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Written Answers

Volume 155: debated on Thursday 22 June 1922

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Written Answers

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Disability Pensions (H G Norton And G Hemsley)

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will direct that the case of H. G. Norton, Anchor Cottage, Old Road, Clacton-on-Sea, late private, No. S/360,559, Royal Army Service Corps, who was discharged permanently unfit on 8th September, 1919, and awarded full disability pension for neurasthenia and debility caused by active service, and which pension has now been cancelled, shall be reconsidered; and whether the appeal tribunal have determined Norton's pension on the ground that his disability was not due to war service, although he was sound in all respects when he joined the Army?

This man was awarded 20 per cent for debility. His claim for an award for neurasthenia was rejected by the Ministry, and this decision was upheld by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal.

asked the Minister of Pensions the reason for the cessation of pension to Mr. G. Hemsley, of Limes Avenue, Alfreton, late No. 286,619, signaller, Royal Garrison Artillery, who was examined by a medical board on 29th January, 1920, when his disability was assessed at 30 per cent; whether he is aware that a few days after this Hemsley was informed that his degree of disablement was too small to entitle him to a further pension and offering him a final gratuity of £5, which he has never received; that the reason given for a discontinuance of the pension is that Hemsley was suffering from hyperthygorodium to the extent of 20 per cent. at the time of enlistment, though he was passed Class A; that Hemsley has produced a certificate from the doctor who examined him for the Army showing that he was suffering from no disease whatever; and whether he will order an early revision of the case with a view to the arrears of pension being paid?

After full consideration of all the available evidence, including the reports of the demobilisation Army Medical Officer and three successive medical boards, my Department decided that the disability was only aggravated by service. After the examination by a medical board in January, 1920, it was decided that aggravation by service had passed away, and the final gratuity of £5 (payment of which was authorised in March, 1920) is therefore the appropriate compensation. There is a right of appeal against this decision to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal which may be exercised through the local committee.

Tuberculosis Cases (Special Diet)

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will consider the suspension of the new regulation which, after 1st July, 1922, deprives pensioners in receipt of treatment allowance for tubercular cases from drawing further supplies of special diet?

Special diet will still be provided in cases of pulmonary tuberculosis where the circumstances justify that concession.


asked the Minister of Pensions how many war hospitals remain under the control of the Ministry of Pensions; how many have been closed during the past 12 months, and in how many cases are plans for closing in progress; and the number of patients on any selected date for the past three years?

The present number of Ministry hospitals is 52. Seventeen hospitals have been closed during the past 12 months, and it is proposed shortly to close two others. The number of in-patients in Ministry hospitals on the 3rd June was approximately 10,000; on the same date in 1921 and 1920 the number was 11,700 and 7,650 respectively.

Ex-Service Men

Ministry Of Pensions

asked the Minister of Pensions if he will state how many girls and war widows with pensions are employed in the various offices of the Ministry of Pensions; and if attention has been given to the desirability of reducing the number in order to find work for unemployed ex-service men?

The number of women employed in a temporary clerical capacity is 3,917, of whom less than 100 are war widows with pensions. The substitution of women by ex-service men has been proceeding for the last two years and the recommendations of the Lytton Committee on this subject have been carried out in full. Women with private incomes or pensions rendering them independent of their earnings were amongst the first to be disbanded. As a result, in the Ministry now, of the male temporary staff, about 99 per cent. are ex-service men.

Safeguarding Of Industries Act


asked the Prime Minister whether any agreement has been reached with the Czecho-Slovakians as to the tariff on British goods entering Czecho-Slovakia; and, if so, whether any understanding has been reached with regard to the application of Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act to goods imported from Czecho-Slovakia?

I have been asked to reply. I will deal with this matter when the proposed Order under the Safeguarding of Industries Act comes before the House.

Gas Mantles (German Witnesses)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give the names of any German manufacturers of gas mantles, or representatives of the same, who have been permitted to tender evidence or to make statements at the hearing of the British gas mantle manufacturers' application, under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act; and whether any facilities for their attendance at the hearing of such application w ere afforded to them by the Board of Trade?

