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Written Answers

Volume 961: debated on Monday 22 January 1979

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 22nd January 1979

Monetary Growth

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether, in his capacity as economic adviser to the Government, he is satisfied with the rate of monetary growth in the United Kingdom.

Northern Ireland

Political Talks

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what basis he intends to pursue further consultations with the various political groups in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

I think that I can best answer the question by publishing in the Official Report the text of a letter which I sent recently to the leaders of the four main political parties in Northern Ireland.

Following is the text of a letter sent by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 16 January 1979 to the leaders of the Ulster Unionist Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Alliance Party and the Democratic Unionist Party:

"Before Christmas I talked with you and with the leaders of the other major parties in Northern Ireland about the possibility of making some political progress. Before our next talks I thought it might be helpful to you and to the other party leaders to whom I am writing similarly, to set out the basis on which I believe that such progress can be made.

"First, we must all recognise the fact that people in Northern Ireland have different long-term aspirations. Some want to maintain the union with Great Britain, others want to see a United Ireland. I believe, however, that all four parties in Northern Ireland accept, as do the main parties at Westminster, that the constitutional status of Northern Ireland can be changed only with the consent of its people.

"I believe also that all those parties want to see the early establishment as soon as possible of some form of devolved administration so that the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland have a substantial measure of control over the affairs of their region. But any system of devolved government in Northern Ireland, if it is to be effective and durable, must be such that both sides are willing to support it. It must be a system in which elected representatives from both sides of the community would be willing to participate. This is what I mean by 'acceptable'.

"Just over a year ago I set out five points which seemed to me to be basic elements in any acceptable system. In discussions one possible model of a system was put before you which had been evolved in the light of earlier exploratory talks and which sought to exploit what seemed to be common ground and to avoid particular points of difficulty. This was illustrative—a basis for discussion—and I am not committed to it. The one thing to which I am committed above all is the principle of acceptability.

"Perhaps I might remind you of the very considerable devolved powers I visualised in the first stage of the proposals I made over a year ago—these could have comprised all the executive powers held by the 1974 Executive—that is, responsibility for the activities of all the Northern Ireland Departments including such subjects as industry, agriculture, housing, education, health and the environment. In addition the Assembly would have been able to debate and to move amendments to proposals for legislation and also to initiate such proposals.

"In the earlier discussions the parties insisted on seeking guarantees of their long-term aspirations. The differences in those aspirations are not capable of resolution now. They do not need to be resolved now in order to establish a system of devolved government which need in no way prejudice those aspirations. If the parties continue to concentrate on long-term aspirations no progress will be possible and there is then no alternative to the continuance of direct rule. The way forward is for the party leaders to agree to differ about them for the present, to concentrate on finding common ground

on which to base a practical, acceptable system by which real power can be devolved now.

"Before Christmas I had a first round of talks with each of the main parties. In each case we were agreed that further discussion was appropriate and necessary. I am encouraged by this. Specific ideas have come in from some of the parties. I am encouraged by the fresh thoughts and by the signs of flexibility and of a readiness to recognise the interests of others. I look forward to carrying this further in the second round of talks on which we are agreed. If we enter these talks constructively real progress can be made. For my part I am fully committed to the search for an acceptable basis for devolution and the ending of direct rule."

Home Department

Metropolitan Police Constables (Pay Rates)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the rate of pay on 23rd December 1978 of a Metropolitan Police constable at Oxford Street engaged on anti-terrorist duty.

The pay of a Metropolitan Police constable is determined according to his reckonable service on a scale of £3,189 a year—before completing one year of service—to £4,809 a year—after 15 years of service.In addition, together with overtime payments and allowances as appropriate, he receives £319 a year London weighting and £325 a year London allowance.

United Nations Convention On Refugees

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provisions of United Kingdom law give effect to articles 3, 17, 24, 28, 31, 32 and 33 of the United Nations Convention on Refugees.

At the time of ratification of the convention in 1954, it was considered that statutory provisions were not necessary to enable the United Kingdom to meet its obligations under it. I have under consideration a number of suggestions in this connection made to me by the London representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Chilean Refugees

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the criteria for allowing entry of Chilean refugees since 1973 have included the requirement that applicants should have ties with the United Kingdom and responsible sponsorship.

Since the Latin American refugee programme was first announced in November 1973, the criteria for acceptance of persons for settlement have been varied to suit changing circumstances. The requirement for an applicant to have ties with the United Kingdom and responsible sponsorship was present in the original scheme but not in the scheme introduced in 1976 in response to an appeal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for those most in danger in Argentina. The stipulation of ties was re-introduced as a result of the review completed last June and is part of current policy.

Prison Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the report on the inquiry into the prison service, currently being undertaken, will contain any recommendations on the treatment of young offenders.

The committee of inquiry into the United Kingdom prison service has not completed its work. It is an independent committee, and I am not in a position to say what recommendations it will in due course make.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, on what date he intends to publish the report on the inquiry into the prison service currently being undertaken.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the report of the Home Office inquiry set up to look into the conditions of service in Her Majesty's prisons.

I have nothing to add at this stage to the reply I gave to Questions by the hon. Members for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr. Bowden) and the City of London and Westminster, South (Mr. Brooke) on 30th November.—[Vol. 959, c. 355.]

Industry

Pay Settlements (Government Action)

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what sanctions he has asked the nationalised industries under his sponsorship to employ against the Ford Motor Company.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Latham) on Monday 15th January 1979.—[Vol. 960, cc. 591–592].

Lead Acid And Sodium Sulphur Batteries

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, from studies supported by his Department, if he will indicate in reference to lead acid and sodium sulphur batteries relative weights per unit of output, energy produced by each, input cost of basic materials and the cost of the refrigeration requirements of the latter.

Although the sodium-sulphur battery is not yet fully developed, it is expected that its weight will be approximately one-fifth of that of a lead acid traction battery producing the same power output. Energy produced is proportional to range which for a practical vehicle is predicted as about 150 miles for the sodium-sulphur propelled vehicle as compared with some 60 miles for a lead acid propelled vehicle. The current cost of the basic materials only for a sodium-sulphur battery is 47p per kilowatt hour, which compares with £12·50 for a lead acid battery, but although production costs of sodium sulphur batteries are not yet known it is clear that they will result in a much smaller cost difference than that for basic materials. The sodium sulphur battery does not require refrigeration; on the contrary, thermal insulation is necessary to prevent it from cooling too much during inactive periods.

Cambridge Instrument Co Ltd

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much public money has been committed altogether to the Cambridge Instrument Company Ltd. either by way of equity or of loan facilities, up to 20 January.

£7,520,000 in equity and loans. Loan facilities are commercially confidential.

Education And Science

International Year Of The Child

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action she is taking to support the International Year of the Child.

My Department is co-operating with other Departments in a concerted Government response to the International Year of the Child. The Department of Health and Social Security is taking the lead in these arrangements and I refer my hon. Friend to the replies she received from my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Security on 2 August 1978—[Vol. 955, c. 448–9]—and today, and to his reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones) on 5 December.—[Vol. 959, c. 623–4.]

House Of Commons

Select Committee Reports

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will publish a table for each Session since 1970–71, inclusive, showing the reports of Select Committees which have been debated in the House, the date of the debate, and the nature of the parliamentary occasion, namely, Supply day, Government motion, Opposition motion or Private Member's motion, and the reports which have not been debated.

