Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers

National Insurance Act

Foreign Workmen

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the provisions of the National Insurance Act have in all cases and in all districts been enforced with respect to foreign employers and foreign workmen, on the same lines and in the same way as in the case of British employers and British workmen?

Government Offices (New Buildings)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the amount that has been spent upon the construction and equipment of new Government offices since 1906?

The expenditure on new Government offices defrayed from Votes accounted for by the Office of Works, and from the Vote for Public Buildings, Ireland, in each year since 1906–7, is shown in the following tables. The term "new Government offices" includes new offices and extensions of existing offices, but does not include improvement of accommodation unless accompanied by the erection or extension of buildings. Further, the term "office" has been interpreted as synonymous with "building," i.e., a new Department, the staff of which has been housed in an old Government building, would not be included in the Return. The expenditure upon equipment of premises leased as offices is included in these cases where the rent of the premises is paid from one of the Votes mentioned above, but expenditure on the equipment of short leasehold premises used for Post Office purposes, where defrayed from the Post Office Vote, is not so included.

Expenditure on the following classes of buildings, though shown in the Annual Estimate presented to Parliament, is not included:—

Great Britain.—Royal Palaces, Osborne, Buildings in the Royal Parks, Houses of Parliament Buildings, Museums, Art Galleries and Scientific Buildings, Diplomatic and Consular Buildings, Factories (including the Royal Mint), Stores for Materials or for Distributing Purposes, Generating Stations, Recruiting Stations and Military Buildings, Historic Buildings and

Table I.
STATEMENT showing Expenditure defrayed by the Commissioners of H.M. Works, etc., on construction and equipment of new Government Offices, from 1st April, 1906 to 31st March, 1914 (exclusive of cost of acquisition of Sites, etc.).
Year.From Voted Funds.Expenditure under Special Acts.Grand Total.
Miscellaneous Legal Buildings.Revenue Buildings (including Post Office).Insurance. etc., Buildings.Public Buildings.Total.Public Buildings. Expenses.Land Registry New Buildings.Telephone Capital Account.



* Includes expenditure amounting to £7,330 in respect of National Health Insurance Buildings, voted under "Public Buildings."

Table II.
STATEMENT showing Expenditure defrayed by the Commissioners of Public Works, Ireland, on the construction and equipment of new Government Offices, from 1st April, 1906 to 31st March, 1914 (exclusive of cost of acquisition of Sites, etc.).
Year.From Vote for Public Buildings, Ireland.Telephone Capital Account.Grand Total.
Miscellaneous Legal Buildings.Revenue Buildings including Post Office.Insurance, etc., Buildings.Other Public Buildings.Total.

Ancient Monuments, Sheriff Court Houses in Scotland.

Ireland.—Royal Hospital, Royal Hibernian Military School, Coast Guard Stations, Ordnance Survey Buildings, State and Official Residences, National Museum, Royal Irish Academy and Royal College of Science, Police Barracks, Model and National Schools, University Colleges, Dundrum Asylum, Parks and Piers and Harbours.

No expenditure has been included in respect of the acquisition of sites.

Cunard Steamship Company

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what is the amount outstanding of the Government loan to the Cunard Steamship Company; and if such loan is being reduced as the ships for the construction of which it was advanced grow older?

The loan is being repaid, as provided in clause 10 of the Cunard agreement, by annual instalments of one-twentieth of the total amount. The amount outstanding is now £1,820,000.

London University

asked the Prime Minister whether any and, if any, what communications have passed between the Senate of the University of London and himself in regard to the question of the site for the headquarters of the university?

I may refer the hon. Member to a letter written at my direction to the Chancellor of the University which appeared in the "Times" of the 19th June.

O'beime Estate, Fahy, County Leitrim

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that processes of ejectment have been served on the tenants on the O'Beirne estate, Fahy, Ballinaglera, county Leitrim, owing to their inability to pay the present rents; and whether the Estates Commissioners would stay proceedings pending their completion of the present negotiations to purchase the estate or hand it over to the Congested Districts Board?

The Estates Commissioners have no information regarding the matter referred to in the first part of the question. The owner instituted proceedings for the sale to the Commissioners of the property referred to under Section 6 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, as amended by the Irish Land Act, 1909. The Commissioners furnished the owner with their estimate of price for the lands, which he did not accept, and as the Commissioners were unable to increase their estimate they dismissed the proceedings before them. The Commissioners have no power to interfere in any proceedings which the owner may take with regard to the payment of rent by the tenants on his estate.

