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Written Answers

Volume 159: debated on Friday 15 December 1922

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Written Answers

Royal Navy

Pensioner Service

asked the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty, whether he is aware that the Admiralty, having fixed the 31st March, 1919, as the date on which all pensioner service should cease to reckon for naval pension purposes, the result is that a man who served 25 years, less three days, prior to the 31st March, 1919, should only be entitled to count 24 years, and thus be deprived of a whole year because three days of it occurred after the 31st March and not before; and will he look into the matter?

The decision that pensioner mobilised service rendered subsequent to 31st March, 1919, would not be allowed to reckon towards further increase of pension was a condition attached to the grant of the im- proved pension scales, which came into force as from the 1st April, 1919. Cases of relative hardship necessarily occur when a change in Regulations takes effect from a fixed date, and I regret that it is not possible to depart from the general conditions in individual cases such as that to which the question refers.

New Battleships (Employment, Merseyside)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty if he can indicate, even approximately, the probable number of men on Merseyside who will obtain employment from the building of the two new battleships and the probable total amount of wages which will be paid to them?

The average number of men in the Mersey district to whom this Order will give employment, over the three years of building, is estimated to be about 2,100. The wages to be spent will be about £1,100,000.

Drifters And Trawlers

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many fishing vessels of the drifter and trawler types still remain in his hands for disposal; and how it is proposed to deal with them?

There are only three drifters now in the hands of the Admiralty for sale. Offers are now being invited for sale of these, and it is expected they will be readily disposed of. There are 75 Admiralty trawlers at present available for disposal, and the Admiralty are continuing to sell these vessels in the open market.

Warships (Breaking-Up, Dover)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Admiralty whether any ships are being broken up at Dover; and, if so, can he state the names of the firms engaged and the number of men employed?

A considerable number of old warships are being broken up at Dover by the Stanlee Ship-breaking and Salvage Company and Mr. J. H. Lee. It is understood that the total number of men employed on the work is approximately 700.

British Army

Retired Officers (Reinstatement)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether any of the officers who have been compulsorily retired during the last two years have been reinstated in the commissioned ranks of the Army; if so, how many; how they are selected; whether all cases have been reviewed; and, if not, for what reason?

Thirteen such officers have been reinstated after a careful review by the Army Council of the merits of the cases in question.

7/9Th Battalion Roval Scots (Dress)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War what is the dress of the 7/9th Battalion Royal Scots; and whether his attention has been called to the pledge given by his predecessor on the 12th August, 1921, that the respective half battalions of the amalgamated battalion would be allowed to retain any distinctive uniform they may have worn.

I am inquiring into the facts of this case, and will communicate further with the hon. Member. I am aware of the pledge to which he refers.

Mcgrigor's Bank

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if lie will undertake that the widows and dependants of all those whose accounts with Messrs. McGrigor directly originated from Army connection shall be granted relief, and that the losses to ex-officers, widows, dependants, etc., shall be made good in full, seeing that the State made large profits out of the contracts with Army agents?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I stated in the Debate on Thursday morning the reasons for the Government decision not to make good in full the losses referred to.


Relief Works, Scotland

asked the First Commissioner of Works, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, whether he can see his way to complete the work already started on the Clisham deviation, the bays; of Harris Road, and the road from Amhuinsuidh to Hushinish, the construction of which will greatly relieve the unemployment which prevails throughout the Western Isles at the present time and facilitate transport?

The question whether it will be necessary to undertake any such works is being examined, but no decision has yet been reached.

Benefit Refused, Tipton

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will cause inquiry to be made as to the circumstances which entitle the Tipton Employment Exchange to refuse the application for unemployment benefit of Samuel Edward Peters, residing at 12, Bloomfield Road, Tipton?

I am making inquiries locally, and will communicate the result to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Associations And Societies (Administrative Expenses)

asked the Minister of Labour the names of the associations or societies with which an arrangement is in force under Section 17 (6) of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920, and the amounts paid by way of contributions towards the administrative expenses of each of such associations or societies in connection with the arrangement for the year ending 31st August, 1922?

I have had this information, which is somewhat voluminous, prepared, and if the hon. Member will be good enough to come and see me, I will gladly show it to him.

Rota Committees

asked the Minister of Labour whether, seeing that although employed persons serving on the rota committees at the Exchanges are paid for lost time from their work, unemployed persons serving on these committees receive no payment whatever; and, seeing that, at the present time, the work of these committees is very arduous and that there is little inducement to employed persons to serve, with the result that the work is left mainly to unemployed persons, and in view of the necessity of having all claims properly considered, will he consider the advisability of making some payment to persons who are rendering assistance in the administration of the Unemployment Insurance Act at a time when they themselves are without means?

It is not the case, so far as I am aware, that the work of rota committees considering claims to benefit is performed mainly by unemployed persons; on the contrary, such persons, if claiming benefit, are ineligible to sit on these committees. The only payments made to members of these committees—apart from travelling fares and subsistence allowances, in regard to which no distinction is made between employed and unemployed persons—are the allowances made, within the scale fixed by the Treasury, on account of wages actually lost owing to attendance. An unemployed person obviously cannot qualify for these allowances. The guiding principle is that no remuneration is paid to the members of these committees and that any payments made are limited to the amounts which members are out-of-pocket owing to attendance. In order to preserve the independence of these committees, I think it is important to maintain this principle.

