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Written Answers

Volume 245: debated on Thursday 20 November 1930

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Written Answers

West Indies (Inquiry)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is now the intention of the present Government to appoint a Royal Commission with wide terms of reference to consider and report on the whole situation in the West Indies; whether he is aware of the desire for such a commission in these colonies; and whether he has received any resolutions from public bodies urging such a course?

The desirability of instituting an inquiry into the system of government in the Leeward Islands and the possibility of combination with other Governments has been suggested by a number of gentlemen interested in that colony, including members of the Antigua Executive and Legislative Councils, with a view to effecting a reduction in expenditure. This proposal is under the consideration of my Noble Friend. No resolution from any public body advocating the appointment of a Royal Commission to go to the West Indies with wide terms of reference has been received, and at present there is no intention to appoint such a Commission.

Kenya (Land Bank)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what the present position is with regard to proposals for the establishment of a land bank in Kenya Colony; and whether he can give an assurance that the facilities provided by the land bank, if financed from public funds, will be at the disposal of Africans, Arabs, and Indians as well as Europeans?

The necessary legislation for the establishment of a land and agricultural bank is being passed at the present session of the Kenya Legislative Council. The reply to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.

Education

Elementary School Children (Cost)

asked the President of the Board of Education what, for the last school year for which figures are available, was the average cost per child of education in primary schools in London, in county boroughs, and in other areas, respectively?

The cost per child of elementary education, calculated upon the actual net expenditure of local education authorities in the financial year 1929–30 is as follows:

s.d.
London36110
Other counties2310
County boroughs25010
Boroughs24011
Urban districts2787
England and Wales2556

Maintenance Allowances

asked the President of the Board of Education whether the method of prescribing income limits for the receipt of maintenance allowances, under the Education (School Attendance) Bill, set out in Cmd. 3701, was considered by the Departmental Com- mittee over which Mr. E. G. Howarth presided; and, if so, what were the committee's recommendations in regard to it?

I understand that the method of prescribing income limits set out in the White Paper [Cmd. 3701] was among those considered by the Departmental Committee. This method is in use by the London County Council in connection with their existing arrangements for the award of maintenance allowances, and it formed the basis of a separate report by the representatives of that council on the Departmental Committee; but the report of the Committee itself shows that they preferred a more elaborate scheme.

Milk Ration

asked the President of the Board of Education the relative proportions in which certified, grade A (T.T.), pasteurised and ordinary undesignated milk are supplied to children in elementary schools?

I regret that I am unable to give this information. In approving arrangements for the provision of milk by local education authorities the Board call the attention of the authority to the importance of their satisfying themselves as to the purity and quality of the milk, hut they have no information as to the relative proportions in which the different grades of milk are supplied.

Scotland

Ex-Service Men (Hospital Treatment)

asked the Minister of Pensions (1) when the Ministry of Pensions first received intimation from the Glasgow Corporation to remove from Bellahouston where suitable alternative accommodation was looked for; and why such alternative accommodation was refused and Erskine House selected;(2) whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction that exists among ex-service men in Glasgow at the publication of his decision to have ex-service patients requiring indoor treatment removed to Erskine House from January, 1931; and whether he will reconsider his decision?

Repeated intimations 'have been received from the Glasgow Corporation that the site of the hospital is required for civic purposes, and, though they generously extended the Department's occupation on several occasions, I have, as already stated, now decided that existing requirements do not justify further occupation of the site beyond January next. After careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that Erskine House is entirely suitable as alternative accommodation for the treatment of ex-service men in the West of Scotland, and I am unaware of any ground for altering this decision.

asked the Minister of Pensions if Erskine House is a Ministry of Pensions hospital and, if not, what is its constitution and how it is controlled, the purpose for which it was opened, whether that purpose has been departed from and, if so, when?

Erskine House is not a Ministry of Pensions hospital, but is controlled by a governing body of Glasgow citizens with which the Ministry of Pensions has for many years past had an arrangement on a capitation basis for the care and treatment of medical and surgical cases arising from War disability. I am not aware of any departure from the -purpose for which the hospital was established.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, when the ex-service patients are removed from Bellahouston Hospital to Erskine House, and in view of the latter place being at a distance of 13 miles from Glasgow, he is prepared to meet the inconvenience and additional expense of relatives visiting Erskine House by issuing travelling warrants to them?