Colonel O'hara Estate, Loughrea, County Galway

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the Colonel O'Hara estate, in the Loughrea union, county Galway, has been purchased by the Congested Districts Board, and that the place was surrendered a few years ago by Mr. James Palmer, who held it for twenty years, and taken over by a man named Keary in the interests of the small landholders of the locality to be utilised by them until the striping could take place; whether he is aware that there are several uneconomic holdings in the immediate vicinity, some of which do not exceed four acres; whether he is aware that this grazing farm has been handed over to a merchant in Loughrea; that three small tenants who got seven, nine, and seven acres, respectively, of the worst portion of this farm were compelled to pay £3 per acre as a fine to this merchant; and, if so, was this money retained by him or handed over to the Congested Districts Board; and whether, in view of the congestion in that neighbourhood, he will ask this gentleman to surrender the portion of this grazing which he now holds in the interests of the uneconomic landholders of the place?

The estate referred to was sold by the landlord direct to the tenants under the Irish Land Act, 1903, and purchase agreements at prices agreed upon between the parties were lodged with the Estates Commissioners. Mr. James Palmer signed an agreement for the purchase of his holding in the town-land of Ardnadoman containing some seventy acres, and subsequently assigned his interest in the lands to Mr. William Duffy, M.P., in whom the lands were vested under the Land Purchase Acts on the 29th May, 1913. Mr. Duffy subsequently applied to the Land Commission for permission to subdivide them; the Land Commission sanctioned a division in four parts, and apportioned the land purchase annuity accordingly. Mr. Duffy has retained one portion, and has transferred the other three portions, subject to the apportioned annuities to three purchasers. The Commissioners have no information as regards the other matters referred to in the question.

County Kerry (Land Purchase Liabilities)

asked the Chief Secretary what is the total amount deducted annually from Grants-in-Aid to Kerry during the years 1903 to 1914, respectively, in respect of land purchase liabilities; how much is annually due through defaulting annuitants; whether the county council have on several occasions asked for particulars of those cases and been refused; and will he say why this has been done?

The following statement shows (1) the net amounts added to or deducted from the share of county Kerry in the Estate or Death Duty Grant for each year from 1903 to 1914 in respect of land purchase liabilities, and (2) the additions or deductions during those years in respect of arrears of land purchase annuities:—

Net AdditionsNet Deductions.Net AdditionsNet Deductions.
* This sum was deducted in the year 1907.
With regard to the question of supplying to the county council a list of defaulting annuitants, I would refer the hon. Member to my previous replies on this subject, and in particular to the reply given to the hon. Member for Cork City on the 14th March, 1911.

Prison Warders (Ireland)

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction that exists amongst prison warders in Ireland owing to the inequality which exists in their scale of pay and other emoluments as compared with similar officers in

English and Scottish prisons; whether consideration of this matter by the Irish Government has been long delayed, notwithstanding repeated memorials; and what steps he proposes to take to remove the grievance?

Memorials have been received on this subject, and the matter is still under consideration.

Irish Arms Proclamation Order

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he will give particulars of the arms and ammunition which have been confiscated under the Irish Arms Proclamation Order; and if he will state what has been, or is proposed to be, done with the munitions so seized?

Irish Training Colleges

asked the Chief Secretary whether he will give for each of the Irish training colleges for the years 1912 and 1913, respectively, the number of students in each who sat for the general examination, the number in each who passed, the number in each who sat for the examination in Irish, and the number in each who passed; and for the year 1914 the number of students in each college and the number who sat for the examination in Irish?

Training College.Number of Students who sat for Examination.Number who passed the Examination.Number who sat for Examination in Irish.Number who passed in Irish.
Marlborough Street31126628423082479
St. Patrick's16815815614539401522
Our Lady of Mercy19819719619524471522
Church of Ireland134128124120NilNilNilNil
De La Salle19417818517347663332
St. Mary's9998989628252019
Mary Immaculate98100981002624127

In the year 1914 the number of students in each college and the number who sat for examination in Irish were as follows:—

Training College.Number of Students in College.Number who sat for Examination in Irish.
Marlborough Street29114
St. Patrick's15341
Our Lady of Mercy19942
Church of Ireland132Nil
De La Salle18243
St. Mary's9922
Mary Immaculate10024

Royal Navy

Royal Dockyards (Overtime Rates Of Pay)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty when the increase in overtime rates for dockyard employés will be announced?

The question of overtime rates of pay for workmen in His Majesty's dockyards is under careful consideration in connection with the various petitions presented by the dockyard employés, and the decision will be promulgated with the replies to the petitions.

Fleet Mobilisation

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in the recent special mobilisation of the Third Fleet (13th July, 1914), the crews embarked on the ships of that fleet were composed entirely of the men officially allotted to that fleet, and that no ratings were embarked in the Third Fleet which are allocated to the Second Fleet, or to any other squadrons?

