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Oral Answers To Questions

Volume 237: debated on Thursday 3 April 1930

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Unemployment

German Workers (Permits)

1.

asked the Minister of Labour whether she can state the number of German workers who have been granted permits by her Department to land in Great Britain since 1925 who are still in employment in this country and the trades or occupations they are engaged in; and whether there are any special regulations governing the time that these permits are granted for?

I regret that I should not feel justified in undertaking the very considerable labour that would be involved in extracting the information asked for in the first part of the question. A permit, if issued, is generally for a limited period from one week up to 12 months, the actual period depending upon the purpose for which it is required. Extensions of the original permit may be granted where this course is deemed to be justified, but the number of aliens who remain in employment here for longer than 12 months is small relative to the total numbers who are granted permits. For a more detailed account of the procedure regulating the entry of foreigners for employment in Great Britain, I would refer my hon. Friend to Command Paper, 3318 issued last year by my predecessor.

Will my right hon. Friend say, in view of the figures which she has given in this House recently showing the number of Germans who have received permits since 1925, and in view of the large unemployment which we have in this country, if British workmen cannot be found to take their places?

Exchanges (Service Enlistment)

2.

asked the Minister of Labour what facilities exist at Employment Exchanges to give young men all possible information and assistance in enlisting in either the Army, Navy, or Air Force?

Employment Exchanges are authorised to give, on request, information with regard to conditions of enlistment in His Majesty's Forces, including the name and address of the nearest recruiting office.

Have any communications passed between the War Office and the Ministry of Labour, with a view to improving these facilities since the Debate in this House?

Are we to understand from the right hon. Lady's reply that these details are only given on request?

Would it not be possible for the details to be put up at the Employment Exchanges and at the Post Offices and elsewhere?

Statistics

3.

asked the Minister of Labour whether, seeing that each person registered at the Employment Exchanges has to state the trade or occupation he or she follows, she will state whether this information is tabulated in some way in order that there can be deductions drawn regarding the state of trade in various parts of the country; and whether she will reconsider the question of the advantages of dividing registered unemployed into various general categories, e.g., production, distribution, and clerical occupations?

Statistics of unemployment in Great Britain are already compiled and published each month in the Ministry of Labour Gazette so as to show the state of employment in each of 100 industry groups. This grouping, into which industries fall more or less naturally, does not readily lend itself to a division under such headings as production, distribution and clerical occupations, since almost every industrial group includes to some extent two or more of these operations. If the hon. and gallant Member wishes I shall be glad to discuss the matter further with him.

5.

asked the Minister of Labour at what date the unemployment figures last stood at their present level?

14.

asked the Minister of Labour what are the numbers of living insured persons whose books are on the two-months' file, the dead file, and at Kew, respectively, at the latest date available; and how many of each it is estimated will now receive benefit through changes in administration or in the law?

At 24th March, 1930, there were 65,119 books of insured persons in the two months' file and 336,289 in the dead files at Employment Exchanges in Great Britain. These totals may include a certain number of books of deceased contributors whose deaths had not been reported to the Department. Figures are not available regarding the number of books at Kew. On the basis of the reductions in these files consequent on administration changes and on the operation of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1930, it is estimated that between 65,000 and 70,000 persons whose books were previously in the files in question had been added to the live register at 24th March, but I am unable to say how many will receive benefit.

Will the Minister tell us whether she thinks that this is the final figure, or Whether there are any further people who are likely to come upon the live register as a result of recent changes?

Are we to understand from the Minister's reply that those persons whose books are on the dead file did not bother to keep in touch with the Employment Exchanges as long as it was only a question of obtaining work but now that they believe they can get unemployment benefit, they have signed afresh.[Interruption.]

May we be informed as to how the Minister arrives at the figure of 200,000 which was mentioned in the White Paper, as the number of persons who might possibly be affected by the provisions of the Bill, subject to a certain number who would be disqualified in any case?

19.

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of unemployed registered at the Employment Exchanges in the Howdenshire Parliamentary area now and at the end of last June, respectively?

23.

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of unemployed registered at the Employment Exchanges in the Sheffield Parliamentary areas now and at the end of last June, respectively?

24.

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of unemployed registered at the Employment Exchanges in the Knutsford Parliamentary area now and at the end of last June, respectively?

25.

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of unemployed registered at the Employment Exchanges in the Ayr burghs Parliamentary area now and at the end of last June, respectively?

I am obtaining the figures asked for in these questions, and will circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I should point out that they will consist of the numbers on the registers at the Exchanges in the Parliamentary areas specified, and these numbers will not necessarily be identical with the numbers of registered persons resident in those areas.

Benefit (Young Men)

6.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of young men between the ages of 18 and 21 who are drawing unemployment pay?

At 24th March, 1930, there were 82,627 young men, aged 18 to 20, on the registers of Employment Exchanges in Great Britain whose claims to unemployment benefit had been admitted or were under consideration. I am unable to say how many of these were actually in receipt of benefit.

Have any of these young men been offered service in the Army? [Interruption.]

