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Written Answers

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 13 April 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 13th April, 1949

Radio Reception, Eastbourne District

2.

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of the bad radio reception of British stations in the Eastbourne district, he will agree to the non-payment of licence fees until the reception is made satisfactory.

My right hon. Friend regrets that he is unable to agree to the suggestion made by the hon. Member.

Nyasaland

Trade Unionism

21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps have been taken to encourage the development of trade unionism in Nyasaland; how many trade unions exist in that territory; and if he will consider the early appointment of a trade union adviser.

A Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Ordinance was enacted in 1944 and so far one trade union of motor transport workers has been registered. No appointment of a trade union adviser has yet been made but consideration will be given to the appointment of such an officer.

Transport Services

22.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what plans exist for the improvement of transport of food to the famine areas of North Nyasaland; and what steps have been taken to provide for a steamer service on Lake Nyasa to link the territory with the railway at Mikindani.

It is likely that the Northern Province of Nyasaland will produce enough food for its own needs. No steps have been taken to link existing steamer services on Lake Nyasa with the railway from Mikindani because plans for the extension of the latter beyond Noli, which is over 200 miles from Lake Nyasa, have not been worked out.

Royal Navy

Civilian Workers, Manadon

26.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many civilian employees are at present working at the Royal Naval Engineering College, at Manadon; what categories of workers are employed and the number in each category, respectively; and whether it is expected that further civilian workers will be required at this establishment in the near future.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the numbers of men of building trade categories employed at Manadon. The average number of civilian employees engaged on this work is at present eight. The men are engaged on maintenance work. The categories of workers are plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, skilled labourers, and labourers, but as the categories vary from day to day, and the average number of workers is no more than eight, I shall not attempt to state how many in each category are employed at the present date. Further civilian workers of building trade categories will be required at Manadon probably from May onwards when it is hoped to make substantial progress in the development work.

Dockyards

27.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he has now reconsidered the question of the appointment of a working party for His Majesty's Dockyards; and when he proposes to announce the names of the members of the party.

No. I have nothing to add to the statement I made on this subject during the Debate on the Navy Estimates. The answer to the second part of the Question does not therefore arise.

Engine Room Artificers (Promotion)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many engine room artificers who have passed the educational and professional examinations for warrant engineer have had their names on the roster for promotion for more than a year and have not yet been promoted.

Warrant Engineer Examinations

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what percentage of marks a candidate requires to obtain to pass the professional examination for the rank of warrant engineer; and whether this figure is fixed before or after the examination has been held.

This examination is a competitive one. No fixed percentage of marks is laid down as a qualification for passing; the second part of the Question does not therefore arise.

National Health Service

>Propyl-Thioracil Supplies

asked the Minister of Health if he will make supplies of propylthioracil available in this country.

Propyl-thioracil is being manufactured in this country in small quantities but it is not yet established here that the drug has advantages over thioracil and methyl-thioracil which are used for similar purposes.

Legal Actions

asked the Minister of Health the number of legal actions arising out of the National Health Service Act, 1946, in which his Department is concerned.

I regret that this information is not available without special inquiries from all the boards and committees concerned, which would not justify the labour involved.

Estates (Distribution)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that hardship is being caused to individuals by delays in the distribution of estates due to the obscurity of the legal provisions of the National Health Service Act, 1946; what action he proposes to take to expedite the settlement of these cases; and whether he proposes to indemnify individuals against costs incurred in this connection.

I am aware of these cases and am taking such action as is open to me, in co-operation with the solicitors for the other parties concerned, to secure early hearings. I anticipate that a decision by the courts in the first of the two cases about which the hon. Member has written to me will greatly assist the determination of others outstanding. The question of costs is a matter for the courts.

Chick Food

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider issuing chick food during the' initial year of small livestock keeping to those schools which run an agricultural course until they are eligible to obtain balancer meal for the feeding of poultry.

I am looking into this matter and will write to the hon. and gallant Member as soon as possible.

War Graves, Italy (Relatives' Visits)

asked the Secretary of State for War what financial assistance will be given for visits to war graves in Italy.

