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Written Answers

Volume 958: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1978

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 15th November 1978

Home Department

Animals (Experiments)

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many experiments were performed on live animals in 1977; how many inspectors supervised these experiments; and what Government organisations undertake this work.

Statistics of experiments performed on living animals in Great Britain during 1977 under the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 will be published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in Cmnd. 7333 when the present industrial action at HMSO is over.In 1977 there were 14 members of the Cruelty to Animals Inspectorate. A complete list of places registered under the Act, including those under the auspices of Government organisations, is in the Library of the House.

Prisons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what change in circumstances has led him to set up an inquiry into the requirements of Her Majesty's prisons since 11th July last, when he refused the request for such an inquiry from the hon. Member for Bedford.

The hon. Member asked in July whether I had set up an inquiry concerned only with the staff requirements of those prisons which serve a number of Crown courts. I explained that I had not and that the staffing requirements of prisons were kept under constant review. The decision which I announced on 2nd November is to set up a wide-ranging inquiry into the prison system as a whole, as my statement and my answers to the questions which followed it made clear.

Lotteries

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence he has about the difficulty for sporting clubs of running a small lottery in competition with the national lottery on the basis of a maximum of 15 per cent. expenses; and what representations he has received on the subject.

The Royal Commission on Gambling, in recommending a national lottery for good causes, did not think that this should have any dramatic adverse effect on other fund-raising activities. I have, however, received a number of representations against the Commission's recommendation that the expenses in any society or local authority lottery should not exceed 15 per cent. of the turnover.

Television Licence Fees

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated revenue in 1978–79 from television licences issued to retirement pensioners and others, respectively.

The estimated gross revenue in 1978–79 from television licences at present issued to households of one or two persons including at least one retirement pensioner is £75 million. Revenue from other television licences is expected to be about £235 million.

Mrs Indira Gandhi (Police Protection)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of the provision, by the Metropolitan Police, of protection for Mrs. Indira Gandhi, for her journey from Heathrow Airport to Claridges Hotel, in the light of competing demonstrations for and against her visit, by Indians in Great Britain.

The policing arrangements were an operational matter for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. It would involve disproportionate effort and expense to estimate the additional cost to which the deployment of officers who would not otherwise have been on duty gave rise.

Naturalisation Applications

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for naturalisation were received in 1975, 1976, 1977 and to the latest available date in 1978, respectively; how many were granted and how many

1975197619771978 (to end of October
Number of new applications received*4,2593,8273,8085,275
Number of applications granted3,4422,5512,6461,316
Number of applications refused477450343184
Reasons for refusal†—
(a) Failure to meet statutory residential requirements etc.22719113667
(b) Failure to meet requirements as to character (criminal record, bankruptcy, insolvency, dubious business or other record, deception, etc.)681268154
(c) Failure to meet language requirements51494319
(d) Failure to meet requirements as to future residential intentions751128841
(e) Other reasons611914
*Excludes applications re-opened after earlier postponement of the decision for one or two years.
†An application may be refused for more than one reason. The number of people refused in any one year will therefore not necessarily agree with the total of reasons for that year.

Education And Science

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will bring forward proposals to change the rule under which any student who has undertaken previous advanced study, even if this was self-financed, is ineligible for a mandatory award for any part of a subsequent degree course.

A student's eligibility for a mandatory award would not normally be affected by previous advanced study on a course of less than two years' duration. If the previous course was of exactly two years' duration, he may be eligible for a mandatory award for part of a subsequent designated course.My right hon. Friend has no proposals at present for changing these conditions.

Research Establishments

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish in the Official Report the number of Government research establishments associated with her Depart-

were refused in each period; and what were the principal grounds of refusal.

The information is as follows:ment which are located in each of the economic planning regions; and if she will make a statement.

No Government research establishments are associated with my Department. The research councils are not Government establishments.

Energy

Open-Cast Coalmining

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list applications for open-cast coalmining made to him by the National Coal Board since the beginning of 1974 which were the subject of objections, indicating in each case (a) his decision to approve or refuse the application, (b) whether or not his decision overturned the recommendations made to him by the public inquiry inspector, (c) whether the county planning authority supported or opposed the application at the public inquiry and (d) how many acres of land in agricultural use were directly affected.

Authorisation granted where Inspector:

Authorisation refused where Inspector

County planning authority

Recommended

Male no recommendation

recommended refusal

opposed application

Acreage of agricultural land involved

Stie

Location

authorisaiton

Refusal

ButterwellNorthumberland××2,035
Mitchesons GillTyne and Wear××86
MedomsleyDurham××350
Hirwaun Common North IIGlamorgan××62
West Brandon/StandaloneDurham×210
Glyn Glas South E×tensionDyfed×*×111
Tan Pit SlipGreater Manchester××53
HorsegateTyne and Wear××182
CawkerSouth Yorkshire, West Yorkshire×*213
Crosstree FarmClwyd××140
EllerbeckLancashire××128
DeborahDurham××220
OughtersideCumbria××524
Millers LaneGreater Manchester×*×150
GamblethorpeWest Yorkshire×128
TogstonNorthumberland××578
WhittonstallNorthumberland××446
NOTES:
1. The application was not supported by the county planning authority in any of these opposed cases.
2.* Significant modification of the site boundary was made in these cases in accordance with the inspector's suggestion.

Fuel (Grants And Subsidies)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what he estimates will be the cost of grants for stocking coal and coke in 1978–79;(2) what he estimates will be the coking coal subsidy for 1978–79;(3) what he estimates will be the amount allocated by the Government to assist coal burn in the financial year 1978–79.

Government grants to the NCB in 1978–79 for the stocking of coal, the stocking of coke and for coking coal production subsidy, are expected to total respectively £20·5 million, £16 million and £3·6 million at outturn prices. Furthermore, the Government has allocated £29·8 million to cover the cost of assisting coal-burn in England and Wales and also in Scotland in 1978–79.

House Of Commons

Refreshment Department

asked the Lord President of the Council what is the present overdraft of the House of Commons Refreshment Department; how much it was 12 months ago; how much interest a day is now payable; and if he will make a statement.

The present overdraft is £1,825,627. A year ago it was £1,347,604. Daily interest is £600. The Catering Sub-Committee will shortly be making a report on the financial arrangements of the Refreshment Department. I hope this report will enable the House to come to decisions which will put the future financing of the Department on a more satisfactory long-term basis.

Industry

Co-Operative Development Agency

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to lay before Parliament proposals for expenditure to meet the cost of establishing the Cooperative Development Agency under the Co-operative Development Agency Act 1978.

Parliamentary approval for this new service will be sought in the winter supplementary estimate for the general support to industry vote. Pending that approval, the necessary expenditure is being met by repayable advances from the contingencies fund.

Small Companies (European Investment Bank Loans)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is the number of successful applications made by United Kingdom companies to the European Investment Bank for loans under the small companies exchange risk guarantee scheme, and the total financial sum involved; and what is the number of rejections by the European Investment Bank following his Department's recommendation for approval to the European Investment Bank.

Twenty-six loan applications totalling £14,889,000 have so far been approved by the European Investment Bank under this scheme; one application has been rejected.

National Enterprise Board

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will list in the Official Report the dates, and the companies concerned, when the National Enterprise Board has been given directions under section 3 of the Industry Act.

On 25th March 1977 and 21st April 1978 to provide financial assistance to British Leyland Ltd.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a list of the shareholdings held by the National Enterprise Board on 15th November, showing the number and description of the shares, the percentage of total equity held by the National Enterprise Board, the cost of the shareholding and, where appropriate, the market value of the shareholding at close of business on 15th November.

