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Written Answers

Volume 236: debated on Monday 10 March 1930

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Written Answers

Unemployment

Poor Law Relief, Southwark

asked the Minister of Health the number of persons in receipt of Poor Law relief in the Borough of Southwark, who were classified as unemployed as at the last available date, and the amount of relief in money or kind that was paid to persons classified as unemployed for the six months ended to the last convenient date?

The average number of persons in receipt of domiciliary Poor Law relief in the Southwark Union (co-extensive with the Borough of Southwark) during the four weeks ended 25th January, 1930, who were classified as unemployed was 624. The dependent wives and children of these persons numbered 1,995. The total amount of out-relief in money or kind given to persons classified as unemployed and their dependants, during the 26 weeks ended 25th January, 1930, was £15,154.

Benefit

asked the Minister of Labour the total amount paid for unemployment relief to persons resident in the Chatham and Gillingham, Kent, district during the year 1929?

The amount of unemployment benefit paid at the Chatham Employment Exchange during the year 1929 was about £89,000; there is no Exchange at Gillingham, Kent, and persons resident there would normally claim benefit at the Chatham Exchange. Separate figures are not available of the amount of Poor Law relief afforded to persons resident in the Chatham and Gillingham districts.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of allowed and disallowed claims, male and female, respectively at each of the Tyne-side Employment Exchanges in the months of November, December and January?

Separate statistics of the number of claims allowed are not available, but the following statement gives the total number of fresh and renewal claims made and the number of

Employment Exchange.4 weeks ended 11th November, 1929.4 weeks ended 9th December, 1929.5 weeks ended 13th January, 1930.
Males.FemalesTotal.Males.FemalesTotal.Males.FemalesTotal.
Fresh and Renewal Claims made.
Blaydon522605826056266754880628
Elswick1,0302581,2881,0262401,2661,3582741,632
Gateshead1,7317232,4541,7385992,3372,0888362,924
Heaton2,0024992,5811,9733832,3562,4506123,062
Hebburn519215407382876688133914
Jarrow1,830741,9041,484681,5521,709661,775
Newcastle2,6208733,4932,4266393,0653,2096733,882
North Shields1,9901322,1221,5271131,6401,6742021,876
South Shields3,2522263,4782,7662212,9872,8993603,259
Wallsend1,0281041,132973991,0721,0621231,185
Willington Quay569245935611257375231783
Dunston360360335335349349
Newburn458314893872441136630396
Walker476476520520620620
Felling3837245549568563465140605
Claims to Benefit Disallowed.
Blaydon637705556044246
Elswick110241347425997831109
Gateshead15164215133491829631127
Heaton66188481351169322115
Hebburn503533523750252
Jarrow419502893724832
Newcastle148481961476421116848216
North Shields7850128523486543185
South Shield.616913063289112241163
Wallsend446502793655358
Wellington Quay25429152171414
Dunston202017172323
Newburn2743145115661768
Walker333332324949
Felling17133025833291948

Juveniles

asked the Minister of Labour what Reports have been made by juvenile advisory committees as to any shortage of labour in the near future?

Information on this point is contained in the Memorandum on the Shortage, Surplus and Redistribution of Juvenile Labour during the years 1928 to 1933, based on the views of local juvenile employment committees, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. Friend. More recently, a number of juvenile advisory committees have referred to the question in their annual reports for 1929. In order, however, that, so far as possible, complete and up-to-date information on uniform lines may be available, the claims disallowed at Tyneside Exchanges during the periods in question.national advisory councils for juvenile employment have been asked to review-again the position in their respective areas.

asked the Minister of Labour whether any classes have been set up in the London area for unemployed juveniles?

Approved courses of instruction for unemployed boys and girls were established by the London County Council at Bethnal Green and Bermondsey on 6th January under the scheme which was recommended by the National Advisory Council for Juvenile Employment and came into force on 1st January.

Silk Industey

asked the Minister of Labour how many workers were registered as unemployed in the silk industry on 1st June, 1929, 1st December, 1929, and 1st March, 1930, respectively?

The number of insured persons, aged 16 to 64, classified as belonging to the silk and artificial silk industry group, recorded as unemployed in Great Britain at 27th May, 1929, was 6,255. As regards the corresponding figure for 25th November, 1929, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to his question of 20th February. I regret that the figure for 24th February, 1930, is not yet available.

