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Written Answers

Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 November 1945

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Written Answers To Questions

British Empire War Casualties

asked the Prime Minister if he will now state the total casualties suffered by the Armed Forces of the British Commonwealth and Empire from

WAR CASUALTIES.
1.—CASUALTIES TO ALL RANKS OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE BRITISH COMMONWEALTH AND EMPIRE REPORTED FROM 3RD SEPTEMBER, 1939, TO THE END OF THE War.
(Excluding deaths from natural causes.)
This statement gives the total number of casualties reported up to 14th August, 1945. It includes all men reported prisoners of war and in the case of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa and the Colonies, all men reported missing during the war. A final statement of casualties will be issued when the fate of all those reported missing is determined and when all prisoners of war are repatriated.
United Kingdom (1)CanadaAustralia.New Zealand.South Africa.India.Colonies.Total.
Killed, including died of wounds or injuries244,72337.47623.36510,0336,84024.3386,877353.652
Missing53,0391.8436,0302,1291,84111.75414,20890,844
Wounded277,09053.17439.80319,31414.36364.3546,972475,070
Prisoners of War, including Service internees180,4059.04526,3638,45314.58979,489(2)8,115326,459
Total755,257101,53895.56139,92937.633179.93536,1721,246,025
(1) Including men from overseas serving in these forces, in particular from Newfoundland and Southern Rhodesia.
(2) Including 20,147 officers and other ranks missing but presumed to be prisoners of war.
NOTES.— (a) The figures in the above table exclude (i) civilian casualties due to enemy action, (ii) casualties to merchant seamen and (iii) casualties to members of the Home Guard while on duty.
(b) The figures for missing. (except those for Canada, Australia and India) include those who have rejoined, and the figures for prisoners of war include those who have been repatriated or liberated or have escaped.
II.—CASUALTIES TO MERCHANT SEAMEN REPORTED FROM 3RD SEPTEMBER, 1939 TO THE END OF THE WAR.
Deaths30,189
Missing5,264
Wounded4,402
Internees5,556
Total45,4 11
NOTES.— (a) The figure for deaths includes those who died in internment and those presumed dead in missing ships, but excludes deaths from natural causes.
(b) The figures for deaths, missing and internees include men of all nationalities who served in British registered ships and fishing boats, and British subjects who served on foreign ships requisitioned or chartered by His Majesty's Government during the war.
(c) The figure for internees includes those who have been repatriated or have escaped.

3rd September, 1939, to 14th August, 1945.

Yes, Sir. The following is a tabular statement giving the casualties to all ranks of the Armed Forces of the British Commonwealth and Empire reported from 3rd September, 1939, to 14th August, 1945. This statement also includes casualties suffered by merchant seamen.

Housing

Private Enterptise

asked the Minister of Health on what basis he estimates that private builders can provide traditional two-storey, fully-equipped brick houses, containing floor space of approximately 1,000 square feet divided into three bedrooms, a livingroom, dining-kitchen, scullery and bathroom, complete with land and servicing for £1,200 or less, while the Government's own estimate for its aluminium bungalow which has approximately 650 superficial square feet floor space divided into two bedrooms, a living-room, kitchen, bathroom and shed without land and servicing is £1,365.

:The maximum selling price of £1,200 for a traditional house of 1,000 square feet superficial area was fixed after careful consideration of the information available as to current building prices. No direct comparison can be made between the cost of building a traditional house and the cost of producing an aluminium house.

asked the Minister of Health whether local authorities are limited to the £1,300, £1,200 total cost for the typical Dudley Report, Government house, or does this only apply to private builders.

These costs apply specifically to private builders. I propose to publish in due course figures relating to prices approved in contracts let by local authorities.

Requisitioning

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that No. 4, Thurton Street, Denham, Norfolk, has been empty for some time except for one-person occupying only three of its 15 rooms; and will he see that this house and others like it in this neighbourhood are requisitioned and made habitable for the use of those who are in deed of homes.

If, as I assume, the house to which the Question relates is 4, Theatre Street, Dereham, about which my hon. Friend has written to me, I am aware that part of this house has been occupied since the end of June. The house was requisitioned but upon consideration of representations made by the owner the local authority decided to release it for occupation by him. I shall be prepared to make inquiry with regard to any other houses which my hon. Friend has in mind.

asked the Minister of Health how many empty houses and cottages there were in the Swaffham rural district at the end of October for which a rebate or exemption of rates was in operation; whether he has any information to show the number for which no rebate was claimed; and if any steps have been taken to requisition such property in this district for people in need of homes.

At 1st October, the latest date for which a figure is readily obtainable, there were 90 unoccupied dwellings not charged with rates, and the local authority estimate that 17 other dwellings also are unoccupied. Many of these dwellings are farm cottages or are in a bad state of repair, but I am asking the council for a report on the availability and suitability of any of them for requisitioning for general housing needs.

:asked the Minister of Health if it is his policy to continue to requisition houses in which the owners are residing or which they desire to reoccupy immediately if habitable.

I have not authorised local authorities to requisition houses occupied by owners and it is not customary for them to requisition unoccupied houses if the owners desire to reoccupy them; in this latter case, however, the house may be requisitioned if it is needed for the rehousing of persons rendered homeless by enemy action and if it would otherwise be under-occupied.

Technical Assistance

asked the Minister of Health on what basis does he compile the list of achitects, engineers and surveyors in private practice who are able to give professional assistance on housing work to local authorities.

This list is prepared from lists submitted by the principal professional associations.

Rent Rebates

asked the Minister of Health if he will consider improving the housing facilities for families by circu- larising local authorities with a view to the adoption of the method approved by the late Mr. Wheatley, of granting to suitable tenants of houses under their control a rebate of rent, based either on the number of their dependent children or, alternatively, on the extent to which the income coming into the home falls below a specified sum per member of the household.

:Local authorities are already aware of the powers given to them in Section 85 of the Housing Act, 1936, to grant rebates from rent subject to such terms and conditions as they may think fit, and I do not consider that there is occasion at the present time to issue a special circular on the subject.

Open-Air Shelters

asked the Minister of Health if he will consider improving the housing accommodation for families by assisting those householders or tenants who have sufficient garden or yard space to put up open-air shelters, attached to the house or wall, available for day or night use by making it possible for them to obtain materials necessary for the roofing, supporting posts, side screens and anything else necessary for the construction of a simple form of shelter.

All the materials which would be needed for this purpose are in very short supply and local authorities must concentrate their efforts on the provision of permanent houses. They have powers, however, to permit private persons to erect structures of this kind in appropriate cases, and if the hon. Lady has any particular case in mind I am prepared to investigate it.

Evictions

:asked the Minister of Health if he will take steps to prevent ex-Servicemen from being evicted from their houses because they are unable to pay the exhorbitant prices asked by the landlords for them.

The great majority of existing lettings are within the protection of the Rent Restriction Acts and where this is so, the owner cannot obtain an order to evict the tenant except on grounds laid down in the Acts. He cannot evict the tenant upon the ground that the latter has refused to buy the house.

