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Written Answers

Volume 437: debated on Monday 5 May 1947

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Written Answrs To Questions

Monday, 5th May, 1947

Ministry Of Works

Roofing Slates


asked the Minister of Works the position of general slate stocks in this country, having regard to the fact that he has been able to cease the importation of Portuguese roofing slates; and if he anticipates providing a continuation or improvement of existing stocks so that there will be no further necessity for the importation of foreign slates in competition with slates quarried in this country.

The general stock position of roofing slates is poor, and at the end of February amounted to one month's production, 28,700 squares. We are not now importing Portuguese roofing slates but we may have to resume importation owing to the pressing need for slates for repair work. At the same time, efforts are being made to improve the production rate of British slates.

Timber Licence, Herne Bay

asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that the completion of a bungalow at Hillborough, Herne Bay, has been held up for months owing to the refusal of his Department to grant a licence for sufficient timber to manufacture four doors and door frames; that the licence was applied for first in July, 1946; and what are the reasons for this delay.

I have not been able to trace such a case but I will make further enquiry if the hon. Member will furnish the exact address of the premises he has in mind.

Soap Rationing


asked the Minister of Food if he is aware of the prolonged shortage of all classes of soap in the Sittingbourne district; and whether he will take steps to remedy the position.

I am informed that there has not been a prolonged shortage of all types of soap in the Sittingbourne area, although deliveries have been somewhat delayed as a result of the fuel crisis. Because of this it has been arranged that unused period 10 coupons should be valid in period 11, 27th April to 25th May. There has recently been a shortage of toilet and household soap but flakes and powders are in fairly good supply.

Food Supplies

Fruit Control And Prices


asked the Minister of Food what reply he has made to the communication sent to him by the Fruit and Vegetable Trade Association of Importers, Distributors and Salesmen, giving the reasons for the high prices charged for fruit and complaining of the range of middlemen introduced into the chain of distribution by his Department during the war.

I do not share the view held by this association that the shortage of supply and the necessity to conserve our financial resources have alike largely disappeared and that, therefore, the need for control no longer exists. As, however, my right hon. Friend has said in the House, we are anxious to simplify our food controls as far as we can while maintaining fair prices and distribution.

Unstoned Dates


asked the Minister of Food why his recent scheme to free unstoned dates from points is not being extended to Scotland.

A supplementary allocation of unstoned dates free of points was made on 30th March. Scottish distributors were offered the choice of taking these dates or of taking stoned Iraqi dates packed in boxes ex Scottish warehouses and they decided for the latter.

Consumption (Comparative Table)


asked the Minister of Food whether he will issue a table showing the present increase or decrease of the weekly average consumption of each of the principal items of foods compared with the figures for 1914–20 and 1938.

Yes, Sir. I will circulate the table in the OFFICIAL REPORT as soon as the material, or such of it as is available, has been prepared.

Seed Potatoes (Export)


asked the Minister of Food what quantities of seed potatoes are being exported from Northern Ireland to France.

7,551 tons 9 cwt. of Northern Ireland seed potatoes of the 1946 crop have been exported to France, including territories in North Africa. Shipments of Northern Ireland seed potatoes to that area have now ceased.

Soft-Fruit Prices

asked the Minister of Food when he proposes to announce strawberry and other soft fruit prices for this season.

Maximum prices for strawberries and other soft fruits on a sale by the grower during the 1947 season have already been announced. Maximum prices at other stages of distribution are still under consideration and an announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Dominion Gift Parcels


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs if he will confer with the other Departments concerned, such as the Post Office and Board of Trade, to see that every possible facility is given, under existing law and regulation, for gift food parcels from the Dominions to reach this country as rapidly as possible, in view of the disappointment and resentment felt by donors overseas at the high percentage of parcels lost or delayed in the past.

I am satisfied that the many authorities concerned, both overseas and in this country, are doing all they can to ensure that gift parcels reach their destinations as rapidly as possible. But, as the noble Lord will appreciate, conditions at the ports and on the seas are still far from normal and inevitably result in congestion and delays. As has been stated in answer to previous questions, there is no evidence that of the large number of gifts sent by post from their Dominions any significant number is stolen or lost.


Kitchen Waste Collection


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in connection with the Kitchen Waste (Licensing of Private Collectors) Orders, he will ensure that a stockkeeper shall not forfeit eligibility for a licence because of his absence on military service at the date of the Order.

