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Oral Answers To Questions

Volume 155: debated on Thursday 22 June 1922

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Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Mother's Allowance (Mrs A Walters)

1.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether any decision has been arrived at in the case of Shoeing-smith Jack Clayton Walters No. R/8828, Royal Army Service Corps, who died at a military hospital at Kantara, Egypt, on 22nd November, 1921, previous to which he had several attacks of dysentery and enteric fever, in addition to being kicked by a horse when stationed at Romsey, Hants; and whether, as his death was primarily brought about by military service, a pension or allowance can be made to his mother, Mrs. A. Walters, of Hensley, near Matlock, who is in indifferent health and needy circumstances, and was at the time of her son's death receiving from him an allowance of 14s. a week?

I have been asked to answer this question. A decision has been reached, and was communicated to Mrs. Walters on the 7th June. As in this case death resulted from appendicitis, not attributable to military service, I regret that no pension or allowance can be paid to Mrs. Walters. This soldier's medical history sheet contains no record of his having suffered from dysentery, or from a kick from a horse.

Nurse's Pension (K W Danby)

2.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will reconsider the case of Sister Kathleen W. Danby, Army Nursing Service, now living at Minster Lovell, Witney, Oxon, who joined up in 1915 for foreign service in the East, and was eventually invalided out of the Service with a pension of £45 a year; whether he is aware that, though Sister Danby is still totally incapable of taking up any employment, her disability having become worse, this pension has been reduced to £20 a year; and whether he will order an early revision of the decision, with a view to the original pension being restored?

The degree of disablement was originally assessed on demobilisation at 30 per cent.; but since April, 1921, the assessment has been at 20 per cent., representing the present pension of £30 (not £20) a year. Miss Danby appealed last month to a medical appeal board, which confirmed the assessment of the previous board, and I regret, therefore, that there are no grounds for reviewing her award.

Arrears Of Payment (A Harrison)

3.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that the appeal to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal of A. Harrison, No. 3/MH/7444, was allowed on 26th April, 1922; whether the decision re payment of pension dates from and includes the amount due on 14th December, 1921; whether he is aware that from that date to 18th May he should have received £52 6s., of which Rd£10 7s. 6d. was paid; how much of the arrears has now been paid; and will he hasten the payment of any balance due to enable this pensioner to enter a convalescent home on 23rd June, as without payment such arrangement may have to be cancelled?

In order to ascertain the exact position of this man's account, it has been necessary to make inquiries from his local committee. On receipt of their reply, I will at once communicate with my hon. Friend. I may say that the man is at present receiving treatment at home, with allowances, and will be admitted to a convalescent hospital this week.

Disability Pensions

6.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that, in the cases of thousands of ex-service men who were discharged from the Service with disability caused entirely by War service, they are now informed by the Ministry of Pensions that their disability was only aggravated by War service, though in many cases their disability has increased; and whether, in order to remedy the injustices that are being perpetrated, he will take such steps as are necessary to enable men to take their cases to the Central Appeals Tribunal?

The cases referred to represent a very small proportion of the whole body of pensioners, and no change of the nature mentioned is made without a definite medical certificate to the effect that the entitlement originally conceded was obviously wrong. The man is always informed of the alteration, and advised of his right of appeal to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal.

Is it not a fact that there are hundreds of these men at the present moment being reduced from the "attributable "to the "aggravated," their pensions ultimately being stopped altogether, without any adequate reason?

If my hon. Friend knows any cases where no reason is given, I shall be glad to have them.

Maghull Hospital

9.

asked the Minister of Pensions if his attention has been called to the conditions and rules in force at the Pensions Hospital, Moss Side, Maghull regarding the work, late passes, free warrants, &c.; and will he inquire into the matter of changing the conditions, so that greater liberty of leave may be granted and the time of getting in at night fixed at, say, 9.30 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.?

The conditions and rules in force at Maghull are as favourable as at the other hospitals under my control, except in so far as the nature of the unfortunate disability (epilepsy) from which the patients suffer requires greater precautions in their own interest, especially as regards the hour of returning to hospital from leave.

Terminable Pensions

10.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the fact that certain classes of pension or allowance are required by the terms of the Royal Warrants to cease 12 months after the termination of the War, he will say what action is being taken by his Department in the matter?

There are two main classes of case in which, under the Royal Pensions Warrants, a temporary pension or allowance, available only for the period of the War and 12 months afterwards, has been given, as a special concession, in cases where the death or disablement of the man concerned has not been in any degree due to his War service. By the terms of the Warrants, these concessions expire on the 30th September next. The first of the two classes referred to is that of the widows of men whose death, though it took place during the War, was not found to be in any way attributable to war service, nor, in the case of disease, certified as having been contracted, or commenced on, or aggravated by service. In these cases a small temporary pension has been granted to the widow.

The second class of case is that of disabled men who were discharged from the Forces on account of some incapacity which was neither due to nor aggravated by their war service. In these cases a gratuity was provided by the Warrants on the man's discharge, and I was empowered by an amendment of the Warrant in 1918 to provide in-patient treatment during the period following their discharge for any of these cases that needed it, and to give allowances to the families of the patients during their treatment. In both classes of case, the men or widows concerned have, for the last four years, had the right of appeal to the independent Pensions Appeal Tribunals against the decision of the Ministry, and probably, in a majority of the cases concerned, have exercised it. I propose, however, to issue notices forthwith individually to the men and widows concerned as to the effect of the provisions of the Warrants, and to draw attention to the right of appeal they possess in good time to enable them to appeal, if they have not already done so, before the 30th September next.

Royal Army Medical Corps (A Booth)

11.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he is aware that ex-Private Alfred Booth, No. 102389, Royal Army Medical Corps, of 14, Scotland Place, Ramsbottom, suffering from arthritis in both hands, has been awarded on appeal 7s. 6d. per week for 35 weeks; that on 5th May, 1920, he had a paper issued stating this was caused by his service in the War; that on 8th June, 1922, the paper issued stated "aggravated by service"; that on 4th April, 1921, his appeal was refused on the ground that aggravation had passed away, but on 21st March, 1922, his appeal was allowed as above, and that now his fingers on both hands are in such a condition that he can hardly move any of the joints; and will he inquire further into this case?

If the man considers that his present award does not adequately represent the degree of disablement, it is open to him to apply through his local committee for reconsideration of his case on that ground.