War Memorial Schemes

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make urgent representations to the various organisations concerned in war memorial schemes in London and elsewhere to start work on them forthwith, with a view to creating employment this winter, as in many cases the schemes are approved and all the plans settled without work having commenced?

I am fully in sympathy with this suggestion, and if the Noble Lord will be good enough to communicate with me privately, I shall be glad to consider what steps can be taken to bring the matter specially to the notice of the organisations concerned.


Local Authorities (Bond Issues)

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, if he is aware that local authori- ties who have issued housing bonds have been directed to repay such part of the moneys raised as is surplus to the capital requirements; whether he is aware that in some cases, at least, these bonds were issued for five years without any reservation; and whether it is the policy of the Department by this means to discourage the completion of existing, and the development of further, housing schemes?

I think the hon. Member is under a misapprehension. In some cases where local authorities have issued local bonds in excess of their requirements for housing and are able by agreement with the holders to repay the bonds before maturing, they have been informed that they should do so.

Land (Sale)

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, whether he is aware that land acquired by any local authority under the assisted housing scheme is being resold to private builders contrary to the spirit of the Government scheme; and will he inquire into this?

There is certainly nothing inconsistent with the Government scheme in a local authority selling land to persons proposing to erect houses, and local authorities have specific powers to make such arrangements.

Assisted Schemes

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, whether, referring to the return supplied as to the allocation of houses to local authorities under the State-assisted housing scheme, he will say what is the reason for the disparities of allocation per 10,000 of the population, as shown by the 1921 Census, in the following cases: Liverpool, 72; Leeds, 72; Cardiff, 58, Nottingham, 56; Manchester, 52; Sheffield, 48; and whether, in view of the request of the Sheffield Corporation for a further allocation, he can, in view of the above figures, now grant the request?

As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, the State Assisted Housing Scheme was limited in July, 1921, to the number of houses built, building, or contained in approved tenders at that date. It will be appreciated that, for various reasons, the number of houses contracted for at that date by the local authorities in question varied, and in view of the limitation on the number of houses to be erected, my right hon. Friend is not in a position to allocate any further houses to Sheffield.

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, whether the late Minister of Health, before leaving office, formulated a new State-assisted housing scheme whereby a further 80,000 houses could be provided through local authorities who were to receive a fixed State grant during the whole of the loan period of between £3 and £4 per annum for each house in order to relieve them of any serious financial loss; whether he approves of this scheme; and, if so, how soon he proposes to put it into operation, in view of the continued shortage of houses?

As I informed the hon. Member yesterday, the proposals of the late Minister of Health, with others, are under the consideration of the Government.

Poor Law Relief

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, the present average cost of the maintenance of paupers under the Poor Law?

During the half-year ending 30th September, 1922, when nearly 87 per cent. of the persons in receipt of Poor Law relief in England and Wales were in receipt of relief in their own homes, the average weekly amount of Poor Law relief given in money or kind to persons in their own homes was 5s. 4½d. per person (man, woman or child). The latest available figures as to the average weekly expenditure in respect of the sick, aged, and other persons in receipt of Poor Law relief in institutions are for the financial year 1920–21 and (including the cost of maintenance, clothing, nursing and medical treatment and up-keep of buildings and staff) are as follows: In institutions solely for the sick and infirm, 57s. 0d.; in institutions solely for children 28s. 4¼d.; and in general institutions 30s. 2½d. The foregoing averages do not cover relief given to persons in county and borough lunatic asylums or in institutions belonging to the Metropolitan Asylums Board.

Retail Bespoke Tailoring Trade (Wages)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the many instances in which employers have been evading payment of the legal rates of wages prescribed by the order of the Retail Bespoke Tailoring Trade Board; whether any action has been taken by his Department to secure compliance with the order; and whether, in view of these evasions, he will carefully consider the situation before sanctioning any reduction in the present rates?

The Retail Bespoke Tailoring Trade possesses, apart from the Trade Board, an elaborate system of piece rates, varying from district to district, and inspection is, therefore, more difficult in this than in many other trades. Subject to this difficulty, the Department, with a view to ensuring compliance with the Acts, have inspected as widely as their staff permits. With regard to the last part of the question, I will take this point into account, along with all other

Occupation.Number of persons applied for.Number of persons for whom permits were granted.Number of persons for whom permits were refused.
Domestic Servants (Male and Female)1,4641,028436
Teachers, etc.15212032
Variety Artistes, Musicians, etc.75971544
Clerks and Foreign Correspondents29921485
Tailors, etc.592138
Waiters, Chefs, Cooks, etc.22267155
Shop Assistants24616230
Skilled Workmen (various)18915732

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Widow's Pension (Mrs E Hackett)

asked the Minister of Pensions if his attention has been called to the case of Mrs. Elizabeth Hackett of 63, Recreation Street, St. Helens, the widow of Mathew Hackett, an ex-service man, who, though married to Mathew

relevant considerations, when the rates come before me for confirmation.

