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Questions And Answers Circulated With The Votes

Volume 180: debated on Wednesday 14 August 1907

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Board Of Education Second Division Clerks

To ask the President of the Board of Education how many Second Division-clerks, appointed under the Order in Council, 21st March, 1890, are employed in the Board of Education; how many clerks have been promoted to higher posts in the office from this class since its introduction; and the date of such promotions. (Answered by Mr. McKenna.) In the Board of Education there have been 188 Second Division clerks appointed under the Order in Council of 21st March, 1890. Understanding that by "higher posts" the hon. Member means all posts carrying a salary superior to that of the higher grade of the Second Division, one clerk was promoted on 16th January, 1906, to be a junior staff clerk.

Shopkeepers And Income-Tax

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in the assessment of income-tax under Schedule D upon shopkeepers, the house in which they carry on their business, as regards rent and valuation, is taken into account in such assessment; whether it is usual when the assessment is made by the surveyor of taxes, and when such assessment is paid in due course by the shopkeeper, for such surveyor to make a fresh application months afterwards for tax under Schedule A upon the same premises and for the same year; whether he is a ware that the surveyor of taxes at Cookstown has directed one of his collectors to call upon certain shopkeepers who had paid income-tax under Schedule D, as aforesaid, and, without previous notification, demand payment peremptorily of income-tax upon the difference between the rent and valuation; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter. (Answered by Mr. Asquith.) Income-tax under Schedule A is payable in respect of premises used for business purposes as of other premises; but, in estimating the profits of a business for assessment under Schedule D, a deduction is allowed for the amount of the net Schedule A assessment. The tax under Schedules A and D is, as far as possible, collected concurrently. A long interval could only occur under exceptional circnmstances. The surveyor is not aware of any case in which a peremptory demand has been made which has not been preceded by the ordinary demand note for payment.

Devonport Gun Wharf Workers

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that the eighteen men employed in the workshops of the Army Ordnance Department, His Majesty's Gun Wharf, Devonport, are not now granted the extra 1s. per week which has been given to the labourers; that these men, before the advance, were in receipt of 22s. 6d. per week, that included 6d. per day allowed them for skilled work; and that the extra 1s. which was paid to them for a few weeks has been withdrawn, by the deduction of 2d. per day from the 6d. for skilled work, leaving them only 22s. 6d. as before; and whether, seeing that men employed in the dockyard on similar work are receiving from 24s. to 27s. per week, he will favourably consider restoring to these eighteen men the advance in wages recently granted to their comrades. (Answered by Mr. Edmund Robertson.) As I have already explained to the House on 3rd June, the wages paid to the men doing the work in question remained unchanged, and, on the information now in my possession, I do not consider them inadequate for the work which the men have to perform.

Day Industrial Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, having regard to the success of day industrial schools and the desirability of extending the scope of such schools by admitting suitable voluntary cases, he will, in his proposed legislation for next year affecting children, take steps to modity Section 16 of The Education Act, 1876, which, by fixing the maximum limit of the Treasury contribution to day industrial schools at 1s. a head for committed cases and at 6d. a head for other cases, has done a great deal to hamper the development of these schools. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) I hope to deal with the matter in a Bill next session; but I cannot at present make any promise of an increase in the amount of these grants.

Long Lane, Se, Police Barracks

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can give the total expenditure on land and buildings of Monro House and Bradford House, Long Lane, S.E., recently erected for married men of the M Division of Metropolitan Police; whether he can state how many families each house accommodates and the amount of rent charged for each tenement; whether the rent includes all the charges, the interest of the loan, the sinking fund, rates, taxes, repairs, and cost of management; if not, what is the annual amount of the deficit; and whether the deficit is charged to the rates, or how it is met. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) The total expenditure on land and buildings was £12, 500. Each house accommodates twelve families. The rents vary from 7s. 6d. to 10s. a week, the total rental amounting to £513 10s. per annum. The rent is inclusive; rates, taxes, and other outgoings being defrayed from the Metropolitan Police Fund. Having regard to the shortness of time during which the building has been in occupation, the annual amount of the deficit falling on that fund cannot at present be stated.

