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Written Answers

Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

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Written Answers

Midwives Act, 1936

asked the Minister of Health whether he has taken or will take steps to ensure that all the schemes submitted by local authorities in connection with the Midwives Act, 1936, shall, before being finally adopted, provide for the inclusion of a reasonable number of women members, whether elected or co-opted, on the committee or other body entrusted with the detailed administration of the Act?

Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to secure that an adequate service of certified midwives shall be available in their areas. It is anticipated that the majority of these authorities will entrust the administration of this service to their Maternity and Child Welfare Committee, and as the hon. Member is no doubt aware, there is a statutory requirement that that Committee shall contain at least two women members.

Town And Country Planning

asked the Minister of Health whether he will give a list, by administrative counties, of the district councils which have relinquished to their respective county councils their town-planning powers over the whole or part of their area, indicating in the case of each such district council if the relinquishment is over the whole or a part of the area and the acreage involved?

I am sending the hon. Member a statement containing the desired information.

Trade And Commerce

Hosiery Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the quantities of hose, stockings, and knitted underwear imported into the United Kingdom from Japan for the year ended 31st December, 1936, or the latest convenient date, and the approximate employment that would have been provided by the manufacture of those goods in this country?

Particulars of the imports are as follows. As regards the second part of the question, I regret that owing to the number of unknown factors, I cannot give an estimate.

STATEMENT showing the quantity of certain descriptions of hosiery imported into the United Kingdom and registered during the year 1936 as consigned from Japan (including Formosa).
Description.Quantity. Dozen pairs.
Knitted, netted or crocheted goods (hosiery)—
Stockings and hose—
Of cotton, or of which the chief value is cotton905,197
Of wool, or of which the chief value is wool22,698
Of silk, or of which the chief value is silk3,877
Of artificial silk, or of which the chief value is artificial silk1,718
Of cotton, or of which the chief value is cotton622,800
Of wool, or of which the chief value is wool4,876
Of other textile materials150
NOTE.—The above figures are provisional.

Dressed Leather Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the imports from 1930 to 1936, each year separately, of chrome side leather and other dressed leather; and the estimated number of people that would have been found employment had the imports been restricted?

Following is a statement showing total imports of dressed leather into the United Kingdom during the past seven years. Separate particulars for chrome side leather are not available. As regards the second part of the question, I regret I am unable to give a reliable estimate.

The following statement shows the total quantity and declared value of dressed leather imported into the United Kingdom during each of the years 1930 to 1936.
Year.Quantity.Declared value.
Note.—The above figures are provisional.

Great Britain And India (Cotton-Piece Goods)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, seeing that Indian mill-made cotton-piece goods are admitted to the markets of the British Colonial empire on terms of equality with the products of the United Kingdom cotton industry as a consequence of the reciprocal commercial agreement between the United Kingdom and India, he has any evidence to show that this arrangement has resulted in any advantage to the United Kingdom cotton nidustry?

It has been the general practice for many years to admit Indian and other overseas Empire goods into the Colonies on terms as favourable as those on which United Kingdom goods are admitted. The advantages to Indian trade of this practice are taken into account in any consideration of trade relations between India on the one hand and the United Kingdom and the Colonies on the other. My hon. and learned Friend will no doubt appreciate that it would not be possible to indicate any particular concessions as having been obtained by reference to this practice.

Commercial Agreements (Balance Of Trade)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give the respective balances of trade with all countries with which agreements have been negotiated for the 12 months ended

