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Commons Chamber

Volume 393: debated on Thursday 28 October 1943

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 28th October, 1943

[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Oral Answers To Questions

Demobilisation

Apprenticeships (Completion)

1.

asked the Minister of Labour what arrangements are being made in the case of those whose apprenticeships have been interrupted by service in the Forces to introduce a scheme for the completion of such apprenticeships?

A scheme on lines similar to that which operated after the last war is in an advanced stage of preparation, and my right hon. Friend will be in a position to introduce it when the need arises. There is no urgent need for such a scheme in present circumstances, because, apart from a few individual cases in which difficulties occasionally arise, any young workers who are at present being discharged from the Forces are being readily absorbed.

Will the hon. Gentleman look further into the matter, because there is considerable anxiety?

Reinstatement In Industry

7.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that a firm, the name of which has been sent him, have informed a sergeant, now serving in the Forces in India, that owing to their reorganisation and staffing requirements no guarantee of re-engagement to any prewar member on their staff is possible, apart from any legal obligation; and, in view of the fact that this soldier served the firm for eight years prior to joining His Majesty's Forces and that such action is liable to destroy the morale of the men in His Majesty's Forces, will he take the appropriate steps with this firm?

In view of my right hon. Friend's indisposition, he would be grateful if this Question could be put down again next week.

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will agree to that suggestion, because the matter involved here is one of great principle.

Military Service (Girls' Training Corps)

5.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will now give an assurance that in the event of recruiting for the women's Services being reopened those girls who have prepared themselves in the G.T.C. will be given priority over those who have not joined any pre-Service unit?

There is nothing my right hon. Friend can usefully add to the message he sent quite recently to the National Association of Training Corps for Girls, expressing the hope that if the situation changes and we need to re-open volunteer recruitment for the Women's Auxiliary Services, it may be possible when the time comes to give some measure of priority to those who have undertaken pre-Service training.

National War Effort

Nurses (Factories And Works)

6.

asked the Minister of Labour how many full-time nurses are employed in factories and works throughout the country; and whether the salaries paid to these nurses are the same as those paid to nurses in hospitals and nursing homes?

I have no exact information on this point, but an analysis of the registration forms received as a result of the national registration of nurses and midwives, carried out on 10th April, showed that at that time there were 8,389 nurses employed in industry, of whom 185 were men; about half the women so employed have been admitted either to the general or to one of the supplementary parts of the State Register for nurses. I have no information with regard to the latter part of the Question.

Will the hon. Gentleman make inquiries regarding the latter part of my Question, as it is a very important matter? Further, while it is essential that factories should be adequately staffed, there is reason to suppose that some of them are overstaffed, with the result that the civilian population is unable to get any nursing service in many cases. Will he therefore have a further inquiry made into the matter?

I will have inquiries made, but I cannot promise to go as far as the hon. and gallant Gentleman suggests.

After the inquiries have been made will the hon. Gentleman communicate with me so that I can put down another Question?

Does not my hon. Friend agree that a large number of these nurses employed in industry might be freed for civilian use and a quota of less well-trained nurses taken on?

My connection with industry and nurses engaged in industry leads me to suggest that very careful thought will have to be given to this matter before industrial nurses are taken away. It has taken a long time to get them in, and now they are in it would seem to be a retrograde step to take them out.

While thanking the hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask him whether he is aware that many trained nurses have left hospitals and have been taken into industry, where what they are doing is very largely Red Cross work? After dressing injuries they send patients to hospitals where there are no nurses.

Shipyards (Inspecting Officers)

8.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the irritation caused to experienced managements in many shipyards and marine-engine works by the recommendations made by inspecting committees, usually composed of individuals with little or no experience of management or of circumstances governing conditions in individual establishments, sent round by regional labour controllers; whether he is satisfied with the results obtained; and whether he will consider the advisability of suspending the functioning of these committees?

I presume that my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to inspections made by technical officers of my Department in the discharge of their responsibilities in regard to the efficient use and distribution of labour. These officers, many of whom possess previous managerial experience, have a difficult task to perform in reconciling the needs, and sometimes the idiosyncracies, of particular managements with other imperative demands for labour. On the whole my right hon. Friend is satisfied that they have performed this task efficiently and without any greater degree of friction than is inevitable in such circumstances. He could not contemplate suspending the work of these inspectors, without which it would be impossible for his Department to discharge its responsibility of ensuring that the available man-power is used to the full.

Have any inquiries been made as to what effects these boards have? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that dislocation has been caused in some instances?

We have had a good many of what I would call protests against the interference of Government Departments in the running of businesses. I think the answer I have given indicates the necessity for interference in this direction.

Ex-Service Women (Employment By Local Authorities)

9.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will introduce legislation to compel county and local authorities to give preference of employment, together with concessions in regard to age of entry, to ex-Service women, war widows and war orphans, respectively?

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend is not aware that there is need for such legislation under present conditions, and it is not possible at this stage to say what the position will be after the war as regards entry into the public services.

Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

10.

asked the Minister of Pensions the general principles on which pensions are awarded to parents of deceased members of the Forces where death is clue to war service?

As the answer is somewhat long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

The circumstances of individual cases vary considerably, but the following is the basis adopted, as regards issues common to the general run of cases, in deciding whether parents are qualified for an award of pension on the ground of need. Two main factors are involved, namely, the "means limit" appropriate to the individual case and the personal income of the parents; the extent of the deceased son's contribution to the support of the parents is taken into consideration in calculating the "means limit" and the rate of pension.

In deciding the amount of the "means limit," a basic figure is adopted of 40s. a week where there are two parents and 25s. where there is one parent. To _either of these are added

  • (a) the amount of the deceased son's contribution to his parents' support before his war service, i.e., his full contribution, with a deduction of 10s. a week if board and lodging were provided by the parents. Where, prior to war service, the son was a student or apprentice or, by reason of youth, was earning low wages, or where he was not contributing either before or during service because the parents' circumstances did not then necessitate it, a contribution not exceeding 20S. a week is assumed, according to the circumstances of the individual case.
  • (b) 5s. a week in respect of each brother or sister under 15 years of age maintained in the parents' household, less any grant such as an orphan's allowance under the Contributory Pensions Acts.
  • In assessing the parents' income, the personal and not the household income is taken, and the following items are disregarded.

