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Written Answers

Volume 389: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1943

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Written Answers

Food Supplies Conference

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give an assurance that the British delegation to the Food Relief Conference in Virginia has a free hand in negotiations unfettered by any pre-arranged financial policy?

Relief will not come within the scope of the Food Conference and the question of financial commitments will not arise.

British Broadcasting Corporation

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the growing tendency of the Government to utilise the services of the British Broadcasting Corporation as a Ministerial monopoly, he will consider the setting up of a royal commission or select committee to consider the future position of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the status of the governors and how best the rights of democracy can be safeguarded?

Metric System

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider proposing to the United Nations a universal system of measurements, including money, based on the metric system?


Indian Troops (Welfare)

asked the Secretary of State for India, what arrangements are in force for supplying to the various theatres of war where Indian troops are employed such comforts and additions to the normal rations as are suitable and possible?

I have nothing to add, on these particular matters, to the reply I have given to the hon. and gallant Member's oral Question on 22nd April. [OFFICIAL REPORT; col. 1803, Vol. 388.]

Orders, Validity (Federal Court Judgment)

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is in a position to make a statement on the action to be taken following the judgment of the Indian Federal Court on the application of the Defence of India, Rule 26?

As the hon. Member will have seen in the Press, steps have already been taken in India to remedy the situation created by the judgment of the Federal Court. An Ordinance was promulgated by the Governor-General on 28th April taking the necessary powers to cover Defence of India Rule 26 and validating all orders previously made under the Rule.

National Finance

Dog Licences

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of dogs for whom taxes were paid in 1942?

The number of dog licences issued in England, Wales and Scotland during the year ended 31st March, 1942, was 2,569,922. Similar figures for the calendar year 1942 are not available.

Cheques (Stamp Duty)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what is estimated to have been the yield of the 2d. stamp duty on cheques in each of the last three financial years?

The net receipt from the stamp duty on cheques was follows:

1942–43 (approx.)3,335,000

Note Issue (Profits)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what was the amount of profit on Bank of England notes available for the Treasury under Section 6 of the Currency and Bank Notes Act, 1928, in each of the last three financial years?

The net profits of the note issue paid over to the Treasury in the last three years were as follow:

Year ended£s.d.
31st March, 19418,892,64846
31st March, 19427,637,03163
31st March, 19439,070,697147

Land Tax (Yield)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what was the yield of the old Land Tax in the financial year 1942–43?

The net receipt of Land Tax in the year ended 31st March last was £529,000.

Dismissed Workers, Reinstatement Orders (Wage Payments)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered a recent decision of the High Court to the effect that employers ordered by National Service officers to reinstate workers whom they have dismissed without justification can comply with the law by paying such workers wages whilst refusing to allow them to work; and whether he will take steps to ensure that no money paid out in this way shall be allowed as an expense of the business for the purposes of taxation?

As my hon. and learned Friend is aware, in the computation of profits for taxation purposes a trader is entitled to a deduction of all disbursements and expenses wholly and exclusively paid out for the purposes of the trade, and the question whether any payment is an admissible expense is not a matter for determination by the Inland Revenue Department but is subject to appeal to the Appeal Commissioners. I am advised that in the type of cases to which my hon. Friend refers, in which a trading concern has been required to reinstate an employee, the payment of wages to the employee falls to be regarded as allowable expenditure within the Rule governing the allowance of expenses.

Tobacco (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that the consumption of tobacco in the country exceeds pre-war consumption by 20 to 25 per cent., and, in view of the heavy strain on shipping which this must entail and the failure of heavy taxation and more than double prices to reduce it, he has considered cutting down imports to a reasonable extent?

Import programmes are under constant review; and I am not prepared, in present circumstances, to reduce supplies to the public below the present level.

Clothes Rationing

Channel Island Refugees

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any steps were taken, or will now be taken, to meet the hardship of Channel Island evacuees who left their homes without change of clothing and therefore have been in difficulties respecting clothing coupons; and whether they can be granted one supplementary issue of coupons?

