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Written Answers

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 27 June 1922

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Written Answers

Voluntary Hospitals (Grants)

asked the Minister of Health what amount of the £500,000 has been granted to the voluntary hospitals; and what are the hospitals, and the amount allocated to each one?

A list of the grants approved by the Commission up to date is appended. I am informed that the Commission are very anxious that hospitals in the provinces should expedite the presentation of their claims, which have hitherto been slow in reaching the Commission. The local hospitals committees are being urged to press this matter forward in every way they can.

(a) England.
Hospital.Amount of Grant.
Anti-Vivisection Hospital550
British Hospital for Mothers and Babies200
Canning Town Women's Settlement Hospital700
Central London Ophthalmic Hospital325
Chelsea Hospital for Women1,000
Cheyne Hospital1,560
City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest375
City of London Maternity Hospitals550
East London Hospital for Children4,650
E. G. Anderson Hospital for Women1,390
Eltham and Mottingham Cottage Hospital95
Evelina Hospital for Sick Children95

Hospital.Amount of Grant.
Florence Nightingale Hospital for Gentlewomen195
French Hospital200
Grosvenor Hospital for Women165
Guy's Hospital6,920
Hampstead General Hospital3,400
Hospital for Epilepsy and Paralysis850
Hospital for Sick Children5,780
Hospital for Women220
Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth670
Infants' Hospital1,250
Kensington and Fulham General Hospital180
King's College Hospital10,000
London Fever Hospital185
London Homœopathic Hospital1,500
London Hospital10,000
London Temperance Hospital3,310
Metropolitan Hospital750
Middlesex Hospital13,220
Cancer Charity of the Middle-sex Hospital1,155
Mildmay Mission Hospital400
Miller General Hospital2,270
National Hospital for the Paralysed800
Paddington Green Children's Hospital700
Prince of Wales' General Hospital4,000
Queen Charlotte's Lying-in Hospital3,500
Queen Mary's Hospital for the East End1,000
Queen's Hospital for Children2,250
Royal Eye Hospital475
Royal Free Hospital12,000
Royal Hospital, Richmond500
Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital1,440
Royal National Orthopædic Hospital5,480
Royal Northern Hospital11,000
Royal Waterloo Hospital for Women and Children1,150
Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital90
St. Andrew's Hospital90
St. Bartholomew's Hospital5,665
St. Columba's Hospital25
St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington6,580
St. Monica's Home Hospital for Sick Children125

Hospital.Amount of Grant.
St. Peter's Hospital150
St. Saviour's Hospital60
St. Thomas's Hospital5,350
Samaritan Free Hospital for Women1,120
South-Eastern Hospital for Children375
South London Hospital for Women800
University College Hospital12,000
Victoria Hospital for Children2,000
West London Hospital3,500
Western Ophthalmic Hospital80
Willesden Cottage Hospital770
"Winifred House" Hospital Home150


General Hospital8,000


Royal Infirmary3,350


Royal Cornwall Infirmary, Truro257
St. Austell and District Cottage Hospital100
West Cornwall Miners' and Women's Hospital, Redruth180


Royal Infirmary2,925
Royal Infirmary Convalescent Home142


Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Cottage Hospital25
Bideford District Hospital50
North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple200
Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter980
West of England Eye Infirmary, Exeter84


County Hospital, Colchester1,030


Bolton Infirmary1,800
Bury Infirmary700
Eccles and Patricroft Hospital165
Southport Infirmary430
Victoria Hospital, Accrington290
Warrington Infirmary1,480

Hospital.Amount of Grant.


Royal Infirmary8,300
Ancoats Hospital430
Royal Eye Infirmary690


Royal Albert Hospital and Eye Infirmary1,000
South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital1,000


Eye and Ear Hospital160
Royal Portsmouth, Portsea and Gosport Hospital800


Royal Hospital7,650
Royal Infirmary10,000
Jessop Hospital for Women1,500


Lowestoft and North Suffolk Hospital1,500


Warneford and South Warwickshire Hospital, Leamington



Salisbury General Hospital425
(b) Wales.
Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport365
(c) Scotland.
Northern Infirmary, Inverness150
West Highland Cottage Hospital, Oban200
Value of Total Grants Approved=£214,528.


