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Written Answers

Volume 393: debated on Tuesday 9 November 1943

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Written Answers


Milk Production (Local Authorities' Powers)

asked the Minister of Agriculture what adverse criticism has been submitted in regard to the proposals in Command Paper 6454, dealing with alterations to the milk and dairies administration; and whether he has considered representations that many local authorities having existing officers could efficiently discharge the necessary duties without the appointing of additional officers?

I have received and considered a number of representations from local authorities against the proposed transfer to my Department of their powers relating to milk production on the farm, including certain representations in the sense indicated in the second part of the Question.

Foxes, North Wales (Destruction)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the increase in the number of foxes in the North Wales counties; and whether he will make representations to the Forestry Commissioners, in whose forests the foxes breed, to take immediate steps to destroy them so as to minimise the losses of poultry and lambs?

Yes, Sir. I have received complaints of this nature and have made representations to the Forestry Commissioners.

Armed Forces (Pensions And Grants)

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the cost of living and all round rise in family expenses, he will, for the purpose of war service grants, reckon each child over 14 years of age as a separate and not a half unit?

The general practice of my Department is in accordance with the hon. Member's suggestion.

Trade And Commerce

Post-War Industries (County Durham)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is the intention of the Government to extend the existing trading estates and factory sites in the county of Durham; and whether a survey of the county has been made with a view to the establishment of factories and new industries where there are large populations to meet the post-war situation and to provide against long-term unemployment?

As I stated on Tuesday last, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies), the extension of trading estates and the early release of Government factories for peace-time production in particular areas are among the measures now under consideration by His Majesty's Government. The investigations, of which I informed my hon. Friend on 8th June, have included the county of Durham.

Sports Equipment (Footballs)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any steps will be taken to supply well-established football clubs with footballs in view of the difficulies now experienced by some clubs to obtain them?

Arrangements have been made by my Department for the national football associations to obtain a supply of footballs for distribution among their clubs. Production is limited owing to the shortage of labour and material, but I should be glad to look into any particular case of difficulty if my hon. Friend will send me details.

Children's Footwear

asked the President of the Board of Trade what special regulations have been issued regarding the manufacture of wooden-soled shoes in children's sizes?

No wooden soled footwear is being manufactured for children; with the exception of children's clogs. These must conform to certain requirements as regards soles and uppers; and manufacturers must submit samples to my Department for approval before they are allowed to manufacture.

Export And Import Statistics

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) the total exports of the United Kingdom to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Union of Soviet Social Republics, separately, in 1938;(2) the value of the imports into the United Kingdom from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, separately, in 1938?

The following table gives particulars of the trade of the United Kingdom with the countries named in the year 1938.

Produce of manufactures of the United Kingdom.Imported merchandise.
Soviet Union19,4996,46210,945

Madagascar (Trading Arrangements)

asked the President of the Board of Trade why no import licences are issued for the United Kingdom business houses in connection with the importation of such goods as waxes, mica, cloves and chillies from Madagascar; and whether there is any arrangement under which such commodities are consigned to the United States of America which precludes the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation participating?

His Majesty's Government and the United States Government have agreed with the French authorities that, at present, Government purchase is the best way of organising the export of beeswax, mica and certain other products from Madagascar. All imports of beeswax and mica into this country from Madagascar are, therefore, made by the Ministry of Supply. These arrangements do not apply to cloves and chillies. But the Ministry of Food have not recommended import licences as supplies are available from more convenient sources, such as West Africa. As regards the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation, there is no arrangement such as my hon. Friend suggests.

Limitation Of Supplies (Polishes) Order

asked the President of the Board of Trade the purpose and need of Section 4 of Article 6 of the Limitation of Supplies (Polishes) No. 3 Order (S. R. & O., 1206, of 1943)?

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is meant by the carrying out of a process in connection with Article 6 of the Limitation of Supplies (Polishes) Order (No. 3) S.R. & O., 1206, of 1943?

