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Written Answers

Volume 245: debated on Monday 24 November 1930

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Written Answers

Local Authorities (Grants)

asked the Minister of Health, in respect of the year 1928–29, the total amount of the grants paid to local authorities in England and Wales for each of the following services, namely, Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 1919; Housing, etc., Act, 1923; Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1924; Housing (Rural Workers) Act, 1926; mental deficiency; maintenance in mental hospitals of ex-Service patients; police (grants out of assigned revenues paid through the Local Taxation Account); maternity and child welfare; tuberculosis (treatment); tuberculosis (provision of sanatoria); treatment of venereal diseases; welfare of the blind; port sanitary administration; public vaccination; expenses of sanitary authorities in respect of health officers' salaries; unemployment schemes (capital works in respect. of non-revenue-producing undertakings and capital works in respect of revenue-producing undertakings, respectively); collection of local taxation licence duties; registration of births and deaths; Agricultural Rates Acts, 1896 and 1923; and balance of assigned revenues not specifically allocated to other purposes?

The grants paid to local authorities in England and Wales in the financial year 1928-29 in respect of the services mentioned, were as follow:

Housing, Town Planning, etc., Act, 19196,750,217
Housing, etc., Act, 19231,918,099
Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 19241,861,679
Housing (Rural Workers) Act, 1926Nil.
Mental Deficiency608,178
Maintenance in mental hospitals of ex-Service patients32,431
Police (grants out of assigned revenues paid through the Local Taxation Account)3,103,244
Maternity and Child Welfare834,711
Tuberculosis (treatment) (including the sum of £106,557 paid in respect of the residential treatment of War Pensioners)1,858,669
Tuberculosis(provision of Sanatoria)29,409
Treatment of Venereal Diseases302,954
Welfare of the Blind5,810
Port Sanitary Administration43,302
Public Vaccination10,522
Expenses of Sanitary Authorities in respect of Health Officers' salaries435,602
Unemployment schemes (capital works in respect of non-revenue producing undertakings) including the sum of £908,176 in respect of grants made by the Ministry of Transport from the Road Fund1,864,045
Unemployment schemes (revenue - producing undertakings)499,460
Collection of local taxation licence duties60,000
Registration of births and deaths9,381
Agricultural Rates Acts, 1896 and 19234,738,756
Balance of assigned revenues not specifically allocated to other purposes2,919,678

asked the Home Secretary, in respect of the year 1928-29, the total amount of the grants paid to local authorities in England and Wales for each of the following services, namely, reformatory and industrial schools, probation of offenders, and police (in addition to sums paid through the Local Taxation Account)?

Pending the completion of the examination of the claims to grant for 1928–29, it is not possible to give the total amount of the grants paid in respect of that year. The amounts actually paid to local authorities in that year were:

Reformatory and Industrial Schools59,451
The figure for reformatory and industrial schools represents the amount paid to local authorities in respect of their own schools. The Exchequer and local authorities contribute in equal shares towards the maintenance of children in schools under voluntary management. The net expenditure incurred by the Exchequer in the same year for all such schools was £216,724.

asked the Minister of Transport, in respect to the year 1928–29, the total amount of the grants paid to local authorities in England and Wales for each of the following services, namely, maintenance and construction grants for Class I and Class II roads in London and county boroughs, maintenance grants for unclassified roads in county districts, other grants for maintenance and construction of roads and bridges, and licensing and registration of motor vehicles?

The following approximate sums have been or will be paid to local authorities in England and Wales from the Road Fund in respect of the year 1928–29:

  • (i) in respect of maintenance and minor improvements of classified roads and bridges in London and county boroughs, ₣1,244,000;
  • (ii) in respect of maintenance of unclassified roads in rural areas, 21,594,000;
  • (iii) in respect of maintenance and minor improvements of classified roads and bridges other than those in London and county boroughs, £6,120,000;
  • (iv) in respect of costs of licensing and registration of motor vehicles, £387,000.
  • These figures exclude sums paid or due under grants in respect of major improvement schemes and new construction.

    Bovine Tuberculosis

    asked the Minister of Health whether he has any statistics that will show the number of infants who die each year through bovine tuberculosis?