It is the normal practice either to grant licences to such applicants, or, where this cannot be done, to ask the local authority to give, as far as possible, priority for appropriate supplies of processed kitchen waste.

Hill Sheep (Ration Scales)


asked the Minister of Agriculture if, for the winter of 1947–48, he will issue to hill farmers permits to purchase feedingstuffs for sheep.

It is too early yet to make any announcement regarding ration scales next winter, but I have every hope that sufficient supplies will be available to enable me to make suitable provision for mountain ewes.


Children's Fares


asked the Minister of Transport if, in view of the raising of the school-leaving age, he will take steps to secure that full fares shall not be demanded for children under 15 years of age.


asked the Minister of Transport if the age-limit for children's tickets on the railways is to be raised from 14 years to 15 years, to correspond with the school-leaving age.

This matter is under consideration and I hope soon to be able to make a statement.

Passenger Services


asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that there are no trains from Gailey to Stafford between 7.46 a.m. and 1.33 p.m. daily; and if he will give instructions to restore the stop at Gailey of the 9.46 a.m. train from Birmingham to Stafford.

To improve the working of the 9.46 a.m. train from Birmingham to Manchester, the stop at Gailey was withdrawn in May, 1946. I am informed that no regular use was made of the train at Gailey station, and that there is an alternative bus service. I regret, therefore, that reinstatement of the stop would not be justified.


asked the Minister of Transport why the 5.46 p.m. train from Marylebone to High Wycombe was held up at Beaconsfield for approximately 18 minutes on 28th and 29th April; and

Special Detail
War OfficeAir Ministry.Admiralty.Petrol Trains.Ministry of Supply.Total.
(1)Number of special passenger trains originating.81357141
(2)Total number of passenger miles.2,787,402360,4001,207,3704,355 172
(3)Number of special freight trains originating.39*2732116
(4)Total number of ton miles.1,170,38080,4003,487,418147,3844,885 582
* Includes 14 Army Post Office mail trains.

Neasden Power Station (Oil Fuel)


asked the Minister of Transport the number of boilers converted to oil fuel at Neasden L.P.T.B. Power Station; and the time taken for conversion and cost.

The scheme for the conversion to oil fuel covers six boilers at Neasden Power Station, one of which was brought into operation in January last. The remaining five will be converted during the next 12 months as supply of the necessary materials allows. The total cost is estimated to be £45,000.


Winter Damage


asked the Minister of Transport whether any estimate has yet been made of the total cost of repairing

if he will take steps to ensure that, in future, trains to High Wycombe and Princes Risborough run strictly to schedule.

Special Trains (Government Departments)

asked the Minister of Transport the number of special trains run for each Government Department during the most recent convenient statistical period; and the number of passenger-miles and ton-miles so provided for each Department.

The particulars for the week beginning 23rd March, 1947, are:the damage done to roads in Great Britain by excessive frost, snow and ice during the recent winter; and what steps are to be taken to ensure that this additional repair work is to be undertaken without prejudice to the previous programme for repairs and improvements to highways.


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the recent damage done to the roads of this country by floods, ice, snow and frost will necessitate increased maintenance costs during the present financial year; and whether he will give an assurance that adequate funds will be available to deal with these additional requirements and to carry out the programme of maintenance and improvement already approved.

It has not yet been possible to make a complete estimate of the cost of repairing last winter's damage to the roads: the figures so far available indicate that, for Wales, Scotland and sixteen English counties, it is of the order of million on trunk and classified roads. There will be no curtailment of the maintenance and improvement works which I have already approved, but it has been necessary, to inform many county councils that grants will not be available towards the full amount of their estimates for the maintenance of classified roads in 1947–48, because the anticipated grant in aid of the Road Fund is insufficient to allow of so generous a provision.

Motor Ways


asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement indicating what progress will be made during 1947 in the development of motorways in Great Britain and, in particular, what progress will be made in constructing the new motor road to the West of England.

No powers are at present available to construct motorways. Preliminary investigation is being made into projected routes, including one to the West of England.

Maintenance Work (Reduced Grants)


asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the fact that the number of vehicles on the roads of Great Britain is now greater than in the prewar period, he will reconsider the recent decision to insist upon a drastic reduction in road maintenance expenditure; and whether any estimate has been made of the long-term consequences of interfering with the original programme of road repairs and maintenance in this country.

