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Written Answers

Volume 977: debated on Monday 28 January 1980

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 28th January, 1980

Home Department

Police

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department for the last eight years, or the longest and most convenient period of time, how many Metropolitan Police officers have been prosecuted, found guilty and not guilty of the charges made; and how many of those found guilty received pensions and are still in receipt of them.

:The available information is that during the seven years ended 31 December 1978, a total of 64 serving Metropolitan police officers were dismissed or required to resign following conviction of criminal offences. Of those, one officer is at present receiving a pension and 12 officers have an entitlement to a deferred pension on attaining 60 years of age. The other 51 had their pension contributions returned and in their cases no pension is paid.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the percentage increase in police manpower between 1945 and 1978.

Burnbake Trust (Workshop)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that the Burnbake Trust's workshop for offenders does not close.

The Home Office has provided grant aid to the organisation for a number of years and has offered further help to tide the trust over the period following withdrawal of other financial aid.

Juvenile Offenders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the most recently available figures for the proportion of juveniles cautioned for offences in England and Wales who are subsequently re-convicted.

The information requested is not available centrally. However, some information on the subsequent convictions of those cautioned in the Metropolitan Police district was given by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in his report for 1978 (Cmnd. 7580, page 66).

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated weekly cost of the supervision of a juvenile offender under a supervision order.

About half of all supervision orders made under the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 are administered by the probation and after-care service and about half by local authorities. Information on the estimated annual cost per case administered by the probation and after-care service is published in "Probation and After-Care Statistics, England and Wales"(table 49 of the 1978 issue); from this information it will be seen that the weekly cost per case in 1977–78 was between £4 and £5. Information on the cost per case administered by local authority social service departments is not available.

Police Officers (Long Service Medals)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the reasons for the continuing delay in supplying long service medals to police officers; and whether he will now permit private enterprise firms to supply such medals to prevent such delays in future.

Production difficulties caused partly by industrial action have delayed supplies of these medals in 1979 to the Home Office by the Royal Mint. I understand that production has now been resumed and that deliveries are expected shortly. I have no present plans to invite private industry to supply these medals.

Dartmoor Prison

asked the Secretary of of State for the Home Department what the result was of his investigation of the allegation of ill-treatment of prisoners in E wing of Dartmoor prison.

The evidence supplied by my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Drake (Miss Fookes), has been passsed to the police for investigation by them.

Bristol Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if prison officers are still refusing to allow evening classes to take place at Bristol prison; and, if so, what action he is taking to re-establish them.

Wandsworth Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that prisoners subject to a compulsory levy at Wandsworth prison are adequately informed of how the money is disbursed; and if he will give the reasons for his decision.

Prisoners' contributions of 2p per week are only a small part of the income of the general purposes fund and if would be difficult to separate the disbursement of the prisoners' contribution to the fund from the greater proportion of the income which comes from other sources. In view of the over-crowded conditions and transient population at Wandsworth, there is no obvious and satisfactory way of informing prisoners how the general purposes fund itself is disbursed, but the Governor is considering whether anything further can be done with regard to this. Before Christmas, each prisoner received 70p from the fund to spend in the prison canteen which, for most prisoners, represented more than their total contribution to the fund while at Wandsworth.

Police Station (Orpington)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress towards the establishment of a police station in Orpington.

Planning work is proceeding on the proposed police station at Orpington and it is hoped that a start will be made on site in 1981.

Prisoners

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if any prisoners are currently serving their sentences in police cells.

Operation Countryman

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have so far been suspended as a result of the inquiries of Assistant Chief Constable Burt.

Five Officers in the Metropolitan Police and four in the City of London Police have so far been suspended as a result of this investigation.

Immigration (X-Ray Examinations)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet received the report of his chief medical officer, concerning medical examinations and X-ray examinations for the purposes of immigration control.

The review is continuing. A visit to study at first hand the practice at posts in the Indian subcontinent has been completed. As soon as I can, I shall report my conclusions to the House.

Loral Radio Station (Northampton)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the delay in opening a British Broadcasting Corporation local radio station in Northampton, if he will consider allowing an independent local radio station.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, South (Mr. Morris) on 15 November.—[Vol. 973, c. 713.]

Prison Building (Norfolk)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department considered the possibility of using alternative accommodation at the former HMS "Ganges", at Shotley, before announcing their decision to build a new prison at Griston in Norfolk.

The accommodation at Shotley was not suitable for a closed cellular prison of the type urgently needed at Griston.

Civil Defence

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans exist for the protection of the civil population in the time of war; and if he will make a statement.

Both central and local government have prepared plans to protect the public in war. These include advice on protection against the immediate and delayed effects of nuclear attack and the maintenance of a comprehensive system for attack warnings and the monitoring of radioactive fallout. Plans exist to provide the essentials of life in the aftermath of an attack and to begin the process of recovery. I am examining how best to improve the existing arrangements.

Liverpool

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the electorate of the city of Liverpool at the latest available date.

Provisional figures for the 1979 electoral register were published in the OPCS monitor "Electoral Statistics—UK Parliamentary Constituencies", reference EL 79/2, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Merseyside

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the proposals from the Boundary Commission for Merseyside.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has not yet begun its review of the electoral arrangements for the county of Merseyside. I therefore cannot say when I am likely to receive its final proposals. I hope that the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England will have completed the task of reviewing constituencies, including those in Merseyside, by the end of 1981.

Canterbury Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest period of time that a prisoner currently in Canterbury prison has been there on remand; and with what he is charged.

Indictable Offences

Mr. Cohen asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the percentage increase in indictable offences between 1945 and 1978.

Figures for 1945 and 1978 are not fully comparable owing to changes in the law and recording practice, but the number of indictable offences recorded by the police in England and Wales in 1978 showed an increase of about 400 per cent. over the number of crimes known to the police in England and Wales in 1945.

Juvenile Offenders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what changes he proposes in relation to the law regarding juvenile offenders; what consultations he has had and with whom concerning such changes; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will publish a Green Paper on any proposals he has to change the law regarding juvenile offenders.

A residential care order will be introduced to strengthen the powers of the courts in relation to juvenile offenders. Our proposals, including this one, will in due course be the subject of consultation.

Official Information

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish a complete list of statutory provisions bearing upon the disclosure of official information, other than the Official Secrets Act, in order to update the list of provisions published in appendix V of the Franks report.

I shall write to the hon. Member when the information requested has been assembled.

Manpower

asked the Paymaster General how many civil servants were employed by his Department on I May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

On 1 May 1979 my Department employed 869 civil servants; the equivalent figure for 31 December 1979 was 896½.

