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Written Answers

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 17th July, 1947

Trade And Commerce

Steel (Export Orders)

1.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will issue an export licence to enable steel ordered by Soren Hogh, Limited, Copenhagen, to be exported to Denmark to enable repairs to dairies and slaughterhouses to take place.

No export licence is necessary, and steelmakers are free to fulfil export orders within the limits of their export allocation

Tyres (Licences)

8.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if there has been any alteration recently in the allocation of tyres to commercial and private vehicles; if there has been a change in the relative allocation as between the two main classes of users; and if there is a possibility of increasing the allocation to commercial users.

Tyres are not subject to official allocation. The acquisition of new suitable tyres for motor cars is limited by licence to essential users such as owners of small commercial vehicles and E petrol coupon holders. This restriction will be relaxed as soon as there are adequate suplies to meet the requirements of the more essential users.

Utility Furniture

9.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now consider admitting middle-aged refurnishers to the priority class for utility furniture.

No. The supplies of utility furniture do not admit of any extension of the present priority classes.

Ladies' Shoes

12.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the shortage of wide-fitting ladies' shoes with glace kid uppers; and what steps he is taking to remedy this position.

The manufacturers are encouraged and given all practicable help to make adequate supplies of wide-fitting shoes, but the supply position of glace kid means that at present a proportion of the production must have uppers of other leather. Supplies of glace kid are now improving.

Gas Works, Oxford (Extension)

34.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what representations he has received and from what bodies concerning the proposed extension of the Oxford Gas Works; and whether he will make a statement.

Representations against the proposed extension of the Oxford Gas Works have been received from nine organisations and public bodies and a large number of individuals. Consultations are taking place with the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Scottish Coal Exports

36.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what tonnage of coal produced in Scotland has been exported for the six months ended 30th June; the countries to which it was exported; and the amounts they received.

Following is the information:

COAL EXPORTED FROM PORTS IN SCOTLAND—JANUARY-MAY, 1947.
Destination5 months ended 31st May, 1947
Eire16,330
Finland50
Sweden788
Iceland2
Denmark14,906
Faroe Islands665
Portugal8,930
Spain4,404
Italy2,196
Algeria1,930
Tunis6,426
Total56,627 tons
The greater part of this tonnage was exported before the export ban was imposed and shipments for the months of March, April and May totalled only 4,769 tons. The figures for June, 1947, are not yet available. With the exception of the small shipment to the Faroe Islands, all the coal exported was of very inferior quality.

Overseas Tourists (Petrol)

3.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what conditions he has imposed governing the issue of petrol to tourists to this country; and why the international branch of the Automobile Association in Washington D.C. and the London Petroleum Board appear to have been given contrary instructions.

Overseas visitors who bring a car or motor cycle with them can obtain a basic ration book when they arrive in port. In addition, as announced on Tuesday last, extra coupons will also be granted to cover one return journey between the port of arrival and the tourist's furthest destination. Both the basic ration book and these extra coupons are issued by the A.A., the R.A.C. and the R.S.A.C. Extra allowances for business purposes are, however, issued by the regional petroleum officer and visitors can obtain the necessary application form at the port of arrival. With regard to the second part of the Question regional petroleum officers are well acquainted

employment exchange>Numbers of insured persons registered as unemployed at 16th June, 1947.Numbers (included in preceding column) who had been continuously on the registers for more than six months.
Males.Females.Total.Males.Females.Total.
Whitehaven332483801757182
Cleator Moor21726243117117
Millom1552022
The numbers of unemployed disabled persons on the Disabled Persons Register at 16th June were as follows:

Males.Females.Total.
Whitehaven2172219
Cleator Moor.104104
Millom1919

with this procedure and full particulars have been supplied to the American A.A. and other motorists' organisations abroad. In the circumstances there should be no question of conflicting information being given to visitors but if the hon. Member knows of any case where confusion has arisen I shall be glad to look into the matter.

Employment

Unemployment (South Cumberland)

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of unemployed signing the registers at Whitehaven, Cleator Moor and Millom, on the latest available date, showing male and female separately; how many have been unemployed six months and over; how many disabled persons are still signing on and for what periods; and what prospects there are of the unemployed being absorbed in the near future.

