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Commons Chamber

Volume 163: debated on Monday 7 May 1923

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House Of Commons

Monday, 7th May, 1923.

The House met at a Quarter before Three of the Clock, Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair.

Private Business

Bank of England Bill,

Read the Third time, and passed.

Tees Valley Water Bill,

As amended, to be considered upon Friday.

London County Council (Money) Bill,

To be read a Second time to-morrow.

London, Midland, and Scottish Railway Bill [ Lords] (by Order),

Second Reading deferred till Friday.

Oral Answers To Questions

India

British Imports

1.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India the value of British imports into India for the six months ending 31st March, 1922, as compared with the respective totals for the two immediately preceding periods of six months?

The figure for six months ending 31st March, 1922, is Rs.99,70 lakhs; for the preceding six months, Rs.77,62 lakhs; and for six months before that, Rs.112,26 lakhs.

Pandit Harish Chandra

2.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether permission can now be granted to Pandit Ravish Chandra to return to India, either with or without conditions?

If the question relates to Harish Chandra, there is not and never has been any order against his return to India. It is open to him to go there whenever he pleases, but in saying so I must not be understood as promising any immunity if he has committed an offence.

Ministers (Resignation)

3.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he has any information as to the cause of the resignation of the Ministers the hon. Chintamini and Pandit Juggath Naraian; and has their resignation been accepted?

I have no information beyond what has been stated in a Press telegram.

Cable Companies

5.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether any subsidy or annual allowance is paid by the Indian Government to any of the cable companies owning cables to India; and, if so, what the amounts are and to which companies they are paid, and what conditions the Government receive for any such payments?

The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the negative; the second part, therefore, does not arise.

Railway Companies (Government Guarantees)

6.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India, in the case of how many railway companies in India the Indian Government guarantee the interest on debentures or any other stocks of the companies; can he give the names of the companies; and what amount of capital on each is so guaranteed?

As the answer is rather long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

STATEMENT showing the Capital Liabilities of Indian Railway Companies, domiciled in London outstanding on 31st March, 1923, the Interest on which is guaranteed by the Secretary of State.
Railway Company.Share Capital.Debenture Stock.Debentures.
Amount.Rate of Interest.Nominal Amount.Rate of Interest.Nominal Amount.Rate of Interest.
£Per cent.£Per cent.£Per cent.
Assam-Bengal1,500,0003300,000
430,9006
730,900
Bengal-Nagpur3,000,0002,000,00041,472,0006
775,500
623,5005
2,003,900
4,874,900
Bombay, Baroda and Central India.2,000,00031,000,000
Burma Railways3,000,0001,250,0003
Delhi-Umballa-Kalka1,000,000300,0005
East Indian6,550,00047,000,000
(Deferred Annuity).8,000,0003
3,500,000
Great Indian Peninsula2,575,00033,500,000475,0006
Madras and Southern Mahratta.5,000,0002,500,0004100,000
201,0005
Madras and Southern Mahratta, Mysore Section.1,200,0004500,000
1,276,000
South Indian1,000,0002,318,2484395,0006
500,000
895,000

In addition, there are 11 small companies, domiciled in India, with capitals aggregating Rs.2,74,88,000, or £1,832,533, which have been given a guarantee of interest at various rates by the Government of India. A number of companies, all domiciled in India, except the Southern Punjab Railway Company, have also been given by the Government of India a guarantee of rebate from the net earnings of the main line, with which they are connected, from traffic interchanged with the branch to make up interest on their paid-up share capitals to an agreed figure.

Public Services (Royal Commission)

8.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what length of time it is anticipated will be required for the inquiry by the Royal Commission on Indian Services; and whether measures will be taken to ensure that early orders will be passed upon the Report?

It is hoped that a few months will be sufficient time to enable the Commission to report. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative. The importance of expedition is fully realised.

Visapur Gaol

4.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he has seen the report of the inquiry into the Visapur Gaol and the treatment there of political prisoners; and whether, in view of the widespread allegations concerning conditions in this gaol, he will have this report laid in the Library?

I have seen the report of the Committee appointed by the Government of Bombay in September last consisting of the Commissioner, Central Division, as Chairman, the District Magistrate of Ahmednagar and an Indian Member of the Bombay Legislative Council. I will place in the Library a copy of the report as soon as one is available, and meanwhile I circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the summary with which the Committee's report itself concludes. I presume that the allegations to which the hon. and gallant Member refers are those which appear in a pamphlet, the two authors of which were invited to attend before the Committee with an offer of their expenses. Neither of them appeared, and it will be seen that, while drawing attention to some serious defects, the Committee effectually disposed of many of the gross misrepresentations that the pamphlet in question contains.

May I ask, first, whether any action has been taken as a result of this report; and, secondly, when we may expect to have the report?

As regards the first question, certain disciplinary action has been taken as a result of the report. I am not sure when the full report will be available, but it will be as soon as it arrives from India.

Will action also be taken regarding the misrepresentations which have been made in this case?

The authors were given an opportunity, as I have already said, of appearing before the Committee, but they did not do so. Whether any further action against them is desirable is, at the present time, being considered by the authorities in India.

Following is the summary of the report:

" To summarise: the general management of the prison is satisfactory and the treatment of prisoners, except some of those under the charge of ex-warden Subrao, has been humane. Only as regards ill-treatment in the grinding shed do we consider that the complaints of any prisoners or ex-prisoners examined by us disclose serious grievances—we are, however, of opinion that prisoners (like Govindji Vasanji and some others) unaccustomed to a rough life should never have been sent to serve their sentences in a prison of the Visapur type, which is intended for hardy convicts whose

normal occupation is manual labour; the former class naturally feel the discomfort and, possibly, degradation inseparable from a convict gang existence more keenly. The buildings, with the other measures employed, are suitable for their purpose, but their temporary nature must be recognised. Medical and sanitary arrangements are adequate, but the scarcity of water is a drawback.

Fetters must continue to be employed. We are not unanimous about the bel chain, but the majority consider that, in the circumstances of this gaol, it cannot safely be dispensed with, and find no ground for the allegation that its use is barbarous or degrading. The present gaol should not be continued at Visapur, nor should a gaol of regular type be built there after the dam is completed. If another camp gaol is built elsewhere, then convicts at Visapur should be drafted to it, otherwise they must be drafted to the various existing regular prisons on completion of the work on which they are engaged.

