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Written Answers

Volume 949: debated on Friday 12 May 1978

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 12th May 1978

Education And Science

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in her Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

The information is not available in the precise form requested. On 1st January 1978, 19 officers in the information class were deployed in my Department under a chief information officer, as follows:

Public relations and free media publicity7
Production of publications and briefing8
Film production and liaison with advertising agencies3

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps she intends to take to improve financial support for students in the 16–19 years age range in full-time education.

I shall shortly be inviting the local authorities to have discussions about 16 to 18 education, on the basis that the Government are anxious to have more young people staying on in relevant education and would be ready in due course to commit themselves to a statutory system of awards which could ensure this, the details and timing to be subject to further discussion.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Scottish And Universal Investment Trust Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will refer the take-over bid for Scottish and Universal Investment Trust Ltd. by Lonrho Ltd. to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

My right hon. Friend has today referred this proposed merger to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission for full investigation.

Licensed Premises (Rents)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will request the Price Commission to investigate the rents charged to tenants of licensed premises by brewers, in the light of the recent rises imposed by Allied Breweries and other companies.

The prices legislation does not provide powers to control rents and it would therefore be inappropriate to require the Price Commission to examine this matter.

Polyurethane Foam

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when he expects the publication of the "British Standard" now being prepared by the relevant technical committee of the British Standards Institution to be ready.

I understand that methods of test for the ignitability of upholstered seating referred to in my reply of 4th May will be published by the British Standards Institution on 31st May 1978 as a draft for development.—Vol. 949, c. 271–2.]

Overseas Development

Crown Agents Employees (Birmingham)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development how many people are employed by the Crown Agents in the city of Birmingham; how many of these employees are under the age of 18 years; and what steps are being taken to increase this number in line with the policy of Her Majesty's Government to reduce youth unemployment.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

India

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average waiting time between being interviewed for the first time and being granted entry clearance for (a) wives, (b) husbands, (c) fiancées, and (d) fiancés from the Indian subcontinent.

All applicants who satisfy an entry clearance officer at their first interview that they qualify for entry clearance are granted it immediately. Where it is not possible to take a decision at the first interview, the additional time required depends on the nature and complexity of the further enquiries that have to be made. These times are not statistically recorded.

World Festival Of Youth

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether an aplication has been received from the British Youth Council for financial support for a delegation to attend the World Festival of Youth in Havana in July; what is his attitude to such an application; and whether he will make a statement.

An application to defray the travel costs of about 20 delegates was received from the British Youth Council. It is the Government's policy neither to encourage nor to discourage attendance at the festival. The aplication was accordingly refused.

Southern Thule

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking in regard to the prolonged illegal occupation by Argentine citizens of South Thule, a dependency of the Falkland Islands; and whether he will make an early statement.

We have protested to the Argentine Government about these activities, which we understand are in support of the Argentine Antarctic research programme. The Argentinians can be in no doubt that we consider Southern Thule to be British territory. We are pursuing the issue.

Defence

Raf Helicopters

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now give a definite operational date for RAF Sea King search and rescue helicopters at Lossiemouth; and if they will be available for long-range, oil-related missions if flying is taking place on the parent airfield.

It is planned that the RAF Sea King helicopters at Lossiemouth will become operational in early September. They will have an operating radius of 270 nautical miles, which can be extended greatly by refuelling on oil rigs or in the islands. They will thus be available for rescue work on offshore installations among their other tasks. Their availability will be unaffected by other flying activities at Lossiemouth.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in his Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications and in liaison with advertising agencies.

There are currently 147 members of the information officer group employed by the Ministry of Defence. Of these the numbers employed in the categories mentioned are:

Public Relations and Free Media Publicity93
Art Work and Design6
PhotographNil
Film Production9
Publications34
Liaison with advertising agenciesNil

Civil Service

Information Officers

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the number of information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, in each Department and in each Government agency for which the Central Office of Information provides services.

The table below shows by Department, including the agencies in the Department of Employment Group, the total number of staff in post in the information officer group on 1st January 1978, the latest date for which figures are available.Total figures are given in the table since, from the information held centrally, it is not possible to distinguish information officer group posts in inquiry offices or libraries from those in other areas of information work. The Central Office of Information provides services for a number of Government agencies outside the Civil Service, but no record of their information officer numbers is held centrally.

DepartmentsTotal
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food12
Civil Service Department18
Defence160
Education and Science19
Employment Group81
Energy20
Environment (including PSA)67
Health and Social Security18
Home Office25
Information, Central Office of508
National Savings12
Overseas Development11
Population, Censuses and Surveys124
Scottish Office23
Trade and Industry and Prices and Consumer Protection177
Transport13
Treasury11
Welsh Office21
Other Departments30
Total1,350

Part-time staff are counted as half units.

House Of Commons

Sound Broadcasting

asked the Lord President of the Council, if he is satisfied with the operation of the broadcasting of the House and the extent of its coverage of proceedings.

Yes. The extent of the coverage of our proceedings is a matter for the broadcasting authorities, in consultation, as necessary, with the Joint Committee on Broadcasting which will no doubt take account of any views expressed by hon. Members.

Transport

A3 Guildford By-Pass

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give an undertaking that no decision will be taken to accept any tender for construction work on the A3 Guildford by-pass which involves any significant use of the British Railways goods yard at Woking for the transport of materials unless an opportunity is first provided for him to hear representations from residents and businesses in the Woking aea whose interests would be adversely affected by the resulting traffic problems.

Before accepting any tender for construction of the A3 Burpham-Ladymead Diversion—Guildford by-pass—which could involve significant use of the British Rail goods yard at Woking, my right hon. Friend will take account of all the relevant factors, including the local concern of which he is well aware.

Agricultural Machinery

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what was, for each of the last three years for which figures are available, the number of accidents that occurred on public highways involving agricultural machinery as a consequence of the existing construction and use regulations for such machinery being inadequate; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not available, but a recent limited study suggests that a significant number of accidents involving agricultural vehicles occur when the vehicle is turning right or braking. There are no indications that such accidents are due to shortcomings in the regulations, but it is possible that mandatory fitting of direction indicators and changes in braking requirements would help to prevent some of them.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he is satisfied with the provisions of the existing construction and use regulations as they apply to agricultural machinery that is used on public highways; whether he intends to introduce any changes; and it he will make a statement.

New braking regulations are being prepared and we are considering amendments to require the fitting of direction indicators and to rationalise the requirements governing the carriage or towing of farm implements. Otherwise the existing provisions appear to be generally adequate.