The following Table shows the numbers of insured males and females (excluding persons classified as unsuitable for ordinary employment and disabled persons requiring employment under special conditions) registered as unemployed at the Whitehaven, Cleator Moor and Millom Employment Exchanges al 16th June, 1947, and the numbers of such persons who had been continuously on the register for more than six months:These figures include uninsured as well as insured persons, and the figures for males include 31, 29 and 9 respectively, who required employment under special conditions. An analysis according to duration of unemployment is available only in respect of insured unemployed persons on the Disabled Persons Register who were suitable for ordinary employment. The figures for 16th June were as follows:

Numbers of insured persons, suitable for ordinary employment, on the Disabled Persons Register at 16th June, who had been continuously on the Register for the undermentioned periods.
Employment Exchange.Not more than 3 monthsMore than 3 but not more than 6 months.More than 6 but not more than 9 months.More than 9 but not more than 12 months.More than 12 months.Total
Whitehaven411922989180
Cleator Moot1411284075
Millom441110
As regards the last part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Debate on the Adjournment on 3rd April, to which, at the moment, there is nothing to add.

Building Draughtsmanship (Training)

45.

asked the Minister of Labour, how many applications his Department has received for training in building draughtsmanship; and if his Department will arrange such courses.

Draughtsmen employed on building work are, as a rule, persons who have commenced but not yet completed their professional architectural studies. In these circumstances it has not been considered appropriate to provide special training facilities for what is only an intermediate standard. Under the Further Education and Training Scheme 3,476 persons had received grants up to 30th June, 1947, to pursue their studies in architecture.

Productive Workers, Sheffield

asked the Minister of Labour the approximate percentage of the industrial community of Sheffield that is engaged in productive employment after 6 p.m. on Friday evenings.

It is estimated that approximately 6 per cent. of the insured population of Sheffield and district are employed in manufacturing or extractive industries after 6 p.m. on Friday evenings.

Tuc (Special Crisis Committee)

asked the Minister of Labour if he will consider appointing an official observer to the T.U.C. Special Crisis Committee in view of the fact that its recommendations are to be reported to the Cabinet Planning Committee.

No, Sir, it is not for me to intervene in the deliberations of the T.U.C.

International Labour Conference (Industrial Relations)

56.

asked the Minister of Labour why the British Government's delegation to the I.L.O. voted against an amendment which sought to protect workers who were members or officials of a trade union from being discriminated against; and whether this conforms with the Government's policy.

The Amendment in question was limited to the narrow question of nondiscrimination against members or officials of trade unions in Non-Metropolitan Territories. The United Kingdom Government representative expressed the complete agreement of His Majesty's Government with the principle of the proposed Amendment. The matter is, however, being considered by the International Labour Conference in a wider context with a view to comprehensive provision being made on all aspects of freedom of association and industrial relations in a general Convention or Conventions, and the inclusion of this provision in a Convention limited to Non-Metropolitan Territories might have prejudiced the wider discussions. Moreover, the Amendment in the form in which it was put forward would have given rise to considerable difficulties in application and its acceptance might, therefore, have imperilled the passage of the Convention in question or, if passed, its ratification. For these reasons the United Kingdom representative considered the proposal to be undesirable in connection with the Convention in question, but he made it quite clear that the United Kingdom Government would make its full contribution to the drafting of a comprehensive and workable general Convention on this subject.

National Service (Agricultural Work)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that young men intending to take up other careers sometimes become engaged in agriculture, pending call-up; that they are then neither called up nor allowed to leave agriculture; for what length of time they must remain in agriculture to avoid liability for call-up; or if he will arrange for them to he called up immediately.

No case of this kind has been brought to my notice, but if the hon. Member will let me have particulars which will enable me to identify the individuals concerned, I shall be glad to look into the matter.

National Finance

Currency Offences (Prosecutions)

57.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many individual cases foreign currency was provided in 1946, distinguishing between pleasure and business purposes; and how many convictions have since been obtained for irregular currency transactions.

About 295,000 noncommercial and 49,000 commercial cases in 1946. Thirty-six convictions have been obtained so far in 1947.

65.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the number of persons convicted during the 12 months ended 30th June, 1947, for currency offences committed while abroad; the total amount involved; the number sentenced to imprisonment; and the aggregate fines imposed.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3rd July to my hon. Friend the member for Upton (Mr. A. Lewis). There were no prosecutions for these offences in the last six months of 1946.

War Damage (Outstanding Liabilities)

58.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer since the war damage insurance account is now exhausted and there are still some £700 million in claims to be paid, how the Government proposes to meet these liabilities without causing further serious inflation.