  • (a) Public Assistance Out Relief.
  • (b) Payments under the Scheme for the Prevention and Relief of Distress.
  • (c) Unemployment Assistance, provided that there has been financial loss through the son's death.
  • (d) The first £1 of personal disability pension.
  • (e) The first 5s, a week of Friendly Society's sick pay.
  • (f) The first 10s. 6d. of National Health Insurance benefit.
  • (g) Half of any payment under the Workmen's Compensation Acts.
  • (h) The first 10s. 6d. of superannuation.
  • (i) The first 7s. 6d. of sickness payments under the Old Age and Widow's Pension Act, 1940.
  • (j) The interest on £375 (£750 in the case of two parents) of War Savings as defined in the Determination of Needs Act, 1941.
  • (k) The Prince of Wales Pension awarded by the British Legion.
  • (l) A War Service Grant.
  • (m) Financial assistance to the blind by local authorities.
  • (n) Any rent allowance paid by the Ministry of Pensions to a mother who is in receipt of a war widow's pension.
  • Where there are lodgers or children living at home and paying for board and lodging, one half of any payment in excess of 18s, a week by each person is regarded as income to the parent. The extent of the need is the difference between the "means limit" and the personal income assessed as above. Where the deceased was an only child, the figure thus arrived at becomes the amount of the pension, provided it does not exceed either the amount which the son might reasonably have been expected to contribute had he survived or the maximum rate of pension.

    Where there are unmarried surviving children over the age of 17 who are in a position to contribute, they are regarded as sharing responsibility for meeting the need with the State as representing the deceased son. Similar principles apply where the deceased child was a daughter. Where claims are rejected on the ground that need does not at present exist the parents are informed that they have the right to re-apply if their financial position worsens.

    11.

    asked the Minister of Pensions whether the new Royal Warrant will provide increased rates of pension for dependants of deceased Service personnel, such as brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren?

    Yes, Sir. As from 26th August, 1943, when there was a general increase in war pensions, the maximum weekly rates for juvenile brothers and sisters have been raised from 5s. each, with a maximum of 10s. a week for two or more, to 6s. each, with a maximum of 15s. a week for three or more. For adult "other dependants" the maximum rate has been increased from 10s. a week to 12s. a week.

    India (Food Situation)

    12.

    asked the Secretary of State for India whether any consultations have taken place both with imprisoned Congress leaders and with other Indian political representatives regarding the present Indian food shortage and the necessity of preparing plans to avoid its recurrence; and whether, in view of the present and future agricultural and economic needs of India, steps will be taken immediately to secure that the necessary planning shall be determined by representative and responsible Indians?

    The Government of India have been in the closest consultation with Indian representatives of various political points of view. The recent Foodgrains Policy Committee contained nine nonofficial Indian members in addition to representatives of the Government of India and of certain Provincial and State Governments, including the Government of Bengal. The conclusions of this Committee were discussed at a Conference with Provincial and States representatives at Delhi. I have no doubt that this policy of full discussion with representative Indians will be continued.

    Does the Minister realise that he has not answered the first part of my Question, which asks specifically whether any consultations have taken place with the imprisoned Congress leaders? Would it not be well if consultations did take place with the representatives of so important a body?

    The hon. Member is no doubt aware that four years ago Congress leaders deliberately rejected any responsibility for Provincial government and that they have since embarked on a policy of irresponsible sabotage of the war effort. Until they make it clear that their policy is entirely changed, there is no reason why they should become responsible for this essentially Provincial problem.

    But is it not worth while swallowing this foolish pride, seeing that these men, whatever we may think about them, are the representatives of the largest single political force in India?

    Would it not be a wise thing if the hon. Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen), who asks so many Questions about India and seems to know so little about it, was sent to India by the House of Commons so that he could see for himself?

    Might it not be advantageous to consult Mr. Gandhi as most of the reputed hoarders are his fellow caste men?

    Has not the time come when, in order to help the food shortage in India, the Indians should stop worshipping the cow and begin to eat it?

    13.

    asked the Secretary of State for India whether he is now able to state the number of deaths from starvation in India and in Bengal in particular; the total amount of foodstuffs now being imported weekly; whether shipping is being provided for the transportation of grain from Australia; and the date at which the Central Indian Government prepared provisional plans in respect of the anticipated famine conditions now prevailing?

    It is estimated that between 15th August and 16th October about 8,000 persons have died in Calcutta from causes directly or indirectly due to malnutrition. No reliable figures are available for the country districts, but conditions in South-East and South-West Bengal are, I fear, worse than in Calcutta. I have no reliable figure for the whole of India.

    Imports of foodstuffs into Bengal, if that is the figure desired, are at the rate of 2,400 tons a day. I cannot give a figure for imports into India from overseas in terms of weekly arrivals, as arrival is dependent on a number of varying factors; but the hon. Member will have observed that three ships carrying nearly 20,000 tons between them have already come in. I am not prepared to specify the sources from which shipping is being sent to India, but I would repeat that His Majesty's Government are making every effort to assist.

    As regards the last part of the Question, the first Price Control Conference of Provincial and other representatives was called by the Centre in October, 1939. The first Food Conference took place in December, 1942, and was followed by a series of further conferences and more recently by tire appointment of the Food-grains Committee to which I have just referred.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the Prime Minister of Australia has announced that there are sufficient grains in Australia to feed the starving population in India if shipping could be available? Can we take it that commercial shipping for India is No. 1 on the priority list?

    It is true that Australia, and indeed all the Dominions, and His Majesty's Government, are only too anxious to supply food to India if the very great difficulties of the shipping situation can be overcome.

    14.

    asked the Secretary of State for India the nature of the Famine Relief Fund announced to be, or to have been, established by Lord Wavell; and whether further appeals for War Loan to the people of India will be suspended during the existence of this fund?

    The fund will receive gifts of money for allocation to Bengal and other parts of India suffering distress. With regard to the second part of the Question, there is no reason to suppose that subscriptions to the Viceroy's Distress Relief Fund, which is a purely charitable appeal, would be affected by the existence of Defence Loans, necessary to absorb redundant currency and counteract inflation.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that only last week he stated that the need was not for money at all, and he therefore deprecated any suggestion that moneys devoted to War Loan should be put to this purpose? Surely he will admit that Lord Wavell, on the spot, understands the need and that there must be some justification for the fund that he has established?

    The hon. Member has misunderstood what I said. I said that the difficulty of helping from outside India lay not in money but in getting the actual food to India.

    If that is so, the moneys which have been raised in India for War Loan could very well be diverted to that purpose?

    The people who contribute do so from very different motives. One of the main causes of the famine has been the inflationary tendency in. India, and anything that can relieve that tendency will, of course, also help the famine situation.

