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Commons Chamber

Volume 436: debated on Thursday 24 April 1947

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House Of Commons

Thursday, 24th April, 1947

The House met at Half past Two o'Clock


[Mr. SPEAKER in the Chair]

Private Business

Marriages Provisional Orders Bill

"to confirm certain Provisional Orders made by one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State under the Marriages Validity (Provisional Orders) Acts, 1905 and 1924," presented by Mr. Ede; read the First time; and referred to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills, and to be printed. [Bill 66.]

Oral Answers To Questions

Trade And Commerce

Holland And France

1 and 2.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) the total value of goods in sterling exported to Holland from 1st January, 1946, to 31st March, 1947; and the total amount of goods expressed in terms of sterling received from Holland in the corresponding period;

(2) the total value of goods in sterling exported to France from 1st January, 1946, to 31st March, 1947; and the total amount of goods expressed in terms of sterling received from France in the corresponding period.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave him on 22nd April, to a similar Question about trade with Sweden.

Timber Control


asked the President of the Board of Trade the names and salaries of the members of the British Timber Control.

With the hon. Member's permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a statement of the names and salaries of the principal officers of the Timber Control.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the Canadian lumber mills are charging the British Government 77 dollars per 1,000 foot for British railway sleepers, and are charging the Canadian railways 26 dollars per 1,000 foot for better quality timber, and will he explain this discrepancy, and what the milling organisation is?

Following is the statement:


  • Sir Archibald Harris*—Unpaid.

Deputy Controllers:

  • Mr. E. B. Monkhouse, C. B. E.—£1,700.
  • Mr. R. Latham—Unpaid.
  • Mr. T. L. Lees—£1,700.

Senior Assistant Controllers:

  • Sir L. C. Paton—Unpaid.
  • Mr. W. R. Williamson-£1,550.
  • Mr. D. B. Clayton—£1,550.
  • Mr. J. S. Gordon-Clark—£I,550.
  • Mr. B. E. Hampson—£1,550.

* Sir Archibald Harris will be released at the end of April, 1947, at his own request, and will be succeeded as Controller by Mr. E. B. Monkhouse, who will receive a salary of £2,000 per annum.

Belgian Glassware


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many Tudor cocktail glasses have been imported from Belgium since 1st January, 1947; how many were imported of these or similar glasses during 1946; and the total cost involved in each period.

This kind of glassware is not classified separately in the trade returns. The quantities of stemmed glassware of all descriptions imported during the period mentioned in the Question were. however, small.

Can the hon. Gentle man say whether these are genuine or spurious antiques?

Pottery Industry (Fuel)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the serious position of the pottery industry in North Staffordshire, arising from the lack of fuel; and whether he will take steps immediately to raise the allocation to at least the level of the cotton industry.

I am aware of the serious difficulties which have been experienced by pottery manufacturers in North Staffordshire owing to shortage of coal; and I hope that the recent increase in their allocation from 33 per cent. of winter requirements to 60 per cent. will be a substantial help. I regret that it is not possible to arrange for any further improvement at the present time. The allocations will, however, be kept under review in the light of the coal supply situation.

Will the Minister appreciate the great contribution which has been made to the export trade of this country by the pottery industry? Will he not agree that there is a grave shortage in the home market, which would be eased if we could have some more coal, and that this 60 per cent. ought to be given to pottery manufacturers wherever they are, and not only to those in North Staffordshire?

I agree with the great importance of the pottery industry with regard to exports. They have made a valuable contribution. I am aware of the shortage of pottery on the home market, but, as I have said, the position does not enable us to do more than we are doing at present. The position will be kept under constant review.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the shortage of cups and saucers; and what steps are being taken to increase production and obtain better distribution.

I am aware that the coal cuts which the potters have suffered have reduced the general level of supplies not only of cups and saucers but of many other articles of crockery. There has, however, been a recent increase in the coal allocation to the pottery industry, and production should now begin to pick up again. As regards distribution, I am satisfied that the manufacturers are distributing supplies to the home market as evenly as possible, but if my hon. Friend can send me evidence that supplies in any particular district are well below the average I will be glad to look into this matter.

Paper Supplies (Book Publishers)

6, 7 and 8.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what cut in the supply of paper to publishing firms is expected to result from the recently announced reductions in fuel allocations to paper mills;

(2) how much saving in coal is expected to be made as a result of the recently announced reductions in fuel allocations to paper mills; and what proportion of this figure is estimated to result from the reduction of paper supplies to book publishing firms;

(3) whether the contribution of the book trade to British exports was considered before the recently announced cuts in fuel allocations to paper mills was made; and if he will give figures of the estimated loss.

Coal allocations to paper mills, as to other sections of industry, have recently been substantially increased. All paper mills receive the basic allowance to industry which now stands at 50 per cent. of requirements, estimated, in the case of the paper industry, at 67.000 tons per week. Many mills are receiving, in addition, supplements from the regional pools. Moreover, current deliveries of coal are in many cases running in excess of allocations. I am unable to state what coal will be saved as a result of any reduction in the supply of paper to publishers, or what this reduction is likely to be, but I hope that, as a proportion of the whole year's supply, it will be small, and that exports of books will not be affected.

Will the hon. Gentleman try to give us more detailed figures as to the exact amount of coal saved by the paper being cut off from the book publishers, because that is the specially important part of the trade? Will he tell us whether his answer means that, in fact, the fuel allocations have been restored—that we are to go back to the situation which existed before the recent cuts were made?

It means that, at the. present time, the allocations are 50 per cent. of their basic requirements, and, in some cases, they are receiving more, as the result of extra allocations from the regional pools. The basic allocation is being exceeded quite deliberately.

Does the Minister realise that the publication of textbooks is being gravely affected by this shortage of coal due to the crisis, and can he give any indication that, as the result of the school-leaving age, there will be an adequate supply of textbooks published?

The hon. and gallant Gentleman can be quite sure that I am aware of the necessity of doing all we can to assist this very important industry, particularly on the educational side, and anything that can be done to assist it will be done.

