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Commons Chamber

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 23 May 1922

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House Of Commons

Tuesday, 23rd May, 1922.

The House met at a Quarter before Three of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.

Private Business

Private Bills [ Lords] (Standing Orders not previously inquired into complied with),—Mr. SPEAKER laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bills, originating in the Lords, and referred on the First Reading thereof, the Standing Orders not previously inquired into which are applicable thereto, have been complied with, namely:

Ramsgate Corporation Bill [ Lords].

Shepton Mallet Waterworks Bill [ Lords].

Bills to be read a Second time.

Provisional Order Bills (Standing Orders applicable thereto complied with),—Mr. SPEAKER laid upon the Table Report from one of the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, That, in the case of the following Bills, referred on the First Reading thereof, the Standing Orders which are applicable thereto have been complied with, namely:

Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 7) Bill.

Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No. 8) Bill.

Ministry of Health Provisional Orders (No 9) Bill.

Bills to be read a Second time Tomorrow.

London County Council (Money) Bill,

As amended, to be considered Tomorrow.

South Wales Electrical Power Distribution Company Bill [ Lords],

Read a Second time, and committed.

Great Northern Railway Bill [ Lords] (by Order),

Second Reading deferred till Monday next

Ministry Of Health Provisional Orders (No 10) Bill

"to confirm certain Provisional Orders of the Minister of Health relating to Chester, the Orsett Joint Hospital Board, Wallasey, and Wolverhampton," presented by Sir ALFRED MOND; read the First time; and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, and to be printed. [Bill 129.]

Norfolk Fisheries Provisional Order Bill

"to confirm a Provisional Order under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1907, extending and modifying the Norfolk Fisheries Provisional Order, 1912," presented by Sir ARTHUR BOSCAWEN; read the First time; and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, and to be printed. [Bill 130]

Towy Fisheries Provisional Order Bill

"to confirm a Provisional Order under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1907, relating to the River Towy and other waters," presented by Sir ARTHUR BOSCAWEN; read the First time; and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, and to be printed. [Bill 131.]

Taw And Torridge Fisheries Provisional Order Bill

"to confirm a Provisional Order under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1907, relating to the Rivers Taw and Torridge and other waters," presented by Sir ARTHUR BOSCAWEN; read the First time; and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, and to be printed. [Bill 132.]

Oral Answers To Questions

India

Civil Service

1.

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, considering that, under Schedule 8 of the Government of Ireland Act of 1920, officers in the service of the Crown allowed to retire owing to the change in the conditions of service are allowed to count from five to ten years' service towards the calculation of pension, in addition to the period actually served, for what reason officers of the imperial services of India, allowed to retire owing to the change consequent on the Government of India Act, 1919, are not allowed to count any extra service in the calculation of proportionate pensions; and whether the same concession will now be granted to officers in the Indian services as has been granted to officers of the Crown in Ireland?

The circumstances and conditions provided for by the Government of Ireland Act are not identical with those of Indian officers, and the Secretary of State is not prepared to revise the scales of pension offered to the latter after full deliberation, which are, in fact, more liberal than a strict proportion of length of service would provide.

2.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether the stipulation in the Government of India Resolution of 8th November, 1921, fixing the 31st March, 1924, as the last date up to which application from British members of the Indian services for permission to retire upon proportionate pensions in consequence of the changes under the Government of India Act, 1919, will be received by the local governments in India, is still to be enforced, or whether it will now be withdrawn?

6.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether it is intended to modify the Indian Civil Service special retirement terms so as to render the period allowed to members for deciding whether or not they wish to retire on proportionate pensions coterminous with the time fixed for the probation of the new régime in India?

I am still unable to add anything to the reply I gave, to the hon. Member for Sevenoaks on this matter on 12th April, of which I will send the hon. Members a copy. The Secretary of State has again telegraphed to the Government of India asking them to expedite their recommendations.

3.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the present unwillingness of British candidates to compete for the Indian Civil Services and of the power taken in Section 96 (b) (2) of the Government of India Act to authorise the Indian Legislatures to make laws regulating the conditions of service in the Civil Services of India, the Secretary of State will alter the covenant of the Indian Civil Services so that it shall include all the more important conditions of service including time scale, pay, leave, and pension rules?

I cannot accept as established by such facts and experience as are at present available the first ground for my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion. As regards the second, there is no intention of delegating to Indian Legislatures power to regulate the conditions of service of the All-India services the members of which are appointed by the Secretary of State in Council. The Secretary of State therefore sees no sufficient reason for adopting the suggestion, which would present great technical difficulties.

4.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether it is intended to give any further security than at present exists to that half of a retiring Indian civil servant's pension which is secured upon the revenues of India.

I am not clear what distinction the hon. Baronet intends to draw. Though Indian civil servants were required, until recently, to contribute towards their annuity, the whole of the annuity payable to them is a statutory charge on Indian revenues. On the general question I invite the hon. Baronet's attention to paragraphs 3 and 4 of the published dispatch of the 9th February from the Secretary of State's predecessor to the Government of India, of which I will send him a copy.

Do these rules as regards the pension being a charge on the revenues of India apply to all civil servants?

5.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if he can give the House any information regarding the extent to which the Indian Civil Service has been Indianised in its personnel?

The Government of India reported that in 1921 the proportion of Indians was 13 per cent., since then 38 Indians have been appointed, which would increase the proportion to about 16 per cent.

8.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he received a cable from the Indian Civil Service Central Association at the beginning of April requesting early orders on memorials submitted about two years ago, especially regarding pensions, passages, and allowances; and what action has been taken in the matter?

Yes, Sir. The Government of India have been authorised to inform the memorialists, through the respective local governments, of the decisions taken on all the matters that have been finally settled. As regards outstanding matters, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made in another place by the Secretary of State on 11th April, to which I am not at present in a position to add anything.

9.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what steps have been taken to carry out the expressed intention to compensate the Indian Civil Service for the loss of prestige and prospects stated in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report to be inherent in the reforms; and whether, seeing that the only steps which have so far been taken amount merely to a small revision of pay and that such revision works out to an average of only 8 per cent. increase, and in many cases involves an actual loss, he will say what further compensation or relief it is proposed to give?

I cannot find in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report any statement such as that suggested in the first part of the question. On the contrary, it was stated that higher qualifications than ever will be required of the members of the Indian Civil Service, and for this purpose improvement of the conditions of service was recommended. The revision of pay is not the only step which has been taken; among other concessions, officers will not in future be required to contribute 4 per cent, of their salary towards retiring annuity. As regards further action, I am not in a position to add anything at present to the statement made by the Secretary of State in another place on 11th April.

Is the Noble Lord aware that there is great discontent in the Civil Service and that unless something is done to alleviate that discontent, there will soon be no British members left at all?

I cannot accept what the hon. Member says. I do not think that that is a proper statement to make. The question is not capable of being dealt with by question and answer, and should be more properly dealt with in Debate.

Burma (Constitution)

7.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether the elected members of the Burma, Legislative Council or any other representative body of natives of Burma or of India have asked for communal representation under the new Burma constitution; and, if so, what bodies made any such request?

So far as I am aware, no Burmans have asked for communal representation; and it was not to be expected that they would. The hon. and gallant Member, as a Member of the Standing Joint Committee, will very shortly be made aware of all the reasons why it is proposed to provide special representation for four communities other than the Burmese in the new constitution, and I am hopeful that he will be convinced that the proposal is necessary.

Has the Noble Lord taken any steps to convince the Government of India in the same direction?

My hon. and gallant Friend will have an opportunity at the Standing Joint Committee tomorrow of subjecting me to a long and an extensive cross-examination, which I hope he will find both pleasurable and profitable. I prefer to answer further questions on that occasion.