Latrine arrangements should be improved by the provision of more seats and a greater degree of privacy, and attention should be paid to the provision of an adequate supply of water for latrine purposes. Prisoners should have a half-weekly bath if this is possible. The superior staff should, as far as possible, check and punish unnecessary hustling of prisoners during the night and at early morning and latrine parades; and complaints of ill-treatment which have any colour of foundation should be reported to the superintendent without delay.

Sundays and other holidays prescribed in the gaol manual should be whole holidays, and not half holidays only, save for such necessary work as the manual mentions.

Poona, 29th November, 1922.

(Signed) H. L. PAINTER,

Commissioner, C.D., (Chairman),

G. MONTEATH,

Collector,

Ahmednagar,

G. K. CHITALE.

European Civil Servants (Retirement)

9.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India how many officials in the different European Civil Services have retired in each province under the proportionate pensions scheme since the offer was first made; and whether there is any reason to believe that these retirements are due to dissatisfaction with the conditions of pay and prospects in those Services?

I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement giving the figures, which, I should explain, represent the number of applications for permission to retire received and sanctioned by my Noble Friend. But in many cases the retirement has not yet actually taken place, as the applicants all have a considerable period of leave at their credit, which they are entitled to take before going on pension; and in some cases they have not yet left India. In a few cases, too, permission to retire has been cancelled at the request of the applicants who have changed their minds. As regards the second part of the question, I have no reliable information as to the motives of those applicants, who are not required to make any further declaration

STATEMENT of Retirements on Proportionate Pension Sanctioned by the Secretary of State India in Council up to the 7th May, 1923.
Indian Civil Service.India Police Service.Indian Educational Service.Indian Service of Engineers.Indian Forest Service.Indian Agricultural Service.Indian Veterinary Service.Total.
Madras6*64‡82127
Bombay7126421133
Bengal1317311136
United Provinces11147971150
Punjab112163142
Bihar and Orissa63110
Central Provinces38143120
Assam21126
Burma8†5821
Total658822401794245

* Includes one Indian member of the Indian Civil Service.

† Includes one Indian member of the Indian Civil Service and three military officers serving in the Burma Commission.
‡ Includes one member of the Indian Educational Service (Women's Branch).

Ireland

Refugees (Assistance)

10.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any Department or organisation operating under official auspices is providing assistance for distressed Irish loyalists now in this country who have lost their entire livelihood and possessions through recent events in Southern Ireland; and whether, in that case, he will state exactly what the bodies are and the principles upon which they operate, since there is very great distress among this deserving class, who are now finding themselves completely unable to carry on?

24.

than that they desire to retire in view of the change in conditions of service occasioned by the Act of 1919.

Is any difficulty found in filling up vacancies in various establishments in India at the present time?

That is a question of a general character rather difficult to answer. There is no difficulty at all in some cases; there is difficulty in others. I shall be in a position later to make a more definite statement on that subject.

Following is the statement promised:

whether the Irish Grants Committee have power to make advances to Southern Irish refugees who have not obtained decrees or awards in respect of the malicious injuries which they have sustained?

I have been asked to reply. The constitution and terms of reference of the Irish Grants Committee, of which I am Chairman, are set forth in Part III of the White Paper recently presented to Parliament [Cmd. 1844.] The Committee has power to make advances not only in cases where decrees or awards have been obtained, but also in all cases where there is a primâ facie valid claim for compensation in respect of malicious injuries. It also has power to grant tem- porary relief to refugees in this country who have no such claims. I believe its powers are sufficient to enable the Committee to prevent or remove acute financial distress in all such cases, and I shall be grateful if hon. Members of this House will co-operate with me in ensuring that no case of distress escapes the attention of the Committee.

Passports

17.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that a British subject born and domiciled in Ireland but resident in Great Britain is unable to obtain a passport to travel abroad until reference is made to and leave obtained from the competent authority of the Irish Free State; and what action does he propose to take to remove this disability imposed on a citizen who claims to be of full British nationality and status?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the definition of Irish citizenship in Article 3 of the Irish Free State Constitution, which formed the Second Schedule to the Irish Free State Constitution Act, 1922. It is the practice of His Majesty's Government to grant passports to British subjects who are also Irish Free State citizens, as therein defined, only after consultation with the competent authority of the Irish Free State. This procedure is analogous to that which obtains in regard to persons of Canadian origin temporarily resident in this country.

I do not think so; I am not aware that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has taken up Irish citizenship.

I have not taken up Irish citizenship; but apparently I must take it up or stay in these islands for ever!

Am I right in supposing that all Irish citizens are British subjects as well?

Malicious Injuries (Compensation)

18.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that by recent and retrospective legislation of the Irish Free State the Wood Renton Compensation Commission set up by this House in conjunction with the Dail is left with no statutory authority, but only power to recommend payments for damage to property, and that those injured are expressly deprived of the power of taking any steps to recover or enforce payment of the amount of any decree; and is it the intention of the Government to seek to provide alternative rights or remedies in some statutory form to the injured person before the said legislation receives the assent of the Governor-General of the Irish Free State?

Subject to the observations that the Wood Renton Commission at no time had any statutory authority the answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative; the reply to the second part is in the negative. The security for the awards of the Wood Renton Commission is the good faith of the two Governments by which it was appointed, and the provision of alternative remedies suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend is not practicable.

I should like to have an answer: Is it a fact that Mr. Timothy Healy has already given his assent as Governor-General to the Bill?

I am not aware that that is so. I understand that the Senate has not yet finally considered the Amendments to the Amendment.

19.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, having regard to the number of refugees from the South of Ireland at present in this country who have obtained awards for compensation from the Wood Renton Commission, he will ascertain, now that awards for injury to property sustained before 11th July, 1921, have no statutory enforcement, but are ex gratiâ, whether the Free State Government are attaching to such ex gratiâ payments, when and if made, a prior liquidation by the holder of the award of any claims for arrears of Income Tax or local rates that may be made on him by the Inland Revenue or local authority of the Irish Free State?

I am informed that the Free State Government have not so far found it necessary to consider any question of withholding any award of compensation for injury to property sustained before 11th July, 1921, by reason of counter claims in respect of Income Tax or rates due by the claimant.