Exchange Accommodation, Liverpool

7.

asked the Minister of Labour if, when authorising the construction of the new Employment Exchange in the Everton district of Liverpool, she will arrange for the provision of adequate sanitary accommodation and covered waiting rooms?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave him on the 13th March in which I pointed out that the provision of sanitary accommodation is a matter for the local authority. The desirability of outside shelters is under consideration.

North Walsham, Norfolk

10.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed people registered at the North Walsham, Norfolk, branch Employment Exchange at the latest convenient date, and similar figures on the same date in 1929?

At 24th March, 1930, there were 184 persons on the registers of the North Walsham Employment Exchange, as compared with 103 at 25th March, 1929.

Domestic Service

13.

asked the Minister of Labour what steps have been taken to carry out the report of the Committee on Domestic Service of 1923, in respect of setting up special sub-committees by local employment committees attached to Employment Exchanges to consider the problems connected with domestic work and to endeavour to form local associations of employers and employés to agree upon conditions in their area?

This recommendation was carefully considered at the time. It appeared to involve the assumption by the Department of authority to regulate the wages and conditions in this employment and it was decided that in the absence of statutory authority for departmental action, the matter was one that should be dealt with unofficially. I may mention that subject to this restriction it is within the scope of women's subcommittees of local employment committees to consider questions affecting domestic service.

Have any of the local employment committees actually carried out work on these lines?

Quite a number of the committees I have mentioned are dealing with these questions.

Training Period (Benefit)

15.

asked the Minister of Labour whether she is aware that under the new Unemployment Insurance Act a man training for work without any remuneration whatsoever is debarred from receiving unemployment benefit; and whether, in view of the discouragement which this affords to those genuinely anxious to find employment, she will consider an Amendment to the Act in question?

The right to draw benefit during a period of training depends on the circumstances of the particular case, and especially on whether the training is being given by a prospective employer. The law on this subject was not altered by the recent Act, and I cannot undertake to introduce fresh legislation with regard to it at present.

Do I understand from the Minister's reply that if training is given by a prospective employer—for instance, if a weaver wishes to be trained as an omnibus conductor without any remuneration—then in such a case the man is debarred from getting any benefit, as a result?

That is the position. The alternative is that of treating the Fund as a subsidy of wages.

Are we to understand then that the man who tries—the man who goes into training in order that he may earn his own living—is to be handicapped, and is to get nothing, while the man who sits at home and does no work gets paid for it?

The hon. and gallant Member appears to forget entirely that he is referring to a system which was in practice under the Administration of which he was a supporter.

On a point of Order. Are you aware, Sir, that whenever we bring forward questions of this kind, we are always referred to what happened under the last Government, instead of being given a reply; and are we to take it that the present Government are proceeding on the same lines as the last Government, and are therefore satisfied with what the last Government did?

Benefit Claims

17.

asked the Minister of Labour if she has received any complaints from the managers of Employment Exchanges with regard to the difficulties of administering the new Unemployment Insurance Act, especially with regard to the question of proof that the claimants for benefit are doing their utmost to take up employment which may be offered to them?

Casual Occupations (Insurance)

18.

asked the Minister of Labour if she will state those insurable occupations which are now classified as casual?

The only connection in which the term "casual" is used in the official statistics is for the purpose of distinguishing the group of unemployed persons "normally engaged in casual employment." This category includes persons who usually seek a livelihood by means of separate jobs of short duration, and principally covers unemployed dock labourers, but may also include individuals in a large number of other occupations.

Insurance Acts (Summary)

20.

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the number of Acts in force on the subject of unemployment insurance and the changes made by the Act of 1930, she will consider issuing an up-to-date summary of the Acts?

A summary of the Unemployment Insurance Acts has been prepared and is being issued as a Stationery Office publication. Hon. Members desiring copies may obtain them by making application in the usual manner.

Wool Textile Industry (Dispute)

11.

asked the Minister of Labour whether she can make a statement as to the present position of the wool textile industry; and whether effect is now to be given to the recommendations contained in Lord Macmillan's Report?

12.

asked the Minister of Labour what action her Department has taken and proposes to take to avert the threatened stoppage in the Yorkshire textile industry?

22.

asked the Minister of Labour whether she proposes to take any action with a view to effecting a settlement in the dispute now proceeding in the woollen industry?

27.

asked the Minister of Labour whether she is aware that the employers in the woollen and worsted industries in the West Riding of Yorkshire have posted notices in their factories this week giving a week's notice to their operatives of a general reduction in wages; that these notices affect some 200,000 operatives; that the operatives' unions have issued instructions to their members to cease work on the termination of the notices; and whether, in view of the pending situation in the woollen industry, she has under consideration any action with a view to inviting the parties to the dispute to postpone the notices?

As hon. Members are aware, efforts to reach a settlement of this dispute by agreement or by reference to arbitration had previously failed. With the agreement of both sides of the Joint Industrial Council for the industry I appointed a Court of Inquiry in January under Part II of the Industrial Courts Act, and the report of this Inquiry was recently published. I do not think I ought to make any comment on the present position beyond expressing my hope that a general dislocation in this important industry may yet be avoided.

