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Written Answers

Volume 244: debated on Tuesday 11 November 1930

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Written Answers

Unemployment

Relief Schemes, Scotland

asked the Minister of Labour whether any steps have been taken to secure the consideration and approval of unemployment relief schemes in Scotland instead of such schemes being dealt with through the officials of the Unemployment Grants Committee in London?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on Thursday last to his question on the same subject. The arrangements I then outlined will, I hope, secure to the Unemployment Grants Committee and the local authorities in Scotland the expert advice and assistance which the hon. Member no doubt has in mind.

Domestic Service

asked the Minister of Labour whether she can give any estimate as to the number of unemployed domestic workers at the present time?

At 22nd September, 1930, there were on the registers of Employment Exchanges in Great Britain 36,808 women applicants for work in domestic service. Of these 30,737 were applicants for posts as non-resident domestics or charwomen and the remainder for posts as resident domestics in hotels, boarding-houses or private houses. I am unable to make any estimate of the numbers unemployed who are not registered at Employment Exchanges.

Benefit

asked the Minister of Labour the number of cases in which unemployment benefits have been disallowed by Courts of Referees without leave to appeal to the umpire being granted since 1st March this year?

asked the Minister of Labour what number of references to Courts of Referees on claims for unemployment benefits were considered during the last 12 months with only the chairman of the court present; and what steps she will take to ensure that such cases are considered by a fully representative court?

Statistics on this point are not available for the period prior to last July, but since 1st July figures can be given for the number of sittings. Out of 9,692 sittings held from 1st July to 29th September, 798 (that is about 8 per cent.) consisted of the chairman only. As my hon. Friend is aware, no case can be decided by an incomplete court without the consent of the claimant. I have no power to compel the attendance of members of the courts of referees, but efforts are continually being made to improve the attendances and I have asked a number of local employment committees for the areas where the attendances are least satisfactory to set up special sub-committees to assist in this direction.

asked the Minister of Labour whether any indication can be given of the proportion of beneficiaries under the Unemployment Insurance Acts who are in receipt of transitional benefit and of the distribution of these beneficiaries among different industrial groups?

At 22nd September, 1930, out of a total of 1,967,000 claimants for benefit on the Registers of Employment Exchanges in Great Britain, it had been ascertained in 342,000 cases that 30 contributions had not been paid in the preceding two years. An industrial analysis of such cases is not available for any date later than 26th May, 1930; I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the October issue of the "Ministry of Labour Gazette" which contains on page 359, the figures derived from a sample analysis for that date.

asked the Minister of Labour whether she will consider the desirability of issuing instructions to Employment Exchanges, when the usual date for the weekly payment of benefit is to be altered, especially when it means a reduction during the week in question, that at least a fortnight's notice shall be given to those concerned?

Kent

asked the Minister of Labour what are the latest figures showing the number of unemployed persons registered in each Employment Exchange area in the county of Kent and the comparable figures for the same period last year and the year 1928, respectively?

The following table shows the numbers of persons on the registers of each Employment Exchange in the county of Kent at 27th October, 1930, and the corresponding dates in 1929 and 1928.

Employment Exchange.27th October, 1930.28th October, 1929.29th October, 1928.
Bromley679409442
Canterbury686395352
Dartford1,8499131,045
Dover1,3579631,051
Erith1,566800762
Folkestone882544631
Gravesend1,9471,3561,188
Maidstone1,275598585
Margate1,2801,023920
Ramsgate1,6211,279972
Chatham4,5213,6343,731
Sheerness665524486
Tunbridge Wells582361397
Ashford408256300
Borough Green (opened 1st July, 1929).3720
Cranbrook814457
Deal305224218
Faversham644284320
Herne Bay1388495
Hythe1647793
Lamberhurst691829
Orpington160101121
Sandwich1097086
Sevenoaks1548667
Sidcup217120161
Sittingbourne540265465
Snodland50126387
Tonbridge303187194
Westerham1234830
West Malling917644
Whitstable239137106
Penge1,333708719
Total24,52615,86715,748

Relief Grants (Income Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the money paid out under the system of Unemployment Relief Grants has been reclaimed by the Treasury in the form of Income Tax since June, 1929?

Juvenile Advisory Committees

asked the Minister of Labour, (1) in which areas she proposes to set up the new juvenile advisory committees recently announced; and in which of these areas it is proposed to set up district sub-committees of these juvenile advisory committees;

(2) what has hitherto been the composition of juvenile advisory committees in Scotland; and what powers and duties have been assigned to them by the Ministry?

Before reconstitution, the composition of juvenile advisory committees in Scotland was determined in accordance with a Memorandum of Agreement between the Scottish Education Department and the Ministry of Labour, a copy of which I am sending to the Noble Lady. No change in the committees' duties and powers is contemplated on reorganisation. I am unable to state the areas in which the new committees and district committees will operate, as these are still under consideration.

Law Officers (Salaries And Fees)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the amount in salary and fees drawn since June, 1929, by the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General?

The salaries and fees of the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General in the period of about 16½ months from 10th June, 1929, to 31st October. 1930, are as follow:—

Salary.Fees.Total.
Attorney-General.£££
Sir W. Jowitt9,74418,84628,590
Solicitor-General.
Sir J. B. Melville8,0424,72012,762
Sir R. Stafford Cripps8282

Coastguard Services

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in view of the recent increase in smuggling, he has considered the advisability of a return to the coastguard system which obtained prior to 1919?

I have no reason to think that the existing arrangements for the protection of the revenue are inadequate for the purpose, or that the adoption of the course referred to would be in the revenue interests.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the annual cost of the coastguard service when administered by the Admiralty; and what is the annual cost of the performance under existing arrangements of all those duties formerly performed by the old coastguard service?

The normal annual expenditure on the coastguard service in respect of the duties of revenue protection, life-saving, coast-watching, etc., was estimated by the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Civil Duties of the Coastguard in 1922 at £607,450 per annum. To this amount should be added £17,000 provided by the Board of Trade for lifesaving apparatus, making a total expenditure of £624,450 per annum. The annual cost of performing the corresponding duties under existing arrangements is £288,000 per annum.

Pre-War Pensioners

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to how many pre-War pensioners, showing categories, the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1924, applies; and what is the annual cost of the Act?

