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Written Answers

Volume 154: debated on Monday 15 May 1922

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Written Answers

British Army

Friendly Society Benefits

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that members of friendly societies who join the Army are being informed by the Army authorities that they cannot whilst serving in the Army receive benefits of a voluntary and independent nature from a friendly society, and that this action is causing desirable young members to allow their membership to lapse; and if he will take steps to have this wrong impression removed?

If my hon. and gallant Friend will furnish me with particulars of any such case, I will inquire into it and communicate with him further.

Reductions (Transferred Officers)

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether officers now serving in four-battalion regiments, which are to be reduced to a two-battalion establishment, if they are not selected for compulsory retirement but are offered a transfer to another regiment, will, if they do not desire to be so transferred, retain the present rights of officers under the Royal Warrant for pay to be placed on half-pay for a period of five years, or will have to retire from the Army forthwith without receiving the special pecuniary compensation sanctioned by Parliament for officers adversely affected by Army reductions?

On reduction of battalions, an officer not specially selected for compulsory retirement may be placed on the half-pay list by the Army Council under Article 308 of the Royal Warrant until an opportunity occurs for his reemployment or until he reaches the age fixed for his retirement, or completes the period involving retirement, but, as in this case, it is intended by the Army Council to offer such officers the opportunity of re-employment by means of transfer to other units, Article 308 of the Royal Warrant is not applicable after such offer of re-employment has been made. Should they refuse the offer of employment thus made, they will have to retire or resign their commissions, and will not receive the special pecuniary compensation which is being given to officers compulsorily retired.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether any officer who is not compulsorily retired and compensated under the scheme of the War Office resulting from the reduction of the Army as a whole, and of four-battalion regiments to a two-battalion establishment in particular, will have any of his existing rights regarding conditions of half-pay for five years overridden by any new Order; and whether officers who through no demerit are forced to temporarily retire can be assured that the terms and conditions of service on which they joined the Army will not now be changed to their disadvantage?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer given to-day to a question on this subject asked by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Midlothian and Peebles (Sir J. Hope).

Messing Allowance, Iraq

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the gratuity of 6½d. per diem messing allowance in 1920 in Iraq by the Imperial Government to British soldiers who were serving on normal rates of pay under Army Order 325/19 included those soldiers who were serving under Army Order 1/18 rates; and, if not, whether steps can be taken to amend Army Order 325/19, in order to include those men on Army Order 1/18 rates, as these men necessarily shared the same standard of messing as their comrades?

British troops in Iraq in 1920 were paid under Indian Regulations. The allowance referred to is understood to be the increased messing allowance of 6½ annas a day (previously 2¼ annas) granted under Indian Regulations to soldiers drawing the revised rates of pay admissible as from 1st July, 1919. Its issue was strictly limited to soldiers drawing the revised rates of pay. Men who elected to continue under Army Order 1 of 1918 rates had, however, the option of transferring to the new conditions if they wished, and it is not proposed to ask the Secretary of State for India to amend the Regulations in the sense suggested.

Soldier's Account (A Moody)

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is now able to express a decision as to the settlement of accounts asked for on 5th April on behalf of Alfred Moody, No. 12,905, late 19th Manchesters, and now of 2, Hargreaves Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester?

A final payment of £5 14s. 2d. was made to Mr. Moody on 9th December last and no further money is due to him. I am writing privately to my hon. and gallant Friend regarding the matters mentioned in his letter of 5th April last.

Esplanade, Ipswich

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that a public esplanade was closed to the public at Ipswich during the War, and that gates and fences erected during that period still stand; and will he give orders for these obstructions to be removed between the dock and the river Orwell, and restore to the public the right of access which has existed for centuries?

The War Department was not concerned in the closing of this esplanade, and is not in a position to give orders as suggested.

War Losses Claim (Mr Brannan)

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that a house, No. 72, Eccleston Square, the property of Mr. Brannan, was requisitioned by the Royal Air Force on the 8th of May, 1918, and occupied by the force until the 10th of March, 1919, but that, although a small sum for dilapidations quite insufficient to make good the damage was paid to the owner in November, 1919, nothing whatever has been paid by way of rent or compensation for occupation of the premises; and, seeing that the owner has lost heavily through the occupation of his house by the Royal Air Force, will instructions be given to pay fair rent or compensation without further delay?

As stated in the reply to my hon. Friend on the 16th December, 1920, Mr. Brannan's claim was dealt with in November, 1919, by the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission, with whom, and not with the Air Ministry, the question of the payment to be made in respect of the occupation solely rested. The Commission made an award for reinstatement, but decided that nothing could be allowed for rent or compensation. The amount of their award was duly paid in November, 1919, and no further liability can be admitted.

Trade And Commerce

Empire Preference (Mandated Territories)

asked the Secretary for the Colonies whether preferential duties on produce exported from mandated territories can be granted before the League of Nations has issued such Mandates; and whether coffee, for example, exported from Tanganyika is to pay foreign rates until this formality has been observed?

Section 8, Sub-section (1), of the Finance Act, 1919, provides that His Majesty may by Order in Council direct that any territory, in respect of which a Mandate of the League of Nations is exercised by the Government of any part of His Majesty's Dominions, may be included within the definition of the British Empire for the purpose of conferring preference in the case of Empire products. The League of Nations have not yet issued the Tropical African Mandates, and the necessary Order in Council is consequently postponed. It is not practicable to extend Empire preference to the territories concerned in anticipation of the Order in Council.

Sugar Consumption

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give the amount of sugar consumed per head of the population in this country for the years 1918–19 to 1920–21, inclusive?

The amount of sugar consumed per head of the population in the United Kingdom is estimated to have been 76·8 lbs. in the financial year 1919–20, and 54·7 1bs. in the financial year 1920–21. Comparable figures for 1918–19 are not available.

