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Written Answers

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 14 April 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 14th April, 1949

Housing (Waiting Lists)

4.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that certain local authorities do not permit on to their housing waiting lists single persons, waiting to get married, single persons living alone or married couples, where neither the husband nor the wife has resided in the local authority area for the last five years; and if he will take steps to bring the action of all local authorities into line in their arrangements for waiting lists.

General advice on the selection of tenants is given in a Report by my Central Housing Advisory Committee which I have just sent to all housing authorities.

Public Health

Vaccination Statistics

5.

asked the Minister of Health the approximate proportion of the population which are now vaccinated as compared with that which was immunised against smallpox prior to the last war.

Records are available, up to 1946 at present, only as regards infant vaccination. These show that about 42 per cent. of children born in 1946 were vaccinated in infancy as against about 34 per cent. in 1938.

Smoke Abatement, Brentford

asked the Minister of Health what arrangements for smoke abatement are obligatory under his regulations on factories in the Great West Road area of Brentford; how such arrangements are enforced; and whether he is satisfied that residents in the area are adequately protected from industrial smoke and fumes.

I have no power to make regulations governing the arrangements which factories must make to control emission of smoke. The Brentford and Chiswick Town Council have power under the Public Health Act, 1936, and under their Smoke By-law of 1930 to deal with emissions of smoke which are a nuisance. I have no reason to suppose that these powers are inadequate to deal with any smoke nuisances in the Great West Road area.

National Health Service

Hospitals (Income)

asked the Minister of Health how much money has been received by hospitals since their nationalisation.

The total amount advanced by my Department to regional hospital boards and boards of governors in England and Wales in respect of the period 5th July, 1948, to 31st March, 1949, was £114,469,380. Information is not at present available as to the amount of local receipts on Exchequer account or by way of voluntary gifts for the provision of amenities.

Doctors (Emergency Patients)

asked the Minister of Health under what authority a doctor refuses to attend a person who is not his patient in a case of extreme emergency; and if, under his present rules, doctors may refuse to attend patients for personal reasons, such as the lateness of the hour.

A practitioner in the National Health Service is required to comply with the terms of the local arrangements regarding treatment in emergency. The executive council have power to exempt particular practitioners on ground of age or infirmity, or where they have limited lists from liability for emergency night calls to persons not on their lists.

Mental Hospitals (Electrical Treatment)

asked the Minister of Health what is the number of cases at present undergoing the electrical treatment in mental hospitals; what is the number cured and the number unsuccessfully treated to the latest available date; and how many deaths have resulted from this treatment.

Education

Boarding School Awards

15.

asked the Minister of Education how many free places have been granted for children at boarding schools by the Caernarvon local education authority under provision resulting from the recommendations of the Fleming Report; and how many applications for such places have been refused.

The local education authority for Caernarvonshire have no definite arrangements with particular boarding schools for the free admission of children from their area. Applications from parents for assistance to send their children to such schools are considered on their merits by a special subcommittee. I understand that awards made in recent years include one covering the whole cost, and seven covering part of the cost. About 10 applications have been refused.

Management Courses

asked the Minister of Education how many technical colleges at present provide courses in management; and what plans he has for extending and co-ordinating these courses.

During the 1948–49 session 124 technical or commercial colleges offered instruction in management subjects including foremanship. In answer to the second part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Mosley (Sir P. Hannon) on 3rd March last.

Junior School, Leiston

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware that there are no places available at the junior school at Leiston, Suffolk, for five-year-olds; and what steps is he taking in the matter.

Yes. The construction of new and enlarged premises for the school is expected to start this summer; meanwhile, the local education authority are trying to obtain temporary additional accommodation.

Fuel And Power

Ministry's Staff

34.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many civil servants have been transferred to his Department from the Board of Trade since 1st March.

Domestic Coal Supplies

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that coal is in short supply in the Saxmundham district of Suffolk; and if he will take steps to remedy this.

Merchants' stocks are low, as is normal at this time of year, but supplies have been well maintained and I am not aware of any special difficulty in this area. If the hon. Member will send me particulars of any case of difficulty within his knowledge, I will have further inquiries made.

Irish-Born Persons (British Citizenship)

37.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what obligation there is on Irishmen, so long as Eire is not a foreign State, to serve notice of their intention to remain British subjects; what statute prescribes Form E.3 for such a notice; what statute prescribes a register for signatories of such form; and what status is conferred by such registration.

