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Written Answers

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1914

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Written Answers

National Insurance Act

Approved Societies (Invested Funds)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total amount of invested funds of approved societies under the National Insurance Act in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, respectively, and the present market values of such investments in each case?

The total amount of invested funds of approved societies under the National Insurance Acts in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, respectively, is as follows:—

Sums standing to the credit of Societies in the Investment Account with the National Debt Commissioners.Sums paid to Societies for Investment or Invested on their behalf in Specific Securities.Total.
A Return showing the securities held by the National Debt Commissioners in respect of the National Health Insurance Fund Investment Account was presented to Parliament on the 14th March last. No information is at present available as to the investments made by societies under the Acts.

Soldiers, Sailors, And Absent Voters Bill

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that the Return recently presented to Parliament on the Motion of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight shows that at the last General Election, out of the entire strength of the Infantry and Cavalry of the British Army, only four battalions of the former and not a single regiment of the latter had been quartered for a sufficient length of time in the constituencies in which they then were to enable officers and men to qualify to vote in those constituencies, he is prepared to Grant facilities for the passing into law this Session of the Soldiers, Sailors, and Absent Voters Bill?

Owing to the exigencies of Parliamentary business I fear facilities cannot be granted this Session for the further progress of the Bill referred to. As regards the general question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave the hon. Member for Devon-port on May 13th last, to which I can at present add nothing.

Training Colleges (Ireland)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland the number of students in each of the Irish training colleges who sat for the annual examination in June, 1913; the number of those who sat for and the number who passed in Irish; and the total number in each college who sat for Irish in June, 1914?

The following are the numbers of King's Scholars who sat at the July examinations, 1913: Marlboro' Street, 266; St. Patrick's, 158; Our Lady of Mercy, 197; Church of Ireland, 128; De La Salle, 178; St. Mary's, 98; Mary Immaculate, 100. Of this number 226 sat for examination in Irish and 111 passed this examination. The numbers examined in Irish at the July examinations, 1914, are: Marlboro' Street, 14; St. Patrick's, 41; Our Lady of Mercy, 42; Church of Ireland, nil; De La Salle, 43; St. Mary's, 22; Mary Immaculate, 24.

Burtonport Harbour

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether the Board of Works have received a resolution passed by the Donegal County Council some six weeks ago requesting that the improvement of Burtonport Harbour should be taken in hand without further delay; and whether, seeing that the county council have agreed to all the requirements of the Development Commission in this matter, he can say when the necessary works will be begun?

I understand that the resolution has been received, but that there are some points connected with the financial conditions of the Grant which are not yet finally settled. In the meantime the plans and specifications for the works are being proceeded with.

Loans To Farmers

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether any and, if so, what facilities are provided by the Board of Works or other Irish Department for making advances by way of loan to small farmers and cottiers for building better dwellings and out-offices, and to what extent were these facilities availed of during the year ending 31st March, 1914, and, alternatively, during the ten years ending that date?

The facilities provided by the Board of Works for advances to farmers for agricultural improvements are set out in their pamphlets of instructions to applicants, copies of which I shall transmit to the hon. Member. The following table gives the amounts of the loans for farm buildings sanctioned in each of the ten years, 1904–5 to 1913–14:—

Landed Property Improvement (Ireland) Acts.Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881.
The Board have no statistics showing to what extent these loans were made to small farmers, but during the last completed year about 25 per cent. of the loans were for £50 or under. In connection with the sale of estates under the Land Purchase Acts, the Estates Commissioners have sanctioned since the passing of the Act of 1903 for the erection and repair of buildings advances amounting to £173,563, repayable as part of the tenant purchasers' annuities, and £141,650 as Grants not repayable; £15,272 and £10,436, respectively, of these sums were sanctioned during the financial year ended the 31st March last. The sums so sanctioned in the preceding financial years since 1903 are given in the Annual Reports of the Estates Commissioners. The Congested Districts Board make loans to tenant purchasers of agricultural holdings, the rateable valuation of which does not exceed £7, for the erection and improvement of dwelling-houses. Loans are not made for out-offices. The conditions on which such loans are made are set out in the form of application, a copy of which I shall forward to the hon. Member. During the year ended 31st March, 1914, eighty-three loans, amounting to £3,055, were sanctioned. During the ten years ended 31st March, 1914, 401 loans, amounting to £10,985, were sanctioned. The Board also give assistance to the tenants on their own estates for the erection and improvement of dwelling-houses and out-offices. The following Return shows the amount of advances and Grants made by the Congested Districts Board for the purpose of building houses, or aiding tenants to build houses, and also for the improvement of

houses on their estates since the establishment of the Board in 1891 up to the 31st March, 1914:—

County.Number of New Houses Built.Number of Houses improved by Board's Tenants with Assistance from Board.Total Amount spent on New Houses or on Improvements to Existing Houses.
By Board.By Tenant.
Cork (W. R.)2851665,607
Note.—The figures for advances as distinct from free Grants are not available.