By paying these sums gradually and by encouraging the recipients to save. Outstanding liabilities are about £100 million less than the hon Member supposes.

Sterling Balances

59.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the balance of payments as between the United Kingdom and Australia at the present time.

On current accou:at the United Kingdom surplus with Australia was about £20 million in 1946 and is expected to be about £10 million in 1947. This excludes payments arising from the war or from transactions in wool not for United Kingdom consumption. Australia has a surplus on current account if her trade with all countries is brought into the reckoning.

Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement

61.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the amount to be released to the Royal Egyptian Govern talent under Article 6 (a) and 6 (b), respectively, of the Annex to the Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement.

Under 6 (a) about £12 million, but only a small part of this is likely to fall due during the currency of the Agreement. Under 6 (b) payments must be made and statements submitted by the Egyptian Government before any amounts are released. No such claims have yet been received.

62.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what balance under the Hard Currency Agreement will become available to the Royal Egyptian Government under Article IV 1 (b) of the Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement.

63.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now give an estimate of the total amount of convertible currency to be released to Egypt by 31st December, 1947, under the Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the figures contained in the Agreement. These are maxima.

National Savinggs (Encashments)

60.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the great increase during recent weeks in the cashing of saving certificates and withdrawals from savings bank deposits; and what remedial action he proposes to take to discourage this tendency.

Encashments are not abnormally high for this time of year, when many people are taking holidays. But my right hon. Friend would be glad to see an improvement in the savings figures, and he is sure that the Savings Movement will make every effort to achieve their target of £366 millions of net savings this year, and that they will be supported by all sections of the community.

Securities (Government Holdings)

64.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what loss has been suffered in respect of Treasury 2½2 per cent. Stock purchased by the Government during the last two years, in view of the fall in price of such stock on the market.

Changes in market price cause neither profit nor loss unless the securities are realised. I am not prepared to add to the information regularly published regarding securities held by Government Departments.

British Shipping (Film)

66.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on what date the consent of the Chilean Government for Mr. Humphrey Swingler and his colleagues to photograph the harbour of Valparaiso was received at the British Embassy, Santiago; and on what date Mr. Swingler and his colleagues departed from Chile.

The British Embassy at Santiago informed the Foreign Office on 10th March, 1947, that all facilities for the unit to film had been obtained. The unit left Chile on 7th April, 1947.

Purchase Tax (Football Pools)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer at what period during the 1946–47 football pool season he decided that football pool promoters were liable to Purchase Tax payments for coupons sold to the public; what was the total amount claimed and paid; and what action he took to prevent patrons of these pools paying such Purchase Tax twice by the action of the pools in deducting the amounts of Purchase Tax so claimed from weekly revenues received, following his decision that coupon sales were liable to Purchase Tax.

Last winter it was found that some football pools were not paying Purchase Tax on coupons printed on their own paper and they were informed of their liability. No separate figures are available of the amount of the tax on such coupons. The liability to tax is on the pools; how they recover that and other expenses from their patrons is no concern of the Revenue.

Emigrants (Exchange Allowance)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why there is no difference between the amount of currency permitted to be taken abroad by married and unmarried emigrants; and whether he will permit an increased amount in the case of married men.

The exchange allowance of £5,000 over four years was settled as reasonable for a family; for simplicity of administration it also applies to unmarried emigrants.

Dartmoor Prison (Escapes)

70.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many escapes have taken place from Dartmoor prison for each of the nine months from October, 1946, to June, 1947, respectively; and the length of time each of the men concerned was at large.

In six of the nine months there were no escapes. In November one man was away for two hours and four men for 24 hours: in January four Borstal inmates were away from a few to 24: and in April two men were away for one and three-quarters hours.

Housing

Agricultural Workers

72.

asked the Minister of Health how many permanent houses completed during May have been allocated for agricultural workers; and what percentage this number forms of the total number of permanent houses completed during that month.

I regret that figures are not available for the month of May. Information is, however, now being obtained from local authorities in connection with the monthly returns and will be available in respect of months from June onwards.

Orlit Houses

74.

asked the Minister of Health how many local authorities had Orlit permanent prefabricated houses in course of construction at the most recent date; and whether he is satisfied with the rate of progress in completing houses of this type.