Insulators (Contract)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether the contract for porcelain and glass insulators has been given out; and, if so, will he give the name of the firm and the country in which the firm is situated?

I am informed by the High Commissioner for India that in the circumstances explained on the 15th June, in reply to a question asked by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), the order to which reference is made has been placed with a British firm in respect of porcelain insulators of German manufacture. It was decided not to purchase glass insulators. It is not customary or desirable to publish the name of successful tenderers.

Political Prisoners

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India how many Indians have been found guilty of offences under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, the Seditious Meetings Act, and the sedition Clause of the Indian Penal Code in each of the nine major Provinces of India and in the North-West Frontier Province, respectively, during the last 12 months; and how many are now in gaol in each Province for such offences?

I am unable to supply the comprehensive figures asked for by the hon. and gallant Member. As I have already stated, the Government of India have been consulted as regards the particular return for which he asked on the 22nd February last. I do not see my way to asking them now for a different set of figures. They have just telegraphed that they hope very shortly to communicate figures of the persons undergoing imprisonment for offences which can be regarded as political. I may add that from the information at present available, I consider it most unlikely that their number will exceed 4,000, and not, as recently suggested, 20,000.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware of the stories of ill-treatment of Indian political offenders in gaol; whether Pandit Madan Mohan Maleviya asked for permission to make inquiries into conditions in the gaols at Montgomery and Dera Ismail Khan; whether and, if so, why this request was refused, in view of the confidence felt both by Englishmen and Indians in the impartial honesty of the said Pandit; and will he consider the making of some definite inquiry and publishing the results, so that the truth may be known in India?

I am aware that allegations as to the treatment of political prisoners are frequently put forward in the Indian Press and elsewhere. I have seen a newspaper report of correspondence between the Governor of the Punjab and the Pandit, from which it appears that the latter desired to visit the Montgomery and Dera, Ghazi Khan (not Dera Ismail Khan) gaols in connection with some complaints brought to notice in another paper. The Governor replied that the rules did not permit visits to gaols by non-officials other than regularly appointed visitors, and that the complaints would he investigated. I see no reason to take action in the matter.

English Schoolmasters

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the pay and prospects of schoolmasters in English schools in India are considered quite inadequate; and mill he have inquiry made with a view to improving the position and attracting suitable students to the teaching profession in India?

I have received no representations on the subject. The matter is primarily one for the governing bodies of the schools concerned. So far as improvement of the scale of pay depends on an increase of the Government Grants-in-Aid, I fear the present financial conditions are not favourable, but I will communicate my hon. Friend's question to the Government of India for consideration.

University Hostels (English Students)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether in all university centres in India university hostels are provided for Indian students, while English boys have no university hostels at Calcutta, Bombay, or Madras; and whether be will take any steps to redress this inequality?

Hostel accommodation exists for only a very small proportion of college students in India, and, so far as I am aware, admission is not restricted to Indians. I am afraid that present financial conditions alone would preclude the possibility of the provision by Government of hostels for any special class of students, but it views with sympathy any efforts made by those interested in the welfare of such students to improve and extend the existing facilities.

Ex-Service Men

British Empire Exhibition

asked the Minister of Labour what steps have been taken to secure as far as possible the employment of ex-service men at the British Empire Exhibition?

In order to secure a preference for ex-service men, arrangements were made with the contractors last January under which all labour, other than that transferred by the contractors to Wembley from other contracts, should be engaged through the Tavistock Street Employment Exchange. I am informed, however, that out of a total of several hundreds employed, only 26 men in all have been engaged through this Exchange. I am making further inquiry into the matter.

Publicity Officers, War Office

asked the Secretary of State for War what are the names of the two non-service Press officers in his Department; whether he is aware that the reasons previously advanced for their retention, namely, that one was over age and the other medically unfit, are not admissible under the Lytton Report; that if they were employed on a permanent basis their substitution would not be possible; whether representations have been made to him that a disabled officer with the requisite qualifications and experience is available for this work; and whether, in view of the Government's repeated pledges to give priority of employment to qualified ex-service men, he will now reconsider this matter?

These officers, Messrs. Caird and Ridgway, are being retained in the public interest in accordance with the discretion recognised as necessary in paragraph 9 of the Third Report of the Lytton Committee. I am not aware that any disabled officer possesses in the same degree the requisite qualifications for this work, for which the experience acquired by the present holders in the course of the discharge of their duties is very necessary. In all the circumstances I do not consider it would be in the public interest to reconsider the matter.

