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Written Answers

Volume 975: debated on Friday 7 December 1979

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 7 December 1979

Defence

Independent European Programme Group

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he is satisfied with the working of the Independent European Programme Group.

International collaboration in the field of defence equipment production is inevitably complex, and we should not expect quick progress. I hope, however, that the hard work of the Independent European Programme Group will result in some project successes.

European Parliament

Travel Arrangements

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what facilities have been made available to British Members of the European Parliament, who are not also hon. Members, to use the Transport Office to make travel bookings; and whether reciprocal arrangements have been negotiated with the European Parliament for use of its travel office by hon. Members visiting the European Parliament.

No such arrangements exist at the present time. But the Services Committee has recently been giving preliminary consideration to the wider question of what facilities might be granted to Members of the European Parliament who are not Members of either House of this Parliament.

European Community

Immigration

asked the Lord Privy Seal what discussions he has had with other EEC Ministers on proposals to curb immigration to all EEC countries; when he expects a decision will be reached on these proposals; and if he will make a statement.

There are no proposals to curb legal immigration. The Commission is now considering revised proposals for the proposed directive on illegal immigration, which my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Home Office discussed with it informally in September. The Commission has proposed terms of reference for consultation about conditions for the admission of migrant workers from third countries, but no early decisions are envisaged.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

South Africa (Barclays Bank)

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is satisfied that the investment of 4 million rand by Barclays Bank in SASOL, the oil-from-coal project in the Republic of South Africa, is in accordance with the United Nations arms embargo against South Africa to which Her Majesty's Government are a party.

Ascension Island (Communication Centre)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what will be the cost to public funds of providing appropriate facilities for women employees at the Government communication centre on Ascension Island.

Various possible options have been examined. The only one regarded as feasible would require an estimated capital cost of about £5,000 and a recurrent cost of about £4,500 per annum.

Centre For World Development Education

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) if, in view of the article on "Overseas Development" published by his Department, "New move boosts education group", he plans to extend the work of the Centre for World Development Education in the light of progress made since 1977;

(2) if he will make a statement about future funding by his Department of the Centre for World Development Education.

It has already been announced that the Government have decided that financial assistance for development education should be progressively reduced. However, support for the Centre for World Development Education will continue until 31 March 1982 at least. This will give the centre time to replan its activities and look elsewhere for finance.

Home Department

Strangeways Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners there are in Her Majesty's prison Strangeways; and how many prison officers are employed there.

On 31 October 1979, the inmate population of Manchester prison was 1,711 and the number of the prison officer class in post was 381.

Iranian Nationals

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Iranian citizens have been allowed into the United Kingdom since 1 November last; and how the figure compares with the same period last year.

Figures for admissions to the United Kingdom in November are not yet available. For the most recent available information I refer the hon. Member to the replies to questions from my hon. Friends, the Members for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) and Epping Forest (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on 4 December—[Vol. 975, c. 98–9 and 104.]

Immigrant Communities (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what grants were made available to local authorities and other bodies for community relations work during 1979–80.

Grants are paid under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 to local authorities to meet 75 per cent. of their eligible expenditure on staff specially employed by them to deal with the work attributable to differences in language or customs among Commonwealth immigrants. Details of grants expected to be advanced in 1979–80 in respect of this expenditure were given in my reply of 28 November to a question by the hon. Member for Lambeth, Central (Mr. Tilley).—[Voy. 974, 663–5.]The Commission for Racial Equality is financed by a grant-in-aid from the Home Office. Expenditure in 1979–80 is expected to be £6·08 million. This includes provision for grants made by the Commission to community relations councils and other organisations under section 44 of the Race Relations Act 1976.

Criminal Offences (Ethnic Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the results of the research undertaken by his Department into the relationship between race and crime; and if he intends to undertake further studies.

A report of research into race, crime and arrests will be published on 19 December in Home Office research study No. 58. A summary of this research has already appeared in Home Office research bulletin No. 8, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Further studies are in hand on the policing of ethnic minority areas and on the demographic breakdown of complaints against the police.

Woolworths, Manchester (Fire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to be able to make a further statement on the inquiries into the fire earlier in the current year at Woolworths store in Piccadilly, Manchester.

I understand that the preparation of the report of the sub-committee of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils which is considering the issues to which the fire gives rise is well advanced. When I receive the subcommittee's report, I shall make a statement.

Police Complaints Board

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints have been made to the Police Complaints Board each month since it was established; how many, on the same monthly basis, led to prosecution; of these, how many led to conviction; and what were the results in other cases.

I regret that the information is not available in the form requested. The reports of the Police Complaints Board 1 June-31 December 1977 and 1978 contain statistical information about the number of complaints referred to the Board for its consideration. The functions of the Board relate only to the disciplinary aspects of complaints against the police. Other information on the outcome of complaints, including criminal proceedings and convictions, is contained in the annual reports of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary and the Commissioner of Police of the Mtropolis. The reports are available in the Library of the House.

Special Patrol Group

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now publish the revised figures for the numbers of special patrol group members who are fully trained in the use of revolvers; and if he will state the distribution of these throughout the United Kingdom.

154 members of the Metropolitan Police special patrol group are fully trained in the use of revolvers, and I much regret that, as the hon. Membe is aware, information which was in this respect inaccurate was given in reply to his question on 25 October. All are stationed within the Metropolitan Police district. Information about the number of officers so trained and when they left the group on transfer could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.— [Vol 972, c. 246–7.]

Arranged Marriages

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Minister of State's statement to the House on 4 December, how many letters he has received from Asian women complaining about their tradition of arranged marriages; and on what dates they were received.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of letters he has received from Asian girls complaining about their arranged marriages.

This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Send Detention Centre

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice he has received on his plans for short, sharp shocks for children at Send detention centre.

Detailed plans are being drawn up for introducing a more rigorous regime at Send detention centre, taking account of previous experience in this field and comments which are being received from members of the public.

Scotland

European Community (Budget)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what effect the proposed cut of £650 million in the agricultural budget of the EEC for 1980 will have on the dairy produce, beef, sugar, fruit and vegetable industries in Scotland.

We have had only a broad outline of the Commission's proposals and require clarification of a number of points. The most serious effect would be in the milk sector; co-responsibility levies bear more hardly on the United Kingdom because of the higher proportion of milk sold through dairies here, and the proposed changes could have a substantial effect on producer incomes in Scotland.

North Sea Oil

asked the Prime Minister if it is her policy that the control, pricing and allocation of North Sea oil is and will remain a matter for the United Kingdom Government alone.

I confirm that the development and exploitation of our North Sea oil and gas resources is and will remain a matter solely for the United Kingdom Government, except that, under agreements with our International Energy Agency and European Economic Community partners, we will take part in sharing arrangements in any serious oil supply shortage.It is not our policy to control either the pricing or disposal of our North Sea oil, although the Government expect companies exporting North Sea crude to give priority to countries belonging to the IEA and the EEC.

Industry

A310 Airbus

asked the Secretary of State for Industry which British companies are participating in the manufacture of the A310 airbus in addition to Rolls-Royce and British Aerospace.

British Aerospace, as a partner of Airbus Industrie, will manufacture the wings for the A310. Rolls-Royce is still examining the feasibility of installing the RB 211 engine on the Airbus. These companies apart, the following are the main United Kingdom companies participating as contractors or main subcontractors in the manufacture of the A310 Airbus; Smith Industries Aerospace and Defence Systems Company, Dowty Rotol Ltd., Marconi Avionics Ltd., Lucas Aerospace Ltd., Rosemount Engineering Ltd.

Post Office (Monopoly)

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) when he proposes to implement the recommendation in paragraph 63 of the Carter report to relax the Post Office telecommunications monopoly;(2) if, in view of the current list of one million people who are waiting one year on average to be connected to the telephone network, he will bring forward legislation to enable private companies to provide such facilities.

My right hon. Friend announced on 12 September that the Government were beginning consultations with a view to early relaxation of the operation of the Post Office's telecommunications monopoly. He intends to announce detailed proposals early next year when these consultations have been completed.

British Steel Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will issue a general direction to the British Steel Corporation to make specific announcements concerning the future of individual British Steel Corporation plants, in the tight of the chairman's recent statements.

My right hon. Friend does not have the power to make a general direction of this sort.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the future of the United Kingdom.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he intends to revise his request to the British Steel Corporation to break even by April 1980.

The profit target for British Steel Corporation for 1980–81 remains as set out in my right hon. Friend's answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) on 3 July 1979.—[Vol. 969, c. 537.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what proposals he has received from the British Steel Corporation concerning a reduction of its workforce and plant capacity; and if he will give details of the proposals, plant by plant.

