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Oral Answers To Questions

Volume 462: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1949

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Ministry Of Pensions

Disability Pension


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that ex-Junior Commander G. W. Wills, H.A.A.(M) R.A., Ministry of Pensions No. 0/F2/541, was invalided out of His Majesty's Forces in January, 1944, suffering at the time from attributable arthritis, attributable hernia and aggravated psychoneurosis, and was awarded 30 per cent. disability; and whether he will now relate back, compensation for these three ills resulting from an accident on service.

From the date of leaving the A.T.S., Miss Wills, who is now in receipt of pension at the 40 per cent. rate, has received awards appropriate to the degree of her disablement as assessed by the medical boards and specialists by whom she has been examined from time to time. My right hon. Friend, however, has arranged for Miss Wills to be re-examined within the next few days by a medical board, including specialists, of different personnel from those who have examined her hitherto. She will also be seen by the Ministry's rehabilitation medical officer so that special consideration may be given to the question of her resettlement and the provision of any necessary treatment. My right hon. Friend will inform the hon. Member of the result as early as possible.



asked the Minister of Pensions how many widows of ex-Service men who had married after the man's discharge from the Service, are deprived of pension through the rule that entitlement is limited to cases where the man died after 3rd September, 1939; and what would be the approximate cost of removing this condition.

I regret that the records of my Department do not enable me to give the desired information with any degree of reliability.

The hon. Gentleman may recall that an answer was given recently that this matter was being considered, and can he give any indication as to how far the examination of this question has gone? Although the number of cases involved is small, and the expense not great, would it not be possible to relieve these widows of a considerable amount of hardship?

There are many imponderables in this business. There are the questions of how many men pensioned as single were, in fact, married afterwards, and how many widows have remarried or died. The matter is under consideration, but we have no information on which to give any definite figures at the present moment.

British Army

Swift Training Rifle


asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has yet received a report on the Swift training rifle; and what are his proposals for its use in the active Army, the Territorial Army and in the Army Cadet Force.

The results of the initial tests referred to in my reply to a Question by the hon. Member on 1st February are now under examination by small arms training and technical advisers. Until this examination is completed I cannot say what will be the eventual policy with regard to the rifle.

War Office Messenger (Inquiry)


asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement concerning the dismissal of the War Office messenger, Mr. Harold King, a disabled ex-Service man, for taking a leading part in the organisation of the Government cleaners' demands for better pay.

Mr. King has not been dismissed. He has been sent on paid leave in accordance with the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 15th March, 1948, about the employment of individuals whose reliability is in doubt. His case has been under investigation for some time and the action taken has nothing whatever to do with Mr. King's activities on behalf of Government cleaners.

Is the Minister aware that all the charges against Mr. King relate to the years from 1932 to 1940; is he aware that this information was known or could have been known to his Department before March last year; and is it not a strange coincidence that this action was taken a bare fortnight after he had taken a leading part on behalf of the women cleaners in his office?

These activities relate to the period long before the cleaners agitated, and some of the facts were known to the Department, but it was only after the Prime Minister had issued the directive to which I have referred that this case received active consideration. It is just a coincidence that Mr. King was asked to deny the allegations on or about the date when the cleaners were agitating, but that has nothing to do with it at all.

May I ask the Prime Minister if, in connection with the question of reliability, this man has not a record of service to his country as good as, or even better than that of any Member of the Government?

It is not a question of service to the country. It is a question of whether or not this man belongs to a political party, the members of which are regarded in certain departments of the public service as unreliable. He has not denied the allegations, and therefore, the facts are as stated.

In view of the not very exalted position held by Mr. King, can my right hon. Friend say precisely what danger is constituted to the State?

Mr. King was a Government messenger responsible for the transit of documents from one Government Department to another, and it was thought inadvisable that he should be entrusted with this task.

Kington Camp


asked the Secretary of State for War whether it is now possible to release a portion of Kington camp, Herefordshire, for the relief of the housing shortage in that district.

The future of Kington camp has now been reconsidered and it has been decided that the War Department has no further requirement for it. The camp will therefore be notified to the Ministry of Works as redundant in accordance with normal procedure.

Storeman, Brancepeth Camp (Charge)


asked the Secretary of State for War how Gunner A. E. Green of the 45th Field Regiment, R.A., gained entrance to the armoury at Brancepeth camp, County Durham, on 17th December, 1948, and became possessed of two revolvers and a large quantity of ammunition.