The last refugees from the Channel Islands arrived here in June 1940. Clothes rationing was introduced in June, 1941, and arrangements were made for supplementary coupons to be issued by the local offices of the Board of Customs and Excise to those refugees who were still short of essential clothing. These arrangements should have met the refugees' needs; and applications are now entertained only where exceptional hardship can be proved.

Civil Nursing Reserve

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that members of the Civil Nursing Reserve have to part with 12 coupons for uniform annually irrespective of whether a new replacement uniform is issued to them; and whether this practice will be discontinued so that coupons are only relinquished in actual exchange for uniforms?

In agreement with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, I have arranged that members of the Civil Nursing Reserve may have their uniform, both the original issue and subsequent replacements, coupon-free, on condition that they refund to my Department each year an agreed proportion of their basic ration. The coupon value of the initial outfit of uniform for members of the Civil Nursing Reserve varies between 40 and 106 coupons. These arrangements are similar to those made for most other wearers of essential civilian uniform. The purpose of the annual refund is to offset the advantage which wearers of coupon-free uniform would otherwise have over people who have to buy all their clothes out of their ration.

Babies' Gowns

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can furnish a more explicit interpretation of the Consumer Rationing Order (Statutory Rule and Order, 1943, No. 535) than that contained in the explanatory note; and, in particular, state the significance of paragraph (c), namely, babies' day-gowns classed with night-gowns?

This Order embodies s number of Minor amendments, which experience has shown to be necessary, in the clothes rationing system. The change in the pointing of babies' day-gowns is designed to meet difficulty experienced in the trade in distinguishing between babies' day-gowns, the coupon value of which was previously two, and babies' night-gowns, the coupon value of which was three. Both are now pointed at three coupons.

Privy Council (Universities Committee)

asked the Lord President of the Council what are the functions of the Universities Committee of the Privy Council; who are its members; when did the committee last meet; and how often has it met in recent years?

The present function of the Universities Committee of the Privy Council is to report on any statute petitioned against under the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act, 1923, which may be referred to the committee by His Majesty in Council as provided in the Act. It consists of the ex-officio members named in Section 44 of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge Act, 1877, with Lord Atkin and Lord Wright. The only occasion on which it has been necessary for the committee to meet in recent years was in 1933.

Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

asked the Minister of Pensions what the annual cost of administration of all war pensions in this country is, and what has been the increase in cost since 1939?

The records of my Department do not allow me to distinguish between the cost of administration of pensions and other services but the cost of administration of my Department for the year ended 31st March, 1940, was £747,547 and for.the year ended 31st March, 1942, the figure was £1,561,135, which covered the cost of additional services such as War Service Grants.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, as in the Great War, ratings with a good knowledge of naval conditions of service, accommodation in different classes of vessels, stations and duties on which ships were employed, conditions of living and messing, and the availability of fresh food, will be appointed to the Ministry of Pensions in an advisory capacity to assist in arriving at just conclusions on naval claims?

I am glad to be able to inform the hon. Member that there are already in the employment of my Department a number of ex-naval ratings and these it is the intention to supplement when suitable personnel becomes available. I may add that my Department has a close and active liaison with the Admiralty.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the Government decision to pay equal compensation for war injuries to both gainfully and non-gainfully occupied civilians, without regard to their means, he will consider the revision of Statutory Rules and Orders, 1943, No. 204, under which a means test is applied to war-injured officers and men of the Navy who have earned pensions for long service, resulting in the loss to them of the whole or part of the pension earned, or the compensation payable?

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension in thinking that a means test is applied in awarding disablement pensions to war-injured officers and men who have earned pensions for long service. In such cases the officer or man may at his option receive either the full disablement pension payable under the war pensions code or the award for which he is eligible under the normal regulations of the Service Department. The award payable under the normal regulations to an officer or man who has a dual qualification for both a service and a disability pension is at a composite rate which is less than the sum of the service retired pay or pension and the disablement award payable where no service element is present. This principle, which applies to both officers and men of all three fighting Services, has been a basic feature of the pensions code for many years and I see no grounds for abandoning it.

Post-War Planning (City Of London)

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he will consider, with the other authorities concerned, the possibility of developing and maintaining the bombed open spaces near St. Paul's Cathedral as a permanent park?

