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Written Answers

Volume 446: debated on Wednesday 28 January 1948

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 28th January, 1948


British Subjects' Claims


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress is being made towards the settlement of claims for property lost by British subjects resident in Siam at the beginning of the Japanese war.

Agreement has now been reached between the British Commonwealth Governments and the Siamese Government regarding the procedure for the presentation of these claims. Claims forms are in preparation and it is hoped to distribute them shortly.

Siam And Burma (Rice)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why the reduction of 600,000 tons in the rice agreement made by Lord Killearn with Siam and announced in May, 1946, was not disclosed to the House although this reduction was agreed to in December, 1946.

The hon. Member is mistaken in thinking that any agreement on rice was made between Lord Killearn and Siam. The reduction to which he draws attention was a modification of the Anglo-Siamese Formal Agreement of January, 1946. The text of this agreement, together with the amendments to it made from time to time, including the reduction in question, have now been assembled in one document and will be laid before the House as soon as possible.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the impossibility of raising the rice ration in Malaya at present, he will assure the House that the change of Government in Siam has in no way altered existing contracts; and in the case of Burma, whether he will give an assurance that the change in status of the Government has in no way altered the existing arrangements for the sale of rice.

The changes in Government in Siam and the governmental status in Burma have not affected the rice arrangements in either country.

British Council

Representative, China


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when it is intended to appoint a new head of the British Council in China, in place of Professor Roxburgh, who died last spring.

Miss Lynda Grier, until recently Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, has accepted the post of British Council representative in China.

Mps' Lectures (Foreign Countries)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions have been given to British Council representatives abroad in regard to hon. Members giving lectures under its auspices in foreign countries.

Hon. Members lecturing abroad under British Council auspices do so on the understanding that they avoid controversial political discussion when speaking from the British Council's platform. British Council representatives abroad are fully informed of the position.


Assets (Neutral Countries)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress is being made in the recovery of German assets in neutral countries.

Implementation of the Agreement on German assets of 18th July, 1946, is proceeding satisfactorily in Sweden, and we have received the 63 million kronor due to the United Kingdom there. The liquidation of German assets in Switzerland under the Agreement of 25th May, 1946, is still held up by difficulties which have arisen in connexion with paragraph 1 (2) of the Agreement. In conjunction with the French and United States Governments, we have been pressing the Swiss Government to proceed with liquidation. Agreements with the Spanish and Portuguese Governments are under active negotiation.

Scrap Iron Exports


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what quantities of scrap iron were exported from the Anglo-American zone of Germany, or collected therein for export, in each of the four quarters of 1947; what prices were fixed therefor; in what currencies; and to what countries and consignees; they were sent or to be sent.

A quarterly breakdown of commercial scrap exports from the combined zone is not available, but exports in 1947 consisted of:—19,075 tons to Belgium, Consignee: Office de Réecupération. Economique.4,174tons to Czechoslovakia, Consignee: Ceskoslovenska Huette Narodny Podnik.142,527 tons to United Kingdom, Consignee: Iron and Steel Disposals Limited.Prices to Belgium and Czechoslovakia were fixed in dollars and to the United Kingdom in sterling. It would not be in the public interest to disclose the actual prices paid.

Steel (Trawler Building)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any allocation of steel has been made or will be made to German shipyards for the construction of new tonnage.

Malta (United States Navy)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under what provision and of which treaty or agreement were arrangements made for the use by the United States Navy of Malta harbour and port installations as a base for a trans-shipment of American marines.

Tripolitan1a (Mellaha Airport)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent Tripoli is still in British occupation; and under what provision and of which treaty or agreement was authority given for the reinstitution of the Mellaha airport by the United States air forces in Europe.

Article 23 (2) of the Peace Treaty with Italy provides that, pending their final disposal, the former Italian Colonies shall continue under their present administration, which, in the case of Tripolitania, means British military administration. The United States Government some months ago asked His Majesty's Government for permission to use the aerodrome at Mellaha for their communications in the Mediterranean area and this was granted. The facilities are naturally limited to the period during which the British Military Administration remains responsible for the territory.

