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Written Answers
04 June 1940
Volume 361

Written Answers

Civil Defence

Aliens

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asked the Home Secretary whether it is proposed, in the interests of national safety, to suspend the naturalisation of aliens until the termination of the present hostilities?

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Naturalisation is not granted to any person about whose loyalty to this country any doubt exists, and my hon. and learned Friend can be assured that in dealing with such applications the interests of national security are a paramount consideration. The impossibility in present circumstances of devoting time and labour to the necessary investigations would in itself have led to a very great reduction in the number of applications disposed of. There are, however, some applications—including applications from British-born women—which it is in the public interest to investigate and, if the inquiries are completely satisfactory, to grant.

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asked the Home Secretary how many Germans are employed as paid and unpaid air-raid wardens, respectively, in Scotland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Greenock, respectively; and whether he has any statement to make regarding their future employment or disposal?

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My information is that there was only one German national serving as a warden in Scotland. He was enrolled for part-time service, but he has now been interned.

Armed Forces (Treating)

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asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that the treating of our soldiers, sailors and airmen by strangers in public bars leads to conversations and information which may often be of great use to the enemy; and whether he will consider making such treating illegal, except in regular Service canteens?

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As I have previously stated, I am watching the situation carefully, but on my present information I cannot find that there is a case for a prohibition of treating.

Air-Raid Shelters

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asked the Home Secretary whether he will instruct or advise local authorities to adopt and apply the principle of air-raid shelter construction submitted to him in December last by the Air-Raid Precautions Co-ordinating Committee and subsequently approved by him?

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The principle of construction referred to is one which, while providing blast and splinter protection only at the first stage, can be strengthened at a later stage, if desired, so as to afford a higher degree of protection. As I have informed the Committee, this principle appeared to me to be capable of application in the case of large over-ground shelters. To be of real practical utility, however, it would need to be available in the case of the smaller shelters which form the vast proportion of the shelters under construction. I am examining the possibility of applying the principle to such shelters, but in present circumstances the immediate necessity is to concentrate on the programme already in hand.

Evacuation To Dominions

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what steps he has taken with regard to evacuating children from the United Kingdom to Canada and to Australia?

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This matter is receiving urgent consideration, and I hope to be in a position to make a statement on the subject at an early date.

Growing Trees (Taxation)

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asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that many sales of timber increasingly needed for war effort are being held up owing to the uncertainty of the incidence of Excess Profits Tax on growing trees which already pay Estate Duty on their capital value and are assessed annually under Schedule B for Income Tax purposes; and whether he will make an early statement to clear up the situation.

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The subject to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers is at present under consideration.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

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asked the Minister of Pensions what is the basis on which arrears or supplementary grants are paid; and whether, in all cases, these can be claimed from the date of enlistment of all soldiers?

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I assume that the hon. Member's Question refers to War Service Grants. Such grants can be recommended by the Advisory Committee only in cases where serious hardship has been caused by the calling-up of a man for service; and the date from which any grant should be made payable is a matter for the Committee's discretion in the light of all the facts of the case.

Coal Industry (Rhondda)

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asked the Secretary for Mines the numbers employed, surface and underground, respectively, at collieries situate within the area of Rhondda Urban Council, on 31st July, 1939;and the latest available figures for May, 1940?

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It is not in the public interest to publish the figures, but I am pleased to be able to state that there has been an appreciable improvement in the employment position in the Rhondda area since July, 1939.

Military Service

Medical Boards

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour whether he will arrange with the medical boards not to provide men who are mentally ill with any document on rejection under the Military Services Act indicating the reason for their rejection?

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This matter is at present under consideration.

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour whether he will give the names of the members of Lord Horder's Committee dealing with the problem of mentally-ill persons being examined by medical boards for service in His Majesty's Forces?