I have not yet received the proposals of the City Corporation, but the most appropriate treatment of the surroundings of St. Paul's Cathedral will be most carefully considered.

British Army

Cyrenaica And Tripolitania (Local Resources)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement on the use that is being made of local resources in Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, stating who is responsible for agricultural development in these occupied enemy provinces, and the area that is at present under cereal and fruit cultivation, respectively?

The development of local resources in Cyrenaica and Tripolitana is the responsibility of the British Military Administration. Every effort is being made to make these territories self-supporting. In Cyrenaica 105,000 acres are under cereals and 3,500 under fruit. In Tripolitania 194,000 acres are under cereals and 50,000 under fruit. In addition there are in all about 1,500,000 date palms in the two territories.

Educational Corps (Junior Officers' Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for War what are the basic rates of pay for first and second lieutenants in the Army Educational Corps and how they compare with the corresponding rates for infantry officers; whether the education officers are required to hold university honours degrees; why they are paid less than all other officers; whether he is aware that this anomaly is causing considerable discontent; and whether he will bring it to an end?

The rates of pay of junior officers of the Army Educational Corps are at present under consideration.

Miners (Release)

asked the Secretary of State for War how many ex-miners still remain in the Army whose age is over 44 years and medical category is below B1; and why these men are not released for work in the mines?

It was decided by the Government that any former miners of whatever age or medical category for whom there was immediate work underground should be released from the Army unless they held the rank of sergeant or above or were serving overseas, in units of the field force or in certain special units. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power asked colliery owners to submit requests for the release of such men and as far as I am aware these releases were practically invariably carried out. These arrangements were in force for nine months and before they were terminated a reminder was sent to collieries in order to ensure that no men were overlooked. I regret that the figures asked for by my hon. Friend are not available.

Vaccination Records

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in future, he will see that the pay-books of soldiers suffering from small-pox are referred to to ascertain their vaccinal condition, and that the information on this point entered in the small-pox records is not ascertained by an examination of the arms of the men, as the fact that modern methods of vaccination frequently result in no vaccination scars will cause the compilation of inaccurate records and the classification of small-pox cases as unvaccinated, or having no record of vaccination, while actually many of them have been vaccinated in exactly the same way as the great majority of the soldiers who have entered the Army since 1939?

Instructions have been in force for some time that the record of vaccination must be entered in the soldier's service and pay-book. When a soldier is admitted to hospital suffering from small-pox this book or his medical history sheet is normally referred to.


asked the Secretary of State for War how many transfers from the Alien Pioneer Corps to combatant and other units have taken place since 2nd March?

Since 2nd March 175 transfers of aliens to technical corps have so far been authorised provided that the individuals concerned pass the requisite trade tests. In addition, officers commanding alien companies of the Pioneer Corps have been instructed to forward applications for transfer to the infantry, Royal Armoured Corps and other combatant arms and these applications are now awaited.

Use Of Home Guard (Complaint)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the conduct of Ultra Electric, Limited, which recently mounted the Home Guard to prevent the entry into its factory of a worker named Jenkins whom the National Service officer had ordered the firm to reinstate; and whether he will make it clear to this firm that the Home Guard is not to be employed as a weapon in a trade dispute?

Public Institution Inmates (Pocket Money)

asked the Minister of Health which local authorities have taken advantage of the permissive powers conferred on them to pay pocket money to old people living in institutions?

I regret that I cannot give a complete list of the authorities who have decided to exercise these powers, but I have recently made some inquiries on this subject and I will inform my hon. Friend of the results as soon as I am in a position to do so.

Public Health

Nursing Homes (Domestic Staffs)

asked the Minister of Health whether, as a result of his recent consultation with the Minister of Labour, he has any conclusions to state on the subject of the provision of domestic staff for private nursing homes?

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service has instructed his local officers not to withdraw domestic staff in nursing homes except after consultation with my regional officers and with their consent. I have instructed my regional officers to consider each case on its merits, and if a particular nursing home is an essential part of the area's hospital facilities, to advise that it should be treated on the same lines as a hospital, so that the domestic staff there would all be reserved. If, however, there are redundant staff by hospital standards, agreement would be given to withdrawal of the redundant workers.

