Written Answers To Questions
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now consider the appointment of a special committee to review the experiences of war contracts and the effect of the various forms of contract on the increase of production per man-hour.
My hon. Friend doubtless has in mind the recommendation by the National Expenditure Committee in their 14th Report of 1942–3. In their reply to this recommendation the Treasury stated that it was contemplated that there should be a review of the methods developed during the war as regards contracts; but, while this reply holds good, I do not feel that we have reached the stage when such an inquiry can conveniently be put into operation.
Determination Of Profits (Crown Assets)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Society of British Aircraft Constructors have entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Aircraft Production whereby one-eighth of the value of Crown assets provided for companies by the Ministry of Aircraft Production, when a rental is not charged, is allowed to rank as capital employed for the determination of profit; and, now much of the cost of such machinery the firms in the Society of British Aircraft Constructors are entitled to rank as capital employed for the determination of profit if a rental is charged.
The arrangement under which one-eighth of the value of Government-owned assets is allowed to rank as capital employed for profit determination purposes is not peculiar to the Society of British Aircraft Constructors, but is of general application. The intention is that contractors shall in effect receive a management fee for the handling of Government-owned assets. The one-eighth allowance is given irrespective of whether a rental is charged, and the answer to the second part of the Question is, therefore, that it applies to the whole of the Crown assets in use for Government purposes by the society.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is in a position to make any statement as to when post-war credits are likely to be paid.
No, Sir. This is a matter which will most appropriately be dealt with in a Budget statement.
Income Tax (Prisoners Of War)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what scale is Income Tax deducted from the pay of prisoners of war; and how the practice of H.M. Government compares with that of Dominion Governments in this matter.
The service pay of prisoners of war is liable to United Kingdom Income Tax in the same way as the pay of any member of the Forces serving abroad. As regards the point raised in the second part of my hon. and gallant Friend's Question, I understand that in general the pay of prisoners of war is treated in the same way as the pay of members of the Dominion Forces serving outside the Dominion.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider withdrawing the Purchase Tax on dustbins in view of the fact that there is a statutory obligation upon landlords to provide tenants with dustbins.
I am afraid that I do not at present see my way to make a special concession in regard to those articles, which cannot be dealt with in isolation.
Personal Presents (Taxation)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the annoyance caused to British and American subjects by the charging of small sums of money by way of Customs Duty and Purchase Tax on personal gift parcels sent from America to this country; and, in view of small revenue resulting and the damage to Anglo-American good will, whether he will arrange to waive the duty on parcels the value of which does not exceed £1 or £2.
I am afraid I could not agree to exempt personal presents from the United States from Customs Duties and Purchase Tax imposed by the law.
War Savings Certificates (Adopted Children)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to caution purchasers of War Savings Certificates that if they place these certificates to the credit of a legally adopted child they will lose all claim on the money should the child die.
As my hon. Friend is aware, succession to the property of an adopted child, including Savings Certificates of which the child is the owner, is governed by the general law of the country. I cannot undertake that the existing state of the law on this matter will be specially brought to the notice of the purchasers of Savings Certificates.
Statutory Rules And Orders
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Purchase Tax (Suspension of Registration Limit) Order, 1945, will be published, having regard to the fact that a Press notice on the matter was published on Saturday, 12th May, and the document was not in the Library of the House of Commons on 17th May; and will he state what is the S.R. & O.number.
This Order, of which I gave notice to the House on 3rd May, was made by the Treasury on that date and was published as Statutory Rule and Order, 1945, No. 482, and presented to the House of Commons on 10th May. The Select Committee on Statutory Rules and Orders reported to the House on 15th May that there were no reasons for drawing the special attention of the House to the Order. Subject to an Affirmative Resolution of the House of Commons, the Order will come into operation on 1st July.
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on what day the Food (Fish) Order, S.R. & O., No. 525, was placed on sale in His Majesty's Stationery Office.
Monday, 14th May.
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury why the Coal (Charges) (Amendment) (No. 1) Order (S.R. & O., No. 438 of 1945) was reprinted; and in what respects did the amended reprint differ from the original.