Motor Car Industry

asked the Minister of Labour how many workers were registered as unemployed in the motor car industry on 1st June, 1929, 1st December, 1929, and 1st March, 1930, respectively?

The number of insured persons, aged 16 to 64, classified as belonging to the motor vehicle, cycle and aircraft industry, recorded as unemployed in Great Britain at 27th May, 1929, was 12,446. As regards the corresponding figure for 25th November, 1929, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to his question of 20th February. I regret that the figure for 24th February, 1930, is not yet available.

Transfer Of Workers

asked the Minister of Labour whether she is aware that unemployed miners in several districts in South Wales are invited to accept employment in Cefnmaur, Wrexham, Rhos, Brymbo and Colwyn Bay, where there are a large number of miners unemployed and where the percentage of unemployed varies from 13.9 to 23.3; and whether she proposes to take steps to prevent the Employment Exchanges being used to assist in the transference of unemployed miners to these places?

I have had the records examined as far back as July last year, and find that during that period no men from South Wales were brought into this area through the Employment Exchanges with the exception of three men transferred to relief schemes.

Liverpool University (Grant)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he is aware that an application by the University of Liverpool to the Unemployment Grants Committee for assistance in carrying out a scheme for the reconstruction of certain university properties, and thereby giving employment to a considerable number of unemployed local workers, has been refused on the ground that the university, being neither a local authority nor a statutory public utility society, is ineligible for such assistance; and whether he will take such steps as may be required, if necessary by obtaining statutory powers, to enable universities to receive assistance from the Unemployment Grants Committee for schemes conforming to the regulations for such grants?

In answer to the first part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on this subject on 4th March. As regards the last part, if Universities cannot establish their eligibility for grants under the Act, I am not prepared to amend the Act specially to include them.

Wolverhampton

asked the Lord Privy Seal what schemes, if any. have been submitted to the Unemployment Grants Committee by the Wolverhampton Town Council; for how many persons it is estimated that these schemes will find employment; and what is the position with regard to these schemes?

Since 1st June, 1929, applications have been submitted by the Wolverhampton Town Council to the Unemployment Grants Committee in respect of works estimated to cost £89,550, and to provide work for 255 men. The Unemployment Grants Committee have approved grants in respect of six schemes estimated to cost £78,550 and to provide work for 205 men.

Employment Exchange, Macclesfield

asked the Minister of Labour if she is now able to make any statement as to the Macclesfield Employment Exchange?

I regret to say that it has not so far been possible to secure a suitable site. The hon. Member was good enough to bring to my right hon. Friend's notice certain sites none of which, however, proved suitable. Another site which has been under consideration and seemed at first sight attractive turns out on investigation to be unacceptable. My right hon. Friend the First Commissioner for Works is taking steps to find other sites, and I hope that there will be little further delay.

Education

School-Leaving Age

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he has considered the resolutions from the Berkshire and other county councils urging that the raising of the age of compulsory attendance at schools from 14 to 15 years should, as regards rural counties, be deferred; and whether, owing to the difficulties and expense of transport, etc., in rural areas, he will differentiate between town and country?

I have considered these resolutions; but I do not propose to differentiate between urban and rural areas in regard to the date for raising the school-leaving age.

Vaccination (School Children, Skelmersdale)

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that parents at Skelmersdale are complaining that their children in the elementary day schools have been vaccinated without their consent; and whether he will draw the attention of the Skelmersdale Education Authority to the illegality of this procedure?

I am not aware of any complaints of this nature, but I am making inquiries and will communicate further with my hon. Friend.

Meals, School Childken

asked the President of the Board of Education how many local education authorities are providing meals for school children; approximately how many children are fed during the winter months: and the total cost?

142 local education authorities are at present providing meals for school children. During the last few months the number of children fed has varied from about 130,000 in November, 1929, to 157,000 in February, 1930. The net cost to the authorities in the year 1928–29 was about £227,000.

Houses Of Parliament

Lighting

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether steps will be taken to improve the lighting in the lobbies and lobby corridors of the House of Commons at an early date by the installation of stronger but more diffusely shaded lights?

A programme of improvement to the lighting in the Houses of Parliament buildings, to be carried out over a number of years, is already in hand. The lobbies and lobby corridors will be dealt with under this programme.