Rehabilitation Treatment

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider the immediate provision of rehabilitation centres for sick and injured artisans analogous to those provided for the services, to be worked by, or in conjunction with, factory medical officers?

Rehabilitation treatment of the kind referred to in the Question 's already being provided at or in connection with a number of hospitals under the Emergency Hospital Scheme, and medical officers of my Department are at present visiting all the larger hospitals in each region to discuss with the hospital authority methods of developing such provision for their sick and injured patients, whether or not they are included in the Emergency Hospital Scheme, to the greatest extent that war conditions will allow. Co-operation between the hospital and the factory medical officers concerned is an important element in the rehabilitation measures envisaged. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service has decided to set up an experimental centre to provide for certain types of cases needing rehabilitation beyond the stage up to which it can reasonably be provided as part of the hospital services and that he has under consideration the question of extending the experiment in accordance with the recommendation of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Rehabilitation and Re-settlement of Disabled Persons.

Medical Service (Factories)

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider the incorporation of full-time factory medical officers in any scheme of post-war medical services?

The position of the various existing medical services, in relation to any scheme for a more comprehensive health service after the war, will need to be considered and discussed with those concerned. I am not yet in a position to make any detailed statement on the subject.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is prepared to provide factory medical services to those firms who are unable to provide them?

The factory medical service is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service.

Northern Rhodesia (Mr F S Maybank)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the general secretary of the Northern Rhodesian Mine Workers' Union has been deported to this country; what representations he has received on the matter; and whether he is taking any action?Colonel Stanley: As stated in the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) on 16th December last, Mr. F. S. Maybank was removed to this country with the approval of the Secretary of State. Representations and inquiries have been received from certain bodies, including the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party. But I have seen no reason to differ from the decisions taken in this matter which were indicated in the answer mentioned above and in the earlier reply given to the hon. Member for Bridgeton (Mr. Maxton) on 21st October, 1942.

Food Supplies

Non-Pasteurised Milk

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that large numbers of consumers of milk detest pasteurised milk; that millions of children in this country have been healthily reared on untreated milk; that there is a considerable amount of evidence available to show that the recent increase in tuberculosis has nothing whatever to do with the milk supply; and whether, in view of these facts he will ensure to all milk consumers who desire to have fresh untreated milk, satisfactory supplies of the milk of their choice?

As I indicated to the hon. Member for Consett (Mr. David Adams) on 7th April, my Noble Friend hopes shortly to be in a position to make an announcement of policy in this matter.

Bread (Control And Maximum Price) Order

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food the reason for the issue of Statutory Rule and Order, No. 496, of 1943?

This Order was made to amend the Bread (Control and Maximum Price) Order, 1943, so as, first, to enable a retailer, in the event of his registered supplier being prevented from supplying him owing to a temporary breakdown in production, to obtain supplies from another source, and secondly, to enable a roundsman who has run short of supplies to obtain these from another supplier nearer than his own firm's premises, thus avoiding unnecessary use of transport.

British Prisoners Of War, Far East

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has any official information that British prisoners of war from Malaya are being used by the Japanese authorities for the building of a road linking Burma with Indo-Chinese ports: and whether he will make a statement?

No official information of any kind is available about the work being done by prisoners of war captured in Malaya (with the exception of the small number of prisoners of war who have been notified as having been transferred to Korea). This lack of information is due to the continued refusal of the Japanese authorities to permit visits to camps in other areas than Japan, Korea, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Civilians repatriated from Thailand last autumn stated that they had reason to believe that prisoners of war were being employed in Thailand in the construction of roads and railways under Japanese supervision. If my hon. Friend has any other information I should be glad if he would forward it to me.


Vacant Lands (Utilisation)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much deer forest or similar vacant lands in Scotland during the past three years has been stocked exclusively under the direction and management of State officers and how much indirectly under the direction and management of local agricultural executive committees or similar agencies; whether any reports have been made or considered by him on such stocked lands; and whether he proposes to accelerate the further utilisation of such vacant lands by direct management or indirectly through such agencies as agricultural executive committees?

