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Written Answers

Volume 235: debated on Wednesday 26 February 1930

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Written Answers

Royal Navy

Skilled Workmen, Dockyards

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many skilled workmen in His Majesty's dockyards have been reverted to labourers in the last year, specifying trades?

During the year 1929, the number of skilled workmen (tradesmen) who accepted employment as labourers in preference to discharge on reduction was 21, all shipwrights, and these men were restored to their trade class during the same year.

Dockyards (Tenders)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty on how many occasions during the last six months tenders have been sought by his Department from His Majesty's dockyards and rejected in favour of contract work outside?

The preparation of the figures asked for would entail an expenditure of time and labour which would not be justified. I would refer the hon. Member to the second part of my reply on 19th February [OFFICIAL REPORT, Column 1360] to the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Hore-Belisha).

Pulverised Coal Fuel

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is proposed to carry out any experiments during the present year in connection with the possible use of pulverised coal fuel by ships of the Royal Navy?

In view of the disadvantages inseparable from the employment of coal as a fuel in warships, namely, reduced endurance for a given weight of fuel and increased weight and space required for a given power, no experiments are contemplated by the Admiralty at present.

Chatham Dockyard (Employment And Wages)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what was the number of men employed at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham, and the average weekly wages, including overtime, earned by each of them during the month preceding the day on which the present Government assumed office and the number of men employed and the average weekly wages, including overtime, earned by each of them during the month of January, 1930?

The figures in respect of the Vote 8 (Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing) Departments are as follow: For the first period, number of men 7,467, and average weekly wages £3 2s. 7d. For the second period, number of men 7,444, and average weekly wages £2 19s. 3d.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the total amounts paid in wages to men employed in ship construction and ship-repairing, respectively, in the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham during the months of January, 1929, April, 1929, and January, 1930?

The wages paid to the Vote 8 workmen at Chatham during the months of January, 1929, April, 1929, and January, 1930, amounted to

January, 1929.April, 1929.January, 1930.
£££
(a) New Construction12,50015,10014,320
(b) Ship Repairing (including Oilers, etc. on Repayment).60,59056,91050,420
(c) Miscellaneous Services19,67023,10024,260

New Surveying Vessel

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty when it is intended to lay down the new surveying vessel for the Department of Fisheries in Chatham dockyard; and whether, having regard to the number of men normally employed in shipbuilding trades who are now out of employment in the Chatham and Gillingham area, he will consider the desirability of expediting the giving of the order for the laying down of the keel?

It is intended to lay this vessel down as soon as possible after the design is approved, but it is not expected that the date will be before the middle of the year.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if the whole of the work of constructing the proposed new surveying vessel for the Department of Fisheries and all parts thereof will be executed at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham; and, in the event of his reply being in the negative, what part of such work is to be done elsewhere and by whom?

The greater part of the hull and equipment will be constructed in the dockyard, but the machinery will probably be obtained by-lender from private firms.

Atlantic Fleet Units (Visit, Tyneside)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty at what date the last visit was made by any unit of the Atlantic Fleet to the Tyneside; and whether arrangements are to be made for any such visit during the present year?

£92,760, £95,110, and £89,000, respectively, made up approximately as follows:

September, 1928; to the second part that no such visit is at present in contemplation.

Scotland

Teachers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of unemployed and superannuated teachers, separately, at present in Scotland, males and females, respectively?

The Department have no means of estimating the total number of teachers in Scotland who are unemployed and desire employment. Of 823 men and 2,608 women who obtained recognition in Scotland as certificated teachers during sessions 1927–28 and 1928–29, 125 men and 669 women had failed to obtain posts up to 31st January, 1930. The number of superannuated teachers in Scotland on the same date was 1,542 men and 2,382 women.

State Scholarships

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many State scholarships to universities are awarded annually to school pupils in Scotland; how many pupils at present hold them; the numbers of the holders who received part of their education at primary schools, distinguishing the figures by sex; and the total annual cost of these awards?

No State scholarships are awarded to school pupils in Scotland. The expenditure on State scholarships awarded in England and Wales is, however, taken into account in determining the amount of the grants voted by Parliament in aid of the expenditure of Scottish education authorities who, under Section 4 of the Education (Scotland) Act, 1918, are empowered to assist duly qualified persons to enter or attend Universities. In the year ended 15th May, 1929, the assistance granted by the authorities to students atending Universities amounted to £70,499, the greater part of which is in respect of students who received part of their education at primary schools. The remaining details asked for by the hon. Member could only be obtained by a special return, the preparation of which would involve more work than I should feel justified in asking the authorities to undertake at the present time.