Alien Workpeople

asked the Minister of Labour the number of applications from employers received by him during the past 12 months for permission under Article 1 (3) (b) of the Aliens Order, 1920, to bring alien workpeople to this country for employment; how many permits were granted, and how many refused; and what were the main occupations of the alien workpeople concerned?

During the 12 months ended 1st December, 1922, applications by employers for permission under Article 1 (3) (b) of the Aliens' Order, 1920, to bring in foreign workpeople were received in respect of 3,545 persons, of whom 1,464 were domestic servants. The number of permits granted was—for domestic servants, 1,028, and for all other occupations, 1,423; and the number refused—for domestic servants, 436, and for all other occupations, 658.Further particulars are shown in the following table:Hackett after his removal from duty but not demobilised, has been left to support the children of her late husband, and who is refused a pension under Article 24 (2) of the Royal Warrant; and if he will make inquiries into the case?

I regret that as marriage took place after the soldier's removal from duty for a disability which led to his death, the widow is not eligible for an award of pension.

Army Reserve (Gunner Hardy)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War why Gunner Hardy, No. 74441, who was discharged medically unfit from the Army Reserve on 5th May, 1921, having been previously wounded and gassed abroad, is not in receipt of pension?

I have been asked to reply. In the short time available I have not been able to get this man's papers from the Northern Region, but I will communicate with my hon. and gallant Friend at an early date.

Final Awards

asked the Minister of Pensions what is the reason for the making of final pension awards in cases where the disability is assessed at less than 20 per cent.; and whether, seeing that the continuance of a 20 per cent, disability may seriously impair the earning capacity of an ex-service man, he will favourably consider the necessary amendment to existing legislation in order to assimilate the treatment in these cases to that in those in which a higher percentage of disability occurs?

A final award represents the final decision as to the degree of disablement, if any, suffered by an officer or man by reason of his war disability. Section 4 of the War Pensions Act, 1921, under which final awards are made, makes no distinction between cases of less and more than 20 per cent. disablement.

Nelson And Rodney Pensions

asked the Minister of Pensions what is the total amount paid to date to the recipients of the Nelson and Rodney pensions, respectively; the date at which each pension began; and the reasons for their continuance?

The Nelson pension of £5,000 per annum was granted in perpetuity by Act of Parliament immediately after the Battle of Trafalgar in October, 1805, and has been paid since that date. The Rodney pension of £2,000 per annum was granted by Act of Parlia- ment in 1782 after Lord Rodney's naval victory, and made perpetual by a further Act in 1793. It was then the practice of Parliament to grant perpetual pensions in lieu of, as in modern times, granting a lump sum to be invested by the recipient. The pensions are those payable under Statute in respect of services to the nation.

Government Departments

Temporary Staffs (Pay)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the widespread dissatisfaction existing amongst the temporary Civil Service staffs owing to the index figure on which pay is calculated on the sliding-scale scheme having been calculated on the average of six months prior to the agreement, instead of taking the figure as it stood when the negotiations took place; and whether this can be adjusted?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. W. Thorne) on the 12th December.

Women Tax Clerks

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the women tax clerks are dissatisfied with the proposed reductions which may be put in force next year; and whether, before they are put in force, the matter may be referred to arbitration in order to eliminate any sense of injustice?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a similar question put by the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. W. Thorne) on 12th December.

Motor Vehicles (Import Duty)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider placing the same embargo on commercial lorries imported from abroad as is now placed upon motor cars used for pleasure; and whether he is aware that the free importation of these motor lorries has checked their manufacture in this country and thrown out of employment a large number of our workmen?

I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend refers to the 33½ per cent. ad valorem duty imposed on imported motor cars other than commercial vehicles, and I understand him to suggest that the duty should be extended to this class. On this I can only say that all relevant considerations affecting the varying taxes will be taken into account in framing next year's Budget. As regards the second part of the question, I am aware that statements to the effect suggested have been made.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the tax on motor cars is being avoided by the Ford Motor Company, who are sending their cars to this country in parts, which are assembled at their factory at Manchester, and thus avoiding the import tax; is he aware that very few men are consequently employed by them in this country, whereas if these cars were wholly manufactured here employment would be given on a much larger scale; and if he will consider imposing taxation to meet such cases?

My hon. and gallant Friend is under a misapprehension. Under Section 12 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1915, duty is imposed on component parts of motor cars as well as on complete cars.

National Savings Committee

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he can see his way to reduce the large amount of expenditure incurred in maintaining the National Savings Committee and the Scottish Savings Committee; whether, in view of the good rate of interest accruing to the holders of national savings certificates, it is regarded as necessary to spend £98,000 per year on advertising the certificates; whether, if such advertising is regarded as necessary, any expenditure incurred can be placed under the direct control of the Treasury; and whether commission is ordinarily paid to agents who place the advertisements with newspapers?

The expenditure upon the National Savings Committee was investigated by the Geddes Committee, who were of opinion that this system and organisation brings in real savings very largely contributed from sources hitherto untapped, and that it encourages thrift. The total expenditure (including advertising) is under ½ per cent. of the money raised. The Committee recommended the continuance of the organisation, provided that the headquarters staff is constantly kept under review. I see no reason to dissent from the recommendation. The figure of £98,000 for advertising refers, as stated on the 12th instant, to the year 1921–22; since then the rate of expenditure has been reduced to about £60,000 per annum. The answer to the third part of the question is in the negative; and to the last part in the affirmative.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total number of individuals liable to Income Tax for the year 1921?