The reason why the Order was reprinted was that the name of one of the signatories was given in to the printers incorrectly, and the correction of this mistake is the only respect in which the reprint differs from the original.
asked the Minister of Food why the Food (Fish) Order, S.R. &O., No. 525, of 1945, which was operated from 8th to 14th May, inclusive, was not available to Members in the Library until 14th May; and what action was taken to bring this Order to the notice of the trade in sufficient time for those concerned to take advantage of it.
The Order to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers was a General Licence removing temporarily restrictions on the purchase of fish by catering establishments in order to avoid any possible waste of fish during the Victory holidays. My intention to make this Order was brought to the notice of the trade both by a Press notice issued on 20th April and by a circular issued on 3rd May to all establishments affected.
Local Authorities (Extra Duties)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he proposes to take to lessen the extra duties imposed on local authorities, owing to war conditions, involving additions to their staff, a great increase in office and other accommoda- tion and a consequent increase in expenditure; and will he cause a reduction in the issue of Orders, Regulations and explanatory leaflets and booklets by Government Departments to local authorities.
I am aware that administration in the conditions of war has imposed heavy duties on local authorities, and I take this opportunity of saying that the Government are deeply conscious of the splendid contribution those authorities have made to the maintenance of administration over the period of war. I feel sure that Government Departments will not issue Orders and Regulations except where they are absolutely necessary, but it is only right to point out that in present circumstances, pressure is bound to continue to be heavy.
Requisitioned Properties (Rentals)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements are being made to raise the rental payments made for requisitioned property to the standard levels of 1939, particularly in districts such as South end, where the property of small owners was requisitioned by his Department several years ago at rents below the standard level of 1939.
Section 2 (1) (a) of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939, lays down that the compensation payable shall be
I would, however, draw the attention of my hon. Friend to Clause 45 of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Bill, as amended, which is designed to enable rents lower than those obtainable on 31st March, 1939, to be revised as from a day to be appointed."a sum equal to the rent which might reasonably be expected to be payable by a tenant in occupation of the land, during the period for which possession of the land is retained in the exercise of emergency powers, under a lease granted immediately before the beginning of that period."
War Damage Act
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if voluntary hospitals that have been destroyed by enemy action will be able to claim, when rebuilt, the same increase over value payments based upon 1939 valuations as an owner-occupier.
Voluntary hospitals, which are charities, fall under Section 69 of the War Damage Act, 1943. That Section provides that if (apart from its provisions) a value payment would be appropriate, that payment shall not be made, but the War Damage Commission may, if they think fit, make in lieu thereof, a payment of such amount as they may in their discretion determine after consultation with such persons or bodies as appear to them to be appropriate. As stated in their published "Practice Notes," however, the War Damage Commission propose as a general rule to exercise their discretion by giving the properties within Section 69 the same treatment as corresponding properties falling within the general provisions of the Act unless some authoritative body representing any class of charity shows good reason for special treatment of properties of that class.
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how soon gratuities will be paid to officers who retired in September last.
I am not at present in a position to add to the statement on this subject made on 6th February by my right lion. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
German Prisoners Of War
asked the Secretary of State for War why the British Government is acting on the assumption that it has not been absolved by German conduct from observance of the Geneva Convention so far as German prisoners of war are concerned.
I have been asked to reply. The Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war signed at Geneva on 27th July, 1929, has been ratified by 38 States, and four other States have acceded. The Convention is composed of 97 Articles, and it is expressly provided in Article 96 that no denunciation by a contracting party shall take effect during a war in which the denouncing Power is involved. Thus, even if they wished to do so, His Majesty's Government have no power to denounce the Convention because of the breaches of it which have been committed by the German Government during the war. In actual fact, His Majesty's Government regard it as a matter of the highest importance that the sanctity of international agreements, particularly those of a multilateral character and based on humanitarian considerations, should be as far as possible observed.
British Citizens (Russian Wives)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that Sergeant Smith, of Tottenham, Reference K 7167/2648/238, whilst serving in a British Army unit in Moscow in 1942 married Eugenia Aleksandrovna Orlova, a Soviet citizen, and since 1943, when he returned to England, has been endeavouring to obtain permission for his wife and child to join him in England or for permission to join them in Moscow; and will he ask the Soviet Union to co-operate in finding a solution to this difficulty.
