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Written Answers

Volume 415: debated on Thursday 8 November 1945

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Written Answers To Questions

National Finance

Entertainments

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he proposes to carry out the provisions of the Entertainments (Excise) Resolution which appeared in the Budget proposals of 24th April, 1945.

I intend to include in next year's Finance Bill a provision for the amendment of the law in this respect.

Double Taxation

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the hardship suffered by a number of individuals, he will consider taking steps towards the complete abolition of double taxation upon all British subjects.

:The Finance Bill contains provisions to enable the taxation agreement with the United States to be ratified and similar agreements to be made with any other country.

Post Office Savings (Interest)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the reduction of the maximum rate of deposit interest from 1 per cent. to ½ per cent., he proposes any alteration in the rate of interest of 2½ per cent. which is allowed by the Post Office on sight deposits.

I cannot at present add anything to what I said about interest rates in my Budget speech.

Income Tax Payers

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of Income Tax payers for the year ended 1st April, 1939, and the total estimated number at the present time.

Film Stock (Purchase Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the need for visual aids to education, he will consider taking off the purchase tax from 16 mm. film stock and equipment, par- ticularly as standard film stock and equipment is not subject to this tax.

Service Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the sporadic lack of enthusiasm in the Thanksgiving Savings Campaign is partly due to the impression that money is being wasted by the Service Departments; and if he will take further steps to secure economy and give these the fullest publicity.

I am glad to say that there has been no lack of enthusiasm in the Thanksgiving Savings Campaign. The Service Ministers are co-operating with me in securing a large and rapid reduction of Service expenditure.

Profits Distribution (Income Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that certain multiple grocery firms distribute profits to their customers, in some cases at a definite proportion of is. in the £ on purchases; and whether these distributions of profits are subjected to Income Tax.

Any rebate granted by a trader to a customer in respect of his purchases is deductible in computing the traders profits and is not income of the customers.

Income Tax

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the increased tax liability in the case of a married man of moderate means with a family, say five children, under his Budget proposals.

:The proposed changes in the Income Tax for the year 1946/47 substantially reduce the tax payable by all taxpayers. A married man with five children with an earned income of £500 a year at present pays £19 10s. 0d. tax; next year he will pay £3, a reduction of £16 10s. 0d.

Members Of Parliament (Travel Facilities)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is proposed to issue some form of season ticket for Members to travel to and from London and either their home or their constituency; or will it be necessary to sign a voucher and obtain a ticket each time a journey is made.

The proposed extension of Members' travel facilities would involve no change in the system under which tickets are obtainable in exchange for vouchers.

Equal Pay (Royal Commission)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Report of the Royal Commission upon Equal Pay is expected to be available.

:As the Prime Minister informed the hon. and gallant Member for Uxbridge (Flight-Lieutenant Beswick) on 31st October, the Royal Commission is still taking evidence.

Directed Miners

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the grievances felt by the parents of boys who were directed to work in the mines instead of joining the fighting Services because they are not being granted the same facilities as Service personnel in connection with Civil Service examinations; and whether further consideration can be given to this matter.

I am aware of the point, but regret that I cannot agree to change the arrangements already approved.

asked the Minister of Labour, if boys directed to the mines who have been released from the mines on medical grounds are liable to be called up for service with the armed forces.

Yes, Sir, provided that they are medically fit for service in the Forces.

Public Health

Colds And Influenza

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the number of working days lost during the winter months by epidemics of the common cold and influenza, he will initiate, without delay, a nation-wide campaign to encourage the voluntary use of inoculation against these diseases; and whether he will also arrange for the inoculation to be given at the expense of the Government.

:I am advised that the general results so far obtained of inoculation against the common cold and against influenza are not such as to justify the measures suggested by the hon. Member.

asked the Minister of Health whether in view of the prevalence of the common cold and influenza at this time of the year, he will appoint a committee composed of those interested in the promotion of health, as to the cause of this disability before embarking on any campaign for dealing with the matter.

:I am advised that medical research is constantly going on in this matter. I do not think such a committee as my hon. Friend suggests would assist research or is necessary to the publicity campaign which will be actively continued, to make known the rules of healthy living and to check infection through careless coughing and sneezing.

Rural Water Supplies

asked the Minister of Health how many rural authorities have submitted water schemes to him under the 1944 Act; to how many has sanction been given; and what are the highest, lowest, and average percentage grants which he has made towards their cost.

:One hundred and sixty rural district councils have submitted 249 water schemes, of which 27 have been approved in principle and I am awaiting formal application for loan sanction. Three have received sanction and are being carried out. The bulk of the remaining schemes were, at the general invitation of my Department, submitted in outline for examination and discussion and are now being prepared in detail by the local authorities concerned. I am about to issue a circular to local authorities inviting them to make formal applications for grant under the Act.

asked the Minister of Health, what has been the result of his consultations with the Minister of Labour, and the Minister of Supply and of Aircraft Production, with regard to the allocation in the immediate future of the necessary labour and materials to enable the rural authorities to proceed with their water schemes under the 1944 Act.

Every effort is made by the appropriate Departments to see that labour is made available for urgent rural water supply schemes but the hon. Member must make allowances for our overall labour shortage. I do not anticipate difficulty in the supply of materials for rural water schemes.

Diphtheria (Immunisation)

asked the Minister of Health how many children have been immunised during each of the last five years; what has been the total cost of such practice; how many doctors have been engaged in these operations; whether he has any information as to how many children have had diphtheria after the operation; and how many have subsequently died.

:The numbers of children under 15 immunised against diphtheria in England and Wales under local authority arrangements during the past five years are as follow:

1940 and 1941 (separate totals not available)2,365,400
19421,399,750
19431,039,490
1944561,320
In the same period, during which diphtheria mortality in this country fell by nearly two-thirds, of 135,431 children notified as suffering from diphtheria 17,084 were immunised and 118,347 unimmunised; and of 3,346 children who died from diphtheria 118 were immunised and 3,228 unimmunised.The cost of carrying out immunisation falls on local authorities except for the cost of the toxoid supplied to them free by the Government, which has averaged about £13,500 a year. I have no information about the number of doctors who, as medical officers of local authorities or as practitioners engaged on a sessional basis, have taken part in this work.

Ex-Internees (Medical Treatment)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that local relieving officers appear to be unaware of the facilities for free medical treatment for returned internees from the Far East; and if he will issue instructions forthwith so that these ex-internees may obtain the help to which they are entitled.

:I am obliged to the hon. and gallant Member for calling attention to this matter. I am taking action to supplement the arrangements already made, though I understand that in most cases they are working adequately.