Ireland

Ex-Service Men

12.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on 8th May every ex-service man employed in the Army departments in Southern Ireland received a notice stating that he will be liable to discharge on a week's notice at the end of one month after the date of the notice of 8th May; and whether the men so discharged will receive any pensions or gratuities or be transferred to England, as recommended by the General Officer Commanding in Chief in Ireland on 16th January last?

I have not seen the terms of the notices referred to, but I am aware that such notices have been given by the local military authorities in Ireland. These notices are not specially applicable to ex-service mien, but have been given to all civilians for whom local War Department employment cannot be found under the new conditions, with the object of affording them as much opportunity as possible of seeking new employment. I trust that a large number of those concerned, and especially of those who have been employed continuously since before the War, can be absorbed in vacancies elsewhere than in Ireland, and all steps consistent with economy and with fairness to other employés of the Department are being taken to that end. I regret that, as regards special pecuniary assistance, I am not in a position to make any statement.

Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the desirability of giving employment in England under the War Office to ex-service men in Ireland who will be without any protection and probably lose their lives if they remain in Ireland?

My answer indicates that, so far as possible, that will be done. I have, however, to take into account the fact that there are ex-service men in England and that employment of that sort is being reduced.

Where these ex-service men in Ireland cannot be absorbed, will they be dealt with by the Committee presided over by the hon. and gallant Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare)?

If they come within the terms of reference to that Committee.

Will it be possible for these men to be brought to England for disbandment, and not disbanded in Ireland, having regard to the great risks in that country?

I do not think that all of them would run those risks. If their cases are put before the Committee referred to they can be taken into consideration.

In view of the impossibility of these ex-service men getting employment in Southern Ireland in present conditions, will the right hon. Gentleman do his best to transfer them to England where they can get employment?

I have already answered that, so far as the limited employment in my power is concerned, that is being done.

48.

asked the Prime Minister what special measures the Government have in view for the future subsistence of men of the Army, Navy, and Air Forces, and the Royal Irish Constabulary who are displaced by the Government policy of financial retrenchment or Irish government; and, especially, whether, pending the passage of the Empire Settlement Bill, the Government will provide these officers and men and their families with free passages to any part of the Empire overseas and invite the overseas governments to co-operate in their settlement under the most favourable possible conditions?

In the case of the officers and men in the Army and Navy who are discharged in consequence of the reductions in those forces the Government has decided to grant special compensation terms. Particulars are contained in the Fleet and Army Orders which were recently published in the Press.

In addition the Admiralty and the War Office will render all possible assistance to discharged officers and men who desire to obtain fresh employment In the case of the Air Force, no discharges have proved to be necessary. The special steps taken to meet the case of the R.I.C. have been explained in recent answers to Parliamentary questions and are described in Command Paper 1618A.

As regards the second part of the question, I trust that the passage of the Empire Settlement Bill will enable schemes to be framed at an early date for co-operation with the Dominions which will secure the object indicated by my hon. Friend. In the meantime, everything possible is being done to assist those who desire to proceed overseas forthwith. Special arrangements have been made to enable members of the Royal Irish Constabulary to commute part of their pensions to meet the cost of their passages, and temporary arrangements are being made with some of the Oversea Governments to find them employment overseas.

Barracks And Camps

19.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can give the total number of barracks, the property of the Crown, that under the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act have been handed over to the Southern Ireland Ministry of Defence, together with the number of camps and training grounds such as the Curragh and Kilworth; and has he now been able to form a rough estimate of the value of such buildings and of the acreage and value of the training camps?

No barracks, camps or training grounds have yet been transferred, but as evacuation proceeds a number of properties are being placed in the hands of the Provisional Government for custody pending settlement as to which of them shall be formally taken over, and on what terms.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the other day the Curragh was taken over, and that Kilworth was taken over months ago, and does he say that these great properties, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, have been handed over without provision for repayment?

I mean exactly what my answer says, that they have been placed in the hands of the Provisional Government for custody, pending settlement as to which of them shall be formally taken over, and on what terms.

Supposing there is no settlement arrived at, what is to happen to the camps?

Then my hon. and gallant Friend had better repeat his question.

Kidnapped British Officers

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the precise terms of the representations which have been.made to the Provisional Government for Southern Ireland with regard to the three British officers and private who were kidnapped last month; and what action has so far been taken by the Provisional Government to ascertain the fate of these four British citizens in the pay of the Crown?

34.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether there is as yet any news of the three officers and one private kidnapped at Macroom; if not, what steps are being taken by the Provisional Government to ascertain their fate; whether the Government have reason to think that they are still alive; and can their names now be given?

I will answer this question and No. 34 together. I regret that I am still without information in regard to the fate of these men, but it is obviously undesirable, and could serve no useful purpose, for me to disclose the precise terms of the representation made to the Provisional Government, or the exact steps taken by the Provisional Government in pursuance of their investigations. I must ask the House to accept my assurance that everything possible is being done by His Majesty's Government in the matter. The names of those kidnapped are as follow:—

  • Lieutenant R. A. Hendy, Royal Warwickshire Regiment;
  • Lieutenant G. R. A. Dove, 2nd Hampshire Regiment;
  • Lieutenant K. R. Henderson, M.C., 2nd The Green Howards; and
  • Private J. Brooks, Royal Army Service Corps.

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the third part of the question—whether the Government have reason to think that these officers and one man are still alive?

I am afraid that those British authorities in Ireland to whom we handed the matter and who have been endeavouring to trace these officers, have maintained a growing depression of hope of that.

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give the House some information as to what has happened to the motor-car these officers were in, or what was the last news the Government officials had with regard to these officers? Great anxiety is felt in the matter.

Every effort is being made by His Majesty's Government to have the matter unravelled, and every effort will continue to be made.

Having regard to the grave danger incurred by soldiers returning to Ireland to their homes, will the right hon. Gentleman postpone the disbandment of the Irish regiments?

If, unhappily, it proves that these unfortunate officers and this man, have been murdered, will compensation be paid to their relatives; and, if so, who will find the money—the British taxpayer or the Provisional Government?

I have received a letter from the Provisional Government in regard to the expenses which are to be disbursed on behalf of refugees from Ireland now in this country, in which the Provisional Government express appreciation of the fact that the British Government has undertaken this task in the first instance, and complete readiness to defray the expenses on their part. I am. certain, if no serious turn takes place in the general relations between the two Governments, that matters of this kind must be dealt with and will be dealt with, if not by one Government, certainly by the other.

Has the right hon. Gentleman received a strong opinion from a source not likely to be misinformed, that there officers were murdered immediately after they were taken?

What has the Provisional Government done in regard to these officers? Have they taken any really effective steps to find out what happened to them?

They have done everything in their power, as far as I have been able to ascertain, but the part of the country in which these murders—if murders there have been—took place, is a part of the country which has been completely out of their control; they have not had the least control or authority there.

In that connection, will the right hon. Gentleman consider my suggestion as to not disbanding these men at present?

These are not disbanded men; they are officers who were on active service.

I know that, but is it not the fact that the Irish regiments are to be disbanded very shortly; and should this matter not be considered?

Bloomhill National School (Seizure)

88.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if his attention has been drawn to the seizure of the National School at Bloomhill, Shannon-bridge, King's County; whether he is aware that the parents have been forbidden to send their children to this school again; whether this action constitutes a breach of Article 16 of the Articles of Agreement with Southern Ireland; and, if so, will he make representations to the Provisional Government on this subject?

I am inquiring into this matter, and shall be glad if the hon. and gallant Member will repeat the question one day next week.

British Army

Officers (Compulsory Retirement)

13, 14 and 15.

