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Written Answers

Volume 414: debated on Wednesday 17 October 1945

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Written Answers To Questions

Demobilisation

Royal Navy And Royal Marines

asked the Minister of Labour for what reason the men who were released from the Royal Navy to work in the gas industry under A.F.O. 587/44 are denied the same rights as to leave and leave pay as men who were released to perform similar essential services under Class B release scheme.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is prepared to reconsider the cases of men released from the Royal Marines to industry being denied the 56 days' leave given to Class A releases.

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply given to the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer) on 9th October on a similar Question. The Question has already been fully considered and I should not feel justified in reopening it now.

Arts Students

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that art students who have won State scholarships have been nominated for early release, whilst other art students who have to their credit the same length of service have to take their turn for demobilisation; and why this different treatment is being meted out.

The purpose of the arrangement for the release from the Forces in Class B of a number of University arts students is to enable the Universities to resume their arts courses, which were virtually closed down during the war. The number of University students who can be released in Class B is necessarily limited and, in view of the purpose of the arrangement, it was decided in consultation with the University authorities, to accept the objective test of scholarship standard as the most satisfactory basis of selection. Selection is not confined to holders of State scholarships; all holders of scholarships and exhibitions of a high competitive standard are eligible for nomination by their Universities if they are within age and service groups 1 to 49 inclusive.

Solicitors' Clerks

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the shortage of trained assistants in solicitors' offices and the delay thereby occasioned to the public in obtaining legal advice or assistance, he will consider the inclusion in Class B releases of articled clerks and other experienced solicitors' clerks.

It is open to the appropriate Government Department to sponsor an application for release in Class B of a trained solicitors' clerk who can properly be described as an individual specialist whose release is essential in the national interest. It is not, however, possible to regard articled clerks as individual specialists qualifying for release.

Civil Air Transport (Seats, Allocation)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what steps have been taken to give the same priority for air travel to important representatives of business and industrial interests as have been given to Services personnel.

The allocation of seats on air transport services is the responsibility of the Air Priorities Board, which was established in 1942, under the chairmanship of the Under-Secretary of State for Air, on the recommendation of the Lord President of the Council. The Board has recognised that, with the end of hostilities, the claims of business and industrial interests must be taken into account in granting priorities. The question has also been engaging my Noble Friend's attention, and it has been agreed with the Secretary of State for Air, with the approval of the Lord President of the Council, that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation shall be a joint Chairman of the Board. A representative of the Board of Trade and Department of Overseas Trade has recently taken the place of the war-time representative of the War Supply Departments, and my Noble Friend is considering, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Air, whether any further measures can usefully be taken to ensure that a proper balance is maintained in dealing with competing claims for air passages and accommodation.

Agriculture (Acreage Payments)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give instructions that all acreage payments due to farmers for growing potatoes, wheat and rye should be paid in full without any deduction whatsover, immediately upon certification to his Department by the county war agricultural executive committee that the acreages claimed for are correct and the production work satisfactorily carried out.

My right hon. Friend does not propose to make any change in the present practice under which a county war agricultural executive committee deducts any debt owing to them by a farmer from such grants or acreage payments as may be due to the farmer. This arrangement protects State funds; it is economical and convenient; and it has worked satisfactorily.

Food Supplies

Milk

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that in certain areas of Brighton and Hove milkmen only deliver milk twice or three times a week; that it is impossible for single people, perhaps with no refrigerator, to keep milk from going sour for three or sometimes four days in the week; and what remedy he proposes for this difficulty.

I am aware that owing to the withdrawal of half-pint bottles by certain dairymen, deliveries to some non-priority consumers in Brighton and Hove have been reduced to two or three times weekly. I appreciate the hardship which this restriction creates for people living alone, but the shortage of half-pint bottles and of labour to fill them makes it difficult for some dairymen to maintain a full delivery service. It should, however, be possible for the dairymen to arrange for a few half-pint bottles to be filled for meeting the requirements of people living alone.

asked the Minister of Food what steps are being taken by his Ministry to relieve the present shortage of milk bottles and whether, in view of the fact that many dairymen cannot maintain normal deliveries of milk because of this shortage, he will arrange that it shall receive priority treatment before the winter.

Every effort is being made to relieve the present shortage of milk bottles, which is mainly due to the lack of suitable labour in the bottle-making plants. Additional labour is being obtained for these plants, and the Service Departments are co-operating by the release of a number of men under Class B. All practicable steps are being taken as a matter of urgency to conserve the existing supplies of milk bottles and to increase the output of new ones.

Milk Retailers (Customers' Choice)

asked the Minister of Food whether he will restore to the consumer the right to select his own milk retailer in all cases where that would not involve increased use of mechanical transport.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on 10th October, to the hon. Member for Evesham (Mr. De la Bère) and the hon. and gallant Member for Brighton (Flight-Lieutenant Teeling).

Wholemeal Bread

asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the dietetic value of wholemeal bread, it is the intention of his Ministry to ensure that such bread shall be equally available to consumers as white bread and at no higher price.

High extraction and wholemeal flour at the same price as National flour is available to all bakers. Bread produced from such flour is subject to the same maximum price as National bread.

Ice Cream

asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the continued sale of low fat content preparations designated ice cream, he will consider, prior to the commencement of the next summer season, some sort of control over the price and quality of ice cream.

I announced to the Press the introduction of a scheme for regulating the price of ice cream on 14th August last. This scheme has been devised to ensure that, generally, the present price of ice cream should not be more than about 50 per cent. above the pre-war level. As regards standards of quality, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for South Blackpool (Wing-Commander R. Robinson) on 10th October.

Soap And Salt

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the shortage of soap and salt in Eastleigh, Hampshire, and whether a more equitable distribution of these commodities will be arranged, with a view to improving supplies in the South of England.

As regard salt I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply on this subject given on 9th October to the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor). So far as soap is concerned, I am aware that there has been a shortage in Eastleigh, but my local officers report that the position there now is very much easier. A new distribution scheme for soap requiring the removal of coupons from ration books was introduced on 16th September, and I am advised that the position in the South of England is rapidly improving.

Meat (Allocations)

asked the Minister of Food the number of men in His Majesty's Forces in Great Britain and their total weekly allocation of meat; the number of women in His Majesty's Forces in Great Britain and their total weekly allo- cation of meat; and the number of miners in Great Britain and their total weekly allocation of meat.

As regards the first and second parts of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Service Departments, as my Department merely meets their bulk demands. As regards the third part, the weekly meat ration for all adult civilians, including miners, is 1s. 2d. In addition to the domestic ration miners can obtain meals in pithead canteens, which, like canteens in other industries where the conditions are particularly exacting, receive twice the meat allowance of ordinary catering establishments. I would refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power for information of the number of miners in Great Britain.