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain how it came about that the man first had a paper saying the disablement was caused by War service, and then he got a paper saying it was aggravated by service?

I cannot explain that off-hand, but if my hon. Friend will come to see me any day, I will produce the papers, and he can see for himself.

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why these distinctions are made to the detriment of the ex-service man?

I must consider each case on its merits. If originally a man's disablement was given as "attributable," and then it was found as a fact that it was merely "aggravated," I must in that case alter it accordingly.

Will the Minister of Pensions say then what action he takes with regard to a medical board which says this was "attributable," and a medical board which says it was "aggravated"? How does he deal with these people?

I always allow a man in a case of that kind to go before a new board. He is seen by the new board, and can produce his own doctor's certificate or any other evidence.

That is not the point. What I want to know is what action the Minister of Pensions takes with regard to boards, where, in the first instance. a board says that a man's disability is directly due to War service, and another board says that it is aggravated by War service?

My hon. Friend knows that it is notoriously difficult for the doctors. I would remind the House what happened. When demobilisation took place, thousands of men were examined—35,000 in one day. Obviously there must have been some wrong decisions given at that time, and it is my duty to review them, both in the interests of the men and of the State. In many cases I have been able to alter the decision from "aggravated" to "attributable," and in hundreds of cases it has been to the men's interest.

West Of Scotland Appeals

95.

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he can state the number of appeal cases that have been heard from the West of Scotland by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal during the year 1921 and for the first three months of the present year; and, if so, will he state the number that have been allowed?

The numbers of appeal cases from the West of Scotland that were heard, and finally decided by the Pensions Appeal Tribunals for Scotland during the year 1921 and in the first three months of the present year were 2,844 and 794 respectively. In 820 of these cases the appeal was allowed.

Ireland

Malicious Injuries (Awards)

12.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he can give to date the total number of awards for compensation made by Lord Shaw's Commission; and will he give the total cash award in respect of damage inflicted at the instance of British military autho- rities, and also in respect of damage inflicted at the instance of competent authorities of the Irish Republican Army?

The total number of the recommendations made by the Commission to date is seven. These have been representative cases taken with a view to determining certain principles which it is hoped will enable the Commission to deal expeditiously with a large proportion of the cases which are awaiting their decision. I am not in a position to furnish the information asked for in the latter part of the question, and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by calling for such particulars at this stage of the Commission's labours.

When will the time arrive when we shall know exactly what we have to pay for the proceedings of the Government agents in Ireland during the late administration?

I am certain it will not be possible for any money to be finally disbursed without the House of Commons knowing it.

But in reply to questions put, will the right hon. Gentleman state clearly what is the bill for this administration?

I certainly have no reason to conceal any of the facts that may be brought to light. I understand that the hon. and gallant Gentleman thinks there is something very prejudicial—

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider it is spiteful curiosity to inquire what the taxpayer has got to pay as the result of the right hon. Gentleman's administration?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we might have protected ourselves against a considerable amount of this, if the suggestion made a year ago, or a year and a half ago, had been adopted, that we should have an insurance fund in respect of losses in Ireland similar to the one adopted in England against air-raids?

Can my right hon. Friend say when the awards made by Lord Shaw's Commission will be paid?

I hope that all these awards will be promptly paid by the Provisional Government.

Ex-Service Men (Cottages)

13.

asked the Chief Secretary whether, before the treaty, an agreement was come to between the Government and certain contractors in Ireland for the erection of ex-service men's cottages in that country; whether it was arranged that ex-service men were to be employed and subsequently to live in certain of the cottages; and whether any arrangements have been made whereby this understanding will be carried out?

The answer to the first and fourth parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, the arrangement was that ex-service men should be employed as far as possible in the construction of these cottages, and this was, in fact, done, but there was no contractual obligation requiring none but ex-service men to be employed. As regards the third part of the question, the selection of ex-service men to live in the cottages was made on other grounds than the fact of their having been employed on their construction.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether in fact any ex-service men have had houses let to them, or are out of employment?

I said that an arrangement has been made, and, I understand, will be carried out.

No, Sir, I cannot, having regard to the general disturbed state of Ireland, but I have no doubt whatever the Provisional Government will enable us to carry out our obligations in Ireland to these men, and all arrangements will be made to that end.

Elections

43.

asked the Prime Minister whether the Government have any statement to make with regard to the Irish elections?

A full statement will be made on the Chief Secretary's Vote, which will be taken on Tuesday next.

Land Purchase

60 and 61.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether the changed status of Southern Ireland has in any way affected the liability of the British Government which they undertook under the provisions of the Wyndham Irish Land Purchase Act: whether, in any event, the British Government will make itself responsible that the financial provisions of that Act are completely carried out;

(2) whether the Treasury will continue to place a sum approximating from four to live million pounds at the disposal of the Irish Land Commission for the purpose of liquidating the liabilities of the Imperial Government under the Wyndham Irish Land Purchase Act; whether all those persons owning Irish estates who have reached the stage of pending transactions will, in the event of final sanction being given to their claims, receive payment; how long it will be before all pending transactions will be completed and paid and what is the estimated aggregate amount outstanding?

I would refer the hon. Member to the replies which my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary gave him on the 10th and 17th May last in which he was informed that it might be assumed that all pending purchase transactions would be completed and that it was contemplated that such transactions should be proceeded with in the same way as if there had been no change of Government. I cannot say how long it will be before all such transactions will be completed and paid. The estimated aggregate amount outstanding is approximately seven and a half million pounds. On the general question of land purchase, I can only say that negotiations between His Majesty's Government and the Provisional Government initiated some time ago, but that owing to the preoccupation of the Provisional Government with more urgent matters these negotiations have not yet been completed.

Super-Tax

63.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangement has been come to by the Finance Minister of the. Southern Irish Provisional Government with regard to the assessment, levying, and collection of Super-tax in cases where the tax is incurred partly in respect of property in the Irish Free State and partly in respect of property in this country?

My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. As I explained in my reply of 6th April to my hon. and gallant Friend, the transfer to the Provisional Government of the functions of assessment, levying, and collection of Super-tax does not affect the basis or measure of the liability to that tax, and the tax which the Special Commissioners of Income Tax administer in Southern Ireland, as agents for the Provisional Government, continues to be assessed in one sum on a liable individual in respect of his liable income, wherever arising.