Scaffolding

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether he is now quite satisfied with the scaffolding now erected at the House of Lords, and especially as to its safety; whether he is aware that the type of couplers in use has now been changed three times; that at some time some couplers bearing the initials of an American scaffolding firm were in use; whether the same type of couplers without initials now in use is of British manufacture; whether he is satisfied that the constant shifting about and changes of these couplers were necessary; and whether on the whole his Department is satisfied with the way the contract has been carried out?

The answers to the first and second parts of the question are in the affirmative. As regards the third and fourth parts, I have ascertained that a few couplers of the type referred to were used at one stage to save time, and have since been replaced by couplers of British manufacture. As regards the remainder of the question, I am satisfied that the contract has been carried out satisfactorily.

Fair Wages Clause

asked the First Commissioner of Works how many cases of breach of the Fair Wages Clause have been reported during 1929 in regard to contracts?

Twenty-four cases of alleged breach of the Fair Wages Clause were reported during the year 1929, ten of which proved to be unfounded. In the remaining cases appropriate action was taken.

India

Cotton (Export)

asked the Secretary of State for India if he will give figures showing the total exports of Indian cotton to Japan and the United Kingdom during the last two years?

The figures are as follow:

STATEMENT showing the quantity of Raw Indian Cotton exported to Japan and the United Kingdom during the years 1927–28 and 1928–29.
Country of destination.1927–28.1928–29.
Tons.Tons.
Japan220,495287,508
United Kingdom28,60043,059

Royal Indian Marine Dockyard Workers

asked the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the dismissal of 150 of the workers in the Royal Indian Marine Dockyard at Bombay following the one day strike of the workers in the dockyard on 7th February; if he is aware of the agitation on the part of the workers in the dockyard against this action and of the representations made to the authorities for the reinstatement of these men; and if any action has been taken following these representations?

Tariff

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he will give the terms of the communication addressed to the Government of India by His Majesty's Government respecting the proposed revised Indian tariff?

British Army (Strength)

asked the Secretary of State for India whether any representations have been made to him for the increase of the British Army in India; and whether he is satisfied that its present strength is sufficient for all emergencies?

The answer to the first part of the question is no, and to the second part, yes.

Emigrants, Ceylon

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has received any representations from the Government of India with reference to the proposals of the Ceylon Government making possession of a certificate of permanent settlement and renunciation of the protection of the Government of India a condition of eligibility for the franchise under the new constitution; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take in the matter with a view to the protection of the interests of Indian residents in Ceylon in accordance with the recommendations of the Donoughmore Commission?

I explained the position in reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Derbyshire (Major Pole) on 24th February.

Trade Unions

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he can give a list of trade unions in India and the approximate membership of each?

I am sending my hon. Friend a statement containing the names of the trade unions in India that had been registered up to the end of September, 1929, with the membership at the date of registration. Some further information is available which I will gladly put at my hon. Friend's disposal if he so desires.

Trade And Commerce

Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade the values of the imports into the United Kingdom in 1928 from other countries of the British Empire and from foreign countries, distinguishing in each case the values of goods not liable to duty on importation and of those liable to duty, and showing separately the particulars in respect of food, drink, and tobacco, raw materials and articles mainly unmanufactured, and articles wholly or mainly manufactured?

Food, Drink and Tobacco.Raw materials and articles mainly unmanufactured.Articles wholly or mainly manufactured.Animals not for food, and parcel post, notdutiable articles.Total.
Mill. £Mill. £Mill. £Mill. £Mill. £
Imports consigned from foreign contrise:
Liable to Duty67868143
Not liable to Duty2632052156689
Total3302132836832
Imports consigned from British countries:
Liable to Duty58361
Not liable to Duty143122326303
Total201122356364
Total Imports:
Liable to Duty125871204
Not liable to Duty40632724712992
Total531335318121,196
NOTES.—(1) Precise information is not available for the complete determination of the value of goods imported in 1928 which were liable to duty, in such cases as the following. It is improbable, however, that the figures shown in the table in round millions of pounds are affected to any important extent by these defects in the information on which they are based.