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he is aware that the present method of compulsory retirement of officers under the Geddes Committee Report presses very hardly on officers who, as a result of ser- vice during the recent War, were partially disabled but who nevertheless would normally have been retained in the Army; that it presses particularly hardly on officers who, owing to their high efficiency, have not been recommended for discharge under the least desirable for retention clause; if he will consider the desirability of setting up a Select Committee to consider and report upon the most equitable system of compensation;

(2) if, as a result of the Geddes Committee Report, officers are being retired on half-pay for five years on the grounds that, although fit for the time being, they would probably not be able to stand the strain of active service; what compensation is it proposed to pay these officers for their compulsory retirement on grounds not previously anticipated by either of the contracting parties;

(3) if, as a result of the Geddes Committee Report, certain officers are being compulsorily retired, on the grounds that though efficient, they are least desirable for retention; and if it is proposed to pay them compensation on the same basis as is paid to officers compulsorily retired, on the grounds that, though efficient, they would probably not be able to stand the strain of active service?

In connection with the reduction of the Army following upon the Geddes Committee, officers are being retired in two ways—

First, for permanent medical unfitness for general service. This is a reversion to a normal rule of the Service, which had been temporarily in abeyance in the years following the War in view of the abnormal demand for trained officers. Those whose unfitness arises from service in the War are entitled to benefit under the Regulations of the Ministry of Pensions, but not to the special compensation terms approved for the second class.

Second, by selection of those officers who are least desirable for retention though not inefficient. These officers, who are leaving the Army solely on account of the reduction of establishment, receive the special terms.

These matters have already been fully considered and approved by His Majesty's Government, and I see no necessity for a Select Committee. If the hon. and gallant Member is still in doubt as to the operation of the rules in any particular case, perhaps he will give me more precise particulars of it.

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that many officers are being compulsorily retired on the medical ground that though they are fit for immediate service they would not stand active service? If that be so, would it not be possible for my hon. and gallant Friend to give an assurance that all officers fit for service compulsorily retired, should have the alternative of receiving the same compensation as is paid to officers retired on the least desirable for retention clause?

That is what I want my hon. and gallant Friend to give me more precise information about. When he does so, I will have, careful inquiry made and give a proper answer.

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman let officers know as soon as possible that they are to be retired, as many have received offers of employment which they have not accepted because they did not know?

That is why we are taking steps to let them know as soon as we possibly can.

Would officers who are efficient and willing to retire he entitled to compensation if they retire?

If the hon. and gallant Gentleman puts a question on the Paper it will be answered.

18.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether any provision is made whereby officers with less than ten years' service who may retire voluntarily at this period under the terms of Army Order 179–180 of 1922, can receive the proportion of their gratuity due after ten years' service under Army Order 325 of 1919, seeing that the compensation under the 1922 Orders is greater and to the advantage of those compulsorily retired?

11.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether permission will be given to all officers in the Army, as has been given to officers in the Navy, to volunteer to leave the Service with compensation according to the terms published; and, if not, whether he will state the reason for this differentiation of treatment?

The terms published are compensation for officers whose careers in the Army are compulsorily terminated solely by reason of the reductions in the establishment of the Army. It is not intended to make them applicable to officers who voluntarily retire, for whom the ordinary conditions and terms remain open. I cannot speak as regards Naval conditions, but as regards the Army it is considered that its best interests will be served by selecting for retirement those whose retention is least essential.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think it rather hard on the efficient officer who is willing to go that he should be treated less generously than the inefficient officer who is compulsorily retired?

It would be hard on the Army if it lost the services of that officer.

Has the right hon. Gentleman been in consultation with the Admiralty on this matter in order to arrive at parity of policy?

Parity of policy is possible only where there is parity of service, and there is no parity of service in these cases.

Territorial Army (Decorations)

20.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether steps can be taken which will entitle an officer's service in the South African War to count equally with service in the recent War when qualifying for the Territorial decoration?

No, Sir; I am not prepared to recommend that the concession granted in respect of the Great War should he made retrospective.

Medals (Private J Davidson)

16.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a demand has been made by the Records Office, Hamilton, to the governor of Dysart combination poorhouse for the return of the medals awarded to the late Private J. Davidson, No. 14,028, King's Own Scottish Borderers, on the ground that the deceased gallant soldier died intestate and was of illegitimate birth that the late Private J. Davidson, who volunteered for service, was born in Dysart combination poorhouse; that he never had any other home; and that the medals and King's scroll awarded to him were framed and hung in the board room of the institution and highly prized by the officials there and will he state on what authority and for what purpose the return of the medals is now demanded?

I am inquiring into this case, and will communicate further with my hon. Friend.

Territorial Army (Recruiting)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for War what progress has been made in the enrolment of Territorials during the first four months of the present year, and whether, if he does not regard it as satisfactory, what steps he proposes to take to further popularise the force?

The intake of recruits during the period in question was 15,860. This is not regarded as unsatisfactory, but, compared with other parts of the country, recruiting in London is not good, and steps are being taken to endeavour to remedy this.

Crown Colonies (Loans)

21 & 22.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what was the gross total revenue and expenditure of all the British Crown Colonies for the years 1913–14 and 1920–21; what loans and for what total sum have been issued on the London market for the development of Crown Colonies for the 10 years prior to the War and since the War, respectively; what is the estimated total value of money represented by the applications of Crown Colonies to issue loans on the London market with the consent of the Colonial Office;

(2) what were the figures for each of the Crown Colonies, showing their separate budget surplus or deficiency for 1921; which of the Crown Colonies have a scale of expenditure on administration which is met by revenue; whether the Crown agents, in consultation with the Colonial Office, anticipate the issue of a loan on the London market in the near future that will enable two or more Crown Colonies to combine in making the issue; and whether there are any Crown Colonies which find themselves held up in their development for lack of free assets to offer as security for a loan?

As the answers to both these questions are necessarily long, and include statistics, I will, with my right hon. Friend's permission, circulate the replies in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the replies:

The total revenue of the Colonies and Protectorates for the last financial year before the War amounted to £26,355,644 and the total expenditure to £26,187,187; for the financial year 1920 or 1920–21 the

STATEMENT OF REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE, 1921–22.
Financial Year.Revenue.Expenditure.
Gibraltar (Jan.-Dec.)£217,002

*£216,917

Gambia (Jan.-Dec.)£207,813

*£173,117

Sierra Leone (Jan.-Dec.)£1,030,235

*£955,915

Gold Coast (April-March)£2,604,300

*£2,896,790

Nigeria† (April-March)£4,557,401£6,806,000
Kenya (April-Dec.)£1,828,644

*£1,828,644

Ceylon (Oct. 20-Oct. 21)Rs. 70,421,700Rs. 82,179,673
Mauritius (July 20-July 21)Rs. 25,650,000Rs. 22,250,000
Seychelles (Jan.-Dec.)Rs. 574,015Rs. 592,349
St. Helena (Jan.-Dec.)£7,029£11,757
Straits Settlements Jan.-Dec.)‡$34,699,735$41,389,910
Hong Kong (Jan.-Dec.)§$ 16,590,519$16,111,990
Fiji (Jan.-Dec.)£624,025

*£497,543

Gilbert and Ellice Islands (April-March)£49,105

*£46,663

Jamaica (April-March)£1,950,230

*£1,996,712

Leeward Islands (April-March)£278,639

*£266,125

Windward Island- (Jan.-Dec.)£297,575

*£286,404

British Guiana (Jan. Dec.)║$5,450,703

*$5,026,001

Trinidad (Jan.-Dec.)£1,775,965

*£1,729,531

Falkland Islands (Jan.-Dec.)£29,945

*£37,411

British Honduras (April-March)║$1,006,271

*$964,500

*"Ordinary" expenditure only.

†Revised estimate.
‡Straits dollars = 2s. 4d. Deficit met from savings.
$Hong Kong dollars (fluctuating).
║U.S.A. dollars

Native Lands (Alienation)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has yet received information

revenue amounted to £52,513,296 and the expenditure to £54,779,503; during the years 1904-14 the total loans issued by Colonial Governments amounted to £26,565,000—since 1914 to £37,980,000 including the loan just being issued on behalf of the Straits Settlements. I do not think it would be in the public interest to state what further loan issues are in contemplation.