As the result of the revised allocation, will the Minister see that there is sufficient coal sent to the five paper mills in Aberdeen where there has been some unemployment owing to the shortage of coal?


asked the President of the Board of Trade why his Department has informed the Publishers' Association that the recent cut in coal allocation to the paper mills is unlikely to result in a loss of more than 10 per cent. of the current quota of paper for book publishers, when it is the view of the paper mills that it will result in a loss of 50 per cent.

I am not aware that the Publishers' Association have been so informed. I do not think, however, that the effect of the coal position on paper supplies generally will be as serious as my hon. Friend suggests.

Can my hon. Friend say what measure of priority is given to the book publishing industry, as it seems that his Department's attitude is somewhat barbarian towards that trade, particularly in view of the inability of new authors to obtain publication of their books, and the implications of the export trade, to say nothing of adult education?

Neither the Department nor the Ministers concerned are unaware of the importance of the book publishing trade, but my hon. Friend must keep a sense of proportion. There are other trades which are even more vital.

Has the Minister studied the letter by Sir Stanley Unwin in "The Times," and does he realise the grave injury which is being done to education, to the export trade and to other national interests, and the very small quantity of coal required to remedy these very serious matters?

I have not read the letter referred to. I am rather occupied at the moment, but I will do my best to see what can be done.

Will any reduction in the fuel allocation to paper mills lead to less paper being available for football pool promoters; and, if not, why not?

Can the hon. Gentleman say what is the actual percentage of the cut, as far as book publishers are concerned?

It is not a cut. It is a loss of production arising out of the fuel shortage. A good estimate would be about 30 per cent., I think.

Since the hon. Gentleman's reply seems to indicate that his Department have not the figures to distinguish between the saving to the book trade and the other savings to the paper mills, does this not also indicate that his Department have never considered the actual saving of coal which would be made by the cuts to the book trade, and should he not, therefore, consider the whole problem again in consideration of the fact that the book trade should have priority over all other demands for paper?

I am sorry, but I could not possibly accept such a sweeping assertion as that the book trade should have absolute priority over all other forms of the paper industry. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not? "] Because we need to wrap up our food in paper containers, and there are many other uses. I could not accept such a sweeping assertion, but I am prepared to look into the whole matter.

When he is looking into the whole question, will the Minister also investigate the need for increasing coal to manufacturers of paper-making machinery, because that may prove a bottleneck in book production before long?

When will the hon. Gentleman's Department start planning for plenty instead of for shortage? They have failed most miserably in everything they have undertaken.

I trust that with all this, the hon. Gentleman will not lose sight of the needs of the weekly reviews.

Is the Minister aware that the sort of paper which is used for wrapping up food is not the sort of paper used for publishing books? His reply was quite irrelevant to the problem, and it shows quite clearly the barbarian attitude of his Department towards the book trade.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the replies, I wish to give notice that I propose to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Japanese Goods (Payment)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if the proposed purchase of approximately 50,000,000 yards of grey cloth from Japan will be paid for in dollars; if the prices will be paid based on current United States values; and by how much it is expected the prices will differ from comparable Lancashire products.

As regards the first part of the Question, discussions are at present proceeding in Washington as to the basis of payment for purchases and sales between Japan and the sterling area, and I should prefer not to make any statement as to this particular transaction at the present moment. The prices paid are based on current United States values and, while it is not possible to make an exact comparison with the prices of individual types of Lancashire products, they will exceed comparable United Kingdom controlled prices.

While not wishing to compromise the Minister, may I ask him if the negotiations are going on between his Department and the United States Commercial Corporation? If he will answer that question I will be satisfied for now.

Will the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will, when he is able, tell us what is going on?

Perhaps at some subsequent stage the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question.

Softwood Imports


asked the President of the Board of. Trade what increases are likely to be made in the near future in the imports of softwood timber from Scandinavia and Finland.

I anticipate that imports of softwood from Finland and Sweden will increase substantially through the 1947 season, following the conclusion of contracts at present under negotiation. Shipments will commence as soon as the Baltic ports are free of ice. A further statement will be made as soon as possible.

Is it not the case that the principal difficulty in Sweden is that the Swedes say they cannot send us the amount of wood they would like to send, and which we would like to receive, until they receive more coal, and is it part of the agreement that they should receive more coal?

It could not be part of a bilateral agreement between this country and Sweden that, as a result of the conclusion of such a contract, they would receive more coal, since their coal allocation is-determined by the European Coal Organisation.

Tourist Trade (Foreign Visitors)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will issue a statement of the Government's views on the desirability of foreign tourists visiting this country during the coming season.

As my right hon. and learned Friend stated on 17th April, in reply to a Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Portsmouth (Major Bruce), it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to encourage foreign visitors to this country during the coming holiday season.

Will the hon. Gentleman see that publicity is given to this statement in foreign countries so that the foreigner may know that he is welcome here?

Will my hon. Friend bring to the notice of his colleagues these lugubrious posters which are likely to chill not only the foreigner but anybody else?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the propaganda which is going on both in America and in Europe against this country? It is very strong propaganda.

I am aware that such propaganda is going on. I deplore it, and, in so far as it is carried on by citizens of this country, it is very unpatriotic.

Wellington Boots


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the continued shortage of rubber boots in Norfolk where they are particularly needed in agriculture and in other industries owing to local conditions; and if he will endeavour to increase the supply at an early date.

Supplies of men's wellingtons have improved very rapidly since early last year, owing to increased home production and the release of Government surpluses. But I will have a special investigation carried out to see that Norfolk is getting its fair share.

Will the Minister ensure that we shall have a supply before next winter when there will be an urgent need for them?

Is my hon. Friend aware that Lancashire cotton mills are cutting up good rubber boots to augment coal supplies?

Tyres (Commercial Vehicles)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the continued shortage of 34-inch by 7-inch and 32-inch by 6-inch lorry tyres in Norfolk and that this is interfering with the transport of flour, seed corn, agricultural feeding stuffs and fertilisers; and if he will have the position investigated as a matter of urgency.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the continuing shortage of tyres for commercial vehicles; and whether he will take immediate steps to improve supplies and so avoid the immobilisation of road vehicles to the detriment of the export and commercial life of the country.