Welsh Steam Coal

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what proportion of the output of the best Welsh steam coal is used by the Admiralty and by each of the navies of the other great Powers, respectively?

I have already stated the approximate percentage so far as the Admiralty is concerned, in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Merthyr. I regret that I am unable to furnish information in regard to other Governments.

Education, England And Wales (Cost)

asked the President of the Board of Education if he will state for the years 1901–2 and 1913–14, respectively, the following particulars of the cost of education throughout England and Wales: expenditure from Parliamentary Grants on public elementary schools; expenditure from rates on public elementary schools; expenditure from Parliamentary Grants on secondary education; expenditure from rates on secondary education; amount of Grants or interest on loans paid for building schools through the Board of Education; amount of Grants or interest on loans paid for building schools by the local education authority; cost of administration and other expenditure of the Board of Education; cost of administration by school boards and local education authorities; and the total expenditure of

the Board of Education and the total expenditure of the local education authorities, respectively?

The Board are not yet in possession of statistics relating to expenditure by local authorities in 1913–14 upon the purposes to which the question refers. I may, however, refer the hon. Member to pages 17, 25 to 27, and 32–33 of the Final Report of the Departmental Committee on Local Taxation [Cd. 3315], which gives a number of figures relating to education in a convenient form; to the Return to an Order of this House, dated 7th April, 1913 (No. 115); and also to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire on 20th March, 1914.

School Inquiry (Glamorganshire)

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has received the Report of the Commissioner appointed by him to hold an inquiry into the circumstances connected with the dispute between the managers of the Bryncoch non-provided schools and the Glamorganshire local education authority; and whether, before making any order with a view to the settlement of the question submitted to the Board pursuant to the Education Act, 1902, Section 7, Subsection (3), he will lay the Report of the Commissioner upon the Table of this House?

The Report was received on the 6th June, and the Board's decision in the matter was given on the 13th July. It is, therefore, not possible to carry out the hon. Member's suggestion. Copies of the Report are now obtainable. I am sending the hon. Member copies of the Report and the letter conveying the Board's decision.

Distilling In India

asked the Under-Secretary for India whether any distilleries or other buildings used in the manufacture of intoxicating liquors in India are the property of the Government; whether the Government own sites which have been leased for distillery purposes; and, if so, whether he will state how many buildings and sites are included in these categories, and in which provinces they are situated?

The reply to the first two questions is in the affirmative. The Government of India will be requested to furnish the statistics asked for in the third question.

Assaults On Warders And Attendants

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of assaults on warders and attendants at Dartmoor and Portland Prisons and Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, respectively, in each of the last five years?

At Dartmoor Prison there were twenty-one assaults on warders in the five years 1909–1913, namely, nine in 1909, four in 1910, three in 1911 and 1912, and two in 1913. At Portland Prison there were twenty-three assaults—eight in 1909, two in 1910, four in 1911, three in 1912, and six in 1913. At Broadmoor Asylum, in the last five years, seven attendants have been attacked by patients, four of them being incapacitated for duty for over a week. The dangerous patients in Broadmoor have no opportunity of procuring weapons, but it is not at all uncommon for attendants to receive kicks and blows from violent patients of which no record is kept.

Swinton Poor Law Schools (Ophthalmia)

asked the President of the Local Government Board if he will state the number of children at present suffering from ophthalmia in the Swinton, Manchester, Poor Law schools; the duration of the present epidemic; if there have been other outbreaks of this disease during the last three years; and the number of children affected by each outbreak?

I am informed that there are at present seventy-eight children belonging to the Swinton schools who are suffering from ophthalmia and other affections of the eye, many of the cases being of a mild type, and are being maintained, treated, and educated in a temporary building specially erected in the school grounds. This building is some distance from the main school, and the children in it do not come into contact with the healthy children. Two or three years ago the guardians appointed an ophthalmic surgeon who examined the eyes of each child in the schools and removed to separate accommodation every child whose eyes were affected in any way whatever. Since this appointment was made there has been a gradual diminution of the number of children under treatment. No children are allowed to be transferred from the ophthalmic building to the main buildings of the schools until the ophthalmic surgeon is satisfied that there is no possibility of a recurrence of the trouble, and consequently there are no cases of ophthalmia at present among the children in the main portion of the school. The returns show that in December, 1911, there were 162 cases under treatment, as compared with the present figure of 78.

Post Office

Telephone Service

asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to the fact that the new instrument used for the telephone is causing ear trouble; and whether he will immediately take advice from leading aural authorities as to the effects of the said instrument?