I annex a statement showing as nearly as possible the budget figures for 1921 for the Colonies which do not possess responsible government. The answer to the second part of the question, if I understand it correctly, is that all Colonies are still able to meet their ordinary administration expenses out of revenue if extraordinary expenditure is not taken into account.

The answer to the third part of the question is in the negative. As regards the fourth part, it is not the practice to issue Colonial loans secured on particular assets, and the answer is, therefore, none.

as to the area of lands in native occupation alienated to white men since 1914?

The despatch from the Governor has not yet been received, but is expected very shortly.

Imperial Preference (Jamaica)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Government of Jamaica has published in the West Indian and Canadian Press for general information his despatch of 9th March on the proposal to continue for 10 years the preference on goods at present entitled to preferential rates on importation into Great Britain; and whether the despatch will be laid before this Parliament forthwith, together with any replies that may have been received from Colonial Governors?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The despatch in question was sent to the Colonial Governments with a view to publication, and it will be laid before the House as early as possible. A notification has been received from the Governments of Jamaica and Barbados that publication has taken place; but no other replies have yet been received.

Is it proposed to consult the House of Commons before committing future Governments—a change is expected—to a fiscal policy for ten years?

I certainly hold that the Government has not gone beyond what is usual in matters of this kind. It is desirable that the Colonies should have some assurance of a continuance of conditions.

Does the right hon. Gentleman think it is quite fair, because for the moment there is a tremendous Protectionist majority in the House, that they should bind future Governments for ten years?

The hon. and gallant Gentleman, who is to form a part of the Government of the future, will be perfectly free, of course, in this, as in other matters, to break faith with the Colonies.

Kenya (Natives, Registration)

25.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Government of Kenya Colony is now spending £250,000 per annum upon Native pass laws; whether this includes registration and taking the finger-prints of all adult males of the Colony; and whether, in view of the financial difficulties of the dependency, he will consult the governor as to the advisability of abolishing this unproductive expenditure?

There are no native pass laws in Kenya, but there is a system in force by which every native is required to register himself and to carry his certificate upon his person. The provision in the current year's Estimate for the registration of natives amounts to 214,209, and for the Finger Print Bureau to £6,775. The system of registration is held by many competent authorities to be of considerable value to the natives themselves, and I cannot admit that the expenditure on it is unproductive. The expenditure will come under review by the committee appointed by the Governor to inquire into the whole question of administrative expenditure, and I am not prepared to anticipate their recommendations.

It is certainly of great advantage that there should be some means of identifying individual natives. It is part of the necessary process for developing and organising the country.

Is it not part of the necessary process of enslaving the native worker?

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of extending this system to Members of the Coalition?

Gold Coast (Cocoa)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, seeing that the Agricultural Department of the Gold Coast has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that the low price now being paid to the natives for cocoa is endangering the entire industry, and that in the most recent report the Department expresses the view that unless some change takes place the cocoa industry may become a thing of the past, he is prepared to fake any action in the matter?

The report to which the hon. Member refers was dated 7th June of last year. So far, there are no signs of any failure of the industry. The export of cocoa for 1921 was 133,000 tons, as against. 124,000 tons in 1920, and indications point to an even larger export during the current year. The only action which seems possible is to induce the farmers to improve their present imperfect methods of cultivating and preparing the crop—which are part of the cause of low prices; and this is being done.

East And West Africa (Hides, Export Trade)

27.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement as to the effect on the trade in hides, both in East and West Africa, of the export duties imposed upon these products?

The export duty on hides in Kenya has been imposed for many years, and the recent set-back in the export of hides is probably due in the main to the general trade depression rather than to the export duty, which was of strictly moderate amount. In order, however, to do what is possible to encourage the trade, it has been decided to suspend the export duty until the end of 1922. As regards the export trade in hides in Nigeria, I do not think I can do better than refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 161 to 174 of the Report of the Committee on Trade and Taxation for British West Africa (Cmd. 1,600). There is no export duty on hides in the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone or the Gambia.

Palestine

Arab Delegation

29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has had an opportunity of conferring with the Moslem-Christian Arab delegation at present visiting England; whether the delegation have fully represented to him their attitude towards the Government of Palestine; and whether in view of the importance of the questions at issue, he will make a statement to the House, or issue a Report, regarding his conference with this delegation?

The reply to the first and second parts of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the third part of the question, I am not in a position at present to make any statement.

In view of the presence in this country of the High Commissioner and also of the envoy from the Vatican, will the right hon. Gentleman call these people together and try to come to a decision on the Palestine question?

I am not prepared to make any statement now. I have seen these gentlemen on several occasions, and have also consulted the High Commissioner. The main settlement of this matter must take place in Palestine on the spot.

Does it not do a great deal of harm to allow people to disseminate, rightly or wrongly, propaganda?

My hon. Friend is in a position to give rather than to receive information on that subject.

Vatican Mission

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the attitude adopted by the Vatican towards the Government's policy in Palestine; and whether an envoy from the Vatican will shortly arrive in London charged with a special mission to the Government on this matter?

The Vatican are apprehensive as to the adequate protection in Palestine of the rights of Catholic and other Christian confessions, and are distrustful of the Zionist position. No official information has been received regarding the second part of the question.

Has the hon. Gentleman or the Secretary for the Colonies seen the very offensive statement made by Monsignor Barlassina, Roman Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, concerning his Excellency the Governor and Administrator of Palestine, and will steps be taken to contradict these allegations?

Iraq

Oil Concessions

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any explorations or drilling for oils is proceeding in Iraq, and with what result; what companies or persons are engaged in this work; whether any oil concessions have actually been granted; and, if so, to whom?

For answers to the first and second parts of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which was given him on 9th May. As to the third and fourth parts of the question, no concession in respect of oil in Iraq have been granted since the British occupation. The Turkish Petroleum Company claim to have certain rights granted to them by the Turkish Government before the War in respect of all oil deposits (other than those in the transferred territories) in the Bagdad and Mosul vilayets.

Is this not a very unsatisfactory explanation, in view of the fact that were told there were rich oil deposits that would pay us our expenditure, and should not something be done?

British Mandate

33.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether King Feisal and the Iraq Ministry have informed Sir Percy Cox that the people of Iraq have refused the British Mesopotamian Mandate?

Shops Act

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a comprehensive Bill to amend the Shops Acts has been promised for some time; and whether he proposes to introduce such a Bill this Session?

I am aware of the need for comprehensive legislation on the subject, but as stated in reply to recent questions in this House, I do not contemplate the introduction of amending legislation during the present Session.

Mounted Police

36.

asked the Home Secretary the number of mounted police in this country for each year from 1913 to date, and the number of motor cycles and cars in use by the police covering the same years?

The information desired is not available in the Home. Office, and I would not feel justified in present circumstances in imposing upon local authorities the labour involved in preparing special returns.

Taxi-Cab Fares

37.

asked the Home Secretary whether he has received any communication from any society, association, or union that represents the travelling public to the effect that the fares for travelling by taxi-cab should be reduced in view of the fall in running and operating expenses; and what answer has he been able to make?

I have received a communication to the effect stated from the National Citizens Union, and have told them in reply that I was considering the matter.

Probation Of Offenders Act

38.

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the statement contained in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Probation Officers, that out of 1,034 courts of summary jurisdiction in England and Wales there are still, 14 years after the principal Act was passed, no less than 215 courts without a probation officer, the Government will state what steps they propose to take to enforce the proper carrying out of this Act?

The use of the procedure provided by the Probation of Offenders Act and the appointment of probation officers rests with the magistrates. The Home Office has on several occasions drawn their attention to the desirability of releasing offenders on probation in all suitable cases and urged the appointment of probation officers, and I propose to send to every Bench a copy of the Report of the recent Departmental Committee. I hope also that the Advisory Committee which, in accordance with the recommendation in the Report, it is proposed to appoint, will be able to assist greatly in the development of the probation system in this country.

Factory Acts

39.

asked the Home Secretary whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce this Session a Bill to amend the Factory Acts?

