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Written Answers

Volume 440: debated on Monday 21 July 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 21st July, 1947

Food Supplies

Strawberries (Price Control)


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that strawberries were not available in the shops immediately after the imposition of price controls on that commodity; and what steps he will take to prevent a similar occurrence next season.

This year price control was imposed on strawberries at the same time as pre-emption of part of the crop for jam manufacture. It was pre-emption which reduced the amount available for the shops. I have already announced that 1947 is to be the last year of preemption and also of price control for this fruit.

Tomatoes (Distribution)


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the grievance of retail greengrocers about the present system of pooling tomatoes, and that in many cases retailers who previously obtained satisfactory supplies from growers or wholesalers are no longer able to do so; and whether he will, at an early date, cancel the present system and allow the normal trade practices to be resumed.

I have received no general complaint that retail greengrocers cannot get a fair share of tomatoes because distribution is controlled. On the contrary, the Retail Fruit Trade Federation, the Co-operative Congress and the National Federation of Grocers, have all expressed the view that our scheme assures

Total claims made.Total claims admitted and paidClaims still under investigation
NoAmount claimed.No.Amount paid.No.Amount claimed.

Staff Recruitment

bona fide retailers a fairer share than they would otherwise receive when there is a shortage. I shall certainly withdraw this scheme when supplies at reasonable prices become sufficient to meet the demand.

Fruit-Preserving Appliances


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the continuing shortage of fruit-preserving appliances; and what steps will be taken to overcome this in order that advantage may be taken of this year's fruit crop.

I am well aware of the shortage, and my officers are doing all they can to help overcome it. For example, I understand that in the case of domestic preserving jars, the manufacturers hope to produce this year several times the prewar quantity.


Goods (Loss And Damage)


asked the Minister of Transport how many claims and for what total value have been made for losses of, and damage to, goods consigned, respectively, by goods and passenger trains from Chichester station during the three months ended 30th June; how many of such claims have been admitted; and what is the total sum paid out in respect of them.

The total number of claims is:of the following grades of railway staffs of the main line companies who have joined the service since the withdrawal of the Essential Work Order and up to 30th April last: conciliation staff, workshop staff and clerical and supervisory staff.

Recruitment of conciliation, workshop, clerical and supervisory staff, up to 30th April, for the main line railways was:

Section of Staff.Number.
Conciliation Stan47,731
Workshop Staff15,529
Clerical and Supervisory Staff8,762


Abnormal Loads (Westmorland)


asked the Minister of transport on how many occasions during 1947, authority was given under S.R. & O., 1941, No. 987, for special vehicles carrying abnormal indivisible loads to cross the county of Westmorland by road A6, both in a northward and southward direction; and how these figures compare approximately with similar traffic in 1938.

The Order gives general authority for passage of these loads. In certain circumstances, prior notification to the police and highway authority is required. In the period January-June, 1947, 105 such notifications were given, and in the comparable period of 1938, 69.



asked the Minister of Transport how many men were employed on classified road repairs in England and Wales at 30th June or other convenient date; and whether we will now suspend such repairs and release the men for other productive activities.

The information asked for in the first part of the Question is not readily available. The answer to the second part is "No." Expenditure on the maintenance of classified roads this year is being kept as low as is economically justified.


Cornish Sand (Transport Subsidy)


asked the Minister of Agriculture the amount of subsidy paid by the Government for the transport of sand from the beaches of Cornwall to the land in the years 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945 and 1946; and the amount of sand so delivered to the land in each of those years.

Following is the reply:

Year.†Approximate Quantity of Sand,Estimated Amount of Subsidy.
* Rock, Bude and Forth (St. Columb) Beacbes, and Harlyn, Constantine, Holywell and Mother Ivey's Bays.
† 1st June—31st May

Diploma Courses


asked the Minister of Agriculture how many diploma students were passed out from colleges of agriculture in the last 12 months; how this figure compares with the pre-war output; how many establishments there are providing diploma courses; and whether the existing facilities are considered to be adequate.