94,000 acres of deer forest and other similar vacant land are being stocked by the Department of Agriculture. Another 102,000 acres are being managed by agricultural executive committees. The lands under committee management are primarily intended for letting to tenants or for use as seasonal grazings. I am satisfied with the method adopted for the utilisation of these lands and with the progress so far made. Further developments on similar lines will depend among other things on the availability of suitable stocks to put on deer forest lands.

Glenetive Forest (Grazing)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the average number of cattle and sheep grazed on the lands of Glenetive, recently gifted to the State, during the past three years, the present stock capacity of these lands and the estimated capacity for the future; whether, during these years, any recommendation or direction was given by the local agricultural executive committee for the stocking of these lands; and whether he now proposes to entrust the stocking, direction, or management of these lands to officers of that committee?

Glenetive Forest has hitherto been used for the summer grazing of cattle and the wintering of hoggs, but I am not in a position to give any indication of numbers of stock as the agricultural returns made for individual subjects are confidential documents. In 1940 the Scottish Land Court was asked to make a survey of the potential stock carrying capacity of certain deer forests and a number of these forests, including Glenetive, are now being stocked. No direction for increased stocking of the Forest was given by the agricultural executive committee. I may remind the hon. Member that the forest has been gifted for the purpose primarily of demonstrating methods for the improvement of high lying pastures. The management of the lands is now in the hands of the Department of Agriculture.

Local Authorities' Houses (Rents)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland 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?

Local authorities do not require to furnish me with particulars of increases made in the rents of their houses. I have no reason to think that any substantial increases have been made since the outbreak of war and I do not feel that I should be justified in calling for returns on the subject from local authorities.

Veterinary Education

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Loveday Committee has commenced any fresh investigations into the provision of veterinary education, as was foreshadowed in the last statement made by him on the subject?

The Committee was asked by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and myself to review in the light of the altered circumstances arising from the war and other causes, the recommendations made in its report, published in 1938. In compliance with this request the Committee met again in February last and has since been actively engaged in pursuing its inquiries.

Fuel And Power

Motor Vehicles (Windsor Races)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the number of taximeter-cabs, private motor-cars, hired vehicles and self-driven hired motor vehicles, respectively, used in connection with Windsor Races on 26th April?

There were 73 private cars and 88 hire cars, of which one is known to have been a self-drive car. In addition to local taxis there were 352 London taxis, operating within the distance allowed under the Control of Motor Fuel Order, 1942. I am pursuing inquiries.

Used Oil (Reclamation)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what steps he is taking, in the interests of economy, to collect and reclaim all residual and waste oils?

The collection and reclamation of used lubricating nil is coordinated by the Lubricating Oil Pool of the Petroleum Board. A number of refineries for the treatment of used oil are in operation. Where large quantities of lubricating oil of a particular quality are used it is more economical for consumers to filter their used oil for re-use and a large number of licences for the acquisition of filters have been issued. In other cases waste oil is used for the manufacture of greases and low grade lubricants. Large industrial consumers have been informed of the need for economy in the use of lubricating oil and for its reclamation.

Anti-Semitic Propaganda

asked the Home Secretary whether he will consider introducing legislation which will make anti-Jewish propaganda a penal offence?

I would refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend's answer on the 18th March to a similar Question by my hon. Friend the Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen).

Post Office Savings Bank (Statistics)

asked the Postmaster-General the number of depositors in the Post Office Savings Bank and the aggregate amount of their deposits at the latest convenient date?

The number of depositors in the Post Office Savings Bank at 17th April, 1943, was approximately 16,650,000, and the aggregate balance due to them was £1,084,700,000 in round figures.

Royal Naval College, Dartmouth (Scholarships)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many of the pupils from grant-aided secondary schools, who were awarded scholarships to Dartmouth as a result of the most recent examination, were sons of naval officers?

Of the 58 scholarships granted to secondary school boys only three have gone to the sons of naval officers, and two of these were of the warrant officer class. In the most recent examination no secondary school scholarships have been awarded to the sons of naval officers.