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Written Answers

Volume 414: debated on Thursday 11 October 1945

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Written Answers To Questions

Service Officers (Retired Pay And Pensions)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he proposes to continue after the end of 1945 the increased grant in retired pay and pensions for certain members of His Majesty's Forces who were granted some additional allowance to meet the increased cost of living, in view of the high cost of living to-day and the slender means of subsistence which many of them have at the present time.

If the hon. Member refers to the increases in the retired pay and pensions of Service officers and other ranks, corresponding to the increases authorised by the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1944, for which provision was made last year, the answer is "Yes, Sir."

National Finance

Post-War Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now authorise the repayment of post-war credits to persons aged 65 and over.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how soon old age pensioners may expect the payment of post-war credits; and whether he will consider special action to assist them in this matter.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he can now make any statement about the payment of post-war credits;(2) whether he will now authorise the payment of their post-war credits to all old age pensioners.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider the immediate payment of deferred or post-war credits which have accrued out of Income Tax payments, to men and women who are no longer capable of work, or who have, because of ill-health, had to cease work, or who are now entitled to pensions at 65 or 70 years of age.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in order to avoid profiteering in the letting of houses, he will introduce legislation to ensure that the difference between the rent charged in August, 1939, and the present rent demanded, after allowances for dilapidations, etc., shall be calculated as unearned income.

Under the existing law, rent derived from the letting of houses ranks in general as unearned income for Income Tax purposes.

Postal Charges

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he hopes to be able to reduce the postage for letters, postcards and business communications to the level of 1938.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave yesterday to a Question on this subject by the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Major Beamish).

Departmental Debt Holdings

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state to the nearest £1,000,000 the amount of debt held by Government Departments on 31st March, 1944 and 1945, under the separate headings of (1) Floating Debt and (2) Other Internal Debt, excluding bonds tendered for death duties.

The figures are as follow:

On 31st March, 1944.On 31st March, 1945.
£ millions.£ millions.
Floating Debt687883
Other Internal Debt (excluding bonds tendered for death duties)1,5962,025
The principal Government Departments whose holdings are comprised in the above totals are: Admiralty, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Fuel and Power, Crown Lands, Department of Health for Scotland, Treasury, Ministry of War Transport, Custodian of Enemy Property, Board of Trade, Ministry of Health, Post Office, Paymaster-General and National Debt Commissioners.

War Damage (Value Payments)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when it is proposed that compensation should be paid for the loss of houses and furniture destroyed by enemy action, as the withholding of payments is causing great hardship especially to those of advanced years.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer at what date the War Damage Commission is likely to pay compensation to people whose chattels and property were destroyed in the Northern Ireland air raids, 1941.

:I would refer the hon. Members to the answers I gave on 21st and 23rd August to the hon. and gallant Members for Penrith and Cocker mouth (Lieut.-Colonel Dower) and for Withington (Squadron-Leader Fleming).

War Gratuities

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is the intention of the Government to remould the scheme of gratuities to ensure that all ranks of equal service receive the same amount.

No, Sir. I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins) on 23rd August last.

Government Departments

Temporary Staff

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware of the number of temporary civil servants, particularly of the shorthand-typist class, still retained in the wartime Ministries; whether, in view of the shortage of shorthand-typists, he will make immediate arrangements to release a large proportion of this wartime staff; and whether he will give an assurance that these girls will be freed from Government employment with at least no less favourable treatment than girls in the Fighting Services.

The numbers of temporary staff in all Government Departments, including the wartime Ministries, are under continuous review and reductions are being made and will continue to be made at all levels as opportunity serves. I would point out, however, that the shortage of shorthand-typists, to which the hon. Member refers, is also affecting the Civil Service, and no large scale release of shorthand-typists from the Service generally is likely for some time. In reply to the last part of the Question, I am not sure what exactly the hon. Member has in mind, but if he is thinking of the demobilisation gratuities and other benefits available for members of the Armed Forces on discharge, these arrangements were not intended for those serving under the Crown in a purely civilian capacity.

Scientific Civil Service

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the revised scale of salaries for members of the Scientific Civil Service specified in Command Paper 6669, are to apply to existing members of the service; and, if so, from what date.

Post Office

Postal Facilities, Northern Ireland

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that postal facilities to and from Northern Ireland and internal postal services therein are still much worse than before the war; and when may a return to pre-war standards be expected.

Yes, Sir. I regret that as a result of the war the present postal service in Northern Ireland is inferior to the pre-war service. The service has been improved in certain respects as from 1st October, and my Noble Friend's intention is to introduce further improvements as quickly as staffing and transport facilities allow. Some time must, however, elapse before a return to pre-war standards is practicable.

Air-Mail Services

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will now establish air-mail services to India and Australia, with definite hours of posting and approximate dates of delivery.

There is already an air-mail service to India with air conveyance throughout. In the case of Australia, owing to the shortage of aircraft capacity on the through air services, air-mail correspondence other than air letters and half-ounce business letters still has to be sent part of the way by sea. The aircraft employed are primarily engaged on work other than the carriage of mail, air mails being carried within the limits of the aircraft capacity available after military requirements have been met. It is not, I regret, yet possible to fix definite hours of posting or approximate dates of delivery.

Trunk Telephone Calls

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether, in view of the prolonged delay regularly experienced by telephone subscribers in the London telecommunications region in obtaining an answer and booking of their calls from trunk operators, he will make the necessary arrangements for such calls to be acknowledged and booked promptly in the future.

The delays in obtaining an answer from operators in London telephone exchanges are due to a steady increase in traffic since the end of hostilities, combined with an acute shortage of staff due to resignations and difficulties of recruitment. To meet this difficulty, a number of operators has been obtained from the Forces and from other Govern- ment Departments and a number has been brought up to London from the provinces. I have also arranged with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service that a higher priority shall be given to the filling of vacancies for operators required by the Post Office telecommunications services in London and steps have been taken to advertise the need for recruits in the Press and on occasion on the B.B.C. As a result of these steps, the rate of recruitment of telephonists has improved recently, but this improvement will not be noticed immediately as there is a period of training necessary before new telephonists can commence effective work.

Commercial Accounts

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the amount of the surplus of income over expenditure in the case of the Post Office Department for each of the last 10 years.

Following are the particulars asked for:The surplus of income over expenditure (after charging interest on capital) shown by the Post Office Commercial Accounts for the five years to 31 March, 1940, are:

£
1935–3612,539,110
1936–3712,306,769
1937–3811,227,880
1938–3910,254,578
1939–407,426,841
The preparation and presentation of Commercial Accounts has been suspended during the War by Defence Regulation; but approximate and unaudited accounts on a simplified basis have been compiled for departmental use. The surpluses shown by these accounts are, of course, substantially expanded by the increases in various rates of charges made in the Budget of 1940–41 and later years, as well as by a greatly increased user of services by Government Departments. The approximate surpluses and the estimated amount derived from the increases in charges are as follows:
Surplus.Yield of increases in charges.
££
1940–4122,700,00022,000,000
1941–4226,250,00026,000,000
1942–4332,200,00026,800,000
1943–4437,400,00033,400,000
1944–4540,000,00034,600,000

Service Telephone Numbers

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will ask the Service Ministers to agree to the inclusion of service telephone numbers, withheld during the war, in future issues of telephone directories; and to the giving of these numbers on application to directory inquiry.

Police Court Prosecution (London)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if his attention has been called to the case of William John Harmon, of Union Crescent, Bethnal Green, who pleaded guilty at Old Street Police Court, in which a Post Office official asked Mr. Langley, the magistrate, to impose a substantial penalty; and by whose instructions this request was made.

I am aware of the case in question. The suggestion to the magistrate that he should consider imposing a substantial penalty in this case was made on the authority of the Postmaster-General in accordance with a general instruction issued to the Post Office officials responsible for acting as informants in the prosecution of such cases under the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1904.