Greece (Situation)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether in view of the disturbed situation in Greece, with the presence of the American Military Mission and the demonstration of heavy air and sea forces off the coast, he will consult the United Nations concerning the limits to which such foreign intervention might go.

Food Supplies

Foreign Farm Workers


asked the Minister of Food whether European voluntary workers and Poles accommodated in camps in Huntingdonshire are getting more or less food than British farm workers.

Foreign farm workers receive exactly the same rations as British workers working under similar conditions and those in Huntingdonshire are no exception to the rule.

Eggs (Eire)


asked the Minister of Food what steps are being taken to encourage Eire to increase the supply of eggs for shipment to this country.

Certain proposals for developing the production of eggs in Eire for export to the United Kingdom are under consideration by the two Governments. I hope we shall be able to make an announcement on the matter very shortly.

Canned Snoek


asked the Minister of Food how much of the tin for canning the imports of snoek was provided from this country; and how much was used.

No tin-plate has been allocated from this country to South Africa for the purpose of canning snoek.

Jamaican Bananas


asked the Minister of Food what has been the outcome of discussions between him and the delegation from Jamaican banana growers; and whether it has been possible to make long term arrangements for a regular supply of Jamaican bananas to this country.

In order that the production of bananas in Jamaica should be stimulated to the fullest possible extent, my right hon. Friend has agreed to maintain the 1947 price for the 1948 crop as requested by the delegation, and has offered to make long-term arrangements to insure supplies.

Offal Allocations


asked the Minister of Food what steps are taken to ensure that chairmen of butchers' associations allocate offal fairly as between other retailers and themselves; and what action is taken when this is not fairly done.

In England and Wales allocations of offal to retail butchers are made by officers of the retailers' buying committees and appointed by the butchers themselves. The committees are at liberty to remove men from office who do not give satisfaction

Milk Consumption, Dudley

asked the Minister of Food what was the average daily consumption of milk per head of the population in the county borough of Dudley in the years 1920, 1925, 1930, 1940 and 1947.

I am sorry to say that there are no figures available showing the milk consumption in the county borough of Dudley in 1020. 1925, 1930 and 1940. In these circumstances I do not think that the work involved in getting out figures for 1947 could be justified at the present time.

Puddings And Biscuits (Rejected Consignments)

asked the Minister of Food whether the returned consignments of British biscuits and puddings rejected by U.S.A. food inspectors have been examined by his Department; and with what result.

The puddings returned from the U.S.A. have been examined by my Department. They were found to have deteriorated owing to faulty packing. The manufacturers concerned are making a careful study of the biscuits which were rejected.

Armed Forces

Lieut-General Lemay (Visit)


asked the Minister of Defence on how many occasions during 1947 Lieut.-General Curtis E. LeMay, U.S. Army, visited Great Britain on official business; and what consultations he had with the planning staff at the War Office.

Lieut.-General Curtis E. LeMay visited Great Britain once on official business during 1947 and did not have conversations with any Department of the War Office.

Middle East Base


asked the Minister of Defence whether any decision has yet been reached regarding our new Middle East Base; and if he will make a statement.

Colonial Empire

Imports From United Kingdom


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies which Colonial Governments, have made agreements with this country whereby British manufactured goods, such as sweets and chocolates, are not to be imported into their territories; and what steps are being taken in those cases to put an end to such agreements, which conflict with the request from the Board of Trade that British industries should export everything possible.

There have never been any such agreements. Colonial Governments have been asked to reduce to a minimum certain classes of imports from the United Kingdom, including goods which are made wholly or largely of materials which must be bought for hard currencies or can be sold for hard currencies (such as the sweets and chocolates which the hon. Member mentions). I am sending the hon. Member, for his information, a copy of a notice which appeared on the subject in the Board of Trade Journal of 3rd January, 1948.

Education Service


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if there are any opportunities in the teaching profession for men and women in the Colonies.

Yes. There is a very wide range of opportunities for qualified men and women teachers. I will send the hon. Member a pamphlet about posts in the Colonial Education Service.

