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Written Answers

Volume 416: debated on Friday 30 November 1945

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Written Answers To Questions

Railways (Station Names)

asked the Minister of War Transport whether he will take steps with the railway companies to institute a method so as to ensure that the names of railway stations are placed in such a position as to enable travellers to recognise where they are at night.

I have every sympathy with the hon. Member's desire that the names of railway stations should be readily recognisable at night, and I am asking the railway companies to consider what more can be done to this end within the limits imposed by the present shortage of labour. Meanwhile if the hon. Member will let me know which station he has particularly in mind I will ask the railway company concerned to look into the matter.

Road Transport (Emergency Control)

asked the Minister of War Transport at what date the war-time emergency control of road transport will terminate.

The Emergency Road Transport Organisation based on fuel rationing cannot be discontinued so long as rationing is necessary. As regards the Road Haulage Organisation, I would refer to the answer I gave on 12th November to a Question by the hon. and gallant Member for Penrith and Cockermouth (Lieut.-Colonel Dower).

Irish Citizens (Imprisonment, England)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now consider the early release of all men from Eire still imprisoned for offences committed as a result of the relations existing between the two countries.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Central Leeds (Mr. G. Porter) on 28th November.

Education (Parent-Teacher Associations)

asked the Minister of Education what steps she proposes to take with local education authorities to encourage them to take action to establish parent-teacher associations.

I fully appreciate the importance and value of contact between the home and the school, which is emphasised in the official Handbook of Suggestions for Teachers. It would be unwise to try to impose a uniform system, but I hope that the many parent-teacher associations up and down the country will be extended still further.

Women's Land Army (Releases)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will state the number of members of the W.L.A. for the years 1939–44, respectively, who were released from that army, respectively, for injury received in the course of employment, for ill health arising from employment, for injury or ill health arising from other causes, and for personal application on other grounds.

I regret that the information desired by my hon. and gallant Friend is not available.

Royal Navy

Vessels, Hong Kong

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the m.v. "Aorangi" with a crew of approximately 320 merchant seamen, is being used as a floating hotel at Hong Kong; that other merchant ships have been lying in the harbour there for weeks, with little cargo in their holds; and whether, in view of the shortage of shipping, the m.v. "Aorangi" and the other ships mentioned will be put to better use.

The "Aorangi" is being used as an accommodation ship pending the rehabilitation of sufficient accommodation on shore. The Commander-in-Chief, British Pacific Fleet, has been instructed to release her as soon as possible. I assume that the other vessels referred to are part of the Pacific Fleet Train. This organisation was essential to the support of the Fleet in the forward areas in the operations against Japan, and part of it will still be required to support our Naval Occupation Forces. Merchant Vessels requisitioned for this Fleet Train are being released from Naval service as rapidly as operational requirements permit.

Hm Dockyards (Superannuation)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether men over 60 years of age now being discharged from Devonport Dockyard are being discharged on grounds of age or on grounds of redundancy; and whether he will consider the hardships which are suffered in the loss of gratuities in some cases when discharge is said to be made on grounds of age.

The superannuation benefits appropriate to a man discharged "on reduction" may only be granted as laid down by the Superannuation Act of 1887:

"If he is removed in consequence of the abolition of his employment or for the purpose of facilitating improvements in the organisation of the department by which economy can be effected."
The precise application of this statutory requirement to the circumstances of the present time in H.M. Dockyards is a matter of some difficulty, and is at present under close examination following discussion on the Admiralty Industrial Council.

Convicted Personnel

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many of the personnel of the Royal Navy are undergoing sentences of detention, imprisonment or penal servitude of longer than three months at the present time.

The most up-to-date return, covering the period up to 22nd November, puts the number at 592. This figure assumes remission for good conduct to have been earned in all cases, but does not take account of sentences which have been suspended prior to that date. The number of personnel serving sentences imposed by the Civil Power is not included.

Ropery, Devonport

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is the intention of the Admiralty to rebuild the ropery in Devonport Dockyard, thereby creating employment for men and women employed in that department prior to its destruction by enemy action.

The subject of this Question will be examined in the light of the postwar requirements of the Royal Navy.

Requisitioned Property

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many private residences, hotels and business premises, respectively, are still requisitioned by his Department in the Borough of Lowestoft; how many of these are empty; and, having regard to the need for the return of these premises at an early date, if he will indicate when they will be available for civilian occupation.

