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Written Answers

Volume 155: debated on Thursday 29 June 1922

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Written Answers

Catterick Camp

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the land occupied by the Catterick high camp was part of the best agricultural land in Yorkshire, and is now being utterly wasted; and the intentions of the War Office regarding this tract covering many square miles?

I regret that I can add nothing at present to the reply given to a similar question which the hon. Member asked on the 22nd June.

Central Stores Department, Shepherd's Bush (Mrs Toombs)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the district office dining club, Central Stores Department, Shepherd's Bush, W.12, is under the control of the Disposal and Liquidation Commission; whether the Disposal and Liquidation Commission are the employers of the persons on the staff at this establishment; whether Mrs. Cecilia Ruth Toombs was in the em- ploy of the Ministry of Munitions or the Disposal and Liquidation Commission at the Canteen Central Stores Department, Shepherd's Bush, W.12; whether her employment was terminated in January, 1921; if so, by whom; whether she continued to work in such canteen until 31st March, 1922; and, if so, in whose employment was she, and who paid her wages for the period including 2nd March, 1921?

The district office dining club, Central Stores Department, Shepherd's Bush, is not under the control of the Disposal and Liquidation Commission, but is maintained by the staff of that establishment, who are employed by the Commission. Mrs. C. R. Toombs was in the employ of the Ministry of Munitions at Shepherd's Bush until the 13th January, 1921, when her employment was terminated by the Ministry. She was transferred forthwith to the dining club, by whom she was thereafter employed and paid, and for whom it was understood that she continued to work until the 31st March last.

Reparation Duty (Scientific Works)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that whereas parcels consisting of single copies of scientific works, ordered by a private individual, pass without paying any Reparations Duty if sent through the post, they are charged with the full 26 per cent. levy if sent in a parcel or box through the Customs Department at Harwich; and whether this difference of practice is due to intention or inadvertence?

I understand that the importation of a single copy of a book as cargo would be quite unusual, but if my hon. Friend will give me particulars of any case he has in mind, I will have inquiry made as to the facts.

Passenger Vehicles, London (Overcrowding)

asked the Home Secretary whether he has given a decision on the question of permitting passengers to stand in London tramcars and omnibuses; and, if not, when will he be able to do so?

The question is still under consideration, but I hope to be able to give my decision shortly.

Samsun (Bombardment)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the Greek gunboats that bombarded Samsun had their naval base in neutral waters or at Athens?

From such information as His Majesty's Government have received, it appears that the bombarding vessels used proceeded to Sam-sun from Constantinople.

Peruvian Settlement Scheme

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any further application has been made to the Peruvian Government for funds to meet cases of special hardship arising among participants in the Peruvian settlement scheme?

Further representations have been made and a further sum of £500 has been received from the Peruvian Government. The allocation of this sum is under consideration, in consultation with the Treasury.

Murder Of Sir Henry Wilson

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether either of the men charged with the murder of Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson has at any time during the last two years been in the custody of the forces of the Crown?

I would refer my Noble Friend to the answer which I gave yesterday to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for the Harborough Division of Leicestershire (Sir K. Fraser).

Borough Extensions

asked the Minister of Health whether, seeing that the Ministry of Health Provisional Order (No. 1) Bill is not one of those contentious proposals which it was agreed would not be entertained until after the Report of the Royal Commission which it is proposed to set up, he will, in view of the fact that the application was made by the Doncaster Corporation in 1920 and considerable expense has been incurred by them in going on with the proceedings, ensure that the further stages of this Bill are proceeded with as soon as possible?

As I stated in my reply of yesterday to the hon. Member for the Thirsk and Malton Division (Mr. Turton) the proposed appointment of a Royal Commission was not intended to prejudice cases such as this. I understand that the Bill will be put down for Third Reading at an early date.


Munitions Stores, Credenhill

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are at the munition stores at Credenhill, Herefordshire, a number of buildings which could be easily converted into houses, which are at the present time vacant and depreciating: and whether, in view of the shortage of houses in the district, he will use his influence with the Disposal and Liquidation Commission to come to some satisfactory arrangement with the Rural District Council with a view to these buildings being occupied?

I have been in communication with the Disposal and Liquidation Commission and understand that the property in question is in occupation by the War Office, to whom a copy of the correspondence which has been received on the matter has been sent. Further inquiries are being made of the War Office, and I will inform the hon. Member of the result.

War Office Employés, Hereford

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been darwn to the fact that an employé of the No. 14 National Filling Factory, Rother-was, Hereford, is living in a house unfit for human habitation, and which cannot be made fit without it is first, vacated, and that within a mile of this cottage is an empty guard-room belonging to the War Office, which is in effect a good bungalow dwelling; and whether he will use his influence with the War Office to secure the necessary steps being taken to allow this guard-room and other buildings belonging to the War Office, and which are not at present occupied, being used to house the War Office employés, and so in some way relieve the pressure for houses in the rural district of Herefordshire?

