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Written Answers

Volume 959: debated on Monday 4 December 1978

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 4th December 1978

European Community

(Assembly Elections)

asked the Lord President of the Council whether he proposes to move the Adjournment of the House for a period prior to the intended elections to the European Assembly.

I have no plans to move the Adjournment of the House for the specific purpose of the European Assembly election campaign.

Energy

Electricity Discount Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what publicity he has given to the arrangements for the coming winter's fuel payments scheme.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how he proposes to publicise the availability of the electricity discount scheme for needy customers.

The publicity campaign planned for the scheme will begin on 10th December and run throughout the winter. It will be the largest yet undertaken for the scheme and some £375,000 has been allocated to it. Of this £250,000 is for advertising in the national press and the remainder is for publicity material including posters and leaflets.From Monday next— 11th December—a leaflet giving full details about the scheme will be available at post offices, electricity showrooms, social security offices, unemployment benefit offices, local authority offices, citizens advice bureaux and the offices of a number of voluntary organisations. This explains how to get help offered by the scheme and provides answers to a number of questions about it. Local authorities are also sending an explanatory letter and certificate to all recipients of rate and rent rebate or rent allowance, to enable them to claim the discount on electricity board bills. The £5 payment to people receiving supplementary benefit or family income supplement will be made automatically in the week beginning 22nd January 1979, and does not have to be claimed. Advertisements about the scheme will appear in the national press from next week and at intervals throughout its period of operation. The scheme starts on 1st January, but information about it is being made available at an early date to help people understand how to claim a discount before the qualifying electricity bills start to arrive. I have arranged for copies of the explanatory literature about the scheme to be placed in the Library of the House. Separate announcements will be made about the arrangements for the operation of the scheme in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Coal Industry (Productivity)

12.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what was the output per manshift in the coal industry at the latest available date; and how this compares with the similar period in 1977 and 1976.

The average overall output per manshift for the week ending 18th November 1978 was 2·35 tonnes; in the corresponding weeks in 1977 and 1976 it was 2·18 tonnes and 2·32 tonnes respectively. Average face output in the week ending 18th November 1978 was 8·81 tonnes; in the corresponding weeks in 1977 and 1976 it was 7·76 tonnes and 8·04 tonnes respectively.

Central Electricity Generating Board

11.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he proposes next to meet the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board.

I met the chairman of the Central Electricity Generating Board last Wednesday, and do so as and when necessary. I have no immediate plan for a meeting.

Tidal Power

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress he can report towards the use of sea waves for the generation of electricity.

Substantial progress has been made in the theoretical and experimental understanding of wave energy and of the ways in which that energy can be tapped. Open water trials have been conducted on two different generator designs in Loch Ness and in the Solent, and the four leading devices have been subjected to detailed engineering evaluation. Results so far have highlighted a number of areas in which further work will be needed and these were discussed at a conference organised by the Department recently. Abstracts of contributions to the conference have been placed in the Library.

Severn Barrage Committee

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will place in the Library a list of the names and the organisations they represent of the Welsh representatives on the Severn Barrage committee.

A list giving names and details of the 18 members appointed to the Severn Barrage committee in August is in the Library. Appointments are on a personal basis and members should not be regarded as representing particular interests or organisations. It is hoped to announce very shortly the few remaining appointments to the committee.

North Sea Oil (Exploration)

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action he proposes to take to encourage oil companies to increase their exploration activities in the North Sea in preference to other parts of the world.

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many oil exploration wells were drilled in the North Sea during the period June to August for each of the years 1976, 1977 and 1978, respectively.

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied with the current level of offshore exploration activity.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied with the level of oil exploration in the North Sea and elsewhere on the United Kingdom continental shelf.

During the period June to August in each of the past three years, the numbers of exploration wells spudded in the United Kingdom continental shelf were 17 in 1976, 22 in 1977, and three in 1978. In the complete years, the totals were 58 and 67 in 1976 and 1977 respectively, and the estimate for 1978 is 39. The Department is analysing the reasons for this reduction with the United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association and BNOC. The number of applications for sixth round licences—55 applications for 46 blocks—is very encouraging.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the number, scope and provenance of the applications received by his Department for licences in the sixth round of North Sea oil exploration by British and foreign companies or consortia.

The sixth round of licensing attracted 55 applications, covering all 46 blocks offered, from nearly 100 companies—United Kingdom, other EEC and European, USA and Canadian.

Hydro-Electric Schemes

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is satisfied with the Central Electricity Generating Board's programme for the construction of pump storage hydro-electric schemes.

Work is proceeding satisfactorily with the CEGB's pumped storage scheme at Dinorwic. The possibilities of future development of pumped storage schemes are kept under review by the board.

Power Stations (Coal)

19.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussion he has had with his ministerial colleagues in the EEC regarding the increased use of EEC-produced coal in power stations within the Community.

I have had such discussions on frequent occasions, both formally in the council and bilaterally with other Energy Ministers. No progress has yet been possible.

Miners (Early Retirement Scheme)

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many miners have left the coal industry under the voluntary early retirement scheme.

To date, 15,297 miners have left the coal industry under the voluntary early retirement scheme.

Nuclear Energy

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether the information available to his Department shows that nuclear energy is now more expensive than more conventional forms of energy.

The CEGB advises me that its calculation of generating costs shows that nuclear stations now operating are producing electricity more cheaply than fossil stations now operating.

Liquid Petroleum Gas

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is satisfied with the general availability and supply of liquid petroleum gas in different parts of the United Kingdom.

I am not aware of any particular difficulties in the supply of liquefied petroleum gases in the United Kingdom at present. In previous winters there have been some localised shortages of LPG in refillable cylinders; these were largely due to the numbers of cylinders in circulation being insufficient to meet sudden large increases in demand. I am advised that the cylinder position is now satisfactory.

Oil Companies

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what recent discussions he has had with the oil companies.

I and my colleagues have frequent discussions with oil companies on matters of common interest. Industry representatives presented a paper to a meeting of the Energy Commission last Friday.

Organisation Of Petroleum Exporting Countries

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has any plans to meet representatives of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

It has been suggested that my right hon. Friend should attend an informal meeting of the Energy Minis- ters of a few OPEC and a few non-OPEC countries. He has agreed in principle. but no date has yet been fixed.

Nuclear Industry

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what plans he has to reorganise the British nuclear industry.

I am having discussions with the parties involved, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Energy Sources (European Community Discussions)

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has had with his colleagues on the EEC Council of Ministers regarding alternative sources of energy.

Discussions with my EEC colleagues have confirmed that all member States attach importance to studying and developing the potential of alternative sources of energy. Such discussions also led to adoption on 12th June of Regulation EEC no. 1302/78 concerning financial support for projects to exploit alternative energy sources. Such support may be granted following further proposals from the Commission and decisions by a future Council.

Miners' Pay

31.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the chairman of the National Coal Board about increases in miners' pay for the coming year.

My discussions with the chairman of the National Coal Board cover a wide range of topics, but the levels of pay in the coal industry are traditionally for negotiation between the board and the coal mining unions against the background of the financial and economic prospects of the industry. Both sides are well aware of the Government's guidelines.

National Coal Board

34.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy when he last met the chairman of the National Coal Board.

:I meet the chairman of the National Coal Board frequently; most recently last Friday at the Energy Commission.