    Agriculture

    Dogs

    15.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of dogs both licensed and exempted in Somerset at the latest convenient date; and how far, judged by other agricultural counties, this number is disproportionate to the population?

    For the year 1942 the number of dogs licensed and exempted in Somerset were, respectively, 36,523 and about 6,000. I have obtained comparative figures for three counties with comparable populations and I find that the percentage of dogs to population is 7.57 in Somerset, 7.56 in Devon, 7.89 in Wilts, and 5.59 in Northumberland.

    16.

    asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware of the damage caused by stray dogs to farm livestock and to gardens no longer protected by railings; and whether he will instruct the police authorities to make full use of their existing powers in order to abate this nuisance?

    I have no doubt that the police will do their best to render such help as they can in this matter. The flow of communications which it is necessary to send to the police is so large that I am reluctant to add to it by issuing a general circular on this subject, but if my hon. and gallant Friend knows of any case where the police appear to have been unhelpful and will send me particulars, I will look into it.

    Bovine Tuberculosis

    49.

    asked the Lord President of the Council whether enough owners of milk herds have been secured to carry out the Agricultural Research Council's field experiments to test their B.C.G. vaccine for the control of bovine tuberculosis; and whether these experiments, as far as they have gone, are proving successful?

    I have been asked to reply. The Agricultural Research Council, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, have been fortunate in finding sufficient herds to start the field experiments with B.C.G. vaccine, and further herds may be included in the future. The test is one which must last over 5–6 years, of which the present is the first. It is clearly much too early to reach any conclusions.

    What is bovine tuberculosis, and why are no deaths reported from it in the Registrar-General's returns or the Ministry of Health figures?

    Women's Land Army (Trainee's Accident)

    52.

    asked the Minister of. Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Miss Kathleen Giles, a trainee in the W.L.A. at the Cumberland and Westmorland Farm School, Newton Rigg, Penarth, who in May last in the course of her training was struck in the eye by a cow's horn resulting in the loss of one of her eyes; is he aware that his Department disclaims any responsibility for granting compensation such as is undertaken by any other employer in similar circumstances, while this girl besides suffering pain is disfigured for life; and will he have this matter reconsidered so that at least she can be recompensed financially?

    I am aware of this case and much regret the accident which occurred to Miss Giles. Members of the Women's Land Army are dealt with on the same basis as ordinary agricultural workers in regard to any injuries arising out of and in the course of their duties, that is, under the basis of the Workmen's Compensation Acts. Miss Giles was paid compensation on the basis of the Workmen's Compensation Act for the period that her injury prevented her from working.

    Electoral Reform

    18.

    asked the Home Secretary whether he has in mind at this time any reform of electoral law that will enable the many thousands of bedridden persons in Great Britain to exercise their right of franchise, either by allowing them to be put on the absent voters' list or by proxy?

    Any question of extending the category of persons who under the existing law may claim to vote by post or by proxy would be appropriate to the forthcoming Debate on electoral reform. I would suggest that my hon. and gallant Friend should make his suggestion then for the consideration of the House.

    Stipendiary Magistracy, London

    20.

    asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the congestion in the London police courts, he will consider the appointment of an extra stipendiary magistrate, with roving powers, to assist wherever needed in the acceleration of public business?

    I am informed by the Chief Magistrate that there is no general congestion in the Metropolitan courts and that any delay there may have been was local and temporary. There are at the moment 23 magistrates to serve 13 courts, at which the average sitting time is not more than three-and-a-half hours a day. Moreover, magistrates, although normally serving particular courts, can be, and are, called upon to sit at any court as the need arises. Any temporary inconvenience is caused by the number and situation of separate courts that have to be served. I am grateful, however, to my hon. Friend for his suggestion which I will consider with the Chief Magistrate.

    Fishermen (Fire-Guard Duties)

    19.

    asked the Home Secretary whether, under the new fireguard regulations the term "a sea-going ship" includes a fishing boat concerned in fishing off-shore, or whether it only implies a ship travelling from port to port; and if fishermen, as such, are exempt from fire-guard duties in their hours ashore?

    Inshore fishermen are not exempt under the Fire Guard Orders, but the master and crew of any fishing vessel which undertakes a distant journey for fishing purposes are so exempt.

    Bail (Grant By Magistrates)

    21.

    asked the Home Secretary how many persons during the years 1940, 1941 and 1942, who have been refused bail by magistrates, have been found not guilty by juries when tried at assizes; and what recent instructions have been given to magistrates in regard to the granting of bail?

    Figures in the form asked for are not available, but the number of persons committed to prison on remand or for trial and subsequently found not guilty was 1,221 in 1940, 1,439 in 1941 and 1,294 in 1942. These figures—which include persons remanded for a medical report—are approximately 2½ per cent. of the total number of persons so committed. No advice has recently been given to magistrates about the grant of bail, but I am in full sympathy with the principle that, unless there are cogent reasons to the contrary, justices should make full use of their discretionary power to grant bail. In a circular letter sent by the Home Office to chief constables in January, 1939, it was pointed out that whenever the police oppose the grant of bail they incur serious responsibility, and it was emphasised that bail should not be opposed unless there is reason to believe that its grant would defeat the ends of justice or expose persons to danger.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman consider sending a new circular to magistrates, asking them to grant bail on every possible occasion unless there is any risk involved?

    The difficulty is that the circumstances which make it proper for magistrates to refuse bail are necessarily very varied, and I doubt whether any useful purpose would be served by such a circular. Nevertheless, I hope that the Question, and my reply, will perhaps meet the need.

    Will the right hon. Gentleman circulate his reply to the magistrates?

    Is it made known to persons who are refused bail that they have a right of appeal to a High Court Judge, who can overrule the magistrates?

    Juvenile Courts (Hereford Case, Inquiry)

    22.

    asked the Home Secretary the terms of reference of Lord Justice Goddard's Inquiry?

    In order that Lord Justice Goddard may be armed with full powers to conduct an effective inquiry the House will be asked to pass a Resolution under the Tribunals of Enquiry (Evidence) Act, 1921. The Motion which has been put on the Order Paper for this purpose shows that the inquiry will be comprehensive and will cover the whole conduct of the Hereford Juvenile Court in the proceedings against Craddock and Payne. To facilitate the inquiry the Treasury Solicitor will arrange for the calling of witnesses and the presentation of evidence. In so doing, he will act at the request and subject to the instructions of Lord Justice Goddard, and he will not be acting on behalf of any of the persons whose conduct is the subject of inquiry or of any Government Department. He is now proceeding, on the instructions of the Lord Justice, to collect the evidence which is required and it is hoped that those concerned will give him all the necessary assistance.

    Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the terms of reference are sufficiently wide that the action and procedure of the courts involved in this case will be subject to review?

    I am dealing only with the Hereford Juvenile Court, as I understand it, in this case, and the inquiry will cover the conduct of the prosecution by the police, the conduct of the proceedings by the local justices themselves, the guidance given to them by the clerk, the procedure followed in announcing and giving effect to the court's order of corporal punishment, the considerations which the justices had in mind in committing the boys to the care of the local education authority and the treatment of the boys when in the care of that authority. I think that sphere of inquiry should cover the whole ground.

    Would it cover the procedure by which the High Court reviewed the case with inadequate affidavits, the result of which was a Press campaign of great virulence, which may subsequently be regretted?

    I must make it clear that it is no part of the purpose of the inquiry to review the proceedings of the High Court, and, if I did anything like that, I am not sure where I should finish up.

    Prisoners

    Training Schemes

    23.

    asked the Home Secretary how many prisoners have been trained under Ministry of Labour and National Service training schemes during their sentences; and what measures of success have these schemes achieved?

    Training schemes in engineering fitting have been started at three prisons and some 150 men have now been trained. These classes are not organised by the Ministry of Labour and National Service, but on release the men have all been placed in skilled work with the co-operation of the Ministry. Only one man has failed to make good, and the scheme can, I think, be regarded as most successful.

    Are these prisoners getting paid for work, according to the experiment which was started with some success before the war?

    Yes, they are paid the ordinary and very modest sums which prisoners get for working.

    In view of the remarkable success of these training schemes, will my right hon. Friend take steps to see that they are extended and continued in peace-time?

    I am most anxious that that shall be done, although we may get up against certain interests when we do it; but really the system has been remarkably successful, and I think the Prison Commissioners are to be warmly congratulated on the efforts they have made. I hope very much this system can continue in peace-time.

    Young Persons

    28.

    asked the Home Secretary how many young people under 21 years of age are imprisoned in England and Wales; at what hour they are locked up on week-nights and how many hours they spend in their cells from noon on Saturday until Monday morning; and what provision is made for lectures or classes in each of the several prisons receiving these young people?

    Statistics are compiled annually as to the young persons under 21 sent to prison, and I am reluctant in present circumstances to add to the clerical work of the Department by calling for special returns showing the number in prison at the present time. The week-end arrangements for young prisoners are not the same at all establishments, and the treatment and training of these persons vary according to whether they are on remand or convicted and to the length of their sentence. Their character and standard of education are also taken into consideration. It would be difficult to deal with so large a subject by way of Parliamentary Question and answer, but if my hon. Friend would care to visit one of the prisons dealing with this class of offender I shall be very pleased to make the necessary arrangements.

    Will my right hon. Friend assure me that I shall be let out again if I do go?

    As long as the conduct of my hon. Friend is unexceptionable, he has nothing to fear.

    Is there any hope of reintroducing the Bill which was dropped at the outbreak of war which would have made it impossible for anyone under 21 to go to prison?

    I should not think so. I am fairly well loaded with legislation of an exciting character at the moment.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that many young people are sent to prison for no crime at all, only because they cannot get a bus to get them to work in time, and will he consider that position?

    Accommodation, Wandsworth Prison

    30.

    asked the Home Secretary how many prisoners were sharing cells in Wandsworth Prison in May, 1943; what was the largest number in any one cell; whether there were any medical or other special reasons for sharing as provided in Prison Regulations No. 4; and what special sanitary facilities were provided?

    Finsbury Council Committee Meeting (Police Action)

    25.

    asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to an incident at the Town Hall, Finsbury, on 18th October, when, despite the standing orders of the council to the contrary, a sergeant and a police constable threatened forcibly to eject certain councillors who were exercising their right to listen to the proceedings of a special committee of which they were not members; and what action he proposes taking in the matter?

    I have made inquiry into this matter and I understand that the sergeant and constable were requested by the chairman of a committee to eject four councillors, who were not members of the committee and in respect of whom a resolution had been passed by the committee requiring them to retire. The police officers inquired whether all the necessary formalities in accordance with the standing orders of the council had been complied with, and were informed by the chairman that the committee's resolution was sufficient for this purpose. The chairman then, in the presence of the police officers, requested the four councillors to withdraw. As they refused to comply with this request, the police officers informed the councillors that they must leave and that if they did not they would be ejected, if necessary by force. The councillors thereupon left the meeting. In these circumstances I can find no ground for questioning the conduct of the police officers.

    Has my right hon. Friend verified whether the police officers were actually acting in accord with the standing orders?

    My hon. Friend and I, perhaps I more than he, are very familiar with municipal standing orders, and honestly, while I expect my policemen to be experts about many things, I do not expect them to be experts about a council's standing orders. I think the only thing they could do was to ask for an assurance from the chairman that the action was in accordance with the standing orders and, having received his reply, to act accordingly. I think the fundamental responsibility is with the chairman and not the police.

    Surely if councillors are forcibly ejected by the police and the police are acting on wrong information they would be liable for assault; they would not be justified in taking action because someone told them they could. Would it not be worth while for my right hon. Friend to find out whether in fact the standing orders were complied with?

    I do not think I want to go any further. If there are possible actions about I had better keep out of it. My hon. Friend, like me, is a member of the London County Council and he will know that there are about 500 standing orders and 2,000 regulations and many committee rules, and neither he nor I could stand cross-examination upon many of them.

    Workmen's Compensation (Textile Operatives)

    26.

    asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that cases have recently arisen in Lancashire where one time textile operatives are now suffering from what is commonly called spinner's cancer; that the mills in which they were ordinarily employed have been closed by Government for more than 12 months; that they have therefore lost contact where the disease originated and with their employers for the 12 months mentioned in Section 43 of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1925, and cannot claim compensation in respect of their incapacity; and can he do anything to remedy this state of affairs?

    My attention has not previously been drawn to cases such as those referred to in the Question. I feel doubtful whether it would be possible for me to take any action, but if my hon. Friend will be good enough to furnish me with particulars of the cases I shall be glad to consider the position further.

    Bombing Restriction Committee

    27.

    asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to an association called the Bombing Restriction Committee and, as their activities are clearly evidence of their pro-German sympathies, will he take steps to restrict such activities and intern the leaders?

