Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday, 16th March, 1949
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what steps he is taking to remedy the defects drawn attention to by the Comptroller and Auditor-General in his recent Report.
As far as civil aviation is concerned, there are two minor matters on which the Comptroller and Auditor-General draws attention to delay, and remedial action has already been taken. For the rest, his recent Report is concerned to draw attention to the financial effects of the "Fly British" policy.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when an all-British through air service from Great Britain to Israel will be started.
The matter is under active consideration, but I can make no statement at present.
Airways Corporations (Merger)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what aircraft the British South American Airways Corporation proposes to purchase to replace the Tudors.
I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made yesterday.
Lancastrian Aircraft (Sale And Hire)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation how many Lancastrians provisionally priced at £42,000 each in 1946 were sold at £14,000 each, and to whom; how many were hired at a rent of £2,000 each; and for how long were they hired, and to whom.
Eight Lancastrian aircraft were sold by the Ministry of Supply for £14,000 each. It would be contrary to public interest to disclose the names of purchasers of Government surplus items. Six aircraft were leased to British South American Airways Corporation at a rental of £2,000 a year each, for periods varying between six months and three years.
De Havilland Comet
asked the Minister of Supply when the first De Havilland Comet is likely to be delivered to the British Overseas Airways Corporation; and whether it is intended to operate this type of aircraft on the North Atlantic route.
The first De Havilland Comet for the British Overseas Airways Corporation is expected to be delivered towards the end of 1951. This type of aircraft is being designed for use on the Empire routes and on the North and South Atlantic.
Arab Refugees, Middle East
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken to propose to other Governments who are members of the United Nations organisation, joint action in giving assistance to Arab refugees in the Middle East.
His Majesty"s Government were the first to raise this problem at the last General Assembly of the United Nations, with the result that a United Nations organisation for the administration of relief to Palestine refugees was set up. The British contribution to this relief scheme was immediately provided and British organisations, both private and official, have since been in close co-operation with other members of the United Nations through the medium of the relief scheme.
Bulgaria (Mr Greenhill)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he is taking in response to the request of the Bulgarian Government for the recall of Mr. Denis Greenhill.
On receipt of this request my right hon. Friend at once instructed His Majesty"s Minister at Sofia to address a note to the Bulgarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, formally denying and rejecting the allegations against Mr. Denis Greenhill and drawing attention to the gravity of the Bulgarian Government"s action. His Majesty"s Minister made at the same time an earnest appeal for reconsideration of this decision which, if persisted in, cannot fail to do serious harm to the relations between this country and Bulgaria. Our further action in this matter will depend on the nature of the Bulgarian Government"s reply to His Majesty"s Minister"s note.
Anglo-French Cultural Co-Peration
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps have been taken since the signature of the Anglo-French Cultural Convention, to designate under Article 6 thereof organisations to ensure the execution of the provisions set out in that Convention and, in particular, those detailed in the protocol.
In an exchange of notes between the Governments of the United Kingdom and France dated 2nd March, 1948, the British Council was designated as the principal agent of His Majesty"s Government for the execution of the measures falling within the scope of the Anglo-French Cultural Convention, in accordance with the provisions of Article 6 thereof.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps have been taken since the Anglo-French Cultural Convention was signed a year ago to encourage the interchange between their territories of members of technical institutions, heads of schools and colleges, school teachers, pupils, students, research workers, librarians and persons engaged in the other activities mentioned in the preamble to the Convention.
Cultural co-operation between the United Kingdom and France is of long standing and the signature of the Anglo-French Cultural Convention only marked a stage on the journey rather than the beginning. However, in order to further such co-operation the following steps have been taken during the past year:
The Mixed Commission set up under the terms of Article 5 recommended the drawing up of a report on the question of the interchange of members of technical institutions and research workers between the United Kingdom and France setting forth the demands of this nature that exist, the names of the organisations concerned with it and the measures necessary for extending and improving it. This report will be considered at the next meeting of the Mixed Commission which is to be held in London on 16th, 17th and 18th May.
Under the assistant scheme for the exchange of teachers between this country and France, about 255 British assistants are now in France and about 557 French are here. Arrangements are also being made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education for the introduction during the next school year of the senior assistants" scheme under which ten from each country will visit the other.
