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Written Answers

Volume 65: debated on Thursday 30 July 1914

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Written Answers

Government Annuities

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received any petition or correspondence relative to the grievance of Mrs. Laura Marshall who, several years previous to the passing of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910, invested practically all she possessed in the purchase of two Government annuities, one for £17 in her own name and one for £12 in the name of her daughter, Miss Laura Marshall; whether he is aware that, owing to the illness of another daughter, Mrs. Marshall went to reside in Canada in the year 1909, and that subsequently, under Section 71 of the Act referred to, has received her annuities less Income Tax at 1s. 2d. in the £; and whether he can suggest any way of meeting such special cases?

I am aware of the facts of this case, but I fear I do not see my way to extend the exceptions contained in the proviso to Section 71 (1).

Regent's Park Roads

asked whether attention has been called to the condition of the roads on the east side of Regent's Park, and to the fact that the roads in Regent's Park are kept in a worse condition than in any other park in the Metropolis; and, if so, what action he proposes to take in the matter?

The road on the east side of Regent's Park is kept in repair by the Crown Estate Paving Commissioners, and the greater part of it will, I understand, be remade this autumn. I have no reason to think that the roads in the park generally are in bad condition.

Civil Service

asked the Home Secretary, in view of the fact that the Royal Commission on the Civil Service recommended that the salary of each officer now serving be increased immediately by one annual increment on his existing scale (Cd. 7338, page 34, paragraph 24), whether he proposes to give effect to this recommendation?

The recommendation in question was one of several which had reference to the class of assistant clerks. These recommendations, as a whole, are receiving the close attention of the Government, and I am afraid that it is not possible to make any announcement as to individual recommendations in advance of the general decision.

asked the Secretary to the Treasury in what Department assistant clerks (new class) have forfeited allowances, in accordance with the rule universally applied in all Departments, through accepting promotion to the second division, and the special circumstances which led the Treasury to make an exception to the Customs and Excise Departments; whether he is aware that all abstractors (old class) in the General Register and Record Office of Shipping and Seamen retained their allowances of £20 when promoted to the second division, whilst all assistant clerks (new class) have forfeited theirs when similarly promoted; and whether, in view of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Civil Service that promotion from less to more responsible duties should never be accompanied by a loss of emolument, and that any rule which is in real conflict with this prinicple should certainly be reconsidered, he will consider the cases of the clerks who have been promoted and have suffered financially thereby and readjust their salaries accordingly?

The rule has been applied in all Departments in which such promotions have taken place, with the exceptions referred to by the hon. Member. On the second point I am unable to add to what I stated in reply to a former question on the 8th instant. The answer to the third question is in the affirmative. Whatever action is taken on the recommendation of the Royal Commission referred to in the fourth question, I cannot hold out any hope of retrospective effect being given to it in this or in other cases.

University Of London

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what premises have been successively provided by the Government for the University of London since its foundation in 1836; and what are the conditions of tenure of the present premises provided by the Government for the university at South Kensington, especially as regards maintenance and repairs, insurance, and rates?

The university of London was housed by the Government on its foundation in Somerset House. It was given rooms in Burlington House in 1857, temporary rooms in Saville Row from 1868–70. a building in Burlington Gardens from 1870 to 1900, and since 1900 accommodation in the Imperial Institute. The conditions on which the transfer to the Imperial Institute was made were set out in the Treasury Minute, dated 13th July, 1899, which was laid before Parliament in that year. The Government are responsible for the external maintenance and repairs of the buildings, and for a contribution in lieu of rates.

National Insurance Act

Cost Of Administration

asked the hon. Member for St. George's-in-the-East, as representing the Insurance Commissioners, whether the Estimate for the cost of central administration of £876,140 includes all the items in other Votes besides those in Class VII. of the Civil

Authority.SanatoriumTotal Beds Available.Remarks.
Birmingham Town CouncilYardley Road Sanatorium199142 additional beds have been provided, making the total number 199.
Birmingham Hospital Sunday FundRomsley Hill Sanatorium105The sanatorium was completed in 1913. Beds are reserved for patients sent by the Town Councils of Birmingham and Smethwick.
Bootle Town CouncilMaghull Hospital20It was decided to use this hospital, which was being erected for the reception of small-pox cases, for the treatment of tuberculosis. The number of beds was increased from 14 to 20, and other alterations and additions have been made.
Bootle Town CouncilLinacre Hospital16A pavilion has been adapted for the purpose and other alterations made.