Physio-Therapists (Coventry)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Coventry Corporation has had to close down temporarily the physio-therapy section at the municipal hospitals as the last remaining physio-therapist is about to retire on the ground of age; and whether he will consult with the Minister of Labour in order to obtain the immediate release from the Forces of two physio-therapists under Class B in order to carry on this work.

:I am informed that the physio-therapy department of the hospital is to be converted to other purposes and that a new physio-therapy department is to be opened in accommodation which is being specially provided. I have undertaken to assist the Corporation to secure the services of another physio-therapist as soon as the need arises.

Gipsy Gamps (New Forest)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the sanitary conditions existing in the Gipsy encampments situated in the New Forest; and what action was taken by the Ministry in respect of these encampments subsequent to the correspondence between the Forestry Commission and his Ministry in June, 1944.

Yes, Sir. The conditions in these camps have been under observation for some time past. One of my medical officers made a further inspection in August, 1944, and found the conditions improved. The rural district councils who are the responsible authorities were requested to carry out regular inspections, though I appreciate that until adequate staffs are available frequent visits may be difficult to arrange

Alien Doctors

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the shortage of doctors, he is taking steps to ensure that the Temporary Registration Order of 1941, by which refugee doctors were permitted to obtain posts in hospitals or to work as assistants to medical practitioners, is extended beyond February, 1946, after which time it will otherwise lapse.

Yes, Sir. The Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill introduced on Tuesday includes provisions for the continuance of the Order beyond the date mentioned.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many refugee doctors are now practising in South Wales; how many have applied for naturalisation; and how many of these applications have been granted.

:Among the doctors in South Wales at present I understand from the Central Medical War Committee that there are six Austrians, two of whom are women, three Germans and one Czechoslovak. The three men of German nationality and the two Austrian women are on the register of persons who are only permitted to take certain limited forms of medical work. Seven of these persons have applied for naturalisation but their applications have all been suspended in accordance with the general policy that has been in operation since 1940.

Doctors (Storage)

asked the Minister of Health in view of the shortage of civilian doctors in the United Kingdom what arrangements are being made to form any mobile units during this coming winter.

:I am afraid that the shortage of civilian doctors is itself an obstacle to organising in advance any units such as the hon. and gallant Member suggests, although I have no doubt that, if the need arises, mutual assistance will be arranged locally. I have arranged with the Service Ministers for the loan of serving medical officers as far as their resources permit, if an urgent need arises.

asked the Minister of Health if he has an estimate as to how many civilian doctors per head of population there will be available in the United Kingdom this winter.

The present proportion of civilian doctors of all kinds to population is about one to 1,350, or in the case of general practitioners only, one to 2,500. The extent to which this position will be improved during the winter depends on the number of doctors to be released from the Forces, which, as stated in reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Bucklow (Lieutenant W. Shepherd) on Tuesday, is receiving the urgent conisderation of Ministers.

Housing

Rent Accounts

asked the Minister of Health what the balance on the rent account of a local authority represents; and by what authority a local body can decide that such a balance can be disposed of by giving rent free periods to tenants.

:A credit balance on the Housing Revenue Account, to which I assume the hon. and gallant Member refers, representsthe excess of annual income over expenditure, together with any credit balances carried forward from previous years. I am advised that provided the weekly rents for the year are so fixed as to produce the full annual rent income there is no obligation to require the same charge to be made each week, though most local authorities find it most satisfactory to adopt this course.

Residential Premises (Business Use)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that buildings suitable for ordinary living accommodation are being acquired for business premises and the tenants turned out at short notice; and whether he will consider making a regulation restricting such action for at least a period of two years from the termination of the war with Japan, by which time other living accommodation may be available to the tenants.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the extent to which residential premises are being converted to business use; and when he proposes to make the consent of the local authority essential before such conversion takes place.

:I would refer my hon. Friends to the Order in Council adding Regulation 68CA to the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, which was presented to the House on 2nd November. A circular has been sent to local authorities explaining to them how they should administer the Regulation and I am sending each of my hon. Friends a copy.

Living-Rooms (Shops)

asked the Minister of Health what steps he proposes to take about the number of living-rooms over war-damaged shop premises which are not being repaired by local authorities because they come under business classificfiation and which could be placed at the disposal of those seeking homes.

:Local authorities are authorised to carry out work of war damage repair to shop premises where they are combined with living accommodation or where the business portion of the premises is structurally inseparable from the dwelling accommodation above. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind where difficulty has arisen, and will let me have details, I will have inquiries made.

Rural Workers

asked the Minister of Health how many letters he has received from rural district councils and other similar bodies protesting against the Government's decision to allow the Housing of Rural Workers Act to lapse.

:I have had a good number of letters on this subject on both sides. The general question of reconditioning rural cottages has been referred for advice to the Rural Housing Sub-Committee of my Central Housing Advisory Committee who have been asked to give special consideration to the availability of labour for reconditioning without prejudice to new building and to any improvements which can be made in the old scheme under the Housing (Rural Workers) Acts.

asked the Minister of Health whether instructions will be given for priority of tenancy to agricultural worked in all rural districts where a shortage of accommodation exists, and where houses are to be erected.

:Under the present law houses in respect of which the special agricultural subsidy is paid will be let to agricultural workers. As regards other houses, however, the first consideration in the selection of tenants must in my view be the relative need of the applicants for a house and I do not think it would be in the public interest for the Government to suggest that priority should be given to particular callings irrespective of the need. The question of future agricultural housing subsidies is under consideration.

Private Building

asked the Minister of Health if the allowance of £1,200 in the country or £1,300 in London, for houses to be built by private builders, includes the cost of the land and servicing.

Prefabricated Houses

asked the Minister of Health if the figures quoted in the White Paper on Temporary Housing, Cmd. 6686, as estimated cost of the eight different types of prefabricated houses are exactly comparable with the charges that any local authority or private builder would have to incur when building a permanent house for either £1,300 or £1,200 within and without the London area.

No, Sir. As pointed out in the White Paper, these estimates do not include the cost of land, roads and sewers which are included in the maximum cost or selling price applicable to houses built under licence by private builders. In the case of permanent houses built by local authorities control of cost is secured by means of the statutory provisions for loan sanction and subsidy.

Requisitioned Houses

asked the Minister of Health if he has considered the letter of the Camberwell Metropolitan Borough Council, of 29th October last, as to Circular 183/45; and if he will issue a modification of this circular, which is at present unworkable.

The representations made by the borough council are receiving consideration.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that under the provisions of his recent Circular 183/45, many thousands of bombed-out families now accommodated in requisitioned houses will be called upon to pay greatly increased rents; and if he will reconsider this circular.