The supply of replacement tyres, for commercial vehicles which was slowly overtaking demand has received a temporary set-back owing to the fuel crisis. Manufacturers are concentrating production, as far as practicable, on the sizes such as 34 by 7 which are in greatest demand, and supplies are distributed as equitably as possible throughout the country. The situation is being watched closely.

Is the Minister aware that at present there are hardly any of these tyres available in the whole of Norfolk, and that there is a great risk of vehicles having to be taken off the roads, thus interfering with agricultural transport? Will he give all the help he can?

I will certainly give all the help I can. If the local suppliers of tyres are in really serious difficulties, they should communicate with the tyre manufacturers.

Is my hon. Friend aware that this is an old problem in the transport industry? Will he satisfy himself that a disproportionate amount of tyres is not being exported to the detriment of the requirements of our home trade?

That is not the case. Towards the end of last year the production of the large tyres, the 34 by 7, used commercially, was three times the prewar production.

Will the hon. Gentleman take note of the fact that the shortage is not due to the shortage of rubber in this country, in view of the fact that the Government have been willing to sell 6,000 tons of rubber to Russia at 3d. under the price at which they are selling it here?

Textile Industry (Re-Equipment)


asked the President of the Board of Trade when is the Govern- ment's scheme for financial assistance to approved amalgamations in the cotton spinning trade to come into force.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 22nd April to the hon. Member for Darwen (Mr. Prescott)

As there are widespread reports that the scheme will come into effect on 1st May, could not the Parliamentary Secretary give us a definite statement now?

I am afraid I cannot. It is possible that it may come in on 1st May. A statement will be made as soon as possible.

Furnishing Fabrics


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to ensure that excessive prices are not charged for household materials such as curtains, in cases where people have to buy the more expensive types of materials which are free of coupons and dockets.

Price regulation committees do their utmost to ensure that excessive prices are not charged for the small quantities of the more expensive furnishing fabrics which are available without the surrender of dockets or coupons. The prices of these fabrics are controlled, but are high because, amongst other things, they are in many cases expensive to weave and are liable to Purchase Tax, which is chargeable at no per cent. on pile and woven-figure fabrics. Cheaper materials, such as utility net and certain cretonnes, can be bought for coupons and without dockets, and others, such as dyed hessian and plastic sheeting, can be bought without either coupons or dockets.

Does not the Minister appreciate that after many weary years of war the housewife wants a little colour, hope and enjoyment; and would not the best solution be to give a greater number of dockets and coupons, and, if need be, to reduce the exports? We want a little cheer at home, after all, even from the Board of Trade.

The Board of Trade are only too anxious to bring some cheer into the home, but increasing the number of dockets and coupons, without increasing the amount of material available, would not have the slightest effect upon the housewife.

Overseas Trade Officials (Service Abroad)


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many of the eight most senior officials at the Department of Overseas Trade have had more than six months' service abroad for that Department.

Of the five senior officials of the Export Promotion Department primarily concerned with our commercial relations with overseas countries, three have had more than six months' service abroad on behalf of the Department. The other two have only recently been transferred to the Export Promotion Department. There are, in addition, three senior officials who have not been overseas for substantial periods, but their work is primarily concerned with United Kingdom industries rather than with foreign countries.

Laundries (Goal)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the current allocation of coal to the North Walsham Steam Laundry in Norfolk, employing nearly 300 people, has been reduced to a figure which will permit of only a 3½-day week being worked; and if he will authorise a more adequate amount being made available.

Following on the recent increase in coal supplies for industry, the allocation to this laundry has been reviewed, and, as from 21st April, substantially increased.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the drastic cuts in allocation of fuel to laundries in Cornwall will make it impossible for the laundries adequately to serve the hospitals; and if he will give immediate consideration to this matter.

Following on the recent increase in coal supplies for industry generally, the allocations to all laundries in Cornwall have been reviewed, and, as from 21st April, substantially increased.

While appreciating the Minister's reply, may I ask him to bear in mind the needs of the Lizard Laundry, because, apart from serving a wide naval area, it looks after personnel at a Fleet Air Arm aerodrome, and, to a considerable extent, an adjacent industrial area?

Children's Clothing Coupons


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the decision that the present allocation of clothing coupons must last until the end of October will be modified in the case of schoolchildren, who need outfits before beginning the autumn school term.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the difficulties which will be experienced by many parents in outfitting their children before they leave home for the winter term at school, in view of the fact that the new issue of clothing coupons will not be available until after the beginning of the school term; and whether, in order to meet this difficulty, he will arrange for the new issue of children's clothing coupons to be available at an earlier date so as to enable the purchase of winter clothing to be made before the beginning of the school term.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Members to the reply given on 22nd April to my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Peter Freeman).

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the small concession he announced on Tuesday is hopelessly inadequate to cover the clothing needs for any child at all?

Yes, but so often one hears talk of the number of coupons which we should make available, and it must be clearly understood that the coupons made available are the maximum to meet the quantity of material available. It would be useless to increase the number of coupons in the absence of an equal increase in the amount of material available. It just is not there.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is feeling throughout the country that it would be a good thing if, in children's clothing, some material was left for enlargement—tucks, and things?

I think that is the normal practice. That is a very useful suggestion, and I have no doubt it will be conveyed to the manufacturers as a result of the hon. Member's supplementary question.

Babies' Wear


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the shortage of babies' wear in Leicester; and whether, having regard to the hardship this is causing, particularly in the case of expectant mothers who are preparing for the birth of their first child, he will take steps to remedy this shortage.

Can my hon. Friend say, in view of the very serious shortage that exists in these commodities, when they are likely to be raised to a reasonable standards of production?

I am afraid I cannot say when production will be satisfactory, but every effort is being made to overcome the shortage.

Civilian Clothes (Overseas Troops)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is now in a position to state the percentage of current supplies of men's wear involved in sending out 5,000,000 garments to troops overseas; and if he expects that the greater turnover in 1947, estimated before the fuel crisis, will now materialise.

