Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 958: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1978

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 14th November 1978

Prime Minister (Engagements)

Q5.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q6.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his public engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q9.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

Q13.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q14.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q15.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

Q17.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q20.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q21.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

Q22.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q27.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

Q30.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

Q32.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

Q37.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday. 14th November.

Q39.

asked the Prime Minister if he will provide a list of his official engagements for 14th November.

Q40.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14th November.

asked the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for 14th November.

I refer my hon. Friends and the hon. Members to the reply which I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Mr. Walker).

Home Department

Prison Officers (Alleged Offences)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he has departed from normal precedent and practice in the public service in not suspending the 13 prison officers charged with criminal offences.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the prosecutions of an assistant governor and 12 prison officers who were serving at Hull prison at the time of the riot. I decided that these officers should not be suspended from duty while proceedings were pending against them but should be put on work involving no contact with inmates. This decision, which was taken in the light of the long lapse of time since the riot, will not be regarded as a precedent.

Animals (Experiments)

59.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he is giving to banning experiments using animals which do not have an obvious reference to the treatment or prevention of disease.

The Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 permits painful experiments only when their purpose is the advancement by new discovery of physiological knowledge or of knowledge which will be used for saving or prolonging life or alleviating suffering. We do not consider that a more tightly drawn restriction would be justified.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many primates were used for experiments at the Life Science Research Laboratory, Stock in 1976, 1977 and to the latest available date in 1978; and what was the purpose of these experiments;(2) how long the Life Science Research Laboratory, Stock, has been registered to perform experiments on living animals, under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876;(3) how many persons are licensed at the Life Science Research Laboratory, Stock to perform experiments on living animals, during 1976, 1977 and to the latest available date in 1978; and what were the species used in these experiments;(4) how many persons are licensed at the Life Science Research Laboratory, Stock at the latest available date; and if he will give the names of these persons, showing how long they have held a licence to experiment on living animals under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876; and how many have resigned during 1976, 1977, and to the latest available date in 1978.

The Life Science Research Laboratory, Stock, was registered under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 on 8th January 1973. For reasons of academic and commercial confidentiality, fully explained in a letter which my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State sent my hon. Friend in May last year, it is not the practice to disclose information about experimentation at particular establishments.

Vehicle Excise Duty (Evasion)

asked the Secretary el State for the Home Department whether traffic wardens are instructed to observe vehicles for the presence of a current road tax disc.

Under the Functions of Traffic Wardens Order 1970, traffic wardens may be employed to enforce the law relating to vehicle excise offences. It is for chief officers of police to decide what tasks shall be undertaken by traffic wardens within the prescribed functions.

Prison Officers (Welfare Work)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies have been published on the progress of the schemes involving prison officers in welfare work in the five prisons concerned; and to which prisons these are to be extended.

No study has been published. Seven prisons now take part in the scheme; further extensions are being planned by governors and chief probation officers locally.

British Citizenship (Applications)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for British citizenship are awaiting a decision; what is the average length of time taken to deal with such an application; and what steps he proposes to take to reduce this delay.

Some 35,000 applications are currently under consideration. They are of different types, some needing more inquiries and consideration than others. The average length of time is about 1314 months, but some applications take considerably longer and many of the more straightforward ones are dealt with in three or four months. Every effort consistent with the Government's policy of exercising strict economy in the staffing of Government Departments is being made to reduce the waiting time for a decision.

Prison Officers/Prisoners Ratio

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average ratio of prison officers to prisoners in English prisons at the latest convenient date.

The ratio of the total prison officer class in post to prisoners in the penal establishments of England and Wales on 30th September 1978 was 1:2·66.

Prisoners (Administration Of Drugs)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue a direction that drugs are to be administered to prisoners only for medical reasons, and are not to be used as instruments of discipline.

No such direction is necessary. The prison medical service has always operated on the principle that drugs are prescribed for prisoners only when, in the clinical judgment of prison medical officers or other registered medical practitioners, such treatment is justified for the restoration of health or the relief of symptoms.

Entry Procedures (Appeals)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time taken between a person appealing against refusal of leave to enter the United Kingdom and such appeal being heard; and if he will give these details (a) in terms of the general situation and (b) especially for Islamabad, Pakistan.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to appeals against the refusal of entry clearance. The average time which elapses between notice of appeal being received and the appeal being heard by the appellate authorities is, very approximately, nine to 12 months, but this average conceals wide variations from post to post in preparing explanatory statements as well as between different appeal centres in setting cases down for hearing. The time taken to deal with appeals in Islamabad cases is about the average.

Charities (Medical Research Contributions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what action he is taking to safeguard the contribution to medical research and services for handicapped people by the Spastics Society, Tenovus, Action Research for the Crippled Child and other charities in the light of the report of the Royal Commission on gambling; and if he will make a statement;(2) what representations he has received from charities whose contributions to medical research and services for handicapped people have been threatened by the report of the Royal Commission on gambling; what reply he has given; and if he will make a statement.

I have had representations from nine hon. Members and from three of the charities concerned about the Royal Commission's recommendation that the Pool Competitions Act 1971 should be allowed to expire next July; and my hon. Friend, the Under-Secretary of State, has received a deputation led by my hon. Friend.I have given assurances that these representations will be taken fully into account before the Government reaches a decision on this recommendation.

Immigrants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will update the table of acceptances for settlement contained in his Written Answer to the hon. Member for Horsham and Crawley (Mr. Hordern) Official Report, 3rd February, columns 339–40, by providing final figures for 1977 and his estimates for 1978.

pursuant to his reply—[Official Report, 6th November, Vol. 957, col. 42], gave the following information:Figures for 1977 were published in "Control of Immigration: Statistics, 1977" (Cmnd. 7160). Figures for the first half of 1978 are given in the following table. Estimates for the whole of 1978 are not available.