Petrol (Lead Additives)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his policy in relation to lead additives in petrol; what consultations are taking place with petrol companies to phase out the practice; and if he will make a statement.

My general aim in the light of medical advice is to ensure that total lead emissions from vehicles do not, due to increase in traffic, exceed the level reached in 1971. In line with that aim we have been seeking agreement in the EEC to a general reduction to 0·40 grammes per litre in the maximum permitted lead content of petrol. Negotiations on this are now well advanced, and there have been regular consultations with industry.

Conference On Road Safety

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those organisations invited to take part in the forthcoming Conference on Road Safety announced at column 246 of the Official Report of 15th March 1978.

Invitations have been sent to a number of individuals from this country and abroad, and to the organisations listed below. Other invitations will be issued.

  • Age Concern.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Ambulance Services Institute.
  • Asphalt and Coated Macadam Association.
  • Association of Chief Police Officers of England and Wales.
  • Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland).
  • Association of Consulting Engineers.
  • Association of County Councils.
  • Association of District Councils.
  • Association of Education Committees.
  • Association of Metropolitan Authorities.
  • Association of Police Surgeons of Great Britain.
  • Association of Public Analysts.
  • Association of Road Traffic Sign Makers.
  • Association of Scottish Police Superintendents.
  • Auto-Cycle Union.
  • Automobile Association.
  • British Academy of Forensic Science.
  • British Council of Churches.
  • British Institute of Traffic Engineering.
  • British Medical Association.
  • British Motorcycling Federation.
  • British Road Federation.
  • British Safety Council.
  • Casualty Surgeons Association.
  • Cement and Concrete Association.
  • Central Office of Information.
  • Chartered Institute of Transport.
  • Church of England Board for Social Responsibility.
  • Civic Trust.
  • Commission of the European Communities.
  • Committee for Environmental Conservation.
  • Confederation of British Industry.
  • Confederation of British Road Passenger Transport.
  • Confederation of Health Service Employees.
  • Consumers Association.
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
  • Coroners' Society.
  • Council for the Principality.
  • Cycling Council of Great Britain.
  • Department of Education and Science.
  • Department of Energy.
  • Department of the Environment.
  • Department of Health and Social Security.
  • Disabled Drivers Association.
  • Driving Instructors Scottish Council.
  • Electrical Sign Manufacturers Association.
  • Faculty of Community Medicine.
  • Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors.
  • Freight Transport Association.
  • Friends of the Earth.
  • Greater London Council.
  • Health and Safety Executive.
  • Health Education Council.
  • Health Visitors' Association.
  • Home Office.
  • Institute of Advanced Motorists.
  • Institute of Health Service Administration.
  • Institute of Psychiatry.
  • Institute of Statisticians.
  • Institute of Traffic Administration.
  • Institution of Highway Engineers.
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
  • Institution of Road Transport Engineers.
  • Joint Committee of the Four Secondary Associations.
  • Joint Committee on Mobility for the Disabled.
  • Justices' Clerks Society.
  • Licensed Victuallers Association.
  • London Amenity and Transport Association.
  • London Boroughs Association.
  • Magistrates Association.
  • Medical Commission on Accident Prevention.
  • Medical Research Council.
  • Methodist Council of Youth Clubs.
  • Ministry of Defence.
  • Motor Agents Association.
  • Motor Cycle Association.
  • National and Local Government Officers Association.
  • National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders.
  • National Association of Head Teachers.
  • National Association of Health Authorities.
  • National Association of Local Councils.
  • National Association of School Masters/Union of Women Teachers.
  • National Automobile Safety Belt Association.
  • National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations.
  • National Consumer Council.
  • National Council for Civil Liberties.
  • National Council of Social Services.
  • National Council on Alcoholism.
  • National Federation of Old Age Pensioners' Associations.
  • National Freight Corporation.
  • National Joint Council of Approved Driving Instructors Organisations.
  • National Temperance Federation.
  • National Union of General and Municipal Workers.
  • National Union of Public Employees.
  • National Union of Teachers.
  • Northern Ireland Office.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • Pedestrians' Association for Road Safety.
  • Police Federation.
  • Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales.
  • Prosecuting Solicitors Society of England and Wales.
  • Road Haulage Association.
  • Road Marking Manufacturers and Contractors Association.
  • Road Operators Safety Council.
  • Road Signalling Development Association.
  • Road Surface Dressing Association.
  • Road Transport Industry Training Board.
  • Roman Catholic Social Welfare Commission.
  • Royal Automobile Club.
  • Royal College of General Practitioners.
  • Royal College of Nursing.
  • Royal College of Physicians.
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.
  • Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists.
  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England.
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind.
  • Royal Scottish Automobile Club.
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
  • Royal Statistical Society.
  • Schools Council.
  • Schools Traffic Education Programme.
  • Scottish Council on Alcoholism.
  • Scottish Office.
  • Scottish Police Federation.
  • Scottish Trades Union Congress.
  • Scottish Transport Group.
  • Society of British Neurological Surgeons.
  • Society of Industrial Artists and Designers.
  • Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited.
  • Temperance Council of the Christian Churches.
  • The Brewers Society.
  • The Design Council.
  • The Law Society.
  • The Law Society of Scotland.
  • The Motor Conference.
  • The Panel of Four.
  • Trades Union Congress.
  • Transport 2000.
  • Transport and General Workers Union.
  • Transport and the Environment Studies.
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
  • United Road Transport Union.
  • Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association.
  • Welsh Counties Committee.
  • Welsh Joint Education Committee.
  • Welsh Office.
  • Wine and Spirit Association of Great Britain.
  • Women's National Commission.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in his Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

A total of 13 information officers is employed in the Department of Transport, of whom 9 are engaged in liaison with Press, TV and radio and on general public relations duties. No information officers are employed to produce art work, design or photography. Two information officers are employed on liaison and advice on advertising. No staff are employed on publications or film production as these responsibilities are carried out on my behalf by information officers in the Department of Environment.

Environment

Cetaceans

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the sources used or to be used by his Department in carrying out for the Secretariat of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, a review of the status of cetaceans; and if he will further state the name of the person entrusted to carry out the review and his qualifications for the task.

The United Kingdom is co-ordinating reviews by scientists in Canada, the United States, South Africa and this country.Specialist research here will be carried out under a contract placed by the Nature Conservancy Council with Professor R. J. Harrison, F.R.S., Department of Anatomy at Cambridge University. He has extensive knowledge of cetaceans and has published many scientific papers and books on them. He is being assisted by Dr. Margaret Klinowska.The International Whaling Commission has offered the scientific data available to it, and, apart from the results obtained by the other countries participating in the review, among his sources will be the Scott Polar Institute, the Environmental Law Centre, Bonn, as well as appropriate Government bodies in countries not directly involved in the review.