Thirty-five authorities had Orlit houses under construction on 31st May, 1947. There are no special difficulties with this type of house but in some places shortage of labour is delaying schemes.

Timber

76.

asked the Minister of Health why, in his recent letter to housing authorities on the subject of imports of softwood, no mention is made of prospective purchases from British Guiana, British Honduras and other sources of supply in the British Colonial Empire; whether supplies are expected from these sources; and what are the estimated quantities involved.

The timber obtainable from the Colonial Empire is almost entirely hardwood, and no softwood suitable for housing is available from this source.

asked the Minister of Health what supplies of timber are available for house building; what supplies are to be imported in the near future and from which countries; and for how many houses he expects to have timber available for the 1947 housing programme.

Some 81,000 standards of softwood have been allocated for housing purposes in the current quarter With regard to future supplies, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Trade in reply to a question by the hon. Member for South Aberdeen (Lady Grant) on 19th May. I cannot, however, anticipate the allocation of timber for housing in the last quarter of this year, nor the extent to which this timber will be used for houses in the 1947 programme.

Airey Houses

asked the Minister of Health, whether Airey rural houses are to be supplemental to local authorities programmes fixed by zonal conferences.

A large number of Airey houses are already included in these programmes. Supplementary allocations may be made where production permits and sites are available.

Public Health

Nurses (Recruitment)

73.

asked the Minister of Health if he will stimulate recruitment for the nursing profession by supplying a smart walking-out uniform for nurses.

I doubt whether most nurses wish to wear uniform off duty. But for those who do there is an official uniform authorised by the General Nursing Council. Its design is now being revised.

Regional Hospital Boards

75.

asked the Minister of Health, why no one representing any Dorset hospital has been appointed to the Regional Hospital Board for the South-West Metropolitan area No. 8.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of. Ely (Major Legge-Bourke) on 10th July, of which I am sending him a copy.

Water Supply, Colwyn Rural District

79.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the council houses, school and farms in Howey, in the Colwyn rural district, have had no water supply for at least two months and despite complaints to the council and the Welsh Board of Health the position is getting more serious; and whether he will cause inquiries to be made as well as supplying water immediately to these places.

The supply has been interrupted by a breakdown of the pumping plant. The District Council have arranged for the plant to be overhauled and repaired and for water to be carted to premises without a supply. One of my inspectors is visiting the area to discuss with the Council the measures required to avoid further breakdowns.

Milk And Dairies Act

asked the Minister of Health when he proposes to bring into operation the Food and Drugs (Milk and Dairies) Act.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and I have come to the conclusion with regret that technical difficulties make it impracticable to bring the Act into operation this year. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular in which local Authorities were recently informed of this decision.

Reports On Nursing

7.

asked the Minister of Health when the Working Party Report on Nursing is to be published; and whether the publication will contain the full Minority Report.

I have not yet received this Report, but I expect to do so in a few days' time.

Student Nurses

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the General Nursing Council circularised hospital authorities in April urging that arrangements should be made for the resi- dence of all student nurses within their training schools; and whether this is in accordance with the policy of his Department.

I am sending the non. Member a copy of the General Nursing Council's circular, from which he will see that where student nurses cannot be accommodated in the training school and suitable accommodation outside is available, the Council do not object to student nurses being "non resident." This matter is one which is left by statute for decision by the General Nursing Council.

Electors Lists (Bbc Appeal)

71.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give details of arrangements made for the broadcast by the B.B.C. of an appeal to all citizens to make sure that their names are included on the Electoral Roll to be published at the beginning of August.

The electors lists will be published elsewhere than in Scotland on 12th August and in Scotland on 15th August. It is proposed to ask the B.B.C. to broadcast, after publication of the lists, advice to electors to examine the lists and to make a claim for inclusion if a name appears to have been wrongly omitted. An advertisement urging people to make sure of their vote will be inserted in the national and main provincial newspapers.

Export Of Houses

78.

asked the Minister of Health how many prefabricated houses have been exported; what plans are now being considered for future exports; to what countries these exports are going; what types of houses are concerned; and at what prices they are being sold.

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the reply made by my right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade on the subject to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) on 3rd April last. Consideration of any other proposals which may be submitted will depend on the prior satisfaction of home requirements.

Local Authorities' Loans

24.

asked the Minister of Health if the concession announced recently by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in respect to interest over 4¼ per cent. on loans from the Public Works Loan Board will involve any reduction of subsidy to local authorities making use of the concession.