I understand that payment is already going forward at an increasingly rapid rate.

Is my hon. Friend aware that nearly £1,500,000 is due on account of those pre-War injuries to property, which has not been paid?

Empire Settlement

11.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that young lads of 17 and 18 years of age, emigrated to Australia under the Government-assisted emigration scheme, are writing home complaining that, though their farmer employers are under contract to pay them wages of 15s. to £1 per week, they are not receiving any money; that in some cases they are penniless, without proper clothes and boots and with no means whatever of obtaining these necessaries; that some are in remote up-country stations, unable to get any assistance or advice; that some complain that they are being knocked about and ill-treated; that they have to work from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; that they describe the conditions as like slavery; and whether he will inquire immediately by cable as to the state of health, working conditions, and the non-payment of wages to Arthur Sullivan, care of A. F. Habel, Loxton, South Australia, who, in a letter to his mother, alleges that his employer is treating him badly, that the farmers are taking advantage of his and other boys' helpless position, that his clothes and boots are quite worn out, that the immigration officer has forgotten all about him, that he cannot leave or extricate himself because he is many miles from town, has no means whatever, and is absolutely penniless?

During the past two years, 2,500 boys have been assisted to proceed to Australia, and have been placed with farmers, in order to gain experience of work upon the land. Only 12 complaints have reached the authorities in this country during that period. They referred to the loneliness, the unsatisfactory accommodation and the food. On investigation they were mostly found to be frivolous. No complaints have been received of the nature indicated in the question. On the other hand, numbers of letters have reached the Oversea Settlement Office expressing satisfaction at the conditions. I have instituted inquiries regarding the case of Arthur Sullivan. It would facilitate these inquiries if the hon. Member would furnish me with any information which may be in his possession.

Is there any representative of the Oversea Settlement Committee in Australia, and what control has the Oversea Settlement Committee here over the immigration officers referred to in the question?

The Oversea Settlement Committee has representative in Australia.

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman consider the propriety of arranging for such representation?

We have a delegation in Australia which is going into that and other questions.

Liquor Regulations, United States

13.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the publication of the facts that the value of the annual imports of spirits into the Bahama Islands has increased from £6,370 in 1918 to £1,003,721 in 1922, and that practically the whole of this increase is re-exported to America, has caused considerable indignation in the United States; that a widespread impression has been created that the authorities in this country were condoning, if not aiding and abetting, an unlawful traffic; whether the United States Government had made any diplomatic representations to His Majesty's Government on the subject; and, in view of the possibility of friction arising between the two countries due to the systematic and organised law breaking which was being committed by British subjects in this regard, whether His Majesty's Government will take all possible steps to ensure that spirits so imported into the Bahamas are not smuggled into the United States?

47.

asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government has considered the large trade in smuggled goods carried on between certain of the West Indian islands in His Majesty's possession and the American coast, with a view to its prevention; and whether the governors of these islands have been given instructions to discourage the trade in liquor smuggling which is being carried on from the islands under their administration?

I have been asked to reply. I would refer to the replies of the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the questions of the hon. Members for Taunton (Mr. J. Hope Simpson) and Bodmin (Mr. Foot) on the 11th and 16th April. I may add that, some considerable time before representations were received from the United States Government, steps had been taken, particularly in the Bahamas, to prevent breaches of local laws and irregularities of any kind in connection with clearances of ships or the transfer of United States vessels to British registry. Supplementary instructions have been issued from time to time, and the United States Government has expressed gratitude for the action taken. I have no doubt that the Colonial Governments concerned will continue to take all legitimate steps to prevent irregularities conducive to liquor smuggling.

May I ask for a definite answer to the second part of my question—whether the Governors of these islands have been instructed to discourage this illegal traffic with a friendly country?

I have answered that part—"I have no doubt that the Colonial Governments concerned will con- tinue to take all legitimate steps to prevent irregularities conducive to liquor smuggling."

Will the Government consider the publication of a list of the names of British firms engaged in this traffic?

Before that question is answered, is it not true that most of the ships engaged in the "boot-legging" traffic leave the Clyde?

Will the hon. Gentleman consider the publication of a list of these names?

I have no knowledge who they are. It has nothing to do with the Colonial Office.

46.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of a recent decision by the supreme court of the United States with regard to the complete prohibition of all liquor in foreign vessels in American ports, he will take steps to enforce on ships of all countries in British ports the British regulation which necessitates the carrying of a certain quantity of spirits for medicinal purposes?

I have been asked to reply. I have not seen the full text of the judgment, but I do not think it can in any way affect the enforcement of British regulations in British ports, which will continue as heretofore.

54.

asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government have had their attention drawn to the proposals of the United States Government to prohibit liquor carried on board British liners arriving in United States waters after the 1st June next; and whether he can state what is the attitude of His Majesty's Government to this question?

The date on which the measures referred to by my Noble Friend will take effect is still uncertain; our information is that it will not be before the 10th June. With regard to the second part of the question, I would refer to the reply which I gave to the hon. and learned Member for East Fife (Mr. Duncan Millar) on the 2nd instant.

Is it the intention of His Majesty's Government to recognise the decision of the United States in this respect?

My Noble Friend will recognise that we must wait until we have full information as to what really is intended. We shall have that, I hope, in a few days' time. At present we are dependent merely on cable messages.

Is it not a fact that the United States Government have threatened to confiscate British ships? If you get the "Majestic" confiscated, what are you going to do?

Does the Government uphold the doctrine that the jurisdiction of the laws of a nation accompanies its ships into foreign ports, and that the ships are considered as part of the territory of the nation itself?

Whatever position we take up, we shall certainly act in full accord with international law.

Palestine

Elections (Prosecution)

14.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any information as to whether Haj Tewfik Hammad, Vice-President of the first Palestine Arab Congress and formerly representative of Palestine for many years in the Turkish Parliament, has been indicted, with six other notables of Nablus, on the ground that he has encouraged certain voters not to participate in the election, and whether he has satisfied himself that there is any justification for the accusation?

I understand that a prosecution has been instituted in connection with the proceedings of certain persons in the Samara district at the time of the elections. I am asking for further details.

Is it an indictable offence in Palestine to do what is an ordinary incident of elections in this country?

I understand that the prosecution—I have not the details—is a prosecution for intimidation.