Relatives who wish to make these visits should not be deterred from applying if they feel they are unable to meet the full cost of the journey. In genuine necessitous cases, some assistance will be given in this respect. Arrangements for visits to war graves are made by five voluntary bodies, who in cases of need, make grants towards the expenses of a single visit by two relatives. The organisations are reimbursed from public funds to the extent of seven-eighths of their direct expenditure. The organisations which have been good enough to undertake the responsibility for running this scheme are:—The British Legion, 49, Pall Mall, London, S.W.1.The Church Army, 55, Bryanston Street, London, W.1.The Church of Scotland Committee on Hut and Canteen Work for His Majesty's Forces, 121, George Street, Edinburgh.The Salvation Army. War Graves Visitation Department, William Booth Memorial College, Denmark Hill, London, S.E.5.The Y.M.C.A.,

  • 112, Great Russell Street, London, W.C.1.
  • 10, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh.
  • 22, Howard Street, Belfast.
  • 53, Park Place, Cardiff.

The scheme, which originally covered visits to war graves in France, Belgium and Holland, has now, as I announced in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Dumpleton) on 29th March, been extended to Italy. Details of the arrangements made by the British Legion for visits to war graves in Italy by air were given in that reply. The other four voluntary organisations have completed their plans for sending visitors to all cemeteries in Italy by surface route and to cemeteries in Sicily by air. They are now ready to receive and deal with applications.

Anthracite Prices

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the anxiety caused to householders and industry by the recent increases in the price of anthracite; what further increases are contemplated during the next three months; and if he will explain briefly the reasons for these increases.

The reasons for the increase in anthracite prices were given in a statement issued on 25th March by the National Coal Board, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member. No further increases in the prices of these fuels are contemplated during the next three months.

Civil Aviation

Shoreham Aerodrome

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when he intends to restore Shoreham aerodrome to the Brighton, Hove and Worthing Corporations.

No decision to return the aerodrome to the Brighton, Hove and Worthing Corporations has been taken.

Brookside Flying Group

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what aircraft the Brookside Flying Group are now flying; who is responsible amongst the 30 owners; who authorises flights; whether instructors have instructors' endorsements on their licences; whether the aircraft have a daily inspection; and whether this group have to comply with the regulations required of a normal flying club.

I have no official information on this matter, but I understand that an Aeronca aircraft has recently been loaned to this Group. The person in whose name this aircraft is registered is responsible for seeing that the regulations are complied with.Aircraft belonging to private persons or groups of persons and not flown for hire or reward require no special authorisation for each flight, nor are they required to be maintained in accordance with approved maintenance schedules and inspected periodically in the same way as does an aircraft belonging to a flying school or club employing a paid instructor. Under the new regulations which came into force on 1st April, the requirement of an instructor's endorsement, which formerly applied only to instruction for payment, applies also to instruction given, with or without payment, to a person about to fly solo. I am however not in a position to say whether the instructors employed by the Group have or have had instructors endorsements on their licences.

Income Tax Claims (Time Limits)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the withdrawal, as from 6th April, 1948, of the concession contained in Command Paper No. 6559 of 1944, under which the Inland Revenue authorities granted in appropriate cases an extension of the 12 months' time limits laid down in the Income Tax Acts for making certain claims, has caused serious difficulty to many accountants in view of pressure of work and shortage of staff and whether he will renew this concession for a further period.

Yes. I am prepared to authorise an extension of this concession as regards the time limits in question for claims made before 6th April, 1950.

Transjordan (Development Loan)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what plans he has to assist Transjordan in the development of her economy as a means of contributing towards the resettlement of Arab refugees.

The Transjordan Government consider it essential that they should be able to undertake immediately certain development projects which would have the effect of making possible the resettlement of some of the Arab refugees in Transjordan, and they have approached His Majesty's Government for assistance in doing so. We for our part are anxious to promote the development of Transjordan and it is proposed to seek Parliamentary authority at the first opportunity for the provision of £1 million as an interest-free loan for this purpose. Detailed particulars are now being worked out.

German Foreign Ministry Archives

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what material relevant to the signing of the anti-Comintern Pact has been found among captured enemy documents.

Correspondence relating to the Pact has been found in German Foreign Ministry archives and is held at the Foreign Office in the joint custody of the United Kingdom and United States Government. A selection of the documents will be included when these archives are published.