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Written Answers

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1949

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Written Answers To Question

Tuesday 29th March, 1949




asked the Minister of Labour how many men and women respectively are now unemployed in the City of Aberdeen and in what trades; and what were the respective figures for the corresponding periods in 948, 1947 and 1946.

As the reply involves two large tables of figures I am sending the information to my hon. Friend.

Building Workers, The Hartlepools

asked the Minister of Labour the number of building trade workers registered as unemployed in the Hartlepools exchange area at the last convenient date, showing each grade separately.

At 14th March there were six carpenters, one plasterer, one painter


Remploy Factories, West Riding

asked the Minister of Labour how many disabled persons are now employed in the Remploy factories in the West Riding of Yorkshire; how many, unemployed are registered as requiring such sheltered employment; and by what date the first of the two proposed factories at Leeds will be in production.

and one glazier unemployed. There were no bricklayers, slaters or plumbers registered as unemployed, but there were 83 in all other occupations, mainly labourers.


asked the Minister of Labour if he can give the unemployed figures for men and women separately for the years ending 1938 and 1948 in the Houghton-le-Spring urban area and Sunderland rural district area.

Statistics of unemployment are compiled for employment exchange areas and not for local government areas. There is no employment exchange in the Sunderland rural district, and unemployed persons resident in that area register at employment exchanges in adjoining areas. The following table gives the available figures for the Houghton-le-Spring employment exchange and youth employment bureau:

There are 176 severely disabled persons employed in the four Remploy factories so far opened in the West Riding. The number of disabled persons registered at local offices throughout the West Riding and considered to be in need of sheltered employment is 927. It is expected that the first of the Leeds factories will be in a position to engage disabled persons in about two months' time

Railways (Disputes)

asked the Minister of Labour the aggregate number of working days lost on the main line railways for the years 1922, 1932, 1942, and on the British Railways main lines for 1948, through strikes, whether official or otherwise.

The aggregate number of working days lost through stoppages of work due to industrial disputes on the main line railways of Great Britain was approximately 700 in 1922; 2,100 in 1932; 8,500 in 1942; and 7,500 in 1948.

Defence (Allied Liaison)


asked the Secretary of State for War what consideration has been given to the setting up of an Allied Liaison Staff of the War Office; and what decision has been taken about this matter.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to paragraphs 14–23 of the Statement on Defence, 1949. As foreshadowed in paragraph 23 of the White Paper, consideration is being given to what further measures will be necessary in consequence of the signature of the Atlantic Pact.

National Finance

Capital Investment


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what capital sum has been invested in Britain since July, 1945, in such direct immediate wealth-producing things as mines, land reclamation, factories, power stations, ports, transport, and in capital investments such as housing, schools, hospitals not immediately directly producing wealth.

Figures for 1947 and 1948 are given in Table 7 of the Economic Survey for 1949 (Cmd. 7647). I regret that comparable figures for 1945 and 1946 are not available.

Bonus Shares (Taxation)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the basis of computation of the tax of 10 per cent. on bonus share issues.

A company which issues securities by way of bonus to its members is chargeable with duty of 10 per cent. of the value of the bonus as defined in Section 61, Finance Act, 1947, subject to certain exceptions. Very briefly, the value of the bonus is computed by taking the market value of the rights or securities (in the case of private companies the nominal value of the securities) and deducting therefrom the value of the consideration, if any, received by the company.

Income Tax (Trade Association Subscriptions)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take steps to remove the anomaly whereby persons assessed to Income Tax under Schedule D can have their subscriptions to trade associations allowed as expenses if they are expended for the purpose of their trade or profession, whereas if they are assessed under Schedule E, there is no allowance in respect of subscriptions to the same association unless the subscription is necessarily expended in the performance of the duties of their employment.

Purchase Tax (Medicines)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that substances listed under Head II of the Purchase Tax (No. 5) Order, 1948, can only be sold free of Purchase Tax if they are not mixed with any substance other than one which can be regarded as an excipient, a vehicle, a base or a preservative and that, in consequence, such substances become liable to Purchase Tax if compounded with other medicaments, even if the resultant article is medically desirable; and whether consideration can be given to the removal of this anomaly.