There are no figures available of the output of diploma students during the past twelve months. From information furnished by the teaching centres the number of 4tidents reading for diplomas during the present session is estimated at 841. The corresponding figure for the 1938–39 session was 666. The number of centres offering diploma courses during the present session is 10. Bearing in mind the requirements of men and women released from the Forces and other forms of national service, the existing facilities available for diploma courses and for other kinds of courses fall far short of the present abnormal demand. The long-term needs for two-year courses at the diploma level in relation to the provision to be made for degree courses and one-year courses was considered by the Committee on Higher Agricultural Education in England and Wales and as indicated in my reply to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Wing-Commander Millington) on 17th July, the recommendations of the Committee on the future of the National Diploma Examination are under consideration.

European Volunteer Workers (Payment)


asked the Minister of Agriculture why payment for unskilled Displaced Persons employed on farms has been fixed at the rate of 2s. an hour, which is higher than the minimum paid to British workers; whether he is aware that this is causing dissatisfaction among both farmers and workers; and whether he will take steps to remove this anomaly.

The rate charged to farmers for European volunteer workers in the employment of war agricultural executive committees is the same as that charged for other civilian workers, whether British or foreign, similarly employed. The charge for all committee workers covers, in addition to the wages paid to the workers, the cost of employer's contribution for National Insurance and other items, such as holidays with pay which are incurred by farmers themselves on behalf of their own employees. This practice is of long standing and generally well understood, and I see no reason to vary it.

Veterinary Inspectors (Salaries)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that widespread dissatisfaction is felt by veterinary officers of his Animal Health Division, expressed by resolutions recorded by the Central Veterinary Society and the Council of the National Veterinary Medical Association, with his decision regarding salaries and conditions of service; and, as this dissatisfaction must lead to increased reluctance on the part of veterinary surgeons to work for his Department, with resulting injury to the future welfare of the livestock industry, whether he will rectify this position.

I am, of course, aware of the views of the National Veterinary Medical Association, but I am satisfied that the salaries recently fixed for my veterinary inspectors (which are substantially higher than the salaries previously in operation) are reasonable in relation to the revised salaries of other scientific and technical officers of the Civil Service.

Derbyshire Holding (Disposession Order)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will inquire into the case of a farmer, details of which have been forwarded to him, who was evicted from his farm by the Derbyshire A.E.C., although he had arranged for his land to be ploughed in accordance with an order issued by the committee; if he is aware that, although the contractors instructed to carry out this work were told by the district executive officer that there was no hurry, this officer immediately had the ploughing carried out by another contractor and a dispossession order sent to the farmer; and if he will arrange for the farm to be restored to the farmer and for reparation to be made to him.

I have made inquiries into this case, the facts of which are as follows. On 8th November, 1939, the Derbyshire War Agricultural Executive Committee directed the owner to plough up three of his fields, comprising 14½ acres, by 1st December, 1939. On 9th December the district officer, finding that the owner had not started the work, tried, without success, to persuade him to do so. Proceedings for the default were taken on 15th February, 1940. The owner's defence was that the land was useless as arable, but expert witnesses proved that it was quite suitable for ploughing and would, if properly cultivated, produce good crops. The court convicted the owner and ordered him to pay £25 and £10 costs.The directions were repeated, and two of the fields were then ploughed up by the owner. In October, 1940, it was noticed that these two fields had not been touched s1ince the harvest, and it was agreed with the owner that they should be cropped with corn. Directions were served accordingly and also requiring the ploughing up of a further four fields, comprising 26.8 acres, by the end of November, 1940. Members of the executive committee visiting the farm on 24th February, 1941, found that the two stubble fields had not been prepared and sown as directed, and that none of the additional ploughing had been done. The owner's excuse was that two contractors he had asked to do the work had disappointed him. There is no truth in the allegation that the district officer told these contractors there was no hurry about the work. The contractors themselves have affirmed that he made it clear to them that he was anxious for them to get on with it.Possession of the holding was subsequently taken with my predecessor's consent on the grounds that the owner had failed to comply with directions, and also that the holding was not being cultivated in accordance with the rules of good husbandry. It is now let under a contract for occupation determinable at 25th March, 1950, and it is not practicable to give up possession at present. The compensation payable for taking possession of 'and is laid down in the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939, and the claims which have arisen have all been settled.

Prisoner-Of-War Labour (Payment)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is satisfied with the system of payment through A.E.Cs. for German prisoner-of-war labour; and if he will consider in order to increase output, a system of payment by results, if possible with an increased incentive to the prisoners themselves.

I am satisfied that the present system of payment is working satisfactorily. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War on 24th June, giving details of a revised System of incentives for prisoners of war.