Condensed Milk

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that on account of the increased importation of skimmed condensed milk into the United Kingdom, which during the first three months of 1922 was nearly four times that of 1920, the production of condensed full cream milk in this country had been very largely reduced to about one-third of the production that obtained in 1920; and whether he is prepared to take steps to protect this British industry that has been established for over half a century, and which was, at the request of the authorities, so largely developed during the War?

During the first three months of this year the importation of sweetened separated or skimmed condensed milk unto the United Kingdom was 278,230, as compared with 82,901 cwt. in the corresponding period of 1920. I am told that this large increase has affected the sale of full cream condensed milk manufactured in this country.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that during the War the surplus production of Switzerland was supplied to the British Armies in France in order to comply with the wish of the British authorities, and that the transfer of importations referred to from Switzerland to America was mainly due to the importation by the Ministry of Food during the same period of the lower quality condensed milk prepared in North America; that the absence of a condensed milk standard in this country is one of the main causes for the large reduction in production of the article in this country for consumption in the United Kingdom; and whether he will use his influence to establish, at the earliest possible date, a condensed milk standard not inferior to the voluntary standard adopted by manufacturers in Great Britain prior to food control?

It is, I believe, true that during the War exports of condensed milk from Switzerland intended for Great Britain were, at the request of

Month.1921.1922.
Quantity of Coal exported.Total Value.Quantity of Coal exported.Total Value.
Tons.£Tons.£
January1,700,1065,555,7084,020,9354,783,539
February1,729,1484,240,6204,014,3344,446,225
March1,968,0785,201,2354,281,8775,785,310

the British authorities, supplied direct to the British Armies in France, and that their place in Great Britain was filled by inportations from North America. The second and third parts of the question concern my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, with whom I am in communication.

Hop Prices

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the statement that the cost of hops is 254 per cent, above the pre-War price; is he aware that the highest price of any other commodity used in brewing is not more than 84 per cent, above pre-War prices; to what extent this increase is due to the prices being fixed by the Comptroller of Hops appointed by His Majesty's Government; if any appeal can be lodged against these prices; and, if not, will he make an inquiry into the subject?

I have been asked to reply. The reply to the first two parts of the question is in the negative. I am informed that the current average price of English hops is only 110 per cent, above pre-War prices, while present prices of the principal commodities used in brewing, compared with pre-War prices, are much above that figure. The Hop Controller fixes his prices upon ascertained costs of production, and I am satisfied that they have not been unduly high. The answer to the last two parts of the question is in the negative.

Exported Coal

asked the Secretary for Mines the number of tons of coal exported from Great Britain for January, February, and March, 1921, and the total value; and the tons exported for January, February, and March, 1922, and the total value of the same?

asked the Secretary for Mines what was the amount of coal exported from Great Britain between 1st January and 30th April, 1914, and 1st January and 30th April, 1922, and the

Destination.*Four months ended 30th April, 1914.Four months ended 30th April, 1922.
Quantity of coal exported.Average value per ton (f.o.b.).Quantity of coal exported.Average value per ton (f.o.b.).
Tons.s.d.Tons.s.d.
Russia771,00013747,901233
Sweden1,028,0101211584,342230
Norway880,543120590,849211
Denmark913,6221210735,6692211
Germany2,566,95311111,331,538196
Netherlands552,7081211,531,7782011
Belgium594,3841161,024,152213
France4,769,2971264,572,147225
Portugal464,695148230,215227
Azores and Madeira34,086237
Spain1,251,119146583,439237
Canary Islands166,2022210
Italy3,051,5071462,022,520258
Austria304,226137
Hungary
Greece252,713144135,479235
Rumania75,6731411
Turkey217,375151
Algeria409,922137388,293217
French West Africa25,325232
Portuguese West Africa86,65816272,801233
Chile184,06516322,357278
Brazil487,5461710236,349231
Uruguay238,260179164,009248
Argentine Republic1,324,264175562,630244
Channel Islands50,88515067,132295
Gibraltar145,4451411281,3882211
Malta180,36614843,246232
Egypt1,146,699153577,957244
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Aden and Dependencies63,41217612,234318
British India66,959158540,497222
Ceylon123,22417297,436244
Other Countries442,857162651,1112410
Total22,644,38713917,333,082228
* Information as to the port of destination mentioned in the question is not available.
† Not separately distinguished, but included under "Other Countries."

Foreign Loans

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his Department takes any action, by way of representations or advice to the Foreign Office or to the public, on occasions when loans are sought in this country by nations which are in default; and whether, in the event of inaction for any

price per ton f.o.b. for each period, and the port of destination of the coal exported?

The following is the information asked for:reason in the past, he will consider whether the time has arrived to proceed on the lines indicated?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As regards the second part, I do not think it falls within the province of the Board of Trade to advise the public in regard to investment in foreign loans.

Government Timber (Disposal)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any contract was entered into for the disposal of the remaining stocks of imported timber; whether the contract was completed; and, if not, for what reason?

A contract was entered into for the disposal of the remaining stocks of imported timber on 30th September, 1920, but the purchasers were unable to complete the purchase owing to the serious fall in prices which followed immediately after that date. The terms of the contract have since been modified and the remaining stocks in this country have now been sold and paid for.

Safeguarding Of Industries Act

Key Industries (Complaints)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act have been heard by the Referee appointed for the hearing of these complaints; and in how many cases has the Referee held that the article, the subject of the complaint, has been improperly included in the Schedule of dutiable articles?

The answer to the first part of the question is thirteen, but in two cases judgment has not yet been given. The answer to the second part is five.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many chemicals have been removed from the list of articles dutiable under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act after the duty has been paid, and that as the result of this importers have been left with large stocks on which they cannot obtain return of the duty paid; and whether he proposes to introduce legislation to enable him to repay the duty in cases where the Referee decides that, owing to the action of the Board of Trade, the duty was improperly exacted?