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The membership of the committee is as follows:Rt. Hon. Lord Horder, G.C.V.O., M.D. (Chairman).Surgeon Captain C. H. M. Gimlette, M.B., B.Ch., M.R.C.S., L.RC.P., Admiralty.W. Haward, Esq., O.B.E., M.B., Ministry of Pensions.T. D. Kennedy, Esq., M.B., Ch.B., Department of Health for Scotland.Colonel J. A. Manifold, D.S.O., M.B., War Office.Geoffrey Marshall, Esq., M.D., F.R.C.P. (nominated by the Royal College of Physicians).Group Captain D'Arcy Power, M.C., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., Air Ministry.N. F. Smith, Esq., M.B., Ministry of Health.G. C. Veysey, Esq., Ministry of Labour and National Service.R. E. Whitting, Esq., M.C., M.D., Ministry of Health.

The committee, whose terms of reference are comprehensive and are not confined to the matter referred to in the Question, has been appointed to advise my right hon. Friend on medical questions arising in connection with the examination of men by civilian medical boards appointed under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act, 1939, and to make recommendations on these questions and other matters referred to the committee.

Unemployed Men

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour whether, with a view to the more efficient utilisation of man-power, he will considerably accelerate the registration of men in classes over 27 years of age so that all able-bodied unemployed persons of military age can be called up irrespective of age group?

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Registrations are already being accelerated, and I doubt if it would be advantageous to add to the number of age classes solely in order that the small proportion of unemployed men among them might be called up. Unemployed men not in reserved occupations, and, in general, unemployed men in reserved occupations who have been unemployed for two months, may volunteer for the Forces.

Canadians (Enlistment)

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is aware that Canadian subjects born in Canada who were in England at the beginning of the war are unable to join the Canadian Forces unless they first go back to Canada to do so; and whether, to save time and expense, he will consult with the proper authorities to have this grievance remedied in approved cases?

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The matter is one for His Majesty's Government in Canada, and it would not be appropriate for His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom to take any action on the lines suggested.

Broadcasts In Welsh

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asked the Minister of Information whether he will give consideration to the possibility of increasing the amount of time devoted to broadcast- ing in Welsh by the British Broadcasting Corporation?

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The amount of time devoted to broadcasts in Welsh is kept under constant review by the B.B.C. It is not thought that any extension of the present daily broadcast in Welsh would be justifiable under present conditions.

Royal Navy (Intelligence Section)

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, before appointments in the Intelligence section of his Department are sanctioned, inquiries are made as to the original nationality and family connections of the wife of each appointee?

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Investigations are made into the connections and antecedents of all persons, except permanent Naval and Civil officers, before appointment to posts involving knowledge of secret matters.

Colonial Research Advisory Committee

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asked the Under-Secretary of.State for the Colonies when it is proposed to set up the Colonial Research Advisory Committee; how it is proposed to recruit its members; and what are to be its precise powers and functions?

Area.In Reception Area.Still in home town receiving
Full-time Instruction.Half-time Instruction.Less than Half-time Instruction.Home Service.No Instruction.
Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.
London32.8.342.715.98.3
Manchester13..470.911.6.63.5
Liverpool11.538.822.7.116.110.8
Sheffield2.578.812.06.7
Leeds8.884.8.95.5
Birmingham8.583.94.51.02.1

British Army

Case For Inquiry

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Private Joseph Lee, a reservist, of 72, Swarcliffe Road, Sheffield, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infanty, No. 4685818, entered a hospital in Sheffield on 6th February, and was discharged on 30th March; that his last receipt of Army pay of £1 8s.

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My Noble Friend is unable to say how soon circumstances will permit of the Committee being set up. As has already been announced, Lord Hailey has consented to serve as Chairman of the Committee. No other appointments to it have yet been made. The general functions of the Committee have been described in the Paper already laid before Parliament, and there is nothing that I could usefully add at this stage.

Education (Elementary School Children)

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asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will give, for each of the following towns: London, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds and Birmingham, the percentage of elementary school children who, on the latest date for which figures are available, were, respectively, still in the reception areas, attending school in the home town full-time, attending school in the home town half-time, attending tutorial or home teaching classes, and not yet attending school?