I was aware that Sergeant Smith was anxious that his wife and child should be allowed to leave the Soviet Union, and I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) on 6th December, from which it will be seen that, not only have all possible steps been taken by His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow to assist in such cases, but that my right hon. Friend raised the question himself when he was in Moscow at the end of 1943. The Soviet authorities have, unfortunately, been unable to give a favourable decision. Now that hostilities in Europe have ceased. His Majesty's Chargé ďAffaires in Moscow has again taken the matter up with the Soviet Government, asking that the wives and children concerned shall be allowed to leave Russia, either after release from their Soviet citizenship or on a Soviet passport. It is still too early for any reply to have been received to these representations. I did not know that Sergeant Smith had applied for permission to join his family in Moscow. As I understand that he is a serving soldier, he would, I think, have addressed his application in the first instance to the appropriate military authorities.
Germany (Allied Policy)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are being taken to co-ordinate educational policy and radio, Press and film propaganda, between the various Allied zones of occupation in Germany.
Co-ordination of Allied policy in Germany, in this field as in others, will be a matter for the Allied Control Commission.
Royal Air Force
Personnel, Far East (Age Limit)
asked the Secretary of State for Air why he has issued an order that men of the 2nd T.A.F., a mixed unit serving in Western Europe, in the 25 Group, over 44 years of age, and in medical categories below Grade 1, are to be posted to Burma.
The instructions to which the hon. Member refers were issued by Headquarters 2nd Tactical Air Force as a guide to liability for service in South-East Asia. They were, in part, capable of misconstruction, and they have now been cancelled pending the issue of more comprehensive information. As regards the maximum age for posting to the Far East, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. E. J. Williams) on 14th February last. I should add that, as regards medical categories, men below Grade I, but above Grade III, are, with certain exceptions, eligible for posting to the Far East.
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is prepared to give an undertaking that personnel who are posted to dispersal centres for demobilisation will not lose acting rank by reason of such posting and will therefore be entitled to their 56 days' leave pay at the rate of the acting rank held previous to such posting.
Yes, Sir. I am glad to give this undertaking. The entitlement to a minimum of 56 days' leave applies to all personnel who are released in Class "A."
asked the Secretary of State for Air if representative units of the A.T.C. will be given the opportunity of taking part in Victory marches and celebrations in the liberated countries and in Germany.
I will consider my hon. Friend's suggestion if and when a suitable occasion arises.
asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the fact that the reasons for the introduction of the de-rating of manufacturing premises no longer exist and of the loss to the National Exchequer and to local rating authorities following on this system, he will take steps to abolish de-rating and revert to the normal system of rating these premises.
No, Sir. The hon. Member's proposal would require legislation for which it is clear there would not be time in the life of the present Parliament.
Polish Prisoners Of War
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that among the women soldiers of the Polish home army at present in prisoner-of-war camps in Holland and Western Germany are nurses, teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, etc., whose services would be of the greatest value to the Allies; and when these women can be brought to this country for recuperation.
I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has already informed the House on 1st May that Polish prisoners liberated by the advance of the Allied Armies are being given shelter and maintenance under the authority of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief at various centres set up for their reception and that for the present they will continue to be cared for in this way.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether members of the Polish forces, prisoners from 1939 onwards, who have been liberated from various camps in Germany are being classed as displaced persons or as prisoners of war.
All Poles held as prisoners of war by the Germans and who have been uncovered in prisoner of war camps by the Allied Expeditionary Forces are dealt with as recovered United Nations prisoners of war; those found outside such camps are initially dealt with as United Nations displaced persons until identified as prisoners of war.
Electoral Reform (Legislation)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will be able to introduce this Session an electoral reform Bill to give effect to the recommendations of Mr. Speaker's Conference.
I regret that it is not now possible to introduce such legislation this Session.
Engineering Industry (Arbitration Award)
asked the Minister of Labour if he has considered the letter sent to him on nth May by the shop stewards' committee, D. Napier and Son, Limited, Park Royal, W.3, and D.T.H., regarding the engineering employers' interpretation of the recent tribunal award; and what reply he has made thereto.
Any question of interpretation of an award of the National Arbitration Tribunal is a matter for the Tribunal itself. As the hon. Member is no doubt aware, the Tribunal has now given a binding decision on the point at issue.
