Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 237: debated on Monday 24 March 1930

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers

Companies Act, 1929

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to recent disclosures, he will amend the Companies Act, 1929, so as to provide that before publication of a prospectus inviting subscriptions to a company, a sum of not less than 20 per cent. of any part of the issue of capital which has been underwritten shall be deposited in cash with the bankers of the company?

I have noted the hon. Member's suggestion for investigation when the desirability of introducing amending legislation is being considered.

Cinematograph Films Act

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has received representations that the Cinematograph Films Act should be amended by increasing the quota on renters and distributors and abolishing the quota on exhibitors; and, if so, whether he will refer these proposals to the advisory committee under the Act for a full Report?

I have received suggestions from individuals to this effect, but not from a body representative of the trade or any section of it. In any event, as has already been intimated in this House, I could hold out no hope of any legislation on this subject in the near future. In these circumstances, I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by referring the proposals in question to the advisory committee.

Trade And Commerce

Silk Inditstry (Employment)

asked the Minister of Labour whether she has any figures relating to the number of workers in the artificial silk trade during 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929 in England, France, Germany and the United States?

, pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th March, 1930; col. 922, Vol. 236], supplied the following statement:

Great Britain

Total number of persons, aged 16 to 64 years, insured against unemployment, classified as belonging to the silk and artificial silk industry at 1st July of each year, and numbers recorded as unemployed at the end of June:

Year.Numbers insured at 1st July.Numbers Unemployed at end of June.Differences.
192545,6202.87042,750
192649,4405,47043,970
192753,5503,17050,380
192869,7703,40666,364
192973,4805,90767,573

These figures include. in addition to workers engaged in the production of artificial silk yarn, workers employed by firms whose principal business consists in the weaving of artificial silk, or the throwing, spinning or weaving of natural silk. Statistics of the numbers insured at dates subsequent to 1st July, 1929, are not available.

France

Statistics are not available as to the numbers employed in this industry in the years 1925 to 1929.

Germany

Number of workpeople of all ages employed in (a) artificial silk manufacture, and (b) the silk industry, including the working up of artificial silk:

(a) Artificial Silk Manufacture.
Year.Manual Workers.Non-Manual Workers.Total.
192623,2371,58824,825
192731,1011,86532,966
192837,9402,31840,258

(b) Silk Industry, including the working up of artificial silk.
Year.Manual Workers.Non-Manual Workers.Total.
192641,8915,10646,997
192756,1195,84561,964
192852,8605,99858,858

The figures are extracted from the annual reports of the German Factory Inspectorate: the reports for 1929 are not yet available. Workpeople employed in the working up of mixtures of artificial silk and other textiles appear to he excluded: it is not clear, from the information in the possession of the Ministry of Labour, whether those engaged in the manufacture of artificial silk hosiery are included or excluded.

United States

Number of wage-earners of all ages engaged in the manufacture of rayon:

192519,128
192726,341

The figures are extracted from the "Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1929," and relate to the average numbers on the employers' pay-rolls. Figures are not available for the years 1926, 1928 or 1929, or as regards workers employed in the working up of artificial silk.

Boots And Shoes (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any boots or shoes are being imported into this country in an unfinished state; and, if so, what is the country of origin?

Imports of boots and shoes in an unfinished state are not separately recorded by the Customs authorities, and I regret, therefore, that I am unable to furnish my hon. Friend with the information he desires.

Canadian Motor Cars (Import)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of revenue received up to date in the present financial year on motor cars imported from Canada; and if he has any information as to the proportion of the parts of these cars which were manufactured in the United States?

The net amount of revenue received during the period from 1st April, 1929, to 28th February, 1930, on motor cars (including complete chassis) consigned from Canada and admitted at the preferential rate of duty was £175,727. To be entitled to the preferential rate, at least. 25 per cent. of the total value of these cars must be the result of labour within the British Empire. No further information is available as to the proportion of the parts of these cars which were manufactured in the United States, nor of the revenue received on cars consigned from Canada but not admitted at the preferential rate.

Silk Duties (Revenue)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of the revenue received from the excise duty on artificial silk in the last financial year, and up to date in the present financial year?

The approximate net amount of revenue derived from the excise duty on artificial silk in the period from 1st April, 1929, to 28th February, 1930, was £1,536,400. The figures for the last financial year are shown in Table 71 of the 20th Report of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise (Command Paper No. 3435).

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of revenue received from the import duty on raw silk in 1925, in the last financial year, and up to date in the present financial year?

The amount of revenue received from the import duty on raw silk during 1925 (July to December) was £15,804, and up to the end of February of the current financial year £191,687. The amount received in the last financial year is shown in Table 70 of the 20th Report of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise (Command Paper No. 3435).

Jamaica (Exports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade for the years 1908, 1913, 1923, 1927, 1928 and 1929 the exports from Jamaica of sugar, coffee, rum, dyewoods, fruit, cocoa and minor products?

The following statement shows the quantities and value of the principal articles of domestic pro-

