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Written Answers

Volume 961: debated on Wednesday 31 January 1979

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 31 January 1979

Picketing

asked the Lord Advocate if he will make a statement on the law of picketing in Scotland.

The law of Scotland on picketing is not identical with the law of England although the principal statutory provisions relating to trade unions and their legal rights apply to both countries. Trade unions in Scotland, for example, enjoy the same rights and immunities under sections 13 and 15 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1974 as they do in England. In the sphere of civil law there are differences of procedure but the substantive law is broadly similar. Recent decisions of courts in England interpreting the phrase

"in furtherance of a trade dispute"
are not technically binding on courts in Scotland but they would be accorded great respect.There are material differences in regard to criminal law and its enforcement and in the role of the police. The Lord Advocate, with the assistance of Crown counsel and procurators fiscal, is responsible for criminal prosecutions. He is also responsible, through procurators fiscal and the police, for the investigation of crime with a view to prosecution. The police, however, are independently responsible for the maintenance of law and order on the spot in a picketing situation. Peaceful and orderly picketing in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute, whether primary or secondary, is not a criminal offence in Scotland. But if what is done in the course of picketing involves
POPULATION OF CERTAIN PRISONS ON 31 DECEMBER 1978: BY TYPE OF PRISONER
Askham GrangeStyalHolloway
Untried94
Convicted unsentenced53
Sentenced116196153
Non-criminal17
Total116196317
In addition to those held on remand in Holloway on that date 12 females were held on remand in Low Newton, 30 in a criminal element, such as assault, threats of assault, intimidation, extortion, or breach of the peace, then it constitutes a criminal offence and may be treated as such.In contrast with England, the offences associated with picketing are usually common law offences. Persons who create a disturbance or an obstruction at the picket line, for instance, would normally be charged at common law with breach of the peace.

Home Department

Emergencies

51.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the Government arrangements to deal with natural and civil emergencies.

Yes. Responsibility for responding to natural disasters and emergencies rests with local authorities in the first instance and guidance has been issued to them. Arrangements exist for co-ordinating any Government action which may be needed in emergencies of all kinds.

Anscombe Grange, Styal And Holloway

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convicted women prisoners are at present in (a) Anscombe Grange, (b) Styal and (c) Holloway; how many women there are on remand; and in which establishments they are remanded.

The information available is given in the following table.Pucklechurch, 52 in Risley and 2 in Brixton. Of these 5, 12, 29 and 0 respectively were convicted but unsentenced.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why it is still not possible for women prisoners at Styal to have extended visits from their children.

There has been no change since I replied to my hon. Friend's question on 15 January.—[Vol. 960, c. 587.]

Prison Escapees (Prosecutions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison escapees were prosecuted in the ordinary courts for the offences of escape or prison breach in 1977 and 1978.

In England and Wales during 1977, 10 persons were proceeded against in the courts for offences of escaping from lawful custody and six for offences of breaking prison. Information for 1978 is not yet available.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners were punished in 1977 for the offence of offending against good order and discipline under rule 47(20);(2) how many prisoners were charged in 1977 with the offence of making a false and malicious allegation under rule 47(12); and how many were punished;(3) how many prisoners were charged in 1977 with the offence of making groundless complaints under rule 47(16); and how many were punished.

The information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The numbers of people dealt with for these offences and for offences against rule 47(21) are combined in the published figures for "other offences" dealt with within the prison system in tables 9.2 and 9.3 of "Prison Statistics, England and Wales 1977"—Cmnd. 7286.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners in 1976 and 1977 received consecutive awards of cellular confinement at adjudications which in aggregate exceeded 56 days; and what were those aggregates;

(2) how many prisoners in 1976 and 1977 received awards at a single adjudication of forfeiture of remission in excess of 180 days, whether as a result of consecutive awards or in respect of an especially grave offence; and what were these awards.

The information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times has forfeited remission been restored to prisoners by governors and boards of visitors under rule 56(2) in each of the years since 1974 when such a power was introduced; and what periods were so restored.

This information is not available, but inquiries in relation to sample periods show that forfeited remission was restored to over 160 prisoners in the period 1 June to 30 November 1974 and to over 200 prisoners in the period 1 September 1976 to 28 February 1977. The amounts restored ranged from two days to 170 days.

Vietnamese Refugees

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the Vietnamese boat people have been given refuge in the United Kingdom.

A total of 1,122 refugees from Vietnam have been given permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom since the fall of Saigon in May 1975. Of these, 761 were "boat people".As I stated in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould) on 17 January, arrangements are in hand to admit 1,500 Vietnamese former "boat people" over the next 12 months to 15 months in addition to any who may be admitted under existing policy.—[Vol. 960, c.

761–3.]

Police Forces (Establishment)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there is a continuing advertising campaign for the recruitment of black police officers; and if he will list for the longest convenient period for the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside police, West Midlands police, Thames Valley police and Avon and Somerset authorities, the number of black police officers, their rank and, wherever possible, their ethnic classification.

National police recruitment advertising aims to appeal to all

Metropolitan policeMerseyside policeWest Midlands policeThames Valley policeAvon and Somerset police
Number serving at 31 December—
197081212
1971112412
1972132512
1973192723
19743621354
19753941865
19767242634
19778252635
197885*530*36
* Including one sergeant.
Details of the country of origin of those serving in the Metropolitan Police are as follows:

West Indies32
United Kingdom21
including 1 sergeant
India9
Kenya7
Uganda4
Cyprus2
Guyana2
St. Helena2
South Africa2
Sri Lanka1
Malaysia1
Mauritius1
Germany1
Details of country of origin are not available centrally for the other forces named.
DepartmentTotal of systems analysis, programming and operating staffMajor tasks
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food141Subsidy payments, payroll, statistics
Civil Service Department290Payroll, accounting, staff records, bureau work
HM Customs and Excise374Value Added Tax, statistics
Ministry of Defence2,218Bill paying, financial and accounting, stock control, payroll, stores codification and cataloguing, personnel records, technical maintenance data, bureau work
Department of Education and Science85Educational statistics, teachers super-annuation.
Department of Employment Group185Pay, statistics, Professional and Executive Register, vacancy matching.
Department of the Environment292Financial statistics, integrated accounting, payroll

who are eligible to join the police what ever their ethnic origin and there is no continuing campaign specifically aimed at members of ethnic minority groups. A short campaign in papers circulating amongst these groups was run in 1976, and another such campaign will be run shortly.

The details of officers belonging to ethnic minorities serving are as follows:

Civil Service

Computer Staff

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list by Department the number of civil servants employed in systems, programming and computer operating together with a note of the major applications processed in each case.

The main administrative computer using departments together with the number of civil servants employed in systems, programming and computer operating, as at 31 March 1978, and the major applications processed in each case are are follows:

Department

Total of system analysis, Programming and operating staff

Major tasks

Export Credits Guarantee Department91Statistics, accounts, bank guarantees, long term credits
General Register Office (Scotland)34Population statistics
Department of Health and Social Security1,319Pension payments, payroll, statistics, family allowances, short term benefits, reconciliation, contribution records and graduated pensions, unemployment benefits payment, NHS superannuation, medical manpower statistics
Home Office439Traffic tickets, police records, payroll, statistics, prison records, bureau work
Department of Industry260Trade census statistics, Business Statistics Office
Inland Revenue194PAYE assessment and collection, tax accounting
Land Registry53Index of land charges
Department fro National Savings445Savings Bank, Premium Savings Bonds and Stocks, National Savings Certificates
Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys166Population census and survey analysis
Ordnance Survey31General purpose, administration, cartographic
Paymaster General's Office136Pension payments, banking
Scottish Office131General ADP
HM Stationery Office7Bookshop distribution system
Department of Trade5Within Department of Industry
Department of Transport288Vehicle registration and licensing, driver licensing, road accident statistics
Her Majesty's Treasury (including Central Statistical Office)32Econometric modelling, statistical records and progress development, financial information system

Environment

House Alterations

21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for allowing householders greater freedom to alter their property before having to seek planning consent.

I am considering amendments to the provisions of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1977.

Community Land Scheme

22.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the community land scheme to make a profit.

We shall probably get an overall surplus when local authorities are disposing of nearly as much land as they are acquiring. The total net profit on community land disposed of up to 31 March 1978 was just over £1 million.