Food Reserves

asked the Minister of Food the figures of the reserve stocks of food in this country at 30th September, 1938, and 30th September, 1945, respectively.

Royal Air Force

Medical Officers

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that the present strength of medical officers in the R.A.F. is 2·27 medical officers per 1,000 men, which compares with one doctor per 3,500 of the civil population; why it is necessary for the proportion of doctors in the R.A.F. to be eight times that for the country as a whole, now that war-time conditions no longer prevail; and whether he has a plan for the rapid release of doctors from the R.A.F. to take up vital work on the home front.

The comparison in the first part of the Question requires further explanation in that the ratio given for the Air Force includes doctors employed in hospitals on research and on administration as well as those on R.A.F. Stations at home and abroad. On the other hand, the civilian figure for this country, which I understand is about 2,500 per doctor, and not 3,500 as stated in the Question, relates to general practitioners and excludes doctors working only in hospitals, on public health administration, and on research. A similar figure for the Air Force would be one in 1,000, out of which provision has to be made for a doctor at each active airfield. This ratio is less than was provided in peace time. As regards the last part of the Question, the distribution of medical man-power is now under review by H.M. Government.

Demobilisation

asked the Under Secretary of State for Air whether he will give an assurance that demobilisation groups from the Far East are still being released at the same lime as comparable groups in this country.

Yes, Sir. Airmen from the Far East are now being generally released within the same period as comparable groups in this country. Naturally there are sometimes difficulties to be overcome in getting men home from a distance, but I hope that as a rule we shall continue to be successful in this important task.

asked the Under Secretary of State for Air whether as regards releases from the R.A.F., the position of clerks in the accounts branch may be considered, as many of these men have not been permitted to change their category in the same way that some trades in the R.A.F. have been able to do.

asked the Under Secretary of State for Air, if he is aware that men who were members of the R.A.F.V.R. who were called up on 3rd September 1939, and have served continuously since then, many of them overseas, are being refused release for considerable periods ahead because they happen to be in the accounts branch; that this differentiation of treatment as compared with other branches is causing dissatisfaction, both among the men concerned and their families; and what steps are being taken to ensure that the principle of first in, first out, is applied to these men as to others.

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave on 10th October to my hon. Friend, the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer).

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air, what is the reason for the reduction in the rate of R.A.F. releases whereby, while 14 groups are to be released from the Navy and seven from the Army during the January-June period, only three will be released from the R.A.F., from which service only 23,000 per month will be released during that period as compared with 66,000 per month during the present quarter; and whether he will have the situation reviewed, with the object of removing the feeling throughout that service, that the R.A.F. is at a disadvantage, compared with the Navy and the Army, in this matter.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why the proposed rate of release from the R.A.F. for the period December onwards compares so unfavourably with that for the other Services; and will he give active consideration to its speed up.

I would refer my hon. Friends to the statement I made in reply to the Debate on the Adjournment, on 12th October, to which I have at present nothing to add.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what percentage of wartime meteorological officers in the R.A.F.V.R. have now been released; and what percentage of wartime civilian meteorological officers have now been released.

Excluding compassionate releases, 4 per cent, of the wartime meteorological officers in the R.A.F.V.R. and 3½ per cent, of the civilian meteorological officers have been released up to 30th September.

asked the Undersecretary of State for Air whether he is aware that airmen, due for group release at two stations within nine miles of Karachi, are first sent to Worti, Bombay, by rail, involving hundreds of miles travel and occupying several days, and then flown by internal air routes back to Karachi where the dispatch centre is located; and whether he will have this routing shortened.

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for this Question. I am looking into the matter and will communicate with him.

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air whether he has considered the case, details of which have been submitted to him, of a university graduate in arts, holding a commission in the R.A.F., Signals branch, who for whom no arrangements for release have been made, and if he will enable this man to resume research at London University interrupted by his war service.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service is considering this case and he will communicate with the hon. Member.

St Mawgan Aerodrome (New Hangars)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that two new large hangars are being erected at St. Mawgan aerodrome in Cornwall; and whether, in view of the urgent demand for the labour involved for housing in the county, their erection will be suspended until houses have been built.

These two extra hangars are being erected at St. Mawgan so that we can concentrate an extra transport unit there which would otherwise be occupying a separate airfield and requiring the services of a separate station staff. Not more than sixty men of building trades will be needed at one time and their work will be finished by the end of the year.

Aircrew Badges

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will amend the regulation whereby men at present on courses or just finishing a course making them eligible for flying duties are being refused the grant of their wings unless they agree to sign on for a further three years.

With the end of the war it was imperative to reduce the aircrew training organisation. It is hoped to invite airmen aircrew to undertake a period of regular and reserve service, and cadets in training overseas who did not wish to do so were withdrawn from training. The initial award of the aircrew badge is dependent on the satisfactory completion of the proper courses, and steps have been taken to award it to cadets who were on the point of graduating at the time of their withdrawal and who have satisfactorily completed the syllabus.

Kenley Aerodrome (Footpath)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will re-open the footpath across Kenley aerodrome without delay.

Yes, Sir. This footpath will now be re-opened, with a small diversion for safety at the end of the runway.

Civilian Clothing

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air why an officer in the air service having served from nth January, 1941, to 28th February, 1945, has been refused clothing outfit on demobilisation, whilst others, who have served but 12 months are allowed such outfits; and is he aware that men so treated feel that such discrimination, in view of their long service, is unjust.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to the hon. and gallant Member for Finchley (Captain Crowder).

Transport Services (France)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many trains per day run between Toulon and Dieppe carrying Air Force leave personnel; and if these trains are adequate to carry all the personnel.

The small number of airmen at present travelling from Toulon to Dieppe, for leave are adequately provided for by the one daily Service train. As stated in my reply of 10th October to the hon. and gallant Member for Brighton (Flight-Lieutenant Teeling), my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War is taking steps to improve conditions of travel for Service personnel across France. When traffic on this route is increased, a second daily train will run from Toulon to Dieppe.

Closed Roads, Cambridgeshire

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether, now that the war is over, he will open the closed roads at Oakington, Fowlmere and Bourne, Cambridgeshire, which hamper communication with the villages named and cause much interference with the needs of inhabitants.

I am looking into the possibility of opening the roads' closed at Fowlmere and Bourne and two of the three roads closed at Oakington; the third road at Oakington will have to remain closed as long as the airfield is required for flying.