Industry

Unimation Inc

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the proposal by Unimation Inc. to set up a factory in Telford to develop robots; how much grant his department is contributing towards this factory, and on what terms; and what other funds are being provided.

The Department of Industry will be providing an interest relief grant of £240,000 under section 8 of the Industry Act to Unimation Inc. towards the establishment at the company's Telford factory of facilities for the manufacture of the Puma robot. The terms of the grant are commercially confidential. The National Research and Development Corporation will be providing £420,000 towards the project, in the form of a joint venture investment recoverable from sales revenue.

Steel Industry

13.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry whether he will arrange to meet the trade union representatives of workers in the steel industry.

26.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he proposes to meet trade union leaders of the steel industry.

29.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what latest discussions he has had with representatives of those involved in the steel strike.

I have had two meetings recently with representatives of the steel unions. I have no plans for further meetings.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the unit labour cost of producing a ton of steel in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, the USA and Japan in dollar terms in 1973, 1974, 1978 and in the third quarter of 1979.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what effect the current steel strike has had upon manufacturing industry to date and what assessment he has made of the likely repercussions if it continues through February.

In the weeks ended 12 and 19 January, it is estimated that production in manufacturing industry was about 2–3 per cent. less than it would have been in the absence of the BSC dispute. Most of this loss of output was attributable to the lack of production at BSC itself. The repercussions of a prolonged strike could be very serious for industry and for the country, as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear to the House on 22 January.

asked the Secretary of State for Indusry what discussions he has had with the chairman of the British Steel Corporation since his statement to the House on Monday 14 January on the steel strike.

Together with my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Employment and Industry, the Prime Minister had discussions with the chairman of the British Steel Corporation on 21 January.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry (1) if he will tabulate in the Official Report the tonnage and value of steel produced by the private sector of the steel industry and British Steel Corporation, respectively, and in total by categories recognised by his Department, together with a comparison with consumption and amounts and value exported and imported for each of the last 10 years;(2) if he will tabulate in the

Official Report from information available to him, the tonnage and value of steel produced by the British Steel Corporation and the private sector of the steel industry, respectively, and in total, broken down into the categories recognised by his department, including bulk steel, construction and engineering steels, stainless steels, heat resisting steels, tool and die steels, and high speed steels for each of the past 10 years.

Cbi

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects to meet the Confederation of British Industry.

Finniston Report

20.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on his Department's reactions to the Finniston report.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has yet formulated his conclusions on future policy objections following the publication on 9 January of the Finniston report on the engineering industry.

28.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on the committee of inquiry report into the engineering profession.

We welcome and share the broad aims of the Finniston report on the engineering profession, which are in line with the Government's wish to see a healthy, competitive manufacturing sector. The report makes many far-reaching recommendations for action, by no means all of which fall to government. Those to which a Government response is required demand—and will receive—sober and careful consideration, taking full account of the views of the many other interests involved.The Government intend to reach decissions on the main recommendations from the Finniston committee as quickly as may be compatible with the necessary consideration and consultation. I hope to be able to announce those decisions in the summer.

British Steel Corporation

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he intends next to meet the chairman of the British Steel Corporation.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply earlier today to the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Evans).

Fuel And Materials Index

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what has been the rise in his Department's fuel and materials index over the past 12 months.

The rise over the 12-month period to December last year was 26 per cent.

Manufacturing Industry (Investment)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what is his estimate of the likely rate of investment in manufacturing industry in the coming year.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friends the Members for Leek (Mr. Knox) and Go sport (Mr. Viggers).

Gas And Electricity Charges

27.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry to what extent the recently announced increases in gas and electricity charges will raise the cost of British manufactured goods in general and the price of steel in particular.

Detailed pricing proposals are a matter for the gas and electricity supply industries themselves and have yet to be announced. However, the effects of the increases in electricity tariffs due on 1 April are likely to be less than ½ per cent. on manufacturing industry's costs and of the order of 1 per cent. on the steel industry's costs. Gas prices will continue to be broadly related to those of competing oil products.

Regional Policy

25.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will make a statement on current Government regional policy.

The Government intend to continue with the more selective, and hence more effective, regional industrial policy which my right hon. Friend announced in July. It will concentrate on those parts of the country with the most severe problems of persistently high unemployment and structural weakness.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he will now change his regional aid policy, as it affects the Ogmore constituency area, due to the number of steelworkers who will be declared redundant and subsequently the coal miners and other workers living within the area.

We will be considering possible remedial measures to counter the impact of steel closures.

Sub-Post Offices

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many sub-post offices there are at the present time, compared with the same period five years, 10 years, 13 years, and 20 years ago.

The Post Office informs me that the number of sub-post offices at each of the dates concerned was a follows:

As at 31.3.5923,156
As at 31.3.6623,206
As at 31.3.6923,055
As at 31.3.7422,276
As at 31.3.7921,213
As at 31.12.7921,095

Investment

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what has been the level of overseas direct investment for each year since 1945; what has been the level of manufacturing investment in the United Kingdom for each of these years; what each figure in these series represents as a percentage of gross national product for that year.

For information on overseas direct investment I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade in the Official Report for 21 January 1980. [Vol. 977, c. 32–4.] Information on capital expenditure on fixed assets in the United Kingdom by manufacturing industry is available from 1948 and its value and percentage of gross national product is shown in the following table. Capital expenditure on fixed assets in the United Kingdom cannot be compared with United Kingdom direct investment overseas which measures the amount invested in shares and loan capital, retained profits and trade credit by United Kingdom companies in their related concerns overseas.How much is used by these concerns for capital expenditure on fixed assets is not known. Direct investment overseas may also be used to finance additions to stocks and debtors or to reduce local borrowings and creditors.

CAPITAL EXPENDITURE ON FIXED ASSETS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM BY MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY AT CURRENT PRICES
ValueRatio to Gross National Product at current market prices
£ millionPer cent.
19483202·7
19493733·0
19504433·3
19515163·5
19525533·5
19535523·2
19545903·2
19556863·5
19568384·0
19579284·2
19589063·9
19598663·6
19601,0214·0
19611,2484·5
19621,1824·1
19631,0683·5
19641,2323·7
19651,4234·0
19661,5174·0
19671,4853·7
19681,6393·7
19691,8223·9
19702,1304·1
19712,1873·8
19722,0443·2
19732,3473·2
19743,0673·7
19753,5223·4
19763,9553·2
19774,9743·5
19785,8413·6
Source:
Annual Supplement to Economic Trends 1979.
National Income and Expenditure 1979.