The crews of the Third Fleet ships in the recent test mobilisation were composed of men officially allotted to them at the date of the mobilisation. Mobilisation appropriations are necessarily changed from day to day. All the fleets were fully manned with their proper complements.

Royal Garrison Artillery, Jersey

asked the Secretary of State for War, whether he is aware that in the early part of this month the application of a soldier in the Royal Garrison Artillery, stationed at Jersey, for leave to go for a few days to his home in Barrow in order to see his mother, who was dying, was refused by the order of his commanding officer, that leave was also refused to attend the funeral of this soldier's mother, who died a few days later, and that he thereupon left without leave and was arrested and imprisoned; and whether he will make full inquiries into the facts of the case.

Grazing Tenancy, King's Island, Limerick

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether his attention has been called to the fact that Mr. Michael Sheehan, of Limerick, who has been the tenant of King's Island at Limerick for about fifty years, has been served with notice to quit on the 29th of September next without any reason being given to him for this step being taken; whether further consideration will be given to the case with the view of withdrawing the notice, and, if this will not be done, whether the tenant will receive adequate compensation for disturbance owing to the fact that he has held those lands for such a long period of years?

Mr. Michael Sheehan has held a grazing tenancy for twenty-two years, and has, with a number of other grazing tenants in Ireland, received notice to terminate his tenancy next Michaelmas. The grazing letting will in future be put up for auction, and Mr. Sheehan will then have an opportunity of bidding. His tenancy has been from year to year only, and he is not entitled to compensation on termination of the agreement after due notice.

Teaching Of Hygiene

asked the President of the Board of Education whether the Board has expressed any views with regard to the teaching of hygiene in public schools; whether, in that case, he will inform the House what action has been taken; and, if not, whether he will consider the advisability of so doing in order to secure uniformity of action on the part of the various educational authorities?

Hygiene is one of the subjects of the instruction in a public elementary school named in Article 2 of the Code. It is there defined as instruction adapted to the ages and sexes of the scholars in the elementary rules of personal health, particularly in respect of food, drink (including alcohol), clothing, cleanliness and fresh air. An official syllabus of lessons on temperance has been issued. Some suggestions as to the teaching of hygiene were given in Section XII. of the Report of the chief medical officer of the Board for 1910. The subject is one in which education authorities and teachers take considerable interest, and I do not think that I am specially called upon at the present time to interfere with their discretion in the teaching of the subject.

Rhodesia (Land Settlement Ordinance)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Imperial Government intends to sanction the Land Settlement Ordinance passed by the Legislative Council of Rhodesia?

The elected members determined, pending the reference of the land question to the Privy Council, to postpone the Land Settlement Ordinance, which has, therefore, not been passed.

Cinema Films (India)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether the Police Acts which enable precautionary action to be taken against the exhibition of objectionable films in India give the Government power to deal with the companies which circulate these films?

Any offence actually committed would be dealt with under the Indian Penal Code, and if a company were concerned its responsible agent in India could be prosecuted. The Secretary of State is asking the Government of India for further information.

Fatal Accidents In Factories

asked the Home Secretary the number of fatal accidents that have occurred in factories and workshops in each of the last five years, 1909–13, including those that have occurred in places under Sections 104 to 105 of the Act, and stating the percentage of increase in 1913 as compared with 1909?

The figures for each of the last five years commencing with 1909 are as follows: 946, 1,030, 1,182, 1,260, 1,309. The percentage of increase in 1913 as compared with 1909 is 38.4. I must point out, however, to my hon. Friend that the year 1909, which he has selected for purposes of comparison, was a year of exceptionally slack trade and showed the smallest number of fatal accidents since 1900. Compared with 1907, the' highest year before 1909, the increase is only 11 per cent. I may add that the first six months of this year, with a rise in the unemployment rate, show a fall of 33 in the number of fatal accidents as compared with the first six months of last year.

Female Factory Inspectors

asked whether the number of women and girls employed in factories and workshops in the year 190", which is the last year for which such figures are available, was more than 1,850,000, or, approximately, 37 per cent. of the total number of persons so employed; whether this percentage has since been maintained; and whether, in view of the fact that there are at present only twenty women inspectors out of a total of 217, he will consider the desirability of making further additions to the staff of women inspectors?

The figures given by my hon. Friend are correct, except that the present number of lady inspectors is twenty-one, out of a total of all grades of 222; but he must not suppose that the inspection of factories where women are employed is confined to the women inspectors. On the contrary, it is shared by all members of the staff, from the chief inspector downwards. The Home Office has, however, been steadily increasing the number of the lady inspectors—three have been added in the last eighteen months—and that policy will be continued.