16.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received complaints from the Arab community in Palestine that in the recent abortive elections such secondary nominations as were made were obtained in many cases by fraud and threats, and even forgery; and whether he will hold an inquiry into the methods in which the elections have been conducted?

Mukhtar Of Lubban Rantis (Imprisonment)

15.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has obtained any information as to the Mukhtar of Lubban Rantis in the Ramleh sub-district of Palestine, having been imprisoned without trial, indictment, or any legal proceedings; whether he is aware that at the end of 11 days' imprisonment, during which he was unable to obtain any information as to the cause of his imprisonment, he was ordered to leave the prison and, on his return to his village, found that he had been dismissed from his office, against the wishes of the village inhabitants; and whether he can inform the House as to the reason for these proceedings?

No, Sir; I have no information on this subject, but I will inquire.

China (Boxer Indemnity)

26.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, seeing that it is understood that on the Committee which is to decide the methods of using the remitted Boxer Indemnity there will at least be one representative of Chinese interests, he will ensure that this arrangement is carried out to guarantee that those claims which are ultimately proposed will be for the benefit of both nations and approved by both nations?

It is not possible at the present stage to give any undertaking as to what arrangements will eventually be made to give effect to the intention of His Majesty's Government to devote the British share of the Boxer Indemnity to purposes of mutual benefit to British and Chinese interests.

Have we any representatives on the Committee or body dealing with this matter?

Germany And Russia

28.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any official information with regard to a rapprochement between Germany and the Russian Government which is especially directed against Poland?

Russia

British Note Of Protest

29.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the diplomatic Note of protest to the Russian Government has yet been drawn up; whether it has been forwarded to Moscow for presentation to that Government; and when he will be in a position to state the terms of the Note?

The Note has been forwarded to Moscow, but I can say nothing for the moment as to the date on which it will be possible to publish its terms.

53.

asked the Prime Minister whether the British Government is preparing a Note to be sent to the Russian Soviet Government intimating the decision of the British Cabinet to cut off trade relations with Russia and withdraw the Trade Mission?

I am not in a position to add anything to the replies already returned to questions on this subject.

British Fishermen (Release)

31.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received information that the recent trial of the captain and crew of the Hull trawler "James Johnson" for alleged illegal fishing has been quashed by the Moscow Government and a new trial ordered; and whether he will arrange for the British Trade Mission in Moscow to provide legal and other assistance at this fresh trial?

I am informed that the Soviet Commissariat of Justice is now considering the cancellation of the verdict. I understand that the owners of the vessel are in touch with the legal representatives recommended by the British Agent in Moscow, who will doubtless give such further assistance as may be in his power.

Has the hon. Gentleman any further news of the captain and crew; is it true that they are on their way home?

The latest news I have of the crew is that arrangements are being made for them to be sent home by a ship which is at present at Murmansk, but I have no further news about the captain.

Is there any British representative at Murmansk or Archangel to look after these men?

Have the Foreign Office made any further arrangements for the protection of these ships?

43.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information regarding the position of the officers and men of the "James Johnson"; whether he has any further information regarding the ship herself; whether the British Note to the Soviet Government has been received by them, and, if so, whether he can give the terms of the Note; and whether any time limit is attached to it for a reply?

With regard to the first and second parts of the question, I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the Noble Lord on the 30th ultimo, except that I understand that the crew have now been released, and will be shortly leaving Murmansk by a steamer, which is now there. With regard to the remainder of the question, I would refer the Noble Lord to the reply which I have just given to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy).

Does the hon. Gentleman's reply in regard to the crew apply specifically to the case of the captain, and are we to understand that he is still under detention or not; and, secondly, with regard to the terms of the Note, will it be convenient if I repeat my question this day week?

If the Noble Lord will repeat his question this day week, I may be able to give him an answer. With regard to the other part of his question, the answer does not refer to the captain, who, I believe, is still under detention.

Is there any possibility of coming to an arrangement with regard to the 12 and three miles limit?

That is a very large question, which has been under discussion for a very long time, and I could not take it upon myself to give an answer.

Confiscated British Property

33.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government have made or will make representations to the Soviet Trade Delegation that the total proceeds received in England from sales of confiscated property of British firms should be paid into a fund for the benefit of sufferers from Soviet legislation?

I fear we are not in a position to act as the hon. Member suggests, but he will be aware from papers which have been laid before the House and from repeated statements made by Members of this and the late Government of the anxiety felt and efforts made to protect the interests of British subjects which have suffered by Soviet legislation.

34.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the trade agreement with the Soviet Government has for its effect to deprive British nationals of their remedy before British Courts of Law when property that has been confiscated or stolen from them is imported into or sold in Britain; and whether he proposes to remedy this?

I am of course aware of the consequences flowing from the judgment given in the Sagor appeal case and of the grounds upon which that judgment was based. Every effort will, as I have repeatedly stated, be made to protect the interests of former British property owners in Russia, but I cannot at present state the form which these efforts will assume.

Is it not time, in view of the known attitude of the Soviet Government, that some definite steps should be taken?

If my hon. Friend will look at my answer, I think he will find that I have answered that question.

Under the trade agreement, were not the rights of British subjects who supplied goods to the Soviet recognised by that Government? Was there not a conference to be appointed to settle these matters; and why has that conference not been called together?

36.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the continued existence in England of the Soviet Trade Delegation prevents the return to British nationals of large properties that have been forcibly confiscated; and what action does he propose to take?

In answer to the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I have just given to the hon. Member for North Newcastle (Mr. Doyle). The House is aware that the general question of the relations between His Majesty's Government and the Soviet Government is under discussion.

37.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the moneys received by the Soviet Government as the result of sales to British companies of the confiscated property of British nationals is employed mainly in the purchase of material in other countries, and large sums of British money diverted from British industry to foreign countries with a resultant aggravation of unemployment in Britain; and does he contemplate taking steps in the matter?

I have no information on the subject of the first part of the question. I have no doubt that the Soviet Government, like ordinary merchants, try to sell in the dearest and buy in the cheapest market, and I can conceive of no scheme by which this practice could be altered by us in our own interest.

38.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that 70,000 tons of kerosene, largely the property of British nationals, has been sold by the Soviet Government to a company registered in England; whether he has any information as to an option of sale for a further 130,000 tons; and whether, seeing that the effect of such sale is to provide money for the purchase of materials mainly in foreign countries and for anti-British propaganda purposes, he will take any action in the matter?

