House Of Commons
Monday, 19th June, 1922.
The House met at a Quarter before Three of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.
London County Council (Money) Bill,
Read the Third time, and passed.
Ayr Burgh (Electricity) Bill [ Lords],
To be read a Second time To-morrow.
Chester Gas Bill [ Lords],
Kingston-upon-Hull Corporation Bill [ Lords],
Torquay Corporation (Electricity) Bill [ Lords],
Read a Second time, and committed.
Railways (West Scottish Group) Bill (by Order),
Order for Second Reading read, and discharged. Bill withdrawn.
Oral Answers To Questions
Enemy Action (Claims)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. F. M. Richardson, ex-chief officer of ss. "Diomed," who on 21st August, 1915, received terrible injuries from shell-fire from a German submarine, which sank that vessel, and who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his courageous devotion to duty and his efforts to save his ship; whether he is aware that owing to these injuries Mr. F. M. Richardson is now totally incapacitated from following his employment, and would, but for his disablement, be now on turn for command at a salary of £1,000 a year; whether the pension of £290 a year awarded to Mr. Richardson under the war-risks scheme has recently been reduced to £192 10s., on the alleged ground that his earning capacity is not totally destroyed; and whether in view of all the circumstances, the Board will restore to him his full disablement allowance?
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that Engineer Thomas Edward Lunt, of the ss. "Sagamore," which was torpedoed on 3rd March, 1917, off the Irish coast, was exposed for 10 days and 11 nights, in consequence of which both feet had to be amputated; that Mr. Lunt was awarded a pension of £250; that this is now reduced to £139, although Mr. Lunt has a wife and five children under 14 years of age; and will he inquire if the original award can be restored, as Mr. Lunt is permanently incapacitated from following his profession?
In view of the circumstances of these cases, I have given instructions that both officers shall be reexamined by medical boards.
British Dyestuffs Corporation
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether one or more of the principal technical experts in the service of the British Dyestuffs Corporation have resigned their position; and whether, in view of the quarrels and disputes with the staff and the directors, he will consider the advisability of an independent inquiry by a Select Committee of this House into the circumstances of this corporation?
There have been certain changes in the technical staff of the British Dyestuffs Corporation at various times owing to a variety of causes; but as regards the remainder of the question I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Stafford on the 29th May.
Does that mean that the Government are satisfied with the position of this company now?
It is a large industrial company in which the Government have a subordinate interest. In my opinion, political investigations into the affairs of commercial companies do not make for commercial success.
In view of the large interest that the public has in this concern, cannot the right hon. Gentleman say what is the reason for so many directors resigning in recent months?
The annual meeting of the company will be held in a few days, when a statement will undoubtedly be made by the chairman to the body of shareholders.
Have the Government come to no decision as to the use of the proxies on their behalf by their nominees on the Board?
I do not follow what the hon. Member means.
Proxies have been sent out on behalf of the Board asking the shareholders to support them against the proposal for an investigation of the company. What action do the Government intend to take, and what instructions are to be given to their nominees for dealing with the matter?
I require notice of that question.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if the Government director on the board of the British Dyestuffs Corporation has received any instructions as to the principles that must govern any arrangement made between that corporation and the dyemakers in Germany; and, if so, what instructions have been given?
As I have already informed the House, the conversations which have taken place between the interests mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member have so far been only of a preliminary and non-committal character. Consequently, it has not been thought necessary to give any instructions to the Government directors of the British Dyestuffs Corporation, especially as they are fully acquainted with the general policy of the Government in respect to this particular industry.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Committee appointed by him under Clause 2 (6) of the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act, 1920, for the purpose of advising him with respect to the efficient and econo- mical development of the dye-making industry, has yet tendered to him any advice; if so, on what occasions the advice was given and what was its nature; and, if not, whether it is in consequence of the failure of the Committee to give such advice that the British Dyestuffs Corporation has sought the assistance and advice of the German dye-makers?
The Committee has made representations to me in respect of the supply of benzol for the dye-making industry and the maintenance and development of research therein. But it has been chiefly engaged on important. work in connection with the co-ordination of manufacture, with a view to preventing unnecessary duplication of effort. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative, though I do not accept the hon. and gallant Member's statement as a correct description of the action of the British Dyestuffs Corporation.
Will not this Committee make a report? Is it not intended that it shall make at least an annual report to the Board of Trade as to what it is doing?
It is constantly in close touch with the Board of Trade. We know quite well what it is doing.
Will there not be a report by this Committee to Parliament?
I am not quite sure what their statutory position is, but I will look into the point.
If an agreement be arrived at, will it be laid before this House before it is ratified?
I should like notice of that question. Certainly I have no objection to communicating the terms, but I doubt whether the assent of the House will be necessary for ratification.
asked the President of the Board of Trade what fees or salaries are drawn by the directors who represent the Government on the board of directors of the British Dyestuffs Corporation; and whether, in view of the friction existing on the board, what action, if any, does he intend to take to effect a change in its personnel?
The two Government directors of the British Dyestuffs Corpora- tion receive the remuneration of ordinary directors, namely, £750 per annum. As regards the second part of the question, the desirability at any time of changes in the personnel of the directorate is a matter for the whole body of shareholders in the Corporation in which His Majesty's Government have not a controlling interest.
Does not His Majesty's Government have some voice by virtue of holding these shares, and is it not time that the Government used that voice to try to bring about some order in the company?
Yes, I am responsible, of course, for keeping in touch with what is going on, and if I were seriously dissatisfied with any action that was being taken it would be my business to communicate with the Government directly. The Government holding in the company is about one-fifth of the total shares.
Would that not be political interference?
No; I do not think so.
Does the figure of £750 include expenses or not? Is it £750, plus expenses?
I must have notice of that question.
Are you satisfied with the work of the board?
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that on two occasions Mr. Vernon Clay has resigned positions he has occupied in connection with the British Dyestuffs Corporation; if so, whether he can say what were the reasons given for his action by Mr. Clay; and why these resignations have not been accepted?