    I am aware of the existence of this Committee and I have seen specimens of the leaflets issued by them. The scope of their propaganda is very limited and its influence on public opinion is negligible. I have no evidence that their sympathies are pro-German, nor have I any reason to question the sincerity of their motives, which they conceive to be purely humanitarian; and I should not feel justified, as things are, in using emergency powers to prevent them from giving expression to their misguided views.

    Is it not evident that if the policy of not bombing any civilians Germany was carried out, we should not be able to carry through our policy of bombing their war production plants, and thereby our war effort would be absolutely nullified?

    I quite follow the argument of my hon. Friend, but in my judgment if people sincerely hold the view that bombing should be abolished or restricted, I cannot see that it is terrible to say so. There is no danger that the bombing will leave off, anyway. I would draw the attention of the House to how often I am condemned for using exceptional powers and how much more often I am pressed to use them.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the object these people have in mind is to restrict and prevent the bombing of civilians, which is another problem entirely?

    Armed Forces (Aliens, Naturalisation)

    29.

    asked the Home Secretary whether he is prepared to receive applications for naturalisation from foreign nationals serving in His Majesty's forces; and whether such applications will be proceeded with if they are lodged?

    I would refer my hon. Friend to my replies to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Mr. Pearson) and the Supplementary Question by my hon. Friend the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) on 14th October.

    Juvenile Delinquents (Approved Schools)

    32.

    asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that several delinquents in Salford, ordered by the court to be sent to approved schools many months ago, are still detained in remand homes because there is no accommodation in those schools; that they are brought back to the court periodically and that the authorities complain of the situation; and will he take steps to remedy this state of affairs?

    I am aware of the difficulties to which my hon. Friend refers and can assure him that new approved schools have been and are being provided as rapidly as is possible under war-time conditions. Seven new schools already opened in the North of England are now coming increasingly into use as necessary adaptations are completed and I have every hope that the position will become much easier during the winter.

    May I take it, therefore, that the difficulties in Salford will be overcome very soon?

    I could not be quite sure, but I would hope so in view of the nature of the answer. I think we have done very well in the difficult war-time conditions.

    Education

    Part Iii Authorities

    33.

    asked the President of the Board of Education whether before he decided to include in the White Paper a proposal to abolish Part III authorities and transfer their functions to county councils, he considered the working of the 1929 Act in Scotland which effected a similar change and resulted in destroying the hitherto great interest in education in many Scottish boroughs; and, in view of the unsatisfactory effects on education in Scotland, will he reconsider the present proposal?

    The hon. Member is, I think, under some misapprehension as to the effect of the Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1929, to which, I understand, he refers. The effect of that Act was, I am advised, to transfer the functions of the ad hoc county and burgh education authorities to the county and burgh councils of the same areas. It is not within my province to comment on the position in Scotland resulting there-from.

    Does my right hon. Friend realise that it is very unwise to abolish these efficient Part III authorities?

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the system in Scotland is working very well?

    Girls' Training Corps (Uniforms)

    34.

    asked the President of the Board of Education whether he will give consideration to the question of giving financial assistance for the provision of uniforms for the G.T.C. in view of the difficulty now being experienced in this connection and the valuable services being rendered?

    I am well aware of these difficulties. They are the same for all voluntary organisations the members of which are not given financial assistance for their personal equipment.

    Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the strong feeling on this subject all over the country, and cannot he do something, as the President of the Board of Trade is unable to do anything and has referred us to him?

    And is the right hon. Gentleman also aware that this is one of the very few really constructive efforts to help girls who are exposed to-day to exceptional temptations and that it is absolute folly for the Government not to give this justifiable concession?

    Is it not a fact that the Girls' Training Corps is in a different position from that of other voluntary organisations, seeing that it was set up by a Government Department and the other organisations were not?

    I certainly cannot accept the view of the hon. Lady. This organisation owes a great deal, it is true, to the Government, and it is doing most excellent work for girls, and I very much regret that it is not possible to make this concession. Nobody would be keener than I to make it, were it possible.

    Public Expenditure

    35.

    asked the President of the Board of Education the total expenditure for education from public funds in England and Wales for the last recorded year; and how it was divided between taxes and rates?

    As far as expenditure on education coming within the purview of my Department is concerned, the total expenditure from public funds in England and Wales for the year 1940–41 was £98,709,000. Of this sum £52,156,000 was met from taxes and £46,553,000 from rates.

    Can my right hon. Friend explain why the figure for the last year is £98,000,000, while the figure given in the White Paper is £123,000,000?

    I must have notice of that Question so that I can give my hon. Friend an accurate answer.

    Engineering Cadets

    36.

    asked the President of the Board of Education whether, seeing that engineering cadets, who are required to undergo courses of training at technical colleges to qualify them for commissioned rank in technical units of the Services are being subjected by uniformed persons to the accusation of being shirkers, he will provide for the issue to them of a distinctive uniform or badge?

    Very many young men are properly engaged on essential work or training as civilians without uniform or badges, and the engineering cadets are not in any special position in this respect. I take this opportunity of emphasising the fact that the engineering cadets are performing the most valuable form of war service open to them individually.

    Public Health

    Mentally Defective Children, Lancashire

    38.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that the provision for mentally defective children in Lancashire is adequate; how many children are at present awaiting admission to an institution; and in such case when it is anticipated accommodation will be available?

    My right hon. Friend is aware that in Lancashire, as in other areas, there is a shortage of institutional accommodation for mental defectives. I understand that the number of defective children in Lancashire awaiting admission to institutions is 108. They will be admitted to institutions as and when vacancies occur.

    Will my hon. Friend inquire whether the number of beds held empty for emergency cases is not more than is required, and whether some could not be filled from the waiting list?

    We have looked into this question but I am afraid that there is very little hope of my hon. Friend's suggestion being adopted.

    Will not the hon. Lady look further into the matter? Is it not a fact that accommodation is available and that the problem is to get nurses and staff to look after these children?

    Is it not time that we stopped using the offensive expression "mentally defective children"?

    Is it not a fact that there are empty beds all over the country while children are waiting for admission?

    If the Noble Lady will give me the addresses of the institutions where, she says, there are these vacancies, I shall be only too pleased to look into the matter.

    I did not say "institutions." I was speaking about provision which was made under the Ministry of Health.

    Rushcliffe Committee

    43.

    asked the Minister of Health whether any recommendation of the Rushcliffe Committee on the question of transfer of superannuation rights between public and private superannuation funds will be made retrospective; and, if so, for what period?

    The Committee have not yet reported on this matter, and I regret, therefore, that my right hon. Friend is unable to make any statement in regard to it.