There is no obligation in this matter. It is however open at any time to any person to whom Section 2 (1) of the British Nationality Act, 1948, applies to give notice, in pursuance of the section, that he wishes to remain a British subject: and his status thereafter is that of a British subject. Persons who are British subjects under other provisions of the law stand in no need to give such a notice. Form E.3 is not prescribed but is provided for the convenience of those giving notice. There is no statutory requirement under this section for the keeping of a register.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what cases it is necessary for a person who was born in Southern Ireland prior to the passage of the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act, 1922, and who desires to remain a British subject, to make an application to that effect; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave today to the hon. Member for Queen's University of Belfast (Professor Savory).

Electoral Registration

39.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is proposing to take to prevent a recurrence of electors being disenfranchised through failure by His Majesty's Stationery Office to deliver the necessary forms in time; and whether he will give financial aid to electors disenfranchised in this way to meet the costs of appealing to the county court under Section 70 of the Representation of the People Act, 1948.

I am aware of no grounds for the implication in the first part of the Question; the second part, therefore, does not arise.

Air-Raid Shelters

40.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will discontinue sending Form S.P.R. 4 to councils who have reported on frequent occasions that they have no air-raid shelters.

Borstal Institutions

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of girls at present in Borstal Institutions as a result of absconding from approved schools; and the number of girls, other than absconders, at present in Borstal Institutions who had previously been committed to approved schools.

Robbery With Violence (Cases)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of robbery with violence have occurred in each of the last 12 months; in how many death or injury resulted; and in how many the criminal was detained.

The latest available figures are those for 1948 and are as follows:

MonthCased of robbery with violenceArrest made
January10642
February8530
March12147
April8229
May7930
June8839
July7736
August7828
September8735
October9228
November9237
December11423
Total1,101404
I regret that information relating to the number of cases in which death or injury resulted is not available.

Missing Children

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children have been reported in the Metropolitan Police area as missing during the last 12 months; and how many have subsequently been traced.

The Commissioner Police of the Metropolis informs me that 454 children and young persons under the age of 17 were reported to him as missing during the year ended 31st December, 1948. With one exception—a boy aged over 15—all were subsequently traced.

Gowers Committee (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government intend to adopt the recommendations of the Gowers Committee, Command Paper No. 7664.

The Report, which covers a very wide field, is under consideration and I am not at present in a position to make any statement.

Civil Defence Staff College

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any announcement to make with regard to the opening of a Civil Defence Staff College.

Yes. Premises have been acquired at Sunningdale Park, Sunning-hill, Berkshire, and I now propose to proceed to appoint a Commandant. The salary of this post will be £1,200 rising to £1,500 per annum. It will be filled through the machinery of the Appointments Department of the Ministry of Labour and National Service.

National Finance

Income Ranges

47.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the approximate number of those with net incomes of £10,000, £8,000, £6,000, £4,000, £3,000 and £2,000 per annum for the years ended 31st March, 1914, 1920, 1938, 1945 and 1949, respectively.

Figures for the years 1938–39, 1942–43, 1944–45 and 1945–46, for the income ranges for which information was available, appeared in the National Income White Papers for 1944, 1945 and 1946. It is hoped to provide similar information for 1947–48 in the forthcoming Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. Information for the other years is not available.

War Damage Payments

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer at what point in the consideration by local authorities of schemes to acquire property within the area of declaratory orders the War Damage Commission remits to the owner of any property concerned or to the local authority the amount involved in the settlement of a converted value payment.

The war damage payment in these cases is not converted to a value payment until the service of a notice to treat or the making of an agreement for the purchase of the particular property under compulsory powers. Payment is made after the purchase has been completed.

Foreign Investments (Realisation)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the amount of foreign investments held by United Kingdom citizens that were sold, respectively, between the outbreak and the end of the war, and since.

Realisations (including redemption) of United Kingdom investments outside the sterling area are estimated at £554 million between September, 1939, and June, 1945, and at £325 million from then until December, 1948. The latter figure includes £150 million in respect of the sale in 1948 of the British-owned railways in Argentina.

Capital Issues Committee (Instructions)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fresh instructions he has issued to the Capital Issues Committee in view of the publication of the Economic Survey for 1949.

I have today addressed a Memorandum to the Capital Issues Committee and, as on similar occasions in the past the banks are being requested to apply the principles enunciated in it to the granting of credit facilities to their customers. I have no doubt that they will readily continue to give their co-operation in this matter.

