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Written Answers

Volume 154: debated on Monday 22 May 1922

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Written Answers

Royal Navy

Chilian Dreadnought

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what was the amount paid by His Majesty's Government to the Republic of Chili for the value of the Dreadnought built for the Chilian Government and requisitioned by Great Britain on the outbreak of War in August, 1914?

I have been asked to reply. The Chilian Dreadnought, building in 1914 as the "Almirante Latorre," was requisitioned and renamed H.M.S. "Canada." The expenses incurred by the Chilian Government and refunded by the Admiralty amounted to £2,036,162 14s. 9d., in addition to which a further sum of £573,287 has up to the present been paid to the contractors in connection with the completion of the vessel.

Lieutenants (Retired Pay)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if, under the new scheme of compulsory retirement for lieutenants, Royal Navy, who have been promoted from the lower deck, those officers who attain 50 years of age after 12th August, 1922, will also obtain the special rate of retired pay and gratuity offered to those who attain the age of 50 under the scheme, or will these officers be taken as being 50 years of age on 12th August, 1922, whatever their age may be?

Lieutenants who attain the age of 50 after the 12th August, 1922, will be liable to compulsory retirement on attaining that age, and if so retired will not be eligible for the special rate of retired pay and gratuity laid down for officers who are 50 years of age or over on the 12th August, 1922. They may, however, apply to retire voluntarily under the terms laid down in paragraph 39 of Admiralty Fleet Order 1358/22, and special consideration will be given to their requests.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if it is proposed, and, if so, will he give a reason why, that commissioned officers from warrant rank who would become lieutenants for long and zealous service between the ages of 50 and 55 are to be compelled to take the retired pay of commissioned officers from warrant rank and not as lieutenants?

The scheme for the reduction of surplus officers takes no account of the retired pay which an officer might have obtained in consequence of promotion had he continued to serve, except as regards such promotions as would have accrued automatically during the operation of the scheme. Promotion to the rank of lieutenant for long and zealous service is not automatic, and the possibility of a commissioned officer from warrant rank being promoted to the rank of lieutenant prior to retirement could not, therefore, be taken into account.

Compulsory Retirement

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if the compulsory scheme for the retirement of officers from the lower deck is to include those who have gained accelerated promotion by examination?

These officers will be subject to the Regulation by which the age for compulsory retirement will be reduced from 55 to 50.

Turkish Dreadnoughts

asked the Financial Secretary to t he Treasury what was the amount, if any, paid by His Majesty's Government for the value of the two Dreadnoughts which were completed and ready for delivery to Turkey in August, 1914, but requisitioned at that time by His Majesty's Government?

As has been frequently stated, no payments were made by His Majesty's Government to the Turkish Government in respect of these ships. Approximately, £1,680,000 was paid to contractors in this country or holders of Turkish Treasury Bills, which had been issued by the Turkish Government to pay for the ships.

Poor Law Administration

Loans And Rates

asked the Minister of Health if he will give the names of those boards of guardians to whom he has given sanction to meet by loans expense for out-relief and other matters which are ordinarily met out of the annual rates, with the amount of the loans sanctioned in each case and the present level of the total rates of the districts concerned?

Yes, Sir. The following statement contains the information desired by the hon. Member.

STATEMENT of (1) Loans to meet current expenses of boards of guardians and not repayable out of revenue for current financial year; and (2) Total rates per £ of assessable value.
Name of Union or Parish.Amount sanctioned.Total amount per £ of assessable value of all public rates levied in the year 1921–22 in the most populous urban area in the Poor Law Union.
Bradford (Yorks)100,000180
Bridgend and Cowbridge.45,000248
Ecclesall and Bierlow.200,000188
St. Marylebone14,0001310
Merthyr Tydfil65,00030
West Bromwich90,000190
West Ham300,000261

Islington Board Of Guardians (Surcharge)

asked the Minister of Health whether, seeing that all the legal expenses of the defendants in the action Everett v. Griffiths and Anklesaria, were paid by the Islington Guardians at the expense of the Islington ratepayers, that, on the admission of the guardians in their minutes, over £1,200 was thus expended during the period extending from June, 1919, to March, 1921, that the district auditor surcharged the guardians for unlawfully expending this money, and the Ministry of Health on appeal confirmed the decision of the local auditor that the expenditure was unlawful but neverthelessex gratia exonerated the guardians for this expenditure, he will state what is the reason for this exoneration?