Selling Price Control

:asked the Minister of Health if he will consider the possibility of co-operating with the staffs of the L.C.C., borough and county councils in order to control selling prices of houses in accordance with proposals of the interdepartmental committee on that subject.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friends the Members for Acton (Mr. Sparks) and West Wolverhampton (Lieutenant Hughes) on nth October, of which I will send him a copy.

Monthly Progress Reports

asked the Minister of Health if he will now publish the figures of future production of houses on which the Government's plans are being based.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Statement I made on the 17th October when I said that I would not commit myself to anything except detailed monthly progress reports, and that these reports would start with the New Year.

Temporary Houses

asked the Minister of Works whether he will now break down the estimated costs of temporary houses as set out in Cmd. 6686, to show the difference between manufacturers' price and the total cost of an erected house; and what is the final cost of each type after the amount of the loan charges has been taken into consideration.

I would refer the hon. Member to my statement in the House on 26th November when I explained why it was not advisable to publish the detailed build-up of the estimates for temporary houses. The estimates in Cmd. 6686 were exclusive of land, roads and sewers which are the responsibility of local authorities and are estimated by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to cost on the average about £90 a house although there will be considerable variations in different localities.

Public Health

Mentally Defective Children

asked the Minister of Health the number of mentally defective children for whom the Essex County Council is un- able to provide institutional accommodation; and the longest period of time any such child has been awaiting such accommodation.

I am informed that the number of mentally defective children at present on the waiting list for institutional accommodation provided by the Essex County Council is 39, and that the longest period during which any such child has been awaiting such accommodation is three years.

Rural Water Supplies

asked the Minister of Health how many villages in the county of Norfolk are without a piped water supply; and how many of the small towns have an inadequate water supply.

The information in my possession relates to parishes as a whole, and shows that there are 377 parishes in Norfolk without a piped water supply. The supply is inadequate in five of the boroughs and urban districts in the county.

asked the Minister of Health if he is able to report any progress concerning the supply of piped water for the village of Foxton, Leicestershire; and why the present piped supply now used to supply one house cannot be extended to all houses in the village.

The Leicester Corporation have now offered a bulk supply to the Market Harborough Rural District Council for the use of this village. Before deciding whether to accept that offer the Council are awaiting the observations of the Air Ministry who own the main. With regard to the second part of the Question, the one house is supplied upon terms which give no guarantee of continuity and would not be practicable for a general supply. It is hoped, however, that both continuity and generality of supply will shortly be secured.

Hospitals (Resident Doctors)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the shortage of house surgeons in hospitals in the North-East and will he take all possible steps to remedy this, including securing the deferment of newly qualified doctors from military service.

I am aware that hospitals in many parts of the country are short of resident officers. Newly qualified doctors are already allowed six or twelve months' deferment of military service which may be extended in special circumstances.

Medical Officers (Release)

asked the Minister of Health whether he will now arrange for speedier demobilisation of the medical officers presently serving with the Forces in order to relieve the position arising in this country from the inadequacy of the medical services now available to the civilian population.

:The Government have approved a substantial acceleration of the release of medical officers from the Forces under Class A in order to reinforce the civilian medical services during this winter.

National Health Service (Physiotherapy)

asked the Minister of Health if he will give the profession of physiotherapy the same opportunity of consultation as he has offered to the medical profession, before he introduces his proposed National Health Service Bill.

I shall be glad to consider any views which the physiotherapists care to put before me.

Mining Areas (Doctors)

asked the Minister of Health if he will arrange that doctors with a large practice in mining areas will not be deprived of their assistant doctors who are called up for military service until a substitute doctor can be obtained.

It is open to the Central Medical War Committee to defer the recruitment to the Forces of a general practitioner's assistant in any area where there are special circumstances justifying such deferment. The Committee, in consultation with the Local Medical War Committee, gives careful consideration to the needs of the civilian population in all such cases.

Medical Students (Assistance)

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the urgency of securing sufficient fully qualified doctors, he will make grants calculated to relieve students taking recognised courses of training for the Degree of Medicine of the greater part of their fees, provided that at all times he is assured that students accepted for training are maintaining a satisfactory rate of progress in their studies.

Apart from grants made to ex-members of the Forces under the Further Education and Training Scheme, financial assistance is already available for medical students from various sources including scholarships awarded by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, and by local education authorities and medical schools. I am not myself empowered to make grants for the purpose suggested.

Nursing Service

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the position of the hospitals in Monmouthshire through their inability to secure staff and nurses; that one maternity hospital has been closed altogether and another has to limit the number of patients it can take after a certain date; and if he will endeavour to secure the release of suitable persons from the Services who are willing to engage in hospital work.

Yes, Sir; the matter has been fully discussed with representatives of the county council, who have agreed to consider the provision of nursing training facilities within the county, as a means of easing the situation. There are already arrangements for the release in Class B from the Women's Auxiliary Services of suitable women who are willing to engage in hospital work, and a special appeal has been made to all nurses released from the Forces in Class A to resume civilian nursing as soon as possible.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that some local authorities are proposing, under Part II of the Nurses Act, 1943, to regulate, under certain circumstances, the maximum earnings of nurses employed by hospitals and private patients; and whether, in view of the Minister's recent proposal to increase nurses' earnings, he will take steps to prevent local control of this nature.

I am not aware that authorities have yet attached a condition to the effect stated by the hon. Member, and I assume that they would take account of any increased scales.

Local Authorities

Government Surplus Stores

asked the Minister of Health what instructions he has issued to local authorities to deal with surplus Government stores held by them on behalf of his Ministry.

The Government have now decided that the surplus stocks of equipment held by local authorities on behalf of my Department should be sold locally. A circular, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy, was issued to local authorities today informing them of this decision and authorising them to make the necessary arrangements.

Public Utilities (Revenue Deficiencies)

asked the Minister of Health when and upon what terms repayment will be required of 25 per cent. of the advances made to local authorities financially affected by the war in respect of deficiencies in the revenues of public utilities operated by the local authorities; if he is aware that such repayment will necessitate substantially increased charges to the consumers; and if he will consider treating such loans as grants until the financial position of the local authority has recovered from the effects of the war.

The terms of any repayments required from local authorities will be one of the matters to be discussed with each of the local authorities concerned, and, where necessary, the repayments will be spread over a period of years. Except in the case of the Metropolitan Water Board, the sums to be repaid will not be a direct charge on the revenues of the public utility undertakings operated by the local authority, but will be paid out of their general rate fund.

Evacuation (Mothers, Grant)

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the fact that local authorities had already budgeted their expenditure when the financial support for the evacuation of expectant mothers was withdrawn, he will consider renewing the grant.

I do not think this would be justified. Local authorities were relieved, until 30th August last, of their normal responsibility for accommodating these mothers, although the justification for putting the cost on the Exchequer, as an evacuation charge, ceased with the end of the war in Europe.

Drowning Accidents, River Wharfe

asked the Minister of Health if his inquiries are yet complete with regard to the frequent drowning accidents in the River Wharfe at Castley Ford; and when can the hon. Member for Pudsey and Otley expect the communication promised him on 5th November, 1945.

