and 31 of the Department of Health and Social Security's leaflet FBI "Family Benefits and Pensions", November 1977 issue. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of this leaflet.

Sickness Certificates

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average number of days in 1976 on which men were certified as incapable of work in England, Scotland and Wales, respectively.

Figures for 1975–76 will not be available, but the following is the information requested for the latest available period—that is, the 12 months from 3rd June 1974.

AVERAGE NUMBER OF DAYS OF CERTIFIED INCAPACITY FOR WORK* PER HEAD OF MALE POPULATION AT RISK
England15
Scotland20
Wales32
* Includes the long-term sick.

Ambulance Services

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will state in the Official Report the average cost per patient carried by ambulance for (a) emergency and (b) routine visits for 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76 and 1976–77

I regret that information in the form and for the periods requested is not available. Administration of the ambulance services was in the hands of the local health authorities until 1974 and because of changes in accounting arrangements their unit costs would not be comparable with later figures. Costing returns for 1974–75 were incomplete, but from those received it is calculated that the average cost per patient carried by ambulance in England was £2·76; in 1975–76 the comparable figure was £3·84. It is estimated that the average in 1975–76 was £10·57 for emergency cases and £319 for routine visits. Summarisation and analysis of costs for 1976–77 is still in progress and no averages are yet available.

Local Authorities (Completion Of Forms)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local authorities failed to return one or more of Forms SSDS 002A of SSDS 002B, SSDS 003A, SSDS 004A and SSDS 004B, by the required date of 31st October 1977.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local authorities failed to return Form SSDS 001 by the required date of 30th November 1977.

Staffing Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many staff in his Department are engaged in the collection of unit staffing statistics and the computerisation of such statistics.

Approximately three staff—whole-time equivalent—in the Statistics and Research Division.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he proposes to make contingency plans in the light of the industrial action by his Department which is delaying payment of supplementary benefit to a wide range of people, including those discharged from hospital with no means of support.

I am not aware of any wide-ranging delay in payments of supplementary benefit as a result of industrial action in my Department. I do not consider contingency plans to be necessary in present circumstances, but if the hon. Member has any special difficulty in mind I will certainly look into it.

Personal Social Services (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the form of discussions between his Department and local authority associations which led to the issue of Forms SSDS 001 to 013.

At its sixth meeting on 28th September 1972, the National and Local Government Statistical Liaison committee (NLGSLC) invited my Department to set up a sub-group to enable local authority views on developments in statistics of the personal social services to be put forward and discussed. The subgroup had the following terms of reference:(1) To examine the form of statistics relating to local authority social services and to advise the Department of Health and Social Security on the way that the needs of both central and local government could be met most effectively (the advice to be made available within time limits which would enable local authorities to have due warning of any changes to be introduced).(2) To consider the form by which these statistics could be fed back to local authorities in a useful way.The sub-group, which met six times, had representatives from the County Councils Association, the Association of Municipal Corporations, the London Boroughs Association and the Greater London Council. A report was presented to the ninth meeting of the NLGSLC on 4th October 1973 and was accepted. The report covered the whole range of personal social services statistics, including staff statistics, and the forms SSDS 001 to 013 were proposed. Subsequently the local authority associations agreed to the introduction of these new staff forms on 30th September 1975.

Death Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to make the death grant benefit available irrespective of the insurance record of the individual concerned.

No. My right hon. Friend and I consider that the present contributory basis of the grant remains appropriate.

Burials

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is satisfied with the arrangements for burials or cremations of patients who die in National Health Service hospitals who have no personal resources, whose relatives cannot be traced or whose relatives cannot afford the costs of burial.

My Department has asked health authorities to arrange and pay for the burial or cremation of patients who die in National Health Service hospitals in these circumstances. I am not aware of any difficulties having arisen and I am satisfied with these arrangements.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much money has been paid out in (a) unemployment benefit and (b) social security benefits to those who are unemployed and their families in each of the past 10 years, including the figure so far for 1977.

The information is as follows:

EXPENDITURE ON SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
PAYABLE BECAUSE OF UNEMPLOYMENT
YearUnemployment benefit £ millionSupplementary benefit paid to the unemployed £ million
1967–6812262
1968–6912375
1969–7012774
1970–7115088
1971–72239148
1972–73209182
1973–74174159
1974–75214190
1975–76454365
1976–77559558
April to July 1977 inclusive184200

Health Districts

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many health service districts have been amalgamated since the 1973 reorganisation.

None. I have, however, agreed recently to the merger of the Liverpool South and Central districts and of the Bristol and Weston districts in Avon Area Health Authority from dates yet to be settled.

Fuel Debts

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the agreement, operative from March 1976, between his Department and the gas and electricity authorities, regarding payment on behalf of social security claimants in respect of debts accumulated for fuel, which have not been paid off; and what estimate he has made of the total amount his Department will be liable for, on behalf of social security claimants, in March 1978, when they have undertaken to repay all outstanding fuel debts by claimants.

Under the terms of the agreement, a payment to clear the outstanding debt in an individual case will be considered only when deductions from benefit have been made for a period of two years. The cost will therefore fall over a period beginning two years after the first cases were taken on under this agreement. No reliable estimate of the cost can be made, since it will be affected by, among other things, how closely the claimant's actual consumption has matched that estimated and what proportion of claimants affected remain in receipt of benefit for two years.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, despite the agreement between his Department and the fuel authorities of March 1976, to pay off fuel debts of social security claimants, either by a certain amount a week from his Department to the relevant authority, or by a lump sum for debts still outstanding in March 1978, his Department does in certain circumstances, pay off fuel debts by means of an exceptional needs payment, if necessary, of over £100.

The agreement with the fuel authorities was not intended to lead, and has not led, to the discontinuation of the Supplementary Benefits Commission's practice of making payments for fuel debts in exceptional circumstances—for example, where the claimant has spent money saved for fuel on some other immediate need for which the Supplementary Benefit Commission would have made a payment; where the claimant has recently started to use a new form of heating and has yet to become accustomed to the controls and the costs; where there has been a period of exceptionally severe weather; or whether a need for extra heating justifying an addition to weekly benefit has not come to light.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action his Department is taking to settle the fuel bill of a Birmingham couple whose fuel bill arrears amounted to £1,122.

