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Written Answers

Volume 438: debated on Monday 9 June 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 9th June, 1947

Food Supplies

Catering Establishments (Racial Discrimination)


asked the Minister of Food what action he is taking by withholding of permits or otherwise, against hotels and other catering establishments, such as the Burlington, Cliftonville, Margate, which attempt to discriminate against prospective customers on racial grounds.

I am sure that we all abominate such racial discrimination as that practised by the Burlington Hotel, Cliftonville, Margate. I am advised that the powers entrusted to me by way of the withholding of permits and by other action, could be, and should be used if it is shown that such racial discrimination is sufficiently widespread in any area to jeopardise the equitable distribution of foodstuffs. I am examining the situatioin Margate in this respect.

Meat Subsidy


asked the Minister of Food what was the amount of the subsidy for the year 1946 on canned meat, fresh arid frozen home produced meat, and fresh and frozen imported meat, respectively.

The Ministry's accounts are prepared for financial years ending on 31st March. For the year ended 31st March, 1946, the subsidy on canned meat was £1.5 million, on home produced meat £24.6 million, and on imported carcase meat £6.4 million.

Sugar Consumption


asked the Minister of Food what was the consumption of sugar in 1946 for domestic, catering and manufacturing purposes, respectively.

I would refer the hon. Member to the written reply given to the hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. York) on 2nd April, 1947.

Tea Subsidy


asked the Minister of Food by what amount it is intended, as a result of the estimated increase in the price of tea to the consumer of £6,000,000 in a full year, to increase or decrease the subsidy on tea for the same period.

Scotch Seed Potatoes (Transport)


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that large quantities of seed potatoes sent by sea from Scotland to East Anglia arrived too late for planting this season and that a considerable proportion of them, in some cases amounting to one-third of the consignment, were contaminated by salt water; and whether he will take steps to ensure that in future seasons all Scotch seed potatoes travel to England by rail.

No. All seed potatoes sent by sea from Scotland to East Anglia have been delivered for planting, which is still going on in some places. I am not aware of any salt water damage. Out of 110,000 tons sent by sea there have been complaints of one kind or another about 2,000 tons, It is always our aim to send as much as possible by rail, but transport difficulties and other factors make it necessary to carry a substantial quantity by sea.

Bacon And Ham

11 and 12.

asked the Minister of Food (1) whether, in view of the fact that the recent reduction of 4d. a pound in the price of bacon will save the consumer only ½d. per week on the present ration, whilst, at the same time, substantially adding to the cost of food subsidies, he will review the present system of charging the public an uneconomic price for this commodity;(2) what is the reason for the recent reduction of 4d. a pound in the price of bacon; and, in view of the fact that this country is now obliged to pay more for Canadian and Danish bacon than 12 months ago and that British farmers have recently been granted an increase in the price of their pigs, to what extent this recent reduction will involve a further subsidisation of the cost of living.

The increase in the bacon subsidy was made as part of the Government's stabilisation policy. During 1947–48 the cost to the Exchequer will be about £6 millions this year.


asked the Minister of Food whether he will give a list of the present directors, deputy directors and assistant directors of the Bacon and Ham Division of his Department, indicating in each case whether these individuals were concerned with the production of bacon in Great Britain before the war or with firms principally engaged in the importation into this country of bacon from overseas; and whether he is satisfied that this staff possesses adequate experience with regard to bacon production in this country.

The undermentioned officers constitute the Directorate of the Bacon and Ham Division of my Department: Mr. John Loudon, Director of Bacon and Ham; Mr. P. S. Hall. Deputy Director of Bacon and Ham, Director of Bacon Imports; Mr. A. R. Watson, Director of Bacon Distribution; Dr. A. Calder, Director of Pig Supplies; Mr. T. Johnston, Director of Bacon Production; Mr. L. W. Dumper, Deputy Director of Bacon Distribution; Mr. L. Cluett, Assistant Director of Bacon Imports; Mr. P. Gale, Assistant Director of Bacon Production. Before joining my Department, Messrs. Watson, Calder, Johnston and Gale were concerned with the production of bacon in Great Britain, and Messrs. Loudon Hall, Dumper and Cluett were with firms principally engaged in importing bacon from overseas. I am entirely satisfied that the Directorate have the necessary experience of bacon production in this country.

asked the Minister of Food what machinery exists to ensure that the interests of British bacon production are given due weight in arriving at policy decisions by his Department with regard to bacon and ham.

My Department maintains close touch with all branches of the home bacon curing industry through the Bacon Marketing Board Committee which was appointed in 1944 to provide a single channel for consultation with the industry.



asked the Minister of Food the respective prices of a number of basic foods in 1921 and at the present time.

The Ministry of Labour Food Index, based on prices in July, 1914, as 100, touched a high point of 291 in November, 1920. This compares with 162 at present. Here are some examples of individual prices:

RETAIL PRICES (TO NEAREST ¼d.) (Per lb. unless otherwise stated).
1st November, 1920.31st May, 1947.
Thin Flank1
Chilled or Frozen—
Thin Flank6
Flour (per 6 lbs.)2213
Bread (per 3½ lbs.)9
(per 4 lbs.)14
Sugar (granulated)123
Milk (per quart)9
Potatoes (per 7 lbs.)11¾
Fresh (per dozen)5619
Ministry of Labour Index of retail Food Prices:
July, 1914 % 100291162 (at 1st May, 1947).



asked the Minister of Food the quantities of fish caught during the past forthnight; the quantity that was not used for human consumption and con- verted into fertiliser, etc.; and whether he will consider reducing the price in order that working-class housewives may be able to buy fish which is otherwise allowed to rot.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for raising this Question. In the fortnight which ended on 31st May, about 40,000 tons of fish was landed at the main ports and 94 per cent. of it was sold for human consumption. Of the remaining six per cent., only a tiny fraction was used for fertilisers. Most of this six per cent. went to manufacturers of animal feedingstuffs, and some for a purpose which is of the very greatest importance—the extraction of oil for making margarine. In order to stimulate sales and ensure that as much fish as possible reaches the housewife, I have just freed fishmongers from all licensing and purchasing controls. Fish prices are not fixed prices, but maximum prices, and there is nothing in my regulations to prevent them falling when supplies exceed demand. Where there is more fish than the retail market can take even at reduced prices, I am most anxious that the balance should not be wasted, and I am doing everything I can to encourage quick-freezing, oil extraction, and its use as animal feed.

