Skip to main content


Volume 319: debated on Tuesday 2 February 1937

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Afforestation (Special Areas)


asked the hon. and gallant Member for Rye, as representing the Forestry Commissioners, the total acreage of land for planting now secured towards the scheme of extra planting undertaken to relieve unemployment in the Special Areas; the location and acreage so secured for County Durham, South Wales, and Scotland, respectively; and the number of unemployed men who have been set to work in the three Special Areas aforementioned, respectively?

The acreage of land for planting actually secured towards the scheme of extra planting in the Special Areas is 6,926 being part of a much larger area approved for acquisition. 4,904 acres are in the north of England, none in County Durham itself and 2,022 acres in South Wales. The scheme is not applicable to Scotland. It will not be possible to start afforestation operations on these new acquisitions during the current planting season, but in South Wales 35 persons, and in the north of England 17 persons, are employed on nursery work for the Special Areas scheme.

Could the hon. and gallant Gentleman say why so little afforestation has been undertaken in the county of Durham?

A great deal has been done in the neighbouring counties which will give relief to the county of Durham.

Why has so little been undertaken in the county of Durham? Why has it been neglected?

Is not there any land in the neighbourhood of Durham that could be planted?


asked the hon. and gallant Member for Rye, as representing the Forestry Commissioners, how much money has been paid to the Forestry Commissioners in respect to the additional planting undertaken to relieve unemployment in the Special Areas; and, if possible, what amount was paid for acreage in or near county Durham, South Wales, and Scotland Special Areas, respectively?

The grant-in-aid to the Forestry Commission was increased during the financial year 1936–37 by £200,000 in respect of afforestation schemes in or near the Special Areas in England and Wales, but without allocation to the different areas. The actual sums paid for the acquisition of land are South Wales £9,450, North of England £10,365. In addition acquisitions amounting to approximately £100,000 have been approved by the Commissioners.

May I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman to reply to the question how much money has been spent on acreage in the county of Durham?

If that is correct, how can the hon. and gallant Gentleman say that the county of Durham has not been neglected? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer!"] May I put a further supplementary question if the hon. and gallant Member is unable to answer, namely, whether the Forestry Commissioners have in contemplation any afforestation schemes for the county of Durham?

The Forestry Commissioners are under an obligation to arrange special afforestation schemes for the Special Areas, of which the county of Durham forms a part. There is no obligation to select individual counties.

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the question on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.

Durham County


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, in the county boroughs of Sunderland and South Shields and the Boldon areas of Durham County, the percentages of the insured unemployed are as follow: Sunderland 31, South Shields 33.2, and the Boldon areas 29.4; and what steps are being taken to establish new industries in those areas so as to find work for the numbers of unemployed?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him on 24th November, 1936. I must now ask him to await the proposals which will be embodied in the Bill which it is hoped to introduce in the near future.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether the Governmen have any schemes to find work for the unemployed in that particular area?

Aviation (Junction Airport System)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether his attention has been drawn to the protest made by the Birmingham Airport Committee at the exclusion of that city from the scheme proposed by the May-bury Committee; and, in view of the commitments of the Birmingham City Council in making the new Elmdon airport second to none in the country, will he reconsider Birmingham's claims to be included in any scheme of national linking up of civil aviation?

I have noted the representations of the Birmingham Airport Committee on this subject, but I presume that my hon. Friend recognises that the recommendations of the committee deal with the needs of civil aviation as a whole throughout the country. The junction airport system, which forms only part of their comprehensive proposals, is in the nature of a particular experiment to test the results of airline operation in the most favourable possible circumstances, between terminal points lying far apart from one another. The fact that Birmingham is not included in this scheme for the linking of extremities does not mean that that city's air interests are likely to be disregarded, as I think is clear from a study of the committee's report as a whole.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the airport at Birmingham was entirely unconsidered by the committee, that there is no reference to it in the report at all, and will he, before this scheme is put into operation, consider the whole position?

This junction airport scheme is only in the nature of an experiment.

Physical Training


asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is in a position to announce the Government's plans for improving the national standard of physical fitness?

I hope that a White Paper explaining the Government's proposals will be issued on Thursday next.

The statistics of employment compiled by the Ministry of Labour relate only to workpeople insured under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and figures for individual industries can be given only for 1923 and subsequent years. The following table gives the available information for the cotton industry in Great Britain for 1923, 1925 and 1935:—
Date.Age-group.Estimated numbers insured.Numbers of insured unemployed.Difference.
June, 192318 years and over511,680114,161397,519
16 and 1755,7608,02147,739
June, 192518 years and over519,72046,844472,876
16 and 1753,4301,95851,472
June, 193518 to 64421,39096,922324,468
16 and 1720,9401,36319,577
14 and 1527,10077226,328

Motor Cars (Safety Glass)


asked the Home Secretary the nature of the action being taken by the Metropolitan police to give effect to the regulation requiring motor cars to be fitted with safety glass; and whether cars are being stopped on the road for the purpose of ascertaining whether the regulation has been observed?

There is no provision in the regulations requiring safety glass fitted to windscreens of motor cars to be marked as such, and it is not possible therefore for the police by inspection to determine whether or not the regulation is being complied with. Police action is accordingly confined to cases where a breach of the regulation comes to their notice, usually when an accident has occurred and the windscreen has been broken. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative.

Is the 48 hours' week in factories for young people an integral part of the Government's physical development scheme?

Cotton Industry (Employment)


asked the Minister of Labour how many adults and how many juveniles were employed in the cotton trade in 1913, 1921, 1925 and 1935, respectively?

As the reply includes a table of figures, I will, if I may, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement: