House Of Commons
Tuesday, 9th November, 1943
[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]
Death Of A Member
Mr. SPEAKER made the following communication to the House:
I regret to have to inform the House of the death, on active service, of Captain Stuart Hugh Minto Russell, Member for the County of Lancaster (Darwen Division), and I desire, on behalf of the House, to express our sense of the loss we have sustained and our sympathy with the relatives of the hon. Member.
Parliamentary Constituencies (Electors) (England And Wales)
Address for a Return,
"showing, with regard to each Parliamentary Constituency in England and Wales, the total number of electors on the register now in force."—[Sir Reginald Blair.]
Parliamentary Constituencies (Electors) (Scotland)
Address for a Return,
"showing, with regard to each Parliamentary Constituency in Scotland, the total number of electors on the register now in force."—[Sir Reginald Blair.]
Oral Answers To Questions
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his Department is taking any action to have full-time education provided for the 10,787 children in Scotland who are receiving only part-time education?
The answer is in the affirmative. There was a decrease of 3,875 in the figures during the quarter ending September, 1943. Constant efforts are being made to secure the release of schools whose occupation is causing half-time instruction, and alternative accommodation is being provided in certain cases where the prospect of release is remote.
Does not my right hon. Friend think that more pressure ought to be put upon these bodies to vacate schools so that children can receive full-time education? These children are suffering serious handicaps. Some buildings are being used for Home Guard training, and does not my right hon. Friend think that it is more important that children should be educated than that their grandfathers should become Boy Scouts?
I can assure my hon. Friend that constant and unremitting pressure is being put upon the authorities who are in occupancy of these schools, in the interests of the education of children. If my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind where she thinks we might assist her further, then I should be greatly obliged to hear of it.
Could the Minister say for what purpose these schools are now being used? Is it for A.R.P. or for military purposes?
Mostly by the Service authorities.
Furnished Apartments (Lets)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what machinery is at his disposal to estimate the number of individual lets of furnished apartments and the number of lessee families involved in Scotland as a whole or in any particular area; whether he can state these numbers now; when such figures became available; what steps he proposes to take to keep check of any increase or decrease in the number of such lets in the future; and whether he will furnish an annual return to Parliament indicating any change which has taken place in this respect?
No machinery is available for making estimates of the number of individual lets of furnished apartments, either in Scotland as a whole or in any particular area. The provision of an annual return to Parliament would involve a disproportionate amount of labour for already overburdened local authority staffs.
In view of the great possibility of new rent courts being set up, which will cause hundreds if not thousands of owners of property to cease letting furnished premises, is it not vital in the interests of thousands of families that the Minister should take note of what is happening?
My hon. Friend put his point with great pertinacity during the Committee stages of the Bill, when Parliament decided otherwise.
Would the Minister find out how many valuable sub-lets the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) has?
The Minister is raising a different point altogether. I am raising a new point. What machinery has he to check the likely results of this Bill?
There will be no such likely results of our Bill.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that accommodation in Scottish camp schools is to the extent of two-fifths vacant; and what action he proposes to take?
I am aware that the accommodation in the camps is not being fully used. There appears to be a reluctance among parents to send their children away from home in present circumstances. I have already arranged to extend the use of some of the camps to include the reception of convalescent children for short periods, and I am considering what other arrangements can be made for using the vacant accommodation.
Would my right hon. Friend have a further look at this, because the reason children are not going is that there are no amenities in the camps? No advantage is being taken of the countryside. There is also the problem of dual management. Would he consider using this unique opportunity to get residential education for normal children in Scotland, as there is none at the present moment?
I cannot accept all those statements of my hon. Friend, but I can assure him that the educational use to which these camps may be put has been the subject of constant and anxious attention by my Department.
Young Farmers' Clubs
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many Young Farmers' Clubs exist in Scotland; how many are attached to schools; and how much public money is spent in their assistance?
There are 57 Young Farmers' Clubs in Scotland, of which 34 are active, the remainder having suspended their activities during the war. There are no clubs attached to schools although in some cases headmasters have interested themselves in the welfare of Clubs. State grants of £250 per annum for the four years 1938–1941, £200 for 1942, and £175 for 1943 have been paid to the Scottish Association of Young Farmers' Clubs. The decreasing extent to which the Association is drawing on Exchequer funds reflects its increasing revenue from other sources.
Will my right hon. Friend look into this matter, because the disparity between England and Scotland is very noticeable? Will he consider remitting it to his Advisory Council and see that some inquiry is made into agricultural education in Scotland?
I will look into that point.
Schoolchildren (Harvesting Work)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children from primary and secondary schools, respectively, volunteered this summer to assist in gathering the harvest?
The school authorities, teachers and pupils made an excellent response to the national appeal. No fewer than 61,163 schoolchildren assisted this year in the ingathering of the fruit, grain and potato harvests in Scotland. Separate figures are not available for the primary and secondary divisions of schools.
In view of this magnificent response, would the Minister next year consider releasing young workers from the Clyde and other industries for this same purpose?
I would like to look at that question and at the effect it would have on the production of other commodities.
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that, owing to the violation of price list agreements at Betteshanger and Snowdown collieries in Kent, there is likely to be a dispute; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?
I am aware of the Betteshanger and Snowdown disputes. My conciliation officer has already met the two parties concerned, and he is meeting them again on 10th November to help them to arrange a satisfactory settlement.
Is the Minister aware that there is only a penny an inch difference on this issue? Can we afford to lose 20,000 tons of coal a week? Will he do his best to find a solution as quickly as possible?
I most certainly will, and I am hopeful that as a result of the meeting there will be agreement.
Shifts Worked And Output
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how the average number of shifts worked per person per week in coalmines during the period 1st January to 30th September, 1943, compares with those worked in the corresponding period of 1942 in the country as a whole and in each district, making a due adjustment for the greater number of holidays in 1943?
The average number of shifts worked per wage-earner per week, after adjustment for holidays, for coal mines in Great Britain as a whole, was 5½35 in the first nine months of 1943 and 5½51 in the corresponding period of 1942. I am having the other information extracted and will send the figures to my hon. and gallant Friend as soon as they are available.