  • (a) Certain categories of manufactured goods contain a component liable to a specific duty, the amount of which is determined and recorded while the value of the dutiable component is not ascertained. It has been necessary, in preparing the table, to include the whole value of the goods under the description "liable to duty."
  • (b) Some classes of manufactured goods liable to duty have not been separately recorded in the table showing consignments from British and from foreign countries, but form parts of wider categories shown in those tables. The values of the classes liable to duty have been estimated as nearly as possible for the present purpose.
  • (2) In the course of the year 1028, certain goods became liable to duty, namely, hydrocarbon oils, buttons and mechanical lighters on 28th April and wrought enamelled hollowware on 13th June. The imports of these classes of goods for the whole of the year 1923 have been included in the table as liable to duty, though duties were actually chargeable during a portion only of the year.

    (3) The total of £125,000,000 shown for food, drink and tobacco liable to duty is inclusive of £36,000,000 in respect of tea which, though liable to duty in 1928, ceased to be so liable from 28th April, 1929. Of the sum of £36,000,000, tea consigned from British countries (India and Ceylon) accounted for £31,000,000, thus representing over one-half of the value (£58,000,000) of the imports in 1928 of articles of food, drink and tobacco that were liable to duty and were consigned from British countries.

    (4) The figures shown in the table relate to total imports, without deduction of goods subsequently reexported. In general, on the re-export of goods which have been charged with duty, a refund of the amount charged is allowed. Information is not available to enable the figures to be adjusted in respect of such re-exports.

    (5) The values shown in the table in respect of goods consigned from British countries may include some goods not produced or manufactured in the British Empire; and some goods of Empire production or manufacture may be included in the values shown in respect of goods consigned from foreign countries.

    The following table shows the values of goods imported into the United Kingdom in 1928, distinguishing those consigned from foreign countries and from British countries, and showing, under each, heading, the estimated value of the goods liable to duty and not liable to duty, respectively.

    Arcos, Limited

    asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department if, in view of the fact that Arcos, Limited, has closed its export department and discharged its staff of 200 British employés, thereby cutting off the opportunities of doing export business with Russia unless firms have their agents in Moscow, he will indicate if the Department of Overseas Trade intend to take any steps in order to assist British firms who have no direct agents in Moscow to obtain Russian business?

    I am not aware that Arcos, Limited, have closed their export department, and my information is that they have only discharged a very limited number of British subjects. In these circumstances, the second part of the question does not arise.

    International Trade Fair

    asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to make a grant towards assisting British representation at the International Trade Fair to be held in New York during the summer of this year?

    Coal Industry

    Machine-Cutting

    asked the Secretary for Mines what proportion of coal was out by machinery in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, respectively, in 1913, 1925, 1927, 1928, and 1929?

    The figures are as follow:

    Proportion of Coal cut by Machinery.
    Yorkshire.Derbyshire.
    Per cent.Per cent.
    191310.310.7
    192515.619.4
    192716.822.7
    192817.528.4
    1929 (provisional)17.931.4

    Employment Underground

    asked the Secretary for Mines how many persons were employed underground in 1913, 1925, 1927, 1928, and 1929?

    On the assumption that my hon. Friend refers to persons employed in coal mines, the numbers employed underground in these mines in Great Britain were 890,700 in 1913; 878,700 in 1925; 814,100 in 1927; 745,000 in 1928. A final figure for 1929 is not yet available, but it is estimated at about 755,000.

    Eight Hours Act

    asked the Secretary for Mines if he is aware of the breaches of the Eight Hours Act which are continually taking place on the coal-cutting machine faces at collieries in the Rossendale Valley, Accrington, and Burnley coalfields, Lancashire; and will he cause an inquiry to be made into this matter and see that the circular sent to all colliery proprietors from the Mines Department on 19th December, 1929, is strictly adhered to?

    My circular of 11th December, which is presumably the one to which my hon. Friend refers, called the special attention of colliery owners to the necessity of strict observance of the law, and instructions have been given to the divisional inspectors to watch this matter closely and report breaches of the Act to me. I shall not hesitate to prosecute in all suitable cases. If my hon. Friend will bring to the notice of the divisional inspector any specific cases which he has in mind, they will be investigated.

    Horses In Mines (Inspectors)

    asked the Secretary for Mines the names of the special inspectors appointed under the provision" of the Coal Mines Act which relate to the care and welfare of ponies and other animals employed in mines; the professional or other qualifications of each such inspector for the position held by him, and the remuneration received by each, respectively?