The terms of the memorandum are as follow:

The general principles, in the light of which the Committee at present considers applications for consent to new issues of capital, are set out in the Memorandum of Guidance of 31st May, 1945 (Cmd. 6645) and the Special Memorandum of 2nd December, 1947 (Cmd. 7281). The Special Memorandum called for a revision of emphasis in view of the serious changes in the balance of payments position and the review at that time by the Government of the Capital Investment Programme of the country.

The general position has been continuously under review; and the Economic Survey of 1949, which has just been issued (Cmd. 7647) gives an up-to-date appraisal of the economic position of the country, and reviews (in paragraphs 39–46) the competing claims on investment resources. The conclusion to which the Survey points is that, after allowing for expenditure on maintenance (including wartime arrears), the resources which can be devoted to new investment are strictly limited in relation to the demands likely to be made on them. The Capital Issues Committee is, of course, primarily concerned with developments affecting the private sector of the national economy. Here the main emphasis of Government policy is on:

(i) The increase of capacity needed to overcome shortages of basic materials.

(ii) Projects likely substantially to increase exports to hard currency markets or to bring about marked and direct savings in imports from hard currency sources.

ESTIMATED SUBSIDIES IN FOODSTUFFS
1948–491949–50(as originally anticipated)
£ million£ million
Bacon15·728·1
Breadincluding wheat acreage payments65·170·2
Flour other than for bread33·840·9
Shell Eggs23·235·5
Carcase Meat59·691·6
Milk (a)42·061·5
Butter (b)41·046·3
Cheese (b)19·722·2
Margarine (domestic)15·718·7
Cooking Fat (domestic)5·06·5
Lard0·91·9
Potatoes (including acreage payments)21·013·9
Sugar (domestic)23·228·6
Tea17·724·6
Other Foods—Credit[8·2][10·4]
Animal Feedingstuffs61·536·6
Board of Trade—
Subsidies on fertilisers and molasses12·313·9
Welfare Schemes:
National Milk Scheme25·125·1
Milk in Schools8·09·5
Other Welfare Foods2·72·8
TOTALS485·0568·0
Notes: (a) Including the manufacturing milk subsidy.
(b) Excluding the manufacturing milk subsidy.

Dollar Deficit

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the 1948 decrease of £315 million deficit in our

(iii) The development of technical advances and new practices, and research and development projects contributing to industrial progress; and

(iv) Projects which will yield marked and immediate reductions in costs.

The Capital Issues Committee will, as hitherto, rely upon the various Government Departments for advice as to the extent to which particular applications made to the Committee conform to the general principles outlined above.

This memorandum should be regarded as superseding the Special Memorandum of 2nd December, 1947.

Food Subsidies

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will show in detail how he anticipates that the subsidies on food would have risen from £485 million in 1948–49 to £568 million in 1949–50.

Following is the answer:balance of payments with the Western Hemisphere was due to receipts under the European Recovery Programme; and how this was effected.

None. The size of the current dollar deficit is unaffected by E.R.P. receipts. Assistance under the European Recovery Programme was one of the means by which our gold and dollar deficit was financed, as is shown in Table V of Cmd. 7648.

Transjordan (Financial Assistance)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the new financial agreement that has been concluded with the Transjordan Government; how much the Transjordan Government will be able to draw each year; and under what vote and subhead of the Estimates the money will be accounted for.

No new financial agreement has been concluded with the Transjordan Government. As to new financial assistance to that Government, I have nothing to add to the written reply of my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of 13th April.

Death Duties

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the amounts received in Death Duties in 1947–48 and 1948–49 were, respectively, apportioned between Estate, Legacy and Succession Duties.

The following table shows the net receipt of the Death Duties under the individual heads of duty for the years in question:

1947–19481948–1949
£000£000
Estate Duty156,625155,227
Legacy Duty12,55220,218
Succession Duty1,7582,915
Corporation Duty12496
171,059178,456

Sugar-Beet Factories

asked the Minister of Supply if steps are being taken to provide increased factory plant for the increased amount of sugar-beet now being grown in East Anglia.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Lieut.-Colonel Clifton-Brown) on 14th March.

British Army

Sandhurst (Trust Funds)

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the annual value of the endowments or accumulated funds expendable by the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, for the benefit of the cadets; who are the trustees and upon what is the money spent.

