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Written Answers

Volume 411: debated on Wednesday 13 June 1945

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Written Answers To Questions

San Francisco Conference

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make on the progress of the San Francisco Conference.

During the past few weeks the Dumbarton Oaks proposals have been discussed in detail by the appropriate Committees of the Conference and a substantial measure of agreement has been reached. As hon. Members will have seen from the Press, the difference of opinion which arose between the delegations of the sponsoring Powers on the interpretation of the Crimea formula for voting in the Security Council has now been satisfactorily settled, and it is hoped that general agreement will soon be reached on this important issue. Other fundamental questions on which a large measure of agreement has been achieved include territorial trusteeship and the relation to the main Organisation of regional agencies and arrangements between groups of States.The work done in Committees of the Conference is about to be reviewed by their supervising Commissions preparatory to seeking final approval by the full Conference. I cannot, of course, foretell when the Conference will have finished its labours, but, barring accidents, it seems likely that the Charter will be ready within the next two or three weeks.

War Activities (Trials)

asked the Attorney-General what action it is proposed to take in the case of William Joyce, now in our hands.

As I stated in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreditch (Mr. Thurtle) on 31st May, it is the firm intention of His Majesty's Government to bring to trial as speedily as possible British nationals, amongst whom William Joyce is one, who have broadcast enemy propaganda, but that the collection of documentary evidence and the assembling of witnesses may take a short time. In the case of William Joyce, unless any unforeseen circumstances should arise, the prosecution will commence before the end of this month. I would add that, as it has been decided to prosecute William Joyce, any comment on the possible charges, evidence and defence which would be likely to prejudice a fair trial would be a contempt of court.

asked the Attorney-General if, now that the war in Europe is over and considerations of military security are less urgent, he will allow to be published the full report of the trial, in camera, of Tyler Kent and Anna Wolkoff.

The documents, including the transcript of the evidence, in this case are the subject of an Order of the High Court under the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939, and I have no authority to order their production.

Pensions Appeal Tribunals

asked the Attorney-General why Dr. Frederic Percival Selwyn Thomas, a former neurologist on the Ministry of Pensions staff, now retired, was appointed a medical member of a Pensions Appeal Tribunal at the Law Courts, in view of the fact that the confidence of appellants in the tribunals is diminished by the appointment on them of retired officials of the Ministry of Pensions to review that Department's decisions.

As a matter of principle my Noble Friend the Lord Chan- cellor entirely accepts the view that it is undesirable that retired officials of the Ministry of Pensions should be appointed to be Medical Members of Pensions Appeal Tribunals, and this principle is, in fact, generally applied. Inquiries have been made as to the circumstances in which Dr. Thomas came to be selected, and it appears that he had never been an official of the Ministry of Pensions in the period when claims for pensions arising out of the present war were dealt with; he was a part-time official at an earlier date. His present qualifications and his impartiality I believe to be undoubted, and in the special circumstances my Noble Friend does not feel that on the grounds of public interest the appointment is open to challenge.

Termination Of War (Contracts And Agreements)

asked the Attorney-General whether, in view of the large number of public and private contracts and legal agreements which lapse at the official ending of the war in Europe, he is now able to state what the position is and when an official declaration regarding this matter is likely to be announced; and in what form.

My hon. and gallant Friend would, of course, agree that the object must be to give to the contracts and agreements to which he refers their proper meaning as intended by the parties. To fix a single meaning for a particular phrase for all cases might well conflict with this principle. The matter is at present under consideration and I should welcome any contributions which the hon. and gallant Member may care to make.An Order in Council prescribing 9th May as the date of the end of the war and of hostilities as respects all the States in Europe for the purposes of certain tenancy agreements has already been made under Section 2 of the Validation of War-Time Leases Act, 1944, but tenancy agreements are a limited class of contracts to which special considerations apply.

Requisitioned Fishing Vessels

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he is aware of the bitter feelings among Scottish fishermen at the Government's action in handing over motor fishing vessels to the Italian Government, while refusing to pay fair compensation to Scottish owners of such vessels, many of which were sunk by Italian warships and aeroplanes in the Mediterranean during the war; and what action the Government proposes to take to meet the legitimate claims of fishermen-owners in this respect.