The number of pensioners at present receiving increases of pension chargeable to the Exchequer under the Pensions (Increase) Acts, 1920 and 1924, and the analogous Army Warrants and Admiralty Orders in Council is as follows:

Civil Service7,471
Army and Navy17,288
Teachers2,223
Police (estimated)9,722
Royal Irish Constabulary3,464
Total40,168
The present annual cost of these increases to the Exchequer is approximately £660,000.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many pre-War pensioners of the cate- gories mentioned in the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1924, do not qualify on account of being under 60 years of age?

No precise figures are available, but it is believed that the number does not exceed 1,000. Some of these pensioners may be ineligible in any case on account of their means.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what would be the total annual cost to the Treasury of placing the pre-War pensioners, referred to in the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1924, on the post-War scale of pensions, showing the calculations on which this would be based?

It would be impossible to give any close or detailed estimate of the cost involved without recalculating individually some 40,000 pensions under nearly a dozen different pension scales, and even then in many cases the post-War equivalent of the salary on which the original pension was calculated would be a matter of hypothesis.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what would be the cost of abolishing the means limit for those categories of pensioners who are covered by the Pensions (Increase) Acts?

The Acts and the analogous Army Warrants and Admiralty Orders in Council apply to certain pensioners whose means, including their pensions, do not exceed £200 per annum in the case of married persons and £150 per annum in the case of unmarried persons. If the hon. Member proposes to abolish only the limit upon private means while maintaining the existing limits upon increasable pensions, it is believed that the cost to the Exchequer would be about £250,000 per annum. If he proposes also to abolish the limits on the pensions themselves, it is believed that the cost would be about £1,200,000 per annum.

Chief Registrar Of Friendly Societies (Reports)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will explain the cause of the delay in publishing the report of the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies for the year 1929 until October, 1930; whether he is aware that it was ordered to be printed on 21st May, 1930; and can he arrange for future annual reports of the Chief Registrar to be published at a date earlier than 10 months after the end of the year to which they refer?

The reports of the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies contain material based on considerable statistical research, and I understand that in the case of Part I of the report for 1929, unexpected difficulties arose which caused considerable delay. I do not anticipate that a similar delay will occur in future.

Factory Sale, Queensferry Flintshire

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what steps have been taken by his Department to dispose of the whole or part of His Majesty's factory, Queensferry, in the county of Flint, to firms seeking suitable sites for industries; and whether, having regard to the large amount of unemployment along the Dee side in that county, he will consider whether His Majesty's factory could be utilised by one or other of the Government Departments?

Every endeavour has been made to sell this property by private treaty, and recently some 70 acres have been sold. The rest of the property is now in the hands of auctioneers with a view to sale by public auction. With regard to the latter part of the question, the possibility of utilising the factory for Government purposes has been fully considered, but no suitable use has been found for it.

British Army

Establishment (Deficiency)

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the deficiency below establishment of the Regular Army; and what is the position as regards the autumn drafts to India?

The deficiency on the establishment of the Regular Army at home, abroad and in India is approx- imately 10,000. As regards the second part of the question, it will be possible to meet requirements for India, but in the case of the infantry, deficiencies in certain battalions will be offset by surpluses in others.

Animals (Experiments)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether experiments to ascertain the effects of poison gas on animals are still being conducted at the chemical warfare experimental station on Salisbury Plain; whether horses are used for this purpose; and, if so, how many horses have been experimented upon to date?

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answers on this matter which I gave on 3rd November, of which I am sending him a copy.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether all experiments on horses that have been carried out at Porton and Cambridge have only been undertaken with the object of benefiting horses; and, if so, will he consider the desirability of adopting the same procedure in the case of dogs and other animals used for military purposes?

No experiments have been carried out on horses at Cambridge, and those at Porton have been with the sole object of devising protective and curative treatment for these animals. I am advised that to limit the experiments to those classes of animals which may be expected to derive benefit therefrom would mean the curtailment of many experiments undertaken with a view to the prevention and alleviation of human suffering. Dogs are not used for experimental purposes.

Juvenile Organisations

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is now in a position to make a statement as to the possibility of devising means whereby properly constituted organisations of boys, such as cadet corps, can be assisted to carry on the non-military side of their work, observing that official recognition of the cadet corps movement ceased on 31st October?

As my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary stated last week, I am at present in communication with my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education on the subject, and conferences between the two Departments are proceeding. Until it is clear whether practical use can be made of such assistance as the War Office is able to offer to juvenile organisations through the medium of the Board, I regret that I am not in a position to make any statement.

Ordnance Corps

asked the Secretary of State for War the total strength of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in July, 1914, together with the number of warrant officers serving in the corps at that date; and the total strength of the Royal Army Service Corps in October, 1930, or such earlier date in respect of which the information is readily available, together with the number of warrant officers serving in the corps at the same date?

The regimental establishment of warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Army Ordnance Corps in 1914 was 2,341, of whom 146 were warrant officers and 188 quartermaster serjeants, which appointment now carries rank of warrant officer Class II. The regimental establishment of warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Royal Army Service Corps in 1930 is 4,659, of whom 132 are warrant officers Class I, and 158 warrant officers Class II. I would point out that the rank of warrant officer Class II was first created in 1915.

Ordnance Factory Workers (Hollerith Machines)

asked the Secretary of State for War at what rate of pay new entrants on Hollerith machines in ordnance factories commence their service?

Hitherto girls engaged at the ordnance factories to punch cards for use on Hollerith machines have started as newly-entered learners at 10s. a week if under 16 years of age and at 12s. 6d. if over 16 years of age, but increases to 15s. and 17s. 6d. have been given on the attainment of certain standards of efficiency, the rate of 15s. being normally reached within two months and that of 17s. 6d. within six months of entry. These rates are at present under consideration.

Recruiting

asked the Secretary of State for War whether there has been any improvement during the past four months in the number of persons being recruited into the Army?

Compared with the same period last year, there has been an increase in the total intake of recruits during the past four months.

Foreign Military Officers (Instruction)

asked the Secretary of State for War how many foreign military officers, and from what countries, are at present receiving training, and instruction with the British forces?

There are at present eight foreign military officers attached to the British Army from the Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Siamese and Swedish Armies.

Ranker Officers

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the Government intend to reconsider the position of the ranker officers of the Army as regards retired pay and pensions?