Isolated Areas (Reserve Stocks)


asked the Minister of Food whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that families living in isolated districts were without food supplies for long periods during the winter; and what steps he proposes to take to allow these families to build up a reserve stock to prevent the recurrence of such conditions next winter

Local officers of my Department already have authority to allow families in isolated areas to lay in stocks of food by using coupons in advance. I am grateful to the hon. Member for giving me an opportunity to make it clear that these facilities exist, as I do not think the fact is universally known.

Milk (Children's Allowance)


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that the children of Newport and many other areas are only receiving one half-pint of milk per day; and when the full allowance of one pint per day will become available.

I am not aware that any child entitled to one pint of milk daily is not receiving it; but if my hon. Friend has heard of such a case and will let me have particulars I shall b' glad to make further inquiries.

Domestic Jam Making (Sugar Allowance)


asked the Minister of Food when further supplementary issues of sugar will be made for domestic jam making and preserving.

We shall make a special allowance of 1 lb. of sugar per ration book for domestic jam making and fruit preserving during the four weeks beginning 22nd June and a further 1 lb. per ration book during the four weeks beginning 20th July.

Confectionery (Distributive Margin)

asked the Minister of Food if he has considered the protest from the, West of Scotland Wholesale Confectioners' Association against the proposed cut of 20 per cent. in the distributive margin, with a request that the prices should be adjusted to meet the higher costs in their area; and whether, in view of the facts submitted by the association, he will reconsider the position.

Yes. A reply has been sent to the association. The percentage cut is an overall figure for the whole country. I have promised to give sympathetic consideration to any proposals which the trade may make to vary the cut to meet the varying conditions in different areas provided that such adjustments did not affect the total figure.

Colombian Coffee

asked the Minister of Food (1) what representations the Colombian Government have made regarding the establishment of a depot for Colombian coffee in London; and what observations on this project have been made by His Majesty's Government to the Colombian Government;(2), what facilities he has offered to the Colombian Government in order that they may establish a depot for Colombian coffee in London with a view to re-export to the Continent of Europe.

Arrangements have been made with the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia to enable them to establish an office in this country for the promotion of the sale of Colombian coffee to Europe, through London trade channels. Facilities have been provided by the Bank of England to cover exchange requirements. The Federation have made no request for a special depot, but are making use of ordinary public warehouses for the storing of their coffee. A request was received from the Federation that their London office should be recognised as an official dependency of the Colombian Embassy with similar privileges, but in view of the status of the office as a trading organisation this could not be conceded.


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the short supply of lentils; and, in view of their high nutritional value and easy facility for transport and storage, if he will arrange for a larger importation.

I am well aware of the shortage of lentils. There have, however, been no exports from India, the principal producer, for several years, and

Applications granted.Withdrawal on closure of business.Net Increase.
Food Retailers17,3755,84711,528
(a) Fish Friers963156807
(b)Hotels and Residential Establishments8,2262,4895,737
(c)Catering Establishments operating primarily for profit.14,4883,49410,994

Bread, Sunderland

asked the Minister of Food if he will take steps to prevent a recurrence of the hardship that was created in Sunderland over the Whitsuntide weekend when bakers, reporting a serious bread situation, found that in a large majority of cases wholesalers were unable to issue extra bread supplies to retailers and that the demand for bread was such that regular customers were unable to get normal supplies.

we are at present dependent on such supplies as may be available elsewhere. These are very limited, but a small supply has recently been allocated to the trade and, subject to price consideration, further purchases will be made when new crops become available.

Retailing And Catering Licences

asked the Minister of Food by whom he is advised when considering an application for the granting of a licence to open a hotel.

No Ministry of Food licence is required to open a hotel, as such, but unless the hotel is to be run on the ration books of its residents it will require a catering licence. I take the advice of the food control committee and divisional food officers who have a particular knowledge of local conditions and requirements.

asked the Minister of Food the net increase in food retailing and catering licences, respectively, for the 12 months ended 15th January, 1947.

I have made inquiries about the situation in Sunderland during the Whitsun weekend, but so far no reports have reached me of any shortage of bread. Under the scheme for limiting millers deliveries of flour during the six weeks ended on 7th June, arrangements were made by the Ministry for the issue of additional flour supplies, where necessary, to enable bakers to meet the demands of their customers for bread. Additional flour was provided in two cases for bakery firms in Sunderland under these arrangements. If my hon. Friend will let me have further particulars of any bakers in Sunderland who were unable to meet their customers' requirements, I shall be glad to make a further investigation into this question.


Indivisible Loads (Obstruction)


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the danger and obstruction to normal road traffic due to the increasing number of vehicles conveying abnormal indivisible loads; and whether he will withdraw S.R. & O., No. 987, 1941.

The movement of these loads is subject to the special safeguards contained in the Order referred to, which are designed to obviate danger and minimise obstruction. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

Parades (Petrol)


asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that, on Saturday, 17th May, a parade of 167 heavy vehicles took place in Bristol covering a route of 13 miles; how much petrol was used for this purpose; if the use of this petrol was in accordance with the conditions imposed when the coupons were issued; and what action he proposes to take to prevent such a misuse of petrol in the future.

No coupons were issued for fuel for the parade and I have no information regarding the quantity of fuel used. I am able to say that such parades have been few and I hope that the continued good sense and public spirit of the majority of road transport employers and employees will relieve me of any necessity of taking action to prevent the misuse of fuel which the parades involve.

Excursions (Peterborough Area)


asked the Minister of transport whether he is aware that the traffic commissioner of the Eastern area is interpreting Section 25 (2) of the Road Traffic Act, 1934, in such a way as to prevent weekly excursions being operated between Peterborough and outlying villages; and whether he will take steps to ensure that people living in such villages are not deprived in that way of a necessary amenity.