I regret that this Question could not be answered exhaustively without an unwarrantable amount of detailed research as to the purposes of all the loans concerned. But the bulk of them are either for services (such as housing under most of the Acts later than that of 1919) which are aided by grants not requiring reduction because of any diminution of the loans charges, or are for services which do not directly attract any subsidy from the Exchequer. Loans under the Housing Act of 1919 were expressly excluded from the reduction because the benefit of relief under that heading would have gone largely to the Exchequer.

Education

Unesco (Committee Appointments)

81.

asked the Minister of Education whether it was on his nomination that Professor H. Laski and Mr. E. H. Carr were appointed as British members of the Committee set up by U.N.E.S.C.O. to define the philosophical basis for the rights of man.

No, Sir, these gentlemen were invited by U.N.E.S.C.O. to join the Committee as private individuals.

School Meals, Shropshire

80.

asked the Minister of Education how many village schools in Shropshire have no arrangements for providing midday meals; and when will midday meals be provided at Morville and Astley Abbots.

Of the 218 village schools in Shropshire, 119 are not at present provided with hot midday meals, but it is expected that canteens for 40 of these schools will be completed by next Easter, and schemes for a further 53 schools are in preparation. At Astley Abbots Church of England School it has been found that the water supply suffers from intermittent contaminaton, the source of which is uncertain. As soon as this is remedied the erection of the canteen will be put in hand. The scheme proposed for the Morville Church of England School had to be reviewed in the light of the school's future under the Development Plan, but the Ministry of Works is now being asked to erect the necessary scullery. It is not yet possible to forecast the date of completion.

Educational And Technical Books

82.

asked the Minister of Education what steps have been taken to secure surplus educational and technical books from the Services, in order to put them into civilian use.

I am in touch with my right hon. Friend, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, regarding the disposal of any surplus educational or technical books that may be handed over to His Majesty's Stationery Office by the Service Departments. They have already released a certain number and over 50,000 of these have been taken over by my Department for use in emergency training colleges.

British Commonwealth (History And Evolution)

83.

asked the Minister of Education whether, in view of the recent expansion of colonial development, policy measures will be adopted to encourage the teaching of colonial history and colonial economics in secondary schools; and if appropriate text books will be made available to meet demands from education committees.

It is certainly my desire to encourage the teaching of the history and evolution of the British Common-wealth and Empire in secondary schools, and the attention of the local education authorities and schools was specially called to this matter in the recent Circular on the New Secondary Education of which I am sending a copy to the hon. Member. The choice of text books is a matter for the teachers and school authorities. I am arranging to increase the supply of suitable material.

Schools For The Deaf

84.

asked the Minister of Education what proportion of entrants to special schools for the deaf are examined before admission by an ear specialist to ascertain the degree of deafness, suitability for training and whether any medical treatment is desirable; and whether, in future, he will insist that such examination is carried out in all cases.

Under the Handicapped Pupils and School Health Service Regulations, no child may be admitted to a school for the deaf unless an adequately qualified and experienced medical officer approved by me for the purpose has examined him and found him to be suitable for education in such a school. In all schools for the deaf arrangements must be made for the medical inspection, supervision and treatment of the pupils.

Burnham Salary Scales

85.

asked the Minister of Education if he is aware that there are a large number of teachers still awaiting decisions regarding the increments to which they are entitled under the Burnham Report now in force; what steps he is taking to expedite the consideration of these cases; and how long he anticipates it will be before all outstanding cases are settled.

I assume that the hon. Member refers to teachers whose claims for increment in respect of periods of study or training were held up for settlement pending necessary decisions by the Burnham Committee. These decisions were given in March last and since that date many cases have been disposed of. A fair number of cases still remain for settlement but as they require to be considered individually it may be some little time before all outstanding cases can be settled.

86.

asked the Minisster of Education whether he is aware that under the present Burnham scale there is no inducement to suitable graduates to teach in grammer schools, especially in the higher forms; and what steps he is taking to ensure that these salary figures are comparable with those in other fields.

While not accepting the suggestion in the first part of the Question, I am satisfied that the Burnham Committee are taking into account all the relevant considerations in framing their recommendations for salary scales to operate from 1st April next.

Poles, United Kingdom (Pay And Allowances)

89.

asked the Secretary of State for War the monthly expenditure, at present rates, on pay and allowances to the Polish Resettlement Corps, Polish personnel awaiting repatriation and those members who, as yet. are in neither group.