No fishing vessels have been handed over to the Italian Government, or to Italian individuals, and so far as I am aware, no Scottish fishing vessels were sent to the Mediterranean during the war.

Road Transport

Closed Road, Letchworth

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he is aware of the inconvenience caused to the inhabitants of Letchworth by the closing for military purposes of the Class A road at Letchworth Gate; and if he will say how soon this important traffic artery will be opened.

This road was closed for operational reasons. I am consulting my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to see how soon the road can foe reopened to traffic.

Service Personnel (Free Rides)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what local authorities and private companies who run passenger transport services give free rides to men and women of the Armed Forces who are sick, wounded or injured, and undergoing treatment in hospitals within the areas covered by their transport services; and will he instruct all such undertakings to give free rides to Service personnel when wearing the outdoor uniform of Service hospital patients.

I regret that the information sought by my hon. Friend in the first part of the Question is not available. Owing to variations in traffic conditions and other circumstances, the ability of the numerous road transport undertakers to give the concession in question varies widely. While my Noble Friend sympathises with the desire to ease in any way possible the lot of men who are suffering from war wounds, he does not see his way to ask all undertakers to give the concession.

New Roads (Compensation And Betterment)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what steps are being taken by his Department to ensure that increments in land values in the vicinity of new roads accrue to the State and not to private landowners.

My Noble Friend does not intend to lay before the present Parliament any proposals to deal with this matter, which will, no doubt, fall to be considered in the new Parliament in connection with the contemplated review of the law relating to compensation and betterment.

Haulage (Hire Terms)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what representations he has received against the proposals to remunerate road haulage undertakings on scales based on less than the capacity of the vehicles; and if he has yet made any reply.

The scales proposed are those applied, in agreement with the haulage industry, to vehicles on long term hire, but certain controlled undertakings regard them as inadequate. A meeting is being held with representatives of the industry on 21st June.

Youth Camps (Transport)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he will ensure that where there are no direct train services Scottish youth organisations will be allowed omnibuses to take them to and from summer camps.

Regional Transport Commissioners have discretion to authorise the use of omnibuses to convey youth organisations to and from camp, provided that vehicles and crews can be made available without interference with essential services, the length of the journey is reasonable and other means of transport are not adequate.

Omnibus Fares, Northumberland

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he is aware of the grave dissatisfaction prevailing among the people of Northumberland at the continued restriction on the issue of return omnibus tickets at fares over 10d., particularly having regard to the fact that such return tickets are issued in adjoining and other regions; and what steps does he propose to take to dispel such dissatisfaction.

This matter is under active consideration, and I will communicate further with the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Coach Services, Essex

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport, in view of the overcrowding in coaches from London into Essex, if he can hold out an early prospect of more coaches being permitted for the county of Essex and an increase of services to relieve the congestion.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) on 29th May. If, however, he will give me details of the services he has in mind, I will make inquiries.

Grimsby Fish Market (Repairs)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what steps are being taken to ensure that all supplies necessary for repair of Grimsby Docks are being granted to the owners.

I presume that my hon. Friend refers to the reconstruction of the fish market. I understand that no difficulties are being experienced or are expected in carrying out this work, which is already in hand.

Members Of Parliament (Priority Travel)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether priority of travel will be granted to Members of Parliament desirous of proceeding abroad.

As my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary stated on 5th June, the grant of an exit permit does not necessarily imply that a passage will be available. My hon. and gallant Friend will realise that at least until the end of the Japanese war there will continue to be a severe shortage of ocean passenger accommodation. Nevertheless my Noble Friend recognises that special consideration should be given to Members of Parliament, and within the limits of the accommodation available will seek to enable Members to undertake such journeys as may be necessary in the discharge of their public duty.

Coast Erosion, Padstow

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport what steps he proposes to take to prevent the coast erosion resulting from the removal of sand from the foreshores of Constantine and Harlyn Bays, near Padstow, in quantities never contemplated in the Charter granted by Henry III to the farmers of Devon and Cornwall.

An officer of the Department has inspected the sea-shore of the two bays this week. When his report is received, my Noble Friend will consider whether it is desirable, for the protection of the coast from erosion, that an Order should be made under the Coast Protection Act, 1939, to prohibit, restrict or impose conditions as to the removal of any materials from any part of the sea-shore of the two bays.

Macleod Steam Turbines

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport if he is now in a position to make a further statement on the possibility of using the MacLeod steam turbine unit.

No, Sir. Until full bench tests have been made my Noble Friend does not consider it desirable to try this unit in ships. So soon as these tests have been made, however, my Noble Friend will reconsider the matter in the light of their results.

Railway Locomotives (Repairs)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport how many L.N.E.R. and G.W.R. locomotives are now awaiting overhaul or lying idle in need of repairs; how many he hopes to have repaired during the next four weeks; and whether the new labour priority for repairs is adequate to fulfil the demands of the estimated needs of passengers as reported to him by the railway companies in anticipation of the current holiday season.

I am making inquiries and will communicate with the hon. Member.

Public Health

Atmospheric Pollution, Deanshanger

asked the Minister of Health how many times during the last seven years complaints have been made to his Department or to the local authorities concerned about smoke and other atmospheric pollution emanating from the chemical factory at Deanshanger, Northamptonshire; whether he is aware that the nuisance continues unabated; and whether he proposes to take any steps to get the firm in question to adopt smoke abatement appliances.

My right hon. Friend is not aware of any complaints, but he is making inquiries by local visit and will write to my hon. Friend. If he would care to associate himself with the visit, my right hon. Friend would be happy to arrange this.

Infant Mortality

asked the Minister of Health what were the infantile mortality rates for the largest cities of the United Kingdom for, 1944; and how do these compare with the principal cities of the U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand for the same period.

The following infant mortality rates (per 1,000 live births) were recorded in the largest towns of England and Wales in 1943:

Corresponding rates provisionally reported in respect of towns in Scotland, Northern Ireland, British Dominions and America were as follows:
New York30
New Orleans39
Cape Town44
Rates for 1944 are not yet available.

Tuberculosis Allowances

asked the Minister of Health what the cost to the Exchequer has been of the Tuberculosis Scheme, Memo. 266/T, for 12 months up to the last convenient date.

Payments made by the Exchequer in respect of Tuberculosis Allowances (Mem. 266/T) during the year ended 31st March, 1945, amounted to approximately £650,000.

Polish Forces Personnel (British Nationality)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any statement to make as to how far his negotiations with the Dominions Governments have gone concerning the granting of British nationality to Polish subjects who have fought with the Allies; and whether such a granting of British nationality can be extended to officers and men of the Royal Yugoslav Forces.

Preliminary consultations with the Dominions are proceeding satisfactorily. The extension of the offer to other nationalities is not contemplated.

Magnesium Factory, Burnley

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production to what use he proposes to put the Magnesium Elektron factory near Burnley, which cost over £4,000,000 and which has been idle for many months; if any of the plant and fittings have been disposed of and, if so, under what terms.

This factory was built and equipped for the special purpose of producing magnesium, and although it is not now being used for that purpose, I cannot say that it will not be so used again. Even if it were for disposal it would not, owing to its special construction and the heavy plant which it contains, be readily made available for other forms of production. None of the plant and fittings has been disposed of. Steps have been taken to use for storage purposes a considerable area of the more open parts of the factory which it is practicable so to use.

Public Assistance, Glamorgan (Ve-Day)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that Glamorgan workpeople in receipt of workmen's compensation or sickness benefits and consequently having to apply for public assistance, were penalised by a reduction of their assistance when a payment was made them on VE-Day by their employers; and will he inform Public Assistance Committees that, in view of the national rejoicing on VE-Day, such allowances from employers on that day should be disregarded.

I am informed that the facts are as stated in the Question, but I have no power to take the action suggested.

Ministry Of Supply

Royal Ordnance Factories

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement as to the future of the Royal Ordnance Factories at Fazakerley and Kirkby, Liverpool; for what purposes they are likely to be used in the next two years; and what effect this will have upon the number of persons employed.

Both these Royal ordnance factories are still required for war production during the Japanese war, although on a reducing scale. It is too early yet to say what is likely to happen after that.

Spanish Publication (Licence)

asked the Minister of Supply if he is aware that the first issue of a new series of a periodical devoted to propaganda for General Franco and his régime has just been published by Spanish Press Services, Limited, 5, Raymond Buildings, Gray's Inn, W.C.I; and if a licence was issued by his Ministry for this publication.

This periodical, having been published prior to August, 1940, does not require a licence.