Wessex Water Authority

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has of the cost of water and sewage in the Wessex Water Board area for the 12 months prior to the formation of the Board; and what is the cost currently.

No expenditure figures for the former water undertakers and local sewerage authorities are available for the year 1973–74.The estimated cost to the Wessex Water Authority of water and sewerage services for the current year is:

Water supply£16·303 million
Sewerage and Sewage disposal£37·383 million

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage increase has been imposed by the Wessex Water Board in the current year.

Average increases in the major categories of charges levied by the Wessex Water Authority this year are as follows:

Domestic water rate21 per cent
Measured water supply24 per cent
Sewerage and environmental services8 per cent

Museums And Galleries

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he will take to ensure that the national museums and galleries and other public places under his control will be open in future on Sundays and on public holidays.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is responsible for the national museums and galleries.Most of the public places under my control already open on Sundays and public holidays, except for three days at Christmas and New Year's Day.Arrangements for future May Day holidays are under review.

Knightsbridge (Construction Works)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the nature of the construction works which are being carried out in or under the pavement to the north of Knightsbridge Barracks; how long the work has been in progress; when it will be finished; and what is the estimated cost.

This work is to protect the basement parts of the barracks from the effects of oil which has leaked from two CEGB high tension electric cables under South Carriage Drive. The work, estimated to cost some £800,000, started in September 1976 and should be completed by the end of 1978.

Railway Marshalling Yards, Feltham

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce his decision following the public inquiry into the future use of the former railway marshalling yards at Feltham.

My right hon. Friend is considering the inspector's report and will announce his decision as soon as possible.

Vandalism

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what figures are available to his Department from local authorities in England and Wales on losses due to acts of vandalism against public property; and whether he will give a total figure of all such losses for 1977.

Local Authorities (Policies And Planning)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make funds available to the larger local authorities so that they can prepare input-output tables for their areas, to provide a more effective basis for employment policies, planning and, in particular, a reappraisal of regional policy and selective assistance schemes for industry.

An experimental project has just been launched in North Staffordshire. The work is being undertaken by Keele University in consultation with Staffordshire County Council and is funded by my Department. I think we should wait and see how successful this is before considering whether work on input-output tables can usefully be extended.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in his Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

A total of 67 information officers is employed by the Department of Environment, of whom 30 are engaged in liaison with press, TV and radio and on general public relations duties. No information officers are employed to produce art work, design or photography. Two information officers are employed in the films section, 15 in publications sections, and 1 in liaison with a recruitment advertising agency. Fourteen of the total information officers on films, publications and general free media publicity provide services to the Department of Transport.

Home Department

Official Secrets Act (Prosecutions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated cost of all prosecutions undertaken under the provisions of the Official Secrets Act during the last 10 years; and how much of that cost was not recovered from convicted defendants.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the cost of the various prosecutions under the Official Secrets Acts for the longest and most convenient period.

This information is not available, and an estimate could be attempted only at disproportionate cost.

Young Offenders (Fines)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representation he has received regarding proposed powers to transfer fines from young offenders to their parents or guardians; and what decision he has reached on the proposals.

The only representation I have received has been from the Howard League for Penal Reform which has suggested that the fine enforcement provisions in Section 36 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 should not be brought into force in their present form. These provisions implemented proposals in the White Paper on the Children and Young Persons Act 1969—Cmnd. 6494—and where a response to recommendation 6 of the Eleventh Report of the Expenditure Committee that there should be a sanction for the non-payment of fines by juvenile offenders. I propose to bring them into force this Summer.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in his Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

On 1st January, 1978 there were 25 information officers in post. Thirteen were engaged in providing information to the press and broadcasting organisations. The remainder were engaged in publicity work embracing one or more of the activities mentioned.

Scotland

Ellon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied that sufficient land is available for recreational use in Ellon.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report the population of Ellon for each of the past 10 years.

Estimated figures, so far as they are available, are given in the table below. Estimates for small burghs which are no longer local government areas have not been made since 1974.

Ellon Burgh, estimated home population at 30th June
19681,700
19691,877
19702,021
19712,349
19722,694
19732,855
19742,898

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received any proposals from Gordon District Council for the acquisition of land in Ellon for recreational purposes within the last three years.

My right hon. Friend would not normally expect to receive any such proposals.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in the light of the decision of Aberdeen and Northern Marts to discontinue the lease of a field in Ellon to Ellon United Football Club, if he will take steps to intervene.

This is not a matter in which my right hon. Friend has any power to intervene.

Trade

Maritime Pollution

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with the current operation of the law governing liability for maritime pollution.

The general rules of law apply. For pollution damage caused by bulk oil cargoes, special provisions exist which will be broadly satisfactory when the International Fund Convention comes into force, probably this year.

British Airways

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will make a statement on the future aircraft purchasing policy of British Airways, in the context of safeguarding the future of the British aerospace industry.

British Airways' policy on aircraft purchases is to apply commercial criteria in considering fleet replacements in order to select the aircraft which best meet the airline's requirements. Government approval is required for all British Airways' aircraft acquisitions and, in reaching decisions I take into account all relevant factors, including the interests of the British aerospace industry.

Crabtree 3100 And 3010 Switches

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what restrictions have been imposed on the sale of Crabtree 3100 and 3010 AC/DC electrical switches; whether he regards these switches as unsafe for use in boats; and what alternatives to these switches are available for direct current circuits on fishing vessels.

I have no knowledge of a restriction on the sale of such switches which I understand were designed primarily for use in domestic household installations. Switches of this type may not be suitable for certain uses in boats' electrical systems on safety grounds in all weather and operational circumstances that could be encountered. There are alternative suitable switches available for use in direct current circuits on fishing vessels on which my Department's Fishing Vessel Surveyors are ready to advise.

Insider Trading

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied with the effectiveness of the Stock Exchange code currently in operation for the prevention of insider trading and other similar abuses.

The initiative of the Stock Exchange in producing this Code has the support of the Government. The Code does not however obviate the need for legislation, as soon as the Parliamentary timetable permits, to make insider dealing a criminal offence.

Merchant Shipping Bill

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he intends to introduce a new Merchant Shipping Bill.

Unfortunately it is most unlikely that Parliamentary time can be found for a Bill this Session. However a White Paper entitled "Action on Safety and Pollution at Sea: New Merchant Shipping Bill" is to be published on 15th May: this will include draft clauses and an Explanatory Memorandum.