Including personnel administered by the Admiralty and Air Ministry, the present approximate monthly xpenditure on pay and allowances is: for Polish Resettlement Forces, £880,000; for Poles awaiting repatriation, £110,000: for those who are as yet in neither group, £350,000. Those figures cover personnel overseas as well as in this country.

Ministry Of Works

University Building Requirements (Labour)

87.

asked the Minister of Works what building labour has been allocated to the extension of existing universities.

The amount of building and civil engineering labour expected to he available for the building requirements of the universities for the current year is approximately 3,250 men

Building Labour, Coventry

88.

asked the Minister of Works what is the total amount of building labour available in Coventry; how much is actually engaged in house construction and how much on factory repairs; and whether he will arrange for a special investigation to be made in order to ensure that no building workers are employed superfluously on factory maintenance staff when they could be employed to better effect in carrying out Coventry's housing programme.

At the latest date for which information is available, 5,244 operatives were employed in Coventry by building and civil engineering contractors, of whom 3,151 were employed on housing work of all kinds, including 1,952 on new construction, 908 on adaptations and conversions and 291 on repairs. In the course of a special inquiry made last November it was found that the number of men employed on maintenance work in factories was about 1,000. In granting maintenance licences for such work my officers have in mind the necessity for ensuring that no building workers are employed unnecessarily and I should be glad to inquire into any particular case that my hon. Friend may have in mind.

Malayan Tin And Rubber (Dollar Earnings)

asked the Secretary or State for the Colonies if he will give an indication of the amount of dollars earned by the exports of tin and rubber, respectively, from the Malayan Union since the liberation of that territory; and what are the plans of his Department for increasing this dollar-earning capacity as rapidly as possible during the current year.

It is not possible to give an absolutely accurate answer to the first part of this Question, since not all trade between the Malayan Union and the Western Hemisphere passes direct I am, however, informed that tin to the value of rather over 8 million dollars has been shipped to the United States, and to the value of rather under 4½ miilion dollars to Canada, since the liberation of Malaya, and a further 1 million dollars' worth is in process of being shipped to the United States. His Majesty's Government have sold nearly 35 million dollars' worth of Malayan rubber to the United States and rather over 2 million dollars' worth to Canada. In addition private sales have been made to an amount which I cannot at present calculate. As regards the second part of the Question, every effort is being made to bring more Malayan tin mines hack into production. So far as rubber is concerned, there is no shortage of supplies of rubber and, as I have already stated in the House, His Majesty's Government hope that the United States will buy increasing quantities of Malayan rubber in future. As the trade, however, is entirely in private bands, there is very little that His Majesty's Government can do in the matter.

Food Supplies

Bread Units (Loose Coupons)

asked the Minister or Food if he is aware that bread rationing coupons inadvertently torn out of ration books by shops are refused by the assistants when their period of validity comes along; and if he will make a ruling to allow shops to accept loose bread rationing coupons

I am not aware that this is happening. One of the early measures taken to ease the burden of bread rationing was to allow retailers to give "change" when selling against a coupon of high bread unit value. This arrangement has not been withdrawn, and it necessarily involves the subsequent presentation and acceptance of some loose bread unit coupons

Eire Meat

asked the Minister or Food the comparative prices of fresh beet supplied from Eire and chilled beef from the Argentine; and if he will consider the removal of any existing penalties which prejudice the increased import of fresh beef and mutton from Eire.

The price now being paid to Eire for first quality beef is 1s. 0¼d. per 1b. delivered to this country. The price for first quality Argentine bone-in beef is 6⅛d. per 1b. f.o.b. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to my statement in the House on 1st July that new negotiations with Eire were soon to be initiated. It must not be inferred from this, however, that I accept the suggestion that there are any existing penalties which prejudice the increased import of fresh beef and mutton from Eire

China Tea

asked the Minister of Food whether he will make stocks of all China tea held in this country interchangeable between the re-export and home trades.

I regret that in the existing circumstances I am unable to allow our stocks to be further depleted by the re-export of China tea which was brought into this country on an undertaking by the importers that it would be used entirely for home consumption. I am proposing, however, to review the question in a few months' time when it is hoped that increased arrivals of Indian and Ceylon teas will have substantially restored the stock position.

asked the Minister of Food whether he will consider removing the ceiling price of China tea.