ACCEPTANCES FOR SETTLEMENT
Thousands 1978 January-June
Acceptances On arrival
Total all nationalities of which17·1
Citizens of New Commonwealth countries and of Pakistan:
Special Voucher Holders0·8
Husbands0·3
Wives4·1
Children (under 18)6·0
Others1·6
Total12·8*
Acceptances on removal of time limit
Total all nationalities of which20·0
Citizens of New Commonwealth countries and of Pakistan:
Husbands1·6
Wives2·8
Children (under 18)0·4
Exempt from deportation†2·5
Others1·9
Total9·4*
* Components may not add to totals because they have been rounded independently.
† By reason of having been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom at 1st January 1973 and having completed five years' such residence.

Gambling (Royal Commission Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has t6 introduce legislation following the report of the Royal Commission on gambling; and if he will make a statement.

I have asked for comments on-the report by the end of this year. In the meantime, I have no immediate plans for legislation, but I am urgently considering the Commission's recommendations on society and local authority lotteries, and on the Pool Competitions Act 1971.

Violent Crime (Kingston Upon Thames)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show the absolute and percentage increases in crimes involving violence in each year since 1970 in the Royal borough of Kingston upon Thames.

pursuant to his reply—[Official Report, 10th November, Vol. 957, col. 281]—gave the following information:I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the information available is as given below:

OFFENCES OF ASSAULT,* ETC. RECORDED BY THE POLICE
Royal borough of Kingston upon Thames
Increase over the previous year
YearNumber of offencesNumber of offencesPercentage
197485
19751092428
19761352624
197713721
* Covering nearly all indictable offences of violence against the person and certain sexual offences involving violence.
† Not available.

Industry

Petrol Tax

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what would be the effect on the indigenous motor car manufacturing industry if preference was given to smaller cars and more economical consumers of gasoline as opposed to larger vehicles should the gasoline tax be increased by 20 pence per gallon; and what would be the impact on car imports.

If a 20p per gallon fuel tax were imposed at one time I would expect some trading-down to smaller cars and smaller-engined variants of model ranges. This would affect the British car industry's profit margins, which are low on such models. Import penetration is at its highest in small and medium-sized cars, and such an increase in fuel tax might well lead to extra demand for imported vehicles in this range alongside those manufactured in the United Kingdom, especially in current buoyant market conditions. Were any such decision taken, however, a phased changeover to enable the industry fully to adjust would be more probable.

Industrial Development Certificates

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what changes he proposes to make to the system of industrial development certificates control.

I am making some changes in the current policy for granting industrial development certificates (IDCs) in order to assist small firms.At present, firms wishing to build their own factories are able to do so, without an IDC, up to the IDC exemption limit—at present 12,500 sq. ft. in the South-East and 15,000 sq. ft. in other areas where the IDC control operates—but the IDC control inhibits the development of industrial estates comprising similar small units for rent.There is a need to provide modern, rented factories for small firms which cannot build for themselves and which are tied to a particular area. I therefore intend, for a trial period, to issue IDCs, on request, to local authorities for a limited amount of speculative factory development which is geared to the needs of small firms. Initially, IDCs will be granted up to a total of 60,000 sq. ft. in any district council or London borough area, but within this total no one company will be allowed to occupy floor space which exceeds the exemption limit. I shall be prepared to consider granting further IDCs when most of the factories built under the first IDCs in the area concerned have been built and let.The conditions attached to the IDCs will enable the factories to be occupied by companies from anywhere in the County—or GLC area in the case of London—or by new firms originating in that area. The condition allowing any one company to occupy space up to the exemption limit will be strictly applied.I therefore expect that the main beneficiaries of the changes will be small firms, which could not reasonably be expected to move to the assisted areas, so that the new arrangements will not in any way weaken the Government's commitment to a strong regional policy, nor will it reduce the priority of the assisted areas.

The local authority associations will be consulted about the operation of the scheme, and the detailed arrangements for its implementation.

Wool Textiles

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the volume and quality and price of goods produced by the wool textile industry in Yorkshire; how much of its products were exported; and if he will show the present figure compared to 1970 and 1974.

197219741977
Tops—
mn. kg.80·060·459·4
£mn.72·595·8135·7
£/kg.0·91·62·3
Woollen and worsted yarns—
mn. kg.188·4159·4151·3
£mn.249·2336·2496·0
£/kg.1·32·13·3
Woollen and worsted fabrics—
mn. sq. metres172·2152·5138·7
£mn.153·7214·5288·7
£/sq. metre0·91·42·1
Blankets—
mn. sq. metres30·832·230·9
£mn.14·819·721·1
£/sq. metre0·50·60·7
Other wool textile products—
£mn44·465·494·6
Total sales—
£mn534·6731·61,036·1
Note: Comparable figures for years before 1972 are not available. Man-made fibre and mixture products of the wool textile industry are included in the above figures.
It is estimated that the value of total exports of wool textiles was:
197219741977
Total exports—
£mn149·0235·8392·9
The figure for 1977 is not fully comparable with those of the earlier years.
Source: Business Monitors PQ 414 and M.10.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he plans to issue guidance to firms in Yorkshire which are in the wool textile industry to relocate themselves to areas closer to the coast.

I have no plans to issue guidance about relocation to any wool textile firms in Yorkshire and in my recent response to the working party report on wool scouring effluent and water charges I made it clear that the Government were not prepared to support studies of the effect and cost of relocation.

British Shipbuilders

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has received British Shipbuilders' annual report and accounts for the period up to 31st March 1978.

