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Written Answers

Volume 441: debated on Monday 28 July 1947

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 28th July, 1947


Mineral And Box Wagons


asked the Minister of Transport what steps have been taken during the past four months to complete and bring into service partially-completed mineral wagons recently standing at Martin Mill and Gatwick and to repair box wagons standing on the Maldon West branch line.

I am making inquiries and will arrange for a statement to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT as soon as possible.



asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that railway fares are double omnibus fares from Louth to most places in Lincolnshire; and what steps he will take to reduce railway fares and so attract passengers from the overcrowded omnibuses to the half-empty trains.

I am aware that there are differences between rail and road fares in many areas. Under present conditions it would not be possible to remove them. Bus fares are related to individual services and vary widely in different localities, whereas railway fares are generally on a basis applicable throughout the country. I have no doubt, however, that the matter would be considered in connection with the preparation and settlement of the charges schemes of the British Transport Commission.

Greenbank Goods Depot


asked the Minister of Transport whether he will arrange to keep open the Greenbank goods depot for a limited trial period in order to obviate unnecessary delays in the passage of through goods traffic.

There is no proposal to close this depot. It normally handles full wagon loads and coal traffic only.

District Line, Barking


asked the Minister of Transport what steps it is proposed to take to relieve the congestion on the District Line to Barking.

I am glad to say that on this line the London Passenger Transport Board proposes to increase 34 of the trains from six cars to eight cars and to run two additional eight-car trains. All these trains will be in service during the morning and evening peak hours. The improvements will be completed during the next few weeks.

Goods Traffic, Lancashire


asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that an unnecessary delay of three days or longer is often involved in the passage of loaded goods wagons through some parts of Lancashire; and what steps he proposes to take to accelerate the passage of goods traffic through this county.

No, but if my hon. Friend will give me details of any case he has in mind, I will investigate them.


Improvement Plan, Northrepps


asked the Minister of Transport if he will revise the proposed plan for the improvement to the road, A 149, Northrepps, Norfolk, which involves taking valuable garden ground attached to 18 houses and bungalows; and if he will straighten this road from a point at Crossdale Street, Northrepps, to the Cromer Urban District Council boundary.

The submission to me of this plan was advertised by the highway authority on 21st July, and the period for objection will expire on 1st August. Objections have been received from a number of persons affected, and I shall take these and any other objections into account before deciding whether to approve the plan.

Millgate, Newark

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that Millgate, Newark, is a very narrow street and quite unsuited for traffic in both directions; and if he will therefore consider making an order restricting it to one-way traffic.

Ministry Of Supply

Commercial Vehicles (Allocation)


asked the Minister of Supply whether he will now review the arrangements made with the motor trade to allocate new commercial vehicles; and whether he will take steps to see that fresh arrangements are made to secure that agreed priorities are observed in the allocation of these vehicles.

At the request of the Government essential industries are already being given priority by the trade in the allocation of new commercial vehicles.

Diesel Generating Sets (Imports)

asked the Minister of Supply what total expenditure of dollars has been incurred in the purchase of diesel generating sets from the U.S.A. during the last two years.

Ministry Of Works

Edinburgh University (Extension Plans)


asked the Minister of Works if he is aware of the proposed extension plans of the University of Edinburgh; that such plans, if carried out, would entirely envelop the Royal Scottish Museum and thus make any extension of that important institution no longer possible; and what action he proposes to take.

I am aware that the proposed extension plans of the University of Edinburgh would, if approved, absorb land which was acquired many years ago for an extension of the Royal Scottish Museum. The University's proposals are, I understand, in an early stage of consideration, and they will be the subject of consultation with my Department.

Nissen Huts (Timber Stock)


asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware that a considerable quantity of timber consisting of components of standard huts is in store in the premises of Messrs Christie and Vassey, Grange- mouth, and is deteriorating rapidly; and what steps he intends to take to utilise this material.

The timber in question forms part of a stock of Nissen huts previously stored by the War Office for issue to Government Departments generally. The stock is now in process of transfer to my Department. Outstanding demands will absorb practically all the hutting available.


Volunteer Camps


asked the Minister of Agriculture, whether he is aware that persons who offered their services to agriculture are now being informed that accommodation cannot be provided for them; how many volunteers have been rejected up to the present date; and whether there are more or fewer camps this season as compared with 1946.

I am aware that the volunteer agricultural camps are fully booked over the popular holiday period of August and early September during which my Department has been unable to accept a number of volunteers, but there is ample accommodation later in the year when the need is greatest. The camps this year provide for a total of 140,000 volunteer-weeks as compared with 109,000 in 1946.

Prisoners Of War


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that prisoners of war have recently been withdrawn in considerable numbers from farms in North Somerset without warning, resulting in interruption in tarm operations; and whether he will take the necessary steps to stop such sudden withdrawals.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the withdrawal on 16th July at 48 hours' notice of 50 German prisoners of war stationed it Failand hostel. These prisoners were not in the agricultural allocation but had been transferred temporarily from the Ministry of Works. The farmers concerned had been informed that these men, who would not have been made available for agricultural work on other terms, might have to be withdrawn at short notice. The men in question are already being replaced


asked the Minister of Agriculture how many German prisoners of war will be available in Lincolnshire this year to help with the harvest; what is the estimated number which will still be available for the 1948 harvest; what plans he has made for meeting the labour shortage which will arise; and if he is satisfied his plans will meet the situation.

The number of prisoners available for agricultural work in Lincolnshire should be approximately 10,000 this September. While precise figures cannot be given, it may be expected that the great majority will have been repatriated by September, 1948. For a general account of the measures which His Majesty's Government are taking to assist and supplement the recruitment of labour by the agricultural industry itself, I would refer the hon. Member to my statement in the course of the Debate on the Distribution of Manpower on 19th March last.

Cornish Sand


asked the Minister of Agriculture what check is kept on the removal of sand from the beaches of Cornwall for agricultural purposes; and whether he will state briefly how this checking system works.

The answer to the first part of the question is "None." My powers are limited to the administration of the subsidy on agricultural lime.

Poultry Industry


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will make a statement with regard to his plans for the organisation of the poultry industry.

Until I have received and considered the recommendations of the Committee appointed to review the working of the Agricultural Marketing Acts, I am not in a position to make a statement about the future organisation of the poultry industry. In any event I should prefer to give the representative organisations of poultry keepers an opportunity to submit their own plans.

Imported Combined Harvesters (Missing Parts)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that combine harvesters are being imported without some of their essential parts; and if, in order that they may be of use this harvest, he will arrange to have the necessary parts that are missing sent by air from the U.S.A. and thus avoid machines lying idle for a further year.

Owing to production difficulties, a number of combined harvesters had to be shipped from Canada without chains, springs and front wheel centres. I am assured that adequate supplies of chains and springs have been obtained by the importing agents from sources in this country. Some of the wheel centres have now arrived, and the remainder are on the way and will arrive shortly.

House Of Commons Catering (Missing Table Ware)


asked the hon. Member for West Walthamstow (Mr. McEntee) as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, how much Kitchen and Refreshment Rooms equipment, such as knives and forks, is missing from the House of Commons for the two years ending July, 1947.

The total number of knives, forks, spoons, E.P.N.S. dishes, flats and other plated table ware missing for the 18 months from 1st July, 1945, to 31st December, 1946, is 2,259. I regret that it is not possible to give the figures for the last six months until after the House rises for the Recess.

Uk And Ussr (Cultural Relations)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the discussions between His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow and M. Molotov regarding cultural exchanges between Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. have yet been concluded; and if he will make a statement.

On 24th February a formal proposal was made to the Soviet Government that they should send a delegation of educationalists to the United Kingdom to discuss the question of exchanges of teachers and students, or alternatively that they should allow a British delegation to visit Moscow. In March my right hon. Friend raised the matter with Marshal Stalin, who appeared to be in agreement in principle. Our Ambassador reminded Monsieur Molotov of our proposal on 8th May, but received no reply. On 5th June, in response to a further reminder, our Embassy in Moscow were informed that the matter was being discussed by the Academy of Science and other interested Soviet organisations. Nothing further has been heard. I can assure the House that His Majesty's Government attach importance to establishing closer cultural relations with Soviet Russia, and that we shall not give up hope of success.


British Property (Claims)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what arrangements he is making for the submission of claims by British subjects to the Alien Property Liquidation Department of the Central Trust of China, for property lost or destroyed during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.

His Majesty's Ambassador at Nanking has reported that the Alien Property Liquidation Department of the Central Trust of China addressed communications to His Majesty's Consuls-General at Shanghai and Hankow stating that it had been decided, upon the proposal of the Chinese Ministry for Foreign Affairs, to set 30th June, 1947, as the time-limit for Allied companies and individuals to submit documentary evidence of their claims to property which was under Japanese or puppet control during the war, and that after that date no further claims would be admitted, the properties in question being disposed of as enemy-owned. His Majesty's Ambassador thereupon addressed to the Chinese Ministry for Foreign Affairs a note, dated 24th June, in which he formally reserved the rights of British property owners who for any reason might be unable to submit before 30th June documentary evidence of their claims to property which was under Japanese or puppet control during the war.As regards war damage losses sustained by British subjects in China, arrangements have been made for the collection of information by a war damage officer who was appointed and sent out to China early in May with instructions to collect and collate data regarding losses and personal injury suffered by British subjects in China as a result of action of the Japanese forces during the occupation by them of parts of China (including Shanghai) while Japan was at war with His Majesty. This work is now in progress.

British Merchant Shipping


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations he has made to the Chinese Government for the relaxation of the exclusion of British merchant shipping from the Chinese coastal and inland waterways trade.

Under the terms of the Sino-British Treaty of 1943, British merchant shipping no longer enjoys the right to participate in the Chinese coastal and inland water trades. Several attempts have been made to induce the Chinese Government to grant a relaxation of these restrictions, which would be in the interest of the movement of relief supplies and the promotion of China's export trade. I regret that these attempts have so far been without success.

Germany (Professor Planck)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware that Professor Max Planck, a Fellow of the Royal Society, Nobel Laureate, Physics, and Honorary Graduate of London University has been sentenced by a German de-Nazification court, in his 90th year, to four years' imprisonment in a labour camp because he accepted from the pre-Nazi German Government honours inevitably accorded to his outstanding scientific achievement; and if he will refuse to confirm this sentence.

Professor Planck is at liberty in the British zone and has not been sentenced by a German denazification court.

Japan (British Parliamentary Delegation)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the successful visit of the 1946 Parliamentary Delegation to Japan and of the possibility of a Japanese peace conference in the near future, he will consider arranging for the dispatch of a further delegation in the Summer Recess.

Yes. Arrangements are already being made for a visit of a delegation of four or five Members, who will arrive in Japan towards the end of September for a visit of ten to fourteen days.

British Forces, Greece

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affars (1) what British Forces now remain in Greece;(2) what British Forces have been withdrawn from Greece since the end of March, 1947.

As already stated on 4th June, in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Piratin), there are somewhat more than 5,000 British troops still in Greece, exclusive of the members of the British Service Missions. Since the end of March, 1947, approximately 9,000 British troops have been withdrawn from Greece.

Food Supplies

Egyptian Onion Imports


asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the fact that long-keeping Egyptian onions have been put on the market and have ruined the market for English onions, he will, in future, before authorising imports, consult the Minister of Agriculture as to the home-grown supplies available.

As the import of Egyptian onions, which are of the dry bulb variety, stopped from 1st July and the main English season for bulb onions does not begin until mid-August, I cannot agree that the English market for these onions has been affected by Egyptian imports. My right hon. Friend, the Minister of Agriculture is invariably consulted before any arrangements are made for importations of vegetables.

Orange Juice


asked the Minister of Food whether he will arrange for children on reaching the age of five years to continue to receive an allocation of orange juice in lieu of the tea ration to which they then become entitled.

As children over five can obtain an adequate amount of vitamin C from their ordinary diet, my right hon. Friend does not propose to extend the present age limit.

Dehydrated Soups (Packing Materials)


asked the Minister of Food whether he will now grant a licence to L. A. M. (Foods), Ltd., of Letchworth, Herts, to obtain cartons for packing dehydrated soups and other products on the grounds contained in a letter sent to him by the hon. Member for Hitchin on 19th June.

Because of the limited supplies of carton board available to the food industries, and the fact that we cannot give dehydrated soup a high priority, it has been impracticable so far to grant this application. Neither the sale of equipment nor the grant of a manufacturing licence carries the promise of an allocation of packaging materials.

Game And Wild Birds (Prices)


asked the Minister of Food whether it is his intention that all game and wild birds will be decontrolled in price during the coming season.

The Order providing maximum prices for game birds was revoked on 29th June last. There is no control over the price of other wild birds. Hares and venison will, however, still be controlled this season.

Horticultural Containers


asked the Minister of Food which branch of his Department is responsible for the manufacture of returnable and non-returnable horticultural containers.

My Department is not responsible directly for the manufacture of horticultural containers. So far as wooden containers are concerned licences to acquire timber are issued to users, who then make their own arrangements for the production of the containers. Licences for the manufacture of cardboard containers are issued to container manufacturers by the Paper Control by agreement with this Ministry.

Pilchards (Margarine Production)


asked the Minister of Food whether he has any further information to give with regard to the experiments that his Department has been carrying out in producing margarine from pilchards.

The quantity of pilchards required to carry out a further experiment has not so far been available on any one day this year. We hope it will be possible to get enough to send to the factory during the coming autumn fishing season, when the heaviest catches are usually made.

Quick-Freezing Plants


asked the Minister of Food how many licences have been issued for the construction in this country of quick-freezing plants for fruit and vegetables in the last 12 months; what is the location and capacity of the units; and what progress has been made in their construction.

Two licences have been issued for the erection or conversion of buildings for quick-freezing plant in the Home Counties and one in the Eastern Counties during the last 12 months. I cannot at the moment give the information about the capacity of these plants or the progress which has been made in their construction, but I will write to the hon. Member in due course.

Cornish Potatoes

asked the Minister of Food if he is satisfied that potatoes grown in Cornwall are being lifted and that there is a satisfactory market for them.

Yes, there is a satisfactory market, provided that growers spread the lifting of their potatoes over the next few weeks.

Isolation Hospital, Shaftesbury (Use)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Isolation Hospital, Foyle Hill House, Shaftesbury, Dorset, is about to be sold; and whether he has considered using this place as a children's home instead of making it available for a private purchaser.

I am aware of this proposal. Children's homes are primarily a matter for the County Council and I will bring the hon. Member's suggestion to their notice.


Aluminium Houses


asked the Minister of Health whether the prototype of a two-storey permanent aluminium house has been produced; and whether it is intended to proceed with its general production.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes." On the second part I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 5th June in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. D. Williams), of which I am sending him a copy.

Vacant Property, Ruislip

asked the Minister of Health how long the house, 38 Clyfford Road, Ruislip, Middlesex, has been empty; and why it has not been requisitioned.

It is understood the house in question become empty on 17th June last. On inquiry by the council it was found that a firm contract to purchase had already been entered into. Since also arrangements for immediate occupation had been made it was considered unreasonable to requisition the property.

Rural Housing Subsidy


asked the Minister of Health how many rural houses built by local authorities have qualified for the special standard amount of Exchequer contributions under Section 3 of the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1946.

Applications for subsidy have been received in respect of 587 completed houses.

asked the Minister of Health the number of new houses in rural areas for which local authorities have applied for the higher rate of agricultural subsidy, to the latest convenient date.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given today to the hon. Member for The High Peak (Mr. Molson).

Ss "Carnarvon Castle" (Chicken-Pox Case)

asked the Minister of Health if he will give full details of the case on the "Carnarvon Castle," which was for several days stated to be a case of smallpox but eventually turned out to be chicken-pox; how frequently had the patient been vaccinated; who decided that it was a case of chicken-pox, and when; why an official of his Department cabled to the captain of the "Carnarvon Castle" that all the passengers must be vaccinated; and if he will instruct his officials to make it clear that every passenger has a right to be vaccinated or not.

On 5th July, the port medical officer at Southampton received a radio message from the "Caernarvon Castle" (through the local agents of the Union Castle Line) stating that the ship's surgeon reported a case of small-pox on board. The ship arrived in Cowes Roads on 8th July, and the port medical officer and four of his medical officers boarded the ship. The port medical officer examined the patient—a man—and diagnosed the case as one of chicken-pox. The man had last been vaccinated in 1945, and previously in 1943, successfully on both occasions. The captain and the ship's surgeon had two or three days previously made a public announcement that there was a case of small-pox on board, and the port authorities at Las Palmas, at which the ship had called, had diagnosed small-pox. The port medical officer reports that he therefore decided to examine all the passengers and crew, taking their names and addresses, because, although he had diagnosed chicken-pox, the possibility of modified small-pox could not, in the circumstances, be ignored. Subsequent bacteriological examination of the specimen taken from the patient definitely confirmed the case as chicken-pox. No officer of the Ministry cabled to the captain of the ship or required anybody to be vaccinated.

Old Age Pensions Claims

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is aware that the continued delay in the granting of old age pensions in the County of Suffolk is causing severe hardship to old people who, after making early application, are kept waiting an undue length of time before they are notified that their pension will be payable; and if he will take steps to expedite the process.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 17th June last. If, however, the hon. Member has any particular case in mind which arose before the introduction of the new machinery and will let me have details, I shall be pleased to look into it.

East Africa (Inter-Territorial Services)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement about the scheme of inter-territorial organisation in East Africa.

It is now over four months since the revised proposals contained in Colonial Paper No. 210 were published and they have since been widely discussed in East Africa. I have most carefully studied the views expressed on them by all sections of the community in the three Territories, as recorded in the East African press, in communications addressed to me and above all in records of the debates in the Legislative Councils of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika.I regret that opposition has been expressed to the revised proposals in certain quarters in East Africa but this has been largely confined to one particular point, the proposed composition of the East African Assembly on the unofficial side. The original proposals, which were published as a basis for discussion only and were always known to be subject to modification in the light of such discussion, provided for an unofficial membership on the Assembly of 24, consisting of six Europeans, six Indians, six representatives of African interests (not all of whom would necessarily have been Africans), two Arabs and four other unofficial members nominated by the High Commission. Under the revised proposals the number of unofficial members has been reduced to 13; one member would be an Arab and there would be four unofficial members from each of the three Territories, of whom one would be a European, one an Indian and one an African in each case, while the fourth would be elected by the unofficial members of the territorial Legislative Council voting as a whole.Those who have criticised the revised proposals have suggested that the basis of equality in the representation of the three main races has been departed from; but this is not the case. Equality has been retained as between the unofficial members to represent each of the main races. Objection has also been taken in certain quarters to the addition of the three members to be selected by the unofficial members of each of the territorial Legislative Councils; but it appears to have been overlooked that these are in substitution of the four unofficial members who would have been nominated by the High Commissioner under the original proposals. These three members have been included to emphasise the territorial, as opposed to the communal aspect of representation; they would be selected by a vote of all the unofficial members in each Territory and would represent the interests of the Territory as a whole rather than of any single race. It seems to have been assumed by some that all these three members would necessarily be Europeans; but this is not the case, as will be seen from an examination of the composition of the territorial Legislative Councils on the unofficial side.The revised proposals for the composition of the Assembly have not pleased everybody; but I am satisfied that they are fair, that they will not prejudice the interests of any community, and that under them no single community could possibly secure a predominant influence over the affairs of the Assembly. They are, moreover, introduced for an experimental period of four years only in the first instance. Thereafter any changes shown to be required in the light of experience can if necessary be madeI have been impressed by the tact that few of those who have criticised the proposed composition of the Assembly have denied the necessity for a scheme on the general lines suggested to give constitutional backing for the operation of the inter-territorial services in East Africa and to associate representatives of the public in the control of these services. The urgency of this need has been amply shown by our experience in East Africa since the war ended and I am convinced that, if the economic and general development of the three Territories is not to be hampered, the scheme proposed in Colonial Paper No. 210 should be brought into force without further delay. I regard the Assembly as an essential feature of the whole scheme, since without it there can be no adequate popular control, I am satisfied that the scheme is in the best interests of the East African Territories, and that, with the additional safeguards introduced in Colonial Paper No. 210, the interests of the three Territories and of all races in them will be fully secured. His Majesty's Government have accordingly decided that the scheme as proposed in Colonial Paper No. 210 should be brought into force on 1st January, 1948, and the necessary constitutional instruments are being prepared with this object in view.In announcing this decision I wish to emphasise that the points made in paragraphs 9–10 of Colonial Paper 191 still hold good. The final responsibility to Parliament for the administration of the three East African Territories will continue to rest with His Majesty's Government, as will the special responsibility of His Majesty's Government as the Administering Authority of Tanganyika under the Trusteeship Agreement for that Territory. This special position of responsibility will be secured by means of the usual reserve powers under the constitution. Secondly the scheme is not to be regarded as a step towards political union or the fusion of the East African Governments. As stated in paragraph 10 of Colonial Paper 191, the scheme will leave the administration of the Territories as at present in the hands of the three Governments, and the Territories will retain their existing constitutions. As I have already said, the scheme is designed to provide a constitutional framework for the operation of the inter-territorial services, which are mainly economic, and to associate representatives of the public with the control of these services

Armed Forces (Educational Pamphlets)

asked the Minister of Defence if he is aware that some of the booklets issued by the Bureau of Current Affairs in relation to the U.S.S.R. are rather one-sided in their viewpoint; and, before future publications are distributed to the Army and Royal Navy, if he will have them carefully examined to test their real educational value.

I have been asked to reply. All "Current Affairs" pamphlets are examined before they are issued. Lecturers and leaders of discussion groups are instructed so far as possible to treat their subjects impartially and objectively and the same principles are followed in selecting literature to form the basis of this type of instruction. More latitude is allowed in providing material for libraries and information rooms, but here again care is taken to see that all views are represented. It is extremely difficult, however, to produce a pamphlet on a controversial topic which appears completely unbiased to everyone, particularly if it is intended, as these are, to stimulate thought and discussion.

Postmen (Reduced Number)

asked the Postmaster-General how many postal servants engaged in collection and delivery of letters and allied operations, have been withdrawn from that service up to date, since 1st May, 1947.

The number of postmen has, in round figures, been reduced by 4,000, counting each part-timer as one half.

Training Courses (Ex-Servicemen)

asked the Minister of Labour how many ex-Servicemen, who have applied to undertake a vocational training course, are still waiting to be called after a period of six months, nine months and 12 months, respectively.

, in pursuance of his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th July, 1947; Vol. 440, c. 599–600], supplied the following information:Six thousand, two hundred and fifty-seven ex-Servicemen have been awaiting allocation for more than a year since they were accepted for training; 3,461 for between 9 and 12 months; and 2,638 for between 6 and 9 months. The period of waiting varies according to the occupation in which training is desired since the training facilities are, in consultation with the industries concerned, related to the prospects of future employment rather than the number of applicants for a particular course.

British Army, Greece (Local Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for War at what rate of exchange pay and allowances are paid to British officers and men serving in Greece; what special cost-of-living allowances are given; and how these compare with subsistence allowances given to British civilians employed by His Majesty's Government in Greece and with the rate of exchange given by the U.S. Government to their officers and men working in Greece.

The rate of exchange is 20,000 drachmae = £1. Local overseas allowance is at present in issue to British troops in Greece at the following daily rates:

General Officer3696
Colonel and Lieut.-Colonel3360
Major and below3043
Warran Officer I1030
Warrant Officer II826
Staff Sergeant726
Rank and File320
Officers and other ranks and their families are accommodated under War Department arrangements. It is difficult to make useful comparisons between these rates and rates of allowances given to civilians who serve under different condi- tions and whose allowances are based on different considerations. As I indicated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Marylebone (Sir W. Wakefield) on 1st July, the rates of local allowances issued to officers and other ranks in Greece are being reviewed. I understand that United States military personnel in Greece draw local advances at the official dollar rate of one dollar equals five thousand drachmae.

Trade And Commerce

Requisitioned Industrial Premises

asked the President of the Board of Trade how much industrial floor space is still held under requisition by Government Departments; and by what date it is anticipated that the whole of it will be handed back to the owners or former occupiers.

Approximately 21 million square feet of space formerly used for industrial purposes are still held under requisition. Of this total nearly 20 million square feet should be released by the end of this year, when any small balance of space remaining under requisition will consist of premises unsuitable or unavailable for civil production.

Typesetting Machine Parts (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give particulars of cast plates and linotype matter, pertaining to publications of U.S. origin, imported into Great Britain during 1947.

The value of all parts for typesetting machines imported from the United States in the first six months of this year was £35,689; no separate information is available relating to cast plates and linotype matter.

Air Training Corps

asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the total strength of the A.T.C.; to what extent is their pre-service organisation administered by his Department and R.A.F. Commands; and how far does this system necessitate co-operation with county territorial and auxiliary forces associations.

The total strength of the A.T.C. is about 50,000. The day-to-day command and administration of the Corps is the responsibility of the A.O.C.-in-C., Reserve Command, under the general direction of the Air Ministry. The organisation of the Corps rests on local A.T.C. Units and their committees, but it is the policy of the Air Council to link the A.T.C. as closely as practicable with territorial and auxiliary forces associations. So far, the associations have been asked to co-operate with county A.T.C. committees and to assist in forming such committees where they do not exist. This will bring the A.T.C. into closer touch with the activities of other Cadet and Auxiliary Forces; it will also help the Corps in its contacts with employers, trades unions and local civic and education authorities. As co-operation develops, further responsibilities towards the Corps will be entrusted to the associations, and detailed guidance will be issued by my Department as necessary.