Service Estimates; and if he will give particulars showing how the £876,140 is arrived at?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The amount of £876,140 is made up as follows: Joint Committee Vote, £23,964; English Commission Vote, £295,911; Scottish Commission Vote, £64,615; Irish Commission Vote, £56,920; Welsh Commission Vote, £42,202; Other Votes, £392,528.


asked the President of the Local Government Board if he will state the names and locations of the twenty-two sanatoria the work on which has been completed, and state in the case of any which are not new buildings what they were used for before the National Insurance Act; and how many additional beds have been made available in each of them by means of the money Grants out of the £1,500,000 provided for by the Finance Act, 1912?

The particulars desired by the hon. Member will be found in the following statement. In addition to the cases mentioned, several others are due for completion within the next few weeks, namely, the Walton Sanatorium, Chesterfield, the Lincoln Hospital Phthisis Pavilion, the Heath Charnock Sanatorium, Chorley, and the new pavilions at the Newtown Isolation Hospital, Worcester. Beds also have been provided and are in use at the Holywood Hall Sanatorium, Durham (twenty-six beds), the Mowsley Sanatorium, Leicester (thirty beds), and at the Hawkmoor Sanatorium, Devon (forty beds), but the main buildings at these sanatoria have not yet been erected.

Authority.Sanatorium.Total Beds Available.Remarks.
Bolton Town CouncilBorough Hospital, Bolton24New pavilion erected.
Burton-on-Trent Town CouncilIsolation Hospital, Burton-on-Trent22Extension of the hospital completed.
Derby Town CouncilBorough Sanatorium, Derby5628 additional beds have been provided.
Devon County CouncilIvy Bank, Exeter20Property purchased by the Council. The premises are used as a dispensary, and in addition two pavilions have been erected providing hospital accommodation for 20 patients
Durham County CouncilHebburn Hospital16This building, formerly a small-pox hospital, has been leased to the County Council for 20 years. Alterations and additions have been carried out, and further extensions are under consideration.
Eastbourne Town CouncilTuberculosis Hospital, Eastbourne24A site was purchased and buildings have been erected.
Essex County CouncilChingford Isolation Hospital14New pavilion erected.
Essex County CouncilRomford Isolation Hospital8New pavilion erected.
Halifax Town CouncilGreen Lane Hall, Shelf.42The Green Lane Hall Estate was purchased, and new buildings have been erected.
Liverpool Invalid Children's AssociationLeasowe, Cheshire104It is proposed to provide 192 beds ultimately in this Institution, part of which has recently been built.
London County Council and Metropolitan Asylums BoardDownsSanatorium, Sutton350Previously used by the Metropolitan Asylums Board for the treatment of children suffering from ringworm and for convalescent children. The necessary structural alterations to adapt it for the treatment of tuberculosis have been carried out.
Manchester Town CouncilAbergele Sanatorium46Purchased from the Guardians of the Poor of the Township of South Manchester.
Middlesex County CouncilOld Cottage Hospital, Hounslow17Premises purchased and alterations made. The premises are also used for dispensary purposes.
St. Helens Town CouncilEccleston Hall58The Eccleston Hall Estate was purchased. New buildings have been erected and the existing buildings adapted for the purpose of the treatment of tuberculosis.
Somerset County CouncilShepton Mallet Sanatorium20A pavilion and shelters have been erected.
Stoke-on-Trent Town CouncilStanfield Hospital54This hospital, formerly used for the treatment of infectious disease, has been appropriated for cases of tuberculosis, and 54 beds are now available for this purpose.
Wigan Town CouncilPemberton Sanatorium, Wigan21This hospital was formerly used for the treatment of infectious disease. Additional buildings providing accommodation for 10 patients have been erected.
York Town CouncilIsolation Hospital, Yearsley Bridge, York22New open-air wards have been erected.

Royal Navy

Admiralty Contracts

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that in the recent Japanese naval contracts trials the four firms of Vickers and Com- pany, Messrs. Yarrows, Weirs and Company, and Arrol and Company, were alleged to have given bribes to obtain contracts, and the Court acted on the evidence to that effect; and whether, before any Admiralty contracts are given to any of these firms, the allegations against them will be considered in the light of a full report of the recent trial in Tokio?

The answer to both parts of the question is in the negative. I have nothing to add to the replies already given to the hon. Member by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Armed Merchantmen

also asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will indicate the trade routes followed by the forty armed merchantmen which have been armed by the Admiralty for defence against possible attack?