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the community land scheme to make a profit.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen).

Inner Urban Areas

23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities are taking action to implement the Inner Urban Areas Act.

The seven partnerships and the 15 programme authorities in England have prepared their inner area programmes for the coming three financial years. These cover the use they propose to make of the powers under the Act. Of the 43 designated districts in England, nine have so far notified me that they have declared improvement areas under the Act. A further 13 have consulted informally with my officials about possible future declarations.

24.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the present local government machinery for dealing with inner urban area problems.

Water Act 1973

25.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to amend section 30 of the Water Act 1973.

No. I am still considering the various representations put to me, and shall be discussing the matter further with the National Water Council.

Local Authorities (Wage Settlements)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will now make a supplementary grant to local authorities to enable them to cover the cost of wage settlements.

No. The rate support grant settlement will be updated next November in the usual way to take account of pay and price increases in the previous 12 months. This will, of course, be subject to cash limits but they will be increased to take account of the Government's recently announced initiative on the low paid.

Partnership Committees

27.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will agree to the inner city partnership committee meeting being open to the public where the committee agrees on such a procedure.

I am still considering this and other proposals for improving public involvement in the light of the representations that I have received.

Building Societies Association

29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met the Building Societies Association.

I met the chairman of the Building Societies Association and several of his colleagues on 22 November 1978.

Council Houses (Rents)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance he intends to give to local authorities as to the level of council house rents that they may wish to fix for the year 1979–80; and if he will make a statement.

The rate support grant settlement for 1979–80 assumed an average rent increase of 42p per week. Local authorities have already been informed of this.

Council Housing (Insulation)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what allocations have been made for 1979 to Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester, respectively, for the purpose of insulation of council dwellings.

The allocations for 1979–80 were as follows:

£
Sheffield498,750
Leeds525,650
Manchester611,200

Council Housing (Stress Areas)

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is satisfied with current council housing building programmes in stress housing areas.

The housing expenditure allocations made by the Department, which pay special regard to the requirements of authorities with concentrations of housing need, allow for a substantial council house building programme. But the level of new building is currently well below the plans put forward last year by housing authorities in their housing investment programme submissions and the level which the allocations could fund.

Partnership Schemes

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he remains satisfied with the operation of the partnership schemes.

Yes. As I told the hon. Member last November, the programmes agreed are a good beginning.—[Vol. 957, c. 223.] Partnerships are now rolling these forward, against the background of the increased resources recently announced in the Government's White Paper on public expenditure (Cmnd. 7439).

Urban Renewal

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total amount of grant allocated for urban renewal in the inner urban areas since April 1977.

The expenditure approved for new projects in England under the urban programme was £4·25 million in 1977–78; and £27 million in 1978–79. During this period there will also have been expenditure of about £40 million on projects continuing from earlier years; an allocation of £83 million for an inner city construction package; and of course continuing expenditure on main programmes.Urban programme grant is paid on 75 per cent. of the expenditure incurred by local authorities.

Planning Controls (Inner Urban Areas)

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will encourage the relaxation of planning controls in inner urban areas to encourage industrial development.

In the Department's circular 71/77 about local government and the industrial strategy, we have encouraged local authorities to be sensitive to the needs of industrial development, drawing particular attention to the needs of inner urban areas.

Inner Ring Road, Liverpool

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning the proposed inner ring road in Liverpool, in the context of the Liverpool inner area partnership.

I have had representations from five individuals or organisations on this matter in recent months.

Footpaths

37.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about progress on discussions on the review of footpaths.

We expect shortly to send to interested bodies a consultation document dealing in some detail with the problems to which the present procedures for reviewing and updating definitive maps of public rights of way are giving rise, and setting out the Department's proposals for overcoming them.

Council Employees (Pensions)

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether retired council employees whose pensions are index-linked now in some cases receive more in pension than their successors in the same post receive in salary; if this system remains appropriate; and if he will make a statement.

This could happen only where highly exceptional circumstances coincided, and such coincidences would be very rare. It might happen, for instance, if the pensioner had retired during the 1972–73 pay restraint, his pension had been increased under the Pensions (Increase) Act 1974, his salary during his last few months had been supplemented because of special duties, he had 45 years pensionable service and he was one of the few persons with pre-1953 superannuation rights whose whole benefit was in the form of a pension. On average the present pension of a person who retired five years ago would be about 60 per cent. of his successor's current salary. I would think it wholly inappropriate to revise the system of pension protection because such very rare anomalies may occur.

Buildings (Insulation)

39.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with current insulation standards in buildings.

New standards for non-domestic buildings are coming into effect on 1 July this year. Standards for domestic buildings are now under review.

Rate Support Grant

40.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from the Association of County Councils and others regarding disparities in the distribution of the rate support grant for 1978–79.

Despite the fact that some two-thirds of non-metropolitan countries will enjoy real increases in their needs element entitlements in 1979–80, the association has produced memoranda arguing that the settlement has discriminated against its members. We have told the association that we do not accept this. In addition, a few individual authorities have complained that they are not getting enough needs element.

Employment

Minimum Wage

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the cost to employers of introducing a national minimum wage at £45 a week or £1·13 an hour, applicable to all workers aged 21 years and over.

Bringing gross weekly earnings, excluding overtime pay, of full-time workers aged 21 and over up to £45 at April 1978 would have increased that component of the total wage and salary bill by around 1 per cent. The additional cost in cash terms would be approximately £10 million per week. This rough estimate is based on the new earnings survey results for those whose pay was not affected by absence. It takes no account of repercussions on those with higher earnings, or on overtime payments nor of part-time employment.

Wages (London And Manchester)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest convenient figures for comparisons of average wages in the Greater London area and the Greater Manchester area.

The following new earnings survey estimates of average gross weekly earnings in April 1978 relate to full-time men aged 21 and over and women aged 18 and over employed within the specified areas whose pay for the survey reference pay period was not affected by absence. They are rounded to the nearest 10p and are subject to sampling errors. Inter-area differences in occupational and industrial structures and of special London allowances. They do not indicate differences in pay for comparable work.

Greater LondonGreater Manchester
££
Men aged 21 and over
all occupations101·0086·00
non-manual occupations113·9097·30
manual occupations84·4078·40
Women aged 18 and over
all occupations65·3054·00
non-manual occupations68·0057·30
manual occupations54·4047·80

Merseyside

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the recent unemployment figures on Merseyside.

At 11 January, 87,344 people were registered as unemployed in the Merseyside special development area. This represents an unemployment percentage rate of 11·6 per cent. The Government recognise that the level of unemployment on Merseyside remains far too high but we are determined to do all we can to reduce it substantially. In addition to the various forms of financial assistance, which as a special development area it receives under the Government's regional policy, Merseyside has benefited from the wide range of special employment and training measures which have so far helped over 55,000 people there. The success of many of these measures, particularly those directed towards young people, depends to a large extent upon the co-operation of employers, trade unions, local authorities and voluntary organisations and I would appeal to them to do all they can to help. Merseyside will also benefit from the assistance granted under the Government's inner city policy to the Liverpool partnership.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the number of unemployed under 18 years, between 18 years and 30 years, 30 and 50 years, and 50 and 65 years, respectively, on Merseyside at the latest available date.

Following is the information for the Merseyside special development area at 12 October 1978, the latest date for which the quarterly age analysis is available.

NUMBERS REGISTERED AS UNEMPLOYED
Age
under 1813,081
18 to 2937,412
30 to 4923,700
50 to 6413,835

asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) how many construction

Special development areasNumbers registered as unemployed who last worked in the construction industryPercentage rate of unemployment in the construction industry
Merseyside10,71323·1
North-East13,45019·1
West Cumberland63215·3
North-West Wales1,02916·5
South Wales3,20018·3
Dundee and Arbroath91711·0
Girvan5922·1
Glenrothes1348·1
Leven and Methil1458·1
Livingston20012·3
west Central Scotland13,53716·1
All special development areas—excluding Merseyside33,30317·3
The numbers unemployed relate to the employment office areas which comprise the special development areas. The unemployment rates have been calculated for the "best-fit" of complete travel-to-work areas, the rates for Glenrothes and Leven and Methil are for the Kirkcaldy travel-to-work area while for Livingston the rate is that for the Bathgate travel-to-work area.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to reduce unemployment in the construction industry on Merseyside, in the light of the recent unemployment figures; and if he will make a statement.