Footwear Industry Assistance Scheme

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how many companies have claimed grants under the footwear industry assistance scheme; how much money has been made available under the scheme; when the scheme is due to terminate; and whether he proposes to extend it.

To date, under the footwear scheme, 416 applications have been received from 174 companies and assistance of £2·8 million has been offered. The scheme closes for applications on 31 March 1980, with a further 12 months allowed for completion of projects. It is estimated that the allocation of £4·5 million will be fully taken up under these arrangements. There are no plans for an extension.

Meteosat Satellite

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he expects the European Space Agency's satellite Meteosat to be functioning again.

The nature of the fault and the impossibility of direct access to Meteosat mean that there is no certain method of rectifying it. Arrangements are in hand to launch the second Meteosat in the autumn.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry if he has received any representations regarding the non-operability of the European Space Agency's satellite Meteosat; and if he will make a statement.

In November last year, after the second anniversary of its very successful operation in orbit, the experimental Meteosat 1 failed owing to an electrical fault which it has not been possible to correct. The analysis of the problem is being performed in great depth in view of the possible impact on Meteosat 2, which is expected to be launched in September this year. Nevertheless, the commitment of Meteosat 1 to the world weather watch programme and the global atmospheric research programme (GARP) was only until the end of 1979.The Department has been in frequent contact with the Meteorological Office, which is the principle user of the Meteosat output in this country. The office has expressed great regret at the loss of the image data which are of considerable value for forecasting including TV presentations and for research purposes. Similar regrets have been expressed by other users of Meteosat data.However, the Meteorological Office, in common with other users, has been kept well-informed by the European Space Agency about what is known of the nature of the faults in Meteosat. I am assured that all reasonable steps are being taken by the European Space Agency to rectify them.Despite this failure, Meteosat is continuing to perform its important secondary funcion of collecting data from various remote stations.

European Space Agency

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what was the United Kingdom contribution to the European Space Agency for each of the last five years.

The United Kingdom contribution to the European Space Agency (and prior to 1975–76 the European Space Research Organisation), for each of the last five years was:

£ million at out-turn prices
1974–519·630
1975–629·103
1976–738·311
1977–839·501
1978–940·448

Research And Development

asked the Secretary of State for Industry how much has been spent on research and development within each sector of manufacturing industry in each of the past four years.

Inquiries have been made into the research and development expenditure of industry only once in every three years. The latest available statistics relate to 1975 and are as follows:

INDUSTRIAL EXPENDITURE ON RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN 1975 (IN-HOUSE ONLY)
£ million
Chemicals and allied products245·4
Mechanical engineering103·4
Electronics279·0
Other electrical engineering73·0
Motor vehicles88·3
Aerospace291·5
Other manufacturing212·8
1,293·4
Source: Business Monitor MO 14 for 1975.

Motor Car Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what has been the size of vehicle production, including passenger vehicles for each year since 1970; how many workers were directly employed in the motor industry and how many vehicles; what value of vehicles was produced per employee in each year; and if he will give comparable figures for the European Economic Community as a whole.

Director Of Public Prosecutions

34.

asked the Attorney-General when he expects next to meet the Director of Public Prosecutions.

40.

asked the Attorney-General what is the present number of staff in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

At present there are 208 people on the Director's staff, of whom 71 are either banisters or solicitors. It is hoped that the full complement of 72 professional officers will shortly be reached.

Juries

39.

asked the Attorney-General when he will be in a position to make a statement on jury vetting.

One aspect of the practice is still the subject of proceedings and I do not propose to make any statement until those proceedings are finally disposed of and I have concluded my consultations with the Lord Chancellor and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

Prosecutions (Authorisation)

38.

asked the Attorney-General whether he will publish in the Official Report the criteria he employs in allowing and refusing permission to prosecute.

The noble Lord, Lord Shaw cross, when Attorney-General, made a statement to the House on 29 January 1951 which was published in the Official Report and in which he described the considerations that he and the Director of Public Prosecutions took into account in deciding whether or not to institute criminal proceedings. I agree with what he said on that occasion and have adopted the principles that he expressed, as have my predecessors.

Regina V Bennett, Mills And Others

41.

asked the Attorney-General on what date the Lord Chancellor received a letter signed by four or more jurors in Regina v.Bennett, Mills and Others; what was the nature of this communication; and whether he will publish it in the Official Report, together with the reply.

I understand that the letter was released to the press at the time of its despatch. Any question of further publication is for the authors. I understand that the Lord Chancellor is considering the terms of his reply and will arrange for its publication in due course. I will see that the hon. Member receives a copy.

Manpower

asked the Attorney-General how many civil servants were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

On both dates my Department, including my office in Belfast as Attorney-General for Northern Ireland, employed 19 civil servants. However, on 1 May my Department had three Ministers and on 31 December two.

Jurors

asked the Attorney-General what steps he now proposes to take to clarify the position regarding the rights and duties of jurors after the completion of a case.

I am considering the implications of the recent judicial decision on this matter and have not yet reached any conclusions.

Manpower

asked the Prime Minister how many civil servants were employed by her Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

The staff of the Prime Minister's Office at 10 Downing Street are part of the Civil Service Department. There were 81 such full-time staff and 16 part-time in post on 1 May 1979. The comparable figures for 31 December were 79 and 17.

Public Expenditure

asked the Prime Minister if the interview on further public expenditure cuts given by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on the "World this Weekend" on BBC radio on 20 January represents official Government policy.

Urenco

asked the Prime Minister if, in the light of the Khan incident and the failure of the Netherlands Government to provide an explanation as to why they did not inform Her Majesty's Government of security leaks which they knew had occurred at URENCO, Almelo, Holland, she will consult Chancellor Schmidt about moving the facilities of URENCO to the Federal Republic of Germany or the United Kingdom.

No. Moving the uranium enrichment facilities from Almelo would not be appropriate or feasible.

Overseas Development

Expenditure

asked the Lord Privy Seal if, following his reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Queen's Park, regarding cuts in the aid programme, Official Report, 16 January, column 1637, he will publish the reduced totals of overseas aid expenditure planned for 1981–82, in comparison with the planned aid expenditure of the previous Administration.

The Government's public expenditure plans for 1980–81 and subsequent years are under review. Decisions will be announced in due course.

Energy

Oil Reserves

asked the Secretary of State for Energy assuming a 10 per cent. depletion across the board after 1982, for how many additional years he estimates oil reserves will be available on current projections.

Taking account of the various assurances which have been given limiting the scope of production cut-backs for depletion control purposes, it is estimated that the likely effect of a 10 per cent. across the board cut applied from 1982 to 1990 would be to defer production equivalent to rather under one year's consumption at current rates.