Articles.1908–9 (Year ended March).1913.1923.1927.1928.1929.(a)
Cigars Lbs.62,61374,47395,87561,51961,374
£29,98236,02560,72541,56645,727
Cocoa, Raw Cwts.49,14246,35943,11457,26845,03960,632
£90,914114,73960,204176,477110,011
Coffee, Raw Cwts.70,40358,19477,08081,72078,86068,719
£116,166158,598242,153320,178378,118
Copra Tons3322,3253,6073,4153,495
£6960849,91970,63674,101
Dyewoods:
Logwood Tons21,58250,08219,37325,64127,85523,361
£46,402106,42471,21486,41084,745
Logwood Extract £114,461170,427199,714103,98890,494
Fruit:
Bsnauas Stems14,612,88111,597,88112,454,21621,151,88117,080,89722,097,786
£1,044,821988,236 align="right"2,265,116 align="right"2,365,4641,773,695
Coconuts Thous.11,13123,77023,70633,17931,10540,151
£44,523 Cases.135,487 Cases.128,485 Thousands.166,887 Thousands.159,426 Thousands.
Grapefruit—34,27728,35615,59340,14653,356
£13,36628,35615,59340,14653,356
Oranges Thous.35,91045,86415,14112,9369,8371,730
£ align="right"38,47558,96841,70230,59526,183
Ginger Cwts.19,80920,63817,18424,90521,16219,137
£43,58136,374112,601 Galls.60,260 Galls.83,871 Galls.—Lbs.
Oil, Essential …—Not available.Not available.24,14213,31914,839108,802
£Not avilable13,61249,79929,69943,287
Pimento Cwts.219,420135,61293,82488,07577,25780,327
£143,62488,14857,112265,308283,622
Rum Galls.1,245,355953,677537,524740,528807,503801,478
£186 803101,32851,76574,05478,831
Sugar, Raw—Cwts.123,27597,822515,368995,980974,320740,500
£77,04752,172674,769792,227709,848
All other Articles £95,477126,579139,758161,765147,678
Total £2,085,7112,216,2124,220,6294,785,6604,142,993
(a) The figures given for 1929 are provisional, and further details are not available.

Lace Industry (Wages)

asked the Minister of Labour if she will supply complete average figures of wages for the years 1924 to 1929, inclusive, of workers in that part of the lace industry the products of which are, on importation, liable to duty?

In connection with the special inquiries into earnings, made by the Ministry of Labour in respect of the weeks ended 18th October, 1924, and 27th October, 1928, information was secured relating to a large part of the lace industry. The particulars obtained are set forth in an article which appeared duce exported from Jamaica during the years 1908, 1913, 1923, 1927, 1928 and 1929:in pages 352–354 of the October, 1929, issue of the Ministry of Labour Gazette, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy. I regret that comparable figures for other years are not available.

Packing And Wrapping Paper Industry

asked the Minister of Labour if she will supply complete quarterly average figures of wages, employment and unemployment, for the years 1925 to 1929, inclusive, in respect of that part of the packing and wrapping paper industry the products of which are, on importation, liable to duty?

I regret that statistics are not available in respect of wages, employment and unemployment in the packing and wrapping paper industry for the years 1925–1929. Statistics of unemployment among insured workers in the paper and paper board industry as a whole are regularly published in the "Ministry of Labour Gazette," but no separate figures are collected for the wrapping and packing paper section.

Russian Cotton Goods

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to give the House any information concerning the dumping of cotton goods from Russia?

I am not in a position to add anything to the answers already given in the House on this subject.

Empire Marketing Board

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether he contemplates any extension of the activities of the Empire Marketing Board for the purpose of advertising British goods in foreign countries?

Textile Goods, South American Markets

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether any representative of his Department has recently visited Bradford and Huddersfield for the purpose of conferring with manufacturers about measures to recapture the sale of inexpensive grade wool textiles in the South American markets?

The commercial counsellor to His Majesty's Embassy in Argentina paid a visit of two days to Huddersfield in January and of two days to Bradford this month for the purpose of affording firms interested in the Argentine market an opportunity of discussing any questions and difficulties in connection with their trade. Sir William Clare Lees, who visited South America with Lord D'Abernon's Mission, has recently addressed meetings in these two cities. At the request of the Bradford and Huddersfield Chambers of Commerce reports on woollen piece goods of moderate price were called for by my Department at the end of last year from overseas officers in 16 countries, including Argentina.

asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department whether any representative of his Department has recently investigated the high price of the packing of textiles sent from this country to the River Plate as compared with packing costs of other European countries, and the handicap of the freight charges on slow British boats as compared with the lower freight charges quoted by non-British boats taking the same time as British boats on the voyage from Continental ports to the River Plate?

With reference to the first part of the question, statements on this subject have been recently brought to my notice, and I am making inquiries to see if they can be substantiated. With reference to the second part of the question, if specific instances are brought to my notice where it is considered that freight rates constitute a handicap to British trade, my Department will be pleased to consider them, in consultation with the Board of Trade.

Tati Concession

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can give the House any information as regards the Tati Concession and its incorporation into the Dominion of Southern Rhodesia?

No question involving transfer of the district to Southern Rhodesia is at present under consideration.

Unemployment

Engineering Industry

asked the Minister of Labour the number of men and women registered as engaged in the engineering trade and the number unemployed from the engineering trade in the last three months?

The following table shows the estimated numbers of insured persons aged 16 to 64, classified as belonging to the various branches of the engineering industry in Great Britain at July, 1929, and the numbers of such persons recorded as unemployed in each of the last three months:

Industry.Estimated numbers insured at July,1929.Insured persons recorded as unemployed at—
16th December, 1929.27th January, 1930.24th February, 1930.
Males.Females.Males.Females.Males.Females.
Males.Females.Wholly unemployed.Temporarily stopped.Wholly unemployed.Temporarily stopped.Wholly unemployed.Temporarily stopped.Wholly unemployed.Temporarily stopped.Wholly unemployed.Temporarily stopped.Wholly unemployed.Temporarily stopped.
General Engineering, etc.532,56047,24039,87817,5101,47250544,61020,4031,78087146,69423,8381,8761,102
Electrical Engineering65,35018,6202,514283626823,0634148161193,186563859197
Marine Engineering52,1009204,8555451915,290513215,58957827
Constructional Engineering.27,1201,0602,6286305242,8065353772,7856654610
Motor Vehicles, etc.218,65024,58013,6962,74397617814,5832,7191,19422515,7054,3901,258411
Total895,78092,42063,57121,7113,14577070,35224,5843,8481,22273,95930,0344,0661,720

Unemployment Fund (Debt)

asked the Minister of Labour what was the debt on the Unemployment Fund at 1st January, 1924, 1st November, 1924, 1st July, 1925, 1st May, 1926, 1st January, 1927, 1st July, 1927, 1st January, 1928, 1st July, 1928, 1st January, 1929, 1st June, 1929, 1st July, 1929, 1st November, 1929, 1st January, 1930, 1st March, 1930, and the latest date for which figures are available?