Special Diet Allowance

asked the Minister of Pensions if his attention has been called to the hardships arising from the inequitable working of Circular 2,097, in relation to diseases of a wasting nature and the provision of special diet; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy the same?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer given yesterday to the hon. Member for Burslem (Mr. Finney) in reply to a similar question of which I am sending him a copy.

Army Educational Corps

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office the conditions of service of schoolmasters in the Army in regard to their emoluments and to their pensions on retirement?

Soldiers are either transferred from other arms or enlisted direct for service in the Army Educational Corps. The normal period of engagement is 12 years with the Colours, but re-engagement to complete 21 years may be allowed, if recommended by the soldier's commanding officer. The rates of pay are:

Per diem.
Sergeant (on probation)70
Warrant Officer (Class II)120
Warrant Officer (Class I)160
In addition, they draw the allowances appropriate to their rank in the same way as other soldiers. Promotions to warrant rank are made within establishment (the establishment of the above ranks is in the approximate proportion of 3 sergeants: 2 warrant officers (Class II): 1 warrant officer (Class I). Soldiers transferred from the late Corps of Army Schoolmasters to the Army Educational Corps on the formation of the latter were allowed to continue on their existing terms of engagement, under which they received 9s. per diem whilst on probation, 12s. on confirmation in appointment as Army Schoolmasters and 16s. on promotion to the rank of warrant officer (Class I) after at least eight years' service as schoolmasters. They are pensioned under the conditions and on the scale applicable to soldiers generally, namely, 1½d. a day for each year of qualifying service, with additions for rank up to warrant officer (Class I). The maximum pension of a warrant officer (Class I) is 55s. a week.

Civil Aviation

Foreign Passenger Aircraft (Second Pilot)

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, seeing that at least 60 foreign-owned aeroplanes, carrying but a single pilot, are expected to continue trading between their respective countries and Great Britain, he can give instructions to advise the British travelling public as to which concerns are taking the precaution of carrying an additional pilot on each of their planes?

The desirability of passenger aircraft being provided with a second pilot is appreciated, but it is not a compulsory condition for international navigation under the Air Navigation Convention of 1919, and I think that the British public must use their own judgment in selecting the air line by which they travel. I may add that nearly all the French aeroplanes flying on the London-Paris service have accommodation for a second pilot, although not fitted for dual control. (The Dutch machines flying on the England-Holland route have accommodation for one pilot only.)

Night Flying

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is able to inform the House as to the results achieved in the recent experiments in night flying carried out between this country and France?

The flight of the British aeroplane from London to Paris by night was quite successful. It established the fact that the lighting arrangements, both in this country and in France, are satisfactory, except that wind-indicating lights have not yet been established on the emergency landing-places; steps are being taken to remedy this defect so far as the British portion of the route is concerned. It is understood that the French flight from Paris to London and back was equally successful.

Treasury Notes (Forgeries)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of cases of spurious Treasury notes which have been recorded since the beginning of the year; whether forgery is on the increase; and whether there is any reason to suppose that it is carried out on organised lines?

In reply to the first part of the question, the number is quite small. The answer to the second and third parts of the question is in the negative.

Gold Currency

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the approximate date when it is hoped to reintroduce gold currency?

No Sir. I would refer my hon. Friend to the answers which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave on the 2nd March and 9th February last to questions put to him by the hon. Members for Tyne-mouth (Mr. Percy) and Govan (Mr. Maclean), of which I am sending him copies.

Stamp Duties (Cheques)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can state approximately the revenue from stamps upon cheques; and whether, seeing that the Post Office has been able to reduce postal rates, he can see his way to forecast a reduction in the former case also?

The revenue from stamps on cheques was, approximately, £2,850,000 for the financial year ended on the 31st March, 1922. With regard to the last part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave on the 22nd instant to a question by the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Alfred T. Davies).

Beer Duty

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the receipts from Beer Duty in the present financial year to the last date available compare with those for the similar period last year; whether the diminution is greater than he anticipated when he introduced his Budget statement; and what cause does he attribute for it?