The number of individuals in Great Britain and Ireland with incomes above the exemption limit for the year 1921–22 is provisionally estimated at 5,000,000, divided as follows:

Number actually paying Income Tax2,400,000
Number whose liability is covered by the personal allowances and deductions and reliefs2,600,000

Queensferry Factory (Sale)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the War Office has arranged to dispose of the Queensferry electricity plant, building, and land to the City of Chester for £54,000, and that another offer has been made to purchase the factory, and that the present sale is being entered into without any opportunity being given to others to tender for the factory; and is he prepared to sanction the sale of Government property for about one-third of its value without giving other willing buyers the opportunity of making higher offers for the property?

For over a year the Queensferry factory has been advertised for sale in one lot, but no reasonable offer has ever been received; consequently the factory is being disposed of piece-meal to the best advantage and the power house, plant and site have been sold by the Disposal Board to the Chester Corporation for £54,000, subject to the approval of the Electricity Commissioners. The price of £54,000 was the best obtainable. The corporation is at present obtaining current from this source under a three years' agreement which has not yet expired. The Disposal Board is willing to consider any reasonable offer to purchase the remainder of the factory.

Board Of Health, Wales

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the cost to public funds of the Welsh Board of Health at Cardiff; whether the recommendation of the Geddes Committee regarding the Welsh Board of Health has been considered by the present Government; and whether, in view of the powers conferred upon the Welsh Memorial Association with respect to tuberculosis treatment in Wales, and of the powers with respect to public health and public bodies in Wales administered from Whitehall, he will consider in the public interest the discontinuance of the present public health arrangements at Cardiff or, if the Government does not see its way to adopt in its entirety the recommendation of the Geddes Committee, is it proposed to effect changes and rearrangements in the interests of economy?

The total cost of the Welsh Board of Health, as taken in the current year's Estimates, is £83,794 As regards the recommendation of the Geddes Committee, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Prime Minister's reply to the hon. Member for Kennington (Mr. F. C. Harrison) given on the 7th instant.

Convicts (Maintenance Cost)

asked the Home Secretary the present average cost of the maintenance of convicts?

Death Sentences (Prerogative Of Mercy)

asked the Home Secretary whether, in considering cases in which he is urged to advise His Majesty to exercise the Royal clemency in regard to a prisoner sentenced to death for murder, he acts solely upon his own judgment as to the merits of the case, or after consultation with the judge who sentenced the prisoner, or whether he takes due cognisance of the weight of public opinion as expressed by the people who may have signed petitions?

The advice to be given to His Majesty as to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy must depend ultimately upon the judgment of the Home Secretary. In forming that judgment he has regard to all the circumstances of each individual case, including, of course, any representations that may be made to him by petition or otherwise on behalf of the prisoner.

Estimates Committee

asked the Prime Minister if he will consider the desirability of not merely re-establishing the Select Committee on Estimates, but also securing that the Members shall have the opportunity of discussing these Estimates before they are actually laid before the House for approval; and whether he will consider making the appointment of this Committee permanent, and to attach to it the skilled assistance of some adviser corresponding to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, so that Members may be able thoroughly to understand the exact proposals which may be put forward?

I do not understand the suggestion that Members should discuss estimates before they are laid before the House. The main Estimates of the year are always presented to the House some time before they are actually discussed. With regard to the second part of the question, I think it preferable to follow the ordinary procedure of appointment each Session, as in the case of the Public Accounts Committee.With regard to the last part of the question, the Committee has every oppor- tunity of hearing evidence from the Departments and from the Treasury, and I see no useful purpose in appointing extra officials who would for considerable portions of the year have no occupation.

Royal Irish Constabulary

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether some 30 men of the Royal Irish Constabulary, Mechanical Transport, whose contracts for 12 months' service expired on or shortly after 8th December, 1921, were provisionally re-engaged for a further period; whether this extension was subsequently terminated; what payment in lieu of notice did these men receive; and was the day on which they travelled home reckoned for a day's pay?

It was decided on the 6th October, 1921, to discontinue the grant of second contracts for a further year's service to temporary constables in the Royal Irish Constabulary. After that date it was open to such temporary constables, on the completion of their first

Period.Persons of 18 years of age and upwards.Persons of 12–17 years of age.Children under 12.Total.
April—December, 1912135,215113,6248,9398,20660,975326,959
Year 1913166,848131,33911,6909,76769,750389,394
Year 191485,88881,0216,5655,38836,031214,893
Year 1919*47,147*73,08026,108146,935
Year 1920106,911117,4688,0717,93144,721285,102
Year 192173,20581,5226,2576,03232,461199,477
January—September, 1922*55,635*51,62319,116126,374
April—December, 191229,46819,5654725179,65959,681
Year 191342,85126,98477099414,11085,709
Year 191452,88132,3369391,01617,290104,462
Year 1919*34,485*36,71321,82593,023
Year 192031,69533,5651,2891,56017,94686,055
Year 192128,79227,3231,1531,28312,81671,367
January—September, 1922*20,41524,15310,22654,794
* Persons of 12 years and upwards. Separate particulars of migrants of 12–17 years of age were not compiled for the year 1919 and are not yet available for the current year.
NOTE.—Information distinguishing migrants from other passengers was uot furnished prior to 1st April, 1912.

year's contract, to remain on in the force first on a monthly and subsequently on a weekly basis. A bounty of £25 was paid on the completion of the first year's service, and in cases where men elected to remain in the force on monthly or weekly contracts, a further bounty was paid on disbandment of £10, or so much of the bounty of £25 as might have accrued, whichever was the greater. They were discharged at the place of dispersal in Ireland, but were given free warrants to their homes.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies the emigration figures for men, women, and children, respectively, for each of the years 1912, 1913, 1914, 1919, 1920, 1921 and 1922?