The information requested for the wool textile industry of Yorkshire is not available. In general, the emphasis of production for all wool textiles in the United Kingdom is on high quality, and this is particularly true of woollen and worsted fabrics for exports. Sales of wool textiles—as defined in MLH 414 of the Standard Industrial Classification—in quantity and value, and their average unit values, by United Kingdom manufacturers employing 25 or more persons, were as follows:

My right hon. Friend has today, in accordance with sections 17(9) and 18(6) of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act 1977, laid before each House copies of British Shipbuilders' annual report and accounts for the period up to 31st March 1978.

Transport

Travel Costs

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the current cost per mile for an adult travelling by (a) car, (b) train, and (c) aircraft on an internal flight.

Overall averages for the cost per mile to individuals travelling by car, train and internal flight would be Seriously misleading because of the very wide range of costs for different journeys. For example, the direct cost per person for four adults travelling in a family car can be under 1p a mile whereas the total cost per mile for a large car used mainly on business with one occupant can be lop to 20p or more depending on the annual mileage. For train travel the fare is about 3p a mile for a second class day return and 8p a mile or more for a first class single fare. Fares for internal flights vary from just over 5p to over 20p a mile. Information about separate spending per mile by adults and children is not readily available.

Motor Cyclists

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he is satisfied with the existing rules and practices concerning testing of motor cyclists prior to the issue of permanent licences; and what representations he has received on this topic.

We are satisfied that the standard of the driving test for motor cyclists is as good as it can be within the limits of practicality. We regret the current delay in providing test appointments which, as I have explained in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. Watkins) today, we are anxious to reduce. I have had various representations about the need for incentives to L riders to take training and then pass the test. We are considering whether, and, if so, how, these incentives should be provided.

Concessionary Fares

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning an extension of the current bus concessionary travel fare scheme for retirement pensioners to enable them to use their tokens to purchase petrol in rural areas where bus services are infrequent or non-existent.

A453 (Kegworth-Clifton)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has for improving the new route for the A453 between Kegworth and Clifton in Nottinghamshire.

Nottinghamshire county council, as the Department's agent authority, is conducting a route assessment study into this section of road to determine what improvements are necessary. The report is expected to be ready for evaluation towards the end of next year.

Motor Vehicles (Registration)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied that the suffix for the registration of new cars should be changed in August.

After consulting representative organisations of the motor trade, we have decided to maintain the present arrangement for the time being.

Driving Tests

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the average waiting time for driving tests.

On 27th October it was 22½ weeks.I very much regret that candidates are having to wait so' long for their tests Demand for tests has increased considerably this year and we need additional examiners. There are vacancies throughout the country, but the results of recent recruitment efforts have been disappointing. We are accordingly intensifying our recruitment campaign. Application forms can be obtained from my Department. The address is Room 420, Lambeth Bridge House, London SE1.

School Buses (West Yorkshire)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has yet reached a decision on the question of who should finance or subsidise buses provided by the West Yorkshire passenger transport executive for the use of school children travelling to and from schools.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Citizens Advice Bureau Service

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what commitment he is planning for the future funding of the Citizens Advice Bureau service beyond 1981.

The extent and form of our assistance to the citizens advice bureau service after March 1981 will depend upon the outcome of a review of advice services which we intend to complete before that date. This review will need to take particular account of the findings of the Royal Commission on legal services in England and Wales, and proposals for the citizens advice bureaux services future development which the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux is at present preparing.

Education And Science

Nursery Education

6.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans she has for the development of education for the under-fives.

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she remains satisfied with the provision of nursery education in England and Wales.

By January of this year more than 200,000 children aged 3 and 4 were receiving nursery education, which represents an increase of nearly two-thirds since 1974, but my right hon. Friend will not be satisfied until nursery education is available to all who want it. Until sufficient resources can be provided to bring this about she and the Secretary of State for Social Services will continue to work with the local authorities and voluntary bodies to improve coordination of existing care and education services for the under-fives.

Engineering Courses

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many places for the academic year 1978–79 currently remain unfilled on all engineering first-degree courses both at universities and at polytechnics; and what percentage of total places these vacancies represent.

Information is not available in this form. In higher education, admissions to engineering and technology courses in 1975, 1976 and 1977 were successively the highest ever. The indications are that admissions to engineering courses in 1978–79 will be even higher than last year.

Arts Council

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to announce the level of the 1979–80 Arts Council grant.

Local Authorities (Transfer Of Functions)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations she has received during the past year concerning the transfer back to city councils of powers given to county councils through recent local government reorganisation.

My right hon. Friend has sought and received the views of 25 interested organisations. Nine further representations have been submitted in writing, and she has received one delegation of Members of Parliament.

Comprehensive Reorganisation

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which local education authorities have still not submitted proposals for comprehensive reorganisation of secondary education and what action she has taken to secure compliance with the provisions of the Education Act 1976.

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if there is any change in regard to the few education authorities which have refused to implement plans for comprehensive reorganisation.

Kirklees has refused to submit reorganisation proposals and I have initiated legal proceedings to secure the authority's compliance. Proposals from Birmingham are still outstanding, pending the outcome of court proceedings. A number of other authorities, including Kent, have submitted proposals with dates of implementation far in the future. In these cases, I am urging the authorities to make speedier progress—I met representatives of Kent last week—and I am using my powers as necessary under the Act to require further proposals.

Student Grants (16 To 18-Year-Olds)

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent discussions she has held on the payment of benefits to schoolchildren in the 16 to 18-year-old age group.

I met representatives of the Council of Local Education Authorities in May and again in June. Most recently I met representatives of the local authority associations on 11th October.

38.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if it remains her intention to introduce mandatory grants for young people who remain at school beyond the age of 16 years.