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many shifts per person per week were worked in the coal industry in each of the three quarterly periods January to March, April to June and July to September, 1943; and how these compare with the numbers worked in the corresponding periods of 1942?
The average number of shifts worked per wage-earner per week in the coalmining industry during each of the first three quarters of the year 1943 was 5½26, 5½11 and 4½97 respectively. During the corresponding quarters of 1942 the figures were 5½42, 5½30 and 5½24.
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the average output of coal per manshift worked at the coal face in each month since June, 1941?
As the answer involves a number of figures, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Following is the answer:
Average coal output per manshift worked at the coal
Since comparable monthly figures are not available for the period prior to July, 1942, quarterly figures are given for that period.
Trade And Commerce
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been directed to the arrangement made by the I. G. German monopoly for its agencies in the British Empire to continue business during the war; that after the declaration of war they cabled instructions and carried on world trade through an American firm until the United States of America were involved in the war; that the I. G. had an office in Manchester; and whether he can make a full statement on this giving the names of persons involved and who made the arrangements?
As I have already said in reply to previous Questions, under the Trading with the Enemy Act, all relations between United Kingdom and enemy firms have been prohibited since the outbreak of war, and any agreements in existence between them have been legally frustrated. Similar legislation is in force throughout the British Empire. In addition, I. G. Farben companies carrying on business in neutral countries, including the American firm to which my hon. Friend refers, were, early in the war, specified in the black list of enemies published by my Department. I. G. Dyestuffs Ltd., Manchester, were inspected by order of the Board of Trade under Section 3 of the Trading with the Enemy Act in October, 1939. The Directors were Messrs. A. H. George, Frederick Taylor and John Dalby, all British subjects, and Mr. H. G. Kohler, a German, who resigned shortly before the outbreak of war. As there was reason to believe that the majority of the ordinary shares, held in the name of a Dutch company, were held on behalf of I. G. Farben, these shares were vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property. Imports from Germany having been cut off at the outbreak of war, I. G. Dyestuffs Ltd. went into liquidation.
Is it the policy of the Government that no payment shall be allowed in future in connection with any of these arrangements, and can my right hon. Friend give us an assurance that no payment will be allowed in future for any patent or manufacturing rights in connection with the matter?
As I have already stated, these arrangements entered into by enemy firms are frustrated during the war. What happens to them afterwards will have to be determined by the Peace Treaty. I cannot say in advance what will be in the Peace Treaty, but I hope that my hon. Friend will keep his eye on the matter and help us along.
Can the Minister say whether, in the investigation which took place after the winding-up of this company, he found that there had been any association with South American firms to carry on the business that had been carried on in this country?
Perhaps my hon. Friend will put that question on the Paper. We have full information, and it can be checked, but I have not got it with me.
Will my right hon. Friend see that an arrangement is arrived at which will avoid this situation in future and so that any arrangements which are needed shall be made through the Board of Trade?
I have already said that the Government have under consideration what steps are needed to be taken, apart from the provisions of the Peace Treaty, with regard to international arrangements of this kind. I am not yet in a position to announce a decision on the matter.
asked the President of the Board of Trade who were the directors of the Trafford Chemical Company and I.G. Farbenindustrie A.G., Companies; what percentage of the shares were owned or controlled by Germans; and have they now any interest in the company?
Before the outbreak of war the directors of the Trafford Chemical Co., Ltd., were Messrs. Francis Walker, C. J. T. Cronshaw, D. R. Mackay, A. H. George, H. G. Kohler and 0. E. Loehr, and the directors of I.G. Farbenindustrie numbered between 40 and 50, of whom all but two were domiciled in Germany. Before the war I.G. Farbenindustrie held 49 per cent. of the issued capital of the Trafford Chemical Co. They have no interest in this company now.
Clothing Coupons (Coal Distribution)
asked the President of the Board of Trade what provisions are made for extra clothing coupons for persons engaged in the distribution of coal; and whether any improvement can be made in the present arrangements?
Persons engaged in coal distribution received in the last rationing period 10 extra coupons. They will receive the same supplement in the present period. I regret that, owing to the shortage of supplies, I cannot see my way to increase this allowance.
Second-Hand Furniture (Prices)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the high and increasing prices being charged for second-hand furniture, often of poor quality, and the possibility that the situation will get worse since the production of new non-utility furniture is now prohibited, he will consider taking steps to bring second-hand furniture prices under effective control?
Yes, Sir. The Central Price Regulation Committee, who advise me on these matters, have recently made proposals to me for tightening up the present arrangements for controlling prices of second-hand furniture.
Cannot further steps be taken?
Yes, but the difficulty is to get an Order which is both fair and enforceable. We have an Order on the matter which lays it down that a dealer in furniture may add 5o per cent. to the buying price and may sell it at that figure, provided that the figure does not exceed the first-hand price. The difficulty is to determine what the first-hand price was. We are looking at the matter to see whether we can get some new control which will be effectively enforceable.
German-Occupied Countries (Occupation Costs)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare the total amount in sterling which Germany has received from the countries she has occupied since the beginning of the war to the latest available date; and the approximate annual sum in sterling which she is at present collecting from occupied countries in respect of so-called occupation costs?
As I informed my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak Division (Mr. Molson) on 26th October, the total amount levied on the occupied countries in Europe by the Axis Governments up to 30th September, 1943, whether by occupation costs or other charges is estimated at over £3,200,000,000. The amounts levied by Axis countries other than Germany have been comparatively small, and are almost certainly less than £50,000,000. It follows that the German share has been approximately £3,150,000,000. As regards the second part of the Question, it is difficult to give a precise figure, since no recent information is available in respect of Greece. My Department estimates, however, that the approximate annual sum which Germany is at present collecting from all the occupied countries is in the neighbourhood of £1,300,000,000. If account is taken of balance of exports received by Germany and paid for only in blocked marks, the approximate figure is £1,700,000,000.