The debt of the Unemployment Fund to the Treasury at the dates referred to was:

£
1st January, 192412,790,000
1st November, 19245,060,000
1st July, 19258,100,000
1st May, 19267,470,000
1st January, 192722,640,000
1st July, 192723,970,000
1st January, 192823,180,000
1st July, 192825,680,000
1st January, 192931,720,000
1st June, 192936,870,000
1st July, 192936,620,000
1st November, 192936,640,000
1st January, 193037,850,000
1st March, 193037,200,000
22nd March, 193037,680,000
WEEKLY average number of persons on the registers of the Lincoln Employment Exchange in each month from January, 1921, to February, 1930, inclusive.
Month.1921.1922.1923.1924.1925.1926.1927.1928.1929.1930.
January3,6967,9214,8684,2772,9592,3002,6972,2982,4783,514
February4,8707,6194,5363,9773,0672,1682,4152,1872,4743,488
March5,7287,3514,2753,2782,8592,0912,1201,9632,117
April6,7226,6803,8193,0042,7521,9901,8751,8031,898
May8,1686,2673,3493,0692,8232,2511,6571,6411,856
June8,7616,7513,2472,9292,5282,5191,5671,6121,882
July6,6396,6963,2812,7852,4122,6071,6631,6912,014
August5,7495,4843,5132,7232,5702,7061,6111,8792,086
September5,9145,6803.8372,8602,6302,7631,6251,9742,368
October6,0545,4303,8682,8192,2832,7531,6291,7952,353
November6,6065,2573,9332,8952,2012,8871,7982,0032,405
December7,7895,0394,1052,7822,1452,8341,9032,2092,701

Agriculture

Potatoes (Import)

asked the Minister of Agriculture what quantities and value of potatoes have been imported into this country in the four years 1926, 1927, 1928, and 1929 from Algiers?

Borough

asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons who have been found employment through the medium of the Walworth Road (Borough) Employment Exchange during the 12 months ended at the last convenient date; and whether, she has any information and can give particulars of the number of the said positions that have been either temporary or permanent?

During the 12 months ended 24th February, 1930, 14,935 vacancies were filled by the Borough Employment Exchange. Statistics showing how many of these vacancies were permanent and how many temporary are not available.

Lincoln

asked the Minister of Labour the average number of unemployed registered at the Lincoln Employment Exchange for each month in the years 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930, respectively?

The following table gives the information desired:value of potatoes imported from Algeria into the Uniter Kingdom during each of the years 1926 to 1929:

Year.Quantity. Cwts.Declared Value.
192627,81531,330
192717,54921,400
192824,31929,067
192916,30519,245

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that great supplies of new potatoes from Algiers and Spain are being imported; that quantities of Scotch and English produced potatoes of the 1929 crop cannot be sold and will shortly commence to rot in the potato pits; and what steps does he propose to take in the matter?

During January and February of this year (the latest period for which information is available) imports of potatoes from Algeria and Spain were lower than for the corresponding months of the previous two years. The difficulties confronting potato growers are due largely to the abundance of the home crop, and I would refer the Noble Lord to my answer to the hon. Member for Huntingdonshire (Dr. Peters) on the 10th instant, of which I am sending him a copy.

Credits

asked the Minister of Agriculture the total sums advanced to farmers and smallholders to date under the Agricultural Credits Act, 1928; and what cost has been incurred upon the Treasury in connection with these advances?

Up to and including Tuesday, 18th March, 1930, the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation had advanced the following sums under Part 1 of the Agricultural Credits Act, 1928:

£
Loans on mortgage4,054,630
Improvement loans8,770
£4,063,400
In addition, the Directors of the Corporation had approved the following loans, subject to the satisfactory completion of the formalities:

£
Loans on mortgage1,377,160
Improvement loans19,650
£1,396,810
The number of agricultural charges created under Part II of the Act from 1st October, 1928, up to and including Saturday, 22nd March, 1930, was 2,052 standing in the names of 2,444 farmers. In regard to the second part of the question, information is not available as to the expense incurred by the Treasury in connection specially with the advances which have already been made, but with regard to the total disbursements by the State under Part 1 of the Agricultural Credits Act, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to-day to a question asked by the hon. Member for Duddeston (Mr. Sawyer), a copy of which is being sent to him.

Small Holdings, Glamorganshire And Monmouthshire

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of small holdings leased or purchased from the county councils of Glamorgan and Monmouth to the latest available date; the average size of the holdings; and the total number of failures in each of these two counties?

On 31st December, 1929, the Glamorgan County Council had 214 tenants of small holdings on a total area of 6,098 acres, giving an average of 28½ acres per holding. Up to that date the council had sold one holding of 12 acres. On the same date the Monmouth County Council had 185 tenants on a total area of 5,637 acres, or an average of 30½ acres per holding. The council had sold six holdings with a total area of 228 acres. Since 1908 there have been 48 failures in Glamorgan and 26 in Monmouth, but my hon. Friend will realise that these figures are not comparable with the number of present tenants as the total number of smallholders who have held land under the councils during the past 22 years is considerably larger than the number of existing tenants.

Land Drainage

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is circulating draft proposals for land drainage in England and Wales among local authorities; and when his proposals will be in print and available to Members?

A Bill to amend and consolidate the law of land drainage will be introduced by the Government in another place in the course of a few days, and copies will be available shortly afterwards.