Rubber Control

asked the Minister of Supply for what reason Mr. F. D. Ascoli left the Rubber Control; what was his previous employment; what was his remuneration whilst in the Rubber Control's employ; and who are his present employers.

A reduction in the volume of the Rubber Control's work enabled me to release Mr. Ascoli from his post as Director of Rubber. Mr. Ascoli was and is now a Director of Dunlop Malayan Estates, Limited. He received no remuneration from Government funds while serving in the Control.

Royal Air Force

Clerks And Students (Release)

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether R.A.F. clerks serving overseas will be released in their demobilisation groups, or whether it is intended to retain them for longer periods.

I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to the replies given to the hon. Members for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) and to my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Mr. Touche) on 31st May and 6th June respectively.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the shortage of doctors, he will arrange for the immediate release of a medical student whose name has been submitted to him, and who enlisted as a volunteer in October, 1941, although he had been admitted to a London teaching hospital, and is now anxious to resume his medical training.

This case cannot be dealt with, in advance of a general decision on the release of students from the Services. The subject is at present under consideration.

Postal Voters

asked the Secretary of State for Air approximately what percentage of R.A.F. personnel have so far applied to have ballot papers sent to them by post at the General Election.

Up to 31st May about 39 per cent. of Royal Air Force personnel on the Service Register had applied to vote by post. All units have been informed that applications must be received by Electoral Registration Officers not later than 20th June, and it has also been made clear that those who do not vote by post may register their votes through any proxies they have appointed.


Modern Fuel Burning Equipment

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will give an estimate of the annual consumption of coal and coke in the projected 4,000,000 new houses if the new types of more efficient appliances are installed; and, alternatively, if grates and ranges of pre-war design are installed.

As my hon. Friend will appreciate it is not possible to give accurate estimates of the annual consumption of coal and coke in the houses to which he refers. But I am advised that, if the householders were content with the pre-war standard of heating, the saving in consumption by the use of the new and more efficient appliances would be likely to be of the order of 4,000,000 tons per annum.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what arrangements have been made to ensure that in all the houses which are to be built during the next two years with Government subsidy and which include coal-burning grates or other heating or cooking appliances only installations which conform to satisfactory standards as regards thermal efficiency will be installed; and whether, in this connection, steps have been taken to bring to the attention of all responsible for building these houses the various types of efficient coal-burning apparatus now being exhibited by the Coal Utilisation Joint Council.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the Member for Moss Side (Mr. R. Duckworth) on 13th February, and to the reply of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling) on 7th June. As regards apparatus now being exhibited by the Coal Utilisation Joint Council, invitations to the exhibition have, I understand, been sent to all local authorities, to architects and to builders and heating engineers, and the exhibition has received publicity in the Press. In addition, not only are these appliances referred to in the "Housing Manual," but some of them were shown at the Government Exhibition of Housing Equipment held in Birmingham last October.

Cottage Flats

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been drawn to the success in some areas, as for instance in the Cuckfield district of Sussex, of schemes to provide block cottage flats, one in each village of any size, for the occupation of old couples, widows and single women who would otherwise have to occupy a whole cottage or live as lodgers in possibly uncongenial surroundings; and if encouragement is being given to housing authorities to do likewise where the conditions are suitable.

Yes, Sir. A plan of cottage flats for old people is included in Housing Manual, 1944 (p. 81), which contains the Government's guidance to local authorities as to the lines on which they should frame their housing schemes.

Building Costs

asked the Minister of Works the approximate increase in the cost of building a small house, say six rooms or other convenient unit of comparison, snce 1938 and the present time; and how much of such increase is due to increased costs of materials and labour, respectively.

It is estimated that the increases in the cost of labour and materials account respectively for approximately equal parts of the total increase. With regard to the rest of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the detailed reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Bournemouth (Sir L. Lyle) on the 2nd May, of which I am sending him a copy.

Specialists' Advice

asked the Minister of Works how many people specialising in the building of houses have been consulted during the last two years while the house building programme has been under consideration.

The normal way in which a Government Department obtains outside advice is by means of Advisory Committees. A number of such Committees, containing specialists in various aspects of house construction, have been consulted at all stages, and in particular a representative of the National Federation of Registered House Builders has recently been added to my Consultative Council for the Building and Civil Engineering Industries. In a less formal way the staff of the Ministry has had continuous contact with a number of persons specialising in the building of houses, particularly in connection with the development of schemes for prefabricated permanent houses, several of which have been put forward by leading house building firms.