    The names of the eight inspectors of horses specially appointed under Section 109 of the Coal Mines Act, 1911, for the purpose of examining into the care and treatment of horses worked in mines are set out on pages 45–47 of the Eight Annual Report of my Department, a copy of which is available in the Library. Each of these inspectors qualified for his appointment by extensive practical experience in the care and management of horses. Their scale of salary is £150 by £10 to £250 (exclusive of bonus), as shown in the Estimates of the Mines Department for 1930 (Class VI, Vote 6). Of the eight inspectors, six have reached the maximum of their scale (£250, plus bonus amounting to £111 3s.).

    asked the Secretary of Mines at what collieries qualified veterinary surgeons are regularly employed by the proprietors to supervise the welfare of ponies and other animals employed in such collieries; and at what collieries qualified veterinary surgeons are not so employed?

    Wireless Beacons

    asked the President of the Board of Trade whether there are at present any further wireless beacons in the course of erection; and the total number of them at present in operation around or on the coast of Great Britain?

    Taking England, Scotland and Ireland together, wireless beacons are in course of erection at Lundy Island, North Foreland, North Ronaldshay, Butt of Lewis, Mizon Head and Tory Island, and sanction has recently been given to the erection during 1930–1931 of beacons at the Mull of Kintyre and May Island. There are now in operation 10 wireless beacons on shore, and three in light vessels.

    Factory Inspectorate

    asked the Home Secretary whether there has been any increase in the number of factory inspectors during the last year; and whether any further increase is proposed?

    No addition was made last year to the total strength of the inspecting staff. As regards the future, my hon. Friend will no doubt have seen the announcement in yesterday's Press of the important changes which the Government have decided to make in the strength and organisation of the factory inspectorate. These include increases (to be spread over a period of five years) both in the general inspection staff and in the technical branches (medical, engineering and electrical). The general inspection staff attached to the inspection divisions and districts will be raised in number from 180 to 243. The technical branches will also be substantially increased, the medical staff from five to eight, the electrical staff from five to 12; and the engineering staff from six to 10. During the year 1930–31 it is proposed to appoint 15 additional inspectors to the divisional and district staff, making, with seven vacancies in the existing inspectorate, a total of 22 new inspectors to be appointed this year. In the technical branches two medical, two engineering and four electrical inspectors will be added.

    Land Purchase, Northern Ireland

    asked the Home Secretary what has been the cost to date of carrying out the provisions of the Northern Ireland Land Act, 1925; how much of this cost is represented by the purchase consideration for estates which have been sold; how much represents the cost of management under the Act; and how soon it is anticipated that the scheme of land purchase under the Act will be completed?

    The cost as represented by bonds and cash advanced for the purchase of holdings under the Act of 1925 amounts to £3,504,828, and the estimated bonus on this sum amounts to £382,000. The amount actually allocated by the Land Purchase Commission is £2,262,626. The cost of management to the end of February, 1930, was £264,000. The work of vesting lands in the Commission will be substantially completed about two years hence; a further period will be required to complete the supplementary operations.

    Industrial Diseases (Artificial Silk Industry)

    asked the Home Secretary whether consideration has been given to placing under the Workmen's Compensation Act certain of the operations in the artificial silk industry as coming under the industrial diseases section?

    I am afraid I cannot add anything to the previous answers which have been given on this subject. The conditions in this industry have continued to be closely watched by my Department, but no new facts have come to light to indicate that any amendment or extension of the Schedule of Industrial Diseases under the Workmen's Compensation Act is needed.

    Factory Fire, Luton

    asked the Home Secretary if he has received the Report of the coroner's inquest held at Luton in connection with the recent fire; if he is in a position to state whether the local authority's factory and fire regulations were carried out; if so, whether he is satisfied that the fey-laws of the authority are sufficient to enable workpeople in other factories to escape speedily in case of fire; and whether he intends to hold an inquiry into the whole of the circumstances in respect to the Luton disaster?

    The inquest in this case is not yet concluded. It was resumed on Friday last and was adjourned after a considerable amount of evidence had been taken, till to-morrow. When the inquest is complete, a full Report will be made to my right hon. Friend by the Factory Department, and I must ask my hon. Friend to await a reply to his inquiries until my right hon. Friend has received this Report and had time to consider the whole position.

    Robbery And Assault

    asked the Home Secretary whether he can give any information as to the alleged highway robbery, with violence, of Miss Lilian Williams, of Kensington, on the 4th instant; and whether the perpetrators have been arrested?