Oil Exploration Vessels

35.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he is taking to ensure that there should be a sufficient United Kingdom design capability for oil exploration vessels.

The United Kingdom already has experience in the provision of vessels for oil exploration. The Department is always prepared to consider proposals for supporting any potentially worthwhile projects which would help to increase our offshore capability.

Coal (European Community Imports)

36.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, in view of the fact that the United Kingdom imports considerable quantities of agricultural products from the EEC, the price of some of which is far above world prices, he will enter discussions with member States with a view to their importing more coal from the United Kingdom and to reducing the imbalance of trade with EEC countries and at the same time improving morale in the British mining industry.

An increase in exports to the Community would be welcome; and both the National Coal Board in its commercial negotiations and I myself in discussion with EEC Ministers will do everything possible to pursue this.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many tons of coal were imported by the other eight members of the EEC from the time that the

INLAND CONSUMPTION OF COAL, NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY AND PETROLEUM
(million tonnes of coal or coal equivalent)
Coal*Nuclear ElectricityPetroleum
January to September 197791·810·999·0
January to September 197887·310·1102·2
Percentage change-4·9-7·0+3·2
*Colliery disposals to final users plus consumption by other fuel producers.
†Refinery throughput of crude oil, plus net foreign trade and stock change in petroleum products, ess deliveries of non-energy products.

Employment

Pay Settlements

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the United Kingdom joined the EEC to the latest available date; and how many tons of these imports were from the United Kingdom.

According to figures published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities, the other eight members of the EEC imported 208 million tonnes of hard coal from the United Kingdom and countries outside the Community between January 1973 and July 1978. About 10 million tonnes of this coal was supplied by the United Kingdom.

Electricity Consumption, South-West England

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the latest estimates of the Central Electricity Generating Board for the consumption of electricity in South-West England over the next five years; and what percentage increase this represents over current consumption.

Energy Consumption

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much coal nuclear-powered electricity and petroleum, respectively, has been consumed in the United Kingdom so far in 1978, as compared with a similar period in 1977; and what percentage increases or decrease these figures show.

The most recent figures relate to the nine month period January to September, and were published in the Department's monthly statistical bulletin"Energy Trends ". They are as follows:

Official Report the document"The 1978–79 Pay Round: Guidance for Official Use ".

No. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Members for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) and Eastleigh (Mr. Price) on 24th October.—[Vol. 955, cc. 833–34.]

Employment Protection Act

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the working of the Employment Protection Act, in the light of the dispute involving the work force of Times Newspapers Ltd.; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. I know nothing in the circumstances of the dispute to suggest that the Act is not working satisfactorily.

Trade Disputes (Unemployment Benefit)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will now introduce legislation to amend the definition of trade dispute so as to ensure that those employees involved in disputes over industrial safety and whose cases are upheld by the Health and Safety Executive are not denied unemployment benefit.

Responsibility for the definition lies with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. However, I understand that the practice of the adjudicating authorities is to pay unemployment benefit in disputes where the employer is found by the appropriate determining authority to be in breach of a statutory health and safety requirement. Therefore, it is not necessary to amend the definition of"trade dispute"for the purpose referred to by my hon. Friend.

Carlisle And Cumbria

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many schemes have been undertaken by the Manpower Services Commission from the public sector in Carlisle and Cumbria, respectively; and if he will give details.

Ford Motor Company(Industrial Dispute)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of the cost of the recent industrial dispute in the Ford Motor Company in terms of (a) the loss of earnings to employees, (b) the loss of sales to the Company, (c) the cost of payment from union funds of strike benefit, (d) the additional cost to the taxpayer of supplementary benefit paid to dependants of employees, (e) the value of the loss of output to the national economy; and if he will calculate the gain which would have accrued to employees, the Ford Company, the national revenue and the real economy of the United Kingdom by an agreed 5 per cent. settlement without industrial action.

Most of the information needed for such an estimate is not readily available.

Unemployed Persons(Employment Subsidies)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the total of persons unemployed and in receipt of any form of employment subsidy listing the number in each category separately.

The total number of persons registered as unemployed in Great Britain on 9th November was 1,330,794. On 7th November there were 16,956 persons in receipt of job release allowance, having voluntarily given up work early under the job release scheme.

Low-Paid Workers

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement showing how the low paid have benefited under incomes policy since 1975 relative to workers earning average or median earnings.

Wages Councils

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the numbers of members on each of the wages councils from (a) the employers, (b) the unions, and (c) the Government; and in how many cases, the employer representatives are in the majority.

Wages councils are constituted with equal numbers of employers' and workers' representative members, together with three independent members appointed by the Secretary of State. There are no Government members. The numbers of representative members on each side of the wages councils are:—

CouncilNo.
Aerated waters (England and Wales)12
Aerated waters (Scotland)9
Boot and shoe repairing (Great Britain)12
Button manufacturing (Great Britain)7
Coffin furniture and cerement making(Great Britain)4
Corset8
Cotton waste reclamation (Great Britain).5
Dressmaking and women's light clothing(England and Wales)15
Dressmaking and women's light clothing(Scotland)5
Flax and hemp (Great Britain)9
Fur (Great Britain)10
General waste reclamation (Great Britain)10
Hairdressing undertakings (Great Britain)12
Hat, cap and millinery (Great Britain)13
Lace finishing (Great Britain)4
Laundry (Great Britain)18
Line and cotton handkerchief, etc. (Great Britain)7
Made-up textiles (Great Britain)10
Ostrich and fancy feather, etc. (Great Britain)5
Perambulator and invalid carriage (Great Britain)5
Pin, hook and eye, etc. (Great Britain)5
Ready-made, etc. tailoring (Great Britain)18
Retail bespoke tailoring (Great Britain)13
Rope, twine and net (Great Britain)11
Rubber proofed garment making6
Sack and bag (Great Britain)10
Shirtmaking (Great Britain)13
Toy manufacturing (Great Britain)12
Wholesale mantle and costume (Great Britain)18
Retail bookselling and stationery trades(Great Britain)14
Retail bread and flour confectionery (England and Wales)13
Retail bread and flour confectionery (Scotland)10
Retail drapery—outfitting and footwear trades (Great Britain)20
Retail furnishing and allied trades (Great Britain)24
Retail food trades (England and Wales)24
Retail food trades (Scotland)11
Retail newsagency and confectionery (England and Wales)13
Retail newsagency and confectionery (Scotland)6
Licensed non-residential23
Licensed residential and restaurant23
Unlicensed place of refreshment17

Underpayment Of Wages(Prosecutions)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many prosecutions for illegal underpayment of wages have been started by the Wages Inspectorate during 1978.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many visits have been made by the factory inspectors to (a) industrial premises and (b) Crown premises during the current year.

I am advised by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that since the coming into force of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate has not distinguished between industrial establishments and the other establishments for which it is the enforcing authority. In 1977 inspectors paid 152,618 visits to establishments excluding visits to construction sites and similar transient workplaces. Separate figures are not kept for Crown premises. Because of a change in the method of recording visits nationally, similar figures are not available for the current year.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many factory inspectors there are in Her Majesty's Inspectorate.

I am informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that there were 925 factory inspectors in post at the beginning of October 1978.

Health And Safety Executive

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many improvement notices and prohibition notices have been issued; how many prosecutions have been made; how many convictions have been secured; and what was the average amount of fines imposed, by the Health and Safety Executive, up to 30th September 1978.