I am informed that the Committee, at the suggestion of the interests opposing the application referred to, decided to hear evidence from Herr Heinrich Ziegler, one of the managing-directors of the Auerlicht Gesellschaft of Berlin, and from Herr Bernhard Young, manager of the mantle factory of that company. No special facilities were granted for the attendance of these persons, but the Board of Trade suggested to the Home Office that, in the event of there being no objection to the witnesses in question being admitted to this country, it would be convenient if the necessary permits could be issued without delay.

Overseassettlement(Medical Examination)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that numbers of male emigrants to Canada are continually being permitted to leave this country for the Dominions, and are returning owing to rejection by the Canadian immigration officers on account of their unsuitability; and whether he will consider the possibility of preventing this by establishing more stringent medical and other inspection before their departure, after consultation with the Canadian Government?

I have been asked to reply. It is the case that a certain number of migrants, small in comparison with the total number, have been rejected at the port of arrival in Canada or subsequently deported. I invite my hon. Friend's attention to the Report of the Oversea Settlement Committee for 1921 (Cmd. 1580), and especially to Section IX, which deals with medical examination. It will be seen that improvements are being effected in the arrangements for the selection of settlers in this country, and for their medical examination prior to departure. I would add that all the Dominion Governments have now adopted the improved arrangements for medical examination referred to in Section IX of the Report.

British Empire (Migration)

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of British subjects who were recorded as leaving permanent residence in the United Kingdom to take up permanent residence in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa during the year 1921: and also the number of British residents in these Dominions who left these Dominions during the same period, and the proportion of those who returned to the United Kingdom?

The following statement shows the number of British subjects who were recorded as leaving permanent residence* in the United Kingdom to take up permanent residence in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa, respectively, during the year 1921; and the number of British subjects who arrived from these Dominions to take up permanent residence* in the United Kingdom during the same period:

British Emigrants from the United Kingdom to—British Immigrants in to the United Kingdom from—
New Zealand11,5131,568
Union of South Africa12,9035,894
*For the purposes of these statistics, residence for a year or more is treated permanent residence.
Countries of DestinationYear 1913.Year 1919.Year 1920.Year 1921.January-April, 1922.
Proff Gallons.Proff Gallons.Proff Gallons.Proff Gallons.Proff Gallons.
China (exclusive of Hong Kong, Macao and leased territories).65,59644,57392,207106,24931,388
Philippine Islands and Guam23,31110,91832,00023,71811,619
Br. West India Islands78,91228,647107,30977,43024,509

Liqueur Chocolates (Duty)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what quantities of chocolate sweets containing spirits or liqueurs known as liqueur chocolates were imported into and manufactured in the United Kingdom in the financial years 1920–21 and 1921–22; what is the average alcoholic strength of the spirits or liqueurs in such chocolates; and what is

Information regarding the numbers of British persons who left Canada, Australia, and New Zealand to establish themselves elsewhere is not available. In the case of the Union of South Africa, the "permanent departures" during the year 1921 include 10,424 British white persons and 3,606 Asiatic and other coloured persons of British nationality.

Spirits (Exports)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what quantities of proof gallons of British and Irish spirits were exported from the United Kingdom in the calendar years 1913, 1919,1920, and 1921, and also in the four United States, Philippines, Canada, Mexico, China, the Bahamas, Bermudas, British West Indies, Cuba, and Hayti, respectively?

The particulars are as follow:the rate of duty on such chocolates and the total receipts therefrom during the years named?

No statistics are available as to the quantity of liqueur chocolates manufactured in the United Kingdom, as only duty-paid materials are used. The quantities of chocolates containing spirit imported into the United Kingdom and the duty paid thereon in the financial years 1920–21 and 1921–22 are as follow:

Quantity imported.Duty paid
The rate of duty varies in accordance with the cocoa, sugar, and spirit contained therein. Figures showing the average alcoholic strength of the spirits or liqueurs in imported chocolates are not available.