Training Workshops And Projects

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether the funding of training workshops and projects under the youth opportunities programme and the special temporary employment programme could be improved.

workers are unemployed on Merseyside at the latest available date; and how these figures compare with other special development areas;

(2) what is the percentage of construction workers unemployed on Merseyside; and how these figures compare with other special development areas.

Trade

Sears Roebuck (Application)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to give a decision in respect of the American organisation Sears Roebuck's application for a licence to operate in the United Kingdom within the framework of Lloyd's.

My right hon. Friend has not received an application in these terms but on December 1 1978 he authorised Allstate Reinsurance Co. (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of Sears Roebuck, to carry on insurance business in Great Britain.

Fishing Boats (Stability)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied that the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation rules of stability are satisfactorily obeyed in the construction of fishing boats; and whether he has any information to suggest that boat builders are too often sticking to the minimum stability figure instead of making an allowance in excess of the minimum.

The stability criteria for fishing vessels recommended by IMCO are reflected in the Fishing Vessel (Safety Provisions) Rules 1975, which apply to fishing vessels 12 metres in length and over. All newly constructed fishing vessels to which the rules apply must demonstrate full compliance with the stability criteria in all operating conditions in order to obtain a fishing vessel certificate.

Oil Pollution (Salvage Tugs)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he is satisfied that the United Kingdom has sufficient salvage tugs for the protection of the United Kingdom coastline in the event of further damage from major oil pollution.

The availability of salvage tugs has been considered by an expert group, and I would ask the hon. Member to await the publication of its findings in February. I am in touch with the United Towing Company with regard to its report on this question.

Company Structure (Simplification)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether, in view of the fact that 33 per cent. of all the inquiries being handled by the Department of Industry's small firms advisory centres from established businesses relate to help needed on Government regulations and similar matters, he will take steps to introduce legislation to introduce a simplified form of company structure with appropriately reduced requirements.

The Government are very conscious of complaints from smaller firms that they find some regulations and procedures time-consuming and difficult to deal with. But I am not aware that problems of this sort arise in relation to company law generally. The main concerns expressed by small companies relate to the disclosure provisions of the Companies Acts, on which my Department will shortly publish a consultative document.

Education And Science

Engineering Courses

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action she intends to take in the light of the recent National Economic Developmet Council report which stressed the inadequacy of design teaching in engineering courses.

My officials are at present considering the report which only recently became available.

Arts Expenditure

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much of the increased expenditure alowance in the current year is being spent on the arts; and in what specific areas this money will be spent.

The public expenditure White Paper, Cmnd. 7439, shows that expenditure on the arts in the current year is planned to increase by 13 per cent. in real terms over 1977–78. The benefits from this increase are widely distributed throughout the institutions and services covered by this expenditure.

Sporting Activities (Circular)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if she will list the members who represented her Department on the working party which produced circular 16/78 "The Development of Sporting Talent in Children of School Age";(2) what consultations took place between her Department and teachers of physical education through their professional body the Physical Education Association before circular 16/78 "The Development of Sporting Talent in Children of School Age" was produced.

Circular 16/78 was issued jointly by my Department, Department of the Environment and the Welsh Office to convey the findings of a specialist working party established by the Minister responsible for sport and recreation. Its members were:

  • Miss E. G. Pollard, HMI (Staff inspector for physical education)
  • Mr. P. MacGregor (Director of Recreation, City of Coventry)
  • Mr. C. Sayer (Co-ordinator of Technical Services, Sports Council)
  • Mr. W. Slater (Director of Physical Education, University of Birmingham)
  • Dr. V. Thomas (Director of Physical Education, Liverpool Polytechnic).
The working group did not seek evidence from the specialist teachers' associations. Departmental consultations on the draft circular were held with the local authority associations and the main teachers' unions.

Prices And Consumer Protection

Sale Of Goods Act 1893

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection whether he has any plans for reviewing the Sale of Goods Act 1893.

The Government recognise the need, highlighted by the Bill put forward recently by the hon. Member, for a thorough-going examination of the rights of buyers where the goods are defective. Accordingly, the Lord Chancellor has asked the Law Commission:

"To consider—
  • (a) whether the undertakings as to the quality and fitness of goods implied under the law relating to sale of goods, hire-purchase and other contracts for the supply of goods require amendment;
  • (b) the circumstances in which a person, to whom goods are supplied under a contract of sale, hire-purchase or other contract for the supply of goods, is entitled, where there has been a breach by the supplier of a term implied by statute, to
  • (i) reject the goods and treat the contract as repudiated;
  • (ii) claim against the supplier a diminution in or extinction of the price;
  • EXPENDITURE ON FOOD SUBSIDIES (£ MILLION)
    Commodity19741975197619771978
    Milk†277·6359·2228·9181·6
    Butter*53·9108·680·252·668·7
    Bread†41·183·157·919·20·1
    Cheese†22·063·849·112·30·2
    Tea†9·729·824·10·2
    Flour†1·87·87·63·5
    Total406·1652·3444·0269·068·7
    * Includes EEC contribution of £11m. in 1974, in £20m. in 1975, £13m. in 1976, £38m. in 1977 and £47m. in 1978.
    † Subsidies ended for tea on 26 September 1976, flour on 30 April 1976, bread and cheese on 17 July 1977 and milk in December 1977.
    SUBSIDY EFFECT ON FOOD INDEX, RETAIL PRICE INDEX, AND INDICES FOR ONE-PERSON AND TWO-PERSON PENSIONER HOUSEHOLDS
    (1974=100)
    February 1974February 1975February 1976February 1977February 1978
    Per cent. saving
    General Index of Retail Prices
    Food index1·55·13·61·10·40
    Retail Price Index0·41·20·90·30·09
    One-person pensioner households index
    Food Index1·86·44·71·30·6
    All Items*0·83·02·10·60·3
    Two-person pensioner households index
    Food Index1·55·73·71·30·6
    All Items*0·72·71·80·60·3
    * Excludes an element for housing.

  • (iii) claim damages against the supplier;
  • (c) the circumstances in which, by reason of the Sale of Goods Act 1893, a buyer loses the right to reject the goods;
  • and to make recommendations."

    This reference will provide an opportunity for consideration in the light of modern conditions of the remedies available in law both to private consumers and to other buyers for major or minor defects in goods.

    The Scottish Law Commission already has these matters within the scope of its programme of work, and I hope that the two Law Commissions will co-operate as the need arises.

    Food Subsidies

    asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, in respect of each commodity, what is the amount spent on food subsidies in each of the years from February 1974 to date; and what effect these subventions have had in total on the retail prices index, the food prices index and the pensioners index, respectively.

    , pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 24 January 1979; Vol. 961, c. 146], gave the following answer:The information requested is given in the tables below.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    South Africa

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he intends to publish the names of the British companies operating in South Africa which have not complied with his code of conduct on employment practices for blacks in that country; and what action he intends to take to encourage them into doing so.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Dr. McDonald) on 25 January.—[Vol. 961, c. 351.]

    Vietnamese Refugees

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking through international or Commonwealth organisations to provide help for Vietnamese refugees.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave in the debate on this subject on 15 December and to the reply my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. Gould) on 17 January.—[Vol. 960, col. 1227; Vol. 960, col. 761.]

    International Agreements

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what agreements with the USSR or other countries have been signed by representatives of the United Kingdom that have not yet been reported to Parliament.

    No recent agreements have been signed with the USSR.The following agreements concluded by the United Kingdom with other countries have not yet been laid before Parliament as Command Papers. They will be laid and published in the next few weeks.BOTSWANA

    Exchange of Notes further amending the British Expatriates Supplementation (Botswana) Agreement 1976—Gaborone, 19 October 1978.

    BRAZIL

    Exchange of Notes between the Government of the United Kingdom—and the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands—and the Government of Brazil concerning the Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Arrangements relating to the proposed exports to Brazil of uranium enriched in the United Kingdom under the terms of contracts between URENCO and NUCLEBRAS—Brazilia, 1 September 1978.

    BRUNEI

    Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation—Brunei, 7 January 1979.