    I am advised that there is no information available on which to base any reliable estimate of this number.



    asked the Minister of Labour whether she has had any consultation with the education authority on the subject of unemployed boys and girls in Woolwich attending a junior instruction centre; what is the present position; and what steps she is taking to provide courses of instruction for such young people in the Woolwich area?

    The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. On the latter part, I would refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 13th November, since when the position has not changed.

    Tyneside Area

    asked the Minister of Labour how many claims for benefit have been dealt with by courts of referees in the Tyneside area since March last; and how many claims have been disallowed on the ground that the claimants were not normally insurable and would not normally seek to obtain a livelihood by means of insurable employment?

    During the period 13th March, 1930, to 13th October, 1930, 19,866 claims to benefit were considered by courts of referees in the Tyneside area, and of these 7,501 were disallowed on the ground that the claimants were not normally insurable, and will not normally seek to obtain a livelihood by means of insurable employment.

    asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed persons in the Tyneside area at arty convenient date in June, July, August, September, and October, 1928, 1929, and 1930, respectively, and the distribution according to trades of those unemployed?

    NUMBERS OF INSURED PERSONS recorded as Unemployed: June-October, 1928, 1929 and 1930.
    Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing192811,52111,19611,37212,12413,823
    General Engineering, Engineers' Iron and Steel Founding.19284,5624,8164,6264,5354,482
    Marine Engineering, etc.19281,7751,5871,6341,8992,128
    Steel Melting and Iron Punddling Furnaces, etc19289731,0451,1119021,029
    Hotel, Boarding House, Club Services19287758788501,0071,275
    Road Transport not separately specified19289761,0689171,015976
    Shipping Service19282,1891,9482,0601,6421,646
    Canal, River, Dock and Harbour Service19282,07022972,3112,4252,539
    Coal Mining192811,20312,95511,70812,13512,295
    Distributive Trades19283,3083,7493,7623,9674,224
    Local Government19288869279739801,078
    All Other Industries and Services19289,99710,25210,14510,86111,581
    Total all Industries192853,45456,32955,07756,97260,993

    * Comprising the area covered by the Ministry of Labour Local Offices at Blaydon, Elswick, Gateshead, Heaton, Hebburn, Jarrow, Newcastle, North Shields, South Shields, Wallsend, Williugton Quay, Dunston, Newbury and Walker.

    Riverside Workers, Bootle

    asked the Minister of Labour if she has any definite plans to place before the House for the relief of unemployment amongst dock and riverside workers of Bootle, Lancashire?

    The Government's plans for works for relief of unemployment are not confined to particular classes of workers. Unemployed riverside workers in Bootle are eligible for employment upon schemes put in hand locally with assistance from the Unemployment Grants Committee or the Ministry of Transport.

    Cement-Making Industry

    asked the Minister of Labour how many persons ordinarily employed in the cement-making industry in this country were out of employment on the last available date?

    Separate statistics are not available in respect of the cement-making industry. At 27th October, IMO, there were 2,477 insured persons classified as belonging to the cement, limekilns and whiting group of industries recorded as unemployed in Great Britain.

    Railway Companies (Wages Agreements)

    asked the Minister of Labour whether her attention has been officially directed to the proposed wage reductions of the allied railway companies; and whether she will take steps with a view to preventing a 'cessation of work and bringing about a settlement?

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given regarding this matter on 17th November, of which I am sending him a copy.

    Casual Labour, Merseyside Docks (Inquiry)

    asked the Minister of Labour whether financial charge will be incurred by her Department in respect of the inquiry into casual labour at the Merseyside docks; and whether any report or reports of the results of such inquiry will be Government publications and supplied to Members of the House?

    No extra financial expenditure will fall upon my Department in connection with this inquiry which has been conducted by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. My Department lent its services for the collection of information. The report of the inquiry has already been published under the authority of the Lord Mayor. It is not proposed to make it a Government publication.

    Royal Navy

    Dockyard Museums

    asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that valuable national relics are rapidly deteriorating in the dockyard museums of Portsmouth and Chatham owing to the lack of competent curatorship; and whether he will take steps to see that either curators are appointed or periodical inspections are made from time to time by experts?