I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for that information. Is it not a fact that in connection with the last war Germany paid only about £7,500,000 a year, and squealed all the time about paying it and finally defaulted on grounds of inability to pay?
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a firm, of which he has been informed, is cutting up tanks for scrap; what types of tanks these are; and whether any of them have been used in action?
Yes, Sir, I am aware that tanks are being cut up for scrap. They are those which are either worn out or which through the passage of time have become obsolete. To state what types are involved would be of value to the enemy. The answer to the last part of the Question is "Yes, Sir."
Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to state the name of the firm which is doing this work? Is he aware that I have in my hand a report which states clearly that some of the tanks being cut up are practically new, having been made as recently as last year?
I do not know the name of the firm.
Will my right hon. Friend now give instructions that no manpower, and materials of ordnance and R.E.M.E. shall be wasted in the overhaul of the tanks which are now obsolete?
My hon. Friend has a Question on the Paper about it. It is quite a different point.
Why did the right hon. Gentleman think it necessary to remove the name of the firm from the Question if he does not even know what the name of the firm is? I gave it.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the recent comparative trials of American Sherman tanks with British A.27 (M) and A.27 (L) tanks has proved the A.27 (M) to be the best?
It is not in the public interest to disclose information relating to comparative trials of armoured fighting vehicles.
Will my right hon. Friend now take to heart the lessons of this trial, and will he see that these very reliable Sherman tanks, which are now available in very large quantities in this country, are allocated to British units?
This Question is the one which my hon. Friend asked last week, and it is the one which I answered last week.
Would it not be a more accurate reply to say it would be extremely embarrassing to the Government if the truth were told about it?
Not in the least.
It would be, and the right hon. Gentleman knows it.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether it is with his knowledge and approval that personnel of R.E.M.E. are engaged on the overhaul of tanks of a type which have never fought, are now not intended to fight and are in process of being consigned to the scrap heap?
All armoured vehicles undergoing overhaul in R.E.M.E. workshops are required by the Army either as fighting tanks or for special roles. It is not in the public interest to describe the special military purposes for which certain types of tanks are still required.
Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that there is not a gross waste of man-power and material in overhauling tanks which soon are to be scrapped?
That is repeating the Question in the same form, and I repeat my answer in the same form.
In view of the considerable anxiety which appears to exist on this tank question in certain quarters of the House, is it not time we had at any rate some information disclosed, possibly in Secret Session, in order that the matter may be cleared up?
The suggestion for a secret Debate is one that should be made to the Leader of the House. Personally, I have no reason to fear a secret Debate.
Italian Operations (List Of Units)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the time which has elapsed since the opening of the Italian campaign, he will now as in previous campaigns make public the names of the regiments and other units which have participated in the fighting and suffered casualties?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave my hon. and gallant Friends the Members for Peters-field (Sir G. Jeffreys) and Louth (Lieut.-Colonel Heneage) on 8th June. The Commander-in-Chief must decide in each case when names of regiments can safely be released.
Films (Overseas Troops)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the latest films are shown to the troops overseas; whether there is any difficulty in obtaining them; and what are the financial arrangements for their use?
Films are made available without any difficulty for exhibition to troops overseas as soon as they are ready for exhibition to the general public. The films are hired from renters for a very reasonable sum. No charges are made for admission of Service personnel except at certain static cinemas.
Discharged Personnel (Clothing)
asked the Secretary of State for War the articles of clothing provided to men on discharge from the Services and the sums allowed in lieu thereof?
As the answer is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate the details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the loss and the amount are the same as they were 20 years ago?
I do not know exactly about what took place 20 years ago.
Has there been any change since the last war, as it was inadequate then and is certainly inadequate now?
I cannot answer about the last war, but it was certainly the same six months ago.
Following are the details:
A soldier discharged from the Army for reasons other than misconduct is given a suit, a cap, a collar and a tie. If he is discharged in winter for medical reasons he is also given an overcoat. In addition the soldier is allowed to retain some of his Army clothes, namely, one pair of boots, three shirts, underclothing, four pairs of socks and one woollen pullover. If the soldier prefers to have cash instead of the overcoat, suit, cap, collar and tie he is given £2 4s. 0d. for the overcoat and £2 15s. 9d. for the other articles.
Electrical Treatment, North Africa
asked the Secretary of State for War whether facilities for electrical treatment are provided in North Africa for members of the Forces who are in need of such treatment in consequence of wounds or sickness?
If I send the right hon. Gentleman particulars of a case which has been waiting for many months in hospital there, where electrical treatment is stated to be necessary, will he take immediate action about it?
I will certainly investigate it, but I can inform the hon. Member that all demands for electrical equipment have been met. I will certainly look into his individual case to see what the exact explanation is.
Lieutenant A J Shadbolt (Termination Of Commission)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether Lieutenant A. J. Shadbolt, who was called upon to resign his commission in December, 1939, was charged with any crime or misdemeanour between the date on which he was urgently invited to take a commission in September, 1939, and the date his resignation was demanded; whether he was ever allowed to discuss the reasons for his enforced resignation as provided for under Army Regulations; and, if not, why this officer was subjected to such irregular treatment?
As far as I am aware, the answer to the first part of the Question is "No, Sir." Mr. Shadbolt submitted an appeal against ale decision to terminate his commission. All the facts, including a statement from Mr. Shadbolt with his presentation of the case, were carefully considered by the Army Council, but it was decided that his appeal failed.
In view of the fact that this officer was urgently invited by the Army Council to take a commission at the beginning of the war, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be a matter of common justice to have seen the senior officer and discussed this matter with him before this man was called upon to resign?
This case has been investigated in the greatest detail by my hon. and learned Friend the Financial Secretary and by his predecessor. The present Financial Secretary has written at great length on the matter to my hon. Friend and I think has disposed of all his points.
As the Financial Secretary was not able to give me a satisfactory explanation, may I give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity?
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has yet made any change in the conditions under which family allowances are paid to soldiers' families where domestic differences arise?