The principal fund from which the officer cadets directly benefit is the Commandant's General Purpose Fund of which the Commandant, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, is the trustee. The annual value of this Fund is about £1,500. The direct benefits to the cadets from this Fund include extra messing, provision of games equipment and facilities, new purchases and replacements for the library and general maintenance of Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, private property. In addition there are some smaller trusts in the hands of various trustees, the annual income of which is applied to the provision of prizes for officer cadets who have completed the course at the Royal Military Academy.

Cadets, Sandhurst

asked the Secretary of State for War what stoppages are deductable, and for what purposes, from the pay of the cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; and what stoppages are deductable from the pay of cadets which it is not customary to deduct from the pay of a private soldier.

The stoppages deduct-able from the pay of an officer cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, total 8s. 6d. a week; they are for National Insurance, R.M.A. Sandhurst subscription mainly for extra messing, and servant's pay. There are additional voluntary stoppages for haircutting, extra laundry, clubs and societies, and sports equipment. The amount deducted for these items depends on the extent to which an officer cadet makes use of the facilities available; it does not normally exceed 5s. a week. Of the above stoppages, the following would not be deducted from the pay of a private soldier: R.M.A. Sandhurst subscription, servant's pay, clubs and societies, and sports equipment.

asked the Secretary of State for War what pay and allowances are receivable by cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, receive pay at the rate of 5s. 0d. a day on entry and 6s. 6d. a day after 12 months' (total) service unless their rank or classification at the time of entry entitles them to higher rates, in which case they continue to receive them during the course. The cadets receive the normal allowances of a private soldier or those appropriate to any higher rank held on entry.

Road Safety Propaganda

asked the Minister of Transport if his attention has been called to the activities of the schools road safety competition in Birmingham, under the auspices of the Birmingham Accident Prevention Council, with the object of preventing road accidents and in which nearly 70,000 children took part; and if he will encourage the promotion of similar work in the larger cities and towns throughout the country.

Yes. This competition is a feature of the Birmingham road safety propaganda campaign, which is assisted by a 50 per cent. grant from the Road Fund. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents co-operate with my Department and, through the local safety organisations, with the local authorities in encouraging the wider adoption of activities which have proved valuable in particular localities.

Scotland

Educational Visits And Exchanges

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements have been made for groups of schoolchildren from Scotland to visit European countries and for groups of schoolchildren from those countries to visit Scotland on the basis of reciprocity in the matter of availability of currency; and what grants can be made from public funds to assist such exchanges

The services of the Central Bureau of Educational Visits and Exchanges are available to any school party wishing to make an exchange on a reciprocal basis In addition to the children's expenses which can be borne reciprocally, arrangements have been made for a special allotment of foreign currency to the leaders of approved parties for necessary expenses. Sixty per cent. of approved expenditure incurred by education authorities on educational visits and exchanges is recognisable for purposes of grant from the Education (Scotland) Fund.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements exist for the exchange of school teachers from Scotland with foreign countries; with which countries these arrangements exist; and how many exchanges are at present being effected in each case and for what duration of time.

I refer the hon. Member to page 49 of the Report on Education in Scotland in 1948 (Cmd. 7656) where full particulars about the arrangements for the interchange of school teachers from Scotland with foreign countries are given. The Scottish Education Department, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, have also recently entered into reciprocal arrangements with the Ministries of Education in France and Austria for a limited number of appointments of experienced modern language specialists who will be known as "senior assistants." The arrangements will begin to operate in the autumn of this year. It is unlikely that more than one or two exchanges with Scotland can be arranged for session 1949–50.

Hospital Endowments Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the establishment of the Hospital Endowments Commission provided for in the National Health Service (Scotland) Act.

Chairman:

  • Sir Sydney Smith, C.B.E.

Members:

  • A. Greig Anderson, Esq., M.A., M.D., F.R.C.P., Aberdeen.
  • W. J. Binnie, Esq., Kilmarnock.
  • Mrs. L. T. M. Gray, Edinburgh.
  • J. D. Imrie, Esq., C.B.E., M.A., B.Com., Edinburgh.
  • J. Jack. Esq., Blantyre.
  • Professor I. W. Macdonald, M.A., C.A., Glasgow.
  • William G. MacGowan, Esq., J.P., Dumfries.
  • Robert Wotherspoon, Esq., W.S., Inverness

Secretary:

  • D. B. Donald, Esq., Department of Health for Scotland.