    As regards the suggested appointment of curators, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply Which I gave him on 19th February [OFFICIAL REPORT, columns 1405–6]. The same considerations apply to the suggestion that periodical inspections should be made by experts.

    Catering, Ships

    asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the central catering system has been introduced for officers serving in county class cruisers and His Majesty s Ship "York"; and, if so, whether the staffs of officers' stewards and cooks have been pooled, or Whether each mess retains its own staff?

    Experimental trial of a central catering system for officers is being carried out in His Majesty's Ship "York" and certain other ships. In the system under trial, cooking is centralised and staffs of officers' cooks are pooled for ward-room, gull-room and warrant officers, but each mess retains its own stewards.


    asked the Minister of Labour the rates of wages in July, 1920, of bricklayers, painters, building labourers, fitters and turners, engineering labourers, shipwrights, ship joiners, shipbuilding labourers, engine drivers, ticket collectors, goods porters, dock cargo workers, able seamen, ships' firemen, tramcar drivers, carters, hand compositors and machine minders, bookbinders and machine rulers, and agricultural labourers?

    The following statement shows the time rates of wages and hours of labour in July, 1930, for adult male work-people in the occupations mentioned, either in the five largest towns in Great Britain or in the country generally.



    (Unless otherwise indicated the particulars given are agreed upon

    by organisations of employers and workpeople in the industries mentioned.)

    Industry and Occupation.Rates of Wages.Hours of Labour in a full ordinary week, exclusive of




    Per hour.Per hour.Per hour.Per hour.Per hour.
    Bricklayers1s. 8½d. & 1s. 8d.*1s. 7d.1s. 8½d. plus 2s. per week "tool money".1s. 7d.1s. 8d.44†
    Painters1s. 7½d. & 1s. 7d.*1s. 7d.1s. 8½d.1s. 7d.1s. 8d.
    Labourers1s. 3½d. & 1s. 3d.*1s. 2¼d.1s. 2¾d. & 1s. 3¼d.1s. 2¼d.1s. 2¼d. & 1s. 2¾d.

    General Engineering:

    Per week.Per week.Per week.Per week.Per week.
    Fitters and Turners62s. 11d.58s.§58s.§58s.§58s. 1d.§47
    Labourers45s. 3½d.42s.41s. & 42s. 9d.§40s.§42s. 4½d.§

    Dock Labour:

    Per day.Per day.Per day.Per day.
    Ordinary Labourers12s. & 13s. 6d.12s.12s.12s.44 (eleven half days of 4 hours each).

    Tramway Service:║

    Per week.Per week.Per week.Per week.Per week.
    Drivers64s. to 73s.59s. 6d. to 66s. 6d.61s. 5d. to 63s. 9d.57s. 6d. to 63s. 6d.56s. to 64s.48

    General Printing and Bookbinding:

    Hand compositors89s.74s. 6d.77s. 6d.77s. 6d.77s. 6d.48
    Machine minders89s. to 120s.74s. 6d. to 91s. 6d.77s. 6d. to 94s. 6d.77s. 6d. to 94s. 6d.
    Bookbinders and Machine rulers80s.74s. 6d.77s. 6d.77s. 6d.77s. 6d.

    Commercial, Road Transport:

    One-horse drivers57s. & 58s.57s.51s.48
    Two-horse drivers61s. & 62s.63s.

    * The higher rate applied to the area within a 12-mile radius of Charing Cross and the lower rate to the area outside the 12-mile but within a 15-mile radius of Charing Cross.

    † 46½ in Birmingham and Manchester during statutory "summer time."
    ‡ The rates stated are time rates, but a majority of fitters and turners and some labourers are paid by results and earn substantially more than time-rates
    § These rates were recognised by the Trade Unions concerned; they were not, so far as the Department is aware, embodied in any formal general agreements with the employers' organisations.
    ║ The rates quoted for the Tramway Service were the minima and maxima of the scales paid.