Information regarding reports debated in Sessions 1970–71 to 1976–77 was set out in my answer to the right hon. Member on 5 December 1977.—[Vol. 940, c. 477–80.] A similar list of reports debated since then is set out in table A below. A list of reports made by Select Committees in Sessions 1970–71 to 1976–77 was included in the table I placed in the Library on 10 January 1978 in response to a Question by the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley)—[Vol. 941, c. 700.] A list of reports, but excluding special reports, made since then is set out in table B below. These lists do not include reports made by Select Committees charged with functions in respect of Private Bills, nor

TABLE A
DEBATES ON REPORTS OF SELECT COMMITTEES IN SESSION 1977–78 AND SESSION 1978–79, TO DATE
CommitteeReportDateOccasion
Expenditure1st (1976–77)12th June 1978Supply Day
11th (1976–77)15th January 1979Supply Day
2nd (1977–78)16th March 1978Government Motion
12th (1977–78)15th January 1978Supply Day
House of Commons4th and 5th (1976–77)26th January 1978Government Motion
7th (1976–77)21st February 1978Government Motion
4th (1977–78)29th June 1978Government Motion
5th (1977–78)28th July 1978Government Motion
Nationalised Industries1st, 2nd and 5th (1977–78)9th March 1978Supply Day
Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration1st, and 4th (1977–78)1st December 1978Private Member's Motion
Public Accounts1st-10th (1976–77)9th January 1978Suppply Day
1st-10th (1977–78)4th December 1978Supply Day
Violence in MarriageReport (1974–75)16th June 1978Private Member's Motion in Government time
Violence in the Family1st (1975–76) and 1st and 2nd (1976–77)16th June 1978Private Member's Motion in Government time
SELECT COMMITTEE REPORTS MADE IN SESSIONS 1977–78 AND 1978–79, TO DATE, BUT NOT DEBATED
Expenditure—
1977–781st, 3rd to 11th, and 13th to 15th Report
1978–791st and 2nd Report
House of Commons (Services)—
1977–781st to 3rd and 6th to 10th Report
1978–791st and 2nd Report
Nationalised Industries—
1977–783rd and 4th and 6th to 10th Report
Overseas Development—
1977–781st and 2nd Report
Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration—
1977–782nd, 3rd and 5th Report
1978–791st Report
Privileges—
1977–781st and 2nd Report
1978–791st Report
Procedure—
1977–781st Report
Science and Technology—
1977–781st to 4th Report
Race Relations and Immigration—
1977–781st Report

Overseas Development

International Year Of The Child

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what action she is taking to support the international year of the child.

with the reports of the Joint Committee on Consolidation, &c. Bills, of the Joint Committee and Select Committee on Statutory Instruments or of the Select Committee on European Legislation &c., which are numerous and are not normally specifically debated in the House.

Our contribution to UNICEF's regular budget has been increased by £1·3 million to £5·8 million in 1979. In addition, we have contributed £150,000 over three years towards the cost of the international secretariat for the international year of the child established by UNICEF in New York.

We have made a grant of £40,000 towards a seminar run by the Institute of Child Health, in London, to consider how best school-age children in developing countries could concern themselves with the welfare of younger children. We hope also to give financial assistance towards projects for children in developing countries put forward by the United Kingdom voluntary organisations. But, of course, the whole emphasis of all our aid strategy is to create better conditions for the children of the world.

Aid

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what percentage of foreign aid to (a) the Commonwealth and (b) foreign nations is tied to the purchase of British goods; and whether there has been any recent alterations in these percentages.

In 1977, the proportion of our bilateral aid which was fully tied to British goods and services was 57·7 per cent. for Commonwealth countries and 76·2 per cent. for non-Commonwealth countries. A further 23·1 per cent. and 11·1 per cent. respectively was partly tied, that is available for the purchase of goods and services either from the United Kingdom or from the poorest developing countries.Figures for 1978 will not be available until April, but there have been no recent alterations.

European Community (Member States' Aid)

asked the Minister of Overseas Development why the EEC Commission has paid over only one-fifth of the aid provided to developing countries under the 1975 Lomé Convention; what is being done to remedy the situation; what has been each member State's contribution so far, as a percentage of its gross national product; and what will be each member State's contribution as a percentage of its gross national product when the whole £1,700 million worth of aid is finally given.

The aid provisions of the Convention came into force at 1 April 1976. From then until 31 August 1978 some 1,380 mua—about £930 million—or 44 per cent. of the fourth European development fund—EDF—was committed, of which some 390 mua—about £260 million—was spent. This rate is disappointing, but I hope it will now improve. In the negotiations for a new Convention which are now taking place, the need for improved procedures is very much on the agenda, and we support this. It is of course also important that any changes should not increase the risk of the fund financing projects of doubtful development value.Community member States' contributions due to the fourth EDF up to the end of 1978 were as follows:

Belgium36·875 mua(£24·706 million)
Denmark14·160 mua(£9·487 million)
Germany153·105 mua(£102·580 million)
France153·105 mua(£102·580 million)
Ireland3·540 mua(£2·372 million)
Italy70·800 mua(£47·436 million)
Luxembourg1·180 mua(£0·795 million)
Netherlands46·905 mua(£31·426 million)
Great Britain110·350 mua(£73·921 million)
Total590·000 mua(£395·303 million)
Member State's total contributions to the EDF will be as follows:

Belgium196·875 mua(£131·906 million)
Denmark75·600 mua(£50·652 million)
Germany817·425 mua(£547·674 million)
France817·425 mua(£547·674 million)
Ireland18·900 mua(£12·663 million)
Italy378·000 mua(£253·260 million)
Luxembourg6·300 mua(£4·221 million)
Netherlands250·425 mua(£167·784 million)
Great Britain589·050 mua(£394·663 million)
Total3,150·000 mua(£2,111 million)
Contributions to the EDF in 1976 and 1977—the last two years for which figures are available—as percentages of GNP were—

19761977
Belgium0·0160·028
Denmark0·0110·021
France0·0130·025
Germany0·0130·016
Ireland0·016*
ItalyNil0·032
Luxembourg0·013*
Netherlands0·0150·027
United Kingdom0·0140·028
* Figure not yet available.
GNP figures for future years are not known.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Director General Of Fair Trading

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection when he expects next to meet the Director General of Fair Trading.

My right hon. Friend last met the Director General on 9 January. He has no plans to meet him again in the immediate future, but Ministers and officials are regularly in contact with the Director and his staff.

Brewing Industry

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he is satisfied with the proposals of the Brewers' Society for improving competition in the brewing industry.

Yes. I believe that the proposals which the Brewers' Society have put forward, and which I set out to the House in my answer on 11 December to my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Grocott), will increase competition between public houses and improve consumer choice within public houses.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will refer to the Price Commission for investigation the brewing industry, in the event of any proposals to increase the price of beer and ale during the next six months.

It is for the Price Commission to decide whether to investigate individual price increases.The Price Commission published a report on beer prices and margins in July 1977. Since then, as my right lion. Friend explained on 11 December in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Grocott), the Brewers' Society has undertaken a comprehensive review of local monopolies in the industry, which provides for exchanges of public houses and of draught ales. This action is aimed at meeting criticisms of the structure of the industry made by the Price Commission. My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to direct the Commission to undertake another examination of this industry.

Motor Vehicles (Body Protection)

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will investigate the claims made on behalf of certain cleansing materials in regard to persistent motor car body protection; and if he will take steps to prevent the misleading advertising of such products.

If my hon. Friend will let me have full details I will look into the matter.

Consumer Credit

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many representations his Department has received since April 1977 expressing concern about the provisions contained in section 155 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974; and if he will make a statement.

Since April 1977 my Department has received eight representations about section 155. The majority was from consumers who were concerned to obtain their rights; the others were on behalf of brokers who were critical of the provision. I understand that the Director General of Fair Trading has received over 50 written complaints or inquiries showing a similar pattern. He is statutorily responsible for keeping the working of the Act under review and, if experience showed that amendment was needed, he would doubtless so advise my right hon. Friend.

Estate Agents

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection under what authority junior members of his staff have been contacting estate agents in 1979 seeking information by telephone from junior staff without any establishment of the official's status and without speaking to partners or people in responsible positions; and what is the purpose of these inquiries.

I believe that the hon. Member may be referring to inquiries undertaken by the staff of the Price Commission in pursuit of its current examination of fees and charges made by estate agents. I have accordingly asked the chairman of the Price Commission to write to the hon. Member.

Inflation

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what is the cumulative increase in inflation since February 1974.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Morrison) earlier today.

Trade

Electronics Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proposals he has for reducing the unfair competition suffered by the electronics industry from producers from the Far East.

Action against allegedly unfair—that is, dumped or subsidised—imports is now the responsibility of the EEC.If the electronics industry is able to present evidence of either dumping or subsidisation, then my Department is ready to advise on the preparation of an appropriate application to the Commission for anti-dumping or countervailing action.

Oil Spillage And Pollution

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if a disaster on a similar scale to that which occurred to the "Amoco Cadiz" took place off the North-East coast of Scotland who would be in charge of operations to deal with it, and, in particular, how many miles of boom, how many ships, "honey wagons", road and rail tankers, and dump trucks would be available.