Government Policy

asked the Minister of Agriculture if, in regard to the resolu- tion passed by the Agricultural Conference to the effect that, owing to the increase of unemployment amongst agricultural workers, the amount of land going out of cultivation, and the lack of confidence created thereby, it desires to place before the Government its unanimous opinion that measures should be taken to assure to farmers a remunerative price for cereals, what steps the Government propose to take in the matter?

The agricultural situation is receiving the earnest attention of the Government, but I am not at present in a position to make a statement on the subject.

Royal Veterinary College (Grant)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if be is aware that the Committee set up to inquire into the conditions of the Royal Veterinary College described those conditions as a national disgrace; and if he is now in a position to state the proposals of the Government for dealing with this centre of veterinary work?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave last Thursday to the hon. and gallant Member for Gainsborough (Captain Crookshank) from which he will see that the Government have approved a grant towards the reconstruction of the Royal Veterinary College. I am sending a copy to the hon. Member.

India

Collieries

asked the Secretary of State for India (1) what is the total number of separate colliery companies in each of three coalfields of Jhairia, Raniganj and Bokaro; and how many of them are British-owned and how many are Indian-owned;(2) what is the total number of mining officials employed as certificated managers as certificated under-managers and as certificated surveyors in each of the three coalfields of Jhairia, Raniganj and Bokaro; and how many in each grade in each coalfield are British and how many are Indian in nationality

I am sending my hon. Friend a publication issued by the Government of India, which gives all the information in my possession on the points included in this question and the next.

Cotton Goods (Imports)

asked the Secretary of State for India the imports into India of cotton goods from the United Kingdom and Japan, respectively, in 1913, and in the latest year for which the statistics are available?

The following are the statistics for which the hon. Member asks:

Value in £ sterling of cotton goods imported into India from (1) the United Kingdom, and (2) Japan:
1913–14.1928–29.
££
From United Kingdom …39,834,29033,815,499
From Japan …803,2608,663,472
Quantities of cotton goods imported into India from (1) the United Kingdom, and (2) Japan:
Cotton piece goods (yards)
1913–14.1928–29.
From United Kingdom …3,104,311,4651,456,092,130
From Japan …8,900,578357,343,077
Cotton yarn (1bs.).
From United Kingdom …37,836,09223,094,208
From Japan …1,000,2607,631,645
NOTE.—The quantities of cotton goods classified otherwise than as either piece goods or yarn are inconsiderable.

Indo-European Telegraph Department

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is now in a position to make a statement in regard to the arrangements that have been made for the future maintenance and control of the Indo-European Telegraph Department?

I regret that I am still unable to make any statement on this question, which is still under discussion with the Government of India.

Statutory Commission (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for India when the Report of the Simon Commission will be pub- lished; and can be expedite its publication so as to make it available for Members over the Easter Recess?

Import Duties

asked the Secretary of State for India whether any fiscal autonomy convention is in force disabling His Majesty's Government from vetoing measures to increase import duties which are passed by the Viceroy's Council in India; if so, whether it is public or secret; if public, where its precise terms can he found; if secret, what its precise terms are; and when and by whom it was concluded?

In the past inquirers have been furnished with a memorandum explaining the nature of this "convention." Appended is a copy of this.The Fiscal Autonomy "Convention."The fiscal autonomy of India has its origin in the following recommendation

of the Joint Select Committee on the Government of India. Bill (1919):

"The Committee have given most careful consideration to the relations of the Secretary of State with the Government of India, and through it with the Provisional Governments. In the relations of the Secretary of State with the Governor-General in Council, the Committee are not of opinion that any statutory change can be made so long as the Governor-General remains responsible to Parliament; but, in practice, the conventions which now govern these relations may wisely be modified to meet fresh circumstances caused by the creation of a Legislative Assembly with a large elected majority. In the exercise of his responsibility to Parliament, which he cannot delegate to anyone else, the Secretary of State may reasonably consider that only in exceptional circumstances should he be called upon to intervene in matters of purely Indian interest where the Government and the Legislature of India are in agreement. This examination of the general proposition leads inevitably to the consideration of one special case of non-intervention. Nothing is more likely to endanger the good relations between India and Great Britain than a belief that India's fiscal policy is dictated from Whitehall in the interests of the trade of Great Britain. That such a belief exists at the moment there can be no doubt. That there ought to be no room for it in the future is equally clear. India's position in the Imperial Conference opened the door to negotiations between India and the rest of the Empire, but negotiation without power to legislate is likely to remain ineffective. A satis- factory solution of the question can only be guaranteed by the grant of liberty to the Government of India to devise those tariff arrangements which seem best fitted to India's needs as an integral portion of the British Empire, It cannot be guaranteed by Statute without limiting the ultimate power of Parliament to control the administration of India, and without limiting the power of veto which rests in the Crown; and neither of these limitations finds a place in any of the Statutes in the British Empire. It can only therefore be assured by an acknowledgment of a convention. Whatever be the right fiscal policy for India, for the needs of her consumers as well as for her manufacturers, it is quite clear that she should have the same liberty to consider her interests as Great Britain, Australia New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. In the opinion of the Committee, therefore, the Secretary of State should, as far as possible avoid interference on this subject when the Government of India and its Legislature are in agreement, and they think that his intervention, when it does take place, should be limited to safeguarding the international obligations of the Empire or any fiscal arrangements within the Empire to which His Majesty's Government is a party."