Carlisle And Cumbria

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many pharmacists are unemployed in Carlisle and Cumbria respectively.

At 14th September, three people seeking employment as pharmacists were registered as unemployed in the county of Cumbria. Of these, one was registered in the area of the Carlisle employment office.

Building And Construction Projects

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many building and construction projects have been undertaken under the job creation scheme; how many building and construction projects have been completed; and what has been the expenditure on these construction projects?

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 28th November 1978; Vol. 959, c. 141], gave the following reply:I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that precise figures are not available. However, since the Job Creation Programme began in October 1975, approximately 2,000 projects have been funded in which building or construction activities formed the main element of the work. It is estimated that approximately 1,800 have been completed. MSC expenditure on these projects is estimated to be about £30 million.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Prices

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Rost) Official Report, 20th November, columns 898–9, by which month in 1979 prices will have doubled since February 1974, assuming that his forecast of an annual rate of inflation of 7·9 per cent, at the end of 1978 proves correct.

The forecast to which the hon. Member refers was, as his question makes clear, related to 1978. It is therefore, not possible to use it as a basis for predictions about 1979.

Trade

Oil Pollution

37.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what responsibilities Rear-Admiral Stacey will have concerning pollution by oil in confined waters such as the approaches to Sullom Voe or within Scapa Flow.

Rear-Admiral Stacey and the marine pollution control unit will take charge of operations at sea to deal with marine pollution. They will stand ready to assist the harbour authorities in dealing with any major spill within the harbour limits.

Court Line

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when those persons owed money from the Court Line case by virtue of the jobs they then held, might expect to receive the cash owed to them.

The liquidators have paid in full the agreed preferential claims of those employees of Court Line Limited, and other companies in the Court Line Group, who submitted claims for payment out of funds in the liquidators' control. An interim dividend of 3½p in the £ has been paid to ordinary unsecured creditors, including employees, of Court Line Limited and dividends have also been paid in some of the other companies in the Court Line Group. The liquidators say that they will pay further dividends as and when sufficient funds become available.Crew members of MT"Halcyon Isle ", one of the ships operated by Court Line Limited, look to funds held in court in Singapore for payment of their claims for wages under a maritime lien. I understand from solicitors acting for them that payment is imminent.

Press (Royal Commission)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report those recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Press which would require action on the part of Her Majesty's Government, indicating what action, if any, has been taken upon each recommendation.

The recommendations in paragraphs 11.3, 14.28, 14.31, 14.32, 14.33, 14.36, 14.38, 15.26 (part), 15.40, 15.42, 17.20, 17.21, 17.23, 17.24, 17.25, 17.29, 17.30, 19.22, 19.30, 19.46 and 19.48 of Cmnd. 6810 call for Government consideration and possible action.The Government's views on the question of press shareholdings in broadcasting (15.26) are set out in the White Paper on Broadcasting—Cmnd. 7294. My hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Employment has been undertaking a lengthy series of consultations on the press charter; this process has not yet been completed. Proposals for reform of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 have been published as Cmnd. 7285. The Queen's Speech indicated that further proposals would be brought forward to achieve more open government—19.30. The case for anonymity in relation to sexual offences—covered in 19.22—will be examined by the Criminal Law Revision Committee. The recommendation on the special defence of innocent dissemination —19.46—is being considered in connection with the report of the Faulks committee on defamation. The offence of criminal libel—19.48—is being reviewed by the Law Commission. The recommendation as regards zero-rating for value added tax purposes of newspapers and periodicals—11.13—has been noted. The other recommendations are under discussion.

Snakes

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will ban the import of Rhabdophis subminiatus, red-neck keel-back snake, and prohibit its sale in pet shops as a non-venomous snake, in the light of the fact that it has been discovered to be highly venomous and particularly dangerous when handled.

No. The Trade Descriptions Act 1968 provides consumers with considerable protection against the misdescription of goods including animals.However, the Home Office is aware of the doubts which have been expressed about this snake's characteristics and is considering whether it should be added to the schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

Hoax Emergency Call (Peterhead)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is his estimate of the cost to emergency services, responsible to his Department, of the hoax emergency call regarding an alleged disaster at sea off Peterhead on 26th November; how that cost was incurred; and if he will make a statement.

Soon after midnight on 26th November, Her Majesty's Coastguard, Peterhead, received radio distress calls from the vessel"Alicia"reporting a fire in engine room and making water in a position 20 miles east of Peterhead. The coastguard initiated a thorough search of the area by aircraft and by ships, but no trace of a vessel in distress was found. No further radio signals were received nor has my Department been able to trace any vessel with the name"Alicia ". It seems likely, therefore, that the distress signals were a hoax. The cost of this incident to my Department was approximately £30, but the costs of the search undertaken by MoD ships and aircraft and other ships must have been substantial.

Oil Treatment (Orkney And Shetland)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how much oil per day can be treated in Orkney and Shetland in the event of a spill at Scapa Flow, the Pentland Firth or the approaches to Sullom Voe.

In the initial stage of an operation, it would be necessary to rely on local resources. We would expect five dispersant spraying vessels to be available in Scapa Flow or the Pentland Firth and up to 10 vessels in the approaches to Sullom Voe, each capable of dealing with up to 15 tons of oil per daylight hour. Some of the resources located in Orkney could, if necessary, then be used to assist off Shetland and vice versa, and additional resources would be brought in from elsewhere, as required.The adequacy of these arrangements is under examination and in any event the director of the new marine pollution control unit will no doubt wish to give consideration to this matter when he takes up his appointment.

Paper Machines

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what was the value of paper machine imports into the United Kingdom for each of the last 10 years; and from which countries the imports originated;(2) what was the value of paper machine exports from the United Kingdom for each of the last 10 years.

TABLE 1
MACHINERY FOR MAKING OR FINISHING CELLULOSIC PULP, PAPER OR PAPERBOARD
(SITC (Rev.1) 718.11 and SITC (Rev. 2) 725.10 and 725.91)
£ thousand January-October
19681969197019711972197319741975197619771978
EXPORTS (f.o.b.)12,32913,35916,76233,77032,75317,30027,39633,23532,02023,05720,521
IMPORTS (c.i.f.)
Total2,5942,5504,3994,6663,8694,8327,82610,1007,55011,86112,205
of which consigned from:
Federal Republic of Germany4904477941,1638151,3921,8712,7572,3385,2624,110
Sweden7146811,1426375138319521,4431,1791,7612,039
United States of America6635701,2531,1738295771,7572,5331,5501,2091,859
Finland79114274692786506595558222728806
France68134804361239559430449722482
Netherlands6463559811687592318132438612
Italy6223246023158506522251513
Austria6110896120100173254183161214280
Norway274438595515216412194190176
Switzerland1691613153922767780628134180201
Irish Republic1816101133110184152214850
Brazil00476614744134111
Belgium-Luxembourg13153367104716258111110298
Canada462332172724531066810952
Denmark2715640533493180298
South Africa1346314371886410024232710
Japan22315104500156187
Other countries13511105895104270270306343411