Civilian garments are not being sent in bulk to troops overseas, and the trade bodies with whom this matter was earlier discussed were informed accordingly several weeks ago. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. and gallant. Gentleman to the reply which my right hon. and learned Friend gave to similar Questions on this subject on 3rd April.

Does the hon. Gentleman not realise that retail shops are unable to obtain enough clothes to meet the coupons of the people who deal with them; and can he give an assurance that before any clothing is exported to troops overseas some inquiry will be made to see that civilian rations will not be cut down?

There has been no suggestion that the civilian ration is to be cut down. I have given the hon. and gallant Member a categorical reply in answer to his Question that supplies of clothing in bulk are not sent to troops overseas, and anybody who spreads that story abroad is doing the country a disservice.

China Clay Export


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the contracts made for export in the Cornish china clay industry; that this foreign exchange will be lost on the present allocation of coal; that the finished production in some cases will be less than half the required output; and, in view of the fact that china clay production is a continuous process, if he will give urgent consideration to raising the allocation of coal to this industry in the interest of the export market.

I am fully aware of he rising export possibilities of china clay, but in present circumstances the first charge on this important raw material industry must be to satisfy the essential needs of its home consumers, who play such a large part in the internal economy of the country as well as in the export trade. I hope, however, that after these essential needs have been met there will be sufficient clay left over to enable the industry at least to retain its more important export markets. For these reasons, and because the process of drying china clay is a continuous one, the coal allocation to this industry has recently been substantially increased, but I regret that the general coal supply situation does not justify any further increase at present.

Is the Minister aware that this industry plays a very vital part in housing and electrical generating plant programmes; and will he reconsider the present allocation which is allowed to this industry, as it is not sufficient?

It has been reconsidered recently as a result of a visit paid to my office by representatives of this trade. However, I regret that it is not possible at the moment to do more than is being done.

Can the hon. Member say if it is possible in the china clay industry to use oil, because I understand it is a most complicated matter to change over from coal to oil? Has the Minister done anything about that?

I am afraid that is a technical question, and a rather different one from that which appears on the Order Paper. If the hon. and gallant Member puts down a Question I will do my best to answer it.

Can the hon. Member not engage the assistance of some of his right hon. Friends in ensuring that china clay deposits are released from War Office control?

Textiles (Coal)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the basis for the order of priority which decides that the coal allocation for the wool textile industry shall be 50 per cent. against that of the cotton textile industry at 75 per cent.

As my hon. Friend will be aware, the basic coal allocation to industry as a whole is now 50 per cent. of winter requirements, and this figure, therefore, applies to both cotton and wool textile industries. Supplements from the regional pools have brought the figure for the cotton industry in Lancashire up to 75 per cent., and in Yorkshire the following sections of the wool textile industry up to the same level: wool combers, worsted spinners, dyers and finishers, and carbonisers and scourers.

Is the hon. Member aware that the 50 per cent. voluntary reduction was made by the wool industry at the beginning of the war, and that there was no voluntary reduction on the cotton side?

That is a rather different point. I should be glad to look into that if my hon. Friend would put down a Question.

Surgical Boots


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the great difficulty persons with deformities are experiencing in obtaining suitable footwear; and whether he will take steps to make available more ladies' boots, and cork and leather to meet special requirements.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Sir Robert Young) on 6th February last.

I have seen that reply. Does the hon. Gentleman not recognise that there is still great difficulty about getting surgical boots for people who require them? There are not sufficient soft boots, nor sufficient supplies of cork and leather for people who need surgical boots.

In any case of particular difficulty I shall always be pleased to do what I can to assist. If that difficulty arises from lack of materials, the real trouble in this industry is the shortage of skilled craftsmen.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the case that came to my notice the other day of a lady who had been ordered by a consulting surgeon to wear a particular kind of boots, and who was informed that she could not obtain them for over a year? Will he not, if his attention is called to such cases, do something to remedy a situation that is causing real hardship?

I shall be more than pleased, if the noble Lord will let me have details of that particular case, to do all I can.

New Periodicals For Overseas (Advisory Committee)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give consideration to the granting of licences for one or more periodicals for circulation overseas in order to secure a wider knowledge and understanding abroad of this country.

My right hon. and learned Friend has given very full consideration to the Question put by my hon. Friend. It is, unfortunately, still not possible to provide the paper for new periodicals generally, but it is desirable, in the national interest, that facilities should be given to one or more publishers who may desire to produce a new periodical which will serve the purpose which my hon. Friend has in mind. This will involve the selection of a suitable project from the applications that may be presented, and a committee has been appointed which will advise on the selection. The composition of the committee will be as follows;—

  • Lord Layton—Chairman.
  • Mr. C. R. Morris—Headmaster, King Edward's School Birmingham.
  • Mr. S. J. Brown—Managing Director, Amalgamated Press, Ltd.
  • Mr. W. C. Nisbet—Director, Illustrated Newspapers Ltd.
  • Mr. W. J. Dickinson—Director, Hultons Press, Ltd.
A Press announcement to this effect is being issued, and applications will be considered at an early date.

Will the hon. Gentleman be a little bit more specific about what purpose his Tight hon. and learned Friend has in mind? What type of periodicals will be considered?

The purpose my right hon. and learned Friend has in mind is the purpose set out in my hon. Friend's Question. He asked for one or more periodicals for circulation overseas in order to secure a wider knowledge and understanding abroad of this country, and that is precisely the kind of periodical we are proposing.

A new periodical designed to spread knowledge and understanding of this country abroad.

Does the hon. Gentleman not think that there are sufficient papers in existence in London already to spread that knowledge and understanding?

Will the hon. Gentleman, if he is going to take care of new periodicals, assure me he will do nothing to prevent my getting the "Daily Herald"?

