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Written Answers

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 13th May 1947


Juvenile Delinquency


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement indicating, in detail, the improvements he has in view in the treatment and cure of juvenile delinquency in Scotland.

It is difficult to deal with this matter in detail by way of question and answer. The recent expansion and reorganisation of the Probation Service, will, I hope, be continued; progress is being made in the better classification and organisation of approved schools and borstal institutions, and the development of after care services; and I am anxious that the standard of remand home accommodation and training should be raised. The position is continuously reviewed in consultation with the Scottish Central Probation Council, the Scottish Central After Care Council and the Scottish Advisory Council on the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Offenders; and I am sending my hon. and learned Friend the published reports of the last. of these bodies. The schools are contributing to the prevention of juvenile delinquency by giving training in citizenship.

Double Summer Time


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimated percentage loss of agricultural production will result from the imposition of double summer time in Scotland; and what estimated additional cost in agricultural wages will be occasioned during the year 1947.

I think my hon. Friend will realise that there are too many uncertain factors involved to permit of any estimate being made of the kind for which he asks.

Boat Building (Timber Supplies)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the concern caused among ship-yards building fishing vessels and in the fishing industry by the further cut imposed by the Government upon timber for these yards; what is the estimated reduction in the output of fishing vessels as a result of this decision; what effect this will have upon the scheme for loans and grants for the building of boats for fishermen, and for how long a period is it intended that these sharp restrictions shall continue.

I am aware of the anxiety caused by the further reduction in supplies of timber for the building of fishing boats. Some delay in boat building is, unfortunately, bound to result and the scheme for grants and loans will be affected in consequence. But at this stage it is not possible to gauge the extent to which the output of boats will be delayed because that will depend on the duration of the restrictions. These will be removed as soon as there is sufficient improvement in the overall supply of timber. I am assured by the Admiralty, who are responsible for allocating timber for shipbuilding of all kinds, that they fully appreciate the importance of the fishing industry and that fishing craft will be among those which will have a preferential share of the reduced supply of timber.

Local Government Law (Consolidation)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps are being taken to continue the work of codification of the local government law of Scotland.

A Local Government (Scotland) Bill consolidating the law in regard to various aspects of local government is at present before Parliament. I am anxious that consolidation in regard to other aspects of local government, as well as in other fields, should proceed as quickly as staff and other circumstances permit, and I am considering, in consultation with my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate, what arrangements can be made towards this end.

British Army

Troopship "Rajula" (Conditions)


asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he is yet in a position to make a statement on conditions aboard H.M.T. "Rajula," during her recent voyage from Kure to Singapore;(2) if the provision of 15 lavatories and 28 washbasins for 1,000 British other ranks in H.M.T. "Rajula" is the standard regarded as satisfactory for a voyage of 3,000 miles through tropical waters;(3) if the alleged low standard of discipline of British other ranks in H.M.T. "Rajula," which led to the confinement of i,000 men to the forward well deck, manifested itself before they were allocated to extremely poor accommodation on board and were allowed ashore only for a route march.

As my right hon. Friend promised in answer to a previous Question by my hon. Friend, he wrote to him on 22nd April about conditions on board this transport during the voyage referred to. The discipline of the troops on board had not given any previous cause for complaint, and although the number of men carried on this voyage was within the scale laid down by regulations for a ship of the size of the "Rajula," conditions were not ideal. This was, however, the last voyage of the "Rajula" as a trooper, and she has now been returned to her owners. Continual efforts are being made to raise the standard of accommodation on troopships as labour and material become available, but in order to avoid reducing the amount of home leave now granted to soldiers overseas it is, unfortunately, necessary to continue to use some ships for trooping purposes which are admittedly below the standard of accommodation which it is my right hon. Friend's intention eventually to achieve.

Demobilisation (Civilian Suits)


asked the Secretary of State for War the number of Servicemen who, owing to a mistake, have been demobilised twice and received two suits; and who pays the extra cost.

The exact number of cases in which this has occurred is not known and could not be ascertained without a disproportionate amount of work. The circumstances in which it is possible for a mistake of this kind to be made, however, are extremely rare, and the num- ber must be negligible. Where any such case comes to light the man is asked to pay for the extra suit and usually does so.