Kenya (Estimates)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies how much of the reduction of £9,000, urged by the unofficial members of the Kenya legislature in the current Estimates, was for public health and medical services; what is the reason given for desiring to increase the military expenditure in Kenya by this amount; and whether the Secretary of State has communicated to the Governor of Kenya his views on the matter?

It appears that the reductions made by the Select Committee of the Legislative Council in the Estimates of Kenya for 1930, including the vote for the Medical Department, were proposed as part of a general attempt to effect economies, and that they were not specifically related to the proposed increase in the vote for the Defence Force. The object of the Select Committee in increasing the vote for the Defence Force was to make adequate provision for training without further delay, particularly by way of a capitation grant. My Noble Friend, however, is informing the Governor that he considers that the question of providing additional funds for training should be deferred.

Colonial Development Act

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, if he will indicate the nature and extent of schemes of development in relation to public utility projects now arranged, or in process of completion, in Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria; and if the contracts relating to such schemes will be placed in this country?

It is assumed that the hon. Member has in mind schemes undertaken with the facilities afforded by the Colonial Development Ace. A preliminary application for assistance from the Colonial Development Fund has been made by the High Commissioner for Transport, Kenya and Uganda, in connection with a proposal to extend the Kenya-Uganda railway westwards to the Uganda-Congo border. It is anticipated that further proposals for development wish assistance from the fund will be submitted by the Governments of Kenya and Uganda. Arrangements will be made in the usual way to ensure that plant, machinery and materials imported into East Africa in connection with any such projects will, save in exceptional crcumstances, be of British manufacture and origin'. As regards Nigeria, no services have yet been arranged as objects for assistance from the Colonial Development Fund, in view of the fact that that colony has just floated a new loan which will be devoted to various works of public utility; the orders for these works will be placed in this country as far as possible.

Colonial Office Conference

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) when the proposed Colonial Office Conference is expected to take place; whether representation of the Colonies, Protectorates, and Mandated Territories at that Conference is to be limited to Governors, Colonial Secretaries, or other officials; and whether any of the overseas representatives at that Conference will be invited to assist the Secretary of State as the chief spokesmen for the Colonial Empire at the subsequent Imperial Conference in September next;(2) whether any unofficial persons, either from overseas or resident in Great Britain, will be associated with the Secretary of State for the Colonies in the representation of the interests of the Colonies, Protectorates, and Mandated Territories at the forthcoming Imperial Conference?

It is proposed that the Colonial Office Conference should meet on 23rd June next and last for about three weeks. Representation of the Colonies, Protectorates and Mandated Territories will be confined to Governors or other senior officials. The Colonial Office Conference will consider the question of unofficial representation at future Colonial Office Conferences. The question whether the arrangement for the representation of the interests of the Colonies and Protectorates at the Imperial Conference shall follow those made on the last occasion, with which the right hon. Gentleman is familiar, will be considered in due course.

Bessarabia (Treaty)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the ratification of the treaty respecting Bessarabia, signed at Paris on 28th October, 1920, by Great Britain on 14th April, 1922, by Roumania on 19th May, 1922, by France on 30th April, 1924, and" by Italy on 8th March, 1927, His Majesty's Government have received any communication from the Japanese Government stating the reasons for non-ratification of the treaty by Japan?

No, Sir. His Majesty's Government have received no communication on this subject from the Japanese Government.

British Aircraft (Foreign Territories)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether within the last six months any representations have been received from foreign Powers and, if so, which, as to the flight of British aircraft over their respective territories?

Various representations have been received in the course of the last six months from the Danish, Persian, German and Italian Governments as to the flights of British aircraft over their territories.

Tibet (British Official Residents)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the names of any British official residents in Tibet; and whether His Majesty's Foreign Office deals direct with them or through the Chinese authorities?

The only British official residents in Tibet are the British Trade Agents at Gyantse and Yatung. These appointments are held by officers serving under the Government of India which deals with them direct. According to the latest information available, the present incumbents are respectively Captain E. W. Fletcher and Captain D. R. Smith.