I should be very sorry, indeed, to prevent the hon. Gentleman getting the enlightenment I am sure he can obtain from the "Daily Herald." In answer to the previous supplementary question, I would say I would not accept it that we can continue for ever to rely on existing periodicals. I believe in allowing new avenues of thought to be opened up.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether these periodicals will be in the English language, or in the language of the countries to which they are being exported? Can I emphasise what was said—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] May I ask the Minister if he will give us some idea of the things which the Government are trying to put across— culture, music or scenery?

Understanding and knowledge of this country. I am afraid I cannot say what form the publications will take until we have considered the applications and considered what they are.

Cotton Thread


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that, in spite of the steps taken by his Department to increase the allocation of cotton yarn for thread for the home market, there is still an insufficient quantity of thread in the London area to meet the demands of clothing manufacturers; and if he will take steps to ensure adequate supplies of cotton thread to allow the limited supplies of cloth to be manufactured into clothing.

Supplies of sewing thread are not abundant, but I have no reason to suppose that they are insufficient to enable clothing manufacturers to maintain production. If the hon. Member will let me have details of any particular cases he has in mind I shall be glad to look into them.

Coal Industry

Statutory Order 103 (Authority)


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will state the Sections of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946, under which he is empowered to make S.R. & 0., 1947, No. 103; and why these Sections are not specified in the aforementioned Order.

S.R. & O. 1947 No. 103 amended S.R. & O. 1946 No. 1574, which was made under Sections 5 (4), 9 (1), and 11 (1), (2) and (4), 13 (2), 14 and 62 of the Act. In view of the number of statutory provisions under which these Regulations were made, and the fact that each provision related to various parts of the instrument, it was felt that their citation would only cause confusion.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it would save a good deal of trouble if these Sections could be cited in the Order, and did not require to be elicited by the method of Parliamentary Questions?

If hon. Members prefer it that way, I will see that in future we cite the Sections to which the regulations refer, but I must warn hon. Members that may not be possible.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many Members would prefer to keep these Orders as simple as possible?

Five-Day Week


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why the introduction of the five-day week in coalmines has necessitated a 16 per cent. addition to piecework wage rates.

The agreement as to the terms on which the five-day week will operate was a voluntary agreement negotiated by the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers, but I am informed that the five-day week has not "necessitated a 16 per cent. addition to piecework wage rates." The rates remain the same, and the men who work less than five full shifts in future will get no more than they did in the past. What has been done is to give a bonus of 16 per cent. of their earnings to pieceworkers who work five full shifts.

Is it not the fact that this figure approximates to the amount the Government expected the country to lose in output from the 40-hour week, which is, in fact, a form of compensation?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is not very objectionable to have a rise in wages if there is a corresponding rise in the output of coal? Can he give any guarantee that this method will increase the output of coal?

Of course, I cannot give any guarantee that there will be an increase in the output of coal as a result of this arrangement, but I hope it will have that effect.



asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what the percentage rate of absenteeism among miners will need to fall to in order that effective working time shall not be reduced under a five-clay week.

Absenteeism among face-workers would need to fall to 7 per cent. on the introduction of the five-day week if there was to be no reduction in the average number of shifts worked per face-worker per week. It must not be assumed, however, that, if absenteeism were to be above this rate, there would be a proportionate fall in output, for a loss on this account could be offset either through improved output per manshift, or through an increase in the total manpower available.

Would the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to confirm his statement in answer to my supplementary arising but of his answer, that, in fact, if deliberate absenteeism were reduced to normal proportions, there would be ample supplies of coal, both for home and export?

No, I cannot accept that statement. Obviously, absenteeism has something to do with output, but there are a great many other factors to be taken into account.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many miners were counted out because of absenteeism?



asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what weekly coal output it is estimated will be necessary, and how much above the present will it have to be in the last two months of the year, to achieve the 1947 target of 200,000,000 tons, and on the official basis that 89,000,000 tons will be the output over the six months May to October.

If the output of deep-mined and opencast coal during the six months May to October were to amount only to 89,000,000 tons, an average weekly production of 5,200,000 tons would be required during November and December to obtain an output of 200,000,000 tons during the calendar year 1947.

Does not that answer really mean that even the right hon. Gentleman is extremely doubtful whether his low target of 200 million tons can, in fact, be achieved, although the trade unions and most of the country admit that it is not nearly enough?

Does the right hon. Gentleman still adhere to the estimate of 8g million tons as a realisable target?

Will not the right hon. Gentleman now realise the urgent necessity of trying to get coal from abroad, and that that cannot be done effectively by the present Minister?



asked the Minister of Labour whether vacancies for underground work in the mining industry are notified at the local employment exchanges; and if he will give the number of miners or ex-miners obtained from this source for the three months ended 31st March this year.

I am informed that the National Coal Board have instructed colliery managements to notify all vacancies in the coalmining industry to local offices of my Department. No special record is kept of the number of miners placed, but during the 13 weeks ended 29th March, 3,400 ex-miners have been placed in coalmining employment by my local offices.


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the large number of ex-miners signing on at the local employment exchanges; and what steps he is taking to ascertain their fitness for suitable work in the mining industry.

As regards the first part of the Question I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. D. J. Williams), on 15th April. As regards the second part, all ex-miners who are not obviously unfit and who are willing to return to coalmining employment are submitted by my local offices to the National Coal Board. The Board are responsible for resolving any doubts as to their medical fitness.

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that there are a large number of ex-miners signing on at the employment exchanges who are suffering from some slight disability by which they are precluded from entering industry, but who could perform some useful work in the mining industry and so release pit men to go to the coal face and help to increase coal production?

I should be most grateful if I could have particulars of such cases. The point is that if a man is unfit, we cannot employ him, and, if there is any doubt, he goes to the National Coal Board, which decides his fitness, but there is a very successful effort being made to find work in the mines for these men who are incapacitated but who are capable of doing other work.

Sw Regional Board Staff


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the total number of staff in convenient categories, of the South West Regional Coal Board.

I have no information about the staff of the South West Regional Coal Board.

Can the Minister say how many employees of the Powell Duffryn group received appointments on the Board? Will he also see that the Coal Board buy their own pit props, and not leave it to the inefficient working of the Board of Trade?

