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Written Answers

Volume 440: debated on Tuesday 22 July 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 22nd July 1947

National Insurance

Old Age Pensions


asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is aware that Mr. and Mrs. Fogg, 26, Elm Avenue, Grimsby, have received no satisfactory reply to their application for increased pensions, which was made 16 weeks ago; and if he will have the matter investigated at once.

Mr. and Mrs. Fogg's applications for increased pensions have been admitted. Pension order books, including payment of the arrears due, were handed to them on 28th July.

France (Mps' Visit)


asked the Minister of National Insurance whether he will make arrangements for a representative party of Members to visit France to study the French system of social security.

Yes, if it is in accordance with the wishes of this House, I will make the necessary arrangements. The French authorities have informed me that they would welcome such a visit.




asked the Minister of Labour, if he will make a statement on the manpower trends in Britain in the next five years, with special reference to the employment of men in the over-40 age groups and the need to ensure the most economical use of labour.

This subject is dealt with on pages 142 and 143 of the "Ministry of Labour Gazette" for May, 1947. This shows that the number of men aged 15 and under 65 in the working population may be expected to increase between the end of 1946 and the end of 1951, by about 260,000, or 2 per cent. The number under 40 will probably decline by about 225,000, or 3 per cent., while the number aged 40 and under 65 will increase by about 485,000 or 8 per cent.



asked the Minister of Labour what proposals are being con- sidered by his Department to counter the attraction of juvenile workers into blind alley and non-productive occupations and to put a limit to the numbers employed in certain trades.

I am receiving the assistance and advice of the National Juvenile Employment Council on the problem of the distribution of young workers in industry. With a view to attracting boys and girls into productive work my Department has been encouraging the different sections of industry to develop schemes of training, improve their general conditions of employment, and so to regulate the intake of young workers as to provide reasonable prospects of continued employment. In addition the scheme for providing adequate vocational guidance for juveniles is being developed.

Ministry Of Labour (Staff Removals)

asked the Minister of Labour why he is not prepared to assist an officer of his Department who was required by his Department to take up a war post outside this country in 1941, and later, in 1945, was required by his Department to return to London, to o main accommodation for his family, as evidenced by the case of Mr. A. P. Bowers.

Staff removals are avoided wherever possible but it is usual where promotion is concerned to expect the officer to be willing to serve where required. My Department's welfare organisation is ready to give all assistance short of seeking priority of housing allocation at the expense of other members of the community.

National Service (Release Programme)


asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the achievement of the programme of releases and discharges from the Forces in the second quarter of 1947.

Under the programme which I announced on 18th March, 163,110 men and 12,490 women, or a total of 175,600 were to be released of discharged from the Armed Forces and Auxiliary Services in the second quarter of the year. The actual number released or discharged was 184,860, including

ServiceNumber Released or Discharged—Second Quarter, 1947.Programme announced on 18th March
Service AClass B.Other Releases and Discharges.Total.
Royal Navy18,5502703,25022,07014,000
Royal Air Force25,8206803,84030,34022,910
Royal Navy750100850870
Royal Air Force3,250206003,8703,350
Royal Navy19,3002703,35022,92014,870
Royal Air Force29,0707004,44034,21026,260


Scarlet Fever

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the notifications and the deaths, respectively, for scarlet fever in each of the years from 1935 to 1946.

following are the figures:

Year.Number of Notifications.Number of Deaths.

173,020 men and 11,840 women. I will circulate a detailed statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the notifications and the deaths, respectively, for measles in each of the years from 1935 to 1946.

The following are the figures:

YearNumber of Notifications.Number of Deaths (All Scotland).

Measles is not generally notifiable in Scotland but only in certain areas under local arrangements. About one half of the 55 local health authorities have made such arrangements covering rather more than three-fifths of the population.

Shop Premises (Inquiry)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will be able to present the Report of the committee of inquiry into the tenure of business premises in Scotland.

I understand that the committee of inquiry into the tenure of shop premises in Scotland have completed the hearing of evidence and that a report may be expected at an early date. I shall consider the question of publishing the Report as soon as I have received it.

British Army

War Graves


asked the Secretary of State for War if he can now state when facilities will be available to enable relatives of deceased Service men to visit graves overseas.

The recommendations of the inter-departmental committee which was appointed to examine this matter have now been considered and it has been decided to approach certain voluntary organisations with a view to instituting a scheme for providing limited financial assistance from public funds for visits by near relatives in necessitous cases. It is also hoped to simplify arrangements for passports. I would emphasise, however, that it would not be right to hold out any hope that a scheme can be introduced this summer.