50.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress she has made towards the introduction of a universal system of means-tested allowances for 16- to 18year-old pupils and students as from September 1979.

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what further steps she proposes to take to encourage school children to stay on beyond the age of 16 years, especially in areas of high unemployment.

I refer the hon. Members and my hon. Friends to the answer I gave earlier today to Questions from my hon. Friends the Members for Sowerby (Mr. Madden), Enfield, North (Mr. Davies) and Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett).

Comprehensive Education (Mixed Ability Teaching)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action she proposes to take on the report entitled, "Mixed Ability Teaching in Comprehensive Schools".

The document is one of a series of discussion papers by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, based on surveys conducted by the inspectorate. It was published to promote wide discussion within the education service. I hope that it will be of help, both to schools and teachers who are considering introducing mixed ability teaching, and to those already working within such a framework.

Four-Term Year

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consideration she has given to introducing a four-term year, particularly in schools for mentally and physically handicapped children.

Successive Secretaries of State have given careful consideration to possible alternative ways of organising the school year, frequently assisted by suggestions and reports from local education authorities and teachers' organisations. However, the consequences of any change would of necessity have wide social implications extending to fields well outside education; cogent objections to change could be expected from more than one quarter and, as yet, no substantial measure of agreement has emerged. In fact, local education authorities have been free to adopt a four-term year for their areas since the 1966 amendment of the schools regulations 1959, but none has chosen to do so—an indication that the difficulties in the way of change are substantial.The same situation obtains with special schools, with the additional consideration that if handicapped pupils are to obtain the full benefit of contact with and participation in the work of ordinary schools the special school year must be organised on lines similar to those in neighbouring ordinary schools.

Denominational Schools

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will state her policy on the future of denominational schools.

The country is well served by the present dual system of county and voluntary schools. My right hon. Friend has no plans to change the existing arrangements which have enjoyed the support of successive Governments over a long period.

Secondary Education (Bromley)

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent communications she has had with the London borough of Bromley on the subject of the reorganisation of secondary education in the borough.

My Department wrote to the Bromley local education authority in 5th September 1978, to point out that the authority was in default of the statutory duty to give public notice of its proposals for the unreorganised county schools in its area and to submit further proposals for the voluntary aided grammar school. My right hon. Friend was pleased to see from the authority's reply of 4th October that it agreed to comply in respect of the county schools, but she could see no justification for agreeing to the request contained in that letter that the implementation of the proposals be delayed. The authority was informed of her decision by the Department's letter of 12th October.

Arts (Government Support)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent discussions she has had concerning Government support for the arts.

My right hon. Friend and my noble Friend have recently discussed this with colleagues and with those who spend voted money on the arts.

Appleton And Rutherford Laboratories

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will reconsider the amalgamation of the Appleton and Rutherford laboratories in the light of conflicting views of the balance of advantage financial and scientific and the effect on the staff of the Appleton laboratory.

No. After careful consideration of all the views received the Science Research Council is satisfied that the combination on one site of the skills of the scientists in the two laboratories is necessary for the development of its research programmes in the 1980s and in the long-term interests of the staff. Financial savings are a secondary aspect.

Comprehensive Schools

30.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made towards the elimination of multi-site comprehensive schools.

According to a sample survey of school buildings about 20 per cent. of secondary schools in England and Wales, or 1,000 in all, were on two or more sites in 1976. The decline in school population should enable some split-site schools to concentrate their pupils on one site. The extent to which they do this will depend upon the priority local education authorities give within available resources to this aspect of school improvements in their area.

Burnham Committee (Representation)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science why she has excluded the Professional Association of Teachers from representation on the Burnham committee.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to a question from the hon. and gallant Member for Winchester (Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles) on Monday 6th November.—[Vol. 957, c. 52.]

Primary Schools

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many primary schools in the United Kingdom do not have as an integral part of the main building toilets for the children and teachers.

In 1976 about 6,900 primary schools in England and Wales had outside water closets. It is not known how many of these schools had no inside water closets.

16-Plus Examinations

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what account she has taken, in her current proposals to reform 16-plus examinations, of the need to test both the bright and the average child.

This need will be met by the provision where necessary of alternative or additional papers, designed to enable candidates of differing abilities to demonstrate to the full what they can do. The proposed new single system will be more adaptable in this respect than the current dual system.

39.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what public consultations she proposes consequent upon the publication of the White Paper, "Secondary School Examinations: A Single System at 16-plus".

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps she is taking to promote public debate and consultation on the White Paper "Secondary School Examinations: A Single System at 16-plus".

Consultations about replacing the present dual system with a single system have gone on for over five years and comments were invited from the major interested parties on the report of the Waddell committee (Cmnd. 7281) which preceded the White Paper. I hope that there will shortly be an opportunity to debate the White Paper in this House.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what response she has received to her proposals for the future of GCE and CSE examinations.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to Questions on this subject.

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is satisfied that there will be no decline in examination standards if the proposals in the recent White Paper are acted upon.

Further And Adult Education

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in view of the proposed legislation on industrial democracy, she will encourage the expansion of further and adult education activities for the trade union representatives of particular firms as a group, on the position of their own firms.

The White Paper on industrial democracy (Cmnd. 7231) accepted that increased employee participation will give rise to new training needs and that Government money will be needed for training employees representatives. The nature and scale of the education and training need, the framework within which it will be provided and its rela- tionship with the mainstream of further and adult education provision remain to be decided in the light of consultations with interested parties, including the TUC.

Maintained Schools (Mathematics Teaching)

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will now publish a breakdown as to the number of teachers in maintained schools who are inadequately qualified, or not qualified to teach mathematics and science subjects.