It is not proposed to introduce a Bill to amend the Factory Acts this Session.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware this reform is greatly overdue; and that it was promised last Session and the Session before that?

Yes, Sir, I am aware that it is overdue, but I am afraid it is not possible to introduce it this Session.

Inspector Of Factories (Report)

40.

asked the Home Secretary when the Report of His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Factories will be presented to Parliament?

I much regret to state that the Chief Inspector, Mr. Graves, died suddenly last Sunday and his death may somewhat delay the Report. He had, however, brought it near completion, and the further revision still required will be carried out as speedily as possible. The House will perhaps allow me to take this opportunity of paying a public tribute to the distinguished services rendered by Mr. Graves during a long official career in many capacities and not least in connection with the "national service" administration during the War. He will be much missed in the Home Office.

Poisons

41.

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to a case of strychnine poisoning by misadventure in which one of His Majesty's judges suggested that mistakes of this kind could be obviated if it was enacted that all poisons should be of definite and distinctive colours; and, if so, whether he will consider the desirability of issuing Regulations under the Poisons Act or otherwise to carry the suggestion into effect?

I am advised that the Regulations for the keeping of poisons direct them to be "kept in a room or cupboard set apart" for the purpose, and that the observance of this rule should in ordinary circumstances render such occurrences impossible. Inquiries are being made of the Pharmaceutical Society as to the practicability of employing definite and distinctive colours for poisons, and if a favourable report is received the possibility of making new Regulations under the Poisons and Pharmacy Acts will be considered.

Motor Parks (London Streets)

42.

asked the Home Secretary whether he can state clearly, for the guidance of motorists, exactly where motor vehicles may be parked in the London streets; whether he can ensure that the police have clear and intelligible instructions and are able to inform anyone who may seek information on the point; and whether he will consider the appointment of a Committee to deal with the question in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport?

As parking places are fixed in the central parts of London, particulars are sent to the Press for general information, and are also supplied to clubs, business premises, etc., in the area affected for the information of persons calling there. Police in the neighbourhood concerned have full instructions on the subject, and will inform inquirers. There is already in existence a small Police Committee, which includes a Member of Parliament.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the police are unaware of the instructions which, according to the information supplied to him, have been issued, as to where motor cars may be parked, and that, for some reason, members of the public are kept chasing about all over the place to find their cars?

I am not aware of that. If the Noble Lord will give me any information as to this being the case I will inquire into it.

Ex-Service Men (Orkney And Shetland)

43.

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether, in view of the fact that no land settlements have yet been effected for ex-service men in Orkney while 165 are on the waiting list, that only 46 settlements have been made in Shetland where there are still 203 applicants, and having regard to the great hardship and loss to which these men and their families are being subjected, and also in view of the intense feeling of indignation caused by the delay in arranging settlements, he will take steps to ensure that settlements in both counties are now completed without further delay?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply to his questions on the 16th instant given by my right hon. Friend in which he informed him that schemes for the settlement of ex-service men in Orkney and Shetland have reached an advanced stage. The normal term of outgoing in these counties is Martinmas and the Board of Agriculture for Scotland are making every effort to put the schemes referred to into operation at Martinmas next.

Post Office

Advisory Council

44.

asked the Postmaster-General if he will state whom he has selected to represent the agricultural interest upon the business Advisory Committee at the Post Office?

I have appointed Lieut.-Colonel Rouse Orlebar, of Hinwick House, near Wellingborough, a member of the Post Office Advisory Council.

Wireless Broadcasting

60.

asked the Postmaster-General on what principle and subject to what conditions licences for wireless broadcasting stations are given to industrial concerns; and whether he will name the concerns, if any, to which licences have been or are to be given?

I am not yet in a position to furnish the information required by the hon. and gallant Member. As he was informed on the 18th instant, a statement will be made on the subject as soon as the conditions are definitely settled. The manufacturers concerned are meeting to-day with a view to formulating proposals for my consideration.

National Federation Of Postal And Telegraph Clerics

61.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the National Federation of Postal and Telegraph Clerks has a London membership of 3,350 sorters and 1,200 telegraphists and counter clerks out of 7,200 sorters and 4,000 telegraphists and counter clerks; that the total membership of the federation in the country is 7,000 out of an estimated 10,000 organised sorting clerks and telegraphists; and that the aims of the federation are strictly constitutional and non-political; and whether, in view of these facts, he will officially recognise this federation?

The local branches of the federation are already officially recognised at those London offices at which they represent as many as one third of the staff employed. Representations have recently been made to me as regards further recognition in London, particularly in connection with the Whitley Committees; and I am considering the matter at the present moment. As regards the provinces, my information is that the federation only represents a negligible proportion of the total provincial Post Office indoor staff; and I do not feel justified in recognising them as entitled to speak on behalf of this staff, which is already represented by a recognised association. It is obviously inconvenient for two associations to represent the same grade of employés.

Town Sub-Office, Eastbourne

62.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that, as the result of the transfer of the head post office at Eastbourne to a less convenient situation, a town sub-office has been created in the centre of the principal shopping thoroughfare, midway between the railway station and the sea, and that this office, which is staffed by a sub-postmistress and four women clerks, who are paid at a rate considerably below the scale received by the established staff at the head office, deals with a volume of work out of all proportion to its character; and whether, having regard to the importance of the office and to the desirability of providing adequate facilities in a central position, he will convert the present town sub-office into a branch office?

Cable Communication, Stornoway

63.

asked the Postmaster-General when the cable communication between Stornoway and the mainland is likely to be restored?

A cable ship is about to start on an expedition which will include the repair of the cable between Stornoway and the mainland. There are several other cables to be repaired en route, but with favourable weather conditions it is anticipated that it will be possible to repair the Stornoway cable within three weeks or a month. Meanwhile a service is being maintained with the Outer Hebrides by means of the wireless stations at Tobermory and Lochboisdale.

Collection And Delivery (Costs)

66.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he can give the average cost of collection and delivery of a parcel, a letter, and a postcard in the United Kingdom?

The present average cost of the collection, handling, conveyance, and delivery of a parcel, a letter, and a postcard, respectively, in the United Kingdom, is at present approximately, a parcel, 1s. 1½d.; a letter, 1⅙d.; a postcard, 1d.

Germany (Reparation Bonds)

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether the three issues of reparation bonds by Germany, which were to have been delivered last year, were in fact delivered, or whether this scheme has fallen through; and, if not, when it is proposed to issue the first series of bonds?

German Government bonds in respect of the three series provided for in the Schedule of Payments were duly delivered by the German Government and are held by the Reparation Commission.

I must have misunderstood the hon. and gallant Member's question. I thought he was referring to the German Government bonds.

Ministry Of Defence

46.

asked the Prime Minister who are the members of the Committee appointed to investigate the practicability of a Ministry of Defence and who is the chairman; and when and where will the meetings be held?

As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his speech on the 1st March, the question raised by the suggestion in the Report of the Geddes Committee for a Ministry of Defence is to come up for consideration by the Committee of Imperial Defence.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Appeal Cases

68.

asked the Minister of Pensions the number of pension appeal cases heard before the pensions appeal tribunal in Nottingham on Tuesday, 16th March, 1922, together with the decision in each case?

I have been asked to reply. The number of appeals dealt with on Tuesday, 16th March, 1922, before the tribunal sitting at Nottingham was nine. Of these, three were allowed, one was adjourned, and the remainder were disallowed.

69.

asked the Minister of Pensions the total number of appeal cases heard by the pensions appeal tribunals during the year ending December, 1921, together with a summary of the decisions?

I have been asked to reply. The total number of appeal cases heard by the pensions appeal tribunals for England and Wales during the year ending 31st December, 1921, was 36,329. Of these, 9,877 were allowed, 26.141 disallowed, and 311 were withdrawn by the appellants.