A number of items have been removed from the list; I am not aware what stocks of these are now held by importers; the answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total value of the duties which have been collected by the Customs upon articles now held by the referee to have been improperly included in the Schedule to Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act; and whether the amount of duty now shown to have been wrongfully levied by the Customs will be repaid to the importers of the articles upon which these duties were levied?

The amount of Key Industry Duty collected in respect of articles held by the referee to have been improperly included in the lists issued by the Board of Trade under Subsection (5) of Section 1 of the Safeguarding of Industries Act amounted to;£ 10,249. As regards the second part of the question, I would point out that the Sub-section above mentioned provides that, in such cases, the amendment of the lists shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder. The duty so paid is not, therefore, repayable.

Radium Bromide

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether radium bromide is now subject to an importation duty under the Safeguarding of Industries Act; and, if so, whether he will take steps to remit this duty in the case of all radium for therapeutic purposes?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I have no power to take the action suggested in the latter part of the question.

Gas Mantles

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has ordered another inquiry to consider the advisability of placing a duty under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act on imported gas mantles: if so, whether he is aware than an inquiry under Part I of the Act has already been held; that this inquiry extended over several months and involved an expenditure of several thousands of pounds; and whether, seeing that these continuous inquiries are a serious embarrassment to trade, he will allow a reasonable time to elapse before a second inquiry in respect of the same article?

A complaint relating to gas mantles manufactured in Germany has been referred to a Committee under Part II of the Act. The answer to the second and third parts of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the last part of the question, the hon. and gallant Member must bear in mind that the inquiries under the Act are made on the application of the trade interests concerned, and that the two inquiries to which he refers relate to entirely different questions, namely, in the one case, the interpretation of the Schedule of Key Industries, and, in the second case, to alleged dumping due to depreciation of foreign currency.

Parcels (Post Office Regulations)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that difficulties have arisen in importing small articles affected by the Safeguarding of Industries Act by registered post and that the Customs are either confiscating the goods or demanding a fine, as this means of delivery is against their Regulations: and is it possible for his Department, in order to facilitate trade, to arrange with the Board of Customs some method by which traders can continue their business in ordinary ways, or, if not, can his Department take some action to make it known that the importation of goods through registered post can no longer be allowed for dutiable articles?

Under the Regulations of the Postal Union, articles liable to Customs Duty may be sent only by the parcel or the insured box post, any such articles sent by letter post, whether registered or unregistered, being liable to forfeiture. This information has been regularly published in the Post Office Guide for many years past. It is the usual practice to allow delivery on payment of a fine in cases of a first breach of the Regulations and to enforce forfeiture in any subsequent case.

Merchant Ships (Wireless Staff)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the question of wireless watchers has been recently investigated by the Merchant Shipping Ad- visory Committee; whether a Report has been submitted; and what decision, if any, has the Board of Trade come to in the matter?

The Merchant Shipping Advisory Committee has reported on the question of wireless watchers, and recommended that no change in the regulations is at present justified. At the same time, the Committee called attention to a lack of co-operation between operators and watchers, and to the unsatisfactory practice obtaining on some ships of taking watchers from their wireless watch for other work. Steps are being taken by the Board of Trade to effect improvement in these respects. The Committee's report is being printed, and I will send the hon. Member a copy as soon as it is ready.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether a strike occurred on the 5th to 22nd April of the wireless telegraphists; whether the Board of Trade suspended the law with regard to wireless telegraphists on board ship; what Regulation was suspended during that strike; and what class of watchers, if any, were employed on ships in which the regular wireless operators had gone on strike?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Portsmouth Central (Sir T. Bramsdon) on 11th May. Detailed particulars as to the wireless staff actually carried during the strike are not available, but very few eases occurred in which it was not possible to obtain operators.

Ireland

Refugees

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that many property owners in Ireland have, since the truce of July, 1921, been rendered homeless and destitute by armed bands of lawless men, the Government will place at the disposal of the Chief Secretary for Ireland a sum of money to alleviate cases of urgent distress, which sum should be ultimately recoverable from the Irish Free State Government?

I would refer my Noble Friend to the reply which I gave to-day to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Kensington South (Sir W. Davison).

Portobeixo Barracks And Curragh Camp

asked the Secretary of State for War whether it is proposed to evacuate British troops from Portobello barracks in Dublin and to hand over these barracks to the Provisional Government for the use of the Irish Republican Army; what arrangements have boon made for the accommodation of the British troops who are turned out of these barracks; whether it is also proposed to evacuate British troops from the Curragh camp and to hand over this camp to the Provisional Government; and what arrangements have been made for the accommodation of the British troops now at the Curragh?

The position in relation to military barracks in Dublin, like the whole of South Ireland, depends mainly on the withdrawal of the troops, and considerable discretionary power in this respect must necessarily be left to the local military authorities. As my hon. and learned Friend will realise, it is not expedient to deal with this subject by means of question and answer. At the present moment Portobello barracks is in occupation by British troops; if, and when, it is handed over to the Provisional Government, no restriction as to its use can be made. The evacuation of the Curragh is proceeding according to plan, while the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Ireland, is responsible for making suitable and satisfactory arrangements for accommodating the troops.

British Troops, Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the number of Regular troops now under the military command in Belfast and the six northern counties?

It is not in the public interest that this information should be given.

Prisons, Service

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will give particulars of the Treasury decision under which ex-chief-warder Mackerell, Dundalk prison, was reduced in rank from a Class II chief to that of principal warder, and subsequently pensioned on the minimum pay and emoluments of a Class II chief warder, in view of the fact that he held the latter rank for six years prior to 1919?