[pursuant to his reply, 5 December 1979, c. 224]: The proposals are a matter for the Corporation, provided it keeps within the financial target and the cash limit my right hon. Friend has set for 1980–81.

Rolls-Royce (1971) Limited

asked the Secretary of State for Industry who at present is the legal owner of the shares of Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd.; who has the right to exercise control over the shares; and how the situation is affected by the provisions of the Industry Bill.

The NEB at present owns 100 per cent. of the shares of Lolls-Royce Ltd. Its rights to exercise control over the shares are limited by the provisions of the Industry Act 1975 and the directions made under that Act. It is for the NEB to consider how to exercise its powers and discharge its responsibilities in relation to its share-holding in the period before the Industry Bill is enacted. Consultations are taking place between the NEB and the Department about appropriate arrangements for this interim period.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what instructions he has issued to the new National Enterprise Board with respect to its relationship with Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd.

My right hon. Friend has told the chairman of the Board that the transfer of the shareholding in Rolls-Royce Ltd. will not be possible to effect until the Industry Bill has received the Royal Assent. In the intervening period, there may be legal and practical aspects which will require careful consideration, and, while these are being resolved, the Department and the NEB will have to look at particular issues on an individual basis, having regard to the requirements of the Industry Act 1975.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will confirm that the memorandum of agreement between Rolls-Royce (1971) Ltd. and the National Enterprise Board is still in force and that both organisations are still bound by its provisions.

This is a matter for the NEB and Rolls-Royce, who entered into the memorandum in the circumstances which applied in 1976. However, since the Department is now preparing to take over ownership of Rolls-Royce Ltd. in anticipation of the enactment of the Industry Bill. I understand that the memorandum is no longer considered appropriate by either party.

Japanese Car Components

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he is satisfied that foreign-made components fitted to United Kingdom-manufactured cars under joint ventures with Japanese manufacturers are supplied and fitted under fair competitive arrangements.

I know of no cars currently manufactured in the United Kingdom under joint ventures with Japanese manufacturers. BL and the Japanese company Honda are discussing proposals for future manufacture of a Honda model by BL. It is for the companies involved in any collaborative venture to decide on commercial grounds the best sources of components for their vehicles.

Employment

Council House Tenants (Mobility)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether his Department is currently undertaking any detailed study of labour mobility amongst council house tenants; and when he expects to lay measures to improve their mobility before the House.

My Department is not undertaking any such study and there are no plans to do so. I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that it will shortly be reviewing its arrangements to promote geographical mobility but that it is unlikely that there will be a detailed study of labour mobility amongst council house tenants.Responsibility for the Government's policy on legislation affecting the powers and duties of local authorities and on housing lies with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for the Environment, for Scotland and for Wales. The details of the Commission's arrangements to promote mobility of labour are not subject to Parliamentary procedure, but I will keep the House informed.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether his Department has been involved with the local authorities in discussions designed to make it possible for council house tenants to move more easily from one local authority area to another in search of work.

Neither my Department nor the Manpower Services Commission has made any central approach to local authorities, through their associations, but from time to time individual officials of the Commission have made approaches to individual authorities to facilitate movements for particular workers.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what evidence he has of discrimination against disabled people regarding their employment prospects; and if he will make a statement.

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission, which has responsibility for training and employment services for disabled people, that although unemployment statistics provide evidence that disabled people are at some disadvantage in the labour, market, and research for the "Fit for Work" campaign indicated some misunderstanding and lack of awareness of the employment capabilities of disabled people on the part of some employers and employees, it has no conclusive evidence of discrimination against disabled people regarding their employment prospects. However, examples of alleged discrimination against ex-psychiatric patients were published last year by the National Association for Mental Health.A number of those who replied to the MSC's quota discussion document have advocated the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation, which was one of the options contained in that document. They have not given any detailed evidence of discrimination but indicated in general terms that in their view it exists.The committee on restrictions against disabled people is currently collecting evidence of across-the-board discrimination and has been invited to submit any evidence it may obtain on employment discrimination for consideration within the context of the MSC's review of the quota scheme.

Work Permits

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the effect in 1978's work permit figures if the proposed changes in the work permit arrangements had been in operation at that time.

[pursuant to his reply. 5 December 1979, c. 250]: It is not possible to make such an estimate from the available figures. The introduction of the new skills criteria will change the pattern of work permit issues but individual judgments will still have to be made as to the requirements of jobs and the qualifications of overseas workers and these cannot be made retrospectively

Pay Statistics

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, further to the replies given to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North, Official Report, 21 February, c. 190, and 29 October c. 402,what progress has been made with the review of pay statistics; and whether it is possible to produce figures showing the number of adults with a basic wage in April of less than (a) £45 and (b)£50 on a comparable basis, with the same starting age for both men and women, either 18 or 21 years.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 December 1979]: Consultations are being made on the possibility of introducing some changes in the questionnaire for earnings surveys in 1980 to identify employees on adult rates irrespective of age, and on their completion I will write to my hon. Friend.Figures based on the same age groups for men and women are available for a number of analyses based on the new earnings survey (for example table 126 of the

Department of Employment Gazette). The requested analysis based on all adults aged 18 and over is as follows:

Millions

Gross weekly earnings (excluding Overtime earnings)

Number of full-time Employees aged 18 and Over whose pay in April 1979 was not Affected by absence

Men

Women

Less than £450·30·9
Less than £500·61·5

Source: New earnings survey 1979.

Employment Offices And Jobcentres

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish figures for each year since 1970 showing (a) the number of employment offices or Jobcentres in existence and distinguishing between the two, (b) the number of staff employed, and (c) the total cost.

[Pursuant to his reply, 30 November 1979, c. 807]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission, which is responsible for the public employment service, that information in the form requested is only available for part of this period.(

a) The following table shows, cumulatively, the number of Jobcentres in

existence at the end if each financial year since 1973–74 and at 28 November 1979:

Cumulative total Jobcentres

31 March 197436
31 March 197576
31 March 1976184
31 March 1977297
31 March 1978434
31 March 1979555
28 November 1979615

In each of these years the remainder of approximately 1,000 local offices were employment offices.

The earliest accurate figure of the number of local offices is for February 1975, when there were 986. Between 1 May 1973 and 27 November 1979 the number of local offices increased by 31 to 1,017, 615 of which are Jobcentres.

( b) Information on the total numbers of staff employed in employment offices and Jobcentres is not available prior to 1 October 1974. The following table shows the numbers employed at 1 October 1974 and at the beginning of each financial year since. Where figures are available, the number of staff employed in Jobcentres is also shown.

(1)(2)(3)

Date

Total number of staff employed in local offices

Number employed in Jobcentres (included in (2))

1 October 197410,030

*

1 Aril 197510,040

*

1 April 197610,938

*

1 April 197710,9794,381
1 April 197811,1345,938
1 April 197911,3796,925

*Not available.

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update the reply given to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North, Official Report, 23 May 1978, c. 496, showing each of the employment and training measures to alleviate unemployment now in operation, the date when each scheme commenced, the gross and net costs, the main purpose of the scheme, the age groups covered, the number of jobs and training places provided, the weekly wage or allowance paid and whether or not the latter is taxable.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 December 1979]; The information requested is given in the schedule below.

Measure

Date of commencement

Cost to 30.9.79* £m.

Purpose of scheme

Age groups covered

Jobs or training places provided by 31.10.79

Weekly wage or allowances

Whether taxed

Temporary short time working compensation1.4.793·9To encourage employers to adopt short-time working instead of making people redundant.All ages33,68975 per cent. of normal payThese subsidies are paid to employers: the workers concerned receive normal wages which are taxable.
Small firms employment subsidy1.7.7835·0To create extra jobs in small manufacturing firms in the private sector in Special Development and Development Areas.All ages143,529£20
Adult employment subsidy†7.8.78¶0·5To encourage employers to recruit workers who have been unemployed for 12 months or more19–64 (men) 1,501£20
19–59 (women)
Temporary employment subsidy§18.8.75¶434·0To encourage firms to defer threatened redundancies affecting 10 or more workers.All ages540,266£20
Short time working compensation in textiles etc. §15.5.78¶1·6To encourage employers to adopt short-time working instead of making people redundant in textile, clothing and footwear sectors.All ages15,07275 per cent. of normal pay.
Job introduction scheme4.7.770·4‡To enable employers to give certain unemployed disabled people a subsidised job trial.All ages2,560£30

Measure

Date of commencement

Cost to 30.9.79* £m.