Cod, Bicester


asked the Secretary of State for War if he is in a position to make a statement with regard to the post war development scheme for C.O.D., Bicester; what is the number of permanent civilian personnel it is intended to employ; and whether the new housing estate is to be at Bicester or Arncott.

My right hon. Friend is not yet in a position to make a statement as discussions are now proceeding.

Arrested Officer, Singapore (Release)


asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been drawn to the case of a young officer who has been released in Singapore after nine months under arrest on a murder charge which has been dropped; whether he will carry out a special investigation of this case; and if he will give an assurance that such cases will not recur in future.

I am looking into this case which was of a very exceptional nature. As regards the last part of the Question, my right hon. Friend and I are determined to eliminate delays in bringing men to trial and we are taking the most energetic measures towards this end. This question is also one of those which the Lewis Committee is considering.

Married Quarters, Colchester Garrison


asked the Secretary of State for War how many married quarters in the Colchester Garrison area are at present untenanted; and how many are being used for any purpose other than the accommodation of the families of members of the Forces.

One hundred and thirty-nine married quarters in the Colchester Garrison area, which are awaiting repair, are at present untenanted. A further 73 are being used for purposes other than the accommodation of Army families, mainly for accommodating A.T.S.

Personal Cases


asked the Secretary of State for War why the commanding officer of a unit in Burma, whose name has been communicated to him, was not court martialled or otherwise dealt with for striking one of his African privates a series of powerful blows in the presence of at least six witnesses on 9th April, 1944, shortly after it had been emphasised in General Orders that to strike Africans was a crime which must be dealt with.

I have not received any communication from the hon. and learned Member about this matter, but the incident to which I presume the Question relates was carefully investigated at the time and the officer concerned was completely exonerated. The case was again investigated a year ago on the instruction of my Department, with the same result.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement on the court martial trial of Corporal Thomas, M.E.L.F., at Haifa, arising from the correspondence between the hon. Member for Mile End and himself entered into on 12th February last, with a further reminding letter of 2nd April.

I regret that I am not yet in a position to make a statement on this case. The proceedings are being kept in the Middle East until the Commander-in-Chief has reviewed the sentences. As soon as I have seen the proceedings I will write to the hon. Member.

Martindale Training Areas, Glenridding


asked the Secretary of State for War whether any alternative site has yet been found which will enable him to release the Martindale training areas and camp at Glenridding.

An alternative site is being investigated and I am hopeful that this will prove acceptable.

Ordnance Depot, Derby (Waste Material)


asked the Secretary of State for War why timber and packing cases are burnt in huge bonfires at the central ordnance depot, Sinfin Lane, Derby, when there is such a shortage of this material and local residents would welcome the opportunity of purchasing it.

My hon. Friend appears to have been misinformed. No timber or packing cases are burnt at this depot The only, materials burnt are floor sweepings and packing materials other than wood, which are unsuitable for domestic use or any other purpose

Territorial Army (Staff Appointments)

asked the Secretary of State for War what appointments have been made to the establishment of the permanent staff instructors in respect of the 635th (R.W.F.) Light A.A. Regiment, R.A., and the 361st Medium Regiment, R.A., of the newly-constituted T.A.; and when it is expected that all necessary permanent staff appointments from the Regular Forces will be completed.

These two Regiments are each entitled to one warrant officer Class I and one sergeant instructor as permanent staff instructors. The four warrant officers and non-commissioned officers to fill these appointments have already been earmarked and will report for duty before the end of May. The other Regular staff appointments in these regiments have already been made with the exception of one limber-gunner, who is in transit from overseas.

National Finance

British Troops, Japan (Income Tax)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the British troops stationed in Japan are charged the full rates of Income Tax.

Government War Factories, Sedbergh (Rates)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that over £700 is owing in rates to the Sedbergh Rural Council on account of factories occupied by Government Departments during the war; and if he will see that sums owing to local authorities by Government Departments are paid forthwith.

I understand that this case has now been settled. I have no other evidence of delay in payment of rates by Government Departments.

Oil (Dollar Transactions)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what dollar exchange, approximately is annually secured by Britain by the sale of Near East oil.