I understand that the gentleman named has resigned from one post held by him in the British Dyestuffs Corporation, but I am not aware of any second resignation. As regards the remainder of the question, I do not think it would be proper for me to anticipate the statement which will be made by the chairman at the approaching general meeting of the corporation.
Is the Government satisfied with the present state of affairs on the board of this company?
I think the House is aware—at least those who have any knowledge of the subject are aware—of the great difficulties facing those who are endeavouring to establish the dye industry in this country. I believe the board, as at present constituted, is making the most strenuous endeavours to effect that desirable consummation and, I believe, in time, they will be successful.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the statements made by him and on his behalf as to the satisfactory progress and results achieved by the British Dyestuffs Corporation, he will state what is the object of the negotiations between the Corporation and the dye makers in Germany as to arrangements regarding the production and price of dyes?
I do not think it advisable to make at the present time any statement such as the hon. Member desires. I may remark, however, that I am not aware of any statements made by me or on my behalf to the effect that the dye-making industry in this country has achieved all its objects, and though in all circumstances the progress which has been made is most encouraging, anything which will help to expedite that progress is, of course, very desirable.
Does the Government approve of the negotiations which are going on between the British Dyestuffs Corporation and the German dye makers?
I always approve of negotiations. Whether I approve of the result or not, is another matter.
Is it a fact that the French Government have made arrangements with the German dyestuffs makers, and, if so, can the right hon. Gentleman give us a copy of that agreement?
I will consider that.
Ss "Egypt" (Inquiry)
asked the President of the Board of Trade when and where the inquiry into the circumstances attending the loss of the Peninsular and Oriental liner s. s. "Egypt" will be held; and who will conduct the inquiry?
The formal investigation into the loss of the "Egypt" will be held in London, and the date will be announced as soon as possible. The inquiry will be conducted by a special Wreck Commissioner appointed for the purpose.
Is it the intention to set up this inquiry very soon? A very long period has passed already since the disaster took place.
I am sure that if my hon. and gallant Friend realised the amount of preliminary work to be done before investigation takes place, he would not call it a long time. No time has been lost.
Safeguarding Of Industries Act
Part Ii Orders
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the list of articles that have been removed from the schedule prepared by the Board of Trade under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act by reason of the decision of a referee appointed under the Act; and what articles are the subject of orders made under Part II of the same Act?
The items removed by direction of the Referee from the lists issued by the Board of Trade under Section I (5) of the Safeguarding of Industries Act are camphor, synthetic; citric acid, cream of tartar, R. lactose, santonine, and tartaric acid. A small number of other items have been deleted, and in certain other cases the standard of the dutiable grade has been raised, in accord with what the Board understood to be the general views of the Referee. I am causing a list of these amendments to be sent to the hon. and gallant Member, but I may observe that in respect of certain of the deletions the action of the Board has been challenged by persons intertested. No Order has yet been made under Part II of the Act.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the rise in wages in Germany during the last few months and if he will take this into consideration when considering the making of Orders under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, since experience shows that wages figures embodied by complainants in their applications become quite out of date and misleading by the time the complaints are dealt with by Committees of Inquiry?
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that his Statistical Department has prepared a schedule for guidance in connection with the present glass bottles inquiry which shows that the recent disparity between the internal and external value of the mark is rapidly disappearing; whether his attention has been called to the figures given in the "Labour Gazette" for May, 1922, indicating a rise in the cost of living in Germany from 863 per cent. over pre-War in July last to 3,075 per cent. in April of this year; and whether he will take these facts into account before making any Order under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, especially in regard to goods reported on by Committees which completed their inquiries before these changes had developed and before the figures above referred to were available?
My attention has been called to the movements in wages and cost of living in Germany to which reference is made. I must point out, however, that such changes constitute only one of the factors of the problem, and that the sterling value of the mark has depreciated while increases in wages, reckoned in marks, have been in progress. The applicability of the conclusions of the Committees of Inquiry to present circumstances must be determined in the light of available. information regarding changes in all the important factors, and I can assure the hon. Members that very careful attention is given to these matters.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can now state the policy of the Government in regard to bringing into operation Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act in connection with the fabric glove and other industries which the Board of Trade Committees have recommended should receive the protection of the Act; and whether he will now circulate for the information of Members copies of the Reports of such Committees?
As regards the first part of this question, there are similar questions on the Paper addressed to the Prime Minister, and perhaps my hon. Friend will await the answer to his question at the same time. As regards the second part of the question, the Reports of the Committees will be published in the course of a few days.
Will the evidence also be published?
I must draw the line at expense somewhere.
asked the Prime Minister whether he can state the decisions arrived at by the Government with regard to the recommendations of the Committees set up under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act?
asked the Prime Minister whether he can now state the decision of the Government with regard to the recommendation of the Committees set up under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act?
asked the Prime Minister what decisions the Cabinet have come to with regard to the recommendations made to them by the Committees set up under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act?
I ought to say, before answering these questions, that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister habitually answers questions on Monday. He is, however, prevented from being here to-day because he is entertaining the Prime Minister of France.
He was here on Thursday.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister then desired the presence of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade when he answered the question. The Prime Minister asked me to say he would gladly answer the question on Thursday next, if my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley (Mr. Asquith) would prefer to postpone it until then. I am prepared, however, to give him the answer at once.
I think we should have it now.
It is the intention of the Government to lay before the House at a very early date, for approval in accordance with the provisions of Section 2 (4) of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, an Order under Part II of the Act in respect of certain classes of goods as to which Committees have reported that the conditions laid down in the Act are fulfilled.
How soon will the House have an opportunity of discussing this matter?
I think an occasion must be found before a month elapses. I am ready to find an opportunity as early as possible, but I am in some difficulty about it.
I suppose the Order will be laid as soon as possible?
My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade hopes the Order will be laid tomorrow.
Will the Order cover all cases in which the Committee has reported in favour of the Act being applied?
Can the right hon. Gentleman not say what are the articles? This has been postponed for a week.
I think the hon. Gentleman had better see the Order when it is presented.