67.

asked the Minister of Pensions the number of appeal cases that have been heard from the West of Scotland by the pensions appeal tribunal, during the year 1921 and for the first three months of the present year; and will he state the number that have been allowed?

I have been asked to reply to this question. I would refer the hon. Member to the answers given by my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General to similar questions on 14th and 16th March last. For the reasons given by my right hon. Friend, I regret that I cannot undertake to give the figures desired by the hon. Member.

Norfolk Regiment (Late Private C Calver)

70.

asked the Minister of Pensions if his attention has been drawn to the case of Mr. Charles Calver, Wattlefield, Wymondham, Norfolk, father of the late Private Charles Calver, No. 7037, Norfolk Regiment, who was killed in November, 1914, who has been refused a pension on the grounds that he was not dependent. on his son prior to mobilisation: whether he is aware that the soldier supported his father both in civil and military life, and regularly sent home money and other gifts; and whether he will have further inquiries made into the matter?

The decision in this case was made after careful inquiries had failed to produce any evidence of pre-War dependence. My right hon. Friend will, however, be glad to consider any information to the contrary which my hon. Friend may have.

Is it not a fact that this man's son supported him until a fortnight of his death?

My information is that no allotment was made by the late soldier while he was on service, and no separation allowance was paid. It is not a ease for making an allowance.

If my hon. Friend can give me any information to establish this man's claim, I shall be grateful to him. I hope he will send it.

Asia Minor (Turks And Christian Minorities)

47.

asked the Prime Minister whether any reply has been received from the Government of the Angora National Assembly to the proposal of His Majesty's Government to send Allied officers to investigate alleged atrocities against the Greek population whether His Majesty's Government have considered inviting neutral officers, other than Americans, to make these investigations, in view of the fact that a technical state of war still exists between the Allies and Turkey whether the Government of the French Republic is sending a Commission to the Smyrna region to investigate alleged atrocities committed by the Greeks against the Turkish population; and whether His Majesty's Government will be represented on that Commission?

Pending the receipt of a reply from the American Government to the proposals of His Majesty's Government, no formal request for facilities for the proposed Commission has yet been addressed to the Angora National Assembly. The latter have unofficially informed the Italian Government that they are prepared to accept the proposed Commission, but they appear to have attached certain conditions to this acceptance. The United States Government has never been in a State of war with Turkey and is therefore a neutral Government; the inclusion in the Commission of officers of any other neutral state does not form part of the proposals of His Majesty's Government.

With regard to the dispatch of a Commission to the Smyrna area, I would refer to the replies which I gave to my Noble Friend the Member for Hitchin on the 17th instant. His Majesty's Government have no information regarding the dispatch of any independent Commission to the Smyrna area by the French Government, and the last part of the question does not therefore arise.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the American Commission in Eastern Turkey, right or wrongly, are accused of complicity in risings—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up!"]—and therefore they are not looked upon as neutral in this matter, and will His Majesty's Government consider that position?

I am afraid I did not catch the opening remarks of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but if the American Government is not regarded as neutral in any quarter, I do not know what that quarter is, and I am quite certain that the opinion of the American Government, or of American officers, is the opinion which perhaps, after that of our own British officers, would carry the greatest conviction to the people of this country.

Local Authorities (Treasury Grants Committee)

50.

asked the Chancellor of the. Exchequer whether he is now in a position to give the names of the persons constituting the Committee which is to inquire into the method of making Treasury grants to local authorities?

The Committee will be constituted as follows:

  • The right hon. Lord Meston, K.C.S.I., LL.D., Chairman.
  • The right hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. A. Henderson).
  • The hon. and gallant Member for Uxbridge (Colonel Peel).
  • The hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham).
  • The hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Hinds).
  • The hon. Member for North-East Derbyshire (Mr. Holmes).
  • The hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Kidd).
  • Sir Harry Haward.

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us when this Committee is likely to report?

Entertainments Duty (Cricket Clubs)

53.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revenue was derived last year from the Entertainments Duty on subscriptions to county cricket clubs; and what was the cost of collection?

The Revenue collected from particular classes of entertainment cannot be stated as the Duty may be paid by the purchase of Government stamps or tickets and the use to which such stamps or tickets are put is not known. As regards the latter part of the question, the cost of collecting particular Customs and Excise Duties cannot be given separately, still less that of collecting such duties as far as they affect special interests, as the work is mainly carried out by a common staff.

Is it possible to ascertain the numbers of members of cricket clubs who are liable to the Entertainments Duty, and will not the hon. Gentleman reconsider the whole question of having a more suitable method of raising revenue than by this unjust tax?

As to the first part of the question, I fear the information at the disposal of the Board would not enable them to give that figure. As to the second part, that is a question of policy, on which, no doubt, there will be opportunities for discussion later in the Session.

Imported German Goods (Customs Refund)

59.

asked the. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the complaint of a Manchester firm that in order to obtain delivery of certain German goods in April, 1921, they were compelled to deposit £157 in cash, which the Customs officials improperly demanded, and that, despite communications sent on the 19th July, 3rd August, 19th August, 1st September, 15th September, 7th October, and 17th October, 1921, all of which were duly acknowledged by His Majesty's Board of Customs, they did not succeed in obtaining the refund until the 1st February, 1922; and whether, in view of the hardship involved in withholding this large sum of money for so long a period and in order to avoid further similar occurrences, he is prepared either to increase the staff dealing with such matters or to adopt some simplified system?

If the hon. Member will give me particulars of the case he has in mind, such as the name of the importing firm and the reference number of the correspondence with the Customs, I will have inquiry made. I may point out, however, that, in cases of this nature, the importer had the option of entering into bond instead of making a cash deposit, in order to secure delivery of the goods.

Canadian Cattle Embargo

71.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the statements frequently made that the admission of Canadian store cattle would cheapen the price of meat, he can give any figures to show to what extent, if any, the price of beef depends on the price of store cattle; and whether there was any appreciable increase in the price of beef in the years following the first imposition of the embargo in 1892?

There is no evidence to show that the price of store cattle determines the price of home-killed beef, which is mainly governed by the price of imported beef, just as the price of wheat and certain other agricultural products is mainly governed by the price of the imported article. Last year, for example, store cattle were expensive in the spring months, but the price of fat Battle and meat fell in the autumn. With regard to the latter part of the question, Canadian store cattle were, as stated in the question, first excluded from this country in 1892. Official statistics of meat prices were not collected at that period, but records published in trade papers indicate that the average prices of beef at the London Central Market during the five years after this were about a halfpenny per pound less than in the five years before.

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that, because store cattle are dear now, we shall have cheaper meat in the autumn?

No, Sir; what I suggested was that the price of store cattle has nothing whatever to do with the price of beef.

Government Departments

Ministry Of Health (Outdoor Staff)

74.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the revised regrading of the outdoor staff of the Ministry of Health gives the same proportion of higher to lower posts for men and women; and, if the proportion is fixed with strict regard to the requirements of the work, what is the cause of the differentiation seeing that the men and women are engaged on the same work?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The general position is that women inspectors are engaged to inspect trades where women are mainly employed and in inquiries as to the benefits of insured women. The proportion of higher to lower posts is fixed with reference to the requirements of the work, which is more limited in scope than that of the men inspectors. The proportion is rather more favourable in the case of the women.

Writing Assistants

72.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether a letter has been received from the Civil Service Clerical Association asking that a deputation be received to hear evidence for a justification for an increase of pay to writing assistants; and, if so, whether any action has been taken in the matter?

Yes, Sir. The Treasury is in correspondence with the Association on this matter, which is still under consideration.

Seniority Lists

75.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether it is the intention of the Government to abolish, if possible, separate establishment lists for men and women, so that vacancies shall be filled by the most efficient officer, irrespective of sex; and, if so, why women have been removed from branches where they have been for some years working side by side with men, and why the segregation of the sexes, which in many Departments had been abandoned during the War, has been reintroduced as a result of reorganisation?