The traffic commissioners are not satisfied that the excursions to which the hon. Member refers can lawfully be run without road service licences. They have made temporary arrangements for the trips to continue pending the hearing of applications for such licences.

Traffic Regulations, Central London


asked the Minister of Transport if he will now make a statement on the results of the new regulations recently made for the control of traffic in Central London.

Whilst it is too early to express a considered judgment on the results of these regulations, observation of their effects indicates material improvement so far. In the more crowded streets, traffic movement has been freer, and congestion and delay have been reduced.

Aust-Beachley Ferry (Delays)


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that there is frequently a delay of two to three hours on the Aust-Beachley Ferry over the Severn before motorists can secure a passage, in spite of the fact that they arrive long before the scheduled times of departure; and whether he will arrange for the "Severn Queen" to operate on this journey as well as the "Severn King," which is the only boat at present.

I have no jurisdiction over this ferry which is privately owned and operated. I am informed that shortage of staff prevents a second vessel being operated at the present time.

Motor Vehicles (Us Manufacture)


asked the Minister of Transport the number of U.S.-made automobiles that have been registered under the Road Traffic Acts since January, 1945, to the last available date.


asked the Minister of Transport if he will consider taking legislative action to prevent the licensing under the Road Traffic Acts of U.S,-made motor cars purchased at the cost of dollars during the present shortage of the latter.

Temporary Bridges (Thames)


asked the Minister of Transport if he will consider the advisability of opening the temporary bridges, erected over the River Thames during the war period for the purpose of lessening the traffic congestion on London bridges.

I do not consider this desirable. None of the present bridges is being used to capacity.




asked the Minister of Transport what instructions have been issued by his Department affecting the making up of lost time by the drivers of passenger trains in order to try to maintain punctuality.

None, but I am informed that the companies' rules require drivers to regulate the running of their engines to ensure punctuality so far as practicable, care being taken to avoid excessive speed.

Reserved Compartment (Waterloo Train)


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that it is the practice to keep a first-class compartment locked and labelled "Not for Public Use" on the 4·35 train from Waterloo; and whether he will have this stopped and so allay the irritation of the ordinary citizens who are regular passengers on that train.

I am making inquiries and, with my hon. Friend's permission, will circulate the result in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Liverpool Street—Bishop's Stortford


asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that the 5.24 p.m. train from Liverpool Street to Broxbourne, Bishop's Stortford and stations beyond is habitually and grossly overcrowded; and whether he will take steps to improve the position.

I am informed that, on the average, 80–90 people are without seats when this train leaves Liverpool Street. Unfortunately, the train is made up to full carrying capacity and it is not possible to run a relief at present without detriment to even more heavily loaded branches.

Charges (Increases)


asked the Minister of Transport if he will now make a statement about an increase in railway fares.

I am not at present in a position to add to the statement which I made on 12th May in answer to a Question by the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield (Air-Commodore Harvey).

Treforest (Station Amenities)


asked the Minister of Transport the average number of passengers who use the Treforest Trading Estate station each week; whether he is aware of the total lack of shelter for passengers; that lavatory accommodation on this station is non-existent; and what steps he proposes to take to improve the amenities for workers travelling to the trading estate from this station.

I am informed that about 700 people use the halt every day. Two shelters are provided. The narrow platforms hamper the provision of lavatory accommodation, but this problem is being re-examined.

Children's Tickets


asked the Minister of Transport when he will be in a position to make a further statement on the question of cheap fares for juveniles.

I am not at present able to add to the answer which I gave on 12th May to my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Symonds).


Uk—South Africa


asked the Minister of Transport how many passenger ships and of what kinds are now in service between Great Britain and South Africa; how many people were awaiting passages either way, respectively, 12 months ago and now; at what rate this waiting list is being reduced; and when he expects to accommodate with passages those people now on the waiting list.

Eight passenger liners are in use on the South African service in addition to a number of cargo ships carrying a small number of passengers each. A further two passenger liners will complete reconversion for operation on this route before the end of the year. Figures are not available of the passengers waiting a year ago. The registrations for passages to South Africa today total 78,000 and the number is increasing by about 1,500 a month. Figures are not available of those awaiting homeward passage, but the position is somewhat easier than on the outward run. From now to the end of the year, some 21,500 outward passages will be provided, including 8,000 for emigrants, many of whom are included in the 78,000 registrations. Even with the return to commercial service of further ships previously used in the South African service, it must be some time before the waiting lists can be cleared.


Tenant Farmer (Notice To Quit)


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will investigate the notice to quit to Mr. Tom Mountain, of Beesley House Farm, North Thoresby, Lincolnshire, which he has worked satisfactorily for 18 years, and where there is a good herd of pedigree Lincoln Red cattle; and if he will give the tenant farmer every possible protection.

Yes I have already asked the county war agricultural executive committee to make an investigation into the landlord's application for my consent to the notice to quit served on this tenant, in the course of which both parties will have opportunity to state their cases in person. In the light of the committee's report, I shall in due course consider whether or not to give my consent under Defence Regulation 62 (4A).

Woodlands Census


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will give an assurance that no member of the staff of the Forestry Commission will enter private woodlands to obtain data for the current census of woodlands without reasonable notice first being given to the owner.

No. The technical staff engaged on the census will do their best to notify as many woodland owners as possible but in view of the time factor and the extensive inquiries which would be necessary to ascertain the ownership of all woodlands concerned it will not be possible to give prior notice in every case.

Fen Floods (Dutch Pumping Plant)


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will indicate the cost involved in ferrying over, and the use of, the Dutch pumping plant that was utilised during the recent floods for draining the flood-waters from the Fens.

This information is not yet available, but whatever the cost involved these pumps have made a very substantial contribution towards the clearance of water from more than a quarter of a million acres of land which, I am happy to say, it has been possible to place under crops this year.