It has been decided that, in future, the issue of family allowance to a soldier's wife shall continue notwithstanding that normal domestic relations may have ceased, provided he continues voluntarily to contribute the normal qualifying allotment from his pay. This decision will not affect the special arrangements where there is a Court Order, an Order under Section 145 (2) (b) of the Army Act, or a Deed, making provision for a payment by the soldier for the maintenance of his family, nor the cases where the soldier is making a claim on public funds in respect of other dependents. The decision covers sailors and airmen as well. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a more detailed statement regarding this decision, together with an explanation of its effect on cases where the soldier is not prepared to continue qualifying allotment.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that while that is a certain concession, this question will require more drastic revision, because, under the present arrangements, it is far too easy for a private soldier and still easier for an officer to desert his wife and leave her without resources?
I think the hon. Lady had better read the longer statement, and then possibly she might put that point again. I think it is another question.
Following is the statement:
Hitherto soldiers whose wives are in receipt of family allowance have been required to report the cessation of normal domestic relations and family allowance has been withdrawn, subject to continuance for a limited period, in suitable cases, during which the Army welfare officers endeavour to effect reconciliation. In future there will be no requirement to report the estrangement and family allowance will continue in issue to a separated (but not divorced) wife and her family provided that the soldier continues the normal qualifying allotment from his pay, that he is not under compulsion to provide for his family's maintenance by a court order, an order under Section 145 (2, b)
of the Army Act or a deed of separation, and that he is making no claim to dependant's allowance in addition. In cases where there is such a court order, etc., the payment, including the contribution by the soldier of a sum equal to qualifying allotment, may not exceed the amount of such order.
Where separation exists already, whether pre- or post-enlistment, the issue of family allowance will be governed by a condition that the man has contributed to the maintenance of his family according to his means and will generally in pre-enlistment cases not exceed the amount of such maintenance. It is considered that when the obligation of a husband to maintain his wife has been allowed to lapse entirely the wife, if she so desires, can seek her remedy in the courts, or by appeal under Section 145 (2, b) of the Army Act, without undue hardship.
The Army procedure of attempting to secure reconciliation, which I am satisfied is in the public interest, will, except in obviously unsuitable cases, continue where normal relations cease and the soldier is not disposed voluntarily to contribute the qualifying allotment which enables family allowance to remain in issue. Further consideration is being given to measures to brdge the gap which occurs, where reconciliation fails, between the cessation of family allowance and the date on which the wife can obtain an order from the court or under the Army Act. There are substantial legal and other difficulties to be overcome, and I am not yet able to state a solution of this difficulty. The decision I have just announced will, it is anticipated, reduce the number of cases in which a gap occurs, while the system in force enabling the officer deputed under Section 145 (2, b) of the Army Act to make interim orders against soldiers on prima facie evidence already substantially reduces this gap in many of the cases where it still arises.
Temporary Unpaid Rank (Widows' Pensions)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider making such alterations in war-time regulations as will ensure that officers, who are granted a temporary unpaid higher rank for a probationary period of 21 days and who are killed during that period, shall be regarded as holding that rank for the purpose of enabling their widows to draw the higher appropriate pension?
I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer I gave on 21st September to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser).
Will my right hon. Friend not consider the possibility of the War Office giving the benefit of the doubt to these officers and assuming for pension purposes that they justify the confidence that the War Office has placed in them by appointing them, unpaid, to higher ranks?
That is a question on which a considerable number of Supplementary Questions have been put on a previous occasion. It involves not one consideration only but a good many reactions in other directions, and I do not think it would be very satisfactory to try to dispose of it categorically by means of Parliamentary Questions and answers.
In that case, I wish to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment.
Field Hospital Operations
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that at a field hospital, of which he has been privately informed, patients awaiting operations do so in a state of consciousness and in full view of surgeons operating on other patients; and whether he will issue instructions whereby the unnecessary mental suffering so caused shall be avoided?
The protection of the susceptibilities of patients is an important part of the preparations made for operations in the Army and elsewhere, and I am sure that the incident referred to by my hon. Friend is an isolated one which probably occurred in improvised accommodation. I am, however, bringing this case to the notice of the military authorities.
Requisitioned Properties (Fire Insurance)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that in connection with properties requisitioned by his Department, reimbursement of owners for the cost of ensuring their properties against risk of damage by fire, is by quarterly payment in arrear, whereas other Government Departments reimburse yearly in advance; and, as this practice causes considerable hardship to owners, will he consider altering this ruling to that adopted by other Government Departments?
If the claimant wishes the property to be insured the War Department refunds the premiums but the refund is not made until the premium has in fact been paid. The refund is made in quarterly payments because the property may be relinquished at any time during the year and the recovery of a number of small sums would involve a disproportionate amount of work and delay final settlement. This consideration does not apply to the same extent in the case of other Departments whose requisitioned properties are fewer in number and are normally held for a long period. I am not aware that the Army practice causes hardship.
Is not the Minister aware that compensation for taking over requisitioned premises is payable in arrear and not in advance, and that consequently in the event of any compensation for insurance being due to the Government, they would be able to deduct it from the amount of money payable when the premises are de-requisitioned?
I am sorry. I could not fully follow the point which my hon. Friend made, but I will look into it and see whether it makes any difference to the argument.
Does not my right hon. Friend consider it expedient that Government Departments should be consistent in their policy and that there should be the same policy in the War Office that there is in other Departments?
Compassionate Release (Rifleman's Occupation)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has considered the case of the rifleman he has been notified of who requested a compassionate posting on account of his wife's serious illness; was granted 12 months' release, maintaining his wife and family as a musician in a theatre orchestra; and will he take steps to have the rifleman's services used in the Army or, alternatively, have him transferred to war industry?
The rifleman will rejoin his unit this month on expiry of his present period of release.
Does not the right hon. Gentleman feel that our man-power position does not justify this kind of thing, and will he take steps to warn commanding officers of the position?
The only logical conclusion to be drawn from that statement or Question of my hon. Friend is that there should be no compassionate release from the Army at all. It having been decided that a compassionate release was justified, it seems to me that for the man to earn his living by playing in a theatre orchestra is the method which best enables him to attend to his sick wife because of whose illness he was released.
