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Written Answers

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 22 April 1943

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Written Answers

National War Effort

Domestic Workers (Hospitals And Farms)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the serious shortage of domestic labour in many hospitals throughout the country; and what steps he intends to take to remedy this shortage?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) on 15th April, 1943, of which I am sending a copy.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will extend the concession whereby farmers' daughters or domestic servants are reserved to permit farmers who have not got such help to obtain it?

I have already given instructions that steps should be taken to assist farmers who apply to a local office of my Department for a domestic worker for a farm household where no member of that household might reasonably be expected to do the domestic work without interfering with other important war work, such as work on the farm. Whilst, in view of the general shortage of domestic workers, I cannot promise that in all cases the vacancies in question will be filled, my officers will do their utmost to help farmers in this matter.

Essential Work Orders (Administration)

asked the Minister of Labour whether, having regard to the recent decision of the High Court under the Essential Work Order that the Ministry cannot compel an employer to provide work as well as wages for a reinstated employee, he will take steps to amend the law so as to obviate employers being permitted to keep men in idleness whilst paying them wages?

I am giving consideration to any effects the judgment may have on the administration of the Essential Work Orders.

Food Supplies

Catering Establishments (Meals)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether, in view of his repeated warnings of a possible shortage of meat and other foodstuffs, he will now take steps to close luxury hotels and make the production of food coupons a condition of service in the case of hotels and restaurants that are considered indispensable?

The service of meals in catering establishments is already controlled by the Meals in Establishments Order and my Noble Friend does not consider that it would be desirable to impose further restrictions at the present time.

Sugar Allocation (Prosecution, London)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can give any information about how Mr. Vernon Benabo and several other people were able to obtain two tons of sugar without a licence, and what he intends doing about the matter?

By means of a conspiracy the sugar was obtained from the allocation made to a jam manufacturing firm. The persons concerned were convicted and punished at the Central Criminal Court on 18th April. The managing director of the jam manufacturing firm was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment. Benabo was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment with a fine of £500. Those who received the sugar were also dealt with at the same time.

Cereal Fillers (Control And Maximum Prices) Order

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the purpose of the Food (Cereal Fillers) (S.R. & O., No. 545, of 1943)?

The main purposes of the Cereal Fillers (Control and Maximum Prices) Order, 1943, are:(1) To confine the manufacture of these foodstuffs to persons who are licensed to undertake such work,

(2) To provide powers whereby the amount of flour used for such purposes may be controlled, and

(3) To fix a maximum price for an ingredient of sausages which are themselves subject to a maximum price order.

Carrots

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what is the acreage of growing carrots held in reserve and which if not lifted early next month will be unfit for human consumption; and what tonnage of carrots the Ministry holds in reserve in clamps?

It is estimated that 1,900 acres of carrots have been held in the ground to permit the prior removal of clamped carrots. I know, however, of no reason for the assumption that these carrots will become unfit for human consumption if not lifted early in May. In reply to the last part of my hon. Friend's Question it is estimated that after allowing for normal deterioration the reserve of carrots now held in clamps by my Department is of the order of 7,000 tons.

Grain-Drying Plant, Scotland

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food how many grain-drying stations are being established in Scotland under the new official scheme and the approximate location of these?

It is proposed to establish one grain silo with drying plant in Scotland under the present scheme. For security reasons its location cannot be disclosed.

British Restaurants

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he will give a list of Statutory Rules and Orders which contain special reference to British Restaurants?

British Restaurants are not referred to specifically in any Statutory Rules and Orders. As communal feeding centres they are covered by S.R. & O. 1941 No. 103 (the Local Authorities (Community Kitchens and Sale of Food in Public Air Raid Shelters) Order, 1941). In addition British Restaurants and similar institutions are subject to the Statutory Rules and Orders which apply to catering establishments generally.

British Army

Aliens (Enlistment)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has now been able to issue instructions modifying the method of enlistment of nationals of those countries with which we are at war?

As the House is aware, nationals of countries with which we are at war have hitherto been required to enlist in the Pioneer Corps in the first place. As I informed the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. Brown) on 2nd March facilities for transfer to other arms of the Service have recently been extended, and I am now able to announce a further step in this direction. As from 1st May aliens of enemy origin may be considered for direct enlistment into any corps other than the Royal Corps of Signals. I should add that in order that aliens who have not previously enlisted in the Pioneer Corps may not be at an advantage over those who are already serving, candidates for direct enlistment into arms other than the Pioneer Corps will be required to show good cause for not having enlisted before.

Leave (India And Burma)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether leave centres have now been established at suitable places for members of His Majesty's Forces in India and Burma?