None net. We spend more dollars on buying oil than we receive from selling it.

Swiss Hotels (Purchase)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much sterling was made available for the purchase of two large hotels near Montreux, Switzerland, by a number of British and U.S. citizens, followers of Dr. Frank Buchman.

Postwar Credits (Beneficiaries)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether Postwar Credits originally due to persons dying before payment are being paid to the beneficiaries entitled to receive them after the death of such persons where the beneficiaries are over the age of 65 being men and 60 being women although the deceased persons were themselves below such ages and therefore ineligible for payment at the time of their death.

Undergraduates, Cambridge (Accommodation)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the inadequate housing accommodation available for married ex-Service undergraduates at Cambridge; that one family has only a single room with a leaking roof, that one family is living in a basement previously uninhabitable, whilst another are squatting in a Nissen hut; and what steps are to be taken to expedite an improvement of housing accommodation for such undergraduates at Cambridge and other universities.

I am aware of the difficulties which present conditions create for all undergraduates at Cambridge, but I understand that every effort is being made to bring about an improvement.

Research Expenditure

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how the estimated amount of £68,000,000 for expenditure on research during the year 1947–48 is divided amongst the various branches of research such as medical, agricultural, industrial and defence.

The division is as follows:

Medical Research.698,000
Agriculture and Fisheries2,070,000
Industrial Research14,780,000
Defence Research49,731,000
The figure for Defence Research includes an element, which cannot be precisely identified, for research in connection with Civil Aviation undertaken by the Ministry of Supply.

Stamp Duty (Charities)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the recommendations of the Curtis Committee that charities caring for children should acquire up-to-date and smaller premises, coupled with the high prices of such premises at the present time, he will consider exempting premises to be acquired for such purposes from the proposed increased stamp duty.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave today to the hon. Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon).

Court-Martial Inquiry (Recommendations)

asked the Secretary of State for War what recommendations he has received from the Lewis Committee of Inquiry into the Court Martial System; and what action he proposes to take

As I said in the reply to my hon. Friend on 6th May, I am considering, in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air, the recommendations to which my hon. Friend refers. It would be premature to make any statement until that consideration is complete, but I hope to be in a position shortly to make a statement.

Polish Camps, Henley


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will state the names of the Polish camps in the Henley urban and rural districts; the number of Poles occupying these camps on the 1st April; how many of them are doing productive work; and when it is anticipated that the camps will be empty.

Approximately 400 Poles are employed on engineer-and other work for the Army and 25 in civilian jobs. I regret that I cannot give any indication when the camps will be vacated.Following is a list of these camps:

Name of Camp.Strength.
Nettlebed North238
Nettlebed South560
Coombe Park129

Trade And Commerce

Cured Herrings (Export To Poland)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the discussions arising out of the Anglo-Polish trade agreement, His Majesty's Government will make every effort to secure a resumption of the export of cured herring from this country to Poland.

The export of cured herrings to Poland has been resumed. Further, an opportunity was taken during the Anglo-Polish trade talks to stress the importance we attach to this traditional export and the Herring Industry Board are being put into touch with the appropriate Polish authorities.

British Motor Cars (Foreign Imports)


asked the President of the Board of Trade which countries have so far placed an embargo on the import of British motor cars.

I am not aware of any countries which have imposed an absolute prohibition on the importation of British motor cars.

Milk Bottles And Cartons


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many milk bottles and how many milk cartons are being produced per week at the present time; and what is the approximate weight of coal required for their manufacture per ton in each case.

About 3¾ million milk bottles, each of which averages some fifty journeys, are being produced every week, and their production involves about 4/5ths of a ton of coal for each ton of bottles, including that required for the production of the constituent raw materials. In the case of milk cartons, we are licensing paper for the production of about 1¼ million a week, but owing to the shortage of coal, paper mills may have found difficulty in supplying the full quantity, although I hope that the position has improved with the increase in the coal allocation. The amount of coal required is about two tons to one ton of paper.

Registered Companies


asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total number of public and private limited liability companies, respectively, that were on the register on 31st December, 1946, or the nearest available date, indicating at the same time the total amount of nominal capital and paid-up capital for each category.