Boreatton Park Community Home

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why Salop County Council and the West Midlands Regional Planning Committee decided to close Boreatton Park Therapeutic Community for severely disturbed adolescent boys.

Boreatton Park would have required expensive repairs and modernisation if it had been retained in use as a community home. Shropshire County Council and the West Midlands Children's Regional Planning Committee have decided that it is better to develop alternatives to the home in a number of places much nearer the communities from which many of the boys come.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what alternative treatment will be provided for the boys now at Boreatton Park comparable to that now given, after its closure; and if he will ensure that the closure does not take place until alternative similar facilities are provided in the West Midlands.

There are no longer any boys in residence. Earlier this year I sought and received an assurance from the West Midlands Children's Regional Planning Committee that satisfactory alternative placements were available for the boys for whom Boreatton Park provided.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the sum paid by the Salop County Council for Boreatton Park Approved School in 1973; what is the present estimated value of the estate of 200 acres; and to which authority the proceeds will go, if the estate is sold.

Boreatton Park was transferred to Shropshire County Council under paragraph 6 of Schedule 3 to the Children and Young Persons Act 1969. On transfer, the county council took over from the former managers an outstanding loan of £4,500 and also repaid my Department £18,818·89 in respect of grants made to the former managers. I understand that the present value of the estate is estimated by Shropshire County Council at £300,000, and if sold the proceeds will go to the county council.

Family Practitioner Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many family practitioner committees admit community health council observers to their meetings.

I understand that 41 family practitioner committees have invited observers from community health councils to attend their meetings. I hope that more will do so following the circular recently sent to them on this issue. Some other family practitioner committees have meetings with representatives from community health councils to discuss points of common interest, and others have meetings open to the public at which community health council members could accordingly be present.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will instruct all family practitioner committees to admit community health council observers to their meetings.

I have already conveyed to family practitioner committees (FPCs) my view that satisfactory arrangements for the attendance of community health council (CHC) observers at FPC meetings, subject to safeguards on confidential matters, could and should be made. I have, however, allowed the issue to be decided by individual FPCs, as I am convinced that to impose arrangements of this sort by the exercise of statutory powers would be harmful to relationships between CHCs and FPCs end thus to the service as a whole. I am sending a copy of the circular to my hon. Friend.

One-Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many one-parent families there are now compared with 1965, 1970 and 1975.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the information given in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Miss Richardson) on 8th July.—[Vol. 934, c. 679–680.]Data for 1965 and 1970 are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the percentage of one-parent families in the metropolitan district of Kirklees; and how this compares with the national figure.

The number of lone-parent families in the metropolitan district of Kirklees as given in the 1971 Census tabulations is 914, which is 9·1 per cent. of all families. This is the same as the percentage for Great Britain as a whole.

Child Adoption

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many children have been adopted in Great Britain since 1961; how many of these have been legitimate and how many illegitimate; and if he will show the figures year by year.

The following are the figures for England and Wales:

CHILDREN ADOPTED IN ENGLAND AND WALES
YearTotalLegitimate childrenIllegitimate children
196116,0003,01912,981
196216,8943,06813,826
196317,7823,38614,396
196420,4123,91616,496
196521,0324,14116,891
196622,7924,91217,880
196722,8024,48918,313
196824,8315,48319,348
196923,7085,81317,895
197022,3736,42715,946
197121,4956,58814,907
197221,5997,93213,667
197322,2479,25412,993
197422,50210,06512,437
197521,29910,12011,179
197617,6218,7538,868
335,38997,366238,023
I understand the corresponding figures for Scotland are:

CHILDREN ADOPTED IN SCOTLAND
YearTotalLegitimate childrenIllegitimate childrenNot stated
19611,609***
19621,6211451,43541
19631,6831751,48622
19641,9452221,65964
19652,0182051,78825
19662,0402051,81520
19672,1402181,90022
19682,1552341,90219
19692,2682951,95221
19702,0403081,71517
19711,9042811,60815
19721,6913361,34312
19731,9144011,49914
19741,6644191,22718
19751,6804731,18522
19761,6125061,08422
29,9844,42323,598354
* Not available.
In England and Wales where the status of the child—usually foreign born—is not stated, the classification to "legitimate" or "illegitimate" is made on the best evidence available.

Family Income Supplement

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people fail to claim family income supplement.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) on 11th July—[Vol. 935, c. 32]—and to my hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, Central (Mr. McNamara) on 5th April—[Vol. 929, c. 503–4.]

Christmas Bonus

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services if he will make a statement on the double payment of the £10 Christmas bonus to certain widows.

I confirm that some widows entitled to widow's allowance, the benefit payable for the first six months of widowhood, have regrettably received a double payment of the £10 Christmas bonus.The majority of the bonuses—some 8½ million—were paid by post offices on production of the beneficiary's pension order book. These were almost entirely retirement pensioners and widows in receipt of widow's pension and widowed mother's allowance.For administrative reasons, payments to other qualifying beneficiaries, including about 40,000 widows, in receipt of widow's allowance, were made direct by Girocheque from the Department's local and central offices. Unfortunately, some payments of the bonus were made by post offices to widows in receipt of widow's allowance, so that they received two bonuses—one from the post office and one from the Department.The total number of duplicate payments made in this way is not known but they are believed to be relatively few and a number of the widows involved have returned one of the payments.

Benefits And Allowances (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will state (a) the total number of persons dependent to any extent on rate or hous- ing subsidies or welfare payment, excluding family allowance and child benefit, respectively, and (b) the total number of persons who are not, for 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977; and if he will express the first figure as a percentage of the population who are not receiving such benefits.

I have been asked to reply.The available figures for welfare payments were given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security in his reply on 5th December 1977.—[Vol. 940. c.

533–4.]

Public sector tenants, owner-occupiers with mortgages, and users of local authority services can be regarded as to some extent dependent on assistance to their housing and other costs through general housing subsidies, tax relief on mortgage interest, option mortgage subsidy and rate support grant.

