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Written Answers

Volume 237: debated on Thursday 3 April 1930

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Written Answers

Public Health

Refuse Disposal, London

asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet received the Report of the Committee set up to consider the question of London refuse disposal?

I have not yet received the Report, but I understand that it is now in preparation.

Mental Defectives

asked the Minister of Health whether he has any information respecting the marriage of mental defectives and their offspring; and whether he contemplates taking steps to prohibit such marriages?

References have been made to this matter from time to time in the Reports of the Board of Control. Legislation would be necessary in order to prohibit the marriage of mental defectives; and I cannot at present undertake to introduce a Measure for this purpose.

asked the Minister of Health how many colonies for mental defectives exist in England and Wales; the total number of patients and attendants, respectively; and the total cost; and whether he contemplates encouraging the further establishment of these colonies?

There are 35 institutions certified under the Mental Deficiency Acts, which may be regarded as colonies, but they are in widely divergent stages of development. The total number of patients is at present 16,592, but I am not in a position to state the number of attendants or the total cost. The cost of colonies is under consideration by a Committee recently appointed, and their advice must have a bearing on the question of further provision of accommodation of this type.

asked the Minister of Health in how many instances during the past year have the Board of Control, in fulfilling their duty of scrutinising documents of certification, discovered that no reason has been stated (as required by Section 32 of the Lunacy Act, 1890) as to why the usual medical attendant of the patient has not been consulted; is he aware that the omission to give this reason constitutes a contravention of an important safeguard; and will he see that in future no such omission will be allowed to pass unnoticed?

Statistics are not available in regard to this point. But the omission to which my hon. Friend refers is a contravention of Section 31 of the Lunacy Act, and the Board of Control return for insertion of the necessary particulars all reception documents which do not comply with the requirements of that section.

Rubbish Burning, Leyton

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of widespread complaints by residents in Leyton at the odours caused by burning rubbish on a private dumping ground, and that the local borough council are powerless to prevent this nuisance; and whether he will take steps to remedy these circumstances?

I have received complaints and am in communication with the authorities concerned.


asked the Minister of Health if he will issue a memorandum to public medical officials deprecating the vaccination of persons who have been in contact with smallpox, seeing that in cases where the smallpox has already been contracted the operation can only add to the patient's troubles and in those cases where it has not been already contracted after such exposure the imposition of the operation is ipso facto unnecessary?

No, Sir. I do not think that I should be justified in adopting the course suggested. I am advised that vaccination, if performed sufficiently soon after exposure to smallpox infection, usually prevents an attack of the disease. If vaccination is performed too late to prevent the disease being contracted it may, nevertheless, modify the severity of the attack.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that doctors in the service of the Metropolitan Asylums Board vaccinate children sent to the shelters as suspected cases of small-pox; that this is done without any reference to the wishes of the parents, or notice taken of the fact that many of these children have been legally exempted from vaccination; and whether he will issue instructions that no child taken to the hospitals or shelters of local authorities shall be vaccinated without the consent of its parents?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I am informed that the vaccination is performed solely in the interests of the children, who whilst under observation are exposed to small-pox infection at the shelters, in order that they may be protected against an attack of that disease if they have not already contracted it. I am advised that it would not be desirable, in view of the risks involved, to make any exception to this practice, and I have no authority to issue such instructions as are suggested.

Medical Research

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in view of the inadequacy of the present endowment of medical research, what action he proposes to take to increase the amount of the annual Grant-in-Aid?

The present annual Grant-in-Aid of the medical Research Council is £148,000 and I have no reason to think that it is inadequate. My hon. Friend must understand that this is by no means the only contribution made by the State to medical research.



asked the Minister of Health the number of houses erected under the Housing Act, 1919, in the counties of Derby, Durham, Northumberland, Lancaster, Cumberland, Warwick and Monmouth; and the amount of arrears of rent owing in each county upon these houses?

The following statement shows the number of houses erected under the Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1919, in each of the counties in question:

County.Number of houses completed.
By Local Authorities.By Private Enterprise.Total.
There are 232 local authorities having housing schemes under the Housing Act of 1919 in the counties mentioned and up to date information as to their arrears of rents could only be obtained by inquiry from each authority involving a considerable amount of work which I hesitate to put in hand at the present time of general pressure of work. If my hon. Friend would care to have the information in regard to any selected authorities I will have it obtained.


asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the fact that 1,000 houses have been built at Warrington, the economic rent of which, including a sum for purchase by instalments, works out at 8s. 4d. per week; whether he can state the circumstances and special financial arrangements which enabled these houses to be so cheaply constructed; and whether he proposes to draw the attention of other local authorities to the success of the experiment?