The following statement shows the recorded migration of British subjects between the United Kingdom and countries out of Europe during the under-mentioned periods:

Finland (Commercial Treaty)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has information that a commercial agreement between France and Finland has been in force for some months; whether any similar agreement exists between this country and Finland; and, if not, what is the cause why no such agreement has been made?

The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; negotiations are in progress between His Majesty's Government and the Finnish Government for the conclusion of a commercial treaty, but it has unfortunately not yet been possible to come to an agreement on certain points.

Russian Subjects (Passports To England)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Messrs. Radek, Losovsky, and Meschtscherjakowa have applied for passports to England; whether these representatives from Russia have had their application granted; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, so far as M. Radek is concerned. His application cannot be granted.

Smyrna (Consul's Report)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Reports of His Majesty's Consul at Smyrna, on the events connected with the burning of that town, will be laid upon the Table?

No, Sir. The publication of this Report, while peace negotiations are actually proceeding at Lausanne, would not be in the public interest.

Hungary (Count Karolyi)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the trial for high treason, now proceeding in Budapesth, against Count Karolyi, former President of the Hungarian Republic, on the charge that he worked for peace during the War and, in particular, demanded the dissolution of the alliance between Austria-Hungary and Germany; whether this trial is in contravention of Article 76 of the Treaty of Trianon, which lays it down that no one may be prosecuted for political acts done by him between 4th August, 1914, and the ratification of the Treaty; and what steps he proposes to take to secure the observance of this Clause of the Treaty?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative, and the latter parts of the question do not therefore, for the moment, arise. A report will, however, be called for from His Majesty's Minister at Budapesth when the matter will be duly considered.

Indian Government Stores (Purchases)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the India Office has given a tyre order to German firms, although the quotations of English firms were only slightly higher than the German quotation; and whether, seeing that unemployed workers who are receiving relief of unemployment benefit could be profitably employed producing coal and steel to manufacture these tyres, he will consider the advisability of placing these orders in this country until the exchanges are stabilised?

The hon. Member refers no doubt to an order recently placed by the High Commissioner for India. The purchase of stores for the Indian Government is no longer undertaken by the India Office. Such purchases are made by the High Commissioner, who is now directly responsible to the Government of India. I have, however, ascertained from the High Commissioner that in this particular case the lowest British quotation was very nearly double the amount at which the order was placed for tyres of German manufacture.

Importation Of Animals Act

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, having regard to the Importation of Animals Act, it will be permissible to import store sheep from Canada?

In accordance with the provisions of Clauses 2 and 7 of the Act, an Order may be made authorising the landing of Canadian store sheep in Great Britain, subject to such conditions, to be prescribed in the Order, as may be necessary to prevent the introduction of disease into this country.

Defectives School, Tottenham

asked the President of the Board of Education whether, in view of the information given by the Tottenham Education Committee, subsequent to their deputation on 6th November, with regard to the proposed school for physically defective children in their area, he can give permission to the Tottenham Education Committee to open the school in question of the economical lines proposed by this committee, in view of the fact that there is no such school in Tottenham, although there are 135 crippled children of school age in the district?

The educational provision required for defective children of all types is a matter which I have under close investigation at the present time.


District.Martinmas, 1921.Martinmas, 1922.Remarks.
Per half yearPer half year.
Inverness and Nairn.Grieves£35 to £40Grieves£28 to £34With perquisites.
Others£30 to £36Others£24 to £30
Per day.
Day wages (men)6s. to 9s.
Day wages (boys)4s. to 6s.
Per half year.Per half year.
MorayForemen£33 to £36Foremen£24 to £28With board and lodging.
Second horsemen£30 to £33Second horsemen£22 to £26
Third£25 to £30Third horsemen£18 to £22
Cattlemen£33 to £36Cattlemen£25 to £30
Boys£14 to £20
Per half year.Per half year.
South-West Aberdeen.Foremen£30 to £32First horsemen£27 to £30With board and lodging.
Second men£28 to £30Second horsemen£24 to £26
Cattlemen£30 to £33Third horsemen£20 to £22
Orramen£20 to £25Cattlemen£28 to £32
Boys£8 to £12Orramen£22 to £26
Housekeepers£18 to £21Boys£8 to £14
Kitchen women£14 to £16Housekeepers£18 to £22
Kitchen women£18 to £20

The needs of Tottenham will be considered as part of the general problem.


Wages Op Agricultural Workers

asked the First Commissioner of Works, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, if he can state the weekly wages for agricultural workers in each of the counties of Scotland as fixed at the November term, giving the figures for each county separately, and also the corresponding figures for the immediately preceding year?