    The incident referred to was the robbing and assaulting, probably in the Mall, of a woman who appears not to be of Kensington, and who at some time after midnight accepted an offer of a lift from Leicester Square. The man responsible, who was driving the car, has not yet been arrested.

    Racecourse Betting Control Board

    asked the Home Secretary when the annual Report for the year ended 31st December, 1929, by the Racecourse Betting Control Board will be published; and whether he will instruct his nominees upon that Board to expedite the presentation of the annual Report?

    I understand that the Report is already in course of preparation by the Board, but a little time must necessarily elapse before it is ready. There will be no unnecessary delay.

    Foreign Merchant Ships (Masters, Sentences)

    asked the Home Secretary how many masters of foreign merchant ships were sentenced in England and Wales, during the year 1929, for offences against the harbour bylaws and the Merchant Shipping Acts; and how many of these were sentenced to a fine or imprisonment, respectively?

    Liquor Traffic (State Management)

    asked the Home Secretary how many on-licences and how many off-licences there were in the City of Carlisle and adjoining districts which were taken over by the Liquor Control Board; and how many there are in the same area to-day?

    The number of licensed premises acquired by the Central Control Board (Liquor Traffic) in the City of Carlisle and adjoining districts was 321, of which 307 were on-licences and 14 were off-licences. There are now 192 premises in which the sale of liquor is carried on by the State, and of these six are used exclusively for off-sales.

    Transport

    Arterial Roads (Lighting)

    asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the fact that the traffic using arterial roads is mainly through rather than local in character, it is intended to relieve the local authorities from the responsibility for lighting arterial roads?

    Canal Bridge, Ferry Lane

    asked the Minister of Transport when it is proposed to widen the bridge over the canal and the approaches at Ferry Lane on the way to Chelmsford and Southend?

    I am informed by the Middlesex County Council that the commencement of the work has been delayed owing to certain negotiations with respect to the construction of tramways. It is hoped that these negotiations will soon be brought to a conclusion, and that the work will then be put in hand.

    Traffic Scheme, Elephant And Castle

    asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been drawn to the proposed Elephant and Castle traffic scheme and to the fact that the plans put forward by the London County Council involve the displacement from their homes of 2,000 people; whether he is aware that there are alternative schemes in existence, equally satisfactory to the London County Council scheme, which will not de-house more than 500 people; and whether, in view of the fact that the houses threatened with demolition are all of a good type and in good condition and of the urgent need for additional housing in this locality, he will make representation to prevent the unnecessary disturbance of existing property utilised for working-class dwellings?

    I have been asked to reply. The scheme, recently submitted by the London County Council, and now under examination in my Department, is one of several schemes which have been under consideration at various times for the improvement of traffic conditions at the Elephant and Castle. I understand that before any scheme can be put into operation it will be necessary for the Council to promote a Bill. My hon. Friend may rest assured that in arriving at a decision as to the details of any scheme to be embodied in the Bill every regard will be had to the importance of avoiding unnecessary disturbance of property utilised for working-class dwellings.

    Roundabout System, Grosvenor Gardens

    asked the Minister of Transport, in view of the success of the roundabout traffic in Grosvenor Gardens, whether he will now ascertain from the Westminster City Council whether they will undertake the replanning of Grosvenor Gardens so as to suit this traffic and the exit from the station; and whether they will endeavour to effect a plan by which an underground passage is provided from the west side of the gardens communicating with the existing railway station passages?

    The present lay-out suits the roundabout system of traffic working adopted in Grosvenor Gardens and a replanning of the gardens could not be justified on traffic grounds. Any proposal for the construction of underground passages for pedestrians which the Westminster City Council may wish to submit will receive consideration.

    Channel Ferry Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, after communication with the Minister of Transport, he will ascertain from the French Government if they are willing to extend the facilities of their most suitable Channel port for the purposes of a Channel ferry service, in view of the fact that the French side is the only practical difficulty for such a service?

    The question of the establishment of a Channel ferry service is one which must be considered in connection with cross channel facilities generally. That general consideration can only be given in connection with the report of the Channel Tunnel Committee, which will be published shortly.

    Russia (British Embassy, Plate)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has reason to believe that any of the plate formerly in the British Embassy at Petrograd is still in existence; whether he has any information as to what became of it after its removal to the Dutch Legation at Petrograd or its present whereabouts; and whether he has asked the Russian Government to assist him in tracing and recovering this plate?