Should there be an abnormally large spill off the North-East coast of Scotland in any way comparable to that of the "Amoco Cadiz", clean-up operations at sea would be directed by the marine pollution control unit being established by my Department. Clean-up operations close inshore and on shore would be the responsibility of the maritime local authorities concerned, with the support of the Scottish Office. The Scottish Office and the other environment Departments are currently consulting the local authority associations to see whether any improvements can be made in the present arrangements for beach cleaning following a major spill. There would be close liaison and co-operation between operations at sea and on land.Although it is not possible to make precise estimates, in such circumstances substantial resources, including the Government's stockpile of more sophisticated and expensive items of beach cleaning equipment, would progressively be brought to bear both from the immediate locality and from further afield, even overseas.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will commission further research into methods for dealing with pollution caused by bunker oil.

I refer the right hon. Member to paragraphs 14 and 15 of the Government's Reply to the Fourth Report from the Select Committee on Science and Technology on the "Eleni V" incident—Cmnd. 7429, which deals with the scope for improving in the short term the methods available for dealing with heavy oils, including fuel oils, at sea.We are reviewing the Government's research and development programme on methods of dealing with oil spills at sea as part of the follow up work to the report "Accidents at Sea Causing Oil Pollution: Review of Contingency Measures", which was published last August. We hope to publish the results next month.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether his Department has concluded discussions with the Treasury and the Department of Industry over expansion of Warren Spring laboratory's research and development programme into oil pollution control and if he will make a statement.

We are reviewing the Government's research and development programme on methods of dealing with oil spills at sea as part of the follow up work to the report, "Accidents at Sea Causing Oil Pollution: Review of Contingency Measures", which was published last August: we hope to publish the results next month.

Animals (Experiments)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will list, by species, numbers and destination, living animals exported abroad for experimental purposes in 1977 and 1978.

This information is not available: the overseas Trade Statistics do not distinguish animals exported for use in experiments from those exported for other purposes.

Scottish Assembly

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations or other indications of opinion he has received from within and outwith the United Kingdom about the effects on trade outlets for Scottish industry and commerce after the establishment of the Assembly: and if he will make a statement.

Trade Disputes (Exports)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what representations he has received from the British Textile Employers' Association relating to the lorry drivers' strike; and if he will make a statement on his Department's assessment of the loss of exports resulting from this strike, the dispute involving the tanker drivers, and the unofficial action being taken by certain employees of the North-West water authority.

I have not received any. It is not possible at this stage to assess accurately the loss in exports that may result from industrial disputes.

Air Canada

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the present state of his efforts to persuade Air Canada to use Gatwick as its London terminal.

The transfer of Canadian services to Gatwick is still under discussion with Air Canada and the Canadian Government and the last meetting was held on 8 January 1979. Discussions are also proceeding on the transfer of British Airways' Canadian services to Gatwick.

Gatwick (Airline Use)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if consideration has been given to requesting airlines of countries in South America and West Africa to transfer to Gatwick; and if he will make a statement.

The services of all airlines were taken into account in developing the policy, announced on 5 April 1977, to relieve congestion at Heathrow by the transfer of air services to Gatwick. However, the immediate emphasis was placed on transfers involving major blocks of traffic.

Tugs (Orkney And Shetland)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that there are sufficient tugs to handle tanker traffic and possible accidents in Orkney, Shetland and the adjacent sea areas.

There are three tugs at Flotta and four at Sullom Voe. The adequacy of such vessels for Shetland and adjacent waters, as well as the routeing of tankers in this sea area, will be discussed by representatives of the Shetland Islands council and my officials on 25 January. Thereafter I will write to the right hon. Member.

Mrv "Seaspring" (Upkeep And Operation)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what proportion of expenditure by the Warren Spring laboratory on research into oil pollution control methods has been allocated during 1978–79 to the upkeep and operation of MRV "Seaspring".

Reciprocal Enforcement Of Judgments Convention

asked the Attorney-General what is his policy towards ratification by Her Majesty's Government of the reciprocal enforcement of judgments convention; and if he will make a statement.

I assume that the hon. Member's Question relates to the accession of the United Kingdom to the EEC convention of 27 September 1968 on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. A convention on the accession of the new member States to this convention was signed on behalf of the United Kingdom on 9 October 1978. Substantial legislation will be required before the convention can be ratified. Work on the preparation of that legislation is currently being done in the Department of my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor.

Official Secrets Act

asked the Attorney-General when he hopes to complete his study on the alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act by Mr. Chapman Pincher and former members of MI5.

Children's Legal Centre

asked the Attorney General if his right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor has received a request for funds for the children's legal centre from the United Kingdom Association for the International Year of the Child; if a sum has been granted; and, if so, how much.

My noble Friend, the Lord Chancellor, along with other Ministers, has received a request for funds from the International Year of the Child for a children's legal centre project. He has made no grant for this purpose. I understand, however, that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services is considering the application.

Gross Indecency And Buggery

asked the Attorney-General on how many occasions in 1977, and for any earlier year for which figures are available, the Director of Public Prosecutions has exercised his discretion to prosecute in cases of (a) gross indecency and (b) buggery with consent, where one or both of the parties was over 16 years but under 21 years.

The offences to which my hon. Friend refers require the Director's consent to proceedings when committed in the circumstances set out by him if both or all the participants were males, but they may be committed otherwise and in other circumstances in which the Director's consent is not required for proceedings.The Director of Public Prosecutions keeps records only of the number of cases prosecuted by his Department. He does not keep records of the number of cases in which he has consented, as required by statute, to proceedings subsequently conducted either by his Department or by other prosecuting agencies.Such statistics as are available may be found in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales" published each year by the Home Office.Table 1(

a) of these annual statistics gives details of persons proceeded against at magistrates' courts by offence, sex and result.

Table 1( d) gives details of persons aged 17 and under 21 proceeded against at magistrates' courts by offence, sex and results.

Table 13 gives details of proceedings brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions, cases, persons, and charges by offence, court and results.

I have extracted from these tables and set out below the available figures for persons charged with offences of buggery, attempted buggery and gross indecency for the years 1975, 1976 and 1977. These figures must however be read subject to the following observations:

Table 1( d)

Included in these figures will be cases where a young adult will have been prosecuted for buggery with a woman or an animal, but neither type of case is frequent.

Because these figures are for prosecutions of persons between the ages of 17 and 21 only, and do not include those of adults, they represent only a minority of the total number of cases to which the Director has consented.

Table 1( a)

Included in these figures will be cases in which any male of any age has been prosecuted for buggery with another consenting adult male in "public", or with a woman or an animal. These figures will also include cases of gross indecency between adult males in public. The Director's consent is not required in such cases.

Table XVIII of 1975 and 13 of 1976 and 1977

This table gives information similar to that in table 1(a), except that it also

1975

1976

1977

All cases

DPP cases Both sexes

All cases

DPP cases Both sexes

All cases

DPP cases Both sexes

Males

Males

Males

17–20

All ages

17–20

All ages

17–20

All ages

Table 1d

Table 1d

Table XVIII

Table 1d

Table 1a

Table 13

Table 1d

Table 1a

Table 13

1. Buggery3730111335263622126671
2. Attempted Buggery939172593809218382118
3. Gross Indecency671,57849881,68050791,64665

Scotland (Electrical Register)

asked the Lord Advocate if he will undertake to make application to the Court of Session for correction of the electoral register in exercise of the courts' nobile officium when (a) the register is manifestly incorrect, but (b) the statutory period for objection has expired without fault of interested parties.

No. Only in exceptional circumstances would the court exercise the nobile officium to rectify the register. In any event an application to rectify the register would properly be brought by the elector himself.

Defence

Royal Yacht (Running Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the costs involved in running the Royal Yacht during the current year.

The cost of running HMY "Britannia" in the current financial year is estimated to be £2·15 million.

Research (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the expenditure on research for each of the last four years at constant prices.

includes figures for proceedings against females for buggery either with a male or an animal, when such proceedings were conducted by the Director's department. In fact, only 12 females in 1975, 6 in 1976 and 12 in 1977 were prosecuted by any agency for buggery or attempted buggery. Consent is not required for such cases.

Statements on the Defence Estimates and expressed at the price base of the 1978–79 Estimates are as follows:

1975–76£139 million
1976–77£139 million
1977–78£137 million
1978–79£129 million

Atomic Weapons Research Establishment

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations made about health and safety at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston by Sir Edward Pochin in his recent report; and if he will list the changes that have been brought into effect.

