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Written Answers

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 20 June 1922

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Written Answers

Ireland

Royal Irish Constabulary (Pensions)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if money for payment of pensions of retired members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, or any part of the money, has been handed over to the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland; and, if so, what guarantees has the British Government that the payments due on account of pensions are made fully and punctually?

All pensions payable to retired or disbanded members of the Royal Irish Constabulary will continue to be paid from Imperial funds. The answer to the first part of the question, therefore, is in the negative, and the second part does not arise.

Kidnapping Ulster Citizens

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Ulster citizens have been kidnapped by the so-called Irish Republican forces during the past month; how many of these persons are detained in gaols under the control of the Provisional Government; and what steps it is proposed to take to safeguard their lives?

I have received from the Northern Government a list of 11 persons who have been kidnapped within the six northern counties during the past six weeks and have not yet returned to their homes. I am informed that none of these persons is detained in a prison controlled by the Provisional Government, but I am in communication with the Provisional Government with a view to tracing their present whereabouts and obtaining their release.

Boards Of Guardians (Financial Position)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that 51 of the Poor Law authorities have from Michaelmas, 1920, up to the week ending 4th March, 1922, relieved 133,003 cases of unemployment; that relief to the unemployed has already cost the guardians the sum of £5,608,109, and in the case of 33 Boards of Guardians, in addition to the sum raised from local rates, they have been compelled to borrow by means of loans and bank overdrafts the sum of £2,557,373 to defray additional expenditure owing to this relief; that the total relief granted to unemployed up to the 31st March, 1922, was, respectively, Birmingham £498,000, Manchester £230,000, Sheffield £477,000, West Ham £635,000, Poplar £370,000 and Wandsworth £180,000; that the Birmingham guardians have loans or overdrafts outstanding to 31st March, 1922, incurred through the unemployment relief £410,000, Sheffield £400,000, West Ham £135,000, and Poplar £126,857; that since 31st March, 1922, the financial position of the various Poor Law authorities is very much worse than it was in March; and what action the Government intends taking in the matter?

I am aware of the financial position of the Poor Law authorities referred to. As the hon. Member is aware, the Prime Minister is receiving a deputation on the subject this afternoon.

Ex-Service Men

Fruit Stalls, Cardiff

asked the Minister of Health if he, is aware that 12 ex-service men, crippled or disabled in the Great War, who for the past three or four years have been earning a livelihood by selling fruit from stalls in various parts of Cardiff, have received notices to quit by the Market Committee of the Corporation; and, in view of the serious consequence of this action to the ex-service men and their families, will he communicate with the Cardiff Corporation on the matter, and by his good offices endeavour to get these notices withdrawn?

This is not a matter in which I have any jurisdiction, and I had not previously heard of it, but I will bring the hon. Member's representations to the notice of the Corporation.

Land Settlement

asked the Minister of Agriculture if and when he proposes to issue a Report on the administration of the Land Settlement Act for ex-service men?

The publication of the Ministry of Agriculture's Annual Re- port on Small Holdings has been suspended for reasons of economy. It is, however, proposed to issue a Report on the administration of the Land Settlement (Facilities) Act, when the land already acquired has been fully equipped and let as small holdings.

Forestry Training (Mr A Riley)

asked the hon. Member for Monmouth, as representing the Forestry Commissioners, whether, in connection with the case of Mr. A. Riley, he is aware that this man holds a testimonial from the forester in Yorkshire, part of which states that Riley was handicapped by ill-health due to the exposed position where the work lay; that the Yorkshire divisional officer stated to a Manchester firm that he could not supply a detailed character of Riley as the time the man worked was so much interrupted by health stoppages, or words to that effect; that, prior to entering the course of training, Riley was informed that the training aimed at enabling a disabled soldier to become a useful woodman, nurseryman, or the like, i.e., a skilled forest workman; that, since Riley's course of training, a Manchester firm has been informed, in connection with his application for employment, that the training aimed at turning out woodmen, i.e., workmen (labourers) more or less skilled; and whether, in view of the disparity of these two latter statements and of the prejudicial effect upon Riley's chances of employment, and in view also of Riley's excellent record at the training school at Brockenhurst, he will have further inquiries made into this case and give instructions for Riley to be supplied with an accurate certificate as to his employment under the Commissioners?