    Great Britain.—The agreed national minimum time-rate for skilled men, including shipwrights and ship joiners, at the principal shipbuilding centres is 60s. a week on new work and 63s. on repair work; for labourers it is 41s. on now work and 44s. on repair work, for a 47 hour week. At London, Liverpool, and Manchester the rates for repair work are appreciably higher.

    Railway Service.

    Engine driversGreat Britain.—lst and 2nd years 72s.; 3rd and 4th years 78s.; 5th year 84s.; 6th year and onwards 90s. (for certain classes of engine drivers and maximum rate is 84s.). Hours, 48 per week. Where the mileage during any turn of duty exceeds 140 miles, extra payment is made. A rent allowance of 3s. per week is paid to men stationed in London.

    Ticket Collectors—Great Britain.

    Class 1.—58s. per week of 48 hours.

    Class 2.—54s. per week of 48 hours.

    Goods porters.

    London.—47s. per week of 48 hours.

    Provincial Industrial areas.—46s. per week of 48 hours. (New entrants on and from 1st February, 1926, 44s.)

    Mercantile Marine—Great Britain.

    Rates fixed under decisions of the National Maritime Board.

    Able seamen.—Monthly rate £9 (with free food in addition); weekly rates 62s. (men finding own food), and 41s. (with free food in addition).

    Firemen.—Monthly rate £9 10s. (with free food in addition); weekly rates 62s. (men finding own food), and 41s. (with free food in addition).


    England and Wales.—Ordinary workers: The average of the minimum rates made effective by Orders of the Agricultural Wages Board under the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act, 1924, as calculated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was 31s. 80. per week, inclusive of the value of allowances in kind (as defined in the Orders).

    Scotland.—Ordinary married ploughmen: In Scotland, where the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) Act does not apply, the average of the estimated weekly earnings in the summer of 1930, as calculated by the Scottish Board of Agriculture, was 36s. 8d. This total is inclusive of the value of allowances in kind, which are of considerable amount in many counties.

    Post Office


    asked the Postmaster-General whether any recent conversations have taken place for the purpose of considering the question of using a broadcasting station for television; and what has been their result and the decision of his Department in the matter?

    Simultaneous television and sound transmissions are already made every weekday from the British Broadcasting Corporation's station at Brookman's Park.

    Letter Packets

    asked the Postmaster-General the number of letters carried during 1929, 1919, 1909, and in previous years at 10-yearly intervals so far as figures are available?

    The estimated numbers of letter packets delivered at 10-yearly intervals since 1839 have been:


    Advisory Council

    asked the Postmaster-General whether the Post Office Advisory Council is still in existence; if so, who arc the members of it and when it met last; and what questions have been remitted to it?

    The Post Office Advisory Council has been re-appointed. The members are:Sir C. C. Barrie, K.B.E.Mr. J. Cairns.Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. Churchman, Baronet.Colonel Sir G. Courthope, Baronet, M.C., M.P.Mr. C. T. Cramp.The Right, Hon. Lord Daryngton.Mr. R. Holland Martin, C.B.The Right Hon. Lord Luke, K.B.E.Sir S. Machin, J.P.Sir E. Manville, M.I.E.E.Lieut.-Colonel Rouse Orlebar.Mr. W. Smithers, M.P.The last meeting was held on 19th March last. The proceedings of the council are confidential.

    Telephone Services, Kincardine And West Aberdeenshire

    asked the Postmaster-General the number of districts in Kincardine and West Aberdeenshire within which telephone services have been installed since June, 1929, and the offices or stations; and the number and names of districts in the division within which further telephone services are intended to be provided?

    Since June, 1929, new telephone exchanges have been opened at Catterline, Drumlithie, Kildrummy, Lumphanan, Lumsden and Rhynie, and public call offices at the following places: Banchory-Devenick, Blairs, Bridge of Canny, Cambus O'May Station, Catterline, Clatt, Dess Station, Drumlithie, Drum Station, Dunecht, Durris, Fettercairn, Forbes, Inver, Kennethmont Station, Kildrummy, Kineff, Logic Pert, Lumphanan, Lumsden, Luthermuir, Midmar, Muchalls, Ordhead, Ordie, Rhynie, Tillyfourie Station and Tough. Arrangements are in hand for providing call offices at. Lauriston Station and Mossat.