I would remind my hon. Friend that Ministry patients have been treated in this hospital for many years past. The addition to their number now arranged for does not furnish ground for the suggested provision of special financial assistance to their relatives.

asked the Minister of Pensions the maximum accommodation at Erskine House and the number of limbless ex-service men treated there during 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929 respectively?

The present number of beds at Erskine House available for Ministry of Pensions cases is 63. During the years 1925–1929 limbless and other surgical cases were treated in the. Ministry of Pensions surgical centre at Bellahouston which will shortly be transferred, under the present 'surgical control, to Erskine House.

asked the Minister of Pensions the maximum accommodation of Bellahouston Hospital; and the number of indoor patients treated there during 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929, and the number of outdoor ex-service patients treated during the same periods?

The present number of equipped beds in Bellahouston Hospital is 72. The number of inpatients treated at Bellahouston Hospital is as follows:

Year.Number under in-patient, treatment.
1st January, 1925277
1st January, 1926226
1st January, 1927167
1st January, 1928129
1st January, 1929101
1st January, 193093
About 300 out-patients commenced a course of treatment at the hospital during 1925 and about 100 during the early months of 1926. Since 1926 no out-patients have been treated at Bellahouston, this branch of the work having been transferred to Sauchiehall Street, where it is at present and will henceforth be conducted.

Rates, Lanarkshire

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the amount by which rates have been reduced in the county of Lanark, distinguishing between the county authority and the burghal authorities, which may be attributable to the operation of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1929?

Unemployment

Domestic Service

asked the Minister of Labour the number of females registering at the Wigan Employment Exchange and the sub-exchanges supervised from Wigan who have been offered work as domestic servants since 13th March, 1930; and the number who have had their unemployment benefits disallowed because they refused such work?

The only figures available relate to the number of vacancies for women in domestic service filled by the Wigan Employment Exchange and its branch offices of Standish and Upholland. Between 25th March, 1930, and 3rd November, 1930, 61 such vacancies were filled by these Exchanges, including 17 as non-resident domestic servants and charwomen and 44 as resident domestic servants.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed women normally in insurable occupation who have been offered and have accepted through Scottish Employment Exchanges work as domestic servants?

Between 28th May, 1929, and 3rd November, 1930, 11,893 vacancies for women in domestic service were filled by Employment Exchanges in Scotland, including 7,853 in resident service and 4,040 in non-resident service. Separate statistics are not available regarding the number of women normally in insurable employment who are included in these figures.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed women in Scotland normally in insurable occupations who, since June, 1929, have been cut off benefit or had their benefit temporarily suspended owing to refusal to accept offers of work in domestic service?

I regret that statistics giving the information desired are not available.

Russians

asked the Minister of Labour the number of permits issued by her since June, 1929, to enable Russians to obtain employment in this country?

The number of permits issued since June, 1929, to enable Russians to enter this country to take up employment is 325. Of this number 280 were in respect of theatrical and variety and musicians.

Benefit

asked the Minister of Labour whether her attention has been drawn to the increasing numbers of the younger unemployed whose claim for benefit is refused on the ground that they are not normally in insurable employment, and of the older unemployed that they are not likely to continue to seek insurable employment; and whether in view of the intention with which the Act was amended last year, she can give any figures bearing upon this matter?

I am not aware of any such figures. The two grounds of disallowance which my hon. Friend quotes together make up one of the conditions for the receipt of transitional benefit. The decisions disallowing benefit which are in all cases given by courts of referees, are based on the condition as a whole and the statistics cannot therefore distinguish between its two parts.

asked the Minister of Labour if she is aware that Mr. David Glen, of Shotts, Lanarkshire, was dismissed from his work and disallowed unemployment benefit for six weeks because he refused to work overtime; and what steps she proposes to take to amend the law in this respect?

My hon. Friend brought this case to my notice. The principles laid down by the Umpire for dealing with cases of this kind allow full -account to be taken of all the circumstances, including the urgency of the work, the practice of the trade and the circumstances of the individual worker. I do not think an attempt to lay down any rigid rule would be likely to be successful.