There were on the register on the date named 13,172 public and 200,743 private companies with a paid-up capital respectively of £4,078 million and £1,923 million. These figures include a small number of unlimited companies. The aggregate amount of nominal capital could not be ascertained without undue expenditure of labour.

Unloading Of Wagons (Saturdays)


asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent the representations through the regional boards to industry regarding facilities to receive goods on Saturdays have met with success.

Regional boards for industry have been asked to furnish reports by the middle of this month on the extent to which their representations to firms to arrange for the unloading of wagons on Saturdays have achieved success. I will circulate this information in the OFFICIAL. REPORT as soon as it is available.

Tobacco Imports


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state in per-

United States of America.Union of South AfricaRhodesia.Greece.Turkey.
First quarter11,6984603370
Second quarter15,32112481930
Third quarter6,31841,4202
Fourth quarter21,83042,0951446
First quarter11,221125374182
Quantities as percentage of total
First quarter84051
Second quarter920110
Third quarter720120
Fourth quarter840601
First quarter760230

Clothing Coupons (Next Issue)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received from the drapery and clothing trade about the difficulties caused by the choice of a mid-season date for the next issue of clothing coupons; whether he is aware that, while retailers may be discouraged from ordering heavy outerwear made from cloth which is already woven, public demand may be diverted to spring clothing, shortage of which will have been made worse by fuel cuts; and if he will consider reverting to the earlier date for the fresh coupon issue while increasing coupon values of certain types of clothing.

We have received certain representations from the clothing trade with the request that a deputation may be received. We should prefer not to express a final opinion until after this deputation has been seen, but on the facts at present available, we should not be justified either in shortening the ration period or in varying the existing pointings.

Bedroom Suites (Imports)


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many of the 22,154 bedroom suites imported into this

centages the amount of our imports of tobacco from the U.S.A.. South Africa, Rhodesia, Greece and Turkey, respectively, together with their values in sterling.

Following is the information:country between January, 1946, and April, 1947, have been brought in from places other than Holland; how many have been taken up by hotels; and by what means the balance has been distributed.

Seventeen thousand, one hundred and thirty-four have come from countries other than Holland. These are all Utility bedroom suites and are distributed through normal trade channels. to members of the priority classes who have valid units. None has gone to hotels. Most of the 5,020 non-Utility suites from Holland have gone to hotels, but the exact figure is not available, because statistics of distributors' stocks and sales are not collected.

Carbon Black


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that representatives of employers and trade unions affiliated to the National Joint Industrial Council for the Rubber Manufacturing Industry are shortly to visit the U.S.A. to appeal for larger quantities of carbon black to be made available for import into Great Britain; and if the proposed visit is being made after consultation with his Department pursuant to his failure to obtain this material from other sources of supply in the sterling area.

Representatives of the National Joint Industrial Council for the Rubber Manufacturing Industry and of the carbon black importers are already in the United States. The visit was arranged in consultation with the Board of Trade. Carbon black is imported on private account. There are no sources of supply of the types required in the sterling area.

Galvanised Buckets


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that there is a shortage of galvanised buckets in the North-East of Scotland, particularly of the large-sized buckets required by farmers; and how soon an allocation for the home market may be anticipated.

I am aware that there is a general shortage of these buckets. Unfortunately, production is limited by the amount of steel available, but manufacturers have been asked to increase their supplies to the home market even at the expense of a temporary drop in exports.

Curtain Net


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the shortage of curtain net is more acute in Grimsby than in certain other areas; and whether he will take steps to ensure a more even distribution.

Supplies generally are insufficient to meet the heavy pent-up demand, but producers are doing their best to share out fairly the limited quantities available, and as supplies of yarn improve production will increase. We have no reason to suppose that Grimsby is not getting a fair share.

Household Linen


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will consider making additional supplies of household linen available for those households which do not at present benefit from the priority dockets available to newly-married couples

I am not sure what my hon. Friend has in mind, since all the household linen which can be produced for the home market is already available to the public. While production is insufficient to meet the total demand, it remains necessary, however, to make special provision for the needs of newly-married couples and others with prior claims

Paper Production (Coal Allocation)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether an allocation of coal to the paper mills, equal to their consumption last summer, represents an increase over the 50 per cent. allocation previously announced; and whether the new allocation will ensure that adequate supplies of commercial stationery and packing materials are available to industry

Yes, Sir; there will be an increase for the industry as a whole. Paper production will, however, continue to be restricted by the quantity of pulp available.