    Mail Vans

    asked the Postmaster-General whether there are any motor mail-vans at present in the use of the Post Office of which the chassis are of American or foreign manufacture; and wilt he give particulars.

    The Post Office has in use four mail vans with motor chassis of wholly American manufacture. These were obtained in 1928 for experimental purposes. There are also 799 vans of which the chassis contains a small percentage of parts of American manufacture. The remainder (1,584) are of wholly British manufacture.


    Commission's Report (Sale)

    asked the Secretary of State for India the number of copies of the report of the Simon Commission which have been sold in this country and abroad?

    The number of copies sold by the Stationery Office up to 15th November is as follows:

    Vol. I.Vol. II.
    In this country33,65323,249
    In India16,00020,000
    In United States of America431430

    In addition 2,500 and 720 copies of each volume have been issued on "sale or return" in this country and in the dominions respectively. I have no information as to how many copies of the report sold to booksellers in this country were resold to customers abroad, or as to the number of copies sold to the public in India by the Government of India who were the purchasers from the Stationery Office.

    Government Staffs (Salaries)

    asked the Secretary of State for India how many British persons in the Indian Government or Civil Service in India and in this country are drawing salaries of more than 1,000 rupees (about £66) a month?

    In order to supply the information for which my hon. Friend asks, it would be necessary for particulars of the individual salaries of about 6,000 officers to be examined with a view to separating British from Indian officers serving on common cadres and to eliminating on the one hand junior officers serving on time-scales of pay who have not yet passed the Rs.1,000 per mensem stage and to including on the other such of these and other officers normally in receipt of a lower rate of pay as are, by reason of holding acting appointments, temporarily receiving more than Rs.1,000 per mensem. In these circumstances, I hope my hon. Friend will agree with my view that the advantage to be gained from the information he seeks would not be commensurate with the labour involved in obtaining it.


    asked the Home Secretary how many licences for the performance of experiments on living animals have been refused on account of their character during each of the last 10 years?

    I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave him on 8th May last.

    Prisons (Improvements)

    asked the Home Secretary whether he will take steps to ensure the provision of more generous financial help to the governors of prisons who are desirous of making structural and other changes so that prisoners may be better trained and employed?

    If ample funds were available it would be desirable to make extensive structural alterations of many prisons or even to rebuild them entirely: but having regard to financial considerations it is only possible to make gradual and limited improvements. Every year Parliament is asked to vote certain sums for the provision of workshops and for other building works at prisons and a continuous programme of improvements is carried out so far as that can be done consistently with due economy.

    Licensed Trade, Bath

    asked the Home Secretary the number of occasional licences for the sale of intoxicants and the number of ordinary licences, respectively, for which hours of extension were granted in the city of Bath during 1929 and 1930?

    Deaf (Education)

    asked the President of the Board of Education if he has any information relating to the latest methods adopted in the United States of America for the education of the deaf; and whether he will make such information accessible to Members?

    A number of publications relating to the education of the deaf in the United States of America are available in the Board's library; but I have not at present any information which would appear to justify the preparation of a special report on the subject.

    Ordnance Factories (Annual Leave)

    asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has recently received representations on behalf of the men in the ordnance factories protesting against their being compelled to have one fixed week for the week's annual leave; and what reply he has made?

    The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. My hon. Friend the Financial Secretary has on my behalf informed the men's representatives that the present arrangement which is best suited to factory requirements must be maintained.

    Transjordan Frontier Force

    asked the Secretary of State for War when his Department assumed responsibility for the Transjordan Frontier Force; how many officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the British Army are seconded for service in. this force; and what is the cost of it to the British Treasury?

    I have been asked to reply to this question. The Transjordan Frontier Force is administered by the Colonial Office and not by the War Office. The following personnel of the British Army are seconded for service in this force:—officers, 11; warrant and noncommissioned officers, 5; other ranks, O. A grant-in-aid of £175,000 towards the cost of the force is being made by His Majesty's Government to the Palestine Government for the current financial year.