Grants (Income Tax)

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in the sums disbursed by the Government in unemployment relief grants, allowance has been made for the proportion returnable to the Treasury in the form of Income Tax; and, if not, whether she will arrange in future to deduct the latter amounts?

As regards the first part of the question, grants from the Unemployment Grants Committee have not been calculated with reference to the liability or otherwise for the payment of Income Tax on the grant. As regards the second part, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer to questions given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 6th November last.

Insurance Industry

asked the Minister of Labour if the large increase in claims under the insurance unemployment board scheme, as shown by their recent reports, is related to any particular phase or section of employés in the insurance business?

The returns made under the special scheme for the insurance industry relate to the industry as a whole, and figures are not available with regard to any particular section of workers engaged in it.

Shrewsbury

asked the Minister of Labour the number of the unemployed at Shrewsbury on the latest available date and on a similar date 12 months ago?

The following table shows the number of persons on the registers of the Shrewsbury Employment Exchange at 11th November, 1929, and 10th November, 1930:

11th November, 1929.10th November, 1930.
Men7481,194
Boys2844
Women121201
Girls4351
Total9401,490

Uninsured Occupations

asked the Minister of Labour whether she will consider the desirability of introducing legislation to provide that workers normally insurable shall not be deprived of the benefits of the insurance on accepting work temporarily in agriculture, domestic service, and other uninsurable occupations?

Workers who take temporary work in an uninsurable occupation are not in any way worse off, so far as their benefit position is concerned, than if they had remained unemployed. So far as agriculture is concerned, this is explained in a leaflet, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy, and I am considering the issue of similar leaflets for other uninsured occupations.

Bridges (Construction)

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that an urgent need exists in many parts of the country for the construction or reconstruction of iron or steel bridges; whether, in view of the number of unemployed in the iron and steel trades, the Government propose to take steps in the near future for the provision of such bridges; and whether the Government have formulated any definite schemes for this purpose?

The construction or reconstruction of a large number of bridges is included in the programmes of work now being carried out for the relief of unemployment with assistance from the Road Fund. I regard word of this kind as desirable and have encouraged highway authorities to undertake such schemes. The choice of material rests, however, primarily with the responsible highway authority, and is governed largely by local and technical considerations. Iron and steel are being utilised to a very considerable extent.

Insurance (Cost)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the approximate cost of unemployment insurance in terms of the amount payable by an Income Tax payer in receipt of an income of £300, £500, £1,000, £2,000, and £10,000 per annum, respectively?

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind the approximate cost of unemployment insurance to the Exchequer. In the current year this would work out at roughly 4½ per cent. of our total expenditure, excluding self-balancing items. For the actual amount of Income Tax and Sur-tax payable, on specimen incomes, I would refer him to the Financial. Statement (1930–31), House of Commons Paper 112 of 1930, pages 17–18.

Young Offenders

asked the Home Secretary the number of persons between the ages of 16 and 21 that have been prosecuted during each of the last five years ended 30th September, 1930; how many were sent to prison on remand; how many were convicted; and how many were sentenced to terms of imprisonment?

Figures of proceedings against persons aged 16 to 21, or of convictions other than convictions upon indictment, are not separately recorded; but I would refer my hon. Friend to estimates given on pages 12 to 15 of the report of the Departmental Committee on the Treatment of Young Offenders, Command Paper 2831 of 1927. Statistics of such persons received under sentences of imprisonment are given in the annual reports of the Prison Commissioners. Statistics of those received under remand are available only for the year 1928, when a special table was prepared and published in the Commissioners' annual report, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy.

Number of Young Persons (16–21) committed to Manchester Prison from, Manchester Police Court from 1st January, 1926, to 31st October, 1930.
Offences.1926.1927.1928.1929.Ten months of 1930.Total.
Indictable offences
Various forms of larceny5241283734192
Burglary, housebreaking, etc141824201894
False pretences and other frauds1242211
Sexual offences4113110
Manslaughter, wounding, etc.123
Receiving211127
Other offences11
Non-Indictable offences (akin to indictable).
As-aults1542315
Frequenting, etc.7979133
Malicious damage13116
Indecent exposure415
Other offences444113
Other non-indictable offences.
Drunkenness5224417
Offence against poor law11
Begging and sleeping out621312
Breach of police regulations1236
Offences in relation to railways11
Other offences10133111148
111103829386475
Disposal of cases.
Committed for trial or for Borstal sentences3334334217189
Sentenced to imprisonment2418510461
Fined and committed to prison in default19157151167
Fined and paid fine at Court11
Bound over232321201198
Discharged61193837
Committed to institutions for mental defectives.2142514
Returned to reformatory schools or Borstal institutions, etc.31318
111103829386475

asked the Home Secretary the number of youths between the ages of 16 to 21 that have been sent to prison by the Manchester magistrates during the last five years, and the nature of the offence in each case?

In the period of four years and 10 months from 1st January, 1926, to 31st October, 1930, the number of youths between the ages of 16 and 21 sent to prison from the Manchester City Police Court was 475. This figure includes those committed for trial or remitted for a Borstal sentence, those sentenced to imprisonment or committed in default of fines, or remanded to prison and subsequently dealt with under the Probation of Offenders Act and so on. The following table gives the figures for each of these classes and specifies the nature of the offences.

Rabbits (Trapping)

asked the Home, Secretary whether he will consider the desirability of introducing legislation making the trapping of rabbits and other animals with the steel-toothed trap illegal?

The question has been considered more than once, but, as indicated by my predecessor in reply to a similar question two years ago, the farming industry has been of opinion that these traps are the only available method of preventing the serious economic loss winch would be caused to agriculture by the multiplication of vermin; and I am not aware that the position has changed in any respect.

Brown Squirrels

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that furriers are advertising for skins of the British brown squirrel; and whether, having regard to the circumstances that this animal is rapidly becoming extinct, he will take steps for its preservation?

I have no information on the point, nor any power to take any action. I believe it is matter of common knowledge that the brown squirrel is diminishing in numbers because it cannot compete with the grey squirrel, a foreign species which was imported some years ago, and I am afraid no law could protect it against this menace.

Suicides

asked the Home Secretary the numbers of suicides in Great Britain for each of the past 10 years to the latest date?

The numbers of suicides in England and Wales have been as fellow:

19203,373
19213,715
19223,844
19233,919
19243,679
19254,054
19264,408
19274,863
19284,846
1929 (provisional figures)4,907

I have no information as to Scotland, and any question should be addressed to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

River Tine Police

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the omission of the River Tyne Commissioners to comply with the requirements of the statutory regulations under the Police Act, 1919, in respect of conditions of service of the River Tyne Police; and what action it is proposed to take in the matter?

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend has given the matter his careful consideration, and in view of the exceptional position of this force, which is not subject to Government inspection and does not receive Exchequer grant, he has come to the conclusion that it is not within his province to take any further action.

Deportation Orders (Russians)

asked the Home Secretary in how many cases orders for deportation of Russian subjects have not been complied with owing to the risk to life involved by their return to their own country?

I am afraid I cannot answer this question. As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, it is not the practice to assign any specific reason for the decision of the Home Secretary in cases of deportation, and such decisions never depend on one fact or allegation alone.

Government Departments

Chief Industrial Adviser

asked the President of the Board of Trade what salary is attached to the post of Chief Industrial Adviser and how many assistants and clerks will be attached to his office?

The salary of the; Chief Industrial Adviser is £3,000 a year. At present his office consists of six assistants, one clerk, and five typists and shorthand-typists, but the staff employed will naturally vary in accordance with the requirements of the office.

Treasury Solicitor's Department (Office Keeter)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. C. Pope, of 1, Croydon Road, Banstead, Surrey, an office keeper in his Department, who has been called upon to retire on 31st December, having attained the age of 60 on 27th April last, after 43 years' service to his country; whether he is aware that this man served in the South African War and that his six sons served in the Great War, five of them overseas; and whether he will take steps to have this man's case reconsidered in view of the fact that he is to be replaced by a man older than himself.

Mr. Pope is office keeper in the Department of the Treasury Solicitor. I have caused inquiries to be made into his case, and I can hold out no hope of a reconsideration of the decision referred to by the hon. Member, which has been reached after very careful consideration of all the relevant circumstances.

Staffs

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the alterations in the numbers of staff of civil servants in each Department since 1st June, 1929, stating what difference in annual charge is involved in each case?

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to Command Paper 3680 (of which I am sending him a copy) which shows the alterations in the numbers of civil staffs employed in Government Departments since 1st July, 1929. Details are not yet available as regards the difference in annual charge which these alterations involve.

Safeguarding Duties

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether, in view of the deterioration in the industrial condition a the country since the beginning of the year, he will reconsider his decision to allow the Safeguarding Duties upon cutlery, gas mantles, and leather and fabric gloves to lapse on 22nd December next;(2) if he proposes to appoint a committee, as recommended by the Balfour Committee, to inquire into the Safeguarding Duties before they are allowed to expire next December?

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer 'whether his attention is being called to the fact that large wholesalers in this country are declining to stock British cutlery on the ground that the duty will be withdrawn towards the end of December; and whether, in view of the fact that this withdrawal will largely increase unemployment in this country, he will reconsider his decision to remove these duties?

The answer is in the negative. I should like to take this opportunity of removing the misapprehension which appears to exist in certain quarters that the assurance given by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom at the recent Imperial Conference in regard to the continuance of existing preferential margins implies a continuance of any of the Safeguarding Duties beyond the statutory terms for which they were imposed. The policy of the Government in regard to these duties is unaltered.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the Government's decision to retain the existing preferences on Imperial imports and the consequent retention of the existing Safeguarding Duties, he will now re-impose the only Safeguarding Duty which has been removed, namely, that on lace and embroidery, in order that the benefit of the preference in respect of the duty on these articles may not be lost to the Dominions?

No, Sir. I may add that the imports of lace and embroidery from the Dominions are negligible.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the amount of revenue derived from the Safeguarding Duties upon cutlery, gas mantles, leather gloves, fabric gloves and lace, respectively, during the past financial year?

The revenue in 1929–30 from leather or fur gloves was £292,264, and from fabric gloves, £142,064. The other information requested will be found in Table 5, page 15, of the 21st Report of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise (Command Paper 3651).

Trustee Securities (Colonial Stocks)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what conditions have been prescribed by the Treasury for the admission of Colonial stocks to the list of securities in which a trustee may invest; and whether these conditions are revised from time to time?

I am sending the right hon. Gentleman a copy of the conditions which were prescribed by the Treasury on 6th December, 1900, under Section 2 of the Colonial Stock Act, 1900. The conditions then prescribed have not been altered.

Palestine (Development Scheme)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer having regard to the fact that the Colonial Development Act, 1929, was passed in order to make grants or loans for such purposes as are contemplated in the proposed development of Palestine, if he will state why the Treasury decline to apply the Act to that case?

The development scheme contemplated in Palestine is not, in my judgment, within the scope of the Colonial Development Act. For this reason, His Majesty's Government propose, as already stated by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Colonies, to guarantee the necessary loan and to propose to Parliament certain provisions from Votes-in-aid of the loan charges in the first years of the scheme.

Christmas Holidays

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider making Saturday, 27th December, a bank holiday?

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider the desirability of providing that Saturday, 27th December, shall be observed as a bank holiday?

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider recommending that Saturday, 27th December, shall be proclaimed a general and bank holiday for the benefit of bank clerks and others?

I regret that, after very careful consideration, I do not feel able to accept the proposal for an extra bank holiday on Saturday, 27th December, this year.

Old Age Pensions

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he has considered a communication addressed to him by the Hemsworth old age pension sub-committee with regard to the attitude of the pension officers when considering claims for old age pensions made by inmates of public assistance institutions, or in cases where persons in receipt of old age pensions have become obliged to seek admission into a public assistance institution for medical or surgical treatment; and, if so, whether he has taken any action in the matter?

I have received the communication from the Hemsworth committee to which my hon. Friend refers, and am giving the matter my attention.

Poland (Ukrainian Minorities)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the attention of His Majesty's Government, as a signatory to the Minorities Treaties, has been drawn to the treatment of the Ukrainian minorities in Poland, where peasants have been beaten by cavalry, several people killed, co-operative shops demolished, and valuable libraries burnt down; and whether it is intended to bring the matter before the League of Nations?