Subject to the needs of the Service, officers and men in India and Burma are given 28 days' recuperative leave. They are allowed to travel free to the nearest health resort. In some places special hostels have been set up for men of the Services.

Forces, India (Vaccination)

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that some of the unvaccinated men arriving in areas where there is a danger of smallpox are confined to barracks but sent out of the camp every day on duty, while others are allowed the same liberty as that allowed to vaccinated men, action of this kind being dependent on the views of the commanding officers; and whether, if it is necessary to confine unvaccinated men to barracks, he will give instructions that the confinement to camp is to extend to their hours of duty as well as to their leisure hours?

Officers' Uniforms (Prices)

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the estimated cost to an officer of battledress; and will he consider providing it as a free issue?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for the Exchange Division of Manchester (Mr. Hewlett) on 19th January, of which I am sending him a copy. I will consider the second part of my hon. Friend's Question.

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the estimated cost to an officer of tropical kit; what allowance is given to meet this expense; and is he satisfied that it is adequate?

The estimated cost to the officer of tropical kit is about £11 11s. 0d. He is given £10 as a grant-in-aid towards the cost of this kit. The maintenance of tropical kit costs the officer less than the maintenance of the normal kit and I consider that the present grant is generally adequate.

Water Supply, Middle East (Dowsers)

asked the Secretary of State for War what trials of dowsing have been made in the Middle East and the names of the dowsers employed; and whether his attention has been called to the successful finding of wells by this method in the Aleppo district?

At present I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Tavistock (Captain Studholme) on 19th January, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy, but inquiries are being made.

"Union Jack" Newspaper

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make available in the Library of the House of Commons a copy of the services newspaper called "Union Jack"?

Regional Planning Officers

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning how many of his 10 town and country planning advisers have had any architectural experience; and is he satisfied that men without this are capable of acting in an advisory capacity to local authorities in connection with planning problems?

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him on 6th April, 1943, which gave particulars of the qualifications of my Regional Planning officers. I am satisfied that their experience and qualifications enable them efficiently to discharge the duties with which they have been entrusted.

Statutory Rules And Orders (Additional Rule)

asked the Lord President of the Council why the Additional Rule, signed by the Master of the Rolls on 30th November, 1942, was not submitted to His Majesty in Council for approval until 11th March, 1943, Statutory Rule and Order, 1943, No. 382?

In accordance with the provisions of the Public Record Office Acts, 1838 to 1898, it was necessary for the Additional Rule to which my hon. Friend refers to be laid before both Houses of Parliament for a period of nine weeks prior to its submission for approval by His Majesty in Council. The Additional Rule was made on 30th November, 1942, the assent of the Treasury and the Tithe Redemption Commission was then formally signified and it was laid before Parliament on 15th December. The statutory period of nine weeks expired on 17th February last, and the Additional Rule was submitted for approval at the first Council held by His Majesty after that date.

Personal Injuries (Civilian) Scheme

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will reconsider his decision not to grant a pension to Mrs. Whitehouse, 12, Daisy Street, Cardiff, in respect of the loss of her son by enemy action; and whether he is considering an amendment of the Personal Injuries (Civilian) Scheme so as to bring cases of this kind within its scope?

As a result of the further consideration which I promised in my reply to the hon. Member's previous Question regarding this case on 23rd June, 1942, I should now be able to award a pension to Mrs. Whitehouse if she were in need, notwithstanding that the dead son had not been contributing to her support. Mrs. Whitehouse has been advised that she may renew her application at any time in the event of a worsening in her financial position.

Post Office

Night Telegraph Letter Service (Northern Ireland)

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the unpredictable delays in delivery of first-class mail due to the postal censorship, he will retain, between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the night telegraph letter service?

In addition to the ordinary telegraph and telephone services, there is an air mail service available, and letters sent by this service are accorded specially rapid treatment by the censorship authorities to ensure their earliest possible delivery which is normally within 48 hours of posting. I feel that these services afford reasonable facilities under present conditions, and that the retention of the night telegraph letter service exceptionally between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is scarcely justifiable.

Telegrams And Mails, India (Delay)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the long delay in the delivery of cables, airgraphs and letters to British Forces serving in India; that recently a cable took a month to be sent from the United Kingdom to Simla, letters average about four months and airgraph letters a month; and whether he has any statement to make on the subject?