    Trade And Commerce

    Seeds (Imports)

    asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) the total weight of sweet-pea seed imported into this country for the last 12 months for which statistics are available; and what was the principal source from which this seed came;(2) the total value of seed of all kinds imported into this country during the last 12 months for which statistics are available?

    During the 12 months ended 31st October, 1930, the total declared value of seeds of all descriptions imported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland was £11,529,000, of which £10,035,000 was the value of seeds for expressing oil (such as cotton seed, linseed and soya beans); the value of agricultural and horticultural seeds was £1,116,000 of which flower seeds accounted for £47,000. I regret that no information of either the value or the weight of sweet-pea seed imported is available, but I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture that the principal sources of this seed are California and Holland.

    Imports And Exports, Welsh Ports

    asked the President of the Board of Trade the amount and value of imported goods landed at Welsh ports from all countries in the year 1029; and the amount and value of goods exported to all countries from Welsh ports in 1929?

    The total declared value of merchandise imported into and exported from this country during the year 1929 at ports in Wales was as follows: —Total imports £38,403,681; exports of produce and manufactures of the United Kingdom, £56,584,555; and exports of imported merchandise, £2,744,494. I am unable to state the total quantity of the goods included in these figures.


    asked the Secretary to the Overseas Trade Department what contracts to the value of not less than £5,000 have been made between British firms and the Russian Government or trade organisations during the last 12 months; what is the nature of these contracts; and how many of them have been conducted under the terms of the Export Credits Guarantee Scheme through which payment by means of bills of exchange is an agreed method of settlement?

    I have no information regarding the number or nature of contracts between British firms and Government or trade organisations of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, except in the case of those transacted under the Export Credits Guarantee Scheme. The number of such contracts with a value of not less than £5,000 conduded during the last 12 months is 78.

    Wild Anirals And Caged Birds (Imports)

    asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state, with any classification available, how many wild animals and caged birds have been imported into this country during each of the last 10 years?

    I regret that the information asked for by my boa. Friend is not available.


    Special Schemes, London

    asked the Minister of Transport what it is roughly estimated will be the cost to the Road Fund of the special London schemes, such 'as the Dartford-Purfleet tunnel and the Elephant and Castle improvements?

    The estimated cost to the Road Fund of the two schemes to which the right hon. Gentleman refers and of other special schemes in London now in progress or in contemplation, towards which grants have been promised, is approximately £9,000,000, excluding any grants which may be made towards approved schemes in respect of Charing Cross, Waterloo and Putney Bridges.

    Road Maintenance

    asked the Minister of Transport what was the cost during the last financial year to the Road Fund of the maintenance of classified roads: and what was the cost to the same fund clueing the same period of the improvement and maintenance of rural and other unclassified roads

    The payments from the Road Fund during the last financial year in respect of the maintenance of classified roads amounted to £10,041,132, and in respect of the maintenance of unclassified roads in rural areas to £1,810,070. I am unable to state separately the amount paid in respect of schemes for the improvement of unclassified roads.

    Motor Coach Services (Time Schedules)

    asked the Minister of Transport; whether his attention has been called to the case of four motor omnibus drivers who were fined, at Bedale, York- shire, by amounts varying from £5 to £1 for exceeding the speed limit of 20 miles per hour on the Great North Road; if he is aware that the men were all drivers of London to Liverpool omnibuses; and if he can state the number of hours allowed to reach the outward and homeward journeys?

    My attention had not been drawn to the case to which my hon. Friend refers, and under the existing law I have no means of ascertaining the times allowed for the completion of journeys by the drivers of motor coaches. When Part IV of the Road Traffic Act becomes fully operative, I anticipate that an effective check will be imposed on the time schedules of motor coach services.

    Canal Bridge, Kirkintillogr

    asked the Minister of Transport whether any representations have been made to him regarding the danger of life and property arising from the existing bridge over the canal on the main street of Kirkintilloch, Dumbartonshire; and what steps will be taken to ensure that a new bridge suitable to the traffic of the district shall be erected at an early date?

    No representations have recently been made to me regarding this bridge, but I am informed that the Dumbartonshire County Council, who are now the responsible highway authority, have recently reopened negotiations with the railway company with a view to its reconstruction.