Executive Committee, Bucks (Officials' Cars)

asked the Minister of Agriculture in view of the request made by the Bucks A.E.C. to the Aylesbury council to reserve, at reduced fees, one of the public motor car parks in the town for committee officers and his Department's officials, how many motor cars purchased or hired with public money are held by members connected with the committee; whether these are exclusively used in the public service; and how many and how often officials from his Department proceed to this area in official vehicles.

The request made to the council was that parking space should be reserved on reasonable terms for not more than six cars Thirty-two official cars have been provided for officers of the Buckinghamshire war agricultural executive committee and are used exclusively in the public service. In addition, 18 officers stationed at Aylesbury are authorised to use their own cars for journeys on official business. The information asked for in' the last part of the Question is not available.

Flood-Damaged Land (Acreage Payments)

asked the Minister of Agriculture the exact conditions on which payments will be made to farmers under the special acreage scheme for flood-damaged land; and whether such payments will be made in cases where the farmer is unable to crop for the 1947 harvest.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the terms of Clause r of the Agriculture (Emergency Payments) Bill which clearly exclude the making of acreage payments under the Bill in cases where the farmer is unable to crop for the 1947 harvest.


Anti-Erosion Measures


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what anti-erosion measures are carried out in Swaziland; approximately what proportion of the affected areas is covered by these measures; and what means are adopted for ensuring that farmers carry them out continuously.

In the land settlement areas scientific methods for the prevention of soil erosion are undertaken, and these provide demonstrations for neighbouring areas. For the rest, anti-erosion measures at present consist of the provision of additional water supplies in the native areas, and propaganda amongst both Europeans and natives on the correct method of conservation and farming by officers of the Agriculture Department. Legislation to enforce appropriate methods of soil conservation has been drafted and is under consideration. Further plans for afforestation and soil conservation are also under consideration in connection with the pro gramme of development to be undertaken with financial assistance provided under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act.

Land Settlement


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what measure of success has been attained in the resettlement schemes so far carried out in Swaziland; and what proportion of the landless population of Swaziland benefited from them.

My noble Friend is advised that very considerable and most encouraging progress has been made under the Native Land Settlement scheme. Eighty-one per cent. of the landless population will benefit from the scheme, which provides eventually for the settlement of 4,400 families. It is hoped that all the families will be permanently settled by 1956.

Ministry Of Supply

Agricultural Machinery (Steel)


asked the Minister of Supply what proportion of the steel allocated for 1947 is to be used for the manufacture and repair of agricultural machinery and implements.

Motor Cars (Beac Employees)


asked the Minister of Supply why special facilities are being given to B.E.A.C. to purchase motor cars for their employees which are not being offered to the public at Ministry of Supply sales.

Atomic Energy (Information)


asked the Minister of Supply when and in what form it is proposed to inform Parliament as to the extent of Government expenditure to date at Harwell Atomic Research and Development Station and the several purposes for which such expenditure has been incurred.

Subject to considerations of the public interest, Parliament will be kept fully informed of the progress of atomic energy in this country in accordance with normal Parliamentary procedure.


asked the Minister of Supply what objections he has to the organisation of an atomic energy train exhibition to tour Great Britain this autumn.

I have no sort of objection. Quite the contrary. There are, however, transport difficulties which I am discussing with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.


asked the Minister of Supply what representations or advice His Majesty's Government have received from the U.S. Government in connection with a proposed visit of Press representatives to His Majesty's Government's atomic research station at Harwell; what are the reasons for the postponement of the Press visit to Harwell research station; and whether he will give a categorical assurance that the public of Great Britain have access to all reasonable information concerning the peaceful development of atomic energy irrespective of advice tendered from other countries.

The answer to the first part of the Question is, "None." As to the second part, I do not think that the present is an opportune time for a Press visit to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. The answer to the third part is, "Yes."

Commercial Vehicles (Manufacture)


asked the Minister of Supply to what extent he regulates the proportion of light commercial vehicles manufactured in this country in relation to the total number of vehicles of all models produced.

This is not regulated; but in allocating steel to the motor industry, a measure of preferential treatment is given to manufacturers of commercial vehicles.

Nickel Spectacle Frames


asked the Minister of Supply if he is aware of the shortage of nickel spectacle frames; and what steps he proposes to take to increase supplies.

There is a general shortage of these frames, the manufacture of which is limited by the number of skilled men available. I am afraid that no rapid improvement is possible.

Cooking Apparatus (Production)


asked the Minister of Supply the number of coal-burning kitchen ranges, electric cookers and gas cookers produced in April, 1947.

Twenty thousand and eighty coal-burning ranges, 18,130 electric cookers, and 33,050 gas cookers were produced in April.

Heavy Industries, South Wales


asked the Minister of Supply whether he has any further statement to make on the future of the iron, steel and tinplate industries in South Wales, and, particularly, whether he will confirm the retention and consider the extension of the plant of Messrs. John Lysaghts, Limited, for wide cold-reduction steel at Newport.

Factories, Bootle And Drigg


asked the Minister of Supply if the Royal Ordnance Factories at Bootle and Drigg have as yet been allocated to the Board of Trade, or if he will state the date they will be available for likely applicants for the introduction of new industries.

The Bootle factory has now been released to the Board of Trade. As regards Drigg, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Reply which was given to him on 22nd May.

Hay Forks And Hand Hoes


asked the Minister of Supply if he will make immediately available to retail shops in. North Norfolk supplies of hay forks and hand hoes.

Yes. Arrangements have been made through the appropriate trade organisation for additional supplies to be made available in this area as soon as possible.

Motor Vehicles And Drivers (Ministers)

asked the Minister of Supply how many motor vehicles and drivers were at the disposal of Ministers on 1st May, 1945, 1st May, 1946, and 1st May, 1947, respectively.

The information is not readily available, and I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT as soon as it has been compiled.

Royal Ordnance Factories

asked the Minister of Supply which royal ordnance factories are managed by his Department and which are managed on his behalf by private undertakings.

South African Territories (Development)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs what amounts have been allocated from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund to Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland; and whether these territories benefit, in the administration of these funds; from the expert advice of committees and advisers at the Colonial Office.

As stated in Command Paper 6713, the amount which has been allocated to the High Commission Territories in South Africa under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act 1945, for the ten-year period up to 31st March. 1956, is £2,500,000. This will be divided equally between the three territories. In addition, the territories will benefit from the provision which is being made for central schemes, as explained in the despatch published in the Parliamentary Paper Command 6713. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.

Ministry Of Works

Building Alterations, Leicester


asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware that the Permanent Building Society have been granted a licence to spend a substantial sum of money in altering premises in Hal-ford Street, Leicester; on what grounds the work was considered necessary; and whether, in view of the necessity of avoiding all unnecessary building work at the present time, he will investigate the circumstances in which the licence was given.

The premises were occupied for six years by the Civil Defence Authority and are being converted for use as offices by the Co-operative Permanent Building Society who have to find new premises. The local authority agreed to the issue of a licence and most of the work is being carried out by specialist craftsmen.

Ici House (Electricity Charges)


asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that before he took over I.C.I. house, the charges for electricity averaged 1.448d. per unit, but under the new contract with Central London Electricity Limited, he has been paying an average price of 2.229d. per unit; and if he will explain this increased charge.

Yes. The prices paid for electricity at I.C.I. house since it was taken over for Government use are at the best terms on offer to new consumers in the area served by this Company. Owing to increased costs, the Company felt unable to apply to new agreements, or to the renewal of existing agreements, the favourable maximum demand tariff which operated in the I.C.I, agreement.



asked the Minister of Works if his attention has been called to the acute shortage of cement in East Kent; that, as a result, building operations are likely to be brought to a standstill; what steps are being taken to alleviate the situation and what degree of priority is being given to house building in the allocation of existing supplies.

I am not aware of specific representations with regard to East Kent, but there is at present a widespread shortage of cement resulting from the recent shortage of fuel. The rate of production is now increasing and the supply will soon, I hope, be reasonably adequate The industry have been asked to maintain supplies for housing work so far as that can be done without prejudice to works connected with the production and distribution of fuel and power.

Mobile Labour Force (Working Hours)


asked the Minister of Works what is the average number of hours worked during any typical recent week by a typical gang of his mobile building labour force.

The hours worked by the mobile labour force are as laid down in the National Working Rule Agreement of the building industry. These are in summer, 44, or 46½, according to locality.

Requisitioned Dwellings (Release)


asked the Minister of Works how many inexpensive flats and small houses were held by his Department on 30th April, 1947; and how many of these he estimates will be derequisitioned by 30th June, 1947.

The number of inexpensive flats and small houses held by my Department on 30th April was 1,571. It is estimated that 92 of these will be given up by the 30th June.

Building Repairs (Licensing)


asked the Minister of Works the number of licences and their value that have been granted for building repairs by his Department during the last monthly period for the London region; the number of licences and their value granted by the local authorities in the same period in the London region; and in each case, respectively, the amounts for housing and non-.housing repairs.

During April last my Ministry issued in the London region 3,719 licences totalling £2,368,011 in value for repairs. £2,343,730 was for non-housing and £24,281 for housing repairs. During the same period, local authorities in that region issued 32,112 licences for repairs totalling £2,748,955 in value of which £2,526,045 was for housing and £222,910 for non-housing work.


asked the Minister of Works in view of the serious position in which small and medium-sized maintenance builders find themselves, if he will extend the £10 limit to £100 for all maintenance repairs and facilitate the granting of licences for work and materials: and if he will make a statement.

The shortage of materials makes it inadvisable to relax the controls by which they are directed to essential work. Licensing authorities are instructed to use their licensing powers in order to avoid local unemployment.

Rubbish Disposal, Hyde Park


asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that the slight depression near the bathing pool in Hyde Park is being filled in with broken bottles, old iron and burned rubbish; and if he will at least dispense with the broken bottles in the interests of safety.

The practice has been to bury rubbish in depressions in order to dispose of it and at the same time to level the ground. I am considering whether less unsightly disposal arrangements can be made.


asked the Minister of Works if he will arrange for the more frequent collection of litter, paper and rubbish in Hyde Park, more particularly during the present hot weather; and if he will cause the broken glass to be collected from the vicinity of the North-West corner of the allotments since it has now been there for three years.

Over 40 men are employed each morning on the collection of litter in Hyde Park, and I do not feel justified in increasing the number. The broken glass in the vicinity of the North-West corner of the allotments has now been cleared and the ground dug over.

Sports Stadium, Rayleigh


asked the Minister of Works in what circumstances his regional officer at Cambridge agreed to the issue of a licence amounting to £7,000 for the construction of a sports stadium at Rayleigh, Essex; and if he will given an assurance that no material which might be used in construction of houses will be used in this project.

My regional officer at Cambridge has not agreed to the issue of a licence for the construction of a sports stadium at Rayleigh, Essex.

Crockery (School Canteens)

asked the Minister at Works whether, through the supplies division of his Department, he will expedite the supply of plates for school canteens, in view of the difficulty now experienced by education authorities in extending the meals service owing to the shortage of these articles which have, in one case, been on order from his Departments' pool for more than six months.

My Department is doing all it can to assist in supplies of crockery to school canteens. I am unable to trace the outstanding requisition to which my hon. Friend refers, but if he will furnish me with details I will make further inquiries.

New House Of Commons Building (Radio Reception)


asked the Minister of Works if it is proposed to include in the new House of Commons building adequate facilities for Members to listen to radio programmes.

I propose, at a later stage in the building operations, to consider in consultation with the authorities of the House the provision of facilities for radio reception.

Staunch Buildings, Edinburgh (Release)


asked the Minister of Works to which Departments the office accommodation at Staunch Buildings, Edinburgh, was offered before being finally released to the owners; and why it was not used to accommodate Departments t present occupying private dwelling houses in Edinburgh.

Staunch Buildings were under consideration for use by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland when the owners were given possession by the War Department.

Temporary Houses (Stocks)

asked the Minister of Works how many prefabricated houses are in stock at the present time for immediate delivery and of what types; and whether they are available for sale to private individuals in need of accommodation.