I am aware that during the Christmas and New Year period many telegrams for the Forces in India suffered appreciable delay owing to congestion of seasonal traffic, but I understand the telegrams are now reaching the base reasonably quickly. The locating of the addressee by the Military Authorities, and the redirection of the telegrams over the internal telegraph system or by surface transport may, however, in some instances take several days, but I can assure the hon. Member that the authorities concerned in India are doing their utmost to expedite delivery. As regards the conditions of transmission of letters and airgraphs to India I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer, of which I am sending him a copy, given by my right hon. Friend's predecessor to the hon. and gallant Member for Taunton (Lieut.-Colonel. Wickham) on 15th December last. I am glad to say, however, that since then increased aircraft capacity has become available, with the result that the Post Office have been able to speed up the airgraph service. We also introduced, on 6th December, the 6d. Air Letter to the Forces in India, which receives air transmission throughout.

Fuel And Power

Petrol Rationing, Birmingham

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why applicants for petrol allowances in the Birmingham district are informed that applications cannot be considered until after their motor vehicles have been licensed and insured for the current period; and whether he will instruct his officers to give decisions provisional upon due completion of licensing and insurance?

It is a general rule that regional petroleum officers may consider an application for a petrol allowance for a private car only if it is currently licensed. It is realised that adherence to this rule puts the applicant who is refused petrol to the inconvenience of applying for a refund of his licence payment and satisfying the licensing authority that the car has not been used during the currency of the licence. However, it is unsatisfactory to all concerned to ration on a hypothetical basis; and for this among other reasons my right hon. Friend thinks it desirable to maintain the rule.

Atherton And Astley Collieries (Women Workers)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what steps he is taking to meet the position obtaining at the Manchester collieries, Atherton and Astley, where the female screen hands have been told they must leave colliery work and take up other employment which will have a serious effect on the coal output?

This matter has been the subject of consultation between my regional officers and the employers concerned who have agreed with the Ministry of Labour and National Service on the release of these women and on the provision of experienced substitutes. The production of coal will not be affected by these transfers.

Mine Workers (Sporotrichosis)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power (1) whether the medical officers recently appointed by his Department have been instructed to make careful observations as to the presence of cases of sporotrichosis amongst mine workers in Britain, especially those working underground, without special reference to any disabling effect or absenteeism traceable to such infection;(2) whether any cases of sporotrichosis, such as has now been diagnosed in South African mines, have been brought to the notice of his Department in Great Britain; whether any investigation of its incidence or research into its causation has been set in motion; whether any statistical or other information is available in his Department as to its prevalence in France and other European countries and also in the United States of America; and what steps have been planned for its prevention?

No cases of sporotrichosis have been brought to the notice of my Department and although it appears from the literature that isolated cases occur in Europe and America as well as in this country, I have no statistical information on the subject. My mines medical officers will be asked to pay special attention to the problem of its origin, cure and prevention in the event of any cases of the disease being reported among miners.

Wool Restrictions (Men's Socks)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he proposes to relax the restrictions on the length of men's socks in view of the difficulty that traders will have in disposing of these and other style-controlled garments after the war when the restrictions are lifted?

No, Sir. The reduction of the leg length of socks to nine inches saves a great deal of wool and the manufacture of longer socks for the civilian market cannot be permitted. I am glad to have this opportunity to give an assurance that effective steps will be taken at the right time to assist traders to overcome any such difficulty as my hon. Friend has in mind.

National Finance

War Damage Act (Receipts And Payments)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the sum of over £100,000,000 which has been paid out under the War Damage Act has been made from War Damage contributions and Exchequer contributions, respectively?

Receipts up to date of contributions under Part I of the War Damage Act amount to approximately three-quarters of the sum paid out by the War Damage Commission.

British Civil Servants, America (Allowances)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether mission allowances and other expenses allowances paid to British Civil servants in the United States of America are intended to cover only the additional expenses reasonably incurred by a Civil servant living away from home, or whether they are also intended to cover any part of the recipient's normal living expenses?

The allowances issued to Civil servants sent to North America from this country are fixed solely in relation to the extra cost to which they are put by reason of their service abroad.

Tobacco Duties (Old Age Pensioners)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider the advisability of issuing a certificate to each old age pensioner, to be obtained from the post office where he draws his old age pension, entitling him to purchase one ounce of tobacco each week at pre-1943 Budget price?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bilston (Mr. Hannah) on 20th April.

Income Tax (Foreign Nationals)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether nationals of allied, neutral and enemy countries resident in the United Kingdom pay direct taxes on the same scale as British subjects and through what machinery these taxes are collected?