I have been in communication with the rural district council on this matter and have drawn their attention to powers under which they could erect danger notices. When I receive their reply I will communicate further with the hon. Member.

Sutton's Institution, Romford

asked the Minister of Health why Sutton's Institution, Romford, is still not available for the urgent needs of the P.A.C. of the Essex County Council; and whether he will further consult with the Air Ministry to get this building derequisitioned.

I am informed by my Noble Friend the Secretary of State for Air that his Department still requires the use of this institution, but I will consult with him further in the matter.

Brookwood Mental Hospital

asked the Minister of Health if he will institute an inquiry into the unsatisfactory conditions now obtaining at Brookwood Mental Hospital, Surrey County Council, evidence of which has been submitted to him, demonstrating strained relations between the matron and the nursing staff and the prevalence in the wards (if the hospital of epidemics of diphtheria and dysentery.

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

Empty Premises (Rating)

asked the Minister of Health if he will consider introducing legislation providing local authorities with power to secure from owners of empty houses, shops, and warehouses, owner's rates, based on the assessed value of the houses, shops and warehouses when such may have been occupied.

I will consider this suggestion with others, which have from time to time been made for altering the present system of levying and assessing local rates, but I can hold out no expectation of legislation in the near future on this or other aspects of the rating system.

Service Personnel (Imprisonment)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the numbers of servicemen serving sentences for service offences in each of His Majesty's prisons, respectively.

The following table shows the number of members of His Majesty's Forces who on the 20th November were serving in civil prisons, sentences imposed by courts martial:

Prison.United Kingdom Forces.Dominion Forces.
Birmingham4
Bristol 16
Brixton4
Camp Hill8614
Cardiff 9
Chelmsford15
Dartmoor204124
Dorchester22
Durham 19
Exeter641
Feltham 25
Gloucester5
Leeds 18
Leicester 3
Lewes33
Lincoln8
Liverpool19
Maidstone121
Manchester33
Norwich 8
Oxford 4
Parkhurst393
Shrewsbury1
Stafford 22
Swansea 3
Wakefiold113
Wandsworth17
Winchester12718
Wormwood Scrubs115
Totals1,150160
It would not be possible without a special investigation to give precise figures for those found guilty of service offences, but they form the majority of the figures given above.

Identity Cards (Prevention Of Bigamy)

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been directed to the recommendation made by Mr. Justice Wrottesley, at Kent Assizes, that identity cards should indicate whether the holder is married or single and that couples should be required to produce their cards before they are married; and whether he will adopt this recommendation and in this way make bigamy less easy.

Quite apart from certain practical difficulties inherent in present circumstances, this suggestion would involve legislation. I will, however, bear it in mind in connection with the review of the National Registration Act, 1939.

Education

Additional Age Groups (Instruction)

asked the Minister of Education whether she can give any indication as to what special subjects are co be taught to children when the school-leaving age is raised to 16 years; and what provision is being made to train teachers for these additional duties.

The raising of the school-leaving age to 16 will naturally involve developments in the content of the curriculum. In shaping these developments, the schools themselves will properly have scope for enterprise and experiment and it is not my wish to lay down beforehand in any detail what special subjects should be taught. I have, however, arranged for this question to be examined by a panel of H.M. Inspectors who will advise me from time to time. No teachers are being trained specifically for work with the additional age groups, but courses of training for prospective teachers of secondary school pupils already include a study of the special needs of children up to the age of 16. These courses will be developed as more experience is gained of the requirements of modern secondary schools.

Higher Technological Education (Report)

asked the Minister of Education what action she intends to take with regard to the Percy Report on Higher Technological Education in this country.

I have considered this valuable report, and steps are already being taken to implement some of the recommendations. My hon. Friend will realise, however, that many of the recommendations are far-reaching and will involve consultation with the various interested bodies.

Sub-Normal Children

asked the Minister of Education if she will consider introducing legislation to provide for special treatment of mentally defective children.

Provision for the special educational treatment of educationally sub-normal children rests on Section 33 of the Education Act, 1944, and on the Handicapped Pupils and School Health Service Regulations, 1945. No further legislation is necessary, but I shall shortly be issuing a circular, of which I will send the hon. Member a copy, asking local education authorities to consider as a matter of urgency the provision of additional boarding school accommodation for educationally sub-normal and maladjusted pupils.

Physical Training Instructors

asked the Minister of Education if she will consult with the Air Ministry with a view to remedying the shortage of physical training instructors in schools.

There is a general shortage of teachers in the schools, and that is why 10,000 are being released from the Services under Class B without reference to their qualifications for teaching particular subjects. My Department works in close co-operation with the Air Ministry and the other Service Ministries in this matter.

Teachers (Interchange With Usa)

asked the Minister of Education if she will consider increasing the number of schoolteachers exchanged between this country and the U.S.A.; and will she include an adequate number from and to the elementary schools.

A committee has been formed under the auspices of the English Speaking Union to conduct the interchange of teachers with the U.S.A. This committee, in whose work my Ministry is actively interested, is making preparations for a great increase in the number of exchanges compared with the pre-war numbers, and I hope that all types of school will be adequately represented.

Divisional Administration Schemes

asked the Minister of Education whether the recently formed divisional executives have the right to submit their own proposals for meeting the immediate and prospective needs for their areas for the consideration of the local education authority before the plan of development is drafted, or must the divisional executives wait until the local education authority submits its own plan of development for the divisional executives approval or otherwise.

The answer depends upon the terms of the scheme of divisional administration concerned. If my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind, perhaps he will write to me about it. He will, however, appreciate that if a dispute arises on a question of this kind I have a quasi-judicial function to perform in determining it.

Deafness (Lip Reading Facilities)

asked the Minister of Education whether she has considered the case of the Essex child, particulars of which have been submitted to her by the hon. Member for Thurrock; and whether, as the child was, in January, 1944, diagnosed as suffering from post-meningitic deafness and the Essex County Council were in that month requested by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children to arrange for the child to attend a lip-reading school, it being their duty to make such arrangement and as, in spite of repeated requests, such arrangement has still not been made, she will set up a committee of inquiry to investigate and report on the conduct of the council in this matter.

I am looking into this question and will communicate with my hon. Friend.

Kirby Corner Hostel

asked the Minister of Education whether, in view of the housing shortage in Coventry, she will relinquish the claim of her Department to use Kirby Corner Hostel for the training of teachers, and thus make it available to the Coventry Corporation as accommodation for the homeless and inadequately housed.

No, Sir. The shortage of accommodation for the emergency training scheme is acute and I cannot afford to give up any suitable buildings. This hostel will be used principally for ex-Servicemen of whom by next Spring there will be a large number released from the Forces and ready for training.

Emergency Training

asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of dissatisfaction amongst Services personnel shortly due for release who have applied for interviews under the Emergency Training of Teachers Scheme, regarding the delay in granting such interviews; and if she will take steps to ensure that all such interviews are completed and applications under the scheme decided upon before actual dates of release from the Services.

I am aware that it has not so far been possible to arrange these interviews as rapidly as either the candidates or I should like. Steps have been taken which will secure a considerable improvement, but I cannot give an undertaking that all Service candidates will be interviewed before their release.