Broadcast Relays

asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether it is proposed, on the expiration of the licences of broadcast relay companies, to acquire the system for operation by his Department in accordance with the recommendation of the Ullswater Committee in 1935;(2) whether the development of a Post Office service for broadcasting wireless programmes to telephone subscribers, plans for which were suspended in 1940, is now to be revived;(3) to what broadcast relay companies licences have been issued; what is the number of relay exchanges in operation; and the number of subscribers receiving broadcast programmes on the relay system.

No decision has yet been reached on the questions whether the undertakings of broadcast relay companies should be acquired on the expiration of their licences, or whether the development of a Post Office service should be revived. The list of companies and persons to whom licences have been issued is very long, and with the hon. Member's permission I will circulate it in the Official Report. The number of exchanges in operation is 274, and on 30th June, the latest date for which figures are available, the number of subscribers they served was 584,018.

Bicycle Tyres And Tubes

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he will be able to alleviate the present acute shortage of bicycle tyres and inner tubes.

Production in the United Kingdom is limited primarily by a shortage of labour in the tyre industry. There is a world-wide shortage, and we are under an obligation also to contribute to the essential requirements of the Empire and our Allies whose territories were over-run by the enemy and whose needs are most urgent and vital. In these circumstances, I cannot hold out any immediate prospect of a substantial increase in supplies at home. There should, however, be a steady improvement in production, and I am hopeful that the shortage will be considerably eased early next year.

Housing

Imported Temporary Houses

asked the Minister of Health what is the present position with regard to the importation of prefabricated houses from America and timber houses from Sweden, to relieve the housing shortage in this country.

The import of prefabricated houses from America ceased with the ending of Lease-Lend arrangements, at which time about 8,000 houses had been shipped. These are now being distributed for erection. Orders have been placed in Sweden for 5,000 timber houses. Delivery of these has now commenced and should be completed within the next four months.

Government Policy (Forthcoming Statement)

asked the Minister of Health (1) for how long he proposes to continue the programme of temporary houses;(2) what priorities in respect of housing accommodation it is proposed to give to members of the Forces.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is in a position to make a statement on any recent progress with regard to the housing programme, in view of the anxiety on this matter of men and women returning from the Services and war factories.

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that large numbers of householders throughout the country are uncertain as to the rights they still retain in their own properties, he will make a comprehensive statement clarifying the powers held by local authorities; and whether he will give sympathetic consideration to the case of a serving soldier or Serviceman who, on arrival home, finds that his house has been requisitioned.

asked the Minister of Health if it is his intention to introduce legislation to enable local authorities to make grants to owner-occupiers or purchasers in respect of small private houses built for sale or letting.

asked the Minister of Health whether local authorities may expect a speedier delivery of temporary housing structures already ordered; if he is satisfied that materials and labour are available for the immediate commencement and speedy completion of permanent housing schemes already approved; and whether he can make a statement on future policy in relation to temporary housing and permanent housing, respectively.

asked the Minister of Health how many permanent and temporary houses will be built during the next two years; and how many of each type will be in course of erection during the same period, respectively.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is yet in a position to state how many permanent houses it is anticipated will be erected in England and ready for occupation by May, 1947.

I am shortly to make a general statement on the Government's housing policy, and I would ask the hon. Members to await that statement.

asked the Minister of Health whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce legislation to implement the recommendations of the Ridley Report.

asked the Minister of Health if the Government will introduce legislation with a view to enabling any Service man or woman who owns a house occupied by others to obtain possession of it on demobilisation on the expiry of reasonable notice to the occupiers.

I hope to be in a position shortly to announce the Government's decisions on these matters.

Houses (Selling Price Control)

asked the Minister of Health what action he proposes to take on the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Selling Price of Houses.

asked the Minister of Health if he is yet in a position to state what action he proposes to take on the proposals of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Selling Price of Houses.

In view of the practical difficulties involved, including particularly the shortage of valuers, to which the Committee in their valuable Report themselves drew attention, I can hold out no prospect of legislation to implement the recommendations in their Report.

Rural Areas

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the repairing and reconditioning of the large numbers of country cottages which are at present uninhabitable, would case the acute housing shortage in rural areas; and if it is proposed to introduce a temporary measure in lieu of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act, to facilitate such repairs, until new permanent houses are available.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is in a position to make a statement regarding the measures which His Majesty's Government intend to take in substitution of the Housing (Rural Workers) Act to deal with the rural housing problem.

It is the Government's intention to concentrate the limited building labour available so far as possible on building new houses, and I have asked the Rural Housing Sub-Committee of my Central Housing Advisory Committee to advise me whether reconditioning would be likely to divert labour from the building of new houses. I will consider whether any action can be taken to facilitate reconditioning on receipt of the Sub-Committee's report.

asked the Minister of Health what steps he proposes to take considerably to increase the cottage accommodation in the countryside; and if he will consult with the Minister of Agriculture on the special needs of the rural areas and the provision of an abundance of untied cottages of a type long denied to land workers.

:I will deal with this matter in the general statement which I hope to make to the House very shortly. In the meantime, my hon. Friend may be assured that I am in close touch with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and that I share his view as to the necessity of a sufficient supply of untied cottages for rural workers.

Sanitary Provisions (Ladywood, Birmingham)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that insanitary conditions in many parts of Birmingham have become intolerable, for example in Nelson Street, Lady wood, where only one lavatory is available for 36 persons; and what steps he proposes to take to establish better sanitary conditions in Birmingham.

I am aware that many occupied houses in Birmingham, as elsewhere, are in a very bad condition. The Corporation are doing their best to improve matters, but this is dependent on labour and materials.

Land Acquisition

asked the Minister of Health if the Stockton-on-Tees Council has completed the purchase of the 41·495 acres sanctioned by his Department; what was the price paid by the council and the previous ratable value of the land acquired; and why the remainder of the 128 acres which the council wished to purchase was excluded from the Order.

I understand that the purchase of this land has not yet been completed and that the price has not been settled. The land is derated. The rest of the land originally included in the Compulsory Purchase Order was not required for the Council's short-term housing programme and was excluded for this reason when the Order was confirmed in January last.

asked the Minister of Health if the public inquiry has yet been held regarding the application of the Ulverston Urban District Council to purchase Watery Lane Farm and outbuildings, and five fields adjoining Watery Lane, the whole containing about 16·719 acres; what is the amount of the arbitrator's award; and what was the previous ratable value of these properties.

Yes, Sir. I have informed the Council that the Order for compulsory acquisition will be confirmed, subject to the exclusion of two plots of land which are not considered to be essential for the immediate development of the site. There has as yet been no arbitration and I do not know the ratable value of the properties.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that a sub-committee of the Warrington housing committee recommended in September, 1942, the building of 2,000 houses; that the proposals were submitted to the Government and the committee had been pressing for permission at least to purchase the land; if this permission has now been given; and what is the area, situation, purchase price and previous ratable value of any land acquired.

I am aware that the Warrington Town Council have under consideration a long-term programme for the building of 2,000 houses. A compulsory purchase order for 129 acres of land has been confirmed. The land, which is known as the Dallam Farm Site, is agricultural land and therefore de-rated; the price has not yet been settled but negotiations have reached an advanced stage.

asked the Minister of Health whether the Chingford Council has yet completed its negotiations with Ropers, Limited, for the purchase of 12 acres of their sports ground for housing purposes, now assessed at £90, for local rating purposes; and what price has been agreed.

No, Sir. Agreement has not been reached, and it is expected that the price will be settled by arbitration.

asked the Minister of Health if consideration has now been given to the report of his inspector on the application by the Manchester City Council for compulsory powers to acquire at Wythenshawe about 97 acres of the Timperley golf club and two market gardens; what price has been offered or demanded for the land; and what is its present ratable value, seeing that the plans include 2,400 houses, with schools, shops, playgrounds, a health centre and a community centre.