Country from and to which consigned.Date on which each Agreement came into force.Imports into the United Kingdom.Total exports from the United Kingdom.Excess of Exports (+) or Imports (-).
Germany8th May, 193332,95725,809(-) 7,148
1st November, 1934
Denmark20th June, 193333,22515,590(-) 17,635
20th June, 1936
Iceland28th June, 1933274403(+) 129
Sweden7th July, 193320,63211,298(-) 9,334
Norway7th July, 19338,9536,999(-) 1,954
Argentina8th November, 193345,10615,547(-) 29,559
20th November, 1936
Finland23rd November, 193318,1514,581(-) 13,570
Soviet Union21st March, 1934 (a)18,93412,958(-) 5,976
France1st July, 193425,70425,813(+) 109
Netherlands1st August, 193425,13214,312(-) 10,820
Lithuania12th August, 19342,9891,740(-) 1,249
Estonia8th September, 19341,935944(-) 991
Latvia12th October, 19343,4191,371(-) 2,048
Roumania25th February, 19354,2721,163(-) 3,109
15th August, 1935
(1st June, 1936
Poland14th March, 19359,8636,568(-) 3,295
Italy1st May, 19352,269943(-) 1,326
16th November, 1936
Turkey20th June, 19351,297971(-) 326
17th September, 1936
Spain13th January, 193610,6653,175(-) 7,490
Hungary1st February, 19362,255516(-) 1,739
Uruguay3rd February, 19363,9391,956(-) 1,983
Peru9th October, 1936 (b)4,5831,163(-) 3,420
Yugoslavia1st January, 1937 (b)1,866930(-) 936
(a) The balance of payments was regulated as from 1st January, 1934.
(b) Date of provisional entry into force.

Bacon Imports Quota

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can state the amount by which the normal import quota of Foreign bacon to Great Britain has been exceeded; and will be give particulars of the same and the value of such excess?

I assume the hon. Member refers to the year 1936. There is no "normal" foreign import quota. The quota allowed to foreign countries is fixed from time to time by reference to estimates of supplies from home and Dominion sources. The statement below

31st December, 1936, or nearest convenient date and the dates of the respective agreements?

The following table shows the total declared value of merchandise imported into and exported from the United Kingdom in trade with the under-mentioned foreign countries during the year 1936, together with the balance of imports or the total of the allocations to foreign countries for the year 1936 and shows that there was a deficiency in imports below this total of 51,137 cwts., or about r per cent.:

Allocation to foreign countries5,318,416
Additional quantities allowed to be sent in respect of bacon, etc., re-exported or sold for use as ships' stores162,413
Gross imports, as shown by Customs returns5,429,692


Glamorgan And Monmouthshire

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will give the amount of money paid from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and by the Unemployment Assistance Board to unemployed persons in the counties of Glamorgan and Monmouth each year from 1921 to date,

Year.Glamorgan (including the county boroughs of Cardiff, Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil).Monmouth (including the county borough of Newport).
Insurance Benefit and Transitional Benefit.Transitional Payments and Unemployment Allowances.Insurance Benefit and Transitional Benefit.Transitional Payments and Unemployment Allowances.
Notes.—(a) The Transitional Payments Scheme was superseded by the Unemployment Assistance Scheme (administered by the Unemployment Assistance Board) as from 7th January, 1935.
(b) The figures are exclusive of payments made through Associations, for which a geographical analysis is not available.
(c) The figures for 1936 relate to 53 weeks. They do not include agricultural benefit.

Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that applicants for unemployment benefit resident in Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire, have to travel considerable distances for signing-on purposes, all involving much financial outlay and hardship; and if he is prepared to take immediate steps for such applicants to sign on at a suitable place in their own village?

I regret that the expense of providing Exchange facilities at Cumbernauld would not be justified.

River Floods

giving the amounts separately for each county?

The following table shows the approximate amounts of unemployment benefit, transitional payments and unemployment allowances paid direct through local offices of the Ministry of Labour situated in the counties of Glamorgan and Monmouth during each year since 1921.reported floods in their area; and if so, whether he will give the name or names of such authorities?

My right hon. Friend has not received any specific reports from drainage or other local authorities as to floods in their areas. The chief catchment areas affected by the recent flooding are the Thames, Lee, Roding, Medway, Arun, Bristol Avon and the East Norfolk Rivers (River Waveney).

Coal Industry


asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will state the output per man per shift for 1936, or the latest available figures he has in his possession, and the corresponding figures for 1914, 1921, and 1928?

The available information is as follows:

Year or Period and Output of Coal per Man-shift Worked.
June, 191420,32
January-March, 192114,46
October-December, 192117,73
1936 (Provisional)23,46

Mines Inspections

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can state the number of separate inspections made by workmen's inspectors elected under Section 16 of the Coal Mines Act, in each of the following districts, respectively, South Wales and Monmouth, Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, Scotland, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, and North Derbyshire, in the year ended 31st December, 1936?