Another activity which has been extended during the past year is the linking of schools in this country with comparable schools in France and altogether well over 500 schools have now been so linked. There is also a steady stream of contacts arranged between individual pupils in this country and in France, the number of such contacts during 1948 being 4,500.
The Mixed Commission has made a number of recommendations on the question of reduced fares for travel between the two countries for groups of students and this is being investigated. The British Transport Commission has agreed that during the period 1st May to 30th September, parties of school children travelling to and from the Continent under the "linked schools" arrangements will be allowed to travel at reduced fares,
except during the undermentioned periods:
- From 6 p.m. Friday 22nd July to 6 p.m. 23rd July.
- From 6 p.m. Friday 29th July to 6 p.m. 30th July.
- From 6 p.m. Friday 5th August to 6 p.m. 6th August.
- From 6 p.m. Friday 12 August to 6 p.m. 13th August.
Under the previous arrangement this type of travel was confined to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at non-peak periods.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps have been taken since the Anglo-French Cultural Convention was signed a year ago to encourage the development, by invitation or subsidy, of reciprocal visits of selected groups for the purpose of creating or increasing cultural, technical and professional collaboration between the two countries.
No group visits from France were organised by the British Council during the past year.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps have been taken since the Anglo-French Cultural Convention was signed a year ago to encourage the provision of scholarships or bursaries in such manner as to enable nationals of each country to undertake or pursue studies, technical training or research work in the other country.
A survey was made for the first meeting of the Mixed Commission of scholarships provided for study in France and Britain by graduates of the other country. In the opinion of the Mixed Commission the number of postgraduate scholarships tenable in France by British graduates is adequate.The British universities give 50 scholarships each year tenable in France (though not all exclusively tenable in France). In 1948–49 the French Government gave 27 scholarships for 10 months (i.e. the academic year), the British Institute gave six and the London Chamber of Commerce gave two. The French Government also give a number of scholarships to enable their own nationals to study at British universities.For the academic year 1948–49, seven scholarships have been awarded by the British Council to French nationals for graduate study. In addition scholarships have been awarded by the British Council to two French physicists under an exchange arrangement with the
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. During 1948–49 six bursaries for shorter periods have been awarded by the British Council.
For 1949–50, 12 scholarships have been reserved by the British Council for French graduates. Of these two are awarded under the exchange arrangement with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and one or more scholarships may be divided into a number of bursaries for shorter periods.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps have been taken since the Anglo-French Cultural Convention was signed a year ago to encourage closer co-operation between learned societies and educational and specialist groups of the two countries for the purposes of providing mutual aid in intellectual, artistic, scientific, technical and educational activities and sociological studies and practice.
The British Council has assisted delegates from France to attend the following conferences:
|Physical Society Conference||8|
|Greek and Roman Studies Conference||1|
|International Congress on Mental Health||2|
|British Association for the Advancement of Science Conference||1|
|British Mycological Conference||1|
|Ninth International Congress of Industrial Medicine||1|
|Conference on Fundamental Physics||1|
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps have been taken since the Anglo-French Cultural Convention was signed a year ago to encourage the development of holiday courses to be attended by school pupils, students, teachers and academic personnel from France and Great Britain, respectively.
During the summer of 1948, four summer schools were held in France by the British Council for French teachers. Nearly 300 teachers attended, comprising boarding school teachers, day school teachers, teachers of English and lower secondary school teachers. Plans are in hand for two summer schools to be held in France this year. Two short courses for British teachers were held in Paris last year in science and history and there is to be a short course in the French language which 100 teachers will be attending next July. In addition my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education has a course for teachers which runs for a year in Paris. This year is the first year and there are only seven people there, but the scheme is to be extended next year to provide for 40 teachers.
Prisons, Mauritius (Inquiry)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the findings of the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Governor of Mauritius, in December, 1947, under Mr. Justice Flanders, to inquire into the state of His Majesty"s Prisons in Mauritius, were published; and if not whether he will take steps to have them published.
The Commission of Inquiry referred to was held in private, with the result that the witnesses were able to give their evidence, and the Commission to make their report, with complete freedom. In these circumstances, my right hon. Friend is not prepared to take steps with a view to publication of the Commission"s report.