This question has been under review on many occasions and was fully considered by a specially appointed committee whose report was accepted by the House in 1925. In these circumstances, there are no grounds for reopening the matter.

Meat Supply

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he will at some suitable centre or depot make an experiment by supplying such centre or depot with British meat, with a view to securing an accurate comparison of cost as between British and other meat;(2) whether the conditions of contract for the supply of meat to His Majesty's forces are so worded as to permit the submission of a tender for supplying the forces with British meat; and, if not, whether he will amend the tender form in such a way as to render it possible to submit a tender for supplying the forces with British meat?

It is the practice of the War Department to invite alternative quotations for fresh meat and for frozen meat at certain home stations at which it is considered that fresh meat could be supplied on advantageous terms. Even at these stations it has not been practicable on account of the great difference in cost to purchase fresh meat during the present year, with the exception of one small contract for 1,350 lbs. for a camp in a case where no frozen meat was offered. In these circumstances it does not appear that any advantage could be gained by an extension of the existing practice in the matter of obtaining alternative prices.

Vaccination

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that permanent disability resulting from vaccination of recruits and service men after joining His Majesty's forces is not considered to be a disability connected with any incident of military service, he will consider the desirability of allowing such men to exempt themselves from vaccination on making a statutory declaration of their conscientious objection thereto?

My hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. Any disabilities which are considered by the Army medical authorities to be directly caused by Army vaccination are accepted as attributable to military service. As no recruits are accepted unless they are willing to be vaccinated, the second part of the question does not arise.

New Drill Hall, Port Glasgow

asked the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been drawn to the action of the military authorities in Port Glasgow who, against the expressed wish of the town council, are proceeding to build a new drill hall on a site required for re-housing those displaced by slum clearance; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter?

The erection of a new drill hall at Port Glasgow has been under consideration for more than three years, and plans for re-building on the present site and a small adjacent area have recently been completed. Last July, the town council informed the Territorial Army Association of the county of Renfrew that they proposed under the Housing Act, 1925, to include the site of the present drill hall in a slum clearance area. Although demolition of the old premises is now proceeding, the town council have been informed that the association will consider any suitable alternative site that may be offered within a reasonable time, provided that all expenses resulting from the change of site are borne by the town council.

Brandy Supply

asked the Secretary of State for War why a contract was recently completed by his Department with a French firm for the supply of brandy, although tenders were received from firms offering South African brandy of superior quality at a slightly higher price; and if he will in future give preferential consideration to brandy of Empire origin?

The last contract for brandy was placed by the War Office in March, 1930. Two offers of South African produce were received, but the samples submitted could not be accepted as satisfactory for hospital use. In these circumstances, there was no alternative to the purchase of French brandy. The War Department is always prepared to give preference to Empire over foreign supplies if quality and price are satisfactory.

Horses (Sale And Destruction)

asked the Secretary of State for War how many injured, old, and worn-out horses have been slaughtered by his Department during the past 12 months; how many have been sold and for what purposes; and what steps, if any, are taken by him to secure that horses sold are subsequently humanely treated?

During the 12 months ended 30th September last, 1,044 Army horses and mules were destroyed, 748 were sold by auction, 36 for breeding purposes and 12 to officers on sentimental grounds. Horses which are unfit for further work are destroyed. As regards those which are still fit for work and are sold by public auction, a reserve price is fixed, and if an animal fails to realise this reserve, it is withdrawn from the sale. By this means it is hoped to en- sure that the animals will fall into the hands of those who will set proper store by their purchase.

asked the Secretary of State for War what provision is made by his Department for the humane slaughter of Army horses and mules which, on account of age or other disability, are no longer fit for service in His Majesty's Army; and whether he can give an assurance that such horses are not sold or otherwise disposed of for export abroad for butchery or other purposes?

Animals cast from the Army for destruction are sent to firms of horse slaughterers where they are destroyed with a humane killer in the presence of a military representative. No such animals are sold for export abroad.

Piece-Work (Suspension, Enfield)

asked the Secretary of State for War the total amount of saving in wages recently effected at Enfield by the abolition of piece-work?

The reduction in wages consequent on the suspension of piecework is approximately £13,500 for the period from 7th April to 1st November, 1930.

Agriculture

Employment

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture what was, approximately, the number of male persons employed in agriculture in England and Wales, in Scotland, and the total in Great Britain, in each of the years 1871, 1911, 1921, and the latest year for which figures are available; how many in each case were boys between the ages of 10 and 14; and what area of land has been withdrawn from agriculture between 1871 and the present time by expansion of towns, by coast erosion, or other causes?

For various reasons the figures of employment in agriculture as disclosed by the Population Census returns are not comparable over a period of years. The Agricultural Tribunal of Investigation, however, gave careful consideration to this question and included in their report, issued in 1924 (Cmd. 2145) the following adjusted figures which in their view gave a more accurate representation of changes in the numbers of males engaged in Great Britain in agriculture and horticulture. The figures include farmers and graziers but exclude domestic gardeners and farmers' relatives under 15 years.

Figures in thousands.
1871.1911.1921.
15 years and over1,366·01,267·31,211·8
10 years and under 15.105·532·920·0
Total1,471·51,300·21,231·8
Separate computations were not made by the Agricultural Tribunal in respect of England and Wales and Scotland, but it has been estimated that the numbers of males engaged in the main classes of agricultural employment (apart from horticulture) in England and Wales and in Scotland were as follow:

Figures in thousands.
1871.1911.1921.
England and Wales1,222·6971·7907·9
Scotland178·2148·4140·25
Great Britain1,400·81,120·11,048·15
Comparable figures will not be available in respect of a later year until the results of the next Census of Population have been issued but the following table gives particulars of the numbers of male workers, regular and casual, employed on agricultural holdings (excluding the occupier) as returned on 4th June, 1921 and 1930.
Figures in thousands.
4th June, 1921.4th June, 1930.
England and Wales743·3644·8
Scotland93·689·7
Great Britain836·9734·5
With regard to the last part of the question, statistics of the area of rough grazings in Great Britain are not available prior to 1892, and I am unable therefore to indicate the area of land withdrawn from agriculture between 1871 and the present day.

Statutory And Departmental Committees

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many committees have been set up by his Ministry since the present Government came into office; what was the cost to the Exchequer; how many statutory committees have been sitting; and the total cost to the Exchequer?