:Local authorities have been authorised to take account of any serious hardship, and I have no doubt that they will do so by adjusting the charges where this is desirable.

asked the Minister of Health if he will now give local authorities power to requisition all empty premises without giving 14 days' notice.

Rents, Shoreditch

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that as a result of his Circular 183/45, dated 22nd October, 1945, tenants of a large number of properties in Shoreditch will have to pay increased rents which in many cases will involve hardship on the tenants; that the same circular states that the new charges must operate from the first week in October, although it was not issued until the fourth week in October and although some considerable time must elapse before all the rents in question can be reviewed; and if he will review the matter, in view of the difficulties of collecting arrears of rent which have accrued as a result of the increases dating from the first week in October.

:Local authorities have been authorised to take financial hardship into account and I have no doubt that they will do so and adjust rents accordingly. I have agreed that if difficulty arises, any changes need not be brought into operation until after the date on which the alteration is made.

Condemned Houses (Occupation)

asked the Minister of Health under what circumstances houses condemned underslum clearance schemes can now be occupied.

Local authorities have powers under Defence Regulations 68a and 68aa to issue licences permitting the occupation of such houses if satisfied that any necessary steps have been taken to render them reasonably capable of being used, as a temporary wartime measure, for housing purposes, without detriment to health.

Tall Buildings

asked the Minister of Health if he will approve the erection of tall buildings, of from 20 to 30 stories, for flats and office accommodation on suitable sites in built-up areas, including London, such as riversides, parksides, etc.

Proposals of this kind require the approval of the responsible local and planning authorities.

Building Trade Workers

asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that the number of building operatives likely to be demobilised from His Majesty's Forces by 1st December and 28th February next, respectively, will be adequate to meet all demands for the repair of existing dwellings and the building of new houses.

No, Sir. Considering the needs, it would be most difficult to satisfy me on this.

asked the Minister of Health how many building operatives had been placed at the disposal of St. Marylebone Borough Council, for the repair of damaged houses, on 1st August, 1st September, 1st October and 1st November, respectively

Available labour returns show the head of labour actually at work on Friday of each week. The figures for the Friday nearest the dates mentioned are 361, 343, 391 and 298 respectively.

asked the Minister of Works the number of operatives employed in the building industry on VE-Day, VJ-Day and 1st November, 1945.

Precise figures for the number of operatives employed in the building industry on VE-Day and VJ-Day are not available, but the estimated number at the beginning of May, 1945, was 374,000, and at the middle of August, 1945, 410,000. A figure forthe beginning of November will not be available for two or three weeks, but I will communicate it to the hon. and gallant Member.

Land Acquisition

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Nottingham Corporation are submitting for his approval, under the Housing Act, 1936, the Nottingham (Clifton and Glapton) Compulsory Purchase Order, 1945; that this order relates to property belonging to an officer serving overseas with His Majesty's Forces, upon whom no previous order was served, and that no prior negotiations were instituted; and if he will refuse to approve such orders in the absence overseas of the owner.

No such Order has yet been received, but when it has been received, any representations made by or on behalf of the owner of the land will be fully considered.

Ex-Servicemen

asked the Minister of Health (1) how many local authorities are giving a preference to ex-Servicemen in the provision of housing accommodation; and what advice his Department has tendered in the matter;(2) whether he will consider legislation to secure some preference for ex-Servicemen in the allocation of housing accommodation.

The selection of tenants in relation to the urgency of their needs is a matter for the local authority. I have given advice to them in a circular, of which I will send the hon. and gallant Member a copy.

Empty Rooms (Letting)

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to implement his declared intention that empty rooms in dwelling-houses should be occupied by those now requiring accommodation.

:I shall very shortly be issuing a circular to local authorities, asking them to appeal to householders in their areas. A Defence Regulation is to be made which will facilitate the letting of accommodation in response to the appeal, and the circular will be issued as soon as the Regulation is made.

Repossession (Ex-Service Men)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that existing legislation safeguards those members of the Forces who wish, on demobilisation, to regain possession of houses they let on their enlistment; and, if not, what steps he proposes to take to ensure this.

Much as I sympathise with the object which the hon. and gallant Member has in view, I am afraid that it is not possible to insist in all such cases that the houses should be vacated, in view of the difficulty of finding alternative accommodation for the existing occupiers, who might well be put into a position of perhaps greater hardship.

Sutton Valence

asked the Minister of Health if he has considered a unanimous resolution objecting to the Captain Pond's Field housing site from the Sutton Valence Parish Council; and if he will give the date on which this site was approved by his Department.

Yes, Sir. After consideration of the objections to the compulsory purchase of the Captain's Pond Field housing site, including that submitted by the Sutton Valence Parish Council, I decided to confirm the Order. The Order was confirmed on 5th October, 1945.

Temporary Houses

asked the Minister of Works what moneys have been paid by the Government in connection with the temporary housing programme to the companies producing each of the following houses: Arcon, Uni-Seco, Tarran, Spooner, Universal, Phoenix and the aluminium house.

The amounts paid up to 31st October were approximately:

£
Arcon1,750,000
Uni-Seco2,431,000
Tarran608,000
Spooner79,000
Universal55,000
Phoenix1,211,000
Aluminium663,000

Vagrancy

asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking in view of the increasing number of casuals, to meet the anxiety of vagrancy committees.

:I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply I gave on 25th October to my hon. Friend the Member for East Bradford (Mr. McLeary), of which I am sending him a copy.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the importance of the problem of vagrancy; and if he is now in a position to state what he proposes to do to help local authorities in their present difficulties.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave on the 25th October to my hon. Friend the Member for East Bradford (Mr. McLeary), of which I am sending him a copy.

Day Nurseries

asked the Minister of Health the number of day nurseries now established under his jurisdiction; the total number of children attending; and what proposals he has for developing and augmenting this service.

:At 30th September last there were 1,391 wartime nurseries providing 65,933 places; 62,632 children were on the Registers. As regards the last part of the Question, I cannot yet add anything to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) on 29th October.

Mental Defectives

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the present shortage of accommodation for mentally defective children in the county of Essex, as a result of which such children are being placed in hospitals for the chronic sick; and what action he proposes in this connection.

I am aware of the shortage of accommodation to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers, and, as I said on 25th October in answer to a Question by the hon. and gallant Member for Henley (Sir G. Fox), I hope to accord a high degree of priority to the provision of accommodation for mental defectives.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the shortage of accommodation throughout the country for mental defectives; and if he can hold out any hope of improvement in the situation.

