Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 13 May 1943

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers

Supplementary Teachers, Gloucestershire (Salaries)

asked the President of the Board of Education, what is the salary scale for supplementary teachers in the county of Gloucester; and why has he raised objections to the proposal of the Gloucestershire County Education Committee to pay to these teachers the same war bonus that he has approved for the higher-paid teachers in their service?

The salary scale for supplementary teachers in Gloucestershire has been augmented since the beginning of the war and is now £100, rising by increments of £7 10s. to a maximum of £20. The payment of bonus on the basis of the recent award for teachers on Burnham salary scales would place these supplementary teachers in a more favourable position than uncertificated teachers of comparable service. It is for this reason that my Department have found difficulty in approving the proposal of the education authority in its present form.

Disabled Persons (Rehabilitation)

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he has taken to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the Inter-departmental Committee on the Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Disabled Persons, Cmd. 6415, during the war; and what is the percentage of discharged ex-service men who have been reabsorbed into industry?

In reply to the first part of the Question I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Moss Side (Mr. Rostron Duckworth) on 23rd March. In reply to the second part, information is not available precisely in this form but a return obtained in January last showed that of the ex-Service men in receipt of disability pension for service in this war under 1.5 per cent, were registered as unemployed.

Food Production (Golf Courses)

asked the Minister of Agriculture what instructions he has issued for the greatest possible utilisation of golf courses in the interests of food production; and whether he is satisfied that such instructions are being carried out?

I have instructed county war agricultural executive committees to arrange for the ploughing up of suitable areas of golf courses which include land capable of bearing satisfactory crops and in other cases for the utilisation of suitable land for grazing. I have no reason to suppose that these instructions are not being carried out.

Military Exercises (Repair Of Damage)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the expeditious and thorough way in which the work of the Claims Commission was carried out during and after the recent large-scale exercises, and bow great has been the satisfaction given to farmers and others whose property was affected by the way in which the men of the Pioneer Corps have mended fences, erected gates, etc.; and whether he will take steps to convey to those concerned the appreciation of the farming community for this assistance?

Steps are being taken to bring to the notice of all those concerned the generous terms of my hon. Friend's Question. I am sure they will be as pleased as my right hon. Friend and I are that their work has been appreciated.

South African Territories (Native Workers, Housing)

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is satisfied that Government and railway non-European employees in Swaziland, Basutoland and the Bechuanaland Protectorate, respectively, are suitably housed in accordance with modern standards; and, if not, whether he will arrange for this to be done?

I am consulting the High Commissioner for these territories on the point raised and will communicate with the hon. and gallant Member on receipt of the High Commissioner's reply. I may mention that there are no railways in Swaziland and only one mile in Basutoland. In Swaziland a start has recently been made on a scheme for the provision of more modern quarters for the native employees of the Government.

>British Restaurants (Equipment)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he can give an estimate of the loss, due to pilfering, of equipment from British Restaurants; to what extent such loss affects the Ministry's pool; and by whom is it ultimately borne?

No estimate can be given of the loss of equipment from British Restaurants through pilferage. If for any reason the replacement of equipment is necessary, local authorities can purchase what is required through my Department. Expenditure incurred on replacements is chargeable to the British Restaurant trading accounts of local authorities and fails to be recovered in the income received for meals.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food what was the cost of the equipment in the Ministry's pool at the latest convenient date, including equipment on loan to British Restaurants; and what,part of this latter equipment was permanent and what consumable?

My Department does not hold equipment for British Restaurants in anticipation of demands from local authorities, but obtains it, as required, from the Ministry of Works. At 30th April, 1943, the supply of equipment approved and for which delivery instructions have been passed to the Ministry of Works amounted to approximately 790,000. Of this, about £710,000 was for heavy equipment and the remainder for light.

Post-War Planning

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he has considered the resolution adopted by the Extra Metropolitan (Essex) Post-War Standing Joint committee representing the urgency of taking the requisite steps to implement the Uthwatt Committee's Interim Report by passing the necessary legislation to prevent speculation in land pending reconstruction, of which a copy has been sent to him; and whether he can make any statement regarding this resolution?

I would draw my hon. and learned Friend's attention to the first part of a reply given to the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. Bossom) on 17th March, 1943. I am sending my hon. and learned Friend a copy of that reply, to which I have at present nothing to add.

Rating, Scotland (Committee)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he can make any further statement on the composition and work of the Committee on Rating?

I am not at present in a position to add to the statement I made on this subject during the Debate on the Second Reading of the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Bill.

Omnibuses (Multiple-Journey Tickets)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he will consider recommending the issue of six-day tickets to regular travellers on omnibuses in order to save labour and paper?

In some areas, where omnibus season tickets and cheap return tickets have been withdrawn in order to discourage non-essential travel, weekly twelve-journey and other multiple-journey tickets have been introduced to meet the needs of regular travellers. Regard is, however, had to the conditions and needs of each area and, I do not think that labour would necessarily be saved, or any substantial paper economy achieved, by the universal adoption of multiple-journey tickets.

Road Haulage Scheme

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what progress has been made with the road haulage scheme; and whether he can state the annual cost?

Two hundred and seventy-six haulage undertakings are now controlled by agreement; 268 road haulage units are in operation. Applications by carriers to have their vehicles hired are now being received and hiring will shortly begin. It will not be possible to give the annual cost of the organisation until it has been in operation for a year. Apart from the amounts payable to the controlled undertakings under their agreements,which are in course of ascertainment, and the standing charges payable in respect of the hired vehicles, the numbers and carrying capacity of which are not yet known, an important part of the total cost will depend upon the operating expenses, which in turn will depend upon the mileage run.

Merchant Navy Officers (Training)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he can make any statement on the steps that are being taken to train men and boys to qualify as deck and engine-room officers of the Mercantile Marine; and what steps are taken to bring this procedure to the notice of local education authorities through the Board of Education?

Men and boys are trained for the officer ranks of the Merchant Navy in schools conducted by local education authorities, in schools directly recognised by the Board of Education, and in a few private schools. The Merchant Navy Training Board drew up a scheme of training for apprentices, has fostered correspondence courses, and conducts annual tests. Local education authorities are informed of these facilities by pamphlets prepared by the Ministry of Labour and by a leaflet prepared by my Ministry. I am sending copies of these documents to my hon. Friend.

Road Accidents

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what further steps he contemplates with a view to abating the number of accidents on the roads?

As I have said in answer to previous Questions by hon. Members, war conditions greatly limit the measures which can be taken to reduce the number of road accidents. My Ministry, however, have worked and are working closely with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the organisation of propaganda work and of education in the schools. I hope that these efforts will succeed in arousing public opinion to the serious social problem which road accidents involve.


Agricultural Workers

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the shortage of farm cottages in the district of Framlingham, Suffolk, and whether he will take steps to see that this area receives an adequate quota of cottages in the recently announced programme?

I am aware that there is a serious shortage of cottages for farm and other workers in most parts of the country. As I explained in the Debate in this House on the 4th May, however, the number which can be built at the present time is strictly limited owing to even more urgent calls on labour and materials'. The 3,000 cottages to be built under the emergency scheme have been allocated by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture to those districts where they will be of most use in con- nection with increased food production. Twelve cottages have been allotted to the Blyth rural district in which Framlingham is situated and it has been left to the rural district council and the war agricultural executive committee to decide in consultation on the sites on which they should be built.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will help rural district councils to hasten the completion of the 3,000 houses in the 3,000 rural housing scheme by arranging with the Ministers of Agriculture, Planning and Works for the simplication of the present cumbrous system of Departmental references and permits?