A new organisation has been created to plan and co-ordinate the implementation of the recommendations of the report, including the appointment of a senior scientist at AWRE with specific responsibilities in this respect. Several measures, such as the provision of more personal air samplers, have already been implemented and discussions are proceeding with staff associations and trade unions on detailed aspects of what will be involved in a return to work. Recruitment and training of additional health physics staff is in hand. So far as longer-term measures are concerned, funds have been authorised for a programme of remedial work on buildings.

Aircraft

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft in the RAF are over 20 years old; and what are their type.

416 of the RAF's effective aircraft strength were at least 20 years old at the end of 1978. However, half of these aircraft have been converted during their in-service life from earlier models. Ten types are involved, and these are Canberra, Chipmunk, Devon, Hunter, Meteor, Pembroke, Shackleton, Victor, Vulcan and Whirlwind aircraft.

Shapland Report

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the distribution list within the Services which was used for the Shapland report on reserves; and what were the lowest ranks in each service supplied with or shown a full copy of the report.

This report has received the internal distribution considered necessary to enable the Government to take account of all relevant factors and views in reaching its decisions on the report's recommendations.

European Community Official Journal (Ministry Advertising)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the 58 Ministry of Defence contracts which have been advertised in the EEC Official Journal under directive 72/62/EEC by value and type; and if he will list, by value and type, the five which have been awarded overseas.

A list of the 58 advertisements has been placed in the Library. The list does not give estimated values since there is no requirement under Directive 72/62/EEC to do so.The five awarded overseas were for fresh provisions for BAOR for which British firms showed little or no interest and together totalled about £1 million in value.

Scotland

Youth Opportunities Schemes (Dundee)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current position of youth opportunities schemes in Dundee, in the light of the industrial dispute affecting the careers officers; and what action he has taken.

Since my answer to the hon. Member on 15 November—[Vol. 958, c. 390.]—a further 211 places in projects under the youth opportunities programme have been approved and a further 30 young people have been recruited to them.I am very hopeful that circumstances may now be favourable for an early settlement of the careers officers' dispute. ACAS is back in touch with both sides.

Housing

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many completed units he expects to be made available in Scotland annually over the next two years as a result of the efforts of private housing associations and community-based housing associations.

There is no rigid distinction between private and community-based associations, but the number of houses expected to be completed by housing associations in Scotland financed through the Housing Corporation is:

NewRehabilitated
1979–801,3002,500
1980–811,6003,400
In addition, I would expect about 200 new and 200 rehabilitated houses to be completed each year by housing associations financed through local authorities.

Animals (Oil Effects)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will commission urgent research into the effects of oil on animals such as sheep and the provision of antidotes.

My right hon. Friend has no such intention at present, but the need for such research will be considered in the review currently being carried out by my Department of the relevant commissions placed with agricultural research institutes in Scotland.

Children (Custody)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will issue a circular to chief constables in Scotland outlining a code of conduct for the police in dealing with requests by sheriff's officers for assistance in taking custody of children, in view of the recent case in Strathclyde when police officers co-operated with sheriff's officers in the removal of children from bed at four a.m.

I see no need to issue a circular along the lines suggested. I understand that the police were present during the incident to which my hon. Friend refers in order to ensure that there was no breach of the peace. The police did not receive a request for assistance from the sheriff's officers, nor did they give any assistance.

Sullom Voe (Oil Spillage)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if it is his intention to hold an inquiry into the spillage of bunker oil at Sullom Voe.

Throughout this incident my Department has been in close touch with the other Departments and agencies involved, in particular the Shetland Islands council and the oil industry. Local contingency plans were put promptly into operation from the outset although unfortunately mechanical failure and bad weather led to a substantial escape of fuel oil. All concerned are committed to learning and applying the lessons of the incident in the major review of local contingency plans currently being carried out between the Scottish Development Department and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities. My Department will provide Shetland Islands council with all necessary support in their review of their own contingency plans.

Oil Pollution Treatment Equipment

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland where the national reserves of equipment for dealing with oil pollution are kept.

I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer he was given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Trade on Monday 4 December 1978.—[Vol. 959, c. 487.]

Fish (Industrial Disputes)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the loss of fish to the United Kingdom market as a result of picketing in the current industrial disputes.

It is not possible to make an estimate of the amount of fish lost to the United Kingdom market as a result of picketing. In some ports fishing vessels have been discouraged from going to sea, although the extent of this cannot be readily quantified owing to the effect of other factors such as weather conditions. In a few cases vessels which have gone to sea have landed catches in Denmark but no details are yet available. Virtually all fish landed in Scotland has been sold and cleared from fish markets. Because of transport difficulties, small quantities of fish, mainly whitings, have had to be withdrawn from the markets; some of these have been sent for pet food or fish meal and some have been dumped. Compensation for these landings is being claimed under the European Economic Community minimum prices withdrawal scheme.

National Finance

Start-Up Loss Reliefs

23.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost in 1978–79 of extending the start-up loss reliefs contained in the Finance Act 1978 to the owners of limited companies and also to the owners of unlimited companies.

Insufficient information is available to make a reliable estimate of the cost.

Living Standards

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the real increases in post-tax living standards to 31 March 1979, both in total and for each year since 31 March 1974, taking into account all the Budget changes and any changes in national insurance contributions, assuming for 1978–79 an increase in pre-tax earnings for each person of 10 per cent. and an inflation rate of 8 per cent. to 31 March 1979, and for previous years, assuming the same increase in earnings for each group, as the average increase in earnings that year, for (a) a single person, (b) a married person, (c) a married couple with one child, (d) a married couple with two children, (e) a married couple with three children and (f) a married couple with four children earning in March 1974 £2,000, £3,000, £3,500, £4,000, £5,000, £6,000, £8,000, £10,000, £14,000, £18,000, £20,000 and £25,000, respectively.

Manufacturing (Unit Labour Costs)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the figures for the relative unit labour cost index for manufacturing for Great Britain as against her competitors for the first three-quarters of 1978; and what are the figures for the relative unit value of exports over the same period.

Data for the third quarter of 1978 are not yet available. The following data (base 1975=100) for the United Kingdom are the latest available:

Index of relative export pricesIMF index of relative normal unit labour costs
1977—
fourth quarter107·590·2
1978—
first quarter111·294·6
second quarter104·6*92·5
* Provisional.
† Ratio of United Kingdom unit value index for exports of manufactured goods to a weighted average of competitors' export indices. An increase represents a deterioration in the United Kingdom's competitiveness.
‡ Ratio of the index of United Kingdom normal labour costs per unit of output to a weighted average of indices of competitors' normal unit labour costs adjusted for exchange rate changes. The normalisation of the basic labour costs index is an attempt to allow for short term variations in productivity from its long-term potential. An increase represents a deterioration in the United Kingdom's competitiveness.

Government Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when last he published a table giving central Government expenditure per head of population in each constituent country of the United Kingdom; if he will give the Official Report reference; and if expenditure on Concorde was included.

Figures of central Government identifiable public expenditure per head in England, Scotland and Wales for 1976–77 and 1977–78, including expenditure on Concorde, were given in an answer to the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Roberts) on 14 November 1978—[Vol. 958, c. 85–6]. The corresponding figures for Northern Ireland are £913 per head in 1976–77 and, provisionally, £978 per head in 1977–78.

Government Revenue

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the total Government revenue from all taxes and national insurance contributions in 1978, expressed in terms of 1976 prices.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18 January 1979; Vol. 860, c. 868], gave the following information:Figures for the whole of 1978 are not yet available. In the first three quarters of 1978 total Government revenue from all taxes and national insurance contributions was £33,800 million in 1976 prices. An estimate for 1978–79 was given in a reply to the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson)—[

official Report, 16 November 1978: c. 325]; in 1976 prices this would be £37,800 million. In both cases the current prices values have been deflated by the growth, since 1976, in the implicit price index for GDP at market prices.

Self-Employed Persons (Retirement Annuities)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek to amend the rules in respect of self-employed retirement annuities, allowing earnings such as commissions, tips, bonuses etc. to be taken as part of the total in respect of which percentage can be used to purchase a pension.