At 15th November 1978 the following shareholdings had been announced by the NEB:

Company

Number and description of shares held by NEB

Percentage of nominal value of total equity

Stock Exchange Quotation (closing price 13th November where available)

Cost £000

Agemapark Ltd.3,700 £1 ordinary30·0100
50,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity50
Aqualisa Products Ltd.4,000 £1 ordinary40·04
65, 000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity65
Automation and Technical Services (Holdings) Ltd.45,000 £1 ordinary30·050
100,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity100
Barrow Hepburn Group Ltd.1,000,000 25p ordinary4·145036p
BL Ltd.1,144,554,026 50p ordinary98·9695,52320p
British Tanners Products Ltd.2,000,000 £1 ordinary50·02,000
Brown Boveri Kent Ltd.10,856,585 25p ordinary20·03,29345p
BTB (Engineering) Ltd.30,000 £1 redeemable preference50·030
Bull Motors Ltd.500,000 £1 ordinary100·0500
Cambridge Instrument Co. Ltd.412,684,225 1p ordinary79·75,020
4,261,757 10p ordinary
50,000,000 £1 ordinaryNot equity500
R. R. Chapman (Sub Sea Surveys) Ltd.50,000 £1 ordinary42·750
Computer Analysts and Programmers (Holdings) Ltd.1,372,760 10p ordinary29·9549
Computer and Systems Engineering Ltd.349,750 5p ordinary49·9882
15,200 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity48
Date Recording Instrument Co. Ltd.3,970,337 £1 ordinary63·13,977
1,000,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity1,000
The Energy Equipment Co. Ltd.75,000 £1 preference42·975
100,000 £1 preferenceNot equity100
125,000 £1 preference125
Fairey Holdings Ltd.18,000,000 £1 ordinary100·018,000
Ferranti Ltd.10,666,666 50p ordinary50·06,933
Hemmings Plastics Ltd.100,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity100
Herbert Ltd.83,632,948 25p ordinary100·036,196
Hird Brown Ltd.250,000 £1 redeemable preference100·0250
Hydraroll Ltd.4,500 £1 ordinary48·95
60,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity60
ICL Ltd.8,148,750 £1 ordinary24·412,134425p
Inmos Ltd.370,000 25p ordinary67·392
5,000 £100 preferenceNot equity500

Commpany

Number and description of shares held by NEB

Percentage of nominal value of total equity

Cost

Stock Exchange Quotation (closing price 13th November) where available

£'000
INSCA Date Systems Ltd.2,150,000 £1 ordinary100·02,150
J. & P. Engineering Ltd.45,000 £1 ordinary33·3100
Keland Electrics Ltd.100,000 £1 ordinary100·0100
Mayflower Packaging Ltd.60,000 redeemable preference33·360
60,000 redeemable preferenceNot equity60
The Mollart Engineering Co. Ltd.46,822 £1 ordinary70·6382
Monotype Holdings Ltd.250,000 £1 ordinary37·5250
Negretti and Zambra Ltd.960,000 25p ordinary29·8710
460,622 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity461
Newtown Securities (Northern) Ltd.125,000 £1 ordinary50·0125
North-East Audio Ltd.54,450 £1 ordinary49·899
340,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity200
Powerdrive PSR Ltd.20,000 £1 ordinary40·020
100,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity100
150,000 £1 redeemable preference150
Power Dynamics Ltd.60,000 £1 ordinary33·360
120,000 redeemable preferenceNot equity120
Rolls-Royce Ltd.203,000,000 £1 ordinary100·0203,000
Sandiacre Electrics Ltd.30,000 £1 ordinary30·040
125,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity125
Francis Shaw and Co. Ltd.1,400,000 20p ordinaryNot equity546
Sinclair Radionics Ltd.75,000 £1 ordinary73·3650
200,000 £1 preferenceNot equity2,000
2,000,000 £1 redeemable preference
Systems Designers International Ltd.3,060 £1 ordianry26·0184
Systems Programming Holdings Ltd.300 £1 'v' voting79·9600
600,000 £1 'D' non-voting
Systime Ltd.847 £1 ordinary28·1538
476 £1 preference
Twinlock Ltd.7,123,000 10p ordinary33·3997
United Medical Enterprises Ltd.4,619,440 £1 ordinary70·05,774
Vicort of London Ltd.9,608 £1 ordinary49·010
130,392 redeemable preferenceNot equity130

Overseas Development

Aid Programme

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what special action is being taken by her Department to avoid underspending of the aid programme in the current financial year.

Present forecasts suggest that underspending will not be a major problem this year. But the phasing of aid expenditure can alter unexpectedly for reasons outside my direct control, involving multilateral agencies and commitments. I therefore keep the position under steady review, and make changes in spending plans.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Petrol (Monopolies And Mergers Commission Report)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when he expects the report of the Monopolies Commission inquiry into the wholesale supply of petrol to be published.

My right hon. Friend is considering the Commission's report. He will lay it before Parliament and publish it as soon as possible.

Petrol Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what discussions he has had with the major oil companies about their plans to increase petrol pump prices; and if he will make a statement.

General oversight of the activities of the oil companies is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Energy.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection last saw the oil companies on 7th and 8th June. He has no immediate plans to meet them again. Whether any intended price increase or change in trading terms by any individual company is a notifiable price increase, and whether it should be investigated, is a matter for the Price Commission.

Consumer Credit Act 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection (1) how many complaints have been received by the Director General of Fair Trading in connection with section 155 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974; if he is reviewing the working of that section and if he has given any indication that he is likely to recommend any amendment to that section;(2) how many legal proceedings have been instituted in connection with the provisions of section 155 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

I understand that the Director General does from time to time receive complaints in connection with section 155 of the Consumer Credit Act from consumers and brokers, and I am asking him to write to my hon. Friend about the numbers.The Director General has not indicated that he is likely to recommend an amendment to section 155, but if in time experience showed that amendment was needed, he would, I am sure, so recommend.Information about the number of legal proceedings instituted in connection with section 155 is not held centrally.

Off-Peak Electricity

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will refer to the Director General of Fair Trading for investigation the claims made by the electricity supply industry in its recent advertisements of the off-peak electricity tariff economy, in the light of a report by the Electricity Consumer Council.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978. Vol. 958, c. 6], gave the following information:As the Electricity Consumers Council is in direct correspondence with the Electricity Council about the latter's advertising of the new off-peak tariffs of the area electricity boards, I do not propose to take any action at the present time.

Weights And Measures Bill

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will place in the Vote Office appropriate background information to the new Weights and Measures Bill.

Background information has been placed in the Vote Office. The report of the Working Party on Metrological Control Systems—(Cmnd. 6805)—is also relevant.

Employment

Temporary Employment Subsidy

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average time taken to approve or disapprove an application for temporary employment subsidy.

At present, the average time taken to complete preliminary inquiries, including a visit to the company, is four to five weeks.

Professional And Executive Recruitment Service

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what is the annual cost of the Professional and Executive Recruitment Service;(2) what fees are received from Professional and Executive Recruitment Register clients.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the annual cost of the Professional and Executive Recruitment—PER—Service, covering both its recruitment and social activities, in 1977–78 based on provisional accounts was £5·92 million of which £3·16 million was attributed to expenditure on recruitment services and £2·76 million on the non-recruitment side.The income earned from employers using PER's recruitment services was £3·26 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications to be placed in the Professional and Executive Recruitment Register had been placed in employment in the years 1976, 1977 and to the latest available date in 1978; and what percentage this represents.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of placings in the two financial years 1976–77 and 1977–78 was 8,921 and 8,791 respectively. This represents 5 per cent. and 4 per cent. of the number of people enrolling with Professional and Executive Recruitment.In 1978–79 the figures so far available indicate that the percentage will again be around 4 per cent.