The number of statutory committees which have been sitting in connection with the work of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries during the period referred to is 49, of which 47 are established under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924. These numbers do not include statutory committees appointed by local authorities, as to which I have no definite information. The total cost to the Exchequer of the 49 statutory committees for the period referred to is approximately £15,250, of which amount approximately

County Educational Farms in England and Wales.
County.Farm.Deficit (unless otherwise stated).
1924–25.1925–26.1926–27.1927–28.1928–29.
£££££
CheshireReaseheath2,6944,0244,8782,9481,370
CumberlandNewton Rigg713678681563348
DurhamHoughall3,1383,0195,6921,9261,083
HampshireSparsholt1,0756271,51181,712785
HertfordshireOaklands2,9913,2212,0561,8482,165
KentGrove End(profit) 1941,634 1,3481,280988
Lincs (Holland)Kirton8951,8522,2042,114977
NorthamptonshireMoulton1,4091,1941,2821,2901,024
NorthumberlandCockle Park1,1441,019944673691
SomersetCannington Court2,5912,0942,4212,962437
StaffordshireRodbaston1,4702,0351,4573,1731,918
Sussex EastWales4,7081,7181,2361,5601,607
Sussex WestKingsham330(profit) 1,7888985511,891
YorkshireGarforth1,6791,7651,146
YorkshireAskham Bryan2,8332,848
CaernarvonshireMadryn231693411611244
CarmarthenshirePibwrlwyd2,6451,4941,6931,7631,590
DenbighshireLlysfasi1,1192,1612,7802,4582,301
FlintsbirePadeswood201360394
GlamorganshireTregroes15057355391
MonmouthshireUsk5802543851,112(profit) 97

£15,000 is in respect of the 47 committees under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act. As regards other committees, the number appointed by the Minister of Agriculture since the present Government came into office has been nine, of which three were set up jointly with other Departments.

Educational Farms

asked the Minister of Agriculture what has been the financial result of experimental and demonstration farms managed or controlled by local authorities, universities, agricultural colleges, and farm institutes, receiving grants from his Department during the last five years, respectively, for which figures are available?

The two following tables give the figures for which the hon. Member asks. Farms used solely for the purposes of research institutes are not included. It is right to add that the farms of which the financial results are given serve the purposes of educational institutions, and as such incur charges in respect of educational and experimental work with which an ordinary commercial farm is not concerned.

Farms attached to Universities, University Colleges and Agricultural Colleges in England and Wales.

Institution.Deficit (unless otherwise stated).
1924–25.1925–26.1926–27.1927–28.1928–29.
£££££
University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.1,030774947628738
University College of North Wales, Bangor.(Profit) 14(Profit) 106419675607
University of Cambridge(Profit) 140(Profit) 217383(Profit) 327859
University of Oxford3026651,1341,6973,603*
University of Reading1,7011,3231,6301,0801,438
South Eastern Agricultural College, Wye. (Profit) 283(Profit) 611599(Profit) 1,356(Profit) 1,071
Midland Agricultural College.2128411,8531,806378
Harper Adams Agricultural College.9021,6562,4241,2041,669
Seale-Hayne Agricultural College.(Profit) 222620446451254
Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester.(Profit) 192720922588
Studley College7531,5391,7761,140
Swanley Horticultural College.(Profit) 227447233920513

*Deficit for the 21 months' account ending 30th September, 1929.

Wheat (Quota System)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if the Government have consulted the National Association of British and Irish Millers with regard to a quota system for wheat; and, if so, with what results?

I have had several consultations with representatives of the National Association of British and Irish millers with regard to what is known as the quota system for home-grown wheat; I am not, however, in a position to make any statement on the subject at the present time.

Trade And Commerce

Cotton Industry

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that, of the 1,711 cotton mills in the Bolton, Manchester, and Warrington districts, only 308 or 18 per cent. are working full time; whether any of the 908 working part time, or 53 per cent. of the whole, are included in the Lancashire Cotton Corporation scheme; and whether he has received any intimation of any of the closed mills reopening unless they are brought into a scheme for rationalisation?

I am not aware from what source the hon. and gallant Member has obtained the figures he quotes, nor am I in a position to answer the second part of the question. The reply to the third part is in the negative, but I should not expect to receive an intimation of the reopening of individual mills.

Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the handicap to British textiles of the Dyestuffs Act; and will he consult the manufacturers and workpeople's association in the woollen and worsted industry as to the desirability or otherwise of not reimposing it?

The effect of the Dyestuffs (Import Regulation) Act, 1920, on other trades is being kept in mind; the answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if any decision has been arrived at as to the ending or otherwise of the Dyestuffs Act?

Board Of Trade Advisory Council

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present constitution of the Board of Trade Advisory Council; what changes in the constitution of the council have been made during the past six months; and what reasons have been given for recent resignations from the council?

The Board of Trade Advisory Council consists of representatives of industry and commerce together with certain Dominion and other official representatives. Appended is a full list of the members of the council showing changes made during the last six months. During that period Sir E. Petter resigned on account of his disapproval of the decision of His Majesty's Government to ratify the Commercial Convention of April last. Lord Bradbury has also resigned as important business engagements prevented him from attending on the day fixed for the monthly meeting.The present membership of the Board of Trade Advisory Council is as follows:—