Mr Alan Blackshaw

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if any ex-gratia payment has been or is to be made to Mr. Alan Blackshaw, a former under-secretary in his Department, following erronous evidence given to the Public Accounts Committee in 1979 by his Department's permanent secretary, Sir Jack Rampton.

Miners (Pay Awards)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list, from 1945, the numbers of salary increases awarded to miners, the amounts paid and the percentage increase over the previous figure in each case; and what has been the real value of such increases to date, taking 1945 as a base.

Wages and salaries in the coal industry are a matter for the National Coal Board, and I am asking the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

North Sea Fuels

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will arrange for some direct share in the ownership and profits of North Sea fuels to be available to the citizens of Great Britain.

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeet) on 14 November 1979—[Vol. 973, c. 617]. I have nothing further to add at this time.

Gas

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what his proposals are for the use of the surplus profits which will arise owing to the increase in the price of gas.

The cash surpluses of the British Gas Coropration, which are being deposited with the National Loans Fund, are already making a substantial contribution to reducing public sector borrowing and thus to the general health of the economy.

Manpower

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many civil servants were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979;and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

Staff in post on the respective dates were:

1 May1,267
1 January1,267

North Sea (Oil Licences)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the proposal for auctioning North Sea oil licences, as set out in the paper entitled "North Sea Giveaway" sent to him on 21 January by the hon. Member for Newham, North-West

The fundamental message of the paper to which the hon. Member refers is that the Government should allocate petroleum licences to the highest cash bidder. Although this would in principle be a valid alternative to the United Kingdom's normal method of award, I have not found all the arguments used in the paper to be soundly based or persuasive. As my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) pointed out on 14 January, there could be unwelcome results if the allocation of licences was determined solely by the highest cash bid. I shall, however, continue to keep the matter under review.

Home Heating

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will express, in tabular form, for the cost per 1,000 British thermal units, of all fuels widely used for home heating purposes within the United Kingdom, on 1 June for each of the years 1970 to 1979, and his estimate for 1980, such cost to be expressed (a) in current cost terms, (b) in (a) as adjusted by changes in the retail price index, (c) as a percentage each year of the cost of providing 1,000 British thermal units through the use of home heating oil, and (d) taking the costs for each of the fuels to be 100 on 1 June 1970.

[pursuant to his reply, 17 January 1979, c. 829–30]: It is not possible to provide a meaningful summary of domestic fuel prices for the country as a whole. These vary according to geographical locations, quantities purchased and, in the case of coal and oil, individual merchants. However, the following tables are offered as a guide to the differences occurring between the fuels in the London area and are in units of pence per 100,000 BTU which equates to 1 therm.Figures are not readily available for 1 June of each year and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The quoted figures are based on those extant on 31 December of each year to 1979. No adjustments have been made for the different thermal efficiencies of the various heating appliances.The price of oil products in December 1980 will depend largely on the future movement in crude oil prices and the manner in which these are passed through to product prices. Consequently, a reliable estimate cannot be given.Gas prices are expected to increase by an average of 29 per cent. by December 1980.Revised electricity tariffs are not available for 1980 and therefore no meaningful estimates of increases can be made.No short-term forecast of the rise in solid fuel prices for 1980 is yet available.

Table A
TYPICAL RETAIL PRICES OF DOMESTIC FUELS IN CURRENT COST TERMS PER 100,000 BTU (i.e. 1 Therm) FOR 31 December EACH YEAR

Pence/Therm

Electricity

*

Gas

*

Year

Household Coal

Anthracite NUTS I

Gas Oil

Standard Grade Burning Oil

Premium Kerosene

750 KWh/An500 KWh/An30,000 KWh/An80 Th/An400 Th/An1,200 Th/An
19705·878·285·266·048·1653·0927·9516·9415·3311·088·42
19716·779·165·956·758·7059·0431·3519·6319·8012·358·78
19727·3910·096·287·229·9661·8832·9020·6320·7612·969·22
19737·4610·229·389·7613·2964·2335·0122·0620·7612·969·22
19749·1912·1514·5514·5519·6174·3345·1229·1220·4313·379·35
197512·0915·2617·8918·6623·4193·9164·6944·0425·7017·7014·03
197614·2318·3121·8323·5927·20109·2376·3654·1227·6019·6015·93
197716·9821·0124·0224·7529·42123·8884·4660·0429·3021·2017·27
197818·5323·1024·0224·7529·42139·7094·9963·8429·3021·2017·27
197922·0427·0335·4237·0941·13172·08112·9873·8731·7022·8718·63

Source:

Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics.

* Prices are based on the most economical domestic tariffs for consumption levels quoted.

†Typical prices for deliveries of 2,275 litres of Gas Oil, 900 liters of standard grade burning oil and 400 litres of Premium Kerosene. Most Premium Kerosene is in practice sold retail in much smaller quantities than that assumed here, consequently the price in pence/therm is higher for the majority of consumers.
‡Includes 22,500 KWh at off-peak tariffs with provision for day-time boost.

Table B
TYPICAL PRICES OF DOMESTIC FUELS ADJUSTED BY CHANGES IN THE RETAIL PRICE INDEX (ALL ITEMS) FOR December OF EACH YEAR
Pence/Therm

Electricity

*

Gas

*

Year

Household CoalAnthracite NUTS I

Gas Oil

Standard Grade Burning Oil

Premium Kerosene

750 KWh/An500 KWh/An30,000 KWh/An80 Th/An400 Th/An1,200 Th/An
19705·878·285·266·048·1653·0927·9516·9415·3311·088·42
19716·218·405·466·197·9854·1728·7618·0118·1711·338·06
19726·298·595·356·158·4853·7128·0217·5717·6811·047·85
19735·757·877·237·5210·2449·4826·9717·0015·999·987·10
19745·947·869·419·4112·6848·0829·1818·8413·218·656·05
19756·267·909·269·6612·1248·6333·5023·8113·319·177·25
19766·408·249·8210·6212·2449·1634·3724·3613·428·827·17
19776·818·439·649·9311·8149·7133·8924·0911·768·516·93
19786·868·558·899·1610·8951·7235·1723·6410·857·856·39
19796·968·5311·1811·7113·9954·3435·6723·2210·017·225·88