As the noble Lord has been informed, this soldier's position as storeman gave him easy access to the arms and ammunition. The full inquiries which have been made show that no contributory negligence can be attached to any person or persons.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, having obtained these two revolvers and some ammunition, this man proceeded to shoot another soldier in the back and kill him; that at his trial he was found guilty but insane; and that it was said in his defence that he had been in an hysterical and unstable state of mind for several months past? Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that he was a proper person to be in charge of a store?

There was no evidence of insanity in this man's case in our possession when he was acting as storeman. If there had been any such evidence, obviously he would have been transferred or removed entirely. However, as I said, there was no evidence to that effect.

Pension Adjustment


asked the Secretary of State for War why an ex-soldier of whose name he has been informed and who has done 45 years service in the Gloucestershire Regiment, has been informed that his pension will be reduced from 1st June by twopence a week.

In the case referred to the pension of £115 1s. 2d. a year is not being reduced, but an adjustment is being made in the amount of the weekly payments in order that they may be the equivalent of the yearly rate. The weekly rate previously paid was incorrectly calculated, so that the payments were slightly more than the yearly rate for which the pensioner was eligible.

Was this reduction really necessary in the national interest? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I hold in my hand a statement from the paymaster at Exeter of October, 1947, to say that the pension was to be 44s. 3d. a week and another from the paymaster at Taunton to say that it was to be reduced from 1st June to 44s. 1d. a week? In spite of the explanation now sent to him, the man says that he is losing 2d. a week, and I agree with him. Will not the right hon. Gentleman issue a new pension book and stop this formality?

I do not know about the statements in the hands of the hon. Gentleman, but we cannot pay a man more than that to which he is actually entitled. I do not propose to ask this man to repay all the twopences which he has already received.

Town And Country Planning

New Towns (Shopping Sites)


asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning what procedure will be adopted in the new towns for the allocating of shops, or shopping sites, to intending retailers.

This is essentially a matter for the corporations established by me under the Act of 1946 for the purposes of the development of the newtowns.

Is the Minister prepared to follow the lead given in New Zealand and to suggest that the customers, who are always supposed to be right, should have a say in this matter and that their wishes about types of retailers should be adhered to?

I have no doubt that the new towns' corporations will take that into account.

Iron-Ore Workings, Oundle And Thrapston


asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning how much of the 25,799 acres within the area of the Oundle and Thrapston rural district council, for which application has been made for the working of iron-ore, will be by opencast mining.

Closer examination of the maps accompanying the applications has shown that the figure previously given was some 400 acres too high. Of the revised estimate of 25,400 acres it seems probable that over nearly 8,500 acres, where the overburden is less than 100 feet thick, working would be opencast if planning permission were given. As to the remaining area of some 17,000 acres, it is too early to say whether the whole would prove to be workable or, if workable, which method would be employed.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that approximately 25 per cent. of this local authority's area is likely to be affected by this mining, and what steps is he taking to ensure that this beautiful countryside is restored once the mining is completed?

The figures which are given are merely of the total number of applications which are likely to be made over a long period. I have still to consider those applications, and I am not, of course, in a position to say what the decision will be.

Is my right hon. Friend prepared to take steps to ensure that this countryside is restored after the mining has been completed?


Agricultural Workers (Direction)


asked the Minister of Labour what avenue of appeal exists for agricultural workers when a county agricultural committee refuses to release them for work in another industry.

The decision in these cases rests with my local officers and not with the county agricultural executive committee. If the worker does not accept the decision the issue of a direction under Defence Regulation 58A is considered. If a direction is issued the worker has an opportunity of appeal to the local appeal board.

Is it not about time we did away with this farce of tying a man to an industry in which he does not want

Unemployed Registered Disabled Persons
Registered Disabled PersonsCapable of ordinary employmentRequiring sheltered employmentTotal
Wales and Monmouthshire63,7272,60566,33211,9663541,7242313,69037714,067

Ship-Repairing (Casual Labour)


asked the Minister of Labour if he has considered the danger of casual labour arising in the ship-repairing yards of this country when the repair facilities on the Continent are fully restored; and what steps he is taking to abolish casual labour in this industry by a system of decasualisation.

The question of the level of employment in ship-repairing is under constant review and steps will be taken to deal with any situation which may arise.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that low wages and bad working conditions on the Continent as compared with this country will have a tendency

to work and let men have a free choice of work?