This condition is designed to limit the exemption to essential drugs. If my hon. Friend considers that it has the effect of excluding any essential medicine from exemption and will let me have particulars of the preparation, I will have it considered when the next Treasury order affecting medicines is being prepared.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, under the present Purchase Tax orders relating to Part II of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948, no medicines or drugs which are not the subject of monographs in the British Pharmacopoeia, the British Pharmaceutical Codex, or other publications mentioned in that schedule, can be sold free of Purchase Tax, and that, since these publications are only revised at very long intervals, this condition imposes an undesirable penalty on the introduction of new medicines and drugs for the benefit of the public; and whether he will take remedial action in the near future

Notifications acceptedClaims for Cost of Works payments from individual ownersClaims for Value Payments
PaidUnder examinationPaidAwaiting Appeal Proof of title, etc.
1. Cost of Works Payments
To Public Authorities:—
(a) for repair of houses287,281 287
(b) for other work (site clearance etc.)4,335,839
To Private Claimants:—
(a) for repair of houses195,302,815
(b) for other properties89,024,505
2. Value Payments (including interest)
(a) houses91,837,616
(b) other properties79,826,882
3. Special Payments
(a) Charitable properties (including churches)10,474,959
(b) Public Utilities9,952,753
(c) Highways1,812,823
(d) Section 18 payments (exceptional site value)10,503

Profits, Wages And Salaries

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will provide additional information on profits, wages, and salaries.

Yes. We propose in the forthcoming White Paper on the National Income to provide a much more

The Treasury orders under which medicines are exempted are not restricted to those described in the publications mentioned and include a number of more recent preparations.

War Damage (Claims And Payments)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish a statistical summary of all claims received and payments made by the War Damage Commission to date.

Following is the summary of claims received and paid by the War Damage Commission up to 28th February, 1949:detailed analysis of rent, interest and profits and in particular to show separately company profits, dividends and reserves, profits of private traders, professional earnings and farmers' profits. We also propose, as I announced on 24th February, 1948, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) to publish the Inland Revenue profits statistics in industrial groups. Publication will commence with the figures for the profits made in 1947 and the information will be published in the spring of 1950.I appreciate that this time table, which is dictated by the basis of assessment of profits for Income Tax purposes, means that the information will not appear until more than two years after the profits have been made. I am therefore exploring the possibility of producing statistical estimates of profits in trade groups, as distinct from figures of actual assessed profits, with a view to publication about six months after the end of the year to which they relate. I hope very much it will be possible to do this.Figures for wages in industrial groups already appear in the National Income White Paper. We propose in addition to publish next year an analysis in industrial groups of earnings coming under P.A.Y.E. These figures will relate to wages and salaries combined, as no distinction is drawn between the two for P.A.Y.E. purposes.

Savings Bank Funds (Investment)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any statement to make about the investment of Savings Bank Funds moneys.

Yes. £90 million of the balances in the savings Bank Funds held by the National Debt Commissioners have been invested with the Exchequer, on the security of a 3 per cent. terminable annuity with a currency of 30 years.

Trade And Commerce

Herring Nets


asked the President of the Board of Trade why cotton yarn urgently required for herring nets is being exported to Pakistan and elsewhere in large quantities, while British fishing craft and crews are unable to produce food for the nation, and cotton net doublers in Lancashire are faced with the prospect of closing down part of their plants.

No appreciable quantity of cotton yarn of the specification and quality suitable for the manufacture of herring nets is being exported to Pakistan or elsewhere, and, so far as I am aware, no cotton net doublers are faced with the prospects of closing down part of their plants.

Woodworkers' Aprons


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the acute shortage of aprons for woodworkers in the Wycombe area; and if he will take steps to increase the supply.

I am aware of this need for woodworkers' aprons, but all types of aprons are scarce due to inadequate supplies of cloth. Efforts are being made to increase overall cloth production, but the demands of the export market must continue to take precedence.



asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the importance of developing this country's export trade with Pakistan and if he will endeavour to arrange for a trade delegation to visit Pakistan at an early date.

We are fully aware of the importance to this country's economy of our trade with Pakistan and of the contribution which we can make to that country's developing economy. There has in fact been a rapid rise in our exports of cotton piece goods and a substantial increase in the supply of capital goods to Pakistan and our total exports over the three months November, and December, 1948 and January, 1949, have reached an annual rate of £33 million as compared with an annual rate of £7 million during the first three months of 1948. Correspondingly, there has been an encouraging increase in our imports from Pakistan.This increase in trade has been largely brought about by representatives of United Kingdom firms who have been visiting Pakistan in considerable numbers to investigate the opportunities for trade and investment. Many firms and some trade associations have resident representatives, and a number of United Kingdom firms are already undertaking manufacturing processes in Pakistan in conjunction with local interests.

In these circumstances my right hon. Friend sees no present need for an official trade mission, but he will continue to bear this possibility in mind. The Board of Trade will also stress to individual firms and to trade associations how important it is that they should familiarise themselves with conditions in Pakistan and ensure that their representation and sales arrangements will make the most of the opportunities offered by the Pakistan market.