    Road Fund (Commitments)

    asked the Minister of Transport the estimated total commitments of the Road Fund, since August, 1929, which have been definitely approved or which are still being worked out, in connection with the improvement or reconstruction of classified roads and bridges, under the trunk road, five years, and annual programmes?

    The Road Fund liability in respect of schemes approved in principle or for grant since August, 1929, under the programmes mentioned in the question is estimated at approximately £40,000,000.

    Five Per Cent War Loan

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of the Five per Cent. War Loan which is held by persons or corporations domiciled abroad?

    Income Tax Payers

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of Income Tax payers with an income of £500 and over during each of the last. 20 years?

    The only statistics available for recent years regarding the distribution of incomes are those relating to Sur-tax payers. My hon. Friend will find in Table 64 of the 63rd report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue (Command Paper No. 1083) and in Table 67 of the 64th report (Command Paper No. 1436) particulars of the distribution of incomes for the years 1918–19 and 1919–20 which give the information he desires for those two years.

    China (Father Tierney, Capture)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, what action he has taken with regard to the capture by Chinese Communists of the Very Reverend C. Tierney, superior of St. Columban's Mission at Kienchang?

    Upon being informed of Father Tierney's capture, His Majesty s Consul-General at Hankow immediately telegraphed to the authorities of the Province in which the outrage took place, urging that prompt steps be taken for his release. I have instructed His Majesty's Minister to take up this case at once with the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs.

    Missions And Conferences, Foreign Countries

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many persons have visited foreign countries during the present year by instructions of the Foreign Office; and the names of the persons, and how much has been paid to each person for subsistence allowance and travelling expenses?

    The number of individual journeys undertaken during the current year by the heads of His Majesty's Missions abroad and their staffs, under instructions of the Foreign Office, including journeys on appointment or transfer from one post to another, amounts to 405, and the total cost to £26,616. These expenses consist of the actual cost of travel, including luggage charges and subsistence allowance. The individual journeys to Geneva for meetings of the League of Nations during the current year number 115, and the cost, including subsistence allowance, amounts to £1,866, Journeys to other places for conferences, etc., number 113 at a cost of £2,543.

    Russia (Labour Conditions)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will call for a report from His Majesty's Ambassador at Moscow on the health conditions of the pickers of fruit forming part of the fruit pulp imported into this country from Soviet Russsia?

    After discussion with the Departments more directly concerned, I do not consider that any useful purpose would be served by calling for a report from His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow on this question.


    Russian Cereals (Dumping)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps have been taken by the Governments of France and Germany to deal with the dumping of Russian cereals in their countries?

    I have been asked to reply. By a Decree issued on 3rd October, the importation into France of cereals (and certain other goods) originating in or coming from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is made dependent on the grant of a licence. A special committee has been set up to control the issue of such licences. I am not aware of any steps, directed specifically against Russian goods, having been taken by the German Government.

    Wheat Quota Systems

    asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give the House all the information in his possession regarding the operation of the quota system for wheat and other agricultural commodities in those countries into which it has been introduced?