The grants to be made available for highway maintenance and improvement must be kept within the limits imposed by the grant in aid of the Road Fund. Some curtailment of expenditure which might otherwise have been incurred this year on these purposes is inevitable, but the provision made will be sufficient to enable essential work to be undertaken. In selecting the maintenance works to be carried out on trunk roads every effort will be made to avoid excluding those, postponement of which would be likely to have any serious effect upon the long-term position. I am confident that the highway authorities will act similarly in respect of other roads.


asked the Minister of Transport what cuts have been imposed on the estimates for road maintenance in Cheshire during the current financial year; and whether, in view of the increased repairs which are necessary owing to the adverse winter conditions and the increase of traffic on the roads, he will reconsider his request for such a reduction.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement which I have made below in answer to other questions today. I regret that I can hold out no hope of increasing the grants available for road maintenance.


asked the Minister of Transport on which of the by-pass schemes work is to be stopped or retarded as the result of the recent steps taken by his Department to effect reduction in expenditure on road maintenance and improvement.

The only by-pass scheme already authorised on which I have found it necessary to stop work is one on the Carlisle—Sunderland trunk road at Halt-whistle. For the rest, timing must depend on the money available.


asked the Minister of Transport if he will give figures indicating the estimated expenditure by each of the highway authorities in Great Britain for the current financial year so far as road maintenance is concerned; and what reduction is to be made in this expenditure as a result of instructions issued by his Department.


asked the Minister of Transport which local highway authorities have been informed that grants will not be available towards the full amount of their estimates for the maintenance of classified roads in 1947–48; and upon what basis grants will be made to these authorities.

Grants towards road maintenance expenditure are made only to county councils in respect of classified roads. The following table shows, for councils which have submitted maintenance estimates for 1947–48, the amount of the estimates and the amount towards which Road Fund grants will be available.

County Council.Class I and II RoadsClass III Roads.
Estimate submitted by County Council.Amount towards which grants will be available.Estimate submitted by County Council.Amount towards which grants will be available.
Lincolnshire (Parts of Holland)78,26260,30966,19040,130
Lincolnshire (Parts of Kesteven)116,05783,299127,52153,500
Lincolnshire (Parts of Lindsey)197,271170,000148,42683,800
Nottinghamshire 221,411202,400121,90655,500
Northumberland 341,257242,000228,58480,000
Yorkshire, North Riding276,600186,500334,000120,000
Yorkshire, East Riding 187,000133,000128,00060,000
Yorkshire, West Riding942,234766,000489,053200,000
Carmarthenshire 160,197155,897143,78971,413
Flintshire 84,84683,24651,24920,367
Berkshire 219,208170,000125,85092,000
Isle of Wight85,84066,00038,23222,000
East Sussex247,741214,000239,711152,000
West Sussex264,015198,667112,19664,000

Speed Limit, Somerset


asked the Minister of Transport whether he will investigate the need for safety and speed limit signs in the parishes of Easton-in-Gordans and Hutton, in view of the delay on the part of the Somerset County Council in meeting the requests of the local inhabitants.

My right hon. Friend is considering the application for a speed limit in the parish of Hutton and hopes shortly to be in a position to announce his decision. Neither the county council nor my Department is aware of any proposal for an additional speed limit in the parish of Easton-in-Gordano, but a short length of road B.3124 in the village is subject to a speed limit under the county of Somerset (No. 2) Order, 1936. If the hon. Member would like to send further particulars, the matter will be looked into again.

Road Grants


asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement showing what alterations have been made in the system of road grants outlined on 20th January last, giving the reasons for the alterations.

No alteration has been made in the system of road grants which I announced in the House on 28th January, 1946, and which has been in operation since 1st April, 1946.

"C" Licences (Delay)


asked the Minister of Transport why Mr. J. Stimpson was refused a "C" licence for a lorry and told that he would have to wait three weeks for it when he applied to the licensing authority at Cambridge for a licence to cover a vehicle which he urgently required to have licensed in order to convey people to and from farms in working parties of which he is the organiser, and which are ready to drill approximately 1,000 acres of potatoes in and about the northern part of Huntingdonshire.

I am informed by the licensing authority that the delay, which I much regret, was due to exceptionally heavy demands, complicated by the resumption in the Eastern Traffic Area of the issue of licences instead of defence permits early in February. The licence in question was issued on 27th February. "C" licences are now issued in two or three days.

Congestion, London


asked the Minister of Transport whether his attention has been drawn to the increasing congestion in the streets of central London due to the large number of motorcars parked by the kerb of many side streets, some of which have now been selected as alternative routes in the experiments being carried out into traffic flows; and whether he will consider the advantages that would result if no owner-driver motorcars should be left unattended except in certain defined areas between certain hours of the day.

Yes, Sir. The parking of cars in busy streets adds greatly to the congestion of traffic and I hope to indicate, in the course of a few days, certain steps which I propose to take to secure a better and safer flow of traffic. Meanwhile, I must warn motorists that the obstruction of the streets by leaving vehicles parked along the kerbs is an offence. Car parks have now been provided and should be used.

Tower Bridge Closing

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that companies and individuals suffered delay and loss by the closing of Tower Bridge, congestion of traffic on London Bridge and in other respects due to the recent strike; and whether he will introduce legislation to enable compensation to be paid to such sufferers.

No, Sir; but as the hon. Member is no doubt aware the Government have made naval personnel available to work the bridge.


Loss Of Ss "Samtampa"

asked the Minister of Transport whether the s.s. "Samtampa," which was wrecked in Sker Bay, Glamorganshire, carried all the necessary life-saving equipment required by the regulations; and whether this included rocket rescue apparatus.

When the life-saving appliances on board the "Samtampa" were last surveyed, in January, 1946, they complied fully with the statutory requirements and included a line throwing appliance. A formal investigation into the loss of the vessel has been ordered and the court holding the investigation will, no doubt, go into the question of the compliance with the statutory requirements on the ship's last voyage.

Dock Strike, Glasgow


asked the Minister of Transport how many vessels are awaiting discharge in Glasgow; how many are ocean-going vessels; and how much food-carrying capacity has been lost through the, strike in the Clyde.

The strike of dock workers at Glasgow is now over and work has been resumed on all ships with the exception of two ocean-going vessels and one coaster, on which work is expected to start shortly. The net loss of ships' time during the strike amounted to over boo ship days.

Conveyance Of Dogs


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the hardship imposed upon emigrants to the Dominions owing to the fact that persons are not allowed to take their dogs with them on board ship; and whether, in view of the desirability of easing conditions for emigrants and that no such restrictions operate on foreign ships, he will arrange for the concession to be made.

Restrictions upon the conveyance of dogs are imposed by, the shipping companies in the interests of the comfort of the majority of the passengers. No distinction is made in this matter between emigrants and other passengers. do not consider that the circumstances call for any change in existing practice.

Troopship "Empire Doone"

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the ex-German liner now known as the "Empire Doone" has been lying off Southend for approximately a year; and when this vessel is likely to be available for service either as a passenger liner or for the conveyance of the large number of persons awaiting transportation to Australia under the Commonwealth Government's immigration scheme.

The "Empire Doone" is fitted as a troopship and will form part of the trooping fleet. Before she can proceed to sea, however, her propelling machinery must be replaced. Shortages of supplies and repair facilities have delayed the commencement of this work, but every effort is being made to put it in hand as soon as possible.

Ministry Of Supply

Mining Equipment (Steel)


asked the Minister of Supply to whom the manufacturers of mining machinery should apply for M forms for steel allocations.

Application should be made to the Director of Mining Equipment (M.E.I.), Ministry of Supply, Shell Mex House, Strand, London, W.C.2.

Atomic Energy (Workers' Protection)


asked the Minister of Supply whether he is satisfied that the necessary steps have been taken to accord protection to workers at plants associated with the production of atomic energy from radio-active and other poisons.

Yes, Sir. After consultation with the Factory Department of the Ministry of Labour and in the light of expert medical advice, I am satisfied that all the necessary steps have been taken to protect the workers.

Engineering (Quality Control)


asked the Minister of Supply if he will discuss the application of the statistical method of inspection developed during the war, known as "Quality Control," with the Engineering Advisory Council, with a view to ensuring its adoption for peactime engineering products.

Motor Cars (Veterinary Surgeons)


asked the Minister of Supply whether after consultation with the Minister of Agriculture he will arrange for motor cars to be issued to veterinary surgeons in accordance with the scheme whereby the motor industry has given an undertaking to give priority to the delivery of motor cars required by certain other specified users.