I am aware that Mr. A. Riley holds a testimonial from the forester in Yorkshire, but it is incorrectly quoted in this question; I am aware of the statement by the Yorkshire divisional officer referred to; also of the information given to Riley prior to his entering the course as to the aim of the training at Brockenhurst School, and of the information on the same subject given to a Manchester firm since Riley's course of training; the Forestry Commissioners do not consider that there is any disparity in the information given, the statements being similar in meaning nor do they consider that either statement has any prejudicial effect upon Riley's chance of employment on work for which he may be suitable; the Forestry Commissioners have made the fullest inquiries into this case; they do not propose to give instructions for Riley to be supplied with any further testimonial as to his employment under them; in view of the Divisional Officer's Report of which Riley was informed by the Assistant Commissioner by letter of 6th May last, no testimonial which the Commissioners could supply would be likely to assist this man in obtaining employment on forestry work.

Unemployment

Nantyglo, Monmouthshire

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that in the town of Nantyglo, Monmouthshire, in 22 principal streets in the parish, 72 per cent. of the direct ratepayers are out of employment; and that the overseer has only been able to collect 32 per cent. of the rates in consequence of the deplorable condition in which the ratepayers find themselves; and if he intends taking any action in the matter?

A deputation from the district council was received by officers of my Department last week and a special investigation is being made of the local conditions.

Water Power Undertakings

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether, in view of the continued problem of unemployment and consequent unproductive expenditure on unemployment pay and local relief, he will reconsider his decision not to proceed with the recommendations of the Water Power Resources Committee appointed to consider the utilisation of water power for electrical generation?

I have been asked to reply. I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for the New Forest Division (Mr. Perkins) on the 13th March, but I may add that legislative authority has recently been obtained in one case, and in two other cases is being sought in the present Session by the promoters of water power undertakings.

Juveniles (Training)

asked the Minister of Labour how many boys or girls between the ages of 14 and 18 registered as unemployed are receiving any daily training in any trade or profession; whether he has received any representations from juvenile advisory committees as to the need for such training; and whether the Ministry of Labour is giving consideration to the problem of training the nation's workers in view of the abnormal state of unemployment?

There is no State scheme for training unemployed boys and girls as new entrants into particular trades, and I need not detail to my hon. Friend the difficulties and objections which would beset any such scheme in view of the present state of unemployment in practically all trades. We have not received any representations from Juvenile Employment Committees in favour of a State scheme of industrial training.

Dependants' Allowances (J Walton)

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that James Walton, who was thrown out of employment by the closing of the Earl of Bradford's colliery at Farnworth, near Bolton, was refused the supplementary grant for housekeeper and dependent children, the housekeeper being his widowed daughter and the dependent children her two children, who has been acting as housekeeper since the death of his wife in June, 1919, and previous to that time was assisting his wife in the household duties, there being a large family; and whether he will have this case inquired into, and, if eligible for benefits, authorise their payment?

I am having inquiries made into this case and will communicate the result to my hon. Friend.

Land Drainage Schemes

asked the Minister of Labour why the Ministry has directed the unemployment benefit to be continued to men who had refused to accept the rate of wages authorised by the Ministry of Agriculture to be paid for work on land drainage schemes; and whether he will make inquiry into this matter?

If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of the case he has in mind I will make inquiry.

Southern Ireland (Benefit)

asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that large numbers of unemployed are receiving unemployment pay from the Cork Employment Exchange, and if the funds distributed are provided by the British taxpayers or by the Provisional Government of Southern Ireland; and which Government is responsible for the distribution of unemployment pay at Cork?

The Provisional Government is responsible for the payment of unemployment pay in the area within their jurisdiction and any funds necessary for this purpose are provided by that Government.

Wages

asked the Minister of Labour if he can state, since the beginning of 1922, the changes of rates of wages reported to his Department; and what is the weekly reductions and the number of workpeople who have had their weekly rates of pay reduced?

In the industries for which statistics are compiled by the Ministry of Labour, the changes in rates of wages reported to the Department to have taken effect from 1st January last to the end of May resulted in a net reduction of, approximately, £2,316,700 in the weekly full-time rates of wages of 6,980,000 workpeople, and a net increase of, approximately, £3,190 in the weekly rates of 17,500 workpeople. Detailed information as to these changes is published each month in the "Ministry of Labour Gazette," and I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the June issue, which gives, on page 265, an analysis by groups of industries of the figures for January to May. The figures exclude changes affecting Government employés, police, agricultural labourers, domestic servants, shop assistants and clerks.

