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Written Answers

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 7 April 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 7th April, 1949

Public Health

Ministry's Staff


asked the Minister of Health what was the total number of non-industrial civil servants employed by his Department on 1st January, 1949, and 1st September, 1939.

On 1st April, 1939, and 1st January, 1949, the numbers were 6,640 and 5,607 respectively; the figures for 1st September, 1939, are not available. No industrial civil servants are employed in my Department.

Maternal Mortality (Stoke-On-Trent)


asked the Minister of Health what were the maternity mortality rates in Stoke-on-Trent for the years 1918, 1928, 1938 and 1948.

The figures, so far as available, are as follows:

Stoke-on-Trent C.B.
yearMaternity Mortality Rate per 1,000 live and still births.
*The rate for 1918 is based on live births only.
†The figure for 1948 is not yet available.

Children's Footwear


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the plan of the Middlesex Health Committee to supply shoes to children fitted by experts to ensure they receive the right footwear; and whether, in view of the great amount of suffering in later life caused by ill-fitting shoes, he will recommend the extension of this plan to other authorities and urge on parents the importance of properly fitted shoes for their children.

Though the Council's medical staff will undertake periodical inspection of the children's feet and footwear, I understand that the shoes will be supplied under arrangements made between parents and a private firm. The present scheme which is limited to a par- ticular part of the county is an experimental one, and the question of its extension will be considered when there has been reasonable experience of its working.

Vaccination Statistics

asked the Minister of Health if he will supply particulars as to the percentage of births vaccinated, exempted, died unvaccinated, etc., for the years 1945, 1946 and 1947, respectively, in the same form in which such particulars are given in Appendix D of the Report of the Chief Medical Officer of his Department for the years 1939 to 1945.

The particulars for 1947 are not yet available. Those for 1945 and 1946 are as follows:—

Per cent. of births
Abstention (exempted, postponed and remaining)—
England and Wales55·754·6
Exemptions alone—
England and Wales36·934·2
Acceptance (vaccinated)—
England and Wales40·541·6

Chicken-Pox Deaths

asked the Minister of Health to which cause or causes of death the 110 deaths originally ascribed to chickenpox during the nine years 1931–39 were subsequently transferred under the revised system of registration referred to in the Registrar General's Annual Report for 1940.

There is no specific reassignment of the 110 deaths; the reassignment of deaths for the years 1931–39 in accordance with the revised system of classification is explained in Appendix B.1 of Part 1 of the Registrar General's Statistical Review for the year 1940 (p. 321).


Rural Areas


asked the Minister of Health how many new houses were completed in rural areas during the first three months of this year; and how this figure compares with the number of rural houses completed during the first three months of 1948.

Requisitioned Houses, Manchester


asked the Minister of Health how many dwelling houses in Manchester city have been requisitioned by his Department.

The number of dwelling houses in the City of Manchester held on requisition by my Department is 522. Of these 517 are used for residential purposes and five for day nurseries.



asked the Minister of Health how many houses for owner-occupiers have been built since the end of the war; and how the number compares with the similar period after the 1914–18 war.

Precise figures of the number of houses built for owner-occupiers are not available. With regard to the number of houses built by private enterprise after the 1914–18 war I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Plaistow (Mr. Elwyn Jones) on 25th February and for houses built after the last war to the Housing Return.


asked the Minister of Health what was the number of dwellings in England and Wales at the latest convenient date.

The latest available statistics are contained in the Report of the 1931 Census.

Water Supply, Dorking And Horley


asked the Minister of Health when a reply may be expected to the application made by the Dorking and Horley Rural District Council for approval of the scheme for rural water supplies which was submitted on the 26th January.

National Health Service

Senior Mental Nurses


asked the Minister of Health whether he has received the report of the Whitley Council on pay and conditions for those of and above the rank of senior staff nurses in mental hospitals; and when he expects the report to be published.

I do not expect to receive this report until the Council has dealt with general nurses, whose pay is now under consideration. Any recommendations affecting mental nurses will, however, operate from the same date.

Emergency Dental Treatment


asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the continued practice of many dentists operating under the National Health Service of refusing to deal with emergency dental cases except as private patients after an appointment and on payment, he will now say what simplified procedure has been devised to assists dentists to deal expeditiously with such cases.

Hospitals (Transfer)

asked the Minister of Health how many arbitration proceedings are pending on questions arising from the transfer of hospitals under the National Health Service Act, 1946; and when the arbitrators will begin to hear cases.