I am communicating with the War Office with regard to this matter, and will inform the hon. Member of the result.


asked the Minister of Pensions whether it has been found possible to make any arrangements through his own or any other Departments for the erection of a certain number of houses to be leased to members of the staff in the neighbourhood of the new pensions office in Acton Vale?

I understand that my hon. Friend the Minister of Health has approved schemes for the erection of a number of houses in the neighbourhood of Acton, but that the allotment of these houses rests with the local authorities concerned.

Rent Restrictions Act

asked the Secretary for Scotland whether it is the intention of the Government to continue the Rent Restrictions Act as at present?

Coal Prices

asked the Secretary for Mines if he will give the detailed analysis of the present retail prices of coal, with comparative figures for 1913?

:A detailed analysis of retail prices ruling on the 25th May was recently supplied to me by the courtesy of the Coal Merchants' Federation, and was given in my reply to the hon. Member for Keighley (Sir R. Clough) on the 29th May. As regards the present position, I would refer my right hon. Friend to the answer that I gave to-day to an oral question by the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson).

Germany (British Claims)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether be is aware of the great delay on the part of the German Government in satisfying claims of British creditors under Article 297 of the Treaty of Versailles in respect of debts admitted by German debtors and paid by such debtors to the Treuhandeler; that in partnership cases where British and French creditors are jointly concerned the proportion due to French partners has been paid, and that due to British partners withheld; and whether he will try to expedite payment by suggesting the imposition of a time limit or otherwise?

With regard to the first and last parts of the question, I would refer to the reply given to the hon. Member for Acton (Sir H. Brittain) on the 31st May. I am not aware that French partners have been paid in advance of British, but if my hon. and gallant Friend can furnish me with details of some specific cases, I shall be glad to look into the matter.

British Cattle (Importation Into Canada)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether cattle from Great Britain imported into Canada are allowed to enter without restrictions, or whether a period of quarantine is required; whether each animal has to be submitted to the tuberculin test; and whether, if cattle do not pass these tests, they are immediately slaughtered at the port of entrance?

Importation of cattle has been prohibited by the Canadian Government from England and Wales since 5th August, 1919, and from the whole of Great Britain since 31st January, 1922, owing to the prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease in this country. Prior to 5th August, 1919, importation of cattle was allowed from any port in Great Britain provided that the animals were accompanied by(1) a certificate of health from a qualified veterinary surgeon;

(2) an export certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries testifying that no case of contagious pleuro-pneumonia, rinderpest, or foot-and-mouth disease has existed during the past six months in the district whence the animals came.

All cattle were subject to 30 days' quarantine on arrival. Cattle six months old or over were subjected to the tuberculin test, and those which showed clinical symptoms of tuberculosis were destroyed or otherwise disposed of as directed by the Canadian authorities.

Ordnance Survey, Southampton (Mr Webb)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, with reference to the death of Mr. E. E. Webb, of the Ordnance Survey, Southampton, he will call for the official record of Mr. Webb's service on the Ordnance Survey in whatever form such records are usually kept in that Department, together with all the correspondence that may be referred to in that record; and whether he can give a more definite assurance that, in future members of the staff employed on the Ordnance Survey will not, in cases of critical illness, have their chances of recovery imperilled by the service of notice of discharge during their period of absence from duty from that cause?

I have already seen the official record of Mr. Webb's service in the Ordnance Survey. As regards the second part of the question, I am only too ready to give the hon. Member the assurance he desires, but I would point out that when Mr. Webb was given notice of discharge he had been absent only for a few days on account of a minor ailment, and his sick-leave in no way affected his discharge.

Imperial Conference

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether arrangements, tentative or other, have been made for a future Imperial Conference; whether communications have been received from the Governments of Australia and Canada regarding such Conference; and what is the nature of such communications?

No arrangements have yet been made for the next meeting of the Imperial Conference, but I would refer my hon. Friend to the resolution on the subject passed at the Conference held in 1921, which is printed on page 9 of Cmd. 1474. I hope that it may be found convenient to hold a meeting next year. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative; consequently the third part does not arise.

Railway Season Tickets

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether he will make representations to the railway companies with reference to the charges now made for season tickets, and recommend that these charges be reduced in order to encourage traders?

While I am arranging for a copy of the hon. and gallant Member's question to be forwarded to the railway companies, I would remind him that the Minister has no jurisdiction over railway charges, but that under Sections 60 and 78 of the Railways Act, 1921, representations can now be made by traders or others to the Rates Tribunal for reductions in those charges.