The annual report of the National Coal Board will be presented to the House in accordance with the Act of Parliament.

Personal Case


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he has now had a report from the National Coal Board on the case of an ex-miner who wished to return to the pit, who, because of the difficulties in obtaining tools, clothing, soap and extra food rations, and delays and loss of time in securing these necessities, has preferred to return to unemployment benefit; and what action is being taken by the National Coal Board to minimise these inconveniences.

No, Sir. This is a matter for the National Coal Board, who have already been asked to look into the matter and I will communicate with my hon. Friend in due course.

Is the Minister aware that when this man applied there were no forms available for obtaining some of these things, and will he arrange for them to be provided automatically, in view of the fact that every ex-miner is entitled to them?

The hon. Member has communicated with me on the details, and I have already asked the Coal Board about this matter.



asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will make some extra allotment of fuel to hotel keepers in seaside holiday resorts in order to enable them to make the necessary cooking and hot water arrangements for holiday-makers.

I regret it is not possible to make additional supplies of fuel available to hotel keepers in seaside holiday resorts, but supplies of fuel to hotels generally are being kept under review.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have received assurances from hotel keepers in my constituency that they will be unable to cater and give the ordinary cooking and hot water facilities for guests during the summer season, and for the sake of the national morale will he do something about it?

Colliery Workers


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power of the persons employed at coalmines in Great Britain, how many wage earners were there on the colliery books at the end of February, 1947; how many clerks and salaried persons were employed at the same date; and what are the similar figures at the end of December, 1943.

The number of wage-earners on colliery books was 700,000 at the end of 1943 and 698,600 at the end of February, 1947. The number of clerks and salaried persons was 20,300 at the end of 1943; the estimated number of such persons at the end of February, 1947, is about 21,000.


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction among colliery staffs and clerical workers in the industry at the efforts now being made by divisional coal boards to lower the 1946 conditions of service of such workers, such as reduction of annual staff holidays, bonuses, coal allowance, etc.; and if he is prepared to give an assurance that, where identical employment continues, no lower conditions of service shall apply as from 1st January, 1947, the vesting date of the national ownership.

Is the Minister aware that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction, and I have here a number of documents, which I will send to him if he wishes? Is he further aware that prevention is better than cure, and will he, therefore, undertake to fulfil the guarantee which he gave during the discussion on nationalisation?

If there is any dissatisfaction among the employees to whom the hon. and gallant Member refers, their proper course is to approach their trade union organisation, who have the opportunity of consulting with the National Coal Board under the terms of the Act of Parliament.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that prevention is better than cure? If he gave proper instructions could not this be stopped now?

We are anxious to prevent anything in the nature of dissatisfaction, which sometimes is inspired from quarters that are suspect. If the hon. Member is sure of his information, there is nothing to prevent him sending it.

Is the Minister aware that I have information from the East Midland division, which I will send to him?

Mr. Speaker, you have recently ruled that it was contrary to the practice of this House to use the words, "We do not trust the Government." The right hon. Gentleman, in the course of his reply, has accused an hon. Member on this side of the House of using information from a suspect source. May I submit that the rebuke which you gave to my hon. Friend would equally apply to the Minister, because he made a personal charge against an hon. Member on this side of the House?

I heard the Minister's reply, and he mentioned about reports which he thought might be inspired from certain quarters. I think that he was possibly referring to those formerly in charge of the coal mines. I do not think that there was any personal reference to the hon. Member.

May I make this personal statement? I was not referring to the hon. Member at all. I was referring to quarters which are suspect, because statements appear in the newspapers which are obviously intended to create dissatisfaction.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I give notice that I will raise this matter again on the Adjournment.

The noble Lord the hon. Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton) in putting a point of Order referred to a Ruling given by you, which I had not properly appreciated, to the effect that it was wrong for anyone to say that they did not trust the Government. I trust that I am relieved from any anxiety on that matter.

Before the right hon. Gentleman came in there was a personal allegation against the Prime Minister as an individual, or, at any rate, it appeared to me it was personal. Therefore, I quoted some words from Erskine May which showed that we should conduct our affairs with courtesy quite apart from party politics. One does realise that one should conduct our affairs with persona: courtesy to individuals and I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will agree with that.

Mr. Speaker, I think that you should tell my Leader that I apologised to the House for the remark.

The hon. Gentleman did get up, and apologise, and I am sure he did not mean the allegation which was imputed to him.

Summer Fuel Restrictions (Government Plan)


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will issue an order permitting the use of domestic electric irons during the restricted periods for use of electricity.


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is now in a position to state when the present restrictions on domestic users of electricity will be removed.


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will now relax the restrictions at present imposed on the use of lifts in offices and blocks of flats owing to the delay and inconvenience they cause to the business community and the additional burden they impose upon elderly persons, invalids and mothers with young children.


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether the consultations between His Majesty's Government, gas and electricity undertakings, and consumers are now completed, and if he will make a statement regarding the restrictions to be imposed on domestic users of gas and electricity.

I propose, with Mr. Speaker's permission, to make a statement at the end of Questions.


My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, in his statement on 27th March drew attention of the House to the grave shortage of coal, with which the country will continue to be faced during the coming summer, and estimated that the gap between estimated coal production and the amount required for consumption and for stock-building might amount to as much as 10 million tons during the summer. The Prime Minister went on to say that in the Government's view domestic and non-industrial consumers should be called upon to make their contribution towards closing this gap by saving, if possible, 2½ million tons of coal through reductions in gas and electricity consumption during the summer. After examining the possibilities of various rationing schemes, the Government came to the conclusion that other methods should be adopted, and details of the proposed scheme were promised at an early date.

During the course of the Debate on the Motion for the Adjournment on 2nd April, I explained the reasons for the Government's rejection of the various rationing proposals, and, as regards the new plan, explained that we were having further consultations with the supply industries, and were also meeting various classes of consumers, in particular the women's organisations, and would announce our plan as soon as possible. Although these consultations have not yet been completed, I am now in a position to announce the general framework of our plan.