In general United Kingdom Income Tax is charged on and collected from persons resident in the United Kingdom by reference to the same statutory provisions whatever their nationality. There is, however, a statutory exemption in favour of the official pay of employees of foreign States and the pay of Allied Government officials and members of Allied Forces is not charged to United Kingdom Income Tax. By the Diplomatic Privileges (Extension) Act, 1940, taxation privileges similar to those accorded to foreign diplomats were granted to members of Allied Governments established in the United Kingdom and certain of their officials. In addition special taxation treatment is being given during the war in certain cases where owing to war conditions persons have become technically resident here as regards income which would not have been chargeable to United Kingdom Income Tax if they had not become resident. If my Noble Friend has any special class of persons in mind I shall be glad to give him any further information I can, if he will let me have particulars.

Enemy And Enemy-Occupied Countries (Food Rations)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare what are the official rations in Germany, Italy and occupied and satellite countries; and how far such rations are actually available?

The information for which my hon. Friend asks is contained in the attached table.

AVERAGE WEEKLY RATIONS OF PRINCIPAL FOODSTUFFS IN ENEMY AND ENEMY OCCUPIED COUNTRIES. (In ounces.)
N.C.=Normal Consumer. L.W.=Light Worker. N.W.=Night Worker. H.W.=Heavy Worker. V.H.W.=Very Heavy Worker. Ch.=Children. Ad.=Adolescents.
CountryBreadMeatFatsSugarPotatoesWhole Milk (pints)Remarks
GermanyN.C.8012½78140 Miners 175NilRations always obtainable.
N.W.10019½8Nil
H.W.1292510½Nil
V.H.W.16433½20Nil
Ch. under 33979
Ch. 3–64276
Ch. 6–1060143
Ad. 10–209214Nil
ProtectorateN.C.8012½69122NilRations generally obtainable.
N.W.10019½7Nil
H.W.1292510½Nil
V.H.W.16433½20Nil
Ch. under33976
Ch. 3–64276
Ch. 6–1060146
Ad. 10–2092146Nil
ItalyN.C.37Northern 6 to 7 Southern 5N.C.17½Locally rationed. Priority to children, sick, nursing mothers.Rations not always obtainable in some districts. Local supply conditions vary considerably.
L.W.62Ch. under39
H.W.86Ch. and Ad.3–18
V.H.W.100
NetherlandsN.C.6359140NilRations generally obtainable.
H.W.9510½210Nil
V.H.W.12617½15½280Nil
Ch. under4323709
Ad. 14–20776140Ch. 4–14
NorwayN.C.64Locally rationed. H.W. 10½7105NilSugar or particularly fats not always available. Milk some-times in short supply in certain towns.
H.W.87131Nil
V.H.W.cat.110410158Nil
V.H.W. cat. 211911184Nil
Ch. under 2321059
Ch. 2–5401059
Ad. 12–2072105Ch.5–156
Ad. 16–183
+3pts. Skimmed

CountryBreadMeatFatsSugarPotatoesWhole Milk (pints)Remarks
BelgiumN.C.5538122Formerly meat, fats and potatoes not regularly available. Rations now generally obtainable, except milk for older children in large towns.
L.W.7110½5Ch. under 39
H.W.8612½Ch. 3–66
V.H.W.1031510Ch. 6–143
Miners13417½24
DenmarkN.C.82UnrationedUnrationedRations always obtainable.
H. W.106N.C.10½N.C.13
V.H.W.130Fishermen16Fishermen17½
Ch. under 641
FranceN.C.68N.C.

Urban

Rural

The recently reduced rations of meat and fats now generally obtainable, formerly very irregular. Milk scarce in certain departments.
H.W.87H.W.8N.C.2N.C.Locally rationedCh. under 69
Engine drivers122V.H.W.11½H.W.5Ch. under 39Ch. under 6–143
Miners147Engine drivers14V.H.W.87Ad. 13–21
Ch. under 325Miners18½
Ch. under 3–649Ad. 13–21
Ch. under 6–1368
Ch. under 13–2187
FinlandN.C.61By valueN.C.2N.C.87N.C.Except bread and potatoes, rations frequently unobtainable.
H.W.cat. 174F. MarksH.W.Non-workersH.W. and V.H.W.122Ch. under 312
H.W.cat. 298N.C.4.80V.H.W.4Ch. under 3–147
V.H.W.122H.W.7.20Ch. under 7
Ch. under 337V.H.W.9.60
Ch. under 4–1249
SlovakiaBreadFlour
N.C.3712½N.C.14N.C.2UrbanRural105Rations obtainable.
H.W.4712½H.W. andH.W. andN.C.86N.C.
V.H.W.7325V.H.W.21V.H.W.Ch. underCh. under 19
(margarine)1012½10½Ch. under 1–146
Ch.Sick
Sick2
(butter)