Certain members of the Islington Board of Guardians were surcharged with sums amounting to about £930 paid on account of the costs incurred by the chairman of the board and the workhouse medical officer in defending proceedings brought against them by a Mr. Everett who had been received into a lunatic asylum under a certificate given by the medical officer and an Order made by the chairman under Section 16 of the Lunacy Act, 1890. The plaintiff carried the case from the King's Bench Division to the Court of Appeal, and thence to the House of Lords, but the judgment of each Court was in the defendants' favour. I was adviser? that, although the acts of the defendants which involved them in this litigation were done in fulfilment of a statutory duty, and in the case of the chairman of a duty imposedvirtute officii, judicial decisions were against the view that the payment was legally permissible as a charge in the accounts of the guardians. I felt bound, therefore, to uphold the surcharge on legal grounds; but I had no doubt that it would not have been right in the circumstances to compel the individual guardians surcharged personally to bear the costs in question and accordingly on the merits of the case I decided that it would be fair and equitable within the meaning of Section 4 of the Poor Law Audit Act, 1848, to remit the surcharge in the exercise of the express power in that behalf conferred by the Section.

Unregistered Dentists

asked the Minister of Health if he will secure the prolongation of the unregistered practice among dentists which is due to lapse on 28th July, 1922, in view of the fact that the first of the examinations under the Dentists Act, 1921, will not be held until July, 1922, and the Act specially provides for at least three opportunities of passing the examination?

This question is now under consideration, and I am not in a position to make any statement at present.

Ecclesiastical Tithe Rates Act

asked the Minister of Health the amount of relief to the holders of benefices that has been given up to the present by the operation of the Ecclesiastical Tithe Rates Act, 1920?

I regret that this information is not available. In order to obtain it, it would be necessary to ask for a special return from the overseers of every parish.

Housing, Helper

asked the Minister of Health why he has declined to sanction the erection of 50 more houses by the Belper Urban District Council, seeing that in many cases two and three families are now living in one house; that several houses are already condemned, but, the occupants cannot vacate them owing to the inability to obtain another house; that the council have in view a most eligible site fronting on a main road, with sewers, water, and gas available; and that such erection would relieve the unemployment difficulty?

I regret I am unable to allow an increase over the 66 houses already authorised for this district, 14 of which still remain to be completed. it is, of course, open to the council to consider the expediency of building outside the Assisted Scheme.

National Health Insurance

asked the Minister of Health whether, seeing that the Government entered into an agreement with doctors serving in connection with National Health Insurance in 1921, that their remuneration was fixed for a period of two years ending December, 1923, at, 9s. per insured person per annum, making the total cost of medical benefit12s. per insured person per annum, that, the Minister undertook then that the difference of 2s. 6d. between the sum provided by approved societies and the total cost of medical benefit would be met as theretofore by Exchequer grant, and that it is now proposed to transfer that liability of the Exchequer to the approved societies, he will state the reasons for taking this course?

The undertaking to which the hon. Member refers was that no reduction in the remuneration of insurance practitioners should be made during the period in question. No undertaking was either given or asked for as to the source from which the additional 2s. 6d. would be provided The Committee on National Expenditure recommended that the Exchequer should be relieved of any charge on this account beyond the statutory two-ninths, the' liability being transferred to National Health Insurance funds, and the method of securing this result embodied in the Bill before Parliament was suggested by the Ministry of Health Approved Societies Consultative Council.

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he will arrange for the payments under the National Health Insurance scheme due to Mr. Joseph Butler, Kirkconnel, Dumfriesshire, to be made to this gentleman; and is he aware that these payments appear to have been delayed since the beginning of December, 1921, when the Scottish Board of Health decided that the applicant was not entitled to an old age pension?

The question as to whether health insurance benefit should be paid in this case falls to be decided by the approved society of which Mr., Butler is a. member. The Scottish Board of Health have reported the particulars of the case to the society. The decision on the old age pension appeal was given on 20th April, 1922. I understand that the membership number furnished by Mr. Butler to the society has proved to be wrong, and inquiries are proceeding with a view to tracing the membership. This must necessarily cause some delay.

Russia (Famine Relief)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is of opinion that a risk to public health would be entailed by the admittance, under suitable safeguards, to this country of children from the Russian famine area; and whether a list of the necessary precautions has been drawn up by the Ministry of Health?

I am advised that the admission to this country of children from the Russian famine area would certainly entail considerable risk to the public health, although this risk could be minimised by the adoption of adequate precautionary measures. The answer to the last part of the question is in the affirmative.

Parish Council Election, Pabwich

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the action of the chairman of the parish council at Parwich, near Ash-bourne, Derbyshire, who, having failed to give notice of the election at the proper date, the date was fixed for the 3rd May by the county council; whether at the parish meeting thus convened, as there were more candidates nominated than there were vacancies, the chairman refused the demand for a poll and also refused to take the names of those electors who demanded a poll, and declared all the retiring members elected; and whether, under these circumstances, he will take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the electors shall have the opportunity of electing the parish council in a legitimate manner?