  • Mr. Thomas Barron (Building and Shipbuilding).
  • Sir J. George Beharrell, D.S.O. (Rubber).
  • Mr. H. J. Bostock (Boots and Shoes).
  • Sir Woodman Burbidge, Bart., C.B.E. (Distributive Trades).
  • Mr. John Cairns, J.P. (Co-operative).
  • Mr. G. L. M. Clauson, O.B.E. (Colonial Office).
  • Mr. G. C. Clayton, C.B.E., Ph.D. (Chemicals).
  • Sir Edward Crowe, K.C.M.G. (Foreign Office).
  • Sir Ernest W. Glover. Bart. (Shipping).
  • Mr. F. C. Goodenough (British Bankers Association).
  • Sir Guy Granet, G.B.E. (Banking).
  • Mr. Douglas Hamilton (Wool).
  • Sir Hugo Hirst, Bart. (Electrical Industry).
  • Mr. R. J. Hose (South American Trade).
  • Sir C. W. Hurcomb, K.B.E., C.B. (Ministry of Transport).
  • Mr. H. W. Lee, J.P. (Cotton).
  • Mr. Lennox B. Lee (Federation of British Industries).
  • Mr. H. A. F. Lindsay, C.I.E., C.B.E., I.C.S. (India).
  • Sir James Lithgow, Bart., M.C. (Federation of British Industries).
  • Captain Oliver Lyttelton, D.S.O., M.C. (Non-Ferrous Metals).
  • Mr. George A. Mitchell (Chambers of Commerce).
  • Sir William R. Morris, Bart. (Motor Industry).
  • Mr. T. W. Phillips, C.B., C.B.E. (Ministry of Labour).
  • Mr. Arthur Pugh, C.B.E. (Iron and Steel).
  • Sir Walter Raine (Chambers of Commerce).
  • Mr. G. E. Rowland (Engineering).
  • Mr. John Sanderson (Australia).
  • Sir Kenneth Stewart, K.B.E. (Cotton).
  • Alderman M. F. Titterington (Wool).
  • Mr. C. Te Water (South Africa).
  • Mr. Arthur Varley (Co-operative).
  • Mr. Ernest T. Walker (Hosiery).
  • Mr. Ben Walmsley, C.B.E. (Iron and Steel).
  • Mr. Ridley Warham (Coal).
  • Sir Ralph Wedgwood, C.B., C.M.G. (Railways).
  • Sir T. M. Wilford, K.C. (New Zealand).

The changes that have taken place since 11th May last have been the resignation of Sir Ernest Petter and of Lord Bradbury, the retirements of the Rt. Hon. R. McKenna (British Bankers' Association), Mr. C. A. Hill (Chemicals), Sir D. Milne-Watson (Chemicals) and Mr. J. R. Richmond (Marine Engineering), and the appointment of Mr. F. C. Goodenough (British Bankers' Association), Dr. G. C. Clayton (Chemicals), Mr. G. E. Rowland (Engineering) and Mr. H. J. Bostock (Boots and Shoes). Mr. G. L. M. Clauson has also succeeded Mr. R. V. Vernon as representative of the Colonial Office.

Dominion And Foreign Import Duties

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the import duties at present levied by Canada and Australia upon woollen and worsted tissues, cotton tweeds, hosiery, and iron and steel products from Great Britain; and the duties on these commodities levied on British products by Holland, Belgium, and Germany?

The information for which my hon. Friend asks is of considerable volume, and I would propose to send it to him.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that a picture frame manufactured in this country and sold wholesale at 1s. 4½d. has an import duty of 6s. levied upon it on its entry into Australia; and, if so, whether he will snake representations to the Federal Government with a view to a modification of such duty upon these articles if manufactured in this country?

The present Australian customs duty on picture frames of United Kingdom origin is 4s. 6d. each or 97½ per cent. ad valorem, whichever is the higher. Having regard to the reasons which have led to the recent imposition of heavy duties upon many classes of goods, I do not think that representations in this particular case would serve any useful purpose.

Farina Factories

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much money has been provided by the Government for the building of farina factories; how much of the money has been repaid; and how many of the factories are still in operation?

His Majesty's Government did not provide any sums for the building of farina factories and I would refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 13 and 14 of the Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report of 13th June, 1921, on Trading Accounts and Balance Sheets, published as Cmd. 1368, for information as to Government outlay and recovery in connection with the acquisition, equipment and working of farina factories. I have no information as to any present operations of the factories as the interest of His Majesty's Government in them has long since come to an end.

Russia

asked the President of the Board of Trade the amount of exports to Russia and of imports from Russia, specifying the various articles, for the year ended 31st July, 1914, 1929, and 1930?

Detailed particulars of our trade with Russia during the years ended 31st July, 1914, 1929 and 1930 are not available. My hon. Friend will find particulars in respect of the principal commodities imported into and exported from the United Kingdom during the calendar years 1913 and 1914, and consigned from and to the former Russian Empire, on pages 151 to 156 of Volume II of the "Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom" for 1914. Similar information in respect of the trade of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with the Soviet Union (Russia) during the calendar years 1928 and 1929 and the first nine months of 1930 was given in a reply on the 6th November to the hon. and gallant Member for North Hackney (Captain Hudson) of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy.

Rubber Industry

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will lay upon the Table the correspondence between the Government and the Governors of the Straits Settlements and Ceylon over the past two years on the subject of the rubber industry?

I have been asked to answer this question. If there is any general demand, my Noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies is prepared to publish papers relating to the recent proposals for renewed restriction on the output of rubber, which is doubtless what the hon. Member desires.

Scotland

Housing (Dundee)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of families of four or more persons in Dundee who are living in one-room houses; the total number of such persons; and what percentage they represent of the total population of the city?

According to the Census of 1921, which contains the latest available information, there were in one-roomed houses in Dundee 1,076 families living four or more to the house. These families comprised 4,995 persons representing 2.97 per cent. of the population of the city.

National Health Insurance

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he can furnish an estimate of the number of persons in Scotland insured under the National Health Insurance Act on or about 31st October, 1930; and estimates of the number of persons in Scotland under 16 or over 70, respectively, who would be so insured but for their age?

It is estimated that as at the 1st October, 1930, there were approximately 1,890,000 insured persons in Scotland. As regards the latter part of the question, it is not possible to estimate how many persons under 16 years of age are engaged in employments of an insurable kind. On 1st July, 1930, there were approximately 40,000 persons in Scotland over the age of 65 who were engaged in insurable occupations and in respect of whom contributions were being paid by employers. It is not possible, however, to say how many of these persons were over 70 years of age.

1929–30 (figures subject to adjustment on audit).1930–31 (estimates).
Rates.Taxes.*Rates and grants; under Part III of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929.†Taxes.†
££££
I. Public Education in Scotland (excluding Agricultural Colleges and Universities).5,696,4457,003,5226,082,7907,235,500
II. Agricultural Education12,19689,78613,090107,017
The amounts under Head I cover the services administered by education authorities and the expenses of central institutions, training and superannuation of teachers, voluntary schools, reformatory and industrial schools and central administration. The amounts under Head II include expenditure on agricultural colleges, Royal Dick Veterinary College and scholarships for agricultural organisers and workers.
* Including Agricultural (Rates) Grant.
† Grants under Part III of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929, fall to be applied in relief of all expenditure chargeable to the Consolidated Rate and are not apportioned to the expenses of particular services.