Ex-Prisoners Of War (Commissions)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the number of R.A.F. warrant officers and non commissioned officers who have returned to this country as ex-prisoners of war and have since been commissioned.

I regret that information of this kind is not readily available in respect of those who returned to this country before VE-day. Records will, however, be kept for the future. Former prisoners of war who came back since VE-day have not had a sufficient period of duty following their leave to be commissioned as yet; therefore the figure at present is none.

Aaf And Atc

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he is now in a position to make a statement with regard to the future of the A.A.F. and the A.T.C.

I am not yet able to make a statement, but I hope to do so at an early date.

Installation, Leith Hill

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether the installations erected by the R.A.F. on Leith Hill, Surrey, are temporary or permanent; and if the former when will they be removed.

The installation at Leith Hill forms a provisional and experimental part of a radar system that is designed to enable transport aircraft to use airfields near London with the maximum of safety in all weather conditions. Its introduction is one of the measures which have followed the statement made to the House by the Secretary of State for Air on 10th April that the navigational aids given to Transport Command would be accorded an increasing priority. Alternative sites are being sought for a possible permanent installation. Before final decisions are made we shall arrange for and welcome full consultation with the public amenity interests affected.

Accountant Branch

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that the existing system of accounting in the R.A.F. is wasteful of man-power and is the chief reason for the delay in releasing accounts personnel; and will he appoint a committee of experienced civilian accountants to investigate and make proposals for a more up-to-date system.

The system of accounting in the Royal Air Force is not considered to be wasteful of man-power or to be the cause of avoidable delays in the release of accounts personnel. The establishment of the Accountant Branch of the Royal Air Force has been particularly curtailed during the war years and compares favourably with that of the other Services. A Committee such as the hon. Member suggests would not result in a speedier release of accounts personnel, nor would there be any advantage in changing the system at the present time.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what is the total number of personnel male and female, respectively, at present employed in the accounts branch of the R.A.F.; what is the total number so far released from the accounts branch of the R.A.F. in release groups 1 to 13 inclusive; what number of non-accountant personnel have been trained to act as account clerks during the two months August and September, 1945; and what number it is expected will have been trained by 31st December, 1945.

Following is a statement giving the information:

Strength of accountant officers and clerks, accounting on 1st September
R.A.F.
Officers2006
Airmen8016
W. A.A.F.
Officers127
Airwomen4864
Numbers to be offered release up to 31stOctober
(Groups 1–13)
R.A.F.
Officers215
Airmen355
(Married women in Group.1–38)
W.A.A.F.
Officers21
Airwomen342

Numbers trained in accounting duties during August and September

R.A.F.

Officers123
Airmen606

W.A.A.F

Officers
Airwomen

Numbers trained or in training by 31st December

R.A.F.

Officers310
Airmen2650

W.A.A.F.

Officers
Airwomen

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many clerks are being trained in accountancy to enable existing accounts personnel, whose groups are due for release, to be discharged at the earliest possible date.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 10th October to my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Mr. Palmer).

Private Banking Accounts (Examination)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air in how many cases, and in what circumstances, the powers conferred on Secretaries of State under the Bankers Act to demand access to private banking accounts of civil servants had been exercised in the case of Air Ministry staffs in the last three years.

Under the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1879, on the application of any party to a legal proceeding a court or a judge may order that such party be at liberty to inspect and take copies of any entries in a bankers book for any of the purposes of such proceedings. Power was also vested in the Secretary of State, under Regulation 80A of the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, which required private individuals to produce certain information. I am not aware that either of these powers has been exercised in the last three years in order to obtain access to the private banking accounts of civil servants in my Department.

Transport Command (Priorities)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is satisfied that Transport Command of the R.A.F. has been given the neces- sary priorities in personnel, aircraft and airfields to enable them to handle efficiently and with safety the increasing numbers of passengers now being flown by them.

We have given Transport Command the highest priorities that we can. In my statement to the House on 12th October I did, however, draw attention to the immensity of the tasks now facing this Command, and whatever priorities we can accord to them these difficulties inevitably remain to be met and overcome.

Man-Power Reduction (Civilian Investigation)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will establish a small civilian commission to visit R.A.F. stations to check whether all personnel is being fully and necessarily employed and to recommend reductions in man-power wherever possible.

No, Sir. The allocation of man-power in the Air Force is a matter under constant consideration in my Department, where special machinery exists to obtain the greatest possible efficiency and economy in man-power throughout the Service. We realise that, in the present circumstances, full employment cannot always be given to all airmen owing to the degree of re-training and re-posting necessary in the interests of the release programme, but every endeavour is being made to deal with this problem by means of planned reduction and reorganisation.

No 16 Maintenance Unit (Court Of Inquiry)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air whether his attention had been drawn to the remarks of the chairman of the bench of magistrates at Stafford, of which a copy has been sent to him, concerning the misuse of public property at No. 16 Maintenance Unit; what action has been taken regarding this matter; and whether he has any statement to make.

Following this case, a court of inquiry has been convened at No. 16 Maintenance Unit, and in due course I will communicate further with my hon. and gallant Friend.

Civil Air Traffic, Northolt Aerodrome

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if, pending the completion of the first runway at Heath Row, he will arrange for Northolt airfield to be made available as a civil airport.

Arrangements are being made with the Ministry of Civil Aviation to allow a limited amount of civil air traffic at Northolt.

Low Flying Aircraft

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he has investigated the reports of low-flying aircraft at Weymouth and given instructions for the practice to cease.

The complaint forwarded by the Noble Lord has been investigated. The aircraft were carrying out armament training during which some low flying near Weymouth is unavoidable, though it is kept to a minimum. This training will now be reduced, and we are also investigating the possibility of making further improvements.

Overseas Postings (Age Limits)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air whether he will consider transferring to home establishment personnel of 45 years and over now serving overseas.

No, Sir. This proposal would deprive overseas commands of the services of skilled and experienced senior personnel. The upper age limit for posting airmen (including corporals) to most overseas Commands is 42, and 50 for senior N.C.Os. and non-regular officers.

Freight Aircraft (Passengers)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air whether he will consider transporting Service personnel to this country for demobilisation in the freight-carriers which now return from India empty.

As I explained to the House on 12th October, each Transport Command crew has to fly two return journeys carrying freight only over the route on which they will operate before they carry passengers. Although space may sometimes be available in these aircraft my hon. Friend will appreciate that to allow passengers to be carried would defeat the object of this rule which has been introduced in the interests of the safety of passengers carried by Transport Command.

Home Leave (Mediterranean And Middle East)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that members of 39 Squadron, R.A.F., after serving in North Africa, Sardinia and Italy for three years, have now been sent without home leave to the Middle East though home leave had been promised them; and what he proposes to do to see that the promise given is kept.