Derbyshire (European Commission Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the grants made by the European Commission and the value of each one in pounds sterling out of the Social Fund to support projects in Derbyshire in each of the years since 1973.

Allocations of £40,383 in 1977 and £44,356 in 1978 were made from the European Social Fund towards the cost of setting up and running a centre in Derbyshire for the retraining of the unemployed.During the period from 1973 to date the United Kingdom has also received allocations from the fund in respect of operations run by public authorities covering Great Britain as a whole. A proportion of these would relate to operations in Derbyshire, but I regret that it is not possible to calculate the amount of the proportion.

Fares-To-Work Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have received help under the new fares-to-work scheme since it was introduced on 5th July 1978; what has been expenditure for the last date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that 148 new applications for assistance under the revised fares-to-work scheme were approved between 5th July 1978 and 30th September 1978 out of a total 205 applications received. This does not include those people carried forward from the old scheme. The average weekly payment taken over all cases authorised for payment under the revised scheme is £8·66. Expenditure on the revised fares-to-work scheme in September 1978 was £8,546, compared with £5,548 in September 1977.

Since the revised scheme was introduced on 5th July 1978, while applications for temporary assistance, mainly for car owners whose vehicle is being repaired, have risen only slightly, 141 applications for permanent assistance were received over the first 3 months compared with 26 for the same period in 1977.

To speed up the processing of applications for assistance under the revised scheme, responsibility for approving straight forward cases was devolved to area offices of the Employment Service Division of the MSC on 1st October 1978. The MSC and NACEDP intend to review the operation of the revised scheme after six months and one year. One of the objects of the review will be to consider whether the administration of the scheme can be further simplified.

Overtime

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the average weekly overtime hours per operative working overtime in Scotland and Great Britain at the latest available date.

In the week ended 12th August 1978, the average numbers of hours of overtime worked by operatives on overtime in manufacturing industries were 9·1 in Scotland and 8·8 in Great Britain. Information is not available for non-manufacturing industries.

New Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the total number of people who have moved into new employment during the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available, and during each of the four previous 12-month periods.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 6th November 1978; Vol. 957, c. 27], gave the following information:Information is not available in the precise form requested. However, using results from the general household survey for those who were employees or self employed at the time of interview, it is estimated that in 1976, the latest year for which information is available, 2¼ million people in employment in Great Britain had worked as an employee for more than one employer in the previous 12 months. The corresponding figures in the four previous years are:

Million
19723
1973
1974
19753

Civil Service

Her Majesty's Stationery Office

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many separate strikes, works to rule, and so on have occurred in the several branches of HMSO during the past year: what has been the duration of every such dispute; and what has been the extra cost incurred by the Department as a result of the industrial action taken.

Excluding the current strike in the publications warehouse which started on 4th September and is continuing, there have been 15 separate industrial disputes in seven HMSO establishments in the first 10 months of 1978. Duration has varied from one hour to four weeks; the longest complete stoppage lasted three days. The net value of production lost was some £165,000.

Civil Servants (Political Activities)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he expects to bring forward proposals to implement the Armitage report on the political activities of civil servants.

Discussions on the report are in progress. Decisions will be taken when all the appropriate consultations are concluded.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Zambia (Arms Supplies)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in what form he will seek supply from the House in respect of the giving of armaments to the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

As my right hon. Friend told the House on 2nd November, supply will be sought in the normal way, by inclusion in a Supplementary Estimate which will be presented to the House in due course.—[Vol. 957, c. 186.]The amount needed this year will be included in that part of the Vote entitled "Other External Relations and Military Aid" which is accounted for by my right hon. Friend's Department.

Immigration Applications (India And Pakistan)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken to increase the number of staff available in Islamabad to deal with applications from people seeking visas to enter the United Kingdom.

The number of entry clearance officers at the British Embassy's immigration section in Islamabad was increased from 16 to the present level of 18 in 1975. It is the largest immigration section in any British mission in the world. Further staff increases would not be possible while current financial and manpower constraints continue.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average time now taken between an applicant applying, and the date of interview, for consideration, of persons wishing to come to the United Kingdom from Pakistan, at the United Kingdom's Islamabad Embassy.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Ellis) on 10th November.—[Vol. 957, c. 355.]

Portugal (Compensation For British Citizens)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will use his good offices with the President of Portugal on the occasion of his visit to the United Kingdom to make prompt, adequate and effective compensation to those British citizens whose property in Portugal has been summarily expropriated.

My right bon. Friend discussed the matter with the former Portuguese Foreign Minister when he visited this country last June. I hope it will be settled soon. Until it is, it will continue to be raised with the Portuguese Government whenever appropriate.

European Community Budget

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends next to raise matters concerning the 1979 Community budget in the Council of Ministers.

My right hon. Friend has no plans at present to raise such matters in the Council (Foreign Affairs). The 1979 draft budget, with the amendments and modifications proposed to it by the European Assembly, will next be discussed at the Council of Ministers (Budget) on 20th November which my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury hopes to attend.

Pastor Musa

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why the ex-terrorist Pastor Musa was refused a visa to visit the United Kingdom.

Pastor Musa was not granted a concessionary passport in September because the purpose of his journey did not fall within the established guidelines for granting such passports, set out in the Attorney-General's statement to the House on 17th June 1968.

South Africa (Icl Activities)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the correspondence which he has had with the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North concerning the activities of ICL in Southern Africa.

Careful searches have revealed that we have not received letters directly from my hon. Friend on this subject, although there has been correspondence from the Secretary of the Anti-Apartheid Movement of which my hon. Friend is chairman. If he wishes himself to raise specific issues, my right hon. Friend will consider them carefully.

Hong Kong (Immigration)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the arrangements between the Governments of Hong Kong and China regarding the question of illegal immigration to Hong Kong.

Would-be illegal immigrants detained while trying to enter Hong Kong are returned to China unless there are exceptional reasons for allowing them to remain in the territory.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many illegal immigrants to Hong Kong have been repatriated to China in each of the past five years.

Repatriation was reintroduced on 30th November 1974, since when the numbers repatriated have been:

1974223
19751,133
1976810
19771,779
1978 (To 31st October)5,045

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the agreement between the Hong Kong and Chinese Governments on legal immigration to Hong Kong on an annual basis.

There is no agreement on the anual number of immigrants from China. However, the Chinese authorities are aware of our concern at the present level of immigration.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many legal immigrants have entered Hong Kong from China in each of the past five years.

The number of legal immigrants entering Hong Kong from China in each year since 1973 is:

197355,659
197432,918
197525,641
197620,453
197726,449
1978 (to 31st October)50,249

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the estimated number of illegal immigrants to enter Hong Kong from China in each of the past five years to the latest available date.

It is impossible to give precise or even estimated figures for the annual number of illegal immigrants into Hong Kong from China. A very rough estimate is that since the beginning of 1974 there have been about 52,000.

St Lucia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why he has not insisted on the operation of the referendum provisions in the West Indies Act 1967 before taking steps to terminate the association between St. Lucia and the United Kingdom.

Section 10(2) of the West Indies Act provides for the termination of association by Order in Council without a referendum. The British Government are considering the request of the St. Lucia Government which was approved on 24th October by the St. Lucia House of Assembly without a division to terminate the status of association by this procedure.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what date has been proposed to him by the Government of St. Lucia for the independence of that State: and what consultation, if any, he has had on the date with the official opposition in St. Lucia.