Victoria University, Manchester

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can state for what reason the maximum State grant to Universities has been reduced; and whether he is aware of the hardship inflicted upon the Victoria University of Manchester by depriving it annually of £2, 000, in reliance upon which engagements had been made, which cannot now be cancelled, for increasing the service of the University to the community. (Answered by Mr. Asquith.) It has been decided that in future no institution participating in the grant for University colleges shall receive more than £10, 000 per annum. Unless the total grant, which has been increased during the last few years from £27, 000 per annum to £100, 000 per annum, is to be indefinitely increased, some maximum limit for particular grants must be fixed, and the limit in question has been arrived at upon the recommendation of the Advisory Commit tee, who fully considered all the circumstances and, in particular, the claims of the smaller colleges. The University was informed last year that the grant then made must not be regarded as an assured source of income, the whole of which might be appropriated to purposes of recurrent expenditure, and that the allocation of the grants would be entirely revised in the current year.

Irish National Education Board

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will give the dates on which meetings of the National Education Board have been held between the 1st July, 1906, and 30th June, 1907; the names of the Commissioners present at each of these meetings; the number of meetings attended by each of the twenty Commissioners during the twelve months in question; and the remuneration in the way of salary or expenses, etc, paid to each Commissioner for each meeting attended. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The following statement gives the dates of meetings of the National Education Board during the period referred to and the number of Commissioners present at each meeting—

Dates of Meetings.Number of Commissioners present.
July 315
July 1714
July 319
August 1410
August 2814
September 1113
September 2511
October 916
October 2314
November 613
November 2017
December 416
December 1816
January 312
January 1513
January 2912
February 129
February 2612
March 1210
March 208
March 2612
April 912
April 2311
May 717
May 1415
May 2112
June 4.10
June 1814

The Commissioners do not receive any remuneration by way of salary, but their travelling and personal expenses are paid, and the payments are regularly audited by the Exchequer and Audit Department. The Commissioners inform me that they do not think it desirable to give details as to the attendance of individual members of their body, as they consider that no useful purpose would be served by furnishing this information.

The Organiser Of Irish

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state the number of applications from principal and assistant teachers respectively received by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland for the position of organiser of Irish, and the number of such teachers who have taught Irish successfully during the past year, receiving the general report of excellent or very good. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The Commissioners of National Education inform me that the number of applications for the post of organiser of Irish received from principal and assistant teachers respectively is tifty-five and twenty-six. The information asked for in the latter part of the Question will take some time to prepare.

Lunacy Commissioners' Report

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Lunacy Commissioners have laid upon the Table their Annual Report for this year; and, if so, when will it be issued. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) The body of the Report for 1906 was laid upon the Table on the 27th of June last. The appendices are now in the printers' hands, and it is hoped that the whole Report will be issued in about a fortnight.

Metropolitan Assistant Police Commissioners

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether a military man has recently been appointed one of the assistant commissioners of the Metropolitan Police; whether the gentleman appointed has had any previous experience of police work; and whether, before making this appointment, any consideration was given to the advisability of promoting one of the present superintendents or appointing a person acquainted with the police duty of a large town. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) The last occasion when a military man was appointed an assistant commissioner was in 1902. The gentleman then appointed had been Assistant Commissioner of Police of the City of London, and had had twelve years police experience.

Irish Marriages

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whether clergymen of the Disestablished Church in Ireland are compelled to furnish quarterly returns of all marriages celebrated by them; are the clergy of other denominations required to furnish such returns; and are any payments made to the clergy of any, and, if so, which, religious denominations for such returns. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The clergy of all denominations in Ireland, except the Roman Catholics, are bound, under the Act 7 and 8 Vic., c. 81, to register marriages in duplicate and to furnish quarterly returns of marriages to the proper officer. The duty of registering Roman Catholic marriages in Ireland is imposed on the husband by the statute 26 and 27 Vic., c 90, known as Monsell's Act. No payment is made to the clergy of any denomination for furnishing returns of marriages.