I hope that the Commission will begin its work shortly after Easter.

Employment

Hostel, Onslow Square

asked the Minister of Labour what is the cost per week per man, the amount paid per week per man, and the average earnings and allowances of the men and the number of staff, including administrative staff, employed at the National Service Hostel in Onslow Square.

Expenditure on the hostel at Onslow Square, including capital and administration costs, averages about 51s. per resident week. The weekly inclusive charge to residents at this hostel for accommodation and 15 meals is 26s., with rebates for absences of not less than four consecutive days and nights. Information is not available on the average earnings and allowances of the residents. The number of staff employed in the week ending 9th April was 277, including 14 administrative staff.

Working Hours

asked the Minister of Labour what percentage of the work-people in the country worked over 48 hours per week; between 46 to 47 hours per week, inclusive; between 44 to 45 hours per week, inclusive; 43 hours per week and under in 1945, 1946, 1947 and 1948.

I am having the available information extracted and will write to the hon. Member.

Juveniles

asked the Minister of Labour the number of juvenile new entrants into cotton, all textiles, and all civilian employment, respectively, during the years 1947 and 1948, respectively.

I am having the available information extracted and will send it to my hon. Friend.

National Service

Students

asked the Minister of Labour whether National Service men, called up in January, 1948, will be released in time for the start of the 1949–50 university year, where they are assured of a vacancy and, in particular, for the medical course.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25th January to the hon. Member for East Harrow (Mr. Skinnard).

Business Training Scheme

asked the Minister of Labour what is the maximum age applicable to both officers and men for acceptance under the scheme of business training for Regular personnel of His Majesty's Forces.

Disabled War Pensioners (Cars)

asked the Minister of Pensions if, in view of the fact that some disabled ex-Service men are given a motorcar, free insurance and Road Fund cover and a grant towards upkeep, he will consider giving financial assistance towards running and maintenance to those disabled ex-Service men who possess their own motorcar.

Seriously disabled war pensioners within the classes eligible for supply of a Ministry car who have cars of their own may receive an annual grant of £45 towards running and maintenance costs in the same way as those who are provided with Ministry cars. A number of such grants are already in payment.

I cannot make grants for this purpose to disabled persons who are not within the categories described in my statement to the House on 27th July. 1948.

Trade And Commerce

Italian Marble (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the decision to import worked marble memorials from Italy has caused apprehension among British monumental masons in view of the difficulty of competing with Italian prices resulting from lower rates of pay in that country; and if he will reconsider this decision.

Imports of worked marble from Italy are at present limited to 20 per cent. by value of pre-war, which represent an annual rate of import of £50,000. I cannot agree that imports on this scale constitute a serious threat to producers in this country.

Officials' Visits

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many visits were made by officials of his Production Departments to firms who are not members of a trade association or who are not adequately represented by their trade association in 1948; and what are the principles laid down by his Department to guide those officials in deciding when and to whom such visits shall be made.

Visits to firms by officials of the Board of Trade depend upon the needs of public business and no distinction between firms is made according to their membership or otherwise of trade associations.

Carpenters' Pencils

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that carpenters' pencils are at present unobtainable, and that the consequent use by carpenters of ordinary pencils involve an unnecessary waste of timber; and whether he will take steps to improve the supply of carpenters' pencils.

Timber supplies have for some time been barely sufficient to meet the pencil demands of consumers as a whole and an extension of the Utility range to provide for such- extra items as carpenters' pencils would have reduced supplies for general needs still further. There are now signs of future improvement in Empire pencil timber supplies and some production of pencils for special needs should be possible later in the year. In the meantime supplies of solid graphite sticks which have proved an excellent substitute for carpenters' pencils are available.

Processed Almonds (Export)

asked the President of the Board of Trade why certain export orders of processed almonds for dollar payments have been refused export licences.

I cannot trace the refusal of any such export licences by the Board of Trade but if the hon. Member will let me have further particulars of any case that he has in mind I will make further inquiries.

Merseyside

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will call a conference of local authorities to discuss the formation of a Development Council for Merseyside.

My right hon. Friend proposes to invite representatives of the local authorities and Members of Parliament for the constituencies in the Merseyside area to meet him when he is in Liverpool on the 30th April. He will be very pleased on this occasion to discuss various matters concerned with the scheduling of Merseyside as a Development Area, including that to which my hon. Friend refers.