But if compassionate leave of 12 months' duration is granted, is there no better way of employing the soldier than in a cinema orchestra?
It depends entirely on the domestic circumstances.
Why is the soldier not employed in the Army near his home?
Nuffield Forces Club (Women's Land Army)
asked the Secretary of State for War why his Department have issued instructions to the secretary of the Nuffield Forces Club, Wardour Street, London, W.1, that members of the W.L.A. are not to be admitted to the club, as these instructions have been publicly enforced against Land Army girls from Streatham and elsewhere who had previously been welcomed at the club on a number of occasions?
The demand for the facilities of canteens run for the benefit of members of the Services is such that it is in general impossible to extend these facilities to members of other organisations. An exception has been made in favour of the Women's Land Army in the case of canteens near their work where opportunities for buying refreshments elsewhere are limited. This consideration does not apply to the canteen mentioned by the hon. Member and I regret that no exception to the rule can be made in this case.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these women are working on the outskirts of London where there are no canteen facilities? Is it not reasonable that they should get the same recreational facilities as other women in the Services?
I understand that this is a question of facilities in Wardour Street. I am not aware of any agricultural operations there nor of any absence of restaurant facilities.
Soldiers' Gifts From Egypt (Prices)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that British soldiers in Egypt are being charged 15s. a pair for women's stockings of a quality retailed in Britain pre-war at 9d. a pair and with an 8-inch foot against the average British foot of 9½ inches, making them in most cases un-wearable; and will he arrange to warn the troops against purchasing useless gifts at exorbitant prices?
I have every reason to think that the local military authorities will have taken such steps as are possible to warn British troops against being imposed upon in this way, and I have asked the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Middle East, to consider whether any further, action in this direction is possible and desirable.
Are not the Egyptians making a fortune out of British troops?
Will my right hon. Friend consider an extension of the activities of the Desert Purchasing Organisation which was set up for this very purpose?
I will inquire into that.
Territorial Officers (Promotion)
asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers, serving on Territorial commissions, had been appointed to the rank of brigadier between 1st January, 1939, and 3rd September, 1939; how many of these officers are still serving in this rank; and how many of them have since been promoted to higher rank?
The answer to the first part of the Question is 27, to the second part 6, and to the third part 2.
Does the right hon. Gentleman not consider that this very low number is rather discouraging to Territorial officers, and is something of a reflection on their ability?
I do not think so. I know that the view expressed by my hon. and gallant Friend is one which is frequently held, and it is one to which I have given a good deal of attention. I think it is largely a question of age, and the demands of modern warfare on officers of the rank of brigadier are very exacting.
Minefields, South-East England
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that, earlier in the war, anti-tank mines were laid in ground abutting on to the highway in parts of South-eastern England; that these mines are now frequently exploding; and whether, as they constitute a menace to the users of the highway, he will now have them removed?
The need far maintaining certain minefields is reviewed from time to time, and some are now being removed because they are no longer operationally necessary. All minefields are effectively wired and marked with notices, and I am not aware that they are proving to be a danger to the public. But if my hon. Friend will send me particulars of the places he has in mind, I will have the matter looked into.
Artificial Limbs (Pre-War Discharged Men)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will now extend to men discharged before the outbreak of the present war the concessions under which non-attributable amputation cases discharged during the present war are provided with initial and duplicate artificial limbs, with repairs and renewals, all at public cost?
I regret that I cannot see my way to accept my hon. Friend's proposal.
British Prisoners Of War
asked the Secretary of State for War how long a period normally elapses between a visit by the Protecting Power to British prisoners of war in camp in Europe and the receipt by the War Office of the Protecting Power's Report on that visit; whether such Reports are made by telegraph; and how long such telegrams normally take in transit?
On the average, less than two months now elapses between the date of visit and the receipt by the War Office of a full report from the Protecting Power. The period was considerably longer last winter and spring, owing to the interruption of communications caused by the German occupation of Vichy France. In the case of an important report received by our Legation at Berne a telegraphic summary of its contents is at once sent to this country; the time that elapses between the date of the visit and the receipt of the telegram in London is on the average slightly over three weeks.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many individuals are employed by the Protecting Power in this work and roughly how many camps they have to cover?
Not without notice.
Repatriated Prisoners Of War (Rations)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether the prisoners of war recently repatriated from enemy territory who are in hospital convalescing are receiving ordinary civilian rations; and, in view of the fact that these men have been under-nourished in enemy prison camps, whether he will arrange for them to receive increased rations in order that they may be restored to health as speedily as possible?
Repatriated prisoners who are being treated in military hospitals and military convalescent depots are receiving the full scale of military rations. Those who have been transferred to hospitals of the E.M.S. so that they may be as near as possible to their homes, are at present receiving the civilian scale of rations. My hon. and gallant Friend will appreciate that there are real difficulties in differentiating between civilian and Service patients undergoing treatment in the same hospital, perhaps in the same ward, but I am looking into this now.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will give instructions to all Departments to modify the present security regulations in order that there shall be no disparity in the volume of war news available to the public as between the United States and this country?
No, Sir. I do not think this is necessary.
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that we have now arrived at a stage in the war in which the release of more detailed news from various fronts, including the home front, would not be of any practical use to the enemy?
We have arrived at a stage in the war where there are very large free Presses on both sides of the Atlantic which are fed on very full and vivid information from all the theatres of war. It is quite possible that some temporary discordance may from time to time make itself manifest, but I am not aware that there is any great evil here to be grappled with.
Is not Hitler's only ally the hangman, and will my right hon. Friend reproduce as a Government paper his last speech proving it?
I do not quite see what that has to do with the Question on the Paper, but Hitler still has some other allies besides the one mentioned by my hon. and gallant Friend, on which no doubt he relies a great deal.
Africa Ribbon And Star
asked the Prime Minister when it is proposed to issue the Africa ribbon and star; and the reason for the delay?