Cyprus (Constitutional Proposals)

75 and 76.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he has yet replied to the representations made by a number of members of the Cyprus Consultative Assembly concerning the granting of self-government to the island; and what were the terms of the reply;(2) whether His Majesty's Government is prepared to grant to Cyprus the same measure of self-government in internal affairs as has been granted to Malta.

I have not yet been able to reply to the memorial addressed to me through the Chairman of the Consultative Assembly by certain of the Greek Cypriot members, although I am anxious not to delay the progress of the Assembly. I should make it clear, however, that His Majesty's Government see considerable difficulties in the way of accepting the full request of the memorialists and are themselves considering putting forward, through the chairman, constitutional proposals for the consideration of the Assembly.

Nigeria (Locomotive Spare Parts)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to remedy the hold-up of groundnuts in the Kano district by shipping spare parts for locomotives to that area; and what is the total value of such spare parts received in West Africa in the last six months of 1947.

Since 1945 all indents received from the Nigerian Railways for locomotive spare parts have been treated as urgent and every effort is being made to speed up deliveries. The value of the locomotive spare parts delivered in Nigeria during the six months ending December, 1947, was £86,000.

Jamaica (Chain Stores)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action has now been taken by the Government of Jamaica in regard to the expansion of chain stores; and whether he is satisfied that small retailers in Jamaica receive a fair share of imported goods for retail distribution.

The Government of Jamaica is now considering the report of the Committee appointed in 1946 to make proposals in the matter of limiting the expansion of chain stores. The answer to the second part of the Question, is in the affirmative.

Mauritius And Seychelles (Air Services)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action he is taking with the Minister of Civil Aviation for B.O.A.C. in East or Central African Airways to provide air services to Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Arrangements are now being made in consultation with my noble Friend the Minister of Civil Aviation for the operation of a weekly landplane air service between East Africa and Mauritius by Skyways. The operation of an air service to the Seychelles, I am informed, would at present be possible only with flying-boats. This I understand would be quite uneconomic, and I could not reasonably ask my noble Friend to impose this further financial burden on the B.O.A.C. at this time.

Chief Justice, Seychelles


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how long the post of Chief Justice in the Seychelles has been vacant; what is the difficulty in filling the post; and whether failing permanent appointment a justice could be loaned by some neighbouring Colony.

The post of Chief Justice of Seychelles has been vacant since July, 1947, but satisfactory arrangements have already been made for it to be filled on an acting basis by a legal officer seconded from Ceylon until a substantive appointment is made. The filling of the post on a permanent basis has to be considered in relation to the availability of possible candidates, and it may be necessary for the present arrangement to continue for some months.

Northern Rhodesia (Chemical Fertilisers)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will call the attention of the Northern Rhodesian Government to the deleterious effects of excess of chemical fertilisers as observed in this country, in view of the visit of members of the chemical industry to that Colony.

I will pass the hon. Member's suggestion to the Northern Rhodesian Government in order to ensure that the effects to which he refers, and which I am sure are known to that Government's agricultural advisers, are not overlooked.

Royal Navy

Prize Money


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how much prize money is now owing to members of the Senior Service; and when it will be paid.

The Prize Bill which it is hoped to bring before the House during this Session will contain proposals for declaring a fixed sum which will be available for disposal as droits of the Crown. I should like to take this further opportunity of repeating my warning that the amount available will be small. I regret that I cannot forecast the date on which it will be possible to begin payments.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he can yet make any statement on the distribution of prize money.

I have nothing to add to the replies given to my hon. Friend the Member for East Harrow (Mr. Skinnard) on 19th November last and to the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) today.

Hms "Ambush" (Experiments)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what special payment is to be made to the crew of the submarine H.M.S. "Ambush," which is to be submerged for experimental purposes in Arctic waters.

The experiments will be conducted as a part of normal naval duties. Additional pay as authorised for service in His Majesty's submarines will be payable, but no special pay for the occasion is contemplated.