Can the right hon. Gentleman state whether the alleged division in the Cabinet is correctly described in Ministerial Papers, and whether that information is supplied—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order, order!"]
How many of the full-blooded Free Traders of the Government have resigned as a result?
Dutiable Articles List
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the confusion prevailing at the different ports as to what goods are now covered by the Safeguarding of Industries Act, he will revise the list published by him in September last, seeing that many commodities which are not specified in that list have now been held to be taxable, whilst a number which were in the list have been held by the referee to be improperly placed therein?
I am not aware of any serious confusion of the kind suggested by the hon. Member, but if he will furnish me with specific instances, I shall be glad to consider them in consultation with the Commissioners of Customs.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that traders as a whole are in a complete state of confusion as to what they may or may not do under this Act?
No, I am not.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not, aware that there are several thousands of articles on which duties are levied which are not in the list?
I have asked my hon. Friend to give me specific details.
Aluminium And Enamelled Ware
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the fact that, since the Safeguarding of Industries Act Committee held its public inquiry regarding imported aluminium and enamelled hollow-ware, market conditions have so far changed that the British articles are on the average cheaper than the German and are commanding a much readier sale and whether he will make a special endeavour to obtain up-to-date information on this point before deciding what action he will take on the Report presented to him by the Committee in question?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. If, however, the hon. Member can furnish me with any specific information of the kind indicated I shall be prepared to consider it, but I may point out that in respect of both classes of commodities the registered imports for the month of April were in excess of the monthly average for the first quarter of this year.
Glass Bottles And Containers
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the reasons justifying the appointment of a Committee to consider the imposing of a duty, under the Safeguarding of Industries Act, on glass bottles and containers of 5 inches internal diameter and not on those of 5½ inches, seeing that substantial quantities of bottles of 5½ inches diameter are imported, whereas of those of 5 inches diameter the imports are limited, and that this distinction will operate as an invitation to trades to import the smaller bottles filled?
The terms of reference to the Committee refer generally to glass bottles, but the applicants have themselves limited their complaint in the manner indicated in the question. In regard to the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on the 29th May to the hon. and gallant Members for the Isle of Ely and for Leith.
Binoculars Opera Glasses, And Leather Goods
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the statement of a firm in the City of London that the export department of their business in cheap grades of French binoculars and opera glasses had been seriously interfered with owing to the imposition of a duty of 33⅓ per cent., and that their business had decreased during the early months of this year against the same period of 1921 by 60 per cent. to 70 per cent.; whether he is aware of the statement of a fancy leather and bag manufacturer in London that his trade with Canada and the United States in bags containing low-priced ladies' opera glasses had also been seriously interfered with owing to the payment of this duty, and that the procedure for obtaining drawback is unworkable and whether he is prepared to take any action to ensure such businesses being continued until similar competitive goods are manufactured in Great Britain?
I am not satisfied that the decline in the particular business mentioned in the first part of the question can he ascribed to any appreciable extent to the cause suggested. My attention has been called to the complaint mentioned in the second part of the question, and I am in communication with the Commissioners of Customs with a view to ascertaining to what extent it is warranted. In the meantime, the last part of the question does not arise.
Do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman is making inquiries into this subject and into the allegations in the question?
That is so.
Repayment Of Duties
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that importers who have paid duties on commodities afterwards removed from the list of articles dutiable under Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act have been refused repayment of the duties direct, but can obtain a refund of the duties as duties paid on re-exports if they ship the articles to, say, Rotterdam and back; and whether, in these circumstances, he will obtain powers, if necessary, to repay such duties at once without compellling traders to incur the unnecessary expense above referred to?
The facts are substantially as stated in the question, except that drawback is only payable if the goods exported have not been used in this country. As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has several times stated, he is not prepared to promote legislation to authorise repayment of the duty paid on goods afterwards removed from the list.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has received an application to impose a duty on imported picture mouldings; and, if so, in view of the uncertainty that exists in the picture and photograph frame trade, will he make an early announcement on this matter?
I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to a similar question asked by the hon. Member for Leigh on the 22nd May.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that when an announcement is made in a trade paper about application being made to impose a duty, it creates a certain amount of unrest and concern to that trade? Why cannot he make an announcement when he comes to a decision?
I do not agree with the hon. Member. A great many announcements appear and are taken for what they are worth.
Did the right hon. Gentleman not make a reference to the imposition of duty on a certain article and to the import of that article, showing the results of such an announcement?
Does my right hon. Friend's last answer apply to Government announcements?
I think the remark was of general application.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the statement by the Dean of the Faculty of Science in University College, London, that certain chemicals are unobtainable in this country, and have to be imported from Germany and duty paid on them, he will consider the expediency of seeking powers to exempt such chemicals from the operation of the Safeguarding of Industries Act?
My attention has not previously been called to the particular statement mentioned, but I am aware that certain chemicals are not at present manufactured in this country—a fact which was, of course, one of the main reasons for the enactment of the Safeguarding of Industries Act. I would remind the hon. Member that the particular aspect. of the matter to which he draws attention was fully discussed during the passage of the Act, and that an Amendment giving the powers which he now suggests did not meet with the approval of the House.
asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to a speech delivered on the 9th June, in the Chippenham Division of Wiltshire, in which it was reported to have been stated that in consequence of the Safeguarding of Industries Act if an English farmer wanted to buy cheap agricultural implements he had to pay through the nose for them or else buy the English product at whatever price the maker might like to charge him; and whether such is the consequence of the Act?
I have seen the speech to which my hon. Friend refers, but, inasmuch as agricultural implements are not included under the Schedule to Part I of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and no Order has been made applying Part II of the Act to that class of goods, the statement which he quotes appears to be entirely unfounded.
Would the right hon. Gentleman give the House the name of the person who made this speech?