Information on income-related housing benefits is not available in the form requested, but recipients of rent rebate or allowance—other than supplementary benefit recipients—are normally also eligible for rate rebate. The relevant available information on recipients of rate rebates is as follows:

Year

Number of households (excluding SB households)

Number of households receiving rate rebates

Number of households not receiving rate rebates (b)—(c)

(c) as a percentage of (d)
(a)(b)(c)(d)(e)
000's000's000's
197015,95189515,0565·9
197115,98891215,0766·0
197216,1781,01615,1626·7
197316,5501,11015,4407·2
197416,7252,62614,09918·6
197516,8922,93013,96221·0
197616,9843,02013,96421·6
1977Not available

The figures given in column ( c) relate to the financial year beginning in April of the year shown. The 1973, 1975 and 1976 figures include estimates for Scotland.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Human Rights

68.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what organisations he consulted in compiling his assessment of countries' human rights records; and whether in particular he consulted Amnesty International.

The evidence was drawn not only from my right hon. Friend's Department's own resources, but from a wide variety of published material, including some from non-governmental organisations.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, further to the reply to the hon. Member for Putney on 7th December, whether he is satisfied with the Commission on Human Rights' performance in relation to the detention of political prisoners in Indonesia.

As I said in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend on 7th December—[Vol. 940, c. 771]—we are not satisfied with the Commission's past performance. But, as my hon. Friend will be aware, the Indonesian Government have undertaken to release or bring to trial all political prisoners by 1979.

Hong Kong

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made by the Hong Kong Government in introducing retirement, sickness, and death benefits into the colony's social security system.

A Green Paper on the further development of social security in Hong Kong has recently been published. The proposals in the paper include a contributory sickness, injury Ind death benefit scheme. The paper also covers the possibility of introducing retirement benefits.

Western European Union

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total annual cost for 1974, 1975 and 1976 to Great Britain of (a) the Assembly of Western Union, (b) the administration of Western European Union and (c) delegations and supporting staff attending full sessions and committees of Western European Union.

Figures available are for financial years 1974–75, 1975–76 and 1976–77. On this basis the total annual cost to the United Kingdom of (a) the Assembly of Western European Union was £93,657 in 1974–75, £134,020 in 1975–76 and £154,775 in 1976–77; of (b) the administration of Western European Union was £250,670 in 1974–75; £326,343 in 1975–76 and £385,786 in 1976–77; of (c) delegations and support staff attending full sessions and committees of Western European Union was £20,036 in 1974–75, £28,396 in 1975–76 and £46,865 in 1976–77.

War Laws (Geneva Conventions)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government have yet decided whether to sign the two additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 which were adopted at the Humanitarian Law Conference in June of the current year; and if he will make a statement.

The two protocols were opened for signature on 12th December 1977. Protocol I relates to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts and Protocol II to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. Signature of both protocols on behalf of the United Kingdom took place on 12th December.The Government consider that, overall, the two protocols mark a valuable advance in humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts. In Protocol I we particularly welcome the increased protection for the sick and wounded and for medical aircraft the improved arrangements for information on persons reported missing; the protection of the civilian population against direct attack, and the new provisions on implementation and enforcement both of the protocol and the Geneva Conventions. Protocol II provides the minimum standards of conduct to be observed by both sides in civil wars, a field previously covered only by a single article in each of the four 1949 Geneva Conventions. We welcome the fundamental guarantees provided by Protocol II, in relation to, e.g., accused and detained persons, protection of the wounded and sick and medical personnel and protection of the civilian population.The United Kingdom's signature of the protocols was accompanied by formal declarations on various points, of which copies have been placed in the Library of the House. Almost without exception, these reflect statements made by the United Kingdom at the conference which are already part of the negotiating history. The most significant of them concern the scope of application of the protocols. First, as with several recent international conventions, the Government have considered it necessary to reserve the right not to apply the protocols in relation to Southern Rhodesia unless and until they are in a position to ensure that the obligations of the protocols in respect of that territory can be fully implemented. Secondly, we have confirmed the understanding upon which we took part in the negotiations, that the new rules introduced by Protocol I were not intended to have any effect on and did not regulate or prohibit the use of nuclear weapons. Thirdly, the provisions of Protocol I, including that on prisoner of war status for irregular fighters, apply only to international armed conflicts, which are now so defined by the protocol as to include certain self-determination conflicts. The Government have considered it desirable in this connection to place formally on record by means of an interpretative declaration their understanding of the meaning of the term "armed conflict", which implies a high level of intensity of military operations, and their understanding of the requirements to be fulfilled by any national liberation movement which sought to invoke the protocol. Neither in Northern Ireland nor in any other part of the United Kingdom is there a situation which meets the criteria laid down for the application of either protocol. Nor is there any terrorist organisation operating within the United Kingdom that fulfils the requirements which a national liberation movement must meet in order to be entitled to claim rights under Protocol I. There is, therefore, no question of any of the provisions of either protocol benefiting the IRA or any others who may carry out terrorist activities in peacetime.The protocols will not become binding upon the United Kingdom unless and until the signature is ratified. The Government intend to move towards ratification in due course. Legislation will be required to implement certain provisions of Protocol I, as it was for the Geneva Conventions themselves.

Home Department

Fire Service (Dispute)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) why, as a means of resolving the firemen's dispute, he will not arrange for them to receive tax free transport or allowances to and from their homes and place of work on a similar basis to that enjoyed by senior civil servants, Ministers, including junior Ministers, and Members of the House of Lords;(2) why he will not agree to a tax-tree attendance allowance payable to firemen on a similar basis as paid to the House of Lords, as a means of resolving the firemen's dispute;(3) why he will not attempt to resolve the firemen's industrial dispute by advising the offer of the same wages and conditions as apply to the Ford fire-fighting forces; and what actual percentage increase in salaries would result from such a settlement;(4) why he will not, as a means of resolving the firemen's dispute, suggest paying a tax-free attendance allowance such as is paid to members of the House of Lords but only at 50 per cent. of that received by peers;(5) in view of the fact that Governments for the past 10 years have failed to carry out recommendations of committees of inquiry on wages and working conditions, what guarantees he has given, or will give, to the firemen on strike that if they return to work the Government will honour any agreements made.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement which I made on 8th December—[Vol. 940, c. 1651–60]—setting out the guidance which I have given to the National Joint Council. Agreement within the framework which I have described underwritten by the Government, will provide a sound means of settling the proper remuneration of the Fire Service for many years to come.

Metropolitan Police

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for each year since the formation of Department A10, what has been (a) the number of officers cleared by investigation, (b) the number of persons who after investigation were charged with a criminal offence and acquitted, (c) the number of persons who after investigation were charged with a criminal offence and convicted, (d) the number of persons who after investigation were charged with a disciplinary offence and acquitted, (e) the number of persons who after investigation were charged with a disciplinary offence and found guilty, (f) the total of completed investigations and (g) the total of investigations currently under way, respectively.