Yes, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave on 25th October to the hon. and gallant Member for Henley (Sir G. Fox), of which I am sending him a copy.

Coastal Towns (Financial Assistance)

asked the Minister of Health when he expects to come to a final decision as to the arrangements which are to be made to relieve ratepayers and local authorities in those towns of the coastal areas in this country which were largely evacuated and subjected to special controls during the war years; and where rates were not paid when due under the moratorium arrangement.

:The Government are considering the general position in those towns to which the moratorium was applied, and others similarly situated, and I hope that a statement will be made before the Christmas Recess.

National Health Service (Medical Practices)

asked the Minister of Health is he is aware that anxiety exists at present in the medical profession; that medical men are being demobilised from the Forces who have not been in practice prior to the war and are desirous of setting up in general practice; and if he will state the policy of the Government as to the buying and selling of practices under a national health service.

:I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. York) on 11th October, of which I am sending him a copy.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the uncertainty as to his future intentions with regard to the continuance of the system of sale of practices is causing difficulties for doctors, who are being demobilised, in making agreements necessary to settlement in practice; and if he will anounce his policy in this matter as soon as possible.

Yes, Sir. I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. York) on nth October, of which I am sending him a copy.

Derating

asked the Minister of Health whether he will relieve the financial burdens of local authorities by taking steps to terminate the derating of industrial hereditaments; and what is the present loss to local authorities and the Exchequer of this derating.

:As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) on 11th October, of which I am sending him a copy. As regards the second part, I regret that the figures are not available.

Civil Nursing Reserve

asked the Minister of Health when a statement will be made as to the release of members of the Civil Nursing Reserve.

I fully recognise that an early statement is called for, and with that object I am in consultation with the other Ministers concerned.

Malton And Norton Urban District Councils

asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking on the joint letter, dated 25th October, 1945, addressed to him by the Malton and Norton Urban District Councils stressing the desirability of amalgamating the two urban districts.

I have caused a copy of the letter to be sent to the Local Government Boundary Commission, within whose province it lies to consider the councils'representations, and I have advised the two councils to get into touch with the Commission.

Road Traffic Laws (Enforcement)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that the Metropolitan police are spending considerable time in apprehending motorists for petty offences; and will he take steps to ensure that the present limited force is directed towards the combating of crime.

No, Sir. The enforcement of road traffic laws is an important factor in promoting road safety and reducing the heavy toll of road casualties, and I have no reason to think that the amount of police time given to these duties in London is disproportionate to their importance.

Air Raid Shelters (Removal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps it is proposed to take to remove domestic surface shelters erected by local authorities in gardens of private houses.

It is intended eventually to remove such of these shelters as are not purchased by the householder for use in situ for peacetime purposes, but it will probably be some considerable time before labour can be spared for the work.

Police

Metropolitan Police (Serving Members)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of serving members of the Metropolitan police who joined the force between 1st July, 1919, and 18th August, 1919; and the number of these men subject to the terms of the 1890 Police Act and the 1921 Police Act, respectively.

The number of serving members of the Metropolitan Police Force concerned is 203. They are all subject to the Police Pensions Act, 1921.

Police Auxiliaries (Release)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement about the revocation of the Police (Employment and Offences) Order, 1942; and the demobilisation of police auxiliaries.

Yes, Sir. I have now completed my review of the manpower position in the Metropolitan, city, county and borough police forces of England and Wales, and have come to the conclusion that it would not be justifiable to retain men or women in the service compulsorily beyond the end of this year. I have, therefore, decided to revoke the Police (Employment and Offences) Orders with effect from the 1st January, 1946. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland authorises me to say that he has decided to revoke the corresponding Scottish Orders with effect from the same date.From that date members of the service, whether regular policemen or auxiliaries, will be free to leave the Service if they so wish. It will, of course, still be necessary, under the provisions of the Police and Firemen (War Service) Acts, for regular policemen and policewomen who wish to retire on pension to obtain the consent of their chief officer of police, but I am confident that consent will not be unreasonably refused.I have also decided, after consultation with the Auxiliary Police Association, to recommend to police authorities and chief officers of police that no special releases should be granted to any particular class of auxiliary, in advance of the general date of release. Applications for individual releases will, however, be considered, as at present, in cases of serious personal hardship, or where a request is received from the Ministry of Labour and National Service for a man's release to industry in the national interest.The decision to revoke the "freezing"Orders does not mean that the services of auxiliaries will no longer be required. Recruitment for the regular police will not be completed for some considerable time, and during this period police authorities must continue to rely upon the auxiliaries to make up the shortage. Arrangements are, accordingly, being made to offer a temporary continuance of employment to suitable auxiliaries who are prepared to volunteer for a further period, and I hope that a sufficient number will take advantage of this opportunity. Details of the arrangements will be notified to police authorities and chief officers of police.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any statement to make about the release of men from the police war reserve.

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

Police Bill (Representations)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has considered a communication from the Association of Municipal Corporations about the Police Bill; what was the nature of the communication; and what reply he has made, or proposes to make, to this association.

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind a letter from the Secretary of the Association of Municipal Corporations, dated 30th October, giving the terms of a resolution passed at a conference of borough police authorities held on that day. The resolution asked that further consideration of the Police Bill should not take place until a conference had been held between representatives of the Association and the Home Secretary. A reply was sent to the Secretary of the Association on 1st November informing them that I had taken note of the terms of the resolution, and that I would be glad to receive a deputation; and suggesting a date for the meeting.

asked the Secretary of State for the HomeDepartment how many non-county boroughs have made representations to him about the Police Bill; what he proposes to do about these representations; and whether he will give the authorities concerned, and the police forces affected, the opportunity of stating their views to his Department.

I have so far received representations about the Police Bill from the police authorities of three non-county boroughs. I shall certainly give full consideration to these representations, and to any further representations which may be submitted to me, either orally or in writing, by the police authorities concerned. As regards the police forces themselves, I have informed the representative bodies of the various ranks that I am prepared to arrange for discussion with them on the proposals in the Bill.

Ballot Papers (Disposal)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if on account of newsprint shortage instead of burning the ballot papers of the General and municipal elections after a lapse of six months he will have this paper re-pulped.

:There is no statutory obligation to burn ballot papers after they have been retained for the prescribed periods. Ballot papers relating to a General Election have to be retained for a year by the Clerk of the Crown after which it is his practice to dispose of them for repulping. Those relating to local elections have to be-retained by the Clerk of the Council concerned for six months and are then disposed of as the Council nay direct. If in any case it is the present practice of a Council to have such papers burnt, I should welcome reconsideration of the matter and will arrange to circularise local authorities in due course.