Isotopes (Us Supplies)


asked the Minister of Supply whether arising from his request, the U.S. Government have provided him with supplies of radio-active iodine and other isotopes; and if he will state in de ail the character and quantity of these supplies.

No, Sir. The American Atomic Energy Commission has not yet approved the export of these materials.

Paper Salvage (Ammunition Dumps)

asked the Minister of Supply whether, in view of the appeals that are being made to the public to save paper, he will arrange for the salvage of paper round ammunition containers on the dumps throughout the country which are now being burnt.

Paper recovered from the disposal of ammunition is already salvaged from Ministry of Supply dumps, unless it is contaminated or has no value.




asked the Minister of Health the total production of baths from August, 1945, to the latest convenient date; and the number of these baths actually installed in houses.

Approximately 410,200 baths were produced between 1st August, 1945, and 31st March, 1947. Assuming one bath in every house or new unit of accommodation completed since 1st August, 1945, it is estimated that 313,456 have been installed.

Grates, Farm Cottages

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that Mr. Frank Whittaker, Russia Farm, Tattenhall, Cheshire, has built two cottages for agricultural workers; that these houses were complete, including decorations, for use in November, 1946, with the exception of two grates, which after repeated application have not been forthcoming; and when these grates will be supplied.

The grates in question are of a type for which demand greatly exceeds capacity and I regret that it has not as yet been possible to secure deliveries. I am pursuing my inquiries and will communicate further with the hon. Member.

Diphtheria Immunisation

asked the Minister of Health whether he will inquire into the action of Dr. L. A. Collins, medical officer of health of Hailsham Rural District Council, who inoculated David Charles Marshall, aged six years, at Polegate Primary school, Polegate, on 16th April, although the child's mother, and the family doctor, objected to diphtheria immunisation and refused her consent; how, in the Hailsham area, are children of parents who refuse consent to inoculation withheld from it; whether any other children in the Hailsham area have been inoculated at school in spite of protests by parents; in how many cases during the past two years has inoculation been performed or booster doses been given without the parents having been informed; and whether he will insist on the right of parents to refuse, being recognised by all medical officers generally and the Hailsham medical officer in particular.

Trade And Commerce

Paper Salvage


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the arrangements for the collection of salvage paper are inadequate in the rural areas; and if he will take steps to bring them to their wartime efficiency.

While we hope that, in view of the urgent need for waste paper, rural districts will do their utmost to increase collections, the voluntary assistance on which most of them relied during the war is not now readily forthcoming. Accordingly, we are looking more to the populous areas to improve their collections.

Paper (Medical Books)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the shortage of newsprint allocated to the publication of medical books is resulting in a critical position seriously interfering with the medical education at all the medical schools; and if he will rectify the position.

I am aware of the general shortage of educational books, and I am considering whether steps can be taken to improve the position.

Cinematograph Films Act

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals have been made to him by the Cinematograph Films Council with regard to the renewal of the Cinematograph Films Act; and whether he will publish them.

The council's proposals on this subject have not yet been presented to me. I am, however, expecting to receive them within the next few days, and it is my intention to publish them.

National Insurance

Old Age Pensions

94 and 95.

asked the Minister of National Insurance (1) whether he is aware that Mrs. Reynolds, 45, Royal Road, Sutton Coldfield, Old Age Pension No. 46498159, became entitled on 3rd October to an increased pension; that she wrote twice in October, thrice in November, also in February and March, to his Department at Blackpool or Birmingham pressing for her new book to be issued; and if he will explain the delay.(2) why a new pension book was not issued to Mr. Herbert Symes, 126 Chester Road North, Sutton Coalfield, Old Age Pension No. 16506622, for more than six months after 3rd October, when he became entitled to an increased pension; whether he is aware that Mr. Symes wrote monthly during this period to the Department asking for the book and only received formal acknowledgments; and why no explanation or apology was contained in the letter, dated 16th April, from the Parliamentary Secretary to the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield, with reference to this case.

A pension order book at the appropriate increased rate was issued to Mrs. Reynolds on 1st May, and Mr. Symes received his pension order book at the increased rate on 22nd April. The delay in settling these cases was due to circumstances of which the Rouse has been kept fully informed and it was for this reason that I thought it sufficient in the case of Mr. Symes to limit my reply to the statement that a pension order book had been issued.

Industrial Injuries

asked the Minister of National Insurance the number of men in Great Britain who are totally disabled through industrial injuries at the latest date for which figures are available.