Information is not available in the form requested. My Department has carried out a sample survey of maintained secondary schools, the analysed results of which will make it possible to relate teachers' tuition subjects to their qualifications. The results will be available before the end of the year.

Secondary Schools (Manchester)

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations she has received concerning the proposed reduction in parental choice of secondary schools in the city of Manchester.

I have received representations from nine individuals or groups about the Manchester local education authority's proposals for a new system for the allocation of secondary school places. Provision is made for parents' wishes to be taken into account.

Religious Education

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent steps she has taken to draw to the attention of local education authorities their legal duties under sections 25 to 30 and the fifth schedule to the Education Act 1944; and what further action she envisages.

My Department's circular 14/77, which invited local education authorities to review their curricular arrangements, included questions about the arrangements for religious education in county schools; the help given to teachers in implementing the agreed syllabus; and the arrangements for periodic review of the agreed syllabus. I shall be consulting appropriate interests further when a summary of the replies is available.

School Transport

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when she will bring forward proposals for revising the present regulations governing the provision of school transport.

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will prepare measures for providing free travel for all schoolchildren; and if she will indicate the cost of such a proposal.

Without undertaking a detailed survey of all local education authorities and transport undertakings it is not possible to estimate the cost of such a measure. There is no doubt, however, that free travel for all schoolchildren would be very expensive to provide, and it is therefore impracticable in present circumstances.

Shortage Subjects

41.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on the results of the first year of the Government's retraining scheme for teachers in shortage subjects.

The Government's special scheme has already made a significant contribution towards improving the supply of teachers in the shortage subjects, by encouraging just over an additional 900 people to train and, in the case of qualified teachers, retrain to teach those subjects. A preliminary survey of the subsequent employment of these people was carried out in July, and this indicated that about three-quarters of those completing their courses in the summer had then found teaching posts.

Fircroft College, Birmingham

43.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what funds will be provided by her Department during the academic year 1978–79 to finance courses for trade unionists at Fircroft College, Selly Oak, Birmingham.

A decision on the resumption of grant aid will be made in the light of proposals from the Fircroft trustees for new long-term courses for residential students and revised arrangements for the management of the college. No such proposals have yet been submitted to my right hon. Friend.

Student Grants

44.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will conduct a thorough review of student grants.

Schools (Parental Choice)

45.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement on the refusal of the Inner London Education Authority to allow children to take places made available by the school of their choice.

The Inner London Education Authority makes great efforts to meet parents' wishes, and more than 97 per cent. of ILEA children are offered a place in their parents' first or second choice school. Some schools inevitably have more applicants than places. Those who are disappointed are offered places for their children at suitable alternative schools. On the case of one division, raised by the hon. Gentleman's letter of 17th October, I am writing to him today.

Local Authority Associations

48.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when she intends next to meet representatives of the Association of County Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities.

I hope to meet representatives of the two associations shortly, at their request, to discuss school building. My hon. Friend the Minister of State met the associations on 8th November to discuss in-service training of teachers.

Higher And Further Education (Lancashire)

47.

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is able yet to signify which higher and further education projects for 1979–80 in the Lancashire area are to receive her approval.

Decisions on the composition of the 1979–80 higher and further education major building programme will be announced in the next few days.

Environment

Liverpool Lyceum

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken, and is taking, to save the Lyceum, Liverpool.

I am informing the interested parties that I propose to make draft orders revoking or modifying the existing listed building consent to demolish the Lyceum Club, Liverpool.

District Councils (Powers)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which particular local government powers he proposes returning to selected district councils as envisaged in the Gracious Speech.

The Government are currently considering proposals for the transfer to selected district councils which seek such additional powers the responsibility for personal social services, education, highways and traffic management, and planning. For personal social services we have concluded that the case for transfer to some districts over 100,000 in population is in principle strong, and we are considering further how these districts might be defined; on education we propose that the case for change should be examined individually for any of the nine largest non-metropolitan districts which wish to seek these powers; for highways and traffic, where some powers are already exercised by certain districts as agents, we are considering the possibility that some districts should exercise powers in their own right; and we propose to place upon all district councils the sole responsibility for planning decisions for all but a narrow group of specific matters. There will soon be further consultations in preparation for legislation.

Electric Plugs

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the new type of domestic electric plugs now required in houses, and so on; and whether improvement grants can be made available for the conversion of houses from the old system of electric plugs to the new type.

I am not clear from the hon. Member's question which new type of domestic electric plug he is referring to. If he will write to me with more specific details I shall look into the matter and let him have a fuller reply.

Wool Textile Industry

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set up a working party which will be comprised of wool textile industrial firms and local authorities in Yorkshire, where the wool textile trade is an important factor, to inquire into the increased costs arising from the effluent charges proposed by the EEC.

No scheme of trade effluent charges has been proposed in the EEC. The system now operated by water authorities in England and Wales is based on the provisions of the 1973 Water Act.In March 1977, I joined with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry in setting up a working party to consider the effect of charges on the Yorkshire wool industry. We have now received and responded to its report. I have no intention of establishing a new working party.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the cost to the wool trade in West Yorkshire under the proposed new effluent charges compared with previous years; and by how much this is likely to increase the cost of production and put the industry at a competitive disadvantage.

The levels of trade effluent charges levied on industrial discharges is in England and Wales a matter for the water authorities. The recent joint working party report on charges in Yorkshire estimated that the textile industry contributed 37 per cent. of the revenue derived by the Yorkshire water authority from trade effluent charges. In 1976–77 the total of such revenue was £2·9 million; in 1977–78, £5 million; in 1978–79, it is estimated to be £6·5 million. An assessment of the effect of these charges on the industry's competitive position is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has made to the EEC concerning the effluent charges which will be imposed on the wool textile industry.