In the more modern telephone exchange systems stronger electric currents are used than formerly in order to obtain quicker communication and clearer speech. The drawback to these systems—which are worked on the central battery principle—is that if the receiver is kept close to the ear at the moment when the current is turned on or off the resulting click of the diaphragm is disagreeable. Subscribers soon learn, however, not to put the receiver close to the car while communication is being established or broken. The central battery system referred to is in use in all the principal exchanges in the London area and at most of the chief provincial exchanges. It is also generally used in the United States and on the Continent.

Cost Of Living (Dudley)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that in the Return issued in 1912 on the cost of living in certain towns in the United Kingdom the cost was not given in the case of Dudley, although it was given in the case of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Kidderminster, and other places in the neighbourhood, some of which are much smaller than Dudley; and whether he can supply any figures showing the cost of living at Dudley?

The inquiry into the cost of living in 1912 was confined to the eighty-eight towns in the United Kingdom which were included in the Report of the inquiry made by the Board of Trade in 1905 (Cd. 3864). Dudley was not one of those towns, and I regret that I am unable to supply figures as to the cost of living in 1912. I have no reason, however, for thinking that it would differ materially from the cost of living in Wolverhampton, Walsall or Kidderminster.

Swine Fever

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is able to state the results of the serum treatment for swine fever which has been adopted and is under demonstration in the United States, Hungary, and Holland; whether he can state how far the system is being tried in Great Britain and Ireland; and whether sufficient time has elapsed to enable a Report being issued on the subject?

The Board are keeping themselves informed of the results, so far as they are obtainable, of the serum treatment for swine fever in the countries named, and my hon. Friend will find detailed information on this subject in the minutes of evidence given before the Departmental Committee (Cd. 5680 of 1911 and Cd. 7247 of 1914). A number of experiments are being conducted by the Board on premises in Great Britain, but it is too soon yet for a useful Report on them to be published.

Steam Trawlers (Damage)

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that complaints are made respecting the damage done by steam trawlers disturbing the breeding places of fish and destroying enormous quantities of immature fish; and whether he will consider the advisability of summoning an International Conference to consider the expediency of increasing the three-mile limit, and to take such other measures as may be deemed necessary to prevent the further diminution of fish supplies?

This important question is under consideration by an Interdepartmental Committee, and pending their Report I cannot make any definite announcement upon it.

Scottish Licensing Case

asked the Lord Advocate whether he will make inquiry into the recent granting of the licence of the Cross-keys Inn, in Johnstone, in order to find out whether there was an infringement of Section 106 of the Act of 1903, in so far as the applicant was represented by a partner of one of the officials of the Licensing Court; and will he take some action to prevent the breach of that Section in future cases?

Assuming that, as stated by my hon. and learned Friend in a former question to me on this subject, the applicant on the occasion referred to was represented by a partner of the Depute J. P. Clerk of the County, no breach of Section 106 was committed, and the latter part of my hon. and learned Friend's question therefore does not arise.

Housing (Scotland)

asked the Secretary for Scotland when the Royal Commission on Housing in Scotland will make its Report?

I am unable to add anything at present to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for the Border Burghs on the 23rd of June.

Small Holdings (Scotland)

asked the Secretary for Scotland how many application have been made under the Small Landholders (Scotland) Act, 1911, for new holdings and enlargements up to and including 30th June, 1914; and how many of those have not got beyond the stage of application?

The following are the numbers of applications for new holdings and enlargements received by the Board of Agriculture for Scotland under the Small Landholders (Scotland) Act, 1911, up to and including 30th June, 1914:—

No.County.New Holdings.Enlargements.Total.
27Ross and Cromarty1,0436761,719

Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum (Charles Pritchard)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Charles Pritchard, who has been confined for over twelve years in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum for sending a threatening letter, has petitioned at any time during the past year that he may be handed over to the Salvation Army or, this year, that his condition may be inquired into; whether such petitions have to be recommended by the governor; and whether, if the governor withholds his recommendation, the petition is not entertained?

This patient has more than once during the past year applied for his discharge from Broadmoor Asylum. Having regard to all the circumstances of the case, I have not felt able to comply with his request. Reports from the superintendent of the asylum form an important part of the materials for consideration in such cases, but are not necessarily the determining factor.

asked whether, during the twelve and a half years for which Charles Pritchard has been confined in Broadmoor Criminal Asylum, he has ever injured or attempted to injure any person; whether his behaviour has been good; and if his detention is continued on account of any acts or because of opinions formed as to his state of mind?

No acts of violence have been reported on Pritchard's part, but his behaviour cannot be described as good. His morbid mental condition makes it unsafe to authorise his discharge. The hon. Member will readily understand that the letters he writes afford insufficient material for forming an opinion on this point.