Dominions (Economic Relations)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will arrange a conference with the Labour Governments of Australia and New Zealand to work out an economic plan in the interest of the people of this country and these two Dominions.

I have been asked reply. The answer is. "No," The hon. Member can, however, be assured that the United Kingdom Government are in close and continual touch with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand on all matters of common economic interest.

Ministry Of Supply

Raoc Depot, Melmerby


asked the Minister of Supply how many men and how many women are now being employed at the R.A.O.C. depot, Melmerby; what is the weekly cost of keeping the depot open; and what amount of traffic is dealt with per week through the private railway siding.

Forty-two men and nine women are employed at this depot, which costs us £268 a week to run. The amount of traffic received and despatchei averages 132 tons a week.

Seconded Aircraft And Airmen


asked the Minister of Supply how many aircraft are on the establishment of his Department; and how many R.A.F. officers and airmen are at present seconded to his Department.

Drivers Pool (Wages)


asked the Minister of Supply the average wage paid to Government drivers employed by the Drivers Pool in London, showing what amount of this payment is for overtime and at what rate.

The average pay for the week ended 13th July, 1947, was, for a male driver, £9 13s., including £4 6s. overtime, and for a female driver £5 12s. including 18s. 3d. overtime. Payment for overtime is at the rate of time and a quarter for the first two hours on any one day and time and a half thereafter.

Short Brothers, Ltd (Balance-Sheet)


asked the Minister of Supply when the trading accounts of Short Brothers, Limited, will he available.

The balance-sheet of Messrs. Short Bros. (Rochester and Bedford), Limited, as at 31st August, 1946, has been lodged with the Registrar of Companies, as required by the Companies Act, 1929.

Coalface Machinery (Production)


asked the Minister of Supply what progress is being made in the manufacture of coalmining machinery; what is the production programme for 1947 and 1948, and to what extent the former is being achieved; and how far such production will meet the demands of the British coalmining industry.

Output of coalface machinery is improving and I am hopeful that, by an extensive use of sub-contracting capacity will be found to meet the needs of the coalmining industry. The present programme of requirements calls for an average monthly output of 372 conveyors, 120 coal cutters and 13 power loaders. There is sufficient capacity to meet orders placed for miscellaneous equipment.

Electric Fires (Home Market)


asked the Minister of Supply what approximate proportion of the 3,028,482 electric fires produced in this country from January, 1946, to 31st May, 1947, were for sale in the home market.

Card Clothing (Allocation)

76 and 77.

asked the Minister of Supply (1), what was the total production of card clothing and card clothing machinery, respectively, during 1946 and the first few months of 1947 for which figures are available; what approximate amount of this production was for the export trade; and whether he will arrange to increase allocations made to home textile industries;(2) what is the present basis for the allocation of card clothing to the textile trades; whether this is on the basis of purchases during some previous years or on the requirements of the firm concerned in order to produce yarn; and whether he will obtain advice from the Board of Trade and the textile trades so that allocations may be based on the needs of industry and the export trade.

Card clothing to the value of £1,382,000 was produced during 1946 and £344,750 during the first three months of 1947. About 60 per cent. was exported. Figures for the production of card clothing machinery are not separately available. The allocation of card clothing is based on an estimate of the amounts needed by the firms concerned to keep their carding machinery in a fit state to produce yarn. The proportion allocated to the home textile industries is kept under constant review, and I am at present examining the distribution arrangements, in consultation with my right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade to ensure that essential home needs are met, while at the same time maintaining supplies to overseas countries.

Metals (Contracts)

asked the Minister of Supply if he will give a list of the longterm contracts for metals which have been made with other Governments or Colonial administrations; and indicate in each case what provision there is for the reduction or review of the rates during the term and the date when each contract expires.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply which I gave to him on 22nd May.

Railway Wagons (Production)

asked the Minister of Supply what production of railway goods wagons is proceeding at Royal Ordnance Factories.

Railway mineral wagons are being constructed at the Royal Ordnance Factories at Dalmuir, Patricroft, and Woolwich to the full extent that the supply of components allows.

Isotopes (Us Supplies)

asked the Minister of Supply whether his scientists have reported on the encouraging results obtained in the U.S.A. in treating toxic goitre with radio-active iodine; and what prospect there is of being able to import this medicinally useful by-product of atomic energy.

