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Written Answers

Volume 244: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1930

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Written Answers

Bahrein Islands (Sovereignty)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if any communi- cation has been received from Persia with reference to British sovereignty over the Bahrein Islands; and what the present position is?

His Majesty's Government have never claimed sovereignty over the islands of Bahrein. The latest communication from the Persian Government in which the Persian claim to sovereignty was reasserted was dated 23rd July; but the hon. Member will find full details regarding the position in certain correspondence with the Persian Government, of which I am sending him a copy. I may add that this correspondence has already been sent to the League of Nations.

Airships (Engines, Weight)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the total weights of the engines installed in the airships R 100 and R. 101, respectively, with the approximate weight per horse-power of these engines?

The total weight of the petrol engines (with reversing gears) installed in It. 100 is 10,424 lbs., whilst that of the heavy oil engines in R. 101 was 23,300 lbs., giving approximate weights per horse-power of 2.9 lbs. and 7.96 lbs., respectively. The greater weight of the heavy oil engine is, however, more than counterbalanced on a long flight by its smaller fuel consumption.

Stag Hunting And Vivisection (Dogs)

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he is prepared to grant facilities for the passage during the present Session of Parliament, of a Bill to make illegal the hunting of the stag with hounds;

(2) whether he will be prepared to grant facilities for the passage, during the present Session of Parliament, of a Bill to make painful experiments on dogs illegal?

In view of the state of public business, I can hold out no hope that time can be found for these or similar Bills.

Scotland

Local Authorities (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the amounts paid to local authorities under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929, and allocated to land and industrial subjects, respectively?

The amounts paid to local authorities in Scotland under the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929, are:

  • (1) £2,453,143 under Section 75 in respect of the year ended 15th May, 1930, being approximately 92 per cent. of the grant payable.
  • (2) £2,824,985 under the other provisions of Part III of the Act in respect of the year ending 15th May, 1931, being approximately 45 per cent. of the grant payable.
  • The amount under (1) may approximately lie apportioned as follows:

    • 40 per cent. to industrial lands and heritages.
    • 16 per cent. to freight transport lands and heritages.
    • 44 per cent. to agricultural lands and heritages.

    It is not possible similarly to apportion the amount under (2).

    Telephone Service, Fifeshire

    asked the Postmaster-General the number of districts in the Eastern Division of Fife within which telephone services have been installed since June, 1929, giving the names of each office or station, and the number and names of the districts in the Division within which it is intended to provide further telephone services?

    Since June, 1929, new telephone exchanges have been opened at Boarhills and Luthrie, and public call offices at the following places: Blebo Craigs, Boarhills, Bow of Fife, Brunton, Dunshelt, Kilconquhar, Kilmany Station, Kingsbarns Station Luthrie, Mount Melville Station, Newton of Falkland, Peat Inn, Pitscottic, and Westport (Cupar). Arrangements are in hand for providing kiosk call offices at Dunino, Stravithie and Tayport, if suitable sites are obtainable.

    National Health Insurance

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total amount of State grant added to the funds of approved societies up to the last available date for each of the last five years and the amount which would have been added were it not for the provisions of the Economy Act, 1926?

    The total amount of State grant towards approved societies' expenditure in Great Britain for each of the last five years has been as follows:

    £
    19266,170,000
    19276,490,000
    19286,040,000
    19296,220,000
    1930 (to 30th September)4,210,000
    If the grant had been calculated at the rates in force before 1926 it would have been as follows:

    £
    19268,480,000
    19278,920,000
    19288,310,000
    19298,560,000
    1930 (to 30th September)5,790,000

    Birth Control

    asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the recent action of the Warwickshire County Council in authorising their medical officers to give medical information on birth control to married women; and, if so, what action, if any, he proposes to take in the matter I

    Yes, Sir. I have been in communication with the Warwickshire County Council on this matter, and have indicated to them the limited extent to which, in the view of the Government, maternity and child welfare centres may properly be used for this purpose. I am sending my hon. Friend a memorandum which states the views of the Government on this question.

    Government Contracts (Fair Wages Clause)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the number of complaints received last year of infractions of the Fair Wages Resolution of the House of Commons, and the number of inspections of wages books made by officials of his Department?