Geashill Farm Dispute

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state the cause of the delay in completing the purchase of Mr. Charles Dempsey's farm at Ard, Geashill, King's County, which the Estates Commissioners propose to divide with an evicted tenant named Wyer; is he aware that Dempsey is being sued by the Land Commission for the amount of annuity due on the whole farm up to last May, although half the land is in the possession of the evicted tenant; and will he see that the sale is expedited. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The Estates Commissioners have, at the request of the owner, made inquiries into the matter referred to in the Question, and they are at present considering their inspector's report. The Commissioners have no knowledge that part of the farm is in the occupation of the evicted tenant, Wyer.

Teachers Of Irish Model Schools

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the fact that the Commissioners of National Education have framed rules to regulate the appointment of teachers to model schools, and that Rule 51 states that candidates are invited by advertisement to submit their names, he can say why this rule has not been adhered to in the case of the Belfast model school, where a vacancy existed recently in the girls' department. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The Commissioners of National Education inform me that candidates were not invited by advertisement for the vacancy in the Belfast model school for girls, because the vacancy was filled by the transfer of the teacher of the Newtownards model school for girls. The vacancy in the latter school has been duly advertised, and the appointment will be made at an early date.

Water For Belfast Rioters

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the loss of life at Belfast through the firing with bullets in the streets, he would make representations to the authorities as to whether, in the event of the necessity of dispersing a mob, some other means, such as the use of water, might be adopted. (Answered by Mr. Birrell.), I think my hon. friend may rest assured that, as in the recent case, the authorities will only use firearms in the very last resort, and when all other means have failed. I will, however, bring my hon. friend's suggestion to the notice of the authorities.

Crown Agents' Contracts

To ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Crown agents invite freight tenders for all cargo and stores shipped by them; whether in any cases deferred rebates are granted; if so, what has been the rate of the rebates and the amount so received during each of the years 1904, 1905, and 1906, and how the money has been applied; and whether any preference is granted to certain lines of steamers in consideration of these rebates. (Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The evidence given by Sir E. Blake on the 9th July before the Royal Commission on Shipping Rings (which has been published) contains full information as to the practice of the Crown agents in shipping matters. If the hon. Member desires it he can be supplied with a copy of the list of West African rebates handed in by Sir E-Blake in reply to Question No. 10, 874.

Turkish Raid Into Persia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has received official information to the effect that the Turkish force which recently crossed the Persian frontier was marching with fire and sword in the direction of Urumia, and had shelled the Christian village of Mewan, killing about ninety persons, including women and children, and carrying off ten girls; and, if so, whether he is making representations to the Sublime Port on this matter. (Answered by Secretary Sir Edward Grey.) I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave to the hon. Member for Mid Armagh on the 8th instant. In reply to the representations made to the Porte, His Majesty's Government are informed that the information of the Turkish Government is to the effect that the first attack came from the Persian side, and that orders have been sent to withdraw the Turkish troops within the neutral zone and to punish those guilty of excesses.