I am advised that the American results are well known in this country. As regards the second part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member on 5th May.

Houses Of Parliament



asked the Minister of Works whether he will now consider replacing the towels in the Members' wash rooms with somewhat finer material.

I regret that I am unable to supply towels of a better quality than those at present in use.



asked the Minister of Works whether, as a result of recent complaints of bad acoustics in the House and the difficulty of accurate recording in the Press Gallery, particularly of speeches delivered below the Gangway, he will cause tests to be made by experienced technicians and introduce such electrical devices as may ensure, in all galleries in the House, a more reasonable transmission of all Parliamentary debates and proceedings.

The engineers of the Ministry, in conjunction with the B.B.C. and other experts, will start tests of improved systems of sound amplification in the House next week, and continue these through the Recess, I hope to instal, in the course of next year, a permanent new system which will improve audibility in all parts of the House.

Ministry Of Works

Cement Supplies


asked the Minister of Works what supplies of cement reached Cornwall in May and June of this year, or in any recent months of this year of which he has a record.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. D. Marshall) on 14th July, of which I am sending him a copy.


asked the Minister of Works how many tons of cement have been exported from Cornish ports to Newfoundland in the last six weeks.

No cement has been exported from Cornish ports to Newfoundland in the last six weeks.

Office Accommodation (Government Departments)


asked the Minister or Works for what purpose the office accommodation at Cuckoo Hills, Northwood, and Lime Grove, Eastcote, is now used; for what purpose are the proposed new office buildings at Ruislip; and whether he is satisfied that existing accommodation at the other sites could not be more fully utilised.

The office accommodation at Cuckoo Hills, Northwood, and Lime Grove, Eastcote, is being used by the Admiralty and by the Foreign Office, respectively. The proposed new buildings at Ruislip are intended for staffs now in requisitioned residential and office premises. There is some space now free at Northwood, and its allocation to another Department is under consideration. The offices at Eastcote are fully occupied.

Green Park (Grass Re-Sowing)


asked the Minister of Works whether his attention has been called to the untidy and dirty condition of the eastern end of Green Park; whether he is aware that this part of the park has now been in this condition for over a year; and what steps are being taken to put it into proper order.

Teachers' Training Colleges


asked the Minister of Works how many colleges he has provided under the Minister of Education's emergency scheme for training teachers to enable the school-leaving age to be raised.

The first college was opened in May, 1945, and by the end of May this year 51 colleges, the majority of which are residential, had been opened, providing training facilities for nearly 12,000 students. Three of these colleges, accommodating 385 students, were provided by the local education authorities, my Ministry supplying only furniture. When work in progress on a further seven colleges has been completed in the course of this year, a total of 13,519 places in 58 colleges will have been provided in 2½ years. Use has been made of camps, hostels and other existing buildings, supplemented by new temporary buildings. In a number of cases the work has been carried out by my mobile direct labour force.

Hostel, Doncaster (Eviction Notices)


asked the Minister of Works if he has now reviewed the documents and information given to him by the hon. Member for Doncaster concerning the 352 adults and children now resident in the Queen's Drive Hostel, Bentley, Doncaster; whether he is aware that, of this number, 37 are working miners and 57 are ex-Service men with their families; and if he will ensure that before eviction notices are served or executed every effort will be made to provide alternative accommodation for all the families concerned.

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. The local authority, in conjunction with the Departments concerned, has been making every effort to find alternative accommodation for the people in this hostel, many of whom came from outside the authority's area, but the urgent need for bringing further miners to the coalfield has now made it necessary to take immediate steps to recover possession of the hostel, which will accommodate 500 single miners.

Building Licences (Infringements)

87 and 88.

asked the Minister of Works (1) how many cases of the wrongful use of building materials have been brought to his notice during the last three months; and how many cases have been brought before the courts, and with what results;(2) how many cases of infringement of the building-licence regulations have been discovered by local authorities over the last three months; in how many cases prosecution through the courts have ensued and in what percentage of cases were fines or convictions imposed.

The returns by local authorities of infringements of the building licensing regulation are not yet complete for the last three months, but I will send the information to my hon. Friend as soon as it is available. These infringements include the cases where an offence has been committed in connection with the use of building materials.

Brick Stocks

asked the Minister of Works what were the stocks of bricks on 1st June, 1946, 1st January, 1st April and 1st July, 1947.