Is it not a fact that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government refused an Amendment that would
|—||From Germany.||From Japan.|
|Doz. prs.||Doz. prs.||Doz. prs.||Doz. prs.||Doz. prs||Doz. prs.|
|Gloves of woven fabric—|
|Gloves, knitted, netted or crocheted (including gloves of knitted fabric)—|
|Of cotton or of which the chief value is cotton.||†2,511,009||80,295||530,968||—||189,305||14,829|
|Of wool or of which the chief value is wool.|
|Of other textile materials, not woven.|
* Cannot be stated.
|† Including gloves of cotton woven fabric.|
Timber Sale (Canada)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether tenders were taken by the Government for the recent sale of 10,000 standards of spruce lying in Canada; if so, how many tenders were received, and was the highest accepted; if tenders were not
have prevented farmers being mulcted in these sums?
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the speech referred to was made by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy)?
Fabric Gloves From Germany And Japan
asked the President of the Board of Trade the quantity of fabric gloves imported from Germany and. Japan, respectively, in the years 1913, 1920, and 1921?
With the hon. Member's permission, I will have the figures circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following are the figures:
The following statement shows the quantity of gloves of textile materials imported into the United Kingdom, consigned from Germany and Japan respectively in the years 1913, 1920, and 1921 so far as particulars are available:
taken, why was this precaution omitted; and, in future, will the Board of Trade see that, in the sale of public stores, tenders are always taken prior to any sale being effected?
No tenders were taken for this timber, which had been on offer for many months without success. Sale by tender is only advisable when specifications can be guaranteed, which is impossible in the case of these stocks.
asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the comparative figures for the fortnight ending 7th June of the export of coal, pig-iron, manufactured articles of machinery of all kinds, and of piece goods, and the corresponding figures for the same periods in 1921, 1920, and 1914?
Particulars of exports from the United Kingdom are not available for periods of a fortnight. The figures are made up for periods of one month, and those for the month of May, 1922, 1921, and 1920, are published in the accounts relating to trade and navigation of the United Kingdom for May, 1922, while those for May, 1914, appear in the issue of the accounts for that month. These publications are available in the Library; but if my hon. and gallant Friend would care for such assistance as the Board's Statistical Department might be able to give, perhaps he would call at the offices of the Board in Great George Street.
Civil Service Arbitration Board
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the unrest and dissatisfaction amongst civil servants in consequence of the abolition of the Civil Service Arbitration Board; and whether, as the amount saved by its abolition is less than £4,000 per annum, he will at once re-establish it and thus restore confidence to the civil servants concerned?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Leith on the 24th May, to which I have nothing to add.
Is the hon. Baronet aware of the fact that this is causing very great dissatisfaction and destroying the confidence of these people, and is acting detrimentally on the work they are called upon to do?
I am afraid I cannot agree with the hon. Member in his description of the situation.
asked the Prime Minister whether any special representative is accompanying the British Delegation to the Hague Conference to represent the interests of the Russian bondholders and/or of British oil concessionaires; and, if so, who are the representatives?
Mr Leslie Urquhart, President of the Association of British Creditors of Russia, is representing the interests of Russian bondholders. There is at present no representative of British oil concessionaires.
For what reason has this gentleman been chosen to go to The Hague; and is he on the official Commission of the British Government?
He is particularly expert on the subject to come under discussion.
Did not the hon. Gentleman say that this gentleman represented, first of all, private bondholders, and should he not be there in his private capacity and not as one of the Government officials?
Mr. Urquhart is not a Government official.
Junior Lordship Of The Treasury
asked the Prime Minister whether the hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Mr. MacCallum Scott) is now discharging the duties formerly performed by the Chancellor of the Duchy a Lancaster and, if so, when he will be appointed to the Junior Lordship of the Treasury, which Las been vacant since 6th April?
My hon. Friend the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow has been appointed an Official Whip (unpaid). The Junior Lordship of the Treasury has not yet been filled.
Is that because the right hon. Gentleman fears the verdict of the electors?
Does my right hon. Friend mean by his reply that in the selection of the hon. Member for the Bridgeton Division to the position to which he has been appointed, the Government are going to appoint an extra Junior Lord of the Treasury?
No; I meant exactly what I said. I have given the House all the information in my possession.
Does that mean then, that there still is vacant in the Government a Junior Lordship of the Treasury?
Is not that depriving Scotland of representation in the Treasury?
Navy, Army And Air Force Institutes
asked the Prime Minister if the accounts of the Expeditionary Force canteens and the Army and Navy Canteen Boards for 1921 are yet compiled; and, if so, when they will be published for the information of the public?
I have been asked to answer this question. As regards trading accounts for 1921, neither the Expeditionary Force canteens nor the Navy and Army Canteen Board were in operation during that year, the conduct of Service institutes having been taken over by the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes as from the 1st January, 1921. As regards the publication of the accounts of the latter organisation for last. year's operations, it is hoped that this balance-sheet will be completed before the end of the summer.
asked the Prime Minister whether the Government intend to introduce legislation this Session to give effect to the recommendations contained in the Report of Lord Cave's Committee as to trade boards?
I have been asked to reply. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the reply which was given to a similar question by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for York (Sir J Butcher) on Thursday last.
asked the Prime Minister when the Bill for the amendment of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914, which has been submitted to and approved by the Governments of the Dominions, will be introduced into Parliament; and whether facilities will be given for its early passage into law, having regard to the fact that it is uncontentious, that it has been approved by the Governments of the Dominions, and that its passage is being eagerly looked forward to by large numbers of British subjects who have their homes in foreign lands?
Notice of the introduction of this Bill was given today, and we will take it as soon as we can—I hope at an early date.
asked the Prime Minister whether the financial and economic position of Austria formed a subject of discussion at the Genoa Convention; will he say if any policy was agreed on whereby the necessary help could be given to Austria; and if so, is the Government of the United States of America a consenting party to such policy?
Informal discussions took place between the interested Delegations at Genoa with a view to securing the release of the liens on Austrian assets, but no final conclusions were reached. The Government of the United States of America has obtained the necessary powers to effect release and is, I understand, ready to release its liens as soon as the other Governments concerned have agreed to release theirs.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how soon the other Governments will come to an agreement, as the matter is very urgent?
Are the conversations about the state of Austria being carried on, in view of the terrible state of affairs in that unhappy country?