Scholarships (Regulations)

asked the Minister of Education if she is satisfied that local education authorities are making awards to students entering a university on the strength of the student's performance in examinations other than the Higher School Certificate; and in cases where such awards are made, whether it is her intention to allow the amount of the award to the Student to be reduced by the continued application of a means test based on parental income.

I advised authorities in a Circular issued in March, 1945, with the Regulations for Scholarships and Other Benefits, that suitability for an award should be judged on performance in the examination for the Higher School Certificate or another of equivalent standard, or on other special grounds. I am satisfied that the schemes which have been submitted by authorities are based on this principle. The amount of an award must be related to the student's needs, but authorities have been advised that the maximum value of a scholarship should be available where the net parental income does not exceed £600 a year, and that proportionately smaller awards should be made as income rises to the level of £1.500.

Road-Safety Instruction

asked the Minister of Education if, in view of the large number of children involved in road accidents, she will appoint an officer in her Department to be responsible for giving guidance and direction to road-safety work in schools.

An officer of my Department is a member of the Interdepartmental Committee on Road Safety, whose Interim Report was recently published, and contained a number of recommendations in relation to schoolchildren. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a Circular which I sent to local education authorities on this matter at the beginning of this month.

Nursery Schools

asked the Minister of Education what steps she is taking to ensure the permanent provision of an adequate number of nursery schools throughout the country.

Under Section 8 of the Education Act, 1944, it is the duty of every local education authority to secure that there shall be available for their area sufficient primary and secondary schools, and in fulfilling this duty they must in particular have regard to the need for nursery schools, or where the authority consider these to be inexpedient, nursery classes. To this end, authorities are required by Section 11 of the Act to estimate the immediate and prospective needs of their areas, and to submit for my approval by 1st April next (or such later date as may be allowed in any particular case) a development plan showing how they propose to secure that there shall be a sufficient number of schools, including the provision needed for children under five.

Holidays

asked the Minister of Education what educational purpose is achieved by the recent refusal of her Department to permit a variation of the school holidays in order to allow an occasional lengthening of the main summer holiday, in view of the fact that, in some cases, school certificate results are not published until mid-September; and is she aware that this refusal leads to disorganisation of this work of the winter term in secondary aided and maintained grammar schools.

I am unable to trace any correspondence in my Department on the point, but if my hon. Friend will send me particulars I will investigate the matter.

Pensions (Increase) Act

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware of the anxiety of many of the benficiaries under the Pensions (Increase) Act of 1944, that it will not be renewed when it comes to an end this year; and whether he will give an assurance that the benefits will continue after that date.

The Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bill provides for the continuance of this Act until 31st March, 1947.

Universities (Chairs Of Industrial Design)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider instituting Chairs of Industrial Design at three or more of our leading universities where instruction is already being given on art subjects and research.

Such a proposal should be considered in the first place by the universities themselves, in relation to their other plans for development.

Murders

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out in tabular form the number of murders known by the police to have been committed, the numbers of murderers convicted and the number of murderers executed, in each year between 1924 and 1944.

Number of Murders.Total.Number of Trial.Sentenced to death.Executed.
Year.Murders known to police.(2)Murders of infants under one year (included in Col.(2))‡ Cleared up during yearNot. Tried.Acquitted.Guilty but InsaneConvicted
Murders shown in Col. (2).Murders shown in Col.(2) of previous year.No ProsecutionInsane on Arraignment.
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)
192214545603913353421
192315051581141012212111
192415045423111414149
19251603581281624313019
1926154405751018242416
IO2714343506613252516
192813637601121212232313
192913128501781915157
19301223540781114145
1931138275718131718189
1932125316419102915159
19331413053151018191910
193414132617111924249
1935120195261115202010
193614531671282027279
I93711426981441451114137
I938116191001541271223228
19391572114336411141128259
1940123811159121114222111
19411461113364101218242315
194229037185272213917312518
191317434151575121024292715
I9441663514774810611212113

*Figures for crimes cleared up during the year are not available before 1937.

†1944 figures are provisional only.
‡For the purpose of this column murders "cleared up" refers to cases where a person has been charged with the offence or when the suspect has died, or

where more than one murder has been committed by the same person.

National Finance

Taxation Per Head

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of taxation per head of the population in the United Kingdom for the years 1913–14, 1929–30, 1938–39, 1944–45; and the amount of revenue raised in these years by means of direct and indirect taxation, respectively.

Following are the figures:

Revenue from Taxation.
Direct.Indirect.Taxation per head of Population in United Kingdom.
£000£000£s.d.
1913–1493,81469,2213 114
1929–30434,166242,61514 1510
I938–39561,738335,209l8 179
1944–452,055,8631,069,66765 106

Co-Operative Societies (Income Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount of income tax paid by the co-operative societies in the years 1932–33, 1942–43 and 1944–45.

For 1932–33 about £500,000, and for 1941–42, the latest year for which information is available, about £5,000,000.

Northern Ireland Revenue

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the revenue of Northern Ireland is collected by the British Government and by the local government at Stormont, respectively; and whether he will introduce legislation to vary this apportionment and allow the Government of Northern Ireland to have wider powers over the finance of the State under their control.

About 74 per cent. through the Residuary share of Reserved Taxes and about 26 per cent. through the Transferred Revenue. The reply to the second part of the Question is "No, Sir." I understand that the Northern Ireland Government arc satisfied with the present system.

Ept Refund (Surplus Plant Purchase)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Excess Profits Tax postwar refund of 20 per cent., less Income Tax, may be used immediately in the purchase of surplus plant from Government Departments and for the purchase of factories made available forcivilian use by Government Departments; and if the purchase price may be set off against the above-mentioned refund in appropriate cases.

I see no objection in principle to such an arrangement, and I have no doubt that the disposal Departments will be ready, in co-operation with the Inland Revenue, to make the necessary arrangements.

Reciprocal Aid To Usa

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total value of reciprocal aid provided to the U.S.A. up to date.

Up to30th June, 1945, the total value of Reciprocal Aid provided by His Majesty's Government to the Government of the United States of America amounted to £1,080,300,000, made up as follows:

£million
Goods and Services in the United Kingdom 675·0
Food and Raw Materials shipped to the United States45·7
Munitions, etc., exported to or transferred in United States43·1
Goods and Services in Colonies and other overseas areas122·2
Capital facilities in the United Kingdom and abroad194·3
Total up to 30th June, 1945£1,080·3

London Museums (Reopening)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when it is expected again to open the museums in London to the public.

A number are now partly open. Further reopening will take place as necessary repairs are completed.

Civil Servants (Board And Lodging Cost)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what extra allowance for billeting and food are paid to civil servants who were evacuated from London to Blackpool, so long as they remain in Blackpool; and what is the total annual cost to the Exchequer.

The rules governing allowances for board and lodging have to meet widely varying circumstances and are therefore complex; maximum payments vary according to grade between 31s. 6d. and 47s. per week. The total cost is approximately£100,000 per annum.

Italy (Detained Professors)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any information as to the reasons which led to the arrest by the Military Government in Italy of Professors Peterlin, Kuhelj and Moljk all of Ljubljana University, who were on their way to Padua University to buy scientific instruments for the rehabilitation of their laboratories; and whether he is aware that these three professors have now been detained in gaol at Padua for more than two months.

These three professors were arrested by the Italian police on 1st September for illegal entry into Italy. They were in possession of a large sum of money in Italian currency and there was no indication that they had attempted to obtain an export licence for the optical instruments which they stated they had come to buy. Since their arrest took place in a zone of Allied Military Government, they were handed over to the Allied Military authorities by the Italian police and they have been held in Padua pending arrangements for the full routine interrogation which is carried out in all such cases. This interrogation is at present taking place and if, as a result, it is proved that the professors were not guilty of anything beyond infraction of the security regulations, they will at once be released.

British Subjects, Usa (Passports)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in the case of British subjects in the U.S.A. who desire to return home, he will assist them in every way to obtain the required permission to enable them to travel.

Yes, Sir. British subjects in the United States of America can, when necessary, obtain passports by applying to British consular officers. No special permission is required for their entry into the United Kingdom. British subjects are required, of course, to conform to relevant United States regulations in the same way as any other foreigners in the U.S.A.

Civil Aviation (Transatlantic Control)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on what grounds it has been decided to remove the Transatlantic Aircraft Radial Control Corporation at Prestwick, Scotland, to Rhinnana, Eire.

I presume that the hon. and gallant Member is referring to the Transatlantic aircraft control station which has been maintained by the R.A.F. at Prestwick for military purposes during the war. I am informed that the functions of this station are now being transferred by the Air Ministry to the Overseas Aircraft Control at Gloucester. The situation of Transatlantic control stations for civil aircraft is one of the matters to be discussed in the near future at a meeting of an international organisation which will consider the facilities and services required for international civil air traffic crossing the Atlantic.

Unrra (Subscribing Countries)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the names of those countries who have subscribed to U.N.R.R.A.; and the amount subscribed by each.

Three statements showing the amounts contributed to U.N.R.R.A. by the various member States up to the 31st October, 1945, have been furnished by the Administration. They show, separately, the total contributions, and the contributions to the operating, and to the administrative, expenses of the Organisation, respectively and, in each case, the extent to which they had actually been made available up to that date. Since then an additional contribution from the United Kingdom of £75,000,000 has, as my hon. Friend will remember, been announced in this House.

Following are the statements:

CONTRIBUTIONS (OPERATING AND ADMINISTRATIVE) AUTHORINED OR IN PROCESS, BY ALL COUNTRIES AS OF 31 OCTOBER, 1945.
(In U.S. Dollar Equivalents)
Government.Total.Paid or Available.In Process or Due in 1945
Amount.Per cent.Amount.Per cent.
1.2.3.4.5.6.
TOTAL$1,883,268,341$1,285,601,42068·3$597,666,92131·7

Countries making Operating and Administrative c0ntributi0ns(non Invaded)

1,878,848,3411,282,030,87068·2596,770,67131·8
Australia38,400,00038,400,000100·000·0
Bolivia95,23831,74633·363,49266·7
Brazil30,000,00010,000,00033·320,000,00066·7
Canada69,369,36969,369,369100·000·0
Chile2,153,31200·02,153,312100·0
Colombia2,356,49352,0012·22,304,49297·8
Costa Rica400,00000·0400,000100·0
Cuba35,00035,000100·000·0
Dominican Republic350,000245,00070·0105,00030·0
Ecuador150,00000·0150,000100·0
Egypt4,255,83370,0001·64,185,83398·4
El Salvador128,7505,0003·9123,75096·1
Guatemala8,7508,750100·000·0
Haiti48,75048,750100·000·0
Honduras58,75058,750100·000·0
Iceland717,975717,975100·000·0
India24,042,07224,042,072100·000·0
Iran325,10000·0325,100100·0
Iraq218,25017,5008·0200,75092·0
Liberia8,7508,750100·000·0
Mexico3,601,5001,148,00031·92,453,50068·1
New Zealand8,476,0008,476,000100·000·0
Nicaragua128,7505,0003·9123,75096·1
Panama408,750142,08334·8266,66765·2
Paraguay38,4499,89925·728,55074·3
Peru1,000,000792,69279·3207,30820·7
Union of South Africa18,135,0005,137,50028·312,997,50071·7
United Kingdom322,400,000322,400,000100·000·0
U.S.A.1,350,000,000800,000,00059·3550,000,00040·7
Uruguay520,000505,00097·115,0002·9
Venezuela1,017,500350,83334·5666,66765·5

Countries making Administrative C0ntributions only (Invaded)

4,420,0003,523,7579·7896,25020·3
Belgium175,000175,000100·000·0
China875,000875,000100·000·0
Czechoslovakia175,000175,000100·000·0
Denmark18,75000·018,750100·0
Ethiopia8,7508,750100·000·0
France700,000700,000100·000·0
Greece87,50087,500100·000·0
Luxembourg8,7508,750100·000·0
Netherlands262,500262,500100·000·0
Norway5 2,50052,500100·000·0
Philippines8,7508,750100·000·0
Poland175,000100,00057·175,00042·9
U.S.S.R.1,750,0001,000,00057·1750,00042·9
Yugoslavia122,50070,00057·152,50042·9

OPERATING CONTRIBUTIONS AUTHORIZED OR IN PROCESS, BY NON-INVADED MEMBER GOVERNMENTS AS OF 31 OCTOBER, 1945.
(In U.S. Dollar Equivalents)
Government.Total.Paid or Available.In Process.
Amount.Percent.
1.2.3.4.5.
Total$1,866,624,591$1,270,091,08668·0$596,533,505
Australia38,137,50038,137,500100·00
Bolivia77,73825,91333·351,825
Brazil29,737,5009,737,50032·720,000,000
Canada68,844,36968,844,369100·00
Chile2,118,31200·02,118,312
Colombia2,303,99300·02,303,993
Costa Rica 391,25000·0391,250
Cuba000
Dominican Republic341,250236,25069·2105,000
Ecuador141,25000·0141,250
Egypt4,133,33300·04,133,333
El-Salvador 120,00000·0120,000
Guatemala000
Haiti40,00040,000100·00
Honduras50,00050,000100·00
Iceland709,225709,225100·00
India23,342,07223,342,072100·00
Iran307,60000·0307,600
Iraq200,75000·0200,750
Liberia000
Mexico3,479,0001,078,00031·02,401,000
New Zealand8,423,5008,423,500100·00
Nicaragua120,00000·0120,000
Panama400,000133,33333·3266,667
Paraguay29,6999,89933·319,800
Peru956,250767,69280·3188,558
Union of South Africa17,960,0004,962,50027·612,997,500
United Kingdom319,775,000319,775,000100·00
U.S.A.1,343,000,000793,000,00059·0550,000,000
Uruguay485,000485,000100·00
Venezuela1,000,000333,33333·3666,667

ADMINISTRATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS AUTHORIZED OR IN PROCESS, BY ALL COUNTRIES AS AS OF 31 OCTOBER, 1945.
(In U.S. Dollar Equivalents).
GovernmentTotal.Paid or Available.Due in 1945.
Amount.Per cent.Amount.Per cent.
1.2.3.4.5.6.
Total$16,643,750$15,510,33493·2$1,133,4166·8
Australia262,500262,500100·000·0
Belgium175,000175,000100·000·0
Bolivia17,5005,83333·311·66766·7
Brazil262,500262,500100·000·0
Canada525,000525,000100·000·0
Chile35,00000·035·000100·0
China875,000875,000100·000·0
Colombia52,50052,00199·049·91·0
Costa Rica8,75000·08,750100·0
Cuba35,00035,000100·000·0
Czechoslovakia175,000175,000100·000·0
Denmark18,75000·018,750100·0
Dominican Republic8,7508,750100·000·0

Government.Total.Paid or Available.Due in 1945.
Amount.Percent.Amount.Percent.
1.2.3.4.5.6.
Ecuador 8,75000·08,750 100·0
Egypt 122,50070,00057·152,50042·9
El Salvador8,7505,00057·13,75042·9
Eth1op1a8,7508,750100·000·0
France700,000700,000100·000·0
Greece87,50087,500100·000·0
Guatemala8,7508,750100·000·0
Ha1t18,7508,750100·000·0
Honduras8,7508,750100·000·0
1celand8,7508,750100·000·0
1nd1a700,000700,000100·000·0
1ran17,50000·017.500100·0
1raq17,50017,500100·000·0
L1ber1a8,7508,750100·000·0
Luxembourg8,7508,750100·000·0
Mex1co 122,500 70,000 57·152.50042·9
Netherlands262,500262,500100·000·0
New Zealand52,50052,500100·000·0
N1caragua8,7505,00057·13,75042·9
Norway52,50052,500100·000·0
Panama8,7508,750100·000·0
Paraguay8,75000·08,750100·0
Peru43,75025,00057·118,75042·9
Ph1l1pp1nes8,7508,750100·000·0
Poland175,000100,00057·175,00042·9
Un1on of South Afr1ca175,000175,000100·000·0
U.S.S.R.1,750,0001,000,00057·1750,00042·9
United K1ngdom2,625,0002,625,000100·000·0
U.S.A.7,000,0007,000,000100·000·0
Uruguay 35,00020,00057·115,00042·9
Venezuela17,50017,500100·000·0
Yugoslav1a122,50070,00057·152,50042·9

Austra (Control Policy)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when it is proposed to abolish the demarcation lines between the occupied zones in Austria; and if it is proposed to reduce the number of occupying armies in that country.

it is impossible at present to make a definite statement with regard to the occupation zones in Austria but His Majesty's Government are now considering the general question of the future policy of control in Austria in the light of the Austrian elections, As regards the second part of the Question, His Majesty's Government would be glad to see a reduction in the number of the occupying armies, but the matter does not rest with them alone. We are in consultation with the other Governments.

Germany

War Crimes Trial

asked the Attorney-General the nature and extent of the powers now held by the international Military Tribunal, now sitting at Nuremberg, enabling it to obtain the attendance of Allied nationals as witnesses, for either the prosecution or the defence, from the nations represented on the tribunal; and whether he is prepared to grant facilities for the transport of those British nationals whose presence is requested by the tribunal.

By Article 17 (a) of the Charter annexed to the Agreement date 8th August, 1945, the international Military Tribunal shall have the power to summon witnesses to the trial and to require their attendance and testimony and to put questions to them, Although there is this power to summon witnesses there is no legal means of compelling their attendance, if any British nationals are summoned by the Tribunal to attend as witnesses, and circumstances permit of their attendance, transport facilities will be made available.

Non-German Nationals (British Zone)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give an assurance that non-German nationals, living in British-occupied Germany, who do not wish to return to their country of origin for political reasons will not be forced to do so and will be given asylum in Germany or other suitable territory of their choice willing to receive them.

I have been asked to reply. The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative, Asylum in Germany would be a matter for quadripartite decision. Asylum in other countries would be a matter for the Governments concerned.

Post Office

Postal Facilities (Europe)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if any steps are being taken to effect direct postal communication between German civilians in this country and their families and relatives in the British zone in Germany.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. P, Freeman) on 15th November, of which I am sending her a copy, I have nothing to add to that reply as regards general postal communications with Germany, With regard to the possibility of special postal arrangements for communicating with distressed persons in Germany I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) on 27th November and to the reply which has been given to her today by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General when direct postal communication with Austria will be resumed.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. P. Freeman) on 15th November, of which i am sending her a copy, I am unable to add anything further at the moment.

Briantspuddle, Dorset

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will take steps to provide a post office, with telephone and call box, in the village of Briantspuddle, Dorset.

A sub-post office and telephone will be provided at Briantspuddle as soon as a suitable candidate is forthcoming, but hitherto, though every effort has been made, it has not been possible to find one, A telephone kiosk will in any case be erected as soon as the necessary plant can be made available.

Telephone Service (Northern Ireland)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what is the cause of the delay in the installation of telephones in Northern Ireland; and if he will endeavour to meet the demands of those who, through lack of them, are suffering inconvenience.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R, A, Butler) on the 26th November, in which I explained that delays in providing telephone service are due to serious shortage of skilled installation staff, I much regret the inconvenience and would assure the hon. Member that every endeavour is being made to avoid it so far as the resources available permit.

Telecommunication Apparatus (Research)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what proportion of telecommunication equipment, including all classes of radio apparatus used for telecommunication purposes, installed and used by the British Post office is the direct outcome of research done by Post office engineers; and what proportion was the outcome of research originating in Great Britain, the British Empire and other countries, respectively.

I regret that the required information cannot be obtained, as it is rarely possible in any class of radio or other telecommunications equipment to state what sources of research have contributed to its design or the relative proportions of such contributions.

Air Mail (Belfast)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what is the latest time that letters can be posted in the House of Commons or the West End of London to catch the air mail for Belfast.

  • (1)Posting boxes. 7.15 p.m.
  • (2)At the Post office. 7.3o p.m.
  • West End of London:

  • Posting boxes. 6.0–6.30 p.m.
  • South Western Head District office.
  • Western Head District office. 7.0 p.m.

    Radiotelephone Service (India)

    asked the Assistant Postmaster-General by what date he expects

    Welsh Church Commission.
    Salaries paid to the Commissioners. 24th September.1914 to 31st October, 1945.
    Chairman£s.d.£s.d.
    Sir Henry Pr1mrose— 23rd September. 1914 t0 17th June. 1923 12,72900
    Sir A. Griffith Boscawen— 29th June. 1923 to 31st December. 194431,12300
    Sir Wynn P. Wheld0o— 16th August. 1945 to 31st October. 19452080044,06000
    other Commissioners
    Mr. Dav1d Allan— 24th September. 1942 to 12th March. 194323300
    Mr. E. Furnival Jones— 14th May. 1943 to 31st October. 19451,231001,46400
    £45,52400
    Note.— Lord Plender was a Commissioner from 1914 to 1942, but at his own request never drew a salary. After his retirement his successors (first Mr. Allan and then Mr.Furnival Jones) were paid a salary of £ 500 per annum,and the salary of the Chairman was reduced by the same amount. This salary of £ 500 includes professional fees for accounting work.
    As stated in reply to the hon. Member on 22nd November. 1945 travelling and subsistence allowances are paid at Civil Service rates; it is not practicable to extract the relevant amounts from the total cost of the Commission, of which particulars were given to the hon. Member by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on 13th November.1945.