Cyprus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has received any communication from the Greek Government on the subject of Cyprus?

Russia

British Embassy

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps have been taken in Moscow towards finding a building suitable as a permanent Embassy?

Negotiations with the object of finding a suitable building as a permanent Embassy are still proceeding. A representative of the Office of Works is at present in Moscow in connection with them.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the estimated cost of maintaining the British Embassy in Russia; and the number of Consuls, if any, in that country?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given on Monday last to the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Marjoribanks). One consular officer is now under instructions to proceed to Russia, and the appointment of one further officer is under consideration.

Diplomatic Visas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any special arrangements are in force regarding the grant of diplomatic visas to Russian citizens?

China

Anglo-Japanese Relations

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if there exists any understanding and, if so, of what nature between the Governments of Great Britain and Japan concerning common action in relation to mutual interests in China?

The position in regard to co-operation between His Majesty's Government and the Japanese Government as it existed in November, 1928, was explained by my predecessor in answer to a question in this House, and the understanding there explained still exists. The answer of my predecessor was as follows:

"Relations between Great Britain and Japan with regard to China are based on the obligations of full and frank communication specified in Article 7 of the "Washington-China Treaty of 1922, and on the fact that Japan and Great Britain have much larger interests in China than have the other Washington Powers. In these circumstances, the two Governments have agreed informally that the close contact which they desire to maintain can best be promoted and developed by constant communication and consultation between their respective Ministers at Peking. The two Ministers, being each fully informed of the views of his colleague's Government in regard to every new problem as it arises, will then be in a position to consider whether a common course of action is desirable or not, and, if not, to understand and explain the reasons to their Governments. There are no conversations proceeding between the two Governments regarding China other than this informal exchange of information and views, which takes place at Peking, and which will, I hope, be continued. This arrangement is not a new departure but a natural consequence of the Washington obligations. Similar conversations and consultation take place between His Majesty's Minister and the Ministers of other Powers at Peking. The general lines of British policy in China were laid down in our declarations of December, 1926, and January, 1927, to which we adhere.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th November, 1928; col. 395, Vol. 223.]

Extra-Territoriality

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can make any statement as to the progress of the negotiations for the gradual abolition of extra-territoriality in China?

I regret that I cannot at the present stage add anything to the answer returned to the hon. Member for Willesden East (Mr. D. G. Somerville) on 5th February and the hon. and gallant Member for Louth (Lieut. -Colonel Heneage) on 19th February.

Outer Mongolia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received a communication from the Chinese Government relative to their attitude to the claim to compete political independence which is asserted by the de facto government of Outer Mongolia: and whether His Majesty's Government continue to recognise the ancient treaty rights of China over Outer Mongolia?

I hive received no communication from the Chinese Government with regard to this matter. His Majesty's Government continue to recognise China's suzerainty over Outer Mongolia.

League Of Nations

Protocols (Ratification)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the numbers of protocols of the League of Nations which we have ratified, giving the names in each case, and also the number of those we have not ratified?

The hon. Member will find all the information he desires in the latest list of ratifications of agreements and conventions concluded under the auspices of the League of Nations, issued last month, of which I will send him a copy.

International Bureaux

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what international bureaux, already established by general treaties, have been placed under the direction of the League of Nations in accordance with Article 24 of the Covenant?

The following international bureaux established by general treaties have been placed under the direction of the League of Nations, in accordance with Article 24 of the Covenant:

  • 1. International Commission for Air Navigation, at Paris.
  • 2. International Hydrographic Bureau, at Monaco.
  • 3. Central International Office for the control of the liquor traffic in Africa, at Brussels.
  • 4. The international bureau for in formation and inquiries regarding relief to foreigners, at Paris.
  • Carmarthen Town Bridge

    asked the First Commissioner of Works if he has received a report on the Carmarthen town bridge; and if he will now have this bridge taken off the Schedule of Ancient Monuments, in view of the urgency of this question?

    The report referred to in my previous answer to my hon. Friend has not yet been received. Steps will, however, be taken to expedite a decision.

    Hyde Park

    asked the First Commissioner of Works the total area of Hyde Park and the areas occupied by the Serpentine, Rotten Row, and the football grounds, respectively?

    The total area of Hyde Park is about 360 acres. The areas occupied by the Serpentine, Rotten Row and the football pitches are 32 acres, 11 acres and 10 acres respectively.