The stocks of bricks, sold and unsold, held by manufacturers on the dates indicated were as follow: 1st June, 1946, 473 million; 1st January, 1947, 270 million; 1st April, 1947, 379 million; 1st July, 1947, 307 million.


Officers And Officials (Removal Allowances)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether officers and officials of the Indian Army and his Department's services are given baggage and furniture-moving allowances when they are transferred from service in India to service at home as a result of the independence of India.

No special concessions have been granted. Officers are, of course, entitled in these circumstances to what is provided by the normal rules in respect of baggage.

Objects Of Art (Exchange)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether sympathetic consideration will be given to the proposal that Indian objects of cultural, aesthetic or historic significance in the possession of the British Government should be exchanged reciprocally for British objects of a similar character in the possession of the Indian Government.

If any proposals of this kind are put forward by the new Dominion Governments they will receive the sympathetic consideration of His Majesty's Government.

Government Employees (Guarantee)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether members of the Armed Forces Headquarters, British (Ex-military) Ministerial Association are included in Table I of Cmd. 7116; or what are the compensation arrangements for these men.

As the members of this Association belong neither to the Secretary of State's Services nor to the Indian Armed Forces, they are not covered by the compensation arrangements set out in Command 7116. As employees of the Government of India they are, however, covered by the guarantee announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his speech on the Second Reading of the Indian Independence Bill.

Burma Services (Proportionate Pensions)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Burma if he will now state whether any arrangements have been made by the Government of Burma to allow European members of the Burma Services to retire on proportionate pension if they do not wish to continue to serve with the new Government; and whether he will make representations to the Government of Burma in this connection.

The question of proportionate pensions for European officers of the Burma Government Services who were not appointed by the Secretary of State is under consideration by the Government of Burma. The question of making representation does not, therefore, arise.

Displaced Persons (Germany And Austria)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will state the numbers of male and female displaced persons, respectively, in the British zones of Germany and Austria on 1st July, 1947, specifying the numbers of Baits, Poles and others; and what percentage of each of these numbers is earmarked to come to Great Britain.

In the British zone of Germany there are 141,000 male and 95,000 female displaced persons, of whom 68,100 are Baits and 109,000 are Poles. The corresponding figures in the case of Austria are 36,900 male and 19,900 female, of whom 1,100 are Baits and 6,200 are Poles. Up to the present there have been 21,000 volunteers under the "Westward Ho" scheme in Germany, and 1,350 in Austria.


Land Reform Proposals


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what has been the response of the Social Democratic and Communist parties, respectively, to the project for land reform in the British zone of Germany.

The representatives the Zonal Advisory Council of the Social Democratic Party and of the Communist Party were not in favour of the proposals for land reform in the Draft Ordinance.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what part has been played by the elected representatives of the German people in the formulation of the project for land reform in the British zone of Germany.

The Draft Ordinance for Land Reform in the British zone of Germany is not the final text but merely a proposal of our authorities for discussion by the Zonal Advisory Council. It has been submitted to this Council for their comments and advice. These have been received and are now under consideration. This Council consists of representatives all political parties who are nominated by the Land Parliaments, which in turn are elected by the German people.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the scheme for land reform in the British zone of Germany leaves the principal landowners in possession of estates of 375 acres; and whether it aiso provides for full compensation for land surrendered.

The Draft Ordinance on Land Reform provided that with certain exceptions no persons should own land in the British zone of Germany in excess of an area of 150 hectares, which is about 370½ acres, or an area of a value of Reichsmarks 200,000, whichever is the greater. In accordance with the views expressed by the Zonal Advisory Committee last year, provision was made in the Draft Ordinance for the payment of full compensation for the land surrendered.

Coal Production And Distribution


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will arrange to publish once a week the daily production of coal in the British zone of Germany and the amount of coal retained in the zone.

Full information on coal production and distribution in the British zone is already made available in the Monthly Report of the Control Commission for Germany (British Element), copies of which can be obtained from His Majesty's Stationery Office. I am considering the possibility of arranging for figures for the daily production to be made public at weekly intervals.

Ruhr Heavy Industries


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether discussions have been held with the U.S. occupation authority in Germany regarding the principles on which the heavy industries of the Ruhr basin will be organised and controlled; and whether the views of the German workers employed there will be taken into account in any policy to be put into operation.