CountryBreadMeatFatsSugarPotatoesWhole Milk (pints)Remarks
HungaryN.C.3917½5

Urban

Rural

35Ch. under 39Rations obtainable.
H.W.688N.C. … 93–4½Ch. 3–146
V.H.W.1088
BulgariaN.C.6217½UnrationedRations probably obtainable.
H.W.1249 (lard and oil)
V.H.W.153Ch. under 5 (butter)9Ch. under 19
Ch. under 131Ch. 1–56
Ch.1–543

Rumania.—Rationing in Bucharest only. Bread N.C. 79, H.W. 158, Meat 9, Sugar 5½, Fats 4½.Rations believed to be obtainable.

YugoslaviaCroatia.—Bread 37, Meat 5½, Sugar 2½, Fats 3, Potatoes 74, Milk Ch. under 2 9, Ch. 2–5 6, Serbia—Bread 78, Meat 4½, Sugar 5½, Fats 3. Rations for the most part believed to be unobtainable.

Poland.—No uniform rationing. In Incorporated Territories, Germans and so-called "loyal" Poles get same rations as in Reich: Jews and Poles get about half as much. In General Government, rations for Germans same as in Reich. Poles get less. Jews in ghettos get starvation rations.

Greece.—Bread is rationed at 44 ounces—since relief shipments, rations usually available.

Civil Defence Services (Badges)

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider the advisability of having issued small stripes to be placed on the base of the right-hand sleeves of their uniform denoting each year of service in Civil Defence, formerly air-raid precautions, similar to those issued to the members of the National Fire Service?

I have already considered the advisability of introducing a system of long service badges for the local authority Civil Defence Services and have concluded that there is insufficient justification for it at this time. The same applies to the National Fire Service for which no system of long service badges has been approved. I am aware that some members of the National Fire Service, continuing a local pre-nationalisation practice, wear long service stripes which have been authorised locally, but I am not in favour of any extension of this practice.

Untaxed Theatrical Performances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many untaxed theatrical performances are now being presented in this country; what are their names; and whether there is any fixed arrangement as to the salaries of the actors and the rent of the theatre?

I regret that the information asked for in the first and second parts of the Question could not be made available without a disproportionate expenditure of time and labour. There is no such fixed arrangement as is referred to in the third part.

Messrs Short Brothers

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production whether it is proposed to pay compensation to any of the directors of Short Brothers for loss of office?

No, Sir. It is not proposed to pay compensation to any of the directors of Short Brothers by reason of their having resigned their directorships.

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production, who is the present chairman of Messrs. Short Brothers, Limited; and whether he holds any other, and what, appointments or directorships?

The chairman of this company is Sir Frederick Heaton. Sir Frederick is chairman and managing director of Thomas Tilling, Ltd., and chairman or a director of various companies associated with that concern. He is a member of the Inland Transport War Council and is on the board of the Alliance Assurance Company.

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production how much money has been advanced to Short Brothers, Limited?

I am not quite clear what the hon. Member has in mind by "money advanced." If he means a loan, there has been no advance of this nature up to the present. Very substantial sums have of course been advanced by way of progress payments against work in progress. Capital assistance furnished in the form of buildings, plant and equipment held by the Crown and operated by the company and its subsidiary concerns under licence is also substantial. It would not be in the public interest if I disclosed these figures as they would convey information of some interest to the enemy.

Beveridge Report (Legislation)

asked the Minister without Portfolio whether he can give any estimate of the time within which it will be possible to introduce legislation once decisions have been taken on those major changes recommended in the Beveridge Report which have been reserved for further consideration by His Majesty's Government?

I am afraid that it is not possible to give such an estimate, but I think it is only right to say that whilst work is proceeding actively it must of necessity take a considerable time to bring it to completion. Apart from major questions of policy there are other important matters which the report itself recommended should be the subject of special investigation. The working out of the details of a scheme of such magnitude with its intricate consequential problems, such as the transitional arrangements from the old schemes to the new and the preparation of the subsequent legislation, is a very formidable task.

Post-War Educational Problems, Europe

asked the President of the Board of Education what discussions he has had recently with other allied Ministers of Education dealing with post-war educational problems in Europe, and in particular in the occupied countries; and what decisions have been reached to date?

I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a note issued after my last meeting with the allied Ministers which summarises our proceedings to date.

Scotland

Anti-Semitic Pamphlet

asked the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to an anti-Semitic pamphlet called "The Truth about the Jews" published by Alexander Ratcliffe, of 2, Endrick Drive, Bearsden, near Glasgow, and printed by R. Thomson, 11, Spout Mouth, Glasgow, C.1; and whether he will consider prosecuting the publisher and printer thereof for libel or sedition or under the Defence of the Realm Regulations?