There are in stock about 6,790 temporary houses, 146 Swedish timber houses and 1,071 sets of structural components for Airey Rural Houses. Except for 22 Swedish houses required by the Foresry Commission, all have been allocated to housing authorities in Great Britain, and will be delivered as soon as sites are ready. None can be made available for sale to individuals.

British Embassy, Rome (New Building)

asked the Minister of Works whether it is intended to build the new Embassy in Rome on the site of the existing building; who is the architect; and where the plans can be seen.

Yes; the new building will be erected on the Embassy site but the architect has not yet been appointed.


Imported War Stores


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what was the total value of goods, including all warlike stores, imported into India between 1st September, 1939, and 31st August, 1945, for the use of His Majesty's Forces; what was the total duty paid; and what was the amount of drawback allowed on such goods when taken out of India for use in the various theatres of war.

In accordance with the financial arrangements with the Government of India relating to defence expenditure during the War which were announced in the House on 29th February, 1940, no account has been kept of the value of stores sent to or from India for the use of the Armed Forces. No customs duty was levied on military stores imported into India; and, therefore, no question of drawback arose.

Indian Army (Temporary Commission)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India, whether he is aware that Mr. A. A. Hayling was commissioned by the Commander-in-Chief, India, as from loth June, 1943, as a temporary Major; that he did the work and received and spent the pay of his rank in good faith for over two years; that his promotion was then cancelled for no intelligible reason; that he has since had Rs. 6,300 forcibly deducted from his pay in order to make good the overpayments alleged by the Army to have been made by its own error; and whether he will remedy this injustice by restoring the money and apologising to Mr. Hayling.

I have asked the Government of India for a full report, and on its receipt I will communicate further with my hon. and learned Friend.

Home Civil Service Candidates


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether, in view of the fact that members of the Indian Civil Service wishing to transfer to the Home Civil Service are being prevented by Provincial Governors in India from coming to the United Kingdom for interviews, he will make special arrangements for interviews in India, and if he will give an assurance that the position of these members of the Indian Civil Service as candidates for the Home Civil Service will not in any way be prejudiced by their inability to come to the United Kingdom for the interview.

The responsibility for the selection of candidates for entry into the Home Civil Service rests with the Civil Service Commission. The Commission have given sympathetic. consideration to the possibility of arranging for the selection to be carried out in India, but I am informed that they could not see their way to doing so. I am assured, however, that in those cases where it has been found necessary in the public interest to defer for a time the despatch of candidates to this country for interview, the delay will not prejudice their chances of success.

Transfer Of Power (Commercial Treaty)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether it is proposed to take any steps in the near future to plan a commercial treaty with India.

Proposals which were being considered on the basis of power being transferred in June, 1948, have now to be considered in the light of the Prime Minister's statement on Wednesday last. I am not at present in a position to say more on this subject.


War Damage Claims


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Burma the present position with regard to claims for war damage in respect of British concerns in Burma; what stage the proceedings have reached; and when a statement of the Government's views may be expected.

In pursuance of the policy announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies on 18th February, 1946, a War Damage Commission is now at work in Burma. They hope that it will be possible for them to submit a preliminary report to the Government of Burma by July. It will not be possible for His Majesty's Government to make any statement of their views until the Governments concerned have received the reports of all the Far Eastern Claims Commissions.

Civil Services (Compensation)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Burma when the terms of service for members of the Civil Service in Burma will be published.

I presume that the hon. Member is referring to the terms to be granted to members of the Civil Services in Burma appointed by the Secretary of State, whose appointments are terminated as a result of constitutional changes. This matter is still under discussion with the Government of Burma, and I regret that I am not yet in a position to add to the statement made by the Prime Minister on 30th April.

Greece (Guerrilla Attacks)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reports he has received from the British Police Mission in Greece of attacks by guerrillas on members of the Greek police force or their families during the last six months; and how many have lost their lives.

Complete reports for the whole of Greece are not at present available, but reports from the British Police Mission in Greece show that 136 attacks on the gendarmerie are known to have taken place in Macedonia and Thrace alone between the 1st December, 1945, and the 31st May, 1947. In the course of these attacks 136 officers and men were killed, and 167 wounded. The families of gendarmes are frequently threatened and families have in fact suffered savagely. It is, however, impossible to give precise figures because it is difficult to differentiate between terrorism directed against the civilian population in general, and that directed against the families of gendarmes.

Hungary (Political Developments)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on recent developments in Hungary.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a further statement to the House with regard to the recent coup d'état in Hungary; and whether he has instructed the British representative on the Allied Control Commission to protest against the action of the Soviet chairman in imposing a new Prime Minister on Hungary.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the British Mission in Budapest was fully consulted in reference to the recent negotiations with Mr. Nagy which resulted in his resignation from the premiership of Hungary and whether he will make a statement.

I understand that the immediate ca use of the crisis in Hungary was the receipt of a Note by the Hungarian Government on 29th May from the Soviet Chairman of the Allied Control Commission refusing a request which had been made by the Prime Minister for the return to the Hungarian authorities of Mr. Kovacs Bela, one-time Secretary-General of the Smallholders Party, who had been arrested by the Soviet authorities for alleged offences against the Soviet forces of occupation. It is alleged that during his imprisonment by the Soviet authorities Mr. Kovacs Bela made a number of statements discreditable to members of the Hungarian Government. On receipt of this communication, the Hungarian Prime Minister resigned and a new Government was formed under the previous Minister for War, Mr. Dinnyes.At no stage have either the British Representative on the Allied Control Commission or the British Political Represen- tative in Budapest been consulted by either the Soviet or Hungarian authorities, in spite of the fact that as one of the three Powers entrusted with the enforcement of the armistice with Hungary His Majesty's Government have a right to be consulted on such matters. I have, therefore, asked, through the British Representative on the Allied Control Commission in Budapest, to be furnished with copies of the documents concerned; so far they have not been provided. I have also instructed His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow to discuss the whole question with the Soviet Government with a view to obtaining an elucidation of what has occurred in Hungary and a clarification of Soviet policy towards that country.Pending receipt of the further information for which I am asking it would be premature for His Majesty's Government to pass judgment on what has happened. I can only say that we shall judge the new Government by its actions, and that His Majesty's Government hope that these changes in the structure of the Hungarian Government will not lead to any departure from the principles of Parliamentary democracy. Any such developments could not fail to have serious repercussions upon Anglo-Hungarian relations.