Town And Country Planning

Bankside Power Station (Model)


asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning when the model showing the proposed Bankside power station will be available.

I hope that the model will be on show in the Members' Tea Room on Monday, 19th May.

West Midlands Development Plan


asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning what progress has been made with the outline plan for the West Midlands area; and when an interim report will be available.

In my right hon. Friend's reply of 5th November, 1946, to my hon. Friend, the Member for Burslem (Mr. Edward Davies) he explained that the plan for the West Midlands area was to be prepared in two parts. Work on the first part, that covering the three counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire with the exception of North Staffordshire, has begun and substantial progress has been made in the collection of material from planning authorities and other sources. The arrangements made do not provide for an interim report, but contact will be maintained as necessary by the consultants with the advisory council of the local authorities concerned.

Old Age Pensions


asked the Minister of National Insurance why Mrs. Medhurst, Old London Road, Knockholt, has not received a pension; why there has been over six months' delay; and if he will take disciplinary action against the officials concerned.

Mrs. Medhurst received a pension order book at the 26s. rate on 9th May and the arrears of pension due were paid to her on 10th May. The exceptional time taken to settle her claim was due to its coinciding with the congestion arising in the office concerned with work arising out of the introduction of the new rates and conditions.


asked the Minister of National Insurance what steps he has taken to inform the public of the cause of the delay in complying with applications from many old age' pensioners for new pension books; and if he will identify any published information.

As stated in reply to the hon. Member on 5th May, the general circumstances in which delay has arisen have been fully explained to the House. These explanations have been widely reported in the Press and special talks have also been given in B.B.C. programmes. The fact that pensioners generally appreciate the position is evident from the way in which they have cooperated in the steps which have been taken in conjunction with the Assistance Board to overcome the difficulties.

National Insurance

Pensioners' Earnings


asked the Minister of National Insurance on what conditions persons in receipt of retirement pensions may engage in remunerated employment on the land during the summer and autumn without suffering reduction of pension.

A contributory old age pensioner under the age of 70 in the case of a man, or 65 in the case of a woman, who draws an increased pension by reason of his having retired from regular employment may earn up to 205. in any week without effect on his pension. Where the earnings for any week exceed 20s. the pension for the succeeding week is reduced by one shilling for each complete shilling of the excess, so however that there is no reduction below the basic rate to which the pensioner was entitled before the 30th September, 1946. A pensioner over the ages stated may draw his increased pension without regard to any earnings he may have.

Approved Societies (Staffs)


asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is yet in a position to make a statement regarding the transfer to his Department of the staffs of approved Societies.

The Committee I appointed to advise me on this matter have made an interim Report which I have under consideration. I expect to be able to issue a statement in the near future

Personal Case


asked the Minister - of National Insurance, why no acknowledgment has been received by Mr. Leslie E. Hatcher, 20, North Drive, Orpington, to correspondence dating back to last January, particulars of which have been sent to him, and if he will take immediate steps to expedite the matter.

The matters raised in the correspondence from Mr. Leslie E. Hatcher have now been dealt with. I am making further inquiry into the circumstances in which his letters were not acknowledged.

Appeals (Legal Representation)

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he will consider changing the regulations in order to enable an insured person to become entitled to legal representation when appearing before a Court of Referees.

No, Sir. The reasons in favour of the existing practice are just as strong today as they were when this Question was considered on various occasions in the past.


Unemployment Figures


asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the figures of total unemployment in Scotland, including the disabled, at the latest date: and the total for the United Kingdom.

The latest figures of unemployment for the United Kingdom for 14th April, will not be available for publication for a day or two, when I will send them to my hon. Friend.

Ex-Service Trainees, Pontefract (Accommodation)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the alternative living accommodation provided for ex-Service trainees who have been removed from the Pontefract miners' hostel where they were undergoing their training in building trades is, in many cases, unsuitable; and whether he will look into the matter with a view to more suitable accommodation being provided.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "No, Sir." As regards the second part, if the hon. and gallant Member has any particular case in mind I will gladly have investigations made if he will send me the details.



asked the Minister of Labour the numbers of men and women, respectively, in Scotland who have been unemployed for over six months.