An Order for the compulsory acquisition of this land by the Manchester City Council was confirmed on 10th July last. I have no information at present about the price offered for the land, but I am informed that its present rateable value is approximately £280.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet given his sanction to the acquisition by the Worthing Council of 48½ acres of land on the Field Place Estate; what was the purchase price agreed upon; and how much of this land had previously no rateable value.

Yes, Sir; purchase at £25,000 is now completed. The land was previously agricultural and derated.

asked the Minister of Health what action has followed the decision of the Warwick Town Council General Purposes Committee to consider the purchase of Pigwell Common for housing and of alternative land to replace the common; what is the cost involved in buying the common; and what is the area, the price and the present rateable value of the alternative land being acquired to replace the common.

No application to purchase Pigwells Common for housing purposes has yet been submitted to me by the Warwick Town Council. I understand that the possibility of obtaining alternative land to replace the common is still being explored. The second and third parts of the Question, therefore, do not arise.

asked the Minister of Health what price was paid by the Beeston and Stapleford Urban District Council for the site of 4·857 acres at Dovecote Lane, Beeston, the purchase of which was confirmed by his Ministry; and what was the previous rateable value of the site.

asked the Minister of Health, with regard to the Compulsory Purchase Order of the L.C.C., what price has been arrived at for the acquisition of 921 acres on the Oxhey site at Watford for housing requirements; what part of this area is derated as agricultural land; and how large is the area that had a rateable value of approximately £1,000.

No price has yet been settled. I regret that I have not got the information asked for in the last part of the Question, but I will obtain it and send it to my hon. Friend.

Bungalows, Litherland

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the delay in dealing with the application of the Urban District Council of Litherland for temporary bungalows and in the construction of the 150 bungalows allocated to the council; that the first application was made on the 21st August, 1944, the first bungalow only arrived at the end of September, 1945, and, so far, none of the bungalows delivered has been completed owing to the non-delivery of essential parts; and what steps he proposes to take to expedite the completion of the work.

I am aware that as a result of difficulties of production due mainly to shortage of labour in the factories making these articles there has been delay in the case to which the hon. Member refers. Temporary houses and their components are being delivered to local authorities as fast as they are produced. All possible steps are being taken to expedite production.

Bathrooms And Lavatories

asked the Minister of Health whether he will introduce legislation or regulations to compel owners of dwelling-houses to provide in existing houses a bathrom and lavatory separate to each house or flat.

Our immediate efforts must be concentrated on the provision of new homes and the repair of war damage, and I do not therefore consider that my hon. Friend's suggestion would be practicable at present.

Temporary Houses

asked the Minister of Health what representations have been made to him by the Minister of Health and Local Government of Northern Ireland for temporary housing accommodation to meet the needs of the homeless people in Northern Ireland; and with what result.

I have been in touch with the Minister of Health and Local Government of Northern Ireland and I hope to make a statement at an early date.

asked the Minister of Health if he will now permit the Liverpool Corporation to erect the Keay narrow-fronted temporary houses in place of and/or additional to the quota of Phoenix type already allocated to the city.

:The types of temporary houses have now been settled and I do not consider it is desirable to extend or vary them at this stage.

Rents (Hospital Staffs)

asked the Minister of Health how many mental hospital boards have increased the rents of their estate houses to the staffs since the acceptance of the Rushcliffe scales.

I am informed by the Board of Control that only one mental hospital board has taken this action. I am in correspondence with my hon. Friend with regard to this case.

Rural Water Supplies And Sewerage

asked the Minister of Health how many county councils have submitted schemes under the Rural Water Supplies Act, 1944, and what is the total number of these schemes; how many of these schemes have been approved by his Department; how many county councils have not submitted any schemes; and what steps he proposes with a view to appropriate action being taken by such county counciis.

The local sanitary authorities and not the county councils are the authorities responsible for preparing and submitting schemes under the Rural Water Supplies and Sewerage Act, 1944, although they are required to consult the county councils before submitting schemes. Applications under the Act have been received in respect of 202 schemes for water supply and 247 schemes of sewerage and sewage disposal. Of these 146 and 172 respectively are in outline only, and will require further consideration by the local authorities concerned. Of the remaining 131 schemes, 25 water supply and 32 sewerage and sewage disposal schemes have been approved in principle by my Department.

Medical Practices (Compensation)

asked the Minister of Health (1)the intentions of His Majesty's Government in regard to compensation for medical practices when taken over under the National Health Service;(2) whether he can announce the policy of the Government in regard to medical practices, in order that demobilised doctors may decide whether to purchase practices.

I have this matter under immediate review. I am not yet ready to make any statement, but I know the urgency and I will do so as soon as I can.

Government Surplus Stores

asked the Minister of Health whether he will revise the terms of Circular 37/45, issued by his Ministry 5th March, 1945, regarding disposal of Government-owned equipment held by local authorities in excess of their requirements for Ministry of Health emergency services, to enable offers for sale to be made to the public locally in order to save transport and man-power used in collection of such equipment in disposal department stores.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on Tuesday last to a similar Question by the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little), of which I am sending him a copy.

Local Authorities (Derating Compensation)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that, as a result of the operation of those Sections of the Rating and Valuation and Local Government Acts, 1929, which relate to the derating of industrial hereditaments, the Acton Borough Council loses in rate revenue for the year 1945–46 £131,531, a sum equal to a rate of 3s. 2d. in the £; and, in view of the burden thereby imposed upon the general body of ratepayers in industrial areas, he will repeal or amend this legislation or indicate what steps he will take to assist local authorities whose revenues have suffered loss there from.

I understand that the figures quoted by my hon. Friend are correct. Assistance to local authorities by way of block grant was designed to counter the general effect on rates of all the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1929, including the de-rating provisions. It is not proposed to amend those provisions, but it is contemplated that during the current and two following years an additional £10,000,000 each year will be added to the block grant and in the meantime its future scope will be reviewed.

Civilian Identity Cards

asked the Minister of Health when civilian identity cards will be dispensed with.

Release of R.A.F. Personnel:—Officer Branches and Airman trades in which the rate of release is retarded.
In general releases in November and December for the R.A.F. will reach group 23 but there are some officer branches and airman trades in which releases will be made up to Groups 24 and 25 respectively. The following tables how the branches and trades in which group 23 is not reached.
Branch.OFFICERS.AIRMEN.
Sub. branch.Age and Service Group reached.Trade.Age and Service Group reached.
General DutiesMeteorological Air Observer.22Aircrew Met. Air Observer.22
Medical20Medical and Dental trades.22
Dental21Clerk Accounting16
Accountant16Clerk Equip. Accts.16
Equipment18Clerk Pay Accts.16
Meteorological20Clerk G.D.22
TechnicalSignals13Clerk Maps22
TechnicalEngineer18Clerk Postal22
TechnicalSignals Radar19Clerk Provisioning22
R.A.F. Regiment21Clerk Special duties22
A. & S.D.Special duties Signals13Cooks19
M.T.17Equipment Assistants21
Engineer18
Photography19
Signals Radar19
Catering19
Provost and Security20
Intelligence21
Physical Fitness22
Ops Room duties22

The National Register renders important services to the country, e.g., in the field of rationing and the wartime system of electoral registration. I am not yet in a position to say when the National Register can be dispensed with.

Royal Air Force (Demobilisation)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will give a list of the trades in the R.A.F. in which the rate of demobilisation has been retarded and arranged differently as between officers and other ranks; and whether he is satisfied that these decisions are in conformity with the undertaking given by the late Government that no decisions of this kind will be taken except at Cabinet level.

, pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th Oct., 1945, Vol. 414, c. 233] supplied the following statement:

R.A.F.—Officer branches and Airman trades in which rates of release differ in the latest release promulgation, i.e. for November and December.
Officer Branch.Age and Service Group.Airman Trade.Age and Service Group.
Technical Engineer18Fitters I, IIA, IIE Flight Mech. A.24
A. & S.D. Special duties Engineer.Flight Mech. E., Carpenter Rigger
Metal Rigger, Rigger Aero, Carpenter I
Instrument Maker, Instrument Repairer
Technical Signals13Wireless Mech., Wireless Electrical Mech., Wireless Operator Mech.23
A. & S.D. Special duties Signals RadarWireless Op., Radio Telephony Op. and sub-trades.25
Technical Signals Radar19Radar Operators25
A. & S.D. Special duties Signals RadarRadar Mechanics23
Physical Fitness22Physical Training Instructor23
Provost and Security20R.A.F. Police23
Mechanical Transport17Drivers M.T., Fitters M.T., M.T. Mech.23
Motor Cyclists
Photography19Photographers24
Equipment18Equipment Assistants21
Clerk Provisioning22
Medical, Medical Quartermasters20All Medical trades22
Dental21Dental trades22
R.A.F. Regiment21Gunner, P.A.C., Operator24
Meteorological20Meteorologist24
A. & S.D. Admin.23Clerks G.D. of various categories22
Marine Craft24Motor Boat Crew25
Code and Cypher24Clerk (Code and Cypher)23

Dartmoor Prison (Use As Borstal Institution)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what categories of boys, committed to Borstal, he proposes to send to Dartmoor.

Criminal Justice Bill

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is proposed to reintroduce the Criminal Justice Bill.

I hope that it may prove possible to find a place in the Government's legislative programme for the Criminal Justice Bill, incorporating any changes which the experience of the last six years has suggested would be desirable, but I regret that I am not in a position to give any promise.

Tyler Kent (Deportation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the reason for the release and deportation of Tyler Kent before the expiration of the sentence passed upon him at the Central Criminal Court.

The hon. Member is mistaken in supposing that this alien has been or will be released in this country. He became due for release on licence in the ordinary course on 5th October, and is now detained under the Aliens Order pending deportation.

Jury Service (Payment)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the recommendation submitted by a Committee many years ago that jurors in criminal cases should be paid or refunded their expenses will be dealt with.

:I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 23rd August to a Question by the hon. Member for Ealing East (Sir F. Sanderson).

Students (Industrial Direction)

asked the Minister of Labour if he will reconsider the position, details of which have been submitted to him, of a number of young men with scientific knowledge who had completed the first two years of their university course or had taken their degree and needed a further year in which to gain the teaching diploma and who were directed into civilian work; and the position of younger men who had entered for university courses and were similarly directed and are liable to be conscripted for military service, which will prevent them from continuing their careers for seven or eight years, as their treatment compares unfavourably with that of university students in the Armed Forces.

I have already considered this matter, and certain arrangements have recently been made with a view to bringing the position of students who entered industry into line, as far as possible, with that of students in the Armed Forces. I am writing the hon. Member about the individual cases.

Allied Troops (Cost In United Kingdom)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many officers and men of the various Allied Nations are still in the United Kingdom; what is the cost of accommodation, rations, etc.; and whether such sums will, in due course of time, be refunded to the taxpayer.

As the numbers of Allied officers and men are decreasing rapidly, precise figures of strengths and of the costs to United Kingdom funds at a particular date are not easily ascertainable. It may be taken, however, that at a current date the numbers would be somewhat over 200,000, of which about one-half would be U.S. Forces. The expenditure falling on United Kingdom funds in respect of these Forces would be of the order of £2,500,000 per month.In reply to the third part of the Question, the arrangements with the different Governments vary, but it may be said that in regard to the major part of this expenditure mutual aid has ceased to operate, and in such cases the expenditure will fall to be recovered from the Allied Government concerned under arrangements made or to be made.

Family Allowances Scheme (Operation)

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is yet in a position to announce the appointed day for operation of the Family Allowances Act, 1945.

Unless unforeseen difficulties arise, I hope to bring the Family Allowances scheme into operation next August. This is the earliest date by which the necessary administrative preparations can be completed.

Old Age Pensions

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he will introduce early legislation to increase the basic rate of the old age pensions.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given orally to Questions on this subject, to-day.

Education

Secondary Education, Cardiff

asked the Minister of Education how many children in the City of Cardiff failed to gain entrance into secondary schools this year; how many children were admitted to the Cardiff Education Committee secondary schools; and at what date is it proposed to give secondary education to all Cardiff children over the age of n years.

The number of candidates who presented themselves for the entrance examination for the Cardiff High Schools this year was 2,267. 897 of these were admitted to the schools. The development plan now in course of preparation by the local education authority will indicate their proposals for providing secondary education for all senior children in the area, but it is impossible to give any forecast of the date by which such provision will be completed.

Staggered Holidays

asked the Minister of Education whether, in view of the shortage of holiday accommodation and the pressure that there will be next year on such accommodation as is available, she will facilitate the staggering of holidays in general by arranging for the staggering of school holidays next summer, spreading them over the four months, June to September.

The staggering of school holidays gives rise to a number of difficulties, but I am prepared to do what I can to co-operate in any general arrangements that may be made for the staggering of the holidays of industrial and other workers. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the Memorandum issued by the Ministry early this year asking local education authorities to adjust school holidays in this way. Further, the new Regulations for Primary and Secondary Schools allow up to a fortnight's leave of absence to be granted to pupils so that they may accompany their parents on holidays which occur in term-time.

School-Leaving Age

asked the Minister of Education if, to avoid misunderstanding and suspicion, she will now declare the Government's intention to raise the school-leaving age without fail as from 1st April, 1946.

The intention of the Government to raise the school-leaving age to 15 on 1st April, 1947, has been publicly announced.

asked the Minister of Education if she will consider raising the school-leaving age before April, 1947, in those areas where there is reasonable school accommodation and where teachers would not normally be available for transfer to other areas.

No, Sir. To raise the compulsory school age before the 1st April, 1947, in certain areas, even if areas could be found which fulfil the conditions postulated by my hon. Friend, would require legislation and would not be desirable owing to the differences which would be created in respect of the age at which young people could take up employment in adjoining areas.

Land Acquisition, South Hornchurch

asked the Minister of Education what is the area of the land adjoining South Hornchurch council school which the Essex County Council has decided to acquire for £1,800 to provide another department to the school; and at what value this land has been assessed for local taxation.

The area of the land in question is one acre, one rood, 16 poles: the land being agricultural land has not been rated at all. I understand that the land is not being purchased immediately but has been scheduled by the local planning authority for educational purposes.

Teachers (Ministers Of Religion, Ban)

asked the Minister of Education whether she will take steps to withdraw the Regulation which bans ministers of religion from qualifying as teachers in elementary and secondary schools.

I understand that the Regulation in question is likely to be debated when the Prayer against the Primary and Secondary Schools (Grant Conditions) Regulations, 1945, which appears on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. Lindsay) and others, comes before the House. In these circumstances I think that it would be proper that I should defer expressing any views on the matter until that stage is reached.

Appointments (Sex Discrimination)

asked the Minister of Education whether she is aware that Derby's local education authority have notified women applicants, for a post of divisional education officer, that it is not their intention to appoint women to such posts; and whether their action meets with her approval or what action she proposes to take in the matter.

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. I consider that appointments to such posts should be made on the merits of the candidates, and that the introduction of any sex-discrimination is most undesirable. The power of local education authorities to appoint staff derives from the Local Government Act, 1933, and not from the Education Act, 1944. It would not, therefore, be competent for me to give a direction under Section 68 of the latter Act. My hon. Friend's Question and my answer will, however, bring the matter to the notice of authorities generally, and I hope that, in consequence, they will not, when making appointments to administrative posts, discriminate against either sex.