Irish Republican Army

64.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to a document headed Headquarters, 4th Northern Division, Irish Republican Army, addressed to all officers and men, which was recently, together with arms, ammunition, and a plan for mining roads, found by the police while searching a house in County Armagh, in which document, amongst other things, it was stated that their objective is a. Republic for an undivided Ireland; that the Dail Minister of Defence had given his word that the army shall be kept as the Irish Republican Army, and that the immediate job for them is, with the help of God, to make Ulster part of a free Irish Republic; and whether he will inquire of the Provisional Government in Southern Ireland whether they have any knowledge of this conspiracy to coerce Ulster into joining an Irish Republic and will take steps to suppress it?

I have seen a copy of the document. I am informed that the Provisional Government are not responsible for its issue and have no knowledge of the conspiracy referred to.

Has the right hon. Gentleman asked the Provisional Government whether they are taking steps to suppress the conspiracy?

68.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what connection there is between the armed forces in Southern Ireland, which call themselves the Irish Republican Army, and the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to his question addressed to me. on the 16th February.

Kidnappings, Rettigo

66.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the information he has received yet enables him to say if the four loyalists kidnapped from the Pettigo district by Free State forces a fortnight ago have been released; if not, whether they are alive or dead; and, if the former, where They are and if they are in safety?

I am not yet in a. position to make any statement with regard to these men, but I hope to be able to do so in the course of a few days.

Kidnapping, Cavan

67.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will urge the Provisional Government to procure the release of ex-Sergeant-Major Daniel Pollock, Royal Irish Fusiliers, reported to have been arrested in Cavan, while bidding goodbye to his friends, by four armed men and conveyed to an unknown destination?

I am inquiring as to the whereabouts and safety of this man, and endeavouring to obtain his release.

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has received information of the kidnapping of David Pollock, son of Sergeant-Major Pollock, both demobilised soldiers, which took place at Cavan on 14th June; if he is aware that David Pollock's life was threatened and that apparently he had not returned to Cavan before 21st June; and can he give any information as to David Pollock; and what steps are being taken to obtain his release?

I am sorry to say that my hon. and gallant Friend's notice has not been received. Perhaps he will repeat the question on Monday?

Has not the right hon. Gentleman received information addressed to him from Cavan setting out the whole facts of the case?

Republican Courts

69.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to a Provisional Government Order, dated 31st April, 1922, addressed to all Dail court officials and providing that injunctions restraining proceedings in ex-enemy courts, i.e., His Majesty's High Court, will not in future be issued except on the authority of the full Supreme Court of Dail Eireann, i.e., republican court; whether the judges of these Dail courts are paid by the Provisional Government; and whether, in view of the Order referred to, the Provisional Government takes responsibility for these republican courts?

I am informed that no such order has been issued by the Provisional Government. The judges and officials of the so-called republican courts are not paid or controlled by them, but form part of the Dail Eireann organisation which existed before the Treaty. As regards the remainder of the question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply I gave him on Wednesday of last week.

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that there is such an Order, a copy of which I have in my hand, and which, if he will allow me, I will hand on to him?

I am informed that it has not been issued by the Provisional Government, and I shall be glad to have any information which contradicts that statement.

It was handed by an official of the Provisional Government to the Gentleman who gave it to me.

Civil Aviation

Passenger Aeroplanes (Pilots And Wireless)

14.

asked the Secretary of State for Air the number of foreign-owned passenger-carrying aeroplanes trading between their own country and England which carry only a single pilot; what number are not yet fitted with wireless; and whether he can give approximate dates on which these essential improvements are to be remedied?

The answer to the first question is 71 aeroplanes, of which 10 will eventually be replaced by aeroplanes fitted with dual control capable of carrying two pilots; to the second 65; to the third, that it is expected that all these aeroplanes will be fitted with wireless apparatus within the next three months.

Trans-European Air Routes

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether any steps are being taken to establish British air routes on any European routes other than the little cross-Channel routes London-Paris, London-Brussels, etc.; whether definite steps are being taken to establish British air routes on the important trans-European routes where French, German, and Italian aircraft are already operating; and, if not, why not?

The answer to the first question is that it is proposed to establish a new subsidised air route with flying boats from Southampton to Cherbourg and probably later to the Channel Islands; to the second that, except as stated above, no additions to the existing subsidised aeroplane services are at present contemplated, though these routes may be extended under the present subsidy scheme within the limits of the money available; to the last, that the Ministry has up to the present received no applications from any British firm to establish a British air line on the trans-European routes.

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware, now that Germany is allowed to build aircraft that German aircraft will be ahead of the English?

I think it must be apparent to my hon. Friend that European countries have a considerable advantage over us in this connection.

London-Paris Route (Equipment)

17.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether any complaints have been made to the effect that the facilities as regards terminal aerodromes, landing grounds en route, wireless communication, fog reporting, etc., on the London-Paris route are inadequate; whether any representations have been made to the French Government to improve the wireless facilities on the French side of the London-Paris route or what is the delay in establishing efficient communication; and whether the Air Ministry will consider setting up stations for reporting the width and altitude of fog banks on the route and otherwise dealing with the complaints made against this route?

The answer to the first question is that some vague complaints, especially in regard to the French portion of the route, have been received, but, with two exceptions, none of them has been sufficiently concrete or definite to enable action to be taken on them. The two exceptions related to the defective condition of the surface of Croydon aerodrome; which steps have been taken to remedy, and to delays in wireless communication between Croydon and Paris, mainly traceable to atmospheric disturbances and in a less degree to mistakes by personnel. As regards wireless communication on this route generally, I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him of the 4th May last. That reply is also pertinent to the second question, the answer to which is in the affirmative. The delays in establishing efficient wireless communication on the French side of the Channel are due to the time necessary to reconstruct their W/T stations, but we are informed that this work is being pressed forward. As regards the last part of the question, experiments are in hand for finding a practical method of determining the vertical extent of fog, and the suggested establishment of new stations for this purpose, additional to the existing rive, namely, three on the 58-mile route from Croydon to the coast, reporting weather conditions every hour during daylight and two reporting the conditions over the Channel, is not considered necessary.

Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman actually interviewed some of the pilots about these complaints in the first part of the question; and, if not, will he do so?