My attention has been called to this pamphlet. Libel is not a crime under the law of Scotland. I have considered whether it would be possible to prosecute for sedition or under the Defence Regulations but cannot find that any crime has been committed.

Jordanhill College School

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the petition sent to him by 462 parents and guardians regarding Jordan-hill College School; and, if so, has he any statement to make?

I have received this petition. I am constantly in touch with the military authorities on the possibility of their being able to release schools at present under requisition so that they may be available for their normal educational purposes. Jordanhill College School is one of a number of schools for the release of which I have recently specially asked.

Road Haulage Officers

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport the functions of the divisional road haulage officers and the area road haulage officers, respectively?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him 7th April last.

Road Passenger Services, Hull

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he will consider arranging for the running of tramcars and motor-omnibuses in Hull one hour later during the operation of double summer time?

My Noble Friend has given careful consideration to the later running of road passenger transport services during the operation of double summer time. Unfortunately, the need to economise in the use of imported fuel and rubber, and therefore, to avoid unnecessary travel, is as great as ever, and it is, in consequence, impossible to relax the restrictions which we have had to impose during recent months.

Bomber Aircraft (Losses)

asked the Secretary of State for Air the number of bombing aeroplanes lost in action over Europe for the period 1st January 1943 to 31st March 1943, or near date?

412 bomber aircraft operating from this country were reported lost over Europe in the period in question.

Housing

Clearance Schemes (Repaired Property)

asked the Minister of Health whether he will take appropriate measures to secure that owners of rented houses, which in the normal course of events would have been condemned or included in clearance areas, etc., and which, owing to the repair expenditure by local authorities, have been rendered fit for temporary occupation, shall not thereby be enabled to obtain a higher rate of compensation when local authorities undertake fresh building operations after the war?

I can assure my hon. Friend that the fact that action has been taken to bring houses back into temporary occupation will not affect their position in relation to the slum clearance procedure laid down in the existing Housing Acts.

Shortage, Rugby (Temporary Accommodation)

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the acute housing shortage in Rugby, which is having deleterious effects on health and morale, he will consider the erection of hutments of a temporary character to relieve the present strain?

The extent to which new housing accommodation whether of a permanent or temporary character can be provided at the present time is governed by the supplies of labour and materials that can be made available. As the hon. Member is aware special action has recently been authorised for the building of a limited number of cottages for agricultural workers in rural areas and for the repair of the more seriously war damaged houses, mainly in urban areas. I regret that it is not possible to extend this provision at the present time.

Small Houses (Renting)

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the difficulties being experienced in places such as Enfield by people who wish to rent small houses; whether he is aware that there are cases of Service men being discharged from the Forces as medically unfit and finding it impossible to get accommodation for themselves and their families; and what steps he is taking to remedy this state of affairs?

Yes, Sir. The key to the problem is the building of new houses and it is because of this that I have asked local authorities to begin now the preliminary work of buying housing sites, surveying them and drawing up plans, so that they may be able to make a start with building immediately labour and materials can be made available for this vital work. In the meantime schemes have been begun for the building of 3,000 cottages for agricultural workers and for the further repair of seriously damaged houses, which are mainly in urban areas, in order that they may be brought back into use.

Local Authorities' Houses (Rents)

asked the Minister of Health whether he possesses particulars of the cases in which, since the start of the war, local authorities have raised the rents of council houses; and, if not, whether he will make inquiries as to the procedure being adopted in this respect, especially in view of the fact that private landlords with the same types of houses are not able to follow this procedure?

Public Health

Venereal Disease

asked the Minister of Health whether he has now received and co-ordinated the first quarterly reports on Defence Regulation 33B; how many times this regulation has been applied; and with what effect on the incidence of venereal disease in the respective districts?

Steps have been taken to expedite the reports mentioned in the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend on Thursday last but I am not yet in a position to make any further statement.

asked the Minister of Health whether his Department has statistical information comparing the figures of venereal disease notifications in United States cities where certificates of good health are required from persons applying for marriage licences, with those cities in the United States of America where such legal requirements are unnecessary and with notifications in comparable British cities for both pre-war and post-war years?

asked the Minister of Health whether he can give the statistics for venereal disease notifications for Great Britain for the war years 1940, 1941 and 1942, with comparative figures for Sweden and Russia, and for all the large United States cities?

No, Sir; the necessary statistics regarding the incidence of venereal disease abroad during the years mentioned are not available.