The attention of His Majesty's Government has been drawn to reports of recent events such as those to which my hon. Friend refers, and, as my right hon. Friend has already stated, he has asked for a report on the subject from His Majesty's Ambassador at Warsaw.

Public Health

Mental Patients

asked the Minister of Health whether the treatment of patients in public mental hospitals is laid down by the Board of Control or whether the medical officer in charge has full or partial liberty in matters of treatment?

The answer to the first question is in the negative, and to the second that the method of treatment of patients is within the discretion of the medical officer of an institution.

Mill Road Hospital (Mental Wards)

asked the Minister of Health when the Mill Road Mental Hospital, now under the Liverpool Public Assistance Committee, was last inspected; and what was the nature of the subsequent report?

The last inspection of the mental wards at this hospital was made by a Commissioner of the Board of Control in April last. The report dealt generally with the character of the accommodation for mental patients, and I forwarded a copy to the city council, who, I understand, have the matter under consideration.

Poor Law

Out-Door Relief

asked the Minister of Health for the latest available date the number of public assistance committees granting out-door relief on loan; and the amount of relief in cash and in kind granted in such cases?

Vagrancy Committees

asked the Minister of Health how many statutory committees are now organised in connection with vagrancy and which counties are still unorganised?

Eighteen statutory orders have been issued constituting vagrancy committees covering 43 administrative counties and 67 county boroughs. Proposals in more or less advanced stages for five more committees covering 11 administrative counties and 16 county boroughs are under consideration. So far as I am aware, the councils of the seven following counties are not at present giving active consideration to proposals for combination: Cambridge, Cornwall, Dorset, Isle of Ely, Hunts, Isle of Wight and Wilts.

Public Assistance Committees (Press, Admission)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is taking any action which will result in the admission of the Press to meetings of public assistance committees?

No, Sir. My hon. Friend will be aware that there is a Bill before the House dealing with this question.

Casuals

asked the Minister of Health whether he will arrange to publish the monthly figures of admission to casual wards; and, if not, will he state whether the figures are obtainable by the public from some other source?

The returns furnished my Department do not show the number of admissions to casual wards, but the number of casuals in receipt of relief on each Friday night. The published quarterly statement of the number of persons in receipt of poor relief compares the number of casuals in receipt of relief on the Friday night preceding the last Saturday in the quarter with the number on the corresponding night for a series of years.

asked the Minister of Health the number of requests he has received from public assistance committees for permission to close casual wards; in how many cases has his sanction been given; whether any new casual wards are now being built and where; and whether the costs of such are being pooled?

The answers to the first and second parts of my hon. Friend's question are respectively 15 and 11; as regards the third part, my sanction is not now required to works which do not involve expenditure exceeding £1,000 or a loan, and I have not, therefore, full information readily available as to all the extensions and improvements in casual wards in England and Wales, but sanction to expenditure has been given on new or substantially enlarged wards at Burnley, East Stonehouse, Llandilo-fawr, Norwich, Reading and Sheffield; the pooling or otherwise of such expenditure is a matter for the discretion of the councils represented on the joint vagrancy committee concerned.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has received any requests for permission to adopt the dietary recommended in the Vagrancy Report; if so, from which committees; and whether he has had any recent requests for sanction to impose stone-breaking as a task?

In answer to the first and second parts of my hon. Friend's question, I have received one such request, from the Durham Joint Vagrancy Committee, and have sanctioned it. The answer to the third part of the question is in the negative.

Contributory Pensions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he or the committee over which he presides will give consideration to the hardship which arises when an unemployed man reaches 65 years and his wife who is a few years younger loses a State benefit of 24s. and receives only 10s. in return?

I have been asked to reply. The matter is under consideration.

1913.1924.1925.1926.1927.1928.1929.
£'000.£'000.£'000.£'000.£'000.£'000.£'000.
Belgo - Luxembourg Economic Union.144,115(a)143,846144,884128,435152,480176,796183,825(b)
Italy99,547141,609150,814149,432163,161157,202161,018
France496,821454,158387,968445,597419,852403,159(b)
Czechoslovakia111,958114,679107,952122,619128,979124,872
Germany (c)355,681458,108510,263528,169602,040659,945
(a) Belgium only in this year.
(b) Provisional figure.
(c) Except for 1924, the particulars for Germany include deliveries on account of Reparations.
NOTE.—Conversions from the original currencies have been made at approximate par rates for 1913 and 1929, and at the average rates of exchange for each of the years 1924 to 1928.