German Workers (Conditions)
asked the Minister of Labour if he will give a guarantee that the conditions governing the employment of Germans in this country will not be such as to depress the standards of our own workers.
My hon. Friend can rest assured that this consideration will govern all arrangements for the employment of Germans in this country.
Cost Of Living Index
asked the Minister of Labour what increase may be anticipated in the cost of living index due to the recent rise in coal prices.
The increase in the retail prices of coal which took effect on 1st May raised the cost-of-living index by nearly three-fourths of a point. As a result of this increase, combined with a slight rise in the average level of working-class rents resulting from increases in local rates in many districts, the index for 1st May was 103 points above the level of July, 1914, compared with 102 points at 1st April.
British Dominions (Assisted Migration)
asked the Under-secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what plans have now been formulated, in conjunction with the Dominion Governments, to provide for assisted migration to the Dominions of men and women demobilised from the Forces.
Consultation is now proceeding with Dominion Governments as to the issue of a statement, possibly in the form of a White Paper, setting out the position of the various Governments on the question of assisted migration.
asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the imminence of the General Election, he will instruct the Service Departments that there is to be maximum freedom of political discussion and impartial dissemination of political information in all the Services through A.B.C.A., the Army Education Corps, and all other available channels, and that Service men and women off duty are to be permitted to attend and take part in public political meetings.
It is unnecessary to give special instructions that there should be maximum freedom of discussion, as the greatest possible freedom of discussion is already permitted subject always to the overriding principle that military discipline must not be impaired. As regards the impartial dissemination of political information, I have nothing to add to my answer to the hon. Member on 27th March. There is no restriction on Service men and women when off duty attending political meetings, whether in uniform or plain clothes. Those members of the Services who attend such meetings are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that is not likely to create an impression that they are engaged in political controversy or to draw upon themselves hostile criticism. They may not speak from the platform whether wearing uniform or plain clothes.
War Medals And Decorations
asked the Prime Minister if a holder of the 1939–43 Star is automatically granted the Defence Medal.
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that the tailoring trade is frequently unable to supply medal ribbons; and whether he will take steps to make larger supplies available to the trade.
Supplies of the ribbons for the Campaign Stars and the Defence Medal for the present war, as manufactured, are required for official issues, and until these are completed it will not be possible to make provision for the trade. Supplies of other medal ribbons are short on account of these requirements. As soon as the official issues are completed, looms and skilled labour should be available for manufacture for the trade. Officers and other ranks who cannot obtain ribbon for replacement should make official application through their units.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether having regard to the fact that, on being commissioned, soldiers of the Territorial Army were removed from the Territorial Army into the regular Army, the time spent in such commissioned service counts towards the qualifying period for the Territorial Efficiency Medal.
It is necessary under the present terms of the Royal Warrant dated 23rd September, 1930, for a man to be serving in the ranks when he completes his qualifying service for the medal. As I stated, however, in my reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Henley (Sir G. Fox) on 5th December last my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion is being borne in mind.
asked the Minister of Food the quantity of sugar issued for the manufacture of ice cream for the four weeks ended 6th January, 1945; the 12 weeks ended 31st March, 1945; and the eight weeks ending 26th May, 1945.
I regret that the particulars for which my hon. and gallant Friend asks are not available. The present allocation is approximately 700 tons per four weeks period.
Oatmeal (Delivery Charges)
asked the Minister of Food whether the sending by post of oatmeal from Scotland to private persons in England has been banned; and, if so, why.
No ban has been placed on the sending of oat products through the post, but the Oat Products Control Order does not permit of the addition to the maximum retail price of any charge in respect of delivery.
Air Letter Forms
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware of the difficulty experienced by the public in adequately securing air mail letters addressed to troops serving overseas; and whether, with a view to the safe transport of such letters, he will cause the quality of the adhesive gum to be improved or alter the present unsatisfactory method of closure by slip attachment.
Over 400,000,000 air letter forms have been issued. Only nine complaints of difficulty in sealing them have been traced, and my hon. and learned Friend will agree that these are so few as to be infinitesimal, but I am having special attention drawn to the necessity for adequate and satisfactory gumming.
Victory Stamp Cancelling Die
asked the Postmaster-General if he will issue a Victory stamp to celebrate the unconditional surrender of Germany.