Nature Conservancy Council

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of people employed by the Nature Conservancy Council in Scotland on 1st October 1974, 1st October 1976, and 1st October 1978, respectively.

The numbers of people employed in Scotland by the Nature Conservancy Council were:

ANNUAL PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN AVERAGE RATE POUNDAGES
1976–771977–781978–79
Kirklees Metropolitan District:
Non-domestic1·03·66·1
Domestic1·44·98·2
All England and Wales:
Non-domestic7·110·06·3
Domestic9·314·69·6

Housing (Liverpool)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the meeting with the Minister for Housing and Construction held on 20th September between the hon. Members for Liverpool, Scotland Exchange, Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Ogden), and Liverpool, Garston (Mr. Loyden), concerning housing matters in Liverpool.

I share the concern expressed by my hon. Friends, when they met me on 20th September, about the indiscriminate sale of vacant council

1st October 197463
1st October 197674
1st October 197895

These figures excluded casual labour and people on short-term research contracts.

Wool Scouring

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will meet a deputation from the West Yorkshire metropolitan council to discuss the financial and social consequences so far as wool scouring is concerned; and if he will make a statement.

I have made it clear to the local authorities that I do not see any virtue in the proposal that the wool scouring industry should be relocated on the coast. Therefore, I do not see the need for such a meeting but if there is still local concern about this I shall certainly reconsider whether a meeting should be held.

Rates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the percentage increase in rates in the Kirklees metropolitan district for each of the past three years; and how this compares with the national average increase in rates.

The information is as follows:dwellings. I am keeping a close watch on this, in Liverpool and elsewhere, and will be ready to amend the general consent for disposal of council houses if that should prove necessary. Current plans for disposing of certain blocks of flats in Liverpool may require my special ministerial consent.

Council Houses

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the local authorities which (a) allow joint tenancies in the properties which they own, and (b) those which allow their tenants to accept lodgers into council property.

This information is not available in the Department. However, I have already recommended housing authorities to give their tenants the choice between a joint tenancy and a sole tenancy. The right to take in lodgers will be included in forthcoming legislation as part of the package of tenants' rights.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount of money spent by local housing authorities in England and Wales on the maintenance and repairs of council houses for the latest year available.

The information requested is as follows:

1977–78 (estimated)£ Million
England449·6
Wales27·1

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount of money received by local housing authorities in England and Wales from the payment of rent by council house tenants for the latest year available.

The information requested is as follows:

1977–78 (estimated)£ Million
England138·2
Wales77·2
The figures are for gross rent income excluding rates, and so on.

Gravel

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his general view on applications to dig gravel in areas designated as areas of outstanding natural beauty.

We have said that, in national parks, applications for substantial new mineral workings or extensions of an existing working should be subject to the most rigorous examination because of the serious impact of mineral workings on the natural beauty of the parks. A similar policy is applicable to areas of outstanding natural beauty.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to receive the report from the Countryside Commission on its recent visit to Lymington to assess the effects of the planning application to extract gravel from the area of outstanding natural beauty on Pennington marshes and if he will make a statement.

Consultations are proceeding between the Countryside Commission, the local planning authority, the applicant and other interested parties. I understand that further meetings have been arranged for 23rd November, and we have asked for an urgent report following these meetings.

Rent And Rate Rebates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will give the figure, for the latest date available, of the sum of money paid out to council house tenants in England and Wales in the form of rent and rate rebates.

The information requested is as follows:

Rent Rebates
1977–8 (estimated)
England£310·7 million
Wales£22·3 million
Rate Rebates
1977–78 (estimated)
England£51 million
Wales£2 million
The figures given for rate rebates include rating authority tenants and GLC tenants in London but do not include tenants of GLC properties outside London or tenants of county council or new town corporation properties. They include the amount paid by local authorities under local variations to the statutory scheme.

Trade

Works Of Art (Resale)

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what discussions he has had with Ministers with responsibility for the arts of other member countries of the European Community on the development of standard rights for the living artist on a resale of his work in accordance with the Berne Convention of 1886, as revised in June 1948.

The right of the artist or his heirs to an interest in any resale of his work is a provision of the Berne copyright convention which is left open to member countries to provide if they see fit. United Kingdom law does not provide the right and there have been no ministerial discussions within the European Community relating to it. The subject is discussed in the report of the Whitford committee which is at present under consideration.

British Airways

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proportion of British Airways' pilots was recruited from the Royal Air Force.

Odyssey Travel Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Trade by what date Odyssey Travel Ltd., 64 Oxford Street, London, WIN 9FF is due to submit an annual report and accounts for the tax year 1977–78.

This company has been reminded that the first annual return should have been delivered to the registrar by 2nd October 1978. The first accounts are due to be delivered by 23rd December 1978.

Company Law

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, when the Companies Bill has been enacted, he will introduce a further Bill to consolidate company law.

It is intended that arrangements should be made to prepare for the necessary consolidation of the Companies Acts once the present Companies Bill has been enacted.

Company Accounts (Auditors' Reports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will seek to amend section 14 of the Companies Act 1967 so that the auditors' report refers also to the Companies Act 1976.

Yes. An appropriate amendment has been included in Schedule 3 of the Companies Bill.

Energy

United Kingdom Continental Shelf Etc

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that offshore hydrocarbon installations on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf are secure against attack by terrorists.

Offshore oil and gas operators' responsibilities to safeguard their personnel and platforms and access to them are supplemented by regular surveillance and deterrent patrolling undertaken by Her Majesty's ships and aircraft. Operators can call upon the civil power for assistance and the civil power can call upon the Armed Services for support, including the deployment of shore-based reaction forces held at short notice. I am satisfied with these arrangements which are kept under regular review.

