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Written Answers

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 10 March 1943

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Written Answers


Rents, Brynmawr

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered a letter from the clerk of the Brynmawr Council with regard to overcharging of rent; whether he is aware that a house in a certain row rented 8s. per week, exclusive of rates, in 1940, was let to evacuees at 30s. per week, inclusive of rates and the rent is now 28s. 6d. per week; that, as the standard rent is fixed on the first letting after 1st September, 1939, the council has no remedy against this exploitation; and will he take steps to ensure that cases such as this can be dealt with?

My right hon. Friend has received no communication from the Brynmawr Council but he has received general representations arising out of the case referred to from the Urban District Councils Association. The point has already been noted for consideration when amending legislation is undertaken.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the circularised protest issued by the Brynmawr Urban District Council with regard to extortionate rents charged for houses that are not covered by the Rent Restrictions Act; and whether he will take such steps as are necessary to clothe local authorities with power to deal with the problem?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to-day to a Question on this matter by my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Sir C. Edwards).

Farm Workers' Cottages (Rents)

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that 13s. per week plus rates is too high a rent for farm workers to pay for their cottages, while the standard wage is £3 per week, and, in view of the dissatisfaction this suggested rent has caused among them, will he make a statement on the matter?

If, as I assume, my hon. Friend is referring to the scheme described in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Sir P. Hurd) on 4th February, I would point out that he is under a misapprehension as to the rents to be charged for the new cottages. Local authorities have been informed that the rents of these cottages should be about 10s. a week plus rates for parlour houses and 8s. 6d. a week plus rates for non-par-lour houses. The amount of the rents to be charged has been very fully considered both by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and myself and we do not think that, having regard to present agricultural earnings, these rents are more than the tenants ought to be asked to pay for the accommodation to be provided.

East Suffolk

asked the Minister of Health in which villages in East Suffolk it is intended to build cottages under his recently announced scheme and how many in each; and whether he will consider the special claims of Stradbroke, Suffolk?

The following numbers of cottages have been allocated to Rural Districts in East Suffolk:

I am not yet in a position to say in which villages in these districts the cottages will be built, but I have no doubt that the Hartismere Rural District Council, in consultation with the County War Agricultural Executive Committee, will give full consideration to the claims of the village of Stradbroke, in relation to the claims of other villages in the rural district.

Public Health

Hospitals And Nursing Homes, Newcastle (Domestic Staffs)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the difficulties being experienced by private hospitals and nursing homes in Newcastle owing to the withdrawal elsewhere of essential members of domestic staffs of conscriptable ages; and whether he will arrange that one cook and one head-housemaid may be retained by each to enable these sections of the health services of the city to continue?

I have been informed that a particular nursing home in Newcastle has experienced difficulties as a result of the withdrawal of the cook from their service and that difficulties have been experienced by other nursing homes there following the withdrawal of domestic staff. Arrangements have been made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service for officers of my Department to be consulted before domestics are withdrawn from nursing homes. Each case so referred is considered on its merits.

Mental Deficiency (Statistics)

asked the Minister of Health the number of mental defectives and feeble-minded persons in this country and the number of staff employed to look after them?

I regret that the number of feeble-minded persons is not available. There were 91,050 mental defectives in England and Wales on the 1st January, 1942 (the latest date for which figures are available). Of these, 41,982 were not in institutions and no staff was employed to look after them. I have not complete figures of staff for institutions but at 49 certified institutions from which I obtained particulars in January, 1942, there were 26,385 patients and 2,947 charge nurses and nurses.

Vaccinations, Glasgow

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many vaccinations were performed at the vaccination stations in Glasgow during the smallpox outbreak last year; and how many were done by private doctors and paid for by the municipality?

I am informed that 378,400 vaccinations were performed at the vaccination stations in Glasgow during the smallpox outbreak last year. In addition 57,700 persons were vaccinated by private doctors and paid for by Glasgow Corporation.

National Health Insurance

asked the Minister of Health if he will consider extending Section 16 of the National Health Insurance Act, 1924, which provides that a society or committee may pay benefit to an injured person by way of advance pending settlement of his claim under the Workmen's Compensation Acts, by providing that the injured person shall be entitled to insist on such advance being made?

I do not think that it is necessary to amend the provisions of section 52 (1) of the National Health Insurance Act, 1936, which has replaced section 16 (4) of the National Health Insurance Act, 1924, on the lines suggested by my hon. Friend, as I have no reason to doubt that approved societies make free use of their power under that section.