The number of insured persons registered as unemployed at 10th March in Scotland who had been continuously unemployed for over six months was 16,382 men and 3,530 women.

Prisoners Of War


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make arrangements for prisoners of war who wish to remain in this country as free workmen to register for this purpose in their respective camps, and to indicate their experience in, and preference for, those occupations the filling of which would help the country and would have no adverse effect on British nationals.

No, Sir. I am not at present making any arrangements for the employment of German prisoners of war in a civilian status, except. as already announced, in agriculture.


asked the Minister of Labour whether, where a farmer has obtained permission to retain a prisoner of war who wants to remain here, the prisoner becomes an alien civilian from the date the application is granted, from the time his repatriation is due, or from the time the last prisoner of war in this country has been repatriated.

As soon as possible after the farmer's application has been approved and the contract of service signed.


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in the case of those prisoners of war whom they are losing through repatriation, arrangements can be made for farmers unable to find British labour to apply for prisoners of war now employed outside agriculture who wish to transfer to farming and to remain in this country.

If a farmer loses a prisoner of war through repatriation and the resulting vacancy cannot be filled by British labour, it will be filled by any foreign labour, including German prisoners of war, that can be made available.

Building Trade Trainees

asked the Minister of Labour how many building trade trainees are unemployed in the London area; and how many of these are ex-Servicemen.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield (Air-Commodore Harvey) on 1st May, 1947.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons receiving instruction in the building trade at his Department's training centres; how many men are waiting to enter such centres; and how many in both categories are ex-Service men.

On 8th April, 1947, 21,196 persons, including 20,702 ex-Servicemen, were receiving training in the building trades and 12,968, including 12,399 ex-Servicemen, had been accepted and were awaiting allocation to training.

National Service (Release Of Students)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will relax regulations for release of students, so that men who volunteered for service in August, 1944, or earlier, but were not able to join their units till September, 1944, and who had previously won a scholarship at a university, should be released before 1st October, 1947.

No, Sir. The present arrangements for the release of students cover men in groups up to 62, and I could not agree to extend them in the manner suggested.


Internal Drainage Rates


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that Internal Drainage Board rates fall unfairly on one section of the people; and if he will take steps to amend the present legislation, with a view to spreading the rate over the whole community of each drainage board area.

The Central Advisory Water Committee has recently set up a sub-committee to consider what amendments of land drainage legislation are desirable, and the method of financing drainage authorities will undoubtedly be one of the matters they will have under review.

Fowl Pest

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is satisfied that the veterinary staff is adequate in research stations to investigate suspected cases of poultry pest properly; and what steps he is taking to improve the position.

Yes, Sir; but I am satisfied that in the majority of cases there is now no necessity to send carcases to research stations for examination. I am accordingly making arrangements for suspected outbreaks of fowl pest to be investigated by veterinary inspectors stationed in the area.

Veterinary Offices (Status)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, in view of the importance of improving the veterinary services of this country, when it will be possible to bring the status of veterinary officers of his Department up to that of the medical profession in this country.

If the hon. and gal ant Member is thinking of salaries, the appropriate basis of comparison is not with the medical profession generally but with other civil servants in the professional and scientific classes. I am satisfied that the salaries recently fixed for my veterinary officers bear the proper relationship to those of other civil servants.

Breeding Stock

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is satisfied that as a result of the financial losses suffered by farmers due to last winter's bad weather, female stock which should be kept for breeding is not now being offered for sale for slaughter.

I have no evidence that any significant numbers of female stock suitable for breeding, are being sold for slaughter. In view of the decrease in numbers of breeding stock the tendency would rather be to retain all suitable breeding animals or to sell them through the store markets for breeding purposes.

Land Transfer Committee (Recommendations)


asked the Attorney-General whether, having regard to the time limit recommended in paragraph 238 of the Scott Report on Land Utilisation in Rural Areas, His Majesty's Government intend to implement the Report of the Land Transfer Committee of September, 1943, presided over by Lord Rushcliffe.