Armaments Plants Destruction


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what were the comparative estimates of cost, worked out before blowing up Blohm and Voss at Hamburg, between dismantling before, and removing the twisted steel after, the destruction of the yard; and what are the estimates of a similar nature for the various sections of Krupp's works which are now to be blown up.

No such estimates were prepared in either case. The method adopted for the destruction of these two plants was chosen to give the greatest possible economy under local conditions and has regard to the timetable laid down by the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Letters Censorship


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the censoring and opening of letters between Germany and this country is to continue indefinitely; what is the nature of comments liable to censorship, sent and received, by Members of Parliament and other British citizens; and whether letters sent to Government Departments and Ministers are subject to censorship.

Letters passing between Germany and this country are to continue to be liable to be opened and read by the censorship authorities. The object of this censorship is to obtain information, and no excisions are made. Letters to and from Government Departments are exempt from censorship and so are those to Members of Parliament if they are unmistakably addressed.

Internment Camps

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the number of persons held in concentration camps in the British zone of Germany on the grounds of their Nazi sympathies as at 1st June last; and how many of these persons are held as war criminals who have already been sentenced or who are awaiting trial, respectively.

The number of persons held in all Internment Camps and Settlements in the British zone of Germany at 1st June last was 23,565, of whom 18,807 were awaiting trial for membership of organisations declared criminal by the Nuremberg Tribunal. There were in these Camps no persons serving sentences, and no persons awaiting trial for specific war crimes, although 690 persons are held pending investigation.

British Forces, Greece


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will consider expediting the evacuation of British forces from Greece, particularly in view of the recent repressive actions of the Greek Government in making wholesale arrests of their political opponents.

I have at present nothing to add to the statement I made on this subject on 5th March in reply to Questions by my hon. Friends the Members for Epping (Mrs. Manning), Maldon (Mr. Driberg) and Luton (Mr. Warbey).

Airways Corporations (Financial Losses)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what losses have been incurred by B.O.A.C., B.E.A.C., and R.S.A.A.C. since these corporations commenced operating.

It is not possible to give the information in the form sought by the hon. Member. From 1st April, 1940, when the British Overseas Airways Corporation commenced operations, to 31st March, 1946, the latest date or which audited figures are available, the resource of the Corporation were at the disposai and subject to the directions of the Government. For the greater part of the period the air services of the Corporation were closely integrated with those of Transport Command in support of the war. Under these arrangements there was until 31st March, 1946, extensive mutual waiver of financial adjustment between the Corporation and Government Departments in respect of supplies and services each furnished to the other The resultant deficiency grants from public funds in respect of air transport and other services undertaken by the Corporation during the six years to 31st March, 1946, amount to i1r,607,406. Results for the year beginning 1st April, 1946, during which the British European Airways Corporation and British South American Airways Corporation were formed, will not be known until the accounts of the three Corporations are available.

West African Cocoa (Price)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he proposes to take to bring the price of cocoa paid to West African producers more into line with the price that his Department is obtaining in the New York cocoa market by recent sales.

The price which the West African farmer will receive for his cocoa in the coming season will be a matter for decision by the Cocoa Marketing Boards which are being established in the Gold Coast and Nigeria. The New York price will doubtless be one of the factors they will take into account.

Ship Repairs (Labour)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that a vessel now berthed in one of the South Wales ports, particulars of which have been sent to him, is intended for passenger traffic in the Eastern Mediterranean; that a considerable amount of labour and material has been expended on the refitting of this ship; and if he is satisfied that the purpose for which this vessel is intended justifies such heavy expenditure of labour and material when it is required for more urgent purposes.

I have no information that the vessel concerned, which is a small one, is to traffic in the Eastern Mediterranean. In reply to the second part of the Question, labour has only been used on this vessel when not required for more urgent work; and no supplies of timber or paint were authorised by the Admiralty. About 20 tons of steel, which did not require specific authorisation, were used out of the ship repairers' stocks. So far as the last part of the Question is concerned, I understand that the vessel is being fitted out for passenger traffic, but I am not in a position to state whether the cost of repairs will be justified.

National Finance

Income Tax (Football Pools)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether a person or company carrying on the trade of football-pool promoter is allowed to deduct the following expenses when computing his profits for the purpose of Income Tax, namely, production of publicity films; production of posters; free supply of metal cycle-racks for use outside retail traders' shops; commission payments to hairdressers, newsagent and others acting as agents; salaries or fees of detectives and inquiry agents; hotel bills and other costs incurred in the entertainment of pool winners and other guests; and seaside trips for employees displaying special skill in the handling of pool coupons.