Alien (Repatriation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, why Mr. Lagatolla, who resided in London for 21 years prior to his being interned in 1940, whose two children are British born, is to be repatriated without any reason being given to himself or to his wife and children.

While it would be contrary to established practice to detail the reasons for a decision in any individual case, I am prepared to say that Mr. Lagatolla is an alien of enemy nationality whose continued presence here is undesirable.

Defence Regulations (Continuance)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if in order that Parliament and the public may be made aware accurately of the Government's powers during the next five years, he will issue a White Paper indicating the various orders and regulations covered by the Supplies and Services Bill.

The Defence Regulations which it is necessary to continue in force for the purpose set out in the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill will be contained in Orders in Council which it is proposed to make and lay before Parliament with the least possible delay after that Bill has become law.

Surgical Boots

asked the Minister of Pensions what delay there is in the supply of surgical boots, etc.

The average time taken to secure delivery of surgical boots and appliances is about four months. The delay is due to the shortage of skilled labour, but action already taken and be- ing pursued in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour to obtain the required labour, including the release of skilled men from the Forces under Class B arrangements, will, I anticipate, result in improvement of the position in the near future.

Pensions And Grants

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, having regard to the fact that the wife of a Serviceman receives a weekly allowance of 12s. 6d. in respect of each child, he will now raise the existing allowance of 11s. per week for each child payable to the widow of a Serviceman to the same level.

I cannot at present add to the reply which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Lonsdale (Sir I. Fraser) on 18th October.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is satisfied that in no case will any ex-Serviceman or woman suffer a reduction in pension as a result of receiving occupational training.

Occupational training in itself does not affect the rate of a war disablement pension, which is based on the degree of the recipient's disablement due to war service.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether it is the practice to pay arrears of pension from the first date of application in all cases where there has been a revision under the amended Warrant, or where a successful appeal has been made to an appeal tribunal.

When the admission of entitlement to pension arises from the modification of the governing pension instruments, the date of such modification is taken as the earliest effective date for payment of arrears. A successful appeal to a Pensions Appeal Tribunal for a disablement pension in respect of the invaliding disability by a member of the Forces who, within six months of discharge, made representations to my Department as to its failure to grant a pension, is made effective from the date of discharge; otherwise the effective date of the award of pension is the date on which representations were first made.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will authorise a special allowance to war-disabled men and women wearing artificial limbs to enable them to meet the cost of the extra wear and tear imposed on their clothes and so enable them to purchase the clothing for which the Board of Trade issues them additional clothing coupons.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he has accepted the recommendation of the Artificial Limbs Committee and is now prepared to grant a cash allowance to pensioners subject to excessive wear and tear of clothing due to use of crutches, artificial limbs and other equipment.

I have under consideration the recommendation in regard to this matter made by the committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Brunel Cohen.

Pensions Assessment Tribunals

asked the Minister of Pensions when he will establish appeals tribunals under the Pensions Appeals Tribunal Act, 1943, clause 5.

asked the Minister of Pensions whether it is his intention to establish Appeals Tribunals (Assessment) in addition to the Appeals Tribunals (Entitlement).

I would refer the hon. Members to my reply to the hon. Member for Central Hackney (Mr. H. Hynd) on 12th October

Psychoneurosis Treatment (Ex-Servicemen)

asked the Minister of Pensions whether he will undertake an inquiry into the attitude of his Ministry towards cases of psychoneurosis, with a view to securing more sympathetic and generous treatment of such cases.

I am satisfied that cases of psychoneurosis are sympathetically and generously treated by my Department. As in the case of any other disability, pension is dependent on whether the condition is causally connected with war service. But where a man who has been invalided for psychoneurosis is in need of and likely to benefit by institutional treatment, free treatment is provided in special centres even though the condition is neither attributable to nor aggravated by war service. During such treatment special allowances are paid. Attention is given as part of the treatment to the man's re-establishment in employment and where necessary vocational training is arranged by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied with the facilities provided for ex-Servicemen undergoing institutional treatment for psychoneurosis; and whether he will bring the scales of treatment allowances in such cases into conformity with those paid by the Ministry of Pensions.

Yes, Sir. I believe the facilities to be good. But if the hon. Member has any particular point to raise I shall be glad to inquire into it. As regards the second part of the Question, any allowances are, in fact, paid by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions.

Disabled Ex-Servicemen (Employment)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that certain individuals purporting to be wounded ex-Servicemen unfit for work have recently been seen playing musical instruments in streets of a provincial town and taking round collecting boxes; whether such occupation has the approval of the Government; and whether he will ensure that the best possible use is made of such labour.

I am not aware of the particular circumstances to which the hon. and gallant Member refers. Ex-Service men, whether disabled or otherwise, who experience difficulty in resettling in civilian life are encouraged by all means in my power to make the fullest use of the facilities offered by my Department through the resettlement advice offices and the employment exchange service. Any disabled men who are registered under the Disabled Persons Employment Act are entitled to benefit from its special provisions. Short of compulsion I can suggest no further steps which the Government can take in these cases to achieve the object set out in the last part of the Question.

asked the Minister of Labour how many disabled ex-Servicemen and women, shown separately, are at present registered with his Department; how many have been placed in suitable employment; what arrangements have been made to provide employment for those so seriously disabled as to be unable to take a job in the ordinary way; and whether the term, disabled, includes those suffering from war neurosis without any reservation.

At 15th October, 21,631 disabled ex-Servicemen and 604 women were registered for employment. Since the inception of the scheme in July, 1941, 341,560 disabled men and 35,313 disabled women (including ex-Service and others) have been resettled in employment; separate figures for ex-Service are not available. A number of voluntary organisations receive financial assistance in providing employment under sheltered conditions for those too seriously disabled to take ordinary employment and the recently established Disabled Persons Employment Corporation is now making preparations to provide sheltered employment to whatever extent may be found necessary. The term "disabled person" includes persons suffering from any disability, including neurosis, which substantially handicaps them in. getting or keeping employment or work.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that in the Government Royal Ordnance factories, leased to private firms, many disabled ex-Servicemen are being displaced; whether any agreement has been reached with these private firms to retain a proportion of disabled ex-Servicemen; whether any general policy has been laid down whereby each industry shall take a proportionate number of disabled ex-Servicemen; and will he consider publishing the outlines of such a policy at an early date.

With regard to the first part of the Question, I will gladly make inquiries if the hon. Member will let me have particulars of cases where it is alleged that disabled persons are being discharged without good reason.In regard to the other parts of the Question, the Disabled Persons (Employ- ment) Act provides for a statutory obligation upon employers to employ a prescribed quota of persons registered as handicapped by disablement and it is my intention to prescribe a quota as soon as there is any considerable number of persons so registered who require this help in obtaining employment.