New Towns (Factories)


asked the President of the Board of Trade how many firms with factories now in the Greater London area have applied for sites in the new towns; what is the total number of employees in these factories; and how many have expressed themselves as willing to migrate to the new towns.

Since the end of the war some hundreds of London firms have made preliminary inquiries about prospects in the new towns. Four firms have received licences to build factories in these towns. Another eight firms have applied for industrial development certificates under the Town and Country Planning Act. Three certificates have been issued and the other applications are now under consideration. These 12 firms at present employ approximately 1,900 people in the Greater London area and they expect to employ about 2,500 in their new factories. It is expected that a substantial number of the present employees will follow their employers to the new towns.

Wool (Adviser And Controller)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what are the duties respectively of the Wool Adviser to the Board of Trade and the Wool Controller; and what salary is each paid.

The Wool Trade Adviser advises the Board of Trade on wool textile exports. The Wool Controller is responsible for the executive work on the remaining controls relating to the wool industry and is also consulted about policy. Both are unpaid.

Cedar-Wood Roofing Shingles


asked the President of the Board of Trade what amount of Canadian cedar-wood roofing shingles were imported during 1948; and what was the dollar expenditure thereby incurred.

Scottish Industrial Estates (Factories)


asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of factories, and the numbers employed in those factories, controlled by Scottish Industrial Estates Limited at 21st March, 1947, 1948 and 1949, respectively.

The numbers of factories leased from Scottish Industrial Estates Limited at 21st March, 1947. 1948 and 1949, were 109, 164 and 231. respectively. The numbers employed in these factories at the nearest convenient dates to 21st March in each of these years were 16,200, 21,300 and 25,500, respectively.

Exports (Ussr And Eastern Europe)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what additional goods he is forbidding to be exported to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Eastern Europe.

Arising out of a Question put by the hon. Member for Shrewsbury (Mr. Langford-Holt) on Thursday last, my right hon. Friend informed the noble Lord the Member for Southern Dorset (Viscount Hinching-brooke) that he hoped before long to indicate to the House a list of those goods we consider should not be sent to certain destinations. My right hon. Friend will in fact be making an order later this week.

Woodland Thinnings (Payments)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what organisations were consulted about the payments scheme for woodland thinnings; and what their recommendations were.

A joint body representing the Central Landowners' Association, the Scottish Land and Property Federation, the Royal English Forestry Society, the Royal Scottish Forestry Society and the Scottish Home Timber Trade Association agreed to consider, and to submit their proposals in regard to, a scheme of payments for thinnings. They reported later, however, that they were unable to do so and recommended an increase in all pit prop prices instead of special provision for thinnings as such.

Publications (Typography)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will introduce legislation enabling regulations to be made for the publishing trade to prevent the use of type which causes undue eyestrain; and, in particular, to cause publishers of novelettes for adolescents to use easily legible type.

I do not think that this is a matter which could be dealt with satisfactorily by statute.

Factories, South Wales

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many factories have been completed in the South Wales Development Area; what is their respective floorspace; what was their cost; and to what use are they put.

By the end of January, 1949 (the latest date for which figures are available), 146 new factories and extensions of 5,000 square feet or over had been completed in the South Wales Development Area, with a total floorspace of about 5,500,000 square feet at an estimated cost of £8,500,000. These factories cover the production of a wide range of capital and consumer goods.


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has considered details which have been sent to him concerning the importation of small fruits from Canada; and if he will facilitate the export of food machinery of British manufacture in exchange for the unsold surpluses which are accumulating in Canada.

I have considered the correspondence to which the hon. Member refers. I am afraid, however, that to link increased exports to Canada with purchases of what we cannot at present afford to buy would defeat the primary purpose of increasing exports which must be to bridge the gap between our present exchange resources and our existing purchase programme.

Ministry Of Works

Hostels And Lodging Houses, Glasgow


asked the Minister of Works how many licences have been applied for to his Department, or issued by him to enable the conditions of working men's hotels and common lodging houses in Glasgow to be improved.

Fourteen licences to a value of about £23,000 have been issued by my Department during the past two years for extensions, repairs and decorations to working men's hostels and lodging houses in Glasgow. These figures do not include work carried out by the Corporation of Glasgow upon its own hostels since that work does not require a licence from me.

Remploy Factory, Brighton


asked the Minister of Works the reasons for the delay in establishing a Remploy factory in Brighton for the employment of the severely disabled; when work is likely to commence; and on what date the factory is likely to be completed.

It has not yet been possible to agree the terms of a lease of the site of this factory. The delay has been due to doubt whether the provisions of Section 82 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, apply, and this point has only recently been determined. It is too early to specify the date of completion.

Requisitioned Buildings, Scotland


asked the Minister of Works how many buildings are still under requisition by Government Departments in Scotland, and particularly in Aberdeen.

If, as I assume, the noble Lady's Question refers solely to buildings held under requisition for non-housing purposes, the total number of buildings under requisition by my Department and the Service Departments in Scotland is 360 of which 17 are in Aberdeen.

Plant Hire Rates

asked the Minister of Works what adjustments he proposes to make in the Control of Rates of Hire of Plant Order to meet changing conditions; and when it will be possible for this control to be abandoned.

I have made a further order to give effect from 1st April, to certain recommendations made to me by the Committee that advises me on plant hire rates. In reply to the second part of the Question, although I have not felt able to cancel the control altogether at the present time, I hope that conditions will enable me to do so before the end of the year.

South Downs (Amenities)

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether in view of the proposed establishment of a National Park to include the area of the South Downs, he will state the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to the retention of the amenities of the Downs.

The preservation and enhancement of amenity in National Parks is one of the purposes of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Bill now before Parliament.

Theatre Rentals

asked the Attorney-General whether the Uthwatt Committee have been instructed to investigate the specific problem of theatre rentals and to make recommendations.

The terms of reference of the Leasehold Committee are wide enough to permit them to make recommendations as to theatre rentals.

Public Health

Tuberculosis, Mossley

asked the Minister of Health how many cases of tuberculosis were reported in the Borough of Mossley, Lancashire, in each of the years 1921 to 1939, inclusive; and how many in each of the years 1945 to 1948, inclusive.

My information is that the figures were as shown in the following table:

YearNo. of cases notified

Tuberculosis Treatment

asked the Minister of Health how many fully staffed beds were available for the treatment of tuberculosis in England and Wales in 1945, 1946 and 1947; how many patients were discharged from these sanatoria during 1945, 1946 and 1947 and in how many of these was a report of disease arrested made, and in how many was it definitely cured; and what the total cost of treatment was.

The numbers of beds at the end of 1945, 1946 and 1947 respectively were approximately 27,340, 27,150 and 28,830. I regret that the other information requested by my hon. Friend is not available.


Slum Clearance

asked the Minister of Health how many slum clearance schemes were scheduled in 1939; how many are scheduled to date; and what progress is being made.

1,460 clearance areas covering 23,479 houses were declared in 1939 making a total from 1933 up to the outbreak of the war of 21,710 areas covering 296,311 houses. Further clearance areas will be dealt with as soon as the prior needs of families without separate homes makes this course possible.

Rural Workers (Leek District)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the Leek Urban District Council have no allocation of houses for agricultural workers; and whether it is possible for him to make an allocation of 20 extra houses in addition to the usual allocation given.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "Yes" and to the second part "No." The allocations made to a local authority comprise all the houses authorised to be built in the district by or with the approval of the authority.

asked the Minister of Health what allocation of agricultural workers' houses are being given to the Leek Rural District Council; and how many such houses have been built since 1945.

The allocation made to the council for 1949 comprises all the houses authorised to be built in the district and does not specify separately houses for agricultural workers. As regards the second part of the Question, I regret that I cannot see my way to add to the statistics in the Housing Return.

Demolition And Reconditioning

asked the Minister of Health how many houses there are in rural districts subject to demolition orders under Section 11 of the Housing Act, 1936, and which have been temporarily reprieved, but which are now considered under existing new building costs to be capable of reconditioning if improvement grants were made.

Water Supply Schemes, Elham

asked the Minister of Health the number of water supply schemes which have been submitted by the Elham Rural District Council; and the dates on which each scheme was sent to the county council for observations and the dates on which they were returned by the county council to the Elham Rural District Council, together with the dates on which they were sent to his Department.

Nineteen schemes have been submitted to me. I am not aware of the dates on which they were submitted to the county council by the rural district council, or the dates on which they were returned. The proposals were sent to me in October, 1946, but complete financial and other details were not submitted till September, 1948.

National Insurance (Industrial Accidents)

asked the Minister of National Insurance why any person disabled at work prior to the National Insurance scheme coming into force, still qualifies under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the terms of which are less favourable than those under the new scheme.

I would refer the noble Lady to the statement I made on 23rd March, 1948, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ince (Mr. T. Brown), a copy of which I am sending to her.