Misunderstanding may have arisen owing to the different home-leave regulations in force in the commands where No. 39 Squadron has been serving. But we hope that it may become possible to introduce a uniform scheme for home leave throughout the Air Force Commands in the Mediterranean and Middle East. I am making inquiries into this case and will communicate with the hon. Member.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is now in a position to announce that airmen stationed at Gibraltar shall be given the same home leave as those members of the C.M.F. or preferably, as those troops serving in Europe.

No, Sir. Transport difficulties prevent this. But airmen who have served a tour in Gibraltar have a reduction made in their total overseas tour, and I hope that it will shortly be possible to make a further improvement for them.

Officers (Rehabilitation)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air if he will inquire into the case, details of which have been submitted to him, of a flight-lieutenant, R.A.F., undergoing medical rehabilitation in hospital whose R.A.F. pay and allowances have been stopped after 18 months in hospital but before rehabilitation is completed and who has not received any payment from the R.A.F. although repeated applications have been made and the hospital medical officers recommended a further period of treatment and expedite the payment due to this man.

This officer was eligible to be placed on half-pay from 22nd July, 1945. The necessary application form for payment was sent to him on the 11th August but was not received and a new form has now been sent to him. He has meanwhile been found fit to return to air force duty and arrangements are being made to restore him to full pay.

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air if he will inquire into the case, details of which have been submitted to him, of a flight-lieutenant, R.A.F., a British subject resident in Chile, who volunteered in December, 1939, received severe injuries when his aeroplane crashed in February, 1944, and has been placed on half-pay and the allowances for his wife and two children discontinued, while still undergoing surgical treatment; and whether this officer can have full pay and allowances restored until his rehabilitation has been completed in conformity with the practice of our Dominions and Allies, with some of whose forces this officer it at present receiving treatment.

I am looking into this case and will communicate with the hon. Member.

Invalided Officer (Cancelled Decision)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air if he will inquire into the case, details of which have been submitted to him, of a flight-lieutenant, R.A.F.V.R., D.S.O., D.F.C., a wireless operator, who sustained severe injuries in a motor-cycle accident while on duty and who received, 10 months after his accident, instructions to be invalided when he still required an urgent operation to restore function and at a stage which would cause undesirable interruption of treatment, and take steps to assist this man.

The decision to invalid this officer, which was made in error, has now been cancelled.

Aeroplanes, Hendon

:asked the Under-secretary of State for Air when he proposes to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Rugby, dated 17th September, 1945, in regard to aeroplanes at Hendon.

The hon. Member will no doubt by now have received my reply dated 15th October.

Transferred Personnel (Release Groups)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he has now had opportunity to reconsider the position of airmen temporarily released from the R.A.F. for work in aircraft factories; and whether, in view of the written undertaking given to these men that this period of release would count as service towards their current engagement, he will now state that this period shall count as service for release purposes.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 10th October to the hon. and gallant Member for Waterloo (Captain Bullock).

Education Officers (War Gratuities)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that there is widespread dissatisfaction amongst education officers in the R.A.F. who find themselves ineligible for gratuities which are granted to other categories, CD. services, the Royal Observer Corps, etc.; and whether he will take steps to remedy this injustice.

War gratuities are paid, on a reduced scale, to members of the Royal Observer Corps, because the remuneration of Observers was related to the rates of pay of the armed forces. A similar consideration applied to certain members of the Civil Defence Services, but there is no such relation in the case of members of the Royal Air Force Educational Service.

Cadets, Cranwell (Permanent Commissions)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air when it is proposed to grant permanent commissions to graduates from the R.A.F. College, Cranwell.

No final decisions have yet been taken on this and other matters concerning the post-war Forces. It is hoped, however, that cadets will be entered for training in October, 1946, who will be eligible for permanent commissions on graduating from the R.A.F. College, Cranwell.

Industrial Floor-Space (Occupation)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air how much requisitioned industrial floor-space was in occupation by his Department on 30th September.

Approximately 8,000,000 square feet of industrial floor-space was occupied by the Royal Air Force at the end of September.

Weeton Camp, Lancashire (Conditions)

asked the Under-secretary of State for Air if he is aware of the bad conditions existing in Weeton Camp, Lancashire; and if steps are being taken to improve these conditions.

I am aware that a reduced scale of accommodation at Weeton has been authorised for some N.C.O.s who are being specially retrained in connection with the release programme. This re-training is a temporary commitment which does not justify additional building in present conditions, and if we met it by using other stations for the purpose we should require more men. In the interests of the release programme, therefore, the present scale of accommodation must continue until the emergency has been overcome.

Takoradi Station (Civil Aircraft Servicing)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air the conditions under which K.A.F. stores and equipment are used for servicing B.O.A.C.'s aircraft at Takoradi Station, British West Africa, on the Africa-United Kingdom service; and the approximate date when this station will be handed over by the R.A.F. to B.O.A.C.

Royal Air Force stores and equipment are used for servicing aircraft of the British Overseas Airways Corporation at Royal Air Force Station, Takoradi, in accordance with the terms of the White Paper of March, 1943, on the "Relationship between the B.O.A.C. and the R.A.F. Transport Command." This lays down that the Command has

"a general responsibility for seeing that the Corporation receives such spares, aircrews, maintenance personnel, operating facilities, accommodation, etc., as they may require for the safe and efficient operation of the approved services and as in the opinion of the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief can be supplied having regard to other needs."
No question has arisen of transferring this station to the British Overseas Airways Corporation.

Steel Industry

asked the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production what are the intentions of His Majesty's Government as to introducing legislation for the nationalisation of the steel industry during the life of this Parliament in view of the fact that such action will have grave results on our export trade.

National Finance (Taxation Proposals)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he intends to revise the position at the moment applying, of widows being classified as Single Persons for Income Tax purposes.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will remove the Purchase Tax on spring-filled mattresses, the only item of utility bedding on which such a tax is imposed.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Acton (Mr. Sparkes) on 10th October.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider giving priority in the payment of post-war credits to old and infirm people who are no longer able to work and to people who have lost, on active service relatives on whom they were dependent.

Royal Navy

Fishery Protection, Folkestone

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the recent cases which have occurred of French fishing boats fishing in British territorial waters, he will arrange for a patrol boat to be stationed at Folkestone.