Purpose of scheme

Age groups covered

Jobs or training places provided by 31.10.79

Weekly wage or allowances

Whether taxed

Job release scheme3.1.7768·0To enable workers approaching statutory pensionable age to give up their jobs and make way for a younger unemployed person.62–64 (men)91,382£31·50 (£40 with dependent spouse).No
60–64 (disabled men)
59 (women)
Youth opportunities programme1.4.78119·2‡To provide a range of opportunities for unemployed young people in training courses and work experience schemes.Under 19 on entry159,000£23·50No
Community industry5.8.7537·0To provide employment for disadvantaged young people.Under 19 on entry6,209Local rate forYes
Special temporary employment programme1.4.7822·0To provide long-term unemployed people with temporary employment on projects which benefit the community. Special Development Areas, Development Areas, designated inner city areas.Aged 19 and over33,500Local rate for the job.Yes
Training in industry2.7.75175·0‡To enable industry to maintain its intake of apprentices and other long term trainees.Young people, mainly school leavers.152,060VariesDepends on type of payment.

*These figures quoted are gross. Net costs are considerably less and are on average a third to a half of the gross costs due to savings on unemployment and supplementary benefits and maintenance of tax revenue and National Insurance Contributions.

† Some payments will continue until 29.12.79.
‡ Gross costs to 31.10.79.
§Payments will continue on some applications until 30.3.80.
║Closed for application on 10.6.79.
¶Closed for applications on 31.3.79.

Pay Settlements

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will publish in the Official Reporta list of the settlements made during the current wage round, showing the percentage increase in pay and other benefits and distinguishing between (a) industries not significantly affected by foreign competition at home and overseas, (b) those moderately affected and (c) those seriously affected.

Northern Ireland

Disrepair (Certificates)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many certificates of disrepair have been issued under the provisions of the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) 1978 from its inception until the latest possible date.

[pursuant to his reply, 5 December 1979, c. 234]: The issue of certificates of disrepair under the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) 1978 is a responsibility of district councils but the latest information available to my Department is that 1,504 certificates had been issued by 30 September 1979.

Rents

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many grant applications made by landlords under the provisions of the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) 1979 and submitted between the inception of the order and the end of October have not yet been processed;(2) how many grants have been paid out in respect of applications made by landlords who have responded to the issuing of certificates of disrepair under the provisions of the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) 1978, from its inception until the end of October.

[Pursuant to his reply, 5 December 1979, c. 235]: These are matters for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I will ask the Executive to write to the hon. Member.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will transfer the responsibility for processing grant applications by landlords under the provisions of the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) 1978, to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, in accordance with the recommendations of the health committee of the Belfast city council.

[pursuant to his reply, 5 December 1979, c. 235]: The Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1976 places responsibility for the administration of the repair, intermediate and improvement grants schemes on the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. The Executive has entered into an agreement with Belfast city council for the council to administer certain aspects of the repair grants scheme as its agent. I understand that on 3 December the city council ratified a recommendation from the council's health committee that the processing of grants arising from certificates of disrepair should be handed back to the Executive, and I understand that the council and the Executive will be discussing this proposal.

Research

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a table showing all moneys expended by his Department in each year since 1974 on research, showing in each year the organisations to which funding was made available and the titles of the projects funded.

The information readily available concerns outside organisations who have initiated research on projects for which they have received funds from Northern Ireland Departments and is as follows:

DepartmentOrganisationProject1974–751975–761976–771977–781978–79
£££££
AgricultureAgricultural Research InstituteOngoing research projects into aspects of crop and animal production, with special emphasis on means of increasing output from grassland396,800508,700478,900583,900635,000
CommerceNew University of UlsterHeat pump research7,900 2,006
EducationNew University of UlsterSchools cultural studies1,6949,6436,5007,60011,963
Queen's University, BelfastCommunity education pilot scheme7,24845,04016,123
New University of UlsterCommunity actions research and education5,840
Steering Committee on ProjectCommunity worker research3514,808
Queen's University, BelfastCommunity education senior research fellowship4,360
New University of UlsterHome/school links10,269
Manpower ServicesIndustrial Training ServiceWest Belfast unemployment4,8411,039
PA Management Consultants and Industrial Training ServiceMarketing training needs in Northern Ireland27,075
In addition to the above figures some outside research may have been carried out with assistance from Department of Environment (DOE(NI)) and Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS(NI)) but it is not readily identifiable and the amounts are believed to be insignificant.

Social Services

Death Grant

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the total cost in a full year of increasing the death grant to £145.

Increasing the present death grant to £145 would cost an extra £62 million a year.

Invalid Vehicles

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to comment on and implement the Motor Industry Research Association report on vehicles for disabled people; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to my replies to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 8 November 1979 and to my hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Hooson) on 9 November)—[Vol. 973, c. 225; Vol. 973, c. 381.]

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will seek to find a solution to the problems faced by young people, such as those resident at the Queen Elizabeth foundation college, in the absence of a suitable vehicle for them.

The previous Administration, after consultation with organisations representative of disabled people, replaced the former invalid vehicle scheme by mobility allowance which unlike the vehicle scheme is of benefit to non-drivers and drivers alike. The Government have no plans to change that policy.Many disabled people drive adapted production cars but even the most sophisticated vehicle which modern technology could make available would almost certainly be beyond the capabilities of the most severely physically handicapped individuals. The three-wheeler provided before January 1976 was subject to the same limitation.Whether there is a group large enough to warrant consideration of one or more specialised vehicles was one of the questions which led to the commissioning of a report from the Motor Industry Research Association (the MIRA). Its report on personal transport for disabled people is now available and I have sent copies to those chiefly interested.I am sure that the organisations which have initiated special vehicle projects will, in association with bodies such as the Queen Elizabeth foundation (some of whose residents took part in the MIRA tests), wish to study the report very thoroughly and I am sure it is too soon to expect them to have reached conclusions about their future plans.

Communicable Diseases

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services whether he will issue from time to time a version of the communicable disease report for the information of general practitioners and the press.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East (Mrs. Short) on 6 December. [Vol. 975, c. 311.]

Elderly Persons (Residential Places)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth on 24 July, if he will confirm that the general target level for provision of residential accommodation for the elderly remains at 25 places per 1,000 population over 65 years and that no other general or particular guidelines have been issued to local authorities.

The ratio of 25 residential places per 1,000 population over 65 years is a guideline not a target-It dates back to 1972. As indicated in more general guidance, the level of local provision needs to be determined by local authorities in the light of local circumstances.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why, in view of the fact that he informed the hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth on 24 July that information was not available about existing numbers of residential places for the elderly provided by local authorities, such information is provided annually to his Department by all local authorities on forms RA1 to RA4 and published internally by the Department; and to what use this information is put.

I suggested to the hon. Member that she should obtain locally rather than from me the information she had asked for. The information held centrally is used primarily for planning and monitoring the development of services over the country as a whole.

Mr W Houghton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will indicate the allegations in detail, made against Mr. W. Houghton, a constituent of the hon. Member for St. Helens, by an investigator acting on behalf of his local departmental office, which have been proved to be without foundation in fact, although Mr. Houghton is still being denied benefit despite the fact that he has been advised that he is unfit for regular employment by his general practitioner and a consultant, both of whom have been treating him over a long period of time.

There is little I can add to my hon. Friend's full letter of 25 October to the hon. Member.Mr. Houghton has now appealed to the local tribunal against the insurance officer's decision. The tribunal hearing was adjourned from 22 November at the appellant's request and will now be heard on 10 January 1980. Mr. Houghton's claims to benefit from 14 July 1979 are being referred to the tribunal for decision at the same time that the appeal is heard.

Paul And Liam Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what form of inquiry he proposes to set up into the case of Paul and Liam Brown; who is to be the chairman; what will be its powers to compel attendance of witnesses on oath and disclosure of documents; and if he will make a statement.

I am urgently considering these matters and shall make an announcement as soon as possible.

Benefits (Industrial Disputes)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he now expects to be able to announce his conclusions on the possibility of bringing in legislation to limit the payments of social security benefits to strikers' families and to make trade unions accept a greater responsibility for the financing of strikes

I am unable to add to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) on 5 November—[Vol. 973. c. 441.]

Family Fund

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he will be taking to increase the grant to the family fund.

The family fund will receive £2,950,000 from the Health Departments in the current financial year. The level of funding for 1980–81 is under consideration.

Down's Syndrome

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the light of recent concern about cases of Down's syndrome, he is satisfied with the independent adjudicating authorities' interpretation, and the application in practice, of the Mobility Allowance Amendment Regulations 1979.

These regulations, together with the national insurance commissioner's decision in the case of a young boy with Down's syndrome which gave rise to them, were brought to the attention of the adjudicating authorities who, independent of the Secretary of State, are statutorily charged with determining claims for mobility allowance. We believe that, generally, they are being properly taken into account by those authorities where appropriate and a number of medical appeal tribunals have referred to them specifically in their decisions.We are aware of at least 50 cases where the disabled person has been able to succeed to the allowance as a result. On the other hand, we are aware of one particular case causing concern at present but it is still to be heard by a medical appeal tribunal, the highest of the medical authorities, and we must await the outcome of that hearing. I would emphasise that a number of these cases, because of the difficulty they cause to lower authorities, are likely to reach the tribunal stage, where the correct outcome should be ensured by the consultant medical members guided by a legally qualified chairman.