Toys (Import)

Trade And Commerce

Exports (Foreign Countries)

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what are the estimated gold values, expressed in pounds sterling, of the exports of domestic produce, merchandise only, from Belgium and Italy for the years 1913, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929, respectively;(2) what are the estimated gold values, expressed in pounds sterling, of the exports of domestic produce, merchandise only, from France, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia and Germany for the years 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929, respectively; and whether any estimate can be made of a comparable figure for 1913 in the case of each country mentioned, after making allowance for the alteration in territory due to the War?

No information is available as to the separate trade of Luxembourg, the trade of that country being included with that of Belgium in post-War years, while in 1913 it was incorporated with that of Germany. The following table shows the approximate value in pounds sterling of the domestic exports of merchandise from the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union, Italy, France, Czechoslovakia and Germany during each of the years 1924 to 1929, and from Belgium and Italy during 1913. The available information is insufficient to enable a comparable figure for 1913 to be estimated for France, Czechoslovakia and Germany.value of foreign-made toys imported into this country during the last three months?

During the three months ended 31st October, 1930, the total declared value of the imports from foreign countries of toys and games, not of leather or electrical, excluding billiard and bagatelle tables and accessories, amounted to £1,197,000. No information is available regarding the value of the imports of electrical toys or of toys made of leather.

Agriculture

Smallholders (Bankruptcies)

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) what percentage' of the total number of smallholders have gone into liquidation during the years 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930;(2) the number of smallholders who have gone into liquidation during the last five years?

I regret that I have no information as to bankruptcies among smallholders.

Hops

asked the Minister of Agriculture what proportions of the 359,000 cwts. of hops grown in England in 1929 came from Kent and which were the other districts, and how much did each supply; what was the quality and

1927.1928.1929.
Cwt.Cwt.Cwt.
Home Production255,000242,000359,000
Gross Imports—
United States66,61338,89038,429
Continental Countries*22,96430,72630,235‡
Other Countries†12,5389,167
Total102,11578,78368,664
* Total of Germany, Belgium, France, Czecho Slovakia, and the Serb-Croat-Slovene State.
† May include small quantities from other continental countries.
‡ Details not yet available.

Fruit Farming

asked the Minister of Agriculture how much arable land has been put to fruit farming in England, Scotland and Wales, respectively, in each of the years and 1930?

average price in each case; and what proportion of the total consumption of hops for brewing purposes in this country is derived from home, continental, and American sources, respectively?

The estimated production of hops in 1929 in the different counties of England was as follows:

Cwt.
Kent233,000
Hampshire17,000
Surrey1,900
Sussex36,000
Hereford50,000
Worcester20,000
Salop1,200
Berkshire
Gloucester
359,100
Particulars in respect of each of the above counties as to the quality of the crop or as to the average prices realised are not available. I am unable to state what proportions of the hops actually used in brewing are home-produced or imported respectively, but the following table gives figures of the total production of hops in England in each of the years 1927, 1928 and 1929 together with the amounts imported into the United Kingdom from the principal sources:

The following statement shows the area under fruit on agricultural holdings of over one acre in extent in England, Wales and Scotland, as returned on 4th June of each of the years 1929 and 1930:

Total area of orchards.Area of small fruit in orchards.Area of small fruit not under orchard trees.
1929Acres.Acres.Acres.
England243,02130,75133,396
Wales5,332269526
Total area of small fruit
Scotland1,0197,927
1930
England241,77031,79433,638
Wales5,203263514
Total area of small fruit
Scotland1,0048,229
Information as to the area of fresh land put under fruit in any particular year is not available.

Beef (National Mark)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the sales of National Mark beef in London are increasing; and, if so, whether he will give particulars?

