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Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

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British Caribbean Airways


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the British Caribbean Airways, Limited, a British company registered in Jamaica, has been refused Jamaican designation as a scheduled carrier between Jamaica and the U.S.A.

I am still in correspondence with the Governor of Jamaica on this matter and am not aware that any final decision on the application of British Caribbean Airways has yet been taken.

Is the Secretary of State aware that while he has been in correspondence with the Governor other nations are, in fact, lifting the trade?

Public Meetings (Proclamation)


asked the Secretary f State for the Colonies whether the Proclamation recently issued by the Governor f Jamaica prohibiting public demonstrations has now been withdrawn.

In accordance with the terms of the Jamaica Public Meetings Law of 1939, the Proclamation ceased to have effect after one month. No new Proclamation has since been issued.

Commodity Prices (Subsidies)


asked the Secretary of state for the Colonies what action is being taken by the Government of Jamaica to subsidise the prices of essential commodities; what is the level of the cost-of-living index as compared with the level in 1945; and what changes have taken place in wage levels in the same period.

The Government of Jamaica has provided £100,000 in the current year's estimates for subsidising imported foodstuffs and £14,300 for purchasing local foodstuffs at guaranteed minimum prices. The cost of living stands at present at 190 as compared with 160 in June, 1945. Wage levels have increased by an average of about 20 per cent. in the same period. In the case of the workers employed by the sugar industry, however, the increase in rates has been over 25 per cent.

Regional Hospital Boards (Appointments)


asked the Prime Minister, if, in view of the fact that in the appointment of regional hospital boards, hon. Members of this House from one party only have been appointed, although hon. Members from other parties have similar qualifications of hospital work administration and management, he will set up a Select Committee to consider the effect of such political appointments on the hospital services of this country.

I repudiate the suggestion that these appointments are political; examination of the boards' membership will prove that persons with suitable experience have been chosen without any shadow of political exclusiveness. The last part of the Question, therefore, does not arise.

Is the Prime Minister aware that six members of this House, all Member of the right hon. Gentleman's Party, and four Members of another place, none of whom is Conservative, have been chosen to sit upon these boards; and is he further aware that such political appointments will mean an inevitable change in these hospital boards after the next General Election and will be to the detriment of the hospital service?

I do not think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has his facts correct. I believe there are five Members from this side of the House on these boards and from another place there is Lord Cunliffe, the Earl of Cran-brook, and Lord Henley, who are certainly not members of this party, and Lord Eustace Percy, a very eminent Conservative. I really do think that it is unjustifiable to complain just because now, after many years, some Labour people are appointed to these various boards.

Is the Prime Minister aware that some of the names on these boards, particularly in North Wales, have been received with perplexity, and may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman can tell the House why people who have given their lives to hospital service and whose names are well known are omitted?

I cannot tell the hon. Gentleman that. Perhaps they are too old.

Professional And Technical Training (Co-Ordination)


asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the present arrangements within the Ministry of Labour, the University Grants Committee, the Ministry of Education and other departments for ensuring an adequate supply of trained men and women for the professions and for higher posts in the field of technology; and whether, in any future White Paper on economic conditions, he will include a statement on this matter for the guidance of industry, the professions, university appointment boards and students entering on their careers.

I am satisfied that as rapid progress is being made with the expansion of facilities at schools, colleges and universities as is practicable under present conditions and that present arrangements for co-ordinating the work of the various departments concerned in this work are satisfactory. In order to estimate the needs of the various professions and industries, enquiries are being made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service, and the resulting information will be communicated to the universities and the Government Departments concerned. Careers pamphlets are available to the public. I am not prepared to say at present whether material on this subject could appropriately be included in a White Paper.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, apart from letters which have appeared in "The Times" and the "Manchester Guardian" this week on the subject, there is an immediate situation since the colleges of London are placarded with details of posts in science, teaching and industry, but these men are to be called up on 1st September? This is the urgency of the question, and could the Prime Minister look into it again?

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will let me know the exact point he wishes to raise and I will look into it. It does not arise on this Question.