Table C
PRICE INDEX OF DOMESTIC FUELS IN RELATION TO THE COST OF STANDARD GRADE BURNING OIL

Electricity

*

Gas

*

Year

Household CoalAnthracite NUTS I

Gas Oil

Standard Grade Burning Oil

Premium Kerosene

750 KWh/An500 KWh/An30,000 KWh/An80 Th/An400 Th/An1,200 Th/An
197097·2137·187·1100·0135·1879·0462·7280·5253·8183·4139·4
1971100·3135·788·1100·0128·9874·7464·4290·8283·0183·0130·1
1972102·4139·887·0100·0138·0857·1455·7285·5287·5179·5127·7
197376·4104·796·1100·0136·2658·1358·7226·0212·7132·894·5
197463·283·5100·0100·0134·8510·9310·1200·1140·491·964·3
197564·881·895·9100·0125·5503·3346·7236·0137·794·975·2
197660·377·692·5100·0115·3463·0323·7229·4117·83·167·5
197768·684·997·1100·0118·9500·5341·3242·6118·485·769·8
197874·993·397·1100·0118·9564·4383·8257·9118·485·769·8
197959·472·995·5100·0110·9464·0304·6199·285·561·750·2

Table D
PRICE INDEX OF DOMESTIC FUELS—31 DECEMBER 1970=100

Electricity

*

Gas

*

Year

Household CoalAnthracite NUTS I

Gas Oil

Standard Grade Burning Oil

Premium Kerosene

750 KWh/An500 KWh/An30,000 KWh/An80 Th/An400 Th/An1,200 Th/An
1970100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0100·0
1971115·6110·6113·1111·8106·6111·2112·2115·9129·2111·5104·3
1972125·9121·9119·4119·5122·1116·6117·7121·8135·4117·0109·5
1973127·1123·4178·3161·6162·9121·0125·3130·2135·4117·0109·5
1974156·5146·7276·6240·9240·3140·0161·4171·9133·3120·7111·0
1975206·0184·3340·1308·9286·9176·9231·4260·0167·6159·7166·6
1976242·4221·1415·0390·6333·3205·7273·2319·5180·0176·9189·2
1977289·3253·7456·7409·8360·5233·3302·2354·4191·1191·3205·1
1978315·7279·0456·7409·8360·5263·1339·9376·9191·1191·3205·1
1979375·5326·4673·4614·1504·0324·1404·2436·1206·8206·4221·3

Northern Ireland

Charities

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will set out briefly the principal differences of the law governing charities in Ulster from that in England and Wales.

The principles of the law relating to charities in Northern Ireland are broadly the same as in England and Wales. The most important differences, in practice, are that (1) in England and Wales the Charity Commission is the charity authority, whereas in Northern Ireland the Department of Finance discharges that function with powers similar to those of the commissioners, and (2) there is no provision for the registration of charities in Northern Ireland.

Manpower

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many civil servant were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

Figures for 1 May 1979 are not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost, but on 1 April 1979 the Northern Ireland

Education and Library Board Areas
BelfastWesternNorth-EasternSouth- EasternSouthernTotals
Primary education*39,38837,27348,47539,31844,526208,980
Secondary education†38,23927,00735,46327,17230,720158,601
Totals77,62764,28083,93866,49075,246367,581
* Includes nursery schools, nursery classes at primary schools and preparatory departments of grammar schools.
† Includes secondary, intermediate and grammar schools.

Civil Service

Pensions

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will maintain index linking for police pensions.

The police are only one of several groups of public servants who receive index-linked pensions, including teachers, local government and Health Service employees, the Civil Service and the Armed Forces. As some concern has been expressed about the Office employed 1,587½ civil servants, mainly on law and order functions. The equivalent figure on 1 January 1980 was 1,536½

Independent Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list by each local authority in Northern Ireland the number of handicapped and non-handicapped children who are paid for by the local authorities to attend independent fee-paying schools.

The information is as follows:

Education and library board areaHandicapped childrenNon-handicapped children
Belfast2
South-Eastern1
North-Eastern
Southern
Western

School Population

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the school population in each education authority in Northern Ireland for (a) primary and (b) secondary education.

Provisional figures for January 1979 are as follows:contributions made by public servants to pay for such pensions, the Government are looking into the matter, but the issues involved are difficult and no decisions have been taken.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he plans to re-examine index-linked pensions for civil servants.

The Civil Service is only one of several groups of public servants who receive index-linked pensions, including teachers, local government and Health Service employees, the police and the Armed Forces. As some concern has been expressed about the contributions made by public servants to pay for such pensions, the Government are looking into the matter, but the issues involved are difficult and no decisions have been taken.

Government Hospitality Fund

Mr. Harold Walker asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is the current annual cost to public funds of the Government hospitality fund.

The estimated cost in 1979–80 of the Government hospitality fund, including salaries, wages, and general administrative expenses, met from the Vote for the central management of the Civil Service is £583,000. The fund also receives premises, other accommodation services, stationery and printing as allied services from other Votes, the cost of which is not readily available.

Manpower

asked the Minister for the Civil Service how many civil servants were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

The number of staff in post in the four Departments for which I am responsible—the Civil Service Department, the Central Office of Information, Her Majesty's Stationery Office and the Government Actuary's Department—was 13,138 on 1 May 1979. This compares with 12,716 staff in post on 1 January 1980.The figures given in answer to similar questions by the hon. Member to other Departments have been prepared on the same basis as these.

Employment

Young Persons (Industry)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take steps to increase the present low level of young people entering industry to be trained and apprenticed.

The Government are continuing to support the Manpower Services Commission's "Training for Skills" programme which has as a prime aim to help ensure that intakes of young people into occupations requiring long training are adequate to long-term industrial need. I am satisfied that the present programme is helping to achieve that aim.

Trade Unions (Accounting Procedures)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he plans to introduce any changes in the law relating to trade union accounts when public funds become available to trade unions for the conduct of secret ballots.

No. The regulations establishing the scheme to make public funds available for certain union ballots will provide for reimbursement only after a ballot has been held and paid up accounts have been presented to the certification officer. The certification officer has reported that his office is now devoting a higher proportion of its time than formerly to that area of his work which is concerned with trade union annual returns.

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of young persons currently unemployed in (a) Ashington, (b) Morpeth, (c) Bedlington, (d) Blyth and (e) the Northern region; and when he anticipates these figures will be reduced.

The provisional totals of young people under 20 registered unemployed in January 1980 for the towns specified are as follows:

(a) Ashington396
(b) Morpeth69
(c) Bedlington57
(d) Blyth261
A January figure for the Northern region is not yet available, but I shall notify the hon. Member of it shortly.It is not the Government's practice to forecast future levels of youth unemployment.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report details showing the numbers of persons registered as unemployed at the most recent convenient date in the United Kingdom, together with percentages of the insurable population in each of the regions that these figures represent.

The following table gives the provisional numbers registered as unemployed and the percentage rates of unemployment in the United Kingdom and in each standard region at 10 January. The unemployment rates are based on the estimated numbers of employees—employed and unemployed—and exclude self-employed people and members of Her Majesty's Forces.