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider introducing a simpler and more human form of words and a less stereotyped arrangement on the official forms which he uses to notify relatives of men killed in the war of the position of their graves.

These notifications are already made in letters which are in "semi-official" form, in order to avoid the severity and formality of an official letter. I hardly think the wording could be simpler. It is true that the letters are prepared on partly printed forms. That is because at times the numbers which have to be sent out unfortunately run up to a high figure, which has reached 2,500 a week. Only a very small number of complaints has been received about the form of the notification, which I do not think has generally added to the distress which must naturally be felt by those who receive it. In a matter of this kind, however, I am always prepared to consider suggestions, and will see whether at the next opportunity of introducing a change some improvement can be devised.

Service Patients (Relatives' Visits)


asked the Secretary of State for War if he is now in a position to grant free priority passages to the next-of-kin to serving men irrespective of the country in which they are serving.

Arrangements are being made to extend the existing scheme, and I will circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following are the details:

Hitherto, the arrangements for sending a relative to see a Service patient on the dangerously ill list in a military hospital, where such a visit is expected to assist recovery, have been limited to Europe. Transport and other difficulties ruled out any extension of the scheme until recently. After careful examination of the practical problems involved, it has now been decided to extend the scheme to all overseas stations of the Services, with the exception of one or two small stations to which there is no speedy form of transport and which, therefore, a relative could not reach within any reasonable time.

The detailed arrangements for the normal working of the scheme will take a little time to complete, involving, as they may, special provision for the accommodation and care of the relatives concerned whilst overseas. The relative will invariably be sent by air, but the return journey will, save in the most exceptional circumstances, have to be by sea. We shall be responsible for providing all necessary transport, accommodation and food.

Pending completion of the detailed arrangements for normal working, all commands abroad are being informed that they may request the attendance of a relative in the appropriate cases provided they can ensure proper care for the visitor whilst absent from the United Kingdom.

I should add that I am doubtful whether the scheme will, for practical reasons, operate for any of the more distant stations in view of the time that would necessarily elapse between the despatch of the request and the arrival of the relative.

Court-Martial Proceedings


asked the Secretary of State for War why a copy of the proceedings on the court-martial held 12 months ago on Lieut.-Colonel F. T. Metherell has not been supplied to him or his legal advisers in spite of repeated requests.

As the hon. and learned Member has been informed, no request for a copy of the proceedings has been received in the War Office or by the Judge Advocate General. The proceedings were returned some time ago to the authorities in Singapore.

Leave Ration Allowances, Palestine


asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that many officers who were granted local leave in Palestine early in 1946 have not yet received their leave ration allowances; and if he will state the reason for this delay and take the necessary steps to expedite prompt payment in such cases.

I was not aware that there was serious delay in any large number of cases, but I have now called for a report on the particular cases which the hon. Member has brought to my notice and I will write to him when it has been received

Officer's Arrest Egypt


asked the Secretary of State for War why Major E. J. Graham, R.E., was arrested in Egypt on 2nd April on a charge which was not carried further; why no summary of evidence was taken until 21st May and then only in connection with different charges of a minor character; and why he was not brought to trial until 8th July.

The original holding charge was not carried any further as subsequent investigations revealed alleged offences of a more serious nature which required the collection of evidence from Cairo, Upper Egypt, Arabia, Sudan and Palestine before the summary of evidence could be taken. This involved hundreds of miles of travelling in countries where the facilities for travel are bad. I consider that the speed of the investigations was in fact highly commendable under such conditions. Owing to other commitments, particularly of the Judge Advocate General's staff, the trial could not be arranged before 8th July. The officer was released to open arrest two hours after he was originally placed in close arrest and the restrictions to which he was subject were reduced to a minimum.

Families (Overseas Accommodation)


asked the Secretary of State for War why the families of troops serving in the Tripolitanian district are not permitted to obtain flats or houses by private treaty; why such families arriving unofficially are not placed on the waiting list for married quarters; and why married rates of local overseas allowances are not issuable to officers whose families arrive in the M.E.L.F. without his Department's authority.

It is laid down in King's Regulations that families of other ranks overseas on the married quarters roll must be accommodated in quarters, but this rule is to be cancelled shortly and I am not aware that there is any other rule forbidding families to obtain flats or houses by private treaty. Married quarters overseas (whether public quarters or requisitioned houses), are primarily intended for the families or personnel who join their husbands having been granted a passage or being eligible for a passage at public expense. In most overseas commands there is a waiting list for quarters and on a quarter becoming vacant it is allotted to the family at the top of the list. It would not be reasonable to allot it to an unentitled in preference to an entitled family. The rule referred to in the last part of the Question was introduced as a deterrent to families who, being ineligible to he moved overseas at public expense, or being not prepared to wait their turn for a passage, proceeded overseas under their own arrangements. In such cases the presence of the family at the overseas station is not recognised and the man continues to draw the allowances applicable to a single man or to a man separated from his family.