Agriculture (Male Workers)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland for figures showing the number of regular and casual male workers employed in agriculture in Scotland in the year 1908, and the figures for 1929 or the latest available date?

The figures are given in the following table:

Male Agricultural Workers.
Regular.Casual.Total.
1908119,00013,000132,000
193080,7009,00089,700

Education (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the amount spent in Scotland on education, including agricultural education, but detailing it separately, from rates and taxes, respectively, in the year 1929–30, and the amount estimated to be so spent in the current financial year?

The following statement shows the amounts spent in Scotland on education, including agricultural education (shown separately) from rates and taxes, respectively, in the year 1929–30 with estimates for the year 1930–31:

Coal Industry

Delegation, Scandinavia

asked the Secretary for Mines the cost to the taxpayer of the recent trip to Scandinavia of the coal delegation which he headed?

The total cost to public funds of the visit of the coal delegation to Scandinavia was £253 7s. 5d.

asked the Secretary for Mines what action his Department proposes to take for the improvement of the British coal industry, arising out of the reports of the British coal delegation to Scandinavia?

The action to be taken on most of the recommendations of the British coal delegation to Scandinavia is primarily a matter for the coal owners and coal exporters. The Government are anxious that action should be taken as quickly as possible, and they desire to render all the assistance in their power, and I am in consultation with representatives of the owners and exporters about the steps to be taken.

Industrial Board

asked the Secretary for Mines if he is in a position to say what progress has been made in setting up thecoal mines industrial board; and when does he expect to have it completed?

I have received suggestions from certain of the organisations named in the Act, covering about half the membership. The appointment of the board has, however, been delayed by the action of the Mining Association of Great Britain, the Federation of British Industries, the Association of British Chambers of Commerce, and the National Confederation of Employers' Organisations in declining to submit any names. I hope to make a further statement at an early date.

Selling Schemes

asked the Secretary for Mines whether the selling schemes contemplated by the Coal Mines Act, 1930, are yet in operation; and what has been their effect on the export trade in British coal and anthracite it a the various districts considered separately?

Schemes under Part I of the Coal Mines Act, 1930, for all districts, with the exception of Scotland, came into force at the end of October. The necessary steps to give effect to the schemes in the various districts are now being taken by the coalowners. It is therefore too early to say what has been the effect of the schemes.

Mine Officials

asked the Secretary for Mines how many working coal miners have passed the board for mining examination for managers or under-managers from 1912 to 1926; and how many mine-surveying men have passed for managers or under-managers during the same period?

I regret that these statistics are not available, but the matter is dealt with generally in the recently published report of the Departmental Committee appointed to inquire into the qualifications and recruitment of mine officials.

Mining Examinations Board

asked the Secretary for Mines how many members of the Mines Department of the Board for Mining Examinations have worked at the coal face either as a miner or a filler?

Airship R100 (Atlantic Flight)

asked the Under Secretary of State for Air what steps, if any, have been taken to recognise in any way the achievement of the officers and crew of the, R.100, whose voyage across the Atlantic and back was achieved against adverse climatic conditions?

My hon. Friend will remember that, on the successful conclusion of R.100's Atlantic flight, the officers and crew were received at Cardington by the late Secretary of State for Air, who congratulated them in the warmest terms. My Noble Friend agrees that the flight was a notable achievement for which the officers and crew deserve all credit, but he does not think that in the circumstances recognition of an exceptional kind would be appropriate.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the crew of R.100 received any special leave after the double voyage across the Atlantic; and whether any of these men have anything in writing by the Government to produce as proof, in their search for work elsewhere, that they helped to accomplish such a feat?

The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. As regards the second part, no member of the crew has been discharged, but any member who desires will, if and when he leaves, be furnished with a statement that he took part in the flight.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

Seven Years' Limit

asked the Minister of Pensions the total number of claims, submitted outside the seven years' time limit, that have been admitted under the following headings: by way of pecuniary compensation, and medical or surgical treatment, respectively?

In the nine years, up to 30th September last, since the time limit was enacted, some 1,400 cases of late claim have been awarded pecuniary compensation by way of pension or otherwise, and in about 500 cases has surgical treatment been provided.

asked the Minister of Pensions what was the date of the last meeting of the central advisory committee; and whether, having regard to the fact that since last November 18,000 claims have been submitted outside the seven years' time limit and only 800 admitted, he will have this committee called together to discuss the working of the administrative arrangements that have been introduced to deal with this type of claim?

The committee met last in November, 1927. I am not proposing an immediate meeting, but shall not hesitate to summon one as soon as any matters arise for their consideration. I may say that in the course of some 14 meetings in all parts of the country, I have consulted representatives of all War pensions committees, including members of the British Legion, on the subject referred to by the hon. and gallant Member, along with other matters, with much advantage to the administration.

asked the Minister of Pensions the number of ex-service men that have applied for pensions since the abolition of the seven years' limit; and what percentage of applicants have been granted pensions?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Carnarvon (Major Owen) on the 30th ultimo, of which I am sending him a copy.

Need Pensions

asked the Minister of Pensions what is the amount of money that his Department has saved as a result of the operation of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act; and if he will consider whether such saving can be used for the benefit of border-line pension claims that have been rejected under the existing pension regulations?

The information asked for in the first part of the question is not available, as no special record is kept of the adjustments which have, from time to time, to be made in consequence of the receipt by a pensioner parent of a widow's or old age pension. The net result, however, of the grant of either of these classes of pension to parents already in receipt of a need pension from my Department, is, I understand, in the aggregate, not a saving, but an increased charge upon the Exchequer. Consequently, and apart from any other considerations, the suggestion contained in the last part of the question could not, I fear, be adopted.

Bellahouston Hospital

asked the Minister of Pensions when he proposes to close Bellahouston Hospital; and what alternative arrangements he proposes to make for the treatment of pensioners living in the Glasgow district?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for the Camlachie Division of Glasgow (Mr. Stephen), of which I am sending him a copy.

Jury Service

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider the desirability of exempting people over GO years of age from compulsory service on a jury?

Persons over 60 years of age are not in general liable for jury service, unless their name has in fact been marked as a juror in the register of electors. It is open to any such person to apply to the registration officer that his name should not be so marked in future years.