Is the Minister aware of the fact that the employers have refused arbitration all along?

The right hon. Lady has said that she prefers not to make any further statement on the subject.

"Choice Of Career" Pamphlets (Fighting Services)

21.

asked the Minister of Labour whether it is intended to include in the series of pamphlets under the title of the Choice of Career Series, which are issued by the Ministry in collaboration with the Incorporated Associations of Headmaster's and Headmistresses of Public Secondary Schools, one dealing with the prospects of a career in the Navy, Army and Air Force; and, if not, whether she can state why attention is not to be drawn in these pamphlets to the prospects in these Services?

Certain additions to this series of pamphlets are under consideration, including that suggested by the hon. Member.

Arcos, Limited (Discharged Employes)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can now give the House the result of his inquiries as to whether any of the discharged employés of Arcos, Limited, being Russian subjects, are still upon the British labour market?

Inquiries are in progress, but I regret I am not yet in a position to furnish a reply to the hon. Member's question.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I have put this question down two or three times, at intervals of a week or a fortnight, and when can he give us any hope that some answer will be given?

I can only tell my hon. Friend that both of us are persevering to get the information.

Guardianship Of Infants Act

29.

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that under the Guardianship of Infants Act, 1925, a man is compelled to contribute until the infant reaches 21 years; and whether, seeing that the same infant can draw unemployment insurance benefit at 15 years of age, he will take steps to amend the former Act?

I am aware that a Court may under this Act order the father to contribute towards the maintenance of an infant, of which the custody has been granted to the mother, until the infant attains 21 years of age. The Court is, however, under no obligation to do so, and an order for maintenance can be varied or discharged by the Court at any time. The Act gives discretion to the Court, and no amendment appears desirable.

Lead Paint Regulation (Prosecutions)

30.

asked the Home Secretary the number of prosecutions arising out of the evasion of the Lead Paint Regulation?

These Regulations came into force on the 1st October, 1927, and no prosecutions were taken in that year. During 1928 and 1929 and the first three months of 1930 proceedings were taken in respect of 33 contraventions and convictions obtained in 31 cases.

Government Departments

Factory Inspectors (London)

31.

asked the Home Secretary the number of factory inspectors in the County of London area for the years ending 31st December, 1920, and 31st December, 1930, respectively; and whether the Erith or Bexley Heath area is included in the above total?

The authorised strength of the inspecting staff attached to London districts was 28 in 1920. It is now fixed at 38. These figures do not include the divisional staff which numbered five in 1920 and now numbers six. Erith and Bexley Heath were outside the London area in 1920, but are now included.

Sick Leave

90.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what are the rules governing sick leave with pay applicable to the Civil Service generally and to industrial employés of the Government on the other hand?

In the case of established civil servants generally, pay during sick leave is granted under Treasury Regulations, dated 6th June, 1929, made under Article 6 of the Order in Council of 22nd July, 1920; and, in the case of certain unestablished and temporary employés, under the terms of a Treasury memorandum dated 24th April, 1925. Industrial employés are not eligible for sick leave with pay, but are covered by the National Health Insurance Acts, the Government in their case paying both the State and the employers' contributions. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the documents referred to in my answer.

Building Sooieties (Fire Insurance)

32.

asked the Home Secretary if he will take steps to ensure that in the case of building societies carrying all or part of the fire risks in respect of properties in mortgage to them, the extent of the risks covered, and the amount of premiums received, are clearly shown in the accounts of the societies?

I am advised by the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies that the extent of the risks covered is not an item which could appear in the accounts. As regards premiums, he will consider whether any steps can be taken to have them shown separately in the accounts where this is not already done.

Betting, Sweepstakes And Lotteries

33.

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the advertisements of the Guardian Pari-Mutuel Company, Limited, offering to act as agents for the collection of bets for transmission to the totalisators operated on racecourses by the Betting Control Board under the Racecourse Betting Act; and whether he proposes to take any action under the existing law to confine the facilities for betting with totalisators to the racecourses as provided by the Act?

The hon. Baronet has been good enough to forward to me a copy of the advertisement referred to. The Board receives the bets on approved racecourses only, and is advised that the arrangement is in order.

Has the right hon. Gentleman noted that the pamphlet referred to has on the outside cover, "Away betting on the racecourse Tote"; and, though it invites the enrolment of members, there is no financial obligation implied, and that, in fact, this organisation is carrying on betting away from the racecourses, contrary to the Act of Parliament legalising the, totalisator?

I accept the comment as well grounded. I do not approve the course that has been taken; I am merely explaining what the law is.

34.

asked the Home Secretary if he is aware of the practice of certain bookmakers of circularising persons to enter into betting transactions and offering as an inducement to open credit accounts; and whether he will consider the advisability of introducing legislation to prevent the issue of such circulars?

I am aware of the practice; I can only say concerning all such matters that, while proposals for legislation are of course always considered, I cannot promise to introduce legislation with the object of disturbing the existing position one way or another.