NumberPercentage rate
South-East294,3593·9
East Anglia34,0564·6
South-West99,8696·0
West Midlands133,2875·7
East Midlands79,7135·0
Yorkshire and Humberside127,7336·0
North-West215,5307·6
North125,7969·0
Wales90,8648·3
Scotland203,2328·9
Northern Ireland66,18211·5
United Kingdom1,470,6216·1

Closed Shops

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his current estimate of the number of employees in

Nature of OffenceSection of the ActMaximum Penalty
1. Taking or offering to take into employment a person not registered as disabled—contrary to the provisions of the Quota Scheme.9(2) and 9(6)£100 fine or 3 months' imprisonment, or both.*
2. Taking or offering to take into designated employment a person not registered as disabled, or transferring such a person to such employment—contrary to the provisions of the Designated Employments Scheme.12(2) and 9(6)£100 fine or 3 months' imprisonment, or both.*
3. Discharging without reasonable cause a registered disabled person—contrary to the provisions of the Quota Scheme.9(5) and 9(6)£100 fine or 3 months' imprisonment, or both.*
4. Failure to keep, preserve or produce records14(1), 14(2), 14(4) and 14(6).£20 fine.
5. Continued failure to produce existing records after conviction as at 4.14(6)£5 fine for each day of failure.
6. Keeping or producing false records or information.14(1), 14(2) and 14(7).£100 fine or 3 months' imprisonment, or both.*
* Where the employer is a body corporate, the maximum fine may be £500 (section 19(3)).
The Manpower Services Commission (MSC) is currently reviewing the quota scheme for disabled persons, and it would be premature to consider the issue of penalties until the MSC reports to the Government later this year.

West Yorkshire

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are currently unemployed; and how many unfilled vacancies exist, in the county of West Yorkshire.

closed shops; and what change he expects in this figure when the Employment Bill becomes law.

Preliminary results of research into the closed shop, commissioned by my Department, show that closed shop arrangements affect at least 5·2 million of the 22.2 million employees in Great Britain. I have made no estimate of the effect that our proposals for changes in the law on industrial relations might have on the number of workers affected by such arrangements.

Disabled Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the size of the maximum fines which can be made under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act; and how these have been raised since 1944.

The maximum penalties which may be imposed under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 have remained unchanged since the inception of the Act and are as follows:

At 10 January the provisional number of people registered as unemployed in the West Yorkshire metropolitan county was 51,885. At 4 January, there were 5,477 vacancies remaining unfilled at employment offices and 494 at careers offices. Vacancies notified to employment offices are estimated to be about one-third of all vacancies in the country as a whole. Because of possible duplication the vacancy figures at employment offices, and careers offices should not be added together.

Redundancy Payments

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancy payments have been made under the Redundancy Payments Act 1965 and the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 in each calendar year since 1966 for which figures are available; and what was the total amount of such payments in each year.

Following is the information.

Number of paymentsTotal received by employees
£ millions
1967249,78250·2
1968264,49161·8
1969250,76461·8
1970275,56372·5
1971370,306108·3
1972297,12097·5
1973176,91966·6
1974182,16173·6
1975340,215178·3
1977267,233165·4
1978255,484184·3
1979253,594221·7

Industrial Co-Operatives (Disabled Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration his Department has given to assisting with the setting up of industrial co-operatives for disabled people; what recent action has been taken; and if he will make a statement.

Closures And Reductions

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report the closures and reductions he is proposing in careers advisory services, rehabilitation centres and skillcentres.

Strathclyde Region

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many redundancies there have been in the Strathclyde region for each month in 1979; and how many are forecast.

It is not known how many redundancies have actually taken place. However, I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the number of workers involved in redundancies affecting 10 or more notified as due to occur in the Strathclyde region during 1979 was as follows:January, 916February, 551March, 1,264April, 1,332May, 1,364June, 1,597July, 748August, 1,666September, 2,935October, 1,101November, 2,612December, 5,345So far, redundancies in Strathclyde involving 3,937 employees have been notified to the Manpower Services Commission as due to occur in 1980.

Cancer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, for each of those substances with a threshold limit value which are indicated as cancer-causing agents in the Health and Safety Executive's publication guidance note EH15 "Threshold Limit Values", what proportion of persons is likely to be affected by cancer excess at the threshold limit value.

Threshold limit values represent concentrations of substances to which it is believed that nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed day after day without adverse effect to their health. As a result of variations in individual susceptibility, a small proportion of persons may be affected by development of an occupational illness at concentrations at or below the threshold limit value. It is not possible to determine this proportion accurately because of the multiplicity of occupational and non-occupational factors involved.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report the names of those substances which, while not indicated as cancer-causing agents in the Health and Safety Executive's publication guidance note EH15 "Threshold Limit Values", are known to the Health and Safety Executive as being highly suspect cancer-causing agents.

I am informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that there are no highly suspect cancer-causing agents which are known to the HSE, other than those listed in its guidance note EH15.

Health And Safety At Work Etc Act 1974

asked the Secretary of State for Employment when he proposes to introduce regulations or orders to give effect to the provisions of section 3(3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Motor Industries (Trade Unions)

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many trade unions exist in the motor industry in each of the following countries: France, West Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

The following table gives the available information. It is

1 May 19791 January 1980
Department of Employment23,07421,086
Manpower Services Commission25,27525,367
Health and Safety Commission4,1564,132
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service819794
Total53,32451,379

Manpower Services Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, North-East, on 16 January 1980—[Official Report, c. 751–2]—how many people are likely to go without training as a result of the loss of 100 posts in the special programmes division.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 January 1980]: None. The proposed saving of 100 posts in the Manpower Services Commission's special programmes division is based on the present level of the programme, and results from economies in administration.

Enfield Skillcentre

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have particularly important to note that there are marked differences between countries in defining precisely the term "trade union", their conception and their structure; a number of unions forming a confederation are in some instances regarded as a single union.

Number of Trades Unions in the Motor Industry
France5
Germany (FR)1
Netherlands3
Italy1
Japan3
South Korea1
Sweden3
United States1
United Kingdom18
Sources:International Metalworkers Federation, Geneva; Various embassies; British motor industry.

Manpower

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many civil servants were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

The numbers of permanent staff in post in the DE group were as follows:attended courses of training at the Enfield skillcentre for each of the years 1970 to 1979 inclusive and at what net cost to public funds in each of those years.