Research (Cost)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will make a statement setting out the present approximate expenditure of the Government directly and indirectly on scientific research and development work in this country, including medical, agricultural, industrial and defence research.

The estimates for 1947–48 provide for expenditure on research of all kinds of about £68,000,000. In addition, a substantial part of the grant of nearly £12,000,000 to universities is spent on research.

Rationing And Controls (Staffs)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of civil servants employed in the administration of rationing schemes and other controls of materials and commodities in short supply, respectively.


Displaced Persons (Agriculture)


asked the Minister of Labour the proper procedure for farmers anxious to employ trained agriculturalists from the Baltic States who are being brought to this country as displaced persons; to whom should their requirements be stated and who will supply the verifications of the situations, etc., that are demanded by labour exchanges.

Applications should be made to the local office of the Ministry of Labour, who will endeavour to supply a foreign worker if no suitable British labour is available.

Trawler Crews (Trade Unionism)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the ultimatum which is being giver to some trawler owners that crews will not be allowed to sail unless all join a trade union; and what steps he is taking to safeguard the country's fish supplies.


Play And Recreation


asked the Minister of Education whether he will authorise local authorities to take schoolchildren into the country free or at nominal charges where the facilities for play and recreation are limited, such as in many larger towns, and at times when the normal transport is not fully utilised.

Authorities already have power to do this subject to the Minister's approval, under Section 53 of the Education Act, 1944.

Technical Colleges

asked the Minister of Education which of the present emergency training colleges are to be permanent training colleges; and whether it is proposed to require these colleges to impose better qualifications relevant to technical education than are now insisted upon in the emergency colleges under the present regulations.

It is assumed that the reference is to the colleges for the training of technical teachers, particulars regarding the establishment of which are given in Circular 55 which I am sending to the hon. Member. Three such colleges have been established, at Bolton, Huddersfield and London. They are at present being conducted as emergency training colleges, but they will probably form the nucleus of a permanent system of training for teachers in technical institutions. Candidates admitted to these colleges are already required to possess satisfactory technical qualifications and also to have had industrial experience.

Essex (Technical College Facilities)

asked the Minister of Education if he will instruct the Essex Education Committee to refund the fees paid by parents whose children were awarded special places at the day schools of the South-west Essex Technical College and School of Art, but are now unsatisfactorily accommodated in buildings at Hoe Street and Winns Avenue, as none of the facilities which were advertised in the published prospectus of the college from September, 1938–45, on which the parents' choice of schools was based, are available.

No, Sir. Any question of a breach of contract between the local education authority and the parents would be one for the courts to decide. The hon. Member will be aware that since 1st April, 1945, when Part II of the Education Act, 1944, came into operation, no fees have been charged in respect of the education provided in the secondary schools concerned.

Grant-Aided Scholars

asked the Minister of Education the number of boys and girls of 14 years of age attending grant-aided schools in England and Wales in June, 1946, or at the nearest convenient date.

In January, 1946, there were 84,680 boys and 73,682 girls aged 14 on the registers of grant-aided schools in England and Wales.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of boys and girls of 14 years of age attending grant-aided schools in Scotland in June, 1946, or at the nearest convenient date.

Royal Navy (Transferred Ships)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many ships of the R.N. have been disposed of to the Dominions and to foreign powers, respectively, since the end of the war against Japan; how much has been paid or will be paid in respect of these sales; and what strategic considerations are taken into account before such a transfer is completed.

282 of the ships of the Royal Navy have been transferred to Dominion and Foreign Governments since the cessation of hostilities with Japan. For full details of these ships, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my noble friend the First Lord in another place on 29th January, 1947. I am sending the hon. Member an up-to-date extract from this statement, including two H.D.M.Ls. sold to Portugal since that date.The ships described in that statement as transferred between 1944 and 1946 were all transferred after the surrender of Japan with the following exceptions:

  • "Ontario" (to Canada).
  • "Natal" (to South Africa).
  • "Transvaal" (to South Africa).
  • 1 Flower Class Corvette (to India).
  • 13 M.Ls. (to France).
  • 15 M.Ls. (to France).
  • "Vengeful" (to Greece).
  • 2 Flower Class Corvettes (to Greece).
  • "Upstart" (to Greece).
  • "Untiring" (to Greece).
  • 11 H.D.M.Ls. (to Greece).
  • 1 Drifter (to Greece).
  • P.47 (to Netherlands).
  • 6 H.D.M.Ls. (to Netherlands).
  • 3 Bangor Class Minesweepers (to Norway).
  • 1 Flower Class Corvette (to Yugoslavia).