The Premier of St. Lucia has proposed that St. Lucia should move to independence by Order in Council on 13th December. The British Government have made it clear to the Premier and to the St. Lucia Opposition that they are considering whether to recommend to Parliament that association should be terminated and that meanwhile no commitment can be made on a date for independence.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in view of the contents of the document "Report on events subsequent to the St. Lucia constitutional conference held in London in July 1978" prepared by the St. Lucia Labour Party, he will make a statement on the proceedings in the St. Lucia Parliament on the draft St. Lucia Constitution Order.

On 24th October the St. Lucia House of Assembly passed without a division a resolution requesting the termination of the status of association by Order of Her Majesty in Council. The British Government are considering their response to this request in the light of all the circumstances, including the proceedings in the House of Assembly.

Transport

Manchester-Sheffield Road Links

33.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations, including those from county councils and district councils, he has received about the need to improve road links between Manchester and Sheffield; and what further action he will now take to review the situation.

The only recent representation is from South Yorkshire county council which has reaffirmed its view that the proposed Stocksbridge bypass should link with the M1. As I announced on 5th July, the decision whether to build this link with the M1 will be deferred until the scheme has been re-examined in the light of the White Paper "Policy Roads: England 1978".

Shipley-Thackley-Leeds Link Road

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he is now in a position to announce his decision on the Shipley-Thackley-Leeds link road scheme; and if he will make a statement.

This scheme is being reviewed following the selection of a corridor to the east of Leeds for the proposed Kirkhamgate-Dishforth route. We hope to be able to make an announcement early next year.

Research Establishments

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report the number of Government research establishments associated with his Department which are located in each of the economic planning regions; and if he will make a statement.

My Department shares three research establishments with the Department of the Environment. These comprise seven laboratories, of which five are in England in the South-East economic planning region, and two are in Scotland.

Peak Park

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what traffic surveys he has carried out on routes across the Peak Park between east and west, and mainly Manchester and Sheffield; and if he will tabulate his estimates of the extra burden falling mainly on the Peak Forest and Woodhead routes due to the complete or partial closure of Nan Tor and Snake Pass for each quarter of 1978 comparing the position with the previous five years.

Origin and destination and volumetric surveys on all routes lying between Halifax and Derby were carried out before 1973. Subsequently random counts have been made on A628 and other routes. Traffic on M62 is monitored continuously. No estimate is available of traffic transfers due to closures at Nan Tor or Snake Pass.

Cambridge Bypass

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the new date for the completion of the Cambridge northern bypass; and whether he will make a statement about the dealy in its completion.

Delays have been caused by exceptionally wet weather in the spring and summer Of this year. Provided that the weather now continues favourable, the bypass should be open to traffic before Christmas although the Girton and Maddingley interchanges will not be fully open until early next year.

M3 (Winchester)

asked the Minister of Transport when he expects to have completed his consideration of the inspector's report concerning the M3 motorway near Winchester; and whether he will now distribute copies of the report to interested parties.

My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and for the Environment have not yet received the inspector's report.

British Railways Board

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received a report from the British Railways Board about the organisation of its shipping and international services division; and if he will make a statement.

The British Railways Board has recently completed a review of the organisation of its shipping and international services division in accordance with section 45 of the Transport Act 1968. I have today laid a copy of the report of its conclusions before the House and copies have been placed in the Library. The report recommends the transfer of those properties, rights and liabilities of the board which relate to the shipping and harbours undertaking to a new shipping company, to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Railways Board. The board proposes shortly to submit for my approval a scheme under section 7 of the 1968 Act to effect the transfer.

Environment

No 1 Carlton Gardens

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when No. 1 Carlton Gardens became vacant; what repairs and alterations have taken place and at what cost; when occupancy was resumed and by whom; and what action he is taking to save public funds in respect of some of these costs.

No. 1 Carlton Gardens became vacant in March 1974. Extensive repairs and maintenance to the whole building were carried out between January 1975 and April 1976 at a cost of £215,000. The State rooms were reoccupied in April 1976 and are used mainly by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office but the residential accommodation, normally the official residence of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, is vacant.

Rate Support Grant

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment in the light of the fact that the population of Lincolnshire has increased by 16,900 or 3·29 per cent. in the last four years while the population of England and Wales has declined by 0·11 per cent., if he will now adjust the rate support grant for the year 1978–79 to include the extra £7,136,000 due to the county on the basis of the figures agreed in 1973–74.

No. The needs element of the rate support grant aims to compensate authorities for differences in their expenditure needs per head. There is no evidence that population growth necessarily leads to pro rata higher per head expenditure needs, as the Question implies.

Ancient Monuments

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what annual savings he anticipates making from the decision to remove custodial care from a number of ancient monuments and buildings in England and Wales.

A review of the staffing of ancient monuments has shown that savings of about £300,000 a year could be made by closing some in the winter and increasing the number at which admission is free.

High-Rise Flats

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has given to local authorities about the safety of high-rise blocks of industrialised built flats; and what steps he is taking to monitor resulting action by local authorities.

I am aware of reports about structural defects in blocks of flats built using a particular type of concrete wall frame. The manufacturer has been in direct touch with the relevant local authorities. No additional advice was issued by the Department of the Environment, but architects in our regional offices have helped to ensure that the authorities were kept informed. We remain in touch with both through the firm and through our regional architects.

Government And Local Authority Waste (Disposal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what talks he has had or proposes to have with the reclamation industry about the disposal of Government or local authority waste.

This Department and the Department of Industry maintain regular contact with the reclamation industry as part of the national anti-waste programme, which enables it to raise any problems arising out of the disposal of Government or local authority waste.

Inner Cities Programme

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the progress of the inner cities programme with particular reference to the identification and eradication of the factors which causes perinatal and infant mortality and handicap.

The seven partnerships have now agreed programmes for 1979·82 containing a range of measures aimed to improve economic environmental and social conditions in the inner city areas which suffer most from multiple deprivation. As my hon. Friend knows, the factors influencing perinatal and infant mortality are numerous and complex and it will be a considerable time before it is possible to identify progress in this field.

Slum Clearance

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average length of the delay in confirming compulsory purchase orders for slum clearance both nationally and in the North-West; and if, in view of the serious dissatisfaction with the very long delays, he will take immediate steps to end them, if necessary by appointing more staff.

The average time to decide slum clearance compulsory purchase orders is 11 months for opposed orders and 5½ months for unopposed ones. The corresponding times for the North-West are 21 and six months. Extra staff have been allocated to the North-West regional office to deal with the work.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment to what extent the long delays in confirming compulsory purchase orders for slum clearance result from a policy of cutting back public expenditure.

Not at all. Recent delays in the North-West have been due to a threefold increase in the number of orders submitted.

Industrial Processes (Certification)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will add new industrial processes to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order; and if he will make a statement on the possibility of requiring the Health and Safety Executive to issue a certificate which must accompany all planning applications for notifiable installations, such certificates to state (a) that the proposal is notifiable and (b) what conditions are required to make the proposal acceptable to the Health and Safety Executive.

The Advisory Committee on Major Hazards is examining these questions and we await its recommendations in its second report.

Research Establishments

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the number of Government research establishments associated with his Department which are located in each of the economic planning regions; and if he will make a statement.

My Department shares three research establishments with the Department of Transport. These comprise seven laboratories, of which five are in England, all in the South-East economic planning region, and two are in Scotland.

Local Authorities (National Insurance Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated total cost to all local authorities in a full year of paying the increase in the employer's contribution to national insurance; and if he will list the additional amounts payable for each local authority.

The estimate received from the local authority associations of the cost to local authorities in England and Wales of the 1½ per cent. national insurance surcharge payable from October 1978 is about £108 million in a full year. We do not have estimates for individual authorities.