TABLE 2
PAPER OR PAPERBOARD CUTTING MACHINES OF ALL KINDS; OTHER MACHINERY FOR MAKING UP PAPER PULP, PAPER OR PAPERBOARD
(SITC (Rev.1) 718.12 and SITC (Rev. 2) 725.20 and 725.99)
£ thousand January-October
19681969197019711972197319741975197619771978
EXPORTS (f.o.b.)7,5889,69713,05112,37311,78112,85417,61822,58023,12522,67926,031
IMPORTS (c.i.f.)
Total6,0875,9507,6126,6357,10911,69718,49819,67118,60624,81525,498
of which consigned from:
Federal Republic of Germany2,9833,2433,5753,2863,5455,7387,5948,2617,53611,49610,236
United States of America9367781,6007517401,4212,6913,5103,2222,8313,076
Switzerland9158389691,0341,2671,6472,5883,3872,4232,7584,898
Netherlands4642003683971724211,3179026051,3731,207
Japan121115235488134901,133341
Sweden1611553293622052484564595951,108989
Italy871571722512665387308205759921,256
France163731151041693013945411,4089881,287
Irish Republic22303660274479476280967841641
Denmark409136303530109177177318255
German Democratic Republic1514525918397497141296188
Spain94612358291852888327193151
Belgium-Luxembourg631149593159205313302450139572
Austria102408227133119195461276
Finland265921364978877150394269
Other countries10011010277151180384373305180326

Source:United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics.

Notes:

— Nil trade.

0 Trade less than £500

Oil Pollution Treatment Equipment

asked the Secretary of State for Trade where the equipment for use in the event of serious oil pollution will be kept.

The stockpile of specialised oil pollution clearance equipment which will be available to local authorities faced with serious pollution of the coastline is being set up by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, in consultation with the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales. The equipment now being ordered will initially be received and stored at Bristol, but discussions with the local authority associations about eventual locations are continuing. At least one depot will be in Scotland.

Salvage Tugs

asked the Secretary of State for Trade pursuant to his Written Answer of 24th November, if he will now name the 16 salvage tugs owned by British companies, and referred to by him in his answer.

I regret that the information which I gave was not entirely accurate.The eight vessels listed below have bollard pulls and brake horse power comparable with those of the French tug:"Lloydsman ","Guardsman ","Linesman ","Serviceman ","Winchman ","Statesman ","Wimpey Seafox ","Wimpey Seatiger ".The remainder of the 16 included in my earlier Answer are less powerful though each should be capable of holding a very large crude carrier in all but exceptional weather conditions.

Company Formations (Wales)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many company formations have been registered in Wales during the last year; what were the corresponding figures for each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

Since 5th April 1976, all companies incorporated in England and Wales have been registered in Cardiff, following the transfer of companies registration office. Before that date, they were registered in London. In 1977 there were 52,872 registrations. No records are maintained of the number of companies whose registered offices are in Wales.

Social Services

Royal Hospital, Richmond

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the South-West Thames regional health authority and the Kingston area health authority commenced consideration of proposals for upgrading the in— patient accommodation at the Royal hospital, Richmond; when these bodies will reach a decision; and if the plans include the reinstatement of the following facilities: post-operative beds, general practitioner beds, geriatric beds, minor surgery and minor casualty.

The South-West Thames regional health authority and the Kingston and Richmond area health authority began to consider the upgrading of inpatient accommodation at the Royal hospital, Richmond, in 1976. The facilities to be provided are still under discussion and no decisions have yet been taken.

Benefits Earning Disregard

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what increases have been made in the level of supplementary benefits earnings disregard for those not required to register for work since 1966.

The 1966 level of £2 a week was increased in November 1975 to £4 and in November 1976, for lone parents only, to £6.

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he intends to introduce a Pensions (Increase) Order if the November 1977-November 1978 increase in average earnings significantly exceeds 11½ Per cent.

The extent to which earnings have increased over the period from November 1977 to November 1978 will not be known until the relevant index figure becomes available in January 1979. I will then consider the position.

Pharmacies

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pharmacies closed in the last six months for which figures are available: how many opened; how qualified and unqualified staff were involved; and how these figures compare with the same months in the previous year.

Returns which family practitioner committees have made to my Department indicate that, from 1st April to 30th September 1978, 103 pharmacies on NHS pharmaceutical lists in England closed and 47 opened: there were also 27 changes of address. Family practitioner committee statistics are not available for the same period in 1977, but, according to the records of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 140 pharmacies on the register in England closed and 61 opened between April and September 1977. These figures, however, include changes of address.I regret that information on the staff involved in these pharmacy openings and closures is not available.

Fraud

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if his Department will take all reasonable steps in future to obtain compensation for the full amount from persons convicted of social security fraud;(2) why his Department demanded full compensation of the amount fraudulently obtained from social security in one case involving £775·10 in Sheffield magistrates' court, but not in another in the same court on the same day involving fraud of £2,585·32; when his Department claimed back only £292·31; and if he will make a statement;(3) to what extent it is to be the practice of his Department, in future, in the case of successful prosecution for social security fraud, following the example set in the recent case in Sheffield magistrates' court, to claim in compensation the whole amount fraudulently obtained by the convicted person; and if he will make a statement.

My Department's policy is to prosecute those who have fraudulently claimed social security benefits wherever appropriate and, if a conviction is gained, to seek the maximum compensation available through the courts. The amount of such compensation is, however, affected by such issues as the practical need to take sample offences, a court's view of a defendant's assets, and the time limits which apply to prosecutions under social security legislation.Where a court order does not cover the full amount of an established overpayment due to fraud, we can seek to recover any balance by civil process. The cases the hon. Member raises are being dealt with under that general policy.As I explained in my statement of 7th December 1977, we have made increasing use of compensation orders.—[Vol. 940, c.

745–48.] We are currently reviewing our policy and procedures in the light of recent legal rulings and subsequent discussions with the legal profession. We shall, however, not depart from our basic objective of seeing that those who seek to exploit the social security scheme do not profit by such behaviour.

Hellingly Hospital (Behaviour Modification Treatment)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will initiate a national inquiry into behaviour modification treatment at present in use at Hellingly hospital; and if he will place in the Library details of his inquiries on the subject.

As my recent letter to my hon. Friend on this subject indicates, I am satified from the information I have received that the programme of behaviour modification in use in Alfriston Ward, Hellingly hospital, is carefully thought out and closely monitored. I do not consider that a national inquiry is called for. I am placing in the Library a copy of my letter of 28th November to my hon. Friend, excluding the details of the individual concerned. This gives the information provided in response to my inquiries on the subject.

Secure Units

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the expenditure so far on the building of regional secure psychiatric units.

Building has not yet commenced on any permanent secure psychia-

Estimated
RegionRegional Secure Unit1976–771977–781978–79
£'000£'000£'000
NorthernSt. Luke's hospital, Middlesbrough6132
TrentThe Towers hospital, Humberstone, Leicester4555
Balderton hospital, Newark30
N. E. ThamesFriern hospital1042
N. WesternPrestwich hospital, Manchester41422
Totals14107239

Cystic Fibrosis

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what he estimates would be the cost to the National Health Service of adding the condition of cystic fibrosis to the list of conditions qualifying for exemption from prescription charges.