Colonial Development (Loans)
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what applications have been made from this country for loans from the International Bank for reconstruction and development for use in Colonial development, and what are the details.
No such applications have yet been made. Preliminary discussions have, however, taken place between the International Bank and the Colonial Development Corporation.
French Onions (Import)
asked the Minister of Food the quantity of leeks, cabbages and onions, respectively, which have been imported into Britain from France during the months of October, November and December, 1948, and January and February, 1949.
The quantity of onions imported into this country from France in the three months October to December, 1948, was 1,560 tons, and in January, 1949, 99 tons. No cabbages or leeks were imported from this source in the same periods. Official figures for February are not yet available.
Soviet Coarse Grain (Deliveries)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether Soviet coarse grain imports have been delivered to the United Kingdom to the total of 750,000 tons laid down in the AngloSoviet Agreement of December, 1947; and what amount of these grains have been sent to British territories outside the United Kingdom.
I have been asked to reply. Against the contract quantity of 750,00 metric tons the U.S.S.R. delivered 766,099 metric tons which were shipped as follows:—
|Destination||Quantity Metric tons|
|British Territories overseas— viz,: Cyprus||12,813|
|Other areas of U.K. responsibility—|
Museums And Art Galleries (Grants)
55 and 57.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what control is exercised over the expenditure of the grants-in-aid made to museums and art galleries by the Treasury;(2) to state the terms and conditions under which grants-in-aid are made to the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum. London Museum, National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, National Maritime Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum and Local Museum; and the purposes for which the money may be spent by each institution, stating any limitations imposed.
The purchase grants voted by Parliament for the national collections are paid into funds held by the authorities of the institutions concerned and applied at their discretion to the purchase of material within the scope of the various collections. Expenditure out of the purchase grants is accounted for in detail to the Comptroller and Auditor General, but unexpended balances are not liable to surrender at the end of the financial year. The Treasury is not concerned with individual purchases except on the relatively infrequent occasions when the magnitude of a proposed transaction raises the question of asking Parliament for additional funds. Grants to local museums and art galleries are paid by the Ministry of Education, subject to Grant Regulations No. 15. S.R. and O 1934, No. 364.
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will provide a list of the purchases, with the prices paid for each made out of the grants-in-aid provided by the Civil Vote. Class IV, Votes 1 to 8, for the year ending 31st March, 1948.
Information about the application of these grants is being prepared and will be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT as soon as it is ready.
Royal Navy (Air Station, Rattray)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what was the total cost of the Royal Naval Air Station at Rattray; when it was completed; for how long it was used by the Royal Navy and for what purpose; for what purpose it is now being used; and whether it is the intention of the Admiralty to dispose of it.
The Royal Naval Air Station at Rattray was constructed at a cost of approximately £1.9 million. It was completed in October, 1944, and was used as a Naval Observers Training School until September, 1946. The land comprising the airfield has been let for agricultural use. Some of the buildings are occupied by rent-paying tenants; others are in use by various Government Departments for storage purposes. Two of the living camps are being used for housing civilians. The Admiralty has no further use for this station and arrangements are in train for its transfer to the Department of Agriculture for Scotland.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an estimate of the proportion of industry, including transport and public utilities, now under public ownership; and the basis upon which this estimate is calculated.
On the basis of the total number of employees in industry, transport and communications in Great Britain at the middle of 1948, industries under public ownership at the present time represent about 17 per cent. of the total. The inclusion of gas, iron and steel and the balance of road transport would raise the percentage under public ownership to about 21or 22.
Fire Service College (Premises)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what premises are now occupied by the Fire Service College; what has been the average number of students in residence; where are the new premises which require adaptation; and what is the estimated average number of students who will then be accommodated.
The premises occupied by the College are in the Ocean Hotel, Salt-dean, near Brighton. The average number of students in residence during the last year has not exceeded 35, owing to a shortage of instructors. The new premises are Wotton House, Wotton, near Dorking, and it is estimated that the average number of students who will be accommodated there will be 60.
Newfoundlanders (War Service)
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what was the number of Newfoundlanders who served in the British Forces and in the Forestry Corps, respectively, in the war of 1939–45, and who took their discharge in Great Britain.