Exported Whisky (Duty)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, seeing that it is possible to buy a bottle of whisky on board ship and abroad at 6s. a bottle, against 12s. 6d. in Great Britain, he will, in view of the need of raising money, consider the taxing of exported whisky?

I am aware that whisky can be purchased more cheaply on board ship and in some places abroad than in this country, and the suggestion contained in my hon. and gallant Friend's question has already been considered.

German Reparation (British Receipts)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total sum represented in the claims received to date for compensation under each of the heads (1) to (10) of Annex I to Section 1 of Part VIII (Reparation) of the Treaty of Versailles; what the British Government has received to date under the Treaty by way of money on account of reparations, the value of deliveries in kind, and the proceeds of the sale of enemy property; and what is the manner and method of the allocation of such receipts?

In reply to the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement published by the Reparation Commission on 28th February, 1921, of which I am sending him a copy. In reply to the second part of the question, the charges prior to Reparation upon the cash and the value of the deliveries in kind received by the British Government under Parts VIII and IX of the Treaty. of Versailles are, before they are available for Reparation, subject to prior charges in respect of the re-imbursement of the Advances under the Spa Coal Deliveries Agreement and the cost of the British Army of Occupation. The Reparation Commission have not yet been able to draw up a final account of the amounts received by the British Government, as certain questions regarding the valuation of deliveries in kind, etc., are not yet settled. In the meantime, it is not possible to state by what amount, if any, the receipts of the British Government are more than sufficient to cover the prior charges referred to, or, in other words, what amount, if any, has been received on account of Reparation. It is, however, estimated that the prior charges in question have not yet been fully covered. The proceeds of the sale of ex-enemy property are subject to a charge in favour of claims by British nationals with regard to their property in Germany and other ex-enemy countries and debts owing to them by German nationals, and it is not at present possible to say whether there will ultimately be a credit balance in favour of Germany which can be made available on account of Reparation.The amounts received by the Treasury up to 31st ultimo from cash payments by the Reparation Commission and the proceeds of the sale of ships and dyestuffs and the levies under the Germany Reparation (Recovery) Act amounted to£57,189,206 6s.9d., which had been allocated as follows:

Paid to the Exchequer as miscellaneous revenue47,893,380610
Paid to the Dominions on account of their claim for cost of Occupation of Germany by Dominion troops in 19192,63950000
Appropriated in aid of the votes for advances under the Spa Coal Deliveries Agreement5,499619132
Held by the Treasury pending allocatioin1,15670669

Stamp Duties (Cheques)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the feasibility of reducing the price of the stamp below 2d. in cheques has been considered by the Board of Inland Revenue; and, if so, with what result?

The answer is in the negative. I regret that, in view of the loss of revenue involved, I am unable to contemplate a reduction of this duty in the current year.

War Museum

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the rent paid per annum for housing war relics at the Crystal Palace; what are the annual wages paid to officials in connection with the War museum; whether it is proposed to remove this collection to the Imperial Institute; and what is the estimated cost of such removal?

The annual inclusive rent paid for the Crystal Palace is £25,000. The estimated cost of salaries, wages and allowances of the Imperial War Museum for the year 1922–23, is £16,400, a reduction of 28 per cent. on the Vote for 1921–22. The contents of the museum which have been considerably curtailed, will be partly housed in the existing science museum galleries, and a proposal is also under consideration to utilise a portion of the space at present occupied by the Imperial Institute. The estimated cost of removing the exhibits to' South Kensington is approximately £8,000.

Meat Inspection

asked the Minister of Health whether any action has been taken, and whether any legislation is contemplated, following upon the Report of the Departmental Committee on Meat Inspection?

Yes, Sir. Steps have been and are being taken to carry out such of the recommendations of this Committee as can be dealt with under existing powers. I will send my hon. Friend a copy of a circular already issued. Other matters are being dealt with by Regulations in course of being drafted, and I will send my hon. Friend copies in due course. In the present state of Parliamentary business I am afraid that it will not be possible to give effect to those recommendations of the Committee which require furl her legislation.