Reme Camp, Burma (Poles)


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is satisfied with the state of discipline at Burma R.E.M.E. camp, Towyn, where, when 350 Poles were interviewed with a view to obtaining the services of 20 on a work of public utility, only 13 were offered, of whom seven were doubtful; and why these men, who are doing no work, are paid from £3 to £5 per week, with keep, with a minimum rate of 4s. 6d. a day for youths.

I am making inquiries into this matter. As regards the last part of the Question I am doing everything within my power, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, to ensure that members of the Polish Resettlement Corps take up productive employment and cease to be a charge on public funds as soon as possible.

Voluntary Recruitment


asked the Secretary of State for War what was the monthly rate of voluntary recruitment to the Army during the second quarter of 1947.

Figures of recruitment to the Regular Army in April and May were given in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Swingler) on 15th July. As regards June, I would ask the hon. and gallant Member to await the reply to be given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Spen Valley (Mr. Sharp) tomorrow

Families, India (Return)


asked the Secretary of State for War what arrangements have been made for sending home and accommodating the families of the British troops being withdrawn from India in August.

I hope it will be possible for these families to accompany the husbands' units. Arrangements have been made to accommodate in hostels those families of Regular soldiers of the British Army who are due to return home from India in August and who are without private accommodation in this country.

Military Mission, Greece


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give an assurance that members of the British Military Mission in Greece have not taken any part in operations against the guerillas.


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will instruct the British Military Mission to advise the Greek military authorities that unless the decapitations by regular Greek troops of guerillas and the display of their heads in various towns cease, the mission will be immediately withdrawn.

Neither my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary nor I have any evidence that regular Greek troops are beheading guerillas or displaying their heads.

Military Tattoos, Germany


asked the Secretary of State for War how many military tattoos or similar entertainments or demonstrations have been arranged and are to be arranged in the British zone of Germany; and for what purpose these take place.

Two tattoos have been arranged in the British zone of Germany. No plans have been made for further similar displays. The object of these tattoos is to demonstrate publicly the bearing and discipline of our troops and to encourage them to take a proper pride in their training, at the same time avoiding any glorification of modern war.

Special Campaign Pensions


asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that Mr. j Whitham, 14, Saffron Road, Histon, Cambridgeshire, has had his special campaign allowance reduced from 14s. 6d. per week to 2S. 6d. per week and his supplementary pension from 14s. 6d. to 2s. since he has received full pension of 26s., leaving him 8s. worse off as a result of the 26s. pension; and if he will restore the original grant.

It is the intention that existing Special Campaign Pensioners shall, on the increase of their old age pensions, continue to receive so much of their Special Campaign Pension as is necessary to prevent an actual reduction in means. The adjustment in Mr. Whitham's case was intended to have that result but I gather from my hon. Friend's Question that the information on which the adjustment was made may have been incorrect. I am, therefore, arranging for his case to be looked into further.

Venereal Disease (Baor)

asked the Secretary of State for War if, in view of the anxiety felt by parents and other relatives of men serving in Germany, he will make a personal visit and discuss with the authorities on the spot ways and means by which the present high incidence of venereal disease may be reduced.

I propose to visit Rhine Army during the Recess and I shall

Country.Holding as at 30th June, 1947.Number Repatriated during period 1st July, 1946, to 30th June, 1947.Remarks.
Middle East77,22218,003
Jamaica9 (a)523(a) Held pending local release in Western Hemisphere.
East Africa105
Australia5 (b)1,422(6) 4 Escapers.
Canada15 (c)— (d)(c) 13 Escapers.
(d) 8,627 transferred to U.K., some of whom subsequently included in repatriations from U.K., but numbers not separately recorded.
No special steps to improve the conditions in the camps have been necessary, but the staffs of all prisoner-of-war camps effect a steady improvement in the amenities of their camps as opportunity offers.

National Finance

Income Tax (Soldiers' Emoluments)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury why Income Tax is imposed upon the allowance of

certainly take the opportunity to discuss this and other problems with the authorities on the spot.

Prisoners Of War (Repatriation)


asked the Secretary of State for War how many prisoners of war were repatriated from Great Britain and the Middle East, respectively, during the month of June.