Instructions were issued to the Commander-in-Chief, Nore, on 15th September last to institute a patrol against fishing vessels infringing British territorial limits, as a result of which three French fishing vessels were arrested on 27th September and escorted into Boulogne. On 6th October a further arrest was made and the offending vessel brought into Dover. A gun-boat is standing by at Dover ready to sail on receipt of information that British territorial waters are being infringed. I do not, therefore, consider it necessary to station a patrol boat at Folkestone.

Demobilisation

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in order to speed up demobilisation, he will consider giving to commanding officers the power to grant compassionate release.

I regret that it is not possible to vest in commanding officers the power to release men permanently from the Royal Navy. Commanding officers already have authority to grant compassionate leave.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether instructor officers in the Royal Navy are to be demobilised with their age and service groups or under some special scheme.

Yes, Sir, instructor officers are being released in order of age and service groups.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what is the future programme of releases for R.N.V.R. and R.N.R. officers under the demobilisation scheme.

The answer to this Question can most conveniently be given in tabular form:

Branch.Group.Target date for dispersal.
Executive, Naval Air12–1810th November
Arm, Special Branch, R.N.V.R. and Electrical Branch, R.N.V.R.19–2231st December
Engineers1031st December
Supply1631st December
Cypher2531st December
Medical2031st December
Dental2231st December
Chaplains1831st December
This programme is liable to alteration.

Patent Rights (Claim)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is now in a position to make a statement regarding the case of Mr. Buchanan Reith.

I presume the hon. Member refers to the claim by Mr. J. Buchanan Reith in respect of alleged patent rights in certain hatch fittings incorporated in some of the merchant ships built on Government account during the war. I have recently received a report by an independent expert which confirms the Admiralty view that Mr. Reith cannot sustain enforceable monopoly rights under his patent so far as the fittings in these ships are concerned. I am, however, considering whether an ex gratia grant might be made.

Pay And Allowances

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether the Departmental Committee set up under the Coalition Government to consider naval pay and allowances has completed its Report.

No, Sir, the matter is still under consideration, but, as I indicated in my reply to the hon. and gallant Member on 2nd May last, the issues involved are of so complex a nature as to preclude a rapid solution.

Prize Money

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether a decision has yet been reached with regard to naval prize money.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr. Touche) in Wednesday last.

Rnvr (Temporary Officers)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many temporary R.N.V.R. officers have expressed a desire to serve in the permanent R.N.V.R. when it is reconstituted.

Free Family Passages (Ratings)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that the wives of ratings, whose husbands are shore-based at stations abroad, have to pay for their own passages, whereas the wives and families of naval officers get free transport; and whether he will take steps to see that the latter privilege is extended to the wives of all ranks.

The privilege of free family passages was recently restored to naval officers appointed for shore duties in certain localities abroad provided their appointments are expected to last two years without the liability to go to sea. This was a resumption of the pre-war position, and the reason the naval rating does not participate is that when drafted abroad he is, unlike the officer, normally liable for service afloat and remains so during his tour of service even if drafted to a shore billet. The position of the naval rating employed on shore abroad for extended periods will be examined as a post-war problem.

Reported Refund Offer

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why the £135,000 refund offered by a U.S. shipbuilder, Mr. Andrew Higgins of New Orleans, was declined; and what other similar offers of refund have been declined or are under consideration.

I have no knowledge of the offer referred to by the hon. Member or of any similar offer. When the Press reports of this matter appeared inquiries were instituted in the U.S.A. I will communicate with my hon. Friend when the results of these inquiries are known.

New Fishing Boats (Licences)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why, in view of the fact that the necessary increase in our fishing fleets is prevented by the undue priority given to orders to increase foreign fishing fleets, licences to build fishing-boats in our yards were recently granted for 10 French and 31 Icelandic boats in priority to 12 boats for the Whole of Great Britain.

The suggestion that undue priority is given to orders to increase foreign fishing fleets is without foundation. British fishing interests—whether firms or private individuals—should have no difficulty in placing orders for new boats with the prospect of reasonably early delivery. The number of licences issued for the construction in the United Kingdom of new fishing boats for British owners during the last 12 months was 97 as compared with 19 for foreign owners.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many licences have been granted to build boats for the North-East coast fishing fleets during the last 12 months and since the end of the war, respectively; how many of those boats are for the North-East of Scotland; how many for England and how many for foreign fishing fleets; and what are the actual figures of licences granted during those periods to build boats for foreign and for home fishing fleets, respectively.

The answer to this Question can most conveniently be given in tabular form:

Period 1.10.44 to 30.9.45.Period 15.8.45 to 30.9.45.
British Owners—
N.E. Coast of England71
N.E. Coast of Scotland115
Other owners in England6620
Northern Ireland132
TOTAL FOR UNITED KINGDOM.9728
Foreign Owners194
These figures cover all kinds of craft which were stated to be required for fishing purposes when application was made for the licences to construct.

Magistracy (Members Of Parliament)

asked the Attorney-General whether he will consider the desirability of appointing Members of Parliament as justices of the peace in the areas of their residence providing this does not coincide with the area of their constituency in order that they may be in a position to exercise effectively and without delay functions of justices of the peace other than those of magistrates on the Bench.

As my hon. Friend is aware, the responsibility for the appointment of Justices of the Peace rests, not with the Attorney-General, but (apart from the Duchy of Lancaster) with the Lord Chancellor, who makes the appointments on the recommendation of his local Advisers. Before appointment, an approved candidate is required to give an undertaking that he will, if appointed, perform his fair share of magisterial duty. My Noble Friend would not regard this undertaking as satisfied in the case of a candidate who is not prepared to participate in the actual administration of justice.

Principal Probate Registry (Public Accommodation)

asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that people who have to attend at Somerset House to file probate have to wait in a long queue and that great distress is often caused by the fact that the conversation between the clerk and the person he is attending to is clearly audible to the strangers next in the queue; and whether he will take steps to improve these conditions and to ensure that people can discuss their private affairs with officials without being over heard.

The hon. Member presumably refers to the Personal Application Department of the Principal Probate Registry. This Department, in response to an urgent public demand, is operating in London, detached from the main body of the Probate Registry, which is still at Llandudno, and with a staff reduced by the exigencies of the war. A considerable part of the Probate Registry's accommodation at Somerset House is still occupied by units of other Government Departments. At busy times there is undoubtedly some crowding at the counter at which applicants obtain their forms to be filled up; but at this stage there need be no discussion of details of a private nature. Applicants are interviewed privately by one of two Commissioners, by whom they are assisted in filling in the private details, in a room to which not more than two persons are admitted. It is regretted that it will not be possible substantially to improve the conditions in which this Department operates until the Probate Registry is able to return to Somerset House with the full use of its normal accommodation.