Personal Incomes

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the tax-free income of (a) a single person, (b) a married couple without children, (c) a married couple with one child under 11 years, (d) a married couple with two children under 11 years, (e) a married couple with three children, two under 11 years, (f) a married couple with four children, two under 11 years, for each year since 1945; and if he will also list the value of each of these totals in real terms in 1945 prices.

I will let the hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.

Pre-taxPost-tax
Lower limit of income rangeNumber of incomesPercentage of totalNumber of incomesPercentage of total
'000Per cent.'000Per cent.
£7359444·21,2405·5
£1,0004,56020·36,61029·4
£2,0004,84021·65,59024·9
£3,0004,07018·14,51020·1
£4,0003,33014·82,51011·2
£5,0002,0709·21,0404·6
£6,0001,1004·94552·0
£7,0005482·42211·0
£8,0002991·31050·5
£9,0002020·9710·3
£10,0001250·6320·1
£11,000910·4240·1
£12,000570·3110·1
£13,000440·28·4
£14,000340·26·5
£15,000230·12·5
£16,000190·12·0
£17,000150·11·6
£18,000130·11·4
£19,000101·1
£20,000560·22·6
£50,00040·2
—= Less than 0·05 per cent.
These numbers are based upon the Inland Revenue's survey of personal incomes for 1976–77 which covers incomes above £735.The numbers with incomes less than £735 are not known. The numbers with incomes in the range £20,000 to £50,000 are too small for a further breakdown to be given. Married couples are counted as one. The income covered is that which is assessable for tax purposes and therefore excludes, for example, certain imputed income and non-taxable benefit. The data are based on a sample and are subject to sampling error.

Tax Thresholds

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the number of people with (a) pre-tax incomes and (b) post-tax incomes of less than £999, in each income band of £1,000 between £1,000 and £25,000 and greater than £25,000 giving in each case the figure as a percentage of the total, in 1976–77 and 1977–78.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18 January 1979; Vol. 960, c. 864], gave the following answer:Information is not yet available for 1977–78. The latest figures available re-late to 1976–77 and are as follows:

Official Report for each year since 1959 ( a) the tax threshold as a percentage of average earnings and ( b) the standard rate tax threshold as a percentage of average earnings for a married couple with one child aged under 11 years, a married couple with two children, one aged under 11 years, a married couple with three children, two aged under 11 years, and a married couple with four children, two aged under 11 years; and if he will publish the standard tax rate and first rate payable for each year.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 16 January 1979; Vol. 960, c. 733], gave the following information:The figures are as follows:

Tax threshold as a percentage of average earningsStandard or basic rate threshold as a percentage of average earnings
Married couple with 1 child under 11 Per cent.Married couple with 2 children, 1 under 11, 1 aged 11–16 Per cent.Married couple with 3 children, 2 under 11, 1 aged 11–16 Per cent.Married couple with 4 children, 2 under 11, 2 aged 11–16 Per cent.Married couple with 1 child under 11 Per cent.Married couple with 2 children, 1 under 11, 1 aged 11–16 Per cent.Married couple with 3 children, 2 under 11, 1 aged 11–16 Per cent.Married couple with 4 children, 2 under 11, 2 aged 11–16 Per cent.
1959–6064·184·398·6115·9129·8148·2160·2175·5
1960–6159·778·792·2108·6120·9138·3149·9164·5
1961–6257·875·888·8104·5115·8132·4143·6157·7
1962–6355·973·486·0101·4112·0128·2139·1152·9
1963–6467·586·199·8116·1111·8129·3141·9157·0
1964–6562·479·892·6108·0103·4119·8131·7146·0
1965–6657·473·685·7100·195·3110·7121·9135·5
1966–6755·471·082·896·892·0106·9117·8131·0
1968–6948·958·063·871·581·289·293·8100·4
1969–7048·856·561·267·774·781·585·290·9
1970–7151·157·962·067·851·157·962·067·8
1971–7249·358·665·373·449·358·665·373·4
1972–7352·760·766·673·852·760·766·673·8
1973–7445·953·058·064·445·953·058·064·4
1974–7542·850·556·663·642·850·556·663·6
1975–7638·044·148·754·238·044·148·754·2
1976–7739·046·051·758·139·046·051·758·1
1977–7842·548·653·659·342·548·653·659·3
1978–7938·943·547·251·355·459·562·766·5

For years up to and including 1969–70 average earnings are the Department of Employment's estimates of the average weekly earnings of full-time adult male manual workers in October of each year. For later years to 1977–78 the figures are based on the average of the new earnings survey estimates of the average earnings of similar workers in April at the start and finish of each income tax year. For 1978–79 the April 1978 new earnings survey estimate has been updated to September 1978, taking account of movements in a centred three-month moving average of the whole-economy index of average earnings of all employees. Family allowances and child benefits have been included in average earnings where appropriate.

The tax thresholds used take account where appropriate of the effect of earned income relief and of the family allowance deduction—clawback. For the sake

Increase in thresholds

Year

Single

Married

Married with one child aged 10 and one aged 14

Increase RPI over previous 12 months (April to April)

£

percentage

£

percentage

£

percentage

percentage

1974–75305·09011·617815·515·2
1975–76508·09010·4906·821·7
1976–77608·913013·625017·618·9
1977–7821028·637034·131819·117·5
1978–79404·2805·5512·67·9

The figures are generally calculated on the same basis as the previous answer except that for 1977–78 and 1978–79 child benefit has been included in the tax free threshold. The General Index of Retail Prices for April in each year has been used in the calculation.

The threshold used is the amount of income that can be received before tax is charged. It takes account of the family allowance deduction—clawback—where appropriate.

The increase in thresholds in 1977–78 includes anticipation of the indexation required by the Finance Act 1977 due for 1978–79.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update the table given to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on tax thresholds, Official Report, 17 October 1973, column 216.

of comparability, the thresholds in 1977–78 and 1978–79 include any tax-free child benefit received.

The standard, basic, reduced and lower rates of taxes are published in Vol. 1 of the Taxes Acts.

For years 1970–71 to 1977–78 there were no lower or reduced rates of tax and therefore the standard or basic rate threshold is the same as the tax threshold.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report an updating of the reply given to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Thames on tax thresholds, Official Report, 10 May 1974, column 292.

Capital Gains Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish an estimate of the cost in 1978–79 of increasing the retirement relief on capital gains tax to (a) £100,000, (b) £200,000, and (c) £250,000.

Anglo-American Tax Treaty

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the tax treaty recently concluded with the American Treasury is retroactive; how much the retroactive payment will amount to; if he will list the major multinational companies which will receive money from the Treasury and how much; and what the expected yearly sum will be which will flow to United States investors.

The proposed new United Kingdom/United States double taxation convention is to take effect in general from 6 April 1975 in the case of the United Kingdom and from 1 January 1975 in the case of the United States. For dividends paid by United Kingdom companies to portfolio investors resident in the United States, the new arrangements apply to dividends paid on or after 1 April 1973, when the current corporation tax system came into force.A third protocol to the convention is required before the convention as amended by that protocol can be brought back to the United States Senate and subsequently to the House of Commons for consideration. It would be inappropriate to comment on the costs and benefits of the convention at this stage and in any event it would be a breach of confidence to disclose information

CUSTOMS AND EXCISE
Reports by consultants commissioned since 1974:—
1974Cost effectiveness of sampling for laboratory test£3,811
1974Effectiveness of preventive control£8,813
1977–78Review of Database requirements£23,400 (in 1977)
£24,000 (in 1978)
1977–78Review of data processing standards£4,400 (in 1977)
£31,000 (in 1978)

European Community

European Assembly (Members' Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is the Council of Ministers which will take the final decision about the level of allowances for the directly-elected Members of the European Assembly or the Assembly itself.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 12 December by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis). Allowances will continue to be determined and paid by the European Assembly as they are at present.—[Vol. 960, c. 148.]

European Assembly (Members' Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in view of the difference in the levels of salaries to be paid to Members of the directly-elected European Assembly, the United Kingdom Members will be paid out of United Kingdom funds so as to

concerning the tax affairs of particular companies.

This third protocol is expected to be signed on behalf of the respective Governments and published very shortly.