I have not received any recent report upon these houses. So far as I am aware, they were not built under any special financial arrangement. The corporation paid, as other corporations have done, a subsidy of £100 a house and made advances on mortgage to the builders or purchasers of the houses. I may add that I understand that the purchasers do not acquire the freehold of the houses, but remain under a liability to pay a ground rent. Under arrangements made by my predecessor, subsidy is no longer available towards the cost of houses which are built for sale.

Poor Law

Circular 1,095

asked the Minister of Health if it is his intention that Order Number 185 of Statutory Rules and Orders, 1930, should be read in conjunction with Circular 1,095; and, is so, will he take steps to see that these two documents are bound together before issue for the better use and convenience of those persons using them?

The Circular and Order referred to have already been issued and were sent to the local authorities at the same time. I do not think that the adoption of the suggestion of the hon. Member would serve any useful purpose. Special stress was laid in the Circular on the lines of development which I hope will be followed in the administration of the services transferred from the former Poor Law authorities.

Test Work

asked the Minister of Health whether he proposes to publish the Report of the Ministry's inspectors on the position of test work?

Relief (Pensioners)

asked the Minister of Health the number of pensioners under the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Acts during the year ended 31st March, 1930, who were in receipt of outdoor relief or institutional relief, respectively, and the amount expended in such relief?

The returns received in my Department of persons in receipt of Poor Law relief do not distinguish pensioners under the Contributory Pensions Acts from pensioners under other Old Age Pension Acts. The total number of pensioners under the Old Age Pensions Acts 1908 to 1924 and the Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, who were in receipt of Poor Law relief on 1st January, 1930, was 151,150. This number includes 30,350 children in respect of whom children's allowances were paid to the mothers. About 7,000 of the total were in receipt of institutional relief. The amount expended on relief to pensioners is not separately ascertained.


Poor Law Relief

asked the Minister of Labour whether the majority of persons receiving Poor Relief in respect of unemployment were already on the live register at a period 12 months ago comparable with the period covered by the latest figures for unemployment; and, if they were not, what is the approximate number of persons receiving Poor Relief in respect of unemployment omitted from the published returns of the live register for the last week in 1929?

The only available figures regarding the numbers of persons receiving Poor Law relief in respect of unemployment, who are on the registers of Employment Exchanges, relate to 17th February, 1930. It is estimated, on the basis of a 10 per cent. sample, that at that date there were approximately 26,000 unemployed persons ordinarily engaged in some regular occupation in receipt of outdoor Poor Law relief in Great Britain who were not in the registers of Employment Exchanges.

Withnell And Brinscall

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the large increase in the number of unemployed persons in the district of Withnell and Brinscall, consequent upon the depression in the cotton industry, she will issue instructions for an Employment Exchange to be opened in that district?

I am having inquiry made in this matter, and will communicate with the right hon. Member.


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the fact that unemployment in the Slough area is now worse than at any previous period, the number of the unemployed being over four times greater than when the present Government assumed office, she will discontinue transfers from the depressed areas into this district?

I find that the figures I gave to the hon. Member on 26th March last for the number of unemployed at Slough, included the men at the Slough Training Centre. In March last, for instance, out of 826 men included in the figures, 318 were at the training centre. The balance of 508 men

Adult Male Unemployed.Men from Depressed Areas attending Slough Training Centre.Adult Male unemployed, excluding figures in Col.2.


asked the Minister of Labour the number of people registered as unemployed in Liverpool on the latest convenient date?

At 17th March, 1930, there were 67,145 persons on the registers of Employment Exchanges in the Liverpool area, including those at Liverpool, Garston, Bootle and Walton.


asked the Minister of Labour the present number of persons registered as unemployed in Hull; and the principal trades and callings that account for this present unemployment?

At 24th March, 1930, there were 16,786 persons on the registers of the Hull Employment Exchange. The industries in which the largest numbers of insured persons were recorded as unemployed were: Dock, harbour, river and canal service; distributive trades; shipbuilding; manufacture of oils, grease, etc.; shipping service and the building industry.


represents an unemployment percentage of about 7 per cent. The following table shows separate for each month the number of men at the centre who were included.

of registered unemployed in the Newcastle-on-Tyne area on 24th March last; and what was the number on the corresponding day in the year 1929?

At 24th March, 1930, there were 20,188 persons on the registers of Employment Exchanges in the Newcastle-on-Tyne area, as compared with 17,708 at 25th March, 1929.

Manufacturing And Safe Uarded Industries (Workers)

asked the Minister of Labour the number of workers included, respectively, in all manufacturing industries and in safeguarded industries, including in the latter the industries covered by the Silk and McKenna Duties?

I regret that I cannot give precisely the information asked for, but such information as is available shows that the estimated total number of insured persons aged 16 to 64 in Great Britain at July, 1929, classified as belonging to industries other than fishing, mining, transport and communication, distributive trades, commerce, banking, insurance, finance, national and local Government and miscellaneous services was 6,926,280. The corresponding figure for motor vehicles, cycles and aircraft was 243,230, for silk and artificial silk 73,480, for lace 16,920, and for musical instruments 28,330. Other corresponding figures for safeguarded and McKenna duty industries are not available.