Food Supplies

Fish (Allocation)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what steps are taken to prevent the decay of fish during the carrying out of the procedure of the Food (Fish) Order (Statutory Rules and Orders No. 227 of 1943)?

The Order to which my hon. Friend refers merely clarifies a point of doubt as to the allocation procedure under the Fish (Port Allocation Committees) Order. My Noble Friend sees no reason why the procedure laid down should cause any delay in the allocation and distribution of supplies.

Milk (Pasteurisation)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will ensure that no steps are taken towards making the pasteurisation of milk compulsory without consulting the body of opinion of this House?

While I could not give any undertaking in the general terms suggested by my hon. Friend I should welcome whatever opportunity may be afforded to learn the views of the House on this matter.

Government-Built Ships (Allocation)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether any Government-built ships have been allocated to any of the shipping companies; and the system upon which such ships have been, or will be, allotted?

Sixty-one Government built ships have up to date been allocated to British shipowners. As my hon. and gallant Friend will no doubt recall, the system by which allocation is made was explained in Command Paper 6357 presented to Parliament in May, 1942.

Road Accidents, Whitchurch

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the repeated accidents, some of them fatal, at the corner by the church, Andover Road, Whitchurch; and whether he will take measures to ensure that illuminated warning notices will be erected as soon as practicable?

I regret that during the past two years some 20 accidents have occurred at the place to which my hon. Friend refers. Sixteen of these accidents involved military vehicles; only four of them happened during the hours of darkness. The county council have had the corner under observation for some time and a number of different signs have been tried. A new warning sign, which is illuminated at night, has been recently erected; its effectiveness will be closely watched.

Flowers (Carriage By Rail)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, having regard to the importance of flowers to the morale of a large proportion of the population and in view of the small proportion of rail transport that was involved in their conveyance, he will now consider a revision of the Order prohibiting the transportation of flowers by rail?

As I have explained in answers to other Questions, a considerable economy of transport has resulted from the Order to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. I regret, therefore, that present conditions do not justify the revision of the Order.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, of the 47 containers opened to date, under Statutory Rules and Orders, 1943, No. 232, all, or how many were on railway platforms or else where than in railway carriages; and what is the authority for search of luggage outside a vehicle and without a search warrant?

Twenty-two were opened in railway carriages and the rest on platforms or in parcels offices. Authority for search is conferred by Defence Regulation 88A.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether the ban on the carriage of flowers by road and rail is to be followed by restrictions on the transport of other goods desirable in themselves but not essential to the health of the nation or the success of the war, or whether he proposes, in the interest of equity, to remove the ban on the carriage of cut flowers?

I have not at present in mind any comparable traffic the cessation of which would achieve a substantial economy, but I shall be prepared to give consideration to any suggestion which my hon. Friend may wish to make.

Road Transport (Racehorses And Flowers)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport why it has been decided still to permit the transport of racehorses by road, seeing that cut flowers have been forbidden?

The transport of cut flowers by road has not been forbidden; it is allowed for short distances to local markets, and occasionally for longer distances as incidental or return loads on vehicles having space not required for essential traffic. Movements of racehorses by road are allowed only for distances not exceeding 50 miles and only to the restricted number of race meetings allowed under the 1943 programme.

Ceylon (Constitutional Reform)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered the representations and public appeal for political and social reform made by Don Arthur Silva Wijayasinghe, the Padikara Mudaliyar of Ceylon; and whether he has made any reply thereto?

I have recently seen copies of a statement issued to the Ceylon Press on 4th March, 1942, by Mr. Wijayasinghe. As regards constitutional reform in Ceylon, I would invite my hon. Friend's attention to the reply which I gave to a Question by him on 20th January to which I have nothing to add. I have not received any representations from Mr. Wijayasinghe on the subject of social reforms.

Cyprus (Trade Unions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the constitution, membership and number of trade unions affiliated to the Cyprus party of working people known as Axel; how many Axel clubs or agricultural associations have been been refused registration; whether all Axel group gatherings must be limited to five persons; and how many Axel groups have been prosecuted for exceeding this number?

I am not in a position to furnish this information without reference to the Government of Cyprus. I am asking for it and will communicate with the hon. Member as soon as the reply is received.

East Africa (Transport Workers)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered the representations made by the running staff of European drivers of Kenya, Uganda, railways and harbours; and whether steps are being taken to improve their salaries and conditions and reduce their hours of work?