Waxes are scarce. This Order, therefore, prohibits manufacturers from supplying all wax polishes, except for furniture, floors, footwear and leather. The object of section 4 of article 6 is to prevent a distributor from suggesting, by label or similar device, that the polishes he sells are suitable also for other and less necessary purposes. The expression "the carrying out of a process" used in this article covers any manufacturing operation carried out in making polishes, and is, I am advised, well understood by the trade.

Wool Substitute Fibres

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in connection with the wool substitute fibres which are now being offered for sale, he will make it necessary for them to be clearly marked with a label so that they should not be bought by the public under the impression that they were purchasing woollen material?

No, Sir. It has always been the common practice of the wool textile industry to blend other fibres with sheep's wool, and it would be neither practicable nor desirable in war-time to require woollen fabrics containing fibres other than sheep's wool to be specially marked.

Atc Cadets (Overcoats And Boots)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the hardship caused to cadets of the A.T.C. owing to not being supplied with overcoats and service boots; and will he now give his permission for them to be supplied?

Uniforms for cadets of the A.T.C. are issued by the Air Ministry from their own allocation of material. The question whether the issue should include overcoats and boots is, therefore, one for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air. I regret that it would be quite impossible for me to find material for this purpose from the limited civilian allocation.

National Finance

Exchange Control (Rent Payment)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why it is necessary for an American citizen who owns and lets a house in Britain to produce the tenancy agreement to the Bank of England Exchange Control Department before he is permitted to deposit the amount of rent received to the credit of his blocked account with a British bank?

Permission is required for any payment to be made by a resident in the United Kingdom to a resident outside the sterling area, and the application to make such a payment must be accompanied by suitable evidence as to the nature and amount of the payment. Payment of rent is most suitably evidenced by production of the tenancy agreement. My hon. Friend is, however, under a misapprehension on two points. It is the British tenant, and not the American landlord, who is called upon to produce this evidence; and if permission is given, the payment would not be credited to a blocked account, but would be to a registered, i.e. freely transferable, account.

War Damage Insurance

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the approximate number of persons who have contributed to the insurances prescribed under the War Damage Act and the amount paid by them since the passing of the Act?

The number of persons who have contributed under Part I of the Act is unknown but the number of properties charged is approximately 13,000,000. Information is not available as to the number of persons who have contributed to the insurance schemes under Part II of the Act but it can be stated that the number of persons who are insured under the schemes is approximately as follows:

  • Business Scheme (General)—300,000.
  • Business Scheme (Farming)—160,000.
  • Private Chattels Scheme—910,000.
With regard to the amounts paid by way of contribution or premium, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my predecessor to the hon. Member for Southampton (Mr. Craven-Ellis) on 22nd June.

British Army

Home Guard

asked the Secretary of State for War whether enrolment in a cadet corps involving voluntary work for Home Guard units in time of emergency automatically involves enrolment in the Home Guard at the age of 17?

No one is compelled to join the Home Guard before the age of 18, but those members of the Army Cadet Force over 16 years of age who volunteer to give assistance to the Home Guard in certain signalling duties are required to enrol in the Home Guard provided their parents or guardians give their consent. I hope that many cadets will take advantage of this opportunity of a wider training.

Wounded Officer's Temporary Rank (Refund Claim)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the case of Captain D. C. Ling, M.C., wounded in the Western Desert, from whom a refund of £185 was claimed which had been overpaid to him through a mistake of his Department; and what action he proposes to take in this matter?

Yes, Sir. This officer was wounded whilst holding the temporary rank of major. Temporary rank is given to an officer whilst performing the duties of a rank higher than his substantive or war substantive rank and is relinquished when the appointment is vacated and the duties thus cease to be performed. Wounded officers are, as a concession, permitted to retain temporary rank for three mouths from the date of being wounded. Captain Ling should have relinquished the temporary rank of major three months after being wounded, but owing to an oversight the command overseas failed to notify the relinquishment of the rank and this was delayed for 10 months, thus causing the overissue in question. The position thus is that Captain Ling has received money from the State to which he is not entitled. He has hitherto refused to repay though he has put forward no claim of hardship.

Anti-Aircraft Units (Training)

asked the Secretary of State for War the amount of practice accorded to men working the anti-aircraft guns and to what branch of the Army they belong?

The training of anti-aircraft units is continuous and they are usually given firing practice several times a year. Most of the men belong to the Royal Artillery but some are Home Guards.

Entertainment And Cinema Duties

asked the Secretary of State for War how many officers, non-commissioned officers and men in the Army are, at present, engaged upon entertainment and cinema duties; and what will be the contemplated establishment for the purpose of fulfilling these duties should the scheme now under consideration of the War Office for entertainment overseas be put into operation?

I regret that it is not in the public interest to give figures of strengths and establishments in the Army. As a general rule the Army personnel who are engaged on the distribution and exhibition of entertainment films perform similar duties in connection with training and educational films.

Maritime Ra (Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the actual pay of men of the Maritime R.A. is much lower than that of members of the Merchant Navy whilst serving in the same merchant ships under conditions on board which are largely similar; and will he take steps to remove the anomaly and satisfy himself that other conditions which apply to the Maritime R.A. and not to the merchant seamen such as clothes, sick pay, marriage and children's allowances, free travel, pension rights and any other differences, cause the position of the R.A. men to be, on the whole, as favourable as that of the merchant seamen?

It is true that the actual pay of men in the Maritime R.A. is lower than that of members of the Merchant Navy. The former are, as my hon. Friend suggests, in receipt of benefits additional to their actual rates of pay which are not available to men of the Merchant Navy, but it is difficult to make a close comparison of the gross emoluments of the two categories of personnel. Men of the Maritime R.A. are paid at the same rates as soldiers in other sections of the R.A. and it would be invidious, in comparison with those other soldiers, to pay the Maritime R.A. on the basis applicable to the Merchant Navy, whose conditions of service are entirely different.

Camps, Wales (Dogs)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will give instructions to officers in command of military camps in Wales to see that no dogs are allowed to be kept in these camps unless under official control and responsibility, in view of the heavy losses of sheep caused by dogs from these camps; and who is responsible for meeting the claims for damages?

Instructions were issued in June in order to limit the number of dogs kept in military camps and to ensure that they were subjected to proper control by their owners. I am not aware that any further instructions are at present called for. The answer to the last part of the Question depends on the circumstance in each case.

Repatriated Prisoners Of War

asked the Secretary of State for War whether those of the repatriated wounded prisoners of war who are of Scottish origin are being treated for the most part in Scottish hospitals?

Those repatriated prisoners of war who require hospital treatment and are fit to travel are transferred under medical charge and as soon as arrangements can be made, to a suitable hospital within visiting distance of their homes.

African Colonies (Leprosy)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether leprosy is on the increase or decrease among the indigenous population in the African Colonies; whether he is satisfied that the number of segregated educational, agricultural or industrial leper settlements is sufficient; what financial assistance from public funds is being devoted to assisting in stamping out this disease; and whether there is any central body working under his direction in London stimulating research and co-ordinating remedial efforts in this direction?

In the absence of recent comprehensive surveys, I cannot give an exact answer to the first and second parts of the Question, but the number of segregated settlements is being steadily increased. Apart from moneys from native administration funds, the sum of £26,027 is provided in the current estimates of the African Colonies for direct expenditure on the treatment of leprosy or as subsidies to bodies engaged on that treatment. I am represented on the Executive and Medical Committees of the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association which is doing most valuable work of the kind mentioned in the last part of the Question.

Agricultural Workers' Houses (Materials)

asked the Minister of Health how many houses for agricultural workers are now in process of construction; in how many instances concrete instead of timber is being used for floors and staircases; and how many schemes are being held up through delay in the deliveries of timber to the sites?

Two thousand, two hundred and sixty houses are now under construction under the war-time scheme launched by the Government. Concrete is being used for both floors and staircases in 56 of these houses. Difficulty in regard to the supply of timber is being experienced only in the case of two schemes covering four houses in all.

Dogs (Regulations, Enforcement)

asked the Home Secretary whether in view of the serious damage caused by vagrant dogs, the police enforce the wearing of collars and addresses by all animals?