Ministry Of Information

Department's Home Activities

asked the Minister of Information if he will state the precise home activities of his Ministry which are to be continued until the end of the war with Japan.

The main home activities of the Ministry will comprise the showing of instructional films; the provision of speakers on a reduced scale; campaigns and exhibitions on behalf of Government Departments; Press service to the provincial newspapers; and, on a smaller scale than before, the supply of photographic material and literature on restricted topics, mainly connected with the Far Eastern war effort. The Ministry will continue to organise tours and facility visits for distinguished visitors to this country, and, so long as it is required, to co-ordinate hospitality arrangements on the British side for American Forces stationed in this country or coming here on leave.

"News Digest"

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware of the need for keeping the British public accurately informed about public opinion in other countries; and in view of the services rendered in this direction by the "News Digest" whether he will authorise its continuance on a subscription basis.

I am afraid that the Ministry of Information could not undertake to retain the considerable staff that would be required to collect and prepare this digest.

Pacific Area Broadcasts

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware that men in the Pacific fleet complain that they have few opportunities to hear British news and are mainly dependent on American broadcasts; and whether he will do something to remedy this defect.

The difficulties are primarily geographical. The General Forces Programme is directed to the Pacific area, but listening conditions for broadcasts from England are good only during a limited period of the day. Arrangements are therefore being made by the Australian Broadcasting Commission for additional B.B.C. programmes, especially for the British Fleet, to be radiated from their Sydney Station. S.E.A.C. is also making arrangements to provide a British short wave service audible in the South West Pacific area.

Bbc Monitoring Service

asked the Minister of Information if the B.B.C. daily monitoring service may be made available to Members of Parliament on application; and to newspaper editors and journalists.

The Daily Monitoring reports are available to hon. Members in the House of Commons Library. A limited number of copies are available to the Press on payment of a fee.

Food Supplies

Cheese Ration (Quarry Workers)

asked the Minister of Food whether in view of the reduction of the value of points in respect of tinned foods and the difficulties in providing packed meals for workers absent from home all day, he will consider granting the same additional ration of cheese to ironstone and quarry workers as has been arranged for agricultural employees.

The special cheese ration is only granted to workers in an industry if the conditions of employment are such as to make the provision of a canteen or a packed meal service impracticable. This is not the case with the ironstone quarry industry as a whole, where packed meal facilities are already available to the majority of workers.


asked the Minister of Food if it is intended to relax the controls on essential oils in the near future.

My Department is already preparing for the orderly removal of controls on individual oils as soon as possible and will do so in consultation with the trades concerned.

Retail Milk Deliveries

asked the Minister of Food, in view of the easing of the petrol and transport situation, when he contemplates people will be allowed to purchase milk again from whichever dairy they prefer.

The circumstances which made necessary the introduction of the restriction on retail milk deliveries still persist, and I am not at present able to say when a change will be possible. It is, however, my policy to take off controls at the earliest time that conditions permit.

General Election

Co-Operative Society (Gifts To Service Men)

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that a letter, signed John England, has been sent by the directors of the Manchester and Salford Co-operative Society to Servicemen inviting them to vote for Socialist candidates at the forthcoming General Election and enclosing a gift of 5s. from the Co-operative War Comforts Fund; and if he will take steps to bring such gifts within the Corrupt Practices Act.

My attention has been drawn to this matter by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and inquiries into it are still proceeding.

Broadcasts (Scotland)

asked the Minister of Information what arrangements are being made by the B.B.C. for election broadcasts in Scotland.

The broadcasts by the party leaders given on the B.B.C.'s Home Service can be heard in all parts of the United Kingdom. No separate broadcasts have been arranged for Scotland.

Missing Ballot Papers

asked the Prime Minister if Service votes in the election are to be collected abroad and despatched in parcels to the constituencies concerned; and what provision will be made in the event of the loss of any such consignment en route for the holding of a new election in the constituency involved.

