Cookies: We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By continuing to use the site you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
House of Commons Hansard
x
The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.
04 June 1940
Volume 361

Steel

33.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Minister of Supply whether special steps are being taken to increase the importation of steel into this country from the United States of America and the Dominions?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

My hon. and gallant Friend may rest assured that the question of obtaining increased supplies of steel from the United States of America and the Dominions has received special and urgent attention. He will not, of course, expect me to give exact details of the arrangements which have been or are being made.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

But are they satisfactory—that is the essential point?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Satisfaction in regard to both questions and answers is a matter of degree.

Paper

34.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Minister of Supply whether, in view of the paper shortage, it is proposed to restrict the large number of brochures and catalogues sent out by fashionable shops and large stores, especially in view of the fact that they mainly advertise goods of a luxury nature?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Under the Control of Paper (No. 16) Order, the gratuitous distribution of circulars by retailers and others in any three consecutive months is cut to one-third of the distribution in the corresponding period of 1939. For this purpose retailers and others can use existing stocks of paper, but it is improbable that further quantities of paper will be made available for the purposes mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Hotel Residents (Identity Cards)

36.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether during the emergency, he will consider the advisability of visitors to licensed premises or boarding-houses, who may be requiring rooms, producing their identity cards to prove their British nationality, in addition to the required written statement?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The production of a National Registration identity card would not secure the hon. and gallant Member's object, since these cards do not show whether their bearers are of British or foreign nationality.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Why do they not?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

That is a question with which the Ministry of Health are more concerned than the Home Office because the Ministry of Health prescribe forms of this kind.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Is it not desirable that these antiquated methods should be done away with?

Civil Defence (Water Reservoirs)

37.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that representatives of northern waterworks undertakings are of the opinion that the Government are not taking adequate precautions to safeguard the water supplies of this country; and what action he intends to take?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend on Thursday last to Questions by my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Etherton) and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Leeds (Captain V. Adams).

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The answer on Thursday did not cover the point. I want to know whether adequate precautions are being taken, because people in the north who know all about the business say that precautions are not being taken. May I have an answer? On a point of Order. I am told this question was answered, but it was not, and I want an answer to-day. It is an important Question and it ought to be answered.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The Minister says that it was answered last time.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I have had trouble in the city of Liverpool in regard to this. Can I have an answer? On a point of Order. If I call attention to an important point with regard to defence without giving any publicity, is it not necessary that I should get an answer?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

A similar Question was asked the other day and the Minister did not answer because he did not think it was in the national interest to do so, and to-day he has said the same thing.

Post Office (Telegraph Service)

38.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Postmaster-General what has been the ascertained loss on the telegraph branch of the Post Office for each of the last three financial years; and what proportion of that loss is estimated to be due to the granting of reduced rates for Press telegrams?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The losses on the telegraph service during the three years ended the 31st March, 1939, which are the latest years for which figures are available, were £635,600, £739,000 and £823,300, respectively. The proportions of those losses which it is estimated were attributable to the inland Press service are, 14, 11 and 8 per cent., respectively. These figures are arrived at after allocating to the Press traffic a proportion of the general expenses of the telegraph service. They do not purport to represent savings which would follow the cessation of Press telegrams.

Naval And Military Pensions And Grants

39.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Minister of Pensions when the terms of the amendments that have been approved by the Government to the Royal Warrant of September last will be available to Members of this House?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Some delay has unavoidably occurred in the matter, but I am hopeful that copies of a new Royal Warrant embodying the recommendations referred to will be available to Members in the course of next week.

Spain And Russia (British Missions)

40.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how much in sterling per year is represented by frais de representation in the cases of the right hon. Member for Chelsea (Sir S. Hoare) and the hon. and learned Member for Bristol (Sir S. Cripps), respectively?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I can at present only reply to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's Question. As I stated on 29th May, frais de representation will be at a rate appropriate to the mission concerned in present circumstances.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

May I ask whether it will be possible to pay the right hon. Gentlemen in future according to results?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

What does frais de representation mean?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

It means expenses.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Why did not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman put it in the Question?

43.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can yet say when our diplomatic representation by an Ambassador in Moscow will be resumed; and whether he will give an assurance that the Government is prepared to enter into fully normal relations with the Russian Government?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I hope to be able to give a reply on this subject to-morrow. As regards the second part of the Question, the answer is in the affirmative.

Anglo-French Co-Operation

41.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in the case of national demonstrations being held in connection with the purpose of the war, consideration will be given to the desirability of having also a representative, such as M. Blum, of the French nation, to cement the comradeship of the nations; and whether he will make a like offer from our side to the French nation for an exchange of information, Ambassadors and interpreters of our common purpose?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

We shall naturally always be delighted to welcome members of the French Government and other distinguished representatives of the French people at any gatherings in this country of the sort indicated by the hon. Member. In the same way Members of His Majesty's Government and other representatives of the British people visiting France have never failed to find the most cordial reception. Unity of purpose and complete co-operation between this country and France has already been so clearly achieved that I do not think it is necessary to propose further joint machinery as suggested by the hon. Member.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Since this Question was put down a large number of Frenchmen have involuntarily landed on these shores, and would it be possible to make representations to the Secretary of State for War that members of the French Forces should be taken to other parts of the country in order that the people can see them and get the same inspiration from them as the French people get from our men?