Leasehold Enfranchisement

asked the Attorney-General whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to introduce legislation to secure leasehold enfranchisement.

asked the Attorney-General whether it is the Government's intention to review existing statutory provisions governing leasehold property with a view to enabling the holder of existing leasehold property to have an option to purchase the freehold at a value determined by an appointed competent authority.

This is a question which for many years has been the subject of considerable controversy in this House, and with the heavy reconstruction programme in hand it would be inappropriate at present to revive it.

Major War Criminals' Trials

asked the Attorney-General whether it is proposed to include charges relating to the use of the V1 and V2 weapons against this country in the indictments framed against any, and if so which, of the accused in the forthcoming Nuremburg trials.

asked the Attorney-General when he expects that the trial of the major war criminals will commence; and if agreement has been reached with the major Allied Powers as to the procedure of the trials.

The chief prosecutors representing the major Allied Powers have agreed on the form of indictment against the major war criminals of the European Axis whose names have been published and have duly signed it. The Tribunal of Judges is now meeting in Berlin to settle the rules of procedure and to fix the date of the opening of the trial. These are matters for the Tribunal, but the chief prosecutors have submitted an agreed draft of suggested rules of procedure for consideration by the Tribunal and it is expected that the trial will commence early in November.

Foreign Visitors (Visas)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he anticipates he will soon be in a position to abolish visas between the United Kingdom and France.

The purpose of the requirement that foreigners seeking admission to this country must first obtain a British visa is to ensure, so far as possible, that the journey is not undertaken by those to whom, in present circumstances, it would be necessary to refuse leave to land at the port of arrival. Every effort is made to avoid delay in granting visas to French citizens who have good reasons to come here, particularly business visitors, but on balance I think that the advantage lies in maintaining the requirement for the present.

Defence Regulation 51 (Land)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is intended to retain Defence Regulation 51, which empowers the competent authority to take possession of any land without notice to the owner, who is left with no right of appeal.

Yes, Sir. This is one of the Regulations the retention of which will be necessary during the transitional period for the specific purposes indicated in the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill. The Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939, will continue to apply to any use of the powers conferred by the Regulation.

British Nationality (Special Cases)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many exceptional special cases British nationality has been granted during the last five years; and if he will set out in detail the grounds which warranted such action.

During the last five years exceptions from the general policy have been made in 70 cases on the ground that there were special reasons in the national interest for the immediate conferment of British nationality. It would be contrary to well established practice to detail the reasons in any particular case why naturalisation is granted or refused.

Ministry Of Information

asked the Minister of Information what is the annual cost of the Ministry of Information and the number of its employees.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave on 10th October to the hon. and gallant Member for Renfrew East (Major Lloyd).

Members Of Parliament (Expenses)

asked the Minister of Information whether, in view of the widespread misunderstanding on the subject, he will take steps to acquaint the country with the nature and amount of the average Member's heavy expenses and outgoings, compared with the salary provided.

This subject is constantly ventilated in the daily Press and was given further publicity as the result of the Debate on the Adjournment on 9th October. I do not see that it would be appropriate for my Department to intervene.

Docks Dispute (Bbc Facilities)

asked the Minister of Information why, on 12th October the B.B.C. refused to carry out a request from the Minister of Labour, to broadcast in the Home Service a statement by Mr. J. Donovan, national secretary of the docker's section of the Transport and General Workers' Union; and what action he proposes to take, in view of the B.B.C.'s failure to fulfil the terms of its licence which provides that it broadcasts any matter which any Department of His Majesty's Government requires to be broadcast.

On 12th October the B.B.C. were asked by the Transport and General Workers' Union that Mr. Donovan should be allowed to broadcast a report of the meeting of the National Delegates Conference which had taken place that day. This was discussed with the B.B.C, who stated that they were required to maintain absolute impartiality in regard to controversial issues and could not fairly allow such a broadcast from one side in a dispute without giving the other side an opportunity to reply. A full report of the Conference was, however, included in all the news bulletins. No request was made to the B.B.C. in terms of Clause 4 (ii) of the licence, and the last part of the Question therefore does not arise.

Eviction Order, Arundel (Tenant's Reinstatement)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the decision of the judge of the Arundel County Court on 6th July, 1945, in the case of Pride v.Ross, in which the defendant was found to be a trespasser, and an eviction order was made against him, was frustrated by the action of a local authority who immediately upon receiving notice of the court order requisitioned the property, and, upon the execution of the order for eviction, reinstated the trespasser; and whether he will give an assurance that the executive shall not again be allowed to override the justiciary.

My right hon. Friend is informed that the house was requisitioned until alternative accommodation could be found for the occupier. This has been done, and the Clerk of the Council has been told to release the premises.

Land Drainage (Government Grants)

asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the amount of Government grant paid in aid of land drainage schemes during the war, particularising that amount paid in aid of cleaning farm ditches.

The amount of Government grant paid in aid of land drainage schemes from 1st September, 1939, to 31st March, 1945, which is the latest date for which figures are available, amounts to £5,346,902. This figure includes £1,957,617 in respect of farm drainage schemes, of which £1,227,913 relates to the cleaning of farm ditches.

Africa (Forced Labour)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the system of forced labour for private enterprise in Africa will be abandoned now that the war is over.

I am already in consultation with the Governors concerned on this question, and I am not yet in a position to make a statement. I may say that the Governors concerned and I are anxious to bring the system of forced labour to an end with as little delay as possible.

Uganda (Political Situation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on events in Uganda following on the recent murder of the Prime Minister; what plans are in existence for the reform of the native Parliament; and what steps are being taken to re-absorb into civilian life the thousands of African soldiers now to be demobilised.

The Minister of Finance has been appointed to succeed the late Prime Minister. No further incidents have been reported. One person, suspected of having caused the death of the Katikiro, was arrested immediately. The Governor has found it necessary to detain certain other persons as a security measure and the further action to be taken with respect to these persons is under consideration.With regard to the second part of the Question, the Lukiko recently passed legislation providing for the election of 31 unofficial representatives out of a membership of 89.With regard to the last part of the Question, the existing facilities for technical training and for training agricultural and medical staff and teachers are being expanded with particular reference to the needs of demobilised soldiers. Many of these men will be absorbed into Government employment in connection with the development programme. Civil Registration and Employment Bureaux are being set up to assist the re-absorption of men requiring employment.

British Guiana (Franchise)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is now the position regarding the franchise in British Guiana; and whether it will be possible to extend full adult suffrage to this Colony.

Local legislation is being passed to implement the recommendations of the British Guiana Franchise Commission for the reduction of the franchise qualifications. With my approval the Governor has recently made a statement, a copy of which I am sending to my hon. Friend.