    Requisitioned Property (Edinburgh)

    asked the Minister of Works how many houses, hotels, clubs, shops, factories and warehouses are in Government occupation in the city of Edinburgh; and what steps he is taking to release them for housing and employment.

    As regards the first part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to my reply on 19th November. In regard to the second part, every effort is being and will be made to release these that telephone communication with India will be re-established.

    The radiotelephone service between the United Kingdom and India will be reopened for public business on Monday next (3rd December).

    Welsh Church Commissioners (Salaries)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been paid during the existence of the Welsh Church Commissioners to successive chairmen and to all the commissioners.

    Following is the information.Properties for housing and other purposes, but in the absence of any alternative accommodation in Edinburgh. I can see little prospect of further early releases in addition to those specified in my previous reply.

    Electoral Franchise (Service Register)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what administrative difficulties prevent serving officers and men being automatically placed on the electoral register of the locality in which their next-of-kin live.

    My information is that the machinery of the Service Departments is not designed to enable it to identify each individual with the constituency concerned. The proposal would also result in disfranchisement where the next-of-kin is resident outside the United Kingdom, and in other cases might result in an elector being identified with a constituency in which he has no interest. This matter will, however, fall within the terms of reference of the forthcoming Committee on Electoral Registration.

    Royal Navy (Education)

    asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many men enrolled for educational and vocational training under the E.V.T. scheme; how many were eligible for enrolment; and how many schoolmasters, R.N., H.O., will be released in Class A by 3ist December, 1945; and whether, in view of the need of teachers at home, steps will be taken to secure the earlier release of such men.

    it is not possible to state the actual numbers enrolled or receiving instruction under the E.V.T. scheme, but the scheme is open to the whole of the Navy and to the W.R.N.S. and I can assure the hon. Member that a very large proportion are taking advantage of the facilities it affords. The need for the return of schoolmasters to teaching is fully appreciated but E.V.T. has placed a heavy burden of responsibility on the Naval educational service and whilst all possible steps are being taken to assist in this work, my right hon. Friend cannot undertake to accelerate the release of schoolmasters though he hopes to release 11 by 31st December.

    Wombleton Airfield (Closed Road)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will now reopen the Nunnington-Welburn road that was temporarily closed at a time when the Wombleton aerodrome was in use.

    This road was obliterated when the airfield was constructed. I regret that we cannot arrange for it to be re-made while the future of the airfield is still undecided.

    Employment

    Local Residents

    asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the system of zoning which has been introduced in Monmouthshire and which prevents many persons who had been stopped through redundancy from obtaining work where they were previously employed; whether this system was started by the National Service officer or by the owners of the factories; and will he take steps to end this rule and allow the same freedom as formerly.

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary in the Debate on the Adjournment on 13th November.1945.

    Lightermen (Unofficial Strike)

    asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that nearly 100 lightermen, employed by the Associated Portland Cement Company at Gravesend, are in a state of dispute with their employers; and whether he will take steps to facilitate a settlement in order to prevent any spread of the trouble to other firms along the River Thames who employ lightermen, and who, with this exception, observe working conditions which are satisfactory to the men.

    I am aware of this dispute and of the circumstances in which an unofficial stoppage of work has taken place. The number of men concerned is 77. There is established machinery for the settlement of the question involved but until the men accept the advice of their union to resume work it is not possible to make any progress towards consideration of the differences. Arrangements have been made for negotiations between the parties to commence immediately work is resumed.

    Unemployment Statistics

    asked the Minister of Labour the number of insured persons registered at Employment Exchanges at oxford and Merthyr Tydfil as unemployed at 16th July and 15th October, 1945, respectively. distinguishing the principal industries.

    Insured unemployed persons on the registers of Employment Exchanges at Merthyr Tydfil and Oxford

    MERTHYR TYDFIL
    Industry.Numbers registered as unemployed.
    16th July,1945.15th October, 1945.
    Public Works Contracting76187
    Engineering and Construction and Repair of Motor Vehicles. Cycles and Aircraft 1,6112,311
    Explosives Manufacture591923
    Coal Mining220358
    Distributive Trades50120
    National Government Service 55197
    Local Government Service59121
    other Industries and Services311478
    2,9734,695

    The total excludes 291 Insured men and women on the registers who had been classified as unsuitable for ordinary employment.
    OXFORD
    Industry.Numbers registered as unemployed.
    16th July. 1945.15th October. 1945.
    Construction and Repair of Motor Vehicles. Cycles and Aircraft2644
    Distributive Trades2122
    other Industries and Services8988
    136154

    Resettlement (Personal Case)

    asked the Minister of Labour the cause of the delay in making a resettlement grant to Sapper Frank Edwards, who was discharged from the Army on 27th March. 1945, with a 30 per cent. disability pension and who is now subsisting on charity.

    If the hon. Member will send me particulars of the case, stating where the application was made. I will inquire into it.

    Transport (Nationalisation Proposals)

    asked the Minister of War Transport if it is proposed to issue a White Paper setting out the case for the nationalisation of the railways and other inland transport, including the estimates of income and expenditure upon which these decisions have been taken.

    The matter to which the hon. Member refers will no doubt be the subject of Debate when the necessary legislation is before the House. I see no reason to issue a White Paper.

    Military Service (Building Trade Workers)

    asked the Minister of Labour how many key members of the building industry he has called up since 1st August.

    Roads

    Level Crossings (Poole)

    asked the Minister of War Transport whether, in the interest of movement of traffic, he will have the situation at the two level crossings at Poole investigated, with a view either to eliminating the crossings or to speeding up the closing and opening of the gates.

    I am informed that postwar planning schemes under discussion between the Poole Corporation and the Southern Railway Company include proposals for the abolition of Towngate and High Street level crossings. The present instructions for closing the gates to road traffic to allow for rail movements over the crossings provide for margins not exceeding three minutes which are considered to be the minimum consistent with safety.

    White Lines

    asked the Minister of War Transport what instructions have been issued for the limitation of white lines to main roads; and if he will consider issuing special instructions to local authorities in districts where fogs are known to be frequent to relax the ruling.

    No such limiting instructions have been issued. I have endorsed the recommendation of the Departmental Committee on Traffic Signs. 1933, that it is advantageous, especially in areas subject to fog, to paint white lines across road junctions in continuation of the kerbs as a guide to traffic.

    British Army

    Compassionate Release Applications

    asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will state the grounds of refusal to men who apply for release under Class C.

    No, Sir. Although general rules are laid down, this is really a matter of assessing the merits of individual cases in conformity with those rules, and to give detailed explanations would only result in fruitless correspondence which would delay the great mass of cases now under consideration.