Inland Revenue Porters

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury how many porters are employed in each of the various branches of the Inland Revenue Department; how many classes are they divided into; what is the scale of pay of each class; whether they are all allowed pensions on retirement after the usual number of years service; and, if not, seeing the low scale of pay of these men and the large salaries and pensions given to the higher officials in this department, will he explain why. (Answered by Mr. Runciman.) I am informed that the number of the porters and the offices to which they are assigned are as follows:—Controller of Stamps and Stores Office: I foreman packer and porter, 30s.—2s.—40s. 8 packers and porters, 20s.—1s.—30s. Pensionable. Stamping Department: I van attendant and porter, 20s.—1s.—30s. Pensionable. Office-keepers' Branch: 4 door porters, 1, £65—£2—£85* 3, £52—£2—£56. Pensionable. I head coal porter, £90 per annum. Pensionable. I deputy head coal porter, 27s.—1s.—30s. a week. Non-pensionable. 3 porters, 28s. a week. 40 porters, 20s.—2s.—24s. a week. Non-pensionable. Liverpool Collection: I porter and messenger, 25s.—1s.—30s. I hall porter, 20s.—1s.—25s. Non-pensionable. London Central Collection: I hall porter, 30s. a week. I coal porter, 20s.—2s.—24s. Non-pensionable. Manchester Collection: I porter and messenger, £2 a week. I coal porter for 35 weeks annually, 10s. a week. Non-pensionable. Comptroller's Office, Edinburgh: I coal porter and furnace man, 30s. I coal porter 20s. Non-pensionable. Glasgow Collection: I hall porter, 25s. a week. Pensionable. I coal porter, 11s. 6d. a week. Non-pensionable. Comptroller's Office, Dublin: 2 fire lighters and coal porters, 20s. a week. Non-pensionable. Belfast Collection: I porter and stamper, 35s.—1s.—40s. Non-pensionable. As regards the last part of the Question, it is one of the conditions of the employment of the non-pensionable men that their service shall give no claim to pension, and the salaries are adequate to the duties.

Exchequer And Audit Establishment

To ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will furnish a copy of the Exchequer and Audit Establishment list for each of the last ten years. (Answered by Mr. Runciman.) I am informed that there are no spare copies for the earlier years of the list, which is issued merely for use in the Exchequer and Audit Department, but if the hon. Member cares to call at the office of

*To be succeeded by one on lower scale.
the Comptroller and Auditor General he can have access to the official volume.

Local Government Board Auditors

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, seeing that new entrants as Local Government Board auditors have no practical experience of audit work, and that, considering the nature of the duties, such experience is of value, he will explain, why such positions are not given to the trained and experienced auditors of the Exchequer and Audit Department. (Answered by Mr. John Burns.) An auditor now usually serves as an assistant auditor before he is appointed as a full auditor, and, moreover, an assistant auditor before appointment has commonly had training with an auditor. In this way the persons appointed obtain knowledge and experience of the particular-work connected with the audit of the accounts of local authorities, which the staff of the Exchequer and Audit Department could not be expected to possess.

Contracts And Fair Wages

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his Board exercises any control over the form of contract entered into by local authorities, and in particular as to the insertion in such contracts of what is known as the Fair Wages Clause; and whether he requires the insertion of such a clause in contracts for the carrying out of which it is necessary for local authorities to obtain the sanction of the Board or a loan sanctioned by the Board. (Answered by Mr. John, Bums.) The Board have no control over the form of contract entered into by local authorities except in the case of Poor Law authorities. It is competent to a local authority to insert a Fair Wages Clause in their contracts, but the Board have not in any ease required them to do so. My hon. friend is perhaps aware of the Parliamentary Return as to the contracts of local authorities which was issued in 1905, and which gives information as to the course adopted by local authorities in this matter.