Cruisers (Scrapping)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what ships of the Royal Navy other than capital ships have been scheduled for immediate scrapping.

The cruisers "Danae," "Delhi," "Caledon," "Colombo" and "Kent" are immediately available for scrapping, and have been reported to the appropriate agency for this purpose.

Naval Attachés

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what is the equivalent rank in the Diplomatic Service for Naval Attachés and Assistant Attachés; whether they receive the same pay and allowances; what is the present arrangement for dealing with local cost of living changes; whether such arrangements are retrospective; and whether an inspector has been sent out to inquire into their financial problems.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War yesterday, which applies equally to Naval Attachés and Assistant Naval Attachés.

Depot, Funtingdon (Closure)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what proposals he has to secure the continued employment of persons now employed in the Operational Signal Equipment Depot, Funtingdon, near Hambrook, Sussex, when it closes on 31st March.

This depot is being closed as an economy measure. It will be possible to absorb into Admiralty employment elsewhere some 20 of the existing industrial staff but it will be necessary to dispense with the services of the remainder of the employees if the savings aimed at are to be achieved. The Ministry of Labour and National Service are being informed of the impending closure.

Pension Payment (Mr Bannister)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware that, although on 23rd April, 1947, a letter was sent by him to the hon. Member for North Portsmouth indicating that Mr. W. Bannister, 116, Knox Road, Stamshaw, Portsmouth, had been awarded an increase in pension of £5 11s. 8d. per annum as from 1st December, 1946, with instructions to His Majesty's Paymaster General to give effect to this so far no increase payments have been made to Mr. Bannister; and whether he will take the necessary steps to secure the payment of the amounts due.

Owing to a clerical error, which I regret, the instructions that should have been issued to His Majesty's Paymaster-General were not in fact sent. The necessary warrant authorising payment of the pension was dispatched on 22nd January.

Post Office

Wireless Receiving Licences


asked the Postmaster-General whether the Government will now consider reducing the wireless licence charge from 20s. to 10s. per annum, since the revenue secured at 10s. per annum was far in excess of the expenditure involved.

I cannot accept the hon. Member's suggestion. The reasons for raising the annual charge for Wireless Receiving Licences from 10s. to £1 were given in the White Paper on Broadcasting Policy and they still hold good.


asked the Pomaster General whether, in view of the increase in the cost of living, he will now consider the desirability of reducing the cost of wireless licences to old age pensioners from £1 to 10s.

After full consideration I regret that I am unable to give preferential treatment in this respect to old age pensioners.

Typing Work (Agencies)


asked the Postmaster-General in which departments and regions of the Post Office it is the practice occasionally, and in which regularly, to send typing work out to agencies; at what rate is payment made; and how much has been spent in this way during the last 12 months or similar convenient period.

The only department of the Post Office which regularly sends typing work to agencies is the Solicitor's Department. The rates vary according to the length and kind of work and the number of copies. The payment to agencies during the year 1947 was £845 16s. 11d. Occasional use is made of typing agencies by other departments and regions. During 1947, the amount spent was £108 10s. 9d.

Sub-Office, Merton


asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware of the inadequacy of the post office facilities in Kingston Road, Merton, S.W.19, in the vicinity of the Nelson Hospital; and whether he will take steps to bring about improvements.

I assume my hon. Friend refers to the sub-post office situated opposite the Nelson Hospital at Merton. Steps have recently been taken to improve the conditions for serving the public and I hope there will be no further cause for complaint.

Books Of Stamps


asked the Postmaster General if he will make available for sale, books of stamps of large numbers for each category, in order to facilitate sales at post office counters.

The potential demand for books of stamps containing a large number of each category is insufficient to justify the additional cost of production, distribution, sale and accounting involved. This cost would outweigh any advantage obtained at post office counters.

Mails, Railway Stations (Safeguards)


asked the Postmaster-General whether he will make provision for Government mail to be adequately safeguarded on railway stations.

The safeguarding of mails on railway stations is under constant review and all practicable steps are taken to ensure that the arrangements are adequate. If, however, my hon. Friend has in mind any particular station where he thinks existing safeguards might be improved, I shall be happy to look into the matter.