35.

asked the Home Secretary if he will consider the advisability of setting up a Select Committee to consider the condition of the existing law in relation to betting, sweepstakes, and lotteries?

In view of the very difficult and chaotic condition of the law, will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to consider setting up a Select Committee, if representations are made from all opinions in this House?

39.

asked the Home Secretary whether it is his intention to take steps to prevent the traffic in tickets in foreign lotteries, either by stopping circulars respecting such lotteries in transmission through the post, or by intercepting letters and remittances directed to the persons from whom the circulars emanated?

The Departments concerned do all that is possible to stop foreign lottery circulars in the post.

Workers' Health (Committees)

37.

asked the Home Secretary if he will furnish a list of advisory or other committees which have been set up by the Home Office, in connection with matters affecting the health of work-people arising out of their employment, since the commencement of the year 1927?

The Departmental Committees appointed on the following subjects appear to come within the limits indicated in the question: (1) Dust in Cotton Card Rooms; (2) Compensation for and Prevention of Silicosis in the Pottery Industry; (3) Medical Arrangements for Diagnosis of Silicosis; and (4) Working of the Shops (Early Closing) Acts.

Will it be possible for the right hon. Gentleman to give a complete list of all the Committees and Commissions which have been set up by the Government in the last few months?

I have given a complete list of all the Committees and Commissions set up in reference to the specific point of the question.

Industrial Diseases (Silicosis)

38.

asked the Home Secretary in how many of the 423 cases in which compensation has been paid under the Refractories Industries (Silicosis) Scheme, between 1st February, 1919, and 31st December, 1928, the workman had not been employed in the industry or in receipt of weekly payments under the scheme at any time within three years previous to disablement or death?

It would appear from information supplied by the Refractories Industries Compensation Fund. that there were five such cases.

Deportees (Re-Entry)

40.

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the entry into this country by means of week-end tickets from the Continent of share-pushers who have already been deported from this country; and what steps he is taking to prevent the entry of such persons by means of week-end tickets?

Yes, Sir, and in four eases recently the aliens have been subsequently identified and convicted of landing without permission. Arrangements are being made for their early deportation. As I stated in reply to a question by the hon. and gallant Member on the 20th February, the utmost vigilance is exercised by the officers at the ports to secure that the facilities granted to excursionists are not abused. It would not be desirable to disclose the nature of the measures which are taken in this respect.

Is there anything to prevent these four when they are deported, coming back again on weekend tickets; and cannot the right hon. Gentleman take some steps to tighten up the regulations?

Yes, probably the vigilance of the inspection will prevent their returning, in addition to their own bitter experience.

How if they come in by another port on a week-end ticket; how can they prevent it?

Education

Size Of Classes

41.

asked the President of the Board of Education the number of classes at present at the elementary schools containing over 60 pupils?

There were 85 classes containing over 60 pupils on the 31st March, 1929, the latest date for which figures are available. My hon. Friend will realise that these figures relate to a particular day of the year on which, owing to the temporary absence of a teacher or other special causes, the conditions may, for the moment, be abnormal. In only two areas were there more than four such classes and in both of these a special problem exists owing to the rapid development of housing estates.

Teachers (Training)

42.

asked the President of the Board of Education how many intending teachers in the three latest years for which statistics are available undertook a post-graduate training; and will he state how many teachers recognised for the first time in secondary schools during the last year for which statistics are available had not undergone a training course?

The number of intending teachers who have undertaken a course of post-graduate training under the Board's regulations in the past three years is:

1927–281,704
1928–291,746
1929–301,867
1,339 teachers took up appointments in secondary schools as new entrants to the teaching profession during the year 1928–29, of which 645 are known to have undergone a course of training. The balance includes a number of teachers of special subjects in respect of whose training particulars are not available, although it is known that many of them had been trained.

44.

asked the President of the Board of Education how many students in training colleges have undertaken a third year of training in the training college years, commencing in the autumns of 1927, 1928 and 1929; and is it his policy to encourage suitable students to undertake a third year?

The numbers of students who began a third year of training during the academic years beginning 1st August, 1927, 1928 and 1929, respectively, were 472, 421 and 467. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the circular letter of the 28th December last which explained the conditions under which proposals for third year courses would be sympathetically considered.

Supplementary Teachers (Superannuation)

43.

asked the President of the Board of Education if any local education authority has included its supplementary teachers in its superannuation scheme under the Local Government Officers' Superannuation Act; and, if so, if the authority's contribution to the superannuation fund ranks for grant?

I have no information which would enable me to say whether any local education authorities provide for the superannuation of supplementary teachers under the Local Government Officers' Superannuation Act. Any expenditure so incurred by the authorities would not rank for grant by the Board.

Languages (Spanish And Portuguese)

47.

asked the President of the Board of Education if, in view of the importance of South America to our trade and industry, he is prepared to do all in his power to stimulate the study of Spanish and Portuguese in our schools?