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the guns with which British armed merchantmen are being furnished are of an obsolete type and over twenty years old; and whether guns of a more up-to-date character will in future be provided?

In the opinion of the Admiralty, the guns supplied are adequate for the purpose.

next asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what Powers have reserved to themselves at the second Hague Conference and the London Conference the right to convert merchant steamers into cruisers either in harbour or, if necessary, on the high seas; and whether any information has been received that these Powers are actually preparing to adopt this policy on any outbreak of war?

All Powers have the right to convert merchant ships into cruisers in harbour. The question of conversion on the high seas remains open under the convention agreed to by the Powers. I am not able to make any statement in reply to the last part of the question.

Royal Marine Officers

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he proposes to take any steps to raise the pay of Royal Marine officers, taking into consideration the fact that the pay of all Army officers has recently been raised and that the officers of the Royal Marines, when not embarked, are now in a worse position as regards pay than officers in any other branch of His Majesty's regular forces?

I have nothing to add at present to the reply given on this subject to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury on the 16th June last.

Marriage Allowance

asked if the Admiralty have considered a proposal for granting a marriage allowance to seamen; the cost involved thereby; if the Treasury has raised objections to the proposal; and what action is proposed to be taken in the matter?

I must refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for East Leeds on the 12th of February of last year.

Royal Dockyards (Employment)

next asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if the Admiralty has decided to take any action against workmen applying for employment in the Royal Dockyards who give incorrect age records; if it is proposed to exact penalties from those found to have furnished wrong particulars; if so, the nature of such penalties; if it proposed to compel those who entered under age to refund the difference in wages; the total amount involved; and if he will state what practical injury has been done to the service by the wrong statement of age by men of this class?

I do not know the basis of the suggestions conveyed in the hon. Member's questions, to which the answer is in the negative. The Regulations provide that on first entry each candidate is to produce satisfactory certificates of age and character, but proof of age need not be exacted from hired men entered for short periods or to meet an emergency. As regards transfer to the established list, the Regulations state that age is in all cases to be proved by certificate of birth, statutory declaration, extract from baptismal register, or other documents required by the Civil Service Commissioners. They also provide for legal action in the case of the production of a false or forged certificate of birth. It has now and then happened that incorrect statements of dates of birth made at entry have been disclosed when men have become candidates for establishment. But the circumstances have not been such as to call for any disciplinary action, so far as I know, and, indeed, the only action taken has been to correct the records to accord with the facts.

British Army

Army Canteens (War Office Committee)

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the anxiety of retail traders to be represented on the Committee appointed in connection with the supply of Army canteens, he will consider the propriety of appointing one or two private traders to express the views of their body, which otherwise is entirely unrepresented?

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister informed the hon. Member for the Altrincham Division on the 27th instant that arrangements are being made for a representative of private traders to be appointed.

Conditions Of Employment

asked the Secretary for War when he anticipates he will be able to make a statement regarding the employment, if any, of men of twenty-three years of age and on full time earning less than 22s. per week?

Instructions have now been issued under which men employed by the War Department in Great Britain of twenty-three years of age and upward will receive from the 1st May last a minimum wage of 22s. per week.

Elementary Schools

asked the President of the Board of Education if he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation for the abolition of all denominational religious tests for head scholarships in elementary schools in the receipt of rates and taxes, thus opening these State appointments to men and women duly qualified who do not adhere to the Church of England, as well as to those who do?

The views of the Government in regard to the continued imposition of religious tests on teachers are well known, and the hon. Member may rest assured that the question will not be lost sight of, but I cannot anticipate any legislative proposals which may be laid before Parliament.

asked the President of the Board of Education if it is the intention of the Government in the coming Education Bill to abolish all fees in all elementary schools receiving Government Grants?

I must ask the hon. Member to await the introduction of legislation on this matter, and I am afraid I can add nothing to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for North Somerset on 2nd July, a copy of which I am sending him.

asked the President of the Board of Education how many elementary schools in receipt of Government Grants still charge fees; how many non-provided schools still charge fees; how many provided schools also charge fees; and what is the total amount of fees so charged in each class of school, respectively?

The latest available figures are for the statistical year ended 31st July, 1913. In that year the number of public elementary schools in England and Wales. in which fees were charged was 429. Of these 308 were non-provided schools and 121 were provided schools. The amounts received as fees in the non-provided schools were £35,772 19s., and in the provided schools £30,712 7s. 1d.