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The following table shows for each town the position as regards public elementary school children on 24th May, 1940.per week was on 9th January, and that although advised by the doctor on his discharge that he would not again be fit for service, he is still awaiting a medical examination and is without either Army pay or National Health Insurance; can any information be given as to when the medical examination is likely to fake place; and what is the reason for his not having received the Army pay due to him?

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I am making inquiries, and will communicate with my hon. Friend as soon as possible.

Bombing Attacks On Red Cross

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asked the Secretary of State for War how many British Red Cross ambulances and hospitals, respectively, have been bombed by enemy action on the Continent during the present war; in what cases there is evidence that the attack was deliberate; and whether he has any statement to make regarding notification or steps taken in connection therewith?

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I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to the answer I gave to-day to my hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth, North (Mr. G. Strauss).

Anthropometric Survey

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the fact that five Government Departments, including the War Department, have admitted the scientific value of an Army anthropometric survey, he will take such steps as are possible in the present circumstances to have such a survey made forthwith by ex-officer anthropologists and the anthropologists of the universities?

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I regret that, in present circumstances, an Army anthropometric survey is not practicable.

Maisons Tolérées

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asked the Secretary of State for War what are his reasons for not adopting the practice of the last war of putting Maisons Tolérées out of bounds for the British Expeditionary Force?

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This matter has been the subject of most careful and anxious consideration. The policy of the Army Council and of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force has been to promote good behaviour and health in the Army both by precept and by the provision of all possible opportunities for sound physical and mental recreation and entertainment. The temptations afforded by the establishments referred to in the Question have been ignored or resisted by an overwhelming majority of our soldiers, and it is felt that to place the establishments out of bounds would result in far worse evils.

Local Defence Volunteers

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether arrangements will be made for students and university undergraduates between 18 and 20 years of age, who are desirous of joining the Local Defence Volunteers, to join units where they reside during term time and transfer to units near their homes during vacation?

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This matter is receiving consideration.

Unemployment

South Wales

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour the number of registered unemployed persons, male and female, respectively, on 31st July, 1939, and the latest available figures for May, 1940, at the following Employment Exchanges: Ferndale, Porth, Treorchy, and Tonypandy?

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The table below shows the numbers of unemployed males and females, aged 14 years and over, on the registers of the Employment Exchanges in question at 14th August, 1939, and 15th April, 1940, the latest date for which figures are at present available. Figures are not available for 31st July, 1939.

Employment Exchange.Males.Females.Total.
Ferndale:
14th August, 19391,9221082,030
15th April, 19401,4501281,578
Porth:
14th August, 19392,2471632,410
15th April, 19401,3671811,548
Treorchy (including Ton Pentre):
14th August, 19392,670412,711
15th April, 19401,5711281,699
Tonypandy:
14th August, 19393,1502043,354
15th April, 19402,0833432,426

Royal Air Force

Intelligence Section

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asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, before appointments in the Intelligence section of his Department are sanctioned, inquiries are made as to the original nationality and family connections of the wife of each appointee?

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Yes, Sir, in all cases except those of officers of His Majesty's Forces or permanent members of His Majesty's Civil Service.

Women's Auxiliary Air Force

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asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the total number of persons now employed in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, and how many are employed on clerical, typing and tele-printer duties, respectively?

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I regret that it would not be in the public interest to furnish the information desired.

Attestation And Recall

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asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the policy and the position regarding calling up men attested for the Royal Air Force; and whether he is aware that Dennis R. Wiseman, attested as wireless operator on 17th February, 1940, has not been called upon for duty or training, and that he has been informed that training establishments are full and no date for calling up can be given to him?

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Volunteers for entry into the Royal Air Force are, if suitable, accepted for immediate service to the extent that accommodation and training facilities are available. Otherwise they are attested and advised to return to their civilian occupations until it is possible to absorb them into the training organisation. Adequate notice of recall is given wherever possible, in order that the men may make any necessary arrangements with their employers. I am aware of the case of Mr. Wiseman, and I am advised that he will probably be called up in the course of the next few weeks.