To begin with, I must make it clear that the situation with which we are faced, as indicated by the Prime Minister, is one of such gravity that it can only be met by a great united effort on the part of the whole nation, fuel producers and fuel consumers alike. Any plan to secure savings in the consumption of fuel and to meet the difficulties arising from shortage of generating plant must involve sacrifice by all. Industry has already suffered and the output of our industries is vital to our national recovery; so that there is a limit to the savings which industry can be expected to make. But there is one kind of fuel saving which we think that all consumers can and should make during the summer months, and that is in the sphere of space-heating—in other words, the warming of rooms and other internal parts of buildings.

The first part of our summer plan, therefore, is to impose a complete statutory prohibition on the use of space heating of any kind both in industrial and commercial premises from 5th May, when the new Order will come into force, until the end of October. There are already in force Orders to this effect in the case of non-industrial or commercial group of premises, and these Orders will be revoked and their provisions merged in the new Order. The prohibition in the case of factories and other industrial premises is new. We have consulted representatives of the two sides in industry, through the National Production Advisory Council for Industry, and secured their general support to this measure, on the understanding—and this is clearly of great importance—that due provision is made in the Order to prevent any interference with the supply of heat necessary for those premises in which certain types of process-work are carried out. Provision will also be made for the heating of premises in which night work is being done in May, September and October.

Finally, the new Order will also impose a ban upon the use of gas and electricity for space heating purposes in residential premises until the end of September, subject to relaxation only where a medical certificate is given. This means that gas and electric fires must not be used during this period. We are not imposing any statutory restriction upon the use of solid fuel in residential premises, because such fuel is already limited by supply restrictions; and unless people observe equal restraint in its use for purely space heating purposes in the summer, they will only have to pay for it later on.

This first part of our summer plan, therefore, imposes parallel statutory restrictions upon all the three classes of fuel consumer. Not only is this equality of sacrifice fair, but it is certain to result in very substantial coal savings. It is impossible to give any precise estimate of such savings, but I am advised that they should be substantial. I realise that if the British summer runs true to type, the absence of artificial heating may well result in a good deal of inconvenience and even discomfort. But the savings to be gained are such, and the need is so urgent, that we are satisfied that this measure is essential.

So much for the general statutory ban on space heating, and, in passing, I should make it clear that with the coming of the new Consolidating Order on 5th May the old Order disappears. By the old Order, I mean, of course, the present Order prohibiting the consumption of electricity in residential premises during certain specified hours, morning and afternoon: all that goes and is replaced, so far as residential premises are concerned, by the simple statutory ban on gas and electric space heating during the summer. And may I add here that in order to enable broadcast receiving, particularly school broadcasts, to begin again quickly, I am giving a general permit under the present Order to take effect on 28th April.

To pass on from statutory restrictions to the other part of our plans for securing summer savings in the consumption of gas and electricity in domestic premises, we have most carefully considered the question of a savings target and, as I have said, we have had full consultations with the supply industries and with women's organisations. As a result, the Government have come to the conclusion that the only type of target that is sufficiently simple for the purpose of immediate application, without the necessity for a long and elaborate educational campaign, is that of a percentage saving on previous consumption. We have, therefore, decided to ask all domestic consumers of gas and electricity to aim at saving 25 per cent., or one quarter, of the amounts they consumed during the comparable period last year—this figure, of course, to include the savings made by the discontinuance of the use of gas and electric fires.

I am well aware of the obvious objections to a percentage cut. It appears, for example, to favour the extravagant at the expense of the careful. But a complete ban on the use of gas and electric fires largely neutralises this objection. It is the use of these that has in the main been responsible for unduly high consumption. I know, also, that there are many cases, in particular those of very small households, and of people living by themselves in flatlets and the like, whose consumption has been so restricted already that even its reduction by as much as a quarter is impracticable.

But over the domestic field as a whole there is still room for substantial saving, and we do not think that a general target of 25 per cent. is an unreasonable one in the light of the sacrifices which are being asked for from industry and commerce, and in the light of the most urgent national need. One thing is certain, and that is that the target must be simple and easily understandable to everyone, for time is the essence of the contract.

We intend, of course, to support this appeal by a full publicity campaign which will include guidance as to meter reading and as to the use of various gas and electricity appliances, and their respective consumption rates. Whilst we have not been able to meet their views in all respects, we have been promised the fullest co-operation by the gas and electricity industries, and by the women's organisations, and we shall avail ourselves to the utmost of those offers, which I much appreciate.

Finally, there are the non-industrial and commercial group of consumers, the shops, offices, places of entertainment, catering establishments, and so on. In this very wide field, there are the widest possible variations in the ways in which, and the times at which, gas and electricity are used. The Government are satisfied that a single target figure for the whole of this group would be inequitable and impracticable. We expect them to make savings to the utmost extent possible, however, and we are holding a series of discussions with the various groups for the purposes of arriving at the percentages of saving appropriate in each case. We rely on their making sacrifices at least equal to those asked for from domestic consumers.

In conclusion, I would simply say this. No one, I think, will question the urgent need for the most intense fuel saving this summer by all classes of consumer. Industry and commerce have already made and must still make great sacrifices. As regards domestic consumers, any plan that could be devised is open to objections. 'But the only plan that can have a real chance of success is a simple plan. We are satisfied that, on the balance, the plan I have described is the one best calculated to bring us the savings we so badly need to enable us to build up our coal stocks for next winter.

I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that the statement which he has just made is one of the utmost seriousness, especially for the domestic consumer in this country. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Debate of 2nd April, which will be fresh in the minds of hon. Members, and while we on this side of the House are gratified that he is not imposing a rationing scheme, such as we then advised strongly against, it remains true that he would agree that the cuts imposed upon the domestic consumer will create very great hardship in many cases. I would therefore ask the right hon. Gentleman, or the acting Leader of the House, whether it would be possible to make early arrangements for a Debate on this subject. I do not consider that a Supply Day would be a suitable occasion. If I understood the right hon. Gentleman correctly, there is to be an Order to give effect to these proposals, and I would suggest that the Leader of the House might consider whether that Order ought not to be taken next week so that it might be discussed by this House before it comes into force.