    Eight complaints were received during 1929; in two cases the complaint could not be substantiated; all the others were settled without the necessity of inspecting the contractors' wages books.

    Mr. MANDER asked the Secretary of State for War the number of complaints received last year of infractions of the Fair Wages Resolution of the House of Commons, and the number of inspections of wages books made by officials of his Department?

    During the 12 months ended 31st October last, 19 complaints of breach of the Fair Wages Clause have been received, and in 12 of these cases it was necessary to inspect the firms' wages books.

    asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the number of complaints received last year of infractions of the Fair Wages Resolution of the House of Commons and the number of inspections of wages books made by officials of his Department?

    Six complaints of infractions of the Fair Wages Clause were received during 1929, two of which involved inspection of wages books. The remainder were settled satisfactorily by correspondence.

    Woolwich Arsenal (Employes)

    asked the Secretary of State for War the number of employés of industrial and non-industrial grades at present employed at the various establishments in the Woolwich Arsenal?

    The number of employés of industrial and non-industrial grades employed by the various War Department establishments at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, on 1st October, 1930, were approximately 8,900 and 2,250 respectively.

    Royal Air Force (Foreign Officers, Instruction)

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

    There are 37 foreign officers at present receiving instruction in Royal Air Force establishments, and the countries from which they come are:

    Belgium1
    Chile1
    Egypt7
    Estonia1
    Greece6
    Iraq14
    Japan2
    Latvia1
    Mexico1
    Siam2
    Sweden1
    Total37

    Kenya (Ordinances)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies particulars of all the ordinances at present in force in Kenya Colony in which any distinction is drawn between Europeans and Africans or which impose any penalties or restrictions applicable only to Africans?

    I have been asked to reply to this question. An examination of all ordinances at present in force in Kenya will be a lengthy and laborious undertaking, and my Noble Friend hesitates to impose this task upon the Government of Kenya; but if there is any general desire in the House for such a statement to be prepared, he will request the Acting-Governor of Kenya to have the necessary examination made and a statement furnished with such expedition as the pressure of current work allows.

    Dominica (Disturbance)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, seeing that disturbances have taken place in Dominica, in which a certain number of Caribs have either lost their lives or have been injured, he can make any statement as to the causes of these disturbances and the action taken in the matter?

    I have been asked to reply to this question. The disturbance in Dominica to which the hon. Member refers arose from the smuggling into the Carib quarter of contraband rum and tobacco from the French Islands. Resistance was offered to the local police who endeavoured to seize the smuggled goods and to arrest offenders. The police were attacked by the Caribs with sticks, stones and firearms, and were ultimately compelled to fire on their attackers in self-defence. Three policemen were shot and others injured. Five Caribs were wounded, two of whom died of their wounds. The police were forced to withdraw, but eventually, with the assistance of a party of marines landed from his Majesty's Ship "Delhi," succeeded in effecting arrests. Legal proceedings have been instituted.

    Science Teaching (Animal Dissection)

    asked the President of the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the recent case at Haverthwaite, where a science teacher illustrated a lesson by the use of a dissected cat; and whether he will issue instructions forbidding such practice?

    My attention was called to the incident in question, and I arranged for it to be inquired into and to be dealt with locally by His Majesty's inspector. I am satisfied from the inquiries which I have made that it is not necessary to issue any general instructions such as my hon. Friend suggests.

    Royal Navy

    Railway Travel (Meals)

    asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether naval ratings travelling by train can have a meal provided for them, when time permits, instead of the paper-bag rations now provided by the depot general mess?

    The system of supplying "bag meals" from the depot general mess to naval ratings travelling by train was adopted on the recommendation of the local naval authorities, who reported that it was preferred by the men to the meals usually obtained under the meal order system. The regulations, however, still permit of meals being provided en route, if circumstances render it desirable.

    Invalidings

    asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the number of ratings that were invalided out of the Navy during the year 1929; and the percentage of the total strength of the number that were awarded disability pensions?

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 12th February [OFFICIAL REPORT, Columns 403–4] to the hon. Member for North Portsmouth (Sir B. Falle).