    Does the hon. Lady realise what that means to nurses who have gone out of the nursing profession into civil defence and have forfeited their superannuation rights?

    I am aware of the problem, but I hope that the Committee will report soon.

    44.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that no mental nurse or observation ward nurse is on the Rushcliffe Committee or sub-committee dealing with mental nurses' salaries; and whether he will either secure their representation or see that they are given an opportunity for submitting evidence?

    There are on the Mental Nurses' Sub-committee appointed in association with the Rushcliffe Committee three members of the staff of mental hospitals. My right hon. Friend has received some representations about the position of nurses employed in the mental observation wards of public health hospitals and public assistance institutions and he is in communication with the committee on the matter.

    Is it not a fact that the staff to which the hon. Lady refers are not mental nurses?

    I did not say that they were not mental nurses. As the problem has arisen, a communication has gone out.

    Water Supply, Wales And Monmouthshire

    57.

    asked the Minister of Health whether any steps are being taken to conserve the water supplies which are now running to waste in Wales and Monmouthshire; and whether it is intended to do this on a regional or other large-scale basis so as to assist in the restoration and development of industry?

    Under existing law, the primary responsibility for the provision of public water supplies rests with statutory water undertakers. It is the policy of my right hon. Friend within the limits of his present powers, to encourage developments which may lend themselves to the better conservation and use of our resources. Future policy in this matter is engaging my right hon. Friend's attention, but he is not yet in a position to make any statement in regard to it.

    Sun-Ray Lamps (Albion Works, Bilston)

    59 and 60.

    asked the Minister of Health (1) whether, in view of the need for safeguarding the health of their workpeople, the Albion Works at Bilston can be given an opportunity of having some members of their staff trained in the use of sun-ray lamps;

    (2) what steps were taken, before refusing them permission to buy a sun-ray lamp, to find out whether the Albion Works at Bilston had anyone capable of using a sunray lamp effectively?

    The manufacture of sun-ray lamps involves the use of skilled labour and materials which must be devoted, as far as possible, to armament production, and my right hon. Friend is, therefore, asked by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to recommend that these lamps should be supplied only where the fullest use of them is likely to be made for cases for which they are clearly required. My right hon. Friend's medical advisers inform him that ultra violet and infra red lamps ought to be used only under strict medical control. Their indiscriminate use may lead to harmful results, and the question is not, therefore, one merely of having staff trained in the use of these lamps. My right hon. Friend is advised that it is important that persons submitting themselves to treatment should be under close medical supervision. It is not considered that this essential safeguard could be secured where a works doctor attends less than three times a week. Any apparatus not requiring this close medical supervision is of little value clinically. In the case of the Albion Works, two letters were submitted personally to the Ministry's officers by a director of the firm, but they did not indicate that there would be such close supervision of treatment as to satisfy my right hon. Friend's medical advisers.

    Is it suggested that the whole town of Bilston cannot supply medical knowledge of the type required?

    This reply refers to the use of these lamps in a factory, and it is a question of whether it is better that it should be used only where a doctor attends at that factory at least three times a week.

    Could not arrangements be made for a doctor to attend the Albion Works four times a week?

    Housing

    Women Living Alone

    39.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he will make it a condition of future grants to local authorities when formulating housing schemes that they should provide a substantial measure of suitable accommodation at economic rentals for women living alone?

    Local authorities are I think in agreement with my right hon. Friend that it is important that future housing schemes should include the provision of suitable accommodation for single persons. The priority to be given to the various types of accommodation in the post-war programmes will have to be considered in relation to the circumstances of each district. The form of any Exchequer subsidy is one of the questions which my right hon. Friend proposes to discuss with the associations of local authorities in due course.

    Agricultural Workers

    53.

    asked the Minister of Health the building costs of the two cottages for agricultural workers in course of erection in the parish of Latimer, near Chesham; the cost of the site for the two cottages and its area; whether a water main has been laid to them; and whether septic tank drainage is being provided?

    My information is that there are no cottages being erected by the local authority for agricultural workers in the parish of Latimer. My hon. Friend may have in mind, however, the two cottages which are being built in the adjoining parish of Ashley Green, and the particulars for which he asks are as follow: £1,873; £150; and 125 ft, by 100 ft., respectively; there is an existing water main; and septic tank drainage is being provided.

    Is the hon. Lady aware that the cost of this site was over £500 an acre, that this site is on the corner of an agricultural field, that this field is now being ploughed up and that there is no water main in that particular district?

    My information was that there is a water main, but I shall be very glad to look into the matter again if the hon. Member says that is not the case.

    Can the hon. Lady tell us whether the hot water pipes run through the larders and that no provision is made for shelving as is the case with the two cottages already built under the scheme, to erect 3,000?

    In all the plans put out by the Ministry of Health the hot water pipes did not run through the larder, and we would urge rural district councils who are building to follow the plans.

    Does the hon. Lady consider £500 an acre to be a fair rate for agricultural land?

    I think that is a matter of opinion. Perhaps I might have a word with the hon. Gentleman on another occasion.

    54.

    asked the Minister of Health how many cottages for agricultural workers have been allocated to the Malton Rural District Council, Yorkshire; whether difficulties have arisen in obtaining suitable sites for the cottages; have compulsory powers been applied for; and what has been the result of the Ministry of Health inquiry into the matter, so that there is an early prospect of acquiring suitable sites at a fair price?

    Eight cottages for agricultural workers were allocated to the Malton Rural District Council who experienced difficulties in obtaining sites at Thornton-le-Clay and Bulmer where it was proposed to erect two cottages each. The Council made and submitted for my right hon. Friend's decision Compulsory Purchase Orders for sites at both places and he has informed the Council of his decision to confirm the Thornton-le-Clay Order. The Bulmer Order need not be confirmed as the Council reached agreement with the owner for the purchase of a somewhat larger area. The building of the cottages on both sites was begun on 27th September last.

    Can the hon. Lady tell the House what are the main difficulties in acquiring the site?

    As the completion of these cottages was promised by harvest time, could the hon. Lady tell us, quite confidentially, which harvest?

    There were several difficulties in both the sites. In the case of the Bulmer site, it was already a housing site and the difficulty was that it had had to be divided up, giving a frontage to certain cottages and not using the whole area. A decision has now been reached that the whole area shall be used for housing.

    Is it not a fact that these cottages are being built with considerable expedition by local authorities?

    Yes, in many cases when labour was available the cottages were built in 11 weeks.