    The general purpose of "wheat quota" systems is to ensure the absorption in flour milling of a maximum quantity of the native wheat of the country concerned. The details of the systems vary in different countries.In Germany, millers are placed under a statutory obligation to purchase a prescribed and variable proportion of native wheat. During the past cereal year the proportion averaged about 55 per cent.; at the beginning of the present cereal year it was fixed at 80 per cent.In Portugal and Latvia, the system is applied to imported grain, millers being required to use a definite amount of native grain before obtaining the necessary licence to import.In France, millers are required to use a proportion (90 per cent. since August, 1930, but previously 97 per cent.) of native wheat.In Luxemburg, the proportion of native grain in mixed wheat flour and rye flour is 20 per cent.In Czechoslovakia, arrangements are proposed to require millers to use 75 per cent. of native wheat, and to require flour importers to blend 75 per cent. of native wheat dour with imported flour.In Sweden, the latest quota regulations require millers to use 75 per cent. of native wheat and flour importers to blend a similar proportion of home-willed flour with imported flour under Customs supervision at the ports.In Norway and Switzerland, millers are required to make use of all native bread cereals of milling quality, subject, in the case of Switzerland, to a maximum equivalent to one-sixth of the total flour output of the mill.Responsibility for prescribing and supervising the "wheat quota" lies with the Minister of Agriculture or a corresponding Minister, but certain powers and duties are delegated, in some countries, to other organisations. Owing to the novel and experimental nature of the schemes, the system of administration is made as flexible as possible in order to deal with special circumstances and unforeseen contingencies. In most cases the systems have been in operation for a short period. The information available is insufficient to enable the precise effect of the quota system by itself to be closely determined at the present time. A quota system for rye on similar lines to that for wheat is in operation in the following countries:—Latvia, Luxemburg, Czechoslovakia and Sweden. In Norway, the term bread cereals covers barley and rye as well as wheat, and in Switzerland includes wheat, spelt, barley, rye, meslin and maize in those districts where these are customarily used in breadmaking flours. No information is available in my Department as to the existence of quota systems in relation to other agricultural products.

    Wages, Brecon And Radnor

    asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the proposal of the Brecon and Radnor Agricultural Wages Committee to reduce the minimum wage and increase the hours under the Trade Boards Act; and, seeing that their present standards are already among the lowest in the country, will he say what action he proposes to take in this and similar cases?

    I am aware that the Brecon and Radnor Agricultural Wages Committee has given notice of a proposal to vary the minimum rates of wages for agricultural workers in its area. The new rates are not actually fixed as the committee have not yet considered objections, so that it is premature for me to consider whether any action on my part is possible or desirable. As my hon. Friend knows. I have no power to interfere with the wages committee in the exercise of their power to determine minimum rates of wages.

    Fishing Industry

    asked the Minister of Agriculture the estimated number of fishermen employed in sea-fishing regularly or occasionally; and the number of fishing vessels so employed as at the last convenient date?

    The latest published figures for the United Kingdom relate to 1928. In that year the number of fishing vessels was 14,670, and the number of men and boys regularly employed in sea fishing was 52,207, while the number occasionally employed was 7,991.

    Airship R 101 (Dependants, Awards)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how the award to dependants is arrived at in the case of unmarried men who lost their lives in the disaster to airship R 101, in view of the fact that these awards vary from £100 to £270?

    The awards referred to by the hon. Member are governed by the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act and vary according to the extent to which the relatives were dependent on the deceased men. The awards were made on as generous a scale as the circumstances appeared to allow.

    Coal Industry

    Horses In Mines

    asked the Secretary for Mines (1) whether any report has been received by him regarding broken-winded horses employed in coal mines in this country; and what the nature of such report is;(2) whether his attention has been called to the circumstance that many horses and ponies employed in coal mines in South Wales are suffering from broken wind and that stone-dusting of the haulage roads has a detrimental effect upon the respiratory organs of such horses and ponies; and whether he will consider the desirability of introducing legislation making the employment of horses in dry and dusty mines illegal?

    I have received no such report as is referred to in the first question; and though I have made inquiries, I can find no grounds for the suggestion in the first part of the second question. The number of horses in South Wales suffering from broken wind is very small, and shows no tendency to increase. Post-mortem examinations of the lungs of horses employed in mines in different parts of the country have revealed no evidence whatever of the lungs being adversely affected by stone dust. The answer to the second part of that question is therefore also in the negative.


    asked the Secretary for Mines how many explosions have occurred in coal mines in Great Britain during the last 10 years; how many lives were lost; how many public inquiries were held to ascertain the cause; and in how many cases were pro- ceedings taken against the owners or managers for contravening the law?

    During the 10 years 1920–29 there were 134 explosions, involving loss of life, the total number of deaths being 389. In respect of 14 of these explosions, in which 206 Lives were lost, public inquiries were held under Section 83 of the Coal Mines Act, 1911. Details of the offences for which prosecutions have been taken under the Act are given in the annual reports of the Secretary for Mines, but I regret that it is not possible, without disproportionate labour, to say which or how many of these charges arose directly or indirectly out of an explosion.