Owing to the practice in Scotland of engaging agricultural workers for the year or half-year, coupled with the fact that in addition to the cash wage it is the custom to provide board and lodgings or other perquisites of varying value, it is not practicable to furnish a statement in the form desired by the hon. and learned Member. A statement is appended which gives for a number of districts in Scotland such information as is available in regard to wages of agricultural workers.

District.Martinmas, 1921.Martinmas, 1922.Remarks.
Per half year.Per half year.
Central Aberdeen.Foremen£28 to £32Foremen£26 to £30With board and lodging.
Head cattlemen£28 to £32Head cattlemen£26 to £30
Second men£24 to £28Second men£19 to £24
Third men£20 to £24Halflins£16 to £19
Youths£12 to £18Boys£13 to £15
Maids£18 to £24
Per half year.Per half year.
North-East Aberdeen.First horsemen£28 to £32Foremen£28 to £30With board and lodging.
Second horsemen£25 to £28Second horsemen£26 to £28
Third horsemen£17 to £25Third horsemen£20 to £26
Cattlemen£28 to £32Cattlemen£26 to £30
Boys£10 to £15Boys£9 to £14
Halflins£15 to £20
Per half year.Per half year.
East Aberdeen.Foremen£35Foremen£30 to £32With board and lodging.
Second horsemen£28 to £30Second horsemen£28 to £30
Third horsemen£25 to £28Third horsemen£25 to £28
First cattlemen£35First cattlemen£30 to £32
Second cattlemen£28 to £32Second cattlemen£28 to £30
Boys£10 to £20
Per half year.Per half year.
North-East Forfar.Foremen£38 to £45First horsemen£35 to £40With usual allowances.
Others£32 to £58Second horsemen£28 to £34
Boys£14 to £20
Per year.Per year.
North and East PerthGrieves (married)£100 to £105Grieves (married)£80 to £85With house and certain allowances.
Foremendo.£80 to £90Foremen do.£65 to £70
Second horsemen (married).£60 to £75Second horsemen (married)£60
Cattlemen (married)£70 to £90
Per half year.Per half year.
Single men(first)£40 to £45Single men£25 to £30With lodging and certain allowances.
do.(second)£35 to £40
do.(third)£30 to £35
Boys£20 to £25Boys£15 to £20
Per year.Per year.
South - East PerthGrieve£90 to £100Grieves£75 to £85With house and allowance of milk and oatmeal.
First horsemen£80 to £90Foremen£70 to £75
Second do.£75 to £85Second horsemen£60 to £70
Cattlemen£90Cattlemen£65 to £70
Per half year.Per half year.
Unmarried men£32 to £40Young men£30 to £35With lodging and allowance of milk and oatmeal, equal to half married men's allowance.
The LothiansNo hirings at Martinmas term.No hirings at Martinmas term.

Rates at Whit Sunday, 1921:—

Rates at Whit Sunday, 1922: —

Weekly wages plus allowances averaged 52s.Weekly wages plus allowances averaged 38s.

District.Martinmas, 1921.Martinmas, 1922.Remarks.
BerwickNo irinas at Martinmas term.No fairings at Martinmas term.

Rates at Whit Sunday, 1921:—

Rates at Whit Sunday, 1922:—

Weekly wages plus allowances averaged 50s.Weekly wages plus allowances averaged 37s.
South AyrWeekly wages, 48s. to 50s.Weekly wages, 32s. to 40s.
Women workers 3s. per day
North-west Lanark.Married men 40s. to 42s. per week.With house.
Per half year.Per half year.
Single men£20 to £30Single men£20 to £25With board and lodging.
Halflins£8 to £14Halflins to£18
First-class dairymaids.£20 to £25Experienced maids.£20
Second - class dairymaids.£16 to £18Girls learning to milk.£10
South-east Lanark.Married plough- 35s. per week. man.Married ploughman 30s. to 34s. per week.With perquisites.
Per half year.Per half year.
Single ploughmen.£20Single ploughmen£20With board and lodging.
Women workers£15 to £20Women workers£15 to £18
Per week.Per week.
StirlingFirst ploughmen48s. to 54s.First ploughmen40s to 44s.With house.
Second and third ploughmen.40s. to 48s.Second ploughmen.37s. to 40s.
Per half year.Per half year.
Single ploughmen£30 to £35Single ploughmen£23 to £26.With board and lodging.
Boys and maids£16 to £26Boys and maids£12 to £19
North Argyle.Horsemen (married).Per half year £30;Horsemen (married).Per half year £25 to £30;With perquisites.
Cattlemen (married).Cattlemen (married.)
Shepherds (married).Shepherds (married).
Per half year with board and lodging.Per half year.
Single men£15 to £23With board and lodging.
Single men£25 to £30Boys£10 to £14
Younger men and boys.£12 to £20Women workers£11 to £15
Women workers£14 to £18 10s.

Education Rate (Fife)

asked the First Commissioner of Works, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, if he can state the amount of the Education Rate for the current financial year levied in each parish in Fife under the Education (Scotland) Act, 1918, and the amounts levied in each parish of Fife for educational purposes in the year immediately prior to the coming into operation of the rating provisions of the 1918 Act?