Nursery Schools

asked the Minister of Education whether, in view of overcrowding in nursery schools in the London area, the long waiting lists of children whose mothers desire them to be at these schools, and the overcrowded condition of many homes, she will pay special attention to the need for assisting local authorities immediately to extend nursery school facilities in overcrowded areas.

The majority of nursery schools in the London area have not yet reopened after evacuation, but my hon. Friend may have in mind children under five in the infant schools and those in war-time nurseries provided by the welfare authorities. I am aware of the demand for nursery provision in the area and will consider with my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Health, how it can best be met, bearing in mind the urgent claims upon building labour for other work.

Direct Grant And Independent Schools

asked the Minister of Education how many maintained schools have sought and obtained permission to become direct-grant schools; how many direct-grant schools have sought and obtained permission to become independent schools since the passage of the Education Act, 1944; and upon what principles refusal in each category has been based.

The number of schools which, prior to 1st April last, received their grant through the local education authority and which have applied for direct grant recognition is 36; and the number of such applications granted is four. In those cases in which the applications have been refused the special circumstances adduced by the Governors have not been such as to justify placing the school outside the scope of maintained secondary education contemplated by the Education Act, 1944.The number of schools which, prior to 1st April last, received direct grant and which have signified their intention of relinquishing grant altogether is 16. No permission by my Department is necessary, but in my capacity as Commissioner for educational charities I am concerned in most cases to secure that, notwithstanding any increase of fees involved by the relinquishment of grant, the school continues to be conducted in accordance with the principles of charitable trusts and the intentions of the founder.

Teachers' War Service (Superannuation)

asked the Minister of Education what action she proposes to take to ensure that the war service of schoolmasters, trained under the Emergency Training Scheme, will rank as contributory service for the purposes of the Teachers (Superannuation) Acts and as service qualifying for increments on the Burnham scales of salaries.

It would be contrary to the principles of the Teachers (Superannuation) Acts to provide for war service undertaken by a person who, at the time, was neither a teacher nor student of a recognized Training College to be treated as contributory service. In the case of teachers trained under the Emergency Training Scheme, account will be taken of their war service in determining their appropriate position on the Burnham scales of salary.

Teachers' Training Scheme (Wales)

asked the Minister of Education whether she will give the number of applicants from Wales for admission to emergency teachers' training centres, the number so far selected, respectively, and the approximate date of the opening of the first of these centres in Wales.

I regret that I am unable to state the total number of applications for the emergency teacher training scheme received from Wales. Up to 4th October, 1945, 805 applicants had been recorded as requiring to be interviewed by Interviewing Boards in Wales. Of these, 288 had been accepted after interview, 303 had been rejected after interview or on medical grounds, 22 had withdrawn and 192 were under consideration or awaiting interview. The first emergency training college in Wales is expected to be opened in the early part of 1946.

Pensions Appeals Tribunals

asked the Minister of Pensions how many complaints he has received alleging discourtesy by Ministry officials to ex-Servicemen when appearing before appeals tribunals; and whether he will issue instructions to all officials that they must treat all appellants with courtesy and consideration.

Ministry representatives at the tribunals are required by standing instructions to extend every courtesy and consideration to appellants and no complaints that they have failed to do so have been received. Chairmen of tribunals obviously would not countenance any lack of courtesy or consideration on the part of a Ministry official.

Royal Navy

Royal Marine Police (War Gratuities)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will consider including Royal Marine Police Special Reserve in the scope of war gratuities now available to certain grades of CD., since they carried arms and were trained to use their weapons against the possibilities of invasion; and, as their pay is low and they receive no post-war credits, they leave the Service without money with which to resettle in civilian life.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend gave yesterday to the Noble Member for South Dorset (Viscount Hinching-brooke).

Northern Ireland (Naval Base)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the value of Northern Ireland during the war as the gateway to the Atlantic, he will consider the establishment of a permanent naval base there.

The hon. Member will appreciate that the establishment of a permanent naval base in Northern Ireland would be a large project which could not be considered apart from the decisions on major questions of post-war Naval policy which have yet to be taken.

Pensions And Grants

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the present high cost of living, any increase in the rates of pension paid to injured ex-Servicemen is under consideration by him.

As the cost of living index figure to-day is still below that on which the current rates of disablement pension were based it does not afford ground for increasing those rates, but I have under review the scheme of war pensions generally.

asked the Minister of Pensions what are the conditions under which pensions are paid to the parents of soldiers killed on active service where the parents had previously been in receipt of allowances from those soldiers.

The conditions under which pensions are paid to parents of soldiers killed in action were fully explained in an answer given by my predecessor, of which I am sending a copy to the hon. Member. Broadly the basis of award is need generously interpreted, and it is not a necessary condition in the case of an unmarried son that he must have contributed to his parent's support during service. In assessing need account is always taken of actual or potential support and this operates in the parent's favor.

asked the Minister of Pensions if he intends introducing legislation to provide pensions for widows whose unmarried sons or daughters lost their lives while serving in the Armed Forces of the Crown.

This class of case is already covered by the provision made for parents in the War Pensions instruments. Any widowed mother of a deceased Service man or woman whose death was due to service may be eligible for a pension if she is in need and, in fact, many thousand widowed mothers are in receipt of parent's pension.

United Nations' Charter (Ratification)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs which States have now ratified the Charter of the United Nations.

According to present information, the Charter of the United Nations has been ratified by the following 32 States:

  • Argentina.
  • Australia
  • Bolivia.
  • Brazil.
  • Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
  • Chile.
  • China.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Czechoslovakia.
  • Denmark.
  • Dominican Republic.
  • El Salvador.
  • France.
  • Greece
  • Haiti.
  • Iran.
  • Lebanon.
  • Luxembourg.
  • Mexico.
  • New Zealand.
  • Nicaragua.
  • Paraguay
  • Philippine Commonwealth.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Syria.
  • Turkey.
  • Ukranian Soviet Socialist Republic.
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
  • United Kingdom.
  • United States of America.
  • Venezuela.
  • Yugoslavia.

Naafi (Future Developments)

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will initiate proceedings to consider whether in the light of the war-time activities of N.A.A.F.I., its functions might with advantage be taken over by the respective Service Departments.

I am not quite sure what the hon. and gallant Member has in mind, but I am not aware of any reason which calls for action on the lines suggested.

British Army

Transfers To Police

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that soldiers, who in response to a request for volunteers in 1940, transferred from the Army to the enemy occupied territories police, are not permitted to count the time spent in such police towards service for demobilisation; and whether he will take action to ensure that the period of service so spent is taken into account for age and service release.

I have been asked to reply. These soldiers were transferred to Class W or W (T) Reserve under the usual conditions, when volunteering for civilian employment, and I regret that I can see no grounds for making a special exception to the normal rules of the Release Scheme in their favor.

Welsh Recruits

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will ensure that all Welshmen called to the colours are placed together in units commanded by officers who are Welsh-speaking or at least of Welsh nationality.

Men called up in Wales are posted where possible to the same primary training unit at Brecon, but their allocation to units after primary training must depend on their aptitudes. In the infantry, in almost all cases, Welshmen are posted to one of the three Welsh Regiments; but in the case of other arms the maintenance of small geographical units would be uneconomical and administratively difficult, and would narrow the field of promotion for the men. Commanding officers of the Welsh Regiments are normally chosen from officers of the regiments concerned. In the interests of general efficiency, however, it would be undesirable to impose special restrictions of the type suggested.