I have no information on the subject of this question beyond what has appeared in the newspapers. On that information, the reply to the last part of the question is in the negative.

42.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that British oil companies in Baku and Grozny, having at least 40,000 shareholders, have had their property confiscated by the Russian Soviet Government; that their shareholders have in many cases been reduced to poverty; and that oil products from these properties have since been sold for delivery to other companies by the Soviet Government; what action has been taken by the British Government to secure com- pensation for British nationals whose property has been appropriated in this manner; and whether steps will be taken to prevent any British company from acquiring or selling in this country any products which have been appropriated from British owners in Russia?

The answer to the first and third parts of the question is in the affirmative. I have no doubt the confiscation of the Russian oilfields has had serious consequences for the shareholders. In reply to the fourth part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the published Report of the Conferences at Genoa and The Hague. His Majesty's Government have no power to prevent the sale in this country of goods appropriated by the Soviet Government, and recognised as their property by the English Courts.

Does the Under-Secretary not see how necessary it is to terminate the trade agreement with Russia, seeing that these goods are being sold in this country?

Can there be any difference of opinion about stolen British goods being sold in Great Britain?

Are we to understand that British subjects can no longer look to the British Government for any protection in this respect?

Have we not already spent about £20,000,000 in trying to upset this Government?

Oil Products

35.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government is aware that the British company purchasing Russian oil products had given an undertaking to an international oil committee, set up for the mutual protection of interests, not to prejudice, directly or indirectly, the established rights of adherents to the committee; and whether the action in purchasing Russian oil products does in fact prejudice these rights?

I have no information on the subject of this question beyond what has appeared in the newspapers. It would be no part of the duty of the Foreign Office to interpret the text of a private agreement between a number of oil companies, but if the published accounts of the transaction are accurate, the effect would seem necessarily to be as suggested by my hon. Friend.

39.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is prepared to take action with the purchasers of Russian oil products to bring about the cancellation of the agreements for sale on the score that such purchases are contrary to public interest?

It would be contrary to the practice of His Majesty's Government to interfere, in a case such as this appears to be, with the discretion of the companies concerned.

Is it in order to address questions to the British Government about a private committee in Paris?

I could not see any reason for disallowing them, although they come near to being of a private nature.

40.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether representations have been made to His Majesty's Government by the French Government protesting against the purchase of Russian oil products by a British company?

41.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can communicate the terms of the resolution for mutual protection arrived at between the members of the International Russian Oil Committee, whose property in Russia has been appropriated by the Soviet Government; and what steps have been taken to secure the payment of compensation to British citizens who have been deprived of their property in this way?

The resolution referred to has never been communicated to the Foreign Office. In reply to the last part of the question, I refer the hon. and gallant Member to the published accounts of the Conferences at Genoa and The Hague.

British Agricultural Machinery

58.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department the value and weight of agricultural machinery exported from Great Britain to Russia in the years 1913, 1920, 1921, and 1922, respectively?

As the answer to this question contains tables of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The following statement gives the weight and value of the exports of agricultural machinery, registered as consigned from the United Kingdom to Russia in each of the years specified.

(a) The produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom.

Tons.£
191326,7291,103,293
192014915,180
1921
1922134,991

(b) Foreign or Colonial manufacture.

Tons.£
19138,932273,118
1920
192136926,843
192299370,014

The figures for 1913 and 1920 relate to exports to pre-War Russia, those for 1921 and 1922 relate to exports to post-War Russia. Machinery consigned to countries bordering on Russia is not included, even though subsequently forwarded to Russia.

Imports

59.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department the value of the exports to Russia from Great Britain, United States, and Germany, respectively, for the years 1913, 1920, 1921, and 1922?

As the answer to this question contains tables of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

STATEMENT showing the total values of goods recorded as exported to Russia from

the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Germany in the years 1913, 1920, 1921 and

1922, the values of the exports from the United States and from Germany being converted into

sterling at the average current rates of exchange.

United Kingdom.United States.Germany.
Produce of the United Kingdom.Foreign and Colonial Produce.Total Exports.
£££££
191318,103,000*9,591,000*27,694,000*5,537,000†43,277,000†
192011,992,000*4,841,000*16,833,000*7,854,000†320,000‡
19212,181,000‡1,210,000‡3,391,000
Jan.-June3,257,000†1,810,000‡
1921774,000‡§
July-Dec.
19223,679,000‡1,038,000‡4,717,000‡6,775,000‡

* Pre-War Russia, including Finland.

† Pre-War Russia, except Finland.
‡ Post-War Russia, including Ukraine and the Far Eastern Republic.
§ May, 1921, to April, 1922. No particulars of the exports during

Jan.-April, 1921, are available.

║ Information not available.
NOTE.—With reference to the figures for 1920–22, it is to be noted that some goods exported to the States on the borders of Russia may have been forwarded to Russia.

Kenya (Coffee Production)

20.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Tanganyika Government has embarked upon a policy of encouraging a native production of coffee in that territory; and why a similar policy cannot be adopted in the case of Kenya?

As regards the Tanganyika territory, I would refer to my reply of the 26th of March to the written question of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Richmond Division of Yorkshire. While I have no reason to suppose that the policy indicated in my reply to the hon. Member on the 26th April is not the best suited to the conditions of Kenya, his question will be brought to the notice of the Acting Governor, who will be requested to confer with the Government of Tanganyika before reporting.

Following is the answer:

Owing to territorial changes, it is not possible to give figures relating to the trade of Russia which are strictly comparable as between 1913 and later years.

Tanganyika

Ex-German Ships

21.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is proposed to dispose of the ex-German ships now lying at Dar-es-Salaam; what the cost of breaking up these vessels would be; and whether he will consider the possibility of sending them to Durban or some other suitable port to be broken up?

Two German vessels sunk at Dar-es-Salaam have been salved in connection with the clearing of the harbour, and the question of disposing of them is now under consideration. Attempts to obtain offers for their purchase have so far been unsuccessful; the suggestion that they should be sold to ship-breakers will be brought to the Governor's notice. I am not in a position to estimate the cost of breaking-up.