The British Government has from the first done all it can, and I think perhaps more than any other Government, to prevent a catastrophe in Austria, but I cannot, without notice, say what is the absolute position at this moment—whether conversations are actually proceeding or not. I am afraid I have forgotten what was the question put to me by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Finchley (Colonel Newman).
I asked how soon these other Powers will come to a decision in regard to Austria.
I am often asked how soon our own Government will come to a decision, and I have sometimes found that a difficult question to answer. If I am to be asked about all the other Governments, I am afraid that is more than I am equal to.
When these liens are all released, will it enable us to get better security for our loan to Austria than the tapestries which we have at the present time?
I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman has had this position explained to him several times. The object of releasing the liens is to enable a loan to be floated to stabilise the financial position in Austria. If that is done, the advance which we have already made would be taken into account in the new loan.
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that, in order to prevent economic disaster, Austrian opinion favours the inclusion of Austria in the German Republic; whether this is forbidden by the terms of the Versailles or other treaty; and whether, in consequence, the Allied Powers, who are denying to Austria the right of self-determination, will give her the help necessary to avert ruin?
Under Article 88 of the Treaty of St. Germain and Article 80 of the Treaty of Versailles, the independence of Austria is inalienable, without the consent of the Council of the League of Nations. The Allied Powers have from time to time advanced considerable sums to Austria to aid the Government of that country to reconstruct its finances.
Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any assurance as to whether or not the Allies have reconsidered the question of giving Austria at least one port of access to the sea, and is he not of opinion that that might aid in the recovery of Austria?
That does not arise out of the question.
No, but it arises out of the condition of Austria.
The hon. Member wilt please put his question down.
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether it is intended that there should be an autumn: Session this year?
I should be glad to avoid an Autumn Session if possible, but it would seem almost inevitable that an Autumn Session should be held, for the consideration of legislation in regard to Ireland.
If in any event we have got to have an Autumn Session, will the Lord Privy Seal do his utmost to close down the present Session at the end of July?
I think it is clearly in the general interests of the House that if, as I fear is inevitable, we should have an Autumn Session, we should close the present Session as rapidly as possible, but that is a matter in which the Government are powerless without the co-operation of the House. I can only hope that the House will give us that co-operation, because we have no great contentious Measures before the House at the present time. They are businesslike Measures, which I hope may meet with general assent.
Is there to be a General Election after the Autumn Session?
asked the Lord Privy Seal when the Debate on the School Teachers (Superannuation) Bill will be resumed?
I hope to arrange for the resumption of the Debate next week.
asked the President of the Board of Education if his attention has been called to the series of resolutions adopted at the annual meeting of the Association of Educational Committees regarding the growth of central bureaucratic control and its effect in discouraging local educational initiative and efficiency; whether he is aware that a local authority cannot put an additional radiator into a class room at a cost of about £3 without submitting plans to London, and that more money is at times spent on unnecessary deputations to Whitehall than would have done the job over and over again; and what steps he is taking in the way of reform?
I have seen a newspaper report of the proceedings at the Sheffield meeting of the Association of Education Committees. I am not aware that plans are required by the Board for £3 radiators, or that there is any justification for sending deputations to London to obtain sanction for such minor improvements. The Board have found it necessary, in view of the conditions, to scrutinise very closely local expenditure which they will be asked to recognise for the calculation of grant, and I believe that in this respect they have taken the course which is most in the interests of education and its future development.
Are not these local people, who have the handling of education, likely to know best how local efficiency in education is to be attained?
I wish I could say that was always the case.
Where it is the case, will the right hon. Gentleman give encouragement to local people to show their capacity?
Certainly, the fullest encouragement is given.
Teachers (War Work)
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware of the number of teachers in primary and secondary schools in this country who, being physically unfit for active service, previous to conscription entered war work of various kinds essential to the defence of the nation and Empire; and whether the period of absence from actual school duties of such teachers wil be recognised in the examination of claims for superannuation?
The Elementary School Teachers (War Service Superannuation) Act, 1914, provided that any service by a certificated teacher in connection with naval or military operations in the late War, which the Board considered might properly be treated in the same manner as actual naval or military service, might be recorded for the purpose of the Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Acts, 1898–1912, and the Act of 1918 gave the Board power to treat such service by other teachers as well as certificated teachers as recognised or qualifying service for the purposes of the Act of 1918. Each case must, however, be considered on its merits.
Does that mean that every service, except actual naval and military service, is excluded?
asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the number of teachers who, having been declared medically unfit for active service during the process of the recent great War, relinquished their professional duties and. took up clerical and other work in connection with War organisation; whether these teachers were given to understand when they thus took such duties in re- lation to the War as they were competent to discharge that their professional prospects would not be affected; whether the Ministry of Education has now decided that the period of their absence from school work must not be included in fixing their position in the scale of salaries to which they are entitled; whether he is aware that this decision on the part of the Minister of Education means that in the Birmingham area teachers have suffered individual losses of salary amounting to as much as £40 per annum; that, in consequence of this decision in regard to the War services which they performed, the point of time at which they reach their respective maximum salaries has been extended by several years; and that the loss inflicted upon individuals may amount to several hundreds of pounds; and whether the Government will take immediate steps to remedy this grievance on the part of the teaching profession by recognising in the case of those teachers who were not conscripted and who are not conscientious objectors, as in the case of all other services, their periods of War service as being included towards promotion and payment of salary?
My attention has been called to a number of cases of the kind referred to. The Board are in no way responsible for any misunderstanding such as is indicated in the second part of the question. The Burnham Committee recommended that full allowance should be made for any service with the Forces of the Crown, and I have issued a Circular, of which I will send the hon. Member a copy, indicating the extent to which the Board have been able to accept this recommendation. I cannot see my way to extend the scope of the Circular so as to include War service other than service with the Forces of the Crown.
Does not my right hon. Friend think that great injustice will be inflicted on these teachers—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]—in view of their work at a time of stress?
There is a very clear distinction to be drawn between actual War and other services.
Provision Of Meals
asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that a Circular has been sent to the Aberdare education authority instructing them that the Education (Provision of Meals) Act is not to be applied in connection with chronic or periodic depression; if he will state the conditions under which it can be applied if the above orders are observed; and whether a similar Circular has been sent to other education authorities?