Energy

British National Oil Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Energy to what degree the British National Oil Corporation exceeded the statutory borrowing limits prescribed by Section 6 (iii) of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-Lines Act 1975 in 1977, both by statutory borrowing and through BRITOIL making forward purchases of oil from the Corporation; and whether he is prepared to seek to amend the Act to make the Corporation's operations fully accountable to Parliament.

BNOC has no borrowings which count towards the £600 million statutory borrowing limit under Section 6(3) of the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-Lines Act 1975, other than short-term borrowings up to a limit of £15 million under its overdraft facility with the Bank of Scotland. The Corporation had raised £454 million at 31st December 1977 by the forward sale of oil to Britoil. This is not a borrowing and hence does not count towards the statutory borrowing limit, though it will be seen that, even if it did, it would be within the existing limit. There are no plans at present to introduce amending legislation.

Energy Conservation

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what further steps apart from insulation, his Department is taking to conserve energy in homes, in factories, and on the roads in addition to the programme announced on 12th December 1977.

Since the measures announced on 12th December 1977 further steps were announced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget speech. In addition to the private house insulation scheme, the Chancellor also referred to further measures in the industry and commerce sectors. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said on 12th December 1977, the Government's programme is a continuing one and the Green Paper "Energy Policy"—Cmnd. 7101—makes plain the Government's intention to bring forward further measures as and when necessary.

Coal Stocks

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of coal stocks.

The latest provisional figures available for coal stocks in Great Britain are for 29th April 1978, and are as follows:

Million tonnes
Undistributed stock10·9
Distributed stock (a)19·4
Total stock (a)30·3
(a) Excluding distributed stocks held in merchants' yards, etc., mainly for the domestic market, and stocks held by the industrial sector.

Petrol (Retail Outlets)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) how many retail outlets for petrol went out of business in 1977; how many are receiving special subsidy from the oil companies; and if he is satisfied that the total number adequately serves the public need;(2) what is the average profit per gallon of turnover in those retail petrol outlets which do not receive special assistance from the oil companies, and in those which do.

According to a recent survey published in Petroleum Review for March 1978, 1,010 sites stopped selling petrol during 1977. This leaves the total number of petrol sites at 29,373 at the end of 1977.In areas of high competition many oil companies have introduced price support schemes to allow retail outlets to match competitive prices. The levels of rebate or site support of other kinds are commercially confidential matters between the retailers and their suppliers.

There is no information available on average profit per gallon of turnover analysed between those outlets who do not receive special assistance from the oil companies and those who do. However, a survey by the Price Commission in 1975 showed that the average gross margin for all forecourt sales amounted to 6·1 pence/gallon.

I understand that the Monopolies and Mergers Commission is currently examining and will shortly be reporting on aspects of the wholesale supply of petrol including any discrimination between retailers in relation to the price at which, or the terms on which, petrol is offered or supplied to them.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Council Of Ministers (Meeting)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the Council of Ministers (Agriculture) meeting in Brussels on 8th-9th May.

Potatoes (Price)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what

AllowanceYear of last increaseEquivalent value at March 1978 prices
££
Dependent relative—
maintained by a single woman1451967–68433
others1001960–61374
The estimated cost of increasing the allowance to these amounts, at 1978–79 income levels and after taking into account the proposals in the Budget Statement, would be about £70 million.

Essel Shipping Company

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the urgent need for factories, and employment in the London borough of Newham, and the need for increasing rate revenue, he will take action to ensure that Essel Shipping Company is able to complete its development at the Marshgate Trading Estate, Sanford E.15 by ensuring that the Customs and Excise immediately grant

was the average price paid for old stock potatoes by wholesalers to the Potato Marketing Board in the South of England for the week ended 5th May 1978.

The Potato Marketing Board does not itself sell on the normal ware market potatoes which have been contracted to it under the support buying programme. Instead, the Board, with the agreement of my Department, ensures that the needs of the market are met by allowing producers to vary their contracts where appropriate, in order that they may sell through normal channels. Prices received by producers in the South of England during the week ended 5th May 1978 were generally in the range of £70 to £86 a tonne depending upon the variety and quality of the potatoes.

National Finance

Dependent Relative Allowance

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the date upon which the dependent relative allowance was fixed at its present level and what would be the cost of bringing the present level up to its original value.

Ignoring the small increase made in 1973–74 when the income tax was unified, the information is as follows:its application for a bonded warehouse in accordance with the details as submitted to his Department by the hon. Member for Newham, North-West.

The representations made by my hon. Friend are being examined and I shall be writing to him shortly.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the loss of revenue from income tax in 1978–79 if the same income tax rates and thresholds as operated in Germany applied in Great Britain; and what proportion this figure is of the estimated revenue from income tax in 1978–79.

I regret that an answer could be supplied only at a disproportionate cost.

Doctors (Professional Subscriptions)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the annual subscription a doctor pays to the British Medical Association is allowable as a tax-free expense.

Yes. It is allowable either under the Schedule D expenses rules because the expense is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of his profession, or under Section 192 of the Taxes Act 1970 because the association has been approved by the Inland Revenue as existing mainly for the advancement of knowledge or the maintenance of professional standards.

Gross National Product

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is his latest estimate of gross national product per capita in England, Scotland and Wales, separately; and what effect oil and gas revenues have on his calculations;(2) what is his latest estimate of the per capita gross domestic product of Scotland, Wales and each region of England; and if he will express each gross domestic product figure as a percentage of the British gross domestic product.

Estimates of regional gross domestic product per capita at current prices in 1975 and as a percentage of the average for Great Britain, are as follows:

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT PER CAPITA, 1975
Great Britain = 100
£
North1,57794·6
Yorkshire and Humberside1,59495·6
East Midlands1,61096·6
East Anglia1,50690·3
South-East1,865111·9
South-West1,51490·8
West Midlands1,62397·4
North-West1,59895·9
England1,686101·1
Wales1,45587·3
Scotland1,60296·1
Great Britain (excluding Continental Shelf)1,667100·0
Estimates of gross national produce for regions of the United Kingdom are not available. Profits of the offshore activities of the oil and gas extraction industry are included in the Continental Shelf region which is regarded as part of the United Kingdom for the purposes of GDP measurement. Income from employment of employees working offshore is included in the gross domestic products of their onshore regions of residence.

Minimum Lending Rate

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the amount by which costs of production will be increased or decreased as a result of last week's increase in the minimum lending rate; and, if any increase is estimated, what countervailing measures he intends to take so as to mitigate the consequent adverse effects upon employment and exports.