Sarawak And North Borneo

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangements are contemplated in regard to the relations of Sarawak and North Borneo to his Department.

I have no statement to make at present as regards Sarawak, but I referred in my answer in the House on 22nd August to discussions proceeding with representatives of the British North Borneo Chartered Company with a view to the assumption by His Majesty's Government of direct responsibility for the administration of North Borneo. These discussions are not yet concluded.

British Army

African Troops (Repatriation)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he will consult with the Secretary of State for War with a view to the early repatriation from the Middle East of Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland troops, in view of their resentment at the absence of any release scheme comparable to the United Kingdom Forces' age-and-service group system and of the approach of the ploughing season in these territories, where their labour is urgently needed.

My noble Friend has already been in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War with a view to the repatriation of these troops as soon as possible, but as explained in my reply on 10th October to the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Henderson Stewart) the difficulty is one of shipping. I understand that so far as practicable the troops are at present being released in the order in which they came from the Territories to which they belong.

Home-Coming Troops (Steam And Rail Accommodation)

asked the Secretary of State for War, what changes in transport conditions he proposes to institute as a result of his recent investigations; and whether he is aware that some of the French ships bringing British troops from Alexandria to Toulon are in a filthy condition and rat-ridden and that for the 40-hour journey across France, old German 3rd-class coaches are used with great discomfort.

I have not made any recent investigations into this particular aspect of the transport question. My right hon. Friend the Minister of War Transport is now making inquiries regarding the ships referred to, and further information on that point will be sent to my hon. Friend in due course. As regards the last part of the Question, there is an extreme shortage of railway stock on the Continent, and it was only by making use of captured stock that it was found possible to maintain the daily service across France for troops returning home for release, leave, or Python repatriation. It is hoped that the German coaches will be replaced in the near future by more comfortable stock. While it is regretted that the homeward journey cannot always be as comfortable as we could wish I am sure that the soldiers would prefer a certain amount of discomfort to a postponement of their home-coming, where this is the only alternative.

Industrial Floor-Space (Occupation)

asked the Secretary of State for War how much requisitioned industrial floor-space was in occupation by his Department on 30th September.

I regret that up-to-date figures are not available. A revised list of premises is now being compiled. I may say, however, that some millions of square feet of industrial floor-space have been released by the War Office in the last 12 months, and that further large-scale releases are in prospect.

Trade And Commerce

Printing Paper (Allocations)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much paper he made available for the publication of "Your M.P." and the "English Social History," respectively.

No paper has been made available from the Board of Trade Special Reserve for the publication of "Your M.P." Eighty-three and a half tons, the full amount of which the publishers have asked, has, however, been made available from the reserve for the "Social History of England." Both publishers are, of course, free to use for these books as much paper as they wish from their regular quotas.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the present impossibility for many persons leaving the Fighting Services to start business as publishers owing to their inability to obtain a quota of paper for new businesses, he will make a statement as to the date by which he expects to be able to allocate some supplies for this purpose.

While the total amount of paper that can be made available for book publishing is still limited, and existing publishers are still obliged to go short, consideration can now be given to any application to the Paper Control by an ex-Serviceman with experience who wishes to start a genuine book publishing business of his own.

Government Surplus Stores (Disposal)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if it is intended to follow the policy laid down in Cmd. 6539 that Government surplus stores should normally be disposed of through the usual trade channels; who determines which firms shall receive the goods for disposal; will all traders receive a supply of these goods on application, or will the supply be restricted to a few firms; and if he will consider disposing of these goods at controlled prices direct to the public.

Yes, Sir. Unless there is good reason to the contrary, the various types of Government surplus stores which become available for home and export markets will be distributed as far as possible through the traders who normally handle goods of that type. The arrangements which have been worked out with the various trades differ according to the particular trade and the particular goods, but one of their purposes is to secure fair distribution from the point of view of traders as well as consumers. In general, it will be impracticable for the Government itself to sell direct to the public.

Home Market (Supplies)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, whilst appreciating the need for exports, he will give an assurance that an increasing supply of essentials and necessities for household and domestic purposes will be available to the general public through the small shopkeepers throughout the country.

In the arrangements we are making for reconversion and for developing our export trade, we have allowed for some additional supplies of essential goods in short supply for the home market, of which the small shop keepers will get their fair share.

Timber Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade the quantity of timber imported into this country for the three months ended 31st August, 1945.

Thermos Flasks

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will facilitate the provision of thermos flasks to men engaged in the building industry.

Yes, Sir. Arrangements to this end already exist, and any building operative who needs a vacuum flask can apply to the National Federation of Building Trade Operatives for a priority certificate.

Supplementary Clothing Coupons

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proportion of their civilian clothing coupons have been required to be surrendered by women members of the N.F.S. in respect of items of uniform supplied to them; and whether he will consider allowing an increased number of clothing coupons to such members who have left the service to enable them properly to replace their uniforms with non-service clothes.

From June, 1941, when clothes rationing began, to August, 1945, the basic ration has amounted to 218 coupons. Women members of the N.F.S. wearing uniform for the whole of this period will have surrendered in all 52 coupons from their basic ration. In return, they will have received an initial outfit of uniform comprising shoes, two suits, one overcoat and an overall, valued at 69coupons, and all necessary replacements for this outfit. The use of the N.F.S. uniform has meant a corresponding saving in wear and tear on their other clothing. In these circumstances, it should have been possible for them to maintain a reasonable civilian wardrobe, and I regret that, with clothing supplies still so short, I could not agree to give supplementary coupons to women who have left the N.F.S.

Imitation Fur Fabrics

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is taking special steps to encourage the manufacture of wool-pile and fibre materials in this country for ordinary wear in place of the furs imported from other countries, especially outside the sterling area.

The manufacture of imitation fur pile fabrics has increased during the war in response to an increase in the demand, and I have no doubt that cloth manufacturers will continue to produce women's over coatings of this kind in so far as the public prefer them to other types. The fur trade in this country is primarily an entrepot trade, and while I have recently been glad to give them facilities for restoring their trade by allowing the unrestricted import of undressed fur skins, I have made it clear that the bulk of the skins must be re-exported in order to show as large an exchange profit as possible for the trade as a whole.

Cycle Accessories

asked the President of the Board of Trade if arrangements can be made to increase the supply of inner tubes and other cycle accessories available for sale in Romford and district, where the shortage is causing inconvenience to workers who have to rely upon the cycle as a means of transport.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement on the production of inner tubes given to my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins) on 11th October. I have had no report of any shortage of other cycle accessories in Romford, but I am having the matter investigated.