The Post Office has introduced a special Victory stamp cancelling die in honour of the victory in Europe, and I do not propose to do anything more at the present juncture.
asked the Secretary of State for India whether, in framing an industrial policy for India, he has consulted with the Indian Federation of Labour.
No, Sir. If the Government of India consider such consultation desirable they will no doubt undertake it themselves. It is open to the Indian Federation of Labour, as it is to other interests concerned, to submit their views to the Government of India on the statement of industrial policy recently framed by the Government of India and published by them on 23rd April.
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has considered the draft Constitution for India prepared by the Radical Democratic Party, of which a copy has been sent to him; and whether he will consider if any part of it can be adapted to the present Constitution.
I have noted the proposals of the Radical Democratic Party. But it is for Indian opinion to pronounce whether they are acceptable as a solution of the political problem.
Viceroy's London Visit (Statement)
asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any statement to make regarding his conversations with the Viceroy during his visit to this country.
Lord Wavell expects to return to India at the end of this week. It is not intended that a statement should be made until after his arrival in India.
asked the Minister of Agriculture what plans he has for giving extra facilities to ex-Servicemen and women for developing allotments in northeast Cheshire.
Local authorities are responsible for the provision of allot- ments. I have no information about their plans in this area.
Land Settlement Schemes
asked the Minister of Agriculture what plans exist now for settling unemployed families on the land, under land settlement schemes.
The Land Settlement Association has, since the outbreak of war, selected as tenants for vacant holdings men with agricultural experience, and no special arrangements exist for the settlement on the land of unemployed men without such experience.
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can make any statement as to forthcoming diversion of materials and labour to the manufacture of farm implements, which are in very short supply.
There is, generally speaking, no difficulty in the supply or raw materials for the manufacture of farm implements, and the Ministry has recently invited manufacturers to apply for authority to increase their production programmes where the labour and capacity is available. In common with other industries, shortage of labour now constitutes the principal bottleneck in production, but the Ministry continues to sponsor applications to the Ministry of Labour and National Service on behalf of individual firms for priority in the supply of labour where the need is urgent, in accordance with the established Preference procedure.
Motor Cars (Official Advice)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if, before the re-introduction of the basic petrol ration, he will issue to motorists, by advertisement, broadcast, or other means, detailed advice on the care and servicing of motor-cars which have been laid up for a number of years, and so help to lessen the increased risk of road accidents and the demands on the depleted staffs of service stations.
My Noble Friend will avail himself of all the means to which the hon. Member refers, to give advice to the public on this matter.
Railway Staffs (Pensions)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he will agree to the railway companies increasing the pensions payable to their pensioned staff during the period of Government control to the same extent as pensions derived from public funds.
The railway companies have already given supplementary allowances to certain of their annuitants whose pensions were below the minimum provided under the improved superannuation schemes. The question whether any supplementary allowance should be given to other retired railwaymen is a matter for the railway companies. Any representations they might desire to make to the Government regarding the position during the period of control would be given careful consideration.
Trade And Commerce
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many market traders are charging for combs and other haberdashery prices higher than the controlled retail prices; whether he has considered the Report on the subject issued by the North Midland Region Local Price Regulation Committee; and what action he is taking in the matter.
I am aware that there is some evasion of the Maximum Price Orders applying to combs and certain other articles; and the Local Price Regulation Committees in every region are actively searching out offenders. There were 113 successful prosecutions, both of market traders and other traders, during the first three months of this year for contraventions of the relevant Orders. Further prosecutions are pending.
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the present shortage of cigarettes throughout the country; and whether he will take steps to increase the quantity available for purchase by the public.
I am aware that the shops are not always able to satisfy the demand for the better known brands of cigarettes, but I regret that it is not possible, with the labour at present available, to increase supplies of these brands. As my hon. and learned Friend is, no doubt, aware, the requirements of the Armed Forces are still very heavy.
Supplementary Clothing Coupons
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now arrange for the issue of additional coupons to dental practitioners to enable them to obtain white coats necessary for their professional work.
No, Sir. I regret that, while supplies remain so short, I cannot see my way to adopt my hon. and. learned Friend's suggestion.
Dominion Forces (Sick And Wounded Personnel)
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he is now able to circulate in Hansard details of the practice of the various Dominion Forces in the matter of the discharge of sick and wounded Servicemen.