I have asked the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis for a report, and as soon as I have received and considered it I shall write to my hon. Friend.

Police Department Cib2

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the annual cost of running the A10 Department since its inception; what is the number of staff; and how many are civilian.

The precise annual cost of A10 (now CIB2) Branch since its inception in June 1972 is not readily available, but it was estimated in 1973 at £592,000, in 1975 at £929,000 and is currently estimated at £1,131,000. There are at present 99 staff in post in the Branch, 14 of whom are civilians.

Prison Officers (Dispute)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the industrial dispute affecting prison officers at Parkhurst, Albany and Camp Hill gaols; what is the cause of the dispute; how long negotiations have been proceeding; and whether prison officers can be granted free passes on the mainland ferries to and from their homes and places of employment.

Prison officers at the three prisons on the Isle of Wight have been taking limited industrial action since 12th December, principally by banning new receptions of prisoners, in support of their claim for an island allowance to meet in particular the cost of three ferry passes a year to the mainland. They have also stated that they will increase their industrial action on 1st January unless a favourable offer has by then been made.The claim by the Prison Officers' Association was submitted on 17th August and was under detailed consideration when, on 18th October, it was subsumed into a claim by the Staff Side of the Civil Service National Whitley Council on behalf of all civil servants on offshore islands. That claim was rejected on 25th November, and discussions have since been resumed on the claim by the Prison Officers' Association.We shall do all that we can to bring these negotiations to a speedy conclusion; and in the meantime I hope that staff will decide to call off their proposed action.

Kidney Donor Forms

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider sending out a kidney donor form with every electoral registration form delivered in 1978.

This would be a matter for each electoral registration officer to consider.

Illegal Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the likely increase in police or immigration authority manpower which will be required to investigate whether an immigrant arrived illegally before or after January 1973.

The Immigration Service will be responsible for these investigations. I do not foresee an immediate need for any increase in Immigration Service manpower.

Police (University Graduates)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many policemen have graduated from university as a result of the Bramshill Scheme; and how many continue to serve in the police.

176 police officers have graduated under the Bramshill scholarship scheme, which began in 1964, of whom 157 continue to serve in the police.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many university graduates are now serving in police forces in England and Wales.

920 on 31st December 1976. A new survey is being made, and I will write to the hon. Member when results are available.

Terrorism Prevention

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been detained under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temoprary Provisions) Act; how many have been subsequently charged with offences; and with what offences they have been charged.

3,017 people have been detained in Great Britain under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts 1974 and 1976. An extension of detention under Section 7 of the 1974 Act or Section 12 of the 1976 Act has been approved in 274 cases; a further 643 people were detained for 48 hours of less. 2,100 people have been detained pending further examination at ports under the supplemental orders made under the Acts.115 people detained under the Acts have been charged with offences in Great Britain. 17 of them have been charged with cffences under the Acts. Four of the remainder have been charged with murder, three with attempted murder, 16 with conspiracy to cause explosions, 11 with unlawful possession of explosives, one with conspiracy to possess or procure explosives with intent to endanger life, 12 with offences under the Firearms Act 1968, one with causing an explosion, five with conspiracy to defraud the Inland Revenue, 15 with theft, four with burglary, one with causing criminal damage, one with threatening to cause criminal damage, one with attempting criminal deception, one with handling a stolen vehicle, five with handling stolen property, one with unlawful wounding, two with possession of drugs, three with wasting police time, one with harbouring a person known to have committed an arrestable offence, two with assault on police, one with being found on enclosed premises, one with possessing an offensive weapon, two with offences under Section 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1972, three with criminal deception, and one with obtaining a passport by deception.In addition, three people have been removed to the Irish Republic, and there charged, two with burglary and one with robbery.25 people have been returned to Northern Ireland and there charged, six with murder, two with robbery, four with firearms offences, four with unlawful possession of explosives, five with causing an explosion, one with the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, one with burglary and two with arson.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been charged with offences under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act; and under which sections of the Act the charges have been brought.

14 people have been charged in Great Britain with offences under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976; two under Section 10(1)(a) and Section 10(2), two under Section 10(1), one under Section 10(1)(b)—this person was not initially detained under the Act—three under Section 1(1)(b), two under Section 9(1), two under Section 9(2)(a), and two under Section 11(1). Four people were charged in Great Britain under Section 1(1)(b) of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1974.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has refused an extension of five days to the police for the holding of a suspect under the Prevention of Terrorism Act; and, if so, in how many cases.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, of the charges brought against suspects initially held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, if any have been dropped before the case was heard; if so, which charges; if any charges have led to an unsuccessful prosecution; if so, which charges; if any charges have led to a successful prosecution; and, if so, in each case, what was the sentence imposed.

Details of the outcome of the more serious charges made in Great Britain are as follows:

Charges for offences under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1974—(4)

Four persons were charged under Section 1(1)(b). Three were acquitted, and one was convicted and sentenced to six months' imprisonment and fined £400.

Charges for offences under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1976—(13)

Three people have been charged under Section 1(1)(6). One was convicted and sentenced to one day's imprisonment, and the other two await trial.

Two persons have been charged and convicted under Section 9(1); one was fined £50; the other was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. Two persons have been charged and convicted under Section 9(2)(a); one was fined £100; the other was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

Two persons have been charged under Sections 10(1)(a) and 10(2). They were convicted and sentenced to eight years' and two years' imprisonment respectively.

Two persons have been charged under Section 10(1). One was convicted and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment; the other was acquitted.

Two persons have been charged under Section 11(1). One was acquitted but sentenced to two years' imprisonment on another charge; the other was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

Murder (4)

Four persons have been charged; three have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment; in the other case, the charge was not proceeded with.

Attempted Murder (3)

Three persons have been charged, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Conspiracy to cause explosions (16)

16 persons have been charged, and 14 have been convicted. Two have been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment; one to 15 years' imprisonment; one to 14 years', one to 12 years', six to 10 years', one to seven years', one to five years', and one to four years'. The remaining two cases were not proceeded with.

