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Written Answers

Volume 462: debated on Friday 11 March 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 11th March, 1949

London Transport (Electric Power)

asked the Minister of Transport under what authority power has been taken from the London Transport power stations for the grid; what steps he is taking to alleviate the consequent strain on all methods of transport in London and particularly to prevent congestion in London streets caused by travellers being forced to use aboveground instead of underground transport.

The authority for supplying power to the grid is Section 62 of the London Passenger Transport Act, 1938. No strain is placed on any transport in London as a result of this arrangement since no current is given to the British Electricity Authority until the full requirements of London Transport have been met.

Post Office (Public Relations Officer)

asked the Postmaster-General what is the age and annual remuneration of the public relations officer to his Department, together with the age and annual remuneration of his predecessor at the time of retirement.

The present public relations officer to the Post Office, who is 67, receives a salary of £1,700 a year. His predecessor was nearly 62 and in receipt of £1,370 a year when he was transferred from the post of public relations officer to other work at Post Office headquarters.

Malaya (Terrorist Activity)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will take steps to reinforce military and security forces in Malaya in view of the increase of terrorist activity in that country?

I cannot accept the assertion that terrorist activity in Malaya is increasing. There were 278 bandit attacks in November, but the corresponding figures for December, January and February were 232, 198 and 115. The High Commissioner has emphasised on several occasions that what is required to bring the emergency to an end is more and better information about bandit locations and movements and a more determined refusal by the Chinese population to give assistance to the bandits under threat and intimidation, rather than an increase in military forces. In the opinion of the responsible authorities, any increase in the security forces should be by way of strengthening the Police Force, the expansion of which, as well as of the Malay Regiment, is continuing as rapidly as possible.

Colonial Empire (Civil Servants)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make representations to the Government of Kenya to amend its circular prohibiting civil servants from being members of political organisations, so as to bring local practice in line with that in the United Kingdom; and what is the present position in this matter in other Colonies.

No, Sir. The circular was issued after consultation with me and I am satisfied that to allow this latitude in Kenya at the present time might put civil servants in a difficult position. While civil servants in the United Kingdom are not prohibited from being members of political organisations they are expected at all times to maintain a reserve in political matters and not to put themselves forward prominently on one side or the other. As to general Colonial practice in this matter, Colonial Governments do not normally allow their officials to belong to political organisations but the practice varies from territory to territory.

Cauliflowers (Import)

asked the Minister of Food why he has decided to extend the date for the importation of cauliflower and broccoli from France and French North Africa until 31st March; why the extension does not apply to Italian cauliflower and broccoli; and, in view of the losses and waste incurred by growers owing to imports of onions, what steps he is taking to safeguard the interests of the cauliflower and broccoli growers in Cornwall, Kent and elsewhere.

The date for imports of French cauliflower has been extended because small supplies are available in France and these may assist in keeping prices at a reasonable level. The season for Italian cauliflower has nearly finished, but even were this not so balance of payments considerations would I regret rule out further imports from that source for the time being. As regards the last part of the Question, in view of the wholesale prices for English cauliflowers, I do not agree with the interests of the growers are in the least being sacrificed.

Ancient Buildings And Monuments

asked the Minister of Works how many additional ancient buildings and monuments have been placed in the care of his Department for the years 1945, 1946, 1947 and 1948.

The numbers of ancient buildings and monuments placed in the care of my Department in the years in question were as follows: 1945, 4; 1946, 14; 1947, 14; 1948, 35.

Germany (Petrol And Oil)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the cost to the United Kingdom of supplying oil to the bizone of Germany; and if any of the synthetic oil plants in Germany are now working or expected to be in production again in the near future.

The answer to the first part of the Question is nil. Since 1st October, 1947, the cost of supplying oil to the bizone of Germany has been borne exclusively by the United States. With regard to the second part of the Question, the position is that the production of synthetic petrol and oil in Germany is prohibited. At the present time two plants using the Fischer Tropsch process are producing primary materials for the manufacture of fatty acids and synthetic detergents for the soap and washing powder industry, and permission has been given for two plants originally erected for the hydrogenation of coal by the Bergius process to be used to a limited extent for the hydrogenation of residues obtained from the initial refining process of imported crude oils and also for the production of synthetic ammonia.