    Timber Houses

    58.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he has made any inquiries into the possibility of using permanent wooden houses on the Canadian model after the war to help relieve the short-age?

    I can assure my hon. Friend that the possibilities of timber houses and of other alternative forms of construction for use after the war are being carefully examined by the Interdepartmental Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir George Burt.

    Would not timber houses make a rather good relief in appearance from the eternal brick ones, and is the House aware that there are extremely comfortable timber houses more than 100 years old in Canada and the U.S.A.?

    Could the hon. Lady say what steps her Department are taking to get into communication with the War Office, who at this moment are demolishing a large number of very large and commodious huts which are superior to the new cottages being built? Are any steps being taken by her Department to acquire them?

    Ridley Committee (Terms Of Reference)

    61.

    asked the Minister of Health whether the terms of reference of the Ridley Committee will include the question of the selling prices of houses as well as the question of the rent control of houses?

    No, Sir. My right hon. Friend is, however, having the question of the selling price of houses examined in co-operation with the other Government Departments concerned.

    Orphans Of Divorced Parents (Pensions)

    42.

    asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the anomalous position of children of divorced parents where the parents die during the children's dependency, as no provision is made for the granting of orphans' pensions in respect of them notwithstanding the payments by the father during his lifetime of contributions under the appropriate statute; and whether he will consider amending existing legislation to remedy this oversight in the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1936?

    The position under the present Contributory Pensions Scheme as regards orphan children of divorced parents is not set out quite accurately in the first part of my hon. Friend's Question; as this matter is somewhat involved I am sending him a detailed statement. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for East Renfrew (Major Lloyd) on 25th May last, of which I am sending him a copy.

    Will the hon. Lady say what the answer was on that occasion? If it was that the Minister did not intend to do anything in the matter, can she say what justification exists for this discrimination?

    I think that when the hon. Member receives the detailed statement he will see that there is no discrimination. As to the answer, it was that my right hon. Friend could not undertake to introduce legislation at this time, pending the completion of the Government's comprehensive review of social insurance and allied services.

    Is the hon. Lady aware that the review might take years while this matter requires attention now, because these children are paupers?

    Empire Parliamentary Asso Ciation (Proceedings At Ottawa And Washington)

    45.

    asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered the letter from the hon. Member for Kidderminster, dated 21st October, regarding the resolutions of the United States Senate and House of Representatives in June and July last in connection with the visit of Congress representatives to Ottawa; and whether he has any statement to make?

    I am very glad to have this opportunity of saying a few words about the Conference which on the invitation of the Canadian branch of the Empire Parliamentary Association recently took place at Ottawa between delegations from the branches of the Association in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and Bermuda. A notable feature of the meeting to which my hon. Friend has drawn attention, was the presence of members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives of the United States of America.

    The informal discussions in Canada, some of which were attended by the United States delegation, afforded a valuable opportunity for exchange of private and quite unofficial views on matters of great interest, covering both defence and international problems of the British Commonwealth and Empire and also questions of relations between members of the Commonwealth and the United States in war and in peace. The United Kingdom delegation also had an opportunity while in Canada of discussions with the Canadian and Provincial Prime Ministers and of seeing evidences of Canada's war effort in both defence and aggressive operations and in the industrial sphere, for which we express our gratitude. These meetings were followed by a visit of certain members of the delegation to Washington, where they attended the Senate and House of Representatives and also met a number of members of Congress personally, and in addition they paid a visit to Bermuda. Everywhere they received the most cordial welcome and generous hospitality.

    Apart from its value as a means of personal contact and interchange of opinion between representatives of the different members of the British Commonwealth, which is of such importance to our mutual relations, this Conference was of historic significance as being the first occasion on which representatives of the United States of America had taken part in such a gathering. I am sure that I am voicing the feelings of the House in expressing our obligations to all those, whether in Canada or in the other countries concerned, who by their organisation of the Conference and their interest in its proceedings helped to contribute to its success, as well as of course to all those who took part in its deliberations. I should also like to express our thanks to all those in both Canada and the United States who accorded such open-handed hospitality to these visitors from overseas. In all these events we can see a happy augury of fellowship and mutual understanding in the days when after victory we face together the problems of peace.

    War Casualties

    46.

    asked the Prime Minister when he will be able to announce the war casualties of this country up to date; whether he is aware that similar statistics are issued covering regular short periods by the Government of the United States; and whether announcements on this score can be made at shorter intervals by His Majesty's Government in future?

    I have at present nothing to add to the answer which I gave on 14th October in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson). I see that I said:

    "I will see what can be done about publishing casualties from time to time. A long interval will, however, have to elapse after the date covered by the return. The enemy do not give us any similar accurate or truthful facilities. The Dominions have to be consulted, and I cannot make any promise now."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th October, 1943; col. 1086, Vol. 392.]
    I cannot add more than that.

    I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. I take it that he will be aware that the last set of figures we had were brought up to September, 1942, and that what disturbs some people in studying this matter is that the United States Government are able to give the figures publicly almost monthly, in spite of the statement that it is useful information to the enemy?

    Local Authorities (Expenditure)

    62.

    asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered the copy sent to him of a paper presented to the Royal Statistical Society by Mr. K. S. Lomax on the relationship between expenditure per head and size of population of county boroughs in England and Wales; and, having regard to the fact that apparently towns with a population of 100,000 to 190,000 get better value for money than either larger or smaller towns, whether his Department is considering the implications of this conclusion?

    Yes, Sir. I would, however, remind my hon. Friend that the Royal Commission on the Distribution of Industrial Population came to the conclusion that it is difficult to substantiate the claim or to show that, from the point of view of cost of municipal services, there is an optimum size for towns.

    As this document was written since the Royal Commission reported, and since they did not have this evidence in front of them, is it not the case that we cannot attach a great deal of importance to their conclusions based on a lack of evidence?

    Bombing Policy

    48.

    asked the Prime Minister whether he will allocate the whole of the production of heavy bombers in this country to R.A.F. Bomber Command, to be employed solely for the purpose of bombing Germany; and will he bring back immediately to this country all our heavy bombers which are at present abroad for that same purpose, with a view to the destruction of Germany's production of war material?

    Old Age Pensions

    64.

    asked the Minister of Health whether a pensioner, in receipt of the scale rate of 37s. plus 8d, rent allowance and whose superannuation has been disregarded in his assessment, is entitled to the winter allowance in full, or whether superannuation is to be no longer regarded as a free resource when determining entitlement to winter allowance?