South Shields Guardians (Financial Position)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the hanks are refusing to advance any further loans to the South Shields Guardians for the relief of those dependent upon them because of unemployment, unless they have the guarantee of the Government; and, if so, what action he proposes to take to meet the difficulty that must arise, as the guardians will be entirely without funds to meet the calls made on them after this week's payments are made?

I have received no communication from the guardians to this effect, but I will make immediate inquiries.

Restaurants (Milk)

asked the Minister of Health whether there are any legal requirements in respect of the nature and quality of the milk which is supplied with tea in cafes and other places of refreshment; and, if so, what measures are taken to enforce these requirements?

I am advised that where a customer in a restaurant orders tea and does not specially ask for milk, there are no legal requirements as to the nature or quality of any milk which may be supplied.

Coal Prices, London

asked the Secretary for Mines if, taking into consideration the extremely low wages of the miners, the inability of the mine owners to make any profits, the railway claim to moderation in fixing coal freights which have not changed within the last few weeks, and the assertion of the merchant that his profit per ton of coal sold is only a few pence, he can inform the House how the reduction of 9s. per ton in London in the prices of best house coal is being effected and at whose expense?

The figures which I gave to the House in reply to my hon. Friend's question on 29th May were, as I then stated, figures supplied to me by the Coal Merchants' Federation. The price of coal is not a matter which is within the control of my Department, but I am asking the Federation if they can supply any further information as to the reduction recently announced.

Postal Facilities, Farnborough, Surrey

asked the Postmaster-General the reason why the North Farnborough postal service has been curtailed; if he is aware that letters arriving at Farnborough are now carried three miles by road to Aldershot, from there to Marlborough Lines Post Office, and thence sent out for delivery, whereas all the facilities for delivering letters exist at Farnborough Post Office, opposite the station; and the reason for carting letters miles around the country in motor vans whilst facilities for dealing with them are on the spot and left idle?

The change recently carried out consists of the transfer from Farnborough Post Office of the work of sorting to the Aldershot Post Office, and of the work of delivery to the post office at Marlborough Lines. This change carried with it important administrative advantages and a substantial saving in expenditure, and it has not led to any curtailment of the postal facilities at North Farnborough, except that the final collection is now made at 9.45 p.m. instead of 10.45 p.m. This minor alteration affects only a trifling amount of correspondence, and the time 9.45 p.m. compares very favourably with that in force at towns of similar importance elsewhere.

County Of London Electric Supply Company (Charges)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport why the charge for electic, power supplied by the County of London Electric Supply Company still remains at 1¼d plus 00 per cent., in view of the reduction in the cost of material and labour; and whether he is aware that there is a general feeling of dissatisfaction amongst the consumers of this company's electricity owing to the fact that the high cost is detrimental to the revival of trade?

The Electric Lighting Orders under which the company are authorised to supply electricity fixed the maximum price which may be charged to consumers. The price mentioned in the question is within such maximum. I have no knowledge as to any general feeling of dissatisfaction. I am informed that representations have only been received from one consumer in London and one in the Croydon Rural District.

Russia (M Lenin)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government has received information of the temporary or permanent retirement of M. Lenin as chief of the Russian Soviet Government; and whether information of increased unrest in various parts of Russia has been received during the past weeks?

I understand that M. Lenin has been ordered by his doctors to take a complete rest for a period and that it is still uncertain whether he will be able to resume his official duties. As regards the last part of the question, no definite symptoms of increased unrest have been reported to His Majesty's Government from any part of Russia.

Malicious Injuries Claims, Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the claims awarded for malicious injuries by Lord Shaw's Commission will be paid to the claimants; and whether they will be paid by instalments or in full?

These eases will be paid, in the first place, by the Provisional Government, who have undertaken to pay them in full without delay as soon as the necessary inquiries are completed.

Alexandra Palace(War Claim)

asked the hon. Member for the Pollok Division of Glasgow, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether he is aware that much of the damage done to the Alexandra Palace during its War-time occupation by Government Departments, the claim for which amounts to £80,000, is purely wanton and destructive, and could apparently have been avoided by the exercise of proper care and supervision; and whether he will have an inquiry into the circumstances under which this damage was caused with a view to ascertaining individual responsibility?