So far as the ribbon is concerned, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Wing Commander James) on 4th November. As I informed the House on 3rd August, the manufacture of the Star is to be postponed until after the war. If issued, it would not, during the continuance of hostilities, be worn by serving personnel, and the diversion of the necessary labour, machinery and material for this service would not, in the circumstances, be justified at the present time. The ribbon is quite a different matter.
Are we to understand that no ribbons have so far been issued?
If my hon. and gallant Friend had not been detained by his military duties, he would have heard that 345,000 ribbons are already in North Africa, and I think that 33,000 of the general service ribbon have already been issued in this country.
May I assure my right hon. Friend that I did read his answer most carefully, although I was not here, but I did not understand whether the ribbons had actually been issued to the troops or sent out to Africa?
They have been sent with very strong injunctions that commanding officers should do their very best to endeavour to enable these men to wear this ribbon as soon as possible, even if a few mistakes might be made.
King Of The Hellenes
asked the Prime Minister whether he has given any undertaking in regard to the future status of King George of Greece?
No, Sir. In accordance with the principles of the Atlantic Charter, it will be for the Greek people to decide on the future Government of their country. The King of the Hellenes himself declared in his broadcast of 4th July last that, as soon as the security of the country is complete and the necessities of military operations allow, free and general elections for a Constituent Assembly will be held. Until the Greek people can express their will in conditions of freedom and tranquillity, it is the settled policy of His Majesty's Government to support the King of the Hellenes, who is at once our loyal Ally and the constitutional head of the Greek State.
Does not my right hon. Friend deplore the tendency to prove that one is a good democrat by decrying constitutional monarchy?
Service Prisons And Detention Barracks (Inquiry, Report)
asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to publish the Report of Mr. Justice Oliver?
Yes, Sir. I hope that the Report will be available to the House and the public very shortly.
Land Development (Uthwatt Committee's Report)
asked the Prime Minister whether the Government regard the principal recommendation of the Uthwatt Committee, relating to the immediate vesting in the State of the rights of development in all land lying outside built-up areas, barred as a possible subject of legislation by the present Parliament?
No, Sir. But until the present review of this matter in all its aspects has been completed, I cannot say what form any legislation will take or how soon it will be ready.
Women's Services (Post-War Use)
asked the Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to continue the Women's Service units permanently or to disband them at a convenient date after the war?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave on 22nd July last to my hon. Friend the Member for East Islington (Mrs. Cazalet Keir), to which at present I have nothing to add.
Newfoundland (Parliamentary Mission)
asked the Prime Minister whether he will arrange that the reports prepared by the members of the Parliamentary deputation which recently visited Newfoundland, be printed and made available for Members of the House; and that an opportunity be given to the House for discussing the reports and making decisions about the restoration of self-government to Newfoundland?
No, Sir. The reports in question were confidential expressions of views, and their publication would be inappropriate. An opportunity to debate Newfoundland questions is likely to occur shortly when Dominion affairs come up for discussion, and the members of the Mission will, of course, be free to give the House the benefit of their views and impressions in the course of debate. Meanwhile, I should like to add my congratulations to them on the conclusion of a notably successful tour.
If I am able to procure one or more of these reports in the black market, will I be infringing any of the Emergency Orders?
My hon. Friend is the judge of his own honour—and a good judge.
Will the right hon. Gentleman give me any indication of what would be a favourable occasion for the House to discuss Dominion affairs?
Dominion affairs, of course, can be raised on the Address, which will be debated before very long.
That would not be a proper occasion.
It would be quite proper. An Amendment even can be framed to the Address—I am not suggesting it as a course which should be adopted—on some such lines as, "But we regret that no mention appears in the Gracious Speech of the situation in Newfoundland."
Is it the case that the three Members who have made these confidential reports will not have any restriction imposed upon them in the course of any Debate which may take place?
It is not in my power to impose any restriction upon any hon. Member apart from those restrictions which are inborne upon them by the ordinary decencies of civilised life and the fairly strict Rules of Parliamentary procedure.
Has not a definite pledge been given that a day will be set aside by the Government for a Debate on Dominion affairs, apart from the Address, and regardless of Newfoundland?
There will always be an opportunity for a Debate in the course of the Session on the salary of the Dominions Secretary.
There has not been one for five years.
That would make a very strong case for bringing it up in the coming Session. When Supply is set up, the House decides what matters it wishes to discuss, and what Votes it wants set down. Then there are all the general occasions. My right hon. Friend under whose instructions I work in these matters has not authorised me at the moment to allocate any particular day for any particular purpose.
Post-War Civil Aviation
asked the Prime Minister whether any discussions took place, or any decisions were reached, at the Moscow Conference regarding postwar arrangements for civil air traffic?
In view of the importance of the matter, does my right hon. Friend not consider that it should be put on the agenda for the Three-Power Commission meeting in London?
It would not do for me to make any statement about the Three-Power agenda without having consulted other parties, but undoubtedly civil air policy will have to be discussed between all parties, great and small.
Tobacco Imports (Shipping)
asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the fact that shortage of shipping is one of the main difficulties impeding the transfer of threatened victims of Nazi persecution to countries of safety, the export of foodstuffs to Greece and especially in sufficient quantities to India, His Majesty's Government have considered releasing shipping for these purposes by reducing imports of tobacco and other luxuries to this country, where the consumption of tobacco is over 20 per cent. greater than before the war?
Import programmes are under constant review in relation to the use of shipping for all purposes, including those to which the hon. Lady refers.
Does not my right hon. Friend admit that civilians are able to buy practically all the tobacco they want; and must that not involve a very large amount of shipping, some of which could be diverted for more vital purposes, such as carrying grain to India?
No, Sir; the tonnage involved in imports of tobacco bears but a small proportion to the tonnage involved in imports of food.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is now able to give the amount of Lend-Lease reckoned in sterling, rendered by the United States to Great Britain up to 30th June, 1943, or other convenient later date?