Mr. Mackerell was appointed in 1913 to the old grade of chief warder. Class II, with salary of £90 per annum, increased in 1916 to 38s. 6d. by Is. to 39s. 6d. per week. He was left in charge of Dundalk prison when that prison was evacuated in May, 1919. At the regrading of the service in October, 1919, it was decided by the Treasury that the scale of principal warders (50s. by Is. to 60s.) was adequate remuneration for chief warders of minor prisons, and this decision was applied in the case of Mr, Mackerell, who was then acting as caretaker of an evacuated prison. On the re-occupation of Dundalk prison in March, 1920, he was promoted to the new grade of chief warder (scale 57s. by 2s. to 69s.), entering at the minimum with full bonus, and was subsequently pensioned on his average salary and emoluments for the three years preceding date of retirement.

asked the Chief Secretary if ex-clerk and schoolmaster W. Connell, Mountjoy prison, after having been a first-class warder with about 40 years' prison service, was classified in the various assimilation schemes and subsequently pensioned on a rate of pay and emoluments that could be attained by a clerk and schoolmaeter with six years in the rank; and the grounds on which this classification was made?

The duties on which this officer was engaged at the date of the assimilation of the Irish prisons service were those now performed by the clerk and schoolmaster grade, and did not warrant his being assimilated to a higher rank than that grade. He was accordingly assimilated to the rank of clerk and schoolmaster at his existing salary, 49s. a week with modified bonus, less the all round: reduction of 5s. a week made when the full Civil Service bonus was granted.

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the temporary warders in the Irish prisons service are ex-service men who served in the Great War, and that on their discharge they will find it difficult or impossible to obtain employment in Ireland; whether these men will on their discharge be entitled to receive compensation under the Treaty and Part II of Schedule 8 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920: and, if not, whether he will take steps to ensure that these men will on their discharge receive adequate compensation?

The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative, subject, as regards the second part, to the qualifications set out in Rule I of Part II of the Eighth Schedule to the Act of 1920. The third part does not arise.

asked the Chief Secretary if he has received an appeal from Engineer Newman, Kilkenny Prison, for a sworn inquiry into the circumstances of his reduction in rank, in consequence of injuries received in the service: whether he is aware that the medical board recommended him as quite fit for ordinary duties, and that the placing of him in a lower rank was not even mentioned in the medical report; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

The prison service has now been transferred to the Provisional Government, to whom inquiries of this nature should be addressed.

Disturbances, Clady, Tyrone

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement as to the engagement reported to have taken place at Clady, County Tyrone; whether any of the forces of the Crown were engaged: and, if so, with what result?

I regret that I am not yet in possession of information regarding this matter. I have asked the Government of Northern Ireland to be so good as to supply me with a report, and if the Noble Lord will put his question down again to-morrow I hope to be in a position to answer it.

Ulster Special Constabulary

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will consider the advisability of discontinuing the subsidy towards the maintenance of the Ulster special constabulary, in view of the conditions which exist in the area under their control, where houses are forcibly entered and the occupants taken from their beds and shot, as in the case of the three brothers McKeown, at Magherafelt, County Derry, during the curfew hours, when the only persons permitted to be in the streets or out of doors are the special constables and Crown forces; and whether, in view of their incapacity to protect life and property, as is demonstrated by the nightly occurrences of this character, he will at once withdraw the grant towards the support of these forces?

I cannot admit the insinuation, which is a repetition of one frequently made during the time when His Majesty's Government was responsible for law and order throughout Ireland, that, because an outrage is committed during curfew hours, it necessarily follows that the outrage has been committed by police or military. The reply to the rest of the question is in the negative.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Commission

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the proposed Commission to deal with cases of victimisation, malicious injury, and persecution in Ireland is to be appointed; what representation will be given to the Catholics of Belfast and of the six-counties of Northern Ireland on that Commission; and whether the Parliamentary-representatives of the Catholics of the six-county area will be consulted on the matter?

I am in communication with the Northern Government on this matter, and if the hon. Member will repeat this question later in the week I shall be glad to give him an answer.

Irish Free State Elections

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland when the Irish Free State elections will take place?

I understand that the date of the election has not yet been fixed.

Gretna Factory

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what is the position as regards the sale of Gretna works; and whether any offer to purchase has been received?

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Disposal Board has refused an offer by a responsible syndicate to buy the Government factory at Gretna at a price to be fixed by independent valuation, thereby preventing the development of the area for industrial purposes by holding out for a figure beyond its commercial value?

I understand that statements to this effect have appeared in the Press. They are without foundation, and I am glad to have been given an opportunity of refuting them. No offer by a syndicate to buy the Government factory at Gretna upon an independent valuation nor any offer for the estate with payment of the purchase money upon completion has ever been made. The only offers which have been received were wholly unacceptable, not only because of the inadequacy of the amount, but also because of the terms asked for in respect of deferred payment. It is true that those who have been in negotiation have expressed disapproval of what they apparently believe to be the Government valuation, notwithstanding the fact that the amount of this has not been disclosed. The Government is, however, satisfied with the report which has been made by two eminent valuers. Sir Howard Frank, Chairman of the Disposal and Liquidation Commission, has, moreover, himself inspected the property on several occasions. The Government has so much confidence in the advice that it has received from these sources that it is prepared to give immediate consideration to any offer to buy this property at a price to be fixed by independent valuers of repute to be agreed upon, provided the offer is from responsible people, and upon terms of payment which can be approved.

Civil Service (Board Of Arbitration)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether proposals have been made by the Civil Service staff organisations to the Govern- ment with a view to the setting up of a new Civil Service Board of Arbitration; and, if so, what steps have been taken in this matter?

Representations have been made with this object by the Staff side of the Civil Service National Whitley Council, and my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is receiving a deputation of that body to-day.