Fourteen thousand, six hundred and eighty-two, and 4,760, respectively.


asked the Secretary of State for War how many German prisoners of war are now situated in British possessions overseas; how many have been repatriated during the past 12 months; and what steps have been taken to improve the conditions of their camps.

Following is the answer:2s. 6d. per day, given to soldiers for housing accommodation, when there is no barracks accommodation for them.

Because it forms part of the soldier's emoluments. This was made clear in the White Paper (Cmd. 6750 of March, 1946), on the Postwar it Pay Code.

Espionage, Canada (Royal Commission Report)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury why 7s. is charged for the Report of the Royal Commission which investigated the facts relating to espionage in Canada under Order in Council P.C. 411 of 5th February, 1946, when it is marked one dollar; and whether he will make arrangements for this report to be available in quantity on public bookstalls.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the replies given to the hon. Members for Glasgow, Central (Colonel Hutchison) and Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) on 28th January and 5th June, respectively.

Trade And Commerce

Paper Manufacture (Straw)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to encourage the development of new techniques for paper manufacture from straw which promises to save the purchase abroad of esparto grass and also save coal in the manufacturing process.

I understand that with their existing plant, paper makers require more coal per ton of paper produced if they use straw in place of esparto. I should welcome any developments which entailed a reduction in coal consumption and any paper maker is free to use straw in place of esparto if he wishes to do so.

Factory, Stoke Orchard


asked the President of the Board of Trade to what use the factory at Stoke Orchard, hitherto occupied by Roy Fedden, Limited, is to be allocated; and if employment will be found there for the hundreds of skilled workers, now out of work, who were employed there.

The future of this factory and the extent to which additional employment is necessary in this area are at present under consideration. I hope to be able to write to the hon. Member on both these points shortly.

Royal Agricultural Show (Catalogues)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that all copies of the implement and livestock catalogues at the recent Royal Show at Lincoln were sold within a few hours of the show being opened to the public, causing great inconvenience to later visitors, particularly to representatives of foreign firms attending the show with a view to placing export orders; and, in view of the urgent need to encourage the export trade, why an adequate supply of paper was not granted by his Department to enable sufficient catalogues to be printed.

The paper supply position is such that the amount licensed for any purpose must necessarily be reduced to a minimum.

Cotton Control (Cost)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total cost per annum of the Cotton Control; how many persons are in its employ; and what is the total cost per annum of their salaries.

The total annual cost of administering the Cotton Control, as at present organised, is approximately £207,000. The number of non-industrial employees (at home and overseas) was 460 on 1st July, 1947; the total cost per annum of their salaries is £175 000

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total cost per annum of the Cotton Board; how many persons are in its employ; and what is the total cost per annum of their salaries.

Information regarding the numbers of persons employed by the Cotton Board and the salaries paid to them is not available as they are not paid from public funds. The accounts of the Cotton Board for the year ended 31st March, 1947, will be published shortly and should contain information of interest to the hon. Member.

Motor Cycle Tyres

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the serious shortage of 325 x 19 motor cycle tyres and tubes in the East Kent area; that owing to this shortage, suppliers are unable to meet the needs of farmworkers, miners and others using motor cycles; and if he will take the necessary steps to have supplies made available.

Stocks of motor cycle tyres in dealers' hands are lower than usual owing to the recent loss in production, but the position should now gradually improve. Any dealer who cannot obtain supplies from the manufacturers to meet a really important and urgent requirement, should report the facts to the Tyre Manufacturers Conference, 9, Whitehall, London, S.W.I, who will take steps to expedite delivery.

Children's Footwear

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the shortage of children's footwear in retailers' shops in Lincoln; and what steps will be taken to improve the allocation.

I have had no report of any shortage of children's footwear in Lincoln but I am arranging for an investigation and will communicate with my hon. Friend when I have the result

Ministry Of Supply

Ordnance Factory, Radway Green


asked the Minister of Supply how many persons resident in the borough of Congleton are employed at the Radway Green Royal Ordnance Factory; and what is the total number of employees at this factory.

Second-Hand Looms (Price)


asked the Minister of Supply whether his attention has been drawn to the case at Leeds Assizes at which it was shown that nine looms, whose original price was £30 each, were finally sold for £175 each; and whether he intends to take any action to prevent such practices.

It is not considered practicable for the Government to control transactions in second-hand goods of this kind.

Alien's Visit

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will extend the permission, due to expire on 31st. July, to Mr. J. H. J. Jacques to remain in employment in this country, in view of the fact that his employers require his services on building work in West London; and whether Mr. Jacques will be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom until he has the residence qualification necessary for naturalisation.