Metropolitan Police (Sick List)

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the inadequacy of the arrangements existing at present in the Metropolitan Police for the treatment of members of the force who are sick; whether he is aware that a number of the men who go on the sick list during a year, but who are not ill enough to be sent to an ordinary hospital, are accommodated in section houses or their own lodgings, where there are no proper facilities for their nursing or attention; and will he state what steps he proposes to take to improve the present arrangements?

The arrangements now in force in the Metropolitan Police district for the medical care of sick police have been carefully devised with a view to giving them the most efficient care. All cases of illness in which nursing is required are sent at the cost of the police fund to the hospital nearest to the home and friends of the sick officer, unless treatment in a special hospital is recommended. Officers suffering from minor ailments are treated by the divisional surgeons, of whom there are 182, in their own home or lodgings, like ordinary private patients, or, if they reside in the section houses, in the sick rooms provided there. Officers requiring rest and care during convalescence are sent at the cost of the relief fund to a convalescent home at the seaside.

also asked the Home Secretary whether, in consequence of the inadequacy of the facilities provided for the treatment of sick members of the Metropolitan Police, he will consider the advisability of the establishment of an isolation ward and proper facilities for open-air and other suitable treatment of suspected or early cases of tuberculosis and the proper provision of police hospitals in suitable districts; and whether he is aware that for the City Police force of 1,100 men there is an institution provided with four wards and thirty-two beds, whilst in the Metropolitan Police force of 21,000 men there is no provision of this kind whatsoever?

Prompt measures are taken in cases of suspected or early tuberculosis in the Metropolitan Police; and arrangements have for some years been in existence by which such cases are at once transferred to suitable hospitals or sanatoria for observation or for treatment as each may require. The hospital established for the City Police Force no doubt serves satisfactorily for a comparatively small force concentrated in an area of one square mile, but to establish special hospitals to serve the whole Metropolitan area of some 700 square miles would be a most costly expedient, and it would not yield such good results as the present system, under which sick police have the benefit of treatment in the great hospitals of London, which place at the disposal of the sick the services of the most distinguished surgeons and physicians of the Metropolis. For every man in hospital a subscription of a guinea a week is paid out of the Police Fund.

Bishop's Fees

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the Bishop of Norwich paid £350 in fees and other charges on his consecration; and will he say whether any of these fees were payable to the Home Office, the College of Arms, or to the House of Lords?

I am informed by the Legal Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury that the fees and charges paid by the Bishop of Norwich in connection with his appointment and consecration amounted to £365 13s. 10d. Of this sum £37 10s. 6d., including 10s. Stamp Duty, was paid to the Home Office, and £185 6s. 6d., including £91 16s. 0d. Stamp Duty, to the Crown Office. These sums were paid into the Exchequer. No fees were payable to the College of Arms.

Heavy Motor Traffic, Harrogate

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to a petition signed by the residents in or adjacent to North Park Road, in the East Ward of the borough of Harrogate, praying for limitation on the user of that road, more especially in the case of heavy motor traffic; and, if so, whether he proposes to take any steps to deal with the complaint therein contained?

My attention had not previously been drawn to this matter. I will communicate with the town council with respect to it.

Housing (Loans To Local Authorities)

asked the President of the Local Government Board the total amount of the loans advanced to local authorities for housing purposes, and the number of houses built or building under the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1909; and if he will state the amount of loans advanced to public utility societies, and the number of houses built or in course of building by such societies under that Act?

The following tables give the information. The final table has been supplied by the Public Works Loan Commissioners.Loans sanctioned by the Local Government Board to local authorities under Part III. of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, for the erection of working class dwellings, since the passing of the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1909.

Boroughs and Urban Districts.
YearAmount sanctioned.Number of houses to be erected.
1914 (to 24th July,1914)397,1381,444
Rural Districts.
YearAmount sanctioned.Number of houses to be erected.
1914 (to 24th July,1914)48,782224

Loans granted to public utility societies by the Public Works Loan Commissioners, under the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1909.

YearAmount granted.Number of houses to be erected.
1909–10 (After the passing of the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1909).54,443518
From 1st April, 1914, to 23rd July, 1914.39,653175

Post Office

Classification (Greenock)

asked the Postmaster-General how the index number for Greenock is arrived at by the Pos. Office officials; what are the separate numbers of which it is made up; what is the source and the date of the data; and in what manner are the items combined to obtain the result of 107 now notified to the local staff?