Disabled Persons, Wales


asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons, male and females separately on the disabled persons' register; and the number of such persons registered as unemployed at the latest available date, at each of the Blaina, Abertillery, and Newbridge employment exchanges; and the total figures for Wales and Monmouthshire for the same categories.

As the reply contains a number of figures, I will with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply;

to pull our wages down and to reintroduce the principle of casual labour which existed before the war and which is undesirable in this country?

I am not sure that a system of decasualisation can be properly worked in this industry, but we have the advice of the shipbuilding advisory committee, which represents the industry from all aspects and is keeping a watch on the situation.

National Service Call-Up (Students)


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that there is still long delay between registration and call-up for many boys who are still at school and as they find it difficult to obtain employment after registration will he take steps to remedy the call-up when this is desirable in the boys' interests.

As I announced in reply to two Questions on 18th January, where young men at school wish to be called-up early in order to fit in their period of service with the beginning of courses at the universities in the autumn of any year, their request will be granted. I am looking into the two cases which the hon. Member has sent me where there appears to have been delay and will write to him shortly.

Has the information to which the right hon. Gentleman referred been made available not only to State schools, but also to public schools?

I cannot say definitely whether the information has recently been sent out but I will make inquiries of my hon. Friend the Minister of Education and see that it is done as soon as possible.

What is the average time between notice of call-up and the presentation of the man for service?

I announced that period some time back. Speaking from memory, at least a month elapses between the complete registration and the call-up.


Mental Patients (Notice Of Discharge)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the circumstances relating to the case of Mrs. Elizabeth Corbett, of 4, Beltane Street, Glasgow, C.3, particulars of which were submitted to him recently by the hon. Member for Kelvin-grove, he will issue instructions to the authorities concerned that a husband's discharge from a mental hospital must be intimated beforehand to his wife.

I understand from the General Board of Control that in a case of this kind it would now be the duty of the hospital to give prior notice of discharge to the nearest known relative. This particular case took place before 5th July, 1948.

Government Offices, Edinburgh


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the plans at present being made for the future development of large areas in the City of Edinburgh, he has yet made any representations concerning future requirements for Government offices.

In the consideration of plans for development in the Edinburgh area, the future requirements for Government offices are kept in view; and my Department is in touch with the Ministry of Works on the subject.

I understand that negotiations are now proceeding with the Ministry of Works on this matter.

Would it not be a matter of interest to this House, at any rate to Scottish Members, to know what the plans of the Government are about extended building in Scotland?

Teaching Profession (Salaries)


asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the disparity in remuneration as between qualified teachers and university lecturers, on the one hand, and graduates employed in industry, local government and other professions, on the other hand; whether he is aware of the frustration evident among the former group and the injury thus caused to the increasing opportunities for secondary and university education; and whether he will consider some form of inquiry into the comparative remuneration of professional men and women, firstly, to determine the facts and secondly, to take appropriate action with a view to securing a fairer balance between teaching and the other professions.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in replying yesterday to the hon. Member for London University (Sir E. Graham-Little) announced certain improvements to which he has agreed in the remuneration of university teachers in the medical and dental schools. The position of other university teachers is under consideration. For school teachers the settlement of appropriate scales of salary is, in accordance with Section 89 of the Education Act, 1944, a matter for the Burnham Committees, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education has no reason to think that the question raised by the hon. Member was overlooked when the Committees conducted their last review of the salary scales, and he sees no reason to set up a special inquiry to deal with it.

While appreciating the generous answer given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday, and the consideration given to medical and dental teachers, may I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that there are thousands of university lecturers and teachers with salaries between £350 and £600 a year who at the moment are definitely feeling a sense of privation, partly due to the increased cost of living since the last Burnham scale? Will he not reconsider the answer, and possibly, if my suggestion is wrong, consider some other form of inquiry into the matter?

These matters are under consideration, as my right hon. and learned Friend said yesterday, but it is extremely difficult to work out the terms of relativity in these matters.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise how difficult it will be to retain university professors at all at salaries of from £1,400 to £1,500—many of whom could earn double that in other professions—and how grave will be the effect right down the scale?

There is really nothing new in this. People of great mental powers often devote themselves to education and university work when they might have gone out for a greater commercial reward, but they do not always choose that course.

Would my right hon. Friend look particularly at the position of science teachers, because industry can offer these people far greater rewards than the teaching profession?