2. In justifying the tariff changes of 1921 to a deputation from Lancashire, Mr. Montague quoted the above passage from the Report of the Joint Select Committee and added:

"These are very strong words, which, except for some timely warning by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, almost passed unchallenged in the House of Commons; but when the Bill came for the Third Reading to the House of Lords, Lard Curzon, speaking on behalf of His Majesty's Government* pointed out the great change which had been instituted in these matters by what amounted to the grant of fiscal autonomy to India. I will read you his words if you like, but I am sure they must be familiar to most of you, and I do not want to waste your time. I can paraphrase them in the words of one of the speakers this afternoon. The people of India are plain, humble people and they regard a promise as a promise and after that Report by an authoritative Committee of both Houses and Lord Curzon's promise in the House of Lords, it was absolutely impossible for me to interfere with the right, which I believe was wisely given and which I am determined to maintain, to give to the Government of India the right to consider the interests of India first, just as we, without any complaint from any other parts of the Empire, and the other parts of the Empire without any complaint from us, have always
* He said, among other things, "A responsible and representative British Committee charged with shaping a Government for India have conceded to India almost absolute freedom of fiscal policy," and described this as "a starting point to a future career in the growth of self-governing institutions in India, the importance of which cannot be exaggerated." chosen the tariff arrangements which they think best fitted for their needs, thinking of their own citizens first."

Mr. Montague further declared, in a despatch to the Government of India, dated 30th June, 1921, which was subsequently published in India, that in replying to the Lancashire deputation he had accepted on behalf of His Majesty's Government the principle recommended by the Joint Select Committee with regard to the fiscal freedom of India. On the 29th September, 1921, a resolution was moved in the Council of State recommending a declaration by the Government of India that they proposed to take advantage of the fiscal freedom conceded to them. After a short debate the mover withdrew his resolution on obtaining from the Government spokesman a declaration

"that the Government of India have every intention of exercising, in concert with the Indian Legislature and in what it believes to be the best interests of the country, the fiscal powers which have been conferred on it under the recent constitutional reforms."

Since then other pronouncements have been made in the Legislative Assembly and elsewhere to the effect that India has been granted fiscal autonomy, including a statement by Mr. Baldwin during his first tenure of the Premiership that "India. … has been given economic liberty." The Labour Government of 1924 also recognised Indian fiscal autonomy, though its members made no public statement on the subject. The net result is that India has been promised by Secretaries of State of all three parties in this country that no interference by His Majesty's Government will take place in India's fiscal arrangements, with certain specific exceptions not relevant to the question of the cotton duties. This does not mean that the Government of India can act without reference to the Secretary of State, but it means that the Secretary of State is under an obligation not to overrule them when, after full consideration and consultation with him, they have, in agreement with their Legislature, reached a conclusion not in harmony with the views of His Majesty's Government.

Royal Navy

Officers, Admiralty

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the numbers of officers employed on the Admiralty staff on 1st March, 1929 and 1930, respectively?

The numbers of naval and marine officers employed at the Admiralty on the dates indicated are 233 and 241, respectively. Included in the latter number are four officers who have since been relieved and four who are temporarily employed in connection with the Naval Conference.

Piracy, Chinese Waters (Guards)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the decision to abolish the armed antipiracy guards on British ships in China, an undertaking will be made adequately to indemnify officers, men, and owners in respect of losses which may be sustained as a result of inadequate protective measures against piracy?

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware of the concern with which the decision to abolish the armed anti-piracy guards on British ships in China is regarded by shipping companies and officers' organisations interested in British shipping in China; and whether he will give the reason for the decision to abolish the system of guards?

The question is under discussion with the shipping companies concerned. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 12th March [OFFICIAL REPORT, columns 1301–2] to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy).

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what is the number of lives lost, excluding pirates, arising out of piracy in the China seas from 1st January,, 1921; what is the estimate of the material loss sustained by British ships in that period from acts of piracy; and what is the estimated annual cost of an adequate system of armed guards?

I regret that the Admiralty are not in a position to supply the information asked for in the first two parts of the question. The cost of an adequate system of armed guards, if marines were employed, would at the least be £80,000 a year.

General Messing

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why accountant officers in charge of general messing in ships afloat are allowed to purchase goods from the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute canteens, where a general flat rate of charges is maintained for the benefit of all naval ratings, while other accountant officers in charge of general messes in ships and establishments in home ports can and do spend large sums of money with private traders, thereby causing a serious trading loss to the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes?

The arrangements in regard to the purchase of supplies for general messing apply equally to ships afloat and to ships and establishments in home ports, and the fact that the latter obtain a larger proportion of certain articles, chiefly fresh produce, from private traders is due to local conditions.

Naval And Military Pension And Grants

Central Advisory Committee

asked the Minister of Pensions on what date the last meeting of the Central Advisory Committee was held; and if is proposed to convene a meeting within the next few weeks?

The Committee last met on 30th November, 1927. A further meeting has not at present been fixed.

Seven Years' Limit

asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications for pensions have been received from ex-Service men whose claims were out-of-date under the seven year's limit provision; and how many of these applications have been granted?

During the past four months rather more than 8,000 fresh application have been received. Altogether about 180 claims have been recognised, either by way of pension or treatment, during the same period. It has naturally, however, not yet been possible to investigate more than a proportion of the recent applications, but, so far as this has been. done, I fear that in the great majority of the cases there was little or no evidence to establish the claims.

King's Fund

asked the Minister of Pensions the total amount of money that has been expended by the Ministry from the King's Fund; the amount of money still available for future cases; and the type of case that is eligible for assistance from this fund?

The total amount expended up to date from the King's Fund is £1,355,221. The balance as at 31st January last, not already earmarked for specific distribution, is approximately £11,600. As regards the last part of the question I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the full reply given to the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Bellamy) on 13th November, 1928, of which I am sending him a copy.

Post Office (Booklets, United States)

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that Civil and Military Agency, Limited, on the advice of the English-Speaking Union, sent a number of their booklets for travellers in Britain to the United States branches of the English-Speaking Union; that before sending their booklets inquiries were made at the Post Office as to the despatch being in order and satisfactory assurances were given by the Post Office officials; that all these booklets have been returned on the ground that they are subject to import duty; and what steps he is taking to see that correct information is given at the Post Office?