Unlawful possession of explosives (11)

11 persons have been charged; one has been acquitted and six have been convicted. Two were sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment, two to 12 years' imprisonment, one to five years', and one to four years'. Four persons are still awaiting trial.

Conspiracy to possess or procure explosives with intent to endanger life (1)

One person has been charged and acquitted.

Offences under the Firearms Act 1968 (12)

12 persons have been charged and 10 convicted. Two were sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment (suspended) and fined £100; one was fined £150, one £105, one £100, one £60, one £25 and one £20; one was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. In one case the person concerned was admonished and ordered to forfeit his firearms and ammunition. Two persons are still awaiting trial.

Causing an explosion (1)

One person has been charged, convicted and sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment.

Other Charges

Five persons have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Inland Revenue, 15 with theft, four with burglary, one with causing criminal damage, one with threatening to cause criminal damage, one with attempting criminal deception, one with handling a stolen vehicle, five with handling stolen property, one with unlawful wounding, two with possession of drugs, three with wasting police time, one with harbouring a person known to have committed an arrestable offence, two with assault on police, one with being found on enclosed premises, one with possessing an offensive weapon, two with offences under Section 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1972, three with criminal deception, and one with obtaining a passport by deception.

Persons returned to Northern Ireland and there charged (25)

Murder (6)

Six persons have been charged, one has been sentenced to life imprisonment, and five are awaiting trial.

Robbery (2)

Two persons have been charged; one is awaiting trial and the other was convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment.

Firearms offences (4)

Four persons have been charged and three convicted. One was sentenced to four years' imprisonment (suspended), one to two years' imprisonment (suspended) and one to three months' imprisonment (suspended). One is awaiting trial.

Unlawful possession of explosives (4)

Four persons have been charged; in one case, the charge was not proceeded with, and one is awaiting trial. One person has been convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment; one person has been sentenced to nine months' detention.

Causing an explosion (5)

Five persons have been charged. One case is awaiting trial. Two persons were convicted: one was sentenced to five years' imprisonment, and the other to two years' imprisonment (suspended). Two were not proceeded with.

Other Charges

One person has been charged with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, one with burglary and two with arson.

Three persons have been returned to the Irish Republic, and there charged, two with burglary and one with robbery.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether any record is kept of requests (a) made by persons for whom application has been granted that they be detained in police custody for a further period of five days under the Prevention of Terrorism Acts and (b) made by such detainees for access to legal advice or for information concerning their detention to be given to their families; what action has been taken; and, if such records are kept, how many applications have been made and how many have been granted;(2) what rules govern the interrogation of children and minors concerning the activities of persons suspected of committing offences under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act;(3) how many minors or young persons have been interrogated; and whether he has prepared a code to govern the interrogation of children under the Prevention of Terrorism Acts.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the replies given to similar Questions he asked on 26th October and 2nd May.—[Vol. 936, c. 773; Vol. 931, c. 41.]

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish in the Official Report the number of arrests and detentions by each regional police force of persons within their area under the terms of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act.

The total numbers of persons detained in England and Wales under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts 1974 and 1976 for each police force are as follows:

Police ForceNumber of Detentions
Metropolitan Police720
Avon and Somerset Constabulary37
Bedfordshire Police41
Cambridgeshire Constabulary0
Cheshire Constabulary6
City of London Police24
Cleveland Constabulary7
Cumbria Constabulary2
Derbyshire Constabulary1
Devon and Cornwall Constabulary26
Dorset Police16
Durham Constabulary0
Essex Police32
Gloucesterhire Constabulary10
Greater Manchester Police46
Hampshire Constabulary144
Hertfordshire Constabulary0
Humberside Constabulary7
Kent Constabulary37
Lancashire Constabulary56
Leicestershire Constabulary7
Lincolnshire Constabulary2
Merseyside Police735
Norfolk Constabulary0
Northamptonshire Police20
Northumbria Police5
North Yorkshire Police1
Nottinghamshire Constabulary2
South Yorkshire Police0
Staffordshire Police0
Suffolk Police8
Surrey Constabulary82
Sussex Police16
Thames Valley Police15
Warwickshire Constabulary0
West Mercia Constabulary2
West Midlands Police94
West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police99
Wiltshire Constabulary2
Dyfed Powys Police57
Gwent Constabulary2
North Wales Police37
South Wales Constabulary57
2,455
In addition 562 people have been detained under the legislation in Scotland.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases applications were made for detention to be extended for a further five days under the Prevention of Terrorism Acts; and in how many cases it was refused.

Exclusion Orders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been served with exclusion orders under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act; how many have been deported to (a) Northern Ireland and (b) the Republic of Ireland; how many have appealed against exclusion orders: and how many appeals have been successful.

My predecessor and I have made 110 exclusion orders under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Acts 1974 and 1976. Notice of the making of an exclusion order has been served on 102 people, 95 of whom have been removed, 71 to Northern Ireland and 24 to the Irish Republic. 20 of the 102 made representations objecting to the order. My predecessor revoked the order in five of these cases and I in one of them.

Judges' Rules

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet considered any alteration to the Judges' Rules to meet the difficulties arising in the Prevention of Terrorism Act whereby people may be detained in police custody for a further period of five days.

I announced on Monday 12th December that I had invited my noble Friend Lord Shackleton to carry out a review of the operation of the Act. Lord Shackleton will be free to consider the point my hon. Friend has in mind.

Auxiliary Fire Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will re-establish an auxiliary fire service; what was the cost of the Auxiliary Fire Service in its last year before disbandment; and how many people were employed at that time as auxiliary firemen.

The Government have no plans to reconstitute the Auxiliary Fire Service, which was disbanded on 1st April 1968. Its running cost for England and Wales in the last year exclusive of the provision of appliances and equipment was about £1·4 million. The strength of the AFS in England and Wales on 31st December 1967 was 13,584.

Textiles (Departmental Purchases)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the financial details and quantities involved of orders placed for the basic cloth for the prison service, blue and white stripe purchased from converters in 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977.

Only three contracts have been placed during these years for 150,000 yards in 1974, for 50,000 metres in 1976 and for 480,000 metres in 1977. It would be a breach of commercial confidence to disclose the financial details.

Citizens Advice Bureaux

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial or other assistance the Government have given to citizens advice bureaux over the past year.