Most sufferers from cystic fibrosis are children, and thus exempt from prescription charges. The cost of exempting adults would be minimal. But the arrangements for exempting patients with certain chronic medical conditions requiring continuous treatment rely on the co-operation of the medical profession, whose representatives, when last consulted in 1976, did not feel able to extend the present list of conditions. I intend shortly to ask the profession to reconsider their decision. Meantime, I hope any adults with cystic fibrosis who are not eligible for exemption on other grounds such as low income will consider buying the"season ticket"which saves money for those who need frequent prescriptions.

Carlisle And Cumbria

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many pharmacies have closed in Carlisle and Cumbria, respectively, over the last three years; and how many have opened.

Over the three years from 1975 to 1977, one pharmacy closed in Carlisle and none opened. Within the remainder of the area covered by the Cumbria family practitioner committee, 10 pharmacies closed over the same period and two opened.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many doctors are now dispensing in Carlisle and Cumbria, respectively; and if he will make a statement.

tric units, but expenditure on preliminary work is as follows:

On 1st October 1978, the numbers of dispensing doctors in Carlisle and Cumbria were one and 70 respectively. I am not aware of any problem in respect of dispensing by doctors in Cumbria, but if my hon. Friend has any particular matter in mind and will write to me, I shall consider carefully what he says.

Royal Marsden Hospital (Social Worker)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when his Department intends to report on the case of the conviction of the social worker at Royal Marsden hospital, as promised to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam during the recent Adjournment debate and subsequent correspondence.

I expect to receive the Department's report very shortly. I shall write to the hon. Gentleman as soon as I can.

Self-Employed Persons(Reclassification)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total number of staff in his Department currently engaged on reclassification of self-employed as employees; and at what cost.

No staff in my Department are engaged specifically in reclassifying self-employed earners as employed earners. Indeed, if they are properly self-employed earners under the Social Security Act 1975 and regulations made under it, there is no question of classifying them as otherwise. The class of contribution a person is liable to pay under the Act depends upon the conditions of his particular employment and the Department investigates cases where the category is in doubt. This work forms a small part of the duties of some two thousand inspectors and of a small number of staff in regional offices. Categorisation policy and cases of difficulty are dealt with by about a dozen staff at headquarters. It is not possible to isolate the cost of this particular aspect of contributions work.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many employers have appealed to him in each of the last five years for which figures are available against a decision by a local Department of Health and Social Security office to reclassify a self-employed person as an employee; and in how many such cases the employer or contractor has been successful;(2) what was the total amount of back class 1 national insurance contributions paid to his Department by employers in situations where self-employed subcontractors had been reclassified as employees in each of the last five years for which figures are available;(3) what was the total number of self-employed people classified as employees by his Department in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

Detailed information of the type asked for is not available; and to

TABLE 1:
NET WEEKLY SPENDING POWER (£) OF A SINGLE MOTHER WITH 2 CHILDREN, AGED 4 AND 6; RECEIVING SUPPLEMENTARY ALLOWANCE AND EARNING £6 A WEEK
Supplementary allowanceChild benefitNet earningsRentRatesFree school mealsFree welfare milkNet weekly spending power
25·908·006·006·302·351·250·9533·45
TABLE 2:
NET WEEKLY SPENDING POWER (£) OF A SINGLE MOTHER WORKING FULL-TIME WITH £10 WORK EXPENSES.
SAME FAMILY CONSTITUTION AND RENT/RATES
Gross earningsTaxN.I.Child benefitF.I.S.Rent rebateRate rebateWork expensesFree school mealsFree welfare milkNet weekly spending power
23·641·548·0011·506·132·1610·001·250·9533·44
30·001·958·0010·004·921·7710·001·250·9536·29
35·000·412·288·007·504·291·5710·001·250·9537·22
40·001·662·608·005·003·701·3810·001·250·9537·37
45·002·912·938·002·503·281·2310·001·250·9537·72
50·004·353·258·002·851·0810·001·2536·93
55·006·003·588·002·000·7810·001·2538·80
60·007·653·908·001·150·4810·001·2540·69
66·009·634·298·000·1210·001·2542·80
68·0010·294·428·0010·001·2543·89
86·0016·235·598·0010·001·2554·78
87·0016·565·668·0010·0054·13

Notes:

N.I. = National insurance contribution at the contracted- in rate.

F.I.S. = Family Income Supplement.

the extent that it could be obtained, this could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

One-Parent Families

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will bring up to date in line with benefit changes due to take effect next November his reply to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North, Official Report 12th July, c. 615–16, showing the net weekly spending power of a lone mother at different levels of earnings and when unemployed, on the assumption that when working she is contracted in the State pension scheme.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 7th November 1978; Vol. 957 c. 147–8], gave the following information:The tables attached correspond to those included in my earlier reply, table 2 showing the levels at which, on the basis of the hon. Member's hypothetical assumptions, there may no longer be title to means-tested benefits. The hon. Member will appreciate that the figures relate only to the illustrative examples he has chosen and have no general validity.

Form Cf90

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has any plans to revise form CF90.

Form CF90 was last revised in May 1978 when it was reprinted. There are no plans for any further revision of the form.

Messrs Aubrey, Berry And Campbell (Trial)

asked the Attorney-General if he will list in the Official Report the communications which he has received both supporting and opposing his decision to commence, and to continue with, the recent prosecution of Messrs. Aubrey, Berry, and Campbell; and what reply he has sent to the trial judge concerning his strictures on the continuance of a number of the charges which were subsequently withdrawn in the course of the trial.

No. It is not the practice to list the communications which I may receive relating to my decisions as Attorney-General to consent to the prosecution of criminal offences. I have received no strictures from the trial judge to which I could reply.

British Citizens (Legal Aid Overseas)

asked the Attorney-General if legal aid is available to British citizens in connection with legal proceedings taken against them in foreign countries.

Legal aid in this country is available only for proceedings before the courts of this country. Legal aid for proceedings before the courts of a foreign country is a matter for the country concerned.

Civil Service

Retirement Age

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will take the necessary steps to enable all public servants, including Members of Parliament, to have voluntary retirement at the age of 60 years with 30 or more years' service without loss of pension rights.

No. Retiring ages must be closely related to occupational circumstances. There are no plans to change the early retirement provisions for Members of Parliament introduced as recently as 2nd August 1978 by section 1 of the Parliamentary Pensions Act 1978, which followed the recommendation in Report No. 8 by the Top Salaries Review Body.

Government Advertising

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what was the total Government expenditure during each of the last five years on advertising in English and in Welsh, respectively.

Total Government expenditure on advertising in English and in Welsh during the last five years was as follows:

EnglishWelsh
££
1973–7417,039,0005,800
1974–7515,653,0007,400
1975–7617,508,00020,200
1976–7713,936,0006,600
1977–7817,589,00015,800

Shetland (Seconded Civil Servants)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what calculation he has made of the cost to central funds of seconding civil servants on detached duty to Shetland in the period between 1st November 1977 and 31st October 1978.

I regret that this information is not held centrally and to collect it would involve disproportionate cost.

Permanent Secretary Posts

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many posts of permanent secretary rank or drawing the equivalent salary or above; and how many posts of second permanent secretary rank or drawing the equivalent salary, there are at present in the Home Civil Service.

There are at present 26 posts of permanent secretary rank, including the posts of Head of the Home Civil Service, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of the Cabinet, and 14 second permanent secretary posts in the Home Civil Service. There are no other posts at those levels attracting equivalent or higher salaries.