The hon. Member presumably refers to Circular which was issued to all local education authorities in England and Wales. I may refer the hon. Member to the answer given by me on 4th April to the hon. Member for North Newcastle, which states the general principles to be followed by local education authorities in this matter.
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is prepared to provide an opportunity for discussing the Report recently issued by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in regard to his recent visit to the West Indies?
No, Sir. I regret that I cannot arrange for special facilities for this discussion. As, however, I announced on Thursday last, we hope to take the Colonial Office Vote on Thursday next.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that on Thursday evening there are many important subjects, such as Iraq and Palestine, which will crowd out any possible discussion on this Report?
Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that Thursday will be devoted to Colonial Office questions pure and simple, and not be taken up to a large extent by Irish questions?
No, I cannot give a pledge of that kind. I am rather in the hands of the House. I am speaking at present without definite knowledge to guide me, hut if my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary should be in a position to make his statement on Thursday, it may be that the House would desire a discussion on Ireland, and in that case the Colonial Office Vote might have to be postponed.
Do we understand that, if there is a discussion on Thursday on Ireland, it will not be on the ordinary Colonial Office Vote, because Thursday was asked for, as I think the right hon. Gentleman knows, by the Labour party for the discussion of Africa-n Colonial questions, and we do not want to have its place taken by a discussion on Ireland?
I have no intention of using the Colonial Office Vote, or of attempting to obtain the Colonial Office Vote, after the Irish discussion. I think the Irish discussion would probably take place on an Irish Vote, but if for any reason the salary of my right hon. Friend were put-down, I should not think of closing the Colonial Office Vote after the Irish discussion, and we could put that down for another day.
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider in what way the House can express any view on that very valuable Report issued by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies—a very valuable Report indeed?
I have no doubt the hon. Gentleman's congratulations will be gratefully received by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it was-arranged that the Under-Secretary should open on Thursday with a general report on Colonial Office affairs, and that the Debate on the general question should take place first, and are we to understand that there is a question now of substituting for that speech by the Colonial Secretary himself on Ireland?
The House has shown a desire to have a statement by my right hon. Friend, at the earliest moment at which he can conveniently make it, upon Ireland, and the Government are attempting to conform to the wishes of the House in that respect. As far as I can see, Thursday is likely to be that day. If the House does not want his statement on Ireland, there is no reason why it should be made, but if it does want his statement on Ireland, then I think he must make it on Thursday, even if that involves a change in the business previously proposed.
Will the right hon. Gentleman kindly remember that the Colonial Office Vote is the only opportunity in the whole course of the year which we have in this House of discussing certain questions of the most urgent importance?
is it, not usual or customary between the two Front Benches that these days of Supply should be allotted for the discussion of what the Opposition wants to have discussed, and as they have asked for this Vote for this special purpose, is it not rather irregular to use it for some other purpose?
I have not yet said we would use this Vote for that purpose. I have said that if the House desires a discussion after hearing the statement of my right hon. Friend, I think that discussion must be taken on Thursday, whether on the salary of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State or on some other Vote, some Irish Vote. Of course, under ordinary circumstances Supply days are allocated in response to requests from the two sections of the Opposition, hut I have once before pointed out—and it is a matter which we must keep in mind—that the present distribution of parties in this House does not cause that to work in quite the normal way. We must have regard to very widespread views held outside the two parties who sit on those Benches immediately in front of me.
Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the desire for the Palestine discussion, which he suggested should take place on Thursday, but which, obviously, cannot take place now on that day?
I do not say it obviously cannot take place now. If the Colonial Office Vote be not taken, or, being taken, it be used as a vehicle for an Irish discussion, we must put the Colonial Office Vote down again. Perhaps my hon. Friend had better wait and see how matters develop between now and Thursday.
Average Output Per Man-Shift
asked the Secretary for Mines the average output of coal per shift during the first five months of the present year; and whether he can show the comparison between these figures and the output in the corresponding months in the years 1907, 1913, and the five months preceding the Report of the Coal Industry Commission presided over by Mr. Justice Sankey?
The average output of coal per man-shift of seven hours during the first five months of the present year was nearly 20 cwts., as compared with 19 cwts. per man-shift of eight hours during the five months preceding the Report of the Coal Industry Commission. Figures for the corresponding months of 1907 and 1913 are not available. During the latter half of 1913 the average output of coal per man-shift of eight hours was about 21 cwts.
May I ask whether, in point of fact, the introduction of the seven hours' day has not been a very serious mistake in the industry?
Notts, Derbyshire And Yorkshire Coal-Fields (Geological Survey)
asked the Secretary for Mines whether the Geological Survey is to resume the resurveying of the Notts, Derbyshire, and Yorkshire coalfields; and whether any revised official estimate of the area of the concealed portions of those coalfields is to be issued to replace the Estimate made by the Royal Commission on Coal Supplies?
This question concerns the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, and I have accordingly been asked to reply. The resurvey of the Nottingham and Derbyshire coalfields has been completed. The resurvey of the Yorkshire coalfield may be started this year. The Estimate given by the Royal Commission on Coal Supplies in 1905 was not prepared by the Geological Survey, but the Survey issued, in 1913, a geological memoir on the concealed coalfield of Yorkshire and Nottingham, which included the information then available for publication. The records bearing on this matter are being kept up-to-date, and when sufficient new information is in hand, a revised edition of this memoir may be issued.
Will the right hon. Gentleman see to it that members of the Survey take full advantage of all the colliery plans in the district before issuing their Report?
I am sorry, I did not hear what the hon. Member said.
Will the hon. Member be kind enough to put the question on the Paper?
asked the Minister of Health whether a scheme has recently been prepared for the building of colliery villages in Notts, Derbyshire, and elsewhere to the value of £1,000,000 or more; and what encouragement or financial assistance is the Government affording?