The number of sides of National Mark beef sold in London during the week ended 15th November reached the record figure of 5,411. The previous highest figure was that for the week ended 17th May last, when the number of sides sold was 5,354. Practically the whole supply of high quality home and Scotch killed meat coming into the London Central Markets is now graded and marked with the National Mark.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the sales of National Mark beef in Birmingham are increasing; and, if so, whether he will give particulars?

I am glad to say that the number of sides of National Mark beef graded and marked in Birmingham has more than trebled in the last 10 weeks. The figures for the weeks ended 1st, 8th and 15th November are 404, 501 and 476 respectively, all of them very much higher figures than at any time since May last, when local difficulties first arose. The set-back which then occurred has been more than recovered.

Farm Settlements

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number and names of the farm settlements initiated under Government auspices which have been closed down since 1st January, 1929, together with the aggregate respective profit or loss to His Majesty's Treasury?

No farm settlement carried on by my Department has been closed down since 1st January, 1929. The second part of the question, therefore, does not arise.

Fish Docks, Hull (Accommodation)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the congestion at Hull when the trawler fleets are in the port discharging their catches; that on 10th November last 27,000 kits of fresh fish were brought to Hull from the North Sea, Iceland, Bear Island, the White Sea, Greenland, and other fisheries, and of this quantity only 16,000 kits could be discharged- on the fish market; that 9,000 kits had to he kept on board the trawlers till the following day; and that inconvenience and loss was caused to the fishermen and merchants; whether, in view of the growing importance of Hull as a modern fishing port, he proposes to take any steps, by recommending a grant or other means, for the improvement of the clock and harbour facilities; and whether this matter has been examined into at the inquiry into sea fisheries?

I am aware of the circumstances referred to. The inadequacy of accommodation for vessels at the fist docks at Hull has been brought to the notice of the Fisheries Committee of the Economic Advisory Council, and I have arranged for representatives of the committee to visit Hull on 24th November to investigate the matter.

National Parks Committee (Report)

asked the Minister of Agriculture when the report of the National Parks Committee will be presented; and when it will be available?

Transport

New Bridge, Loftsome

asked the Minister of Transport, with reference to the grant of 85 per cent. to the East Riding County Council for the erection of a new bridge at Loftsome, whether he was aware, when authorising the grant, that the Loftsome Toll Bridge Company will have the right to prosecute the owners of all public service vehicles using the new free bridge on the grounds that, since the latter is within one mile of the toll bridge, the owners of these vehicles will be infringing Section 43 of 43 Geo. III, cap. 49?

I am aware of the provisions of the Section of the Act to which the hon. Member refers. The matter has been discussed with the East Riding County Council, who are satisfied that in the erection of the new bridge they will be in no way interfering with the statutory rights of the company.

Traffic Conditions, Camomile Bottom

asked the Minister of Transport if the works with a view to improving traffic conditions at Camomile Bottom, Blackheath, have now been completed; and if he is satisfied that effective steps to deal with the situation have been taken?

I understand that the works at Camomile Bottom, Blackheath, have been completed, and that the roundabout traffic system now in operation on the whole is working satisfactorily. I am, however, arranging for the junction to be kept under observation in case it may be possible by additional signs or lights to render this system even more effective.

Motor Cycle Silencers

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware of the dissatisfaction in the British motor cycle industry at the proposed new regulation with regard to silencers; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

The Parliamentary Secretary is receiving a deputation of the British Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers and Traders Union within the next few days to discuss the draft regulations with regard to silencers.

Railways (Administration And Management)

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will consider the advisability of setting up a committee to inquire fully into the management and commercial side of the railway undertakings in this country?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply to a somewhat similar question from the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Shepherd) on the 13th instant, of which I am sending him a copy.

India (Prisoners)

asked the Secretary of State for India whether any of the civil disobedience prisoners are under 15 years of age; and, if so, are these persons incarcerated with adult prisoners or is special accommodation provided?

As I promised the hon. Member for East Leyton (Mr. Brockway) on Monday, I am making inquiries.

Auxiliary Postmen

asked the Postmaster-General the number of auxiliary postmen at present employed; the average number of hours worked each week; and the average weekly wage paid?

The number of auxiliary postmen employed is approximately 12,000, the average number of hours worked each week 26, and the average weekly wage paid 27s. 6d.