Refugees (Military Service)

42.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will consider the desirability of issuing regulations to provide that Dutch and Belgian subjects who wish to remain in this country during the war shall be under the same liability to military service as British subjects?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

I understand that the Netherlands and Belgian Governments are already calling up for service in their own forces all their subjects in this country of military age.

44.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the announcement by the Belgian Ambassador, prior to the surrender of King Leopold, that every male Belgian in this country should register for Army service still holds good?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

Yes, Sir.

Members Of Parliament (Emergency Service)

45.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will open a register for Members of both Houses of Parliament who wish to enrol for useful work during times when Parliament is not sitting?

47.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the urgent necessity of utilising to the fullest extent the nation's man-power resources, including business and technical knowledge and administrative experience, he will immediately consider some method of using the services of those Members of Parliament who have the requisite time and ability to undertake additional duties during the present emergency?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

His Majesty's Government is desirous of utilising to the full the services of hon. Members, and I am considering the best way in which to meet the desires of hon. Members in this respect.

Economic Organisation

46.

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now able to make a statement concerning the proposed changes in the economic organisation of the Government's activities?

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

As the reply is rather long and detailed I propose, with Mr. Speaker's permission, to make a statement at the end of Questions.

Later:

The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

The work of Ministers, under the direction of the War Cabinet, falls into three divisions:

  • (a) Defence:
  • (b) Foreign Policy:
  • (c) Economic and Home Affairs.
  • As regards (a), the Prime Minister, in his capacity of Minister of Defence, is assisted by a Defence Committee which comprises—
    • The First Lord of the Admiralty,
    • The Secretary of State for War,
    • The Secretary of State for Air
    with the Chiefs of Staff as Advisers.

    As regards (b), questions of Foreign Policy will continue, as heretofore, to be submitted by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs direct to the War Cabinet at its daily meetings.

    As regards (c), Economic and Home Affairs cover a wide range of interrelated subjects. These will be dealt with by the following five Ministerial bodies:
  • (1) The Production Council (Chairman, the Minister without Portfolio) will give general direction as to the organisation and the priority of production for war purposes;
  • (2) The Economic Policy Committee (Chairman, the Minister without Portfolio) will concert and direct general economic policy;
  • (3) The Food Policy Committee (Chairman, the Lord Privy Seal) will deal with problems of food including food production;
  • (4) The Home Policy Committee (Chairman, the Lord Privy Seal) will deal with questions relating to the Home Front and social services; it will also be responsible for the framing of regulations and draft legislation;
  • (5) The Civil Defence Committee (Chairman, the Home Secretary) will deal with civil defence including home security questions.
  • The work of these Committees will be concerted and directed by a Committee under the Chairmanship of the Lord President, of which the Lord Privy Seal, the Minister without Portfolio and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be members. It will be the function of this body to ensure that the work of the five Ministerial Committees is properly co-ordinated, and that no part of the field is left uncovered.

    Lord Stamp will continue to preside over the Survey of Economic and Financial Plans. The Survey, with its associated economic staff, will be at the disposal of the Ministerial Committees dealing with economic and related subjects. The staff will also provide digests of statistics bearing on the development of our war effort, and reports on the progress achieved by Departments in giving effect to decisions on economic questions reached by the Ministerial committees referred to above.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Can the Lord Privy Seal say whether Lord Stamp will devote the whole of his time to this work, and if not, what proportion of it? Will he be a half-timer?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    His position is unchanged in that respect.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Is the economic committee with which Lord Stamp was associated, and over which the Chancellor of the Exchequer formerly presided, now abandoned in that form?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Yes, Sir. As I have explained to the House, there is now a committee under the Minister Without Portfolio, dealing with general economic matters. Lord Stamp's organisation will report to that committee.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Are we to understand from that answer that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer will not preside over that committee?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    As I have said, the Minister Without Portfolio will preside.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman consider co-opting on the Economic Advisory Committee men like Professor Harrod and Mr. Maynard Keynes?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    May I ask a question, Mr. Speaker, which is whether any Minister is specifically charged with the vitally important task of the co-ordination of foreign intelligence in regard to counter espionage?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    That subject is dealt with by the Cabinet, and the special organisation dealing with the subject.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Is any Minister specifically charged with that responsibility?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    The Lord President of the Council is specifically charged with it.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    May I ask that Lord Stamp should not be put on this Organisation?

    Armed Forces (Wireless Orders)

    48.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    asked the Prime Minister whether he will issue an order that, in the event of an attack on this country, all orders apparently given on the wireless to cease fire or lay down arms shall automatically be disregarded by the fighting services?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Appropriate measures are being taken to deal with enemy interference of the kind suggested, but I would add that it seems to me inconceivable that members of His Majesty's Forces should ever assume that orders of such a kind were genuine.