The receipts from Beer Duty in the period from 1st April to 17th June last (the latest date for which figures are available) were £22,836,000 in the United Kingdom, and in the period from 1st April to 18th June, 1921, were £28,803,000. The reply to the second part of the question is in the negative. The last part of the question does not, therefore, arise.

Bronze Coinage

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total weight of metal used per annum for the manufacture of copper coinage; and whether, for purposes of economy as well as for the greater convenience of the general public, he will consider a reduction in the size of penny and halfpenny pieces?

It is not anticipated that the average weight of metal used for bronze coinage will exceed 230 tons annually. With regard to the rest of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on the 20th instant to the hon. and gallant Member for Chertsey (Sir P. Richardson).

Statutory Pensions (Commutation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer who are the heir and successors of individuals to whom the State voted statutory pensions; what is the total amount annually paid to these individuals; and whether any steps can be taken to capitalise this sum and come to some arrangement whereby this annual charge may be liquidated with the full consent of the present recipients of these pensions?

The hon. and gallant Member will find particulars of these pensions, now five in number, of which two cease on the death of the present holders, in the annual Finance Accounts (see Finance Accounts, 1920–21, page 44). These payments can only be commuted with the assent of the parties concerned, and in certain cases with the assent of a court. It is the general policy of the Treasury to commute where satisfactory conditions can be agreed.

Safeguarding Of Industries Act

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of persons directly employed in each of the industries to which it is proposed to apply orders under Part II of the Safeguarding of Industries Act?

The whole of the information as to numbers employed in the industries concerned, which was available to the Board of Trade, was placed at the disposal of the Committees of Inquiry. I am unable to add to the information contained in the published Reports of those Committees.

Court Of Referees, New-Castle-Under-Lyme

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is in a position to state the result of his inquiries into the complaints as to the attendance at the Court of Referees for the Newcastle-under-Lyme and North Staffordshire area; whether anything can be done to secure proper representation on these courts and to replace those who do not attend by persons who will do so; whether he is aware that the divisional inspector promised to supply the Trades and Labour Council with these particulars but has not yet done so; and what action he proposes to take?

This complaint relates to the attendance of members from the panels of representatives of employers and employed. I find that the attendance at this court has been irregular. The representatives on the panels are nominated by the Local Employment Committees, and I am bringing the matter to the notice of the Committee concerned, with a view to appropriate action being taken. I am assured that no undertaking of the kind referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend was given by the officer in question.

Coal Industry (Wages, South Wales)

asked the Secretary for Mines the number of men employed at the mines in Monmouthshire and South Wales whose wages for a full week's work are less than 40s.; the average number of shifts per week these men have been able to work up to 31st May this year; and what steps he proposes to take to augment this wage to enable these men to live without seeking parish relief?

I have no information as to the number of men in South Wales and Monmouthshire whose wages are less than 40s. for a full week, or as to the number of shifts worked by them. The number of days on which, on the average, pits in this district worked during the five months ended 31st May varied from 5·36 to 5·85 a week. As regards the last part of the question, I fear I have no power to augment wages; an improvement can only be brought about by an improvement in trade.

British Birds (Protection) Bill

asked the Home Secretary whether he is now able to give an approximate date for the introduction of the Bill for the further protection of British birds?

The Bill is still under consideration by the Advisory Committee, and I am afraid I cannot fix any date for its introduction.

Telephone Service

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that, in connection with the removal to new premises of the subscribers to telephone service Central 4249, an undertaking was given to the firm concerned that the service at Hop 156 would be installed before that at Central 4249 was removed; why this undertaking was not carried out; whether the telephone apparatus and connections both at the old and the new premises were removed subsequent to the arrangements referred to; and whether, as the firm concerned has suffered loss and inconvenience through being deprived of telephonic communication, steps can be taken to prevent the waste of labour and material and the inconvenience to subscribers due to what appears to be a lack of co-ordination of the work of the Departments and districts concerned?

The service would have been available at the new premises on the specified date but for the development of some faults on the circuit which delayed completion of the work. Owing to some misunderstanding, permission seems to have been given to a Post Officer fitter by a representative of the firm to recover the apparatus at the old premises before service was installed at the new address. The telephone apparatus in use by the former occupier of the new premises had been removed before any intimation was received of a new tenant.