I have no reason to doubt police enforcement, but if my hon. and gallant Friend has had complaints regarding a particular locality I will look into them.

Public Health

Dump, Gravesend

asked the Minister of Health what action has been taken to terminate the nuisance to householders caused by an insanitary dump infested with crickets in the neighbourhood of Gravesend?

I am informed by the local authority that there is no serious nuisance from crickets at present and that they are in negotiation both with private firms and with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply with regard to the removal of the large accumulation of tins at this dump.

Bovine Tuberculosis

asked the Minister of Health whether any death certificates are received in which the cause of death is given as from bovine tuberculosis?

Bovine tuberculosis can only be distinguished with certainty from other forms by special laboratory dure and in future medical practitioners certifying deaths from this disease in which such tests have been carried out will be asked to indicate this fact. So far as is known no such distinction has been made in any certification.

Blackout (Factories)

asked the Home Secretary whether, in the interest of the health of the employees and to secure fuel economy, he will prohibit the use of blackout in factories during the hours of daylight, except where special circumstances make this necessary and then only by Government permit?

The Government policy is described in my statement of 23rd September, 1943, to which I would refer my hon. Friend. Removable blackout has always been recommended, where practicable, as preferable to permanent blackout. The immediate substitution of removable for permanent blackout would, however, be impracticable owing to the quantities of material and labour required, and the prohibition suggested would therefore seriously affect production. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Production is doing what is possible with the resources at his disposal to improve the position.

Prisoners (Young Persons)

asked the Home Secretary how many boys and girls, respectively, under the age of 16 years, have been sent to prison in 1939 and during the last 12 months for which statistics are available; at what prisons were the sentences served; for how many hours were the children locked up each day; how many hours' exercise did they have; what was the nature of the exercise; what forms of educational activity were provided for them; and in how many of these prisons were the children examined by a medical psychologist to ascertain the cause of their unruliness or depravity?

In 1939 one boy under 16 was received into Durham prison under a sentence of imprisonment. In 1942 two boys and two girls under 16 were so received into the prisons at Feltham, Leeds, Cardiff and Manchester respectively. As regards young persons remanded to prison instead of to a remand home, I can only give figures for those under 17. The numbers were 105 boys and 18 girls in 1939; and 471 boys and 105 girls in 1942. On the question of the treatment of these young persons in prison, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Ivor Thomas) on 28th October. All these young persons will have been medically examined by the prison medical officer, but I am unable to say in how many cases a special psychological examination was included.

Armed Forces, India (Prices)

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that R.A.F. personnel stationed in India have to pay 9d. each for razor blades; 3s. for a tube of tooth paste, beer 4s. per bottle and 1s. 6d. for a tin of boot polish; and whether he will take steps to encourage the extension of N.A.A.F.I. facilities to the troops in India?

I have been asked by my right hon. Friend to reply. I am aware that prices for European goods are high in India, and the Government of India's policy in this matter is to alleviate the position for the Services by the provision to the utmost extent possible of canteen facilities for the purchase of articles such as those referred to and by the fixing of reasonable prices in such canteens. Canteens in India are run by the Indian Canteens Department which is controlled by the Government of India and it is administratively undesirable that there should be overlapping between that Department and N.A.A.F.I.

asked the Secretary of State for India whether tobacco can be obtained in the same quantity and at the same prices by the troops in India as by troops in other commands?

I understand that there has been a considerable rise in the price of tobacco in India but that prices ordinary brands still compare not unfavourably with those charged by N.A.A.F.I. in other commands. Small parcels of tobacco, cigars and cigarettes may be sent duty free from this country to members of the Forces serving in India.

Coal Industry

Domestic Supplies (Allocation)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is the allocation of coal per week for domestic purposes throughout the country; and what is the amount made available for distribution, among other than mineworkers, in Rhondda?