I have received the petition mentioned by my hon. Friend. The points raised in it are under consideration by the High Commissioner for Transport in East Africa, and I am awaiting his recommendations.

British Army

Home Guard (Aliens)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether aliens of German nationality, but who are friendly to this country, are permitted to become members of the Home Guard in the same way as aliens coming from countries that are friendly to us?

Aliens of German nationality are not at present eligible for service in the Home Guard unless they served in the British Forces in the last war. This policy is now under review.

Casualties (Notification)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether in spite of the difficulty and extra cost, he will consider notifying service casualties to parents as well as to wives?

In cases where the wife is abroad, and the parents at home, or when there is domestic estrangement, arrangements for two notifications of a casualty have in many cases been made on request. Applications by parents for such an arrangement to be made, together with the reasons for them should be sent in the case of officers to the War Office (Casualty Branch), Wavertree, Liverpool, 15, and in the case of other ranks, to the appropriate Record Office. I am not aware of any demand for two notifications save in these special circumstances. If generally adopted the issue of two notifications would make additional work, particularly at times of pressure, likely to retard the notification of casualties generally.

Middle East Forces (Communication With Relatives)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has consulted the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, as to the possibility of relaxing the rules regarding communication with relatives on the fines suggested to him; and, if not, will he do so?

The Commander-in-Chief has twice confirmed the original order since it was first published which affords a reasonable presumption that he still regards it as necessary.

Detention Camp Staffs (Officers)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether Captains Harris, Austin, Petrie, Schofieid, Brown, Green and Jacobs, who were formerly employed as intelligence officers, censors, and commanders of camp guards at 18B detention camps are still so employed; which of them were natural-born British subjects; where not so, at what date were they or their parents naturalised; and what were their former names?

There is no record that a Captain Schofield or a Captain Austin has been employed at the camps referred to. Without particulars of their initials and their regiments I am afraid I cannot trace them. Of the other officers, all of whom are natural-born. British subjects, only Captain H. L. Brown is still employed at the camp. The last two parts of the Question do not, therefore, arise.

Red Cross And St John War Organisation (Ambulances)

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) on what basis are ambulances of the Red Cross and St. John war organisation used by troops in this country; how many are so employed; what is the number of ambulances as distinct from those belonging to the society; and whether any of the voluntary funds paid to the Red Cross are utilised for the performance of duties which would normally be carried out by Service vehicles;(2) whether, as over 3,500,000 miles have now been covered by the ambulances of the Red Cross and St. John war organisation in United Kingdom commands since the beginning of the war, carrying over 400,000 patients, and as the ambulances of the society are now being used at service convalescent homes, he will say what contribution the society receives from public funds for the use of these vehicles?

At the beginning of the war the Red Cross and St. John War Organisation, as part of the humanitarian services which it is their purpose to provide, equipped a number of ambulances and provided their drivers. After the evacuation of the B.E.F. from Dunkirk the organisation offered the use of some of these ambulances for the benefit of the officers and men in the Army. This offer was gratefully accepted but the ambulances remained the property of the Red Cross and there was no question of a contribution from public funds towards the cost of provision. Where however they were solely used for the Army it was considered that the organisation should be relieved of the direct expenses incurred in carrying out this service. At the present time therefore the War Department bears all the costs of running, garaging and repairing the vehicles concerned, together with liabilities for accident normally covered by third party insurance. The Army sometimes provide on repayment rations and accommodation for the Red Cross personnel with the vehicles. About 400 ambulances are so employed. This is a small fraction of the number of ambulances in the Army, but I am afraid that it is not in the public interest to say what the number of these is. If the services of the Red Cross ambulances were not available the Army would have to provide such of the services as are essential to the well-being of the troops. This might entail the provision of more War Department ambulances but without examining every case it is impossible to say how many. These services provided by the generosity of the Red Cross and St. John War Organisation have added very considerably to the comfort and well-being of the troops for three years of war and I welcome this opportunity to say how much these services have always been appreciated by all ranks of the Army.

British Red Cross (Books And Magazines)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the Red Cross Society still wants books for our troops and prisoners of war; and what percentage of those despatched have been reaching them?