I am not able to give a precise estimate of the effect of last week's increase in the minimum lending rate on industrial costs of production. This is because the effects of such a change in the economy are both uncertain and complex. The effects are uncertain because they depend on the extent to which other interest rates, both short and long-term, rise to reflect the increase in minimum lending rate, and on how long the increase in rates can be expected to last. The effects are complex because a change in interest rates may have repercussions throughout the economy.As my right hon. Friend made clear in his Budget Statement, some increase in interest rates from the levels prevailing at that time was to be expected. The alternative would be a more rapid growth in the money supply, which would almost certainly have worse consequences for industrial costs in the long run.

Treasury Model

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the Government Departments and any other agencies or organisations which have made available to them the forecasts of future unemployment and related data provided by the Treasury model.

No. It is not the normal practice to reveal the circulation list of departmental papers.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Burton on 8th May 1978, whether the Treasury model is capable of providing disaggregated employment projections suitable to the needs of the Manpower Services Commission; and, if so, at what cost.

The Treasury model is not capable of providing projections at the detailed level of disaggregation needed by the Manpower Services Commission.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Burton on 8th May 1978, whether any approach was made to the Manpower Services Commission to determine whether the Treasury model was able to provide disaggregated employment projections suitable to its needs.

The Treasury model is not able to provide projections suitable to the needs of the Manpower Services Commission, and so no approach was made to the Commission.

Information Officers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in the National Savings Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and designing, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

There are 12 information officers in the Department for National Savings—as at 1st January 1978—deployed as follows: overall control; public relations and free media publicity 3; production of publications, including some photography, 4; liaison with advertising agencies 3; and exhibitions 1.

Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will republish the table contained in the Written Answer to the hon. Member for Blaby, Official Report, 8th May, columns 359–60, so as to include an additional column showing the percentage paid in tax and national insurance contributions of the relevant 1978–79 incomes on the assumption that the basic rate of income tax is 33 per cent.

50P Coins

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has had about a shortage of 50p coins; and what plans he has to increase their production.

Value-Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the estimated total amount of value-added tax raised from the sales of: (a) beds and (b) mattresses in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and if he will exempt beds and mattresses bought for National Health Service use from value-added tax.

Revenue yields of VAT on beds and mattresses are not available. It would not be practicable to exempt these goods from VAT when for NHS use, but their VAT inclusive price is taken into account in determining the DHSS Vote, on which most purchases of beds and mattresses are borne.

Pay Settlements (Government Action)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the name of the firm subject to discretionary action that has consented to such publication.

Since my reply to the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Latham), the firm in question has brought its settlement within the pay guidelines and is no longer subject to discretionary action. In view of this, the firm has now decided that it does not want the Government to publish its name.—[Vol. 948, c. 1633].

Company Profits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer further to the Written Answer to the hon. Member for Cornwall, North, Official Report, 28th April, c. 733–4, if he will publish a revised version of the table in which income tax levied on company profits for the years 1959–60 to 1965–66, inclusive, is classified as a tax on companies and not as a tax on personal incomes.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 8th May 1978; Vol. 949, c. 354], gave the following information:I regret that this information is not available.

Stamp Duty (House Purchase)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates would be the loss of revenue from stamp duty on house purchase if the present limits for the nil rate and the reduced rates were each raised by £5,000; how much of this loss would arise from each of the changes taken on its own; and if he will estimate what the figures would be if such changes were confined to transactions where the purchaser was buying with a view to making the property his only or main residence.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 9th May 1978; Vol. 949, c. 490], gave the following information:About £35 million in a full year for residential property of all kinds and about £30 million if these changes were confined to owner occupied residential property. I regret that separate estimates cannot be made for property being bought with a view to being the purchaser's only or main residence.The cost in £ million for each band is shown in the table below—

BandResidential propertyOwner-occupied residential property
£15,001-£20,0001815
£20,001-£25,00087
£25,001-£30,00065
Above £30,00033

Social Services

Infant Mortality

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing the infant mortality rates in England and Wales in each year since 1948.

Deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births in England and Wales were as follows:—

194833·9
194932·4
195029·6
195129·7
195227·6
195326·8
195425·4
195524·9
195623·7
195723·1
195822·5
195922·2
196021·8
196121·4
196221·7
196321·1
196419·9
196519·0
196619·0
196718·3
196818·3
196918·0
197018·2
197117·5
197217·2
197316·9
197416·3
197515·7
197614·3
197713·6*
* Provisional.
The rates up to 1975 have been published in Table 2 of OPCS annual series DH3 No. 2 and for 1976 and 1977, in advance of the annual fable, in OPCS Monitor WR 78/12.

Drug Prices (Pharmacists' Profits)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his estimate of the anual rate of inflation in drug prices; and in what way allowance is made for this in the return on capital permitted by the National Health Service to pharmacists.

The average cost of drugs and appliances dispensed by chemists in England and Wales increased from 132·1p per prescription in February 1977 to 152·1p per prescription in February 1978, the latest date for which figures are available, an increase of 15·1 per cent. The return on capital employed fully reflects such increases.

Portugal And Greece

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the present position of negotiations with the Governments of Portugal and Greece on the question of reciprocal agreements on social security benefits; and if he will make a statement.

Discussions with Portugal at official level have been in progress since May of last year, and a large measure of agreement has already been reached. It is hoped that outstanding points will shortly be settled.I have no plans to open bilateral talks with Greece. Full reciprocity in social security will be achieved following the accession of Greece to the EEC.

War Disability Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what provision exists to assess for war disability pensions those who, through privation in prisoner of war camps or otherwise, have developed psychological or physical symptoms in late life.

A claim for a war disablement pension can be made at any time: there is no time limit. Disablement is assessed by reference to the loss of faculty suffered—that is, the loss of physical or mental capacity to lead a normally occupied life. The effects of captivity where relevant are, of course, taken fully into account.

Health And Safety Act

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, what extra provision has been made in National Health Service funding to meet the costs of implementing the provisions of the Health and Safety Act.

None. I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Hoyle) on 13th April.

Psychiatric And Geriatric Beds

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many beds are available in community hospitals for infirm and disabled elderly people; and how many health districts have no community hospital;(2) how many beds are now available in district general hospital units for psychiatry and geriatrics; and how many health districts still do not have such units.

Elderly, Mentally Ill And Mentally Handicapped

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what additional resources are likely to be made available to local authority social services to achieve the Government's aims in providing a district based service for the elderly, mentally ill, and mentally handicapped.