Washington Hours Convention

asked the Minister of Labour if it has yet been decided to introduce a Bill to ratify the Washington Hours Convention this Session; and if she can give the approximate date?

I hope to introduce the Hours of Industrial Employment Bill very soon, but I cannot yet give a precise date.

Cost-Of-Living Index Figures (Rent)

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the decrease in the number of controlled houses, the large number of working men who have been compelled to purchase houses, and the large number of working men who rent rooms in houses not within the Rent Restriction Acts, she will take the necessary steps to obtain the average rent now being paid by the working classes and revise the index figure from March of this year accordingly?

As no comparative statistics are available for July, 1914, the results of an inquiry into average rent paid by working-class families could not be utilised for the purpose of the present series of official cost-of-living index figures. For the purpose of those figures careful inquiries are regularly made as to the increases over pre-War rents of houses, and I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the "Ministry of Labour Gazette" for December, 1928, on page 435 of which is an article explaining the system by which the statistics are compiled. The figures there given have been regularly revised, in accordance with the information collected as to the position at subsequent dates, but the system of compilation has remained unaltered. I am afraid it is impracticable to include, within the scope of the present index figures, particulars of houses bought by workmen, or of sub-let rooms not subject to the Rent Restrictions Act, since there are no corresponding data for July, 1914.

Glove-Making Industry (Statistics)

asked the Minister of Labour if she will supply complete quarterly average figures of employment and unemployment since the second quarter of 1929 in the leather and fabric glove industry, respectively, and of wages in the same industry for the years 1924–29, inclusive?

I regret that as this industry is not separately classified in the statistics relating to unemployment among insured workpeople, figures as to unemployment are not available. As regards employment, I wound refer the hon. Member to the reply, of which I am sending him a copy, given on 1st April by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to the hon. and gallant Member for the Bournemouth Division (Sir H. Croft). As regards wages, information was obtained 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, relating to a large part of the glove-making industry. The particulars obtained are set forth in an article which appeared 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.

Cost Of Living {London And New York)

asked the Minister of Labour the relative cost of living in London and New York, respectively, taking into account similar housing accommodation in the two cities?

I regret that the available statistical information is insufficient to enable a comparison to be made on this basis. Certain figures relating to food, fuel and light are Compiled by the International Labour Office and are to be found in the "International Labour Review" for October, 1929. These figures are subject to important reservations, and, in any case, are insufficient to indicate the relative cost of living for which my hon. Friend has asked.

asked the Minister of Labour whether, with the information already secured to date from the new valuation lists in the various assessment areas as to the average rent now being paid by the working classes, she can review the situation in order that the cost-of-living figure may be revised before it is next determined?

asked the Minister of Health whether, with the information already secured to date from the new valuation lists in the various assessment areas as to the average rent now being paid by the working classes, he can review the situation in order that the cost-of-living figure may be revised before it is next determined?

The valuation lists do not provide the information required for the purpose of the official cost-of-living index figures. Particulars, however, are collected from other sources as to the changes actually occurring from time to time in working-class house rents (including local rates and water charges), and the index figure is regularly revised in the light of the information so obtained.

South African Liners (Stamps, Sale)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will make representations to the South African Government to make arrangements with the Union Castle Steamship Company in order that, in the future, the sale of British postage stamps may be allowed upon the liners carrying mails between South Africa and Great Britain?

I can only refer the hon. Member to the reply which my hon. Friend gave him on 11th February.

Taxi-Cab Drivers, London (Convictions)

asked the Home Secretary whether he has any record and can give particulars of convictions recorded against drivers of taximeter-cabs in the Metro- politan Police Area for the 12 months ended to the last convenient date?

529 convictions in the Metropolitan Police District were recorded during 1929 against drivers of taximeter-cabs in respect of various offences of 39 different kinds connected with their work.


School-Leaving Age

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of the 2,000 additional teachers estimated to be required if the school-leaving age is raised are class teachers; how many specialist teachers in woodwork, gardening, domestic science, and physical training, respectively; and what steps have been taken to ensure that these teachers are trained by 1st April, 1931?

It is estimated that considerably more than half of the 2,000 additional teachers required will be class teachers. I regret that it is not possible from the information at present available to give figures showing the number of specialist teachers required in each of the subjects mentioned. Special additional classes for training teachers of woodwork and of commercial subjects have been instituted; as regards class teachers and teachers of the other subjects referred to, it is expected that the existing surplus, together with the teachers at present in training, will be adequate to meet the increased demand.