Twenty-five private residences, 13 hotels and boarding houses, and 18 business premises are held on requisition by the Admiralty in the borough of Lowestoft. None of these properties is empty, and while I am not now in a position to say definitely when I shall be able to release any of these premises, every effort is being made to vacate them at the earliest possible date. I hope, however, to have made appreciable progress with the release of the residential and hotel property by the spring of next year.

Usa Property (Disposal)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether buildings on requisitioned land in Londonderry which were built by the U.S.A. for their naval base, will be retained by the U.S.A. or taken over by his Department or sold to the public.

I am not in a position at present to make a statement on the disposal of U.S.A. property in the United Kingdom.

War Decorations And Medals

asked the Prime Minister if he will reconsider the regulations which limit the award of campaign stars to officers and other ranks of the R.N. who have served at sea for six months in an operational theatre, having regard to the fact that this condition will prevent several commanders-in-chief of successful campaigns, as well as their staffs, from receiving the appropriate campaign star.

As I stated on 16th October in my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes, I have a scheme relating to the campaign stars under consideration, and I hope to receive shortly the views of the Dominion Governments. There may possibly, as a result, be some slight modification in the arrangements for the Fleet. It is appropriate, however, that awards of this nature, such as the 1939–45 Star and the Atlantic Star, should, in the Navy, be earned by service at sea, and it would not be practicable to make exceptions for commanders-in-chief and their staffs serving ashore in non-operational areas without creating great difficulties elsewhere in the Navy and also in the other Services. Officers and ratings of the Navy serving ashore in Army operational areas qualify for campaign stars in the same way as the Army.

Coal Industry (Pit Horses)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what regulations are in force to protect the pit pony from being overworked.

All horses underground are in the care of competent horse keepers and it is part of the horse keepers' duty not to allow any horse to go out to work in an unfit condition.

Shop Window Lighting (Christmas)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is prepared to relax the order prohibiting the illumination of shop windows for the week preceding Christmas day.

I am afraid I cannot add anything to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend and Member for Leigh (Mr. Boardman) on 6th November, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

British Information Services, Usa

asked the Minister of Information the numbers of the staff of the British information services in the U.S.A. before and since the recent reductions, respectively.

The number of staff in British Information Services in the U.S.A. on 1st April, 1945, was 394. The number on the 1st November was 367. It is expected that on the 1st January next the number will be 286.

Ministry Of Information (Social Survey)

asked the Minister of Information if he will circulate in the Official Report a list of the inquiries undertaken by the Social Survey of his department up to the end of October, 1945.

As this list is of considerable length I am placing a copy in the Library for the convenience of hon. Members.

Public Health

Local Authority Hospitals

asked the Minister of Health the names of those county and county borough councils who have, and those who have not, appropriated their institution under the Act of 1929.

According to the information available, the undermentioned local authorities in England and Wales listed at A have, and those listed at B have not, used their powers under the Local Government Acts or the Public Health Act, 1936, to appropriate one or more of their institutions to Public Health Hospital purposes.

A.
County Councils.
England.
Cheshire.Lincoln (Parts of Lindsey).
Cornwall.London.
Devon.Middlesex.
Dorset.Norfolk.
Durham.Nottingham.
Essex.Salop.
Gloucester.Somerset.
Hereford.Southampton.
Isle of Ely.Surrey.
Kent.Sussex (West).
Lancaster.Wilts.
Lincoln (Parts of Holland).York (North Riding).
Lincoln (Part of kesteven).York (West Riding).
Wales.
Caernarvon.Flint.
Cardigan.Glamorgan.
County Borough Councils.
England.
Barnsley.Derby.
Birkenhead.Gateshead.
Birmingham.Gloucester.
Bolton.Halifax.
Bradford.Ipswich.
Brighton.Leeds.
Bristol.Leicester.
Burnley.Liverpool.
Carlisle.Manchester.
Chester.Middlesbrough.
Coventry.Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Croydon.Nottingham.

Oldham.Southend-on-Sea.
Oxford.Southport.
Plymouth.South Shields.
Portsmouth.Stockport.
Preston.Stoke-on-Trent.
Reading.Sunderland.
Rochdale.Walsall.
Rotherham.Warrington.
Salford.West Bromwich.
Sheffield.West Ham.
Southampton.York.

Wales.

Cardiff.

B.

County Councils.

England.