The practice of Dominion authorities in the matter of the discharge of their sick and wounded personnel is as follows:
Canada: No discharge leave as such is granted. Naval personnel discharged to pension are granted pension leave on the scale of 1 month for every 5 years completed service with 1 week for each completed year less than 5 years in the case of officers, and 2 months' leave in the case of ratings. Sick and wounded personnel not to be retained in the Service would be granted normal leave due to them prior to discharge, but no additional leave. Army personnel in hospital at the time of their discharge receive pay and allowances of their rank, up to the rank of Lieutenant, from the Department of Veteran's Affairs. After completion of hospital treatment they receive the rehabilitation grant of 30 days' pay and allowances normally payable to personnel on retirement or discharge. Royal Canadian Air Force personnel requiring medical attention prior to release are retained in the Service or discharged to the Department of Veteran's Affairs for further
treatment and are precluded from receiving leave which they might be granted under ordinary circumstances. Consideration is now being given to the adoption of a policy whereby such personnel might carry forward Service leave which will be granted by the Department of Veteran's Affairs on discharge to civilian life.
Commonwealth of Australia: No discharge leave as such is granted. In wartime naval personnel suffering from disabilities for which they are not themselves responsible, and which necessitate hospital treatment, may, if not previously invalided from the Service, be borne on full pay for a period up to 18 months. Any accrued war service or foreign service leave would normally be deferred until the date of discharge from hospital. In the normal course of their service, Army personnel earn recreation leave for service in S.W.P.A., and war service leave for service abroad outside S.W.P.A. If soldiers do not desire to take accumulated leave they may receive pay and allowances in lieu of such leave at the time of discharge. A soldier does not lose his entitlement to recreation leave by reason of his admission to hospital during such leave. Royal Australian Air Force personnel suffering from some condition which renders them unfit for further service are given any necessary medical treatment and their discharge is only effected: —
In some circumstances the period of treatment may be extended to 12 months.
New Zealand: In cases where a Medical Board decides that a Service man requires further treatment at a public hospital or convalescent hospital or home, he is not finally disposed of but remains on full pay and allowances so long as he is under treatment. In general, leave is granted at the end of treatment, but in some cases it may be granted while the patient is receiving minor treatment.
Accrued leave for serving overseas is granted prior to final discharge. A Service man undergoing treatment may elect to be discharged and take the war pension granted to him before the completion of treatment.
Union of South Africa: If a member of the Union Defence Force is admitted to hospital while on "discharge" leave, such leave is automatically cancelled. He is then borne on strength with full pay and allowances until he is fit to be discharged from hospital, when he is again granted such leave as may be due on discharge from the Service.
Overseas Service (Home Leave)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that American soldiers are sent home after serving 12 months in Burma; and if he will now consider applying the same rule to our men.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether arrangements can now be made to return to this country all men who have served overseas for over three years.
asked the Secretary of State for War if he can now make any further statement as to the possibility of replacing, by new formations, those Servicemen who have been in the Far East for over three years.
For the moment I cannot do more than refer the hon. Members to the answers which the Prime Minister gave the hon. Members for Everton, Liverpool (Mr. Kirby), and South Croydon (Sir H. Williams) and which I gave the hon. Members for West Lewisham (Mr. H. Brooke) and Skipton (Mr. H. Lawson) on 15th May. But of course all these matters are engaging our constant attention.
Nursing Services (Midwives)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will give an undertaking that qualified midwives in the Q.A.I.M.N.S. reserve shall not be drafted to theatres of war so they can be released for midwifery duties in this country, where they are urgently needed.
Nursing officers are urgently needed for service in India and the Far East, and I regret that I cannot give the categorical undertaking for which my hon. Friend asks.
Middlesex Yeomanry (Badges)
asked the Secretary of State for War, if he is aware that personnel of the Middlesex Yeomanry serving in the Royal Signals have again been informed that they are not entitled to wear Middlesex Yeomanry badges and ordered to remove such badges immediately; upon whose authority this order has been issued; and if he will immediately have this breach of his undertaking cancelled.
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 13th February. If he will send me particulars of any case which conflicts with this answer I will have it investigated.