Housing (Rural Workers)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether there are any county local authorities in Scotland that have as yet not framed schemes under the Housing (Rural Workers) Act; and what action is being taken by the Government with these authorities to bring to their notice the advantages of the Act?

As at 31st March, 18 landward local authorities in Scotland had not had schemes approved under the Housing (Rural Workers) Act though some of them still had the matter under consideration. As regards the latter part of the question I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply on this subject given on 25th March to the hon. and gallant Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Sir A. Sinclair).

Immigrants, Canada

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he will make inquiries as to the number of emigrants admitted to Canada for each of the last five years, divided into separate nationalities?

Hebrews N.E.S948781
Jugo Slavs1,3061,6203,5605,3864,193
West Indies7371
Other Countries24253111313
United States20,65515,91418,88321,12025,115

The required particulars are published annually by the Dominion Government, but the 1929 figures are not yet available. The following are the figures, extracted from the Canada Year Book for the years 1924 to 1928:

Hejaz And Nejd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Hejaz and Nejd are recognised by His Majesty's Government as separate sovereign states united under one ruler or whether they are both comprised within one sovereign state; if so, what is the official designation of that state; and whether it is a member of the League of Nations?

The Kingdoms of the Hejaz and of Nejd are recognised by His Majesty's Government as separate sovereign States under one ruler, King Abd-el-Aziz, Ibn Saud. The second part of the question, therefore, does not arise. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member, in so far as the Hejaz is concerned, to the answer given to the hon. Member for Wolverhampton East (Mr. Mandel) on 17th March. The Kingdom of Nejd is not a member of the League of Nations.

Royal Navy (Discharge)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will favourably consider making alterations in the regulations respecting discharges from the Royal Navy, so that free discharges may be governed by the same considerations in all respects as discharge by purchase?

The regulations for discharge free or by purchase are given in King's Regulations and Admiralty Instructions, Article 1120. Free discharge is allowed only on compassionate grounds when the necessary money cannot be raised for discharge by purchase.

Dock And Harbour Boards (Accounting)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will consider the advisability of establishing a uniform system in boards of docks, harbours, and similar public, bodies of accounting, distinguishing between expenditure on capital and on current account?

To give effect to the suggestion of the hon. Mem- ber would require legislation, which, under existing circumstances, I am not prepared to promote.


Wheat (Guaranteed Price)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has received representations urging the Government to announce a guaranteed price of 55s. a quarter for all homegrown wheat of the current year's growth; and, if so, whether any reply has been sent and of what nature?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The answer is that the Government can hold out no prospect of food taxes or subsidies.

Beet-Sugar Subsidy

asked the Minister of Agriculture what has been the total amount to date of the beet-sugar subsidy?

The total amount of subsidy paid since the date of the passing of the British Sugar (Subsidy) Act, 1925, to 31st March, 1930, is £16,177,217 15s. ld.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the names of any countries where the taxes per head are greater than this country?

There is no country in which the taxation per head is higher than in this country, but it is necessary to point out, as my predecessor did, that a comparison on the basis of taxation per head of population is apt to be misleading.

Government Stocks (Foreign Holders)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the War debt is owned by foreigners?

Particulars of the external debt of this country are given in the annual Finance Accounts. It is not possible to say to what extent ordinary British Government stocks are held outside this country.

Oils (Duty)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the amount of revenue received for the last three years in respect of the duty on white spirit and vegetable turpentine?

The duty on hydrocarbon oils, which applies to white spirit and turpentine, only came into force as from 25th April, 1928. The approximate amount of revenue derived from turpentine from that date to 28th February, 1930, was £125,000. Statistics in regard to the receipts from white spirit are not available.


Physical Training

asked the President of the Board of Education the amount of time allocated per day to physical training in the elementary schools; the number of inspectors employed to see that this training is carried out; and whether any changes in the system of such training have been adopted during the past 10 years similar to those initiated in the physical training departments of the Army and Navy?

The amount of time allocated to physical training in public elementary schools varies as a rule from one to two hours per week. The number of inspectors of physical training employed by the Board is 10. The Swedish system, on which the physical training in the schools has for a long time been based, has proved is efficiency and there has, therefore, been no need for any change of system during the last 10 years; but there have been considerable developments during that period in a number of directions, particularly in the provision of greater pacilities for organised games and swimming, and for more advanced exercises for the older children.


asked the President of the Board of Education the grants paid to local authorities in respect of educational services for the years 1928–29 and 1929–30, respectively?

The grants paid by the Board of Education to local education authorities for the year 1928–29 amounted to £39,584,000. Figures for the year 1929–30 cannot be given until the audited accounts of local education authorities' expenditure for 1929–30 have been received and examined and the grants settled. The grants paid by the Board of Education to local education authorities in 1929–30 amounted to £39,177,000 which compares with £39,103,000 paid in 1928–29.