I am glad to say that an important scheme is being undertaken by an association of colliery owners, who are forming an industrial housing association, based upon the principle of trading without profit, with a programme which includes the erection of some 10,000 houses at the rate of 2,000 a year without any form of Government subsidy. The association proposes to make application for a loan from the Public Works Loan Board. I welcome this scheme as an indication that some of the large employers of labour recognise an obligation to provide houses for their work-people, and I hope the example will be largely followed.
Railways (North-Western And Midland Group) Bill
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will arrange for an early opportunity for the House to debate the Special Report of the Committee on Group F of Private Bills on the action of the Ministry of Transport in connection with the Railways (North Western and Midland Group) Bill?
No, Sir. I see no prospect of giving special facilities for this discussion.
Will the Vote for the Ministry of Transport be put down at an early date, in order that we may discuss the extraordinary action of the Ministry of Transport, causing great waste of public money and public time by their amazing muddle over this question?
My hon. and gallant Friend has drawn an indictment in the form of a supplementary question. I believe his indictment to be without foundation and capable of easy disproof, but I cannot undertake to find special facilities, or to put down the Vote for the Ministry of Transport, unless it be very widely asked for in the ordinary course, in order to enable my hon. and gallant Friend to pursue his indictment to the point of proof.
Surely when the Chairman of a Committee of the House of Commons issues such a statement as that, it is right that this House should have an early opportunity of discussing it, and of seeing whether the Chairman is justified or not in the grave statements he makes?
It is extremely easy for my hon. and gallant Friend, or anybody else, to suggest that the Government should find facilities for any discussion any section of the House desires, but if I were to comply with all those demands, the House would never rise.
Is there any method known to my right hon. Friend by which the Report of a Private Bill Committee, indicating that they have formed their opinion before they have heard all the evidence, can be discussed in this House?
It would be a very singular Report from the Committee, and I should hesitate to accept its conclusions.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he is aware that the Railways (North Western and Midland Group) Bill has been dropped after 10 days' hearing before a Private Bill Committee as a result of an objection by the Ministry of Transport first disclosed after 10 days' hearing before the Committee; and why was this objection not taken earlier so that the parties concerned might have been saved the heavy and needless expense to which they have been put by the delay referred to, and the hon. Members of the Committee spared many days of fruitless labour?
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport when he first had an opportunity of considering the principle upon which rates were proposed to be fixed by the promoters of the London and North Western Road Transport Bill when the filled copy of the Bill was first in his possession; when the decision was made to take objection before the Committee to the principle upon which rates were fixed in the Bill; and when the decision was first communicated to the promoters or to the Committee?
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether his attention has been called to the terms of the Special Report presented by the Committee on Group F of Private Bills with regard to the Railways (North Western and Midland Group) Bill; and what reply his Department has to make with reference to that Report?
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he has had an opportunity of considering the terms of the Special Report unanimously presented to the House by the Committee on Group F of Private Bills, wherein it is complained that unnecessary expense was caused to the parties on the Railways (North Western and Midland Group) Bill owing to the delay on the part of the Ministry of Transport in notifying their abjection to the principle on which it was proposed in the Bill to make charges for the conveyance of merchandise by road; whether he can explain why the Ministry did not criticise the bases of charges in their original Report of 15th May; why they failed to do so at the interview with the railway companies' representatives on 10th May; and why the criticism was withheld until the tenth day of the Committee's proceedings; whether he is aware that to alter the Bill in the direction indicated by the Ministry of Transport would have involved a violation of the Standing Orders of this House; whether the authorities of the House were consulted with regard to the Standing Orders before the belated criticism was offered; and whether he can state if any representations were made to the Ministry of Transport, and, if so, by whom, with regard to the alleged necessity for giving the railway group the opportunity of acquiring Government-owned or partly-owned lorries?
I would refer hon. Members generally to the full written reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for the Stirling Division (Major Glyn) on the 15th instant. My attention has been called to the Special Report, but for the reasons given in that reply I am unable to agree that my views were not disclosed at the appropriate time. The Chairman of the Committee consulted me as to the time when the witness from the Ministry of Transport should be called, and also took the views of counsel representing the various parties concerned in the case. As the result he wrote Sir George Beharrell definitely fixing the 12th June (at the close of the promoters' case) as the date upon which he was to attend. I cannot agree that the promoters' decision to withdraw this Bill was necessitated by Sir George's evidence. With reference to the additional points raised by the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. MacVeagh) I am not aware that the introduction of necessary safeguards in regard to the basis of charge into this Bill would have involved a violation of Standing Orders. The Chairman was clearly of the same opinion, since he urged that some alternative basis to that proposed in the Bill should be suggested. The answer to the last part of the question put by my hon. and learned Friend for South Down is in the negative.
Will the hon. Gentleman say why, at the meeting on 10th May, between the representatives of the railway companies and the representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the point was taken by anyone that the principle on which the Bill was founded, namely, to take rail rates subject to certain modifications, was one which the Ministry could not accept?
I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for putting that point. On 4th May the promoters of the Bill printed an alternative Clause Six dealing with the matter in question. On 5th May they wrote asking for an interview with me. The matter was handed over by me to be dealt with officially. On 10th May a very long interview took place between the principal officials of my Department and the promoters. It was pointed out to the promoters at that time—as I had pointed out on the Second Reading—that there was extreme difficulty in applying Part III of the Railways Act to road charges. On 12th May (Friday) the promoters presented to the Ministry, late in the day, for the first time, the Clause as it appeared in the Bill considered by the Committee. It was that altered Clause, that was not in existence on 10th May, that was the foundation of most of the criticism of Sir George Beharrel in the evidence he gave to the Committee at the request of the Chairman. Therefore, it was quite impossible for this matter to have been discussed on the 10th, seeing it was only subsequently raised by the Clause as presented on the 12th.
Will the hon. Gentleman explain how it happened that he suggested to the House on the Second Reading that the standard charges for railway traffic would be a totally improper standard to apply to the carriage of goods by road, whereas the witness that he sent to the Committee upstairs. Sir George Beharrel, speaking on behalf of my hon. Friend, said that it was not an improper, but a proper standard?