Information as to the amount of the Education Rate actually levied in each parish for the current financial year is not at present available. The annexed statement, however, shows the amounts requisitioned from each parish for the current year and for the year 1918–19 for education purposes. These figures probably furnish a better basis of comparison than the actual amounts levied by the parish councils, which may be affected by debit or credit balances at the beginning of the year as well as by the grants in relief of agricultural rates and Government contributions in lieu of rates.

Parish.Amount requisitioned from Parish Councils by the Education Authority.
Anstruther Easter642411
Anstruther Wester625232
Ferry-Port-on- Craig2,6281,250
*The amounts shown for 1918–1919 are the sums handed over by Parish Councils to School Boards.
†The only information available for 1922–1923 is the "Amount requisitioned" by the Education Authority.

Parish.Amount requisitioned from Parish Councils by the Education Authority.


Kirkcaldy and Dysart38,72721,020
St. Andrews and St. Leonards12,5583,250
St. Monans1,021320

* The amounts shown for 1918–1919 are the sums handed over by Parish Councils to School Boards.

† The only information available for 1922–1923 is the "Amount requisitioned" by the Education Authority.

Illegal Trawling

asked the First Commissioner of Works, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, whether, in the case of complaint made to the Fishery Board of the illegal trawling on a specified date in March last of a trawler alleged to be the F.D. 103, in which the evidence of responsible fishermen is at his disposal, he can now have investigation made of the entries in connection with this trawler on that date in March last in the Customs at Wyre Dock, Fleetwood, and do everything possible to bring the culprits to justice?

The case referred to was investigated by the Procurator-Fiscal. As the result of this investigation, it was ascertained that the trawler F.D. 103 was at Fleetwood on the date when the alleged offence was committed.

Cenotaph (Italian Tribute)

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether he is aware that, on Sunday afternoon last, a floral reproduction of the emblem of an Italian revolutionary society, consisting of an axe and the fasces, was placed at the Cenotaph in Whitehall; and whether, in view of the sacred associations of the memorial, he will take steps to prevent similar acts in future?

The axe and the fasces were an emblem of authority, both under the Roman Empire and the Roman Republic, and have never been used, as far as I am aware, as an emblem of revolution. The floral reproduction of the emblem in this instance was, I understand, laid by the Prime Minister of Italy as a tribute to the dead, which, I feel sure, is deeply appreciated throughout the country; and I see no connection with any revolutionary society by this gracious and sympathetic act.

Answers to the following questions were received too late for publication in the OFFICIAL REPORT of Friday, 15th December, 1922:

Divorce (Supreme Court Rules)

asked the Attorney-General whether he will consider the possibility of taking steps to secure such amendment of the rules of the Supreme Court as will enable married women who have no independent means apart from their husband to institute proceedings for divorce as poor persons under Rule 22, of Order XVI., of the court?

No such difficulty arises, except in cases where the wife has no means of her own, and the husband is in similar circumstances. The Lord Chancellor is considering whether it is possible to make any proposal to the Rule Committee to deal with such cases.

Quarries (Road Fund Grants)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether the Ministry have made free grants to public authorities from the motor tax, for the purpose of obtaining quarrying plant and opening and developing quarries; whether it is contrary to Government policy that municipally-owned quarries should be established, and thus subsidised by the Government at a time when privately-owned quarries are working on short time, and in some cases being closed down altogether through lack of orders; and whether, in all such municipally-owned quarries, the standard rates of pay and industrial council conditions are observed?

In a few cases grants have been made from the Road Fund to local authorities for the development of their own quarries for the supply of roadstone. In every case the local authority concerned has been required to satisfy the Department that such development will reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of highway maintenance. These are the considerations which govern the Department's policy in the matter. I have no reason to suppose that the standard rates of pay and conditions are not being observed.


Dumfries Roads (Repair)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether applications from the burgh of Dumfries for grants for the urgent works upon the three roads Brooms Road, Linfield Road, and Moffat Road have yet been dealt with, in view of the fact that the burgh surveyor has on three occasions since July last made appeals in the matter, and received no reply?

These three applications have been the subject of discussion between the representatives of the Ministry of Transport at Edinburgh and the Burgh Surveyor. The proposals relate to the re-paving of three roads which are not classified either as Class 1 or Class 2. Works of this nature are not regarded as suitable for the relief of unemployment, as they provide very little scope for the employment of unskilled men. It is doubtful whether, having regard to the merits of the case, it will be found possible to give assistance from the Road Fund.

Ossett Corporation (Relief Work)

asked the Minister of Labour, as representing the Ministry of Health, if he is aware that the Ossett Corporation applied for grants for improvements in Church Street, Dale Street, and Leeds Road on or about 5th August, and if a speedy reply will be given to the Corporation sanctioning such work, so that they may put unemployed persons to useful work before Christmas?

I have been asked to answer this question. These schemes were submitted in the first place as ordinary road improvement schemes, and on this basis funds were not available for grants to be made from the Road Fund towards their cost. They have since been put forward as projects for the relief of unemployment. A condition precedent for the making of a grant towards unemployment schemes is that the district should be certified by the Minister of Labour as one in which serious unemployment exists which is not otherwise provided for, and I understand that the Minister of Labour is unable to issue this certificate in respect of the Ossett Urban District.