I fully appreciate the commercial and industrial importance of the Spanish and Portuguese languages, and I shall take every opportunity of encouraging their study in schools of appropriate types. The matter is being carefully considered by the Committee on Education for Salesmanship in connection with their inquiry into the subject of modern languages, and I expect to obtain valuable assistance from their conclusions and recommendations.

Will the right hon. Gentleman issue instructions to education authorities stressing the fact that at the present time the Spanish language, particularly, is of more importance than French?

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he can inform the House whether many Members of the Liberal party take lessons?

Maintenance Allowances

48.

asked the President of the Board of Education if he is prepared, in connection with the proposed maintenance grants for school children between 14 and 15, to extend the scheme to those children who remain voluntarily at school beyond 15?

The maintenance allowances authorised by the Education (School Attendance) Bill are restricted to children from the age of 14 up to the age when they cease to be compelled to attend school. But the Bill does not interfere with the existing powers of local education authorities to award scholarships or bursaries, including maintenance allowances, to older children.

50.

asked the President of the Board of Education how many times the advisory committee on school maintenance grants has met; where are the meetings held; and have the members of the committee been informed that the Board of Education do not propose to pay them their out-of-pocket expenses for attending such meetings?

The Committee on Maintenance Allowances has held four meetings and is to meet again to-morrow. The meetings have been held at the office of the Board of Education. The answer to the last part of the question is in the negative.

Had the Minister any idea that these gentlemen are not to receive any out-of-pocket expenses for the services that they are giving?

Domestic Science

49.

asked the President of the Board of Education what steps have been taken to carry out the Report of the Ministry of Labour Committee on Domestic Service in 1923, in respect of Recommendation No. 76, that training in domestic science should be a regular feature of instruction in all elementary, central, and secondary schools, and that open examinations, with certificates of proficiency, should be established?

On a point of Order. Can an hon. Member expect an answer to a question which he has asked without rising from his seat?

Instruction in domestic science is regarded as a normal part of the curriculum for girls in secondary schools and for older girls in central and other elementary schools. Opportunities for this work are being continually increased as part of the general improvement in school buildings and organisation. Domestic science is included as one of the optional subjects in the syllabus of the school certificate examinations taken by pupils in secondary schools, but it was not thought desirable for the Board to set up any special examination in this subject.

Staffing (Retired Teachers)

51.

asked the President of the Board of Education if any steps have been taken to invite retired teachers to come to the assistance of the local education authorities when the school age is raised; if so, what has been the response; and is he satisfied that he will be able to avoid overcrowding of classes and understaffing of teachers by 1st April, 1931?

The re-employment of retired teachers or the retention in service of teachers who would otherwise retire is a matter for the local authorities, and it would be premature to ask them for any reports on the subject. In reply to the last part of the question, I consider that reasonable provision can be made for the additional children who will be retained in the schools as a result of the raising of the leaving age as from 1st April, 1931.

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House what he means by "reasonable provision"?

Teachers' Pensions

52.

asked the President of the Board of Education why teachers who undertook, at the request of the Government, the training of disabled ex-service men from 1920 to 1921 under the Ministry of Labour have had those two years deducted from their period of service under the superannuation scheme?

Under the Teachers (Superannuation) Acts pensionable service since 1919 is limited to service rendered in schools aided by grant from the Board of Education, and accordingly the service, to which the hon. Members refers, cannot be treated as ranking for pension, unless the training in question formed part of the work of a grant-aided school.

Is it not most unfair that men who gave their services to help the State should be deprived of superannuation which they would otherwise have had if they had remained at their ordinary work?

Teachers' Salaries

53.

asked the President, of the Board of Education whether he is aware that certain local education authorities are employing certificated teachers in posts that would normally be filled by uncertificated teachers, and that the certificated teachers so employed are being remunerated at the rates laid down in the Burnham scales for uncertificated teachers; can he state how many teachers are so employed; and whether he will take steps to prevent such a practice?

I understand that for personal reasons individual certificated teachers from time to time voluntarily seek posts that have been advertised as posts for uncertificated teachers and as being remunerated accordingly. I have no information as to the number so employed, but I have no reason to think that there are any sufficient grounds for my intervention.

Non-Provided Schools

54.

asked the President of the Board of Education what progress has been made with the conversations respecting the provision of non-provided schools and the raising of the school age; and whether he can say when he hopes to be in a position to make a statement on the subject?

56.

asked the President of the Board of Education if he can make a statement regarding any negotiations on the subject of raising the school-leaving age which he is holding with either the Church of England or the Roman Catholic authorities?

With the hon Members' permission, I will answer these questions together. Conversations on this subject are still taking place, and I cannot at the moment say when I shall be able to make any announcement.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give some indication of when he will be able to do so.

I can assure my hon. Friend that nobody is more anxious that I am to be able to take the House into my confidence.

Teachers (Unemployment)

55.

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he can state the number of uncertificated teachers, men and women, now in employment and the number of certificated teachers who are without educational posts?

31,943 uncertificated teachers were in employment on the 31st March, 1929, the latest date for which figures are available. I regret that I have no information as to the number of unemployed certificated teachers.