Governor (Yacht)

22.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Governor of Tanganyika territory is provided with a yacht; and, if so, what is the cost of upkeep of that vessel?

Government House

22.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether a new palace is being erected at Dar-es-Salaam, in Tanganyika territory, for the use of the Governor; and, if so, will he say what the cost of the building will be and explain the necessity at the present time of incurring that cost?

Owing to the complete destruction during the military operations of the German Government House at Dar-es-Salaam, it was necessary to provide accommodation for the British Governor of the Tanganyika territory. The work was put in hand in 1920, and the building is understood to be now complete. The total cost is estimated at £54,000, and has been distributed over three years.

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us how many square feet the residence covers, and has it a parlour?

I think not; I believe it perfectly follows the lines of the old German Governor's house. I remember seeing that; it had a very large verandah.

Will the whole of this £54,000 have to be found by the British taxpayer?

They are raising over a million in local revenue, but there is undoubtedly a deficit, and some part of that, no doubt, will have to be paid by the British Government.

Is it not necessary that The Governor should be suitably housed, in order to impress the natives?

Peace Treaties

Disarmament, Germany

32.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Germany is wilfully evading the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles for the reduction of her army to 100,000 effectives by the enlistment of a large armed police force on a military basis at the age of 18 years, who are to receive gratuities for war service and military pensions; what action is being taken by the Allied Powers in the matter; whether he can inform the House of the total number of rifles which have now been surrendered by Germany; and whether he is satisfied that the provisions of the Treaty as to the surrender of arms and munitions have been fully carried out?

I have been asked to reply. I am not in a position to state what may be in the mind of the German Government with regard to the intention of evading the provisions of the Peace Treaty alleged in this question, but it is known that just prior to the French occupation of the Ruhr the authorised army of 100,000 all ranks was considerably under establishment.

By the Boulogne Conference the German Government was allowed:

150,000 police to be armed at the rate of

  • 1 rifle per 3 men;
  • 1 short pistol per man;
  • 340 heavy machine-guns;
  • 150 armoured cars.

The Inter-Allied Military Commission of Control has agreed to the enlistment of this force for 12 years, the minimum age for enlistment being 18.

War service in the army during the late War counts towards police pension.

The pay and pensions, and conditions of service of the police are similar to those of the army.

In regard to the action being taken by the Allies, the reorganisation of the police is the first of five outstanding points raised in the Allied Collective Note of 29th September, 1922. This Note was originally presented at the instigation of the War Office, and has again been insisted on in the Allied Note of 18th April, 1923.

War material surrendered to the Inter-Allied Military Commission of Control up to 12th April, 1923, includes 4,560,861 small arms, 87,950 machine guns, 33,571 guns and 11,616 trench mortars.

Our military advisers are satisfied that the provisions of the Treaty with regard to the surrender of arms and munitions have been carried out to such an extent as to ensure that at the present time Germany is effectively disarmed.

The complete and loyal execution by Germany of the points contained in the Collective Note of 29th September, 1922, is however necessary to ensure the permanency of the military guarantees under the Treaty.

Is it not time that we insisted on this matter of the police being dealt with, because, in view of what the hon. and gallant Gentleman has just said, it is clear that they are only camouflaged soldiers; and does he not think that we should be represented side by side with the French in the Ruhr until this important question has been settled?

I do not think that question arises, and the hon. Member had better put it on the Paper.

Reparations (German Note)

49.

asked the Prime Minister what action the Government has taken or proposes to take with regard to the German Note relating to reparations?

51.

asked the Prime Minister if he is in a position to state the reply of the British Government to the latest financial offer by Germany; whether the British opinion on the matter has been formally asked by the Allies operating in the Ruhr; if so, how it has been or will be communicated to them: and, if not in agreement with their opinion, whether it will be communicated at all, and, if so, how, to Germany?

55.

asked the Prime Minister whether a reply to the German offer has yet been despatched; if so, what are its terms; and whether the British Government was consulted as to the terms of the French reply to the German Government?

I hope to be in a position to make a statement on this subject to-morrow.

May I repeat the question to-morrow, or will my right hon. Friend take another opportunity of dealing with the subject on another Motion?

I think the most convenient way will be to arrange for a Private Notice question.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider publishing a White Paper containing the terms of the Note and the replies both of this Government and of the Allied Government in time for Thursday's Debate?

I do not think that that would be practicable. Perhaps my hon. and gallant Friend will await my statement to-morrow.

Turkey (Refugees)

44.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, having regard to the fact that the United States Government has stated that from next June onwards it cannot continue to organise and defray the costs of relief for refugees from Turkey, and that the French Government, in reply to the United States Secretary of State, declared that it would provide 1,600,000 francs towards the settlement of refugees in Syria, His Majesty's Government is prepared to make a further grant towards the relief of the refugees from Turkey?

The United States Government informed the Allied Ambassadors at Washington on 3rd April that the American Red Cross Society, which is a voluntary organisation, had decided to terminate its relief work in Greece on 30th June, and they suggested an exchange of views with the British, French and Italian Governments with a view to securing co-ordinated action for the liquidation of the relief problem. The United States Government was informed in reply that His Majesty's Government welcomed this suggestion, but would await definite proposals from the United States Government before taking further action. No further com- munication from the United States Government has yet been received, and the question of making a further grant has not therefore arisen. I have no information regarding the alleged grant of 1,600,000 francs by the French Government for refugee work in Syria.

If it were a fact that the French Government made a grant would not the objection to a free grant by us be removed since Lord Balfour's promise of £50,000 would then hold good?

I cannot say that. All I can say is that we have responded in a favourable sense to the overtures from the United States Government, and we are awaiting a reply from them.

Airships

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether the Cabinet has come to any decision relative to the establishment of a company to run airships; and under the control of what Department of State would the operation of any such contract fall?

Can the right hon. Gentleman say that no air work will be given to any Department other than the Air Ministry unless it is done with the consent of this House?

Will the House be asked to ratify any such arrangement before a decision is arrived at?

I shall have to look into that, because I am not sufficiently familiar with the question to give an answer.

Imperial Preference

50.

asked the Prime Minister what are the extensions of Imperial Preference which have already been announced on behalf of the Government as part of their policy?

It has already been announced, as regards the proposed tax on imported malting barley, that it is intended to give a preference of one-third.