Demobilisation (Release Groups, Numbers)

asked the Minister of Labour what are the numbers in each release group in each of the Services, sub-divided into main categories; and what is the total strength of the dif-1. Figures are not available for the same date for each Service.2. Age and Service groups for women do not include married women, the numbers of whom are shown separately at the head of the table. Married women have the right to claim priority of release over all other women.

GroupRoyal Navy. As at 31st July, 1945.Army. As at Mid-June, 1945.Royal Air Force As at Mid-June, 1945.
(1)(2)(3)
Men.Women.Men.Women.MenWomen
Married Women3,00740,94525,366
1Persons born in 1895 or earlier.1,3018935,5931726,96938
2
3238602,577361,07112
4301283,148481,19513
5324264,564701,59519
61,021365,745842,26210
72,530458,7241213,06935
81,6595811,8641183,18320
92,0978412,9001283,06517
101,9009414,0741782,69428
111,3458716,2601902,85533
121,99311519,5602043,19534
131,99410221,6992173,45643
142,16513122,4292543,76056
152,27517123,7402944,20748
162,62516227,7503095,00858
172,55418431,8803375,92065
182,90420335,4184387,752,73
193,53511346,92744310,57787
204,64124971,79650617,78176
216,14225989,75361729,697117
226,86234192,98061530,403121
239,429350117,36667834,125156
2410,744333150,99265838,527137
2512,712392233,02386946,876192
2615,915515265,82993352,205260
2722,113562199,2451,22948,792272
2821,674571120,8801,22635,143383
2916,66159764,8751,05824,539308
3014,30366545,2581,16819,122379
3111,22570153,2521,45220,405466
3211,95284746,2391,45227,273574
338,85298937,3861,72320,866692
347,8081,02632,8481,85618,332692
357,6251,21635,0821,98517,064723
368,8641,20038,0622,42421,021800
3710,3311,38147,2993,26627,4841,103
3811,9241,47838,2353,85730,8071,363
3913,3661,52830,0953,51636,4831,574
4011,3011,40424,1114,22726,3591,539
4114,6341,68828,8344,91319,0181,414
4214,7181,56629,4846,52313,5901,183
4312,2581,70434,23710,66710,0751,016
4417,3521,44144,93910,27611,991929
4517,5031,52924,8249,26525,7781,009
4615,2561,91025,6038,31615,5461,371
4714,0612,31729,0476,42715,9491,402
4818,1632,86225,3385,54313,0681,208
4915,7551,78522,8164,85210,653995
50Not available38,6773,95410,116641

ferment arms and branches of the Services in each theatre of war.

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 9th October, 1945; Vol. 414, c. 10] supplied the following statement:

Palestine (Diamond Industry)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been called to the present condition of the diamond industry in Palestine, where employment is jeopardised by the restriction on supply of rough diamonds; and if he will facilitate larger imports and thus strengthen the position of the sterling area in the acquisition of foreign currency.

Yes, Sir. A delegation representing the industry is at present engaged in discussions in this country. While I understand that every effort will be made to provide the industry with a fair share of the available supplies of rough diamonds, it has to be borne in mind that, owing to the exigencies of the war, stocks of diamonds have been materially reduced.

Polish Nationals (Employment)

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make provision for Polish nationals who have served in the forces based on this country and discharged for wounds or other causes to register for employment in the same way as British personnel, in view of the fact that many of them are unable or unwilling to return to Poland.

asked the Minister of Labour if any restrictions are placed upon members of the late Polish Government, Polish women or demobilised members of the Polish armed forces who are unable to return to Poland, seeking employment in this country.

Polish civilians who have permission to stay in the United Kingdom and Polish nationals who have, with the agreement of the Home Office, been discharged from the Polish Forces in the United Kingdom, are free to register for employment at the local offices of the Ministry of Labour and National Service. The conditions under which they may take employment are the same as those applying generally to foreign nationals temporarily resident in this country.

Demobilisation

Building Workers

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can give the number of building trade operatives already released from the services under the Class B scheme and the number which it is estimated will be released under this scheme by 31st December, 1945, respectively.

The number of building operatives released in Class B between 16th July, when the Class B scheme came into operation, and 15th September, the latest date for which figures are available, is 3,829. In addition, 664 men were released in Class B to industries ancillary to building. It is not possible to say how many are likely to be released by 31st December, but the present programme of Class B releases provides for the release of 60,000 building operatives and 10,000 men for ancillary trades as quickly as possible.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that many small building employers are advising their employees not to apply for Class B release from the services on the ground that they may get back to their original employers quicker if they wait for release under Class A, and whether, in view of the necessity of expediting the building programme, he will consider the possibility of allowing building trade operatives release from the Army providing solely that they return to the building trade and if they so desire, to their pre-war employers.

Releases of building workers under Class B are for the purpose of expediting the housing programme. The arrangements already provide for a man released in this way to be placed with his former employer if he will be employed on work connected with that programme.

Class B Release

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the misunderstanding and lack of information concerning the release of men from the Services under the Class B release scheme, he will make a full explanation; and will he give instructions that will ensure that the possession of a trade card shall be accepted as a mark of proficiency by the Service authorities.

The procedure for release in Class B has been explained to the men in the Forces, but it is proposed to take further steps to make the position quite clear to them. I also propose to circulate a statement on the procedure for release in Class B in the Official Report.As regards the second part of the Question, I am not clear what precisely my hon. Friend has in mind and perhaps he would communicate with me on the matter.

asked the Minister of Labour who makes the decision as to whether a man shall be offered out of turn release under the Class B scheme; and up to what age and Service group such offers have so far been made as far as building operatives are concerned.

:As regards the procedure for release in Class B, I would ask the hon. and gallant Member to await the statement which I am proposing to circulate in the Official Report. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Mallalieu) on 9th October, a copy of which I am sending him.

Following is the statement:

Procedure For Release From The Forces In Class B

The scheme for release from the Forces in Class B is designed to supplement the labour force available for certain urgent reconstruction work, such as building or coalmining, and for certain essential services, such as education.

The scheme is not intended to provide a means whereby individual members of the Forces may seek their release out of turn on the ground of their special qualifications. On the contrary the object is to enable certain industries and essential services to be re-established or developed by the recall of persons with certain experience or qualifications who can be identified and whose retention in the Forces is not essential for Service reasons.

There are three methods of release according to the procedure of identification:

(1) the "block" release of persons who can be identified by the Services by reference to their occupation before enlistment;

(2) the release of persons who can only be identified by their former em-

ployer in the absence of adequate information in the Service record; and

(3) the nomination of persons regarded as "individual specialists."

The procedure is as follows:

(1) The normal method is the "block'' release method which is used, for example, in the releases for the building industry. In this method the Minister of Labour and National Service specifies the occupational classes in which men are required for release in Class B, and indicates the numbers authorised. The individual men are then identified by the Service Departments by reference to their Central Records on which the men's pre-enlistment civilian occupations are recorded. The Service Departments select men in the specified occupations, in age and service order up to the numbers authorised, excluding those whose release in Class A is imminent, and then issue instructions that the men so selected should be offered release in Class B. The conditions attached to such release are explained when the offer is made. In the event of acceptances not reaching the numbers authorised for release, the offer is made to additional men selected as above in age and service order.

(2) A different method of selection is used in a limited number of cases where the Service records of pre-enlistment occupation do not enable the right men to be identified. In these cases the Government Departments concerned with the reconstruction work for which Class B releases are authorised, obtain names of men with the required qualifications from the employers engaged on that work. The names are then for warded through the Ministry of Labour and National Service to the appropriate Service Departments who then issue instructions for the men concerned to be offered release in Class B.