New and secondhand books and magazines are always welcomed by the British Red Cross War Organisation for distribution to members of the Forces in hospitals or convalescent homes. They will all reach the men for whom they are intended. To meet censorship requirements books for prisoners of war must be new, and can be sent only through booksellers holding a licence to do so. The British Red Cross War Organisation cannot therefore accept books for prisoners of war, but it arranges for the despatch of new books through such licensed booksellers to provide and maintain libraries for general reading at all prisoner of war camps and hospitals in Germany and Italy. In addition, they despatch books asked for by groups or individuals for study. As a general rule, the books sent to Germany reach their destinations. The position in Italy is most unsatisfactory but all possible pressure has been and continues to be brought to bear on the Italian Government to improve it.

Government Departments

War Office (Correspondence)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that delays of six to eight weeks regularly occur before replies to correspondence are received from his Department; and whether he will take urgent action to avoid any continuance of such delay?

I do not think the facts bear out my hon. Friend's assertion. I have made a complete analysis of the 44 cases which he has sent to the War Office in the last year. Excluding four special cases the average time is one-third of that suggested. In two of the four special cases my hon. Friend's correspondent omitted to give a vital piece of information which naturally prolonged the investigaton, while in another—a medical case—a special period of observation was necessary. The fourth was a complicated pension case.

Conscientious Objectors (Employment)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many conscientious objectors have obtained positions in the Government service since their appeals were allowed?

Appointments to the Civil Service are at present made through the agency of the Ministry of Labour and National Service, which has been advised not to submit the names of conscientious objectors for vacancies in Government Departments. By way of exception, one or two conscientious objectors with specialist qualifications have been engaged for urgent scientific work in cases where it has been established that no other suitably qualified candidates were available. Otherwise no staff known to be conscientious objectors have been recruited.

New Buildings (Consultation With Planning Authorities)

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he is aware that Government Departments have in some cases erected important buildings in an area without notification or consultation with the county planning officer or local authority concerned; and whether he will arrange for the local planning authorities to be consulted, in future, so that local knowledge and advice in planning can be utilised to the full both for present and future development plans?

I am aware that in certain cases the construction of buildings by, or on behalf of, Government Departments has been started without notification to, or consultation with, the local planning authority concerned. The importance of such consultation, before development takes place, has throughout been impressed on all Departments undertaking or promoting development. In general, that consultation now takes place so far as the requirements of defence permit. If my hon. and gallant Friend has any particular cases in mind, I shall be pleased to look into them.

Non-Industrial Staff (Numbers)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of persons employed in the civil and municipal services for the year 1939?

The total number of non-industrial staff employed in Government Departments as at 1st April, 1939, was 424,896 (374,301 whole-time and 50,595 part-time). At the outbreak of war the estimated total number of such non-industrial civil servants was 443,000 (395,000 whole-time and 48,000 part-time). I am advised that figures relating to the total number of persons employed in the municipal services are not available.

Board Of Trade (Assistant Secretaries)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many of the 10 assistant secretaries of the Board of Trade who, before the war, were not in the public service, have been authorised to sign orders which have legislative effect?

The assistant secretaries who were not in the public service before the war have the same authority as those who were.

Town And Country Planning Schemes (Application)

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he will review the special privileges held by the Commissioners of Crown Lands, railway companies, etc., to require all to conform with town and country planning and building regulations, which apply to everyone else throughout the country?

The exemption of the Crown from the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, is unlikely in practice to lead to difficulty in future. That Act confers no general exemption on railway companies and other statutory undertakers. The question of the application of provisions of schemes made under the Act to such undertakers is being considered in connection with the recommendations of the Scott and Uthwatt Reports.

National Finance

Old Age Pensions

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the feeling of old age pensioners on the basic rate of 10s. a week not being increased; that many sections of the community have had an advance in wages rate and they consider regard should be had to this position and an immediate increase be granted; and will he examine this question and make a statement?

All these matters fall within the scope of the Beveridge Report, and I am not in a position to add to the statements made on behalf of the Government in the recent Debate on that Report.

"Wings For Victory" Week (Cost)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the cost of staging the London "Wings for Victory" week?

The answer is £10,760 on the National Savings Committee's Vote. The extra cost to Air Votes is negligible.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost of preparation for "Wings for Victory" campaign in Trafalgar Square and the amount to be spent in other districts during the campaign?

In reply to the first part of the Question, the extra cost of the Trafalgar Square arrangements is £1,293 on the National Savings Committee's Vote and a negligible amount on Air Votes. In reply to the second part, it is too early as yet to give a figure.