Motor Cars (Dazzling Headlights)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport whether his attention has been called to the many accidents which have recently occurred to vehicles and pedestrians by reason of dazzling headlights on motor cars, and whether he proposes to introduce legislation on this subject early in the next Session of Parliament?

The effect of dazzling headlights in causing road accidents is under constant observation in my Department, and the advisability of legislation on the subject is now being considered.

Post Office

Letter Delivery, Pontardawe, Swansea

asked the Postmaster-General whether it is proposed to alter the postal address of Pontardawe, Glamorgan, to Pontardawe, Swansea; whether he is aware that much confusion and delay in the delivery of letters may arise from such a change; and, in view of the objection of the townspeople of Pontardawe to being identified with the larger town, what steps he proposes to take in the matter?

The postal address of Pontardawe was changed from Pontardawe, Glamorganshire, to Pontardawe, Swansea, at the end of October last. The alteration forms part of a general simplification of the postal arrangements in the district, and it should result in the prevention of delay to letters. I can see no ground for restoring the arrangements formerly in force.

Wireless Station, Ongar

asked the Post-master-General whether, in giving the Marconi Company provisional permission to erect a wireless station at Ongar for the purpose of carrying on a wireless service with France, Spain, and Switzerland, the Post Office imposed any conditions upon the company; whether the average daily number of messages passing between the Marconi Company's station and the countries is fined may be given; and whether the date on which the late Government first decided to issue licences to the company for the wireless transmission of messages ordinarily sent or received by cable can be stated?

The provisional permission given to the Marconi Company for the erection of a wireless station at Ongar for carrying on wireless services with France, Spain and Switzerland was granted on the understanding that it was to be regarded as temporary, and subject to cancellation if no agreement were reached between the Government and the company on the general question of licences for communication with foreign countries. I am not at present in a position to state the average number of messages exchanged daily between the Ongar station and the countries mentioned. The decision to grant licences to the company for wireless services with foreign countries was taken by the Government in November, 1920.

Advertisements Posted Abroad

asked the Postmaster-General if his attention has been called to an advertisement posted in Italy of a book published by George Allen and Unwin, Limited, of Museum Street, London, and will he state whether any advantage which British firms gain by posting advertisements abroad is or is not gained at the expense of the taxpayers of this country?

The posting of circulars abroad, in order to evade the payment of postage in this country, results in a loss of revenue to the British Post Office, and is, therefore, an advantage gained by the parties concerned at the expense of the taxpayers in this country. As I recently stated in reply to a question put by the hon. Member for Manchester (Exchange Division), I shall, if necessary, consider what effective steps can be taken to prevent the abuse.

Earlsfield Branch Post Office, Wandsworth (Telegrams)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will reconsider his decision to withdraw, as from 1st January, 1923, the facilities for the despatch, receipt, and delivery of telegrams at the Earlsfield Branch Post Office, Wandsworth, having regard to the fact that such office is centrally situated in one of the busiest and most thickly occupied parts of Wandsworth, and deals moreover with a large amount of business, the withdrawal of facilities for which will cause great inconvenience to the public?

I am making inquiries about the telegraph facilities at Earlsfield Post Office, and will communicate with the hon. Member as soon as possible. It is not, however, proposed to withdraw facilities for the acceptance of telegrams.

Albanians In Greece

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that Greek refugees from Anatolia are being put in possession of the houses and property of Albanians in Thameria, and that the Greek Government is pursuing the policy of the Angora Government, and banishing its Moslem minorities; and if he has information as to whether this action of the revolutionary Greek Government is being discussed at Lausanne?

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Foreign Office has received representations from the Albanian Minister that Albanians in the Thaurmia district, assigned to Greece in 1913, are being forced to leave the district; whether he has any direct information on the subject; and whether he will make certain that any information on the subject is brought to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the consideration now being given at Lausanne to the question of minorities?

His Majesty's Government have received representations from the Albanian Minister on the subject of the treatment of Albanians in Greece. His Majesty's Ambassador in Paris has been instructed to bring the matter to the notice of the Ambassadors' Conference. The Lausanne Conference is not specially concerned with the question of Albanian minorities. It is open to the Albanian Government to lay their case before the League of Nations under Article 11 (2) of the Covenant.

Illegal Trawling, North Of Scotland

asked the First Commissioner of Works, as representing the Secretary for Scotland, whether his attention has been called to the existence of illegal trawling on the east and west coasts of the North of Scotland; is he aware that this unfair inroad into the working sphere of the fishing community there is strongly resented, and is particularly obnoxious when, as is now the case, the inroad takes place on Sundays; and will he at once take steps to stop this injustice, by providing a cruiser the special duty of which it would be to police the coast from Cape Wrath to Adnamurchan, and by providing another for the corresponding line on the cast coast?

The replies to the I first and second parts of the question are in the affirmative. The patrols of the fishery cruisers are arranged with a view to meeting the requirements of all districts in the best manner practicable, and the particular arrangement suggested in the last part of the right hon. Member's question could not be adopted consistently with the requirements of other districts. The Fishery Board will, however, direct special attention to the policing of parts of the coast where illegal trawling is prevalent.