The figures are as follow:

South Wales and Monmouth1,210
North Derbyshire12

Miners' Lung Diseases

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can state the number of coroners' inquests attended by representatives of his Department in the Swansea division in the year ended 31st December, 1936, at which verdicts of death caused or accelerated by silicosis or anthrocosis, or other lung disease, due to occupation were recorded by the coroner?

The inquiries into these cases which are made by His Majesty's Inspectors no longer include attendance at the inquests, and no such inquests were attended during 1936.

Mines Accidents

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can state the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents in each district of the British coalfields for the year 1936; and the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents to persons in the age groups 14 to 16 years, 16 to 18 years, and 18 to 21 years?

Following is a statement showing the number of persons killed and seriously injured in each Inspection Division during 1936. I am obtaining the more detailed information as to age groups and will send it to the hon. Member. Information as to the less serious accidents is not yet available.

Persons killed and seriously injured by accidents at mines under the Coal Mines Act, 1911, in Great Britain during 1936, classified according to Mines Inspection Divisions.
Inspection Division.Number of Persons.
(Provisional figures.)
1. Scotland114431
2. Northern144649
3. Yorkshire192409
4. North Midland73408
5. North Western67344
6. Cardiff and Forest of Dean.82335
7. Swansea66215
8. Midland and Southern.39228
Great Britain7773,019
* These particulars refer to accidents which, because of their nature, are required to be reported to the Inspector of Mines at the time of their occurrence.

asked the Secretary for Mines whether, in the list of accidents to workmen engaged in the mining industry above and below ground, there are any means of ascertaining in how many cases the injured workman had been out of employment and only recently returned to industry?

asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can state the number of persons killed and injured in the coal mines of Great Britain each year from 192o up to 1936?

Number of Persons killed and injured at Mines under the Coal Mines Act, 1911, in Great Britain during the years 1920 to 1936, so far as particulars are available.
Year.Number of PersonsYear.Number of Persons
19271,128173,4491936777Not yet available.
* In 1924 and subsequent years accidents which disabled the person injured for more than 3 days were reportable, the limit in 1923 and earlier years being 7 days.
† In these years work at coal mines was reduced by protracted disputes and the number of persons killed and injured by accidents was correspondingly affected.


asked the Secretary for Mines whether he can state the number of persons employed in or about coal mines within each of the urban districts of Aspull, Backrod, Hindley, and

Year.Average Number of Persons employed in and about mines situated in the Urban District Area of
On 23rd January, 1937, no mines were producing coal in these urban districts but according to the returns supplied to the Mines Department upwards of zoo men were still on the colliery books at mines in the Hindley and Westhoughton areas.


asked the Secretary for Mines whether he will state, in appropriate form and based upon existing agreements in each of the coal-mining areas, the actual profit per ton of coal which the coalowners are entitled to receive before miners' wages can be increased above the existing minimum wages?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave on 2nd July, 1936, to the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), of which I am sending him a copy.

Westhoughton, at any given date in 1915, 1920, 1930, and the end of January, 1937, respectively?

Oversea Settlement Board

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can state the number of meetings held by the Over-sea Settlement Board during the previous 12 months; if the board are now holding regular meetings; and are any changes contemplated in the composition of the board?

Since its appointment last year, the Oversea Settlement Board has held 22 meetings, the first of which took place on the 18th March, 1936. It continues to meet regularly. Apart from the fact that my noble Friend the hon. Member for Derbyshire West (Marquess of Hartington) succeeded my right hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hacking) as Chairman of the Board, on his appointment as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, there has been no occasion so far to consider any change in the composition of the board.

Tuberculosis Mortality, Scotland

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can state the total number of deaths from tuberculosis, pulmonary and non-pulmonary, which have occurred in Scotland during the last 10 years?

The numbers of deaths from tuberculosis in Scotland during the years 1927 to 1936 are as follow:

Year.Pulmonary.Other Forms.Total.


asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he can state the approximate increase in the native-owned cattle population of Swaziland in the last 15 years, and the decrease in the European-owned cattle population for the same period?