An inquiry is being held by the War Office in regard to damage alleged to have occurred during the removal of records from the Alexandra Palace, but a report is not yet available.

asked the hon. Member for the Pollok Division of Glasgow, as representing the First Commissioner of Works, whether be is aware of the great embarrassment which is being experienced by the Alexandra Palace trustees owing to the delay by the Government in the settlement of their claim for damage done during the war-time occupation by Government Departments; that they are unable to make any contracts for repair until they know the total of their award; and, in view of the fact that this work will give considerable relief to unemployed locally, will he take steps to have the claim settled as soon as possible?

No such representations have been made to the First Commissioners, but I am communicating with the trustees, and I have no doubt that satisfactory arrangements can be made.

Maresfield Signal Training Centre

asked the Secretary of State for War whether officers at the Maresfield Signal Training Centre are living in huts of an inferior type and are generally ill-housed; what is the state of the married quarters at this camp; and whether he can promise to improve its general accommodation?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which I gave yesterday to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Moss Side Division of Manchester (Lieut.-Colonel Hurst). The married quarters consist of huts converted for that purpose by partitioning, and are as comfortable as the special circumstances admit.

Agricultural Inventions

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether there is a Department in his Ministry charged with the duty of investigating new agricultural inventions and to aid the inventors thereof if necessary; whether he is aware that Mr. H. M. Lucy, of 22, Martensen Street, Edge Hill, Liverpool, submitted on the 1st December, 1921, two of his inventions and that two months elapsed without reply, whereupon he wrote to the Ministry again on the 2nd February, 1922, and the Ministry replied on the 7th February stating that one of the inventions, a potato-planting machine, was not a labour-saving device, despite the fact that it would do four separate operations at once, namely, open the furrows (three in number), deposit the sets, thirdly distribute the manure, and fourthly covering the sets, and stated that the general principle and design of the machine had been well thought out, and also suggesting that the inventor could take out a patent; that the Ministry have stated that they were simply investigators and that the Ministry has no funds to aid inventors; and, if so, why such a Department of investigation is maintained?

The Ministry has no funds at its disposal from which grants can be made to inventors. Its Research Branch includes a section which deals with agricultural machinery. The main duty of the section is to promote investigations into general problems connected with agricultural machinery and to conduct demonstrations of improvements; but inquiries from inventors are often received, and information is supplied so far as the limited resources of the Branch permit. With regard to the particular case to which my hon. Friend refers, the Ministry cannot accept as accurate the particulars contained in the question. Mr. Lucy's first letter was written in May, 1921, and correspondence followed A reply to his letter of 1st December was despatched on the 31st of that month explaining that owing to the pressure of other work a full reply could not be sent immediately. In the case of the particular machine to which reference is made Mr. Lucy was not informed that his proposed machine was not a labour-saving device, but his attention was drawn to certain principles of design which should be followed in order to reduce the cost of operating. I may add that considerable trouble was taken to answer Mr. Lucy's inquiries, and that the officer who examined his designs voluntarily devoted a good deal of time after official hours to the purpose.

Long Grove Mental Hospital, Epsom

asked the. Home Secretary what is the percentage of cases now in Long Grove mental hospital, Epsom, which are diagnosed as incurable; whether any, and, if so, what percentage of such cases are transferred to other institutions; what number of such cases have been discharged from such institutions after transfer; and whether he will inquire into the reasons for the high percentage of persons who have been discharged after having been formerly diagnosed at Long Grove as incurable?

I am informed that no cases at this hospital are diagnosed as incurable, and the latter part of the question, therefore, does not arise.

Juvenile Offenders

asked the Home Secretary the number of juveniles in England and Wales sentenced to detention in a reformatory in the year 1921, and how many of these were first offenders?

The number of juveniles admitted on conviction to reformatories in England and Wales in 1921 was 687, i.e., 614 boys and 73 girls. I have no information showing how many of these were first offenders.