National Health Service

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the resolution of the Representative Body of the British Medical Association, on 31st March, of which a copy has been sent to him, and the undertaking by the council that the association would consult members serving with Armed Forces before making any commitments as to future medical practice; and whether he will postpone taking measures to carry out the proposals for a free universal medical service until the doctors, who will be asked to perform this service, have been given an opportunity of stating their views upon it?

Yes, Sir. I would refer to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Rochdale (Dr. Morgan) on 25th March last.

asked the Minister of Health what is the present number available, respectively, in Great Britain of qualified doctors, qualified pharmacists, qualified opticians, qualified nurses and of other persons concerned in the provision of services or equipment connected with the health of the people; and what steps are being taken to make the most efficient use of this man-power in applying the principles of the Beveridge Report so far as the health services of the nation are concerned?

The following approximate figures may be assistance to my hon. Friend. With regard to the last part of his Question I would refer to the answer which I gave on 15th April to my hon. Friend the Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen).

Registered medical practitioners (excluding N. Ireland) in civil practice or in the Forces)49,100
State-registered nurses (on register for England and Wales)99,590
Qualified pharmacists (excluding N. Ireland)25,150
Opticians (ophthalmic and dispensing, excluding N. Ireland)6,270

asked the Minister of Health whether, in order to make the maximum effective use of the services of available doctors in implementing the Beveridge Report, he will institute an investigation into the extent to which doctors could be relieved of routine work by pharmacists in relation to dispensing and carrying out various tests, by qualified opticians in relation to sight-testing and by increased numbers of qualified nurses both for visiting patients and assisting in surgery work?

I certainly intend to consider possibilities of relief of this kind at the appropriate stage of the preparation of my proposals.

British Guiana

Constitution

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what recent amendments have been made in the Constitution of British Guiana?

The Constitution has been amended in the following principal respects:(1)

Legislative Council.

Previous Members.

Colonial Secretary,

Attorney-General,

Ex officio.

8 nominated official members,

5 nominated,

14 elected, Unofficial members.

New Members.

Colonial Secretary,

Attorney-General,

Colonial Treasurer,

Ex officio.

7 nominated,

14 elected, Unofficial members.

All the official members with the exception of the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney-General and the Colonial Treasurer have, it will be seen, been withdrawn, and the elected members have been placed in a majority in the Council.

The number of nominated unofficial members has been increased from 5 to 7 in order to permit of nominations covering a wider field than previously.

(2) Executive Council.

The Executive Council has been reconstituted to consist of the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney-General and the Colonial Treasurer ex officio and 5 unofficial members of the Legislative Council instead of as previously, the Colonial Secretary and Attorney-General ex officio, 4 official and 5 unofficial members of the Legislative Council.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement regarding the new Constitution for British Guiana, giving some indication of its terms and showing, particularly, the extent to which the suffrage has been extended?

I would invite the hon. Member's attention to the reply which I have given to a Question by the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Creech Jones) regarding the British Guiana Constitution. The question of suffrage is under consideration by a local Franchise Commission; and accordingly no change has yet been made in this respect.

Timber Resources

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Colonial Products Research Council will consider the timber resources of British Guiana for manufacturing purposes and as wood pulp in view of the need to develop this important source of wealth for the benefit of the Colony?

It has been decided that for the present the Colonial Products Research Council will not deal with timber matters, since adequate research facilities are already available for this purpose. The particular question of woodpulp in British Guiana is in any event not a matter involving scientific research but rather one requiring investigation of manufacturing technique and of comparative costs of production.

Palestine (Enemy Aliens, Internment)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that German colonies and settlements have existed in Jerusalem and Haifa for upwards of 50 years; that many of these settlers, their parents and grandparents were either born in the mandated territory or have lived there for many years, becoming automatically citizens of that territory by Statutory Rule and Order, No. 777 of 1925; and why many of these citizens were deported to Australia and elsewhere causing disruption and separation of families in this mandated territory?

I have insufficient information at present to enable me to give a full reply to this Question. I am therefore asking the High Commissioner for Palestine for a report and will communicate with the hon. Member when I have received it. Meanwhile, I may say that in August, 1941, a party of 835 internees of enemy nationality, including their wives and families, were transferred to Australia. These internees were regarded as extreme Nazi and Fascist elements and therefore potentially most dangerous to security should Palestine have become an operational area. In July, 1942, in view of the serious deterioration in the military situation in the Middle East, it was de-decided, at the request of the military authorities, to transfer urgently to East Africa a further number of enemy aliens interned in Palestine. This party included 68 enemy aliens who had either been resident in Palestine or were in Palestine at the time of their arrest. (The remaining members of the party were enemy aliens who had previously been transferred to Palestine from neighbouring territories.) The wives and families of three of these internees were included in the party sent to East Africa.The question of the future of the enemy aliens in East Africa is now under consideration in view of the change in the military situation as affecting Palestine. I have no information of any other internees having been transferred outside Palestine nor do I know how many, if any, of the internees included in the above parties had acquired Palestinian citizenship under the provisions of S.R. & O. No. 777 of 1925. These points, however, will be covered in the report for which I am asking the High Commissioner.