School-Leaving Age

57.

asked the President of the Board of Education how many resolutions for and against the raising of the school-leaving age he has received from parish councils and district councils in the rural areas?

I have received no resolutions from parish or rural district councils in favour of the raising of the school-leaving age, and one resolution against it.

Does the right hon. Gentleman not remember that last week he said that he was getting a proportion of 30 to one resolutions in favour of this question?

What I said on that occasion was in reply to a much more general question put to me by the hon. Member with regard to the number of resolutions for and against the Bill. On that occasion, I very much under stated the number of resolutions in favour of the Bill.

Tariff Truce

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether it is proposed to bring the Tariff Truce Protocol before the House for discussion and ratification by Parliament?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the notice given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Sir A. Chamberlain) on Tuesday last on this subject.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say how long this Protocol is going to commit British industry to a suicidal policy?

League Of Nations Covenant (British Obligations)

46.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will undertake that our existing obligations under the Covenant of the League of Nations are not increased in any way at the next meeting of the League as a result of any arrangement come to at the Naval Conference?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answers given to questions by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) and the hon. Members for Maidstone (Commander Bellairs) and Devon-port (Mr. Hore-Belisha) on Monday last, and to the hon. and gallant Member for Warwick and Leamington (Captain Eden), yesterday, to which replies I have nothing to add.

May I ask whether those answers refer at all to any contemplated change—

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the information that is in the Press might not also be given to this House. I mean the information in connection with the interpretations. I want to know whether the interpretations are not, in effect, modifications of the Covenant, and as binding on us in honour as the Covenant itself?

I have given no information whatever to the Press, and I hope that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen will not attribute to me anything that appeared there.

Housing

Southwark

58.

asked the Minister of Health whether the Southwark Borough Council have built any houses under the Housing Acts of 1919, 1923 and 1924; whether he is aware of the hardship created by the number of families living in overcrowded conditions in this borough; and whether any new schemes for the relief of this congestion is under consideration?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As my hon. Friend is aware, there are no vacant sites in the borough for the relief of the overcrowded conditions which exist in the borough; it is necessary to rely primarily on the provisions undertaken by the London County Council. That authority is carrying out a large programme of building which includes a number of schemes for providing housing accommodation in the inner parts of London. The county council have also undertaken schemes for dealing with unhealthy areas in the borough. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Bill which has just been laid before the House.

Will the right hon. Gentleman use his good offices with the London County Council to see that certain provision is made for the residents in the borough of Southwark, who are at present living under disgraceful conditions?

The county council, as I have said in my answer, has taken steps to provide accommodation in the inner parts of London.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the county council has absolutely refused to make provision to relieve this congestion?

Slum Dwellings

75.

asked the Minister of Health if he will state the estimated number of slum dwellings that ought to be disinhabited if other accommodation were available, and the number of families and of persons now inhabitating such dwellings?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to a previous question put by my hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) of which I am sending him a copy.

Pentonville Prison Site

36.

asked the Home Secretary if he can now give the names of local authorities which have approached him with a view to the taking over of the site of Pentonville Prison for working-class housing; whether any particular local authority has been selected and is being definitely negotiated with; if any price has been fixed; and how soon work will commence?

Before my right hon. Friend can consider entering into any negotiations for the sale of Pentonville Prison, he will have to determine whether satisfactory arrangements can be made for alternative accommodation of the large number of prisoners now sent to Pentonville. This is a very difficult problem, and while my right hon. Friend can assure my hon. Friend that there has been and will be no delay in examining the many financial and administrative questions which arise, he is not yet in a position to announce any conclusion.

Contributory Pensions Act

59.

asked the Minister of Health if, with a view to assisting all widows and orphans of insured persons who died after 4th January, 1926, he will bring in the necessary legislation to repeal condition (b) of Section 5 of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, thereby abolishing the average contribution test in all cases, instead of limiting this privilege to those persons mentioned in Section 6, sub-section (2), of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1929?

I am afraid that no further relaxation of the condition referred to than is provided for in subsection (2) of Section 6 of the Contributory Pensions Act, 1929, could be justified when regard is had to the fact that the object of the condition is to, secure that the widows who receive pensions under the contributory scheme are within the class for which these pensions were designed, namely, widows of men who were genuinely of the insurable class.

Does the Minister of Health remember how he complained of this condition a year ago?

62.

asked the Minister of Health how many widows have been refused a widow's pension on the ground that their late husbands had not made the necessary number of contributions to the National Health Insurance Scheme; and whether he contemplates at an early date presenting legislation that will place such widows in as favourable a position as the widows of men who had made no contributions to the scheme?

As regards the first part of the question, information is not available as to the number of widows who have failed to secure pensions because the necessary number of qualifying contributions were not paid by or in respect of their husbands; as regards the second part, the matter was exhaustively discussed on the Committee stage of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Bill, 1929, and for the reasons then given I am not prepared to introduce legislation on the lines suggested.

How long will these widows have to wait for the pension which the right hon. Gentleman promised them?