We shall continue carefully to monitor these provisions but all the indications are that they are achieving the purpose for which they are designed.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the estimated numbers of supplementary benefit claimants who will lose and those who will gain for each of the changes outlined in Cmnd. 7773; and if he will make a statement of the assumptions on which these estimates are based.

The impact on claimants will depend upon the overall effect of the changes outlined in Cmnd. 7773, some of which result in gains and others in losses, rather than on the individual effect of each change, because claimants can be affected by more than one change.There will be special transitional rules to prevent an overall loss of benefit income for the vast majority of claimants. The only exception will be claimants with capital in excess of £2,000 who will cease to be entitled to benefit.The changes are planned to take place at the same time as next year's uprating. It will not be possible to estimate firmly the effect of the proposals until the levels of the benefit rates are known, and until more up-to-date information becomes available about the numbers of claimants in the various categories, and the levels of their resources and rents.A tentative estimate can be made on the basis of information about claimants in November 1978, the most recent information available. On that basis, the impact of the proposed changes will be that about ¾million claimants will gain, about 1¾ million will lose, and some½million will neither gain nor lose. Those who lose will be mainly single people, and over two-thirds of them will receive up to 40p less at the uprating than they would otherwise have done.Subject to the above reservations, the effect of individual changes, is whether they tend to produce gains or losses, or both, would be as follows.

Bringing supplementary benefit and national insurance rates into line

Claimants assessed on the ordinary rates would receive more benefit; in November 1978 they numbered about 553,000. Claimants assessed on the long-term rates would receive less than they would otherwise have received at the uprating: they numbered about 1,889,000.

Qualifying period for long-term rates

In November 1978 there were about 98,000 claimants who had received supplementary allowance for at least one year but less than two years. They would qualify immediately for the higher long-term rates of benefit.

More benefit for children

There were about 341,000 claimants in November 1978 with about 439,000 children aged 0–4 and 11–12, and they would gain from the reduction in the number of scale rates for children.

Entitlement of people leaving full-time education under the age of 19

About two-thirds of school leavers are assumed to claim supplementary benefit, that is about 400,000 out of a total of about 650,000 leavers. The parents of school leavers will gain from the extension of child benefit and increases to any supplementary benefit or other social security benefit they are receiving. Those school leavers who would otherwise have claimed supplementary benefit will lose, depending on the detailed rules that are prescribed. These estimates are based on analyses of education, unemployment and benefit claim statistics.

Standard contributions towards housing costs from non-dependants

In November 1978 there were some 320,000 householder claimants with non-dependants living with them who might be affected by the change. Whether a claimant would gain or lose would depend on the actual contribution made by, and the number of non-dependants in, the household, the level of housing costs, whether a non-dependant was himself in receipt of supplementary benefit (in which case there would be no change) and the rate of contribution actually prescribed in 1980. On the assumption of a standard contribution of around £3·80 from non-dependants not receiving supplementary benefit, there would be roughly twice as many losers as gainers.

Rules about capital

There were some 36,000 claimants in November 1978 with capital of between £1,200 and £2,000 and they would gain because a tariff income would no longer be assumed. The 13,000 who then held over £2,000 would no longer be entitled to benefit.

Rules about earnings

The 7,000 unemployed claimants who, in November 1978, had earnings in excess of £2 would gain from the proposed flat-rate disregard of £4 for adults. Some 21,000 lone parents would gain from the additional tapered disregard; about 22,000 lone parents would lose, but this is on the unlikely assumption that no lone parents would increase their earnings to take advantage of the new tapered disregard.

Occupational pensions

Discontinuing the £1 disregard of occupational pensions will result in losses; about 202,000 claimants had such pensions in excess of £1 in November 1978.

War and industrial widows pensions

Bringing the treatment of industrial widows pensions into line with that of war widows pensions, will benefit industrial widows; the number on supplementary benefit is small.

Sick pay from an employer

Claimants in receipt of employer's sick pay, who would lose from cessation of the disregard, are not separately identified but are likely to be very few.

Equal treatment for men and women

The only financial advantage from the proposal would be for couples who would qualify for the leng-term rate when either was 65, rather than just the man as at present; there were about 6,000 such couples in November 1978.

Liability for sponsored relatives admitted under the Immigration Act 1971

Very few claimants would be affected, and none would lose.

Definition of full work

No (or very few) claimants would lose, depending on the detailed rules.

Over-80' s rate extended to married couples

Couples who were both aged eighty or over would gain, and none would lose; there were about 7,000 such couples in November 1978.

Special rates for the blind to continue

Blind couples and single blind claimants aged 16–17, of whom there were fewer than 500 in November 1978, would gain. No claimants would lose.

Entitlement when claimant abroad

Most claimants other than those required to register for employment would be entitled to benefit under this proposal. but the number who would gain cannot be quantified.

Exceptional needs payments ( ENPs) for recipients of benefit more closely defined

All claimants would gain from the new legal entitlement to single payments in prescribed circumstances. Current practice on the award of ENPs varies considerably in different localities, and the impact on individual claimants will depend on the detailed proposals to be made in regulations and the existing practice in their area.

No ENPs for non-recipients of benefit

National statistics are not available, but on the basis of some regional estimates the number of ENPs awarded to non-recipients of weekly supplementary benefit may be around 10,000 each year.

Laundry additions

The effect of the proposal would be that claimants who have special laundry expenses of 40p or more would receive 30p less for their laundry expenses than at present; there were 146,000 such claimants in November 1978.

Industry

National Enterprise Board

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will list all the share-holdings of the National Enterprise Board at 30 November 1979, the number and type of shares held, the percentage of the total equity this represents, the total cost of such shares, and, where appropriate, the market value of these shares at 30 November 1979.

The reply which I gave on 27 June 1979–[Vol. 969, c. 188–94]—should be amended in respect of the following items:

Company

Number and description of shares held by NEB

Percentage of nominal value of total equity

Cost £'000

Stock Exchange quotation (closing price 30 November 1979)

ASR Servotron Ltd.18,000 £1 'B' ordinary26·118
300,000 £1 redeemable preference300
Agemaspark Ltd3,700 £1 Ordinary30·0100
50,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity50
100,000 £1 redeemable preference100
Barrow Hepburn Ltd1 000,000 25p Ordinary4·145031p
BL Ltd.1,443,404,996 50p Ordinary99·1844,94818p
Brown Boveri Kent Ltd.10,856,585 25p Ordinary20·03,29344p
BTB (Engineering) Ltd.30,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity30
British Underwater Engineering Ltd.133,674 £1 Ordinary89·2134
5,216,326 £1 redeemable preference5,216
Bull Motors Ltd.1,520,000 £1 Ordinary100·01,520
Cambridge Instrument co. Ltd.1,406,195,968 1p Ordinary93·014,957
4,261 757 10p Ordinary
1,000,000 5p redeemable preferenceNot equity59
CAP-CPP Group Ltd.1,372,760 l0p Ordinary29·5549
Computer and Systems Engineering Ltd.349,750 5p Ordinary27·8882
15,200 £ 1 redeemable preference48
Data Recording Instrument Co. Ltd.3,970 337 £1 Ordinary83·83,977
8,000,000 £1 Ordinary (75p paid)6,000
1,000,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity1,000
Exelarc Engineering Co. Ltd.70,000 £1 Ordinary50·070
Ferranti Ltd.10,666,666 50p Ordinary50·06,933385p

Company

Number and description of shares held by NEB

Percentage of nominal value of total equity

Cost £'000

Stock Exchange quotation (closing price 30 November 1979)

James Howorth & Co. (Holdings) Ltd6,000 £1 Ordinary21·418
6,000 £1 'new' ordinary18
80,000 £1 redeemable preference80
ICL Ltd.8,342,250 £1 Ordinary25·012,956434p
Inmos International Ltd.1,850,000 5p Ordinary67·393
425,000 £20 preferred ordinaryNot equity8,500
Insac Group Ltd.6,100,00 £1 Ordinary100·06,100
Microform Communications International Ltd.191,211 £1 Ordinary28·3310
165,000 £1 redeemable preference165
Middle East Building Services Ltd.37,500 £1 Ordinary29·638
Momex (UK) Ltd.365 £1 Ordinary28·90
Muirhead Office Systems Ltd.2,500 £1 Ordinary25·0210
Nexos Office Systems Ltd.155,990 £1 Ordinary79·8156
3,800,000 £1 redeemable preference3,800
Nexos Office Systems (Holdings) Ltd7,201 £1 Ordinary97·07
129,609 £1 redeemable preference130
Pakmet International Ltd.150,000 £1 preferenceNot equity150
50,000 £1 redeemable preference50
QI (Europe) Ltd.250,000 £1 Ordinary51·02,000
260,000 £1 non-voting ordinary2000
Rolls Royce Ltd.234,000,000 £1 Ordinary100·0234,000
Sinclair Radionics Ltd75,000 £1 Ordinary73·3450
200,000 £1 voting preference200
4,700,000 £1 redeemable preferenceNot equity4,700
Sonicaid Ltd8,970 £1 ordinary49·7117
14,260 £1 redeemable preference180
Yates Duxbury and Sons Ltd.700,000 £1 Ordinary50·01·750

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to publish the revised guidelines for the National Enterprise Board.