Raf Officers' Journey (Authorisation)

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the request to the civilian population that they should not indulge in unnecessary travelling, he gave his consent to the attendance of Royal Air Force officers from South Wales stations at an Air Training Corps boxing tournament held at Leeds, on Saturday, 27th February; and whether the officers of the Royal Air Force travelled at State expense?

I am informed that two R.A.F. officers from South Wales attended the function referred to. Both officers flew to Leeds in the course of a fully authorised navigational exercise.

United Nations

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it has yet been decided to send representatives to the United States of America to take part in the post-war policy discussions to be undertaken by representatives of the United Nations?

His Majesty's Government will of course desire to be represented at any such discussions, but until the agenda has been more precisely defined, I am not able to say what form their participation will take.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what nations have now signed the United Nations Declaration, have adhered to the Atlantic Charter and have broken off relations with the Axis Powers?

The following either were original signatories or have subsequently acceded to the United Nations Declaration: United States of America, United Kingdom, U.S.S.R., China, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Luxemburg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Philippine Islands, Poland, El Salvador, South Africa, Yugoslavia.In addition to the above mentioned, the following have announced acceptance of the principles embodied in the Atlantic Charter: Peru, Venezuela and the French National Committee.The following have broken off diplomatic relations with the Axis Powers: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Paraguay, Persia, Uruguay.

German Airmen (Funeral)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now re-examined the question of the ceremony at the funeral of three German airmen on 20th January; and if he has any further statement to make?

After looking into the matter again, I am satisfied that the three German airmen were "honourably buried" in accordance with the requirements of the Convention and that nothing was done which exceeded those requirements.

Ministry Of Information

Enemy Propaganda

asked the Minister of Information whether his attention has been called to enemy-inspired propaganda circulating in this country to the effect that, after defeating the Germans, war between Great Britain and Russia will arise; and whether he will warn the public of the unwisdom of helping Goebbel's plot by repetition?

No, Sir. The British public need no warning by the Ministry of Information against the repetition of lying statements broadcast by German radio stations. The issuance of warnings against German propaganda to the British public would be a waste of breath. I prefer to rely upon the commonsense of our people, which is one of the foundations of our war effort.

Broadcasts To France

asked the Minister of Information whether it is still the policy of the Political Warfare Executive to broadcast to France the series of "V talks" by Colonel Britton on organised underground revolt against Nazi oppression; and whether the National Committee of the Fighting French are continuing their broadcast talks to Metropolitan France?

The "V" series of talks by Colonel Britton ceased some ten months ago. The answer to the second part of the Question is "Yes, Sir."

Post-War Industry (Pamphlet)

asked the Minister without Portfolio whether his attention has been drawn to a pamphlet issued by a group of industrialists entitled "A National Policy for Industry," of which a copy has been sent to him; and whether he will take steps to see that the recommendations contained in the pamphlet will be taken into consideration in framing post-war policy?

Spain (Oil Imports)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether there was any consultation between His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States of America before the decision of the latter to send large shipments of oil to Spain; and whether His Majesty's Government have expressed their agreement with this decision?

Imports of oil into Spain are carefully regulated by a system of quotas designed to ensure that, while Spain can obtain sufficient oil for her essential needs, no surplus shall be accumulated. This system has been in operation for the past two and a half years, and there has been no recent increase in the permitted rate of imports. During the first six months of 1942, however, shipments of the quota amounts were delayed, pending a fresh investigation into the level of Spanish oil stocks, and allegations of leakage to the enemy. Following this investigation the results of which were satisfactory it was agreed between His Majesty's Government and the United States Government that shipments should be resumed at approximately the same rate as previous quotas.

Postal Service, Middle East And India

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the growing dissatisfaction of the public, he will move for the appointment of a Select Committee to investigate the question of postage to the Middle East and India?

I have been asked to reply. The difficulties have been due to the claims on available aircraft of operational requirements, but I can assure my hon. Friend that constant efforts are being made, and will continue to be made, to improve the service. In these circumstances I do not consider that the appointment of a Select Committee would help in this matter.

Youth Registration (White Paper)

asked the President of the Board of Education when he is proposing to issue the promised White Paper on Youth Registration?

I hope that it will be possible to lay a White Paper in the course of the next few weeks.

Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

asked the Minister of Pensions what the increase has been in the pension of soldiers who were disabled in the last war, to meet the increased cost of living in recent years?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to a somewhat similar Question by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. Brown) on 6th August, 1942. I may add that the cost of living figure is slightly lower to-day than when that answer was given.