I will certainly put myself in touch with the companies, and ask them to inform me of what are the view of their pilots.

Air Station (Thames)

18.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether any further progress has been made as to providing an air station on the Thames in the vicinity of Westminster and Vauxhall bridges; whether it has been definitely decided to establish such a station; when it is proposed to use it for a Continental air service; and can he make any general statement on the subject?

Negotiations have been steadily pursued with a view to carrying out the series of experimental flights to and from the Thames at Westminster referred to in the reply I gave my hon. Friend on the 22nd February last. These have, however, not borne fruit, and I regret, therefore, that I have nothing to add to my previous statements.

Air Service (India And Australia)

31.

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the importance of the proposed airship service to India and Australia, whether he can hasten the consideration and decision of the Imperial Defence Committee?

The question of the proposed airship service to India and Australia will be considered at an early meeting of the Committee of Imperial Defence.

Royal Air Force

Pilots And Skilled Workmen

15.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can make any statements as to what is being done by his Department to retain a sufficiency of skilled pilots; and whether he is also giving attention to the necessity of having available an adequate number of trained engineers and skilled workmen to deal with the manufacture and upkeep of aeroplanes, bearing in mind the needs of the future?

The Short Service Commission scheme which was instituted in 1919 will provide a regular flow of qualified pilots into the Reserve. Under this scheme commissions are granted for four years' service in the flying branch of the Regular Air Force, followed by four years in the Air Reserve. A number of these short service officers will pass to the Reserve in a few months time. Skilled men who have served in the ranks as fitters, riggers, etc., are also passing into the Reserve and will be available for service in connection with the upkeep of aircraft in a national emergency. As regards manufacture, it is the policy of the Air Ministry to support aircraft constructors to the utmost extent compatible with the needs of national economy.

Realising that the right hon. Gentleman appreciates as much as anybody else the urgency of this question, and the impossibility of improvisation, can he say what his Ministry is prepared to do in the case of British plants having to close down while this lengthy consideration is going on?

That is too important a question to answer by way of reply to the supplementary question.

In regard to the personnel, is the right. hon. and gallant Gentleman satisfied that the flow of pilots and mechanics is sufficient in view of unforeseen contingencies?

I think the annual flow of pilots will rise to about. 300, and of mechanics probably to 2,000.

Naval Wing

33.

asked the Prime Minister whether the Committee appointed to inquire into the position and work of the Naval wing of the Royal Air Force has held any meetings as yet; when it is likely to conclude its labours; whether any Report will be issued; and whether the serious lack of machines and pilots for work in conjunction with the fleet has received the consideration of the Government?

The reply to the first part of the question is that no Committee was appointed to consider the position and work of the Naval Wing of the Royal Air Force. A Committee was promised by the Leader of the House to examine into the system of naval and air co-operation. No formal meeting of the Committee has yet been held, but some progress has been made by preliminary exchange of views. The reply to the second part of the question is that I am unable to say when the Committee is likely to conclude its labours, and to the third part that a report will be rendered to the Committee of Imperial Defence of which this is a Sub-committee. With regard to the fourth part of the question, I am not aware of any serious lack of machines or pilots for work in conjunction with the Fleet, and air training in cooperation with the Navy is being actively and efficiently carried on with the limited forces at our disposal.

Air Power

37.

asked the Prime Minister whether he has received a letter, dated the 2nd June, from the Parliamentary Air Committee; and what action the Government proposes to take in regard to the air position?

41.

asked the Prime Minister if he will take steps to ensure that our safety in the air shall receive full consideration relatively to our other defensive services?

42.

asked the Prime Minister whether the Committee of Im- perial Defence has considered the adequacy or otherwise of the provision for the air defence of the country; if so, what is their decision; whether the same Committee has considered the adequacy or otherwise of the arrangement made and the provision for aircraft working with the Royal Navy; and, if so, whether the Dominions were represented at such deliberations and if they concur in the conclusion reached?

Yes, Sir. I have received the letter in question. Long before this letter was written the attention of the Government had been directed to all the questions of aerial defence and development to which it refers, and a special sub-committee of the. Committee of Imperial Defence had been appointed to consider and report upon the general question which is now before the Committee of Imperial Defence. The arrangements for aircraft working with the Royal Navy is being considered by a separate committee.

Having regard to the very great importance which I know my right hon. Friend attaches to this question, may I ask whether there is any possibility of him being able to make a statement in the approximately near future?

The letter, I agree, contains some very impressive passages, and the Committee are examining the whole problem very closely. I think it would be a great mistake to be in a hurry to insist upon a report, because there are a good many considerations which must be taken into account.

China

19.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will state the latest reports received from the British representatives in China as to the progress of Chinese national reconstruction and consolidation; and whether, as this result is most keenly desired by the commercial world as well as by all the friends of China, he will inquire whether there is any way in which this country could use its good offices to facilitate the smooth working of the developments which are now taking place?

In reply to the first part of the question, I cannot add anything to the reply given yesterday to the hon. Member for Wirrall (Mr. Stewart). His Majesty's Government will of course lose no opportunity to use their good offices to facilitate the progress of Chinese national consolidation so far as they can do so consistently with their policy of nonintervention in the internal politics of China.

20.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the reconstruction of China on unified lines, he will expedite as much as possible the appointment of the international Commission which is to consider the question of the revision of the Chinese tariff, with the object of promoting the stability of the new Government and furnishing it with the necessary financial support to carry on?

Has the Chinese Government been informed as to what has become of the policy of reconstruction of the British Government?

Egypt

Martial Law

21.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether martial law in Egypt is still in the hands of the British military authorities; whether the cost of its administration is borne wholly or partly by the British taxpayer; whether the cessation of that responsibility awaits the passing of an Act of Indemnity by an Egyptian Parliament; and whether representations can be made to the Government of Egypt that the sooner that Parliament is elected the better?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. So far as I am aware, no extra cost devolves upon either the British or Egyptian taxpayer from the administration of martial law, which can always be terminated in the manner de- fined in the reply to the question put by the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle East (Major Barnes) on 8th May. The election of an Egyptian Parliament is a matter which solely concerns the Egyptian Government, and in which His Majesty's Government are not prepared to intervene.