Did not the Duke of Devonshire announce that the Government would still further extend the preference, and may I ask in what respect it is intended to extend it?

Agriculture

Cereals, Wales

60.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what are the numbers of acres under cultivation in Wales of wheat, barley, and oats, respectively?

The area of land in Wales returned as under these crops in 1922 was as follows:

Acres.
Wheat35,656
Barley61,413
Oats202,508

Canadian Cattle

61.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to a report of the Medical Officer of Health of the Manchester Port Sanitary Authority stating that the first shipment of Canadian store cattle to that port included animals affected with pulmonary tuberculosis; and what steps have been, or will be, taken to protect the public against the dangers arising therefrom.

Yes, Sir. The section in the Report, however, was not intended to suggest that Canadian cattle are affected with tuberculosis to any exceptional degree; indeed, it describes this consignment as "very healthy." With regard to the last part of the question, machinery is already in existence whereby inspectors of local authorities examine carcases and reject any which they consider unfit for human food.

Bread (English Wheat)

62.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the recent achievement of the Buckingham branch of the National Farmers' Union in producing for 7d. a loaf of bread made entirely of English wheat flour; and, in view of the fact that this price is 2d. per loaf cheaper than the ordinary bread, will he cause inquiries to be made and enable other parts of the country, as well as agriculture generally, to benefit by this achievement?

I have heard with much satisfaction of this successful enterprise on the part of the Buckingham Branch of the National Farmers' Union. I understand that it has already been brought to the notice of all branches of the National Farmers' Union, and that many inquiries are reaching the Buckingham branch from other parts of the country. I see no reason why, if a sufficient demand is assured, arrangements should not be made throughout the country to place on sale bread made entirely of English wheat flour.

Does this 7d. a loaf include overhead charges, such as rates, taxes and so on?

Has the right hon. Gentleman satisfied himself that a loaf produced entirely from English wheat is one which is in demand by the English consumer?

Will the right hon. Gentleman satisfy himself by tasting the bread while he can get it?

Barley

64.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what was the amount of malting barley grown in England and Wales for the years 1920, 1921, and 1922; the total amount of barley imported into this country for the same years; and whether the bulk of the imported barley was used for grinding and feeding purposes?

The quantity of barley imported into Great Britain in the years 1920, 1921 and 1922 was 569,000, 739,000 and 633,000 tons respectively. It is not possible to state how much of these quantities were used for grinding and feeding, but it is thought that on the average at least half of the imports are used for feeding livestock. The amount of the home-grown crop which is used for malting necessarily varies with the size of the crop, the suitability of the grain for malting, and the demand for malt. The statistics of the quantities of barley used in brewing and distilling do not distinguish between home-grown and imported barley.

Has the right hon. Gentleman made any estimate as to what is likely to be the amount of revenue from the proposed imposition of a 10s. duty on barley?

Is it not a fact that the amount of imported malting barley is practically unaffected by the price, because it is required for quality, whether the price is high or low?

Credit Facilities

65.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether a decision has yet been reached as to the channels through which it is proposed to make the advances to farmers of short-term credits under the Credit Facilities Scheme; whether it is proposed to make these advances through co-operative societies; and, if so, whether he will consider the claims of individual firms and traders?

My hon. and gallant Friend will understand that it is impossible for me to make a categorical statement at this stage on the point which he raises. I can only suggest that he should await the terms of the Bill.

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult both the bodies mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member, namely, the individual traders and the co-operative societies, before drafting his Bill?

A Committee sat for months on this question, and, I believe, consulted every sort of interest affected.

Government Departments

Ministry Of Agriculture (Coal Porters)

63.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that coal porters in other Government Departments work a normal week of 48 hours, including meal times; that, in fact, the whole class of employés covered by Agreement A 81 of the Civil Service Arbitration Board work a normal week of 48 hours, including meal times; whether he can explain why a discussion of the coal porters' grievances in his Department with their trade union representatives is refused; and whether he will agree to receive the suggested deputation in the near future?

I am not aware of the hours worked by coal porters in Government Departments other than in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, and, as explained, on the 18th instant, on my behalf by my hon. and gallant Friend the Comptroller of the Household, the working week for coal porters, as fixed by the Agreement mentioned, is 48 hours, and is not intended to include definite meal reliefs. In the circumstances, I cannot admit that the coal porters have any grievance, but if they have, they are aware that they can submit it to the the Departmental Whitley Council.

War Office (Temporary Clerks)

99.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War the number, respectively, of male and female non-service temporary clerks at present employed in the War Office; and the number of temporary clerks who obtained over 50 per cent. of the total marks in the ex-service examinations?

The numbers in question, exclusive of female typists, are males, nil; females, 3. There are also ten ladies employed on work involving special knowledge of foreign languages. Frequent efforts have been made to replace these by ex-service men, but so far without success. I have no information as to the last part of the question.

Sewage Disposal, River Lea

69.

asked the Minister of Health, in view of the approach of summer, what progress has been made in the promised improvements to the sewage disposal arrangements of the various local authorities on the banks of the River Lea above Hackney; and whether he is satisfied that the progress made will prevent the recurrence this year of the contamination of the lower reaches of the river, which has every summer been a source of danger and annoyance to the inhabitants of the borough?

My right hon. Friend is informed that some improvement has been effected, but not, he fears, of a very substantial nature. The chief difficulty is, of course, the heavy expenditure which would be involved I may add that he has no evidence that there is or has been danger to health. The matter is still under consideration by the local authorities concerned.

Is the Noble Lord aware that some of the authorities referred to in the question are at the present time receiving notice from the Lea Conservancy under which they will, in all probability, be prosecuted, and does not that prove the danger?

I have said that it was under consideration by the local authorities.

Scottish Fisheries (Protection)

85.

asked the Under-Secretary to the Scottish Board of Health whether, in view of the great and growing cost of policing the territorial waters of Great Britain by means of Fishery Board cruisers, he will consider the advisability of consulting with the Admiralty with a view to this duty being undertaken in future by the Royal Navy, especially as the detection and prevention of illegal trawling in inshore waters would afford valuable means of training for the officers and crews of destroyers, and in view of the fact that officers and men of the Royal Navy would welcome an opportunity of assisting in the preservation of a means of livelihood of the coast fishermen, who were their devoted comrades in the keeping of the seas during the War?