    There have been no developments in regard to this matter subsequent to those described in my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Chelmsford (Colonel Howard-Bury) on 10th July last. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

    Government Departments

    Post Office Servants (War Bonus)

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that Post Office servants released for military service under the Military Service Acts were promised in Circular 2283, dated 7th March, 1916, the same privileges is regard to civil pay, etc., as those who volunteered; that the Military Service Acts men received no War bonus in addition to civil pay, although the volunteers had it; and whether he will consider if this can be remedied?

    Further representations have been made by the Civil Service Joint Committee in support of the claim by Post Office servants called up under the Military Service Acts for Civil Service bonus during their service with the forces, and are under consideration.

    Passport Offices (Staff)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the number of men and women engaged in the Department dealing with passports; whether they are established civil servants; and what numbers have been engaged on this work during each year since 1913

    The number of men and women employed in the Passport Offices in London and Liverpool on 1st January, 1930, was:

    Men163
    Women10
    of whom eight men are established civil servants.The staff employed in the Passport Offices on 1st January in each year since 1913 is as follow:

    Men.Women.Total.
    January 1,191333
    January 191433
    January 19151212
    January 19161414
    January 191718624
    January 1918282654
    January 19197461135
    January 1920113121234
    January 192113784221
    January 192214047187
    January 192318215197
    January 192418611197
    January 19251909199
    January 19261909199
    January 19271789187
    January 192817410184
    January 192916710177
    The staff varies from time to time in proportion to the volume of work.

    Public Trustee's Office (Staff)

    asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware of the discontent existing amongst all grades in the Public Trustee's office, especially with regard to the way in which the normal operations of the Whitley Council are frustrated by the Public Trustee; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter?

    I am not aware of the existence of any discontent amongst the staff of the Public Trustee's Office, and in these circumstances the second part of the question does not arise.

    asked the Attorney-General why no posts for executive officers have been created in the Public Trustee Office, although much of the work is of the type described as appropriate to executive officers in the report of the Reorganisation Committee of the National Whitley Council for the Civil Service?

    I am informed that there are already two posts for executive officers in the Public Trustee's Office, and that no need is seen for increasing this number.

    Unestablished Workmen (Gratuities)

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether a workman employed under the Crown who has qualified by length of service for a gratuity under the Superannuation Act, 1887, would receive such gratuity if he voluntarily retired from the Service on reaching the age of 60; and whether, in the case of a workman who has qualified by length of service for a gratuity dying before reaching the retirement age, such gratuity is paid to his next-of-kin?

    It is the practice to regard the provisions of Section 4 of the Superannuation Act, 1887 (which enables gratuities to be awarded to unestablished workmen retiring for infirmity of mind or body), as satisfied if the workman retires with the consent of his Department at age 60 after not less than 15 years' whole-time service. As regards the second part of the question, Section 3 of the Superannuation Act, 1914, provides that if any person dies while in his employment, being a person to whom a gratuity might have been granted under Section 4 of the Superannuation Act, 1887, if at the time of his death he had retired from such employment because of infirmity of mind or body, the Treasury may, if they think fit, grant to his dependants such compassionate gratuity as they might have granted to the deceased person had he so retired.

    Members' Allowances

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what is the reason for the increase in the estimated amount provided for in salaries and allowances for Members of the House of Commons?

    The increased provision for salaries and allowances of Members of the House of Commons is due to the fact that in the Estimate for 1929 a deduction was made from the normal provision in anticipation of a General Election.

    National Health And Unemployment Insurance

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the approximate cost to the Government if all contributions of workmen insured under the National Health and Unemployment Acts were paid by the Government?

    The contributions to be paid by employés under the National Health and. Unemployment Insurance Acts for the year 1930–31 are estimated at £27,464,000.

    East Africa (Tariffs)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is the policy of the Government to maintain or impose protective duties in the East African Colonies?

    Certain customs duties having a protective character have been for some time in force in East Africa, alike in Kenya, in Uganda and in the Tanganyika Territory. These duties were discussed at the Conference of Governors of those Dependencies held in January last, and are still under consideration locally. The tariffs are primarily for the Governors and legislative councils of the dependencies concerned, and any announcement of policy must await an expression of their views.

    Cinematograph Films (Dominions)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether any of the Dominions have notified his Department that they could not introduce legislation to correspond with the quota Clauses contained in the Cinematograph Films Act, 1927; and will he give particulars?