British Army (Pay And Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the present rates of pay and allowances to British Army officers and other ranks will remain in force for a definite period; if so, when are the present scales of pay, allowances and pensions due for revision; and can officers and other ranks feel assured that no reduction will take effect until they have received at least nine months' notice?

The rates of pay, half-pay, and retired pay of officers in the Army are subject to revision in 1924 and thereafter every three years, as announced in the Army Order of September, 1919, by which they were granted. Rates of allowances are always liable to revision as circumstances may demand. For other ranks, no date for revision of pay and pensions has been announced. In the event of a decision to make reductions, reasonable notice to all ranks concerned will be given, as regards individuals in the Army at the time, though I am not prepared to promise a period of at least nine months.

Metropolitan Electric Supply Company (War Claim)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on the 15th November, 1921, the chief valuer of the War Office directorate of lands informed the Metropolitan Electric Supply Company that it was proposed to surrender part of about nine acres of the company's land at Willesden which had been commandeered without compensation under the Defence of the Realm Act on the 26th August, 1915; that on the 29th November, 1921, at a personal interview, the chief valuer informed the general manager of the company that the Government were willing to surrender the whole site and reinstate the land, and that although the company's agents have since made repeated applications to the Department they are unable to ascertain at what date or on what terms the Government are prepared to surrender and reinstate the land; and whether, in view of the fact that under Section 2 (i) (ii) of The Indemnity Act, 1920, claims for compensation must be lodged with the War Compensation Court by the 31st August, 1922, he will instruct his Department to deal with the matter without further delay?

The surrender of the site has been delayed pending negotiations as to the possible sale to the company of a siding constructed on the land by the Government. The company having now decided not to purchase this siding, the site is being handed back to them, and they were asked on the 15th instant to supply details of the basis of their claim for compensation in lieu of reinstatement.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Disability Pensions (Shoeing-Smith Hunt)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Shoeing-smith Hunt, No. 312985, late 17th Lancers, discharged after 12 years' continuous service owing to pulmonary tuberculosis; why he is not in receipt of a pension; why only a gratuity of £66 has been offered him for the disablement; and whether Chelsea Hospital will now reconsider the case?

The case in question is being further considered and I will communicate with the hon. and gallant Member in due course.

Government Securities (Conversions)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes have been effected since 31st March, 1922, up to 1st June, 1922, in the composition of the National Debt as the result of the various conversion options which have been available?

The following statement contains the information desired. The figures should be regarded as subject to some small corrections, but for practical purposes complete:

EXCHEQUER BONDS, NATIONAL WAR BONDS AND TREASURY BONDS CONVERTED SINCE 31ST MARCH, 1922, INTO 3½ PER CENT. CONVERSION LOAN, 4½ PER CENT. TREASURY BONDS OR 5 PER CENT. AND 4 PER CENT. WAR LOAN.
Bonds Converted.Stock or Bonds issued in Exchange.
Description.Nominal Amount.Annual Interest thereon.3½% Conversion Loan.4½% Treasury Bonds.5% Treasury Bonds.4% War Loan.Annual Interest thereon.
£££££££
5% Exchequer Bonds—
April, 192214,464,248723,21219,671,378688,498
5% National War Bonds—
October, 192289,855,2755,495,35794,376,0283,303,161
April, 192317,996,697
September, 19231,807,248
October, 19245,1658,825,975397,169
April, 19254,610
September, 19251,100
October, 1927114,54332,264,4761,613,224
April, 192845,595
September, 192876,910
4% National War Bonds—
October, 1927139,40023,798
April, 1928278,100594,95823,798
September, 1928177,458
5½% Treasury Bonds, 1929 (Series A and B)69,501,5363,822,584101,472,2403,551,528
215,519,6468,825,97532,264,476594,958
194,467,884
10,064,951257,205,0559 577,378

The total conversions effected under the various options were as follows:

Exchequer Bonds converted under offer of 18th February, 1922: £14,464,248 into £19,671,378 Conversion Loan.

National War Bonds converted under offer of 21st April, 1922: £70,429,871 into £94,376,028 Conversion Loan; £8,825,975 into £8,825,975 4½ per cent. Treasury Bonds.