(3) A third method of selection is used in the case of "individual specialists." These are men whose release out of turn is considered to be necessary because they possess special qualifications which make them person ally indispensable for filling key posts on urgent reconstruction work. In these cases the employer desiring the man's release must apply to the Government Department mainly concerned with the work for which he is wanted, explaining why his out-of-turn release is considered necessary. If the Government Department support the application they send it to the Ministry of Labour and National Service who are responsible for ensuring that a common standard prevails, and after examination of the case may recommend to the Service Department concerned that the man should be offered release in Class B.

The above statement describes the methods of release and the procedure for identification, but it should be noted that for Service reasons it is not always possible for a member of the Forces to be released in Class B even though his release has been recommended. The Service Departments have, however, undertaken to restrict such cases to a minimum.

asked the Minister of Labour to whom men who wish to be discharged under Class B should make their application; and if this information will be communicated to all military commands to remove the existing confusion about the matter.

The initiative in obtaining release in Class B does not lie with the individual except in the case of men coming within the description of "individual specialists" who work on their own account. In the case of "block" release of men in occupational classes specified by me, the men are selected by the Service Departments by reference to their civil occupations as recorded in the Service records. In the case of nominated releases, application is made by the prospective employers to the Government Departments concerned with the work for which the men are required, and if approved, the applications are transmitted through my Department to the Service Departments. This has already been explained to the Forces, but further steps are being taken to make the procedure of Class B release quite clear to all concerned.

Students

asked the Minister of Labour what provisions have been made for those students who were called up before taking their final examinations; and if these students will be able to resume their studies immediately on demobilisation.

Arrangements have been made by which various categories of students are being specially released from the Forces in order to resume their studies. Other students, not specially released, will be free to resume their studies on demobilisation, if they so desire, and can make the necessary arrangements.

Long-Service Men

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give an estimate of the number of men in the Forces who have served five years; and give consideration to the immediate demobilisation of such men and their replacement, if necessary, by the call up of men in industry up to 35 years of age.

The information asked for in the first part of the Question is not readily available. As regards the second part of the Question, I am not prepared to consider a departure of this nature from the present release scheme, which gives due weight to length of service as well as to age.

Aliens

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will allow aliens serving in the Armed Forces to add to their period of service counting towards release any previous periods that they can establish they served during this war with other Allied Armies.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will so adjust operations on the group release scheme that any period of service in an Allied Army during this war will be reckoned in assessing the age and service group of a man now in the British Army who has served in both.

The service which counts for release purposes is service in the Armed Forces of the Crown, and I am not prepared to extend this definition to include service in other Armed Forces. The proposal would, in any event, involve serious practical difficulties.

Interrupted Apprenticeship

asked the Minister of Labour what is the Government policy towards youths who, having just finished secondary education, aged approximately 17, responded to the national call by joining the Territorial Army in 1939 and were embodied before they could begin their apprenticeship; and whether he will include these men, under the scheme of interrupted apprenticeship already in force for those who had completed even one week's apprenticeship.

One of the basic principles of the Scheme for Interrupted Apprenticeships is that the young man concerned had commenced a period of training and that this was broken by his call-up for war service. Different considerations arise in the case of the young men to whom the hon. and gallant Member refers and such cases can be considered more appropriately under either the Further Education and Training Scheme or the Vocational Training Scheme according to the standard of education reached and the kind of training required.

Architects

asked the Minister of Health whether consideration is being given to the release under Scheme B of assistants to architects in private practice as well as to assistant architects, surveyors and engineers in the Forces if they are applied for by local authorities as already announced.

Doctors

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the shortage of doctors in Northern Ireland, he will release doctors who volunteered their services for the duration of the war at the earliest possible moment, as their services are urgently required in civil life.

The question of the acceleration of the release of doctors from the Services is at present under urgent con-consideration.

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the relatively high proportion of medical officers retained with the services and the relatively low proportion of doctors available for the civilian population, he will press for a release of such medical officers, specialists and otherwise, when their age and service group becomes due.

I have been asked to reply. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Sutton Cold field (Sir J. Mellor) on 9th October, of which I am sending him a copy.

Agricultural Workers

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give consideration to placing skilled farm workers, namely, cowmen, horse keepers and tractor drivers in Group B owing to the great need of these special workers in agriculture.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Hallam (Mr. Jennings) on 9th October, a copy of which I am sending him.

Students (Call-Up)

asked the Minister of Labour for how long it is intended to call up to the Forces those university students, or other students on recognised courses of study, before they have completed their studies and taken the final examinations.

Since October, 1944, students have been allowed to complete a full degree course extending over nine terms before being called up.

Calledup Workers (Replacements)

asked the Minister of Labour if he will provide that young men shall not be taken from business concerns until replacements are available; and if he is aware that serious interruptions in production for export and essential services are caused by men being called up without regard to the availability of replacement.

Young men are retained in industry pending replacement in cases where, on the advice of the interested Government Department, this course is considered to be necessary.

Released Workers

asked the Minister of Labour if he has examined the position of those men released from the Armed Forces during the war to enter the gas and other essential industries; and can he make a full statement on their rights in regard to release, gratuities, rehabilitation training and all other matters related to their service.

The position of men who were released from the Armed Forces to industry during the war and are still on release is under active consideration and I will make an announcement as soon as possible.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will reconsider the case of Marine Boxall, who has served 21 years with the colours and who volunteered for heavy labour in gas works, consequently losing his right to 56 days' leave, and is unable to leave his present employment in view of the fact that no Re-allocation of Labour Scheme was in force at the time and no warning was given that he would lose all right of leave, etc., by volunteering.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my reply to-day to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Balham and Tooting (Captain R. Adams).

Public Health

War-Time Nurseries

asked the Minister of Health whether he will arrange for the day nurseries to be continued until conditions become normal in Britain.

asked the Minister of Health whether, pending the establishment of an adequate number of nursery schools, he will consider retaining the war-time nurseries as emergency nurseries eligible for 100 per cent. grant from his Department, for the use of all mothers who go out to work.

The matter is under consideration, and I hope to give welfare authorities further guidance shortly.

Tuberculosis And Cancer

asked the Minister of Health whether he will make widely known over the wireless and by other means, the vital necessity for the citizens of Britain to seek medical advice directly they suspect that they are suffering from tuberculosis or cancer, so that the disease may be dealt with in its earliest stages.

Yes, Sir. I agree entirely with the hon. Member about the importance of early medical treatment in such cases. My Department will continue to use all means at its disposal to bring the importance of this before the public.

Sanitorium Accommodation

asked the Minister of Health how many tubercular sufferers are now awaiting admission into sanatoria; and how many beds it is estimated would become available if the required hospital staff could be found.

The number of patients awaiting admission to sanatoria is about 5,000. Above 1,600 existing tuberculosis beds are closed for lack of staff: and a sufficiency of additional accommodation could be provided without much difficulty if staff for it were available.

Experimental Health Centres

asked the Minister of Health whether, pending the establishment of a national health service, he will initiate experimental health centres in suitable places so that valuable experience can be gained.

I do not think it would be practicable to make this provision in advance of the new legislation. But I am pressing on rapidly with the preparation of the Health Services Bill, which will deal fully with the subject.

Nurses (Working Conditions)

asked the Minister of Health what steps he proposes to take to improve the bad working conditions and hours of nurses in hospitals and institutions.

I certainly do not accept the implication that bad working conditions for nurses in hospitals and institutions are general. Where they exist they are in large part due to the effects of the war. I am giving this matter the most earnest consideration in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service and with the bodies principally concerned and hope to make a full statement within the next few weeks.

Infectious Diseases (Statistics)

asked the Minister of Health what was the death rate per 1,000,000 living under the age of 15 years from the following diseases: scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough and measles for the years 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1944.

The information desired by my hon. Friend is as follows:

Death rates per million living under the age of 15 years.
Cause.1940.1941.1942.1943.1944*.
Scarlet Fever.12119119
Diphtheria.26628019213492
Whooping Cough.7827994129121
Measles95128538628
* Rates for 1944 are provisional.