My right hon. Friend will publish a draft of the revised guidelines next week, and intends that the final version should take effect when the Industry Bill is enacted.

Environment

London Borough Of Lambeth

asked the Secretary of State for Environment what representations he has received from the leader of the council of the London borough of Lambeth concerning the effects of the Government's White Paper on public expenditure.

I have received two letters during November from the leader of Lambeth council, referring to Lambeth's opposition to the Government's proposals for reductions in public expenditure in 1980–81. In addition my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Environmental Services met representatives of the GLC, ILEA and Mr. Knight on 6 November to hear their representations about the inner city partnership budget.

Fluoride

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what proportion of public water supplies in the United Kingdom, other than those which have fluoride added artificially, has a natural fluoride content exceeding one-tenth of one part per million;(2) what proportion of public water supplies in the United Kingdom, other than those which have fluoride added artificially, contains detectable amounts of fluoride.

I cannot supply all the information in the form requested. A letter will be sent to the hon. Member.

Small Businesses

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make additional funds available to the Development Commission and its subsidiary COSIRA so that help can be given to small business to meet increased costs arising from bank rate interest of 20 percent. Or more.

British Lions (South African Tour)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give support to the four Home Rugby Unions' tour of South Africa, should they receive an invitation to tour.

No Government approval would be given to any such tour. To do so would be incompatible with our acceptance of the Commonwealth statement on sport.

Education And Science

School Meals

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the estimated cost of administering free school meals.

The cost of administering the school meals service as a whole in England and Wales in 1978–79 was about £11 million. Although an accurate figure for the cost of administering free school meals is not available, it is estimated to be well under £1 million.

Secondary Education (Costs)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the average yearly cost, including all services and overheads in each of the last three years, in providing a secondary education for a pupil.

Net Recurrent Cost* Per Pupil at Maintained Secondary (Including Middle Deemed Secondary) Schools in England and Wales

Financial years—Cost per pupil 1979 survey prices

£
1976–77554
1977–78554
1978–79564 (provisional)

* Excludes debt charges and revenue contributions to capital outlay.

Overseas Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, for the academic years 1977–78 and 1978–79, he will set out by nationality the numbers of overseas students in United Kingdom higher education establishments in cases where the numbers of each nationality exceed 1,000; and when such figures as are not at present available will become so.

The latest information which is available to my Department is for students in 1977–78, classified as "overseas" for fees purposes, studying at universities or on advanced courses at maintained, assisted and grant-aided establishment of higher and further education in the United Kingdom is set out below.

Country of originStudents
Commonwealth
Canada1,059
Cyprus1,044
Hong Kong2,244
India1,080
Malaysia9,095
Nigeria4,312
Singapore1,564
Sri Lanka1,602
Zimbabwe-Rhodesia1,001
Foreign
Greece2,461
Iran4,303
Iraq1,513
Turkey1,241
USA2,939

Information for 1978–79 will be available in about a month and I will write to my hon. Friend.

Local Education Authorities (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will clarify the press statement issued by his Department on behalf of the Minister of State on 5 November, in which she says that four-fifths of the £280 million to be saved by local education authorities will come from meals, milk and transport, but quotes a balance of only £30 million, which is less than one-fifth of £280 million, as the total of savings to be made elsewhere.

The press notice referred to "over four-fifths". Our plans for 1980–81 provide for a reduction of £250 million in expenditure on school meals, milk and transport compared with estimated expenditure on these services in 1978–79. This leaves the balance of £30 million as quoted.

Transport

M1

asked the Minister of Transport whether the estimated cost of delays on the M1 between junctions 14 and 15 on summer Friday evenings in 1979 was greater than £60, which was the cost of removing and replacing cones.

The costs of delay caused by repair works on the M1 on summer Friday evenings would certainly exceed £60. But dismantling and re-establishing the necessary diversions would have involved far more than just altering the position of traffic cones. For example, extra police vehicles and manpower would be required to supervise the traffic during the period of up to two hours within which the carriageway was reduced to single lane whilst the cones were being removed. Where possible, motorways are cleared during times when works are not actually being carried out but the volume of traffic on the M1 in Northamptonshire rendered this impractical.

Freight Transport And Distribution System (Research)

asked the Minister of Transport what research his Department has undertaken on the impact that the development of the motorway and trunk road programme has had on the cost of freight transport, the distribution system of industry and on lorry traffic.

My Department's normal evaluation of trunk road schemes provides estimates of their efforts individually on both freight transport costs and lorry movements. While without the roads programme of the last 20 years the costs and volume of freight transport and the pattern of industry's distribution system would be very different, little research has been undertaken by my Department directly on its cumulative effects.Studies which bear on the point, however, include "The Economic Consequences of the Severn Bridge and its Associated Motorways" by Cleary and Thomas (published in 1973, Bath University Press), and "Transport and Regional Development: Some Preliminary Results of the M62 Project" by Gwilliam and Judge (published in 1974, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds). We are also contributing to a study of the effect of the motorway network on one firm's business.

M25

asked the Minister of Transport whether the proposed dual three-lane layout for the M25 M4–M40 section conforms with the provisions of technical memorandum H6/74; whether the layout complies with paragraph 4 of appendix B of the memorandum; and, if not, for what reasons his Department decided to ignore the design standards laid down, especially in view of the fact that the M25 is forecast to carry a significant proportion of heavy vehicles.

The predicted volume and pattern of traffic for the late 1990s slightly exceed the figure at which, according to technical memorandum

Financial yearMileage of new trunk road motorways openedMileage of new and improved all-purpose dual-carriageways OpenedMileage of new and improved all-purpose single-carriageways opened
1974–7576514
1975–761187615
1976–77438214
1977–78566222
1978–794160
1979–80*58183
1980–81*362118
*Forecast
In addition, 5½miles of motorway widening is expected to be completed in 1980–81. Of the totals for all-purpose roads listed above, about 13 miles in 1976–77, 21 miles in 1977–78 and 2 miles in 1978–79 were substantial improvements to existing roads (including dualling and junction improvements): the remainder were new routes, including bypass schemes.I regret that information on the mileages of substantially improved roads included in the figures for 1974–75 and 1975–76 cannot be provided without undue effort and expense.

Transport And Road Research Laboratory

asked the Minister of Transport if he proposes to extend the range of research at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory to include testing the security effectiveness of motor

H6/74, dual three-lane carriageways would be appropriate. They do not, in my Department's view, exceed it by such a margin as to warrant the economic and environmental consequences of building a dual four-lane motorway now. The design of the structures allows for widening to dual four-lanes if this proves necessary. I do not think that I would be justified in reopening the decision at this stage in view of the further delay to this section of the M25 which would result.

asked the Minister of Transport how many miles of (a) new trunk motorway route, (b) new trunk dual carriageway route, (c) new trunk single carriageway route and (d) substantially improved trunk route were opened for use in each of the last five years; and what are the estimated figures for 1979 and 1980.

The information readily available is as follows:Cars so as to assist in crime prevention and to publish reports thereon.

While both my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend recognise the importance of the security effectiveness of motor cars and are in close touch with the industry on this matter, testing would not be appropriate for the Transport and Road Research Laboratory, except where safety might be involved.

asked the Minister of Transport how much money is spent annually on crash testing of cars at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory; and whether the research results are made fully available to the public.

As part of its programme on protection of vehicle occupants the Transport and Road Research Laboratory is developing impact test procedures to ensure that those proposed for legislation are effective and based on sound principles. A series of angled barrier and other tests has been carried out using several makes of car, each representative of a different layout. Information on the tests and summaries of the results are contained in TRRL leaflet LF 689, and other more technical papers, all of which are obtainable from the Laboratory. I am sending copies to the hon. Member.It is not possible to isolate the costs of the vehicle tests but the cost of the area of research of which they are part has been in the order of £165,000 per annum for the last three years.