    Westminster Hall (Exhibition)

    asked the First Commissioner of Works whether he is aware that, in respect of numerous photographs of advertisements in Westminster Hall, an artificial emphasis has been given to the effect by the application of coloured inks; and whether he will order the removal of the photographs treated in this way?

    The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As the exhibition came to an end on Saturday, the second part of the question does not arise.

    Parkhurst Prison (Lectures)

    asked the Home Secretary how many convicts under the age of 35 were serving sentences at His Majesty's Convict Prison, Parkhurst, during 1929; how many of these have attended a regular course of educational lectures; what were the subjects dealt with in these lectures; and what were the names and educational qualifications of the lecturers?

    299, of whom 60 attended courses of lectures on History and British campaigns given by three officers whose names I will communicate to the hon. Member.

    Superannuation Act, 1914 (Approved Employment)

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what appointments in Great Britain have been recognised as approved employment within the meaning of Section 4 of the Superannuation Act, 1914, since 1st January, 1924?

    The following appointments have been so recognised: junior professional assistant, Meteorological Office; engineer grade II, and technical assistant, His Majesty's Signal School; chief inspector, Hull Education Authority; inspector, Birmingham Education Authority; chief inspector of schools, district inspector of schools, assistant inspector of schools, and inspector of handicraft, London County Council; chief assistant, Public Assistance Department, London County Council; assistant secretary Poor Persons Committee, Law Society; the secretary and the assistant secretary, Central Electricity Board; ex-officio director of Anglo-Persian Oil Company; clerk to receiver and agent, Greenwich Hospital; the chief executive officer and the secretary, Travel Association of Great Britain; mining engineer to Safety in Mines Research Board.

    Safeguarding And Import Duties

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, having regard to the fact that he has received a deputation of the employers and workers in the hosiery trade to discuss the effect of the silk duties on that trade, he is now prepared to receive deputations from other safeguarded industries?

    I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend has received a deputation of the employers and workers in the hosiery trade to discuss with them the position of their industry. This discussion was in the ordinary course of the policy which he has already announced of meeting the representatives of the various industries of this country as and when opportunity offers.

    Unemployment (Chatham)

    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the three schemes for the reduction of unemployment submitted by the borough council of Chatham have been approved by him?

    Of the three schemes referred to, estimated to cost £6,319, one to cost £2,500 has been approved for grant by the Unemployment Grants Committee; the other two, in the opinion of the committee, do not satisfy the conditions for grant in that they are not accelerated by a period of at least three years.

    Employment (Statistics)

    asked the Minister of Labour the actual number of males and females, separately, gainfully employed in this country in 1911 and 1921, respectively; and the approximate number in 1929?

    At the Census of 1911 the persons enumerated as gainfully occupied in Great Britain numbered 12,927,422 males and 5,423,944 females. The corresponding numbers at the Census of 1921 were 13,655,895 males and 5,701,424 females. I regret that figures for 1929 are not available.

    National Health Insurance

    asked the Minister of Health if he has in contemplation any changes in the near future in the Regulations governing medical and any other benefit under the national health insurance scheme; and, if so, when such changes will be placed upon the Table of the House?

    Draft Regulations with respect to the issue of certificates for national health insurance purposes by medical practitioners, and with respect to the definition of drugs for the purposes of medical benefit, are in preparation. I cannot yet say when these Regulations will be laid before Parliament under Section 93 of tie National Health Insurance Act, 1924; but before this is done, 40 days' notice will have to be given under the Rules Publication Act, 1893, of the proposal to make the Regulations and of the place where copies of the draft of them may be obtained.

    Housing

    Park Langley Estate, West Wickham

    asked the Minister of Health if steps were taken to ascertain whether the Bromley Rural District Council, before suggesting a shopping zone on the Park Langley Estate, West Wickham, gave consideration to the needs of the district; and what district was considered as requiring the erection of shops on this estate?

    I have no reason to think that the Bromley Rural District Council did not consider the needs of the district before agreeing to a shopping zone on the estate. I would remind the hon. Member that the legitimate claims of the estate owner must also be considered in deciding the extent to which town planning powers are used to prevent development which is otherwise lawful.

    asked the Minister of Health whether his Department has ever suggested that the whole, or part, of the Park Langley Estate, West Wickham, originally scheduled for six houses to the acre, should be scheduled under the Town Planning Act for a density of 12 houses to the acre; and, if so, when and to whom the suggestion was made?