The house coal allocation programme covers all controlled premises registered under the Coal Distribution Order, 1943. Such premises include not only private houses but hotels, shops, schools, hospitals and also industrial undertakings which consume less than 100 tons of coal per annum. Separate figures are not available in respect of allocations for domestic purposes only. This allocation programme provides, as from the 1st November a weekly average of 89 cwt. per controlled premises over the whole country, and 1 cwt. for the Rhondda Valley. My hon. Friend will appreciate, however, that, since, in general, the consumption of coal in the other classes of registered premises is higher than that of the domestic consumer, the average amount available for the latter is something less than the quantity stated. These quantities exclude coke and other alternative fuels as well as miners' coal. The figures mentioned above relate only to the allocation programme of supplies of coal to merchants. The quantity of coal which may be supplied to individual premises is covered by the Coal Distribution Order, 1943, General Direction (Restriction of Supplies) No. 2, and depends upon the amount of coal in stock at the premises concerned. Since many domestic consumers have responded to my appeal and laid in stocks during the summer, no distribution of coal will be required this winter at a substantial proportion of these premises.

Concentration Scheme, Sheffield

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the number of increased personnel underground at Westhorpe Colliery, near Sheffield, since the closing of Norwood Colliery and the average weekly increase of output; and whether he is satisfied that concentration in this area has given the anticipated results?

Westhorpe Colliery now employs 75 more men than it did previous to the closure of Norwood and the output for the latest date available has increased by 474 tons per week. When certain development work at Westhorpe has been completed the concentration scheme of which the closure of the Norwood Pit formed part, is expected to yield an aggregate additional output of 1,500 tons a week and I am satisfied that the project will amply justify itself.

Oil-From-Coal Plant, Welbeck

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why his Department agreed to the withdrawal of labour from a successful operating oil-from-coal plant at Welbeck?

The small oil-from-coal plant at Welbeck has not been in continuous operation. The negligible contribution of this plant to our oil supplies did not justify the retention of the labour necessary to keep it in operation.

Retail Distribution

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what is the present number of coal merchants now engaged in retail distribution?

The total number of merchants licensed under the Coal Distribution Order, 1943, is approximately 30,000.

New Collieries

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many new collieries designed to produce, respectively, more than 500,000 tons and more than 1,000,000 tons annually have come into production since 1930?

On the best information available as to the ultimate capacity of new projects, the numbers are two and one respectively.

Absenteeism And Output

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what tonnage of output per annum is represented by voluntary absenteeism of 6 per cent. at the coal face?

Machine Cut Coal (Percentages)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the percentage of the coal cut by machinery in 1939, in 1941 and at the present time?

The percentage of coal cut by machinery at mines under the Coal Mines Act in Great Britain in the years 1939, 1941, 1942, was 61, 66 and 66 per cent. respectively.

American Power-Loading Machines

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many American power-loading machines have been installed in this country and at how many collieries?

Fourteen American power-loading machines have been installed at five collieries in this country.

Output, Scotland

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what was the total output per shift at the coal face in the Scottish coalfields during the periods April to June, 1939, inclusive, April to June, 1942, inclusive and April to June, 1943, inclusive?

The average output per shift at the coal face in the Scottish coalfields as a whole was 53.96 cwts. in the June quarter of 1939, 50.99 cwts. in the same quarter of 1942, and 48.06 cwts. in 1943.

Town And Country Planning

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he has considered the resolution of the Gloucestershire County Council asking for an early publication of the essential features of a national planning scheme and for steps to be taken to check speculation in land values which is going on in the country; and whether he is prepared to take action along those lines?

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes, Sir." In answer to the last part, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for East Birkenhead (Mr. Graham White) on 21st September, 1943, of which I am sending him a copy.

Rubber Reclamation (Labour Shortage)

asked the Minister of Supply (1) whether he is aware that reclaiming plant financed by his Ministry is standing idle as a result of the shortage of labour; and what steps he proposed to take in the matter;(2) whether he is aware that the supply of labour to the rubber reclaiming industry is not on the priority list at local employment exchanges, as a result of which labour is not directed to reclaiming factories; and whether he will remedy this matter;(3) why the rubber reclaiming industry, which is responsible for supplying essential raw materials for practically all goods manufactured from rubber for use by the Armed Forces, is not able to obtain approximately 200 men to enable the industry to produce what is required by his Ministry; and whether he will consult with the Minister of Labour with a view to remedying this matter?