North Sea Gas Installations

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps have been taken to provide alternative supplies of gas should North Sea installations or pipelines be disrupted.

The integrated national gas transmission system, combined with the diversity of offshore pipelines and terminals, is designed to ensure security of supplies to customers. If supplies of natural gas from one offshore pipeline or terminal were disrupted the system could be fed from alternative pipelines or terminals. Alternative sources of supply that could be called on if necessary include facilities for the production of gas from oil-based feedstock and liquefied natural gas and other storage installations.

Gas Production (Oil Feed Stocks)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many land-based plants are available and capable of producing gas from oil feed stocks for deployment in a national emergency; and what is their total capacity.

The British Gas Corporation has two such plants capable of producing substitute natural gas and their total capacity is approximately 50 million cu. ft. a day.

Drax B Power Station

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what subsidy to Northern Electrical Industries Limited is involved in the price paid for the Drax B turbines by the Central Electricity Generating Board, in that the price agreed with Northern Electrical Industries Limited is higher than that which would have been obtained from other manufacturers.

As I announced to the House on 18th July 1977, the CEGB was asked to negotiate with Parsons (NEI) for the turbo-generators for Drax B. The commercial details of the main contract finally negotiated are a matter for the board which has said it is satisfied with the price agreed. There is no question of a subsidy to NEI.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what compensation will now be paid to the Central Electricity Generating Board for the advance ordering of Drax B; and how much earlier is it now expected that Drax B will be completed than would have been the case if the Government had not intervened.

Under the Nuclear Safeguards and Electricity (Finance) Act 1978, compensation to a maximum of £50 million may be paid to the CEGB for the advance ordering of Drax B. I was advised by the board that the order for the station would have been placed in 1980 without Government intervention. Contracts were signed recently. It is planned to complete the station in 1986. No compensation payments will be made for expenditure after March 1986.

Nuclear Energy

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what regulations it is proposed to make under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 to implement the recent decisions of the steering committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's nuclear energy agency, made with the agreement of the United Kingdom Government, which relate to the exclusion of certain nuclear matter from the scope of the Paris convention on third party liability in the field of nuclear energy.

A copy of the draft text of the Nuclear Installations (Excepted Matter) Regulations 1978 which the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have in mind to make for this purpose has been placed in the Library, together with a memorandum explaining the nature of the changes involved. Briefly the regulations would make some minor alterations to the small quantities of nuclear matter which are already excepted from the Act. They would also except from the Act uranium containing less than 1 per cent. of the fissile isotope and less than specified very low levels of radioactive contamination; this material is not significantly different in health and safety terms from natural uranium, which is already excepted from the Act.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Pretoria (British Embassy)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there is a military attaché in the British Embassy in Pretoria.

South Africa (Arms Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to investigate the allegations of arms sales to South Africa by Space Research of Antigua.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) on 10th November.—[Vol. 957, c. 355.]

Northern Ireland

Ballantyne Knitwear Company

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement on the circumstances which led to the closure of Ballantyne knitwear factory in Coleraine; and what was the number and the total value of grants made to the Ballantyne Knitwear Company from public funds during its operation.

Suckling Calves

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what have been the prices paid for suckling calves of comparable age and sex in each of the last five years—including 1978—in the autumn sales in Northern Ireland; and what has been the average for each of those years.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978] gave the following reply:Separate statistics for steers and heifers are available only for 1978. It is not possible to break down the prices of suckled calves by age but the age range is limited to about 5 to 10 months. The information available is as follows:

Average price during October/NovemberAverage price during year
197432·3732·80
197573·6072·17
1976172·55164·23
1977164·17165·54
1978
Steers and Heifers211·29*203·70†
Steers230·04*222·23†
Heifers182·33*176·16†
* October only.
† January/October only.

Foyle Fisheries Commission (Rod Catch)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the method used by the Foyle Fisheries Commission to estimate the total rod catch in its area for salmon, grilse and sea trout.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978] gave the following reply:The estimated total rod catch is obtained by multiplying the average catch as reported by licence holders by the total number of licences issued.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how the num- ber of salmon and grilse and sea trout reported by fishing clubs in the Foyle area is being caught by their members compares with the estimate of the Foyle Fisheries Commission for a similar number of anglers on the same water.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978] gave the following reply:From the information available it is not possible to estimate the number of anglers using club waters and therefore no comparison with club catches can be made. Full details of reported catches on each river in the Foyle area and also catches by clubs are available in the 26th annual report of the Foyle Fisheries Commission 1977.

Game Licences

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many game licences were issued in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years; and what were the sums realised.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978] gave the following answer:The information is as follows:

Licences issuedAmounts realised
£
1975–761,3027,238
1976–771,2566,530
1977–78*1,2837,074
* Estimated.
Licences cost £2, £4 or £6 depending on their duration.

Salmon Redds

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimated number of salmon redds in the Foyle system for each year since 1969.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978], gave the following reply:This information is not available.

Salmon Poaching

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimated number of salmon taken by poachers in the Foyle system for each year since 1969; and what is their estimated value.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978], gave the following answer:This information is not available.

Mink

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he intends to take to eliminate mink from Northern Ireland; and if he will give an estimate of how widely they have spread and what are their approximate numbers.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978], gave the following reply:Escaped mink have become established in Northern Ireland and it is unlikely that they could be eliminated altogether. Although control of vermin is the responsibility of the occupiers of the infested land, I am concerned about the problem; officials from the Department of Agriculture are prepared to give advice on trapping, and traps may be borrowed from county agricultural offices in Tyrone and Fermanagh. It is not possible to make an accurate estimate of the wild mink population, but most concentrations appear to be in Tyrone and Fermanagh where, being a semi-aquatic animal, they are spread mainly along watercourses.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the estimate of the effect of mink on the wildlife in Northern Ireland.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978], gave the following reply:In the areas where they are concentrated, wild mink have depleted game fish and bird stocks. Fish such as trout and salmon form the main part of their diet. They also kill wild duck, water hens and other game birds as well as small animals. However, their effect on wild life in Northern Ireland as a whole is not thought to be very significant, bearing in mind the apparently limited size of the mink population in relation to other species.