Goods (Prices And Purchase Tax)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will introduce legislation to compel all goods offered for sale to be marked with the actual price and the Purchase Tax shown separately.

Officers' Footwear

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that many shops hold large stocks of shoes which they are entitled to sell only to officers on the active service list; and whether, in view of the shortage of shoes for civilians, he will, now that the war is over, relax whatever restrictions prevent the sale of these shoes to civilians.

I am not aware that any shops are holding more shoes for sale to officers than is justified by the amount of this trade which they are doing; but I should be willing to look into any specific cases which may be known to the right hon. Member.

Cooking Utensils (Hospitals)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give priority to hospitals in the purchase of cooking utensils.

There would be considerable practical difficulties in introducing a priority scheme for the supply of cooking utensils to particular users and I am not satisfied that it is necessary. If the hon. and gallant Member will let me have particulars of any case where difficulty has been experienced I will have it looked into.

Artificial Limbs

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in view of the excess profits being made on artificial limbs, he will consult with the President of the Board of Trade as to the advisability of bringing these appliances within the field of price-regulated goods.

Artificial limbs for all classes of persons dealt with through my Ministry's organisation are supplied under contract. These classes include disabled ex-Service personnel for whom I am directly responsible, and civilian and mercantile marine war injury cases and other classes in respect of whom other Government Departments or Governments have accepted financial responsibility under provisions administered by them. In addition, certain other classes of the community are supplied with artificial limbs, on a contributory basis, through the organisations of my Ministry and the Governors of Queen Mary's (Roehampton) Hospital, e.g., certain civilians whose in- juries are the result of industrial or other accidents, or disease, and who may be supplied with limbs under the Rehabilitation Scheme of the Ministry of Labour and National Service, and children who are supplied under schemes sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. In these cases, by agreement with the Governors of Queen Mary's (Roe-hampton) Hospital, the price paid is the same as provided for in the contract with my Department. This service is also available, through the organisation of the Governors of Queen Mary's (Roehampton) Hospital, to employees of certain railway companies, miners, etc., and cases referred by other public bodies, e.g., the London County Council, as well as to a large number of the public under the arrangement announced by one of my predecessors in the House on 27th July, 1936. I am satisfied that the arrangements for the classes mentioned are reasonable and do not permit an excessive profit to accrue to the contractors. Other demands on this industry are not large, as indicated in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Artificial Limbs published on 21st June, 1945. An artificial limb is necessarily made and fitted to an individual's special requirements according to the site of amputation, and its production and maintenance services do not lend themselves to control after the manner of a standardised or mass-produced article. In these circumstances I can find no grounds, in the field for which I am responsible, for the action suggested by the hon. Member.

Requisitioned Floor Space (Release)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many square feet of industrial floor space are still under requisition by Government Departments; and how much had been released and returned to industry by the end of September, respectively.

The total amount of industrial floor space taken for war production and war storage and still held under requisition by Government Departments at 30th September, 1945, was approximately 138,000,000 square feet. Up to 30th September, 1945, 12,000,000 square feet of industrial floor space had been released and returned to industry, and a further 12,000,000 square feet was in process of being released.

"Board Of Trade Journal"

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he used the issue of the "Board of Trade Journal," dated 15th September, 1945, for the expression of controversial opinions; and whether he will give an assurance that the Journal will not in future be used for such a purpose.

The speech to which the hon. and gallant Member refers was an authoritative exposition of the Government's intentions for industry and, as such, a report of it was given in the "Board of Trade Journal." This was in accordance with the aim of this publication to supply to industry the fullest possible information on Government regulations and plans, as well as on trading conditions generally.

Education

Teachers (Emergency Training Scheme)

asked the Minister of Education whether she has any statement to make on the arrangements for listing the names of persons now in the Forces who, when released, desire to become teachers.

Applications have been invited from men and women in the Forces who wish to train for the teaching profession under the Ministry's emergency training scheme and the comparable Scottish arrangements. There will, of course, be others who wish to prepare themselves for teaching in other ways, for example, by taking university courses.

Supplementary Teachers (Salaries)

asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the disappointment caused by her decision not to recognise the salary scale for supplementary teachers as proposed by the Cardiff Education Committee; and whether, in view of the small number of persons involved, she is now prepared to reconsider her decision.

The Cardiff Education Committee proposed to pay the supplementary teachers in question at the maximum of the scale recommended by the Burnham Committee for unqualified teachers whose employment is allowed under Regulation 15 (3) (a), 15 (3) (c) and 15 (3) (d) of the Primary and Secondary Schools (Grant Conditions) Regulations, 1945. This scale does not apply to supplementary teachers, but I have intimated to the authority my readiness in this case to approve a rate of pay making an increase of remuneration which is in reasonable relation to the rates recommended for unqualified teachers.

War Service Grants

asked the Minister of Pensions the average weekly amount being paid by way of war service grant in respect of an A.T.S. auxiliary and a soldier, respectively.

The average weekly amount being paid by way of war service grant in respect of an A.T.S. auxiliary is 6s. The average amount paid in respect of a man serving in the ranks is 12s. 6d. a week.

War Gratuity Payments

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that demobilised Army officers entitled to gratuities are informed by the Post Office that a minimum period of six weeks must elapse between their completion of the form of application and the receipt of payment; and whether anything will be done to speed up the handling of these applications, in view of the urgent need of many officers for money to restart their homes.

I assume that the hon. Member has in mind the case of officers who left the Services before the start of the general release scheme and who are required to complete a form of application for gratuity. I am not aware that any information regarding the period between application and payment has been given by the Post Office. It is, however, the case that when the Service Departments announced on the 31th August last that a start could be made with the payment of gratuities in this class of case a specific warning was included that, while payment would proceed as rapidly as possible, it was expected that the process of payment would necessarily occupy some months. Savings Bank Books are issued by the Post Office within a few days of the receipt from the Service Department of the necessary particulars.

Coal Supplies (Marple)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that the deliveries of coal in the Marple area have for some time been considerably below the allocation figures and that the coal deliveries for the first 19 weeks of the current coal year are down by approximately 20 per cent.; and if, because of the climatic conditions in this area and the fact that there are no reserve dumps in the locality, he will take the necessary steps to improve the position.

I am aware that supplies of coal generally have been considerably below the programmed allocation figures for the first 19 weeks of the current period, and that in the case of Marple the deficiency is 5 per cent. greater than for the North-Western Region as a whole. Steps have already been taken to send into Marple sufficient supplies to remedy this deficiency. Regard is paid to the general needs of the area in fixing the allocations. In case of emergency supplies can be made available from the Government dump at Stockport.