No, Sir. As my predecessor has informed the hon. Member, such figures are not available.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the President, in his statement, gave a figure for shipments to Great Britain, and that the right hon. Gentleman himself has since explained that this includes shipments sent on elsewhere? Will he make representations to the United States Government that they should make their statements in such a form as may be readily understandable by all people and will not lead to misconceptions?
I do not think that that would be at all desirable. I do not want to call attention to the purely financial aspects of this matter.
Requisitioned Properties (Repairs)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will call the special attention of requisitioning Departments to their liability to carry out proper maintenance of the properties requisitioned by them, and impress upon them that they should undertake all necessary repairs, particularly outside painting and roof work, etc., in order to save much larger payments which will have to be made out of public funds on termination of the requisitioning if avoidable depreciation is not checked?
This matter has recently been the subject of consultation between the Treasury and the Departments concerned. I am advised that it is the practice of Departments to effect such current repairs as are essential to prevent avoidable deterioration, subject, of course, to the fact that labour and materials are in very short supply.
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that all over the country property which has been requisitioned by the Departments, especially wooden property, is deteriorating very rapidly for want of paint, and that at the end of the war a formidable bill will have to be met, which could be avoided if this work were undertaken?
There is no difference between us on this matter. As I have said, the Treasury have been in touch with the Departments, and wish to see such work undertaken wherever possible.
Motor Vehicle Licences (Refunds)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that in cases when a petroleum officer delays until after the expiry of the month to notify a motor-car owner that he can no longer be allowed petrol coupons, the county council concerned cannot refund the money paid for the licence for the month in which the refusal was posted; and whether in these circumstances the county council will be given discretion to make such refunds?
The law provides for a refund of motor licence duty, but only in respect of each complete month of the currency of the licence that is unexpired when the licence is surrendered. A refund of duty in respect of a period prior to the surrender of the licence can only be given when the council is satisfied that the vehicle has not been on the road at any time during the currency of the licence. Careful consideration has been given to the possibility of amending the law to meet other cases of the kind to which my hon. Friend refers, but no practicable alternative arrangement has been found.
Dollar Incomes (Double Taxation)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that residents in the British Isles in receipt of an earned dollar income from the United States of America pay the United States Government a tax of 30 per cent. on such income, making their total Income Tax 13s. in the £; and what is the corresponding position of a United States resident in receipt of an income in pounds sterling earned in this country?
With regard to the first part of my hon. Friend's Question, the United Kingdom Income Tax is payable on the net amount after deduction of the United States withholding tax, and earned income relief is given on that amount. As regards the second part of the Question, I understand that the United States Income Tax law grants certain relief in respect of income from foreign sources which has been taxed in the country of origin; the total rate of taxation in the circumstances stated would depend on the total income of the taxpayer.
Is it not possible for the British Government and the United State; Government to come to some arrangement whereby this crushing double taxation on their respective nationals could be obviated?
All I can say is that it has not been possible to arrive at any arrangement with foreign countries comparable with the Dominions Income Tax relief arrangement.
Excess Profits Tax Rebate (Farmers)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the unconditional 20 per cent. rebate of the Excess Profits Tax, announced in the Budget speech of 1942, applies to farmers as well as to industrialists; and whether arrangements have been made for farmers to get back 20 per cent. of everything they have paid in Excess Profits Tax as a direct cash rebate at the end of the war?
I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the replies given to my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Mr. de Rothschild) on 23rd September and 14th October.
Income Tax (Pay-As-You-Earn Scheme)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will sympathetically consider the resolution from the directors of the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce suggesting, inter alia, that in regard to the scheme for deducting Income Tax from earnings based on the principle of pay-as-you-earn,. alternative methods of deduction be devised after close consultation with practical people directly concerned, with a view to lightening the extra burden on clerical staffs?
My attention has been drawn to the resolution to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. I would point out that the Board of Inland Revenue have throughout been in consultation with the British Employers' Confederation as representing employers and the Confederation accepts the method of deduction proposed.
asked the Chancellor of the. Exchequer when will the regulations for applying the principle of pay-as-you-earn be issued?
I am not in a position to say when the Regulations will be ready, but I may remind my hon. Friend that when made they have to be laid on the Table under the provisions of Clause 2 (4) of the Bill.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the tax tables required in the application of pay-as-you-earn will be printed; and whether they will be supplied to employers of labour without charge?
I cannot yet say when the tax tables will be ready, but they will be printed as soon as possible and will be supplied to employers without charge.
Foreign Investments And Invisible Exports
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has at his disposal full information on the state of our current invisible exports, the income from foreign investments and their value and the expected position of our income from foreign investments and invisible exports at the conclusion of hostilities; and whether, to enable hon. Members to form a judgment on the principles of international agreements on monetary and commercial matters, he will publish a White Paper giving the relevant facts?
It would not be in the national interest to publish such information at the present time.
As these very important subjects are certainly to become the subject of debate early in the forthcoming Session, is it not desirable that hon. Members should be informed of the facts, and, if it is not possible for the right hon. Gentleman to furnish all the information, cannot he furnish some estimate of the respective positions?
I will certainly consider what can be done to facilitate debate, but I must adhere to my answer that the publication of exact figures at the present time would not be in the public interest.
Economic And Monetary Policy
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will undertake not to enter into any agreement with any foreign Power which prevents us from pursuing a co-ordinated economic policy which ensures full employment, maintains direct regulation of imports and exports and enables us to conclude reciprocal agreements with the Dominions and Colonies on trade and monetary matters?
The hon. Member's Question raises issues too wide and various for treatment in an answer to a Parliamentary Question, but he may be assured that in all international discussions of an economic character the many relevant considerations will be carefully borne in mind.
Can we have a very definite assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that the conclusion of any international monetary or commercial agreements, particularly with foreign countries, are not going to interfere with the prerogative to enter into direct trading and monetary arrangements with the Dominions and the Colonies? Can we be assured that our relations with the Colonies on these matters, which are very important, will be fully protected?
Certainly, Sir, the most careful consideration will be given to that aspect of the matter, and it will be the subject of discussion with the Dominions. I do not think I can go beyond the promise already given in this House as to the opportunity for debate before definite commitments are entered into.