Remote Islands Allowance

asked the Minister for the Civil Service on what basis the remote islands allowance paid to civil servants is calculated; and when it was last reviewed.

The Scottish distant islands allowance payable to civil servants serving on certain islands was calculated in 1975 on the basis of the cost of three return journeys by sea to the mainland with a car. The rates of allowance differ according to the distance of the island from the mainland and according to marital status. The rates were last reviewed on 1st April 1978 when they were increased by 50 per cent.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service when he plans to increase the remote islands allowance.

The next normal date for reviewing the rates of allowance will be 1st April 1979. Any increase will be subject to the prevailing national incomes policy.

Defence

Prisoners Of War(Relief Organisations)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the organisations which are required to provide him with details of annual accounts relating to the operation of funds for prisoners of war; and how many of these funds have increased their capital due to expenditure being less than income over the past 10 years.

None of the organisations administering prisoner of war funds is required to furnish accounts to my right hon. Friend.

If my hon. Friend has a particular point in mind and will let me have details, I will see if I can be of help.

Tankers

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to acquire civilian tankers for use by the Navy; whether the ships concerned will be fully converted for fleet replenishment under way and manned by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; and what ships they will replace.

The Ministry of Defence is negotiating the charter of two tankers which have been built by Cammell Laird. They will be employed as support tankers and will be modified to provide limited facilities for replenishment of the fleet at sea under way, and manned by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The ships will replace two support tankers. One has already been returned to her owners; the charter of the second is due to terminate in March 1979.

Education And Science

Student Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science which categories of students aged 19 years and over are not eligible for mandatory grants; how many students are involved; and what percentage of all students this represents.

Students taking the following courses below postgraduate level in England and Wales are not eligible for mandatory awards:

  • (i) part-time courses (except for certain teacher training courses);
  • (ii) non-advanced courses;
  • (iii) most courses at independent establishments;
  • (iv) a small number of advanced courses not designated for mandatory awards.
  • It is estimated that of the home students aged 19 and over taking full-time or sandwich courses in grant-aided establishments in England and Wales—or in universities in Scotland—in 1977–78, 85,000 —some 20 percent.—were on non advanced courses or on advanced courses not designated for mandatory awards. Some of these held discretionary awards from local education authorities and others received support from other bodies —for example, industrial training boards and the Manpower Services Commission.In addition, some students attending designated courses are not eligible for mandatory awards. They include students who were not ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom for the three years before their courses, those who have previously attended certain types of course and some whose applications for awards were not made within the time limit. Their numbers are not known.

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will publish a table, with figures at current and at 1978 prices, comparing the total value of income maintenance, grant,

    Percentage that parental income represents of average earned income of male manual workers aged 21 or moreApproximate income in financial year* (£)1961–62 revalued to1977–78Maintenance grant less assessed parental; contribution in academic year † (£) 1962–63 revalued to1978–79
    1961–62prices‡1977–781962–63prices§1978–79
    75 per cent.6002,2002,9003201,2111,100
    100 per cent.8002,9003,8003041,1501,065
    200 per cent.1,6005,8007,600236893550
    300 per cent.2,4008,70011,400156590233
    * Parental contributions towards grants current in an academic year are assessed on income during the previous financial year.
    † Excluding elements for excess travel, special equipment etc. Assuming no disregards for mortgage, younger children etc.
    ‡ That is, the previous column adjusted to take account of the rise in the General Index of Retai Prices between January 1962 and January 1978.
    § That is, the previous column adjusted to take account of the rise in the General Index of Prices between September 1962 and September 1978.
    Mandatory award holders with parents whose incomes were those shown in the table also had their fees paid in both years, but these varied between types of course and between institutions.The child tax allowance for the students was £150 in the financial year 1962– 63—equivalent to £567 at 1978–79 prices on the basis of footnote (4) above —and £165 in the financial year 1978– 79 The value of this allowance to parents depends upon the tax rate that they pay, which in turn depends upon individual circumstances.This information cannot be given for discretionary awards since the local education authorities are free to decide the rates of grant, which therefore vary.

    Public Libraries (Computer-Stored Data)

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is child tax allowances and fees, available to students eligible for (a) mandatory and (b) discretionary grants, in 1960–61 and in 1978–79, assuming parental income equal to 75 per cent., 100 per cent., 200 per cent. and 300 per cent. of average male manual earnings in each year, and that there are no disregards for mortgage, younger children, etc.

    The current system of mandatory local education authority awards was introduced in 1962–63, data for which are compared with 1978–79 in the table below covering dependent students holding mandatory awards for study outside London, Oxford or Cambridge and living in college halls of residence.the total number of public libraries in the United Kingdom; and how many of these have direct access to a computer-stored data system.

    The latest figure published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting is for 1976–77, when a total of 5,703 public service outlets were being operated by the 165 library authorities in the United Kingdom. A survey recently carried out by Miss Stella Keenan of Loughborough university showed that 14 authorities' libraries had direct access to external computer-stored data systems and a further 11 authorities were planning to make similar arrangements within the next three years.

    Full-Time Students

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many full-time students are currently receiving grants; and what is the cost.

    For the academic year 1976–77, the latest year for which complete information is available, the local education authorities in England and Wales, the research councils and the Department of Education and Science were responsible for 394,000 awards that were designed to cover the full cost of fees and maintenance of full-time students —subject to deductions on account of parental etc. contributions. The total value of the maintenance elements of these awards was about £245 million and the total fees expenditure about £85 million. In addition, local education authorities reported lesser value awards to about 47,000 students at a total cost of £6 million.

    Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will list in the Official Report those education authorities which underspent in 1977–78.

    Overall, local authority expenditure on education in 1977–78 was about 2½ per cent. below the level of expenditure estimated for the purposes of the rate support grant settlement for that year. The settlement figure is, however, an estimate based on national assumptions and trends: it cannot be related to the circumstances of individual local education authorities.

    Secondary School Pupils

    asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information she has regarding those education authorities in England and Wales, which, against a national background of a falling secondary school population, are expecting an increase in the number of secondary school pupils in their county or in certain areas within their county over the next five years; and if she will publish a list of the places so affected.

    This information is not readily available, but I will arrange for it to be circulated in the Official Report at an early date.

    Home Department

    Remembrance Days (Wreath-Laying Ceremony)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now make arrangements that the representatives of the war widows will be officially included at the national wreath-laying ceremony at Whitehall on all future remembrance days.

    I have nothing to add to my answer of 27th November to the hon. Gentleman.—[Vol. 959, c. 11–12.]

    Departmental Criminal Section (Staff)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many civil servants are employed in the criminal section of the Home Office; and how many of them are qualified lawyers.

    On 1st November 1978, 151 administrative staff were employed in the criminal justice and criminal policy department, two of whom hold legal qualifications of some kind. In addition, there were two advisers who were formerly justices' clerks. The professional legal staff of the Home Office. comprising 14 barristers and three solicitors, form a separate branch serving the whole of the Department.

    Prisoners (Remission Criteria)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will indicate the criteria used in deciding to remit the rest of a prisoner's sentence, and also the criteria employed in referring a case back to the Court of Appeal: and if he will make a statement;(2) if, in the light of the McMahon case, he will make a statement concerning the criteria that he uses when deciding to refer a case to the Court of Appeal under section 17(1)(

    b) rather than under section 17(1)( a) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968.