In 1921 there were 211,281 cattle in Swaziland, of which 146,542 were owned by natives and 64,739 by Europeans. The latest available figures show that at the end of 1935 the total number of cattle in the Territory had increased to 406,227, of which 351,366 were native owned, and 54,861 European owned.

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs on what occasion the matter of the embargo placed by the Union Government upon cattle imported from Swaziland unless of a certain weight and of veterinary charges higher than those on cattle producers in the Transvaal was the subject of conversations between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Union Government; and whether he proposes to renew representations in regard to this matter?

The question of the embargo on the import of cattle weighing less than 800 lbs. has been discussed with the Union authorities on several occasions since it was imposed in 1924, the latest general discussion being in 1935 when the question of veterinary restrictions and charges was also raised. The High Commissioner for Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and Swaziland was then informed that the Union Government could not see their way to remove or reduce the weight restriction and it is not thought that the matter can usefully be re-opened with the Union Government at present.

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether in view of the fact that land titles in Swaziland are not easily accepted by banks or insurance houses, and that cheap money is unknown in the protectorate, he will make an announcement of a definite long-term programme of development including increased financial facilities?

I understand that land titles in Swaziland are now accepted by banks in respect of agricultural land regarded as providing adequate security for loans. Facilities for productive agricultural improvements are also provided by the Land and Agricultural Loan Fund which is financed by advances from the United Kingdom Exchequer. The rate of interest on new loans made to settlers from this fund was reduced from 5½ per cent. to 4 per cent. as from the 1st April, 1936, and legislation has recently been issued to provide for an extension of the period of repayment of future loans. In general it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to assist the development of Swaziland on the lines recommended in the report of the Pim Commission which was published in 1932 as Command Paper 4114. Many of the recommendations of the Commission have been met by financial assistance from the Colonial Development Fund and other schemes are at present under consideration. The total assistance from the Colonial Development Fund so far given or approved amounts to £91,859; in addition the loan grants in aid of the administration of the territory which have been provided since 1928 amounted at the 31st March last to £250,900, and the outstanding advances to the Land and Agricultural Loan Fund to a sum of approximately£22,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether, in view of the fact that cheap money is not available on first mortgage on land in Swaziland, he will give an assurance that His Majesty's Government have no intention of expropriating European-owned land without compensation, and that there will be no repetition of the action of the Concessions Commission of 1907 when certain land titles were cancelled or abridged?

I can certainly give my hon. Friend the assurance for which he asks that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have no intention of expropriating European-owned land in Swaziland without compensation. As a result of the settlement of the concessions question effected by the Swaziland Concessions Partition Proclamation of 1907, title to property in Swaziland is now clear and there is no reason to suppose that security of title in land will be impaired in the case of Swaziland any more than has been the case in other territories under His Majesty's protection.

Old Age Pensions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider introducing a measure to amend the Old Age Pensions Acts in respect of the scale upon which the yearly value of property is calculated, having regard to the fact that the present scale of 5 per cent. on the first £375 (excluding the first £25) and 10 per cent. thereafter results generally in a notional income greatly in excess of the actual income from property under the prevailing rate of interest?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on the 5th November last to the hon. Baronet the Member for Ealing (Sir F. Sanderson).

Post Office

Stamp Books (Advertisements)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has received representations from the British Medical Association respecting certain classes of advertisements appearing in the books of stamps issued by the Post Office; and whether he proposes to take action in the matter?

Representations on this subject were received from the British Medical Association a few years ago. My right hon. Friend recently reviewed the matter in connection with a question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Cary) on 7th December last, and found no reason for altering the present policy, which is to exclude advertisements of medicines purporting to cure certain diseases specified in paragraph 58 of the report of the Select Committee on Patent Medicines, 1914, but to accept other advertisements whose wording is not objectionable and whose bona fides is not suspect.

Counter Clerks (Deaf And Dumb Customers)

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the varied forms of Post Office business transacted at postal counters, he will consider making a small State grant to postal counter employés who will endeavour to learn the deaf-and-dumb alphabet, with the object of having at least one official in the main post offices of large towns who can be helpful to sufferers from this disability?

I have no evidence that the cases to which my hon. Friend refers are at all frequent, and I do not think that the special measures suggested would be warranted.