Port Of London Authority

asked the Minister of Transport if he is yet in a position to make a statement about the Port of London Authority's strategic plan 1979 to 1983.

As I told the House on 27 July, I can now announce my decision on the Port of London Authority's five-year strategic plan 1979–83. In considering the plan I have had the benefit of advice from Price Waterhouse and Co.The plan itself presents options. The choice between them is a matter for the authority. The Government can only agree to maintain the minimum level of financial assistance to the Authority that it will need to continue with the most rapid possible rundown of manpower, and to plan for the quickest possible return to viability at least cost to the taxpayer. I therefore propose to set a strict financial limit on the total of Government assistance. Subject to adjustments to come with inflation and the latest forecasts, this is set at the level promised by the previous Government.The details are as follows:

  • i. I reaffirm the undertaking given by the last Government to make grants towards the cost of severance of surplus manpower. (In the case of registered dock workers these grants are only payable up to the end of February 1980.) On current estimates, the total will slightly exceed the £35 million promised by the previous Government in 1978.
  • ii. I will continue to stand behind the £10 million commercial loan facility, of which the PLA has already used £2 million. I will also, of course, honour the previous Government's undertaking to stand behind the earlier £15 million loan which was used in 1977 and 1978.
  • In addition, in the light of revised forecasts, I am prepared to stand behind the PLA in negotiating an agreement to postpone the £3 million loan repayment due in 1980 and the similar repayment due in 1981. I will also, but only if the Authority satisfies me that it is necessary, stand behind its existing overdraft facility up to a total of £5 million for a period.

    I have told the PLA that within this tight limit it is for it, and not the Government, to decide on the detailed steps necessary to achieve viability. But I shall require it to report to me at intervals that it is satisfied with the progress it is making. It will know that it will have my full support in taking all necessary steps to achieve this end.

    The PLA's strategic plan calls for a capital reconstruction under which there would be a substantial write-down of the authority's outstanding debt to the Government, but the Government can see no justification in present circumstances for such a write-down, since it would be incompatible with our view that assistance from public funds must be kept to the minimum needed to recover profitability.

    I shall shortly be introducing a Bill to provide the necessary statutory authority for this assistance. I will, of course, continue to provide Harbours Act loans for capital works subject to the usual criteria.

    Motorway Service Areas

    asked the Minister of Transport what is his policy for the development of new motorway service areas.

    I have accepted the recommendation of the Prior committee of inquiry into motorway service areas that my Department should abandon its policy of siting MSAs at 25-mile intervals in favour of a more flexible approach of deciding each case on its merits. I would not normally expect gaps of more than the maximum of about 30 miles recommended by the committee, but I recognise that there may be exceptional circumstances where a longer interval might be acceptable.The first priority in my development programme will therefore be to look at the gaps of more than 30 miles in the existing and planned motorway network. But I am ready to consider the development of additional sites in the light of the adequacy of services at adjacent existing MSAs and the benefit the consumer will gain from greater variety and choice.Future sites will be offered for development to private companies on the same terms that are being offered to existing MSA operators. These companies would be fully responsible for developing the sites and for obtaining detailed planning permission.

    A41 (Eastham)

    asked the Minister of Transport if he will give the reasons for erecting public toilets on the A41 at Eastham: how many similar projects exist in the current programme; and what steps he proposes to take to stop such expenditure.

    My right hon. Friend is not, in fact, proceeding with the scheme to which my hon. Friend refers. Since powers were first obtained in the Highways Act 1971, only 25 toilet blocks have so far been provided by the Department on trunk roads in England. They cost around £25,000 each at today's prices. Another 19 are projected, subject to planning considerations and other practical factors and to competing claims for funds. Roadside toilets are a worthwhile provision and are provided only where alternative commercial or local authorities facilities are not readily available.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Green-Top Milk

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view of the food poisoning incidents due to milk-borne salmonellosis, he proposes to ban the sale of untreated green-top milk.

    My right hon. Friend is considering the Government's policy towards untreated milk, and will announce his decision in due course.

    Intervention Board For Agricultural Produce

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give details of the latest estimates he has made of expenditure in 1979–80 by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce on market regulation under the common agricultural policy, together with comparable figures for 1978–79.

    Following are details of the latest estimates for the financial year 1979–80, together with comparable figures for the outturn in the financial year 1978–79.

    EXPENDITURE BY THE INTERVENTION BOARD FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE
    Latest estimate of outturn 1979–80Actual outturn 1978–79
    £ million£ million
    Cereals40·928·9
    Beef and Veal–14·8–20·8
    Pigmeat0·50·2
    Sugar55·184·7
    Herbage Seeds2·61·4
    Hops1·31·1
    Processed Products36·421·0
    Milk Products262·0198·4
    Others22·115·3
    406·1330·2
    Expenditure by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce includes the beef variable premium scheme, refunds on imports and exports, certain production subsidies, the butter and school milk subsidies, the gross cost of aids for private storage and animal feed and the net cost of commodities bought into intervention and subsequently sold.Of the estimated outturn for 1979–80, £386·8 million is expected to be financed from the guarantee section of the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund (EAGGF), the balance being financed from Exchequer funds in 1978–79, £305·1 million was financed from EAGGF. Some of the expenditure shown above benefits consumers and overseas exporting interests rather than United Kingdom producers.The estimate of expenditure for 1979–80 also includes £12·9 million deferred from 1978–79 as a result of industrial action.

    Mackerel Fishing

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further conservation measures he proposes to take to prevent the over fishing of stocks of mackerel by deep-sea trawlers.

    The arrangements for licensing mackerel fishing by United Kingdom vessels are designed to avoid overfishing and to strike a fair balance between all the interests involved. In the light of experience and of the various representations that have been made to me, I am considering what arrangements should apply at the beginning of 1980: these will be announced shortly.

    Price Guarantees (Expenditure)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give

    Latest estimate of outturn 1979–80Actual outturn 1978–79
    £million£million
    I. PRICE GUARANTEES*
    Sheep3·30·1
    Wool
    Potatoes9·123·0
    TOTAL I12·423·1
    II. OTHER GRANTS AND SUBSIDIES£ million£ million
    Dairy herd conversion scheme0·13·4
    Guidance premiums for beef and sheepmeat14·410·1
    Calves6·8
    Milk non-marketing premiums15·4 7·1
    Farm and horticulture development scheme84·145·5
    Farm accounts1·60·6
    Farm structure0·80·8
    Farm capital grant scheme77·959·7
    Co-operation grants scheme1·91·1
    Grants for horticulture (national schemes)4·03·4
    Hill livestock compensatory allowances94·036·5
    Additional benefit to farmers in special areas under FCGS and FHDS14·88·9
    Brucellosis eradication incentives9·48·6
    Others1·71·1
    TOTAL II320·1193·6
    GRAND TOTAL332·5‡216·7
    * Expenditure under the milk guarantee arrangements which terminated on 31 December 1977 is attributed to food subsidies.
    † Some of this expenditure attracts contributions from the European Guidance and Guarantee Fund. These are mainly received in the following year. In 1979–80 £43·9 million is expected to be received from the Fund as compared with £24·1 million in 1978–79.
    ‡ The estimate for 1979–80 includes £32·1 million deferred from 1978–79 as a result of industrial action.

    Energy

    European Community (Gas Supplies)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has plans to integrate the United Kingdom gas grid with the comprehensive system of inter-State gas pipelines in European Economic Community countries.

    details of the latest estimate he has made of the cost in 1979–80 of expenditure by his Department, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and the Welsh Office Agricultural Department under the United Kingdom price guarantee and other grants subsidies, together with comparable figures for 1978–79.

    Following are the details of the latest estimates for the financial year 1979–80, together with the comparable figures for the outturn in the financial year 1978–79.

    Nuclear Power

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what is the role of the National Nuclear Corporation and the Central Electricity Generating Board in the actual work of constructing nuclear power stations;(2) when he proposes to make a statement on restructuring the British nuclear industry;

    (3) what assessment he has made of the comparative merits of pressurised water reactors produced by Kraftwerke Union—Federal Republic of Germany; Framatome—France; and Westinghouse—United States of America; and what is the cost of a 1,000 mw set and safety devices provided by each company.

    I hope to make a statement on the nuclear programme and the nuclear industry in the next few weeks. The selection of a PWR licensor is a matter for the CEGB and NNC in the first instance, and they have been reviewing the possible licensing arrangements that can be made.

    National Coal Board (Subsidiaries)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report the subsidiary companies of the National Coal Board and their functions.