[pursuant to his reply, 18 January 1980, c. 890–1]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that this information is only partially available. The number of trainees that commenced and completed courses at Enfield skillcentre and its associated annexe for the years 1978 and 1979 is as follows:

Calendar yearStarted trainingCompleted training
1978830492
1979688477
The gross cost for the year 1978–79 was approximately £2 million; the figure for net cost is not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what saving to public funds would be caused by the closing of the Enfield skillcentre.

[pursuant to his reply, 18 January 1980, c. 890–1]: I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that the saving to public funds if Enfield skillcentre and its associated annexe were closed would be approximately £1,800,000 a year in running costs A further £600,000 approximately would be realised by the sale of plant and equipment; and disposal of the freehold of the annexe premises and the lease of the main centre premises should produce income to be set against further public expenditure.

Job Creation

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to create more jobs in (a) Kirkby and (b) on Merseyside.

I have been asked to reply.Within the Merseyside special development area, of which Kirkby is a part, firms can qualify for the maximum levels of regional incentives in Great Britain including regional development grants at a rate of 22 per cent. The changes in regional policy announced last July will concentrate assistance on the special development areas.

NUMBERS UNEMPLOYED AT 10 JANUARY 1980
Column (i)Column (ii)Column (iii)
All age groupsUnder 18 years of age (included in Column (ii))
CountyMalesFemalesTotalMalesFemalesTotal
South Glamorgan10,0153,54013,5554775431,020
Mid Glamorgan11,1555,95117,1068049561,760
West Glamorgan8,3315,04713,378442504946
Gwent10,0705,55415,6246428151,457
Dyfed6,0333,3239,356252328580
Powys1,0945021,596404080
Gwynedd5,2552,5447,799195226421
Clwyd7,9954,45512,450350427777
Wales59,94830,91690,8643,2023,8397,041

Independent Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list by each local authority in Wales the number of handicapped and non-handicapped children who are paid for by the local

Manpower

asked the Lord Advocate how many civil servants were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

The number of civil servants employed by my noble Friend's London Department was 20 at 1 May 1979 and 18½ at 1 January 1980.The equivalent figures for the Crown Office in Edinburgh, which include the Procurator Fiscal service, were 758 at 1 May 1979 and 812 at 1 January 1980.

Wales

Unemployed Persons

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the number of persons registered as unemployed in Wales on 21 January; and if he will give details of areas and numbers, including persons of 15 to 18 years.

The latest available figures relate to 10 January 1980, when there were 59,948 males and 30,916 females registered as unemployed in Wales. Of these, the number of boys and girls under 18 years of age were 3,202 and 3,839 respectively. The following table gives details by counties:authorities to attend independent fee-paying schools.

The table below shows the numbers of handicapped and non-handicapped pupils who, in January 1979, were receiving assistance from Welsh local education authorities to attend

independent schools in England and Wales.

Number of non-handicapped pupils

Number of pupils receiving special educational treatment

Clwyd969
Dyfed1001
Gwent4019
Gwynedd188
Mid Glamorgan713
Powys3211
South Glamorgan1515
West Glamorgan378
Wales34584

Manpower

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many civil servants were employed by his Department on 1 May 1979; and what was the equivalent figure for 31 December.

Expressed as full-time equivalents—that is, with part-timers counted as half units—and excluding casual staff, the figures are 2,613 and 2,531 respectively.

School Population

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the school population in each education authority in Wales for (a) primary, and (b) secondary education.

The data asked for are set out in table 1.05 of "Statistics of Education in Wales", a copy of which is in the Library.

Flood Damage

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what requests for aid he has received from local authorities concerning recent flood damage in Wales; what funds these authorities have requested; and how much he will make available to these authorities.

The Welsh Counties Committee and the Council for the Principality made a general request when they met my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State on 11 January. I have also received approaches from two county officials, six district councils and one community council. I arranged for a letter to be sent to all county and district councils on 25 January giving guidance on the preparation and submission of claims in respect of the scheme of special financial assistance which was announced on 28 December.Under that scheme local authorities will receive from the Government 75 per cent. of their additional net expenditure in excess of the product of a penny rate. Other additional net expenditure will attract rate support grant.

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what aid the EEC will provide for victims of the recent flooding in parts of Wales; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I have been informed that the European Commission has granted aid of 400,000 EUA (some £264,000), of which it has allocated two-thirds to Wales and one-third to South-West England. It would like the aid to be rapidly distributed to the occupants of houses that have been flooded.It has been agreed that the aid should be apportioned among the district councils in the areas concerned and distributed by them to qualifying households. Councils will be put in funds by the Welsh Office and the Department of the Environment as soon as possible after the full amount of the aid has been transferred by the Commission in the beginning of February. Parliamentary approval to this new agency service will be sought in supplementary estimates for Other Environmental Services etc., Wales and the Local Environmental Services etc. England votes.

Sheltered Employment

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many vacancies were available in Wales for sheltered employment up to and including 22 January.

On the basis of a count taken on 24 January there were 20 such vacancies.

Skillcentres

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many skillcentre places there are in Wales; and how many will be closed in 1980 and in 1981.

1,475. No decisions have yet been taken by the Manpower Services Commission on the level of skillcentre activity for the future.

COMPARISON BETWEEN STANDARD RATE OF RETIREMENT PENSION FORA MARRIED COUPLE PLUS 2 CHILDREN GROSS AND NET EARNINGS: 1977 TO 1979
Year (October)Average weekly earnings* plus family allowance/child benefitNet income after deducting tax and NI contributionsStandard rate of retirement benefit plus family allowance/child benefitNet income as percentage of gross earningsBenefit as percentage of net income
£££Per cent.Per cent.
1977†75·3957·2939·4076·068·8
197888·1067·2744·8076·466·6
1979105·2780·9651·9076·964·1
COMPARISON BETWEEN STANDARD RATE OF RETIREMENT PENSION FOR A MARRIED COUPLE PLUS 4 CHILDREN GROSS AND NET EARNINGS: 1977 TO 1979
Year (October)Average weekly earnings*plus family allowance/child benfitNet income after deducting tax and NI contributionsStandard rate of retirement benefit plus family allowance/child benefitNet income as percentage of gross earningsBenefit as percentage of net income
£££Per cent.Per cent.
1977†78·3962·5154·3079·786·9
197892·7073·1461·6078·984·2
1979113·2788·9672·6078·581·6
* Average earnings of full-time manual wage earners in manufacturing and some principal non-manufacturing industries, taken from the enquiry conducted by the Department of Employment in October each year.
†The information about net earnings for 1977 in the tables published in the Official Report, 11 July 1978 c. 426–30, has been revised. The original figures for net income in October 1977 were calculated by allowing for tax changes implemented in November 1977 and operative retrospectively. The revised figures are based on earnings and tax allowance and rates current in October 1977.