Any scheme of building in war-time must necessarily involve several Departments, but great pains have been taken to relieve local authorities from having to deal with a number of agencies. The senior regional architect of the Ministry of Health acts as liaison officer and is responsible for informing all other Departments who have to be consulted so that local authorities do not have to approach them direct. Inspections of sites are carried out simultaneously by the regional representatives of the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Planning so that all points can be dealt with at the same time. It is difficult to see what mole can be done to simplify procedure but any suggestions by my hon. Friend will be fully and sympathetically considered.

>Rating (Relief)

asked the Minister of Health, in view of his new housing effort, what he proposes to do to relieve these houses from rate burdens which have a detrimental effect on all housing development?

The problem of local rating raises far more questions than those affecting the provision of houses. I am not proposing, as at present advised, any alterations of the law in connection with housing programmes.

War Damaged Houses (Repairs)

asked the Minister of Health how far, in respect of temporary repairs to war-damaged houses by local authorities, landlords are entitled to stipulate for such repairs to take any particular form?

Local authorities have power under the Housing (Emergency Powers) Act, 1939, as amended by the Repair of War Damage Act, 1941, to carry out to war damaged houses any urgent repairs which appear expedient for avoiding danger to health or preventing the deterioration of the building. No notice is required to be served on the owner, so that no question arises as to the imposition by the owner of any stipulations or conditions. The standard of these first aid repairs, which is necessarily elastic, depending on the extent of the damage and the availability of labour and materials, is indicated in broad outline in paragraph 5 of Circular 2450of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy.

Blind Pension (Domiciliary Allowance)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that Mr. J. Round, of Doncaster, who was in receipt of 10s. per week, as blind pension, and 21s. domiciliary allowance, was awarded, after determining his needs, an extra 5s. per week by the Minister of Pensions for the loss of his son who died on active service with the Royal Air Force and that, as a consequence, 5s. was deducted from his domiciliary allowance; and whether he will take action to restore this allowance to the original amount?

I have made inquiries and I understand that the facts are as stated in the Question. The amount of assistance to be granted in this case is a matter for the town council of Doncaster, and I have no power to override their decision. I am informed that the reduction was made in accordance with the council's practice of granting so much assistance as is necessary for bringing the blind person's income up to a specified amount.

Children Of Serving Soldiers (Care)

asked the Minister of Health in how many cases children of serving soldiers have been placed in public institutions owing to the fact that the mothers through ill-health are not able to look after them without their husbands' help; and whether he will consider making other arrangements for children suddenly taken from the amenities of home life?

I have no figures relating to the number of children of serving soldiers who have been placed in public institutions in the circumstances indicated. Children under five of men in any of the Armed Forces are received on application through the local representative of the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen's Families Association into the residential nurseries established under the Government evacuation scheme, if the mother dies, is killed, or is found to require care for three months or more in hospital and there is no one to care for the child. This applies to children living in neutral and reception areas as well as evacuation areas. For the assistance of mothers with young children during periods, of illness or confinement, welfare authorities have recently been asked to provide home helps or to augment existing schemes. This work is recommended to older women by the officers of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service, but more volunteers are urgently needed for this important branch of national service.

Civil Nursing Reserve Allowances (Income Tax)

asked the Minister of Health whether, in order to make the payments to members of the Civil Nursing Reserve equal to all the personnel, he will arrange for the payment of allowances in lieu of board and lodging to be paid tax free, or direct from his Department to the billets?

Questions relating to the payment of Income Tax are primarily for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I understand that he is not prepared to take steps to exempt from Income Tax cash payments made in lieu of board and lodging either for nurses or for other classes of the civilian population. I am afraid that it would not be practicable to make any alteration in the present arrangements for making such allowances.

London Auxiliary Ambulance Service

asked the Minister of Health how many women have been retired from the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service for reasons of health?

The figures for the years 1941–3 are as follow:

1943 (to 11th May)105
During earlier periods, members of the Civil Defence Ambulance Service were free to resign for any reason and statistics of those resigning on grounds of ill-health are not available.