    Information on the National Coal Board's subsidiary companies and their functions are shown in the National Coal Board's report and accounts 1978–79, a copy of which is in the Library of the House of Commons. For convenience, they are listed below:

    Wholly-owned subsidiaries of NCB (Coal Products) Ltd.:

    National Smokeless Fuels Ltd.—Manufacture and sale of coke, smokeless fuels and various primary by-products, notably coke oven gas, crude tar and crude benzole.

    Thomas Ness Ltd.—Tar distillation and the manufacture and sale of solvents, Hyload, building products and active carbon. As Agent for National Smokeless Fuels Ltd. the company also markets sulphate of ammonia.

    Wholly-owned subsidiaries of NCB (Ancillaries) Ltd.

    National Fuel Distributors Ltd—Solid fuel distribution.

    Southern Depot Co. Ltd—Solid fuel distribution.

    Tredomen Engineering Ltd—Engineering manufacture.

    Coal Industry Estates Ltd—Estate management.

    Compower Ltd—Computer services.

    Filtracine Ltd—Supply of filter coal.

    Corex Laboratories Ltd—Core analysis.

    Partly-owned subsidiary of NCB ( Ancillaries) Ltd.

    J. H. Sankey & Son Ltd.—Builders merchanting.

    In addition to their subsidiaries, NCB (Coal Products) Ltd. and NCB (Ancillaries) Ltd. have interests in associated companies and partnerships which are listed in the Board's report and accounts.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has to instruct the National Coal Board to dispose of its subsidiary companies.

    I have no present plans to do so; but the nationalised industries: interests in subsidiaries and associated companies are an aspect of their operations which the Government are reviewing.

    Electricity And Gas

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has had any discussions with the Electricity Council and the British Gas Corporation regarding the sale of Electricity and gas showrooms.

    No. I shall consider initiating such discussions if, in the light of the outcome of our studies of nationalised industry policy issues, it appears that they could contribute to our aim of improving efficiency, competitiveness, and service to the customer.

    Private Coal Mines

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many applications for licences to operate privately owned coal mines have been received to date in 1979; and how many licences have been granted.

    Under the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946 it is for the National Coal Board to grant licences for operating privately-owned coal mines. I will therefore ask the chairman of the Board to write to my hon. Friend.

    European Community (Nuclear Programmes)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what are the current nuclear programmes in each European Economic Community country and the targets for 1985 and 1990; and what is the percentage of total electricity likely to be achieved by nuclear generation in each country by 1985.

    The Commission of the European Communities has made the following assessment of current nuclear capacity and projected nuclear capacity for 1985 and 1990 for each member State. The percentage of total electricity likely to be generated

    NUCLEAR GENERATING CAPACITY
    At end 1977At end 1985gigawatts At end 1990
    Belgium1·45·1 (37)6·4
    Denmark2·6
    Eire0·6
    France4·638·5 (44)58·0
    Italy0·67·4 (11)33·4
    Luxembourg
    Netherlands0·50·5 (3)1·5
    West Germany5·624·0(22)40·0
    United Kingdom5·99·4 (11)12·3
    (Figures in brackets show nuclear capacity as a percentage of total electricity generating capacity)

    Coal

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the present level of coal production for mines in the United Kingdom compared with other EEC countries.

    Production of hard coal in EEC countries in the first nine months of 1979 was as follows:

    Coal production: January-September 1979 (000 tonnes)
    UK88,551
    Germany70,357
    France13,744
    Belgium4,577
    Ireland27
    NOTE. non-UK figures derived from Eurostat published by the office for official publications of the European Communities.

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much coal was (a) produced and (b) consumed in the United Kingdom in each of the last three years.

    Information on the production and consumption of coal in the United Kingdom is published monthly in the Department's "Energy Trends" and annually in the Department's "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics". Copies of these publications are available in the Library of the House. For convenience, the figures for the last three calendar years are as follows:

    Million tonnes
    Production a Consumption b
    1976123·8123·6
    1977122·1124·0
    1978123·6120·5
    (a) Includes production at National Coal Board and licensed collieries, production at all

    by nuclear power in 1985 is not available from the same source. However, the estimated nuclear proportion of total electricity generating capacity in 1985 is shown

    opencast sites, and an estimate of slurry, etc., recovered and disposed of other than by the National Coal Board from dumps, etc.

    ( b)Includes imported coal. For the coal mining industry and the fuel conversion industries, the figures included are of actual consumption. For all other sectors (other than industry, domestic, etc.) the figures are of disposals for consumption; actual consumption figures are not available. Full definitions for each sector of consumption are given on page 33 of the 1979 edition of the "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics".

    Power Stations (Coal Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what action he plans to take to ensure that the cheapest coal is available at the power stations.

    This is primarily a matter for the electricity generating boards, the National Coal Board and their other suppliers.

    Horticulture (Gas Costs)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will consider a policy of a two-tier pricing system for natural gas to aid high energy costs in the horticulture industry as is operated in the Netherlands.

    The British Gas Corporation is responsible for setting gas tariffs and charges. I will therefore ask the chairman of the Corporation to write to my hon. Friend.

    Natural Gas

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Bedford, Official Report, 26 November, column 426, he will set out the actual prices paid for natural gas by the British Gas Corporation and the anticipated prices scheduled for North Sea gas.

    This is a matter for the British Gas Corporation. I will ask the chairman to write to my hon. Friend.

    Energy Conservation

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what measures on energy savings he proposes to introduce in the forthcoming energy Bill.

    The forthcoming Energy Conservation Bill will contain powers to implement EEC directives on the efficiency of heating appliances, energy consumption labelling on household appliances and the design and construction of gas appliances. It will also provide specific authority for the operation of energy conservation advisory schemes.

    Coal Imports

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list in the Official Report the level of coal imports for each month since 1 January.

    I have been asked to reply.The information is as follows:

    Thousands tonnes
    January 1979159
    February 1979203
    March 1979141
    April 1979281
    May 1979337
    June 1979194
    July 1979371
    August 1979468
    September 1979384
    October 1979616
    Source: United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics (SITC(Rev 2) Sub-groups 322.1 and.2).
    NOTE: The effects of industrial action have led to distortions in the pattern of trade recorded in the first eight months of 1979 and the figures for individual months must be interpreted with particular caution.

    European Community (Gas And Electricity Prices)

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the price charged for natural gas to domestic consumers in pence per therm, including value added tax, in each of the countries in the European Economic Community.

    The price of natural gas to domestic consumers varies from region to region in most EEC countries and within regions tariffs vary according to consumption. The latest figures available are based on tariffs in force on 1 January 1978. The domestic tariffs below are for a selected city in each EEC country and for two levels of consumption, 80 and 1,200 therms per annum. VAT is included where appropriate.

    Pence/therm*
    CityAnnual consumption 80 therms/An 1,200 therms/An
    Dusseldorf77·333·5
    Paris57·125·9
    Rome32·028·6
    Rotterdam33·017·9
    Copenhagen†68·643·1
    Brussels64·927·1
    Luxembourg64·922·1
    London32·8‡17·3
    Dublin†46·134·4
    Source: Eurostat Publication—Gas Prices 1976–78.
    *National currencies have been converted al the exchange rates current on 1 January 1978
    †Prices for town gas only available.
    ‡Based solely upon the domestic credit tariff

    asked the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what is the price charged for electricity to domestic consumers in pence per unit in each of the countries of the European Economic Community;(2) what is the price of electricity to industrial and domestic consumers, respectively, per comparable unit of account in each of the EEC member countries.

    The latest figures available for electricity prices for each of the EEC countries are those obtained in a comparative study prepared by the Electricity Council. The study was based on tariffs in force at the beginning of August 1978. Domestic prices include VAT where appropriate. Industrial prices exclude VAT which is recoverable. Price ranges show the likely maximum and minimum over a number of undertakings.Differing national consumption patterns, wide variations in prices that can occur within countries and fluctuating exchange rates all contribute to the difficulty of comparing prices internationally. Comparisons are especially difficult in times of rapidly rising prices.

    Pence per kWh.

    Domestic tariffs

    Industrial tariffs with maximum demand of 500 kW

    Unrestricted

    Day/Night

    0·95 power factor plus annual load factors:

    3,300 kWh

    7,500 kWh

    12,000 kWh

    *

    20 per cent.

    40 per cent.

    60 per cent.

    80 per cent.

    Germany†4·52–5·413·53–4·192·89–3·334·14–5·593·35–3·882·74–3·302·34–3·05
    France4·11–4·463·82–4·142·72–2·952·74–2·882·23–2·32l·94–2·021·72–1·78
    Italy4·244·122·832·462·282·15
    Netherlands†3·69–5·083·41–4·872·68–3·342·49–3·652·05–2·96l·81–2·591·72–2·47
    Belgium5·945·513·334·033·272·952·82
    Luxembourg3·693·312·313·442·532·071·90
    United Kingdom2·74–3·662·54–3·361·59–2·202·45–2·982·10–2·411·86–2·161· 72–2·04
    Ireland2·81–3· 052·67–2·771·78–1·842·822·201·931·84
    Denmark†3·28–3·822·97–3·682·52‡1·97–3·191·83–2·671·75–2·501·70–2·40

    * 3,000 kWh at day rates; 9,000 kWh at night rates.