National War Bonds converted into 5 per cent. and 4 per cent. War Loans under original option: £30,651,297 5 per cent. Bonds into £32,264,476 5 per cent. War Loan; £594,958 4 per cent. Bonds into £594,958 4 per cent. War Loan.

per cent. Treasury Bonds, 1929 ( A and B) converted under original option: £69,501,535 into £101,472,240 Conversion Loan.

The Debt maturing in 1922–23 converted amounts to £104,319,523. The nominal

amount of Debt has been increased by £62,737,171. The charge for interest has been reduced by £487,573 per annum. The cash payment (£4 per cent.) involved by the conversion into 4 per cent. Treasury Bonds was £353,039.

New Scotland Yard (Higher Officials)

asked the Home Secretary what ranks there are higher than superintendent at New Scotland Yard in the Commissioner's office of the Metropolitan police; how many officials of each rank held these posts at the end of the financial years 1914, 1918, and 1922, and the scale of salary for each rank and how many of these posts were held by men who had risen from the rank of constable and how many were held by ex-naval or ex-military officers or by ex-Civil Service officials at the periods mentioned; and whether any reduction has been made in the salaries of the holders of these posts under the Geddes Report?

31st March.Commissioner.Assistant Commissioner.Duputy Assistant Commissioner.Chief Constables.Total.
19141 (£2,500)1 (£1,350)5 (£600–£800)10
3 (£1,200)
19181 (£2,500)*4 (£1,200)†3 (£600–£800)8
19221 (£3,000)4 (£1,200)†2 (£800–£1,000)4 (£800–£1,000)11
* Increased to £3,250 in August, 1918.
† Plus bonus at the appropriate rate as for Civil Servants.
Of these, the numbers who were ex-military officers, ex-Civil Service officials, or had risen from the rank of constable were:—
Ex-Military Officers.Ex-Civil Service OfficialsRisen from rank of Constable.
191452
191843
1922513
A deduction at the rate of 2½ per cent. has been made from all the above salaries as from 1st April last.

asked the Home Secretary how many motor cars are kept for the use of superior officials of bile Metropolitan Police attached to New Scotland Yard; to what rank of officials are these ears allotted, and are any of these officials also provided with a horse; what prices have been paid for these motor cars; and what is the annual cost of upkeep, including wages of drivers?

Seven motor cars are kept for the use of the superior officials of the Metropolitan Police attached to New Scotland Yard, that is: one for the Commissioner, two for the use of four Assistant Commissioners and two Deputy Assistant Commissioners, three for the Receiver and his department, and one spare car. Horses are not supplied to any of these officials. The average price paid for these cars is £660. The annual cost of upkeep, including wages of drivers, tyres, and petrol, for the seven cars is estimated for the current financial year at £4,129.

The ranks, numbers and salaries at the dates mentioned were as follow:—

Safeguarding Of Industries Act (Smuggling)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of cases of smuggling detected by his staff since the introduction of the Safeguarding of Industries Act on 1st October up to 31st May; and can he give similar figures for the same period of 1920–21?

The number of smuggling cases detected during the six months from the 1st October, 1921, to the 31st March, 1922, was 3,965, and during the six months from the 1st October, 1920, to the 31st March, 1921, was 5,057. The figure for the period from the 1st April to the 31st May is not yet available.

Naval Reservist, Royal Mint (Pension)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether a man who joined the Royal Marines in June, 1886, for a limited engagement and was discharged on 28th June, 1898, who enrolled in the Fleet Reserve in May, 1903, and was discharged on the 11th July, 1910, with a very good character and who worked in the Royal Mint from August, 1914, until May, 1922, making a total of 26 years and 9 months in Government service, is entitled to any grant or pension; if so, what is the amount of such award: and, if no pension is allowed in such a case, will the Government give favourable consideration to the matter, seeing that the man referred to has spent so many years of his life in the service of the State?

If my hon. and gallant Friend will let me have the name of the man to whom the question refers, and sufficient particulars to enable me to identify him, I will inform him whether any grant or pension can be awarded. I may say, however, that service with the Colours cannot reckon towards a retiring allowance under the Civil Superannuation Acts.

Police Courts (Probation Officers)

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to a statement in the Report of the Departmental Committee on the training, appointment and payment of probation officers which shows that in 1919, 12 years after the passing of the Probation of Offenders Act, there were 215 courts of summary jurisdiction in England and Wales in which no steps had been taken to appoint a probation officer; whether there are still 215 courts in this position; and, if so, whether he proposes to take any steps regarding the appointment of these officers?