Vivisection

asked the Home Secretary whether he will arrange for a summary to be made, for inclusion in the annual official report, of the nature and purpose of each experiment performed on living animals?

The answer is in the negative. To do so would be foreign to the purpose of the report, and would be an unjustifiable expenditure of public money.

asked the Home Secretary what evidence he has that all animals that suffer pain that is severe or likely to endure are killed immediately after the main object of the experiment has been attained when no inspectors are present?

The evidence for the scrupulous observance of the pain condition is that the inspectors, who see many thousands of animals under experiment in the course of a year, have not found any indication of an infringement of this condition. I may add that the known character of the licence holders is an additional guarantee that the conditions of their licences are observed.

asked the Home Secretary whether he will arrange for a record to be kept of the number and species of animals killed following vivisection experiments as a result of pain which is too severe or likely to endure; and will he publish the figures in the annual report?

I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by collecting and publishing these details.

Police Pensioners

asked the Home Secretary how many police pensioners there are now alive who retired prior to 1st September, 1918, between 1st September, 1918, and 1st April, 1919, and since 1st April, 1919, respectively; and the total annual sum paid to each of these classes?

The number of retired members of police forces in England and Wales who were in receipt of pensions on 31st March last was 32,249. Of these, 12,167 were granted their pensions before 1st April, 1919, and 20,082 on or after that date. I regret I am not in a position to give the other figures asked for, but I may mention that the total cost of the pensions so paid in 1928–29 was £4,405,565.

North Charterland Exploration Company

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is prepared to grant the request for a public inquiry presented to him by the North Charterland Exploration Company (1910), Limited, into the circumstances under which an agreement was entered into in 1923 between the Colonial Office and the British South Africa Company, purporting to dispose of certain property of the North Charterland Exploration Company without that company's knowledge or authority?

I have been asked to reply to this question. The question whether or not the Government of Northern Rhodesia will hold a public inquiry into the matters raised by the North Charterland Exploration Company is still under the consideration of my Noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Royal Navy (Paymaster Cadets)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the committee set up to consider the entry of naval cadets and naval cadets (E), will also consider the present method of entry of paymaster cadets and whether revision is desirable?

Paymaster cadets are comprehended in the phrase "Naval Cadets and Naval Cadets (E)" used in the terms of reference to the committee.

Botanical Gardens, Regent's Park

asked the First Commissioner of Works what proposals he has for the utilisation of the property at present leased to the Royal Botanic Society in Regent's Park on the expiration of the lease in 1932?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my replies to similar questions on the 8th, 14th and 30th July and the 1st August last. The question of the exact use to which these grounds are to be put is under consideration, but no decision has yet been reached.

Gold Supply

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has now considered the interim report of the gold delegation of the financial committee of the League of Nations which recommend the desirability of promoting the use of cheques by the removal of Stamp Duties and in other ways, with a view to securing the economy of gold; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

The report draws the attention of Governments and public authorities to the desirability of promoting the use of cheques both by the removal of such impediments as may be caused by Stamp Duties and by such other means as lie in their power. I could not within the limits of a Parliamentary answer discuss this question in its relation to this country, but as the hon. Member is aware, there is no country in the world, except, perhaps, the United States, where the use of cheques is so widespread as in Great Britain.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is able to state the amount of gold immobilised in commercial banks in this country?

Information on this subject is not available. The provision made by Parliament with a view to the concentration of the gold reserves is contained in Section 11 of the Currency and Bank Notes Act, 1928. This provision operates without the intervention of Government.

Estate Duty

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, owing to the depreciation in the value of shares in industrial undertakings, loss and hardship frequently ensue to beneficiaries of estates of deceased persons owing to realisations necessitated by the payment of Estate Duty on personalty in one sum; and whether he will consider the desirability of introducing legislation permitting the payment of such duty by instalments as in the case of realty?

Gas Warfare

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any proposals for securing the general observance of the recent declaration of the Preparatory Commission on Disarmament of the League of Nations regarding the use of poisonous gases in war have been addressed to His Majesty's Government by the Governments of other States; and, if so, what form these proposals have taken and what has been the attitude of the Government in regard to them?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answers given to two questions by the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. White) on 10th November, of which I am sending him copies.

China (British Claims)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been called to the fact that, while the proceeds of the Boxer indemnity are to be paid to the Hong Kong University and the Universities' Chinese Committee in London, the Chinese Government 8 per cent. 10-year Sterling Treasury Bills, 1924–28 (Marconi), the Chinese Government 8 per cent. Sterling Treasury Notes, 1925–29 (Vickers), and the Chinese Government engagements to bankers and others are unpaid; and if he will give an undertaking that no decision will be taken in this matter until all the obligations of the Chinese Government have been fully met?

The agreement recently concluded with the Chinese Government, subject to the approval of Parliament, as to the disposal of the Indemnity funds contemplates the payment of a comparatively small proportion of those funds to Hong Kong University and the Universities' China Committee. Details will be found in the White Paper to be issued shortly. His Majesty's Minister in China has made repeated representations on behalf of British holders of Chinese Government obligations which are in default, and their claims will continue to be pressed. This question is, however, entirely distinct from that of the remission of the Indemnity, which, as the hon. Member is, no doubt, aware, was promised by His Majesty's Government in December, 1922.

Post Office

Maintenance And Construction

asked the Postmaster-General (1) what is the number of Crown post offices provided with the assistance of and maintained by the Office of Works; and the number of Crown offices provided and maintained without the intervention of the Office of Works;

(2) what additional sum is being spent during the current year on the programme of improved maintenance and equipment of post offices; and whether, in view of the need to find useful employment for men and women now unemployed, he is satisfied that everything possible has been done to accelerate and extend justifiable constructional and maintenance work on post office buildings?

The number of Crown post offices provided and maintained by the Office of Works is 788. Those provided and maintained without the intervention of the Board is 733. The amount that it is estimated will be spent on the programme of improved maintenance and equipment of post offices during this financial year is £68,000, and whilst every effort will be made to adhere to this programme, I fear that it is impracticable materially to improve on the number of schemes that can be put in hand during the period in question.

asked the Postmaster-General what is the total estimated ex- penditure during the current year on new postal, telegraph and telephone buildings, respectively?