Porchester And Sandford Reports

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he will make a statement on the implementation of the recommendations of the Porchester report on the conservation of Exmoor;(2) when he proposes to introduce legislation implementing the recommendations of the Sandford committee and of the Select Committees of this House.

The legislation which the Government have promised on the Porchester and the Sandford reports is under preparation and I intend to include with it the legislation recommended by the Expenditure Committee enabling the Countryside Commission to undertake experiments without the need for ministerial approval in each case. The legislation will be introduced as soon as the parliamentary opportunity arises.The Report of the Environment Sub-Committee on the National Land Fund is under active consideration by the Ministers concerned. The Government's res-

Gross salary
Water AuthorityNew time inputbefore adjustmentafter adjustmentIncrease
per cent.£££
National Water Council759,23313,8484,615
Thames808,68313,8925,209
North-West808,68313,8925,209
Severn Trent808,68313,8925,209
Yorkshire707,0339,8452,812
Anglian707,0339,8452,812
Southern707,0339,8452,812
Wessex506,2086,208
South-West506,2086,208
Northumbrian506,2086,208

Public Sector Enterprises (Government Assistance)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has taken to assist public sector enterprises such as the Consortium of Local Authorities special programme in export activites.

I am always anxious to assist British construction industry exports together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade. There is a wide range of services available to exporters, including local authorities, for which my right hon. Friend has ponce to the report will be given in due course.

Public Bodies (Members' Pay And Expenses)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Carlton on 8th November on remuneration of the chairmen of the National Water Council and regional water authorities, if he will in the case of each chairman specify the changes in time input basis, and the increase in annual gross emoluments arising from this change.

Until 1st January 1978 the salaries of chairmen of the National Water Council and the regional water authorities were all based on a time input of 50 per cent—2½ days per week. However, once it had been established that the chairmen were for the most part spending of necessity considerably more time on the job, the Government decided to make an appropriate adjustment. This was in line with pay policy.The changes in time input and the resulting increases in annual gross emoluments are set out in the following table:primary responsibility. I was glad to see that a consultancy contract worth £250,000 was recently secured by CLASP. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction had earlier written to the Venezuelan Minister for Urban Development commending the system.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Common Fisheries Policy

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has made in negotiations on the EEC common fisheries policy.

I have nothing to add to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) on 2nd November.

Guidance And Guarantee Fund

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the totals of funds granted to the United Kingdom from the guidance section of the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund from 1973 to the latest convenient date and separately in the last financial year; and of these totals what sums have been made available for projects in Norfolk.

Grants awarded from the guidance section of the EAGGF on individual projects to be carried out in the United Kingdom under Regulation (EEC) 17/64 amounted to £52,861,891 for the years 1973 to 1977 inclusive and £11,398,654 in 1977. Projects to be carried out in Norfolk attracted £334,993 and £264,393 respectively.No EAGGF grants are awarded on common and special measures: the financial assistance provided by the Community for these represents part or full reimbursement, as appropriate, of grants paid by member States under a variety of nationally-operated EEC schemes some of which are confined to hill areas. The amount of reimbursement claimed by the United Kingdom from the guidance section of the EAGGF was £58,232,959 for the years 1973 to 1977 inclusive and £20,733,302 for 1977. The reimbursement claimed for Norfolk—excluding the non-marketing of milk scheme and the provision of socio-economic guidance for the benefit of persons engaged in agriculture under Title I of Directive 72/161/EEC, for which details are not readily available—was £244,781 and £114,146 respectively.

Agricultural Wages Board

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he proposes to redress the balance on the Agricultural Wages Board following the appointment of Mr. J. H. Lewis, a trade unionist, as an independent member in place of Professor D. D. Raphael MA, DPhil(Oxon).

I do not accept that there is a balance to redress. In appointing Mr. J. H. Lewis my right hon. Friend the Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales were entirely satisfied that he would, as befits an appointed member, come with an open mind to the problems facing the board.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the composition of the Agricultural Wages Board; and by what criteria the various appointments are made.

The present composition of the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales is as follows:

Appointed Members

  • Professor C. W. M. Miles, MA. FRICS (Chairman).
  • Mrs. C. M. Cornell, OBE, BA.
  • Mr. J. H. Lewis, JP.
  • Mr. J. A. Scott, MA, MSc, ACA.
  • Mr. J. S. Wordie, CBE, MA, LLB.

Representatives of Employers (nominated by the recognised employers' organisation)

  • Mr. J. A. Davies, JP.
  • Mr. S. A. Gourlay.
  • Mr. G. A. Lewis.
  • Mr. H. B. Lowe, JP.
  • Mr. M. J. Perceval.
  • Mr. H. E. Samuel.
  • Mr. R. Saunders.
  • Mr. R. W. Watson.

Representatives of Workers (nominated by the recognised workers' organisations)

  • Mr. S. L. Aldous, MBE.
  • Mr. J. R. Boddy, MBE, JP.
  • Mr. W. E. C. Chamberlain.
  • Mr. T. J. Daniel, OBE, JP.
  • Mr. A. Mills.
  • Mr. J. Paget.
  • Mr. R. Pierson.
  • Mr. H. A. Ray, OBE, JP.

It is for the employer and worker organisations concerned to determine the criteria for the members they nominate. In building up the group of appointed members my right hon. Friend the Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales are concerned to enlist the services of persons who can contribute effectively to the work of the board by reason firstly of their personal qualities, and secondly of their background and experience in differing walks of life. They are also called upon to ensure that the board collectively includes at least one woman member as required by the Agricultural Wages Act 1948.

Dairy Industry (Strategy)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will institute a study into the findings of the report of the Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Reading, on strategy in the United Kingdom dairy industry, a copy of which has been sent to him.

Officials of my Department are studying the implications of the Report together with other representations made about the future development of the United Kingdom dairy industry.

Research Establishments

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish in the Official Report the number of Government research establishments associated with his Department which are located in each of the economic planning regions; and if he will make a statement.

In addition to four Government R & D establishments in Scotland and seven in Wales, the number of such establishments with which my Department is associated in each of the economic planning regions in England is as follows:

Northern6
Yorkshire and Humberside3
East Midlands6
East Anglia9
South-East21
South-West7
West Midland6
North-West3

Farmers' And Farm Workers' Earnings

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what estimates are available for the average earnings of British farmers; and how these compare with the average industrial wage in Great Britain;(2) what estimates are available for the average wages of British employee farm workers; and how these compare with the average industrial wage in Great Britain;(3) what is the ratio between the average earnings of British farmers and the average earnings of employed British farm workers; and if he will make a statement.

Information from the Department of Employment's annual new earnings survey shows that in April 1978 the average earnings of farm and industrial workers were as follows:

AVERAGE GROSS WEEKLY EARNINGS OF FULL TIME MANUAL MEN* (21 YEARS AND OVER): GREAT BRITAIN, APRIL 1978
£ per weekAverage weekly hours (including overtime)
Workers in—
Agriculture and horticulture62·5†47·8
Production industries‡84·545·8
NOTES:
*Workers whose pay was unaffected by absence.
†This average is based on data which includes, where appropriate, the reckonable value laid down by Agricultural Wages Boards' orders of payments in kind for accommodation, meals etc. provided by the employer.
‡Manufacturing, coal, electricity, gas and water industries etc.

Source: Department of Employment Gazette October 1978.

I regret that no comparison is possible between farmers' incomes and earnings of employed persons in agriculture or other industries. Net income of farmers and wives provides the reward not only for their labour as manual workers and managers but also the return on farm assets, excluding land, and the two component parts cannot be separately estimated except on the basis of arbitrary assumptions.