The value of sales since the surrender of Japan amounts to £11,841,333, though not all of this amount has yet been paid over. It is not possible to state with any reliability what further sums may accrue from future sales.

The strategic considerations underlying the transfer of these ships are to help the Dominion Governments in forming and training balanced modern navies, to help our other wartime Allies in restoring the naval losses they suffered during the war, and to strengthen permanently the close wartime relationship between them and the Royal Navy.

National Service (Europe)

asked the Minister or Defence if, before the Committee stage of the National Service Bill, he will publish as a White Paper all the information in his possession relating to the periods of national service in the armed forces in the following countries: France, U.S.S.R., Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

I regret that it would not be possible in the time available to compile a White Paper.

British Army

Stores (Pilferage)

asked the Secretary of State for War the approximate average monthly value of stores of all descriptions written off at V.R.Ds.; and how much of such losses is attributed to pilferage.

The approximate average total monthly value of stores of all descriptions written off in vehicle reception depots in the United Kingdom is £1,100. Of this approximately £300 a month is attributable to pilferage. Figures for overseas commands are not readily available.

Cadets (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for War the amount of the grants in each case made towards the provision of messing, fuel and light and other services for members of the Army Cadet Force when attending camp; and the basis on which these grants are calculated.

The grants to Army Cadet Force units are not specifically allocated to the provision of particular services at camps. The annual grants include a capitation grant of 15s. for each qualified cadet, of which 7s. 6d. is for the expenses of training including training in camp, and a grant of 5s. for each cadet who has qualified in Certificate A (Part I or Part II) or Certificate T during the year.

War Crimes (Yugoslavs)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the definition of war criminal which is to be applied to Yugoslavs in Italy; and to what judicial tribunal will persons so defined be given the right of appeal prior to their being returned to Yugoslavia.

The generally accepted definition of a war criminal as given in the Charter of the International Military Tribunal is a person guilty of a violation of the laws and customs of war. I assume, however, that my hon. Friend is referring to the demand of the Yugoslav Government for the surrender of certain Yugoslavs in Italy, which is being made on the ground of their being not war criminals but traitors and collaborators. His Majesty's Government for their part have agreed to the surrender of such persons, in so far as they are under Allied control, when the Yugoslav Government are able to prefer a proper charge against them similar to that which would be required for extradition from this country; that is to say a definite charge giving details of the offence and of the time and place of commission, etc., supported by evidence and not merely by vague general accusations. Since moreover Italy is an area of joint Anglo-United States Command each decision to surrender an alleged traitor or collaborator requires the agreement of both His Majesty's Government and the United States Government. There is no appeal against such a decision but both His Majesty's Government and the United States Government examine the evidence against the accused most carefully before making a decision. In the case of Yugoslav demands for the surrender of Yugoslavs in Italy not under Allied control, His Majesty's Government trust that the Italian Government will apply the same criteria.

Return Of Their Majesties (Arrangements)

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements are being made for a public welcome on the occasion of the homecoming of Their Majesties and the Princesses after their South African tour.

The arrangements will be on the same lines as those made when Their Majesties returned in 1939 from Canada. There will be a civic reception at the port of arrival, and Their Majesties will drive in carriages from Waterloo to Buckingham Palace via Parliament Square. The route has been published in the Press. The City of London are entertaining Their Majesties to lunch at the Guildhall on 15th May and again Their Majesties will drive in carriages.Flags will be hung on public buildings and offices along the route to be followed by the Royal Family when driving from Waterloo Station to Buckingham Palace on 12th May and also on the route of the Royal drive to the City on 15th May. As in 1939, an Humble Address of Welcome will be moved in both Houses of Parliament on the afternoon of Their Majesties' arrival Hon. Members will wish to have the opportunity of taking part in the welcome to The King and Queen on Their way from Waterloo to Buckingham Palace. Their Majesties are expected to pass through Parliament Square at about 12.45 p.m. on that day, and I understand that arrangements are being made to enable Members of both Houses and their friends to assemble on the pavements adjoining New Palace Yard and on the opposite side of the roadway at that time.