I was not aware of the circumstances to which the hon. Member refers, but if he will give me the particulars, I will have inquiry made.

Calendar Reform

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what countries have set up national committees for the consideration of the question of calendar reform as recommended by the League of Nations?

So far as I am aware, the only countries in which such committees have actually been set up are Hungary, the Netherlands and the United States. In addition, the French Government have referred the question of the reform of the calendar to a special committee appointed by the National Economic Council.

Russia (Religious Situation)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is yet in a position to make a statement with regard to the 11 Russian Baptists?

I have now heard from His Majesty s Ambassador in Moscow, who states that he is not in a position to make independent inquiries in regard to these Soviet citizens. I have accordingly reached the conclusion that no action by His Majesty's Government in this matter is either expedient or possible.

Empire Settlement (Canada)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether his attention has been called to the number of cases in which applicants for emigration to Canada are passed by the medical officer and emigration committee and afterwards rejected by the civil agent, without any reason given, although the passport may have been issued; and whether he can make any statement on the matter?

There is no civil examination for migrants paying their own fare to Canada who satisfactorily pass the medical examination. The cases of persons who, though not prohibited migrants, are certified by the medical officer as unsuitable migrants, owing to physical defects, are referred to the civil authorities for a final decision, and approximately one-third of those so referred are allowed to proceed after inquiry has been made into the settlement arrangements in Canada. In the case of assisted migrants the civil examination precedes the medical examination. If my hon. Friend will send me the details of any particular case or cases he has in mind, I will make inquiry unto them.

Transport

Bath Road (Widening)

asked the Minister of Transport if his attention has been called to the strong objection taken by representative local bodies and residents to the proposal of the Wiltshire County Council to widen the Bath road between Hungerford and Beckhampton; whether he is aware that the proposal would spoil a beautiful and typical road stretch, including the approaches to Savernake Forest, without sufficient traffic or other necessity; and whether he will use his influence to ensure a reconsideration of the proposal in the light of local facts and opinions?

No objections have been made to me nor has the scheme in detail been submitted by the Wiltshire County Council. The hon. Member can, however, be assured that his representations will be borne in mind when the proposal is being examined.

Rubber Pavement, New Bridge Street

asked the Minister of Transport if he is able to state the result of using the special experimental road surface in New Bridge Street, London, E.C.; and whether the tests imposed have been satisfactory in regard to the prevention of side-slip and skidding of motor vehicles?

The rubber pavement referred to was laid in October, 1926. Fairly extensive repairs have been found necessary; but sufficient time has not elapsed to enable a definite conclusion to be drawn as to its durability. No special tests have been made with regard to side-ship or skidding.

Electricity Supply, London (Charges)

asked the Ministry of Transport if he is aware that the County of London Electric Light and Power Company, while charging 5d. per unit for electric light. within their Wands-worth area of supply and ¾d. per unit for all current consumed under the all- in tariff system (in addition to the quarterly standing charge), charges consumers in the Romford area 6d. and 1d. per unit, respectively, for the same two supplies; and what steps he proposes to take to equalise charges throughout the greater Metropolitan area?

The answer to the first portion of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the latter part, the question as to the steps which could be taken to secure greater uniformity of charges and tariffs throughout the district of the London and Home Counties Joint Electricity Authority is being investigated by the authority, but I understand that they are not at present in a position to make any Report to the Electricity Commissioners on the matter.

County Court Building, Gainsborough

asked the First Commissioner of Works if his attention has been called to the dangerous position of the county court building in Gains-borough and to recent motor accidents which have occurred there; and, if so, whether he proposes to take any action regarding the building and offices which are under the care of his Department, with a view to mitigating the dangers involved?

Certain proposals were submitted by the Urban District Council of Gainsborough to my Department in 1924, but were apparently abandoned as the council were not prepared to meet the cost of the alterations to the building. I am quite prepared to have the matter further considered if any new facts have arisen.

Mine Inspectors, North Wales

asked the Secretary for Mines whether in the recent appointments of divisional and junior inspectors of mines for Wales and Monmouthshire, full regard was given to the proviso in Section 97 (1) of the Coal Mines Act, 1911, that among candidates equally qualified persons having knowledge of the Welsh language shall be preferred; and whether he is aware that the North Wales coalfield is under the control of non-Welsh-speaking inspectors from Lancashire and North Staffordshire?

Certain changes were made in July last consequent on the retirement of the inspector then in charge of the Lancashire and North Wales Division. They did not involve any change in the junior staff in South Wales and Monmouthshire, but were questions of the promotion and transfer of inspectors of many years standing and experience. I have made inquiries and I am fully satisfied that these changes were in the best interests of the public service and of the safety and health of mine workers; and that in making them my predecessor paid the fullest possible regard to the duty imposed upon him by Section 97 of the Coal Mines Act. The North Wales coalfield has always been part of a larger inspection division under the control of a non-resident inspector, but the inspector who was placed in charge in July last had the special qualification that he had been in charge of the Swansea Inspection Division for five years previously, and before that had served for a, year as senior inspector in South Wales.

Betting Control Board (Report)

asked the Home Secretary whether he has received the Report and account of the Racecourse Betting Control Board: and, if so, when does he propose to place such Report and account before the House?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to a question by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies) on 13th March, to which I cannot add anything.

Naturalisation Certificates

asked the Home Secretary the number of foreign subjects who have been naturalised in the last two years; the number of applications which have been refused; and the total number of applications which are still under consideration?

The published lists show that 1,393 certificates of naturalisation were granted in 1928 and, as my right hon. Friend stated on 27th February, the list for 1929 will show that 1,149 certificates were granted in that year. The refusals Were 216 and 186, respectively. My right hon. Friend regrets he is unable to give figures as to the cases under consideration, which include many surviving from previous years and the balance of 1,498 and 1,641 applications in 1928 and 1929.