    Eire (Invasion Dangers)

    51.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied that, in our measures of defence in this country, adequate safeguards have been taken to protect us from an attack on and through our western seaboard by air and submarine via the Dominion of Eire; and whether, in particular, adequately armed detection and prevention personnel is provided for the Isle of Man, Anglesey, Bardsey, Stockholm, Lundy, Caldy and Walney Islands?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to a similar Question of his on the 23rd May. As regards the second part, I do not think it would be desirable to enter into details as regards particular localities.

    Bank Rate (Control)

    53.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he now controls the fixing of the Bank Rate?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Under Clause 2 of the recent Emergency Powers Regulations and within the ambit of those Regulations I have power to give directions in this matter.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Could the right hon. Gentleman exercise the authority which he states that he now has?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    I could do so, but I am not satisfied that the situation requires it.

    Bank Of England (Profits)

    54.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is proposed that the profits of the Bank of England should be subject to 100 per cent. Excess Profits Tax?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Yes, Sir.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer aware that under Section 68 of the Income Tax Act, 1918, the Bank of England is empowered to assess its own profits for taxation, and will he put an end to that ridiculous system so that they may be fairly assessed by an independent authority?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    That is another question, and perhaps the hon. Member will put it on the Paper. I thought I had given him a very good reply.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Can we assume that the Bank of England will now publish a proper balance-sheet?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    That is another story.

    Limitation Of Dividends Bill (Withdrawal)

    55.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the decision to raise the Excess Profits Tax to 100 per cent., he intends to proceed with the Limitation of Dividends Bill?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    The decision to raise Excess Profits Tax to 100 per cent. all round has materially affected the limitation of dividend proposals. The main object of the Bill was by limiting dividends to prevent an increase in the purchasing power in the hands of shareholders and this will now be substantially attained. Moreover, companies which would now be mainly affected if the Bill is passed are those which have shown themselves prudent in the distribution of their dividends. In these circumstances, I have decided not to proceed with the Bill. The prohibition imposed on bonus issues for the period of the war will, however, remain. I should like to emphasise that the objective of the original proposals remains as important as ever, and to the limited extent that it is not attained by the imposition of 100 per cent Excess Profits Tax, I am sure that all public companies concerned will act in accord with the general principles underlying the Bill. The national interest requires reduced consumption by individuals and the greatest measure of support for new Government loans from all.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that as a result of the decision he has just announced it will be possible for certain companies, in spite of the 100 per cent. Excess Profits Tax, to pay increased dividends if they so desire? Will he give the matter further consideration before abandoning what was really an excellent Bill and is still desirable?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    I think my hon. Friend will see that I have anticipated a question of that kind, because the companies he refers to are those which have been prudent in regard to the distribution of their dividends.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer state exactly what will prevent a company from distributing its reserves in additional dividends?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    I think I have already referred to that.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that by dispensing with the 100 per cent. Profits Tax he will create a very sad feeling among workmen who have thrown in their whole lot on the assumption that this tax was to be included?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    I do not think my hon. Friend could have heard my answer.

    Emergency Convalescent Homes

    56.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    asked the Minister of Health whether, in addition to those voluntarily offered to the Government, he will acquire other large houses or mansions suitable for conversion into convalescent and recreation homes under public control and in which wounded and sick men of the fighting forces, women, children and the aged and civilian male workers could be accommodated?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    This question has already been carefully considered in its various aspects, and I can assure the hon. Member that the Government will be prepared to use to the full the powers which it possesses as the need may arise.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Is the hon. Lady satisfied that an adequate number of these houses and mansions are being used for convalescent homes?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    I think all the houses of which we have heard are being inspected, but, as the hon. Member will realise, some of them, although they may have been quite suitable and very nice as family residences, are not suitable to become convalescent homes.

    Evacuated Children (Medical Services)

    57.

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that arrangements are adequate for the medical examination of children to be evacuated; whether the examination was fully carried out in the recent evacuation; whether he is making arrangements medically to examine refugees and their children; and whether those refugees can fully utilise the public medical services in the municipal areas in which they are billeted?

    The edit just sent has not been saved. The following error was returned:
    This content has already been edited and is awaiting review.

    Very thorough arrangements for the medical examination of children in the event of further evacuation have been prescribed for all evacuation areas. The evacuation last Sunday from towns on the East Coast which had not hitherto been classed as evacuation areas was carried out at short notice, but so far as time permitted the same arrangements were made there. The evacuation on the previous Sunday, referred to in the second part of the Question, was a transfer of London children from reception areas on the East Coast to other reception areas in Wales. This was carried out at still shorter notice, but my right hon. Friend has received reports which show that the authorities in the new reception areas are well satisfied with the condition in which the children arrived. As regards the third and fourth parts of the Question, refugees are medically examined both at the ports where they land and at the receiving centres in Greater London. Directions have been issued to authorities in whose areas refugees are accommodated to bring to the notice of refugees the health services that are there provided.