Pigmeat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much subsidy per pound of pig head is paid from EEC funds to Danish pig producers for exporting pigmeat to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

The current levels of monetary compensatory amounts payable on pigmeat and pigmeat products from Denmark are as follows: pig carcases, 7·731p lb; bacon sides, 10·436p lb; canned ham, 20·486p lb. My right hon. Friend is continuing his efforts to secure further cuts in these payments.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many tons of pigmeat have been imported from Denmark during the last six months; what were the corresponding figures for the last five years; and if he will make a statement.

The following is the information in respect of the most significant categories of pigmeat imported into the United Kingdom:

IMPORTS FROM DENMARK
PorkBacon and ham'000tones Canned Pig products
Six months April to September in each Year—
19733·0127·928·8
19741·3121·037·5
19758·2117·525·6
19766·2107·623·5
19776·1114·021·1
197815·2113·123·2
The increased imports of pork this year have compensated for the shortfall in domestic production but total imports are expected to account for no more than 6 per cent. of the total supply.

Defence

Service Widows (Pensions)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many Service men who retired before 1950 and whose widows were not eligible for benefit have died in the last five years; and what would have been the cost of allowing their widows to retain 100 per cent. and 50 per cent., respectively, of their pensions.

It would require disproportionate expenditure of time and effort to identify from the lists of pensioners of all three Services who have died in any given period those whose services had terminated before a particular date.Since it would be essential to establish the marital status and rank and length of service for each individual before the theoretical cost of a pension for his widow could be calculated, and since much of this information is no longer, or never has been, on record, no estimate of the overall cost can be attempted.

Baor (Television Channel)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of the English television channel for British troops in Germany for the financial year 1978–79; and how many viewers the channel has.

For the financial year 1978–79 the cost of the English language television service for the British Forces in Germany is estimated to be 0·2 million. This total includes elements for running costs, capital equipment and works services. From 12th December 1978, when the studio at Werl becomes operational, the service will have an audience of about 40,000 Service men and their dependants.

Research Establishments

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in the Official Report the number of Government research establishments associated with his Department which are located in each of the economic planning regions; and if he will make a statement.

The numbers of defence research and development establishments located in each of the economic planning regions are as follows:

South-East14
South-West4
Wales2
West Midlands1
Scotland4
East MidlandsNil
North-West
Yorkshire and Humberside
Northern
Northern Ireland
The defence research and development establishments are undergoing a process of rationalisation, and the above statistics cover the 12 main establishments which form the basis of the new organisation, together with their more significant subsidiary sites.

Service Families (Accommodation)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list, by region (a) the number of units of accommodation held by each of the Armed Services for the use of Service families, (b) the number of units of accommodation for the use of Service families built and disposed of by each of the Services in each of the past 15 years, and (c) the number of units of accommodation for Service families owned by each of the services which had been empty for more than six months on 1st November.

TABLE 1—NUMBER OF MARRIED QUARTERS HELD BY EACH SERVICE

Region

RN

Army

RAF

Total

Northern55406383844
Yorkshire and Humberside294,0912,2996,419
East Midlands1,1625,4906,652
East Anglia1,1166,2447,360
South East6,87818,7959,15734,830
South West6,3539,6024,14720,102
West Midlands2,3121,3693,681
North West431,3251,368
Wales16342,3362,971
Scotland2,7872,3512,9448,082
Northern Ireland22,9402793,221
TOTALS16,14844,73434,64895,530

TABLE 2—NUMBER OF MARRIED QUARTERS BUILT OR PURCHASED BY EACH SERVICE IN EACH OF THE PAST 15 YEARS

Region/Service

1963

1964

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

To 31st October 1978

Total

Northern

Royal Navy
Army7
Royal Air Force165165

Yorkshire and Humberside

Royal Navy
Army20215936412363965
Royal Air Force

East Midlands

Royal Navy
Army181533
Royal Air Force288317289894

East Anglia

Royal Navy
Army8255137
Royal Air Force3139322763696

Region/Service

1963

1964

1965

1966

1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

To 31st October 1978

Total

South-East

Royal Navy17220445661302211,0672142002,427
Army1424658377013816101921,1721384713071953035281812056,828
Royal Air Force17064842183017227424400140157

South-West

Royal Navy2151208218026085287243311,305
Army4815482992428260105134912,204
Royal Air Force841767985424

West Midlands

Royal Navy
Army4263286191012412116351,058
Royal Air Force11721138

North-West

Royal Navy
Army5112972
Royal Air Force

Wales

Royal Navy
Army1834340104
Royal Air Force

Scotland

Royal Navy2003441545
Army74139142224209482
Royal Air Force1227926622197113691

Northern Ireland

Royal Navy
Army4069721838014539
Royal Air Force7171

Totals

Royal Navy172419120538241232621061,354801312014,277
Army1868351,8891,0054701,5532201,91548461234831188272462636912,655
Royal Air Force483241548652301725132911039002721972534,655
GRAND TOTALS1868351,8891,6601,1302,2211,4102,1868881,1877451,7682,5831,02782382321,361

TABLE 3—NUMBER OF MARRIED QUARTERS PASSED BY EACH SERVICE TO THE PSA FOR DISPOSAL

Year

RN

Army

RAF

Total

19761345141,2681,916
19772088464421,496
1978 (to 31st October)3741,0509802,404
TOTALS7162,4102,6905,816
No record of the numbers of disposals was maintained before 1976. Current records do not analyse the figures by region.

TABLE 4—NUMBER OF MARRIED QUARTERS VACANT FOR MORE THAN SIX MONTHS, AS AT 15TH JULY 1978 (THE LAST DATE ON WHICH FIGURES ARE AVAILABLE)

Region

RN

Army

RAF

Total

Northern45146
Yorkshire and Humberside2204274480
East Midlands1128911,003
East Anglia103796899
South East3279789532,258
South West737034531,229
West Midlands47691567
North West48084
Wales178097
Scotland546755176
Northern Ireland4747
TOTAL4602,8323,5946,886

Royal Air Force, Lindholme

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many civilians are at present employed at RAF Lindholme.

There are at present 13 industrial civilians employed at RAF Lindholme, four by the Royal Air Force and nine by the Property Services Agency.

National Finance

Vicuna

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he has of the import of vicuna; how many prosecutions have taken place over infringement of the ban on such imports: and if he will make a statement.

There have been no prosecutions, but I am not aware of

Percentage change over preceding yearAverage of monthly counts
Gross domestic product at constant m factor cost (average estimate) Per CapitaImplied index of total home costs*General index of retail prices (all items)United Kingdom Unemployment rate (per cent.)†
1949+3·1+2·7+2·81·6
1950+2·7+0·9+3·21·6
1951+2·8+7·3+9·11·2
1952-0·6+9·2+9·11·7
1953+3·3+2·9+3·01·7
1954+3·6+2·1+2·01·4
1955+3·4+3·1+4·41·1
1956+0·9+6·4+4·9l·2
1957+1·2+4·1+3·71·5
1958-0·7+4·6+3·12·0
1959+3·7+1·5+0·42·1
1960+4·6+1·7+1·11·7
1961+1·8+3·4+3·41·5
1962+0·4+3·3+4·32·0
1963+3·1+2·4+1·92·4
1964+4·8+3·1+3·31·7
1965+2·4+4·0+4·81·5
1966+1·3+3·9+3·91·5
1967+1·6+2·8+2·52·3
1968+3·7+3·2+4·72·5
1969+2·1+3·7+5·42·5
1970+1·6+7·6+6·42·6
1971+1·2+10·8+9·43·4
1972+2·1+10·1+7·13·8
1973+6·7+7·6+9·22·7
1974-2·0+17·1+16·12·6
1975-1·4+27·9+24·24·2
1976+3·0+14·1+16·55·8
1977+1·9+11·2+15·86·2
* Derived from the current and constant price expenditure-based estimate of gdp.
†Excluding the temporarily stopped and adult students; including school-leavers.
Two measures of inflation are given in the table. The implied index of total home costs is the broadest based measure of any evidence that vicuna, or its parts and derivatives, have been imported contrary to the restrictions imposed for conservation reasons. Where inquiries have been made following allegations that vicuna products were on sale, it has been found that importation occurred before the restrictions were imposed.

Gross Domestic Product

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out in convenient tabular form by how much gross domestic product per capita increased in the United Kingdom in each year since the last war for which official figures are available; and if he will show also what was the annual inflation rate and the annual unemployment rate in each case.

Following is the information:domestically generated inflation and is derived by dividing the expenditure estimate of gdp at current prices by the cor- responding estimate at constant (1975) prices. The general index of retail prices is the more appropriate measure of change in the prices of goods and services bought by households.

Double Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has held with his EEC counterparts on the decision of the United States Senate on 27th June 1978 to approve the proposed new double taxation convention subject to the reservation that the provisions of article 9(4) shall not apply to the political sub-divisions or local authorities of the United States of America; what representations have been made by the Council of Ministers to the United States Government on the issue of principle involved; and if he will make a statement.

The United States Senate's decision has not been discussed by the Council of Ministers of the EEC: the proposed treaty is the subject of bilateral negotiations between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government. I refer the hon. Member to my reply today to the hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst).

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the reinstatement of clause 9(4) of the United States-United Kingdom double taxation treaty; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Northwich (Mr. Goodlad) on the same subject on 6th November 1978 [Vol. 956, c. 55–56.]Following the exploratory discussions which I mentioned in that reply, agreement has now been reached at official level for amendments to the United Kingdom-United States Double Taxation Convention which will be incorporated in a Third Protocol to the Convention. This will be signed on behalf of the respective Governments and published as soon as possible. The United States Senate will be invited to approve the amending protocol in the first instance and it will then be put to the House for consideration under the affirmative resolution procedure as a schedule to a draft Order in Council.

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out in convenient tabular form by how much real personal disposable income increased or decreased in the United Kingdom in each year since the last war for which official figures are available, taking the first available year as 100 and basing an index on that.

Following are the figures:

Real personal disposable income (1975 prices)
1948=100
1948100·0
1949102·8
1950106·1
1951104·8
1952106·3
1953111·6
1954115·3
1955120·7
1956123·8
1957125·9
1958128·1
1959134·8
1960143·6
1961149·5
1962150·6
1963157·3
1964163·1
1965167·3
1966170·9
1967173·3
1968176·7
1969178·4
1970184·4
1971189·7
1972204·6
1973217·1
1974218·6
1975217·1
1976216·6
1977213·4
Year-to-year percentage changes in real personal disposable income, in total and per capita, are given on pages 131 and 132 of the October 1978 edition of "Economic Trends".

Value Added Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to clarify the law relating to the charging of value added tax to market traders on the services supplied by market operators.

When VAT was first introduced, Customs and Excise took the view that market stall rentals could be regarded as the consideration for licences to occupy land and, as such, exempt under group 1 of schedule 5 to the Finance Act 1972. In the light of subsequent decisions of the courts and the independent VAT tribunals, Customs and Excise has reviewed the application of this exemption in a number of areas, so as to distinguish more clearly between licences to occupy and the more general class of permissive licences for the use of land. If a licence is to qualify for exemption, Customs and Excise considers it reasonable to look for a continuous period, disregarding non-business hours, of more than 24 hours. Market stall rentals which do not satisfy these criteria are now considered to be subject to VAT at the standard rate.This approach has been explained both to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and to the National Association of British Market Authorities. Customs and Excise is now undertaking the consultations regarding VAT on licences related to land, which I referred to in the Budget debate on 12th April.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the manufacturers of aids for the disabled about the level of value added tax on their products.

We have received a few representations from manufacturers seeking reliefs additional to the substantial reliefs already in operation.

World Trade (United Kingdom Share)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what statistical evidence the Prime Minister based his assertion during the debate on the Address, on 1st November, that the United Kingdom's share of world trade in manufactures had increased during 1978.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 14th November 1978], gave the following reply:The United Kingdom share of world trade in manufactures is conventionally measured in terms of the value of main manufacturing countries' exports of manufactured goods. This information is published regularly in table C1 of the Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics, the latest edition of which gives figures up to the end of 1977. More recent information is not yet firm enough to publish but, subject to the usual qualifications, the information which is available sustains the view expressed by my right hon. Friend.

Northern Ireland

Harland And Wolff Ltd (Apprentices)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many apprentices have been engaged by Harland and Wolff Ltd. during the latest 12 month period for which this information is available; and, of these, how many were Protestant, Catholic and of neither persuasion, respectively.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978; Vol. 958, c. 121], gave the following information:160 apprentices were engaged by Harland and Wolff Ltd during the year ended 31st October 1978. The company keeps no record of the religious affiliations of its employees.

De Lorean Motors (Government Support)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will outline the precise terms of Government support for De Lorean Motors of Detroit for the plant in West Belfast, including amounts, the division between grants, equity and loan capital, and the terms and conditions applying.

Further to the answer I gave on 9th November to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson)—[Vol. 957, c. 1162], I am now in a position to make known, with the consent of the De Lorean Motor Company, details of funding for this project from Government sources. The Northern Ireland Development Agency is committed to an investment of £17,757,000 in equity capital. The Northern Ireland Department of Commerce is committed to giving grants totalling £18,718,000 towards the cost of factory construction and plant, machinery and equipment; £9,750,000 in employment grants in respect of the first 1,500 employees of the company; and loans of £6,718,000 towards the cost of factory construction—secured by a first charge on the factory premises.These grants and loans from the Department are given on the normal terms for selective industrial assistance in areas of high unemployment in the Province. The site and existing factory at Dunmurry are also being leased from the Department, and no rent will be charged for the first three years of the lease term. The company will pay to the agency and the Department a total of £185 per car for each of the first 90,000 cars produced and £45 per car for each car produced thereafter.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many men, women and juveniles, respectively, are currently imprisoned in Northern Ireland; and what were the numbers at the same time in 1968.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 13th November 1978; Vol. 958, c. 121], gave the following information:On 29th October 1978, the most recent date for which detailed figures are available, there were 2,688 men, 77 women and 25 juveniles held in prisons in Northern Ireland. On this date there were also 38 persons held in police custody because of the industrial action then being taken by prison officers.On 31st October 1968 there were 626 men and 15 women. No separate figures are available for juveniles in prison at that time.In both cases the figures exclude persons serving sentences of Borstal training.

Social Services

Community Hospital (Skelmersdale)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now announce that a special financial allocation is to be made to enable a community hospital to be built in Skelmersdale.

I have had no formal request from the regional health authority for a special allocation, but my Depart- ment has received informally a copy of its consultative document which raises the question of such an allocation being made. My Department will be discussing the consultative document with the regional health authority.

Benefits (Rent Deductions)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will seek to extend the rule whereby deductions for rent due to housing authorities are made from supplementary benefit recipients so far as to cover all other types of benefit.

No. The addition of an element for rent and rates to the statutory scale of supplementary benefit is intended to be used specifically for rent and rates. Entitlement to national insurance benefits, on the other hand, is not related to financial need or particular expenditure. There is no ground, therefore, for interfering with the freedom of a national insurance beneficiary to arrange his own financial affairs as he wishes.

Pregnant Women (Serum Test)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether it is now the routine practice for high-risk pregnant women to have a serum test before being offered amniocentesis tests.