School Teachers (Superannuation)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what would be the pension on which a certificated school teacher would retire after 25 years' service under the Bill of 1918; what would be the actuarial value of the teacher's contributions under the School Teachers (Superannuation) Bill, 1922, over the same period; and how does this pension compare with that of a civil servant with similar service and salary?

I have been asked to reply to this question. Under the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918, a certificated teacher who retires after 25 years (not necessarily continuous) in recognised service would be eligible, subject to certain qualifying conditions, to receive from the age of 60, even if retiring voluntarily from actual teaching at an earlier age, an annual allowance equal to 25-eightieths of the average salary of his last five years of recognised service, together with a lump sum equal to 25-thirtieths of that salary. The annual pension and lump sum awarded to a male civil servant with the same period of service would normally be at the same rates, based either upon the actual final salary or on the average salary for the last three years, according to circumstances; but in the case of women the pension would be 25-sixtieths per annum without a lump sum, this being the old rate of pension for all civil servants alike, which was replaced in the case of men by an actuarial equivalent expressed in terms of eightieths and thirtieths, as stated above, with alternative death benefits as in the case of teachers. In the case of all civil servants the service given must have been continuous service, and in the direct em- ployment of the Crown, and remunerated throughout entirely out of the Consolidated Fund or moneys provided by Parliament; and voluntary retirement before the age of 60, except in cases of permanent ill-health involves the sacrifice of all pension rights. The actuarial value of the contributions of a particular teacher under the Bill cannot be estimated except in terms of a particular salary or scale of salary and would vary from case to case according to the length of back service and in other respects.

Budget

Cider And Perry Duty

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what was the yield last year of the Cider Duty and the cost of collecting the same?

The net yield of revenue from Cider and Perry Duty during the year ended 31st March, 1922, was approximately £90,000. It is not possible to furnish a reliable estimate of the cost of collection of this duty, the work in connection therewith being merged in the ordinary duties of the revenue staff.

Civil Service Bonus

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total sum paid in bonus to Government servants in the last financial year, and the total sum that is allocated for bonus in the Estimates for this year?

The total provision for Civil Service bonus in the Civil Services and Revenue Departments Estimates for the financial year 1921–22 was about £37¾ millions, as compared with about £27 millions for the current year.

Vote Of Credit Assets

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he can state for the years 1919–20, 1920–21, and 1921–22, respectively, the proceeds of the sales of vote of credit assets by the Ministry of Munitions (subsequently the Disposals Board), the Ministry of Shipping, the Ministry of Food, the Wheat Commission, the Sugar Commission, the Board of Trade, and any other Department, setting forth the respective amounts realised by each Department?

As I informed the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) on the 10th instant, I propose to issue a return on this subject.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of the arrears of Income Tax on 31st March, 1920, and 1921, respectively?

I would refer the hon-Member to the reply, a copy of which I am sending him, given to the hon. Member for Midlothian and Peebles (Sir D. Maclean) on the 1st instant.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any estimate has been formed of the amount raised by way of Income Tax upon foreign shipping in the United Kingdom.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider the possibility of making the proportion of the assessment to Income Tax of the income of a widow with young children £225 instead of £135, seeing that her responsibilities are increased by the death of her husband while her income is seriously diminished by the loss of his earnings?

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer regrets that he is unable to adopt the suggestion made by my hon. Friend. He is doubtless aware that a widow is entitled to the same Income Tax deductions in respect of children as are allowed to a married taxpayer.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the Income Tax officials are debiting the widow of a soldier with the children's pensions, which in many cases involves, for last year, a tax of 6s. in the £; and whether he can see his way in the present Budget to allow exemption for last year and for the future so long as the total income of each child is not liable to tax?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to a reply, a copy of which I am sending him, given on the 20th October, 1921, to a question on this subject by the hon. and gallant Member for Moss Side (Lieut.-Colonel Hurst).

Miscellaneous Receipts

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the main items in the figure of £22,000,000 (miscellaneous, ordinary receipts) in his final estimated balance sheet for the year 1922–23?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on Thursday last to the hon. Member for West Houghton (Mr. Rhys J. Davies).

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the main items in the figure of £90,000,000 (miscellaneous, special receipts) in his final estimated balance sheet for the year 1922–23?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on Wednesday last to the hon. Member for East Leicester (Mr. Banton).

Overseas Settlement

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the £1,500,000 to be allotted for emigration was budgeted for in 1922–23, or whether the money must be debited to the £25,000,000 allocated to Supplementary Estimates?

£500,000 is provided for Overseas Settlement in the Estimate for Class II, Vote 7. The balance is one of the items not provided for in the original Estimate 1922–23, in view of which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has received the sum of £25,000,000 for possible Supplementary Estimates.

Super-Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on What principle taxpayers who have not paid Super-tax by the due date are selected for receipt of letters threatening legal proceedings, whilst others apparently in the same position are not so threatened?

I cannot usefully add to the reply given to my hon. and gallant Friend on this subject on the 8th instant.

Table Water Duties

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revenue the duties on table waters have produced for each year from 1916–17 to 1921–22, inclusive; and what is the estimated cost of collection?

The following statement shows the net annual receipts from table water duties for each of the financial years 1916–17 to 1921–22:

£
Year ended 31st March, 1917*1,170,801
Year ended 31st March, 19181,332,357
Year ended 31st March, 10191,452,952
Year ended 31st March, 19201,371,756
Year ended 31st March, 19211,196,415
Year ended 31st March, 19221,173,000 (approx.)
* From 1st May, 1916, to 31st March, 1911.
It is not possible to furnish a reliable estimate of the cost of collection of these duties, the work in connection therewith being merged in the ordinary duties of the revenue staff.

Beer Duty

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimated yield for the Beer Duty he has included in the sum of £160,750,000 shown under the heading of excise in his estimate of revenue for the current year?