Performing Animals

asked the Home Secretary the number of performing animal turns of foreign origin at present touring this country, together with the species of animals concerned and the names of the owners?

The information is not in my right hon. Friend's possession, and he has no power to procure it.

asked the Home Secretary the number of persons domiciled in this country, both British and foreign, at present engaged in the training of animals for public performances?

The only information in the possession of my right hon. Friend is that contained in the copies of the certificates of registration issued by the local authorities which are sent to him in pursuance of the Act. These show that the total number of trainers registered since the passing of the Act is 205, of whom 123 are British and 80 foreign, but there is no means of knowing how many of these are domiciled in the country or engaged in training at present.

Aliens

asked the Home Secretary whether he proposes relaxing the existing Regulations with reference to the immigration of aliens; and, if so, in what respect does he propose to make it easier for aliens to enter this country?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The second part therefore does not arise.

Flour Sacks (Capacity)

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that, not- withstanding the repeated decisions of the national Joint Industrial Council for the flour milling industry that the use of 280 1bs. flour sacks shall be discontinued, a few firms still persist in using them thus exposing their employes to risk of injury; and whether he will use his powers to remedy this state a affairs?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the question he asked on this subject on 25th February last. As I their stated, no complaints have reached me, but if my hon. Friend can furnish me with particulars of any cases where the recommendation of the Joint Industrial Council is not being acted on, and the workmen have suffered or complained of undue strain, I shall be glad to make inquiries and consider whether any action is necessary to prevent injury.

Beer, Spirits And Wine

Northern Ireland

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the quantities of beer (standard and bulk barrels), spirits and wine retained for consumption during the calendar year 1929 in Northern Ireland, and the estimated revenue attributable thereto?

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the quantities of beer (standard and bulk barrels), spirits and wine retained for consumption during the calendar year 1929 in Northern Ireland. and the estimated revenue attributable thereto?

The approximate quantities of beer, spirits and wine retained for consumption in Northern Ireland during the calendar year 1929, and the estimated revenue attributable thereto, are as follow:

Article.Approximate Quantity Retained for Consumption.Estimated Attributable Revenue.
£
Beer Standard Barrels 191,000 Bulk Barrels 227,000738,000
SpiritsProof Gallons 304,0001,081,000
WineGallons 283,00083,000

Revenue

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total net revenue derived from the taxation of whisky and beer for the 12 months ended to the last convenient date?

The approximate net amount of revenue derived from home-made spirits and from beer (including imported beer) during the 12 months ended 28th February, 1930, was £113,440,000. No separate records of home-made spirits are kept under the heading of whisky.

Brewing Materials

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the quantities of malt, unmalted grain, rice, maize, &c., sugar, &c., and hope used in brewing in Great Britain and Northern Ireland during the year ended 30th September, 1929, together with the bulk barrels produced?

The quantities of certain materials used in brewing and the number of bulk barrels brewed in Great Britain and Northern Ireland during the year ended 30th September, 1929, are as follow:

Materials used.Cwts.
Malt10,370,075
Unmalted corn24,025
Rice, rice grits, flaked maize, and other similar preparations797,157
Sugar, including its equivalent of syrups, glucose and saccharum1,817,105
Hops320,315
Preparations of hops159
Hop substitutes27
Bulk barrels.
Beer brewed24,792,178

Beer (Statistics)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of bulk barrels of beer imported during 1929 into Great Britain and Northern Ireland in respect of which the rebate of £1 per barrel was allowed?

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state for England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland the number of bulk barrels of beer produced, and the number of bulk barrels on which the rebate of £1 per barrel was made during the calendar year 1929?

The number of bulk barrels of beer produced in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the number of bulk barrels on which rebate of £1 per barrel was made during the calendar year 1929, were as follow:

Bulk Barrels produced.Bulk Barrels on which rebate of £1 was made.
England and Wales and Northern Ireland.23,059,07223,041,497
Scotland1,849,9371,846,545
United Kingdom24,909,00924,888,042

Government Departments

Civil Staffs

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what increase, if any, has taken place in the number of civilian employés in each of the Ministries since 1st June, 1929?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the Quarterly Return of the Civil Staffs Employed in Government Departments. He will find the figures for 1st July, 1929, in Command Paper 3388 of 1929 and for 1st January, 1930, in Command Paper 3504 of 1930. The Return for 1st April, 1930, will be available in May or June.

Telephone Directories (Printing)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the length of the present contract to print the Telephone Directory; and whether on the expiration thereof it is intended to offer the new contract for the printing of the Telephone Directory to public tender?

The work of printing the Telephone Directories was originally allotted to the Government Printing Works for a period of 10 years. In accordance with the recommendations of the Gretton Committee it is proposed to continue this arrangement at the expiry of the period.

General Clerical Class

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the approximate numbers of male junior clerical officers, female junior clerical officers, and higher grade clerical officers employed in the general clerical class on 1st April or other convenient date in each of the years 1920 to 1929, inclusive, and the numbers of men and women, respectively, promoted from the junior grade of the general clerical class to the higher grade in each of those years?

According to Returns furnished to the Treasury in the year 1928 the numbers of male

1920–1921.1921–1922.1922–1923.1923–1924.1924–1925.1925–1926.1926–1927.1927–1928.
Men15110140578087131124
Women2132725327233735
The figures in respect of the year 1928–29 are not available.

Office Of Works (Oversea Buildings)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will review the policy of sanctioning expenditure required by the practice of a Permanent Secretary of the Office of Works proceeding overseas to visit buildings erected or furnished by His Majesty's Government; and will he consider whether it would be more economical and equally satisfactory to allow discretion to the technical officers of the Department to decide on the spot matters relating to the furnishing of such buildings which fall within the scope of their technical duties?