A Committee is being appointed to examine and report on the application of the general principle of common seniority lists for men and women to the classes included in the Report of the Reorganisation Committee of the National Whitley Council for the Civil Service. The last part of the question raises matters referring to the detailed organisation of the various Departments; but, speaking generally, I should not regard the modification of special temporary arrangements adopted during the War period as in any way prejudicing the position.

The Committee which will be set up, if it has not already been constituted, will be of a very representative character. It will be set up without delay.

Customs Statistical Office

73.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in connection with a machine experiment in the Customs Statistical Office, girl machine operators of 16 years of age are allowed to be in attendance until 10 p.m.; why male and female staff employed on the experiment are not being paid overtime for excess duty; and whether the number of hours of excess duty thus performed is being taken into account in assessing the cost of work performed by the use of these machines?

No girl machine operator of 16 years of age or under has given attendance after 6 p.m., and no member of the staff of either sex employed in the experiment has been required to work overtime. Two or three of the other members of the female staff have voluntarily remained after official hours on a few occasions only. All relative facts will be taken into account in assessing the cost of the experiment.

Poor Law Administration, Poplar

78.

asked the Minister of Health how often a Poor Law inspector of the Ministry of Health has attended the Poplar Board of Guardians since November last?

Since the end of November seven visits have been made by the inspectors to the relief stations or the guardians' offices. The inspectors have also met committees of the guardians to discuss matters of detailed administration, and, in addition, there have been a number of interviews at the offices of the Ministry.

79.

asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the serious Report of the administration of the Poor Law in Poplar, he is now prepared to introduce a Bill to reform the London Poor Law administration on the lines of the Maclean Report (Cd. 8,917) or, in the alternative, as a temporary measure, to establish a central Poor Law authority for London to control Poor Law administration?

Pending the Report of the Royal Commission on London Government, I do not think it would be practicable to adopt either of the alternatives suggested by my hon. Friend.

80.

asked the Minister of Health if all the books and documents of the Poplar Board of Guardians exhibited to Mr. Cooper, who conducted the special inquiry, were at all times open to the officers of the Ministry; and, if so, will he give the reason for the maladministration being permitted to go on for so long a period?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The officers of my Department have taken such action as was open to them to check specific cases of maladministration, and no part of the expenditure of the guardians will be allowed to be charged upon the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund, which is in excess of the scale or which contravenes the conditions prescribed in the regulations. As regards expenditure which falls upon the ratepayers of Poplar alone, in so far as such expenditure is unlawful it is subject to disallowance by the District Auditor, and the guardians have been warned that in the event of the auditor finding it necessary to disallow expenditure incurred by the guardians in granting relief to persons who are not destitute, the guardians will be surcharged accordingly, and the surcharge will not be remitted. When it became clear that the guardians' expenditure was likely to exceed their available resources, and that it would be necessary for them to apply to me for advances of money out of public funds, I decided, in view of the reports which I had received from my officers, to appoint a special Commissioner to hold a detailed inquiry into the whole of the guardians' administration.

May I ask whether, as a matter of fact, any of the guardians of Poplar have been surcharged? I could not gather whether the right hon. Gentleman said so or not.

Will the ratepayers of Poplar and the contributory boroughs have any redress against comrade Lansbury and his associates?

Coal Industry

Certificates Of Competency

81.

asked the Secretary for Mines whether a circular was issued from the Mines Department in August, 1921, to all the collieries in Great Britain, asking for a return showing the numbers of men employed at each colliery who, at that time, were in possession of first or second class certificates of competency, but were employed on work other than that of a supervisory character; and, if so, will he state the total number of men in possession of first and second class certificates who were engaged on work of a non-supervisory character, and the total number of men who were in possession of firemen's certificates, but were employed in a capacity superior to that of the fireman, but inferior to that of the under-manager?

Yes, Sir. A return of this kind was collected last autumn. As well as can be estimated from this return, the number of persons holding first or second class certificates of competency and employed in mines otherwise than as managers, under-managers or overmen is about 2,000; and the number of persons holding firemen's certificates, but not first or second class certificates of competency, who are employed as overmen is about 2,400.

Prices

82.

asked the Secretary for Mines the price of the best house coal in March, 1913, in March, 1914, and in March, 1922?

The retail price of Derby Brights in Central London was, in March, 1913, 27s. per ton; in March, 1914, 28s. 6d. per ton; and in March, 1922, 60s. per ton.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that the 1922 price is very excessive, and difficult to justify?

I should not like to give an opinion on that, but I am making investigation, and I hope to be able to let my hon. Friend know before very long how the charge is made up.

Exports

83.

asked the Secretary for Mines the average declared f.o.b. price of coal exported in March, 1913, in March, 1914, and in March, 1922?

The average declared value f.o.b. of coal exported from the United Kingdom in March, 1913, was 13s. 8d. per ton; in March, 1914, 13s. 7d. per ton; and in March, 1922, 22s. 3d. per ton.

Egypt

Barakat Pasha

89.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why letters from the sons of Barakat Pasha to him are prevented by the authorities from reaching him; why letters from him to his son at Birmingham University are also stopped; and is he aware that this gentleman has rendered distinguished service in the past administration of Egypt?

I am not aware either that any correspondence transmitted through Lord Allenby to or from Fathallah Pasha Barakat has been stopped, or that the Pasha has been in a position to render distinguished service to the Egyptian Government.

Elwy El Gazzar Bey

90.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it was under martial law that the authorities on 21st April last forcibly prevented everyone from entering the house of Elwy El Gazzar Bey at Shebin-el-Kom, including two doctors, Bassim Daoud Bey, chief medical officer of the Shebin-el-Kom Government hospital, and Dr. Abdul Hamid Fahmy, who were attending this gentleman's daughter for trachoma?

Will the hon. Gentleman take steps to verify the accuracy of this question before he says the reply is in the negative [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw:"]

Transport

Railway Passenger Rates, Redlington

76.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport if he is aware that the North Eastern Railway Company is charging three different rates for passengers from Bedlington to Newcastle-on-Tyne; is he aware that on Monday and Thursday the. charge is 3s. 3d. return, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday the charge is 4s. 1d., and on Saturday the charge is 4s. 4d.; and will he make representations to the company on the matter?

I am enquiring into the matter to which my hon. Friend calls attention, and will advise him of the result.

Road Material (Fair-Wages Clause)

77.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he is aware that the firm of Shanks and M'Ewan is on the list of contractors of the middle ward of the county of Lanark for the supply of road material; that this firm is neither paying the recognised wages nor observing the hours of labour customary in the district; and whether he will take steps to secure proper observance of the Fair Wages Clause?

I have no information showing that the firm named is executing any work in respect of which the Ministry of Transport is directly or indirectly concerned. If my hon. Friend will communicate to me any further particulars in his possession, I will give the matter consideration.

Prudential Assurance Company (War-Bond Policies)

85.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is able to say whether the 442,662 War Bond policies issued by the Prudential Assurance Company, and classified as not taken up, had any deposits or premiums paid upon them; if so, to what amount; whether such deposits or premiums have been returned to the people concerned; whether he is able to state the amount of premiums paid upon 279,788 War Bond policies issued by the same company, and which have lapsed; and whether his Department is able to take any action that will enable the premiums so paid to be recovered?

A report has been furnished by the Prudential Assurance Company, Limited, from which it appears that no payments have been received from the proposers in respect of the 442,662 War Bond policies not taken up. With regard to the 279,788 lapsed policies, the holders of a large number of such policies have since obtained surrender values, or such policies have been revived without payment of the arrears by the assured on the terms that the policies have been extended over a period equal to the term for which the premiums had fallen into arrear. The company is not in a position to give the amount of the premiums received in respect of the lapsed policies which have not been surrendered or revived, but the average number of monthly premiums received in respect of such lapsed policies is approximately three.

New Member Sworn

EDWARD CHARLES GRENFELL, Esquire, for the City of London.