Discharged Officers (Civilian Clothing)
asked the Secretary of State for War if provision will be made for officers on discharge to have the option of being issued with civilian clothing.
Non-Regular officers who begin their notice or terminal leave on or after 8th May will, generally speaking, be entitled to an outfit of civilian clothes.
Raoc Depot, Chilwell (Passes)
asked the Secretary of State for War in what circumstances 24-day passes have been stopped at the R.A.O.C. depot at Chilwell.
No instructions stopping 24-day passes—nor for that matter 24-hour passes—have been issued at this depot.
Home Guard (Casualties)
asked the Secretary of State for War what was the total number of casualties suffered by the Home Guard.
438 members of the Home Guard were killed of died of wounds and 557 were wounded as a result of enemy action. 768 died as a result of other casualties attributable to service and 5,633 were admitted to hospital.
Prisoners Of War (Pay Advances)
asked the Secretary of State for War on what basis deductions are made from the pay of British prisoners of war to offset the pay they received from the Germans; and how the practice of His Majesty's Government compares with that of Dominion Governments in this matter.
Amounts equivalent to the advances of pay made by the German Government to British officer prisoners of war, and to Protected Personnel, officers and other ranks, under the respective Geneva Conventions are recovered from the pay due to those concerned. Any credit balances saved by prisoners of war directly from these payments are redeemed by His Majesty's Government. I understand that the practice adopted in this matter by the Governments of individual Dominions varies; some follow a policy similar to our own, while others disregard pay received by their personnel whilst in captivity and equally disregard credit balances saved from pay advanced.
Channel Islands (Leave Visits)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether permits can now be issued to Servicemen on leave who wish to visit their wives of parents in Guernsey.
Travel to the Channel Islands depends on the capacity of the Islands under present conditions to accept temporary additions to the population, and the capacity of the shipping facilities available. At present the Force Commander is able to accept only those men who are on embarkation leave for the Far East, and in any case the only regular service to the Islands is by naval despatch boat, upon which accommodation is very limited.
German Generals (Guards Of Honour)
asked the Secretary of State for War if he will issue instructions that British troops in Italy are in no circumstances to mount guards of honour for German generals in prisoner-of-war camps.
A guard of honour as laid down in paragraph 961 of King's Regulations consists of 50 other ranks, two officers, one carrying a regimental colour, and a band. I need hardly say that such a guard is never provided for prisoners of war, of whatever rank, and I do not believe that one was provided in the case to which my hon. Friend refers. Inquiries are, however, being made.
Tax Free Parcels
asked the Secretary of State for War what are the present conditions under which soldiers serving abroad are permitted to send home a certain number of free gift parcels; and whether they are advised that Customs Duties will be charged if certain articles are included.
Soldiers serving abroad may send home, free of duty and Purchase Tax, parcels to the total value of £12 in a year. Special labels in denominations of £2, £4, £6 and £8 are provided for this purpose, and issued to the soldier by his unit. They must be countersigned by an officer before despatch. Commands abroad have been given instructions to ensure that all ranks are aware of this privilege. This is done by them through Routine Orders, and in some cases also through the Forces papers. Commands have also been advised of the rates of duty and tax chargeable on articles sent home in parcels not bearing the duty free label, and instructions have been issued that these shall be made known to the troops through similar channels.
Middle East And Palestine (Bank Guarantees)
asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in consultation with the examiner of banks in Palestine and other appropriate authorities, he will review and, if possible, increase the limit of guarantees accepted from reputable banks in the Middle East and Palestine.
Yes, Sir. This question is under discussion with the authorities in the Middle East.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether officers or other ranks who have a strong objection to taking drugs, such as mepacrine, have the right to refuse to take this drug.
No, Sir. officers and other ranks have no right to refuse to obey a lawful order, and Commanders-in-Chief are entitled to issue orders to ensure that their troops are lighting fit and kept free from disease. Neither religious scruples, however bona fide, nor dislike of such unpleasant after-effects as it may produce, afford justification for refusing to take mepacrine.
Evacuated Troops And Civilians (Personal Effects)
asked the Secretary of State for War if compensation is paid for personal effects left by prisoners of war or civilian internees when being evacuated from enemy territory, and to whom application should be made.