Football Players (Dispute)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of a dispute between the Players' and Trainers' Union of Association Footballers and the Football League; and whether, with a view to preventing a stoppage, he will take conciliatory measures.

I am aware of the differences that have arisen. The parties have informed me that negotiations are proceeding and I have no reason to think these will be unsuccessful.

Conscientious Objectors (Demobilisation)

asked the Minister of Labour how many conscientious objectors will be registered in each release group if the Bill to enable conditionally registered conscientious objectors to be released on the age and length of service principle becomes law.

I will send the information to the hon. and gallant Member as soon as it is available.

Government Training Centres

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can give any explanation of the fact that only 2,189 ex-Service or ex-Merchant Navy men and women, and 577 civilians were under training in Government training centres on 19th October, 1945, although these centres had a capacity of 9,286; and whether he is satisfied that the whole scheme is sufficiently publicised.

In reply to the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my reply to his Question on 18th October, and to the detailed statement circulated in the Official Report. As noted in that statement adaptation work now in hand at the centres must be completed before the maximum number of places will be available. This work is being completed as speedily as possible, and already it has been possible to admit 3,265 persons to the training centres, an increase of 499 on the figure given in that statement.As to the second part of the Question, I am satisfied from the large number of applications for training which are being received that the scheme is being sufficiently publicised.

Midwives (Lindsey County Council)

asked the Minister of Labour why the midwives directly employed by the Lindsey County Council at the emergency maternal home at Gate Burton, which had been managed by the Council on behalf of his Ministry, were directed to take up an appointment at Grimsby instead of being employed at the Louth County Infirmary as requested by the Lindsey County Council.

My inquiries are not yet complete and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Military Service

asked the Minister of Labour if he is now in a position to make a statement on the period of service in the Armed Forces for new conscripts.

Gypsum Mine Driver

asked the Minister of Labour whether it is now possible to find a substitute for Mr. G. W. J. Crump, who is at present employed as a pony driver in a gypsum mine, in view of the fact that this man is a qualified plumber and builder, and that applications for his transfer have been proceeding for many months and are now being pressed by the Ministry of Works without effect.

:Mr. Crump opted to work in gypsum mining as an alternative to service in the Forces and he cannot be allowed to leave it before the date on which he would have been demobilised had he been in the Army. Continued efforts are being made to find a substitute so that Mr. Crump may be transferred to other work in the gypsum mine.

Workers' Interviews

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that representatives of some large employers interview unemployed persons at employment exchanges in the presence of a national service officer; and if, as such a practice is likely to unduly influence persons to accept work or conditions of employment which may be regarded as unsatisfactory, he will instruct national service officers not to be present at these interviews.

:I am aware that interviews take place at my local offices at which placing officers are present. My information is that they are both useful and helpful to the unemployed men concerned and to the employers, and I am certainly not prepared to accept the suggestion of undue influence being exercised by my officials in any way.

Unemployment

asked the Minister of Labour the number of registered unemployed men and women, respectively, at the Stockton-on-Tees exchange on 15th October, 1945.

I will send the figures to my hon. and gallant Friend as soon as they are available.

Factory Inspectorate

asked the Minister of Labour the number of inspectors employed by the Factory Department; the number of premises for which they are responsible; and the number of inspections made during the last 12 months for which figures are available.

At the end of 1944 the number of inspectors appointed under the Factories Act was 351. There were, in addition, 36 officers specially appointed for work in connection with factory canteens. There were about 250,000 premises within the scope of the Act. The work of the inspectors cannot be accurately measured by the number of inspections, but during that year some 380,000 visits were made to such premises.

Wages And Salaries (Cost-Of-Living Index)

asked the Minister of Labour the latest available figures showing the approximate numbers and the employments of those persons whose wage and salary rates vary according to changes in the cost of living index.

The approximate number of workers whose wages or salaries are subject to adjustment in accordance with movements in the official cost-of-living index figure, under the provisions of collective agreements between organisations of employers and workpeople, or by Orders under the Wages Councils Act, is nearly 2,500,000. The principal industries covered by these agreements are coalmining, building, civil engineering construction, pig-iron and iron and steel manufacture, cotton, wool, hosiery, textile bleaching, dyeing and finishing, boot and shoe manufacture, furniture manufacture, pottery, tobacco manufacture and electrical contracting.

Naval Fleets (Strength)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will give details of the present composition of the Home, Mediterranean, and Pacific Fleets, including the names of battleships, aircraft carriers, and cruisers.

I regret that it would not be in the public interest to give this information.

National Fire Service (Recruitment)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities are being offered to N.C.O.s and men in fire brigades in the Army to enter civilian full-time fire-fighting services upon their release from the Army; whether arrangements have been, or can be, made for enrolling their names before release; and what steps have been, or can be, taken to inform them of conditions and prospects in such civilian services.

Plans for obtaining recruits from the Armed Forces for the N.F.S. are in an advanced state of preparation and I hope to be able to make a statement at an early date.

Deportation Orders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of deportation orders made by courts in the United Kingdom in respect of each year from 1939 to 1944 inclusive; how many have been carried out; and what steps he is now taking to see that these orders are enforced.

A court has no power to make a deportation order, but may recommend that it should be made by the Secretary of State. The following table shows, for the years mentioned, the number of aliens so recommended for deportation and the number of them against whom deportation orders were made

Year.No. of Recommendations made by Courts.No. of Orders made pursuant to Recommendation.
1939377122
194019253
19415113
1942327
1943286
19444527
1939–1944685228
Of these orders, 102 have so far been enforced. Outstanding orders are being reviewed as and when it becomes practicable to obtain facilities for the removal of the aliens concerned.

Prison Service (Promotion)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that serious discontent exists over the methods adopted by the Promotion Board in connection with the Prison Commission; that many experienced clerical officers are being refused promotion who have years of experience in the service without having adverse reports on their character and ability; that there are cases where the disqualified officers have been acting in higher posts for considerable periods; that no explanations have been given why the officers have been passed over for promotion; and whether he will make inquiries into the methods adopted by the Promotion Board.

I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction with the Promotion Board machinery in the Prison Commission which follows strictly an agreement between the official and staff sides of the Home Office Departmental Whitley Council. This agreement provides for a right of appeal by officers not selected for promotion and for their consideration. Seniority is not the only factor which is taken into account in selecting officers for promotion; and failure to secure selection for promotion is not necessarily a reflection on the performance of the officer's duties in his present grade. The qualifications of officers not so selected are considered with those of other officers when further vacancies arise. I see no occasion for any inquiry into the methods of the Promotion Board.