West Indies

Jamaica (Deputation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether every facility is being and will be given to the proposed delegation of elected Members and popular representatives from Jamaica to visit Great Britain to discuss the proposed new Constitution, especially certain difficulties on which information is desired; and when this delegation is likely to arrive?

I have received no request for the reception of a deputation to discuss details of the proposed new Constitution.

Grenada (Public Trustee)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether local legislation has yet been passed in the Colony of Grenada for the appointment of a public trustee; and whether legislation of this character is now uniform in the different islands of the West Indies?

So far as I am aware no legislation of this kind has been passed in Grenada, but I will make inquiries and communicate the result to the hon. Member. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

Labour Recruitment (United States)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the terms of the agreements made between the United States of America and the Government of Jamaica and any other West Indian Colonies governing the importation of workers from the West Indies into the United States of America?

I regret that I have so far received no information on the subject further to that given in my reply to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Riley) on 14th April. I have telegraphed to those Colonial Governments which may be concerned stressing the importance which I attach to keeping contracts in line with the spirit and purpose of the International Labour Conventions.

Trinidad (Government Employees, Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent cost of living allowances have recently been made to Government employees in Trinidad; and why the establishment of a Civil Service Whitley Council has been refused?

The Governor recently submitted proposals for increasing the existing war bonus paid to civil servants and teachers in Trinidad. His proposals are now being considered. As regards the second part of the Question it was stated recently in the Trinidad Press that the formation of a council had been sanctioned and I am asking the Governor for a report.

Kenya (Tsetse Fly)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can make any statement on the steps taken to cope with the tsetse fly in Kenya?

The protection of native settlements in Kenya from sleeping sickness by clearance of bush and direct attack on glossina palpalis, has been undertaken hitherto by the Medical Department, and field work and research in the control of fly have been conducted by the Veterinary Department. In the report of the Veterinary Department for 1941 attention has been drawn to a considerable extension of outbreaks of animal trypanosomiasis. As an essential preliminary to reinforcing the activities to which I have referred by comprehensive measures for controlling this extension, for the protection of dispersal zones and the reclamation of infested areas, a survey of the existing fly belts throughout the Colony was commenced in 1942, and will be completed in 1944. In December of last year, I invited the East and West African Governments to review generally the present position with regard to tsetse fly infestation and human and animal trypanosomiasis, and to make recommendations with a view to securing the maximum co-ordinated effort and the pooling of experience among all those concerned in tsetse research and administrative measures throughout British Tropical Africa. The tsetse problem is thus now engaging full attention in its widest aspects.

House Of Commons Chamber (Acoustics)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works whether arrangements can be made to improve the acoustic qualities of the present Chamber, especially for the Press Gallery, so that reporters there may work under the best conditions and have facilities for proper hearing of Debates, in view of the proved difficulties now of catching the voices of Members of Parliament?

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for Leeds Central (Mr. Denman). The acoustical defects of this House were the subject of most careful and exhaustive investigation by the National Physical Laboratory as a result of which absorbent panels were installed in the windows of the Chamber. This was the most satisfactory scheme that could be devised as a war-time measure. In addition, arrangements were made, in consultation with the Committee of the Press Gallery, for the installation of loudspeakers in that Gallery, which it is understood are regarded as satisfactory.

China (Government)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can give an estimate of the representative character in population and area of each of the Governments purporting to speak for the people of China?

There is no doubt that the vast majority of China's population, throughout the area of the Chinese Republic, are loyal to the National Government at Chungking, which alone can speak for the people of China. It is impossible to assess in terms of population the number of Chinese who profess allegiance to the puppet government of Nanking, nor is it possible to give any figure for the areas under the effective control of that Government, since there are within the limits of Japanese occupied territory many areas not under Japanese or Nanking control.

Hull Trawler (Icelandic Gunboat Incident)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Icelandic Government has heard the appeal of the skipper of the Hull trawler "Sea Grey"; and, if so, with what result?

No, Sir. The hearing of the appeal has been postponed until the end of the month.