Professional Consultants (Reports)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the subjects on which professional consultants' reports were commissioned by his Department, and the total cost to the Department of such reports, in each of the years 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 15 January 1979; Vol. 960, c. 666], gave the following information:The following information is relevant.avoid the United Kingdom paying part of the higher salaries of other nationals via the contribution to the EEC budget.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 16 January to my right hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey). The United Kingdom will not contribute to any part of the salaries of Members from other countries.—[Vol. 960, c. 736.]

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Palestine

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why the United Kingdom failed to support a resolution by the United Nations Economic Committee, asking that United Nations organisations should co-operate with the Palestine Liberation Organisation to improve the social and economic well-being of the Palestinian people.

The Government support the provision of assistance to the Palestinian people through the United Nations. The resolution in question would not have affected such assistance but was concerned rather with the status of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in the United Nations and its organs. In line with our established policy on this issue and in common with other members of the Nine, the United Kingdom therefore abstained.

Father Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the Reverend Father Arthur Lewis of the Rhodesian Christian Group has been refused admission to the United Kingdom.

At the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Rhodesian Travel Restrictions, Father Lewis has been made subject to immigration and passport restrictions in accordance with Mr. George Thomson's statement of 27 June 1968. He has been notified of the reasons for this decision and may appeal at any time against the restrictions.

Energy

Picketing

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what evidence has been drawn to his attention of the picketing by members of the Transport and General Workers' Union of persons engaged in supplies to North Sea oil rigs at Aberdeen harbour and harbours of other Scottish ports; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that picketing of Scottish shore bases from which North Sea oil rigs are serviced has taken place and I much regret that a picket was killed outside Torry Dock base in Aberdeen. The rigs have adequate essential supplies and normal oil production is being maintained.

Offshore Installations (Bop Control Fluids)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on shortages of BOP control fluids in the Scottish sector of the North Sea; and what precautionary steps to avoid blow-outs have been taken as a consequence.

Extensive inquiries of both oil companies and drilling contractors have revealed there is no problem at present regarding the availability of BOP fluid on offshore installations in the United Kingdom area of the Continental Shelf.It would be a breach of the regulations for any of the operators to drill, using a BOP that was not fully operational and fully safe.

Offshore Oil And Gas Installations (Maintenance Of Essential Supplies)

asked the Secretary for Energy (1) what representations he has made to representatives of the Transport and General Workers Union to ensure that picketing is relaxed so as to allow the passage of essential supplies to offshore oil and gas installations;(2) whether he is satisfied with the supply of essential parts and equipment to offshore oil and gas installations in view of current industrial disputes;(3) whether he is satisfied with the supply of food to offshore oil and gas installations in view of current industrial disputes;(4) what measures he is taking to ensure that essential parts and equipment for offshore oil and gas installations pass through the ports unhindered by strike pickets;(5) what representations he has received from the United Kingdom Offshore Operators' Association as a result of picketing by the Transport and General Workers' Union;(6) what administrative arrangements he has made to ensure that difficulties in oil and gas production and supply are promptly reported to him;(7) how many meetings he has attended in the past week to ensure the unrestricted access of supplies to offshore oil and gas installations;(8) what loss of production of both offshore oil and gas supplies has occurred as a result of recent and current industrial disputes in other industries;(9) what representations he has made to representatives of the Trades Union Congress to ensure that picketing is relaxed so as to allow the passage of essential supplies to offshore oil and gas installations;(10) what representations he has received from the British Gas Corporation, the British National Oil Corporation or oil companies operating in the North Sea as a result of picketing by the Transport and General Workers' Union;(11) what measures he is taking to ensure that vital food supplies for offshore oil and gas installations pass through the ports unhindered by strike pickets;(12) in view of the current industrial disputes, what measures he is taking to ensure normal oil supplies from offshore installations;(13) in view of the current industrial disputes, what measures he is taking to ensure normal gas supplies from offshore installations.

The arrangements made by the Government for dealing with priority supplies of essential goods were outlined in the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 18 January.—[Vol. 960, c. 1971.] My Department is keeping in close touch with the interests concerned. The offshore installations have adequate essential supplies at present and production so far is not affected.

Coal

asked the Secretary of State for Energy to what extent supplies of coal are being affected directly or indirectly by current industrial disputes.

Heavy coal stocking has been necesssary at collieries because of the road haulage and railways disputes. The effect on colliery working has so far not been really severe but shortages of supplies to collieries have caused continual difficulties and there have been some losses of current output. Opencast working has been seriously affected. Coal users are finding it increasingly difficult to get supplies. Much of industry is able, however, for the present to use stocks. Power stations and coke ovens have, in general, large stocks available. Domestic deliveries are generally reduced, but the effect of this has so far been cushioned by merchants' stocks.

Employment

Canvey Island (Methane Gas Terminal)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if, in the light of the known hazard posed by the methane gas terminal on Canvey Island and the risk of spillages of liquefied gas leading to the release of a gas cloud, he will set out the scientific justification for the decision of the Health and Safety Executive to recommend to the local authority the establishment of a cordon sanitaire around the installation limited to only 1 kilometre.

The chairman of the Health and Safety Commission informs me that the hazard range for many dangerous substances depends on a number of factors—for example, dispersion characteristics of vapours and gases about which scientific knowledge is limited. Experience shows that the worst effects of a flammable gas cloud explosion would be unlikely to extend beyond a radius of 1 kilometre. The recommendation made to the Castle Point district council in response to its request for advice on further housing development was, therefore, based on the view that it would be prudent not to add to the numbers of persons within that distance from the terminal.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the percentage increase in United Kingdom unemployment between July 1975 and July 1978.

Between July 1975 and July 1978, the numbers registered as unemployed in the United Kingdom increased by 60 per cent.; because of the change of date of school leaving in England and Wales these figures are not directly comparable.

Average Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish a table showing the increase in average earnings, expressed at an annual rate, over the last 40, 30, 20, 10 and five years, respectively.

The following estimates relate to the average gross weekly earnings of full-time manual men, aged 21 and over, in my Department's regular (October) inquiry into the earnings and hours of manual workers in the United Kingdom. The inquiry covers manufacturing industries, mining and quarrying—except coal-construction, gas, electricity and water, transport and communication, except railways and sea transport, public administration and certain miscellaneous services.

Percentage increase, expressed at an annual rate
October 1938 to October 1977 (39 years)8·1
October 1947 to October 1977 (30 years)8·4
October 1957 to October 1977 (20 years)9·2
October 1967 to October 1977 (10 years)13·0
October 1972 to October 1977 (5 years)15·3
Results of the October 1978 inquiry should be available next month.Wider based estimates for the periods specified are not available.

Nationalised Industries And Public Bodies (Employment Policy)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he now expects to have replies from all nationalised industries and other public bodies to his request for details of their policies of racial equality in employment; and whether he will give the names of those industries or bodies which failed to reply by his original deadline of the end of 1978.

The approaches to the public bodies concerned were made through the responsible Departments and took place over a period of several months extending well into the autumn. These bodies were asked to undertake a review of their racial equality policies and that, of course, takes time. In some cases the review has revealed to the public bodies concerned the need for further action and this is being pursued prior to the issue of a substantive response to our request. I think it right to encourage positive action of that kind. As I said in my reply to my hon. Friend the member of Coventry, North-East (Mr. Park) on 15 December 1978, where replies appear to be overdue the responsible Departments have been asked to pursue the matter urgently.—[Vol. 960, c. 417.]

International Comparisons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the percentage change on the seasonally adjusted levels of employment, based on national definitions in each member of the European Community, the United States of America, Japan and Canada, since March 1974 to the latest available common date.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18 January 1979; Vol. 960, col. 849], gave the following information:The available data are given in the following tables. Owing to differences in national definitions and methods of compilation, the figures are not fully comparable.

PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN SEASONALLY ADJUSTED CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT FROM FIRST QUARTER 1974 TO SECOND QUARTER 1978
Percentage change
United Kingdom-0·2*
Germany (FR)-5·8
United States of America+9·7
Japan (1)+3·0
Canada+10·6
Notes * Provisional
(1) Including armed forces
For the remaining countries of the EEC, seasonally adjusted figures are not available. The following table therefore gives percentage changes for the period 1974 to 1977, the latest year for which annual figures are available:
PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT 1974–1977
(Annual averages unless otherwise stated)
Percentage change
United Kingdom-0·8*
Germany (FR)-4·7
France-1·0
Italy+2·2
Netherlands-0·5
Belgium-2·4 (Mid-year)
Luxembourg-2·0
Irish Republic-3·2 (April)
Denmark+2·5 (October)
United states of America+5·4
Japan (1)+2·0
Canada+6·2
Notes * Provisional
(1) Including armed forces
Sources:OECD—Labour Force Statistics.EUROSTAT—Employment and Unemployment 1971–1977.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the average gross hourly earnings in manufacturing industry and the economy as a whole, at the latest available comparable date and expressed in terms of £ sterling, in each member State of the EEC, Japan, the United States of America and Canada.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18 January 1979; Vol. 960, col. 849], gave the following information:The following table gives latest available data which relate to manual workers in manufacturing and certain other production industries in October 1977.Owing to differences in national definitions and methods of compilation, these figures are not strictly comparable. In addition, comparisons are not meaningful unless account is taken of differences in taxation and social benefits and differences in internal purchasing power which are not reflected by market exchange rates.

AVERAGE GROSS HOURLY EARNINGS OF MANUAL WORKERS—OCTOBER 1977
Manufacturing industriesManufacturing, mining quarrying and construction
£ sterling*£ sterling*
United Kingdom1·531·54
Germany (FR)2·802·82
France1·821·83
Italy· ·· ·
Netherlands2·742·81
Belgium2·782·85
Luxembourg3·273·17
Irish Republic†1·481·49‡
Denmark3·493·49‡
Japan· ·· ·
USA3·293·04§
Canada3·23≑· ·
Notes:
· · Not available
* Based on average market exchange rates of October 1977.
† September 1977.
‡ Excluding construction.
§ Including electricity, gas and water, commerce, transport, financing etc. and services.
║ Based on market exchange rates at 31 October 1977
SOURCES:Eurostat: "Hourly earnings Hours of work".International Labour Office: Bulletin of Labour Statistics.Irish: "Industrial Enquiries".

Sheltered Workshop (Arfon)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement concerning the provision of a new sheltered workshop for the Arfon area.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the need for a sheltered workshop in the Arfon area has now been established and that the Commission has agreed in principle with Gwynedd county council to set aside funds for the project.

Average Earnings

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will compare the national average wage in Great Britain with those in each of the other EEC countries, expressed in £ sterling for the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will express each as a percentage of the British national average wage.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 18 January 1979; Vol. 960, c. 856], gave the following information:The following table gives the latest available data which relate to manual workers in manufacturing and certain other production industries in October 1977.The figures given are not strictly comparable owing to differences in national definitions. Furthermore, international comparisons of earnings statistics are not meaningful unless account is taken of differences in taxation and social benefits and differences in internal purchasing power which are not reflected by market exchange rates.

AVERAGE GROSS HOURLY EARNINGS OF MANUAL WORKERS IN MANUFACTURING, MINING, QUARRYING AND CONSTRUCTION—OCTOBER 1977.
£ sterling*Percentage of United Kingdom figure
United Kingdom1·54100
Germany (FR)2·82183
France1·83119
Italy· ·· ·
Netherlands2·81182
Belgium2·85185
Luxembourg3·17206
Irish Republic†‡1·4997
Denmark‡3·49227
Notes:
· · Not available
* Based on average market exchange rates of October 1977.
† September 1977.
‡ Excluding construction.
SOURCES:Eurostat—"Hourly earnings Hours of work".Irish—"Industrial Enquiries".

Environment

Derelict Land Clearance (North Midlands)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what have been the total level of grants made for the acquisition and clearance of derelict land in the North Midlands derelict land clearance area in each year since such grants were introduced; and what progress this represents towards the total clearance of derelict land in that area.

The information in the following table relates to the area of the North Midland derelict land clearance area as established in 1970. The rate of grant rose from 75 per cent. to 100 per cent. in December 1975.

YearTotal expenditure covered by grant approvalsArea of derelict land for reclamation covered by grant approval
(£'s)(hectares)
1969–70445,538137
1970–711,114,997178
1971–721,515,326372
1972–731,522,014336
1973–741,210,669241
1974–751,402,244210
1975–762,663,521336
1976–772,270,018241
1977–781,558,487194
Totals13,702,8142,245
On 31 March 1974 there were estimated to be 3,802 hectares of derelict land in the local authority areas which coincided most closely with the North Midlands derelict land clearance area. In the four subsequent years about 1,000 hectares were reclaimed by all agencies, of which 761 were reclaimed by local authorities with the aid of grant.

Rating Appeals (London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total sum currently due to (a) the Greater London Council and (b) London borough councils as a result of rates withheld by non-domestic ratepayers who have appealed against their 1973 rateable value assessment.

No information is available relating solely to non-domestic ratepayers but estimates of the total amounts legally withheld from all the London boroughs are:

March 1975£13,355,000
March 1976£19,459,000
March 1977£15,551,000
March 1978£10,369,000

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many appeals by commercial and industrial ratepayers against the 1973 rateable value assessments are still outstanding in Greater London.

No information is available which relates solely to appeals by commercial and industrial ratepayers. Between 1973 and 1978, a total of 250,000 appeals have been made by ratepayers in Greater London of which about 35,000 are currently outstanding.

Cemeteries

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the setting up of a working party to inquire into the care and maintenance of cemeteries and to make recommendations.

The problems involved in the care and maintenance of cemeteries are already well known, and I have no plans to set up a working party to examine them.

National Housing And Dwelling Survey

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the results of the National Housing and Dwelling Survey are expected.

Provisional key national and regional results were published on 3 August 1978; copies were placed in the Library. My right hon. Friend expects to publish the full report on the survey shortly.

Tied Accommodation

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people live in tied accommodation.

Information is not available in the precise form requested, but from preliminary results of the national dwelling and housing survey it is estimated that at the end of 1977 there were about 500,000 households in England whose accommodation went with the present job of a member of the house-hold.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many people who live in tied accommodation are retired;(2) how many people who live in tied accommodation are expected to retire in the next five years.

Information is not available in the precise form requested, but we have arranged for special analyses to be made on the preliminary results from the national dwelling and housing survey and will write to my hon. Friend as soon as these are available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people in each of the following three categories are living in accommodation covered by the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 (a) those who live in tied accommodation, (b) those who live in tied accommodation and are retired and (c) those who live in tied accommodation and are expected to retire within the next five years.

Information is not available in the form requested. A survey carried out in 1974 by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations produced the following figures:

Agricultural tied cottages: England and Wales
Occupied by full-time and part-time workers and family members79,600
Occupied by pensioners19,800
No age breakdown of agricultural workers in tied accommodation is available but 8 per cent. of all agricultural workers questioned in the survey were 60 or over.A further survey carried out in 1976 by the Tavistock Institute produced the following figures for tied cottages in private forestry:

Forestry tied cottages: England and Wales
Occupied by full-time forestry workers2,300
Occupied by retired forestry workers1,100
No similar surveys have been carried out since the Act came into force.

1980 Olympics

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now make a further statement on his policy towards the holding of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, in the light of the recent comments of Mr. Sergei Pavolov, Soviet Minister of Sport and deputy chairman of the 1980 Olympics Organising Committee, contradicting previous assurances concerning attendance by all nations, details of which have been sent to him.

The details which my hon. Friend has sent me do not call for a further statement. He knows from previous correspondence and from the recent Adjournment debate that Government policy is that the choice of venue for the Olympic games is entirely a matter for the International Olympic Committee—IOC. The games are held under its rules and it is for the committee to ensure strict compliance by the host city. These rules include participation by all member countries of the IOC, which principle it is my understanding has been accepted by the hosts for 1980.

Vacant Dwellings

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he proposes to publish the first results of the survey of vacant dwellings announced on 20 April 1977; and what is now the estimated publication date of the full report.

I do not expect to receive the full results of the survey until later this year. A report will be published as soon as possible, but I cannot yet forecast when this will be.

Ordnance Survey

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to receive the report of the committee of inquiry into future policy of Ordnance Survey.

I understand that the committee hopes to be able to report soon after Easter.

Mortgage Interest Rates

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the average recommended building society rate of interest on new mortgages, weighted by length of applicability, for the periods June 1970 to February 1974 inclusive, and March 1974 to December 1978 inclusive.

Public Inquiry, Darlington

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to receive the report of his inspector on the application of Messrs. Morrison, which was the subject of a public inquiry held at the town hall, Darlington, on 4 October 1978.