Can the Chancellor say whether the Dominions are themselves being consulted about these important matters before any decisions are arrived at?
They are certainly being kept in touch.
United Nations Reconstruction Banks
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he now has any statement to make with regard to the United Nations Reconstruction Bank, in view of the fact that the draft proposals have been at the Treasury for some months and that the final proposal was received by his Department nearly a month ago?
The hon. Member is misinformed. It was only recently that we received anything that could properly be described as a draft proposal, and it was made clear to us that this was not to be regarded as an authoritative proposal from the United States Treasury. The proposal in its present form is under consideration, but I am not in a position to make a statement at present.
Am I wrong in saying that certain papers were received and overtures made in the early months of this year? I made a careful check of this.
The hon. Member is quite wrong. Certain material was published, of which in fact my predecessor had no cognisance, which did not represent any authentic contacts, and it is only, as I have said, quite recently that anything in the nature of a draft proposal—that not binding in any way on the American authorities—was communicated to my Department.
My right hon. Friend said that it is not binding on the American authorities; can he say also that it is not binding on our own?
Wives' Savings Certificates
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to ensure that War Savings Certificates purchased by a wife out of savings from her housekeeping money shall remain her property?
As regards the position of Savings Certificates, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my predecessor on 18th May last to the hon. Member for West Fulham (Dr. Summerskill). I would also refer to the reply given last Wednesday by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General to the same hon. Member on the general question of a wife's savings.
As I have not these answers in my mind, can the Chancellor of the Exchequer say, in answer to the Question, whether it is possible for a wife's savings in War Savings Certificates to be taken by the husband?
The effect of the answer to which I referred the hon. Member was that the amount represented by War Savings Certificates can only be withdrawn by application in writing by the registered owner.
Is it a fact that the policy of the Exchequer is to disregard the source of the savings and only to have regard to the final avenue through which these savings are directed?
The Exchequer cannot be cognisant of the source of savings.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will facilitate the transfer to Italy, for special military purposes, of Colonel Pacciardi, commander of the Garibaldi division in Spain?
As far as I am aware, Colonel Pacciardi is in the United States, and this is a matter for the American authorities, who will, no doubt, consult General Eisenhower.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether, in view of the fact that gas-driven omnibuses by being slower make greater demands on the limited supply of omnibuses and transport personnel, he will, in view of the present petrol situation, authorise the use of more petrol omnibuses?
Careful consideration has been given to my hon. Friend's proposal in the light of present conditions, but my Noble Friend is satisfied that the necessity for obtaining experience in the operation of omnibuses on producer-gas outweighs any additional demands it may cause on vehicles and personnel.
Italian Prisoners Of War
asked the Secretary of State for War whether, prior to the fall of Mussolini, any widespread desire was expressed by Italian prisoners in this country to form an Italian legion to fight against Fascism and, if so, what action was taken in response to such a request?
Business Of The House
May I ask the Deputy Prime Minister to state the Business of the House for the next Sitting Day; and whether a statement will be made by the Government regarding the Moscow Conference before the House rises at the end of the present series of Sittings?
The Government may be able to make a statement on the third Sitting Day. I suggest that it might be convenient if, on the second Sitting Day, after the necessary Business has been disposed of, the Adjournment were moved and private Members raised those matters which would, ordinarily, have been brought up on the third Sitting Day. That would leave the third Sitting Day clear for a possible Government statement and a Debate thereon, if the House so desired.
I understand there is a widespread desire that on the second Sitting Day a Debate should be initiated on tuberculosis.
The Ministers will be in attendance.
Foods (Labelling And Advertising)
A White Paper has been issued to-day explaining the Regulations which have been made to enable my Noble Friend to protect the consumer against false and misleading claims regarding the quality of foodstuffs. A part of the problem was dealt with by the Food Substitutes Order, which, in 1941, restricted the manufacture or sale of food substitutes. But it is not possible under that Order to take action in respect of products which are not food substitutes, and there has so far been no power to prevent exaggerated claims being made for products which, though harmless, have low nutritional value and which carry labels grossly misrepresenting the nature of the product. His Majesty's Government are of opinion that the consumer is entitled to protection against such misleading claims. With the reduction in the quantity and variety of food supplies available, it is necessary to provide this protection, especially in the case of products intended for mothers, children and adolescents. The powers which the new Regulations confer, with a single exception to which I will refer later, go no further than the powers which Parliament contemplated should be exercised under certain sections of the Food and Drugs Act, 1938, and the Sale of Food (Weights and Measures) Act, 1926.Section 6 of the Food and Drugs Act forbids the advertising or labelling of food in a false or misleading way and the provisions of this Section are reproduced in substantially identical terms in Regulation 1. Similarly, Regulation 2 transfers to my Noble Friend the power at present exercised by the Minister of Health under Section 8 of the Food and Drugs Act to stipulate the manner in which various foods are to be labelled and to regulate the composition of any food. It also transfers to my Noble Friend the power of the Board of Trade under Section 9 of the Sale of Food (Weights and Measures) Act, 1926, to require any pre-packed food to be labelled with an indication of its weight or measure. The only additional power conferred by these Regulations, not previously approved by the House is included in Regulation 2. This gives power to restrict
As the House is aware, the Government have during the war given continuous attention to nutrition. It is unfortunate that some—a small minority—of manufacturers should have been tempted to exploit the national nutritional policy. Reputable food manufacturers, no less than scientists and members of the medical profession, recognise the harm that is being done by misleading advertisements of this nature and it is with the object of bringing them to an end that the new powers have been taken by Order in Council. The enforcement of any specific Orders which may be issued under these powers will be entrusted to local authorities, but they will be required, unless it is otherwise provided in the Orders my Noble Friend will make, to obtain his consent before proceedings are taken. The main purpose of this provision will be to ensure that proceedings are taken against the manufacturer who is responsible for the false description and not against a large number of retailers through whom the product reaches the public."the making in advertisements of food of claims or suggestions of the presence in the food of vitamins or minerals."