There is at present a shortage of labour for certain rubber reclamation plants in very difficult labour areas, and my right hon. Friend is in close touch with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour on this subject. So far as can be foreseen, the measures that have been and are now being taken should enable the industry to meet our reclaimed rubber requirements.

Admiralty Ex-Employee (Compensation)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that Mr. H. Clarke, of 23A, East Road, West Ham, was awarded £1 a week compensation for the loss of an eye while employed by the Admiralty at Kingsworth Airship Construction Station in 1918; that when Clarke found employment at the L.N.E.R., Stratford engineering works, this compensation was taken into account when fixing his wages; that during the war his compensation has been reduced to 11s. a week and may soon fall to 1s.; and whether, as his treatment defeats the purpose of workmen's compensation and of war bonuses, since each bonus after the first has been appropriated by the Department, he will give sympathetic consideration to this injustice?

Mr. Clarke left Admiralty employment at his own request on the 21st February, 1919, and has since been in receipt of compensation awarded under the Government Scheme of Compensation of 1913 (framed under the Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906) which he accepted in substitution for the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Acts. The award is subject to restriction under Clause 11A of the Scheme, which reads:

"The allowance awarded to a workman by way of compensation shall be paid to him in addition to his earnings in Government or other employment so long as the degree of incapacity on account of which it was awarded continues, provided that the said allowance together with his weekly earnings in such employment shall not exceed the average weekly earnings upon which the said allowance was computed. Until such limit is reached no deduction shall be made from the said allowance."
Mr. Clarke's average weekly earnings before his injury amounted to £4 5s. 6d., and he is at present receiving an injury allowance at the rate of 10s. 1d. a week, which represents the difference between his current average weekly earnings of £3 15s. 5d. and his pre-injury earnings. In calculating the amount of Mr. Clarke's current earnings it is not possible to exclude the amount he receives by way of war bonuses, since they must be accepted as forming part of his earnings. There is no provision in the Workmen's Compensation Acts or Schemes framed thereunder which would enable this to be done. The Workmen's Compensation Act, 1943, which provides for re-assessment of average weekly earnings, does not apply in cases of injuries incurred before 1st January, 1924.

Government Departments (Evacuation)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total number of civil servants who were evacuated from London since the beginning of the war, together with the Departments concerned; and how many of the personnel and Departments have now returned to London and the reasons for this step?

Nearly three-quarters of the Civil Service are now located outside London, but it is not possible to say how many of these were evacuated from London owing to the war-time changes in the Service. As regards returns to London I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. and gallant Member for Rochester (Captain Plugge) on 19th October.



asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children who had been inoculated against diphtheria developed diphtheria during the period for which the records have been collected; how many of these received a full course of inoculations; in how many of these was there a fatal termination; and whether he will have these and all other facts relevant to diphtheria immunisation published in the summarised Annual Reports of the Department of Health for Scotland?

During 1941, 1942, and the first half of 1943, 3,580 children under age 15 who had been inoculated against diphtheria developed the disease. According to my information, all these children had undergone the full course of inoculations but in some cases sufficient time may not have elapsed after inoculation to allow full immunity to develop. In 18 cases the disease ended fatally. During the same period the number of non-inoculated children of the same age group who developed diphtheria was 12,818, and among these there were 805 deaths. By the end of the period the total number of children in this age-group who had been inoculated was about double the number who had not. A general reference to the scope of the immunisation campaign was made in the summary reports of the Department of Health for Scotland, published in 1942 and 1943. I shall, however, keep in mind the hon. Member's suggestion for future reports.

Post-Vaccinal Encephalitis

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why no reference was made in the recent Report of the Department of Health to the cases of, and deaths from, post-vaccinal encephalitis and other results of vaccination during the smallpox scares in Glasgow, Fifeshire and Edinburgh in 1942?