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

    Woolwich Arsenal (Employés, Annual Leave)

    asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider the case of employés at the Woolwich Arsenal who are superannuated or pensioned before 4th August, the date on which the week's annual leave with pay begins, granting these men leave with pay, or a week's pay in lieu before their retirement?

    The detailed operation of the scheme for annual leave for industrial employés is still under consideration, in consultation with representatives of the employés concerned.

    London Naval Conference

    asked the Prime Minister whether, for the information of the public, he can now make any statement as to the progress of the Five-Power Naval Conference; and whether any agreement has now been reached on any point?

    While steady and satisfactory progress is being made and while tentative agreements have been reached on a number of points, my right hon. Friend does not consider that it would be in the interests of the conference to deal with these matters piecemeal at the present time.

    Protection Of Animals (No 2) Bill

    asked the Prime Minister, whether he will consider the desirability of granting facilities for the passage through all its stages during the present Session of Parliament of the Bill presented by the hon. Member for Lichfield (Mr. Lovat-Fraser) for prohibiting the hunting of deer?

    In view of the great pressure of business, I can hold out no hope of time being found for this Bill.

    Agriculture

    Horses (Export)

    asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the conditions under which horses exported from this country to the continent of Europe for butehery purposes are slaughtered in certain abattoirs there; and whether he will give facilities for the passage in all its stages during the present Session of Parliament of the Bill presented by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Broad) to make such export illegal?

    I am advised that all the horses exported from this country to the Continent in 1929 for immediate slaughter were slaughtered by the humane killer. In reply to the second part of the question, I can add nothing to the reply which I gave to a similar question by the hon. and gallant Member for Rugby (Captain Margesson) on 24th December.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the conditions under which horses exported from this country to the Continent of Europe for butchery purposes are slaughtered in certain abattoirs there; and whether he will consider the desirability of initiating legislation making such export illegal?

    My right hon. Friend has read statements on the conditions obtaining in certain abattoirs on the Continent. They have no relevance to the existing export trade in horses from this country, since, as stated in a reply to the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. Thorne) on the 6th instant, all the horses exported from this country to the Continent in 1929 were, according to my right hon. Friend's information, slaughtered with the humane killer in Holland or at Boulogne. The whole question of the export trade in horses was thoroughly investigated by the Departmental Committee appointed in 1925, who were satisfied that the provisions of the Acts were efficiently carried out and that the closing of the Continental market could not be justified. My right hon. Friend is unable, therefore, to contemplate the action suggested in the last part of the question.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of horses which have been exported to the several European countries, respectively, for butchery purposes during the year 1929?

    I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Plaistow (Mr. Thorne) on the 6th instant, of which I am sending him a copy.

    Credits

    asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will give favourable consideration to cheaper credit facilities for farmers, smallholders, and market-gardeners, to enable them to overcome the present period of agricultural depression; and, if so, whether he will receive a deputation thereon?

    Until we have had more experience of the working of the Agricultural Credits Act, 1928, I am not prepared to consider any further legislation on this subject. In these circumstances, I do not think any useful purpose would be served by my receiving a deputation.

    Potatoes

    asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider a temporary restriction or prohibition of the importation of Spanish and other varieties of new potatoes so as to alleviate the present position of potato growers and permit of the sale of homegrown potatoes; and what steps does he propose to take to help the potato growers, who are faced with heavy losses and/or bankruptcy?

    Action as suggested in the first part of the question is precluded by the International Convention for the Abolition of Prohibitions and Restrictions on Imports and Exports. In reply to the second part of the question, the difficulties which are confronting potato growers are due largely to the abundance of the home crop and the remedy lies in improved marketing methods and machinery. I shall be most happy to provide any advice or assistance in my power to growers and merchants in the task of improving the position by organising for the purpose of (1) securing the general adoption of the statutory grades which have recently been published after repeated demonstration by my Department, and (2) making arrangements for disposal of below-grade and surplus potatoes. I am in touch with the National Farmers' Union on the matter, and they are also giving the subject their close attention.

    Hunting, Crown Lands

    asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the hunting of animals is permitted on any Crown lands; and, if so, will he consider the desirability of its prevention?

    The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. So long as hunting is lawful and permitted on land in private ownership, it is not practicable to prevent it on Crown lands.