I have been asked to reply. I am informed by the clerk of the county council that at the parish meeting held on 3rd May for the election of six parish councillors, eight persons were nominated, but that two of the nominations were held by the chairman to be invalid, and he accordingly declared the other six persons to be elected. I am advised that the validity of the proceedings at the election can only be questioned by an election petition, and that I have no power to take any action in the matter.

British Army

Military Bands (Commandant's Newspaper Article)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to a series of articles on military bands in the daily Press written by the Commandant, Royal Military School of Music; and whether that officer has received any authority to so contravene paragraphs 453 and 454 of the King's Regulations?

My hon. and gallant Friend has been good enough to send me a copy of an article published on the 8th April last. The Commandant submitted this article to the War Office before publication, and sanction to publish it was granted in accordance with paragraph 453 of the King's Regulations.

Application For Discharge (G F Binnall)

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that George Francis Binnall, 929, Gedlow Lane, Wigan, who is an apprentice to the engineering trade, with three years of his apprenticeship to serve, who joined the Royal Engineers at Wigan on 18th April, 1922, is not yet 18 years of age, having been born on 15th August, 1904; that the officer in charge was told by the youth himself that he was not 18 years of age; that on 27th April, 1922, he was discharged from the Royal Engineers and was sent forward for enlistment in the King s Own Royal Battalion; and whether, in view of the above circumstances, he will have inquiries made, and the youth discharged and sent home to complete his apprenticeship?

Inquiries are being made into this case, and the hon. Member will be informed of the result as soon as possible.

Royal Air Force (Travelling Facilities)

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether travelling concessions for officers and men have been abolished?

The cheap travelling facilities which up to that date had been granted at the expense of public funds to personnel of the Royal Air Force were, in common with those granted to the other Services, discontinued as from 1st April last. This decision, which was in accordance with the recommendations of the Geddes Committee, was taken after unsuccessful efforts had been made by the Departments concerned to induce the railway companies to reconsider their unfavourable attitude towards restoring the concessions granted by them before the War.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants


asked the Minister of Pensions whether the reported decision of the Ministry to stop all further grants from public funds to local war pensions committees, or such other committees as may be set up in their place under the new area scheme, is final, or will he reconsider this matter; and whether he will consider the enlarging of the advisory committees under Section 3 of the Act of 1921 to 30 members, 15 of whom should be elected by regions from the new area committees, to meet the feeling of want of representation on these committees by many ex-service men?

During the re-organisation of areas under the provisions of the War Pensions Act, 1921, existing local committees will continue to be supplied with funds by the Ministry; but as no financial duties or responsibilities are imposed upon new war pensions committees established under that Act, no occasion arises to make grants to the latter bodies. My right, hon. Friend is not prepared to increase the membership of the Central Advisory Committee in the manner suggested—that would tend to make it unwieldy and unsuitable for the purposes for which it, has been established. Of a total membership of 18, no less than 10 have served in the forces (of whom 4 are representatives of the British Legion), and of the remaining 8, 4 are members of the regional advisory councils or local committees.

Disability Pensions (T Scott)

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that ex-Private T. Scott, regimental No. 3,637, 8th Durham Light Infantry, is not in receipt of a pension, and yet served in the Army from 1914, was on two occasions severely wounded and also gassed, with the result that he has been unable to follow his work and earn his livelihood, but has had to be maintained by his parents, who are also in straitened circumstances; that the nerves of the arms of the man are gone; and will steps be taken so as to allow him to get his pension?

In the short time available I have not been able to obtain particulars of this case. I will communicate with my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Shepherd's Bush Surgical Hospital (Staff)

asked the Minister of Pensions how many officials and how many clerks are employed at the Acton Hospital, classified according to their grades?

I regret that I am unable to identify any institution under my control from the description given. If, however, my hon. Friend has in mind the Ministry Special Surgical Hospital, Shepherd's Bush, the number of officials and clerks employed there is as follows:-10 medical officers, a controller of stores, an accountant, and 14 clerks. There are also 11 part-time medical officers.