The envelopes containing the ballot papers are put into bags specially marked with the word "Election." This ensures that the bag is given priority until it reaches this country. It will normally arrive by air and will be handed by the Army Postal Service to the General Post Office at the post office nearest to the airfield. If ballot papers do not arrive in time for the count votes of proxies will be effective for Service men and women. If this fails all fails, for we cannot now make new laws.

Agriculture (Long-Term Policy)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if it is his intention to announce his long-term agricultural policy before the end of the present Parliament.

Trade And Commerce


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will allow all recognised hardware factors to obtain from manufacturers special priority goods for licensed applicants only.

The hon. Member's Question is not clear, but I certainly could not contemplate introducing a priority docket scheme for hardware, if that is what he had in mind.

Bottles (Export)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if any steps are being taken to deal with the difficulty of the shortage of supply of bottles in respect to the export trade of a firm the name of which has been sent to him.

In consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply and my right hon. and gallant Friend the Minister of Food, I am endeavouring to get more workers for the glass bottle industry. In the meantime, owing to shortage of labour, the output of bottles is insufficient to meet all demands, and preference has to be given to bottles required for medical supplies and for food and drink. I am afraid that, in the case of the firm to which the hon. Member refer sand other firms similarly placed, export trade must temporarily suffer so that these priority demands can be satisfied.

Wire-Cut Bricks

asked the Minister of Works what was the average selling price of 2⅞ inch wire-cut bricks at works in 1938; what is the present price; what was the wage rate for labourers in the brick trade in 1938; and what percentage increase has taken place up to date.

Statistics for the prices of this type of brick in 1938 are not available, but it is estimated that they varied between 42s. and 56s. per thousand according to the district. Present prices vary between 59s. and 91s. per thousand. The rise in prices is mainly due to increases in the cost of labour and fuel. The 1938 wage for labourers in the brick manufacturing industry was 49s. for a 48-hour week. Present rates show an increase of 55 per cent.

House Of Commons Refreshment Department

Retiring Manager (Pension)

asked the hon. Member for Dulwich (Sir Bracewell Smith), as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, what pension or gratuity was granted to the retiring manager of his Department.

The Kitchen Committee has granted a pension of £200 per annum to Mr. R G. Bradley, the retiring manager.

Dissolution (Staff Pay)

asked the hon. Member for Dulwich, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, the arrangements made for the payment of the staff during the Dissolution period.

The Kitchen Committee has agreed to pay full basic wages to all members of the staff during the first week after the House is prorogued. Thereafter, nineteen members of the staff will be paid full wages until the House reassembles; eight others are to receive half pay, seven of whom live in, and this accommodation will be available during the Dissolution period.

School Of Oriental Studies, London University

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer at approximately what date the School of Oriental Studies of London University may expect to take over the whole of their building.

I have been asked to reply. The part of the School's building not already at their disposal is held by this Ministry under a lease expiring in September, 1947, subject to determination by either party after the expiration of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act, 1939, on six months' notice. With the co-operation of the Ministry of Information, arrangements are being made to release the whole of the space occupied on the first, second and third floors, which comprises about three quarters of the leased space, by the middle of September, while every endeavour will be made to release the remainder at the earliest practicable date. I am unable to say when that will be.

War Operations Overseas (Railway Stock)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport how many locomotives and how much rolling stock of all types previously used on British railways have been sent overseas for operational reasons since September, 1939.

In addition to 950 American and British locomotives loaned to the railway companies for use in this country before D-day the number of railway-owned locomotives sent overseas is 242; the number of freight wagons sent or about to be sent is 5,149 and the number of passenger coaches is 871.

Colonial Governments (Biologists)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many trained biologists are at present engaged in the service of his Department; and what steps are being taken to increase their number.

I will have a statement prepared showing the numbers of such officers serving in the Medical, Veterinary, Agricultural and other Departments of all the Colonial Governments, and send it to the hon. Member. With regard to the last part of the Question, Colonial Governments will certainly need to employ considerably increased numbers of biologists, and all possible steps will be taken, by the provision of scholarships and other means, to stimulate the flow of candidates.

African Colonial Services (Recruits)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many of the minimum of 4,000 new recruits for the Colonial Service, concerning which pamphlets have recently been issued, are likely to be allocated to the West and East African Colonies, respectively; whether these will have an approximate ratio to Africans trained or to be trained for Colonial Service; and whether additional steps will be taken to assist Africans in training for posts that otherwise will be filled by white trained personnel.