Denazification Proceedings


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is proposed that British representatives shall participate in the trials of wives of war criminals.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the denazification proceedings now being undertaken in the United States zone. No British representatives are participating in these proceedings, which, I understand, are a normal part of the denazification process which is in the hands of the Germans themselves.

Illegitimate Children (British Fathers)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if any further attention has been given to the desirability of the British Servicemen fathers of German children sharing the financial responsibility for those children; and whether any statistical information on this matter has now been gathered.

The whole question of illegitimate children of British fathers in Germany has recently been carefully reconsidered. A soldier serving in Germany can, without difficulty, now make voluntary payments for the maintenance of his child. Similar payments cannot at present be made from outside Germany, but these will be covered by a scheme for private remittances which is at present under discussion. The second part of the Question is for the Service authorities.

United Nations (Human Rights Commission)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the draft of any British document to be submitted to the Human Rights Commission will be first published in this country for the discussion and approval of the British people.

A United Kingdom draft International Bill of Human Rights has been prepared and will be presented to the Drafting Committee of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, meeting in New York today. I consider it desirable that this preliminary draft, which is of a very tentative nature, should come under public discussion and it has, therefore, been issued as a non-Parliamentary publication.

European Volunteer Workers (Domestics)


asked the Minister of Labour how many European volunteer workers have now been placed in domestic employment in farmers' households.

A large proportion of the initial batches of the European Volunteer Workers who are suitable for domestic work have had to be placed with the National Service Hostels Corporation for the running of the camps in which the E.V.Ws., including those recruited for industrial work, are themselves accommodated. Over 100 have, however, already been allocated to vacancies in farmers' households and about 170 have been allocated to fill urgent vacancies in the Women's Land Army hostels and in hostels conducted by the county agricultural committees.

Trade And Commerce

Anglo-Soviet Trade Talks


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement about the progress of negotiations for a trade pact with the U.S.S.R.

I have been asked to reply. I have at present nothing to add to the statement which was made on 12th May, by my hon. Friend the Secretary for Overseas Trade.

Household Linen


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the shortage of sheets and other household linen in the city of Aberdeen; and if he will increase the supply to that city and render it readily available by mitigating the difficulties created by the number of coupons required for these commodities.

An investigation into the supply of sheets in Aberdeen has been undertaken recently, from which it appears that supplies are reasonable there in relation to other parts of the country. I have no special information about the supply of other household linen but have no reason to suppose that these are more scarce in Aberdeen than elsewhere. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.

Catering Establishments (Crockery)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that there is a serious shortage of plain crockery in the public catering establishments in Aberdeen; that for those with seating capacity exceeding r,000 persons, only 52 dozen cups without saucers, plates or jugs were available during the last six months; and, in view of the pending holiday requirements for thousands of visitors, if he will make a priority allocation of such crockery for bona fide catering establishments in that city.

I know that, in common with other home market consumers, many catering establishments are short of crockery, but to arrange for a priority allocation for Aberdeen would mean depriving other consumers whose needs are equally great.

Paper Supplies (Foreign Publications)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any limitation is placed on the supply of paper desired for the purpose of publishing in this country, under the auspices of foreign Governments, information and news concerning their countries.

Yes. The restrictions imposed for the control of paper apply to such publications as well as to others, and any applications for relief are considered on the advice of the Departments concerned.

Rubber Dump Fire, Mitcham


asked the President of the Board of Trade how much rubber was destroyed by fire at Mitcham on the Government dump on 1st, 2nd and 3rd June; what was the value; whether it was insured; why was such a large accumulation permitted; and why was it not made available to industry sooner.

About 8,000 to 10,000 tons of scrap rubber, valued at from 140,000 to 150,000, was destroyed. The loss is covered by insurance. The dump at Mitcham is one of many set up during the war in various parts of the country to store rubber collected by local authorities. For economy in sorting, distribution and general management it is necessary to concentrate fairly large quantities on each dump. All the scrap has been offered to industry and the great bulk of the reclaimable material has been sold for future delivery.

Parachute Material (Disposal)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the procedure now in force regarding the disposal of parachutes and parachute material; and if he is satisfied that the stipulated procedure is being followed in all cases.

The procedure introduced last year for the disposal of parachute canopies hasrecently been changed. Under the new arrangements, which are now ready to operate, silk canopies will be disposed of through the silk trade. Other canopies will be distributed through the Surplus Textiles Corporation. Uncut parachute material in the piece has been disposed of like other surplus piece goods through normal trade channels.

Coal Industry

Durham Mineworkers (Ex-Gratia Payments)


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the text of the statement issued on 9th May by the National Coal Board concerning ex-gratia payments to certain trade unions.

Durham Winding Enginemen' S Strike

Having regard to the outstanding efforts made by mineworkers in the Durham area and by their unions to maintain coal production in the area during the interruption resulting from the strike of winding enginemen belonging to the Durham County Winders' Association (which is not associated with the National Union of Mineworkers and not recognised by the National Coal Board) and to the fact that many of such mineworkers have lost earnings as a result of this stoppage, the Northern Divisional Coal Board, with the concurrence of the National Coal Board, have decided to make an ex-gratia payment to reduce the loss of the men affected.

The Board have accordingly made available to the associations affiliated to the Durham County Mining Federation Board the sum of 150,000 to supplement whatever payment the unions may decide to make to those men who have suffered in this way.

9th May, 1947

Coal Board (Minister's Directions)


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what directions he has given to the National Coal Board under Section 3 (1) of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946; and how far the National Coal Board has given effect to such directions.