I have been asked to reply.My Department will be making available a total of just over £1–4 million to the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux during this financial year. In addition, the Government take into account local authority assistance to citizens advice bureaux in the total annual rate support grant settlement.

Ministerial Memoirs

asked the Attorney-General whether, in view of his declared reasons for initiating the legal case in connection with the Crossman Diaries, namely, the public interest to restrain publication of information in breach of confidence and in particular to preserve collective Cabinet responsibility, he proposes to take action in the case of the two former Prime Minister and other ex-Cabinet Ministers who have written along similar lines to the late Richard Crossman.

No. The circumstances to which my hon. Friend refers are not comparable with those which led to proceedings in respect of the Crossman diaries. Moreover, since those proceedings took place, the report of the Radcliffe Committee on Ministerial Memoirs has been published and accepted by the Government and I refer my hon. Friend to that report.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Slaughterhouses

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many smaller slaughterhouses he estimates will be put out of business following the application of the new Slaughterhouses (Hygiene) Regulations 1977;

(2) how many representations he has received about the working of the Slaughterhouses (Hygiene) Regulations 1977; and if, in the light of these, he will now reconsider whether the new requirements are inappropriate in relation to butchers' slaughterhouses.

Since the regulations were laid, the General Secretary of the National Federation notified my right hon. Friend the Minister and myself of the memorandum he sent on 1st December to all hon. Members. Subsequently a number of hon. Members have written to my right hon. Friend. Full and lengthy consultation preceded the making of the regulations, which update those of 1958 and 1966. Existing slaughterhouses will have until November 1980 to comply with a number of requirements likely to entail alterations to premises. I cannot predict how many will choose not to do so. The regulations are, however, so framed as to accommodate different scales of production.

Council Of Ministers (Meeting)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the meetings of the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) in Brussels on 12th and 13th December.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary and I represented the United Kingdom at this meeting.There was a first discussion of the Commission proposals for farm prices for 1978–79. I made it clear to the Council that it was essential to exercise the maximum restraint on agricultural prices in the interest of consumers and in view of the serious surpluses in some sectors. The proposals will be considered in more detail by the Council in the New Year.On the proposals for phasing out MCAs over a seven-year period and the Commission report on the use of the European unit of account in agriculture, I reminded the Council of the problems which would arise for the United Kingdom and others over any automatic mechanism for changing green currency rates. I drew attention to the excessive level of common prices resulting from the use of the present unit of account and clearly demonstrated in the Commission Report. The proposals remain on the table and may be discussed further during the price negotiations.I again pressed for a change in the method of calculating monetary compensatory amounts on pigment, and the Commission undertook to submit its report on distortions caused by the monetary arrangements in January.It was agreed to continue at present levels the GATT quota for levy-free imports of frozen beef for a further year, and to increase by 10,000 tonnes the amount of frozen beef to be imported at reduced levy for manufacture under the balance-sheet arrangements.The Council agreed on arrangements to cover the sale of agricultural products on the so-called "butterships".Agreement was also reached on EEC assistance towards speeding up national schemes for eradicating brucellosis, tuberculosis and leukosis in cattle; the extension of the derogation covering United Kingdom methods of brucellosis and tuberculosis eradication; and the removal of the ban on chilling poultry meat by immersion in water.

Whisky

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the effect on the price of Scotch whisky of the EEC Commission ban on the industry's dual pricing structure.

The EEC Commission has not yet issued a decision on this matter. The effects of any adverse decision that may be made would depend upon the course of action subsequently taken by the company concerned.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has made to the EEC Commission concerning the proposed abolition of dual pricing for Scotch whisky.

This matter is still under consideration by the EEC Commission. We have ensured, through the Commission's Advisory Committee on Restrictive Practices, that the Commission is fully aware of the implications of any decision on this question, and my right hon. Friend the Minster has discussed it with the European Commissioner concerned.

Employment

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his latest estimate of the gross and net cost in wages, administration, materials and other associated expenses of (a) job creation, (b) community industry, and (c) work experience; and what is the net cost per head.

a) I am informed by the MSC that the latest estimate of the gross cost of the job creation programme by the time the programme ends on 31st December 1978 will be £166 million. The net cost of the programme, taking account of savings in social security and unemployment benefits, national insurance contributions and taxes which would normally revert to the Exchequer, is estimated to be about £75 million. The net cost per job created is approximately £675. The average duration of a job created under JCP is 31 weeks.

( b) The gross cost of the work experience programme up to the end of September 1977 is estimated at £4,905,000. The net cost, taking into account savings in supplementary benefit, is estimated at £2,669,000. The net cost per head of young people participating in WEP is £212 for a 26-week period.

( c) Central Government spending on Community Industry during October 1977 was £810,000. The estimated net cost during October 1977 was £486,000 and the estimated net cost per head was £112. The costs of materials are borne by sponsors and local authorities respectively.

Torrington

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what progress has been made and what projects are being examined in relation to job creation schemes in the Torrington area of Devon;(2) how many job creation schemes are in operation in the Torrington area of Devon.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that there are no projects approved or under consideration for job creation programme funding in Torrington. However, 11 projects have been approved to date in the Torridge district of Devon. Nine of these have been completed and two are currently in operation. A further two applications are under consideration.

Training

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of the jobs created under the job creation programme involve skilled or semi-skilled work; and what measures are being taken to ensure that an adequate trainings element is offered in each job so that young people may obtain valuable career experience.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that, according to a survey conducted earlier this year, approximately 11 per cent. of the jobs created under the job creation programme involved skilled work—that is, professional, technical and skilled manual jobs. Information about the percentage of semi-skilled jobs is not available. Project sponsors are required to provide on-the-job training and, where applicable, other work preparation training including day release to colleges of further education. In addition, area action committees have been asked to give preference to applications for projects which provide training which will improve the prospects of young people finding jobs.

Hours Of Work

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many men and women, respectively, excluding those over retirement age, are working 30 hours or less, less than 16 hours and less than eight hours per week, respectively; and if he will give this information for each year since 1974.

Equal Pay

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if the results of the New Earnings Survey 1977 indicate that the aim of the Equal Pay Act 1970 to reduce wage disparities between the sexes is being met.

Yes. The New Earnings Survey shows that between April 1970 and April 1977 the ratio of average earnings of women to those of men rose from about 63 to over 75 per cent. These figures relate to all full-time workers aged 18 and over in all occupations in all industries and to earnings per hour excluding the effects of overtime working.