    Exchange of Notes terminating the special treaty relations between the United Kingdom and the State of Brunei—Brunei, 7 January 1979.

    CHINA, PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF

    Agreement and protocol on scientific and technological co-operation—London 15 November 1978.

    COSTA RICA

    Cultural convention—San Jose, 7 December 1978.

    CUBA

    Exchange of Notes concerning compensation for losses suffered by certain United Kingdom nationals as a result of implementation of Cuban nationalisation, expropriation and similar laws and measures since 1 January 1959—Havana, 18 October 1978.

    FINLAND

    Convention on social security and protocol concerning health care and co-operation in the field of medicine and public health—London, 12 December 1978.

    FRANCE

    Exchange of Notes concerning a reform of the judicial system in the New Hebrides—London, 15 December 1978.

    GERMANY, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF

    Exchange of Notes concerning the application of safeguards to proposed exports to Brazil of uranium enriched in the United Kingdom by URENCO—Bonn, 4 September 1978.

    GUYANA

    Agreement concerning public officers' pensions—Georgetown, 26 July 1977.

    HUNGARY

    Agreement on co-operation in the field of medicine and public health—Budapest, 1 November 1978.

    ISRAEL

    Exhange of Notes concerning the extension to Hong Kong of the convention providing for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil matters—Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, 20 September 1978.

    MALAWI

    Exchange of Notes amending the agreement for air services between and beyond their respective territories signed at Blantyre on 27 September 1968—Lilongwe, 16 August and 10 October 1978.

    MONACO

    Agreement concerning the mutual recognition of tonnage certificates of merchant ships—Monaco, 5 January 1979.

    NIGER

    Exchange of Notes concerning the mutual abolition of visas—Abidjan, 1 June 1976.

    NORWAY

    Protocol supplementary to the agreement of 10 March 1965 relating to the delimitation of the continental shelf between the two countries—Oslo, 22 December 1978.

    PAKISTAN

    Exchange of Notes constituting the United Kingdom-Pakistan—Tarbela no. 10—agreement 1978—Islamabad, 16 October 1978.

    POLAND

    Convention on co-operation in the field of culture, education and science—London, 7 November 1978.

    PORTUGAL

    Convention on social security—London, 15 November 1978.

    Exchange of Notes constituting the United Kingdom-Portugal loan agreement 1978—Lisbon, 7 November 1978.

    SINGAPORE

    Exchange of Notes amending the agreement of 1 December 1971 concerning assistance for the Armed Forces of Singapore and the arrangements for a United Kingdom force in Singapore, 26 July 1978.

    Agreement on behalf of the Government of the State of Brunei and the Government of the Republic of Singapore for air services between and beyond the State of Brunei and the Republic of Singapore—London, 13 December 1978.

    SPAIN

    Agreement in respect of the regulation of the taxation of road vehicles engaged in international transport—London, 24 August 1978.

    SRI LANKA

    Agreement concerning public officers' pensions—Colombo, 16 May 1978.

    THAILAND

    Agreement for the promotion of the investment of capital and for the protection of investment—London, 28 November 1978.

    TURKEY

    Agreement on certain commercial debts—Ankara, 17 November 1978.

    Exchange of Notes constituting the United Kingdom-Turkey refinancing loan agreement 1978—Ankara, 2 and 17 November 1978.

    TUVALU

    Exchange of Notes concerning the Overseas Service (Tuvalu) (Continuance) Agreement 1971–1978—Suva, 5 December and Funafuti, 6 December 1978.

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Exchange of Notes relating to the use of certain defence areas in the Turks and Caicos Islands—Washington, 29 December 1978.

    Exchange of Notes amending the agreement signed at London on 27 March 1941, as amended, relating to the leased naval and air bases in Bermuda—Washington, 5 and 6 December 1978.

    Miscellaneous

    Exchange of Notes with the Inter-American Development Bank concerning the exemption of certain employees from the United Kingdom social security scheme—Washington, 1 November 1978.

    Defence

    Raf Lindholme

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a staetment about the future of the residential quarters at RAF Lindholme, in the light of his announcement of a new operational role for the station.

    There are at present 170 vacant married quarters at RAF Lindholme and this will not be affected by the decision announced on 26 January to use the station as a relief landing ground for aircraft from RAF Finningley. We are, therefore, currently considering whether a future defence requirement for the quarters exists. If it does not, they will be disposed of in the normal way. I will keep my hon. Friend informed.

    Transport Command

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he is satisfied that the present strength of Transport Command, RAF, is adequate for the work load it has to carry.

    The RAF's present air transport capability allows it to satisfy the majority of peacetime demands upon it and to meet the emergency reinforcement requirements laid down for NATO forces by SACEUR. Where necessary, additional capacity is obtained by chartering civil aircraft.

    Social Services

    Council House Tenants (Rent Arrears)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the light of the rent arrears of £61·9 million by council house tenants in 1977–78, he will now issue instructions to officials of his Department that social security benefits made in respect of rent and rates should be paid direct to the local authorities.

    No. The rent element of supplementary benefit is already paid direct to the local authority where the tenant is in persistent default with his rent. To do this for all tenants on supplementary benefit, the vast majority of whom are not in arrears, would be not only an unwarranted interference in the individual's right to look after his affairs himself but also a misuse of scarce staff resources in my Department.

    Reception And Re-Establishment Centres

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will state (a) the total amount of grants in England and Wales under schedule 5 to the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976 for each of the last two years, (b) the total amount of grants in Scotland under schedule 5 to the Supplementary Benefits Act 1976 for each of the last two years, (c) the portion of total costs of reception and re-establishment centres met by such grants, and (d) annual cost of the reception centre at Bishopbriggs.

    The information is as follows:

    1976–771977–78
    (a)£133,917£99,875
    (b)Nil£12,500
    (c)2·68 per cent.2·14 per cent.
    (d)£129,608*£166,701*
    * Including the cost of re-establishment facilities because separate figures are not available.

    Lead Pollution

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, following the decision of Rear-Admiral Nixon at the M25 inquiry at Leatherhead to refuse to hear evidence from Dr. D. Barltrop, director of the department of child health, Westminster Children's hospital, on the grounds that he is not independent, he will remove Dr. Barltrop from his working party to review the overall effect on health of environmental lead which he announced on 29 November.—[Vol. 959, c. 273–4.]

    The considerations underlying the choice of membership of the working party and the arrangements for declaring pecuniary interests were explained in my reply of 29 November 1978.—[Vol. 959, c. 272–4.] I am looking into the particular report to which my hon. Friend refers and will write to him.

    Hospital Waiting Lists (Cheshire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the current length of waiting lists in each specialty at each hospital in the Cheshire health area; and what were the comparable figures in each of the past three years.

    Strike Centres

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many strike centres operated in 1978; what was the cost of their operation; and where they were located.

    I regret that accurate information is not available and approximate information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Benefits (Industrial Disputes)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what leaflets are currently available giving details of the entitlements of strikers to claim supplementary benefit on their own behalf and on behalf of their dependents; how many have been distributed since 1 January 1977; and where they are available.

    There is a special leaflet, SB2, giving this information. Copies are available from my Department's local offices and the leaflets unit at Stanmore, and also from any special centre set up to deal with claims during a particular dispute. The number of copies released from central stocks since 1 January 1977 is 850,000.

    Claimants (Order Books)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many foils in claimants' order books were marked cancelled in 1978.

    Cancelled foils are extracted and destroyed before order books are issued to beneficiaries. No record is kept of how many are cancelled.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claimants' order books were printed in 1978; how many were distributed; and what was the average level of stocks held at all social security offices.

    More than 50 million order books were printed in 1978 and about the same number were distributed. There are no stocks where books are

    YearNumber of bulk thefts of claimants' order books from social security officesNumber of order books stolenEstimated potential value*
    £
    1974NilNilNil
    197541,956723,320
    197621,456688,000
    19772444214,500
    19781374,000
    * This figure is based on the printed value on weekly foils (if known) or on the maximum foil value where blank order books were stolen

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps are taken to recover stolen claimants' order books; how many such order books were reclaimed in each of the past five years; and what was their potential value in each year.