Supplementary Benefit

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the answer given to the hon. Member for

(Thousands)
Grand totalOver pension age
FamiliesPersonsFamiliesPersons
November 19772,9914,7591,7382,034
November 19782,9324,5981,7382,043
(Thousands)
UnemployedOthers under pension age
FamiliesPersonsFamiliesPersons
November 19776711,4395821,285
November 19785981,2515971,304
Note:Due to a change in the method of estimation, these figures are not comparable with previous years.

Social Services

National Insurance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will update the information given to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) Official Report, 11 July 1978, columns 426–30 on national insurance rates.

The information requested is given in the tables below.Norfolk, North (Mr. Howell) Official Report, 28 July 1977, columns 589–91 on supplementary benefits.

The information for 1977 and 1978 is as follows: The figures for 1976, which were not available at the time of the reply to which the hon. Member refers, may be taken as for the grand total of persons dependent 4,725,000 and, for those in unemployed families 1,427,000, but due to industrial action at unemployment benefit offices, these estimates must be regarded as approximate. Information for 1979 is not yet available.

Widow's Charter

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the National Association of Widows and other widows' organisations regarding legislation for a widow's charter on human rights.

I have seen a copy of the "Widow's Charter 1980"circulated by the National Association of Widows. I am well aware of the association's views on the items concerning national insurance, which have been raised with my right hon. Friend at a meeting with representatives of the association some months ago and in correspondence.

Child Custody Orders

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of child custody orders is made with the benefit of a welfare officer's report; what is the present number of such welfare officers employed on this work; and what proportion of them are women.

Courts call for welfare reports from probation officers and local authority social workers in a wide range of proceedings involving the custody of children. No figures are available of the number of reports provided by social workers, but in 1978 probation officers provided 19,432 reports following inquiries concerning the custody of, and access to, children.Social workers working in this field provide welfare reports as part of their general duties and are not employed solely on this work. In 1977, the number of full-time basic grade social workers employed by local authorities in England was about 11,000, of which 4,000 were men and 7,000 were women. Figures for later years are not yet available. No information is available concerning the number of probation officers employed as court welfare officers.

National Health Service (Private Patients)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table showing, for each of the past five years, the amount of fees collected from private patients in National Health Service establishments, the amount of these payments which are regarded as arrears and the amount which has been written off as bad debts.

Income from NHS private patients in England for each of the years 1974–75 to 1978–79 was as follows:

1974–75£15·9 million
1975–76£20·3 million
1976–77£25·4 million
1977–78£28·9 million
1978–79£30·6 million
Information about the speed of settlement of debts is not collected centrally. No figures can therefore be given of the level of arrears. The practice of taking deposits equal to the total estimated cost of treatment is spreading in the NHS, and this will help to reduce the problem of slow payment.The total amount written off in respect of defaulting by private patients in any one year is not known. Although each health authority, regional, area and board of governors, submits to the Department with its annual accounts a statement of losses analysed into broad categories, the figures relating to bad debts are not analysed in a way which enables amounts in respect of private patients to be identified separately. Such detail could only be obtained by addressing a special inquiry to every health authority and the cost of this inquiry would be disproportionate.

Strike Benefits (Payments)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, before proceeding with Sir Derek Rayner's proposed changes in the methods of payment of strike benefits, he will consult the Post Office Users' National Council and the Association of District Councils in view of the estimated loss of 20 per cent. of sub-post office counter business.

I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend, the Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Major) on 18 January—[Vol. 976, c. 885–6.]

Bedford Hospital

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will make available a site development plan for Bedford hospital, south wing.

The Department does not hold such a plan. My hon. Friend may like to approach the North-West Thames regional health authority direct.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what consultations have been undertaken on the building of a new pharmacy at Bedford hospital, south wing; and whether local medical staff recommended the project;

  • (2) if, in view of local complaints affecting its siting at Bedford hospital, south wing, he intends to proceed with the building of a new pharmacy;
  • (3) what he estimates will be the cost of the proposed new pharmacy of Bedford hospital, south wing, and the number of additional staff likely to be involved in running it.
  • The proposal to build a new pharmacy at Bedford general hospital has not yet been referred to the Department and my hon. Friend may like to raise this matter at this stage direct with the North-West Thames regional health authority.

    St Helens And Knowsley Area Health Authority

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in the light of the fact that St. Helens and Knowsley area health authority is bottom of the 90 area health authorities in the amount it spends per head, what steps he intends to take to ensure that more resources are provided to St. Helens and Knowsley to ensure that the area enjoy as good a health service as other parts is of the United Kingdom.

    Expenditure per head is not a valid basis on which to judge the relative financial needs of area health authorities. Many of the population resident in St. Helens and Knowsley area are provided with health services by the neighbouring areas of Sefton and Liverpool. Expenditure on hospital and community services in St. Helens and Knows- ley area is consequently low in relation to population.Allocation of resources to St. Helens and Knowsley area health authority is a matter for the Mersey regional health authority which is fully aware of the relative needs of areas within the region. Major capital developments are planned at St. Helens and Whiston hospitals during the decade, as well as upgrading of accommodation at Eccleston Hall and Newchurch cottage hospitals. Additions to services to meet needs within the area will, of course, attract additional revenue resources.

    Care Proceedings

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has received representations about the delay in the determination of care proceedings as a result of delays in adult courts; what representations he has received if any; and if he will make a statement.

    The legal group working party of the Association of British Adoption and Fostering Agencies has recommended in its recent publication "Care Proceedings" that guidance should be given to courts and social services departments on the circumstances in which care proceedings should continue to be heard without awaiting the outcome of proceedings against a parent in the adult court. We are considering this recommendation in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

    Locum Agencies

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he has withdrawn his circular proposing radical changes in the way in which locum agencies operate; if he has now considered the code of practice drawn up by the federation concerned; what sanctions are applicable to those locum agencies which break the code or which are not members of the federation; and if he will make a statement.

    I am pleased to announce agreement between the Department and the Federation of Personnel Services on a code of practice for agencies supplying locum tenens medical and dental staff, and I am sending the hon. Member a copy. The code of practice should ensure that the necessary safeguards are applied by agencies and employing authorities alike. It will enable agreement on mutually satisfactory charges, which will take into account the remuneration of doctors, who are engaged directly. I expect NHS authorities to confine their use of such agencies to those which comply with the code of practice.

    National Health Service Supply Council

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he has not included a pharmacist on the National Health Service Supply Council; what proportion of the total National Health Service finances was spent on pharmaceutical services last year; and if he will make a statement.