Parish Councils (Elections)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider the substitution of a secret ballot for election to the parish councils in place of the system of deciding by show of hands.

:The law already provides that a county council may, at the request of a parish council or parish meeting, direct that the parish councillors shall be elected by nomination and poll instead of at a parish meeting; and further that where the system of election by show of hands is retained a poll may be demanded at the meeting.

Evacuated Persons, Thetford

asked the Minister of Health what special provision of temporary or permanent houses he proposes to make for the people who had to evacuate the seven villages in the vicinity of Thetford, Norfolk, still being used as a battle training area; and whether he is aware of over crowding in neighbouring villages and the inability of evacuees to make proper arrangements for the present or the future.

I have every sympathy with the persons displaced from the battle training area but I am not aware that the alternative accommodation, mainly in requisitioned houses, occupied by them is inadequate or unsatisfactory in present circumstances. If, however, my hon. Friend will give me information, either general or particular, about the conditions which he has in mind, I shall be happy to look into the matter.

Ambulance, Louth

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the Austin ambulance, No. A.F.U. 884, attached to the county infirmary, Louth, was involved in an accident last January and, although repeated applications have been made for spare parts, these have not yet been received, so that the work of this infirmary of 250 beds is being hampered; and if he will instruct his regional representatives to take immediate action in this matter.

Yes, Sir. I understand that the vehicle is of a special type and that some of the spare parts required are, unfortunately, unobtainable. I am, however, making inquiries to see whether it is possible to help the hospital by some other means.

Education

Engineering Cadetship Courses

asked the Minister of Education how the engineering cadetship diploma compares with the four other certificates recognised by her Department for engineering.

My hon. Friend appears to be referring tothe ordinary national certificate and ordinary national diploma and the higher national certificate and higher national diploma in engineering. The curriculum and content of the syllabus for the engineering cadetship courses are similar to those for the higher national diploma course but the diploma course is longer.

Examination Candidates (Deferment)

asked the Minister of Education what provision she is making respecting exemption under the Military Service Acts of youths approaching 18 years of age who contemplate taking scholarship examinations.

The following arrangements have been made between my Department and the Ministry of Labour and National Service about the deferment of young men born between 1st October, 1927, and 30th September, 1928, and have been circulated to headmasters and others. Deferment will be granted to bona fide candidates for certain examinations due to take place before the end of July, 1946. The examinations concerned are the higher school certificate and others certified by the head of a university, college or school as being of higher or comparable standing: these will often include university scholarship or bursary examinations.

American Service Personnel (Courses)

asked the Minister of Education in view of the fact that more than 4,000 American soldiers are now attending courses at British universities and technical schools, what arrangements are being made to enable students of the British Empire to enjoy parallel facilities in American universities.

The courses which the hon. and gallant Member has in mind are short courses of one or two terms attended by American service personnel awaiting repatriation. He will appreciate that the conditions are not parallel, since American soldiers are over here in large numbers while we have no corresponding Forces in U.S.A.

County Colleges

asked the Minister of Education if she can give any estimate as to when construction is likely to commence on the new county colleges which the Government is to set up in all towns and rural districts for young persons between 15 and 18 years of age; and whether she will also give any estimate as to when the colleges are likely to commence operations.

The Education Act, 1944, provides that the duty of local education authorities to establish and maintain county colleges is to operate from a date not later than three years after that on which the school leaving age is raised to 15 which, as I have already stated, will be 1st April, 1947. Having regard to the heavy building programme with which local education authorities will be faced in the fields of primary and secondary education, it seems to me improbable that a shorter interval than three years between theraising of the school leaving age and the establishment of county colleges will be found possible.

Black-List Schools (Cardiff)

asked the Minister of Education the number of schools in Cardiff on the latest black list compiled by her Ministry; and whether she will state their classification.

One school in Cardiff remains on the black list which was compiled in 1925: one department is in class A and the other in class C. The old black list is, of course, now out-of-date, since a new survey of school premises will have to be undertaken by local education authorities in drawing up their development plans for the purposes of the Education Act, 1944.

Company Shares (Market Value)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will give a list of all company shares, with the market value, now in possession of the Government.

This information is not readily available, and to collect it would involve more time and labour than would be justified by the result.

Public Relations Officers

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury under what instructions public relations officers in Government Departments work; whether such instructions include a provision that while forthcoming legislation may be explained it may not be interpreted in advance of interpretation to the House by the Minister concerned; and whether these officers are responsible directly to the Ministry concerned.

Public relations officers are directly responsible to the individual Departments in which they are employed, and they work under the instructions of those Departments. No general instructions have been issued, but I am sure that these officers take every care to keep within the limts of their functions.

Post Office

Telephone Service (Outer Hebrides)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General when it is intended to cheapen, to reduce waiting time and clarify reception on trunk calls to and from the Outer Hebrides and the mainland.

Trunk calls to and from the Outer Hebrides are charged according to distance on a scale applicable throughout the country. Since this scale reaches a maximum at 125 miles for day calls (3s. 9d.) and 50 miles at night (1s. 6d.) it is very favourable to remote places such as the Outer Hebrides. There is normally no delay on the circuits between the islands and the mainland and such delays as have occurred have been due to circuit interruptions. The opening of a direct outlet from Lochmaddy to the mainland when the new exchange at Lochmaddy is ready, will improve the quality of speech to a number of places which have at present to be reached by a circuitous route, including a radio link.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General when it is intended to extend telephone facilities through the Isle of North Uist.

A public call office with access to the mainland is already available at Lochmaddy and arrangements are in hand to open an exchange in the spring of next year. As soon as this exchange is working, full telephone service will be given to all the 15 people in the island who have applied for it.

Victory Stamps

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will cause a set of postage stamps to be issued to commemorate our victory in this war.

Demobilisation

Specialists

asked the Minister of Labour if leaflet P.L.171 of May, 1945, dealing with release of individual specialists under the Class B arrangements and release on compassionate grounds after the defeat of Germany, represents the present position.

Clothing Allowance (Women)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the £12 10s. allowance for civilian clothing which is given to women on leaving the fighting services is wholly inadequate to enable them to re-equip themselves for civil life; that it is much less value than the free clothing allowance issued to male members of the fighting Forces; and whether he will call for an early review of this arrangement.

The allowance is based on the provision of an outfit corresponding in scale and standard tothat provided in kind for men. It is therefore regarded as adequate for the purpose for which it is given, and equitable when compared with the provision for men. In isolated cases, when it is necessary to give male members of the fighting services a cash allowance in lieu of an outfit in kind, they also receive £12 10s.