    It would not be in the public interest to disclose full details of the steps taken to recover order books stolen from claimants. However, there are long-standing arrangements between my Department and the Post Office, designed to indentify and recover stolen order books and thus prevent fraudulent misuse. The Department's prime objective is to prevent fraud and therefore these arrangements and, indeed, the general procedures for order book issues and payments are continuously under review. In particular, as mentioned in the second report of the Co-ordinating Committee on Abuse, published on 11 January this year, improved procedures have been introduced for dealing with the loss and replacement of locally issued order books and the circumstances in which the Post

    printed, assembled and issued by computer; elsewhere stocks vary according to the scale of use, and are limited to the minimum needed to meet operational requirements.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many bulk thefts of claimants' order books from social security offices there have been in each of the past five years; how many books thereby have been stolen; and that was their potential value.

    The last figures available for thefts of order books from social security offices are as follows:Office of payment specified on an issued book can be changed.Thefts from and losses by individual claimants arise in a wide variety of circumstances, and the work involved in keeping a central record of the books recovered and their potential value, would not be justified.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claimants' order books were either lost or stolen in each of the past five years; and what was their potential value in each year.

    The Department records all losses of order books either on the way to, or after receipt by, the payee. The figures, excluding bulk thefts of order books which are recorded separately, are as follows:

    ORDER BOOK LOSSES—ALL BENEFITS (excluding bulk thefts)
    Year
    197381,638
    197480,735
    197592,396
    197686,938
    197796,928

    It is not possible to give a meaningful figure of the potential value of these books for the following reasons:

  • (1) the number of weekly payment foils contained in each individual claimants' order book varies with the type of benefit involved and with the number of foils already cashed;
  • (2) the rates of payment vary according to the benefit payable and the individual claimant's circumstances; and
  • (3) the maximum foil limit on weekly payments varies according to the type of benefit.
  • Obstetrics

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any additional training is required before a general practitioner is allowed to practise obstetrics.

    No. A general practitioner who has had the training in obstetrics provided in the undergraduate curriculum can practise obstetrics in the NHS but only for patients for whom he provides general medical services. A practitioner must be on the obstetric list, and therefore must have had additional training, to give maternity medical services to any other patients. Eighty per cent. of practitioners in England are on the obstetric list but only 3 per cent. of claims for fees for maternity medical services of all kinds, with a lower percentage for deliveries, are from practitioners not on the list.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what additional training is required before a general practitioner is placed on the obstetric register.

    The main criterion which a general practitioner has to satisfy for admission to the obstetric list is to have held a six months' resident appointment in a hospital obstetric unit within the previous 10 years. There are, however, other criteria which he can satisfy if he has not held a six months' resident appointment. I shall send my hon. Friend a full list of the criteria governing entry to the obstetric list.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many babies were delivered by general practitioners in the last year for which figures are available; and how many of these were delivered by general practitioners not on the obstetric register.

    The available information is of the number of NHS maternity medical services fees paid in respect of responsibility for confinement to practitioners in England in 1977. 105,000 such fees were paid: 104,200 to doctors on the obstetric list and 800—less than 1 per cent.—to doctors not on the list. These figures are derived from a 10 per cent. sample of claims.

    Nursing Vacancies (Burton-On-Trent)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many nursing staff vacancies remain unfilled in the Burton-on-Trent hospitals.

    Recruitment is up to the funded establishment. Vacancies occur from time to time in the psychiatric and midwifery divisions where recruitment is more difficult.

    Retirement Pensions

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what would be the present rate of retirement pension for a single person and a married couple if the November 1978 increase had been in line with the 13·2 per cent. increase in earnings rather than his forecast of 11·4 per cent.; and what would be the total cost of making good the shortfall.

    If retirement pensions and other long-term benefits had been increased by 13·2 per cent. in November 1978, the standard rates would have been £19·80 for a single person and £31·70 for a married couple. To increase the present rates to these levels would cost about £165 million a year in Great Britain. However, as I made clear to my hon. Friend in my reply to him on 17 January, there is no statutory obligation to make good the shortfall in last November's uprating, but the Government will nevertheless take this shortfall into account together with the general fiscal and monetary prospects when the time comes to decide the new rates of benefit that will take effect next November.—[Vol. 960, c. 771–3.]

    Child Benefit Books

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why there are long delays in the issue and reissue of child benefit books; and what action he is taking to alleviate the hardship that these delays are causing.

    Hospital Admissions

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people were taken to hospital by the police or volunteers on 22 January; and whether he is aware of any instances in which the absence of emergency cover by the normal ambulance service aggravated the condition of the patient.

    , pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 30 January 1979; Vol. 961, c. 385], gave the following information:One hundred and thirty-nine patients in the Greater London area were conveyed to hospital by members of the police force and 165 by members of the Red Cross, St. John's Ambulance Brigade and the Armed Forces between 7 a.m. on Monday 22 January and 7 a.m. on Tuesday 23 January.I am not aware of any instances in which the absence of emergency services normally provided in London aggravated the condition of these patients.

    Intensive Child Care Units

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what provision

    COMBINED SPECIAL AND INTENSIVE CARE UNITS IN ENGLAND
    (i) Northern Region
    B Newcastle General Hospital24/2
    B Princess Mary Maternity Hospital21/2
    (ii) North Western Region
    A St. Mary's Hospital, Manchester30/10
    D Hope Hospital, Salford21/2
    (iii) Yorkshire Region
    A St. James's Hospital, Leeds35/6
    (iv) Mersey Region
    A Liverpool Maternity Hospital24/4
    D Fazakerley Hospital20/4
    D Alder Hey Children's Hospital8/6
    (v) Trent Region
    A Nottingham City Hospital36/5
    A Leicester Royal Infirmary26/5
    B/C Jessop Hospital, Sheffield26/-
    (currently under discussion)
    (vi) West Midland Region
    B/C Birmingham Maternity Hospital36/4
    B Sorrento Maternity Hospital32/4
    C Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry29/4
    C New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton26/5
    (vii) East Anglian Region
    A Mill Road Maternity Hospital, Cambridge24/4

    he is making for an adequate number of intensive care units for new-born babies in ( a) the London area and ( b) the rest of the United Kingdom.

    HC(76) 40 recommended a two-tier system of provision of special and intensive care for newborn babies:

  • (i) special care units associated with maternity and children's departments of district general hospitals; and
  • (ii) combined special care and intensive care units associated with certain maternity and children's departments of general hospitals that would have substantial resources in staff and equipment. As well as providing special care these units would look after the small proportion of babies whose healthy survival depends on highly specialised techniques. It was envisaged that there would be relatively few of this latter type of unit, probably only one or two per region. All regions confirmed that they were carrying out the review of their services for the newborn requested in the circular, and their actions are being followed up through the NHS planning system. The arrangements recommended in HC(76)40 applied equally to London and to the rest of England. Intensive care services for the newborn in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland respectively.
  • The list below shows those hospitals in England which provide intensive care for the newborn.

    (viii) Oxford Region
    A John Radcliffe Hospital40/6
    (ix) Wessex Region
    D Southampton General Hospital20/4
    (x) South Western Region
    D Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro20/4
    D Plymouth General Hospital24/6
    D Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, Heavitree31/5
    D Bristol Maternity Hospital32/5
    D Southmead Hospital, Bristol36/6
    D Gloucestershire Royal Hospital20/3
    (xi) North West Thames Region
    B/C Hammersmith Hospital20/4
    D Northwick Park Hospital24/4
    D Watford General Hospital20/4
    D Edgware General Hospital20/4
    D St. Mary's Hospital13/3
    D Westminster Hospital10/2
    (opening March 1979)
    (xii) North East Thames Region
    A The London Hospital12/5
    A University College Hospital18/6–8
    (xiii) South East Thames Region
    A King's College Hospital23/7
    D Guy's Hospital20/2
    D St. Thomas's Hospital20/2
    D Lewisham Hospital25/3
    D Royal Sussex Hospital, Brighton22/3–4
    (xiv) South West Thames Region
    C St. George's Hospital20/3–4
    (opening late 1979)
    D Kingston Hospital13/2
    D St. Peter's Hospital Chertsey30/4
    D Frimely Park Hospital20/4
    (xv) London post-Graduate Boards of Governors
    B Queen Charlotte's Hospital for Women20/2–5
    NOTES:
    The letter A denotes officially designated functioning Regional Units;
    The letter B denotes units which are recognised as having a regional commitment but are not officially designated;
    The letter C denotes units which are being developed with a view to designation in due course;
    The letter D denotes units which provide a local service.
    Against the name of each hospital are two figures, the first being the total number of cots in the unit, the second being the number of cots which can be used at any one time for intensive care.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many newborn babies have died in each of the past three years after being turned away from fully committed regional intensive child care units.