Royal Air Force

New Government Factories

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is now able to state what is to be the situation of each or any of the shadow aeroplane factories which it is proposed to erect under the new defence plan?

One airframe factory is in course of erection in the Birmingham district adjacent to the works of the managing firm and a site for the second is being sought in Lancashire. Aero engine factories are being built at Coventry (3), Birmingham (2) and Bristol (1). All these factories are adjacent or near to the works of the managing firms. An airscrew factory is to be erected near Bolton.

Marriage Allowance

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that, in view of the present practice of discontinuing dependants' allowance to the children of those who have joined the Royal Air Force when they reach 14 years of age, it is impossible for the parent to provide his children with secondary education; and whether he is prepared to modify this practice and continue the allowance so as to cover the secondary education period?

The conditions governing the issue of marriage allowance are common to the three Defence Services and it is not possible to give preferential treatment to the children of airmen. I should, however, make it clear that payment of the allowance is continued up to the age of 15 in cases where the local education authority has raised the school-leaving age.

British Army

Colour Service

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men desirous of extending their service in military units have been refused leave to do so during the past three years; and whether, in view of the present emergency, he will consider the effect on recruiting of the continued compulsory transfer to the reserve of men of good character who desire to remain in the Army?

The information asked for by my hon. and gallant Friend is not available at the War Office and could only be obtained, with a disproportionate expenditure of time and effort, by the perusal of individual soldiers' documents. The question of increasing the number of men who are permitted to extend their colour service is now engaging my attention.

Patrol Uniform (Purchase)

asked the Secretary of State for War what sum has to be paid by a private soldier in the Royal Tank Corps in this country and abroad, respectively, who wishes to wear the blue patrol uniform of his corps; whether it can be obtained on the hire-purchasing system, and what proportion of the corps have thus purchased it at their own cost?

The information asked for by my hon. and gallant Friend is readily available only in respect of units of the Royal Tank Corps serving in the United Kingdom. The cost of the blue patrol uniform averages £3 and with the exception of one unit, it can be obtained on the hire-purchasing system. Approximately 45 per cent. of units in the United Kingdom are in possession of the uniform.

Discharged Soldiers

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men were discharged from the Army annually, on the average of the last three years, totally or partially disabled on grounds not directly arising out of their military service, and therefore ineligible for disability pension, and on grounds arising from military service and eligible for such pensions, respectively?

The figures will take some time to prepare and I am communicating with my hon. and gallant Friend.

Barracks (Coal Allowance)

asked the Secretary of State for War how many pounds of coal per head per day are allowed for men in barracks and married men in quarters and for what period of the year; whether it varies with the geographical position of the barracks in question; and whether there is any additional allowance in cases where a unit is under strength but is necessarily occupying accommodation intended for a larger number?

It is impracticable to translate into an allowance of pounds of coal per caput the various scales of fuel issued for consumption in barracks and married quarters, which depend in many cases not on the numbers of the personnel concerned but on the size and type of accommodation. The scales vary as between winter and summer, and as between stations at home and those abroad, depending on the climatic conditions of the latter, while in the case of home stations an extra allowance is provided for those in exceptionally exposed positions. No additional allowance is made when a unit is under strength and is occupying accommodation intended for a larger number, but as a general rule the scales give a greater allowance of fuel per caput than when it is up to strength.

Remount Depot, Arborfield

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men have been discharged, or are under notice to leave, the remount depot at Arborfield, Berkshire; what is their average length of service both in the Army and since joining the reserve; and what steps are to be taken to find them suitable employment, bearing in mind that they have no trade other than horse management?

The reduction and reorganisation of the remount service, resulting from the increased mechanisation of the Army, will entail a reduction in the establishment of the Arborfield depot on 31st March next. There will be a further reduction, probably not later than June next, when it is likely that the depot will be closed down. All employees have been warned of the early closing of the depot, but, apart from normal establishment fluctuations, no men at the depot have been discharged or given notice to leave, as it is not yet known what the requirements of the reorganised service will be or how many men can be absorbed in other Army occupations. The second part of the question does not therefore arise. As regards the last part, I cannot at present add anything to the reply which I gave on 26th January to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newbury (Brigadier-General Brown).