This is a matter which is primarily in the decision of the First Commissioner of Works, and I am satisfied that the expenditure in question has been properly incurred.

asked the First Commissioner of Works whether the matter was referred to the Treasury before a junior clerical officers, female junior clerical officers, and higher grade clerical officers, employed in the general clerical class on 1st April, 1928, were is follow:

Men.Women.Total.
Junior Clerical Officers.15,6005,42621,026
Higher Clerical Officers.1,9354722,407
Information in the form desired is not available in respect of the other years referred to in the question. The numbers of men and women, respectively, promoted from the junior grade of the general clerical class to the higher grade of that class in each of the years 1921–1928 were as follow:decision was arrived at to incur expenditure in despatching the permanent secretary to the Office of Works to America to superintend the standard of furnishing of the new embassy at Washington?

Industrial Staff, Office Of Works (Holidays)

asked the First Commissioner of Works the number of persons permanently employed by his Department on the industrial staff who do not receive an annual holiday with pay each year; and whether any special consideration will be given to these workers with the forthcoming holiday season?

The answer to the first part of the question is that all directly employed industrial staff who have completed twelve months full time continuous employment under my Department will be eligible for annual leave with pay at the rate of six days per year, together with leave with pay on six public holidays annually. The second part of the question does not therefore arise.

Trustee Savings Banks

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the sums of money handed over to the National Debt Commissioners by the Trustee Savings Banks (Ordinary Department) in the year 1929–30 in England, Scotland, and Wales, respectively?

In the year ended 20th November, 1929, the amounts paid over to the National Debt Commissioners by the Trustee Savings Banks (Ordinary Departments) were:

£s.
England and Wales and Channel Islands1,252,20612
Scotland283,0000
In the same period the amounts withdrawn from the National Debt Commissioners by the Trustee Savings Banks (Ordinary Departments) were:

£
England and Wales and Channel Islands2,548,620
Scotland2,036,870
I regret that separate figures relating to Wales are not available.

Housing

Subsidy

asked the Minister of Health the total sum paid to date from public funds as subsidies on houses built under the Housing Acts; and an estimate of the total deficit on such houses that has been borne by the local authorities out of the rates, apart from State grants?

Up to 31st March, 1928, the total amount of the Exchequer subsidies paid under the Housing Acts in England and Wales was approximately £63½ millions, and the approximate amount borne by the local authorities out of rates in respect of State-assisted houses was about £10,000,000. Since that date an additional sum of about £20,000,000 has been paid by the Exchequer under these Acts, but information as to the additional sum borne by the rates is not yet available.

Town-Planning Schemes, Scotland

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the annual expendi- tare incurred by his Department in the last four financial years upon town-planning schemes in Scotland?

Apart from official salaries and expenses, no expenditure has been incurred by the Department of Health for Scotland on town-planning schemes during the last four financial years.

Local Government Act, 1929 (London)

asked the Minister of Health whether he can give a statement showing the Metropolitan boroughs which are areas as respects which there is a gain, as disclosed by the provisional calculations, resulting from the provisions of Parts 1, V, and VI of the Local Government Act, 1929, in respect of the year ending 31st March, 1931, apart from the guarantee under Section 100 of the Act and the estimated amount of such gains, respectively?

The information asked far is given in the appended statement:

STATEMENT showing, in respect of each of the under-mentioned Metropolitan Boroughs (including the City of London) [being Boroughs comprising separately rated areas as respects which on the calculations of the standard year (1928–29) a gain resulting from the operation of Parts 1, V, and VI (apart from Section 100) of the Local Government Act, 1929, is disclosed], the estimated amount of such gain.
Name of Borough.Estimated amount of the gain. (approximate)
£
Bermondsey43,400
Bethnal Green22,400
Chelsea2,000
Deptford22,400
Greenwich33,400
Hammersmith17,100
Holborn (areas within the Borough which gain)11,500
Lewisham20,800
Poplar157,100
Southwark29,500
Woolwich110,000
Woolwich8,300
City of London3,700

During the first fixed grant period each of the above-mentioned boroughs will, according to the provisional calculations, retain about 62.8 per cent. of their gain and the remaining 37.2 per cent. will, in accordance with the provisions of Section 100 of the Act, be applied in reduction of the losses of the areas in London as respects which a loss is disclosed by those calculations.

asked the Minister of Health whether the amount of the provisional grants together with additional Exchequer grant payable, respectively, to the London County Council under the Local Government Act, 1929, are sufficient, so far as can be at present ascertained, to secure the respective London boroughs against loss pursuant to Section 100 of the said Act; and whether, so far as present advised, he proposes to make any inquiry into the working of the Act in London?

The calculations of losses and gains of separately rated areas under the Local Government Act. 1929, are made on the basis of the expenditure of the standard year (1928–29) in accordance with the rules set out in the fifth Schedule to the Act. The grants payable to the London County Council and the London borough councils, together with the rate adjustments provided for in Section 100 of the Act, will enable any losses so calculated to be made good to the separately rated areas of the county. All calculations so far made are necessarily provisional as rateable values and other data entering into the calculations are subject to revision. When such data have been revised, in accordance with pending decisions in the Courts and otherwise, the necessary consequential re-calculations will be made and effect will be given thereto by altering the amounts of the provisional grants and rate-adjustments so far as alteration may be found necessary. The working of the Act in London will be closely watched, but I do not consider that any special inquiry is called for.

Turkey (British Claims)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the claims of British nationals arising out of the war with Turkey have not yet been settled, and that some of the claimants are in urgent need of money through their claims not having been satisfied; and whether any steps can be taken to expedite the final settlement of such claims?

The Inter-Allied Commission for the Assessment of Damage suffered in Turkey has completed the work of assessing the claims. Approximately 95 per cent, of the amount available for the payment of awards has already been paid to the claimants, and the balance is being distributed as quickly as possible.