Would the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs state just exactly what is the validity of this sentence of death passed upon a man for being found in possession of arms, and whether or not it is likely to add to the cost of the taxpayer in the event of it leading to some kind of armed revolt?

Deportees

22.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any medical reports concerning the health of Zaghloul Pasha and his colleagues have been received from the Seychelles; if so, how many; and what are their exact contents?

Two reports on the health of Zaghloul Pasha and his associates have been received from the Officer Administering the Seysehelles. The first one, dated 12th May, stated that Zaghloul Pasha had for a long time suffered from diabetes, but that, in the opinion of the chief medical officer, there was no reason to believe that the disease was being adversely influenced by his residence in those islands. The same report stated that Barakat Pasha was suffering from pyorrhea alveolaris, for which treatment had been recommended, and added that the remainder were in good health. The second report, dated 5th June, reported that with the exception of the chronic diseases from which Zaghloul Pasha and Barakat Pasha were suffering, the deportees were in good health.

Would the Under-Secretary, in view of the conflicting statements about the matter, receive a deputation, if necessary, confined to Members of Parliament, to present the report given by specialists who treated this gentleman over a period of years—he came to Europe for the purpose of that treatment?

Is it not a well-known fact that mental worry is always the cause or an aggravation of diabetes?

Perhaps the hon. Member will not be over anxious concerning supplementary questions.

Negotiations

23.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in the negotiations at present proceeding between the Egyptian Government and the High Commissioner, arrangements have been made whereby the premature release of those Egyptians convicted by the courts for complicity in murder conspiracies will be prevented?

The only negotiations in progress between Lord Allenby and the Egyptian Government are in connection with the facilities to be accorded to foreign officials who wish to retire from Government service.

British Officials (Compensation)

24.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Egyptian Government have offered satisfactory terms to those British officials in Egyptian service who desire to relinquish their appointments owing to the changed regime existing?

The whole question of compensation for officials leaving the Egyptian Government service is at present under discussion between Lord Allenby and the Egyptian Government.

Cairo Disturbances

55.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the dependents of the British subjects recently assassinated in Cairo have yet been offered compensation and, if so, the amounts offered in each case; and whether those offers have been accepted?

The Egyptian Government have been requested to state the amount of compensation they propose to award in each case of murderous assault upon foreign officials, and His Majesty's Government expect to receive an early reply.

Secretary Of State For Air

25.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the present and increasing importance of the Air Force, His Majesty's Government will consider raising the status of the Secretary of State for Air to the same as that held by the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for War?

I am not prepared to propose an increase in the salary attached to any post in the Government at the present time, nor do I think it expedient to add to the numbers of the Cabinet.

This does not necessarily depend upon the amount paid to the Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that the Secretary for Scotland does more work than any other Minister in the Cabinet?

In view of the importance of the Air Service, should it not receive recognition in this respect equal with the other two arms of the Service?

If you take the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Secretary of State for War out of the Cabinet that would put them all upon an equal basis?

Canadian Cattle Embargo

26.

asked the Prime Minister whether he has had any communication with the Prime-Minister of the Dominion of Canada with reference to the lifting of the embargo against Canadian cattle; and, if so, will he state their result?

Is it not possible to find out officially whether Canada regards the promise given as a definite Government pledge, and, if so, must we not keep it whatever may be the result?

Undoubtedly the late Prime Minister made that clear at the meeting of the Imperial Conference.

Has the right hon. Gentleman explained to the Canadian Government that this embargo rests upon a Statute, and that it can only be removed by Parliament?

It is not necessary to state that, because they are well acquainted with the fact. It is a matter of very great importance to Canada.

Has the Prime Minister informed the Canadian Government that the Leader of the House has declined to find time for a Bill removing this embargo?

Has the Imperial Government informed the Canadian Government that His Majesty's Government do not propose to carry out the pledge they gave?

Royalist Movement, Germany

27.

asked the Prime Minister whether he has any information as to a possible coming Royalist coup in Germany; and whether he will make it clear that the Allied and associated Powers, so far as he can direct them, will regard any restoration of the Hohenzollern or Wittelsbach houses as an unfriendly act?

Vague rumours have from time to time reached His Majesty's Government, but no definite information of the nature referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend has been received. The second part of the question is hypothetical; and nothing would be gained by discussing now the policy which would be adopted by the Allied and Associated Powers in the improbable event to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers.

French Debt (Great Britain)

28 and 44.

asked the Prime Minister, (1) whether the French Government have endeavoured to raise the question of the cancellation of the debt owed us by them, either in connection with a reduction in their claim on reparations from Germany or for any other equivalent change in French policy; will he see that no steps are taken to cancel the French debt unless a cancellation of our debt to America is taken into account at the same time;

(2) whether any further steps have been taken with a view to obtaining payment of interest on the debt owed to us by France, or the funding of this debt in some such manner as has been done in respect of our debt to America?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative, though the subject has naturally been mentioned in informal conversations between representatives of the two Governments. In answer to the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the statement which I made in this House on the 31st May, in the course of which I made it clear that in the opinion of the Government the taxpayers of this country cannot afford to remit the sums due to Britain in respect to advances made to other countries during and after the War if payment is pressed of interest and capital in respect of loans made to this country to aid in the prosecution of the War. For that reason we have already communicated with the countries to whom we have made money advances that we must be regarded as free to ask for interest in cash as from October next. We deeply regret the necessity for giving such notice, but in view of the heavy burden of taxation under which we labour, we have no alternative.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether the rate of interest charged will be the same as that charged on the debt?

30.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the harmful effect of the still unsettled condition of the reparation question upon the trade of Europe, and Great Britain in particular, His Majesty's Government will offer to surrender in favour of France some or all of its claim on the Reparation Fund; and also make some proposal for adjust- ment of debts due from France to Great Britain?

I do not think it is desirable that at the present time I should add anything to the statement which I made in the Debate on the 31st May.

Continental And American Tariffs

29.

asked the Prime Minister if his attention has been directed to the new tariffs of many of the Continental States and the new tariff proposed in the United States of America; and whether, seeing that these new tariffs show that those countries are determined to restrict the importation of manufactured goods, and to import only coal and raw material and semi-manufactured goods, such as thread and yarn, he will, under these conditions, appoint a special committee to consider the new situation which has arisen and how it will affect our manufacturers and workers in the future?