Ex-Service Men (A Riley)

asked the hon. Member for Monmouth, as representing the Forestry Commissioners, whether his attention has been drawn to the case of A. Riley, who went through a course of training at the Brockenhurst School, and was subsequently employed by the Forestry Commission on the Allerston estate; whether he is aware that Riley was given notice on the ground that he was unsuited for the work, and that when pressed as to what was meant by this the Commission stated that Riley had displayed little or no interest in his work, and showed no great ability; that Riley, a disabled ex-service man, suffered con siderably in health due to the exposed nature of the work; and that when he completed his course of training he was given certificates showing that he gained the highest percentage of marks for classroom subjects, was studious and thoughtful in the extreme, and was a keen student with a marked degree of efficiency; whether, in finding employment for these trainees, any consideration is given to the physical health of the men; and whether he will have this case inquired into and do whatever is possible to place this man in a position suitable to his health and abilities?

My attention has been drawn to the case of A. Riley. I am aware that he was given notice for the reasons stated; I am unaware that he suffered considerably in health due to the exposed nature of the work. On completion of his course of training he was given an official letter informing him that he had obtained 85 per cent. of the marks awarded for classroom study. He was also given a certificate by the instructor which stated that in the class-room subjects he proved to be a keen student, passing out with a marked degree of proficiency. Afterwards when employed in the field by the Forestry Commission consideration was given to his physical health, and is consequence he was employed as a ganger. Full inquiry into Riley's case has been made, and the Commission do not propose to re-engage him.

Co-Operative Societies (Taxation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the total profits made by the wholesale cooperative societies of this country during the past 10 financial years; and what additional revenue would have accrued to the State during that period had these corporations been subject to Income Tax and other taxation from which they are at present exempt?

Co-operative Societies are not exempt from Income Tax. As is evidenced by the Report of the Royal Commission on the Income Tax, the duty paid by them and by their members under the legal provisions which govern their case does not greatly differ from that which would be payable under general Income Tax law, unless I am to understand my hon. and gallant Friend as arguing that the general law should be amended so as to charge any surplus arising from mutual transactions I have no power to ascertain what profits would have been assessable upon these particular societies and what tax would have been paid in circumstances which are hypothetical.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether breeders or pedigree stock, who may make large profits out of the sale of young stock amounting to thousands of pounds in a year, will be assessed for Income Tax, if his new proposals are carried, on their yearly rental, which may only be a few hundred pounds?

The question of the basis of assessment to Income Tax of breeders of pedigree stock is one which falls to be determined by the local Income Tax Commissioners by reference to the relevant facts of each individual case. Broadly speaking, if the occupation of land is merely subsidiary to the business of raising and dealing in live stock, the assessment to Income Tax under Schedule B would not necessarily exhaust the occupier's liability to Income Tax.

asked the Prime Minister what amounts were received during the financial years ending 31st March, 1914, 1920, 1921, and 1922, respectively, in Income Tax from owners and occupiers of agricultural land?

Information as regards agricultural land alone is not available. The approximate net receipt of Income Tax from all lands, houses, etc., was as follows:

Year.Net Receipt (United Kingdom).
Schedule A.Schedule B.
1921–22 (provisional)43,000,0006,750,000
* Revised amount substituted for the approximate figure published in the Finance Accounts for 1013–14.

Trade Facilities Advisory Committee

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the names of the first members of the Trade Facilities Advisory Committee and the names of the present members?

No alteration has taken place in the composition of this Committee since it was set up. The members are as follow:

  • Sir Robert M. Kindersley, G.B.E. (Chairman).
  • Sir William Mender, G.B.E.
  • Lieut.-Colonel George Schuster, C.B.E., M.C.

Safeguarding Of Industries Act


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total amount of duty collected under the Safeguarding of Industries Act during the month of April, and also the amount received on goods imported from France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Japan, and America, respectively, during the same period?

The total amount of duty collected during the month of April under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act was £21,873. Of this amount, £3,625, £341, £10,138, £1,409, £76 and £3,668 were received in respect of goods consigned from France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Japan and the United States of America respectively.

Field And Opera Glasses

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number and value of field and opera glasses imported from France and Germany during the years 1913 and 1921, respectively, and also for the first four months of 1921 and 1922?

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the fact that the trade in bags fitted with small. French opera glasses is being seriously interfered with owing to the fact that similar opera glasses are not manufactured in Great Britain; that when they are imported from France there is a duty of 33;) per cent. payable, and that there is no satisfactory method of obtaining drawback on the goods being re-exported to Canada and America; and whether he will make inquiry into this matter and take action to see that established trades are not hampered by the imposing of duties on articles, not manufactured in Great Britain, which are required for carrying on other industries?

Opera glasses are specifically included in the Schedule to the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and are consequently dutiable. As at present advised,.1 am not prepared to admit that there is no satisfactory method of obtaining drawback; and I see no reason in this case for any action on the lines suggested in the last part of the question.

Hire-Purchase Agreements (Registratton)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, seeing that all bills of sale are duly registered but not hire-purchase agreements, and that there is no means of ascertaining whether there is in existence such an agreement, and since under the law auctioneers are liable for wrongful conversion of goods under hire-purchase agreements whose existence are not known, he will consider the desirability of taking steps to protect them in these cases?

The question of requiring hire-purchase agreements to be registered was considered by the Departmental Committee on Bankruptcy Law, a copy of whose Report, submitted in 1908, I am sending my hon. and gallant Friend. He will see that the Committee, after weighing the evidence on both sides, came to the conclusion that the proposal was open to many practical objections.

Hop Prices

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the present average price of hops, as fixed by the Controller, is £18 per cwt.; that on 1st November, 1914, the average price of English hops was from £2 10s. to £4 10s. per cwt., according to the prices quoted in the "Brewers' and Wine Merchants' Gazette"; and does he propose to take any steps to ascertain the reason for this increase?

I have been asked to reply. The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. I would point out, however, that the English crop of hops in 1914 was exceptionally large, and prices were conesequently abnormally low. The price of hops in 1914 cannot, therefore, be taken as a good basis for comparison, average prices in the pre-War period 1911–1913 being very much higher. The reply to the last part is in the negative.


Malicious Injuries (Compensation)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether, having regard to the Government's moral obligation before the truce to protect the lives and property of all law-abiding citizens in Ireland, he will state what steps are being taken to compensate those whose property was commandeered or destroyed by the Irish Republican Army in its operations against the Crown who have not yet obtained decrees and may never be awarded compensation from any other source, but who are now destitute on account of such losses?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the Warrant of Appointment of the Compensation (Ireland) Commission, which has been presented to Parliament, from which he will see that the Commission is specifically empowered to deal with cases of criminal or malicious injury in which no proceedings have been instituted, or in which the proceedings have not resulted in a final decree being given.

Royal Irish Constabulary

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that by Statute married officers of the Royal Irish Constabulary were entitled to temporary allowances of 25s. a day for the first five days' absence from home, 20s. a day for the next nine days, and 15s. a day for the remainder of the term; that for permanent transfer from one place to another married officers could claim the cost of moving their furniture; and that, in order to avoid paying these allowances or for the cost of moving the furniture, a special overriding order (File No. 12,457 F) was issued, signed A. W. Cope, on the 7th May entirely altering these allowances and giving special rates, far less in amount, to these officers; and whether he will cancel these instructions and allow these officers their statutory allowances?

I am making inquiries in regard to this matter, and if the hon. and gallant Member will be good enough to repeat his question later in the week I will give him an answer.

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that on the 1st May, 1922, a circular letter was issued, No. F827, signed by the Deputy Inspector-General, giving instructions with regard to the disturbance allowance to be given to the disbanded members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and stating that the form which was forwarded must be completed and returned to the Royal Irish Constabulary office within two months of the date of receipt, and that a warning should be conveyed to these men that if they failed to return the form within two months, or gave a satisfactory explanation of the delay, the disturbance allowance would be deducted from their pension; and whether he can say, with reference to his statement on the 10th May, that the period allowed for removal was six months and might possibly be extended, any further instructions have been given to cancel the circular letter of the 1st May?

The hon. and gallant Member is evidently under a misapprehension. As stated in the Terms of Disbandment, the disturbance allowance will be payable on demand at the date of disbandment or at any time within six months thereafter. The circular referred to merely fixes the period after the actual payment of the allowance in each case within which it must be accounted for.

Military Adviser, Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, notwithstanding the fact that the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, reserves all military matters in the six counties of Northern Ireland to this House, a military adviser has been appointed by the Government of Northern Ireland; and whether permission will be given by the Treasury for the payment of this military adviser out of the moneys voted to the Government of Northern Ireland under the Act of 1920?

I understand that the reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. No money has been voted to the Government of Northern Ireland under the Act of 1920, and the second part does not therefore arise.

Relief Grant, Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether, out of the moneys which have been voted for the relief of victims of persecution in Ireland, grants will be made to the Catholic families who have been evicted from their homes in Crumlin Road and other districts of Belfast; is he aware that these Catholic families were ordered out of their homes by gunmen at a moment's notice; that they were attacked and fired upon when trying to remove their furniture, and in some cases the furniture was burned or stolen; and whether these victims of religious persecution will be recompensed for disturbance from their homes and loss of property;(2) whether, out of the moneys which have been allocated for the relief of distress in Northern Ireland, it is the intention to make grants to widows and orphans and dependants of those who have lost their lives since the outbreak of these attacks; and whether instructions to this effect will be given to the Committee who will be dealing with the allocation of these moneys?