Approximately one-third of this total will be allocated to East and a little over one-quarter to West Africa. It is impossible to fix even an approximate ratio of European and African recruits, because the number of African officers appointed depends on the number of qualified Africans available. With regard to the last part of the Question, this is certainly my intention and I am considering plans to give effect to it.

Trinidad (Medical Services Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Trinidad Committee investigation on local medical services under the presidency of a chairman from Great Britain has yet completed its survey or prepared a Report; when the Report is likely to be ready for public inspection; and whether copies of this Report will be available to interested Members.

Yes, Sir. The Committee's report has been published in Trinidad as a Legislative Council Paper. Copies should be available shortly at the Crown Agents for sale here. As regards the last part of the Question, I stated in reply to the hon. Member for Dewsbury (Mr. Riley) on 31st January that a copy of the report was being placed in the Library of the House. I am, however, also sending a copy to the hon. Member.

West Indies (Federal Organisation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has reached a decision on the recommendation of the West India Royal Commission that political federation, while not of itself an appropriate means of meeting the pressing needs of the West Indies, is nevertheless the end to which policy should be directed.

I recently addressed a dispatch to the Governors of the Colonies concerned stating that while I recognise that it is impracticable to set up immediately a federal organisation, I consider that the aim of British policy should be the development of federation at such time as the balance of opinion in the various Colonies is in favour of a change. My dispatch, which indicated certain possibilities of action in pursuance of that policy, is being published to-day and a copy is being placed in the Library of the House.

West Africa (Education)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the approximate number of children now receiving education in each of the four West African colonies; the proportion of these in mission and in non-mission schools, respectively; the percentage of these children, receiving education compared with the total number; and the percentage it is anticipated will be receiving education in 1950.

The West African Governments are being asked to supply the information required.

Royal Navy

Postal Voters

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty approximately what percentage of naval personnel have so far applied to have ballot papers sent to them by post at the General Election.

Including Royal Marines and W.R.N.S., the figure so far is approximately 14 per cent.

Temporary Women Civil Servants

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if temporary women civil servants whose services are not now urgently required by his Department can be released if desirous of volunteering for service either in Europe or in the Far East.

The services of temporary women civil servants are no less urgently required by the Admiralty now than previously in the war. But applications from volunteers for other important Services for which they have special qualifications are given careful consideration.

T 124X Officers (Gratuities)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether personnel on T 124X agreements with the Admiralty and serving in His Majesty's ships will be entitled to war gratuities on completion of service.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my predecessor to the hon. and gallant Member for Waterloo (Captain Bullock) on. 25th April.

British Army

British Zone, Germany (Conditions Of Service)

asked the Secretary of State for War under what conditions as to pay, leave and rank, officers engaged in military government in Europe will be invited to continue in their posts for two or more years.

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) on 5th June, to which I have nothing at present to add.

Lost Kit, Normandy

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that officers who were wounded in Normandy and lost their equipment are still waiting to have the cost of their equipment paid for; and will he take steps to have a more rapid settlement of such claims which are causing hardship.

I am aware that a number of claims for compensation for loss of kit in Normandy are still unsettled. Steps have already been taken to simplify the procedure, and arrangements have recently been made which will enable claims to be settled more rapidly.

Officer's Promotion

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that an officer who was recently posted to an appointment to which the war establishment of his unit specifically allots the rank of captain has been refused promotion to this rank in direct disregard of para. 1 (a) of A.C.I. 773 of 1944, because he has expressed his desire to be discharged in due course with his group, whilst volunteering to remain for some time after the group discharge date if desired; and will he have this injustice remedied.

Time has not permitted of the full investigation which I think desirable into these allegations. If any injustice should prove to have been done it will be remedied.

Overseas Forces (Home Leave)

asked the Secretary of State for War why a soldier, whose particulars have been given to him, has been out of England for 4½ years without home leave and for 3¼ years without any leave of any kind and has now been transferred to the B.L.A. and informed that he will be kept away from England for a total period of five years, with an offer of seven days' privilege leave; and whether he will see that this man is brought home at once.

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend in the Debate on 8th June.

Postal Voters

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that on 25th April men in the 2nd Battalion the South Lancashire Regiment S.E.A.C., had not received voting papers B 2626; whether these have now been delivered; and what caused the delay.