I have been asked to reply. The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I am well aware of the complaints to which the tariff policy of the countries referred to by my hon. Friend is giving rise among British exporters. It is the practice of my Department to proceed in these matters in close consultation with Chambers of Commere and trade associations, and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by the appointment of a committee such as that suggested.

May I ask, having regard to the effect that these treaties will have upon the unemployed question in this country, whether something in the nature of a public inquiry cannot take place?

Tangier Conference

32.

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that the United States of America recognizes the sovereignty of the Sultan of Morocco in Tangier, and American warships salute his flag on entering Tangier, whether the United States will be invited to participate in the Tangier Conference and whether he can state what countries will take part in the conference?

The sovereignty of the Sultan of Morocco is not in question. The object of the conference is to revise the Tripartite Agreement between France, Spain and Great Britain, the final conclusion of which was postponed owing to the War. It is proposed, therefore, to limit the conference to representatives of those three countries.

Near East

38.

asked the Prime Minister if His Majesty's Government have considered the advisability of discussing terms of settlement immediately with Mustapha Kemal Pasha at Ismid?

No, Sir; the proposals of the Paris Conference for a settlement of the Near Eastern question were addressed to the Greek Government and to the Governments at Constantinople and Angora, and there can be no question of any separate discussion with one of the parties concerned.

Honours List

39.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the method and procedure of selecting the names of persons to be submitted for the receipt of honours?

I would refer my Noble and gallant Friend to the answer given by the Leader of the House yesterday in reply to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Wood Green (Mr. G. Locker-Lampson).

Is the right hon. Gentleman ware that there is a growing uneasiness in this country as to whether the system of recommending persons for honours is consistent with the purity and dignity of public life?

May I ask the Prime Minister if it would be injurious in any way if a large number of Members of this House asked him for an opportunity to discuss the matter?

Will the right hon. Gentleman state the reason why the Government have decided against any inquiry by a Select Committee?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that those who are anxious for an inquiry have no desire to limit the time within which the inquiry should be made. What I asked was what were the reasons of the right hon. Gentleman, and I did not expect a reply of that character.

Not in the least. The Noble Lord knows the reason, and it is very substantial. It concerns the exercise of the prerogative, and that is the reason why a Select Committee is not the proper means of examining this question.

Can the right hon. Gentleman suggest any means of satisfying the public mind on this subject?

Is the Prime Minister not prepared to take the entire responsibility on himself for his own recommendations?

This question does not touch the prerogative at all. It is merely a question of the particular kind of advice tendered by Ministers.

Civil Service Arbitration Board

45.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will afford an opportunity for this House to discuss the question of the abolition of the Civil Service Arbitration Board?

An opportunity to discuss this matter would arise on the Treasury Vote. I regret that it is mot possible to find any other Parliamentary time for such a discussion.

National Expenditure

46.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in view of the admitted need for further economies being effected before the next financial year, he is prepared to set up a, small Committee of Members of the House who would continue the investigations of the Geddes Committee, and who could report before next, year's Estimates are framed?

The Government have set up two Cabinet Committees to consider the further reduction of national expenditure. One Committee. will deal with the estimates of the Fighting Services and the other with Civil Estimates. Departments have been instructed to submit by an early date sketch Estimates for next financial year, which will be examined with a view to effecting all possible economies. In these circumstances, it would appear inexpedient to set up any other Committee.

House Of Commons (Financial Proc Edure)

47.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the Government has yet come to any decision with regard to his suggestion, made earlier in the Session, to set. up a Committee to report on the present Financial Procedure of the House?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answers which I gave on the 25th May, in reply to questions on this subject by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford.

Safeguarding Of Industries Act

48.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether his attention has been called to a resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Imperial Commercial Association asking, as a matter of extreme urgency, that the Government should set up a Commission to inquire into the administration of the working of the Safeguarding of Industries Act, and what action he proposes to take?

I have been asked to reply. As Part I of the Act has been in operation for less than nine months, and no orders have as yet been made under Part II, such an inquiry would be premature, and the Government are not prepared to adopt the suggestion.

Solicitor-General For Scotland

49.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether it is the intention of the Government that the Solicitor-General for Scotland should become a Member of this House?

There is no general practice to the effect that both the Scottish Law Officers should be simultaneously Members of the House, and His Majesty's Government have not hitherto made it a condition of his appointment that the Solicitor-General for Scotland should be a Member. The official duty of the Solicitor-General requires that he should be frequently in Edinburgh, and this, to some extent, must interfere with Parliamentary attendance. His Majesty's Government have no present intention of altering the practice which has prevailed, or of making membership of this House a condition of the Solicitor-General's appointment.

Customs And Excise (Commissioners' Annual Report)

50.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Annual Report of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise for the year ending 31st March, 1921, has only been issued recently; whether he will give instructions that future Reports shall be issued more promptly and when the Report for the year ending 31st March, 1922, may be expected?

Yes, Sir. Instructions were issued last month that the preparation of the Report for the year ended 31st March, 1922, was to he expedited in order to secure its publication in the autumn.

Conviction (J M Mitchell)

56.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home. Department whether his attention has been drawn to the case of John M. Mitchell, an ex-service man, who has been sentenced by the Hereford magistrates to one month's imprisonment with hard labour for refusing to perform his allotted task in the workhouse; whether he is aware that Mitchell was discharged from the service suffering from neurasthenia; and that he had walked from Scotland and was anxious to get out of the workhouse in order to register at the Employment Exchange, where he understood men were wanted; and whether he will consider the advisability of remitting the sentence, especially in view of the fact that the man's pension of 7s. 6d. a week will he forfeited?

I have seen a report of the case, and find no sufficient ground for intervention on my part. The man stated he was in search of work, but positively refused to do the work set him in the casual ward where he obtained a night's lodging, and no excuse for this refusal to do the work was alleged. I understand that army pensions forfeited by a conviction and imprisonment are usually restored when the man has served his imprisonment.

Is the hon. Baronet aware that this war-broken hero was sent to prison for a month for refusing to perform a hard labour task in a workhouse after a night's lodging, and after asking to be released in order to go to an Employment Exchange? Why should he be sent for a month's hard labour? Is that not a question that ought to be inquired into?

I have already said that my right hon. Friend has inquired into it and has seen a full report of the case. His conclusions are contained in the answer I have read.