Post Office

Telephone Applications, Heysham And Ulverston

asked the Postmaster-General how many persons were on the waiting list for a telephone in Heysham and in the area of the Ulverston Rural District Council on 31st March, 1946; and how many are on the waiting list now.

In Heysham 30 applications for telephone service were outstanding on the 31st March, 1946, and 78 on the 31st March, 1949; corresponding figures for the Rural District of Ulverston are 97 and 199. During the intervening period, 191 exchange lines were provided in Heysham and 175 in the Ulverston Rural District.

Sub-Offices

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in view of his policy of abolishing sub-post offices in the London area, it is also his intention to abolish sub-post offices in Edinburgh and other Scottish cities and substitute in place thereof a limited number of Crown Offices.

It is not the policy of the Post Office to abolish sub-post offices in London or elsewhere, but, in accordance with long-standing practice, a limited number of such offices will be replaced by Crown offices where the amount of business transacted is large enough to warrant that course, with a view to giving improved service to the public.

Wireless Licences

asked the Postmaster-General what form of statement for signature is put by inquiry officers of his Department to persons suspected of working radio sets without a licence.

No prepared form of statement is used. A person not holding a current licence for apparatus in working order is cautioned. If he is willing to make a statement the caution is written down and after he has signed it he is asked when he installed and last worked the apparatus. His answers and anything more he may say are written down in the form of a statement which he is asked to read, to correct if he desires, and invited to sign.

asked the Postmaster-General if he has considered the possibility of making some reduction in the wireless licence for old age pensioners living alone.

After careful and sympathetic consideration the Government decided that preferential treatment in this respect could not be given to old age pensioners. I am afraid that this decision must apply to pensioners living alone equally with others.

Ex-Service Men (Telephones)

asked the Postmaster-General if, in view of the grave shortage of telephone facilities throughout the country for businesses started by ex-Service men after coming out of the Forces, especially in the Mitcham area, he will cut down the number of lines to large and older-established businesses, so that the small trader of today will not always be in the same position, and as the number of businesses with a star in the telephone directory, London area, is very high.

Ex-prisoners of war and war disabled ex-Service men and civilians, are given priority in the provision of telephone service, but I regret that I would not be justified in extending this priority to all ex-Service men. As regards the Mitcham area, some additional equipment has now been installed in the exchange and this will enable about 200 applicants to be provided with service.

Forestry

Commission's Holdings

asked the Minister of Agriculture what total acreage, to the latest convenient date, is now in the hands of the Forestry Commission; of this acreage how much is planted and how much unplanted; and what acreage of the unplanted has previously carried a woodland crop.

I regret that the details desired will take a few days to prepare. I will therefore send the information to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Planting Programme

asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the total acreage, to the nearest convenient date, planted by the Forestry Commission since 1st January, 1946, and of this acreage what is the acreage planted in hardwoods and softwoods respectively.

Figures are not available from 1st January, which is mid-way in the planting season, but from 1st October, 1945, to 30th September, 1948, the Forestry Commission planted 73,200 acres. Of this area 5,300 acres were planted with hardwoods and 67,900 acres with softwoods. The planting programme for the current season is 45,600 acres of which it is anticipated that between 7 and 8 per cent. will be hardwoods.

Agriculture

Feedingstuffs

asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the total quantity of animal feedingstuffs expected to be available to farmers in 1949 compared with 1948 and 1938.

The total quantities of feedingstuffs available to farmers, including grass, hay and roughages, cannot be estimated accurately. Rationed feedingstuffs available in the rationing year ended 30th September, 1948, amounted to 3.6 million tons, and in the rationing year ending 30th September, 1949, are expected to amount to 4.5 million tons. No corresponding figures are available for pre-war years. In the agricultural year ending 31st May, 1949, total supplies of concentrates (cereals, oilcakes, fishmeal, etc.) both rationed and unrationed, are expected to be of the order of 8 million tons, compared with approximately 11–12 million tons in 1938–39. All these figures include agricultural holdings under one acre and backyard production.

Glasshouse Production (Fuel)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is proposing to make any change in the arrangements for the supply of fuel for glasshouse production in relation to the type of crops to be grown.

These arrangements are now under review in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power, but I am not yet able to say what changes, if any, will be made.