    Remission of a prisoner's sentence may be justified by a wide variety of circumstances. Where the point at issue is doubt about the rightness of a convention it is highly desirable, as a matter of principle, that this should be resolved by the courts. The normal criteria for referring a case to the Court of Appeal under section 17(1)(a) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, under which the whole of the case is referred and then treated for all purposes as an appeal, were stated by my predecessor in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) on 8th April 1976. They are whether there is some new consideration of substance which has not previously been considered by a court; whether it raises such doubt about the rightness of a conviction or sentence that the Court of Appeal might find grounds for varying the decisions previously reached; and whether it could properly be considered by the court. If the new material cannot properly be considered by the court, but nevertheless raises substantial doubt as to the rightness of the conviction, the Home Secretary considers recommending the remission of the remainder of the sentence.When the most recent new evidence in Mr. McMahon's case was brought to my attention I decided that a reference to the Court of Appeal under section 17(1) (

    b) of the Act was the appropriate course of action because the Court had already considered the whole of Mr. McMahon's case on three occasions—once on original appeal and twice by reference under section 17(1)( a). The point on which I requested the court's opinion was whether, if the new evidence were tendered in the course of an appeal arising from a reference under section 17(1)( a), the court would regard itself as required to receive it by virtue of section 23(2) of the Act. The court's opinion was that the new evidence was not likely to be credible and would not afford any ground for allowing the appeal.

    Mr A R Pearce

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the hon. Member for Chertsey and Walton may expect an answer to his letter of 3rd October concerning his constituent, Mr. A. R. Pearce.

    As the hon. Member is aware, we had to obtain a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on the matters raised. This has now been received, and my noble Friend the Minister of State has now written to the hon. Member.

    National Finance

    Uncollected Taxes

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report the letter he sent dated 28th September 1978 to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr which gave figures for uncollected income tax, surtax, corporation tax and capital gains tax for the accounting year to 31st October 1977; and when the corresponding figures for the year to 31st October 1978 will be available.

    National Newspapers(Employment And Taxation Arrangements)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the Inland Revenue's report on employment arrangements in the national newspapers;(2) how many ghost workers have been revealed by the Inland Revenue's investigation into employment and taxation arrangements in the national newspapers;(3) what estimate he has of the amount of unpaid income tax owing to the Inland Revenue as a result of fraudulent practices among workers on the national newspapers;(4) what steps he proposes to take to eliminate fraudulent tax practices among workers employed on the national newspapers;(5) which trade union representatives have been interviewed by the Inland Revenue in connection with its inquiry into fraudulent tax practices among employees in the national newspapers.

    I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) on 24th November.—[Vol. 958, c. 795– 96.]

    Nationalised Industries (Car Purchases)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what means he proposes to prevent nationalised industries from purchasing Ford motor cars.

    Nationalised industries have been informed of the terms of the Government's decision in this matter and are being invited to take account of it in their own arrangements.

    Personal Incomes

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing for 1949–50, 1960–61, 1973–74 and 1978–79 the effective rate of income tax plus national insurance contribution, contracted-in to the State pension scheme in 1978–79, for each of a single person, a two-wage married couple, a single-wage married couple and single-wage married couples with each of two children aged 14 and 12 years and four children aged 16, 14, 12 and 9 years, assuming income

    EFFECTIVE RATE OF INCOME TAX PLUS NATIONAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS
    YearSingle person percentageMarried couple percentageMarried couple(bothworking) percentageMarried couple 2 children aged 14 and 12percentageMarried couple 4 children aged 16, 14 12 and 9 percentage
    50 per cent, of average earnings—
    1949–509·56·912·36·45·7
    1960–6112·97·812·36·55·7
    1973–7420·115·08·26·66·1
    1978–79 (estimate)22·114·26·59·96·5
    75 per cent, of average earnings—
    1949–5013·36·58·24·44·0
    1960–6115·610·48·84·44·0
    1973–7425·021·711·314·49·4
    1978–79 (estimate)27·922·412·518·314·7
    Average earnings—
    1949–5016·010·46·13·43·1
    1960–6118·513·69·55·23·1
    1973–7427·525·017·219·415·3
    1978–79 (estimate)30·826·718·023·320·3
    200 per cent, of average earnings—
    1949–5024·620·412·813·58·3
    1960–6124·321·815·615·69·9
    1973–7429·428·126·125·323·0
    1978–79 (estimate)33·231·228·729·327·5
    300 per cent, of average earnings—
    1948–5028·425·617·720·916·5
    1960–6127·425·220·520·416·5
    1973–7430·829·728·227·225·3
    1978–79 (estimate)38·035·733·333·932·2
    For 1949–50 and 1960–61 the average earnings are the annual equivalents of the average weekly earnings of males aged 21 and over in manufacturing and certain other industries in October in each year. For 1973–74 the figures are based on the averages of the new earnings survey estimates of the average earnings of full time adult male manual workers at the start and finish of each tax year. To give an estimate for 1978–79, the April 1978 new earnings survey figure has been updated to September 1978, the latest month for which a figure is available.

    all earned and equivalent to 50 per cent., 75 per cent., 100 per cent., 200 per cent. and 300 per cent. of average earnings, that there are no allowances other than personal allowances, and taking into account the value of family allowances and child benefits where appropriate.

    The figures are as follows:In the case of the two-wage married couple it has been assumed that each earns 50 per cent. of a joint income equivalent in total to the specified proportion of average earnings, that the wife would pay the full national insurance contribution rate and that for 1978–79 the couple on three times average earnings would have elected to have the wife's earnings taxed as if she were a single person.In calculating the effective rates, family allowance and child benefit are included in income where appropriate. The increase in child benefit in the course of 1978– 79 has been taken into account in the figures for married couples with children.

    Petrol Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has assessed the extent to which owners of petrol-engined boats and other craft will have to pay increased taxation when the tax on petrol is raised by 20p per gallon in order to compensate for abolition of vehicle taxation; and, if so, what is the estimated total increased revenue which will be obtained from this source.

    No estimate has been made, but the additional revenue is likely to be small.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has assessed the extent to which users of motor cycles would pay increased taxation if the tax on petrol should be raised by 20p per gallon in order to compensate for abolition of vehicle taxation; and, if so, what is the estimated total increased revenue which would be obtained from this source.

    It has been estimated that there would be little change in tax revenue from this source.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has assessed the extent to which owners of lawnmowers would have to pay increased taxation if the tax on petrol should be raised by 20p per gallon in order to compensate for abolition of vehicle taxation; and, if so, what is the estimated total increased revenue which will be obtained from this source.

    No estimate has been made, but the additional revenue is likely to be small.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has assessed the extent to which owners of petrol engined aircraft will have to pay increased taxation when the tax on petrol is raised by 20p per gallon in order to compensate for abolition of vehicle taxation; and, if so, what is the estimated total increased revenue which will be obtained from this source.

    It is estimated that the additional revenue would be about £2 million in a full year.

    Textiles (Eec Directive)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is satisfied with the operation of the EEC directive on public purchasing so far as textile goods are concerned; and if he will make a statement.

    I am far from being satisfied with the general operation of the EEC second supplies directive with which certain member States are not complying. We have made formal representations to the EEC Commission, which is taking action to secure early compliance, and we are maintaining pressure to ensure that the action will be effective. As regards the advertising of textiles requirements, the position remains as set out in my answer of 23rd November to the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton).