The ceiling price of 4s. 10d. per 1b. for China tea was imposed to stop speculative buying with its consequential inflation of prices. It is felt that if it were removed at the present time, when supplies of China tea are still short, there would be a substantial rise in Shanghai prices and this type of tea would become a luxury available only to those who could afford to pay high prices. In these circumstances I am not prepared to agree to the removal of the ceiling price.

asked the Minister of Food whether he will consider freeing from control all China tea imported into this country.

So long as the shortage of tea makes it necessary to continue the control of retail prices and distribution, supplies for consumption in this country must be treated as a whole and it is not practicable to differentiate between the various growths. To lift control in the case of China tea in particular would in all probability give rise to speculation and inflated prices in China.

Agriculture

University Degree Courses

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is in a position to make a statement on the Report of the Committee on Higher Agricultural Education, in the light of the consultations that have been taking place with the universities and other interested bodies.

Yes. The universities are sympathetic in principle with the Committee's proposals for raising the standard of degree courses in agriculture and horticulture and have carefully noted the detailed suggestions in the report relating to the form and content of the courses. The Committee's comprehensive plan for the development and allocation of graduate courses is generally acceptable to the universities, some of whom are hoping to introduce courses on the lines suggested this year or next.The main administrative recommendation of the Committee was that responsibility for grants in aid of higher agricultural and horticultural education at universities should be transferred from my Department to the University Grants Committee as from the beginning of the academic year 1947–48 on the understanding that the University Grants Committee would set up a specialist subcommittee to provide it with the necessary technical advice. After consultation with the universities and in agreement with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer I have accepted this recommendation. I shall naturally retain a close interest in the development of university teaching in agriculture and horticulture.The constitution of the Agricultural Sub-Committee appointed by the University Grants Committee is as follows:

  • Dr. A. E. Truman, F.R.S. (Chairman)
  • J. M. Caie, Esq., C.B.
  • Professor N. M. Comber, D.Sc.
  • Sir Frank Engledow, Kt., C.M.G., M.A., B.Sc.
  • Sir John Fryer, U.B.E., M.A.
  • Sir Bryner Jones, C.B., C.B.E., LL.D., M.Sc.
  • Dr. Thomas Loveday, M.A.
  • Professor H. A. D. Neville, M.A., B.sc.
  • Dr. W. G. Ogg, M.A.
  • Frank Rayns, Esq., O.B.E., M.A.
  • Professor E. R Rideal, M.B.E., F.R.S.
  • Sir Edward Salisbury, C.B.E., F.R.S., D.Sc.
  • Dr. Norman Wright, M.A

I should add that while we are in general agreement with the Higher Agricultural Education Committee's assessment of the nature of the need for agricultural and horticultural education at Universities neither my right hon. Friend nor I should be regarded as necessarily committed to acceptance of their views as to the future extent of the need. The Committee's recommendations relating to the nature of the provision of two-year courses to be made at Agricultural Colleges and the future of the National Diploma Examinations are still under consideration.

Crown Lands (Houses)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the bad condition of cottages at Lilley, Hertfordshire, which are under the control of the Commissioners of Crown Lands; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

There are 59 cottages at Lilley which were included in the purchase by the Commissioners of Crown Lands of the Estate in 1932, and the Commissioners are aware that the majority are old and small and do not come up to modern housing standards. The future of these cottages will have to be considered in due course. In the meantime, it is not possible to undertake any large scale programme of reconditioning without diverting labour and materials from the erection of new houses; but such steps as are possible are taken to keep the cottages weather-proof and in reasonable condition for occupation.

Wills And Bequests (Press Publication)

asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that the publication in the Press of information in regard to wills and bequests leads to an increasing number of burglaries; and if he will take steps to ensure that such publication shall not take place without the consent of the beneficiaries.

I am not aware of any increase in the number of burglaries owing to the publication of wills and bequests referred to by the hon. Member. In any event, there are no powers under which such publication can be prevented.

Post Office (Hours Of Work)

asked the Postmaster-General by what authority the industrial section of his Department has been permitted to introduce a 40-hour week whilst other grades are conditioned to a 48-hour week; and if he will make a statement.

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The working week for industrial staff generally in the Post Office is 44 Hours, excluding meal times. These are the hours in force in outside engineering industry and in other Government industrial establishments. As regards the grades now conditioned to a 48-hour week, I would refer the hon Member to the reply I gave to my hon Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) on 25th June last. But I crust point out that in this instance the 48 hours include meal times.