Post Office (Pneumatic Tubes Acquisition) Expenses

Committee to consider of authorising the payment out of moneys to be provided

Division No. 116.]

AYES.

[3.45 p.m.

Adair, Rear-Admiral Thomas B. S.Carew, Charles Robert S.FitzRoy, Captain Hon. Edward A.
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.Carter, R. A. D. (Man., Withington)Forestier-Walker, L.
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteCasey, T. W.Forrest, Waiter
Amery, Leopold C. M. S.Cautley, Henry StrotherFoxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot
Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel MartinCecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)Fraser, Major Sir Keith
Armstrong, Henry BruceChamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Birm. W.)Frece, Sir Walter de
Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.Cheyne, Sir William WatsonFremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.
Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.Child, Brigadier-General Sir HillGange, E. Stanley
Baird, Sir John LawrenceChurchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.Ganzoni, Sir John
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyClay, Lieut.-Colonel H. H. SpenderGardner, Ernest
Barnett, Major Richard W.Clough, Sir RobertGee, Captain Robert
Barnston, Major HarryCockerill, Brigadier-General G. K.Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham
Barrand, A. R.Cohen, Major J. BrunelGmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John
Bartley-Denniss, Sir Edmund RobertColvin, Brig.-General Richard BealeGlyn, Major Ralph
Beckett, Hon. G Br vaseCoote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)Goff, Sir R. Park
Bell, Lieut.-Col. w. C. H. (Devizes)Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)Grant, James Augustus
Beairs, Commander Carlyon W.Craig, Captain C. C. (Antrim, South)Green, Albert (Derby)
Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir HenryGreen, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)
Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-Curzon, Captain ViscountGreenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar
Bethell, Sir John HenryDavidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)Greig, Colonel Sir James William
Betterton, Henry B.Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.Grenfell, E. C.
Blades, Sir George RowlandDavies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)Gretton, Colonel John
Blair, Sir ReginaldDavison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)Guinness, Lieut.-Col. Hon. W. E.
Boscawen, Rt. Hon. Sir A. Griffith-Dewhurst, Lieut.-Commander HarryGwynne, Rupert S.
Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.Doyle, N. GrattanHacking, Captain Douglas H.
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.Du Pre, Colonel William BaringHailwood. Augustine
Breese, Major Charles E.Edge, Captain Sir WilliamHall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(L!v'p'l,W.D'by)
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveEdnam, ViscountHamilton, Major C. G. C.
Briggs, HaroldEdwards, Major J. (Aberavon)Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Broad, Thomas TuckerEdwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)
Bruton, Sir JamesElliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)
Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.Erskine, James Malcolm MonteithHayes, Hugh (Down, W.)
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A.Evans, ErnestHennessy, Major J. R. G.
Burgoyne, Lt.-Col. Alan HughesEyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)
Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)Fae, Major Sir Bertram GodfrayHilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank

by Parliament of expenditure incurred by the Postmaster-General under any Act of the present Session to confirm an agreement made between the Pneumatic Despatch Company, Limited, and the Postmaster-General for the acquisition by the Postmaster-General of a certain tube running between St. Martin's le Grand in the City of London and Eversholt Street, in the Metropolitan Borough of St. Pancras, and for purposes connected therewith — ( King's Recommendation, signified)—To-morrow.—[ Colonel Leslie Wilson.]

Business Of The House

Motion made, and Question put,

"That on this clay, notwithstanding anything in Standing Order No. 15, Business other than the Business of Supply may be taken before Eleven of the Clock, and Proceedings in the Committee of Supply may be taken after Eleven of the Clock, and that the Proceedings of the Committee of Supply be exempted from the provisions of the Standing Order (Sittings of the House)."—[Mr. Chamberlain.]

The House divided: Ayes, 252; Noes, 75.

Hills, Major John WallerMiddlebrook, Sir WilliamSeager, Sir William
Hinds, JohnMildmay, Colonel Rt. Hon. F. B.Seddon, J. A.
Hood, Sir JosephMitchell, Sir William LaneSeely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John
Hope, Sir H.(Stirling & Cl'ckm'nn.W.)Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred MoritzSharman-Crawford, Robert G.
Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian)Moreing, Captain Algernon H.Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)Morrison, HughShortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)
Hopkins, John W. W.Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.Simm, M. T.
Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)Munro, Rt. Hon. RobertSmith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)
Hotchkln, Captain Stafford VereMurchison, C. K.Smithers, Sir Alfred W.
Hudson, R. M.Murray, C. D. (Edinburgh)Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander
Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)
Hurd, Percy A.Neal, ArthurStanton, Charles Butt
Inskip, Thomas Walker H.Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)Stewart, Gershom
Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Strauss, Edward Anthony
James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. CuthbertNewson, Sir Percy WilsonSturrock, J. Leng
Jephcott, A. R.Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Jesson, C.Nicholl, Commander Sir EdwardSugden, W. H.
Jodrell, Neville PaulNicholson, Brig.-Gen.J. (Westminster)Sutherland, Sir William
Johnstone, JosephNicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)Sykes, Sir Charles (Huddersfield)
Jones, Henry Haydn, (Merioneth)Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)Taylor, J.
Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir JohnTerrell, George (Wilts, Chippenham)
Joynson-Hicks, Sir WilliamOrmsbv-Gore, Hon. WilliamThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. GeorgePain, Brig.-Gen. Sir W. HacketThomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)
Kidd, JamesParker, JamesTickier, Thomas George
King, Captain Henry DouglasPease, Rt. Hon. Herbert PikeTownley, Maximillan G.
Kinloch-Cooke, Sir ClementPennefather, De FonblanqueTownshend, Sir Charles Vere Ferrers
Larmor, Sir JosephPercy, Charles (Tynemouth)Tryon, Major George Clement
Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Wallace, J.
Leigh, Sir John (Clapham)Perkins, Walter FrankWard-Jackson, Major C. L.
Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest MurrayWard, Col. J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Lindsay, William ArthurPownall, Lieut.-Colonel AsshetonWard, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)
Lister, Sir R. AshtonPratt, John WilliamWaring, Major Walter
Lloyd, George ButlerPurchase, H. G.Weston, Colonel John Wakefield
Lloyd-Greame, Sir P.Raeburn, Sir William H.Williams, C. (Tavistock)
Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)Rawlinson, John Frederick PeelWilloughby, Lieut.-Col. Hon. Claud
Lorden, John WilliamRees, Sir J. D. (Nottingham, East)Wilson, Field-Marshal Sir Henry
Loseby, Captain C. E.Rees, Capt. J. Tudor- (Barnstaple)Windsor, Viscount
Lowe, Sir Francis WilliamReid, D. D.Winterton. Earl
Lowther, Maj.-Gen. Sir C. (Penrith)Remer, J. R.Wise, Frederick
Loyd, Arthur Thomas (Abingdon)Remnant, Sir JamesWood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)
Macdonald, Rt. Hon. John MurrayRenwick, Sir GeorgeWood, Sir J. (Stalybridge & Hyde)
Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachle)Richardson, Sir Alex. (Gravesend)Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester)Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward
M'Lean, Lieut-Col. Charles W. W.Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)Yeo, Sir Alfred William
McMicking, Major GilbertRoberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)Young, E. H. (Norwich)
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Robinson, S. (Brecon and Radnor)Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)
Magnus, Sir PhilipRobinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)
Mallalieu, Frederick WilliamRodger, A. K.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.
Marks, Sir George CroydonSanders, Colonel Sir Robert ArthurMcCurdy.
Matthews, David

NOES.

Adamson, Rt. Hon. WilliamHall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert HenryHalls, WalterRoberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)
Banton, GeorgeHartshorn, VernonRobertson, John
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Hayday, ArthurRoyce, William Stapleton
Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Widnes)Sexton, James
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Hirst, G. H.Sitch, Charles H.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.Hodge, Rt. Hon. JohnSmith, w. R. (Wellingboro