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Ellis Smith) on 4th December, 1941, in the course of which the principles governing the grant of winter additions were fully explained. I am sending a copy of this reply to my hon. Friend, and if he has any case in mind, I shall be glad to have particulars.

    Town And Country Planning

    Land Purchase (Local Authorities)

    65.

    asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that land is assessed for Death Duties at the value at the time of the death of the owner; and how he proposes that land that may be purchased by a public authority should be bought at the value as at 31st March, 1939?

    I am aware of the fact to which my hon. Friend draws attention. For the detailed application of the principle of the 1939 ceiling I would ask him to await the necessary legislation.

    May we take it that there is no possibility that on the same day the State will acquire land at one price, and tax it at another?

    The point is worthy of careful consideration. When we come to legislate we shall be able to discuss it further.

    About this necessary legislation, of which we have heard a great deal recently, could the right hon. Gentleman say when it will be forthcoming?

    Will the right hon. Gentleman amplify his reply by saying what is meant by "in good time"?

    In time for it to be effective for the purposes for which it is designed.

    In order to get over the difficulty of the dates mentioned by the hon. Member for South Croydon (Sir H. Williams), would it not be easier to ask landlords to die at the appropriate date?

    I am afraid that such a request would not be welcomed with any unanimity.

    Will any legislation be accompanied by an explanation of how the 1939 valuation was arrived at?

    67.

    asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether his attention has been called to the appeal by the mayors of Plymouth, Sheffield, Norwich, Southampton, Portsmouth, Birkenhead, Swansea, Bootle, Wallasey, Exeter, Kingston-upon-Hull, Coventry, Salford and Bristol, urging the immediate passage this autumn of a Bill dealing with compulsory purchase of land by public bodies and the acceleration of procedure for entering into possession; and what action he proposes to take?

    The answer to the first part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir." In answer to the last part of the hon. Member's Question, I cannot at present add to the reply which I gave him on 22nd September.

    Cannot my right hon. Friend make rather a bolder response to the appeal of these very influential cities and towns, and promise the introduction of legislation by the end of the year?

    I do not care to be pinned to dates which the future falsifies; but we are proceeding with legislation as fast as possible.

    If the Government cannot proceed faster, will they put in power somebody who will? We have waited two years now, and Plymouth is getting fed up.

    Greater London

    66.

    asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning what progress has been made in the preparation of the regional plan for Greater London; and when it is anticipated that this plan will be made public?

    Substantial progress has been made in the preparation of the regional plan to which my hon. and learned Friend refers. I hope to receive it during February next.

    Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that it will not be easy to proceed with the planning either of the Greater London area or of the County of London area until this plan is made public?

    I am aware of that. There are two dangers. One is that the plan may be unduly delayed, and the other is that it may be founded on inadequate research work. I am informed by those who have to undertake the work that it has proved slower than was expected. Our object is to complete it, and to see that the plan is based on facts.

    I could not answer that accurately without notice, but I will inform the hon. Member of the area covered.

    Will my right hon. Friend keep in mind the dangers arising in the Greater London area from the acquisition of land during the interim period for purposes which are not in conformity with this plan?

    Yes, Sir; I am aware of that. But, of course, very little development can take place in the period with which we are concerned.

    Requisitioned Property (Compensation)

    68.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will direct requisitioning authorities so to interpret the recent ruling of the Treasury that requisitioning authorities may make allowances to owners for fair wear and tear; that they are on surrender to make such allowances, proportionate to the time of occupation, for outside painting and other usual outside maintenance of requisitioned properties, if such work has not been carried out by the requisitioning authority during the occupation in accordance with the authority's liability under Section 2 (1) (a) of the Compensation Defence Act, 1939.

    The ruling in question is to the effect that where the compensation under Section 2 (1) (a) of the Act has been strictly based upon the rent which might be expected to be paid by a tenant who was responsible for the repair of fair wear and tear, no deduction in respect of the cost of such repairs need be made when a claim for reinstatement under Section 2 (1) (b) is settled. Where the rent has been fixed upon the contrary assumption and at a higher level, the point does not arise. I am advised that Departments are applying the ruling, and will continue to do so, with fairness, in relation to the differing circumstances of different cases.

    Civil Service (Training)

    69.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps have been taken to implement the official announcement that it was intended to institute an inquiry into the training of the Civil Service and into the establishment of a Civil Service staff college; and whether any decisions have yet been reached?

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the replies which were given to the hon. Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) on 16th March and 5th August.

    Do those replies agree-that a Civil Service staff college should be established?

    The replies were concerned with the setting-up of a Committee, and that Committee, which has been considering the whole matter, is, I understand, about to consider its draft Report.

    Business Of The House

    Might I ask the Prime Minister whether he would state the Business for the next series of Sittings?

    It will be necessary for the House to sit an additional day in the next series of Sittings. The Business will be as follows:

    First Sitting Day—Concluding stages of the Wage-earners' Income Tax Bill and Second Reading of the Price Control (Regulation of Disposal of Stocks) Bill [Lords].

    Second Sitting Day—Committee and remaining stages of the Parliament (Elections and Meeting) Bill and of the Prolongation of Parliament Bill.

    Third Sitting Day—Committee stage of a Supplementary Vote of Credit for War Expenditure. Afterwards the Adjournment will be moved, and a Debate will take place on the food situation in India.

    Fourth Sitting Day—Committee stage of the Water Undertakings Bill [Lords], and further consideration of any outstanding Business.

    Will the Prime Minister consider the possibility of having a discussion at a fairly early date on the financial discussions that have taken place in Washington? The House was informed a little time ago that before any commitments were made, or, at any rate, before any conclusions were reached, the matter could be debated in the House. In view of statements that have appeared in the public Press, I should like the Prime Minister to give the assurance again that such an opportunity will be provided as early as is practicable.

    I am not sure what will be the convenient time, but obviously the House must be informed on the whole field of these complicated matters. We are not entirely masters of our own actions in the matter. Some of the publication must depend on the permission of other Governments, and we must feel our way. But the opportunities that the House has of raising all financial matters in the regular cycle of Parliamentary Business are so ample and so numerous that I cannot feel that there will not be an opportunity for raising any of these questions.

    The late Chancellor of the Exchequer gave a specific pledge that before any final commitments were entered into by the Government this House would have an opportunity of discussing the matter and we just want to be reassured that that pledge has in no way gone by the board in view of the lamentable death of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer and the accession to that important position of the present Chancellor.

    My right hon. Friend tells me that he has specifically renewed that pledge, and so it stands.

    Mr. Shinwell