The sum of £500,000 for relief work in Northern Ireland referred to in the agreement between the two Irish Governments is to be administered by the Ministry of Labour for Northern Ireland, subject to the proviso that one-third is to be expended for the benefit of Roman Catholics and two-thirds for the benefit of Protestants; and any question as to the administration of this grant should therefore he addressed by the hon. Member to the Minister of Labour in the Parliament of Northern Ireland.

Kenya Colony

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the direct taxation imposed upon the natives of Kenya Colony is now three times what it was before the War, and that import duties have been raised to 20 per cent., ad valorem, and railway rates in some cases 75 per cent.; and will he have inquiries made into the situation?

I am aware that direct and indirect taxation have been considerably increased, as stated in the question. Railway rates have also been increased in varying degrees for different classes of goods. The native hut tax has been reduced this year by 25 per cent., and the question of the general revision of railway rates is now under consideration. The increases of taxation were necessary to meet the cost of administration, which has been greatly and unavoidably increased by causes connected with the War. The whole question of the reduction of expenditure and the revision of taxation is now engaging the attention of a Committee specially appointed for this purpose by the Governor.

Referendum, Southern Rhodesia

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the propos-d referendum in Southern Rhodesia is to be proceeded with; if so, upon what date it will he held; and whether, before the decision of the referendum is carried into effect, an opportunity will be given to the House to discuss and vote upon the question?

The answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's question is in the affirmative, hut I am unable at present to state when the referendum will be held. The inquiry, in the latter part of the question, is one which should be addressed to the Leader of the House.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) to whom the proposed referendum in Southern Rhodesia will be sent; whether the referendum will be made to the whole white community of 30,000; and in what way, if at all, the wishes of the 900,000 natives will be ascertained;(2) whether it is proposed to issue a referendum in Rhodesia with a view to ascertaining the wishes of the population upon its future form of government; and whether the two alternatives in the referendum will be responsible government or incorporation into the Union of South Africa?

As regards a referendum in Southern Rhodesia, the position remains as stated in paragraph 15 of my despatch to the High Commissioner for South Africa of 22nd December last, published in Cmd. 1573, except that the delegation there referred to was duly appointed and has conferred with the Union Government. Legislation will be needed in Southern Rhodesia. before the referendum can be held. It is contemplated that the voters should be those qualified to vote for the election of members of the Legislative Council. The interests of the natives would be safe guarded, according to the result of the referendum, either by the special provisions in the draft Letters Patent, or by the Union Government in the exercise of its responsibility for native affairs.

Takoradi Harbour

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the total expenditure now sanctioned for Takoradi harbour works; and whether the amount sanctioned includes the linking up of railways and contingent undertakings?

The estimated cost of the Takoradi harbour is £1,600,000. This includes the railway to connect the harbour with the existing line, also wharves, sheds, roads and water supply.

Import Duties, Nigeria

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in order to meet increasing expenditure in the Government, services of Nigeria, import duties have been raised still higher against the import of British manufactured goods; and upon how many articles these increased duties have been imposed?

The following alterations in the Nigerian import duties were brought into force as from 28th April, 1922, namely:—

  • (a) The existing ad valorem duties are raised from 12½ to 15 per cent.
  • (b) The following articles are included in the list of articles subject to the ad valorem rate of 15 per cent.: glassware, articles of brass, copper, and zinc manufacture, haberdashery, brooms and brushes, cordage and twine, candles, jewellery and plate, musical instruments, perfumery (other than perfumed spirits), tobacco pipes, prints and engravings, and toys and games.
  • (c) The imposition of a duty of 10 per cent, ad valorem upon. corrugated iron sheets.
  • (d) The imposition of a duty of 15 per cent. ad valorem on provisions which have hitherto been admitted free, viz., bread and biscuits, fish (other than fresh fish), flour, rice, provisions (other than fresh provisions), tea, and sugar.
  • Unemployment


    asked the Minister of Labour whether representations have been made to him that, at the present time, if a man ceases work and becomes unemployed on a Saturday he does not obtain unemployment benefit until the following Friday week, the consequence being, sometimes, that if he has been employed on casual or intermittent work he may, in the meanwhile, be without money and accordingly claim Poor Law relief to meet his urgent needs, and that if he again secures employment in the week following the relief he then obtains both wages and unemployment benefit; and whether he has considered the possibility of adopting some method whereby a sum on account of the unemployment benefit can be granted so as to prevent destitution during the temporary period of unemployment?