The Government's expenditure plans set out in Cmnd. 7049 allow for an increase of about £140 million at 1977 survey prices in expenditure on the local authority personal social services in England over the period 1976–77 to 1981–82. The illustrative projection accompanying the recently issued DHSS planning guidelines suggested that over half of this increase might be allocated to development of services specifically for the elderly, the younger physically handicapped, the mentally handicapped and the mentally ill.

Community Nursing

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidelines are available to health authorities regarding the staffing requirements of community nursing services.

The Department currently suggests a ratio of one health visitor to 4,600 population, or one to 4,300 if work in the school health service is included. Higher ratios of up to one health visitor to 3,000 population may be needed in some areas, for example, where there is a highly developed system of attachment to general practice or where there is a high immigrant population.For district nurses, one to 4,000 population is suggested. Where there are extensive attachment schemes or where there is a high proportion of elderly and/or disabled people, up to one district nurse to 2,500 population may be desirable but the number required will depend on the availability of competent auxiliary staff to support the district nurses.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in his Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

There are 18 information officer group staff in headquarters and 16 other staff engaged in information work in headquarters and in the social security regions and the Scottish and Welsh central offices. Of the 34 staff, 26 are employed in public relations and free media publicity and 8 are employed in the combined activities of film production, the production of publications and liaison with advertising agencies. None is engaged in art work and design, or photography.

Service Men

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the total of cash paid to Service men's families by the Supplementary Benefits Commission during the last convenient 12 month period.

Supplementary benefit is not payable to Service men and others in full-time work. As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker) on 3rd May, a very small number of Service men may be receiving family income supplement but the number cannot be quantified. I regret that it is not therefore possible to make the estimate requested.—[Vol. 949, c. 140–1.]

Area Health Authorities

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the area health authorities in England in order of numbers on the waiting list per 100,000 of population.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 4th May 1978; Vol. 949, c. 238], gave the following Information:Area health authorities in England in order of the numbers of patients on the hospital in-patient waiting list per 100,000 population are listed below.

WAITING LIST (AT 30TH SEPTEMBER 1977) PER 100,000 (MANAGED) POPULATION (MID 1976) IN DESCENDING ORDER, BY AREA HEALTH AUTHORITY

Area Health Authority

Rate

Hillingdon3,170·3
Manchester2,997·4
Newcastle-upon-Tyne2,845·5
Birmingham2,350·4
Avon1,941·1
Liverpool1,919·3
Dudley1,857·5
Lincolnshire1,813·7
City and East London1,708·6
Norfolk1,692·4
Stockport1,675·0
Gloucestershire1,671·2
Lancashire1,651·3
Northamptonshire1,649·7
Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham1,571·7
Kensington, Chelsea, Westminster1,560·8
Walsall1,514·5
Salop1,501·0
Sheffield1,481·8
Bolton1,467·4
Salford1,460·2
Oxfordshire1,459·6
Coventry1,415·5
Devon1,436·6
Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth1,381·6
Somerset1,378·7
Kent1,356·1
Berkshire1,341·3
East Sussex1,330·3
Cleveland1,328·5
Doncaster1,305·9
Sefton1,301·4
Ealing, Hammersmith, Hounslow1,288·1
Calderdale1,267·2
Wiltshire1,261·3
Oldham1,260·8
Buckinghamshire1,257·2
Humberside1,251·4
Warwickshire1,248·8
Hampshire1,226·3
Camden and Islington1,226·1
Wakefield1,210·3
Rochdale1,202·1
Wolverhampton1,187·4
Barnsley1,170·0
Cambridgeshire1,155·4
Wigan1,151·4
Dorset1,149·2
Kingston and Richmond1,140·7
Sunderland1,137·5
Staffordshire1,137·1
Nottinghamshire1,135·4
Cheshire1,120·0
Hertfordshire1,086·5
Essex1,065·2
Barking and Havering1,060·9
North Yorkshire1,036·0
Redbridge and Waltham Forest1,015·7
Cornwall1,004·9
Tameside999·2
Hereford and Worcester969·4
Isle of Wight964·4
Leeds948·0
Enfield and Haringey940·2
Surrey938·1
Durham926·4
East Sussex925·5
Leicester916·0
Bedford891·0

Area Health Authority

Rate

Derby843·5
Barnet840·7
Cumbria839·2
Solihull830·4
Rotherham809·1
Trafford808·0
Kirklees807·4
Bradford802·7
Gateshead801·7
Croydon716·5
Wirral699·8
Sandwell681·3
St. Helens with Knowsley669·7
Brent, Harrow648·5
Burnley641·1
Suffolk638·1
North Tyneside507·0
Greenwich and Bexley503·8
Northumberland475·3
Bromley412·5
South Tyneside340·5

1973 cost

1978 cost

Increase greater than £10·50

Increase greater than 420%

£££

Per cent.

New firearms certificate2·1014·0011·90710
Renewal of firearms certificate1·058·50709
Registration of Firearms Dealer (including 63p for Explosive Store Licence)20·6335·6315·00
Full birth certificate22½p1·50567

Building Societies:

Certificate of incorporation50·00500·00450·00900
Certificate of registration of an alteration of an entire set of rules20·00300·00280·001,400
Certificate of registration of a partial alteration of rules10·00150·00140·001,400
Certificate of cancellation of registration10·0025·0015·00
Certificate of registration of change of name6·0050·0044·00733
Certificate of registration of an instrument of dissolution or alteration therein:
(a) 1,000 members or fewer10·00200·00190·001,900
(b) more than 1,000 members20·00350·00330·001,650
(c) more than 5,000 members20·00500·00480·002,400
Certificate for registration of a union to be paid by each uniting society, where the society has:
(a) 1,000 members or fewer10·00200·00190·001,900
(b) more than 1,000 members20·00350·00330·001,650
(c) more than 5,000 members20·00500·00480·002,400
Certificate for registration of transfer of engagements where the society has:
(a) 1,000 members or fewer10·00200·00190·001,900
(b) more than 1,000 members20·00350·00330·001,650
(c) more than 5,000 members20·00500·00480·002,400
Change of name of a company50p10·001,900
Approved Driving Instructors training licence1·0015·0014·001,400
Licence to produce a preparation containing a controlled drug44·0088·0044·00
Licence to supply a controlled drug22·0044·0022·00

Department Of Commerce (Promotional Officers)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many promotional officers are employed overseas by the Department of Commerce; what are their duties; and from what offices they operate.

Northern Ireland

Certificates And Licences

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in the case of those certificates and licences for the issue of which he has responsibility, whether the fees for issue have been increased by a greater amount or a greater percentage than that represented by a rise from £2·50 in 1973 to £13 in 1978.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report 24th April 1978; Vol. 948, c. 494], gave the following information:Following is a list of those certificates and licences for which the cost has increased by more than £10·50 or 420 per cent. since 1973.