Giro

asked the Secretary of State for Employment to what extent his Department makes use of Giro facilities; what is the estimated annual value of such Giro transactions; and what regular consideration is given to extending the use of Giro.

My Department—including the commissions, executives, services and agencies for which I am responsible—uses Giro facilities whenever these offer the most convenient method of payment or when the payee so requests. Extensive use is made of Girocheques, with a much smaller use of the facility for payment into a Giro account.During the financial year ended 31st March 1977, the Department issued some 2·7 million Girocheques to the value of £66 million. In the current finacial year from April to September 1977, the value of Girocheques issued increased by almost 50 per cent. as compared with the same period in 1976, partly because of the decision to use Girocheques for all payments under the job release scheme.The use of Giro facilities for all appropriate types of payment is kept under constant review and staff in the Department are reminded at regular intervals that they may, on request, have their salaries paid into a Giro account.

Employed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total number of the working population at the time of the annual census for employment for June 1976 divided into employees and the self-employed.

At June 1976, the total working population of the United Kingdom numbered 26,093,000. It included 22,539,000 employees in employment and 1,886,000 self-employed people with or without employees. The remainder were in Her Majesty's Forces or were registered unemployed.

Draughtsmanship (Training)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many vacancies currently exist at skillcentres for courses in draughtmanship.

The Manpower Services Commission informs me that on 30th September 1977, the latest date for which statistics are available, there were 43 vacancies in draughtmanship classes at skillcentres in Great Britain.

Clacton On Sea

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the present rate of unemployment in Clacton on Sea; and how many areas in England and Wales have a worse rate of unemployment.

At 10th November, the unemployment rate for Clacton on Sea was 13·2 per cent. There were 25 areas in England and Wales with rates in excess of this.

Potters

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what financial provisions he will recommend from Government funds for a scheme to compensate potters for the industrial disease of pneumoconiosis;(2) what steps he proposes to take to ensure that potters suffering from the industrial disease of pneumoconiosis receive the same entitlements as coal miners;(3) if he will invite the British Ceramic Manufacturers Federation and the Ceramic and Allied Trades Union to discussions about the setting up of a pneumoconiosis scheme for potters on similar lines to that established for coal miners.

All workers who suffer from pneumoconiosis as a result of their employment, or their dependants in case of death, are entitled to claim industrial disablement benefits or industrial death benefits respectively under the Government's Social Security Scheme. In addition, they may recover damages from their employers if they can show to the satisfaction of the courts that their employers were negligent or in breach of a statutory duty.

The National Coal Board's Pneumoconiosis Compensation Scheme is an industry scheme freely negotiated between the Coal Board and the coal mining unions. Miners who accept benefits under that scheme do so from personal choice and as an alternative to pursuing their individual claims for damages in the courts.

There is nothing to prevent employers and unions in other industries, including the pottery industry, from getting together to discuss the possibility of establishing similar schemes for their own industries; this does not require a Government initiative.

The Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury, which was set up to consider to what extent, in what circumstances and by what means compensation should be payable to persons who suffer injury or disease in a fairly wide range of circumstances, including employment, expects to complete its report by the end of the year. Changes in the present arrangements for compensation cannot be considered until we have received the Commission's recommendations on the subject.

Dye Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will investigate and report on the incidence of bladder cancer in the vicinity of former textile dye works in the Vale of Leven, Dunbarton; and how many textile dye workers in the Vale of Leven have been awarded industrial disease benefit for bladder tumours in recent years.

I have been asked to reply by virtue of my overall responsibility for the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, but I have been in touch with my right hon. Friends, the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Health and Social Security and with the Health and Safety Commission.I understand that the information asked for in the second part of the Question is not available in the detail requested. Between 1971 and 1976 there was only one new award of industrial injury benefit for prescribed disease No. 39—papilloma of the bladder—in the whole of Scotland, but the occupation involved is not known. Although the

prima facie evidence does not suggest that an investi-

gation as suggested by the hon. Member is necessary, I have asked the Health and Safety Commission to consider the matter further in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland; and if the hon. Member has any specific information bearing on the incidence of the disease in the area I shall be glad if she will let the Health and Safety Commission know.

Hours Of Work

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the occupations in which workers work a standard 48-hour week.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 29th November 1977; Vol. 940, c. 147], gave the following information:There is no generally accepted meaning of the term "standard week". Many workers regularly work a contractual week of 48 hours or more, with varying arrangements for compensation for the long working week.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those occupations in which workers work shifts covering the 24-hour period but in which there is no premium payment for night shift.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 29th November 1977; Vol. 940, c. 147], gave the following information:In most shift systems covering a full 24-hour day, there is no premium payment for the night shift. Such regular night working is generally taken into account when the rates of wages and salaries are determined. Comprehensive detailed information of all such schemes is not available, but they cover a wide range of non-manual and manual occupations in both production and service industries.

Overseas Development

Crown Agents

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will update the figures given in paragraphs 4·6 and 4·7 of the Stevenson Committee's report on the Crown Agents, showing the percentage of the Crown Agents' procurements from outside the United Kingdom since 1970 and the loss or profit made by the procurement division in the relevant years.

The percentage of orders placed by the Crown Agents outside the United Kingdom in each year since 1970 is as follows:

YearPer cent.
197024
197131
197228
197331
197427
197532
197636
The loss or profit made by the Crown Agents' procurement division in each year since 1970 is as follows:

YearLoss or Profit
£
1970374,000 loss
197188,000 loss
1972333,000 loss
197311,000 loss
1974484,000 loss
1975113,000 loss
19763,245,000 profit
The return to earning a surplus on procurement work in 1976 was mainly due to an increase in charges made against a background of losses over a number of years.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the salary scale and pension payable to the Chairman of the Crown Agents and the financial director.

The salary of the present Chairman of the Crown Agents is £20,751 per annum. The post is not pensionable. The fee of £10,000 per annum payable to him since 1st October 1977 as Chairman of the Port of London Authority is paid gross to Crown Agents.The post of financial director has now been abolished. The duties formerly performed by the financial director have been reallocated between the controller of services to principals and the financial and administrative controller. The salary of each of these posts is £13,423 per annum. Both posts are pensionable under the Crown Agents Superannuation Scheme, the provisions of which are analogous to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she will give for the longest and most convenient stated period of time the amounts of money spent by the Crown Agents on entertainment; what kind of entertainment was involved; and who participated.