    Unemployment benefit is not payable for the first week of a period of unemployment. Ordinarily, therefore, as payment of benefit is made weekly the first payment is made about a fortnight after unemployment commences. It would not be practicable to make advances on account of unemployment benefit.


    asked the Prime Minister the amounts provided by the State during the financial years ending 21st March, 1914, 1920, 1921, and 1922, respectively, for the relief of unemployment?

    I have been asked to reply. For the financial year ending March 31st, 1914, the voted expenditure on unemployment in the United Kingdom (excluding cost of administration) was 1602,000; for the financial year 1919–20, £37,617,000, practically all Out-of-Work Donation; and for the financial year 1920–21, £14,118,636, mainly Out-of-Work Donation. The provision in the Estimates and Supplementary Estimates for the financial year 1921–22 in respect of unemployment (excluding cost of administration) to talled £22,919,175. Very considerable advances were also made from the Road Fund. In addition, the Exchequer loaned to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, during the past financial year, £13,950,000. Furthermore, there is a contingent liability on the State in respect of the Export Credits, and Trade Facilities schemes.


    Expenditure, Scotland

    asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he will give the total estimated expenditure from rates and taxes upon education in Scotland for the current financial year and explain the difference, if any, between such estimate and that portion relating to Scotland of the estimate of £103,000,000 arrived at by the Geddes Committee; and, if the latter estimate be found to be erroneous, whether he will explain in respect of what items and in what behalf such errors are found, or upon what erroneous premisses or principles such estimate is based?

    The figure for which the hon. Member asks is £12,053,000, as against a figure of £12,910,000 arrived at by the Geddes Committee. In both cases the sum allowed for expenditure from rates is £5,000,000 an estimate which must, however, remain conjectural until the Education Authorities have framed their budgets for the financial year beginning 15th May. The difference of £857,000 between the two totals, therefore, represents a reduction in the estimated expenditure from taxes. Apart from a few miscellaneous economies, the whole of this reduction is to be explained by the consequential saving referred to in paragraph 15 of Chapter I of Part II of the Report of the Geddes Committee. I may add that more than one-third of it is contingent upon Parliamentary sanction being given to the proposal now before the House that teachers should contribute towards the cost of their own superannuation.

    Kent Education Committee (Stores Department)

    asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has received protests against the practice of the education committee of the Kent County Council in setting up and enlarging a Stores Department; whether he is aware that this department is conducted at considerable loss to the ratepayers and to the serious injury of private traders, who are well able to supply on an economical commercial basis all the goods required by the education committee; and, in view of the urgent need for economy in all public expenditure, what steps he proposes to take with the Kent education committee to put an end to this method of carrying on its business?

    The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I am not aware that the Stores Department is conducted at a toss, and I have no authority to require the county council to discontinue it.

    Teachers' Salaries (Uncertificated Service)

    asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will take steps to remedy the grievance which a very large number of certificated teachers feel at the Board's refusal to recognise for salary uncertificated service before becoming certificated, a concession which many local authorities have granted in the past and would probably continue to do so if the same carried grant from the Board of Education?

    I do not see my way to recognise service as an uncertificated teacher before certification as certificated teacher service for the purpose of increments on the certificated teacher scale. I may, however, call the hon. Member's attention to the answer which I gave on the 5th April to the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division (Mr. Betterton).

    asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that under paragraph 2 (c) of F.S.D. 4, issued by the Board on the 26th April, 1922, a certificated man teacher, who prior to the date of certification would have been entitled to the maximum salary on the Burnham uncertificated teacher scale, is allowed to enter the Burnham certificated scale at that salary only from 1st April, 1922; and whether he will issue instructions making it clear that all service as a certificated teacher, including that prior to 1st April, 1921, shall be allowed in assessing salary receivable under the Burnham scale?

    I regret that I do not understand the hon. Member's question, and would ask him to supply me with details of the particular case which he has in mind.

    Westminster Road Girls' School, Hoole

    asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to a joint Report made by the medical officers of health for Hoole and Cheshire on 8th March, 1918, respecting the Westminster Road Girls' School, Hoole; and whether, in the interests of the health of the children attending this school, his Department will look into the matter?

    I have been asked to answer this question. The Report of the 8th March, 1918, to which the hon. Member refers, was carefully considered by the Board in January last when it was brought to their notice. In the opinion of the Local Education Authority the alterations recommended were not so urgently required as to necessitate expenditure on them at the present time, and in this view the Board concurred.

    Married Women (Contracts)

    asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the unsatisfactory position of the Law in regard to the contracts of married women, he will introduce legislation to deal with the matter?

    I cannot hold out any prospect of immediate legislation on this subject.