As my hon. Friend is aware, the Rushcliffe Committee on Land Transfer recommended that u a reasonable period has elapsed after the termination of hostilities for sufficient staff to become available both for the purposes of the Land Registry itself and for those solicitors who would have business in the Registry, it would not be possible to make further progress with the compulsory registration of title in England and Wales. There has been and still is a shortage of trained staff in the Land Registry, and notwithstanding every effort to increase the staff, the Registry have still some difficulty in keeping abreast of the current work. In these circumstances, it is impossible to forecast when the conditions laid down by the Rushcliffe Committee will be fulfilled. When those conditions are fulfilled, my noble Friend hopes to proceed with the implementation of the Scott Report in the manner recommended by the Rushcliffe Committee.

Food Supplies

London Tea Market (Closure)


asked the Minister of Food what loss to the revenue of this country he anticipates would result from the tea market in London, which has remained closed under Government order. being lost to this country.

The tea market in London was not closed under Government Order, but ceased to function in 1939 owing to the impracticability of conducting open auctions under wartime conditions. It is not possible to compute the loss to the revenue of this country which would result from the permanent closure of this market.

Egg Packing Industry

asked the Minister of Food whether he is satisfied that the compulsory deduction of 4s. 6d. a case of 360 eggs from the service charge allowance to packing stations is appropriate; whether he regards the claims which this charge is to offset as all well-founded; and how long it will be necessary to maintain this charge.

Egg packers in England and Wales contribute 4s. 6d. per case of eggs packed by them to a pool set up and operated by the packing industry. The pool is shared amongst all packers, including those whose businesses were suspended under the wartime zoning scheme, on the basis of their throughput during a pre-zoning datum period. Thus no packer makes a net payment into the pool except to the extent that his present throughput exceeds his datum. The rate of contribution has been accepted by the packing industry and I consider the arrangement fair and reasonable. Suspended packers are being permitted to recover their businesses during the 12 months which commenced on 28th February, 1947. At the end of this period, no further contributions will be made into the pool.

Imported Undressed Poultry (Fowl Pest)

asked the Minister of Food what is the total of undressed poultry imported from the European countries where fowl pest is known to exist.

Since imports were resumed in 1946, approximately 3,160 tons of undressed poultry have been received from European countries where fowl pest is suspected to exist.

Shaving Soap


asked the Minister of Food why shaving soap has been unobtainable in many London shops; and what steps have been taken to improve supplies.

I. know that shaving soap, like many other unrationed commodities, is not easy to obtain. I am afraid that the position can only be improved as and when supplies of oils and fats generally become easier.



asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many unemployed there are in the British zone of Germany at the latest convenient date.

The number of unemployed registered at labour offices on 31st March, 1947, was 346,487.

Labour Vacancies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many vacancies exist in industry and agriculture in the British zone of Germany; and what steps are being taken to fill these posts.

About 304,000 vacancies notified to labour offices were unfilled on 31st March. Every effort is made to fill vacancies from the German population, from displaced persons and from returning German prisoners of war. All males between the ages of 14 and 65 and all females from 15 to 50, whether Germans or displaced persons, are required to register at German labour offices which offer vacancies to all suitable persons registered as unemployed and, if necessary, direct workers to essential industries. Special incentives are offered to attract men into coal mining, and priority of repatriation has been arranged for German prisoners of war willing to enter coal mining and forestry. A system of inspection and priorities has been set up to ensure that labour is not misused and that the requirements of essential industries are met as quickly as possible.

British Air Lines (Aircraft Types)

asked the Minister of Supply what types of aircraft are on order for B.O.A.C., B.E.A.C., and B.S.A.A.C.; and when delivery of the first aircraft in each case is expected.

The types on order by my Department for the three airline Corporations and the actual or estimated delivery dates of the first aircraft are given below. The estimated dates of delivery are necessarily provisional in the case of types still under development.

Type.Actual or estimated date of delivery of first aircraft
Plymouth Flying Boat1947
Solent Flying Boat1947
Sikorsky S.51 Helicopter1947
D.H. 1061950
Brabazon 11950
Saro S. 45 Flying Boat1951