    Government Hospitality

    asked the First Commissioner of Works the total expenditure from the Government Hospitality Fund between 1st April and 6th November, 1930

    Police Widows' Pensions

    asked the Home Secretary the total number of police widows in receipt of ordinary pensions under the provisions of Section 3 of the Police Act, 1921; and the total annual sum paid to these widows?

    On 31st March, 1929, pensions were being paid to 2,936 widows of ex-members of police forces, including pensioners. The total sum so paid was £92,704. These figures relate to forces in England and Wales.

    Transport

    Road Works, Carmarthenshire

    asked the Minister of Transport how many separate pieces of work are now being carried out on the roads of Carmarthenshire; and how many men are being employed on this work?

    The returns of labour employed which are available to my Department relate only to a limited number of special works of improvement and new construction on classified roads and bridges towards which grants have been made from the Road Fund. The latest complete returns in respect of these works in Carmarthenshire relate to 26th September,1930, and show that on that date eight schemes were in operation and 158 men were employed; six schemes had not then been commenced.

    Motor Traffic (Learners)

    asked the Minister of Transport if he will consider allocating certain roads in the vicinity of large towns where people could learn to drive motor vehicles without being a common danger on the public highway?

    I have no power to allocate the use of roads for the purpose suggested by my hon. Friend.

    Gillingham, Kent, Railway Station

    asked the Minister of Transport whether he has received any application from the Southern Railway Company in connection with the proposed demolition of the present station and the building of a new railway passenger station at Gillingham, Kent; and if he has any statement to make regarding the matter?

    I have not been able to trace the receipt of any communication such as that to which the hon. Member refers.

    Elephant And Castle (Improvements)

    asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the congestion of traffic between Blackfriars and the Elephant and Castle, S.E., and the inadequacy of the present passenger transit service between these two points, especially during the peak hours, he will consider the propriety of recommending the extension of one of the tube rail-ways from the Elephant and Castle to Blackfriars, in connection with the Elephant and Castle improvements scheme or otherwise?

    The proposed alterations to the tube stations at the Elephant and Castle are incidental to the scheme of road improvements contemplated at this road junction. The extension of the tube railways from the Elephant and Castle to Blackfriars is a matter for consideration by the Underground Railway Company, whose notice will be drawn to the hon. Member's question.

    Electricity Supply, Carmarthenshire

    asked the Minister of Transport if any schemes are being prepared for the electrification of any parts of Carmarthenshire; what is the nature of the schemes; and when they can he started?

    The Electricity Commissioners inform me that they have before them an application for a Special Order for distribution powers over the whole of the unoccupied areas in the county, and also a competing application for a part of that area. At the moment the Commissioners are awaiting the submission of a revised technical scheme for the larger application before proceeding with the consideration of the two competing applications.

    Southern Railway (Electrification)

    asked the Minister of Transport whether it is proposed to electrify that part of the Southern Railway which runs between London and Gillingham, Kent; and when it is proposed that the work shall be commenced?

    I am not aware of any proposal to electrify this line, hut I will consult the Southern Railway Company and inform the hon. Member of the result of the inquiry.

    Agriculture

    Wheat Prices

    asked the Minister of Agriculture the average price of homegrown wheat in France, Germany and England at the latest available date?

    According to the October bulletin of the International Institute of Statistics, the average prices of home-grown wheat in France and Germany for September were 14s. 3d. and 11s. 11d. per cwt. respectively. The average price for England and Wales for the same month as ascertained under the Corn Returns Act, 1882, and the Corn Sales Act, 1921, was 7s. 3d.

    Farm Settlements

    asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the loss for each year incurred by the Ministry of Agriculture in the farming operations carried on by it since 1918, distinguishing between each separate holding; what is the capital loss on each holding that has been closed down or sold; and what is the acreage of the farm still being farmed by the Ministry?

    I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given on the 10th instant to a similar question put to me by the hon. and gallant Member for the Richmond Division of Yorkshire (Captain Dugdale), to which I may add that the only estate still farmed directly under the Ministry is the one at Amesbury, which comprises 2,427 acres.