    The answer to the question is in the negative. Objection was raised to the proposed density of six at the public inquiry into the preliminary statement. I am informed that the rural district council have now agreed with the estate owners, after comprehensive negotiations, for the development of parts of the estate at six, eight and 12 to the acre, respectively.

    asked the Minister of Health whether his Department wrote in January, 1928, asking the Bromley Rural District Council to consider a proposal for a new through road or suitable modifications of it; whether the council was asked to consult interested owners and to furnish his Department with any representations by such owners; and what reply the council made as regards interested owners on the Park Langley Estate, West Wickham?

    The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the last part of the question, I am informed by the council that they succeeded after considerable negotiation in persuading the estate owners to vary their plans to allow for a modified line of the suggested road.

    Town Planning Schemes

    asked the Minister of Health how many claims have been made in 1928 and 1929 for compensation in respect of property injuriously affected by permissions granted by local authorities under the Town Planning (General Interim Development) Order, 1922; the number of claims in which compensation has been paid or awarded; and the amount of such compensation?

    Compensation under the Town Planning Act is payable only in respect of injury to property due to the making of a town planning scheme. It follows, therefore, that no compensation would be payable in respect of a permission granted under the General Interim Development Order.

    asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that a local authority operating under the Town Planning (General Interim Development) Order, 1922, is not bound to exercise the safeguards laid down for the protection of parties other than speculative builders and land developers in the Ministry of Health (Town Planning) Regulations, 1921, he will take steps to amend the 1922 Order?

    There are no safeguards for speculative builders and land developers other than a right of appeal against refusal to allow development, and I am not satisfied that any alteration is needed in the Order of 1922.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he will take steps to obtain power to approve or disapprove of modifications of a town planning preliminary statement in cases where the modifications are made by a local authority while the preliminary statement is under his consideration?

    A local authority has no power to modify a preliminary statement while it is under my consideration. I presume that what my hon. Friend has in mind is that a local authority should not have power without my approval to agree to a proposed development which is not in accordance with the proposals in the submitted preliminary statement. I do not think that there are sufficient reasons for this added restriction on local authorities.

    asked the Minister of Health how many town-planning local authorities in England and Wales are rural district councils; how many rural district councils are now operating under the Town Planning (General Interim Development) Order, 1922; and the aggregate area and population of the districts of such councils?

    All rural district councils are town planning authorities. The number of rural district councils in England and Wales is 643. The number of those district councils responsible for granting permissions for the protection of development pending the preparation and approval of town, planning schemes for their districts or parts of their districts under the Town' Planning (General Interim Development) Order, 1922, or similar Orders, is 129. The aggregate area and population of the districts of these 129 councils are 5,846,500 acres and 2,339,800 persons respectively. The aggregate area of the parts of those districts for which town planning schemes are in course of preparation is 2,891,600 acres, but I have not information of the aggregate population of the town planning areas as distinct from the districts as a whole.

    Foreign Cereals (Subsidised Dumping)

    asked the President of the Board of Trade if the question of the subsidised dumping of foreign oats and other cereals was raised by him at the Conference at Geneva; and if he has any statement to make?

    My right hon. Friend took the opportunity of his visit to Geneva to have some informal conversation on this matter with the German delegate, who, he understands, will be bringing it to the notice of his Government.

    Sugar Beet And Crop Driers, Ltd

    asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has received application from Sugar Beet and Crop Driers, Ltd., for a short term loan or guarantee to an extent of £70,000 to assist them in erecting factories for the treatment of sugar beet under the Oxford process; and whether, in view of the fact that the contract with farmers for sugar beet has to be entered into before May, he can see his way to give an early decision on the matter?

    My right hon. Friend has been approached on behalf of the com- pany for assistance by way of a short-term loan or a bank guarantee or both. The company applied for State assistance to the late Government and the present Government has also previously been approached in the matter. In common with its predecessor the present Government is unable to give the assistance asked for.

    Economic Advisory Council

    asked the Prime Minister whether the Economic Advisory Council has yet been consulted as to the advisability of making a pronouncement about the intentions of the Government with regard to the Safeguarding and McKenna Duties forthwith, in view of the reactions that the present uncertainty is having upon the economic prosperity of the country?

    I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave on Thursday last in reply to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank).