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Written Answers

Volume 440: debated on Friday 25 July 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 25th July, 1947

National Insurance (Part-Time Employment)


asked the Minister of National Insurance if he will make a special order for the exception from compulsory insurance of part-time clerical assistants to head teachers.

No. According to the information at present before me, the part-time employment to which the hon. Member refers is undertaken in widely varying circumstances and my right hon. Friend would not be justified in excepting it from compulsory insurance as a class of employment ordinarily adopted as subsidiary and not as the principal means of livelihood.

Vivisection (Experiments)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many experiments on living animals were performed under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876, during the year 1946.

Board Of Trade (Members' Letters)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many letters were received by his Department from hon. Members of this House during the months of May and June, 1947, respectively.

The number of letters received in the Board of Trade from hon. Members during May and June of this year were 808 and 690 respectively.

Coal Supplies, Rural Areas

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether it is the intention of his Department to establish, as was the case last year, coal dumps at isolated villages from which coal merchants can obtain emergency supplies with the consent of the local fuel overseer; or what steps it is proposed to take to ensure the accessibility of stocks to isolated houses and villages in rural districts under adverse weather conditions.

No Government dumps were established last year in rural areas although in a few areas there were remnants from reserve stocks put down during the early war years. No further Government stocking in rural areas is, being undertaken but arrangements have been made for merchants to stock at their own depots substantial supplies for winter use. With regard to the second part of the Question, local fuel overseers are authorised to grant stocking licences during the summer to occupiers of premises which are likely to be inaccessible in winter.

Coalmining Recruitment (Farmworkers)

asked the Minister of Labour how many farmworkers have been recruited to coalmining by employment exchanges since the begininng of the year.

British Army

Defence Works, Dunwich

asked the Secretary of State for War when it is intended to remove the steel obstruction from the beach and lowland of Dunwich, Suffolk; and when it is intended to free this area from mines.

The local authority were approached in April, 1947, with a view to arrangements being made for the removal of these defence works by them at War Department expense; so far no reply has been received. Removal of the obstructions, if not carried out in this way, is a matter for the Ministry of Works if removal is in the public interest and is not secured by the payment of compensation. All mines have been cleared from this area.

Battle-School Area, Leiston

asked the Secretary of State for War the date on which the battle- school area at Leiston will be free for occupation, in view of the repeated assurances given by his Department.

Notices of derequisition were despatched to the majority of the owners of land within the area on 18th July and 3,000 acres are now free for occupation. Of the remaining 1,000 acres, 850 acres have been cleared of dangerous missiles and it will be possible to derequisition that area in the very near future, unless a portion has to be retained pending clearance of defence works in the public interest by the Ministry of Works, but about 150 acres are almost constantly under water and it has not so far been possible to clear this part of dangerous missiles.

Personal Case

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will reconsider the case, details of which have been submitted to him, of a surgical specialist, a graduate of London University, on the staff of a military hospital in Nairobi, who is likely to be retained for a long time in his present appointment, and whose application for his wife and son to join him has been refused, since his wife is also a medical graduate and they propose to settle in Nairobi where there is a shortage of doctors.

This officer's wife was informed on 16th July that the application for a passage had been approved.

Trent Flooding (Rehabilitation Work)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, if, in order to allay the anxiety of those persons living in the areas between Nottingham and Gainsborough which was flooded as a result of the Trent overflowing its banks, he will make a statement outlining the steps which the Trent Catchment Board propose to take in the near future to prevent a recurrence of such flooding.

Rehabilitation work is in hand and plant is being assembled at the points in the River Trent Catchment Area where the banks were damaged during the floods. The Board have assured me that these rehabilitation works will be substantially completed before the winter. The Board propose to undertake considerable improvement works in addition, but these cannot be completed in such a limited time. As the hon. Member will be aware, flood prevention works in the Nottingham area cannot be begun until the efficacy of the proposals has been tested on a model now nearing completion at Delft University.

Footpaths And Access Committee (Report)


asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he has now received the Report of the Footpaths and Access Special Committee; avid when this will be published and made available.

I have not yet received the Report, but expect to receive it in time for publication before the autumn.

Senior Meteorological Officers (Forecasting Duties)

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is aware that senior meteorological officers in charge of groups of stations do not undertake forecasting duties; that this has a poor effect on subordinate staff and there is a consequent lack of supervision; and what is being done about this matter.

No, I think the hon. Member has been misinformed. Senior meteorological officers in charge of groups of stations do undertake forecasting duties. They have, however, a number of stations to administer and supervise, they cannot, therefore, undertake forecasting duties to the same extent as their subordinate staff.

Teachers (Vacancies)

asked the Minister of Education what is now the over-all shortage of men and women elementary teachers; how many places he has available in the training establishments; how many candidates he has on his waiting list; and what proportion of teachers now teaching are fully qualified.

The latest returns available showed that on 1st April last, there were 6,312 vacancies in primary schools, made up of 842 for men, 4,937 for women, and 533 which could be filled by either men or women. The capacity of the permanent training colleges and departments is best measured in terms of their annual intake of students, which for the academic year 1946-47 amounted to about 3,200 men and 7,200 women. The temporary emergency training colleges now opened provide 8,800 places for men and 2,800 places for women; these colleges offer special one-year courses for men and women who have been engaged in war service. These figures, both for permanent and emergency colleges, relate to students preparing for work in secondary as well as in primary schools, as there is no rigid distinction between the courses of training for these two forms of teaching work. My Department does not keep any list of candidates seeking admission to the permanent training colleges. There are at the present time about 17,800 men and 2,300 women who have been selected for admission to emergency training colleges and have not yet been admitted to a course of training. On 31st March, 1946, the latest date for which figures are available, 93 per cent. of the teachers in contributory service in maintained and assisted primary and secondary schools and special schools were approved as qualified teachers.