    This information is not routinely collected. A recent study undertaken in the North-East Thames region showed that, of 51 infants refused admission to the unit of first choice over a 3-month period, 12 were admitted to a second intensive care unit in the region; 26 were admitted to intensive care units outside the region; 11 remained in ordinary special care baby units; 2 were not traced.Survival of babies weighing more than 1,500 gms was as good in the special care baby units (SCBUs) as in the intensive care units (ICUs); survival of those weighing 1,001–1,500 gms was 60 per cent. in the ICUs, whereas the two in this group who remained in SCBUs died; survival of those weighing 1,000 gms or less was 20 per cent. in the ICUs whereas the five in this group who remained in SCBUs died.

    Energy

    British National Oil Corporation

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he took counsel's opinion on British National Oil Corporation's forward sale of oil as shown in its 1976 accounts; what, if so, was counsel's opinion; and what was the legal fee involved.

    When BNOC's forward sale of oil—as shown in its 1977 accounts—was under negotiation in 1977, the Department of Energy sought advice on legal aspects of the proposed transaction from the Department's legal advisers. It did not seek legal opinions outside the Government service and no legal fee was involved.

    Oil Supplies

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action he is taking to deal with the threat to oil supplies world wide and to the United Kingdom caused by the cessation of Iranian oil exports.

    The fall in Iranian oil production in November and December and the complete cessation of oil exports since Christmas are undoubtedly placing strain on world oil markets. The loss of Iranian crude is only in part being made up from additional production elsewhere and some rundown in stock levels worldwide is inevitable. The Government will watch the situation carefully and will keep in close touch with the International Energy Agency and with other Governments. I am also continuing to keep in close touch with the oil companies about the maintenance of supplies to the United Kingdom and the steps they are taking to secure additional supplies from other sources.In the meantime, it is important that consumers should exercise restraint in the use of oil products wherever possible and avoid waste. The Government will expect oil companies exporting North Sea crude to do so in the markets of our partners in the International Energy Agency and in the European Community. This expectation in no way cuts across the maintenance, to the extent possible, of any existing patterns of trade outside those regions.

    Overseas Development

    India

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development how much aid was designated for India in each of the past five years; and what was the amount actually taken up in each of these years.

    Figures, as published in the Appropriation accounts for the past five financial years, are as follows:

    £ million
    Total estimated provisionActual expenditure
    1973–7485·49477·229
    1974–7562·58260·509
    1975–7683·69579·245
    1976–7799·51095·710
    1977–78120·511103·039
    These figures do not include technical co-operation.

    Tobacco Growing

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development, in the light of Government policy for the reduction of smoking in the interest of good health, if she will raise in the Food and Agriculture Organisation the policy to promote the growing of tobacco by underdeveloped countries; and if she will make a statement.

    The Food and Agricultural Organisation already occupies itself with this matter in close co-operation with the World Health Organisation. The World Health Organisation is invited to participate in all Food and Agricultural Organisation governmental groups and panels dealing with tobacco.The Food and Agricultural Organisation has not embarked on new tobacco projects since 1976, following a resolution on smoking and health by the World Health Assembly. The British delegation to the World Health Assembly last year co-sponsored a resolution calling on WHO to increase resources devoted to the reduction of cigarette smoking.

    European Development Fund

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will seek to alter the situation whereby the poorest member States of the EEC pay higher percentage proportions of their gross national product into the European development fund than the richest members, as occurred in 1976 and 1977.

    I regret that this is not possible. The shares to be paid by each EEC member State to the fourth EDF were agreed in 1975 and are written into the internal financing agreement of the Lomé convention; there is no provision for their revision. But the Community is now considering the possibility of charging the next EDF to the Community Budget. This should ensure that our share of the next EDF would be smaller than our present contribution. A detailed explanation of how this would be calculated is given in the Treasury Memorandum on the EDF and the EEC Budget, printed in volume 2 of the second report from the Select Committee on Overseas Development.

    Eritrea (Medical Aid)

    asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will hold discussions with the International Red Cross to ensure that substantial supplies of medical aid to get through to the Eritrean relief association.

    We have had such discussions. The International Committee for

    REAL PERSONAL DISPOSABLE INCOME*—1970=100
    United KingdomFranceWest GermanyUnited StatesJapan
    1971102·8106·6104·2104·0107·7
    1972111·0113·2106·1108·4119·1
    1973116·7120·7106·5115·5134·9
    1974116·8123·6107·2114·1138·3
    1975116·7129·4110·1116·6145·5
    1976116·4132·3··121·0150·6
    1977115·1········
    * Before deducting but after deducting stock appreciation.
    Sources: United Kingdom: National Income and Expenditure 1967–77, adjusted to international definitions.
    Other countries: Derived from "National Account of OECD Countries 1976" Volume II.
    Real personal disposable income in the United Kingdom in the first three quarters of 1978 was 6 per cent. up on the corresponding quarters in 1977. Figures for 1978 for other countries are not available.The comparisons may be affected by the different economic structures in the countries concerned. In particular, there are substantial differences, between countries in the proportion of the working population which is self-employed. These differences affect the levels of personal disposable income and may also affect the year-to-year changes.

    Manufacturing Industry (Output)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total output of manufacturing industry in the last year, for which comparable figures are available, of the United Kingdom, each of the other member countries of the European Economic Community, and India.

    the Red Cross has assured us that it is sending relief supplies, including medical supplies, equally to the Eritrean Relief Association and the Eritrean Red Cross and Crescent.

    National Finance

    Disposable Income (International Comparisons)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much real personal disposable income has increased or decreased in Great Britain, France, West Germany, the United States of America and Japan in each year since 1970, using indices and taking 1970 as the base year.

    The output of manufacturing industries is best measured in terms of their contribution to the gross domestic product; an aggregate of total production would contain an element of duplication to the extent that inter-industry transactions are not eliminated. An assessment of the contribution of manufacturing industries to gross domestic product in each of the countries listed is shown in the individual country tables in the United Nations publication "Yearbook of National Accounts Statistics". Satisfactory international comparisons, however, cannot be readily drawn from these data, mainly because they are published in national currencies and conversions to a common currency using international exchange rates is not wholly appropriate. Furthermore, although the estimates are compiled bearing in mind the requirements of international comparability, the United Nations draw particular attention to the need to pay regard to differences in concept, scope, coverage and classification which are described in notes to individual country tables. Such

    MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTION TO GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (1
    1975 Local currency (thousand million)Exchange rate (9)US$ (thousand million)
    United KingdomPounds sterling25·64 (2), (3), (4)2·22 (9)56·97
    BelgiumBelgian francs628·26 (5)36·7817·08
    DenmarkDanish kroner51·63 (2)5·758·99
    FranceFrench francs391·014·2991·22
    West GermanyDeutsche mark376·14 (6)2·46152·87
    IrelandIrish pounds··2·22 (9)··
    ItalyItalian lire36,327·00 (7)652·8555·64
    LuxembourgLuxenbourg francs28·49 (7)36·780·77
    NetherlandsNetherlands guilders48·78 (2), (8)2·5319·29
    IndiaIndia rupees105·18 (2)8·3812·56
    Soures:
    GDP: United Nations Yearbook of National Accounts Statistics, 1977, Volume 1.
    Exchange rates: International Financial Statistics January 1979.
    ·· Not available.
    (1) Contribution to gdp at producers' values in current prices.
    (2) Contribution to gdp in factor values at current prices.
    (3) As updated by United Kingdom National Income and Expenditure 1967–77, Table 3.2.
    (4) Repairs to consumer durables other than motor vehicles or footwear are included in wholesale and retail trade; other repair work is included in community, social and personal services.
    (5) Including garages.
    (6) Including quarrying and steel construction.
    (7) Including mining and quarrying.
    (8) Including mining and quarrying, and petroleum and natural gas.
    (9) For United Kingdom and Ireland, period averages of exchange rates in US dollars per unit of national currency; for other countries, period averages of exchange rates in units of national currency per US dollar.