The Report referred to, being a summary Report, was necessarily brief and could not include all material which would have appeared in the longer reports issued in normal circumstances. The position is that out of about a million vaccinations 39 cases of post-vaccinal encephalitis occurred and there were 14 deaths. Information as to the number of persons who developed other conditions which may have been due to, or complicated by, vaccination is not available, but eight deaths occurred as a result of such conditions.

White Fish And Shell Fish Industries (Committee)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action has been taken by the Scottish Council on Industry in response to his invitation that they should interest themselves in the present position and post-war prospects of the Scottish white fish industry?

The Council have appointed a committee under the chairmanship of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Major Nevin-Spence) to consider, in consultation with leading trade representatives, the special problems of the white fish industry and shell fish industry in Scotland and to advise on the best means of dealing with the situation after the war. The membership of the Committee is as follows:—

  • The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Major Neven-Spence), Chairman;
  • The hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. M. K. MacMillan);
  • The hon. Member for South Aberdeen (Sir Douglas Thomson);
  • Mr. F. O. Stuart, Elgin;
  • Mr. J. Veitch, Transport and General Workers' Union;
  • Mr. J. T. Dowling, G.A., Glasgow;
  • Mr. J. L. White, Edinburgh.
  • Mr. C. Williamson, S.S.C., Deputy Town Clerk of Edinburgh, will act as Secretary.

Hydro-Electric Scheme (Finance)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what rate of interest is being charged by the Scottish banks on money lent for financing the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Scheme?

No public issue of stock is contemplated prior to the commencement of capital works. What temporary accommodations are being required are being arranged for collectively by the Scottish banks at a low rate of interest which is regarded by the Board as very satisfactory.

Bank-End Farm, Cumnock (Tenancy)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the letter of protest from the Executive Committee of the Ayrshire Branch of the Farmers' Union protesting against the eviction of Mr. Reid, tenant farmer, of Bank-end Farm, Cumnock; and what reply he has sent?

I have not received any such letter. The President of the Scottish National Farmers' Union discussed the case with me on 22nd October, when I explained the legal position in regard to tenancies of land which has not been sold since the beginning of the war. I subsequently sent him a copy of the letter I wrote to my hon. Friend on 2nd August last.

Trading With The Enemy (Swiss Firms)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Warfare whether he will give the reasons for the blacklisting of the firm of Sulzer Brothers, of Winterhus; how many other Swiss firms have been blacklisted; and whether he will give an assurance that after the war assistance given to the enemy by firms in neutral countries will, so far as British trade is concerned, be taken into account in international dealings?

His Majesty's Government of course realise that in present circumstances it is impossible Mr many Swiss manufacturers to avoid a certain volume of trade with Germany and other Axis countries. We are bound, however, to take a serious view in cases where deliveries to the Axis substantially increase and are greatly in excess of normal trade. Firms in any neutral countries which choose to reinforce in this manner the Axis war effort have in our view no legitimate cause for complaint if they find themselves placed on the British Statutory List and the United States Proclaimed List. As a general rule, however, we are prepared to refrain from such action if the firm concerned is prepared to enter into an undertaking regarding its future dealings with the Axis, and a large number of neutral firms have signed such undertakings.Since the beginning of the war the firm of Sulzer Brothers has exported to Axis countries various forms of machinery. My Noble Friend accepts their statement, which was made some weeks ago in a letter to His Majesty's Consul-General at Zurich and which has recently been publicly repeated in Switzerland, that they refrained from exporting arms or munitions or submarine diesel engines. There are, however, many other forms of manufacture of hardly less value to the Axis. In the summer of this year there was a very heavy increase indeed in Sulzer Brothers' deliveries to the Axis of certain types of machinery, particularly marine diesel engines. In these circumstances the firm were invited to sign an undertaking that they would confine their deliveries to Axis countries to their normal pre-war volume of trade. This they refused to do. We had therefore no option but to include their name in the Statutory List.The total number of names in Switzerland now on the Statutory List is 1,164. As regards the third part of the Question, I can hardly give an assurance in the precise form suggested. But I should like to make it clear that firms and traders in European neutral countries should not too hastily assume that, when the Armistice is signed, we will at once forget those who have elected to assist our enemies.