I do not think my hon. and learned Friend is intending to quote what I said on the Second Reading—
Yes, I have it here.
No, I think not! I think my hon. and learned Friend will find that I did not use those words. What I did point out to the House, on the Second Reading, was that it would be exceedingly difficult to base road charges, which arise from road costs, upon railway charges which arise from a. different set of costs. As to Sir George Beharrel's evidence, he was not dealing with rail charges, he was dealing with railway charges which, by their very latest proposal, the companies were proposing to strip of some of the material elements. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"]
Arising out of that point—
There are many questions down, and I think we must now leave this one.
I was only endeavouring to refresh the memory of the hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether the progressive and rapid deterioration caused to certain of the roads of this country by heavy solid-tyred motor vehicles is receiving the attention of the Ministry of Transport; and, if so, whether the Ministry will take steps, either by regulation or legislation, to remedy such a state of affairs?
The effect of all kinds of mechanically-propelled vehicles upon road surfaces is constantly receiving the attention of the Ministry. The Departmental Committee on the Taxation and Regulation of Road Vehicles, in their second interim Report, dated 17th March last, dealt exhaustively with the whole question of the regulation of mechanically-propelled road vehicles of all types, and I would refer my Noble and gallant Friend to this Report. The Committee's recommendations are now under consideration.
South-Eastern And Chatham Railway (Electrification)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether the representatives of the West Kent Electric Company, whose application for permission to erect a capital generating station at Erith is now before the Electricity Commissioners, had an interview with the Commissioners on the subject towards the end of last or the beginning of this year; if he will state whether the interview was an official or private one; if shorthand notes of the proceedings were taken; and if it is the custom of the Commissioners to grant such interviews to all applicants who have to appear before them at public inquiries?
I understand that the Electricity Commissioners have had more than one interview with representatives of the company. These interviews were of a semi-official nature, and shorthand notes were not taken. It is the custom of the Commissioners to grant interviews if by so doing they can advance the public interest.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether alternative proposals have been submitted to the Electricity Commissioners by the West Kent Electric Company and the County of London Electric Supply Company, respectively, for the supply of power for the electrical working of the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway Companies' suburban lines at more favourable rates than the railway companies could themselves generate power; whether these alternative offers were, however, made after the railway companies had disclosed their figures; whether, if the Commissioners refuse the application of the railway companies for permission to put up their own stations, the companies will have to abandon the electrification of their lines or accept one or other of the alternative offers in question; whether any loss that may result from the supply of power by either the West Kent Company or the County Company at non-remunerative rates will have to be made good at the expense of the general consumer; if he will state what provision will be made in this event to protect the interests of public users other than the railway companies; and if he will state whether, if the railway companies' application is refused and they subsequently decide to accept the offer of the County Company or the West Kent Company, a further local inquiry will be held under Section 11 of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1919?
An exhaustive public inquiry on this subject has just been concluded by the Commissioners, who, before arriving at their decision, will take into consideration all the facts of the case. Pending that decision, it is not possible to deal with particular points raised in the question. The reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.
Egypt (Zaghloul Pasha)
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the degree of banishment imposed upon Zaghloul Pasha has been or is likely to be reviewed; what is the present state of his health; and what is the charge brought against him?
The policy of His Majesty's Government regarding Zaghloul Pasha's deportation has been frequently declared and has undergone no change. A report dated the 5th June indicates that his health is not being adversely affected by his residence in the Seychelles Islands. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Barnard Castle on 9th February.
Is it not the fact that all the gentlemen associated in the negotiations on Egypt are unanimous in their desire for the return of this gentleman?
No, Sir. I do not think so; that is quite an incorrect statement.
Russia (British Property)
asked the Tinder-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that in cases where the property of English traders in Russia has been stolen by that Government, the Russian creditors necessarily left unpaid are now taking proceedings against the English firms in this country; whether there is no means of preventing such proceedings or directing that the amount of the debt should be set off against the assets in Russia of such English firms; and whether, if there is no legislation at prevent available, the Government will take steps to safeguard the interests of British subjects in this respect?
A case has been brought to my notice of the nature outlined in the first part of the question; I regret that there is no means of preventing the proceedings. As regards the question of any future action it is not possible to make a statement at this juncture; the question will, however, be submitted for consideration without delay to the British experts now assembled at The Hague.
Can the hon. Gentleman state to how many States or Governments could this epithet "stolen property" be applied since the Armistice?
No, Sir. I have no information.
Wrexham Corporation (Generating Station)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether the Wrexham Corporation have applied for consent to extend their generating station; whether the Electricity Commissioners have refused to sanction such extension, and have called upon the corporation to take what further power they require from the North Wales Power Company: whether the latter company have quoted a price of £6 a k. w. and 75d. a unit, which is the maximum price which they are allowed to charge; and whether, in view of the attitude taken up by the power company in the matter, the Commissioners propose to reconsider their decision withholding consent to the extension of the Wrexham undertaking?
The hon. Member has been misinformed. The consent asked for by the Wrexham Corporation was granted by the Electricity Commissioners. I understand, however, that the Corporation subsequently decided to obtain a bulk supply and are in negotiations with the Company.
Greece And Turkey
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information regarding the bombarding of Samsun and other towns on the Pontine coast by Greek warships; whether any casualties were caused among non-combatants; and whether any American property was damaged by the bombardment and American or other European citizens killed and wounded?
His Majesty's Government have received no information regarding the bombardment of other towns on the Pontine coast, and no details regarding the bombardment of Samsun which would enable me to add to the information which I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil on this subject last Wednesday.
When does the hon. Gentleman expect to have the information about this matter, and may I put a further question dawn later?
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will put down his question again on Wednesday, I will endeavour to give him further information.
asked the hon. Member for the Pollok Division of Glasgow, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether it is proposed to replace the gates opposite Gloucester Gate, Regent's Park, which were removed for military reasons during the War; and, if not, whether, having regard to the large number of pedestrians (including thousands of young children) who enter and leave Regent's Park at this point and the dangers to which they are exposed by fast motor traffic, he will consider the desirability of providing a refuge there?