National Finance

Europe (American And British Aid)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the value, in pounds sterling, of the total aid received by Great Britain from the United States of America since the end of the European war by way of loan and Marshall Aid; and the total value, in pounds sterling, of the aid in cash and kind given by Great Britain to European countries during the same period.

£931 million has been received from the U.S.A. since the end of the European war by way of loan under the line of credit established by the Anglo-American Financial Agreement of 1945, and £208 million to date as Marshall Aid.

Aid by the United Kingdom to European countries in the form of cash, goods and services, amounted to £790 million between the end of the war and 31st December, 1948. This figure includes the net use of drawing rights resulting from the first two months' operation of the Intra-European Payments Scheme. Of the total assistance, £440 million is recoverable.

Invisible Earnings (Statistics)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the value, adjusted for changes in the value of the pound sterling, of the total invisible earnings of Great Britain for each of the years 1928, 1929, 1932, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1946 and 1947.

I will, with permission, circulate the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman also circulate the figures he has taken in adjustment of the pound in the calculations he has made, and add them to the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

I think it will be quite clear from the answer in the OFFICIAL REPORT how it has been arrived at.

Will the answer convey the net invisible earnings, or will it be concerned merely with the gross figure?

Following is the answer:

Before the war our "invisible" earnings were computed on a different basis from those for 1946 and 1947. The principal difference was that, as U.K. imports were expressed c.i.f. in the balance of payments, freight and insurance earned on these imports by U.K. firms were included as "invisible" earnings even though they were earned, for the most part, from U.K. importers and not from overseas residents. At present imports are entered f.o.b. and the freight and insurance earnings referred to above are excluded from our receipts. For the year 1938, however, net invisible earnings

(£ million)
1938 Purchasing Power of net invisible earnings.
(i) With Imports calculated on c.i.f. Basis360370270320370320
(ii) With Imports calculated on f.o.b. Basis230—80—70

Purchase Tax


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer with whom the Commissioners of Customs and Excise consult in drawing up lists of medicines and drugs to be exempted from Purchase Tax.

The Commissioners of Customs and Excise rely primarily upon the Ministries of Health and Agriculture on "human" and "animal" medicines, respectively.

Death Duties


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will issue a classification of the number of estates and net receipts of Death Duties and the net capital values for such estates for any convenient year since 1944.

A classification of numbers of estates and net capital values for the year 1946–47 appears in the 90th Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue; a similar classification for the year 1947–48 will appear in the forthcoming Report. The total receipt of death duties in each estate range is not separately recorded.

have been computed on both bases, and are shown below for comparison.

It is not clear which changes in the value of the pound my hon. Friend has in mind, but the following table shows the purchasing power of net "invisible" earnings in terms of the imports that these would have bought in the years in question. Indices of the average value of imports have been applied to the estimated net "invisible" receipts or payments, taking 1938 as the base. If Government overseas expenditure were not taken into account in 1946 and 1947, figures would be +60 and +10, respectively.

Civil Service (Equal Pay)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated cost in the first operative year of the proposed increases in civil servants' emoluments, and how does this compare with the cost of raising the increments of women civil servants on the incremental part of the scale to the level of the men's increment, and of allowing women at the maximum of the scale to proceed to the men's maximum by equal yearly increments; also for the first operative year of such a scheme.

The Chorley Committee estimated the full cost of implementing their proposals as about £400,000 a year. The extent to which the cost in the first operative year will be less than the full cost cannot yet be estimated as I am still considering the appropriate method of gradual assimilation to the new rates. The eventual cost of the sort of scheme suggested in the second part of the Question for the gradual introduction of equal pay would be more than £10 million for the Civil Service; the cost in the first operative year would be about £2 million. It would, however, be quite impracticable to introduce such a scheme in the Civil Service alone. It would have to extend at least to the other public services which would increase the cost to some £7 million in the first year rising to an eventual total of £35 million.

Motor Car Taxation


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an estimate of the loss to the Exchequer for the current year and the next financial year if the registration tax on older motor cars was reduced to that allowed for new motor cars.

In a full year, £5¾ million. If a change were introduced, the effect in the financial year would depend on the date as from which the change applied and the arrangements made for refunds.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman, when preparing his Budget, consider this claim of the motoring community, and has he not had representations from the motoring associations on this matter?

I have had representations on every conceivable point that might come into the Budget, and I have borne them all in mind.