    Dangerous Drugs (Farmers And Stock-Owners)

    asked the Home Secretary what is the number of licences that have been issued under the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1920, to agriculturists who occasionally administer such medicines as veterinary chlorodyne and tincture of opium to an animal; and what fees have been paid for such licences?

    Licences under the Dangerous Drugs Act have not been issued to agriculturists, but under an Order of last August farmers and stock-owners in certain circumstances can obtain a certificate from the Chief Officer of Police which enables them to obtain tincture of opium for use in the treatment of animals. No fee is chargeable for the certificate.

    Prisons Service (Lodging Allowance)

    asked the Home Secretary whether bachelor chief warders and bachelor principal warders in the English prisons service who are compelled to sleep within the prison are paid a weekly allowance of 6s. 6d.; if not, are they allowed to live outside the prison; and, if so, what lodging allowance, if any, do they receive?

    No male chief or principal officer is compelled to live within the prison. Provision is made in prisons for accommodation for bachelors, and if bachelors prefer to live in they form a reserve guard and are paid their pensionable lodging allowance, which is part of their emoluments. If they live outside the prison they draw their pensionable lodging allowance of 10s. a week for a chief officer or 8s. 6d. for a principal officer, which can be increased to 15s. a week in London and 12s. 6d. in the country, on satisfactory evidence that they are paying such amount and cannot obtain accommodation at a cheaper rate.

    Allotments (Scotland) Bill

    asked the Secretary for Scotland if he is now in a position to say definitely when the Scottish Allotments Bill will be introduced?

    Development Commission

    asked the Minister of Agriculture whether any new appointments have been made by the Development Commission during the present year; if so, what are the terms and dates of such appointments; and whether the sanction of the Treasury was obtained?

    The answer to the first part of this question is in the negative. The remainder, therefore, does not arise.


    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Egyptian Cabinet have yet decided on an election; if so, will the people have the right and power to nominate the recent deportees; and, in the event of their election to the assembly, will they be brought back from exile and allowed to take their seats?

    I am not aware that the Egyptian Government have come to any decision regarding an election. The remainder of the question does not therefore arise.

    British Consulate, Iceland

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what was the last occasion on which a representative of the Foreign Office visited Iceland in an official capacity; and what means exist for supervising and overseeing the work of British consular representatives in that island?

    It has never been found necessary to send a representative of the Foreign Office to visit Iceland in an official capacity, but adequate supervision is exercised by the competent Department of the Foreign Office over this as over other consular posts.

    Telephone Service

    asked the Postmaster-General whether his attention has been called to the refusal of the Midland and Great Northern Railways Joint Committee to instal a telephone at Terrington St. Clement Station, in Norfolk, in spite of their receiving an extensively signed petition in favour of such installation and the offer of a guarantee by the local branch of the National Farmers' Union; and whether, in view of the fact that loading at Terrington Station, which serves an intensively cultivated district, is heavy, he will take steps to have a public telephone installed in close proximity to that station without delay?

    I was not aware that an application had been made to the Committee. A public call office could, I think, be provided at the station if a guarantee of about 219 a year were forthcoming, and if a suitable site could he arranged with the Joint Committee.

    asked the Postmaster-General whether there is now any difficulty in dealing promptly with applications for the installation of telephones in private houses, on account of scarcity of materials or other causes; and whether his attention has been called to recent complaints of applications of five or six years' standing that have not been dealt with?

    There is now no scarcity of materials, and generally no difficulty is found in dealing promptly with applications for telephone service; hut there are still a few localities where from various causes it has not been possible yet to complete the cables which are necessary in order to meet the demands any undertaking, but I will arrange for for telephone service. I shall be happy this Bill to be put on the Order Paper as to investigate any ease that is brought to early as possible my notice of an application which has been outstanding for a considerable time.

    Harbours, Docks, And Piers Bill

    asked the Lord Privy Seal when the Second Reading of the Harbours, Docks, and Piers Bill will be taken; and whether he will arrange, in view of the importance attached to it, that it is not taken after 11 o'clock at night?

    We hope to take this on Wednesday next. As regards the last part of the question, I cannot give any undertaking, but I will arrange for this Bill to be put on the Order Paper as early as possible

    Coal Mining Industry (Treasury Payments)

    asked the Prime Minister what amounts were paid during the financial years ending 31st March, 1914, 1920, 1921, and 1922, respectively, in subsidies for coal?

    I have been asked to reply. The sums paid to the coal mining industry exceeded the sums collected from it (other than taxation) by £25,767,443 in 1919/20, £6,240,217 in 1920/21, and £6,873,883 in 1921/22. Nothing was paid in 1913/14.