Five staff from the Department of Commerce are currently engaged in industrial promotion work outside the United Kingdom. Three are based in New York, one in Stuttgart, and one in Brussels. In addition one officer, based in Belfast, covers Japan. The work of these officers, who operate from the offices of the Northern Ireland Industrial Development Organisation, is augmented by the employment of three consultants on a part-time basis in Tokyo, Dusseldorf and Montreaux. Their main duty is to present to companies the excellent opportunities which Northern Ireland has to offer as a location for new investment, which have unfortunately been masked by the events of recent years.

TOTAL UNEMPLOYED REGISTERED DISABLED (APRIL)
19741975197619771978
Males1,4291,4421,7751,8621,757
As a percentage of the total number of registered disabled people(10·4%)(10·57%)(13·27%)(14·23%)(14·24%)
Females288288334359381
As a percentage of the total number of registered disabled people(2·02%)(2·11%)(2·49%)(2·74%)(3·08%)
Total people1,7171,7302,1092,2212,138
As a percentage of the total number of registered disabled people(12·06%)(12·68%)(15·76%)(16·97%)(17·32%)

Employment

Job Vacancies

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the proportionate increase or decrease in the number of vacancies for jobs notified to (a) employment officers, and (b) careers officers between April

Employment OfficesCareers Offices
April 1977April 1978Percentage changeApril 1977April 1978Percentage change
England130,073171,123+31·623,89224,082+0·8
Wales6,6528,830+32·7569448-21·3
Scotland17,12922,330+30·4937894-4·6
Northern Ireland1,8151,810-0·3462349-24·5
These figures relate only to vacancies notified to employment offices and careers offices and are not a measure of total vacancies.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table indicating the proportionate increase or decrease of the absolute, non-seasonally-adjusted, unemployed total for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively, between April 1977 and April 1978.

The following table gives the numbers registered as unemployed, unadjusted for seasonal variations, in April 1977 and April 1978, and the percentage change between the two dates.

Disabled Persons (Employment)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many registered disabled men and women were registered unemployed in each of the last five years at the latest available date; and what percentage they represent by sex and in total.

The information requested is as follows:1977 and April 1978 for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively.

The following table shows the numbers of vacancies notified to employment offices and careers offices and remaining unfilled at April 1977 and April 1978, and the percentage changes between the two dates:

April 1977April 1978Percentage change
England1,084,9961,117,141+3·0
Wales80,47189,481+11·2
Scotland170,168180,862+6·3
Northern Ireland56,61564,274+ 13·5

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table, taking June 1977 as the base date, index=100, showing the proportionate increase or decrease in employees in employment for each quarter since that date for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively.

Following is the information for England, Wales and Scotland up to December 1977, the latest date for which estimates are available

England

Wales

Scotland

June 1977100·0100·0100·0
September 1977100·399·5100·0
December 1977100·398·899·6

Quarterly estimates for Northern Ireland have not so far been compiled, but a series is expected to be published shortly by the Northern Ireland Department of Manpower Services.

Unemployed School Leavers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table indicating the percentage of the total unemployed figure for March 1978 which was constituted by unemployed school leavers, for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively.

The following table gives the numbers of unemployed school-leavers expressed as percentages of the

NUMBERS OF UNEMPLOYED DISABLED PEOPLE
Registered under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Acts 1944 and 1958Unregistered
Section ISection IISection ISection II
England51,8088,29457,8203,286
Wales3,1931,1104,167387
Scotland5,5917267,221390
Information about Northern Ireland is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Accidents

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing for the most recent period available the number of accidents at work notified to Her Majesty's Inspecorate, per 1,000 man days worked, for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively.

The Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that no information in the form required is available for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland separately.Accidents are at present reported to the Health and Safety Executive under legislation passed before the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 came into force and statistics collected by the different enforcement authorities of HSE are not all on the same basis. No figures are available related to man days worked and only for certain sectors are reliable numbers of persons at risk available.

total numbers registered as unemployed at 9th March 1978

England2·1
Wales3·4
Scotland5·5
Northern Ireland4·2

Unemployed Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the number of unemployed disabled persons, analysed by those registered and unregistered, and by section 1 and section 2 disability classification, for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for the most recent convenient date.

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that the information which relates to 13th April 1978, is as follows:The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.

Job Release Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications under the job release scheme were approved up to 7th March 1978 in England, Wales and Scotland, respectively.

Up to 7th March 1978 the number of applications aproved under the job release scheme in England, Wales and Scotland were 17,977, 2,055 and 3,769, respectively.

Employment Protection Act

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in view of the recent court decisions, he has any proposals for new legislation to amend and strengthen the Employment Protection Act.

There are no plans at present for Government legislation to amend the Employment Protection Act. But we have been concerned at the possible implications of some recent court decisions and have therefore given our support to the Private Members' Bills to amend the Act sponsored by my hon. Friends the Members for Darlington (Mr. Fletcher) and for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Mikardo).

Unemployment Comparisons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the most recent comparable unemployment percentages for England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria.

Unemployment rates for the countries of the United Kingdom in April 1978 were:

Unemployed percentageUnemployed excluding school leavers seasonally adjusted percentage
England*5·65·3
Wales*8·47·8
Scotland*8·27·8
Northern Ireland*11·811·1
Unemployment rates are not available on a comparable basis for the other countries listed. The most recent available national data, not seasonally adjusted,
EMPLOYEES IN EMPLOYMENT IN SCOTLAND
June 1974June 1976(Thousands) December 1977*
Iron and Steel (general) and steel tubes (Minimum List Headings 311 and 312 of the Standard Industrial Classification)27·926·0
Metal manufacture (Order VI of the S.I.C.)43·439·137·6
* Provisional.

Textile, Clothing And Footwear Industries

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he proposes to introduce the arrangements for the support of short-time working in the textile, clothing and footwear sectors, which he announced on 15th March as part of the modifications to the temporary employment subsidy scheme; and how he proposes to finance the new arrangements.

The arrangements for compensating short-time working in the textile, clothing and footwear industries under the temporary employment subsidy scheme will come into operation on 15th

justed, are show below. Rates are not published for Switzerland

Percentage

Dates

Norway†0·94th quarter 1977
Sweden‡2·2February 1978
Austria§3·2February 1978

Source: OECD Main Economic Indicators.

* Numbers registered at employment offices expressed as a percentage of total employees.