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind the invitation of his predecessor that, after a suitable period, we should exert pressure on him in this matter, and will he show himself as accommodating as his predecessor appeared to me?

Is it not hard that the Ministry of Supply should prevent persons from getting new cars, and that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should penalise them for having old cars?


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to put pre-January, 1947, and post-January, 1947, motor cars on the same tax basis.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will extend the flat rate of car road fund tax to cover all cars regardless of date of purchase or first taxation.

Is the Chancellor aware that the whole arrangements are full of anomalies and are grossly unjust, which is so typical of the Socialist Government?

War Damaged Property (Claims)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many war damage claims in respect or residential property were outstanding at the beginning and end of 1948.

Can my right hon. and learned Friend give any indication of how long it is likely to be before these war damage claims are eventually disposed of?

That is another question. Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will put it on the Paper?

Government Hospitality, London (Cost)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how £50,000 of current expenditure was incurred between 3rd May and 31st December, 1948, at No. 2, Park Street, W.1, in so far as that figure exceeds £28,200, the cost of 96 overseas guests for 2,351 nights during that period; and if he will identify the chief items.

The final accounts in respect of No. 2, Park Street for the period ending on 31st December last are not yet available. I am not, therefore, in a position to give the hon. Member an accurate analysis of the total expenditure.

As £50,000 was spent during this period on a total of 32,351 nights for overseas guests, was not the average cost per guest per night over £20, and not approximately £12, as stated by the right hon. and learned Gentleman previously?

The estimate, I believe, was an accurate one but until we get the final figures we obviously cannot check it.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what charges were made and to whom for accommodation and refreshments, provided for visitors, other than Government guests from overseas, at No. 2, Park Street, W.1, between 3rd May and 31st December, 1948; how many of these visitors were, and how many were not, sponsored by the Government; and what distinction was drawn between Government guests and Government-sponsored guests.

Five hundred and forty-two visitors, other than Government guests, were accommodated at No. 2, Park Street between 3rd May and 31st December last, for a total of 3,598 nights. Of these, 467 were sponsored by the Government directly or by Embassies and High Commissioners' Offices. The other 75 of these were accommodated for short periods at the request of neighbouring hotels. The accommodation and refreshment services are available to Government and Government-sponsored visitors without distinction. I am sending the hon. Member a list of current charges.

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say what are Government guests as distinct from Government-sponsored guests?

Government guests are people who are here receiving hospitality at the invitation of the Government. Government-sponsored guests are guests for whom the Government try to find accommodation at the request of Embassies, High Commissioners or other persons.

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether the charges paid by Government-sponsored guests cover, in fact, the cost of providing the accommodation?

I could not say until we have had the accounts, as I have already stated. I should think that the answer, probably, is, "No, they do not cover the cost." In other words, we are losing money on the guests.

Can the Chancellor of the Exchequer say whether any of these guests are bona fide workers and not-contact men?

Medical Treatment Abroad (Special Allowance)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will consider the granting of a special sterling allocation to certain tuberculous patients, who can be certified as having become acclimatised to residence only at high altitudes.

I do not think that it would be appropriate to issue a general instruction in the sense suggested. All applications for foreign currency on health grounds are considered by the Medical Advisory Committee, who base their recommendations on the medical evidence submitted in each individual case. If such evidence included a reference to the effect of climatic conditions on the patient, it would no doubt be taken into account along with other factors.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many patients of this particular group have had their resistance to disease lowered after their return to this country and have died of quite minor ailments; and, in connection with this particular group, would he accept the medical evidence of foreign doctors resident in Switzerland and urge that upon his medical advisory council?

The Medical Advisory Committee do take these factors into account. We must leave it to them. They are the experts in these matters.

Is there any reason why the Medical Advisory Committee should remain anonymous?

That question has been answered on more than one occasion. It is necessary in order that pressure should not be brought upon the members in individual cases.

Does the Advisory Committee consider individual cases or does it merely lay down rules which are applied without discretion?

Indeed, no. The panel does consider individual cases. The papers sent on individual cases are considered in great detail.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what are the terms of reference of the Committee from the financial point of view?

What I meant was, to what extent are they hampered or limited by Treasury instructions from the point of view of exchange?

If the hon. Gentleman would put that question on the Order Paper I will endeavour to answer it.

Central Office Of Information (Exhibition)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what is the estimated cost of the exhibition "On Our Way," which is being held at the Hall of the Central Office of Information, in Oxford Street; and what is the object of the novelty feature, which includes a fun fair, pin tables and other sideshows.