Is the Under-Secretary prepared to send the magistrate to do the month instead of this war-broken pensioner?

Will the hon. Gentleman take the pains to ascertain whether the work which was offered to this man suffering from neurasthenia was open-air work or indoor work? Obviously it is a serious matter, what kind of work is offered to a man suffering from this disease.

The whole matter has been fully gone into by my right hon. Friend, who has seen the report. I will convey to him what the two hon. Gentlemen have said, but for the time being I cannot add anything to the answer I have given.

Provincial Police Forces

57.

asked the Home Secretary whether he has any control over the number of the police forces maintained by either the county or borough police authorities; whether, in the case of reduction of numbers by any authority, his Department must be advised; whether he has received notice of any reduction in the number of police maintained by any of the home county authorities; and, if so, can he state by which authorities?

The authorised establishment of every force, and any change thereof, are subject to the approval of the Secretary of State. As part of the measures for securing economies in the current year's expenditure on the police, my right hon. Friend has asked all police authorities to leave a certain number of vacancies unfilled for the present, but I cannot say what reduction has been effected up to the present date in the home counties.

Housing

Eviction, Sheffield

70.

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the reports of disturbances and police court proceedings at Sheffield arising out of the eviction of a tenant consequent upon the shortage of housing accommodation in that district; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take to remove the cause of the trouble?

My right hon. Friend is aware of the proceedings to which the hon. Member refers. He understands that the tenant in question was evicted on account of failure to pay his rent, although he had been treated with consideration by the owner.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this man, his wife, and several small children, had to sleep out in the open for three nights because there was no place to go to, and were ultimately taken to the workhouse?

I am not aware of those facts. I have given the answer that my right hon. Friend has furnished.

Building (Cost)

72.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will grant a Return showing, as regards each State-assisted housing scheme, the cost of building, the weekly net rent for each type of house, the net assessment, and the local rates in the £ for the current period?

The return for which the hon. Member asks would involve a great deal of labour on the part of local authorities, and, in the present unfinished state of the housing scheme, could not be in any way complete. My right hon. Friend regrets, therefore, that at present he does not see his way to accede to the hon. Member's request.

May we be given the opportunity of having some facts presented to us as to the cost of building under the various schemes, in view of the amount of controversy that is going on over the matter?

Lunacy (Statutory Forms)

74.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has received resolutions from the Wigan and other boards of guardians asking that legislation be promoted to amend the Lunacy Acts, 1890 and 1891, so as to enable statutory forms to be altered by substituting the words mental patients for pauper lunatics, mental hospital for lunatic asylum, and institution for workhouse and, if so, can he make a statement on the subject?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, my right hon. Friend would refer the hon. Member to his reply on the 14th June to a similar question by the hon. Member for Seven-oaks (Sir T. Bennett), of which he is sending him a copy.

Education

Blind And Deaf Children

88.

asked the President of the Board of Education what his Department proposes to do in regard to the future education of blind and deaf children; will the proposed cuts in educational expenditure affect these children to their future training and development; and will these unfortunate children have special consideration from his Department?

I have had under my careful consideration the question of the education of blind and deaf children. I am glad to state that, notwithstanding the present financial difficulties, it will be possible to allow existing schools for such children to be utilised to the full extent of their accommodation.

Continuation Schools, London

89.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether the Government has decided to bring in a Bill to relieve the London County Council of maintaining continuation schools; whether such a Bill will be introduced in the present Session; and, if so, whether the Council will be given notice of such a Bill so that they can make arrangements for the closing of the schools, providing for the teachers employed in the same, and disposing of all the buildings engaged for these schools in London?

A Bill will be introduced in the present Session which will enable the Board to relieve the London County Council from the duty of carrying on continuation schools on the basis of obligatory attendance. I see no reason why the Council should not make provisional arrangements in anticipation of the passing of the Measure. I understand that the Council are not, in fact, enforcing attendance at these schools.

Teachers

90.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that Professor Bompas Smith, Director of the Department of Education of the Manchester University, has issued a circular to persons taking up teaching as a profession warning them that there is a possibility of their not being able to obtain a suitable post at the conclusion of their course of training and giving them an opportunity of withdrawing their application to enter the training department, and that the number of males entering the profession in proportion to females has decreased during the last few years; and whether, in view of these facts, he can make a statement on these matters?

I have seen in the Press a copy of a letter addressed by the Director of the Manchester University Training Department to applicants for admission. The statement that the number of males entering the profession in proportion to females has decreased during the last few years does not agree with the Board's records as to the number of intending teachers recognised. The proportion of males has risen from 14-8 per cent in 1917–18 to 17·2 per cent in 1920–21.

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the hardship entailed on these young people who are informed by the professor of their future?

It is to avoid such cases of hardship arising that this notice has been issued by the Director of the University Training Department.

No. The Director acted on his own responsibility, as he was fully entitled to do.

Transport

Railway Traffic (Race Meetings)

75.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he has any powers of control over the alteration of ordinary traffic on railways during race meetings, causing grave inconvenience to the regular users of the line; and whether he will consider the desirability of asking Parliament for such powers as will enable him to exercise some control in this direction?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. If the hon. Baronet will give my hon. Friend particulars of the grave inconvenience which is alleged to have been caused, he will bring the matter to the attention of the railway company in question, but he is unable to advise legislation in the sense indicated in the last part of the question.

Road-Making

76.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he can state the general policy of his Department and of the Road Board in respect to the urgent need for new methods of road-making to enable thoroughfares to carry the enormous weight of modern traffic; whether it is time to consider the initiation of schemes by the various councils; and whether he proposes, and, if so, when, to issue to those bodies any general advice as to the action they should take?

It is the policy of the Ministry of Transport, which exercises the functions of the late Road Board, to encourage local authorities by substantial grants from the Road Fund to adopt the most scientific methods of road engineering. The Ministry is in the closest touch with the officers of the local authorities, and places at their disposal all the advice and assistance in its power.

Scotland

Licences (Poll, Newmilns And Darvel)

79.

asked the Lord Advocate whether he has investigated the facts in regard to the poll in the burghs of Newmilns and Darvel; whether, in spite of the poll having been declared by the courts to be valid, licences have been renewed; and what action he proposes to take to ensure that effect shall be given to the will of the electors as declared in accordance with Statute?