The numbers were 185 and 408 respectively.
Trade And Commerce
asked the President of the Board of Trade the physical output and value of utility production for each of the classes of goods for which such
|Utility Production in the United Kingdom in 1948||Column (1) as a percentage of total supplies for Home Civilian consumption (a)|
|WOVEN CLOTH FOR CLOTHING:—||Deliveries "000,000 square yards|
|Cotton and linen||…||…||256·5||72|
|Rayon and nylon||…||…||150·||71|
|FURNISHING FABRICS (b):—|
|HOUSEHOLD TEXTILES:—(Principal types)||Millions|
|Blankets (including cot blankets):|
|"000,000 square yards|
|Production "000,000 pairs|
|FOOTWEAR (other than rubber footwear)||…||…||84·6||62|
|…||…||Sales by value £"000,000|
|CORSETS AND BRASSIERES (d)||…||…||22·3||87|
|GLOVES (e)||…||…||13·8||7·3||78(by quantity)|
|FUR GARMENTS (and trimmings)||…||…||214·6||3·2||55 (by value)|
|CIGARETTE LIGHTERS||…||…||235·1||18·4||10(by quantity)|
schemes applied for the year 1948; and the proportion that these figures represent of total home consumption in each case.
The information asked for is set out in the table below, so far as it is available; where figures for the calendar year are not available, those for the nearest 12 months are given. Utility goods exported have been excluded throughout. In most cases consumption for Government uses is not readily available in a comparable form, and consequently the percentages are given throughout as percentages of home consumption for civilian use only.
Utility Production in the United Kingdom in 1948
Column (1) as a percentage of total supplies for Home Civilian consumption (a)
|FURNITURE (g):—(principal items)||"000 articles|
|Dressing chests, dressing tables and tallboys||…||895|
|Bedsteads (metal and wood)||…||996|
|Chairs (dining and kitchen)||…||2,330|
|Sets of shelves||…||62|
|Fireside and easy chairs||…||971|
|Bed chairs, bed settees and divans||…||215|
|Woven fibre chairs||…||346|
The estimated value of utility furniture production in 1948 was £60,000,000 (at manufacturers" prices), to which may be added slightly over £1,000,000 worth of utility school furniture.
French Visitors, United Kingdom
asked the President of the Board of Trade if it is now possible to give an estimate of the number of French visitors who came to Britain in 1948; and the number of British visitors who went to France in the same year.
The number of French visitors landed in the United Kingdom in 1948 was 91,444; of these, 74,067 were visitors on holiday while 17,377 were business visitors. In addition there were 4,209 French nationals recorded as landing in the United Kingdom in transit to other destinations. The information asked for in the second part of the Question is not available.
Shop Windows (Lighting)
asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that it is possible, by reducing the power of existing shop lamps or by the introduction of fluorescent lighting, that shop windows can be illuminated without using additional units of electricity; and if, in view of these facts, he will now relax regulations in order to permit the illumination of shop windows, provided that no additional current is used.
A regulation by which shop window lighting was permitted, provided no additional current was used. would, I fear, be quite unenforceable.
Ministry Of Works
asked the Minister of Works what was the total value of the licences issued for building work other than housing in the years 1946–47 and 1947–48.
The value of licences issued for building work other than housing in this period was as follows: 1946 £191,175,000; 1947, £212,955,000; 1948, £226,994,000. Included in these figures is a small number of licences for farmhouses and for houses for key workers in Development Areas which cannot be separated from the totals in the records of my Department.
asked the Minister of Works the number of licences which have been issued for building work other than housing in the years 1946–47 and 1947–48.
The number of licences issued for building work other than housing in this period was as follows: 1946, 558,229; 1947, 535,049; 1948, 414,622. Included in these figures is a small number of licences for farmhouses and for houses for key workers in Development Areas which cannot be separated from the totals in the records of my Department.
asked the Minister of Labour the total number of persons now employed in building work other than house-building.
I have been asked to reply. The available figures relate to operatives aged 16 and over employed in the building and civil engineering industries. The number engaged at the end of January on work other than house building was 765,000 but this includes a large number engaged in house conversions, repairs and maintenance.