Durban Passengers Grievance

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the fact that three passengers on board the White Star liner s.s. "Persic," which sailed from Durban on 27th March, were forced to land at Plymouth, notwithstanding that they intended to proceed to Tilbury, without being informed of the risk which one of them ran from exposure to a railway journey, owing to the fact that he was suffering from typhoid fever; whether the fact of this disease having occurred on board was notified to the port authority or Board of Trade; whether it ought to have been notified, and to whom; whether the summary landing of these passengers at Plymouth relieved the ship's officers from any duty of reporting the disease on arrival at Tilbury, or in any way expedited the discharge of the vessel in the port of London; whether he proposes to take any action in the matter; whether his department, or other authority, has any power to prevent the spreading of disease in this way in this country; and whether, having regard to the loss and expense incurred by several persons through the above events, he will cause full inquiry to be made into the whole matter. (Answered by Mr. John Burns.) Perhaps I may be allowed to Answer this Question. My attention has been called to the case mentioned in it, and I have made inquiry with regard to it. The passengers referred to left the ship at Plymouth under the advice of the ship's medical officer, but I do not understand that they were forced to do so. The medical officer appears not to have regarded the case as one of typhoid fever, but as extremely suspicious. He states that he reported the case at Plymouth to the pilot, giving him the principal symptoms as a guide for those ashore, and that the pilot assured him the case would be looked to. I am informed that the discharge of the vessel was not in any way expedited by the landing of the passengers at Plymouth. The Local Government Board have informed the steamship company that in their opinion the ship's medical officer should either have sent an intimation in writing to the port medical officer of health respecting the case or should have mentioned it on the certificate given by him with regard to the health of the passengers and crew. The Board have suggested to the company that it should be made clear to the surgeons of their ships that, in all cases where suspicion exists of infectious disease on ships arriving in any port, information of the facts should be sent in writing by the surgeon to the port medical officer of health. The company have given an assurance that in future this will be done.

Ships' Casualties

To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty when it is proposed to issue the Return giving the casualties to ships in 1906. (Answered by Mr. Lambert.) This Return is in the hands of the printers, but no date can be fixed for its issue.

Bellary Quit Rents

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that ten rupees per acre is now demanded as quit rent in the cantonment of Bellary and fifteen rupees per acre in the civil lines; whether these quit rents are largely in excess of the figures usually charged; and whether he will inquire if there is any sufficient reason for such increase. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) I have no information on the subject, but I will ask the Government of India to acquaint me with the facts.

Unearned Land Increments In India

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether such increases in assessment as are from time to time, and in exceptional localities, made in India, in due proportion with increases in land values, not resulting from the action of the landholders, provide revenue for public purposes by intercepting the unearned increments; and whether, if that be the case, he will resist proposals for relinquishing the power to raise assessments, the retention of which is so greatly to the interest of the poorer masses of the Indian peoples. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) The revenue derived from the land assessment is unquestionably a most important item in Indian finance, and any proposals for depriving the Government of its prescriptive right to revise from time to time the assessments in temporarily settled tracts would need to be supported by very strong considerations. No such proposals are before me. The question of securing equitable and moderate assessments, especially when, as is often the case, the revenue payers are in humble circumstances, stands on a different footing.

War Office Boy Messengers

To ask the Secretary of State for War how many boy messengers are employed at the War Office; how many leave on an average each year; how many have left during the last five years for age limit, for misconduct, and for other reasons; how many obtained posts in the Civil Service as men; and whether any provision is made for the after employment of boys who leave on account of age. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) Seventy-three boy messengers are now employed at the War Office. From 1st July, 1902, to 30th June, 1907, an average number of twenty-nine left annually, thirteen left under the age limit, six for misconduct, and 128 for other reasons. I have no information to show how many obtained posts in the Civil Service as men. No special official provision is made for the after employment of boys who leave on account of age, but every effort is made unofficially to assist them in this direction.

British Garrison In Egypt

To ask the Secretary of State for War what is the strength of the British troops stationed in Egypt and the Soudan. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) It is not considered expedient to publish the strength of British troops stationed abroad.

Yeomanry Drill Book

To ask the Secretary of State for War whether the War Office are contemplating the issue of a drill book for that branch of the Territorial Army hitherto known as the Yeomanry; and, if so, whether it will contain all the information which a yeoman is required to know, so that reference to numerous text books may be unnecessary. (Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane): It is not the intention of the Army Council to issue to the force mentioned a training manual containing a variety of information extracted from other manuals. It has been decided, after careful consideration, that the issue of several manuals containing the same information, is objectionable.