The separate rents and prices index numbers for Greenock, based on data supplied by the Board of Trade and adjusted to the common standard as recommended by the Holt Committee, are: Hants, 120; prices, 104. The index number 107 is arrived at by combining the component rents and prices index numbers in the proportion one part rent to four parts prices, in accordance with the usual practice. The figures on which the index number is based relate to October, 1905, as do all the figures of cost of living hitherto used for Post Office classification purposes, but the question of making further investigations on the lines of the Board of Trade inquiry in 1912 (Cd. 6955) is under consideration.

Telephone Service

asked the Postmaster-General whether it is within his knowledge that a telephone subscriber in the neighbourhood of Tisbury, in the county of Wilts, has been cut off from the local telephone exchange owing to his refusal to pay the cost of the connection of his premises with such exchange pending the payment by the Post Office to such subscriber of considerable sums of money which have been long outstanding by way of rent or acknowledgment for the erection of several poles across his land at Norton Bavant without asking for the consent either of himself or his farm tenant; and, if so, whether he has sanctioned such action?

The telephone subscriber in question has refused to pay his telephone subscription on account of a counter claim he has made in respect of the wayleave for a circuit installed for one of his tenants, and after protracted negotiations the service had to be cut off, as I am not authorised to give telephone service without payment. For the way-leave in question the Post Office is willing to pay at the usual rates, but this offer is refused and a prohibitive amount is being demanded.

asked the Postmaster-General what was the number of subscribers connected with the National Telephone system in the London area at the time of its transfer; what was the cost per subscriber; and what is the present cost?

The number of subscribers' stations connected with the National Telephone system in the London area at the time of its transfer was 140,947; the number on the combined systems on 31st March, 1914, was 258,895; the cost per subscriber's station cannot be stated, as the company's published accounts do not distinguish between the London area and the rest of the Kingdom.

asked the Postmaster-General whether three years' rental for telephone wayleaves due to the Aberdeen Harbour Commission remain unpaid notwithstanding the fact that repeated applications for payment have been made; and, if so, will he undertake to see that the amount past due will be remitted without further delay?

No settlement has been made between the Post Office and the Aberdeen Harbour Commission to pay rent in respect of telephone wayleaves, and, as my hon. Friend is aware, the Post Office has been endeavouring to arrange an agreement. Considering that the telegraphs for which the wayleaves are required are erected on the property of the Commission mainly for the benefit of the Commission and their tenants, I think that the rental offered to them is liberal, and I regret that they have not yet seen fit to accept it.

Tintagel (Letter Dispatches)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will inquire as to the possibility of granting during the whole year, instead of during only four months, as at present, a second daily dispatch of letters (collected in the morning) from Tintagel, in North Cornwall?

I am informed that during the months from October to May the amount of correspondence is not sufficient to justify the provision of a second daily dispatch of letters from Tintagel.

Vaccination (Scotland)

asked the Secretary for Scotland the number of births, the number of statutory declarations made under the Vaccination (Scotland) Act, 1907, and the percentage of such declarations to births for each of the years 1908 to 1913?

The figures desired are as follows:—

Year.Births Registered.Statutory Declarations (Vaccination (Scotland) Act, 1907).Percentage Statutory Declarations to Births.
The corresponding figures for 1913 are not yet available.

Russia And Persia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Anglo-Russian Convention confers upon His Majesty's Government any right to object to the number of Russian officers employed with the Persian troops, known as Cossacks, to the use by Russian Consular authorities of such Persian Cossacks as Consular guards, to the impounding of £42,000 by the Russian authorities, to any increase in the number of the Persian troops known as Cossacks, to the collection of taxes in Azerbaijan by Russian officials, and to the withdrawal by the Belgian Government of Belgian officials employed in Persia; and, if not, will he say by what treaty, instrument, agreement, or capitulation any authority to interfere with the Russian, Belgian, and Persian Governments in regard to such matters is conferred upon His Majesty's Government?

The Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 was published at the time of its signature, and the hon. Member must place his own construction upon its terms. It would be safer to base communications with the Russian Government upon some of the points referred to rather upon the general interest that both countries have in Persia than upon any particular clause in a treaty.

Wages Of Railway Servants

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the importance of Parliament and the public having accurate and up-to-date information regarding the wages paid by the railway companies to their various grades of employés, he has been able to make arrangements whereby these facts can at an early date be given in some convenient form?

My right hon. Friend fully appreciates the desirability of publishing up-to-date information, and, as he stated in a recent reply, the figures given in the Annual Report on Changes in Rates of Wages indicate the general course of the earnings of railwayman year by year. Elaborate inquiries such as that of 1907 can only be repeated at fairly long intervals, but my hon. Friend can be assured that the matter will again be considered at the first favourable opportunity.