I assume my hon. Friend is referring to the application for postal voting papers. They were dispatched from this country by air in the middle of April and they could hardly have reached individual units on the Burma Front by 25th April. I hope, however, that this unit had them in good time. As my hon. Friend is aware, applications may reach Registration Officers until 20th June.

Seac (Canteen Supplies)

asked the Secretary of State for War if he aware of the discontent of many men of S.E.A.C. in not deriving any practical benefit from the recommendations of Lord Munster except free mail; that the ration of seven cigarettes a day is not supplied, with the result that Burmese cigars made of wood shavings rolled in the husk of maize are used; that a bottle of fruit cordial costs 3s. 4½d., while the allowance of cordial is two bottles and one packet of biscuits per rifle section; and whether he will take immediate steps to supply, on a level with American Forces, goods of equal quality, abundance and cost to British Servicemen.

Troops in S.E.A.C. have hitherto been entitled to 50 cigarettes for a week. Troops who are in places, such as the most forward areas, where no canteen facilities can be made available, will, after the middle of June, receive 100 cigarettes for a week. If my hon. Friend will forward me particulars of the unit which did not receive its free cigarettes I will have inquiries made. The Indian Canteen Stores Department and not N.A.A.F.I. is responsible for the supply of cordials and other such stores to troops in S.E.A.C, but if my hon. Friend will send me particulars of the complaints he has had I will gladly forward them.

Harringay Arena (Repairs)

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will reconsider the decision to proceed with the repair work on Harringay Stadium in view of need for building labour on civilian houses, and utilise some existing depot elsewhere.

I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for South Tottenham (Mr. Messer) yesterday.

Soviet Russia (Army Pay)

asked the Secretary of State for War, if he will publish in the Official Report a table giving the official information he has as to the pay and allowances of officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the Army of the U.S.S.R.

South Africa War Charities

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will move to set up a Select Committee or other appropriate body to ascertain what has happened to the funds collected during the South African War for the assistance of men who fought in that war and their dependants; who is now responsible for the distribution of such funds; how many persons are in receipt of help from the fund; and what is the amount of money remaining for distribution.

The funds referred to by my hon. Friend are being administered by the various charities to which they were allocated. The War Office is not responsible for their administration, and the answers to the last two parts of his Question could only be available from the bodies concerned. I am not at present aware of any need for the special measures suggested in the first part of my hon. Friend's Question.

Czechoslovakia (Transfer Of Germans)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the Allied Powers in control of Germany have made arrangements for the disposal of the several millions of inhabitants of the Sudetenland whom the Government of Czechoslovakia has declared their intention of expelling into Germany; and whether it is expected that these persons will be allowed to take their movable possessions with them.

This matter has not been discussed between the Allied authorities now controlling Germany.

Release And Resettlement

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can now make a statement regarding the release in Class B from the B.L.A. of men required for the building industry, and to what extent this is to be conditional on the request or the support of large firms particularly those engaged on reconstruction and repair work in the heavily-bombed areas.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statements made in the Debate on resettlement on 16th May regarding the release from the Forces in Class B, of 60,000 men with building trade experience and 10,000 men for employment in the building materials industries. As then explained, the men referred to will be selected by the Service Departments according to their pre-enlistment occupations, and will be sent to work where they are most needed; men will not be released in Class B on application by employers, except in the case of individual specialists who will form a very small proportion of the Class B releases.

Transatlantic Mail

asked the Postmaster-General, in view of the removal of the censorship on letters to the U.S.A., how long letters sent by air and sea, respectively, will be in transit to America in future; and whether there is any prospect of reducing the air-mail surcharge of 1s. 3d.

Apart from any interruption of the Transatlantic air services by weather conditions, letters sent by air mail should now reach New York from two to five days after posting. Surface correspondence is despatched by the best available outlets and the time of transmission at present varies from nine to 16 days. I regret that my right hon. and gallant Friend is not able to reduce the charge of 1s. 3d. per half ounce.

Water Bill

Lords Amendments to be considered forthwith [ Mr. Willink.]

Considered accordingly, and agreed to.

Requisitioned Land And War Works Bill

Lords Amendments to be considered forthwith.—[ Mr. Peake.]

Considered accordingly, and agreed to.