The inspector's report was received recently. A decision will be issued as soon as possible.

Transport

Boothferry Bridge

asked the Secretary of State whether he will make a statement about progress in the repair work at Boothferry bridge on the A614 trunk road.

A major repair and modernisation of this bridge at a cost of £1 million is being undertaken in stages and will last a further two years. At present it is hoped to resume single lane traffic working in about a month and two-way traffic should be permitted in about four months. It will be necessary to close the bridge from time to time to carry out certain key phases of the work. On these occasions pedestrians and other traffic which cannot use the motorway will be "ferried" across by means of special buses.

Severe Weather (Road Conditions)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what conclusions he has reached on the evidence submitted to him by the national motoring organisations about disruption on motorway and other main routes during the periods of bad weather.

I have concluded that everything practicable was done, in very difficult circumstances, to keep motorways and other main roads open to traffic.

Driving Tests

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many driving tests have been cancelled due to bad weather conditions since December 1978; and if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show how the test cancellations are distributed on a regional basis.

The numbers of L tests so cancelled during the first two weeks in January were as follows:

Traffic Area
Northern2,659
Yorkshire3,495
North-Western4,974
West Midland3,375
East Midland3,444
Eastern1,906
South Wales810
Western1,884
South-Eastern2,332
Metropolitan7,852
Scottish3,254
Total35,985

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the actual cost of holding a driving test falls on public funds and if he will publish details of the financial costs involved.

The full cost of L driving tests is recovered through fees for appointments. The financial costs related to these tests in the year ended 30 September 1978 were:—

£
'000
Salaries national insurance, super-annuation, accommodation, stationery and printing related to examiners8,958
Overtime of examiners39
Travelling and subsistence495
Telephones and Telex148
Booking of tests and other administrative costs970
Miscellaneous348
£10,958

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what effect the number of cancellations of driving tests due to adverse weather conditions since December 1978 has had upon the length of time waited by driving test applicants before receiving their test: and if he will make a statement.

The unavoidable loss of tests due to adverse weather conditions during the first two weeks of January has had the effect of adding just over a week to the national average waiting time. Appointments for candidates whose tests had to be postponed are being arranged as soon as possible.

Commuters (London)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what action he proposes taking to ease the difficulties of commuters in getting to and from their work in the London area.

During periods of disruption to services caused by industrial action on the railways the following arrangements are made:

All radial roads into Central London are turned into clearways; free car parking is available in Hyde Park and Regents Park; outside the Central Area, free parking is also available in Battersea, Victoria, Dulwich and Brockwell Parks; bus lane restrictions are not enforced.

Disabled Drivers (Licence Records)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what records referring to disabled drivers were passed from the former driving licence authorities to the Swansea centre when the responsibility for these licences was taken over by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre; and if he will make a statement.

Local authority motor taxation offices gave the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre details of driving licence entitlements. Comparatively few cases where medical conditions had been declared had been medically investigated by the local authorities and very little medical information was transferred to the medical adviser at the centre. By contrast all medical cases are now investigated and assessed to a common standard.

Vehicles (Propulsion)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what research is being carried out, and with what results, into the movement of vehicles other than by the use of petrol.

The Department of Transport, through the Transport and Road Research Laboratory, has in progress, or has completed, a number of research projects concerned with the movement of vehicles other than by the use of petrol. These include research on novel and conventional electric trams and trolley buses; increased efficiency of diesel powered lorries; and the relative merits of petrol and diesel engined vehicles.Work is in progress, supported by the Department of Industry, to develop suitable batteries for road vehicles. There are also a number of trials of electric road vehicles taking place.In addition, joint research programmes with British Rail and London Transport include work on improved power systems for electric trains.Results obtained so far from work on electric road vehicles have indicated that these are not economic for general use in present circumstances, but much of the work is still in progress.

Rail Fares

asked the Secretary of State for Transport by how much rail fares have risen since the beginning of 1974 and since February 1974, respectively.

British Rail's passenger fares have increased in cash terms by an average of 168·5 per cent. since the beginning of 1974. No increase in fares took place between the beginning of January and February 1974.

British Transport Police (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what was the rate of pay on 23 December 1978 of a British Transport police constable engaged on anti-terrorist duty at Oxford Circus underground station.

The rate of pay of a British Transport police constable is determined according to his reckonable service on a scale of £2,775 to £3,918 per annum, plus £319 London weighting. A constable also receives overtime payments and rent and other allowances as appropriate.

Bakeries (Salt Supply)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will hold urgent discussions with the TGWU in order to ensure that a supply of salt is allowed through the picket lines for delivery to bakeries in the light of the fact that salt is an essential ingredient in the baking of bread, and a failure of supply is causing a threat to employment in bakeries.

The Government regard salt as a priority supply. The TGWU fully accepts that it is within this category and has advised its members that pickets should not seek to prevent or delay its movement. Where this code of practice is not followed, the local regional emergency committees are doing everything possible to improve the situation.

Transport Supplementary Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the amount of transport supplementary grant for 1979–80 per head of population in each of the metropolitan counties and in the counties of Bedfordshire, Cleveland, Durham, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, North Yorkshire, Staffordshire and West Sussex.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 19 January 1978], gave the following information:The amounts are listed below.

TRANSPORT SUPPLEMENTARY GRANT FOR 1979–80 PER HEAD OF POPULATION
November 1978 prices£
Greater London14·89
Greater Manchester5·76
Merseyside10·93
South Yorkshire6·95
Tyne and Wear19·35
West Midlands4·69
West Yorkshire6·63
Bedfordshire4·13
Cleveland5·57
Durham3·68
Essex2·12
Hertfordshire4·19
Lancashire5·26
Northamptonshire8·62
North Yorkshire7·52
Staffordshire3·88
West Sussex3·75

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Perishable Foods

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied with the position over the import and export of perishable foods; and, if not, what are his main areas of concern and to what parts of the country they apply.

There have been difficulties with imports of fresh fruit, particularly citrus and bananas, and also of tomatoes and cucumbers, much of which has been held up by picketing at the ports, notably Southampton, Newhaven, Felixstowe, Shoreham and Liverpool—although there has been some limited movement at the two latter ports recently—with further supplies being diverted to the Continent. I have had no reports of exports of fruit and vegetables being held up.

Fertilisers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied with current stocks and supply of fertilisers; and what are his main areas of concern and to what parts of the country they apply.

The road haulage strike is affecting the manufacture and distribution of fertilisers just as it is affecting other industries, and my Department is in daily touch with the situation. Shortage of raw materials and of storage space at the factories for finished products are the main problems. So far, however, most fertiliser manufacturers have been able to continue with at least some production and I have received few reports of closures. Deliveries from manufacturers are, however, running on average at only 20–40 per cent. of last year's levels. This is not yet the time of peak fertiliser demand and farmers should not, therefore, be finding the current restrictions on supply an immediate problem, although it is important that deliveries for the spring sowing season should be able to begin soon.

Food And Animal Feedstuffs

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he is satisfied with the present position on food stocks; and what are his main areas of concern and to what parts of the country they apply;(2) whether he is satisfied with the supply of animal feedstuffs; and what are his main areas of concern and to what parts of the United Kingdom they apply;(3) what measures he is taking to ensure supplies of perishable foods are able to pass through the ports without being delayed or halted by tickets;(4) what further representations he is making to Mr. Moss Evans, Mr. Alex Kitson and other leaders of the lorry drivers' strike to secure a relaxation of the intensive picketing being mounted by members of their union at present on strike.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many weeks supply of sugar, salt, butter, cheese, meat and canned foods are available for distribution to the shops.

In view of the local nature of the interruptions to food processing and distribution at various stages it is not possible to make general estimates of the kind requested.

Picketing (National Farmers' Union Representations)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the National Farmers' Union as a result of picketing by members of the Transport and General Workers' Union in dispute.

My Department is maintaining very close contact with the National Farmers' Union in monitoring the effect of the current industrial action on food production and distribution. The union has expressed its deep concern at the effect which picketing, particularly in some areas, is having on the continuing supply of animal feed and other raw materials to farms and on the movement of its own produce, and its support for the Government's efforts to maintain essential supplies.

Sugar Beet Factories

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied that all sugar beet factories are functioning normally; and, where he is not, if he will indicate which factories are affected and what measures he is taking to resolve the interruption of supplies.