The total expenditure that will be incurred during the current financial year on new and enlarged postal, telegraph and telephone buildings is estimated at approximately £1,450,000, but at this stage it is impracticable to sub-divide this total between postal, telegraph and telephone buildings as many of the schemes include accommodation for all three services.

Telephone Charges

asked the Postmaster-General what is the charge for transferring telephone calls from one number to another on the same exchange; whether he has recently had any complaints as to the amount of this charge; and whether he is taking any steps to have it reduced?

A charge of 2s. 6d. which covers any period up to three months is made for the continuous transfer of calls to another number. An occasional transfer is charged at the same rate subject to a maximum aggregate charge of £1 a quarter. Objection is sometimes taken by those who make use of this facility, and the question whether any reduction is practicable as under consideration.

asked the Postmaster-General if he will consider the advisability of reducing the present telephone rental of £8 a year at small rural exchanges having from eight to 14 subscribers, with a view to popularising the telephone service in country districts?

I propose as from the 1st January next to reduce the rental of subscribers connected to the small rural exchanges to that applicable to larger exchanges, that is, £7 a year for business lines and £5 10s. a year for residential lines within a radius of two miles from the exchange. This concession will increase the heavy loss already incurred by the telephone service in rural areas, but it will, I hope, stimulate its development to a substantial extent.

Office Improvements, Plymouth

asked the Postmaster-General whether the alterations to the general post office, Plymouth, will provide more accommodation at the counter; when the work will be started; and will he order the night and week-end telephone and telegraph department to be redecorated and the accommodation for the messengers to be more hygienic?

The scheme of alterations to the head Post Office at Plymouth includes the provision of a new and enlarged public office; but I am unable to say definitely at present when the work will be commenced. The redecoration of the entrance to the boy messengers' lobby and the night telephone counter is already an hand and will be completed in a few days' time; and certain improvements in the boy messengers' accommodation are also being effected.

Receipt Stamps

asked the Postmaster-General what is the estimated total value for the current year of the twopenny postage stamps affixed to receipts; and whether this sum is deducted from the profits of the Post Office and allocated to the appropriate Government Department?

The estimated total value for the current year of postage stamps used for receipt purposes is £2,385,000. This sum is excluded from Post Office revenue and paid to the appropriate Government Departments. Particulars of these payments are shown each year in the Finance Accounts.

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in estimating the profit made by the Post Office, credit is taken for the total amount of the sale of stamps which are marked "Postage and Inland Revenue" and which may be used as receipt stamps, for adhesive stamps for letters of guarantee, and for similar purposes; whether the estimated amount is attributed to the Inland Revenue Department; and, if so, on what basis is the estimated deduction made?

The estimated value of the "Postage and Revenue" stamps used in Great Britain for receipt and similar purposes is excluded from the Post Office revenue and paid over to the Inland Revenue Department. The estimate is based on the issues of twopenny stamps during the preceding year.

Staff, Londonderry

asked the Postmaster-General what reductions have recently been made in the staff of the General Post Office at Londonderry; and whether representations have been made to him that such reductions interfere with the proper conduct of Post Office business and inflict hardship on the remaining members of the Post Office staff?

In consequence of reduction of work, it lately became necessary to reduce the establishment of the Londonderry Head Post Office by eight posts. Representations have been made by the local Chamber of Commerce regarding the service at the Post Office counter, and this matter has been under observation; but I am assured that the staffing arrangements are adequate.

Mail-Bag Thefts

asked the Postmaster-General whether the extra precautions taken in June, 1930, to safeguard mailbags during transit have had the effect of reducing cases of theft?

The number of these thefts, which is very small in comparison with the number of bags conveyed by railway, naturally fluctuates from time to time. I cannot say that the number of losses has been reduced recently, but the measures taken have resulted in the bulk of the losses being traced and a number of persons have been convicted.

Advertisements, Foreign Products

asked the Postmaster-General if he will instruct the Post Office advertising agents to discontinue the present practice of accepting advertisements for foreign products?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him on this subject- on the 4th instant.

Scale Payment Offices

asked the Postmaster-General how many scale payment sub-post offices there are in England and Wales; whether his attention has been called to the bulk of the regulations periodically circulated to them; and whether the Government, in the interests of national economy, will find some simpler and more effective means of guiding these sub-offices on any matter of difficulty likely to arise?

The number of scale payment offices in England and Wales is approximately 18,000. On general grounds, as well as for the reason mentioned by the hon. Member, the Departmental regulations issued to them are abridged and simplified wherever practicable.

Savings Bank Staff (Salaries, Payment)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will give directions that civil servants employed in the Post Office Savings Bank may have their salaries paid into Post Office Savings Bank accounts and that, if they do, they will be given the same facilities of withdrawal as they receive from the joint stock banks?

I should not be justified in giving the Savings Bank staff any general facilities which are not available to the public as a whole, but certain matters of detail in connection with the payment of salaries into Savings Bank accounts are under consideration.

Business Reply Postcards

asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that business firms frequently circularise the public by post enclosing stamped cards for reply, only a proportion of which are used; and will he consider the introduction of a system similar to that now operating in America, known as business-reply cards, under which the firm sending out the circulars does not stamp the reply cards but undertakes to pay double postage on such cards as are actually used, in order to promote such use of the post for circularising customers?

The posting of unpaid packets is open to objection as tend- ing to interfere with the prompt handling of prepaid packets, but if I were satisfied that any substantial public demand existed for business reply postcards I would consider the possibility of meeting it. I doubt, however, whether any considerable number of advertising firms would be ready to pay the double postage which would be entailed.

Stamp-Vending Machines, Southwark

asked the Postmaster-General the number of stamp-vending machines that are at present in use in the borough of Southwark; and whether, in view of the request made by the Southwark Borough Council, it is proposed to increase the number of these machines in the near future?

Stamp-vending machines have been installed at 10 post offices in the borough of Southwark, and machines will be provided at six further offices as soon as possible.

Wireless Licences (National Theatre)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has yet considered the scheme submitted to him for diverting part of the funds of the British Broadcasting Corporation for the purpose of subsidising a national theatre; if he is aware of the strong feeling among many of the wireless licence holders against the proposal; and whether he will seek the opinion of Parliament before assenting to any such proposal?

No scheme has been submitted to my Department for subsidising a national theatre from wireless licence revenue.