; There is to be a Supply Day next week, as I shall announce presently, and if arrangements could be made—not necessarily on the Supply Vote itself—I should say that Thursday might perhaps be a suitable day. I am quite sure that my right hon. Friend does not wish to delay the discussion.

We feel that the Debate should take place next week, and we should like it to take place on the Order, but we do not think it reasonable—as I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree—that we should be expected to sacrifice one of our Supply Days for the purpose.

I understand from my right hon. Friend that in a day or two the Order will be ready and published, arid that should give the House ample time before next Thursday.

Will my right hon. Friend say whether space heating will be allowed in cases of sickness?

Will the Minister say whether it is intended that the restrictions on space heating shall apply to all Government and local government premises with the possible exception of hospitals?

Yes, if they come under the category of industrial and non-industrial and commercial premises.

Has my right hon. Friend taken into account the much colder climate in Scotland than in other parts of the United Kingdom, and is there to be any relaxation in that respect?

My hon. Friend must understand that the ban on space heating, which is a statutory prohibition, applies only from 5th May to the end of September in the case of domestic premises. These are ordinarily reasonably warm months. The ban on space heating for industrial and non-industrial and commercial premises will apply until the end of October by agreement with the organisations concerned. As regards the climatic variations between the South and the North, they are not as great as my hon. Friend appears to think.

In framing the Order will the right hon. Gentleman consider a relaxation of the ban on domestic space heating in homes where there are very small children—say, under two years of age?

I have had that in mind and I think such cases might come within the category of the relaxation which is to be based on the production of a medical certificate.

Is my right hon. Friend taking into consideration the very special circumstances of those people in our large towns and blitzed cities who are condemned to live in semi-basement and basement flats into which the sun never shines, and will he give some special consideration to these people?

There may be special cases of that kind which require to be considered, but if we are to have wholesale relaxations of the Order I am afraid we shall not effect the substantial savings we are anxious to secure.

Will the right hon. Gentleman relate the domestic saving percentage to the year 1939 rather than to last year so that those who have obeyed the Government's exhortations to save during the war are not penalised?

I am afraid that would be impracticable. We must take a more recent period than 1939.

Is the Minister aware that there are a number of houses that have neither gas nor coal but are heated by electricity, and will any consideration be given to people who have to use one room during the period concerned?

As I have said, if we are to make these relaxations we cannot secure the savings we want, and I am afraid that, as I said in my statement, some inconvenience will be suffered. I fear that we shall have to endure it if we are to come to the assistance of industry by supplying the fuel.

The Government must, presumably, have received some estimate as to the amount of fuel which may be saved. In view of the hardship which will undoubtedly be suffered by the public, will the right hon. Gentleman give an estimate of tonnage he will save as a result of these restrictions?

All I can do is to give an estimate, but we cannot be certain about its accuracy, because it depends on whether the prohibition is enforced, and that depends on the co-operation of the public; it will be remembered also that the 25 per cent, cut is only obligatory as regards space heating, and that as for the rest we are relying on voluntary cooperation. Therefore, we cannot say what the actual amount of saving may be, but it may be between 2 million and 2½ million tons.

While welcoming this drastic but in my view necessary restriction, may I ask the Minister if he can assure the House that the Government still adhere to the target of 15 million tons of coal stocks on 1st November, which was given by the President of the Board of Trade?

That does not strictly arise from my statement, but we stand by that target.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether, before arriving at this decision, the Government considered the effect it would have on the various agreements known as two-part tariff or flat-rate agreements, made between the supply companies and the consumers, and if so, what is now the legal position in regard to them?

As I am advised, the special arrangements entered into between the electricity undertakings and consumers will not be affected; at any rate, the electricity undertakings have been consulted, and, generally speaking, they accept the arrangement.

May I press the right hon. Gentleman on this? I can well understand the electricity undertakings having no objections to this arrangement, because they are going to supply less current to the consumers who have these agreements. Did the Government consider the position of the domestic consumers as a result of this?

The electricity undertakings are hardly likely to be satisfied with a reduction of current, which may affect their revenue, unless they raise their prices, which is not likely to occur. Sc far as I am advised, the two-part tariff arrangements will not be affected adversely for consumers, but it is a matter into which further inquiries might be necessary, and I shall certainly make them.

I think I heard the Minister say that he was consulting and conferring with various women's organisations. Will he give the House an assurance that under no circumstances will he include among those organisations the bogus anti-British Housewives League?

We have, in fact, consulted with 17 women's organisations, all of them reputable organisations.

In view of the heavy sacrifice the Minister's statement calls for from the people of the country, will he give the House and the country any guarantee that there will be a reduction in deliberate absenteeism in the mines?

I think that we are now getting all over the shop, and that we had better get on with the next business.

Petrol Rationing


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many motor fuel ration books for the six months period, September, 1947, to February, 1948, will be printed; when printing is expected to start; what the total cost is expected to be; and whether the coupons will have the correct period of validity shown on them.

The number of motor fuel basic ration books required for the six months period, September, 1947, to February, 1948, is 3,760,000. Printing has already started and the estimated total cost is £10,000. Each coupon will be expressed to be valid for a particular calendar month, but there is a statutory order under which motor fuel may be supplied against each such coupon not only at any time during the month for which it is expressed to be valid, but also at any time during the next ensuing month.

Is there, therefore, to be no relief of petrol rationing in the near future?

I have stated over and over again the reasons why petrol rationing must remain in force.

Is the Minister aware that this petrol rationing is a complete farce, and that there is not even a black market price for coupons?

If the hon. and gallant Member has all this information in his possession, and it is accurate, he might be good enough to give it to me.

Government Officials Overseas (Propaganda)


asked the Prime- Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that there are a number of Government officials and serving officers abroad who are indulging in anti-British propaganda based on their dislike of His Majesty's Government; and whether, where there is evidence of disloyal behaviour, he will cancel their present overseas appointments.