The estimated yield of the Excise Duty on beer for the current financial year is £94,480,000.

Debt Redemption

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the items of debt reduction, in addition to the figure of £70,703,000 (Command Paper 77, page 4), to balance the total figure of debt reduction, £88,644,000 (OFFICIAL REPORT, column 1024, 1st May, 1922)?

The figure of £70,703,000 represents the amount devoted to debt redemption out of revenue. The balance, making up the larger figure of £88,644,000, represents cash resulting from non~ revenue items such as the surrender of the balance on the Civil Contingencies Fund.

Paris Dressmaker, Loxdon Visit (Taxation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the recent visit of a Paris dressmaker to London to display new dresses, valued at 250,000 francs; whether, seeing that such visits result in large orders across the Channel, he will say what charges, if any, are made by the Board of Inland Revenue?

I cannot of course disclose particulars of the tax liability of individual taxpayers, but if any tax be legally due in this case, the hon. Member may rest assured that the Board of Inland Revenue will take the appropriate steps to secure payment.

Royal Navy (Chief Writers)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many chief writers have been discharged since the Armistice who were fully qualified and recommended for promotion to warrant writers before and during the whole war period; how many ratings in all other branches were qualified and recommended for a like period; how many chief writers now serving have been qualified and recommended for over six years; whether for the sake of economy, and to allow able and deserving men an avenue to promotion, he will consider whether the proposed entry of 10 paymaster cadets might be abandoned and the ten vacancies for officers filled by the promotion of chief writers; and what is the estimated sum which would thereby be saved to the Crown during a period of 15 years, taking into consideration that the average age for promotion to warrant writer is 40 years and that they would forfeit their pensions until they reached the age of 55 years?

The statistics asked for by the hon. Member are not readily available, and their compilation would entail a considerable amount of work, which, with the reduced Admiralty staff, it is not possible to undertake. The Board of Admiralty is not prepared to cancel the recent decision to enter 10 paymaster cadets and to substitute the promotion of 10 chief writers to warrant writers. The number of paymaster cadets to be entered is the minimum necessary to maintain the higher ranks in the reduced establishment of the Accountant branch, and this requirement would not be met by the promotion of chief writers to warrant rank.

Customs Office, Portsmouth

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the number of separate documents stamped at the Customs Office, Portsmouth, during each of the years 1919, 1920 and 1921, and the amount of Stamp Duty collected at the same office for each of the same years, and the number of extra officials employed at the same office to deal with the stamping of documents beyond the number requisite to carry out the other work of the office?

The numbers of separate documents on which Stamp Duty was impressed at the Customs Office, Portsmouth, during the years 1919, 1920 and 1921 were 16,200, 20,800 and 16,900, respectively, the total duty thereon being £23,300, £32,700 and £24,100, respectively. Additional sums of £5,000, £6,400, and £4,800 were collected in those respective years in respect of the duty on documents transmitted for stamping to London and the sale of stamps. The stamp work occupies the whole time of an officer on the Inland Revenue staff and the greater part of the time of an officer on the Customs and Excise staff.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Naval Pensioners (Widows)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if pre-War naval pensioners (widows), who are entitled to the supplementary pensions provided for under the Pensions (Increase) Act of 1920, are not now in receipt of them; and the reasons for their non-payment?

As a matter of convenience, the pensions of some of these pensioners are still paid locally by the Ministry of Pensions. The loss in transit of a letter from the Admiralty to that Department has caused delay in the payment, in certain cases, of the increases due since 1st April. Matters have now been put right and the Ministry have authorised payment of the amounts due with the weekly pension payable to-day. I regret the inconvenience which has been caused.

Officers' Pensions (Commxttation)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will review the principle upon which fees are charged on commuting pensions and introduce a system of a fixed fee for every pension commuted to cover the cost of the medical examination instead of basing the fee on the sums advanced as at present?

The fees are calculated with a view to covering not only the medical examination, but the other expenses of the Commutation Board as well. I am not prepared to recommend an alteration in the present scale.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the easier monetary conditions prevailing, he will take steps to revoke the 6 per cent, officers' commutation table of 1920 and reintroduce the table of 1913 at 5 per cent., thereby assisting needy officers to commute their pensions at a higher figure and more in accordance with their proper market value?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer given on the 1st instant to the hon. and gallant Member for Portsmouth (Sir B. Falle) of which I am sending him a copy. The rates temporarily prevailing for short-term money are not of course relevant to the rate which can be used for the commutation of pensions.

Post Office

Telephone Service (Miss Rance)

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the fact that, despite the intention of the National Telephone Company, the standing practice must be observed in regard to the pension of Miss Rance, assistant supervisor, London telephone service, he will arrange for her seniority to be determined in accordance with the standing practice also, seeing that it is equally unjust to Miss Ranee's colleagues to depart from the standing practice as regards seniority, as it would be to the country to depart from the standing practice as regards pension?

I regret that I can add nothing to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member's question on this subject on the 11th April last.

Promotions

asked the Postmaster-General the number of promotions to overseerships in the London postal service in the years 1910 and 1911; how many of these promotions were from the class of sorters and how many from the class of head postmen; what was the average age, in each year, of sorters and head postmen, respectively, and their length of service; and whether he will also furnish a similar Return in respect of the years 1920 and 1921?

The information cannot be obtained without considerable labour and expense, which could not be justified. In the circumstances, I therefore hope my hon. Friend will not press his question.

Egypt

Suspended Newspaper

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the Egyptian newspaper A1 Ahaly was last year suspended for six months, in accordance with the policy of the British authorities under the Protectorate; that the journal reappeared on 7th May last and was suspended again, this time indefinitely; and whether this policy is continued by arrangement with the present Egyptian Government?