    Irish Republic (Exchequer Control)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what powers exist to impose exchange control against the Irish Republic.

    Powers to control financial transactions with the Republic of Ireland are contained in the Exchange Control Act 1947 and exchange control under them could be imposed in appropriate circumstances.

    Value Added Tax Officials(Court Case)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is satisfied as to the conduct of the value added tax officials who were found in the case of Wat (trading as Kam Tong Restaurant) v. Customs and Excise to have extracted a false confession from a taxpayer who was scared as he had been warned that he might be imprisoned or deported.

    Earnings

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report the effects of higher earnings on (a) growth projections and (b) employment projections from the latest Treasury forecast for each I per cent. increase in earnings above the 5 per cent. target; and during what time span he expects these effects to become known.

    No. Higher earnings not matched by increases in productivity will result in higher inflation, and lower growth and employment, but the precise relationships, apart from their uncertainty, depend heavily on the assumptions made about monetary policy, exchange rate policy and many other variables.

    Elsie Mackay Fund

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the proceeds of the fund announced in the House in July 1928 and known as the Elsie MacKay Fund are to be surrendered for the reduction of the national debt; and if he will announce what action he proposes to take.

    Almost 50 years have elapsed since the establishment of this fund, under a trust deed dated 13th December 1928. The latest possible date of application of the fund, therefore, would have been 13th December 1978. The managing trustees have decided that the date for the securities to be transferred to the names of the commissioners for the reduction of the national debt shall in fact be Monday 4th December. The market value of the gilt-edged securities held in the fund at the close of busi-

    1976–771977–781978–79
    £££
    Department of Education and Science and Department of Employment jointly: for education and training of trade unionists400,000642,0001,000,000
    Ministry of Overseas Development: for training of overseas trade unionists as part of the Aid Programme35,47875,000
    Treasury: for communicating the Governments' industrial strategy50,000

    Overseas Development

    Falkland Islands (Airfield Runway)

    45.

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the current estimate of the cost of extending the airfield runway of the Falkland Islands.

    I have no current estimate and extensive studies would be required in order to arrive at a realistic figure.

    ness on 30th November was £4·7 million. There will also be some £526,000 in cash to be paid over to the commissioners, just over £100,000 of which is not payable until early January.

    European Community (Audit Board's Report)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the EEC Audit Board due for publication on 30th November.

    pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 1st December 1978], gave the following information:The report of the EEC Court of Auditors relating to the Community accounts for the calendar year 1977 has not yet been published but a copy will be placed in the Library as soon as it is available.

    Trades Union Congress (Public Funds)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what sums have been paid from public funds to the Trades Union Congress during each of the last four years; and what sums are due to be paid during the current financial year.

    pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 1st December 1978], gave the following information:Nothing was paid before 1976– 77. Since then the following amounts have been or are due to be paid:

    Science And Technology For Development (United Nations Conference)

    47.

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development what preparations her Department is making for the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development.

    We are participating in the many international preparatory meetings for this conference. A British national paper has been prepared and sent to the conference secretariat. I am placing a copy in the Library. We have increased our support for appropriate technology, and are planning to expand our work on renewable energy sources as part of our continuing programme of science and technology for development.

    Charitable Aid

    48.

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she proposes to increase the amount of aid channelled through charities such Oxfam.

    Yes. I hope their use of my joint funding scheme will continue to increase. Expenditure on the scheme has risen from £25,000 when it was first introduced to £1·25 million this year.

    Hong Kong (Hospital Development)

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development if her Department is co-operating with the Hong Kong Government in the development of four major hospitals with a total of 1,400 beds to be completed in the next decade.

    No. My Department is not involved in this work but is, of course, aware of it.

    Crown Agents

    50.

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she has any further statements to make regarding the Crown Agents.

    Not at this stage, but I shall bring forward the Bill to incorporate the Crown Agents in the early new year.

    Zambia (Aid Projects)

    49.

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development how many British citizens and their familities are now in Zambia in connection with development aid projects; and what was the total in September 1977.

    At the end of October, there were 976 British citizens in Zambia whose remuneration was being met in whole or in part from our aid programme. Of these, 732 were married. Figures for September 1977 are not avail- able but at the end of 1977 the number was 1,042 of whom 833 were married.

    Scotland

    Forfar Bypass

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the costs involved in creating a Forfar bypass; and whether further feasibility studies are required before a final route is chosen.

    The preliminary studies made by the local highway authority before the route was trunked suggested a cost of £3 million for the bypass. Further studies are required to establish a more up-to-date cost and a preferred route.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what studies he has instituted to determined the effects on Forfar of increased road traffic flows when the road through Forfar becomes the main oil-related route; and what steps are being taken to mitigate the effects of increased road traffic through Forfar before the projected bypass is completed.

    Earlier this year Tayside regional council carried out safety and maintenance surveys of the newly trunked road within the town.As a result the following measures have been approved and will be done as soon as practicable:

  • (i) Improvement of street lighting on A929.
  • (ii) Extension of the 30 m.p.h. limit on A929 and A94 by approximately 100 yards.
  • (iii) Resiting of bus laybys on Dundee Loan (A929).
  • (iv) Use of traffic wardens at peak hours to control two junctions on A94.
  • Flashing amber lights have been installed at three school crossings. Some £60,000 has been spent on improving and modifying the surface of the road and this work will continue in spring 1979.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with proposed road safety measures in Forfar prior to the completion of a Forfar bypass; and what funds he will make available to assist in the creation of further road safety improvements in the burgh.

    My right hon. Friend is considering proposals for waiting restrictions on the trunk road in Forfar, and will shortly be consulting interested organisations. It is for Tayside regional council, as local highway authority, to consider what safety measures are appropriate for other roads in the town.

    Listed Buildings

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the procedure for informing owners of property that they are in possession of listed buildings and outlining their legal responsibilities.

    When a property is added to the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest the appropriate planning authority is notified. The planning authority has a statutory obligation to serve a notice on every owner, occupier or lessee of the property advising them that it has been listed. At the same time information is provided about the main features of the listed buildings legislation.

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the categories of listed buildings; and if he will explain the restrictions placed on owners or tenants in each of the categories.

    Listed buildings are in three categories—A, B and C in order of importance. Any proposal to demolish any listed building regardless of its category or to alter or extend it in such a way as would affect its character requires listed building consent before works can proceed.

    Arbroath High School

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the new Arbroath high school to be built, in the light of the existing inadequacies in school building in Arbroath.

    Tayside regional council has included a proposed new school to replace the present Arbroath high school buildings in its most recent capital expenditure plan, with a start date in 1981–82 and expenditure falling mainly in 1982–83 and 1983–84. Progress with this project will depend on the amounts of capital expenditure on education which the council can be authorised to incur in the period involved and on decisions by the council on priorities within its authorisations. Capital guidelines intimated to authorities so far do not extend beyond 1981–82.

    Unemployed Teachers, Ayrshire

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current number of registered unemployed qualified teachers in (a) the primary and (b) the secondary school sector in Ayrshire; and if he will make a statement.

    On 14th September 1978, the latest available date, 88 qualified primary teachers and 22 qualified secondary teachers were registered as unemployed in Ayrshire.

    Careers Officers (Dispute)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the dispute involving careers officers employed by Scottish regional authorities.