The suggestion made by the hon. Member has been considered from time to time in the past in consultation with the Admiralty. There is at present, as the hon. Member is aware, one Admiralty vessel on this patrol. The provision of additional vessels by the Admiralty would involve a heavy charge on naval funds, which it is doubtful if the Admiralty, under present circumstances, would be prepared to undertake. The Secretary for Scotland is prepared, however, to cause the suggestion to be again examined.

Medical Officer, Frizington

70.

asked the Minister of Health if he will, before giving his sanction to the appointment of a medical officer of health for the urban district area of Frizington, Cumberland, take into serious consideration the recommendation of the County of Cumberland medical officer of health that several of the small urban areas should, in the interests of efficiency and the proper administration of the laws of public health, be amalgamated under one full time medical officer instead of the present system of appointing officers who can do no effective work as medical officers of health without sacrificing the interests of their panel patients?

My right hon. Friend has received no formal representation for the issue of an Order to combine this with other districts for the purpose of appointing a whole-time officer. He has, however, tried to arrange for such an appointment to be made by agreement. As these efforts have not been successful, he has not thought it practicable to object to the district council's proposals to appoint a part-time officer, who has, however, been required to give a written undertaking to resign the appointment in the event of a whole-time officer being appointed. My right hon. Friend cannot accept the suggestion that no effective work can be done by part-time medical officers of health without prejudicing the interests of their panel (or other) patients.

Is the Noble Lord aware that the doctor nominated for this position at Frizington does not live in the place at all, and that some of his panel patients cannot find him when they want him?

If the hon. Member will give me that information, I will inquire into it.

Canal Boats (Living-In)

71.

asked the Minister of Health whether it is intended to act on the recommendations of the Departmental Committee appointed to inquire into the practice of living-in on canal boats, of which he was chairman?

96.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware of the conditions under which children on living-in boats on canals have to exist, and that a large proportion of them receive practically no education; and whether he is able to state if the recommendations of the Departmental Committee appointed by the Ministry of Health to inquire into the practice of living-in on canal boats, so far as they refer to the education of children, are likely to become effective?

I will answer these questions together. My right hon. Friend is aware that the conditions of life on canal boats are not favourable to the proper education of the children living in them, and he is anxious that this matter should be dealt with at the earliest favourable opportunity, but he regrets that it is not practicable to introduce legislation at the present time.

72.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that one family, comprising the parents and nine children, whose ages range from 18 years to six months, and none of whom can read or write, are living on two canal boats, known as the Mars and Jupiter, and owned by the Midland and Coast Canal Carrying Company; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter?

My right hon. Friend has no information as to this case, but he will make inquiries and will communicate with the hon. Member.

Tuberculosis, Poplar

77.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Poplar Tuberculosis Care Committee has received reports of 40 consumptive persons for whom it has been impossible to arrange living and sleeping accommodation which is either adequate for the patient or reasonably safe for the other occupants; and, if so, what action he proposes to take to safeguard the general public?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley on the 2nd instant, of which I will send him a copy.

Leather Gloves (Reparation Duty)

84.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is satisfied with the method in which the Customs and Excise officers are carrying out their duties in regard to the importation of leather gloves; if he is aware that German-made leather gloves are sent into Switzerland and then imported into this country to avoid Reparation Duty; and if he will take action in the matter?

I have been asked to reply. The possibility of endeavours to evade payment of Reparation Levy by means of fictitious re-consignment from an intermediate country of goods obtained from Germany is a matter which receives the constant and close attention of the Customs authorities, and the particular case of leather gloves to which the hon. Member refers is at the present moment undergoing investigation.

Housing

Guildford (Rural District)

73.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the population of the rural district of Guildford has increased 20 per cent. since 1911; and if, in view of this fact, any special provision has been made for housing in this area?

My right hon. Friend is aware that the population of the rural district of Guildford has increased by, approximately, 20 per cent. since 1911. 92 houses have been built by the district council under the State-assisted scheme and 107 houses were built under the Private Builders' Subsidy scheme. The population of the Borough of Guildford, which is surrounded by the rural district, has only increased by 46 per cent. since 1911. State assistance has been provided for the building in the borough of 251 houses by the Town Council, of 130 houses by the Onslow Garden Suburb Public Utility Society, and of 64 houses by private builders. The figures given do not include any houses provided without State assistance.

Is the Noble Lord aware that the industrial population has increased by over 20 per cent.?

Hendon

74.

asked the Minister of Health the percentage in- crease in the number of houses in the urban district of Hendon since 1913; and if he intends to make special provision for the housing needs of such districts as this, whose population was enormously increased by the creation of war industries?

My right hon. Friend will ascertain whether the figures the hon. Member desires are obtainable and will communicate further with him. Increase of population will no doubt be one of the factors leading local authorities to submit and his Department to consider new construction under the facilities in the Housing Bill.

Poplar

75.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has received any special representation from the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar as to the serious overcrowding in that area; and, if so, what action he proposes to take?

The hon. Member presumably refers to a recent deputation to the Ministry of Health from Poplar which asked for approval of the provision of a certain number of flats. My right hon. Friend anticipates that there will be no difficulty in giving such approval.

76.

asked the Minister of Health if he has now been able to take any action with regard to a family of five persons living in one room in the Borough of Poplar to which his attention was drawn in February last?

My right hon. Friend is unable to trace any such case to which his attention was drawn in February last. If the case in question is the one on which the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley put a question last Wednesday, I may refer him to the reply my right hon. Friend gave then.

Applications

78.

asked the Minister of Health if he will give a Return, showing the total number of applications for houses received by local authorities in Great Britain since the War, and the number of applicants who have been supplied with houses?

My right hon. Friend fears that such a Return would not only involve great labour and expense, but might also be misleading in view of duplication of applications and the like. The total number of houses completed under Assisted Government Housing Schemes in England and Wales on 1st April last was 198,183. Statistics of the numbers of houses provided without Government assistance are not available.

Scotland

86.

asked the Under-Secretary to the Scottish Board of Health how many of the 8,950 houses in Scotland still to be provided under the Housing, Town Planning, etc. (Scotland), Act, 1919, and schemes approved there-under are in course of construction; how many will be completed within the next three months or so; and how many have not yet been contracted for, or have not yet been commenced?