As regards Army officers and men such compensation is payable for a limited range of personal possessions which are necessary for service purposes. Returning prisoners are told at reception camps how they should apply, but claims can be addressed to the War Office. Service kit is, of course, replaced either directly or by means of a cash payment.
German Concentration Camps
asked the Secretary of State for War if any approximate estimate has been formed of the number of persons, German and other nationalities, respectively, who were found in the Nazi concentration camps or who lost their lives there.
Well over 500,000 men and women have been found in the concentration camps in S.H.A.E.F.'s area. It is not yet possible to divide this figure by the nationalities of those detained or to give an estimate of the numbers who had lost their lives there.
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he now has any official information about the bombing of Teresin concentration camp by German airmen; and whether Germans concerned in the bombing will be traced and treated as war criminals.
The answer to the first part of the Question is "No, Sir." The second part of the Question will be considered when official information is available.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are available to an alien in Britain to communicate with his wife and family recently released from a German concentration camp.
I have been asked to reply. An alien in this country, whether free, in detention, or in internment, may use the British Red Cross message and inquiry service to send messages to or make inquiries about his wife and family in Germany. But, under present conditions, it is unavoidable that it should take some time before replies or information can be expected from Germany. As regards normal civilian postal facilities with Germany, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for West Leyton (Mr. Sorensen) on 2nd May, 1945.
Release And Resettlement
asked the Secretary of State for War if he will inquire into the case, details of which have been submitted to him, of a man who volunteered for service in the Royal Corps of Signals, fought in Normandy and since his return has been employed in menial work in the Army, while his father, the managing director of a firm supplying building materials, is in failing health and in urgent need of his son's assistance in a rapidly increasing business; and will he expedite the release of this man.
This Signalman was formerly a tradesman, but has been employed on general duties since he became medically unfit to carry out the duties of his trade as a result of his medical category being lowered to C2. His age and service group for release is 52. He is at present awaiting a medical board to determine whether he should be discharged, but if he proves fit to remain in the Army he will continue to be employed on duties suitable to his qualifications and medical category.The question of his release on industrial grounds can be considered only if a special recommendation is submitted by a Government Department through the Ministry of Labour. As far as I am aware, no such recommendation has yet been made.
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will see that coalminers in His Majesty's Forces are granted priority demobilisation so that the maximum amount of coal may be obtained before next winter and to enable the export trade to be developed to the maximum amount.
As stated in the Debate on 16th May, a number of underground coalminers will be released from the Forces in Class B.
Boundary Commission (Order In Council)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the draft Order in Council to give effect to the Report of the Boundary Commission will be laid before Parliament for approval.
The draft Order was laid before Parliament on 17th May, and it is proposed that the Motion for Parliamentary approval shall be taken on Thursday.
Private Enterprise (Conditions)
asked the Minister of Works if he is in a position to state the conditions under which dwelling-houses may be erected by private enterprise.
I have been asked to reply. The precise conditions under which dwelling-houses may be erected by private enterprise are under immediate consideration, and I hope to be in a position to make an announcement shortly.
asked the Minister of Works whether he will consider making over the abandoned A. A. hutments in the county of Kent to the local authorities for conversion and use as temporary dwellings for persons unable to obtain housing accommodation.
Yes, Sir; I am considering this matter in conjunction with the Minister of Health.
"Building Licence Limit (Scotland)
asked the Minister of Works if the £10 limit on property repairs still applies in Scotland; and when the limit will be withdrawn.
The lower licensing limit does not yet apply to Scotland. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.
Miners' Coal (Reduced Prices)
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many mineworkers in Scotland received coal from collieries at special rates during the year 1944; and what was the average amount per mine-worker.
The number of miners in Scotland receiving coal at reduced prices during the year 1944 is not available, but early in 1943, when a census was taken, the number was approximately 40,000, with an average annual quantity per head of 6 tons. The tonnage of coal supplied is the only available information for 1944 and there appears to have been no appreciable change.
Arts Courses (Students, Deferment)
asked the Minister of Labour whether any provision is to be made for scholarship winners in the department of Arts to proceed to the university under similar conditions to those which now apply to science scholars.
In agreement with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, arrangements have been made for deferment to be granted to a limited number of students of scholarship standard in order that they may proceed to the universities next October to begin Arts courses. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the memorandum which sets out the details of the arrangements.