May I ask whether widows over 55 years of age, whose husbands died since the introduction of the Act without paying a sufficient number of contributions, are being treated differently from the widows whose husbands died before the Act?

71.

asked the Minister of Health how many widows are excluded from the provisions of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1929?

77.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has received a copy of a recent resolution passed at the annual general meeting of the National Federation of Employés' Approved Societies, demanding that the whole system of National Health Insurance and Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions be reviewed with a view to simplification, and for provision to be made for ail persons to have an equal opportunity of being insured on equal terms; and what action he proposes to take?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The matter comes within the scope of the Committee engaged on a general survey of existing insurance and pensions legislation.

Public Health

Lock Hospital

60.

asked the Minister of Health if he is now in a position to announce the reforms undertaken by the board of the Lock Hospital; whether any women have been appointed to its governing board; and, if so, what are their names?

The governing body of this hospital have given effect to a number of the recommendations contained in the Papers presented to Parliament last July, and I understand that further improvements are in contemplation. I do not consider that the best interests of the hospital would be served by publishing details at the present time of the reforms already effected. As regards the remaining parts of the question, the board of management of the hospital includes the following ladies: Mrs. Hatfeild, J.P.; Councillor Mrs. Hendin, J.P.; Commissioner Mrs. Lamb, J.P.; Lady Leitrim; Miss E. E. Macneill; Miss Mowll.

Psittacosis

63.

asked the Minister of Health if he can state the number of cases of psittacosis notified during the month of March?

Psittacosis is not a notifiable disease, but my Department has received information of 20 cases of illness which commenced last month and in which the patients had been associated with sick parrots. I am advised, however, that in the present state of knowledge of psittacosis it is not possible to say definitely how many of these persons were in fact suffering from that disease.

Is the right hon. Gentleman considering the question of prohibiting the importation of these parrots?

NUMBER of PATIENTS who died in Institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control.
Year.Institutions for the Insane (under the Lunacy Acts).Institutions for Mental Defectives.
19208,476Not available.
19218,523117 Not including deaths in poor Law Institutions approved under Section 37 of the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, Certified Houses, or Approved Homes.
19229,370207
19238,326181
19248,386206
19258,521256
19268,392177
19279,292207Not including deaths in Poor Law Institutions approved under Section 37 of the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913.
19288,747222
19299,775220

73.

asked the Minister of Health the number of institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control in which the approved accommodation is in excess of normal requirements; and what is that excess?

There are 44 local authorities under the Lunacy Act who have accommodation in excess of that required for patients within their own area; and the total number of beds is at present 5,272. Most of this surplus accommodation is, however, occupied by patients received under reception contracts from other local authorities who have insufficient accommodation or do not own a mental hospital. I am informed that private institutions under the Lunacy Act have sufficient vacant beds to meet normal requirements. In the case of mental deficiency institutions, there is no accommodation in excess of normal requirements.

Are steps being taken to secure accommodation in the case of local authorities which at present have no accommodation?

Mental Treatment

72.

asked the Minister of Health the number of patients who died in institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control during each of the last 10 years?

I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate the available particulars in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the particulars:

74.

asked the Minister of Health the average number of patients per doctor in the institutions under the jurisdiction of the Board of Control?

As regards institutions under the Lunacy Act, the average number of patients to each member of the resident medical staff is:

  • (a) In county and borough mental hospitals, 280;
  • (b) In registered hospitals, 61; and
  • (c) In licensed houses 35.
  • Most of these institutions have, in addition to their resident staff, a number of visiting consultants. In mental deficiency institutions, the average number of patients to each member of the staff, resident and non-resident, is 111.

    Birth Control

    81.

    asked the Minister of Health whether it has been reported to him by his medical officers that there are any demands or requests for birth control information from mothers at subsidised welfare centres?

    Such requests are only occasionally reported by the medical officers of the Department.

    Maternity Welfare (Milk)

    82.

    asked the Minister of Health the number of local authorities which have increased their expenditure on milk since May, 1929; and whether it is his policy to encourage such expenditure in the interests of expectant and nursing mothers and their babies?

    There were 47 cases in which I sanctioned an increased expenditure on milk by local authorities during the past financial year, and in 99 other cases the revised estimates of the local authorities showed some increase in this expenditure, as compared with the original estimates. As regards the last part of the question, I have given a general sanction to the extension of this service to such an extent, and in such a manner, as the local authorities think desirable.

    Has my right hon. Friend made up the sums taken from them by his predecessor?

    Imported Milk And Cream

    84.

    asked the Minister of Health what was the amount of liquid milk and what was the amount of liquid cream imported into this country in 1929; from what countries did they come, respectively; and what precautions were taken to see that they were free from tuberculosis?

    I am informed that 56,460 cwts. of milk and 138,604 cwts. of cream were imported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1929. All the milk except 406 cwts. from Denmark and the Netherlands came from the Irish Free State. I am sending the hon. and gallant Member a statement showing the countries from which the imports of cream were received. Imports of milk from outside the British Islands are subject to examination for tubercle under the Imported Milk Regulations. There is no examination of imported cream for this purpose.