The number of courts of summary jurisdiction in England and Wales with no probation officer in January, 1922, when the last returns were made, was 198. As I stated in the reply which I have to a similar question by the Noble Lord the Member for south Nottingham on the 23rd May, I am communicating with the courts in regard to this and other matters dealt with in the Committee's Report.

Flannelette

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will consider methods to protect the public, in respect more particularly to its child life in respect of the composition of flannel and flannelette, either by the registration of names or by compulsory marking of both materials, giving details of the principal raw materials of which they are manufactured?

I have been asked to reply. The question of the danger arising from the use of flannelette for articles of clothing was investigated by a Home Office Committee in 1910. The Committee reported that there was no sufficient reason to suppose that a com- pulsory system of marking goods would either influence the public in their choice of material or make people more careful in avoiding the risk of fire, and that the only legislation they could recommend was for the prevention of positive misrepresentations of the character of the material offered for sale. An Act, entitled the Fabrics (Misdescription) Act, was passed in 1913 to give effect to this recommendation. Since the passing of the Act, very few, if any, representations On the subject of the danger from flannelette have reached the Department.

Imperial Preference

asked the President of the Board of Trade the value of the imports of each of the commodities to which Imperial preference applies, from their respective countries of origin, for the year ending 31st March, 1922?

I am sending the hon. and gallant Member particulars which, I hope, will be of service.

Vulcanised Fibre (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade the quantities of vulcanised fibre imported into this country during the years 1913, 1919, 1920, and 1921, respectively, from each of the following countries, viz., America, Sweden, Italy, and Germany?

These particulars are not available; but the hon. Member was furnished yesterday with the total imports, and informed that in 1921 practically the whole of them were consigned from the United States.

Post Office (Reduced Charges)

asked the Postmaster-General if he is in a position to state what are the effects, if any, of the recent reductions in postal charges on the business and revenue of the Post Office?

It will not be possible for some time to come to give any reliable information as to the effect of the reduced charges on Post Office revenue.

Matabeleland

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, during the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught to Matabeleland, the tribes expressed a desire that they should be allowed to appoint Lohengula's youthful grandson as their chief; and whether His Majesty's Government is prepared to notify the Matabele that there is no objection to this request?

His Royal Highness Prince Arthur of Connaught, as High Commissioner for South Africa, made the following statement in the course of replying to an address presented to him by the sons and relatives of Lobengula and certain headmen and councillors during his visit to Rhodesia in 1921:

"I hear also that some of you have a wish that a son of your King should dwell among you and voice your grievances to His Honour the Administrator of this Territory. It is well that people should revere the memory of their past rulers. But I must tell you, as though I were a father speaking to his children, that you cannot go back; that you must go forward. This you can only do under the rule of the Government under which you live, and that rule cannot be a divided one. While the family of your late King will be taken care of, I must tell you quite plainly that this wish of yours cannot be granted, and I wish the Kumalo family, some of whom I am glad to see here to-day, to realise this. You must accept what I say as a final utterance."

Elementary Schools (Provision Of Meals)

asked the President of the Board of Education what he estimates will be the approximate additional charge to the ratepayers of the country in the present financial year, owing to the alteration in the payment of grants to local educational authorities towards the cost of providing meals for school children, based on the supposition that the numbers of children so fed are the same as last year?

On the assumption that the number of children for whom school meals are provided in 1922–23 is the same as that in 1921–22, that the cost is the same, namely, £1,056,000, and that the Board's grant is limited to £150,000, the additional cost to the rates would be about £375,000. The assumption, however, is very misleading. The forecast made by the authorities of their expenditure for 1922–23 was about £636,000, and it will probably be less on their revised estimates. It is not a question of placing an additional burden upon the rates, but of removing from public funds intended for education a burden which has been improperly placed upon them.

House Of Commons (Frozen Meat)

asked the hon. Member for Cheltenham, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, if he will, without notifying Members, discontinue for one week supplying British-fed and, home-killed beef and mutton in the dining rooms of the House, and substitute the best qualities of frozen imported meat, and so give Members a practical demonstration of the inferiority of even the best qualities of the meat which the great mass of the people are under the present conditions compelled to accept?

I apologise to my hon. and gallant Friend for my absence when he put this question on a former occasion. I was not in England at the time. In reply to the question, I fear that we cannot adopt the suggestion it contains, as it would be scarcely courteous to the House to make hon. Members the subject of gastronomic experiments. May I add that I say this without any disparagement of frozen meat, the merits and advantages of which are so universally recognised and appreciated?

