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Written Answers

Volume 437: debated on Friday 16 May 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 16th May. 1947

Whooping Cough (Immunisation)

asked the Minister of Health why he has approved the provision by local authorities of immunisation against whooping cough; who will bear the cost; what is the estimated expenditure for the full year; with whom he has had consultations on this matter; and if he will provide the statistical evidence upon which his approval was sought and given.

No general approval such as my hon. Friend suggests has been given, but in consultation with my medical advisers I have consented to certain local authorities making their own arrangements for immunisation against whooping cough where they have wished to give it a trial.

Ruhr Miners And Heavy Workers (Rations)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it has been found possible to maintain extra rations for Ruhr miners and heavy workers in the British zone of Germany in the critical situation which has developed in respect of food supplies generally.

The rations for these workers are provided by means of a basic normal consumers ration card, a supplementary ration card and, in the case of the miners, canteen meals. The supplementary rations and the canteen meals have been provided in full but the basic ration of 1,550 calories has been subject to the same deficiencies as for normal consumers.

Disabled Persons' Employment Centre Oldham

asked the Minister of Works when Collinges Mill, Oldham, which was to be opened as a disabled persons' employment centre in October, 1946, will be opened; and what is the reason for the delay.

I have no knowledge of any intention to open this centre in October, 1946. Vacant possession was obtained in March, 1947. Work is now well in hand and it is hoped that part of the centre will be ready in July.

asked the Minister of Works what progress was made in the adaptation of Collinges Mill, Oldham, as a disabled persons' employment centre in the months of September, October, November and December, 1946.

During the months referred to, the legal arrangements for the settlement of the lease and the preparation of plans and specifications for the works of adaptation were proceeding, with a view to starting work when possession of the premises was obtained.

Trade And Commerce

Newsprint

asked the President of the Board of Trade what reduction of paper consumption has been achieved by the recent decision to reduce the amount allowed to weekly provincial newspapers in comparison with daily newspapers; when he anticipates that it will be possible to make good this reduction; and whether, in the meantime, he will request the appropriate authorities to examine and report upon the possibility of easing the position for those weekly newspapers which cannot effectively continue their work on the present basis.

The new basis of rationing for newspapers which was introduced in March was designed to allow the weekly newspapers (other than Sundays) the same consumption of newsprint as they were given prior to the reduction made at the time of the fuel crisis. I regret that the present supply position does not permit any increase in the amount of paper which these weekly newspapers can be allowed to consume.

Us Motorcars (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many U.S. motorcars have been imported into this country through the Irish Free State in the last 12 month; and what supervision exists to prevent their resale in this country at exorbitant prices.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. Shawcross) on 11th February. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply, that there is no Government control on the prices of either new or used private motorcars in the United Kingdom.

Paper (Government Requirements)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what has the percentage of Government requirements of paper in each paper-rationing period for the last 12 months been in relation to the total output of the mills; and how do these requirements compare with those of 1938.

The estimated Government requirements for the 12 months ended February last amounted to 70,000 tons as against approximately 40,000 tons in 1939. The percentages of total production represented by these requirements for each of the three allocation periods to February, 1947, are 5.6. 4.7 and 4.7.

Armed Forces (Transmitting Stations, Colombo)

asked the Minister of Defence whether he is aware that the Admiralty, the Army and the R.A.F. all maintain transmitting stations at Colombo; whether the work they now have to do could be performed by one station; and what is the cost of the upkeep of these three stations.

I am aware that the three Service Departments all maintain transmitting stations at Colombo, but I am satisfied that there is work for all three and that there is nothing to be gained by amalgamating them. Particulars of their total cost are not immediately available and could not be obtained without a disproportionate amount of work.

Coal Output

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what was the total output of saleable coal from the collieries for the week commencing 5th May.

The provisional figure for the output of deep-mined saleable coal for the week ended 10th May is 3,552,600 tons. Holidays in Scotland during this week accounted for an estimated loss in output of 162,930 tons and disputes for 100,260 tons, of which the Durham dispute accounted for 86,240 tons.

Income Tax And Death Duties

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the extra statutory wartime concessions, No. 6 (Income Tax) and No. 2 (1) (Death Duties), which relate to compulsory remittances of foreign currency and requisitions of foreign securities under the Defence (Finance) Regulations, will apply to remittances a:-id requisitions under the Exchange Control Act.

For the time being these concessions will continue and will apply to compulsory remittances and requisitions, whether under the Defence (Finance) Regulations or under the Exchange Control Act. But this must be regarded as a purely temporary measure, and I propose later in the year to review the matter and to fix a definite date for the withdrawal of the concessions.

Roads

Speed Limits

asked the Minister of Transport if he will now make a statement on the revocation of the wartime exemption as to speed limits.

I gave notice on 13th May in the London and Edinburgh Gazettes of my intention to revoke the Motor Vehicles (Variation of Speed Limits) Provisional Regulations, 1940. These regulations conferred upon service vehicles a general exemption from the speed limits imposed by the Road Traffic Act, 1930. The proposed regulations will restore the prewar position under which only certain specialised service vehicles were exempted.

Motor Vehicle Licences

asked the Minister of Transport the number of motor-propelled vehicles, of all descriptions, licensed in the years 1938 and 1946, in the classes 8–12 h.p., 14–20 h.p., 22 h.p., and more.

Mr. BARNES, pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, I2th March, 1947, Vol. 434, c. 218], made the following statement:

Numbers of cars, etc., taxed on horsepower for which licences were current at any time during the quarter ended 30th September, 1946. The 1938 figures (quoted earlier) are shown for purposes of comparison.
OverNot over19461938
8 h.p.578,716556,864
812 h.p.865,503867,275
1214 h.p.145,283197,893
1420 h.p.117,334213,205
2022 h.p.14,76026,448
2248,33882,706
Totals1,769,9341,944,391

Scotch Whisky (Wholesale Prices)

18.

asked the Minister of Food in view of the Government's decision to increase the export of Scotch whisky and to decrease the amount available for distribution in the United Kingdom, what is now the price per bottle at which whisky is shipped to the U.S.A., compared with the cost of a similar bottle to a British subject resident in the United Kingdom, based on the wholesale controlled price.

I understand that the wholesale price of Scotch whisky for home consumption is 4s. 3½d. per bottle not including duty and that the ruling export price is per bottle. The price of whisky both for, sale in this country and for export, is, however, a matter for the trade to decide, and the Scotch Whisky Association has recently issued a statement on this question.

Food Supplies

Carrots From Usa

asked the Minister of Food what quantity of carrots has been ordered or received from the U.S.A. in the past six months; and what is its value.

No carrots have been imported by my Department. We know that there have been some imports from the U.S.A. during the past month, under open general licence, but no official statistics are available as yet.

Imported Fruits

asked the Minister of Food which fruits and vegetables are purchased in bulk by His Majesty's Government; and which of these are subject to an ad valorem duty or Purchase Tax.

Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, apples and bananas but no vegetables are imported by the Ministry of Food. Of these, only lemons and oranges from non-Empire sources are subject to the ad valorem import duty of 1O per cent., which is levied on lemons throughout the year and on oranges from 1st December to 31st March. There is no Purchase Tax on fruit or vegetables.