Tyres (Scrap)

asked the Minister of Supply what percentage of giant tyres surrendered during the period 1st November, 1942, to 31st January, 1943, have proved to be scrap; and what further action he proposes to take about it?

The proportion is 72 per cent. Every effort is being made to reduce this wastage by intensifying inspection of vehicles, by propaganda, and by payments for tyres returned in a retreadable condition. It is now an offence to run tyres with the fabric showing and several prosecutions have been instituted.

Orphanage, Reigate (Dispute)

asked the Home Secretary whether he can give any information in connection with the trouble at the Spurgeon orphan homes at Wray Park, Reigate, Surrey; why the matron and nurses left as a protest against the superintendent; and how many nurses and others left the homes?

These homes are under voluntary management and the Home Secretary has no responsibility for the matters about which my hon. Friend is asking. We are, however, concerned that the children shall be properly cared for, and I am glad to say that one of the inspectors, who paid an immediate visit, found that the orphanage was being carried on successfully by a fresh staff with the help of local volunteers and that the children had not suffered in any way from the temporary disorganisation.

National War Effort

Local Authorities, Sanitary Staffs

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider bringing employees of local authorities under the Essential Work Order,' more particularly those employed in sewage and scavenging work, in order to conserve essential labour in public utility services?

Many of the activities of local authorities, including those mentioned by my hon. and gallant Friend, have already been brought within the field of the Essential Work (General Provisions) Order and the departments concerned scheduled in appropriate cases. Requests for scheduling any further undertakings carried on by local authorities should be made to the Government Department concerned.

Men Over 35 (Employment)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that unemployed persons over 37 years of age are told that they are not required at the moment in the Forces and at the same time informed that they cannot be given employment because they are liable to be called up being under 41 years of age; and whether he will take steps to remove this anomaly?

No, Sir. The Forces require all the men who have registered under the National Service Acts who can be spared from essential industry, but as the greater need of the Forces is for younger men, I have arranged that men who were 35 or over at the date of registration and who are unemployed or not reserved or deferred in respect of their existing employment shall, if suitable, be considered for transfer to work of national importance in order to release younger men for the Forces. If, however, these older men in question express a preference for service in the Forces they are called up in the ordinary way. All unemployed persons are considered for available employment and there should, therefore, be no question of these men being informed that they cannot be given employment because they are of military age. If, however, my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind I shall be glad to look into it on receiving the necessary particulars.

War Workers, Oxford (Accommodation)

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the subject of the provision of hostels for war workers in Oxford?

As I have already informed my hon. Friend, I have had this matter thoroughly explored and I am satisfied that I should not be justified in sponsoring the creation of hostels in this district. I am assured that sufficient billets can be found, but if new factors emerge, I will re-consider the case at the end of the summer.

Trade And Commerce

Search Warrants

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will give an undertaking not to use the powers assumed by the Board of Trade under paragraph 2 of the Board of Trade (Information and Inspection) Order, 1943, S.R.O. 1943, No. 102, to empower a person to obtain detailed information of secret processes used in the trade or business of a competitor?

Empire Wine (Trade Description)

asked the President of the Board of Trade why the name "port" cannot be used for wine produced in our Empire which now has to be labelled "Of port type"; and whether he will readjust this to encourage the Empire wine industry?

The application of the description "port" is restricted to wine produced in Portugal by the Anglo-Portuguese Commercial Treaty Acts of 1914 and 1916. These Acts were passed to implement the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation of 1914. Their repeal would involve denunciation of the Treaty.

Number of persons killed and seriously injured at mines under the Coal Mines Act.
——Great Britain.Yorkshire.
Killed.Seriously Injured.Killed.Seriously Injured.
1st January—20th February, 1943973451551
Corresponding period of 194219440022101
Corresponding period of 19411164431498

Creosote (Use As Fuel)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he can give any information about creosote being used in furnaces in many large factories; and whether this by-product could be used for better purposes?

Fuel And Power

Mine Accidents

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the number of fatal and serious accidents in and about the mines during 1943 and comparative figures for 1942 and 1941 and the separate figures for Yorkshire?

The following statement gives the information:substantial quantities of creosote and pitch are available for use as fuel. In order to save imported fuel oil the Ministry of Fuel and Power have arranged for the conversion of fuel oil burning furnace and boiler plant to burn a mixture of creosote and pitch. The best possible use is thus made of available supplies of creosote.