The test, as in other cases, is whether the expenses are wholly and exclusively incurred for the purposes of the trade and are of the nature of revenue.

Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he intends to introduce an amending Order to General Payments Order (No. 2), dated 11th June, 1947, consequent upon the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Financial Agreement.

An amending Order (S.R. & O. 1947 No. 1430) was made on 7th July with effect from 14th July, 1947.

Government Departments (North-Western Region)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in connection with the establishment of regional headquarters of Government Departments in the North-West area, he will consider the claims of Liverpool, having regard to the fact that the city which houses the regional headquarters has advantages over other cities in that employment is provided for executive grades and new businesses will, naturally tend to establish themselves as near as possible to the headquarters of the various Departments,

This has already been carefully considered from the point of view of general convenience and efficiency and Manchester has been chosen as the best centre for Departments in the North-Western Region. Many Departments of course maintain offices in Liverpool.

Tangmere Aerodrome (Closed Roads)

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware of the inconvenience caused to local residents by the continued closure of a section of the main road A 2024 and other roads adjoining Tangmere Aerodrome; and when it is intended to restore these rights of way, or what alternative provision will be made for members of the public.

Part of the A 2024 road south of the R.A.F. Station, Tang-mere, part of Tangmere Lane and a toot-path that crosses the airfield, will have to be permanently closed because of the continued use of this station. I have agreed with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport that a diversion should be provided for the A 2024 road. The construction of this and other diversions that may be necessary is, I understand, now under consideration by my right hon. Friend and the highway authority.

Postal Orders (South Africa)

asked the Postmaster-General upon what grounds the General Post Office, Huddersfield, refused, on 11th July, to cash a South African postal order, value £1.

South African postal orders are issued by the South African Post Office for payment solely within the Union and certain adjoining countries. If remitters desire to use the postal order service for remittances from South Africa to the United Kingdom, British postal orders must be used; these are on sale at post offices in South Africa.

Old Age Pension Claims (Delay)

asked the Minister of National Insurance when a decision will be reached concerning the issue of old age pensions to Mr. and Mrs. J. Sullivan, 53, Hawkesbury Road, Putney, S.W.15, who applied for pensions in September, 1946, the former of whom received a pension book for 7s. a week on 5th May, 1947, pension No. 52517195, and the latter of whom has received no pension, No. 27525667.

Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan's claims have been admitted, and pension order books at the appropriate increased rates of 18s. and 11s, respectively were issued to them by the area officer of the Assistance Board on 17th July. I regret the delay in settling these claims which, however, presented extra special difficulties and have involved extensive inquiries.

Jewellery Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade the policy of his Department on the import of jewellery from Czechoslovakia; if he realises the extent to which this import will inflict injury on the Birmingham jewellery industry, and that the action contemplated by his Department is a violation of the principle of consultation with industry, which was the basis of the constitution of the working party of which he approved.

Jewellery has been included in the published token import list from the outset of the scheme in April, 1946. The inclusion involved imports of 20 per cent. by value of prewar trade from countries participating in the token import scheme. In accordance with our more liberal import policy towards countries whose economies have been disrupted by war, it has been agreed to admit imports from Czechoslovakia at a slightly more favourable rate, approximately 25 per cent. by value of pre-war trade. Owing to price rises this represents a much smaller proportion of prewar volume and I do not agree that these imports are likely to injure the home industry. The industry are aware that certain limited imports are being permitted from various sources and while I am anxious to keep in close touch with them, I could not undertake to consult them on all the detailed arrangements for imports.

Regional Hospital Boards (Members Of Parliament)

asked the Minister of Health if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the names of the Members of this House whom he has appointed members of Regional Hospital Boards.

The following Members of this House have been appointed to Regional Hospital Boards:

N.W. Metropolitan—Mr. Messer (Tottenham, South), as Chairman, Dr. Stephen Taylor (Barnet), as member.
N.E. Metropolitan—Mr. Herbert Butler (Hackney, South), Dr. Comyns (Silver-town), Mr. Somerville Hastings (Barking), as members.
S. W. Metropolitan—Mr. Sargood (Bermondsey, West), as member.