School Caretakers

asked the President of the Board of Education if he will state on. what grounds the cost of building houses for caretakers of schools is fixed by the Local Government Board at such a high figure as £350 to £400; whether suitable cottages can be built for considerably less; and whether this estimate will be revised with a view to economy of public funds?

The Local Government Board do not fix the cost of building caretakers' houses at schools. They have only to decide whether they will sanction loans in respect of plans which have received the approval of the Board of Education, and, in this connection the Local Government Board have made it known that they will not sanction loans in excess of the sums referred to in the question. In these circumstances the second and third parts of the question do not arise.

India Store Depot

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if an application was received in May, 1914, from certain employés at the India store depot, asking that they might receive the same increase of 1s. a week as had been given in the case of other Government Departments in the London district as from 5th January last; if so, will he say why no reply has been made to such petition beyond a formal acknowledgment; whether he is aware that the employés in question have received an increase of only 1s. 6d. a week since 1894, while in the case of other Government Departments in London wages have been increased by 6s. a week in the same period; and, seeing that the work done by men receiving this wage of 25s. 6d. a week includes the packing for export of glass, china, scientific instruments, and other valuable articles, whether it is proposed to grant a further increase to bring these employés into line as regards improved conditions of labour with other Government Departments?

An application was received in May for a further increase in the minimum wage in addition to the increase of 1s. 6d. a week granted in 1912. Inquiry was necessary as to the remuneration granted for similar work in other Government Departments, and this is still in progress, but it appears that the extra 1s. granted last January by other Government Departments has not in fact raised wages to the minimum level which since 1912 has been paid by the India Office.

Mental Deficiency Act (Medical Woman Inspector)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the Board of Control for the administration of the Mental Deficiency Act are now taking steps to have a medical woman inspector appointed; and if medical inspections for the male section of the community have been in operation for practically four months under the Act; and (2) why the appointment of a medical woman inspector under the administration of the Mental Deficiency Act has not been made, seeing that it was on 1st April last the Board of Control considered the matter urgent?

The matter is receiving the attention of the Board, whose views as to the need of such an appointment have undergone no change; but they have not yet secured the services of a suitable person. The matter is not urgent, as few new institutions have yet been opened, and the services of the medical men who have been appointed inspectors at various dates since the commencement of the Act are, of course, available for the benefit of defectives of both sexes.

Children Act (Number Of Children Charged)

asked the Home Secretary whether he is now able to give particulars as to the number of children charged during the years 1911–13 by the police in the Metropolitan area and the number of those children who were allowed to return at once to their own homes under Section 91 of the Children Act?

In 1911 the number of children charged was 3,051; of these, 1,834 were allowed to return to their homes at once. In 1912 the numbers were 3,553 and 2,177; and in 1913, 3,494 and 2,175.

Church Army (Payment Of Fines)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give permission to the Church Army to have hung up in all Police Courts near their labour homes notices pointing out that they are prepared to give to men sentenced to payment of a fine facilities to earn the amount of their fines in their spare time?

My permission is not necessary for this purpose. It seems to me a matter which can best be arranged between the Church Army and the local Police Court authorities, who would, I am: sure, be willing to co-operate with the Church Army in any practicable proposal of this sort.

Lunacy Act

asked the Home Secretary whether he will give, for the last available year, the number of cases where medical officers or attendants have sent in certificates under Clause 8 of the Lunacy Act, 1890, stating that it would be prejudicial for a patient to exercise his right to go before or be visited by a judicial authority?

The number of cases in the year 1913 where medical officers have-sent in such certificates from institutions was 367. The figures for private patients in single care have not been tabulated.

asked the Home Secretary whether he will give, for the last available year, the number of reception orders made under the Lunacy Act, 1890, distinguishing those made after-consideration, under Section 6, those made without a judicial authority personally seeing the alleged lunatic, those where the alleged lunatic has exercised the right to go before a judicial authority under Section 8, and orders after inquisition under Section 12?

The number of reception orders into institutions made under Section 6 of the Lunacy Act, 1890, was, in the year 1913, 2,144. The orders made after consideration cannot be distinguished from those made forthwith. Those made without the patient being seen by the judicial authority before the order was made were 1,414. In seventy-seven cases the patient exercised the right to go before a judicial authority given by Section 8. The above figures do not include private patients in single care. The number of persons found of unsound mind after inquisition was five in 1912, the last year for which statistics are available.


asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that over one and a half million children were legally exempted from vaccination during the eight years 1906–13; whether there has been a concurrent and marked diminution in the cases of, and death from, small-pox; whether he is advised that such diminution is due to the progress of sanitation or to the decrease of vaccination; and, if he is not so advised, will he state what other cause or causes for it are alleged?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The other parts raise large and controversial issues which cannot properly be dealt with within the limits of a Parliamentary reply.