Canadian Cattle Embargo

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can give the number of cattle in Great Britain at the time Canadian store cattle first came, and the year in which that happened; the number of cattle in Great Britain in the years 1892 and 1921; and the total number landed between 1982 and 1921 inclusive?

Imports of cattle from Canada into the United Kingdom were officially recorded for the first time in 1873. The total number of cattle in Great Britain in that year was 5,964,549. In 1892 and 1921, the numbers were 6,944,783 and 6,659,859 respectively. The total number of cattle imported into the United Kingdom from all countries in the thirty years 1892–1921 was 9,324,937. With regard to the number of cattle in 1892, I may point out that this was the highest recorded up to that time, the annual average for the five years 1887–1892 being 6,515,000. There was a decline in 1893 and 1894 after which there was a steady rise up to 1919, the number that year being 7,424,000. In the following year there occurred an excessive slaughter of calves due chiefly to restrictions and conditions arising out of the War, and this accounts for the reduction in the numbers in 1920. But the position is now improving again, and there was a large increase in the number of calves reared last year.

Austrian Treasury Notes, 1914 (British Subscribers)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the total amount of Imperial Austrian Government 4½ per cent. Redeemable Treasury Notes, 1914, held by British subjects; whether the collection of this debt is being dealt with by the Reparations Commission and, if not, by whom; whether the Austrian Government have admitted liability of the debt or have been requested to do so; whether the British Government is in possession of a full list of the British creditors in this respect; and whether he can give any indication of the length of time it will take to effect settlement of this claim and the extent to which it is likely to be met?

I have been asked to reply. The Austrian Government Treasury notes referred to form part of the unsecured bonded debt of the old Austrian Government. Under Article 203 of the Treaty of St. Germainen-Laye each of the Succession States has to assume responsibility for a portion of this debt on the assessment of the Reparation Commission, and bonds held outside these States have to be delivered to the Commission in order that certificates may be issued to the holders entitling them to a due share of the new issues of bonds to be made by the various Succession States. In the case of the particular loan referred to in the question, the definitive Treasury notes bad not actually been delivered by the Austrian Government by the outbreak of War, and the only documents held by the British subscribers are the scrip certificates issued by the London issuing houses. These certificates are being collected by the Department for the Administration of Austrian Property, for delivery to the Reparation Commission. The total value of the certificates collected up to date is £1,220,000. A separate question arises in regard to interest which fell due during the War. Claims in this respect, as lodged by the British subjects concerned, are being presented by the Department for the Administration of Austrian Property to the Austrian Clearing Office, under Article 248 of the Treaty. The Austrian Government has not yet admitted its liability in respect of this debt, but if it does not do so it will be necessary to submit the matter to the Anglo-Austrian Mixed Arbitral Tribunal for adjudication. I am afraid that it is not possible to estimate how long the settlement of the claim will take.

Egypt

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the members of the Egyptian Parliament have yet met; whether their period of office has yet expired; how many have died since election; whether any payments are still being made to the remaining members; and, if so, whether out of Egyptian or British funds?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As regards the second and third parts, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to him on 27th February. I understand that each surviving member of the Egyptian Legislative Assembly receives as heretofore an allowance from the Egyptian Government.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether martial law is still in operation in Egypt; if so, how long has it been imposed; whether the elections contemplated in the recent negotiations with Sarwat Pasha have yet been held; and, if not, the cause of delay?

Martial law has been in force in Egypt since 2nd November, 1914, and is so now. It is for the Egyptian Government to decide when the elections are to be held.

Naval Schoolmasters (Pay)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he can give the date in 1920 when the dockyard Members and Naval Parliamentary Committee's letter relating to the pay of naval schoolmasters was received at the Admiralty; whether he is aware that the reply given was that the matter was under consideration; and whether he can now make a statement on the subject?

With regard to the first part of the question, a letter from my hon. Friend as chairman of the Committee was received at the Admiralty on the 16th December, 1920, in which the question of the pay of naval schoolmasters was raised. The reply to the second part of the question is in the affirmative. I regret that I am still not in a position to make the statement referred to in the third part of the question, but I wish to assure my hon. Friend that all possible steps are being taken to hasten a decision in the matter, and that the decision will be promulgated as early as possible after it has been reached.