The newspaper referred to was suspended last year for six months by decision of the Egyptian Council of Ministers. I have no information as to any further suspension having been decided. This is a matter which solely concerns the Egyptian Government.

Negotiations

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give any information as to the progress of negotiations in regard to Egypt; and whether the conferences have proceeded smoothly?

Sudan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has any information as to whether the draft Egyptian constitution provides for the absorption by Egypt of the Sudan; and if he can reassure this country and the people of the Sudan that His Majesty's Government will adhere to its undertaking not to countenance any such proposal?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to-day by the Leader of the House.

Judges' Salaries

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is in a position to state whether any decisions have been arrived at by the Egyptian Government in regard to the salaries of the judges of the mixed courts; and whether the British Government has taken, or is taking, any steps in the matter?

I have no official information on the subject. The reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.

Deportees, Seychelles

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the date, contents, and precise purpose of the Seychelles Ordinance No. 1 of 1922?

Seychelles Ordinance No. 1 of 1922 was passed by the Legislative Council of Seychelles on the 10th February, 1922, in accordance with the request of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, for the purpose of legalising the detention in the Colony of political prisoners deported from Egypt and removed to Seychelles by direction 6f His Majesty's Secretary of State. A copy of the Ordinance will be placed in the Library of the House.

China

asked the Under-Secretary of State for, Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the change of Government in China, he will make representations anew as to the default in the Tickers and Marconi loan issues and as to the grounds on which the additional security suggested for these loans was refused?

I can only repeat the replies which I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend on the 16th March and 10th April. His Majesty's Minister at Peking will continue to press the Chinese Government for the payment of the interest due on these loans.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give any information to the House as to the present position in China, and particularly as to the present relations of Wu Pei Fu and the Southern President, Sun Yat Sen, and as to the proposals of Wu Pei Fu to hold elections or to summon a constituent assembly for all China?

I have nothing to add to the full and apparently accurate information which has already appeared in the Press.

Poor Law Administration, London

asked the Minister of Health if he will give the number of persons receiving relief from the Poplar Board of Guardians last week; the percentage of such number to the population of the borough; and similar figures for the adjoining borough of Stepney?

In the week ending 5th May, 31,273 persons, or 19·2 per cent, of the population of the borough of Poplar, were in receipt of relief from the Poplar Board of Guardians. In the adjoining borough of Stepney 13,571 persons, or 5·4 per cent, of the population, were in receipt of relief from the four boards of guardians acting within the borough.

asked the Minister of Health when he expects to receive the Report of the investigations being conducted into the financial conditions attending the grant of Poor Law relief by the borough of Poplar: and will such Report be made public?

I have received this Report, and it is now being printed with a view to early publication.

asked the Minister of Health the amounts expended in each Metropolitan Poor Law union in the six months, 30th September, 192L, to 31st March, 1922, on indoor relief and outdoor relief, respectively, and the amounts raised and spent in each union for Poor Law purposes during the same period, distinguishing between amounts raised in each union and the grants received or paid 'by each union in respect of the equalisation of rates scheme under the Common Poor Fund and the Local Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act.

I regret that the figures asked for by my hon. Friend are not at present available.

Increased Assessment, Manchester

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that in the Didsbury district of Manchester occupiers who were obliged to buy houses to live in were penalised in 1920–21 by the assessments of such houses being largely increased, while the assessments of the great body of occupiers were untouched; that the people concerned have not been allowed to appeal against the increased assessment, and that this decision applies specifically in the case of Mr. Carter, of 22, Elm Road, Didsbury, who has been refused the right of appeal; and whether he will inquire into this particular case and take such steps as will insure the appeal of Mr. Carter being heard?

My attention has been drawn to the particular case referred to in the question. It was open to this ratepayer to object to the increased assessment, but I understand that he failed to lodge an appeal within the proper time. I have no power to take any action which would enable the appeal now to be heard.

Unemployment

Uncovenanted Benefit

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that when single men and women Jiving at home with relations have exhausted their benefits, so far as their stamps on the card allow, owing to the new instructions received at the various Employment Exchanges they are being refused benefit; that this is causing great hardship to the parents who have to support their single sons and daughters; and the reasons why such people have been refused unemployment benefit?

I have been asked to reply. In order that the limited resources of the Unemployment Fund may be conserved for the assistance of those whose need is greatest, directions have been given, in the exercise of the discretion conferred by statute, that uncovenanted benefit should not ordinarily be paid to single men or women residing with parents or other relatives, unless their parents or other relatives are unemployed, or, if in employment, do not together earn sufficient, having regard to their responsibilities, to enable them to undertake the support of the applicant during unemployment,

India

Military Stations (Illumination)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what is the number of military stations in India at which the men's quarters are still lighted with oil lamps only; what would be the cost of improving this unsatisfactory method of illumination; and whether there are any cases in which the barracks occupied by native troops have no artificial light of any kind provided?

Marine Officers (Pensions)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether any decision has yet been reached as to the permanent increase in the pensions of British officers who had retired from the Royal Indian Marine and who served in the recent War in accordance with the promise made by the Indian Government?

The Government of India have the matter under consideration and have promised their recommendations at the earliest possible date.

Leper Act

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he can now give any information as to the results of the amended Leper Act passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in India; how far the Act has been put into force by the various Provincial Governments; how many lepers have now been segre- gated; and how far the remedial treatment of the disease gives promise of success?

The Government of India have not yet replied to the request for information on this subject. I have now telegraphed, asking when their reply may be expected.

Borough Police Forces

asked the Home Secretary how many and which borough police forces have merged under county authorities during the last 12 months?

Two borough forces have been merged with the county since May, 1921, namely, Barnstaple with Devonshire, and Ryde with the Isle of Wight.