We have asked the Crown Agents to produce as full details as possible, and when they are received we will publish the information in the Official Report.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she is satisfied with the progress that the Crown Agents are making in relation to the proposed bankruptcy of Mr. William Stern.

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the Crown Agents have gone as far as they appropriately can in this matter at the moment with a view to recovering as much as possible. As she told my hon. Friend in the House on 16th May and again on 1st December, they have taken the formal steps necessary prior to the institution of legal proceedings that could ultimately lead to a bankruptcy petition against Mr. William Stern. They have done this in respect of his personal guarantees of a number of Crown Agents' loans to the Stern Group.

World University Service

asked the Minister of Overseas Development, further to her reply in the Official Report, 24th November, c. 821–2 how many Rhodesian Africans have received awards from World University Service; and what is the average value of such awards.

396 Rhodesian Africans have received awards from the Ministry of Overseas Development under the programme managed by the World University Service. In 1975, when this programme was begun, the average annual cost for each of 70 awards was £638; in 1976 it rose to £894 for each of the 191 recipients; and the estimated cost for each of the 318 students who have benefited in 1977 was £1,059. The average annual cost over the three years since the programme's inception is £864.

asked the Minister of Overseas Development, further to her reply, Official Report, 24th November, columns 821–2, if she will give the names of the senior academics who sit on the committee which monitors her Department's expenditure on the World University Service.

Monitoring of the accountable grants is a function of my Department. I shall shortly write to the hon. Member giving the names of senior academics taking part in this work.

Voluntary Organisations

asked the Minister of Overseas Development which items, other than World University Service, in the list of grants to voluntary bodies as stated in her Written Answer to the hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker), Official Report, 10th November, c. 230–1, are now expected to be above the level stated therein; and what is the latest estimate of such expenditure for each item.

The bodies expected to receive grants above those stated in the reply given to the hon. Member for Wallasey on 10th November—[Vol. 938, c. 229–32]—with the latest estimated figures, are:

£
Catholic Institute for Inter national Service115,000
Christian Aid90,000
Christians Abroad8,200
Friends of Urambo and Mwanhala1,600
Intermediate Technology Development Group205,000
International Voluntary Service108,000
Overseas Development Institute145,000
Save the Children Fund179,000
Voluntary Service Overseas932,000
War on Want27,500
Women's Corona Society23,000

Trade

National Film Finance Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, pursuant to his written answers to the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington of 28th November, what steps he proposes to take to ensure that Parliament can ensure that the provisions of the Films Act 1970 relating to the activities of the National Film Finance Corporation, whose loans are required to have reasonable expectations of being able to arrange for the production or distribution of films on a commercially successful basis, are being met, in the light of his statement that the individual earnings of films are regarded as commercially confidential information by the National Film Finance Corporation.

The National Film Finance Corporation's annual reports and statements of accounts, which are available in the Library, allow an overall judgment to be formed of its performance. I am always willing to consider, with the Corporation, suggestions for the improvement of its annual report.

Aircraft Safety

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information he has on the near-collision between two aircraft over Esher at 0900 hours on Friday 11th November; and if he will make a statement.

This is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority. I am advised by the National Air Traffic Services of the CAA that they have not received any reports of such an incident.

National Finance

Unemployed Persons

asked the Chancellor et the Exchequer how much money has been paid out in the form of income tax rebates to (a) persons unemployed and (b) persons on strike in each of the past 10 years, including the figure to date for 1977.

Gilt-Edged Stocks (Yield)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the weighted average running yield on the gilt-edged securities sold by Her Majesty's Government to private sector and foreign purchasers during the past 12 months.

The information is not available to answer precisely the hon. Gentleman's Question. During the past 12 months, 15 new conventional gilt-edged tap stocks have been issued. The weighted average flat yield, based on their issue prices, of these stocks was 10·9 per cent. In calculating this figure the two variable rate stocks issued earlier this year were excluded; tranches of stocks reserved for the reduction of the National Debt were excluded; no allowance was made for stocks taken up by the Issue Department of the Bank of England at the time of issue and subsequently sold at prices other than their issue prices or for sales of stocks other than tap stocks.

Fuel Duties

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all the taxes

Current ratesApproximate tax content* (per cent.)Change in real take† (per cent.)
DutyVAT (per cent.)
Petrol£0·3012½‡50-11
Derv£0·358‡49-5
Liquid petroleum gas£0·158‡····
Kerosene£0·01zero2–2½-48
Gas oil£0·025zero+30
Fuel oil£0·025zero10+30
·· Price data not readily available.
* There is a range of qualities and prices.
† Real tax has been calculated on the basis of the movement of the retail price index (all items) from October 1973 to October 1977.
‡ VAT is deductible for customers registered for VAT. This applies to almost all purchases of derv and a substantial proportion of purchases of petrol.
Protective duty is charged on some imported fuels. The rates of duty are generally low, and full details are shown in the Tariff of the United Kingdom. Coal, gas and electricity are free of excise duty, and zero rated for VAT.

Government Holdings (United States)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) in view of the decline in value of the US$, what is the capital loss on book value of Her Majesty's Government's holding of marketable and non-marketable US Government securities between their purchase and the present day, expressed in £ sterling at the current exchange rate;(2) what is the total value of British Government holdings of United States Government securities, both marketable and non-marketable, expressed in US$: what was the comparable figure a year ago; and what is the average running yield on these securities.

It is not the Government's practice to publish detailed information about the investment of the reserves. The bulk of them are, however, invested in relatively short-term assets, and the yield broadly reflects the level of short-term interest rates in the United States and elsewhere. The sterling book value of the reserves is of course

on the various forms of fuel used in the United Kingdom, stating the percentage of the final consumer price accounted for by the tax in each case and setting out the percentage by which the tax take has increased or decreased in real terms since 1973.

The information is:affected by changes in the value of sterling in terms of the US dollar and other currencies. But it would not accord with the Government's general policy about detailed information on the reserves if I were to publish changes in the book value of particular components of the reserves. In any case the changes would have little significance.

Cigarettes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek the renegotiation of the EEC tax regulations in relation to cigarettes on health grounds.

Mr. Robert Sheldon