    †Figures for Germany, Netherlands and Denmark arc from a sample of undertakings in those countries.
    ‡For one undertaking only.

    Source: Handbook of Electricity Supply Statistics 1979.

    National currencies have been converted at the exchange rate current on 1 August 1978

    National Finance

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of altering tax rates to start at 15 per cent. on the first £1,000 taxable income, increasing by 5 per cent. on each subsequent £1,000 band up to a maximum of 50 per cent.

    Inland Revenue Department Employees (International Comparisons)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil servants are employed in the Inland Revenue; and how many are employed in similar Departments in the United States of America and in other EEC countries.

    At 1 November 1979 the Inland Revenue's total staff in post, including staff serving on short-term engagements, was 80,100. The information available about the overseas countries referred to is given below: information is not available for Denmark, Luxembourg, and the Irish Republic. The figures are not comparable with those for the United Kingdom because, in addition to differences in the taxation systems, the Revenue staff numbers abroad include those concerned with the collection of indirect taxation.

    Staff in thousandsYear
    USA85·31978
    Belgium29·41977
    France82·.61976
    Germany170·4 *1978
    Nertherlands102·61976
    Italy12·01976
    * Includes staff employed by Federal Government Lander.

    Value Added Tax (Funeral Services)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider making the services of funeral undertakers zero rated for value added tax purposes.

    No. The services of funeral undertakers are already exempt from value added tax. To give any further relief would be inconsistent with the Government's taxation policy

    Sterling M3

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the composition of sterling M3 in notes and coin, current accounts, retail seven-day deposits and wholesale deposits plus the ratio of building society deposits and trustee savings bank/national savings bank deposits, for 1978–79.

    It is not clear which ratio the hon. Member requires. Changes in the various aggregates during the financial year 1978–79 were as follow:

    £ millionTable reference in Financial Statistics
    Sterling M35,2867·2
    Building society deposits4,6998·6
    Trustee savings banks—
    Ordinary deposits–703·14
    New deposits5318·2
    National savings bank—
    Ordinary account1293·14
    Investment account–2448·3
    Components of sterling M3 are shown in tables 7.1 and 7.2 of

    Financial Statistics. Data on retail and wholesale bank deposits are not collected because of difficulties in arriving at a generally acceptable definition.

    Gold Proof Sovereigns

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in the light of the over-subscription of the recent issue of gold proof sovereigns, he will cause more 1979 gold proof sovereigns to be issued.

    No. The 1979 proof sovereign was offered as a limited edition to buyers in this country and overseas on the understanding that the stated limit would not be exceeded. This method of issuing collectors: coins is frequently employed by the Royal Mint and other mints.

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much extra income tax per week would be paid by a married man with two children earning the average weekly wage if the basic rate of income tax were to be increased by 8p leaving other rates, allowances and thresholds constant; and how much revenue would be raised by this change.

    Imports

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the marginal propensity to import during each of the last 20 years.

    National Income

    asked the Chanceller of the Exchequer, on the basis of available information, what estimate he makes of the percentage share of national income held by the highest paid 1 per cent., 5 per cent., 10 per cent., 20 per cent., 50 per cent. and 80 per cent. in 1945 and after each successive five-year period, or at whatever dates such information is available, including his latest available estimate.

    The available statistics on the distribution of income in the United Kingdom were published in Economic Trends, No. 295, May 1978 and No. 304 February 1979. The estimates cover the period from 1949, the year nearest to 1945 for which data are available. They relate to tax-units, not individuals, and are based on income from various sources combined.

    Oil Taxation

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in the light of the windfall profits of the oil companies from the increase in crude oil and refined product prices, he will now impose a special windfall oil tax.

    Council Houses (Sale)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the annual cost to the Exchequer of schedule A tax relief, at the current standard rate of income tax, on the sale of council houses assuming annual sales of 50,000, 100,000, 150,000, 200,000 and 250,000.

    [pursuant to his reply, 6 December 1979]: I regret that I am not clear to which relief the right hon. Member is referring, but if his question relates to the amount of relief which might become due on interest pay- able on mortgages raised by purchasers of council houses, too many assumptions would have to be made for an estimate in the form asked for to be meaningful.

    Mortgage Interest Rate

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates to be the average increased cost to the borrower arising from the increase in the mortgage rate from 11¾ per cent. to 15 per cent. For mortgages of, respecttively, £25,000, £30,000, £40,000, £50,000, £60,000, £75,000 and £100,000, in each case both gross and net of tax relief.

    Value Added Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the effect of the recent value-added tax increase on the current rate of inflation.

    It is estimated that of the 17·2 per cent. increase in the retail price index over the 12 months to mid-October, about 3½ per cent. was the result of the Budget increases in the 8½ and 12½ per cent. rates of VAT to 15 per cent.

    Barclays Bank (Sasol Project)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will reimpose exchange control restrictions on investments by Barclays Bank in SASOL, the oil-from-coal project under constuction in the Republic of South Africa.

    European Monetary System

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement of the Government's intention in regard to the likelihood of Great Britain joining the European monetary system, and any consequent diminution of national sovereignty.

    [pursuant to his reply, 6 December 1979]: We wish to see the European monetary system succeed and are already participating in certain aspects of it. I cannot say when conditions will permit us to take a decision on joining the exchange rate mechanism. On that, we have to take account of all the conditions affecting the position of sterling.

    Citizens Band Radio

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many illegal citizens band radio sets operating on 27 mHz or other frequencies have been intercepted by Her Majesty's Customs in each of the last three years, together with the current year.

    [pursuant to his reply. 5 December 1979, c. 217]: The numbers of prohibited citizens band radio sets seized by Customs are as follows:

    1976305
    1977184
    1978508
    1979 (to 30 June)1,142
    In certain exceptional cases re-exportation has been allowed but the number of cases is not recorded.

    European Community (United Kingdom Contribution)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the present basis of the financial arrangements arising from membership of the EEC, what is the estimated net deficit of Great Britain's contribution in 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84 and 1984–85.

    [pursuant to his reply,4 December 1979]: As stated in "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1980–81 (Cmnd 7746), the estimated net contribution to the European Communities, and to the European Investment Bank, net of public sector receipts, in 1980–81 under present arrangements is estimated at about £1,000 million. On present trends it will continue to increase in subsequent years.

    Covenants

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the effect of reducing the standard rate of tax will have upon the ability of voluntary organisations to obtain funds through covenants; and if he intends to investigate methods of compensating such organisations for any loss of revenue.

    [pursuant to his reply. 3 December 1979, c. 77–78]: The reduction in the basic rate from 33 to 30 per cent. will have the effect of reducing by about 4¼ per cent. a charity's receipts, from covenants and by way of income tax repayment, from payments made under "net" covenants. The Government will keep the position of charities under review, in the light particularly of any further reduction in the basic rate of tax.

    British Citizens (Residence)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the number of British citizens who have returned to take up residence in the United Kingdom as a result of the tax provisions of his Budget.

    [pursuant to his reply,3 December 1979, c. 78]: No estimate is available of the numbers who have returned, and income tax will always be one factor only in any decision, to leave or come to the United Kingdom. But there are signs, as recorded in a recent article in the press, that the changes are having a positive effect.

    Banking Businesses (Recognition)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those companies which in each of the past three years have had recognition withdrawn as a banking business for the purposes of the taxation Acts.

    [pursuant to his reply, 3 December 1979, c. 79]: Recognition as a bank for taxation purposes has been withdrawn from the following companies which on the information available to the Revenue had ceased to trade as banks.

    1977

    • Bank of Scotland Finance Co. Ltd.
    • First London Securities Ltd.
    • Raphael Robinson & Glyn.

    1978

    • Bear Securities Ltd.
    • David Samuel Trust Ltd.
    • G. R. Dawes & Co. Ltd
    • M. B. P. Russell & Co. Ltd.

    1979

    • Banque pour le Commerce Continentale.
    • Barnett Christie Ltd.
    • First Maryland Ltd.
    • Israel British Bank Ltd.
    • London & Country Securities Ltd.
    • Overseas Development Bank.
    • Samuel Montague (MBFC) Ltd.
    • William Whiteley Ltd.

    Fee-Paying Schools

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give an estimate of the cost of giving tax relief to parents who send their children to fee-paying schools.