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Written Answers

Volume 236: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1930

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Written Answers

British Army (Contracts, Malta)

asked the Secretary of State for War, with regard to the statutory declarations he has received from or on behalf of Alfred Debono and George Spiteri, citizens of Malta, alleging bribery and corruption in the administration of the Army in Malta and conspiracy on the part of officers, noncommissioned officers, and men of the Army in Malta on the one part and local contractors on the other part, whether, in view of the serious nature of these charges, he will have a full investigation made?

I have already given this case my close personal attention, and I see no grounds for taking further action in the matter.

Defective Schools (Rutland And Kesteven)

asked the President of the Board of Education whether there are any blacklisted schools now in use in the County of Rutland; and, if so, how many are provided and how many non-provided?

There is one school on the "black list" in the County of Rutland; it is a non-provided school.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether there are any blacklisted schools in the county of the Parts of Kesteven; and, if so, how many are provided and how many non-provided?

There are no schools in this area listed as unsuitable for continued recognition; but there are 16 schools listed as in some degree defective. Four of these are provided schools and 12 non-provided.

Inter-Allied Debts

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the Treasury estimate of the total amount paid to the American Government on account of the British War Debt by the end of the financial year, and the total amounts received by this country on account of the Allied War Debts and by ex-enemy indemnities arising out of the late War?

The total sums paid to the United States Government on account of the British War Debt by the end of the present financial year will be £279,473,000. Against this we shall have received to the same date approximately £98,000,000 on account of reparations and £48,825,000 on account of Allied War debts. The aggregate receipts therefore fall short of the aggregate payments by over £132,000,000, and the deficiency is close on £200,000,000 if interest on past payments and receipts is taken into account.

Petroleum Oils (Taxation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount that would be raised by the Exchequer through the imposition of a revenue tax upon heavy oil suitable for combustion as fuel or burning oil under boilers and upon diesel oil entering or bunkered in United Kingdom ports at the rate of 5s. per ton?

I would refer the hon. Member to the Board of Trade Journal of 22nd August, 1929, which contains particulars for 1928 of the importation of the various petroleum oils, the home production of oils from imported crude petroleum, etc., and the bunker shipments, and to the Trade and Navigation Accounts for December, 1929, which show the importation of petroleum oils in 1929. From these sources the hon. Member will, no doubt, be able to obtain the necessary information for calculating the yield of the tax he has in mind, the scope of which is not clear.

Distilleries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of distilleries at work in England and Scotland during the year ended 30th September, 1929?

The number of distilleries at work in England and Scotland during the year ended 30th September, 1929, were, in England 9, and in Scotland 92.

Beer (Specific Gravity)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the average specific gravity of beer produced in England and Wales, Scotland, and Great Britain, respectively, during the calendar year 1929?

The average specific gravity of beer produced in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland, respectively, and in the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) as a whole during the calendar year 1929 was as follows:

England and Wales and Northern Ireland1043.10
Scotland1043.63
United Kingdom1043.14

Miners' Welfare (Recreation Grounds)

asked the Secretary for Mines the names of the recreation ground schemes, or addition to schemes, approved by the central welfare or district committees in Northumberland and Durham, for which tenders have been invited; the names of the firms invited to tender for each in 1929 and for 1930; and the names of the schemes which have been approved for the same counties for which tenders have not yet been invited?

The actual construction of recreation grounds is ordinarily undertaken by local committees, and the Miners' Welfare Committee are unable to give me any information as to the firms which are asked to tender, except in cases in which their own staff have been specially asked to supervise the work on the scheme. In order to provide the information for which the hon. Member asks, I should have to ask the Miners' Welfare Committee to have special inquiries made of each local committee concerned, and to make me a report. This, I am informed, would be so onerous a task that I am reluctant to ask them to undertake it.

Small-Pox And Vaccination Commission

asked the Minister of Health whether the English members of the Small-pox and Vaccination Commission of the health organisation of the League of Nations are under the authority of the English Ministry of Health; whether they have any control over the publications of the health organisation on the questions of vaccination and smallpox; and whether he would be willing to instruct them to make representations to the health organisation on the subject-matter of the Epidemiological Reports for October and November, 1929?

Two of the British members of the Small-pox and Vaccination Commission are officers of the Ministry of Health, and one is an officer of the Medical Research Council. I am advised that this Commission, which was appointed in 1925, has had only a nominal existence since August, 1928. The Epidemiological Reports for October and November, 1929, have not been issued under its authority, but under that of the Health Section of the Secretariat of the League of Nations. Consideration of the subject-matter of these Reports would seem to fall to the Health Committee of the League.

India (Burma Oil Company)

asked the Secretary of State for India whether an agreement exists between the Government of India and the Burma Oil Company as to a maximum selling price for certain types of oil in India; and, if so, whether he will inform the House of the terms of the agreement?

Royal Air Force (Civil Plying Meetings)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the Royal Air Force squadrons will take part in any of the Royal Air Force meetings that are being arranged in the provinces during the coming six months; whether he will give particulars; whether the men and machines will be placed at the disposal of the provincial clubs that may be arranging these meetings; whether any profits derived from the meetings will go to the Royal Air Force; and whether the men will receive any extra remuneration for their participation or what proportion of the profits will be devoted to charitable purposes?

On the assumption that my hon. Friend is referring to civil flying meetings, the answer is that pilots and aircraft of the Royal Air Force are to attend the meeting organised by the Leicestershire Aero Club at Desford aerodrome on 19th April next, and will probably be attending three other provincial meetings also, but definite arrangements for their participation in these have not yet been made. The answer to the third, fourth and last parts of the question is in the negative. In no case are the men and machines at the disposal of the clubs; the flying is part of their Service training and no special remuneration is given for the duty, nor does any part of the profits, as such, go to the Royal Air Force. The organisers of the meetings are, however, called upon to refund all expenses incurred in excess of those of normal Service training, and the personnel participating receive allowances to cover expenses due to their absence from their ordinary station.