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report the revenue cost in a full year of raising the main personal allowances for income tax by 25 per cent. and of adopting the following scale of income tax rates: £0 to £5,000 at 25 per cent., £5,001 to £10,000 at 30 per cent., £10,001 to £12,000 at 35 per cent., £12,000 to £14,000 at 40 per cent., £14,001 to £17,000 at 45 per cent., £17,001 to £21,000 at 50 per cent., £21,001 to £25,000 at 55 per cent. and over £25,001 at 60 per cent.

    Capital Gains Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the separate assessment of husband and wife for capital gains tax, where each party has individually owned a property in which they have lived separately or together during the period of their marriage whilst each was engaged in separate

    data as are given in the individual country tables are drawn together in the table below:

    employment in the same vicinity of the houses owned.

    Employment Income

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish estimates of income from employment, and wages and salaries per capita, for the sectors of the economy distinguished in table 1.11 of the national income blue book for each of the years 1967–1977 and his estimates for all or part of 1978, in index number form on the basis that the private sector is taken as 100 in the year 1970.

    Public Sector Pay Settlements

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his commitment to offset excessive settlements in the public sector by less public spending on other things means that cash limit blocks for pay and general administrative expenses, unaffected by excessive pay claims, will be reduced, that economies will be found within other areas of cash limit expenditure, that cuts will be made in identified public spending programmes, or that the increases will be set off against the contingency reserve.

    I would refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's speech in the House on 25 January.—[Vol. 961, c. 751–66.]

    Cash Limits

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to publish the cash limits for 1979–80.

    It is the intention that cash limits which have been assimilated with Votes will be published in the Supply Estimates for 1979–80 in the weeks preceding Budget day. Cash limits on the nationalised industries will be published in the Financial Statement and Budget Report. All other cash limits will be shown in a White Paper which it is planned to publish on budget day.

    Corporation Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the majority of the largest 20 companies in the United Kingdom pay corporation tax in real terms.

    , pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 30 January 1979], gave the following information:For reasons of confidentiality I cannot discuss the tax affairs of a small group of companies. All companies pay corporation tax on profits calculated according to historic costs. To the extent that they qualify for stock relief or make investments qualifying for 100 per cent. first year allowances, and claim these reliefs, relief may in effect be given against the effects of inflation in these cases.

    Minimum Wage

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the number of public sector employees aged 21 years and over, excluding employees in the nationalised industries, whose basic wage is less than £45 a week or £1·13 an hour; and what would be the cost to the taxpayer of introducing a statutory minimum wage of £45 or £1·13 an hour for all public sector employees aged 21 years and over.

    I have been asked to reply.For the public sector, excluding public corporations, the required information is available only for fulltime men aged 21 and over and full-time women aged 18 and over. The new earnings survey indicates that the gross weekly earnings, excluding overtime pay, were less than £45 in April 1978 for about 50,000 such men, and about 300,000 such women whose pay for the survey reference period was not affected by absence.Bringing these earnings up to £45 at April 1978 would increase the total wages and salary bill, excluding overtime payments, of full-time men and women by around three-quarters of 1 per cent. The additional cost in cash terms would be approximately £2 million per week. This rough estimate takes no account of repercussions on those with higher earnings, on overtime payments, nor of part-time employment.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Census Branch Office

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the annual cost of the agricultural census branch office in each of the past five years.

    The current annual cost of the agricultural census branch office is estimated to be £595,000. In addition to salaries, this figure includes allowances for accommodation, common services, general overheads, senior management and HMSO and Post Office charges, but not the specialised cost of printing and despatching census forms. Comparable figures for earlier years are not readily available, but they would reflect the lower level of salaries and overheads rather than any increase in staff numbers, which apart from staff now engaged on work previously done in local offices, have shown little change over the past five years.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many people are employed at the agricultural census branch office.

    Wales

    Primary And Secondary Schools (Gwynedd)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many primary and secondary schools in Gwynedd are recognised as being below the minimum acceptable standard laid down by his Department and the Department of Education and Science; and what additional financial provision he intends making to overcome this problem.

    Comprehensive detailed information on school premises is not readily available. An assessment by the Gwynedd county council indicates that 85 of the 200 primary schools in the county occupy buildings dating from pre 1903.The additional allocations for school building announced last November should make it possible for the Gwynedd local education authority and others in Wales to make a significant start on the work necessary to bring school premises up to satisfactory standards.

    Sporting Activities (Circular)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the

    £ million at 1978 Survey Prices
    1976–771977–781978–791979–80
    Central Government Motorways and Trunk Roads
    1. Planned expenditure9·98·09·28·4
    2. Actual expenditure8·68·2
    3. Estimated expenditure9·28·4
    4. Shortfall1·3
    5. Shortfall as percentage(13·1%)
    Local Authority Roads
    1. Planned expenditure47·634·034·334·3
    2. Actual expenditure35·937·7
    3. Estimate expenditure37·734·3
    4. Shortfall11·7
    5. Shortfall as percentage(24·6%)

    Roads

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total mileage of all-purpose dual carriageway roads in use in Wales on trunk roads at the end of September 1978.

    Members who represented his Department on the working party which produced circular 139/78 "The Development of Sporting Talent in Children of School Age".

    The chairman of the specialist working party, whose suggestions were incorporated into Welsh Office circular 139/78, was a member of Her Majesty's inspectorate in England, but Government Departments were not otherwise represented on it.The Welsh Office was fully involved in considering the suggestions and their implications for education institutions.

    Road Maintenance

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing actual or estimated expenditure in Wales, the expenditure planned, all at 1978 survey prices, and the shortfall as a percentage of the planned budget for (a) motorway and trunk road maintenance, and (b) local authority road maintenance for 1976–77, 1977–78, 1978–79 and 1979–80.

    Public Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of Sate for Wales if he will provide an adjusted version of table 2.6 of the public expenditure White paper to show expenditure for Wales only.

    The information is as follows:

    Nearest £ million at 1978 survey prices
    1973–741974–751975–761976–771977–781978–791979–801980–811981–821982–83
    Motorways and Trunk Roads:
    New construction and improvement35276067464852586060
    Maintenance10899898999
    Total45356976545760676969
    Local transport:
    Capital
    Roads—new construction and improvement32363131252632282828
    Car parks2311111000
    Public transport investment0000011111
    Current
    Roads—maintenance46423836383834343434
    Car parks0000000000
    Road safety etc.0000001111
    Local authority administration10121111111111101010
    Passenger transport subsidies:
    British Rail0000000000
    Bus, underground and ferry services1247666666
    Concessionary fares1244444444
    Total92978990858790848484

    School Examinations

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of entrants for the Welsh joint education committee's GCE O level in the 12 most popular subjects for 1976, 1977 and 1978,