† Registered unemployed as a percentage of civilian labour force.
‡ Estimate from labour force sample survey. The rate is calculated as a percentage of total labour force.
§ Registered unemployed expressed as a percentage of total labour force.

Steel Industry (Scotland)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the number of persons currently employed in the steel industry in Scotland; and how this figure compared with that of 1974.

The latest information about employment in the steel industry in Scotland is for June 1976. Estimates are made quarterly, however, for the somewhat larger metal manufacturing group of industries and she latest of these are for December 1977. Following is the information available:May 1978. Leaflets explaining the new arrangements will be available from the regional and headquarters officers of my Department from that date. A copy will be placed in the Library.Parliamentary approval for this new service will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the DE vote. Pending that approval, any necessary expenditure will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in his Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

At 1st January 1978 there were 81 information officers employed

(a) NUMBER OF INFORMATION OFFICERS EMPLOYED EXCLUSIVELY ON:
DEMSC GroupHSEACASTotal
Public relations and free media publicity97723
Art work and design11
Photography
Film production55
Production of publications96318
Liaison with advertising agencies55
(b) NUMBER OF INFORMATION OFFICERS EMPLOYED FOR SOME PART OF THEIR TIME ON:
DEMSC GroupHSEACASTotal
Public relations and free media publicity55414
Art work and design93416
Photography1135
Film production1124
Production of publications123217
Liaison with advertising agencies29617

Industry

Advance Factories

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what consultation takes place between his Department and local authorities outside the assisted areas about the advance factory building programmes carried out by some of those authorities.

Local authorities outside the assisted areas consult my Department about their proposals for advance factories if an industrial development certificate is required. In addition, proposals for advance factories within the partnership areas of inner Birmingham and inner London may be discussed within the partnership machinery. My Department is also consulted by the Department of the Environment about applications for Government assistance for factory building under the urban programme.

National Enterprise Board

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what are the salaries paid to the chairman, the deputy chairman, part-time members and divisional heads of the National Enterprise Board.

ployed in the Department of Employment Group. Of these 52 were working exclusively on individual activities as specified and the remaining 29 had responsibilities spanning two or more of these functions. The following tables indicate the activities on which the information officers were, ( a) exclusively and ( b) partly employed.

Deputy Chairman, £27,550; and that of a part-time board member, £1,000. The salaries of the board's divisional heads are a matter for the board.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the cost of producing and distributing the annual report and accounts of the National Enterprise Board for the last year.

Textiles And Clothing

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what discussions he has had with industry Ministers in the EEC on restructing the textile and clothing industry; and if he will make a statement.

There have as yet been no such discussions. The EEC Commission has referred to the need for an industry policy for the Community textile and clothing industry, involving the possibility of restructuring, but so far, except in relation to synthetic fibre production, there has been no detailed indication of what they have in mind.My Department expects to be kept closely in touch in the formulation of any firm proposals.On synthetic fibres, the Commission has asked member States to ban State aids towards the creation of incremental capacity for a two-year period.There have been discussions between the EEC producers and the Commission about the problem of excess capacity, and I understand that the producers are expected to put formal proposals to the Commission very shortly.

Postal Service (Political Documents)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, if he will issue a general direction to the Post Office not to deliver unaddressed and unfranked party-political documents.

No.

ASSISTANCE TO PROJECTS IN CHESHIRE
Calendar year and Travel-to-work areaSection 7Section 8TotalAssistance per head of working population
££££
1975
Congleton62,25062,2507·18
Crewe110,542110,5422·02
Chester
Macclesfield29,36129,3611·06
Northwich7,5607,5600·19
Widnes271,940271,9404·97
Warrington105,506105,5061·35
Ellesmere Port1,761,1961,761,1962·75
1976
Congleton49,69049,6905·72
Crewe125,800387,000512,8009·36
Chester7,4207,4200·12
Macclesfield
Northwich6966960·02
Widnes1,784,02531,2501,815,27533·15
Warrington163,33562,400225,7352·88
Ellesmere Port8,464,3551,577,51810,041,87315·70
1977
Congleton179,1586,780185,93821·42
Crewe547,54339,802587,34510·72
Chester
Macclesfield49,35549,3551·79
Northwich99,71099,7102·50
Widnes960,54289,6501,050,19219·18
Warrington1,780,7911,870,79123·90
Ellesmere Port6,756,428336,2697,092,69711·08
ASSISTANCE TO PROJECTS IN THE FIVE MAIN ASSISTED AREAS OF GREAT BRITAIN
£ million£ million£ million£
197588·941·6490·588·84
197677·63106·65184·2817·98
197772·7690·94163·7015·97
Note:
The Travel-to-Work Areas of Warrington and Ellesmere Port include parts of Lancashire and Merseyside.
Regional development grants have also been paid under Part I of the Industry Act but details on a county basis are not readily available.

Regional Grants (Cheshire)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the total expenditure on regional grants and assistance granted to each of the employment areas in Cheshire during 1975, 1976 and 1977; what amount this represents as expenditure for each member of the working population; and what the comparable figure was for the United Kingdom as a whole.

Selective financial assistance has been offered under Sections 7 and 8 of the Industry Act 1972 as follows:

Information Officers

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many information officers, excluding inquiry office and library staff, are employed in his Department, showing separately how many of these are employed in public relations and free media publicity, in art work and design, in photography, in film production, in the production of publications, and in liaison with advertising agencies.

My Department employs 58 information officers, excluding inquiry office staff. Of these 14 are engaged on public relations and free media publicity, 21 on production of publications, and 23 on multi-disciplinary activities. In all, 44 of these staff also provide a common service to the Departments of Trade and Prices and Consumer Protection.

Lucas Aerospace

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether, in his Department's discussions with Lucas Aerospace management, any of the Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards' Committee's plans for the maintenance of work at the Hemel Hempstead Number 2 plant was raised; and if he will make a statement.

This should be a matter for discussion in the first instance between management and the recognised trade union organisations representing the Lucas Aerospace workforce.

British Aerospace

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he has yet made a determination of the financial duties of British Aerospace.

In accordance with Section 10 of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977, my right hon Friend has made, with the approval of the Treasury and after consulting British Aerospace, the first determination of financial duties for British Aerospace. My right hon. Friend has notified British Aerospace that it has a duty in its current accounting year, which ends on 31st December 1978, to seek to achieve a return on average net assets of 20 per cent., equivalent to a profit before interest and tax of £62 million. A copy of this determination has been placed before each House of Parliament. Financial duties covering a longer period will be determined when the corporation's plans are more fully developed.