Doctors (Protection Of Practices)

asked the Minister of Health how he proposes to reconcile the protection of medical practices scheme with the medical benefit regulations and terms of service, having regard to the limitation of lists, the obligations upon deputies and partners and the responsibility of the practitioner who is responsible for the insured persons whose names are included in his list?

Under the National Health Insurance (Medical Benefit) Amendment Regulations, 1942, practitioners who undertake to attend the insured patients of another practitioner during the latter's absence on whole-time national service under a voluntary protection of practices scheme have the responsibilities of principals as well as deputies in respect of those patients and the provisions of the medical benefit regulations and terms of service as to limitations of lists and deputies and partners accordingly apply, including provision for augmentation of the lists with my consent. In the case of statutory schemes a practitioner attending absentee practitioners' patients is in the position of a principal to whom the provisions of the regulations and terms of service similarly apply.

National Finance

Easter Offerings (Taxation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to ensure that Easter offerings to clergymen are not subjected to taxation in view of the fact that such offerings are in the nature of personal gifts?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) on 4th May.

Stamp Duty (Receipts)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the net receipts from Stamp Duty under the following four headings for each of the past three financial years: English cheques, Scottish cheques, bills of exchange and promissory notes, and Scottish bankers' bills and notes?

The net receipts from Stamp Duty in each of the past three financial years in respect of English cheques, Scottish cheques, bills of exchange and promissory notes, and Scottish bankers' bills and notes were as follow:

Year ended 31st march:—
1941. £000.1942. £000.1943. £000.
Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes.214149114
Bankers Bills and Notes:
The figures for the year to 31st March, 1943, are estimated.

Liskeard Fire Brigade (Pension Claim)

asked the Minister of Pensions for what reason he has refused a disability pension to Mr. Richard Scantlebury, a member of Liskeard Joint Fire Brigade, who has been incapacitated by ill-health directly attributable to his fireman's duty since fighting fires during the Plymouth raids?

As the hon. Member has already been informed, Mr. Scantlebury was not a member of a Civil Defence organisation within the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme, and I have no authority to award him compensation under that scheme. His claim in respect of ill-health attributable to duty as a member of the Liskeard Joint Fire Brigade is a matter for the fire brigade committee.

Mines Medical Officers

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the names and qualifications of the medical officers appointed for the miners' medical services; how and when the nominations were made; whether the appointments were advertised; and in which medical journals and when?

The names and qualifications of the mines medical officers appointed recently are as follow:

Deputy Chief Mines Medical Officer.

Dr. T. E. Howell, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.

Regional Mines Medical Officers.

Dr. W. C. Sharp, M.B., Ch. B., D.P.H.

Dr. D. G. Robinson, L.M.S.S.A.

Dr. J. T. Watkins, M.B., Ch. B., D.P.H., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., B.Sc.

Dr. A. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B.

Dr. T. H. Jenkins, M.B., B.S., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., B.Sc.

Dr. J. B. Adamson, M.B., Ch.B.

Two posts of regional mines medical officer remain to be filled. The vacancy for Deputy Chief Mines Medical Officer was advertised in the "Lancet" of 9th January, 1943, and the "British Medical Journal" of the i6th January, 1943, and the vacancies for Regional Mines Medical Officer in the "Lancet" and the "British Medical Journal" of 14th November, 1942, and 8th May, 1943.

Candidates were interviewed by a selection board consisting of officers of the Ministry and a representative of the medical staff of the Ministry of Health. The above appointments were made at various dates between 1st March and 12th May.

Iron Fencing (Offer For Sale)

asked the Minister of Supply under what circumstances his Department are offering for sale in National Stock List No. 17 over 80 tons of iron fencing, in view of the fact that the Ministry of Works have been collecting privately-owned iron fencing for war purposes?

I have been asked to reply. Material included in the National Stock List is available only for essential war work on behalf of Government Departments. The iron fencing referred to was of a special type, and it was intended, by advertising it in the List, to ascertain if use could be made of it for an approved purpose instead of treating it as scrap. The need for scrap metal, including iron railings of ordinary type, is still as great as ever.