Food Supplies

Meat (Distribution)

asked the Minister of Food what proportion of the meat distributed is used for manufacturing purposes, ships' stores and the services, respectively.

The proportions of total meat supplies distributed during 1948 for manufacturing purposes, ships' stores and the services were approximately:

Per cent.
Manufacturing purposes—Civilian9.5
Services0.5
Ships' stores1.0
Services (ration meat)1.0
If the above percentages, together with 2.2 per cent. distributed to institutions, and 1.2 per cent. distributed to staff dining rooms, civic restaurants, clubs and voluntary service canteens, are added to those given in reply to the hon. Member on 4th April, the analysis of total meat supplies during 1948 is complete.

asked the Minister of Food if he will arrange for householders to have priority of fresh meat, and for canteens, other than school canteens, to be supplied with frozen meat, in view of the fact that people having meals in canteens have their own ration of meat at home.

I am unable to adopt the hon. Member's suggestion, since it would involve a complicated and wasteful system of distribution and would not add materially to the proportion of home killed meat for the ordinary consumer.

Farm Workers

asked the Minister of Food what is the normal weekly domestic ration scale for agricultural workers.

The weekly scale of individual rations for the ordinary agricultural worker living at home is at the present time as follows: Sugar, 10 oz.; Fats, 9 oz.; Cheese (special ration), 12 oz.; Bacon, 2 oz.; Meat, 10d. worth; Tea, 2 oz.; Points, 6 points; Milk, no restriction.

asked the Minister of Food what is the ration scale for agricultural workers living in camps.

Camps or hostels housing agricultural workers who have no canteen facilities at their work are licensed as catering establishments and receive allowances of food on the Industrial "A" scale according to the number of meals served to the workers. The Industrial "A" scale of allowances is as follows:

Meat

per main meal2½d. worth retail

Bacon

per breakfast1/7th oz.
per main meal1/14th oz.
per light meal1/56th oz.

Butter, Margarine and Cooking Fat—

per meal9/16th oz.

(of which not more than 1/8th oz. may be taken in the form of cooking fat, and not more than 3/16th oz. in the form of butter).

Cheese

per meal3/28th oz.

Sugar

per meal¼oz.
per hot beverage¼oz.

Tea

per 280 hot beverages1 lb.

Points

per main meal2/7th point
per breakfast or light meal1/7th point

In addition, these camps and hostels, in common with all establishments, are at present receiving a supply of shell eggs, at the rate of one egg per allocation for every 400 meals served during an eight-week period. They also receive, in common with all industrial catering establishments, an allowance of sugar and fats for the supply of cake and flour confectionery.

Beef Imports

asked the Minister of Food what percentage of our import of beef came from other countries than the Argentine in 1948; and how many tons did we import from these countries in January and February, 1948 and 1949, respectively.

Imports of carcass beef including offal from countries other than the Argentine in 1948 formed 49 per cent. of the total. The quantities imported from these countries in January and February, 1948 and 1949, respectively, were as follows:

Tons
January, 194821,024
February, 19489,749
January, 19495,449
February, 19495,843
The totals for January and February, 1948, include 12,502 tons from Canada, a source which was not open to us this year, and 3,667 tons from Denmark which Denmark has not been able to repeat in 1949.

asked the Minister of Food how many tons of beef were imported from the Argentine during January and February, 1948 and 1949, respectively; and what percentage of our total import of beef came from the Argentine during these periods.

The quantities of carcass beef, including Offal, imported into the United Kingdom from the Argentine during each of the months January and February, 1948 and 1949, and the percentages these imports represented of our total imports of this kind of meat from all sources were as follows:

TonsPer cent.
January, 194829,11758
February, 194826,76273
January, 194912,22869
February, 194925,66681

Oranges

asked the Minister of Food if, owing to the small supply of oranges available in the shops, he will remove all restrictions on the import and conditions of sale of oranges and thus ensure a plentiful supply to the public at reasonable prices.

The present shortage of oranges is only temporary. Shipments from South Africa have just started and during the summer we expect to have enough oranges to meet the demand.

Catering Establishments

asked the Minister of Food if he will now remove all price restrictions, house charges and surcharges in hotels, restaurants and catering establishments, so as to allow these establishments to compete for their public without these restrictions.