Class B Release (Gratuity)

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the average delay between the date of release under Class B and the payment of the war gratuity.

War gratuity becomes payable on the 57th day after release in Class B and I am not aware of any delays in such payments.

Farm Workers, Miners And Dockers

asked the Minister of Labour how many men are employed in agriculture today as compared with 1939; what are the guaranteed weekly wages of farm workers, miners and dockers today; and what were they in 1939.

The number of regular male workers recorded in the June agricultural returns for Great Britain was 546,300 for 1939 and 521,000 for 1945. The regular labour force is at present supplemented by other sources of labour such as the Women's Land Army and prisoners of war.The present minimum rate of wages for men employed in agriculture is 70s. per week. For dock labourers at most of the ports the rate is 16s. a day and in coalmining the minimum rates are 100s. for underground workers and 90s. for surface workers. Dock labourers have a guaranteed payment of five and a half days a week in some ports and of 6s. per half day attendance money at others. In coalmining there is a guaranteed payment of day wage rates under the Essential Work Order to men available for work. At September, 1939, the minimum rates in agriculture ranged in different districts from 31s. to 38s. 6d. and the usual rate for dock labourers was 13s. a day. There was no general minimum rate for coalmining, but the rates for labourers ranged in different districts from 6s. 7½d. to 11s. 4d. a shift.

Service Personnel (Education)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will ensure that full details of facilities for educational training will be made available to all Services personnel through their commanding officers.

This information is available in the "Release and Resettlement" booklet and in the handbook and pamphlets in the "Careers for Men and Women" series and in leaflet P.L.120, which gives details about the financial assistance available under the Further Education and Training Scheme. Every man and woman in the Forces should by now have had a copy of the "Release and Resettlement" booklet and the other documents have been widely distributed throughout the Services and may be obtained on request from any commanding officer.

Prime Minister (Visit To United States)

asked the Prime Minister the names of the principal officials, service chiefs and others who will accompany him on his forthcoming visit to President Truman.

As I have already informed the House, I shall be accompanied in an advisory capacity on my visit to President Truman by the Right Hon. Sir John Anderson, G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., M.P., Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Atomic Energy.In addition to my personal staff, the following principal officers and officials will go with me:Mr. N. M. Butler, C.M.G., C.V.O.—Foreign Office.Major-General.E. I. C. Jacob, C.B., C.B.E.—Ofnce of the Minister of Defence.Mr. D. H. F. Rickett—Cabinet Office.

Aden Forces (Defence Medal)

asked the Prime Minister whether officers and men who served in Aden during the recent war are entitled to the 1939–45 Star, or any medal other than the Defence Medal; and if not, why not.

No, Sir. The Defence Medal is granted for service by officers and men of the Forces in Aden, and the time qualification of three years is reduced to one year for those who served there overseas from their place of residence. The Campaign Stars are granted only for service in operations. Air crew based on Aden who served in operations qualify for these.

National Savings Building, Coventry

asked the Minister of Works why, in view of the shortage in Coventry of dwelling-houses and shops, he has sanctioned the erection of a semi-permanent structure to be used by the National Savings Committee, in the centre of the town, when a service hut would have sufficed; what is the cost of this building; and how long is it intended to remain on this site.

The National Savings Committee was previously housed in accommodation placed at its disposal rent free. As this accommodation was no longer available, and no alternative offices could be obtained, it was decided to erect a standard hut for the use of the Committee. I am advised that a Service hut would not have cost less to adapt and erect and would not have provided satisfactory accommodation. The hut, which was estimated to cost £620, will be required so long as the National Savings Committee continues to function.

Railways (Passenger Traffic)

asked the Minister of War Transport whether he is aware that the 11.55 p.m. train from Manchester to Bristol on 28th October was overcrowded with personnel and civilians herded together; and whether it is now possible to bring back to this country rolling stock sent to the Continent for the purpose of exceptional troop movements.

:Yes, I am informed that the passenger traffic on this train was exceptionally heavy on the 28th October. It was made up of the maximum number of coaches that can be accommodated at London Road Station and three additional coaches were added at Stockport. Arrangements have already been made for the return of the coaches which were lent to the military authorities last summer for use on the Continent. About half of them have already been handed back to the British railways and the remainder will be returned as soon as possible.

British Newspapers (Paris)

asked the Minister of Information if he is aware that when air transport is not available for the daily London papers to be sent to Paris no alternative sea route is arranged and the papers are often not sent; and if he will arrange for the London papers to be on sale in Paris as quickly after publication as possible.

I fear it is impracticable to transfer newspapers immediately from air to sea routes, as flights are often only cancelled at the last moment. The newspapers must then be transferred from the airport to Victoria railway station, where they must await the next boat train for the cross channel service. These accumulating delays mean that newspapers will not be available for sale in Paris until about 48 hours after publication. Commercial distributors in Paris are unwilling to accept out of date newspapers. I am doing my best to ensure that British newspapers are on sale in Paris as soon as possible after publication, but bad flying weather unfortunately occasionally prevents this.

Approved Societies (Valuation)

asked the Minister of National Insurance when the valuation of approved societies, which has been postponed by his Department for the period of the war, is to be carried out; and whether, in the meantime, action will be taken to enable societies which do not grant dental and optical benefits to do so.

It is impracticable to resume valuations at present, and it is the Government's intention to introduce later this Session Measures to provide comprehensive insurance and health services which will make unnecessary the extension of treatment benefits on the lines suggested.

Bornholm (Occupation)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the occupation of the Danish island of Bornholm by Russian troops was agreed to at Potsdam; and for what period of time.

Sapper (Release)

asked the Secretary of State for War why 14304863 Sapper S Patterson, No. 1 Section, 32nd Fortress Company, Royal Engineers, Gibraltar, granted indefinite release on compassionate grounds by Wax Office letter, dated 26th September, 1945, is still stationed at Gibraltar; and what steps will be taken for the immediate release of this soldier.

An inquiry has been made by cable. I will inform my hon. and gallant Friend of the result as soon as possible.

British Army (Leave)

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps are taken in the interests of saving transport to arrange that a man on leave in this country does not return to his unit if the time taken in doing so brings him to within a brief period of his date for demobilisation.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on Tuesday to a question on the same subject by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Colchester (Captain C. Smith).

War Office (Messengers)

asked the Secretary of State for War what proportion of Government messengers employed in War Department outstations are classed as industrial employees; and what sick pay is granted to such messengers during absence due to illness arising out of their employment.