    WJEC GCE O LEVEL RESULTS—SUMMER 1976
    EntriesGrade AGrade BGrade C
    NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.
    English Language20,8222,30111·15,03224·25,93428·5
    English Literature14,5171,58610·93,72025·63,69525·5
    Mathematics*10,6531,19411·22,63124·72,75525·9
    History9,3901,09711·72,22323·71,88520·1
    Geography*8,06183710·42,02925·21,41817·6
    Physics6,38368610·71,56024·41,41822·2
    Biology*6,3656329·91,67926·41,47823·2
    French5,77268411·91,36923·71,37823·9
    Chemistry5,07464312·71,02420·21,34526·5
    Art*3,8573789·878120·21,13229·3
    Scripture3,73142911·593325·089223·9
    Human Biology3,3412818·486125·860118·0
    * Including entrants taking the Common Syllabus GCE/CSE examinations in these subject the figures would be:—
    Mathematics15,1781,2918·53,03520·03,51523·2
    Geography9,0578849·82,15223·81,59217·6
    Biology9,4208218·72,23123·72,05321·8
    Art6,84882812·11,28218·71,58123·1
    WJEC GCE O LEVEL RESULTS—SUMMER 1977
    EntriesGrade AGrade BGrade C
    NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.
    English Language21,2512,31810·95,21924·65,92127·9
    English Literature14,7471,62511·03,59724·43,77725·6
    History9,5181,10711·62,24823·61,93620·3
    Mathematics*9,38499310·62,21223·62,42125·8
    Geography*6,7756299·31,74025·71,28719·0
    Physics6,64773911·11,60724·21,52823·0
    French5,75667811·81,42124·71,30422·7
    Chemistry5,29958911·11,11621·11,38226·1
    Biology*5,22557210·91,35325·91,22323·4
    Scripture3,54539311·187524·788324·9
    Cookery3,2201675·267020·865620·4
    Art*3,12636911·872523·290328·9
    * Including entrants taking the Common Syllabus GCE/CSE examinations in these subject the figures would be:—
    Mathematics18,5511,2586·82,80715·13,78320·4
    Geography10,4558788·42,36222·62,00719·2
    Biology10,4688688·32,17920·82,21221·1
    Art7,8211,00612·91,53619·61,76922·6
    WJEC GCE O LEVEL RESULTS—SUMMER 1978
    EntriesGrade AGrade BGrade C
    NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.
    English Language21,9402,42911·15,18323·625,84226·63
    English Literature14,8991,66311·23,51023·563,80525·54
    History9,7021,13511·71,99120·522,19622·63
    Mathematics*9,26398510·62,29824·812,27924·60
    Physics7,33275110·21,75923·991,83224·99
    Chemistry5,89774112·61,32522·471,37023·23
    French5,70457410·11,48826·091,29922·77
    Geography*5,62970612·51,34323·861,08719·31
    Biology*4,94156611·51,25525·401,15523·38
    Scripture3,42635410·384824·7586025·10
    Home Economics3,2821594·864819·7476021·51
    Human Biology2,9692327·853718·0964821·83
    * Including entrants taking the Common Syllabus GCE/CSE examinations in these subject the figures would be:—
    Mathematics20,3791,2936·32,88614·163,97219·49
    Geography11,4391,0659·32,32020·282,08218·20
    Biology11,5389598·32,25919·582,42220·99

    separately, and the numbers and percentage who obtained grades A, B and C passes in each of these subjects.

    The information set out below is derived from the WJEC general reports relating to the summer examinations in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the number of entrants for Welsh joint education committee GCE O level in each modern language for the past two years, and the number

    WJEC O LEVEL RESULTS IN MODERN LANGUAGES
    1977 Grade C or better1978 Grade C or better
    SubjectEntriesNumberPercentageEntriesNumberPercentage
    French5,7563,40359·15,7043,36158·9
    Welsh*3,1081,96463·23,4192,05660·1
    German1,19962251·91,26065552·0
    (German†1,94385143·82,01486943·1)
    Spanish33518254·330617557·2
    Italian776179·21187966·9
    Russian342264·7422664·9
    Others382565·8372464·9
    * The figures are for the Welsh papers 02 and 03 combined.
    † Including entrants taking the Common Syllabus GCE/CSE Examination.

    A5, Pentrefrelas, Gwynedd

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will have an inquiry made, as a matter of urgency, into the feasibility of placing double white centre lines on the A5 trunk road within the village boundaries of Pentrefrelas, Gwynedd, with a view to prohibiting overtaking by vehicles, and of imposing a realistic speed limit consistent with public safety, in the area.

    I have asked for a report by the Department's engineers. I will write to the hon. and learned Member as soon as possible.

    Transport

    Trans-Pennines Route

    50.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport, in view of the fact that both the Snake Pass and Main Tor routes across the Pennines are blocked due to subsidence and snow, causing a concentration of traffic on to the Chesterfield-Peak, Forest-Stockport, and Woodhead roads, if he will now, in his new roads review, give urgent priority to an all-weather route between Sheffield and Manchester of dual carriageway motorway standard.

    Nothing has emerged since February 1977 to alter the decision I then took that a new road between Manchester and Sheffield could not be justified. Other routes, including the M62, can be used during bad weather.

    and percentage of those who passed at C grade or better.

    The information set out below is derived from the WJEC general reports relating to the summer examinations in 1977 and 1978:

    Channel Bridge

    49.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will set up an evaluation study into the possibilities of building a Channel bridge containing carriageways for both private and commercial vehicles in addition to two railway tracks.

    Motor Vehicles (Parking)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the current statutes and regulations concerning the parking of motor vehicles on footways; and if he is contemplating a change in either the law or regulations.

    Local authorities have general powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1967 to ban footway parking on particular stretches of road; and where yellow line waiting restrictions are in force they apply to the footway as well as to the carriageway. In addition, section 36A of the Road Traffic Act 1972 specifically prohibits vehicles over three tons unladen weight from parking wholly or partly on verges, central reservations and footways, except in an emergency or for essential loading or unloading; and section 36B of the 1972 Act empowers my right hon. Friend to extend this prohibition to all other vehicles in respect of roads subject to a speed limit of 40 m.p.h. or less. This ban will come into force on 1 October 1980. Certain categories of vehicle will be exempted by regulations to be made by my right hon. Friend; and local authorities have power to exempt particular roads or stretches of road.

    M25 (North Orbital Road)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish projected estimates of noise levels for each of the proposed routes of the M25 north orbital road between Maple Cross and Denham; showing decibel levels in each case.

    Noise levels at properties within 300 metres of the route for which my right hon. Friend published a draft scheme on 7 December are still being calculated and will be made available before a public inquiry.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to the historic community of Heronsgate, created in order to promote the idea of self-sufficiency for the poor, from agricultural smallholdings, when making decisions on the route for the proposed M25 north orbital motorway.

    We are aware of the historic significance of this settlement. Environmental considerations were taken into account before the statutory proposals were published last December. But there will be a public inquiry before my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and for the Environment make the final decision.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his Department's attitude to the use of bitumastic surfaces for the M25 north orbital motorway.

    It is the Department's normal policy in building new roads to obtain competitive tenders for both concrete and bituminous surfaces.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his proposals for cut and cover in the Leavesden area of the M25 north orbital motorway showing the estimated costs of each of the proposals.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to the pollution caused by fumes emerging from the tunnels proposed for any of the M25 north orbital motorway routes; and if he will make a statement with particular regard to the hospital at Leavesden.

    Where tunnels are provided the solution to the ventilation problem varies with the site. No tunnels are proposed for the preferred route of the section of the M25 between Micklefield Green and South Mimms, which passes approximately 1 kilometre from the hospital at Leavesden.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has fully investigated the destruction of houses and part of Ladywalk Wood by the proposed M25 north orbital motorway; and if he has considered any eastward deviation to avoid such destruction.

    Yes. I regret the proposed demolition of two houses and the effect on Ladywalk Wood. But to move the route eastwards would have a number of environmental disadvantages. There will be a public inquiry before my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and for the Environment make the final decision.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the effect of the proposed M25 north orbital motorway on the Colne Valley regional park, stating how he proposes to minimise the destruction of the environment.

    One section of the M25 will pass through the area designated as the Colne valley regional park. We recognise the value of this project and the Department is in regular contact with both the Buckinghamshire county council and the Colne valley regional park standing conference about the effect of the motorway. Extensive landscaping measures are proposed to mitigate the effects.

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of the number of listed buildings and their nature, which are likely to be affected by the proposed M25 north orbital motorway in the Heronsgate area.

    No listed buildings will have to be demolished for the Department's published proposals in this area and only four listed buildings are within 300 metres of the proposed route. Two of these are about 200 metres from the road. The other two are Little Whaddon and Bircham House, a pair of semi-detached dwellings, which are respectively 42 and 50 metres from the proposed motorway fence.

    Liaison Officer, Eastern Road Construction Unit

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what are the criteria by which the eastern road construction unit liaison officer decides to advise interested parties of progress on proposed motorway construction projects;(2) why the liaison officer at the eastern road construction unit has refused to allow a group of residents at Heronsgate to be put on his mailing list; if he will investigate the matter; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he will specify which people and groups the eastern road construction unit liaison officer liaises with; and if he will make a statement;(4) if he will define the duties of the liaison officer at the eastern road construction unit for the north orbital motorway from Maple Cross to Denham.

    The liaison officer aims to establish good relations on an individual basis with landowners, tenants and occupiers of land, houses, shops and other premises affected by the scheme, so that they may understand the way in which they, their homes and livelihoods could be affected by the published proposals. He also explains the procedures which the Department has to follow and endeavours to ensure that people are aware of their rights.He has already been in touch with individual residents of Heronsgate and has recently added their committee to his mailing list.

    Southampton Docks