Germany

Displaced Poles (Newspapers)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, since Polish papers published in London cannot be placed on the list of papers approved for distribution to the Displaced Poles in Germany, and permission to send them to individuals is useless so long as there is no transfer of money for the subscription, he will grant to the Displaced Poles in the British zone in Germany a licence for publishing a paper of Lien own, as this has already been arranged since 1945 for the Germans in the three Western zones of occupation and, since 1946, for different groups of Displaced Persons in the U.S. zone.

No. The shortage of newsprint is too great to allow publication of a newspaper by displaced Poles in Germany. There is no objection to Polish newspapers published in London being placed on the approved list for distribution in Germany, provided they do not indulge in anti-Allied or anti-repatriation propaganda.

Unemployment

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the total number of persons employed in industry in what was the British zone of Germany as at 1st June last; what are the figures of unemployment, indicating adult male, female and juvenile, respectively; what are the total numbers of those not physically capable of working; and what are the official figures for unemployment.

(a) The total number of persons in the British Zone, excluding Land Bremen and the British Sector in Berlin, employed in industry on 30th June, 1947, was: 8,704,409.

( b) The unemployment figures for the same area on 30th June, 1947. are:

Males of 18 years and over:

Fully capable of work95,805
Partially capable of work86,774
182,579

Females of 18 years and over:

Fully capable of work40,078
Partially capable of work25,765
65,843

Juvenile males under 18 years:

Fully capable of work4,824
Partially capable of work4,129
8,953

juvenile females under 18 years:

Fully capable of work10,195
Partially capable of work6,662
16,857
Grand total274,232

( c) The numbers of those not physically capable of working are:

Males272,090
Females125,232
Juveniles10,591
Total407,913

Control Commission (Strength)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give the total number of persons employed by the Control Commission for Germany, as at 1st July; what proportion of these have been recruited within the last 24 and 12 months, respectively; and what was the strength of the Control Commission for Germany on 1st July, 1946.

The total strength of the British Element of the Control Commission in Germany on 1st July, 1946, and 1st July, 1947, respectively was as follows:

1st July, 1946.1st July, 1947.
Members of the Armed Forces15,5022,342
Civilians8,32818,759
23,83021,101
These figures include some 1,800 persons on 1st July, 1946, and some 3,000 on 1st July, 1947, who belonged to such organisations as North German Timber Control, and British Families Education Service; these are administered by the British Element of the Control Commission, but are not counted as part of it for manpower purposes. Of the 18,759 civilians in Germany at the beginning of this month, about 96 per cent, had been recruited to the Control Service during the previous 24 months and about 55 per cent. during the previous 12 months. Exact information as to numbers of members of the Armed Forces first posted to the Commission during the periods referred to is not available.

Russian-Born Wives

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will cause to be published as a White Paper, or will give in other convenient form, a detailed account of the written and oral representations made to the Soviet Government in support of the applications for exit permits made by the Russian wives of British subjects; the replies of the Soviet Government to such representations; and what further action he proposes to take.

Any decision in regard to publishing a detailed account must await the final answer from the Soviet Government, and this has not yet been received. As regard the last part of the question I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. M Lindsay) on 23rd June last

British Publications Ussr

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the British equivalent publication in Moscow to the Soviet News published by the Press Department of the Soviet Embassy in London; what is the circulation of such equivalent publication; and if he will state, in general terms, the status of the individual Soviet citizens and Soviet organisations receiving it.

There is in Moscow no British publication equivalent to "Soviet News" since we do not publish a daily news-sheet for free distribution by mail to Soviet citizens and institutions. The British Embassy's weekly publication "British Ally" is equivalent rather to "Soviet Weekly." The circulation of "British Ally" is 50,000. It is sold at two roubles per copy and is distributed throughout the U.S.S.R. by the Soviet agency, partly through subscriptions and partly by sale over the counter. It appears to be read chiefly by the Soviet intelligentsia and especially by teachers in universities and technical institutes and by readers in factory and service reading rooms. The British Embassy in Moscow also publishes every two months "British Chronicle," a collection of authoritative articles from the British Press on scientific, medical and sociological subjects and of summaries of White Papers and Ministers' speeches. The circulation of "British Chronicle" is 2,000.