    Child Adoption (Advertisements)

    61.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that provincial newspapers constantly publish advertisements which offer to adopt children and which have only a box number; whether he is aware that the advertisers are sometimes people from whom the licence to take children has been withdrawn and people who are unaware that a licence is necessary; and whether he will take steps to make it compulsory that the names of such advertisers under a box number shall be sent by the Press to the clerk of the appropriate public assistance committee?

    No recent advertisements of this kind have been brought to the notice of my Department, and I have no information to the effect of the second part of the question. As regards the third part, this suggestion will receive consideration in connection with any legislation for the amendment of Part I of the Children Act, 1908.

    Clerks Of County Councils (Appointments)

    68.

    asked the Minister of Health if he is now in a position to make any statement as to the introduction of legislation in regard to the appointment of clerks of the county councils and clerks of the peace?

    I have recently informed the County Councils' Association that, while I am in sympathy with such legislation, it cannot be included in the programme of the Government for the current Session of Parliament.

    Census

    69.

    asked the Minister of Health if he will state the day of the month in 1931 when the next Census will be taken; and whether the schedule of information desired will differ in any way from that in use in 1921, and, if so, in what respect?

    I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my reply on the 26th ultimo to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Freeman).

    Poor Law (Stone Breaking)

    76.

    asked the Minister of Health if he will state in how many Poor Law institutions stone breaking is still imposed as a task; and what steps he is taking in the matter?

    The Report of the inquiry into test work which I propose to publish deals with this matter, and I would ask my hon. Friend to await its publication.

    Is my right hon. Friend not aware that in the meantime stone breaking is still being given, and cannot he give the simple information for which I ask? There is nothing confidential about it.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman also say when he intends to publish the Report.

    Has not the right hon. Gentleman had this matter in hand for a very long time?

    Social Insurance Schemes

    78.

    asked the Minister of Health whether the general survey of social insurance schemes by the special committee has now been completed?

    How long will it be before this committee arrives at a conclusion, or is the answer which the right hon. Gentleman has given simply a means of evading the undertakings which he has already given?

    May I very respectfully ask you, Mr. Speaker, on a point of Order, whether it is in order for the Minister of Health to refuse to answer any supplementary questions at all?

    National Finance

    Tobacco Duty

    85.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the net revenue derived from the importation of tobacco during the current financial year?

    I assume that the hon. Member's question means something different from what it is expressed to mean in referring to the current financial year. Up to 28th February, the amount was approximately £57,366,000.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he said the other day that the bulk of the revenue from import duties came from tobacco, and, having regard to his present answer, did he not mislead the House on that occasion?

    The greater bulk of the revenue from these import duties comes from tobacco. I have just given the figure, namely, £57,000,000. The next items are sugar, £14,000,000; oil, £15,000,000; spirits, £6,000,000; beer, £6,000,000. The McKenna Duties yield about £3,000,000.

    87.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the net revenue derived from the Tobacco Duty in the current financial year from Empire and non-Empire products; and the amount from manufactured and unmanufactured tobacco?

    Up to 28th February, the amounts were approximately £7,680,000 from Empire products, £49,686,000 from non-Empire products, £581,000 from manufactured tobacco, and £56,785,000 from unmanufactured tobacco

    Oil Duties

    92.

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what the cost would be to the Exchequer if the duties on hydrocarbon oils, turpentine and white spirit, now used by paint and varnish manufacturers, were remitted?

    The official records do not show how much of these commodities is used by paint and varnish manufacturers, and it is difficult to see how remission could be confined to use in these particular trades. It is anticipated that the remission so extended would cost over £1,000,000 a year.

    West Indies (Sugar Industry)

    86.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there were any special circumstances operating during the current financial year to account for a decrease of £81,000 in the revenue derived from the importation of British West Indian sugar?

    I am not aware of any such special circumstances. The revenue derived from British West Indian sugar fluctuates considerably. For instance, the receipts from this source in the first 11 months of the current financial year, while 20 per cent. below those of the corresponding period of 1928–29, were 50 per cent. above those of the whole of 1927–28.

    On a point of Order. I submit that I am perfectly correct in putting this question for the current financial year. May I ask, as a supplementary question, whether the right hon. Gentleman would include among the special circumstances the ambiguous statement which he made at the beginning of this Parliament, and his obstinate silence since?

    Hatry Prosecution

    91.

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he can now state the estimated cost, including counsel's fees, of the recent prosecution of Hatry and others?

    The total costs of the prosecution in the cases of Rex v. Hatry and others amount to £3,729 3s. 1d. The amount received from local funds towards the costs of the prosecution, with allowances made by the Court, is £1,902 10s.

    Can the hon. Gentleman say how much of that the Attorney-General is getting?

    Does the amount which the hon. Gentleman has stated include the cost of the extradition of Mr. Gialdini?

    Agriculture

    Arable Farming

    95.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will now state when it is intended to introduce proposals to deal with the depression in arable farming?