Thirty-three thousand pounds. The object of the novelty feature is to bring home salient economic facts in such a way as to impress them on the memory of the public. A similar technique has been used in other Central Office exhibitions.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the announcement about this exhibition says that the fun fair will contain

"distorting mirrors, Aladdin's Cave, a for-tune-telling machine and the Biggest Rat out of Captivity,"
and will he explain which facts the mirrors are supposed to distort and who or what is "the Biggest Rat out of Captivity"?

In these exhibitions we have to cater for all tastes. We hope to get Conservatives there in order to educate them.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the fortune-telling machine was consulted by the Conservative Party before the South Hammersmith by-election?

Can the Financial Secretary say whether the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State were led astray about the British economic position by these distorting mirrors?

Trade And Commerce

Monopolies Commission


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet in a position to indicate what industries are to be examined by the Monopolies Commission during 1949.


asked the President of the Board of Trade the six industries which have been referred to the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission.

My right hon. Friend hopes to give the House some information on this matter within a day or so.

Exports (Nationalised Industries)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of the value of United Kingdom exports in 1948 was contributed by the nationalised industries; and what percentage by private enterprise.

The contribution of the nationalised industries to United Kingdom exports is mainly an indirect one, which cannot be measured statistically. The coal industry, the only direct exporting industry which has been nationalised, accounted for 2½ per cent. of total United Kingdom exports in 1948, in addition to its indirect contribution.

Is it not clear that the success of the export campaign is, at any rate, due to private enterprise?

It is quite clear that without the contribution of the nationalised industries there would have been no production and, therefore, no exports at all.

Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that there was no production before electricity or gas or the railways were nationalised, and was it not a fact that production was just as great and rather cheaper?

I did not imply anything of the kind. The Question put to me asked what was the contribution of the nationalised industries, and that I have answered.

Is it not the case that the Reid Report made it clear that the mining industry was going bankrupt and would have been incapable of supporting the export trade?

Is it not a fact that the contribution of the coalmining industry to our exports before the war was higher in total volume and also higher as a percentage of our total exports?

Distribution Officers


asked the President of the Board of Trade if, in view of the fact that the movements and visits to retailers and other businesses of both distribution officers and Price Regulation Committee inspectors largely coincide and that the other work of Price Regulation Committees is falling off since the reduction of controls, he will arrange for the taking over by the Price Regulation Committee inspectors of the work now being undertaken by the 30 distribution officers.

No, Sir. Both sets of officers are fully occupied; their duties are quite distinct and could not be combined.

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that the regular monthly reports of the Price Regulation Committees include such matters as reports on shortages and other relevant data and that it is, in fact, a duplication of the work being done by the distribution officers, and will he look at this matter again?

Horses (Export)


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many horses were exported in 1948; to what countries; and at what prices.

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Has my hon. Friend any information about what happens to these horses when they reach the other side, and is he satisfied with the treatment they receive?

Following is the statement:

To Eire2,3012,191,822
To France1,031333, 624
To Union of South Africa148152,745
To Australia92135,449
To United States of America.15594,845
To Italy72967,511
To India3859,896
To Belgium1,15750,469
To Brazil1643,925
To Argentine Republic2943,527
To New Zealand4242,707
To Ceylon5541,435
To British Malaya6240,455
To Venezuela383,515
To British West Indies5229,292
To Canada1616,751
To Poland5013,792
To Turkey119,600
To Channel Islands766,304
To Panama115,200
To Pakistan405,060
To All other countries12733,187

Cloth (Tailors' Allocations)


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make available to tailors sufficient utility materials to enable them to make clothes for outsize people from materials that are free from Purchase Tax, without having to cut into the tailor's allocation for normal sizes.

The distribution of cloth to tailors and other clothing manufacturers is not controlled by the Board of Trade but is left to the normal machinery of the trade. We are aiming at an increase in the already large proportion of utility cloth production.

Rifle Clubs (Ammunition)


asked the Minister of Supply what steps he is taking to ease the difficulties of small bore rifle clubs in Britain in obtaining high grade ammunition.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given yesterday to the hon. Member for Southern Dorset (Viscount Hinchingbrooke).

Would the hon. Gentleman be prepared to receive a deputation from the National Association of Rifle Clubs to explain the very serious position?

If the hon. Member would put that to us in writing we should consider that aspect of the matter.