I would remind the hon. Member that there is provision in Section 54 of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946, for mention of any directions given to the Board in the Board's annual report, which is to be presented to Parliament. The appropriate occasion for the review of such directions would be when the report is presented, and I should deprecate their being held in review at more frequent intervals than is provided in the Act.

Vested Property


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what steps he has taken under Section 3 (4) of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946, to obtain information with respect to the property and activities of the National Coal Board and with what results; and what steps he has taken in pursuance of the powers granted to him by the said Section to verify the information.

Full information as to property which has vested in the Board under the Act is in course of being supplied to me under the Coal Industry Nationalisation (Options and Constitution of Compensation Units) Regulations, 1946 (S.R. & O. 1946 No. 1574); and statistical and other periodical returns, forming the basis of the Ministry's published summaries, are obtained from the Board under other provisions in the same way as they were obtained from mine owners in the past. The form of annual accounts to be presented by the Board and matters arising under Subsections (2) and (3) of Section 3 of the Coal Industry Nationalisation Act, 1946, are under discussion between my Department and the Board. No occasion has arisen to invoke the provisions of Subsection (4) of that Section.

Rumanian Oil


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if it is possible for Britain to obtain any oil now from Rumanian oil wells.

I regret to inform my hon. Friend that it has not been possible since the termination of hostilities to purchase any Rumanian oil for this country. This is mainly because of the large proportion of Rumanian oil exports which are absorbed by the U.S.S.R.

British Army

War Graves (Visits)


asked the Secretary of State for War when a general scheme will be introduced, applying to all services, for relatives to visit the graves of Servicemen who have been buried overseas.

I regret that I am not yet in a position to add to what I said in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Burslem (Mr. Edward Davies) on 13th May.

Vehicles, Knole Park Depot


asked the Secretary of State for War the number of disused vehicles of all descriptions which are lying and rotting at the back of Knole Park, near Sevenoaks; and why these are not made available to the public.

Approximately 5,000 vehicles are held at this depot, of which some 3,600 are required by the Army and are being moved to permanent Army depots. These vehicles are inspected regularly and maintained in a state of care and preservation as far as resources permit. I am making arrangements for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply to hold an auction in August at which the balance of approximately 1,400 vehicles will be sold.

Libya (Food Situation)


asked the Secretary of State for War how it is proposed to supply the large imports of grain needed in Libya owing to recent drought there.

Apart from a certain amount of maize, which it is hoped may be obtained from the Middle East through commercial channels, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food is endeavouring to make arrangements to supply the grain needed in Libya. As regards probable sources of supply, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 20th May to the hon. and gallant Member for Hythe (Brigadier Mackeson), to which I cannot at present add.

Foreign Tourists (Sterling Notes)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will indicate what amount of British currency is permitted to come to Great Britain from France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Switzerland; and what steps he is taking to persuade these countries to permit a more generous allowance, with a view to assisting the most free possible interchange of tourists.

The amounts in sterling notes allowed to tourists by these countries are, I understand, France Norway £1, Denmark nil, Holland £5 or less, Belgium £10 or less, Czechoslovakia £2. Tourists from Sweden and Switzerland are limited to £20 in sterling notes, but may bring in such larger sums in travellers' cheques. Since His Majesty's Government find it necessary, in order to conserve foreign exchange, to limit strictly the expenditure of British visitors abroad, I do not feel able at present to urge other Governments to relax the limits which they impose for the same reasons.

War Damage Repairs


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what steps are taken to ensure that the repair of war damage is efficiently performed when it is paid for by the War Damage Commission.

The responsibility for seeing that war damage repairs are properly carried out rests upon the building owner to whose order the works were executed. A cost of works claim upon the War Damage Commission may include the appropriate fees of an architect or surveyor employed by the claimant to supervise the execution of the work and to see that it is efficiently performed. The Commission cannot accept liability for the cost of remedying defective workmanship.

Entertainments Duty (Living Stage)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the yield of entertainments duty from the living stage in the last financial year, or in any other convenient period; and what proportion it bore to the total yield of Entertainments Duty.

Approximately £5½ millions in the financial year 1946–47; that is to say about 10 per cent. of the total yield of the Entertainments Duty in that year.

Registers Of Electors (Printing)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury to what extent His Majesty's Stationery Office and electoral registration officers are finding difficulty in placing contracts for the printing of lists and registers of electors; and what steps he is taking to divert the labour and materials at present employed in printing for pool organisations and betting industries to the printing of these lists and registers.

There is a temporary difficulty in parts of London and Surrey, which, however, should prove not insuperable.

Police Force Amalgamations (Chief Constables)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there have been any resignations from the police forces as a result of the compulsory amalgamations.

The only information I have on this point is that the chief constables of some of the non-county borough forces which were abolished by Section 1 of the Police Act, 1946, retired on 31st March last on the terms prescribed by the compensation regulations made under Section 11 of the Act.

Uganda (Buganda Deportees)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will now report on the position of the Buganda deportees from Uganda as shown by the Quarterly Review just completed.

I understand that the latest Quarterly Review is now on its way to me and I will communicate with the hon. Member when it is received.

Colonial Research Services (Candidates)

asked tilt Secretary of State for the Colonies why candidates for the proposed Colonial Medical Research Service have been kept waiting with promises of engagement, but without definite appointments and without salaries, in many instances up to six months, as exemplified in the case of a Master of Science of London University with qualifications of the first importance, who was informed, in June, 1946, that his candidature as an entomologist would be considered, was accepted for research work in September, 1946, and, relying upon this engagement, returned to England from Singapore, obtained his release from the Army and commenced preliminary work at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on 1st January, 1947, but has as yet received no appointment or salary.

I am aware that it has taken much time to settle the conditions and terms of service of he proposed Colonial Research Services, but that has been due largely to the very novel problems raised by the attempt to fit officers in an exceptional position into the establised practices of the public services I cannot accept the suggestion that a large number of officers have received promises of appointment from a responsible authority and have then been kept waiting indefinitely for their actual appointment. I am writing to the hon. Member about the case to which he refers.