The facts regarding the poll referred to by my hon. and learned Friend have had my careful consideration. My information is that, at the time the licences in question were renewed by the Licensing Court, the validity of the poll had not been decided, but its validity was subsequently declared by judgment of the First Division of the Court of Session. In regard to the latter part of the query, I am of opinion that the Lord Advocate has no power to take action.

Will not the right hon. Gentleman take steps to ensure that this law in Scotland will not be nugatory in future, it being quite clear that the licensing authorities are flouting the decision of the Supreme Court in Scotland?

I am afraid my hon. Friend cannot have heard my answer. I have fully considered the position, and, so far as I am concerned, I am of opinion that I can take no action. The remedy is to appeal to the courts of law in Scotland.

Sheriff Clerks And Procurator Fiscals

96.

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that the Treasury is at present preparing a scheme dealing with the Sheriff Clerks' and Procurator-Fiscals' Departments and that the scheme does not give effect to the Blackburn Report, although the fees payable by the public in Sheriff Courts have been increased by Act of Sederunt for that purpose; and whether it is his intention before the scheme is finally approved to give these Departments an opportunity of considering it and accepting or rejecting it?

My right hon. Friend has before him schemes for a reorganisation of the procurator fiscal and sheriff clerk services on the general lines proposed in the Blackburn Report, which are under consideration in conjunction with the Treasury. The officials concerned will be given an opportunity of submitting their views before any scheme is put into force. I must demur to the suggestion that Sheriff Court fees have been increased for the sole purpose of covering the cost of the Committee's recommendations. The relation between the fees and the reorganisation proposals will, however, be kept fully in view.

Post Office

Savings Bank (Sick Leave, Women Clerks)

81.

asked the Postmaster-General what was the average number of days' sick leave per head per annum for the women clerks in the Post Office Savings Bank in 1914 and in 1921, respectively?

The information asked for is as follows:—

191411·9
192118·1

Engineers (Workmen's Compensation)

82.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that an established skilled workman in the engineers' branch of the Post Office, who was injured on duty and was entitled to compensation, was compulsorily retired and the amount of his pension merged in the amount due to him under the Workmen's Compensation Act; whether this is in accordance with the usual practice; and, if so, will he state the authority for making up from a man's pension the amount due to him by way of compensation?

If my hon. Friend will furnish me with particulars of the case which he has in mind, I will make inquiry and communicate with him.

Express Letters

83.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the wide dissatisfaction that is felt with the way in which the express post is working; is he aware that in very many cases an express letter takes just as long as an ordinary letter to arrive; and will he cause inquiries to be made so that the matter may be put right?

I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction with the working of the express post. I shall be glad to have inquiry made concerning the treatment of any particular letters if my hon. and gallant Friend will furnish me with details.

Government Employes (Protection Certificates)

84.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in connection with the reduction in industrial staffs in the various Government Departments, the Government have instructed the Departments that in considering the merits of a particular case, in which the man held a protection certificate during the War, priority is to be given to a man who obtained the certificate through the instrumentality of the Department now employing him over a man who obtained his certificate through other sources; and, if so, will he state the reason for this discrimination?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The treatment accorded to non-service personnel is dependent mainly upon the individual circumstances of the case, and is, accordingly, a matter primarily within the jurisdiction of the Department in which the officer cancerned is employed.

Unemployment

Dependants

86.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that under the Unemployed Workers (Dependants) Act, 1921, a man living with a woman who is not his wife may claim an allowance for her, and that a son, single but a householder, who keeps his widowed mother, cannot claim any allowance; and will he take steps to remedy this state of affairs?

A widower or unmarried man, who is drawing unemployment benefit, may claim the 5s. allowance for a housekeeper residing with and maintained by him for the purpose of looking after his dependent children, or for a woman who is, and has been, living with him as his wife, but not for any other person. These provisions represent the decision of Parliament on this matter, and I am not prepared to propose any alteration.

Bakers (Public Institutions)

87.

asked the Minister of Labour whether it has been decided that bakers employed in public institutions are not subject to the Unemployment Insurance Acts; if so, will he state the grounds for this decision; and whether the decision applies to bakers who are temporarily employed?

I have held, in a case submitted to me for formal determination under Section 10 (1) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, that a baker employed in an institution under the control of the Metropolitan Asylums Board was excepted as being employed in domestic service, and not in a trade or business carried on for the purposes of gain, within the meaning of paragraph (b) of Part II of the First Schedule to that Act. If the duties of the men temporarily employed as bakers to whom the question relates are similar to those of the men upon whose case this decision was given, they would also be excepted.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the case of bakers who are being temporarily employed and find themselves out of employment, and cannot get any benefit after having subscribed?

If that be the case, if their conditions are similar, the fact that they are temporarily employed does not affect the problem. My decision can be appealed against to the High Court, or I may myself revise it if new facts are submitted to me.

Land Sales, Southern Rhodesia

65.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now in a position to state what steps will be taken to recover payment for the 2,298,000 acres of land in Southern Rhodesia sold by the British South Africa Company, or which no payment had been received?

As I stated in my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) on the 2nd March, this is land which had been granted by the British South Africa Company under permit of occupation, and the purchase price of which had not been paid at the 31st March, 1918. The receipts from such land are credited to the land sales account as and when they accrue.

Battle Of Jutland

91.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether the Admiralty will issue to the public such portions of the war staff's account of the battle of Jutland as are descriptive of the movements of both fleets; and whether the full staff account and criticisms are available for the study of officers passing through the war college?

The Admiralty has prepared a narrative of the battle of Jutland with explanatory charts. In accordance with an undertaking given to Lord Jellicoe by the late First Lord this account has been forwarded to him for any observations that he may wish to make before publication. As regards the second part of the question, an appreciation for the use of the Fleet is being prepared with a full account of the battle and will be available for use of officers studying at the staff college and war college as well as for other officers of the Fleet. Meanwhile lectures on the battle have been given at the war and staff colleges, and facts concerning the battle are always at the disposal of the staffs of these establishments.

India

Army Officers (Retirement Gratuity)

101.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what is the amount granted respectively to junior civil officers permitted to retire owing to the changed condition of service under the Government of India Act of 1919, and to officers of the Indian Army brought under reduction of equal length of service?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA
(Earl Winterton)