No. The serum test in pregnancy, which my hon. Friend is referring to, identifies those women at high risk of having a baby with spina bifida or other neural tube defect who might then proceed to amniocentesis. Where risk is known to be high already preliminary serum screening prior to amniocentesis is not necessary. Amniocentesis is also used in the prenatal diagnosis of certain other inherited disorders for which a serum test would have no relevance.

Pregnant Women (Amniocentesis Tests)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many amniocentesis tests on pregnant women have been carried out in the Coventry area; in how many of those cases the results indicated a handicapped foetus; how many women were offered amniocentesis tests but declined to have them; and how many women with positive amniocentesis tests results opted to have a termination of pregnancy.

I regret that this information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate time and cost.No advice on the provision of amniocentesis has been issued by my Department pending the receipt of the report of the working group on neural tube defects.

Nurseries (Staffing)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether there is a generally accepted staffing level in day nurseries, if so, what it is; and what is the average cost of providing a day nursery place.

In guidance to local authorities the Department has recommended a ratio of one member of staff to every four or five children as a basis for assessing the staffing needs of a day nursery, but has also stressed that the appropriate staffing level for any particular nursery depends on many factors, including numbers, age and any handicap of the children cared for, opening hours, qualifications of staff and the extent to which the nursery provides additional support services for the community generally.The estimated average net cost to local authorities in England during 1976–77 of a place in day nurseries provided by authorities themselves or by arrangement with voluntary organisations and private day nurseries was about £1,100 per year, including loan charges but excluding administrative costs. Information about the cost of day nursery places in the private and voluntary sectors is not available centrally.

Agoraphobia

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many men and how many women, respectively, in the United Kingdom he estimates suffer from agoraphobia; and how many agoraphobia sufferers he estimates have received general practitioner and hospital treatment therefor, respectively, in each of the past five years for which records are available.

Precise evidence is not available on which to base such estimates, as health service statistics do not identify agoraphobia separately. A recent research study found that about 3 per cent. of all people consulting a clinician about psychological problems suffered from a phobia as a main complaint.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what research has been and is being carried out into the cause, diagnosis and cure of agoraphobia; whether he will set up or provide funds for the setting up of special research projects into agoraphobia; and whether he will set up or encourage the setting up of clinics for the treatment of agoraphobia and kindred illnesses.

My Department has not funded and is not currently supporting research into specific problems of agoraphobia, but we are able and prepared to consider proposals for research related to the provision of services for psychiatric disorders, including phobias, within the Department's research programme.I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science that the Medical Research Council has no research grants specific to agoraphobia, but two of its programme grants, with a total value in 1977–78 of £97.000, include studies on phobia. These are:

Institute of Psychiatry (Dr. I. Marks and Dr. S. Rachman) Therapeutic studies of resistant neuroses.
University of Oxford (Professor M. Gelder), Psychological treatment of psychoneuroses.

Other relevant work is being carried out at universities and hospital medical schools, but details are not available.

Facilities for treatment of agoraphobia are available under the National Health Service, and in recent years considerable progress has been made in a number of centres in this country in developing treatments for phobic conditions. Special facilities for people suffering from agoraphobia separate from the general psychiatric services are not thought to be required.

Rubella

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will revise circular HC76/26 to give greater encouragement for the extension of preventive medicine by the use of qualified State registered nurses in a vaccination campaign to prevent rubella.

Paragraph 2 of the circular already encourages area health authorities to involve nursing staff in vaccination programmes and, as part of the preparations for the proposed rubella vaccination compaign, we will certainly consider how this can be emphasised.

Length of time on waiting list
SepcialtyUnder 3 months3–6 months6–12 months1–2 yearsOver 2 yearsTotal
General Medicine73111
Paediatrics11
Cardiology19149446
General Surgery17661613513346
Ear, Nose and Throat2712733622881,194
Orthopaedics129869580142532
Ophthalmology1027395553328
Thoracic Surgery52923167
Dental Surgery3522262615124
Gynaecology221701088414497
TOTALS1,0136117595751883,146
Information on waiting periods as such is not available.

Capital Investment

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest figure for the amount of investment per head of population in the National Health Service (a) for the United Kingdom, (b) for the North-West region, (c) for the southern regions, and (d) for the Rochdale area health authority.

Capital and revenue expenditure per head of population in the National Health Service in 1977–78 was as follows:

  • (a) for the United Kingdom—£120
  • (b) for the North-Western regional health authority—£116
  • (c) for the southern regions—£121
  • (d) for the Rochdale area health authority—£86.
  • NOTES1. The southern regions include North-West Thames, North-East Thames, South-East Thames, South-West Thames, Wessex, Oxford and South-Western regional health authorities.2. The national and southern region figures are affected by the payment of London weighting allowance to some staff and by the incidence of additional expenditure in the provision of facilities for the clinical teaching of medical and dental students, which also applies to the figure for the North-Western regional

    Victoria Hospital, Blackpool

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a list of the waiting periods for operations or other hospital treatment at the Victoria hospital, Blackpool, setting out the figures for each specialty.

    Following are the numbers of patients, by specialty, who were awaiting admission to the Victoria hospital, Blackpool, on 30th September 1978:health authority in so far as it includes expenditure of the Manchester and Salford area health authorities (T). The United Kingdom figure includes the expenditure of the 12 preserved boards of governors of postgraduate teaching hospitals in London.3. The population figures used take no account of people who are provided with treatment outside their area of residence, nor are they adjusted for differences the morbidity and age/sex structures of the relative populations.4. The figure for the Rochdale area health authority includes the cost of services provided by the North-Western regional health authority—for example, ambulance, blood transfusion, mass miniature radiography services etc. The cost of these services amounts to £4 per head of population.

    Saccharin

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether saccharin is a low-potency carcinogen and thus a health hazard;(2) whether certain age brackets are more vulnerable to cancer through consumption of saccharin than others.

    Recent research studies have suggested that high doses of saccharin, when fed to the rat, act as a weak carcinogen; but there is no evidence that saccharin is carcinogenic to man. The studies in test animals did not demonstrate any age-related vulnerability. Other studies in progress, including ones of saccharin usage by man, will be reviewed as and when their results become available.

    Bread, Flour And Cereal Products

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give an undertaking to publish the forthcoming report of the advisory panel on bread and flour and cereal products appointed by the committee on medicai aspects of food policy.

    Hospital Bed Closures

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many beds in (a) the Derbyshire area health authority and (b) the Sheffield area health authority were closed as a result of the recent work to rule by hospital supervisors.

    Pension Order Books

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what grounds the words "war widow" have been removed from the front cover of pension order books; what representations he has had on this matter; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member or Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack) on 16th January—[Vol. 942, c. 99–100.] Representations have been received from the War Widows Association of Great Britain and from a few individuals—mainly war widows.

    Health Services (Expenditure)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has yet received the half year report from Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham area health authority referred to in his reply to the hon. Member for Gravesend on 10th July; and if he will make a statement on the progress made by that authority in reducing its expenditure.

    No. I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bean) on 13th November.

    Heart Pacemakers

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the discovery that certain types of fixed-rate heart pacemaker may be affected by an anti-theft device widely used in public libraries.

    All public libraries equipped with this device are being asked to display suitable notices and to arrange for the wearers of these pacemakers to use the library without going through the electro-magnetic field of the detecting device. Patients are being notified of these arrangements through pacemaker centres.

    Infant Mortality

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are perinatal mortality rates in Hemel Hempstead and the county of Hertfordshire, Brighton and the county of Sussex, and Newcastle and the county of Northumbria, expressed as stillbirths and deaths under one week of age per 1,000 total births, in 1975, 1976, and 1977.