Employment

Disabled Unemployed (Sunderland)

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the proportion of registered disabled men at present unemployed in Sunderland; and what steps he is taking to improve the position.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that, on 12th October 1978, 453 or 21 per cent. of registered disabled men were unemployed in Sunderland. The MSC is very concerned to reduce the unemployment among disabled people. Recent measures such as the capital grants, job introduction and revised fares-to-work schemes should help improve employment opportunities for disabled people. The commission is also continuing its efforts to persuade employers to adopt positive policies on the employment of disabled people which will be boosted by a major promotional campaign in Autumn 1979 featuring national and local initiatives.

Preston

56.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many males and females were unemployed in the Preston travel-to-work area in the years 30th September 1973 to 30th September 1978, respectively.

The numbers registered as unemployed are counted on a selected date in each month. The following table gives the numbers unemployed in the Preston travel-to-work area in September each year from 1973 to 1978:

MalesFemales
10th September 19732,538555
9th September 19742,638613
8th September 19754,8461,567
9th September 19765,3202,374
8th September 19775,6032,908
14th September 19785,5733,435

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average length of time that (a) a notified general vacancy and (b) a notified skilled tradesman (engineering) vacancy exists at the Preston jobcentre before such vacancy is filled, for the period 1st January 1978 to 30th September 1978.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission, which is responsible for the operation of job centres, that this information could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the numbers of general vacancies for males and females notified to his Department's (a) main Preston employment office and (b) Bamber Bridge, Preston office, at 30th September 1977, 31st December 1977, 31st March 1978, 30th June 1978 and 30th September 1978.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission, which is responsible for the operation of local employment offices, that notified vacancies are, with certain very limited exceptions, open to either sex. The total number of vacancies notified to the offices concerned and unfilled on the statistical dates closest to the dates specified were:

Preston jobcentreBomber Bridge (Preston) Jobcentre
7th October 197751955
6th January 1978606226*
7th April 197882745
30th June 197862635
6th October 197870471
* The January figure for Bamber Bridge was unusually high because of the opening of a large supermarket in the area at that time.

Forces' Pilots (Conversion Training)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what arrangements are being made by the Manpower Services Commission to provide conversion training for Her Majesty's Forces' pilots seeking resettlement as civil airline pilots.

The Manpower Services Commission has agreed with the Ministry of Defence a special resettlement scheme to provide conversion training to commercial pilot's and air transport pilot's licence standard for a small number of Her Majesty's Forces pilots each year. The scheme will be open to very experienced fixed-wing pilots leaving Her Majesty's Forces from now on. It will enable the pilots concerned to continue their flying careers in civilian life and will thus ensure that they and the nation continue to draw advantage from the valuable skills they have acquired from their years of experience in Her Majesty's Forces. A copy of the outlines of the scheme has been placed in the Library of the House.

Arbitration, Conciliation And Advisory Service

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will name the replacement for Mr. J. H. Jones on his retirement from the council of the Arbitration, Conciliation and Advisory Service; and what is the full-time occupation and other official appointments held by the new member.

The appointments of all three trade union members of the council of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service expired on 1st October 1978. Sir George F. Smith CBE, general secretary of the Union of Construction and Allied Trades and Technicians, was reappointed. The new appointments were Mr. J. McF. Boyd CBE, general secretary, Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers, and Mr. C. H. Urwin, deputy general secretary, Transport and General Workers Union.

Engineering Workers (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the present figure for average earnings of workers on a 40-hour week in the manufacturing engineering industry; and what was the figure, at the same date approximately, in 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977.

The Department's annual survey of earnings of adult male manual workers in the engineering group of manufacturing industries in June indicate average earnings for 40 hours were:

£
June 197871·50
June 197762·60
June 197658·10
June 197550·20
June 197439·90
These estimates are based on the average hourly earnings excluding the effect of overtime premium payments. The survey covers mechanical engineering, electrical engineering—except for manufacture of wires and cables—marine engineering, vehicle manufacture and manufacture of tools, gauges, implements, bolts, nuts, screws and various other metal products.

Unemployed Persons (Salop)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest available percentage level of unemployment in the Oakengates and Madeley travel-to-work areas of Salop; and what investigation he has made of the likely effect upon it of the proposed closure of the Granville colliery.

In October 1978 the unemployment percentage rate for the Oakengates travel-to-work area, which comprises the employment office areas of Oakengates, Bridgnorth, Madeley and Wellington, was 8·3 per cent.—8·0 per cent. males. As yet no formal notification of redundancies at Granville colliery has been received by my Department and I understand that a final decision on the future of the colliery has not yet been made. I am, however, very much aware of the serious effects that a possible closure could have on the area, and my officials are continuing to keep in close touch with the situation.

Non-Assisted Areas

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will list the non-assisted areas, which, on the latest available figures, have a percentage level of unemployment higher than 10 per cent.

At 12th October, the employment office area of Clactonon-Sea, Dartmouth, Hunstanton, Kings-bridge and Sheerness, which are outside the assisted areas, had unemployment rates higher than 10 per cent.

Textile Industry (Northern Region)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs have been lost in the textile industry in the Northern region; how many factories have been closed; and if he will make a statement on the trends since 1970.