Duties And Subsidies

asked the Minister of Food if he will name the foods which both pay customs or excise duty and are subsidised; and what is the rate of duty and subsidy in each case.DR. SUMMERSKILL,

pursuant to her reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th March. 1949; Vol. 463, c. 820] supplied the following information:

RATES OF CUSTOMS AND EXCISE DUTIES AND PARTICULARS OF SUBSIDIES ON FOODSTUFFS THAT ARE BOTH DUTIABLE AND SUBSIDISED, FOR 1948–49
1. Commodity2. Rate of Duty3. Average Unit Value of Duty4. Unit rat of Sudsidy on duty paid imports or home supplies bearing Excise5. Overall Unit subsidy6. Overall effect on all supplies of duty actually paid
Butter£15per ton from non-Empire source1½d. per lb.25¾d. per lb.1/4per lb.0·4d. per lb.
Cheese15% ad valorem from non-Empire sources4d. per lb.32½d. per lb.1/0½ per lb.0·8d. per lb.
Condensed Milk6/- per cwt. on milk plus duty on sugar content3/9 per case6/2¾ per case2/0½per case1/- per case
Sugar(d)Full Customs Duty 95°–96° polarisation18/3·7 per cwt. 16/3½ per cwt.16/3? per cwt.8/8? per cwt. (raw)9/- per cwt or 10/7¼ per cwt. Including Deficiency Payment to British Sugar Corporation (raw).15/10¼ per cwt. (raw)
Preferential Empire Customs Duty polarisation14/6?9 per cwt.
Colonial Customs Duty polarisation11/6?9 per cwt.
Excise Duty13/5·9 per cwt.14/7·1 per cwt (raw)9/10·9 per cwt or 16/1·9 per cwt. if Deficiency Payment to British Sugar Corporation in included. (raw)
There are differentials from these rates according to degree of polarisation
Shell EggsFrom non-empire souces:
(a)Not exceeding 14 lbs. in weight per 1201/-per 120 4/6 per box of 30 doz.20/6 per box of 30 doz.42/7 per box of 30 doz.1/0½ per box of 30 doz.
(b) Over lbs, but not exceeding 17 lbs. in weight per 120.1/6 per 120
(c) Over 17 lbs. in weight per 1201/9 per 120
Dried Eggs10% ad valorem from Non-Empire sources£81 5s. 2d. per ton£192 15s. 6d. per ton£192 15s. 6d. per ton£81 5s. 2d. per ton
Domestic Pack.
Tea(d)Full 8d. per lb. Preferential 6d. per lb.6d. per lb.11d. per lb.11d. per lb.6d. per lb.
Sunflower Seed Oil15% ad valorem from non-Empire sources£25 per ton£46 13s. 4d. per ton on Margarine and Cooking Fat.£2 per ton on Margarine and Cooking Fat.
Herring Oil10% ad valorem from non-Empire sources£10 per ton
Bone-in-Beef and Veal.2/3 per lb.£7 15s. 0d. per ton£13 9s. 0d. per ton£38 2s. 0d. per ton£ 2s. 0d. per ton
Boneless Beef and Veal.20% ad valorem
Beef or Veal Offals
Canned Corned Meat20$ ad valorem£25 15s. 0d. per ton£24 11s. 6d. per ton£16 18s. 8d. per ton£18 0s. 0d. per ton
(d)Changes in these duties were announced in the Financial Statement for 1949–50.

Dried Fruit

asked the Minister of Food what steps he is taking to remedy the complaints of bakers about the dirt and extraneous material found by them in the dried fruit imported by his Department.

Dried fruit on arrival in the United Kingdom is inspected by a committee of trade experts who grade the various parcels according to their suitability for different requirements. In addition, representatives are sent to countries where large-scale purchases are made to inspect the fruit before shipment and to instruct packers in the standards required by this country. The presence of extraneous matter in imported dried fruit is largely due to the difficulties experienced by nearly all producing countries in obtaining harvesting materials, replacements of worn out machinery and suitable containers, and we are giving them all the assistance we can

Royal Air Force (Cadets)

asked the Secretary of State for Air what pay and allowances are received by cadets at the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell.

The daily rate of pay is 4s. for the first six months of service, and thereafter 5s. until completion of 12 months service from the date of entry into a cadetship after which the rate is 6s. 6d. Serving airmen selected for cadetships may however retain the rate of pay appropriate to their rank or classification and trade if it is more favourable. Cadets receive clothing allowance and those undergoing aircrew training receive flying instructional pay of 2s. per day.