No. This man was admitted to this country on his representation that he was coming for a visit of a month to a friend: and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service advises me that employment considerations do not warrant his being allowed to stay here in a job which is suitable for other foreigners whom the Minister is seeking to place in employment.

International Refugee Organisation (Displaced Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that, although the commission constituting the I.R.O. is composed of representatives of all the democratic States and all expenses are paid by them, the commission in its operations is restricting assistance to displaced persons, favoured by States who make no contribution; and if he will investigate 1he position, in the light of the evidence submitted to him, and instruct the British representatives to take the appropriate action to prevent discrimination.

There is no reason for believing that the Preparatory Commission of the International Refugee Organisation is restricting or will restrict its assistance to persons favoured by nonmember States. On the contrary, certain non-member States opposed the International Refugee Organisation Constitution because they objected to its provisions for assisting those of their nationals or alleged nationals who are unwilling to accept repatriation. These provisions are contained in a clause of the Constitution which states that a person is eligible for assistance as a refugee who "… is outside the country of nationality or former habitual residence and who as a result of events subsequent to the outbreak of the Second World War is unable or unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the Government of his country of nationality or former nationality."

His Majesty's Government are, nevertheless, prepared to advocate the amendment of any clause of the International Refugee Organisation Constitution which may be found in practice to have a discriminatory effect.

Building Licences, Glasgow


asked the Minister of Works details of the specific complaints presented to him by the Glasgow Corporation Housing Committee regarding building construction and repair other than housing; and if he will give some details regarding the major contracts

Project.Amount Licensed.Remarks.
(1) Argyll Arcade2,538Work necessary to prevent serious deterioration of building.
(2) Chamber of Commerce2,000Work to prevent deterioration and remove danger.
(3) Citizens Theatre2,200Installation of heating apparatus to allow theatre to be used—specialist labour mainly employed.
(4) Acropole RestaurantCase under investigation.
(5) Anne Gilmour215Excessive work complained of was on items which were not subject to licence.
(6) Gardner and Son487Paint work necessary to prevent deterioration of cast iron front of building.
(7) Greyhound Race Track, Carntyne.No licence was granted in this case. Company maintain that the work carried out was as ordered by the Master of Works, Glasgow Corporation.
(8) Berkeley Ballroom990Master of Works had asked that the paintwork should be done and the licence was issued to relieve the serious unemployment in Glasgow at the time.
(9) Bath Hotel455Work required for reasons of hygiene.
(10) Bowie (Enterprises) Ltd.250Work to remove gantries and cranes after derequisitioning buildings.
(11) Grand Theatre435Repair work supported by Glasgow Corporation.
(12) Hillingdon Motors1,041Work sponsored by Ministry of Transport and work necessary to comply with requirements of Glasgow Master of Works.
(13) Grand Hotel13,600Essential rehabilitation work after de-requisitioning.
{14) Beresford Hotel1,400Work necessary in interests of hygiene.
(15) Third Lanark Football Club.250Repairs to stand roof declared by Master ot Works to be dangerous.
5,500Repairs to terracing required by Master of Works and police.

Teachers (Salary Scales)

asked the Minister of Education whether he is satisfied with the salary scales in secondary schools, or whether he will secure a higher recognition of graduate training and the abolition

involved in the total sum of £6,300,000 for which licences were granted during the period between January, 1946, and June, 1947.

As the reply to the first part of the Question can be most clearly given in tabular form, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. In reply to the second part of the Question, the principal project was the erection of a new factory for Messrs. W. D. & H. O. Wills at a cost of over £1,000,000. Other major projects were factory work on the Hillingdon Industrial Estate at a cost of about £750,000 and extensions to seven factories in Glasgow at costs ranging between £50,000 and £100,000.

Following is the table:

of the merger clause, which materially detracts from the graduate allowance.

The question of the formulation of salary scales for teachers in schools maintained by local education authorities is primarily one for the Burnham Committee and they are now engaged in framing their recommendations for the scales to operate from 1st April next. I feel satisfied that they will take into account all the relevant considerations in so far as the salaries of graduates are concerned.

Raf Station, Compton Bassett (Medical Examinations)

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that airmen reporting sick at the R.A.F. Station, Compton Bassett, are usually kept wait- ing an hour before the medical officer arrives; and whether he will see that steps are taken to prevent this unnecessary inconvenience and waste of time.

The medical inspection room at the R.A.F. Station, Compton Bassett, is opened at eight o'clock each morning for airmen who report sick. The medical officer begins examinations half an hour later; the interval is used to take temperatures, enter up records and generally to prepare the patients for the medical officer. Airmen are, of course, attended to in their turn, and I am informed that there is no avoidable delay.