Liquor Traffic, Carlisle (Clubs)

asked the Home Secretary if his attention has been drawn to the letter, alleged to be written by Sir Edgar C. Sanders, General Manager of the Central Control Board (Liquor Traffic), Public House Control (Carlisle District), of the 3rd July, 1913, in which it is stated that supplies of beers and spirits, largely in excess of the quantities that were sanctioned under the Intoxicating Liquor (Output and Delivery) Order, were supplied to a club and similar organisations in Carlisle; and whether he will cause an investigation to be made into the circumstances and inform the House as to its result?

I have made inquiry into this case and at the earliest opportunity I hope to inform the House of the result.

Industrial Assurance Bill

asked the Home Secretary if he can now give the date of the introduction of the Industrial Assurance Bill?

I am not at present in a position to add anything to my answer of the 2nd instant.

Birth Certificates

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the Regulation, made by the Registrar-General of Births, debarring applications for registering births on behalf of all children over seven years of age; if he has considered the hardship which may be involved in depriving such children of the right to possess birth certificates, and has had before him the representations to such effect made by His Honour Judge Parry; and whether he will consider whether the Regulation in question can be modified or abrogated?

I have been asked to reply. The matter is already under consideration by the Registrar-General with a view to the amendment of the Regulations in the respect referred to in the question.

Office Of Works (Discharges, Engineering Division)

asked the hon. Member for the Pollok Division of Glasgow, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, how many men were employed in the engineering division of the Office of Works on 1st December, 1921; how many of these were seasonal men, and how many have been discharged or have received notice since that date, including seasonal men; whether these discharges, apart from those of seasonal men, are due to the Government's policy of economy; and whether, in view of the present unemployment, it will be possible to put in hand necessary work on public buildings, such as electrical work and engineering generally?

The number of men employed in December, 1921, was 1,248, of whom 72 were seasonal men; the number discharged or under notice since that date is 248, including the 72 seasonal men. This discharge of non-seasonal staff is due to the Treasury reduction of expenditure, and for this reason it is not practicable to adopt the suggestion in the last part of the question.

Scotland

Passenger Steamer "Gael"

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the town council of Stornoway have protested against the employment of the steamer "Gael" as being unsafe for the conveyance of passengers and mails across the Minch; and whether he can now give the result of his further inquiries into the suitability of this boat for the route on which she is engaged?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. A Board of Trade surveyor has visited the "Gael" and reports that the accident on the 12th April was due to the breaking of the valve lever on the starboard engine, which smashed the valve gear, putting the starboard cylinder out of action. It would have been possible to return to Kyle with the port cylinder, but as the "Gael" had got into touch with the "Clydesdale" by wireless, it was considered that it would be quicker to have the vessel towed in. This was done, and the damaged parts of the machinery were in due course replaced. The second accident was on 21st April, when a delay of about two hours was caused by the breaking of the forward valve spindle on the starboard engine. It is considered that this was due to the overstraining of the spindle when the first breakdown occurred. The surveyor made a voyage in the vessel and examined the engines when running and stopped. He found that the replaced parts were satisfactory and that the engines ran smoothly. He also made a thorough examination of the hull, which was built of iron in 1867, and found it to be in good condition. The surveyor considers that there is no doubt that the vessel is suitable for conveying passengers across the Minch in stormy weather.

Benefit Football Matches (Taxation)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he has received any representations from Scotland regarding the levying of Entertainment Duty and Income Tax in respect of benefit football matches; whether he is aware that the expenses of organisation of these matches in Scotland usually fall upon the player for whose benefit they are arranged; and what modifications are, or will be, made in respect of the burden of such taxation?

I have received no representations as regards Entertainments Tax on benefit football matches. As regards Income Tax, if organising ex- penses fall on the player who is receiving the benefit they would form an admissible deduction from the match receipts in arriving at the amount assessable to Income Tax on the beneficiary.

Illicit Distillery, Glasgow

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that a distillery was recently discovered in premises at the corner of Aber-corn and Burnside Streets, Glasgow; and that the said distillery was equipped with 20 fermenting barrels, a proper worm, and 35 casks, and was capable of distilling 240 gallons of proof spirit per six days, involving a loss of revenue in respect that the proprietors or shareholders of the distillery paid no duty on their product, which is said to be of exceptional quality, of nearly £1,000 per week or £50,000 per annum; whether the said distillery is believed to have existed for a long period; whether there are suspected to be many such distilleries in the country run by evildoers who wish to evade the duty upon whisky of £3 12s. 6d. per gallon; and whether, seeing that the existence of such illegal distilleries accounts largely for the falling off of revenue from spirits of £7,500,000, he will consider whether a reduction of duty would be the best method of combating such practices and securing as great a revenue as the present high duties?

I am aware that a seizure of an illicit spirit distillation plant, materials and spirits has been made on the premises in question. Proceedings have been instituted against the alleged offenders by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise. There is no reason to believe that the illicit operations had been carried on for any long period. I am not prepared to accept the suggestion that the practice of illicit distillation is widespread, nor am I able to concur in the hon. Member's conclusions.

Ex-Service Men (Training Grants)

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that officers and men who served in the Army during the War, and who would otherwise be eligible for grant for training assistance, are disqualified by reason of their having served since demobilisation in the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary; and, having regard to the fact that these men receive no pension or compensation on the disbandment of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and find themselves, in some cases, without resources and without prospect of being able to earn a livelihood owing to their service in the forces of the Crown during and since the War, he will so alter the regulation governing the grant for training assistance as to include the men referred to in its benefit?

The last date for receiving applications under the training grants scheme of the Appointments Department was 30th June, 1920. The last date for applications under the industrial training scheme was 30th September, 1921, except for men recently demobilised or still under treatment. Officers and men who served in the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary were not thereby debarred from benefiting under the above schemes, provided that they made applications before the last date.