    Ex-Prisoners Of War (Gratuity)

    asked the Secretary of State for War whether prisoners of war on their return receive the war gratuity.

    Yes, Sir. It is payable under the same conditions as to other members of the Forces. It does not become payable until after release or discharge from the Service.

    Letters And Telegrams (Far East And India)

    asked the Secretary of State for War if he is satisfied with the mail and cablegram service from the United Kingdom to members of the Forces in India and the Far East; and. if not, what steps he is taking to effect an improvement.

    I am satisfied with 'the general arrangements but in the past few weeks there has been some worsening of services and irregular arrivals of mail in India and the Far East. This has been due to bad weather and unserviceability of aircraft which has resulted in mails arriving out of sequence. Also, the considerable movement of personnel throughout this large area, with consequent redirection of mail, has slowed down delivery in certain areas. Continued effort is, however, being made to improve the present position. As regards telegrams, arrangements have recently been made for the transmission of telegrams by electrical means to the nearest appropriate terminal, instead of to one point in India, and this should result in some improvement, other steps to improve the present service will be taken as and when possible.

    Demobilisation

    asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that there are a number of fit men at 102 Military Convalescent Depot whose demobilisation is being postponed through delay in posting them to units where they can be demobilised; and if he will take steps to expedite postings in such cases.

    No. Sir. I understand that all those who are at present due for release require further treatment before they can be reposted. No delay occurs after restoration to health has been effected.

    War Gratuities

    asked the Secretary of State for War when it is proposed to authorise the payment of gratuities and credits of W (T) Reserve men.

    Those released under the Release Scheme in Class B or Class C for indefinite periods receive their gratuities and credits soon after release and without application. Men who were previously granted indefinite release have not yet been paid, but it was recently decided that payment should begin and a Press notice will be issued within a few days showing how application should be made, owing to the large numbers involved some delay in payment is inevitable.

    Christmas Fare

    asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state in detail the special Christmas Day menus which will be provided for personnel who remain on duty.

    A rigid menu has not been fixed. The general arrangements were explained by me on 20th November in reply to a Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Balham and Tooting (Captain R. Adams).

    National Insurance

    Slate Miners, Wales

    asked the Minister of National insurance how many workers in the slate mining industries, in the county of Merioneth, have been certified as suffering from silicosis and tuberculosis each year for the last eight years.

    The Various industries (Silicosis) Compensation Scheme was extended from 1st January,1940, to cover workmen employed underground in slate mines. Since that date up to the 30th September, 1945, the total number of workmen in North Wales slate mines certified by the Silicosis Medical Board to be suffering from silicosis or silicosis accompanied by tuberculosis is 103; eight in 1940; five in 1941; 17 in 1942; 12 in 1943; 26 in 1944 and 35 up to 30th September. 1945. I regret that separate figures for Merionethshire are not available.

    Contributory Pensions

    asked the Minister of National insurance whether he will introduce legislation to amend the Contributory Pensions Acts, so as to enable applicants who have failed to submit their claims within the statutory period to draw their pensions as from their 65th birthday, the date of their entitlement.

    I cannot anticipate the terms of legislation to be presented later in the session.

    Atomic Energy

    asked the Prime Minister whether the agreement on atomic energy with the U.S.A. will automatically make available to this country the results of the New York Central Railroad Company's experiment with an atomically-energised engine.

    I have no information about the nature of the experiment to which the hon. and gallant Member refers which would enable me to judge whether its results are likely to fall within the categories of information, the exchange of which is contemplated under the declaration issued at Washington. I am, however, advised that it is most unlikely that any locomotive could at the present time be driven by atomic energy.

    India (Army Ghq)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for India (1) what was the total strength of the Directorate of Combined operations at G.H.Q., India, on VJ-Day and what is its strength now;(2)what is the total number of officers employed at G.H.Q., India; and how many of these are lieutenant-generals, major-generals, brigadiers and full colonels, respectively;(3)what total reduction in the number of officers employed at G.H.Q., India, has been made since VJ-Day; and. in particular, by how many the number of brigadiers employed has been reduced.

    pursuant to his reply (OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th November, 1945; Vol. 416, c. 2 and 3), supplied the following statement:The strength of the Directorate of Combined operations at G.H.Q., India, on VT-Day was as follows:

    Officers 40
    Other ranks27
    The strength on i8th November was:
    Officers 15
    Other ranks 12
    The officer strength of G.H.Q., India, on 18th November was:
    Lieutenant-Generals8
    Major-Generals30
    Brigadiers83
    Colonels102
    Others 2,375

    The authorities in India report that the first reductions to take place in the establishment of G.H.Q., India, after VJ-Day were in the sanctioned posts which had not been filled owing to the overall shortage of officers. Reductions of officers in filled posts since VJ-Day number 116, of which three were Brigadiers, it is anticipated that the following decrease will be made in the authorised establishment between VJ-Day and the end of the year:

    Major-Generals2
    Brigadiers 15
    Colonels20
    others 729
    Total 766

    Agriculture (Prisoners Of War)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture how many Italian prisoners of war are at present available on the land in the county of Wilts; and how long they will remain available.

    The number of Italian prisoners of war working on the land in Wiltshire is 1,295. The repatriation of the Italians will begin next month on a small scale, but it is not possible to forecast the rate at which it will proceed, since this depends on shipping.

    Pensions And Grants

    asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that if the wife of a man who has lost both his feet in the war dies and he remarries, his pension is reduced from 40s, to 32s, per week; and whether he will remove this hardship.

    Noreduction is made in the man's personal pension, which is 32s. a week. On the death of his first wife, wife's allowance of 8s. a week ceases to be payable, and it is not reissued on remarriage. As regards the second part of the Question, I cannot.

    I am afraid, anticipate the conclusions which may be reached as a result of the general review of war pensions now being made.

    Food Supplies

    Flour

    asked the Minister of Food what proportion of flour consumed in this country is milled from homegrown wheat; what proportion of the wheat consumption is imported in the form of grain, as distinct from flour; and what proportion of the wheat germ, derived from both home-grown and imported wheat, is diverted to uses other than for human food.

    As regards the first part of the Question, 22 per cent. Of the total flour consumed in this country is at present derived from home-grown wheat. With reference to the second part of the Question, imported wheat represents approximately 75 per cent. Of the total wheat now being used in this country for the milling of flour, in connection with the last part of the Question, when milling national flour of 80 per cent. extraction, 76 per cent. Of the total germ contained in both home-grown and imported wheat is on average retained in the resulting flour. The balance is included in the by-products of milling which are used for animal feeding. In the milling of "M" flour (a flour prepared for manufacturing purposes only) and certain speciality flours, the germ is extracted but no separated germ is diverted to uses other than for human consumption.

    Brazil Nuts

    asked the Minister of Food whether Brazil nuts will be in the shops in time for the Christmas trade or soon thereafter; and will they be in plentiful supply.

    There will not be any Brazil nuts in the shops in time for the Christmas trade, but I am looking into the possibility of making purchases during the coming year.