I am aware of about ten cases. Only one has been formally referred to the Chairman of the Panel of Arbitrators; this case is likely to be heard in the next two or three months.


Savings And Road Safety


asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware that prizes of National Savings certificates are to be awarded by Camberwell Council to school children who draw the best road safety posters; and whether, in view of the fact that such a scheme promotes savings and road consciousness in children, he will encourage other schools to follow the same course.

Yes. I understand that these prizes are awarded by the Camberwell Road Safety Committee for work done by school children out of school hours. I welcome any reasonable means of promoting savings and road safety, but the methods are best left to local initiative.

School Milk


asked the Minister of Education if he can give an assurance that the present milk in schools scheme allows a school doctor to prescribe either free or on payment extra milk over and above the present allowance of one-third of a pint for mal-nourished children apart from those in nursery or special schools.

No. The free supply of milk under the milk in schools scheme is intended as part of the normal diet of all children. Extra milk is obtainable on medical grounds at the child's home from the domestic supplier on payment and on presentation of a doctor's certificate satisfying the medical conditions on which additional milk is made available.

Teachers (Exchange)


asked the Minister of Education if he will make a statement on the recent visit of teachers from the Dominions to this country; how many Dominion teachers are now in Great Britain; what exchanges are contemplated with European countries; and what plans are in process for visits of British teachers to the Dominions and the Colonial Empire.

I presume that the hon. Member is referring to the conference held on 19th and 20th March for Dominion teachers now in this country under exchange arrangements together with a few who are here privately. This conference was arranged as an introduction to the educational system of this country and was highly successful. 119 Dominion teachers are now in the United Kingdom under exchange arrangements for which the League of the Empire is responsible. It is hoped, as shipping facilities improve, to increase the number of exchanges. The possibility of extending exchanges to the Colonial Empire is being considered. As regards exchanges with European countries, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) on 17th February.

Comprehensive Secondary Schools


asked the Minister of Education if he has considered the Middlesex report on the admission of children to secondary schools, and the anxiety of parents on attendance at comprehensive schools; and if he will assure the House that regard for the provision of Section 76 of the Education Act, 1944, is being fully implemented by his Department.

I am aware of the policy which the local education authority for Middlesex have proposed to adopt for the admission of children to their comprehensive secondary schools and know that this has given rise to some protests. The hon. Member may rest assured that both the local education authority and my Department have had and will continue to have the provisions of Section 76 very much in mind.

School Attendance (Older Girls)

asked the Minister of Education how many girls aged 13 to 15 were reported absent from school for reasons other than ill health since the raising of the school-leaving age; and whether he will impress on all parents the importance to the girls of these later years at school.

I regret that the information asked for in the first part of the Question is not available. The enforcement of school attendance is the responsibility of the local education authority and I have no reason to suppose that absenteeism of older girls from avoidable causes is at all widespread.

Museums And Galleries


asked the Minister of Education if he has considered the cultural advantages to be gained from local museums and galleries in provincial centres; and if he will invite the education committees to include visits to such institutions in their programmes as essential to a wider knowledge of local social history.

I am glad to say that the practice of arranging such visits is already widespread and is growing. Guidance on the best means of utilising the resources of local museums and collections is included in many of the short courses arranged by my Department for serving teachers.


Remploy Factories


asked the Minister of Labour what procedure is used for selecting workers for Remploy factories.

Local OfficesRegistered as disabled persons at 17th January, 1949Number unemployed at 21st February, 1949Number unemployed over six months at6th December, 1948

Trade And Commerce

Newsprint (Increased Allocation)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make it clear that the increase in the allocation of newsprint will not be conditional upon the amount of the issue being used solely for reporting election news.

I presume that the hon. and gallant Member refers to the temporary concession announced by the rationing committee of the newspaper publishers whereby local weekly newspapers will be permitted to print four extra pages during the six weeks covered by the local elections. The increase which

The initial classification of persons as so severely disabled as to need sheltered employment is made by the disablement resettlement officer of my Department with the assistance, if necessary, of the disablement advisory committee. As I explained to my hon. Friend in my reply to him on 23rd March, such persons are then interviewed by a panel consisting of the factory manager and a medical officer, with the disablement resettlement officer in attendance. The assessment of the suitability of a candidate for employment in the factory rests with the medical officer.