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the fact that one gentleman is registrar of births and vaccination officer for the Mitcham subdistrict of the Croydon Union and that on the vaccination schedule issued to parents by the registrar is printed a list of the names and addresses of the public vaccinators as well as other information; whether this form is similar to those issued by the Board or has their consent to the publication of its contents been obtained; and, if not, what steps he proposes to take in the matter?

The form in question is similar to that issued by the Local Government Board with the addi- tion of the names and addresses referred to. I see no objection to the names and addresses being printed on the form, and I understand that it is a common and convenient practice to do so.

Medical Officers Of Health (Wales And Monmouthshire)

asked the President of the Local Government Board if he will give a list of local authorities in Wales and Monmouthshire employing full-time medical officers of health and of the salaries payable in each case; and whether he has made or will make representations to local authorities in favour of the appointment of such officers?

The Local Government Board, in December, 1910, issued a general Memorandum to local authorities other than county councils in which they pointed out the advantages of appointing medical officers of health who are not to engage in private practice, and urged the authorities of small districts to combine with their neighbours to secure such an officer. It is their practice to bring this view to the notice of local authorities when a new appointment is to be made. Under the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1909, a medical officer of health appointed by a county council after the passing of that Act may not engage in private practice. The following list gives the names of the authorities in Wales and Monmouthshire whose medical officers of health do not engage in private practice—

Name of Authority.Salary of Medical Officer of Health.
County Councils:
Brecknockshire£166 13 4
Carnarvonshire£166 13 4
* Including salary as School Medical Officer.
The above salaries, except in the case of Flintshire and Merionethshire, are those paid to the officers in respect of their duties as Medical Officers of Health only.

Name of Authority.Salary of Medical Officer of Health.
County Boroughs:—
Cardiff Town Council£800
Cardiff Port Sanitary Authority
Merthyr Tydvil Town Council£500
Newport (Mon.) Town Council£500–550
Newport Port Sanitary Authority
Swansea Town Council£300
Other Boroughs:—
Llanelly Town Council£246
Other Urban Districts:—
Aberdare Urban District Council£400
Abertillery Urban District Council£200–10–250
Gelligaer Urban District Council£350
Mountain Ash Urban District Council£100–25–200
Pontypridd Urban District Council£300–10–350
Rhondda Urban District Council£550
Rural District:—
Neath Rural District Council£350
Combined Appointments:—
Carnarvon Town Council£486
Pwellheli Town Council
Criccieth Urban District Council
Ynyscynhaiarn Urban District Council
Deudraeth Rural District Council
Dwyran Rural District Council
Glaslyn Rural District Council
Gwyrfai Rural District Council
Lleyn Rural District Council
Bangor Town Council
Conway Town Council
Bethesda Urban District Council
Bettws-y-coed Urban District Council
Llandudno Urban District Council
Llanfairfechan Urban District Council
Llanrwst Urban District Council

Name of Authority.Salary of Medical Officer of Health.
Combined Appointment—cont.
Penmaenmawr Urban District Council£509
Aethwy Rural District Council
Conway Rural District Council
Geirionydd Rural District Council
Glan Conway Rural District Council
Llanrwst Rural District Council
Ogwen Rural District Council
Wrexham Town Councils£330
Wrexham Rural District Council

Post Office

Kirkby Malzeard Service

asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been drawn to the complaints made by the parish council of Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, as to the late delivery of letters, affecting nearly 2,000 people in the Kirkby Malzeard district; and whether he can see his way to make any improvement in the postal service concerned?

I am having inquiry made, and I will communicate with the hon. Member.

Central Railway Company Of Canada

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, when inquiring into the position of the Central Railway Company of Canada and its alleged failure to comply with the requirements of Section 274 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act, he will also inquire as to whether certain statements contained in the prospectus about subsidies from the Canadian Government were declared by the Canadian Prime Minister to be entirely unauthorised?

I am aware of the contradiction referred to by the hon. Member of a statement contained in an advertisement which appeared in the Press at the time of the issue of the prospectus of the Central Railway Company of Canada. It also appears from the Press that shortly after the issue of the prospectus a circular was sent to all the subscribers for bonds of the company giving them the opportunity of withdrawing their applications.