Italian Prisoners Of War, Birmingham

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been called to the occupation by Italian prisoners of war of certain houses requisitioned by the Government in Birmingham; and if, In view of the shortage of housing accommodation, he will arrange for the removal of these prisoners to hutments or camps and release the houses for conversion into flats by the local authority.

I am making inquiries into this matter, and will let the hon. Member know the result.

International Labour Conference (British Delegates)

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the names of the delegates from this country to the forthcoming International Labour Conference in Paris.

Government Delegates

Mr. Ness Edwards, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Labour and National Service.

Mr. Guildhaume Myrddin Evans, C.B., Under-Secretary, Ministry of Labour and National Service, Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office.

Substitute Government Delegate and Adviser

Mr. Thomas Ingram Kynaston Lloyd, C.M.G., Assistant Under-Secretary of State, Colonial Office.

Advisers

Mr. Robert Ritchie Bowman, C.B.E., Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Northern Ireland.

Mr. William Ewart Davis, Labour Attaché, British Embassy, Paris.

Mr. Bernard John Bycrott Ezard, Senior Legal Assistant, Ministry of Labour and National Service.

Mr. John Marcus Fleming, Economic Adviser, Economic Section of the Cabinet.

Mr. Archibald Arthur McDonald Gordon, Labour Attaché, British Embassy, Washington.

Mr. Caryll Archibald Grossmith, O.B.E., Principal, Colonial Office.

Mr. Joseph Edward Herbert, Chief Press Officer, Ministry of Labour and National Service.

Mr. Edwin Alan Hitchman, Principal Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Labour and National Service.

Mr. Idwel Glyndwr Jones, Labour Officer. Department of Labour, Gold Coast.

U Kyaw Min, I.C.S., Joint Secretary to the Government of Burma, Reconstruction Department.

Major Granville St. John Orde-Browne, C.M.G., O.B.E., Labour Adviser to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Mr. Herbert Moore Phillips, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Labour, and National Service.

Miss Zoe Puxley, O.B.E., Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Health.

Mr. Godfrey Denne Rokeling, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Education.

Miss Fanny Isabel Taylor, O.B.E., Senior Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, Ministry of Labour and National Service.

Employers' Delegate

Sir John Forbes Watson, Director of the British Employers' Confederation, Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office.

Advisers

Mr. Christopher Bellingham-Smith, British Employers' Confederation.

Mr. John Smith Boyd, Vice-President of the Shipbuilding Employers' Federation, Member of the General Purposes Committee and Council of the British Employers' Confederation.

Mr. Robert Gavin, Member of Executive Committee of the Colonial Employers' Federation, Secretary of the West India Committee.

Mr. Herbert Kay, C.B.E., Secretary of the Wholesale Clothing Manufacturers' Federation, the London Employers' Association Limited and other Employers' Organisations; Member of the General Purposes Committee and Council of the British Employers' Confederation.

Mr. Ronald Graham Kerr, Engineering and Allied Employers' National Federation.

Mr. Geoffrey Marchand, Director of the Glass Manufacturers' Federation, Member of the General Purposes Committee and Council of the British Employers' Confederation.

Mr. Aubrey Roland Ibetson Mellor, M.C., Chairman of Executive Committee of the Colonial Employers' Federation.

Mr. William Scholes, Chairman of the Wages Committee of the Allied Association of Bleachers, Dyers, Printers and Finishers, Member of the General Purposes Committee and Council of the British Employers' Confederation.

Workers' Delegate

Mr. Joseph Hallsworth, General Secretary of the National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers; Member of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress, Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office.

Advisers

Mr. G. H. Bagnall, Member of the T.U.C. General Council and General Secretary of the National Union of Dyers, Bleachers and Textile Workers.

Mr. E. W. Bussey, Member of the T.U.C. General Council and General Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union.

Mr. E. Esua, General Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Teachers.

Miss Florence Hancock, Member of the T.U.C. General Council and National Woman Officer of the Transport and General Workers' Union.

Mr. Harry N. Harrison, Member of the T.U.C. General Council and National Officer of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers.

Mr. A. F. Papworth, Member of the T.U.C. General Council and Member of General Executive Council of Trans port and General Workers' Union.

Mr. A. Roberts, Member of the T.U.C General Council and General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Card Blowing and Ring Room Operatives.

Mr. G. W. Thomson, Member of the T.U.C. General Council and Editor o "The Draughtsman," publication o Association of Engineering and Ship building Draughtsmen.

Professor Laski (European Visits)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department which Government Department sponsored Professor Harold Laski's application to visit the various European capitals.

General Election (Postal Voting Procedure)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the fact that many Servicemen at home and abroad did not receive their ballot papers for the General Election, what steps he took to ensure delivery; and what consultations there were between his Department and the Postmaster-General when the machinery of the scheme was under consideration.

:The G.P.O. were consulted at all stages in framing and implementing the postal voting procedure for Service voters in operation at the General Election, and I am informed by my Noble Friend the Postmaster-General that only a small fraction of effective postal voting applications did not result in a ballot paper being received by the applicant. A number of postal voting applications were, however, ineffective, either because the applicant was not entered on the Service register, or because a postal voting application was incorrectly completed, with the consequence that the name of a person making an application could not be identified with his entry in the Service register.

National Fire Service

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is proposing to issue a demobilisation scheme for the N.F.S. to enable the individual to gauge the approximate date of his release.

:I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave today, to the hon. Member for Cheltenham (Mr. Lipson) and the hon. and gallant Member for Wallasey (Captain Marples).

Agriculture

Northern Ireland

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give instructions that grassland in Northern Ireland which has been ploughed by order during the war and found unproductive for cropping will revert to grass again for an increased supply of milk, butter, beef and mutton.

:No, Sir. In administering the Cultivation of Lands Act the Ministry of Agriculture for Northern Ireland will bear this particular consideration in mind.

Dispossessed Farmers

asked the Minister of Agriculture what attitude he intends to adopt towards the application of dispossessed farmers for the recovery of their holdings.

:The justification for taking possession of agricultural land under War Emergency Powers by War Agricultural Executive Committees with the consent of the Minister, was the occupier's inability or unwillingness to cultivate the holding properly. Since the need for maintaining and, if possible, increasing home food production is as important as at any time during the war, I cannot at present contemplate the return of such land to the previous occupiers.

Requisitioned Hotels

asked the Minister of Works what is his estimate of the accom- modation in hotels throughout the country still under requisition by the Government but not being used; and how soon it will be before this space will be available for normal use.

:I cannot accept the implication in the Question that hotels are kept under requisition when no longer required for the public service. Hotels cannot necessarily be released because they are temporarily unoccupied in whole or in part. Accommodation must, for example, be kept available for the use of Service personnel in transit and in course of demobilisation. The various Departments concerned fully appreciate the importance of surrendering immediately hotels when they are no longer required. I regret that I am unable to give the figures asked for by the hon. Member since they are not readily available and continually changing, but I should be ready to investigate any particular case in which he is interested.

Bills Presented

Dock Workers (Regulation Of Employment) Bill

"to make further provision for regulating the employment of dock workers, presented by Mr. Isaacs; supported by Mr. Ernest Bevin, Mr. Barnes, Mr. Tomlinson and Mr. Ness Edwards; to be read a Second time upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 12.]

Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Bill

"to regulate the procedure to be followed in connection with statutory orders required by any future enactment to be subject to special Parliamentary procedure; to apply such procedure to orders made under certain existing enactments; and to enable such procedure to be applied to certain other orders, "presented by Mr. Herbert Morrison; supported by Mr. Westwood, Mr. Bevan, Mr. Silkin and the Attorney-General; to be read a Second time upon Monday next, and to be printed. [Bill 13.]