Disabled Persons, Stoke-On-Trent


asked the Minister of Labour how many men and women are on the disabled register in Stoke-on-Trent; and how many men and women have been unemployed for six months or longer.

The numbers of registered disabled persons in Stoke-on-Trent at the latest available dates are as follows:I am announcing today in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins) is not subject to such a condition.

Bankruptcies (Meat Retailers)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many meat retailers were adjudged bankrupt in 1938 and 1948 respectively.

In 1938, out of a total of 3,105 bankruptcies, 78 butchers and meat salesmen were adjudged bankrupt. For that year separate figures for retailers cannot be given. In 1948, out of 1,133 bankruptcies, four retail butchers and one meat salesman were adjudged bankrupt.

National Finance

Investment Policy


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when our policy of cutting back the housing, health and education programmes in pursuance of the longterm programme of giving priority to all uses of resources tending to create exports and go into capital formation at the cost of social services was approved by the E.C.A.

The Government's investment policy is summarised in paragraph 159 of the Long-Term Programme (Cmd. 7572), to which I would refer the hon. and learned Member.

Customs (Confiscated Ham)


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if, in view of the fact that a decision has now been taken that a certificate may be dispensed with for small private importations of cured ham and bacon, he will recompense Miss Rowley of Vicars Moore Lane, Winchmore Hill, Middlesex, for the ham which was confiscated at Victoria Station on 17th March, 1949.

No. The Customs officers were doing their duty in accordance with the law.

Land (Public Ownership)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give an estimate of the percentage of land in the United Kingdom in public ownership.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 28th February by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

Fuel And Power

Taxicabs (Petrol)


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will increase the allowance of petrol for provincial taxicabs during the period when the private car allowance is doubled and the allowance to coaches is increased.

Yes. Arrangements are being made for an appropriate bonus to be issued to provincial and London taxis.

Petrol Allowances


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what allowance of petrol is made to an Englishman on holiday in this country from India, and using a borrowed motor car.

A British civilian on leave from abroad, using a car borrowed from a near relative, is granted sufficient petrol to motor 150 miles.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why an issue for business purposes of a petrol allocation to Mr. W. J. Fairbairn of 95 Burlington Road, New Malden, which was previously made, has now been completely refused.

As the hon. Member was informed in the letter sent to him about this case, the purpose for which Mr. Fairbairn requires petrol is not one for which allowances are granted by regional petroleum officers.

Television (North-East Region)


asked the Postmaster-General for what reason the North East of England is excluded from the list of areas in regard to which it has recently been announced that television facilities are to be extended within the near future.

I am unable to identify the list of areas referred to. On the question of extending the television service to the North East of England, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answers my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Bolton (Mr. J. Lewis) on 9th February and the hon. Member for Durham (Mr. Grey) on 9th March.

Electricity Supplies

Brentford And Chiswick


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that his directive limiting the connection of new electrical supplies to non-industrial consumers has prevented the installation of electric light in council properties at Loraine Road, Chiswick, and George Road, Brentford; and what steps he will take to make available to the residents of these properties this essential modern amenity.

Yes. The reasons were given in the reply I gave to my hon. Friend on 24th February last.

Charges, Glasgow


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what representations he has received from the Corporation of the City of Glasgow protesting against the increased electricity charges in that city; and what action he is taking to remedy the situation complained of.

My right hon. Friend received a deputation from the Corporation of Glasgow about this matter on 23rd March, when the whole situation was fully discussed. A Press notice of the meeting was issued, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. and gallant Member.

Premises, Wokingham


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is satisfied that there are good grounds for the proposal of the Southern Electricity Board to use compulsory powers to acquire premises at 19 and 19A, Peach Street, Wokingham, where the wife of the owner of the property carries on a gown business; if he has considered the local indignation aroused by this proposal and the resolution passed by the Borough Council of Wokingham; and if he will cause a public inquiry to be held before approving the order for compulsory purchase.

The Southern Electricity Board have asked my right hon. Friend to confirm a compulsory purchase order made in respect of these premises. Objections have been lodged by the owner and by certain local bodies. He is awaiting the observations of the Electricity Board on these objections and will then be in a position to decide whether a public inquiry should be held.

Motor Car Exports


asked the Minister of Supply what is the number of cars which have been exported during the past twelve months, but for which payment in foreign currency has not yet been made.

I am satisfied that the number is small, but I am afraid exact figures are not available.


asked the Minister of Supply whether cars allocated for temporary use in this country pending shipment abroad are included in the Board of Trade return as export sales; and how many cars have been sold in this category during the past 12 months.