Austrian Letters (Delays)


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that letters from Austria often take from two to three months to be delivered in this country; and what is the cause of this delay.

I was not aware of such delay. There is a daily despatch from Vienna to London and letters for any address in the United Kingdom should normally be delivered within a week from the date of despatch. If my hon. Friend will let me have full particulars of letters which have suffered delay. I shall be happy to investigate.

Postal Packets (Examination)


asked the Postmaster-General whether all, or only a proportion of registered letters from England to Eire and Northern Ireland are being opened for examination; and if all registered letters to all other countries are also opened for examination.

There is no general examination of correspondence, registered or otherwise, from England to Eire or to Northern Ireland. If the hon. and gallant Member is referring to postal packets containing lottery matter which are stopped from time to time, these are stopped irrespective of country of destination under special warrants issued in pursuance of prerogative powers referred to in Section 56 of the Post Office Act, 1908. As regards the second part of the Question, registered letters for other countries are opened for Customs examination if the Customs authorities so require.

Parcel Post Rates

asked the Post-master-General if he is aware that the increase in the parcel post rates is causing hardship to crofters, old age pensioners, and other inhabitants in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, as many of them receive the greater part of their supplies by means of the parcel post; and if he will reconsider the decision to increase these rates.

While I much regret any hardship caused, I cannot agree to rescind the recent increase in Inland parcel post rates, which even now are unremunerative.

Telephone Service

Kiosks (Rural Areas)


asked the Post-master-General how many parishes in the rural districts of Newark, Bingham and Southwell are not provided with a public telephone kiosk.

Of the 124 parishes in the rural districts of Newark, Bingham and Southwell, 43 have no public telephone kiosk, but eight of these have a telephone call office at the post office or railway station.


asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that in villages where no post office exists a public telephone kiosk is only provided if the local authority concerned undertakes to pay for five years a fixed contribution of £4 a year and since the telephone service is a national service, will he take steps to assume the financial obligation of providing such service.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply to my hon Friend the Member for Thorn-bury (Mr. Alpass) on 12th November, 1947.



asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that the Kerosene Distributing Company Limited, 13, Aswell Street, Louth, is included in the Grimsby telephone directory as 55811, but that no line has been installed because the Grimsby Corporation refuse consent to the erection of two poles; and in view of the possible reflection upon this company's credit, if he will give immediate attention to this matter and have a line installed forthwith.

Particulars of the Kerosene Distributing Company, Limited, were included in the telephone directory because it was expected that their line would be provided by the time the directory was issued. The provision of new underground ducts and cables to serve the few potential subscribers in this locality would not be justified, especially at the present time when our resources of manpower and materials are seriously restricted. I am hopeful that the Grimsby Corporation, on reconsideration, will see their way to grant consent for the necessary poles, and enable me to provide this firm with telephone service. I am sure that this reply will dispel any possible reflection upon the Company's credit.


asked the Postmaster-General the number of farmers in England whose application for the installation of a telephone has been fulfilled in the past 12 months; and how many are still outstanding.

I regret that it is not possible to say how many of the 546,000 new telephones installed in England in the past 12 months were for farmers. About 7,800 farmers' applications in England are outstanding at present.

British Broadcasting Corporation (Staff)


asked the Postmaster-General how many of the staff of the British Broadcasting Corporation who compile and orally transmit programmes in English to the public are not British subjects.

Royal Air Force

Stores And Equipment, Palestine


asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the tonnage of R.A.F. stores and equipment now in Palestine; and how much is to be evacuated prior to August, 1948.

There were about 25,000 tons of R.A.F. stores and equipment in Palestine on 1st January, and it is hoped to evacuate almost the whole of this before August, 1948. The question of the disposal of any equipment that may remain is at present under consideration.

Installations, Palestine


asked the Secretary of State for Air what R.A.F. installations there are now in Palestine; and how much it is planned to dismantle.

There are 12 R.A.F. airfields and depots in Palestine. It is planned to dismantle and remove all movable installations, consisting chiefly of generating sets, compressors, and water treatment plant, with the exception of hangars. These and all fixed installations will be disposed of locally.

Thorney Island (Customs Examination)


asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will give particulars of aircraft which have landed at Thorney Island since 1st November, 1947, without having passed through the Customs.

There have been no such aircraft. My hon. Friend will appreciate that some aircraft pass through the Customs elsewhere and then go straight on to Thorney Island.

Aerodromes (Food Production)


asked the Secretary of State for Air what was the value of food produced on R.A.F. aerodromes and stations in 1945 and 1946, respectively; and if it is proposed to increase the production for 1948, in view of the food crisis.

The value of food produced by the R.A.F. was £188,700 in 1945 and £95,000 in 1946. In spite of the decrease in the size of the Force, it rose in 1947 to about £125,000 and I am now examining plans for a further increase in 1948.

Theale Airfield (Release)


asked the Secretary of State for Air if he has now released the land at Theale airfield for agricultural use; and when he expects to hand back the farm buildings there which are essential to the proper farming of the land.

Yes. The land at Theale was released for farming to the agricultural executive committee a year ago and it is expected that, except for buildings used by other Government Departments, the airfield will have been returned to its owners by the middle of February. The farm building, which is a barn, is held by the Ministry of Transport, and the date of its release is therefore a matter for that Department.

Over-Payments (Refund)


asked the Secretary of State or Air if he will cancel all claims for over-pay incurred by men who have been given acting rank and have continued to be paid accordingly after their acting rank has become supernumerary to establishment but without their being notified, as the fault is not theirs and the repayment of the over-pay involves hardship on the men concerned and their dependants.

I am grateful to the hon. Member for bringing to my notice a case where this point has arisen. I agree that in the case in question the airmen should not be required to refund the over-payments, and their accounts will be adjusted accordingly.

Low-Flying Areas


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware of the danger caused to farm livestock by low-flying aircraft; and whether he will instruct those concerned to cease this practice and to limit their low flying to non-agricultural areas or over the sea.

Low flying in the R.A.F. is expressly forbidden except over areas set aside for the purpose. These areas are chosen with great care, and the point which the hon. Member makes is one of the considerations which are taken into account, but I am afraid it is not always possible to avoid farmland.

Wireless And Radar Fitters (Release)

asked the Secretary of State for Air why radar fitters are being employed on stations where there is no radar equipment as wireless tradesmen when the wireless trade will be released up to Group 68 at the end of March and the radar trade will only have reached Group 61; and what steps he will take to remedy this lag in radar release.

There is at present a greater shortage of wireless fitters than radar fitters in the R.A.F. and, as a temporary arrangement, a number of radar fitters are being employed in wireless trades. This arrangement is due to cease at the end of this month. During January both trades are being released in Group 59, but as there are far fewer wireless fitters than radar fitters in later groups, it will therefore be possible to release nine groups of wireless fitters in February and March compared with only two groups of radar fitters; the actual numbers released in these two months will be 70 wireless fitters and 701 radar fitters. For the measures that are being taken to improve the release of retarded trades, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply of 21st January to my hon. Friend the Member for North Edinburgh (Mr. Willis).

Civil Aviation

Tudor Ii Aircraft (Accident)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when the report on the accident to the Tudor II which crashed on 23rd August will be published.

I am informed that the report will be presented to my noble Friend in the course of the next few days. I am not, therefore, in a position to give any further information.

Aberdeen—Edinburgh Services


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what is the average number of passengers per journey carried on the Aberdeen—Edinburgh and Edinburgh—Aberdeen service since its inception to the latest available date.

7·4 and 7·6 respectively for the period 19th May, 1947, until 31st December, 1947.

Prestwick Airport (Fuel Consumption)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he is satisfied that proper steps are being taken to prevent the waste of fuel at Prestwick airport.

Uxbridge (Working Conditions)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether his attention has been drawn to the grievances of some 60 girls working at the R.A.F. Camp at Uxbridge; whether he is satisfied with the condition of the huts in which they work; and whether he will investigate complaints that air traffic controller's clerks have to work eight hours day duty or 12 hours night watch without a meal break.

Yes. A new building is in the course of construction, upon completion of which, the present hutted accommodation will become available for use as a staff canteen. As to the last part of the Question, all control clerks are entitled to meal breaks. There has been some local misunderstanding about the matter, but this has now been put right.

Agriculture (Feeding-Stuffs)


asked the Minister of Agriculture when he expects to make his promised announcement regarding an increased allocation of animal feedingstuffs; and whether he will consider revising the 1939 basis of allocation.

Any further announcement about increased supplies or revised methods of allocation of rationed feeding-stuffs must await the completion of an assessment of our future probable resources and an examination, which is now being carried out, of the best way of utilising them. I regret that I am unable to give a date.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether further concessions of feedingstuff coupons will be made in favour of farmers who have only taken up farming since the war and consequently have no pre-war quota.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) on 26th January last.

United States Cars (Import Licences)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many American cars, including shooting brakes, have been ordered since 1945 inclusive; how many have been received; and how many orders are outstanding.

In the three years 1945–47 import licences were issued for the purchase of 27 cars from the United States. Most of these have no doubt been imported, but I am not able to state the actual number.

Road Accidents, Southwark

asked the Minister of Transport it he is aware that road accidents in the Borough of Southwark were higher in December, 1947, than in any previous month of the year; and if, in view of the large number of lorries by-passing the main roads, Walworth Road, New Kent Road and Old Kent Road, he will prohibit the through passage of heavy traffic in the inner area.

Of the 54 accidents involving death or personal injury which occurred in the borough during December, 49 were on main roads, and only two on roads used by traffic as alternative routes to main roads. I do not think, therefore, that the action suggested by my hon. Friend would be justified.

Coal Industry (Horses And Ponies)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many horses and ponies were employed below ground at 30th June, 1947; and the total numbers employed in Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Scotland and South Wales, respectively, at the present date.

The total numbers of horses and ponies employed underground at 30th June, 1947, in Great Britain and in Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Scotland and South Wales, were as follows:—

Great Britain21,242
York shire2,916
Lancashire and Cheshire7
South Wales and Monmouth4,473
* The figures relate to mines under the Coal Mines Act, 191r, (excluding the stratified ironstone mines in Cleveland, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire). I regret that no information is available for a later date than 30th June, 1947

Pottery Industry (Building Licences)

asked the Minister of Works if he will give details of the number and amount of the building licences applied for and granted in connection with the pottery industry in North Staffordshire in the last two years; and what are still outstanding.

Separate records are not kept for particular industries and I regret that I am therefore unable to supply the information.

Allotments (Parish Councils' Powers)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that if wider spending powers were given to parish councils a greatly increased acreage of allotments could be used for the growing of potatoes; and if he will take steps to make this change.

If the hon. Member has any special difficulty in mind I am willing to look into it in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Town And Country Planning

Services Land Requirements

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he now has detailed plans of the 1000,000 acres of land required by the Service Departments; what approximate acreage is located in each of the National Parks proposed in the Hobhouse Report; and whether he will arrange for this information, complete with maps, to be made available in the Library.

Owing to extensive revision of the original proposals of the Service Departments, particulars are not at present complete in respect of much of the land in question. It is not, therefore, possible at present to give the information asked for in the second part of the Question

Advertising Sign, Whitehall

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether it is with his approval that a large outdoor advertising sign has been erected in Whitehall; and whether, as this is offensive to public taste in a street of this character, he will have the sign removed.

Advertisements do not require my approval, but when the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, comes into operation local planning authorities will have powers to control their display.

National Parks

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he is satisfied that the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, gives adequate planning protection to National Parks without any additional legislation; and whether he will consider introducing a measure which will include in the planning machinery for National Parks, direct representation on the local planning authority of the national interest

I am not yet in a position to reply to my hon. Friend. The points he raises are fundamental to the whole question on National Parks which I am at present considering.