Bedford.Oxford.
Berks.Rutland.
Buckingham.Soke of Peterborough.
Cambridge.Stafford.
Cumberland.Suffolk (East).
Derby.Suffolk (West).
Hertford.Sussex (East).
Huntingdon.Warwick.
Isle of Wight.Westmorland.
Leicester.Worcester.
Northampton.York (East Riding).
Northumberland.

Wales and Monmouth.

Anglesey.Monmouth.
Brecknock.Montgomery.
Carmarthen.Pembroke.
Denbigh.Radnor.
Merioneth.

ENGLAND AND WALES.

Standardised death rates per million, living, of the population.

Cause19401941194219431944
Typhoid fever22211
Smallpox00000
Influenza1911155919062

Vaccination

asked the Minister of Health what was the percentage of infants born who were vaccinated for each of the years.

England and Wales: Percentage of infants born who were vaccinated.
Year193819391940194119421943
Percentage34·032·131·535·039·640·2

County Borough Councils.

England.

Barrow-in-Furness.Grimsby.
Bath.Hastings.
Blackburn.Huddersfield.
Blackpool.Kingston-upon-Hull.
Bootle.Lincoln.
Bournemouth.Northampton.
Burton-upon-Trent.Norwich.
Bury.Saint Helens.
Canterbury.Smeth wick.
Darlington.Tynemouth.
Dewsbury.Wakefield.
Doncaster.Wallasey.
Dudley.West Hartlepool.
Eastbourne.Wigan.
East Ham.Wolverhampton.
Exeter.Worcester.
Great Yarmouth.

Wales and Monmouth.

Merthyr Tydfil.Swansea.
Newport.

Infectious Diseases

asked the Minister of Health the standardised death-rate per million, living, of the population from typhoid fever, smallpox and influenza for each of the years, 1940 –44.

The information desired by my hon. Friend is as follows: 1938 to the latest year for which the returns are available.

Cotton Seed Cake (Egypt)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that there are large surplus stocks of cotton seed cake in Egypt; which are being used for fuel; and whether steps will now be taken to make larger supplies of cotton seed cake available to British farmers.

I have been asked to reply. I am aware of stocks of cotton seed cake in Egypt, but not of a surplus. Throughout the war Egypt has been obliged to use part of her cotton seed cake as fuel because she has been deprived of alternative kinds of fuel from other sources. The answer to the last part of the Question is, "No, Sir."

Mails, Great Britain—New Zealand

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how long 2d. air letter cards and ordinary surface mail, respectively, take from this country to New Zealand and vice versa; and if he will speed up this service.

2d. Forces letters, as also 1s. 3d. per half ounce air mail, to New Zealand, addressed to recognised Forces addresses only, are forwarded all the way by air and until lately have taken about a fortnight from time of posting in this country to delivery. For letters to any address in New Zealand all-air transmission is accorded to 6d. air letters and, since the 7th November, to letters prepaid at 1s. 3d. per half ounce. Other classes of correspondence are forwarded by surface conveyance and take on an average about two months to deliver. Recent improvements have reduced air transmission times and much of the correspondence forwarded by air should now be delivered within 10 days of posting in this country. In the reverse direction transmission times are slightly better, being about nine days by air and 7½ weeks by surface.

Income Tax And Postwar Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the estimated number of married taxpayers for the fiscal year 1946 –47, having two children, who have earned incomes between £311 and £337 and between £481 and £996 and the number having more than two children and earnings in the respective categories in which, similarly, they pay more tax in cash for 1946 –47 than they would have paid for 1945 –46 in cash, less postwar credit certificates; and whether he will estimate the value of postwar credit certificates for the two such categories of such taxpayers having two children and for the other such taxpayers having more than two children, which would be required to ensure that the tax payable by them for 1946 –47 in cash, less such postwar credit certificates, shall equal the tax payable for 1945 –46 in cash, less postwar credit certificates.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the estimated number of taxpayers for the fiscal year 1946–47 who, being married and without children, have earned annual incomes between £200 and £208 and between £388 and £568 and those, married with one child, having earnings between £255 and £272 and between £434 and £782; and whether he will similarly, in corresponding classes by children and earnings, estimate the value of postwar credit certificates which would be required to ensure that the tax payable by them for 1946 –47 in cash, less such postwar certificates, shall equal the tax payable by them in respect of 1945 –46 in cash, less postwar certificates.