These cars are not recorded as exports until they are actually shipped. The number in the past 12 months is estimated at rather less than 10,000.

House-Building Methods

asked the Minister of Works if his attention has been drawn to methods adopted in building houses in Frankfurt which, by payment by results and insistence on minimum output by bricklayers, are ready for occupation in five months; and if he will take steps to achieve agreement on similar methods in this country.

I have seen certain Press reports on this project. The speed of building is dependent on many factors, including the method of construction, the number of workers employed, the size of the houses and the standard of finish and equipment. In this country payment-by-results, and the establishment of minim-mum outputs, are matters for the joint negotiating machinery of the industry.


asked the Minister of Agriculture the amount of land let by local authorities to allotment holders in the last three years.

Yearly figures are not available, but the area of land provided by local authorities for letting as allotments in England and Wales at 1st April, 1948, was 66,900 acres, representing some 740,000 plots.

Royal Observer Corps

asked the Secretary of State for Air what are the conditions of service of the Royal Observer Corps; and if we will consider placing this corps on a similar footing to that of the Army and the Royal Air Force.

I am sending the hon. Member three pamphlets containing an outline of the conditions of service in the Royal Observer Corps for whole-time officers, spare-time officers and spare-time observers. No change in the present status of the Corps is contemplated for the time being.

Windward And Leeward Islands (Electoral Reform)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what measures of political reform he has under consideration for the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands.

My right hon. Friend has informed the Governors of the Windward and Leeward Islands that he agrees that adult suffrage should be introduced at the next elections to the Legislative Councils of these two groups; that he considers that the right to vote should be subject to a simple literacy test; and that he also agrees to the removal of property qualifications for candidates, subject to further examination of the present arrangements for the deposits which candidates are required to make. He has indicated however that as yet he has been unable to give consideration to the establishment of wholly elected legislatures in the Windward and Leeward Islands and that for the present this must be deferred.

Tanganyika (Arusha-Moshi Lands)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when a decision is likely to be reached on the Report of the Arusha-Moshi Lands Commission which was completed in 1936.

This Commission reported in 1946. Its recommendations have been accepted except as regards the areas of land to revert to native occupation in the two districts and the conditions which should be attached to this reversion. On this important point final proposals have been framed for the Moshi District but a decision has not yet been reached for the Arusha District. The Commission recommended that 17,381 acres of alienated land should be acquired for native occupation in the Moshi District. Under the proposals now accepted and announced by the Tanganyika Government 20,950 acres will be acquired for this purpose, 13,359 acres from ex-enemy estates and 7,591 acres from other alienated land. Of this area 9,440 acres will be available at once and 11,510 acres in 20 years time.The Commission recommended that the Chagga Native Authority should be required to pay for estates acquired for native occupation. The proposals now announced provide that the Chagga shall not pay for the land but only for such unexhausted improvements as, in the opinion of the Tanganyika Government, they can and should use beneficially. The proposals also provide that an area of 155,000 acres on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro are to be developed for occupation by the Chagga

pari passu with the increase of population and that the necessary development works in the northern portion of this area should be

put in hand by the Tanganyika Government immediately. Consideration of this difficult question of land reversion in the Arusha District is now in its final stages and it is hoped that definite proposals will be formulated shortly.

Kenya (Banned Publication)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the Governor of Kenya has issued an order banning the import of the "Guardian," a South African publication, into that Colony; and if he will take steps to secure a reversal of this order.

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. My right hon. Friend sees no reason to intervene in the matter.

Malaya And Singapore (Detained Persons)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies with what offence the 3,964 persons out of 4,076 under detention in Malaya and Singapore who have made objections to the advisory committees are to be charged; and whether their cases will be decided in a court of law.

These persons are detained under the local Emergency Regulations in the public interest, and no charge need be brought against them. The second part of the Question does not therefore arise.

Flour And Oatmeal

asked the Minister of Food what percentage of total consumption of flour and oatmeal are produced in the United Kingdom; and what arrangements are contemplated to mix cereals so as to increase consumption of wholly home-produced wheat and oats as against imported cereals.

During the last six months for which statistics are available 89.2 per cent. of the flour and almost 100 per cent. of the oatmeal consumed in the United Kingdom was home milled. As regards the second part of the Question, all home-grown wheat and oats sold off farms is already being fully utilised for human or animal food.