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Written Answers

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 12 May 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 12th May, 1949

Trade And Commerce

Cotton Industry

1.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many concerns accepted the subsidy offer for the installation of new machinery; the sum of public money that will be paid, and the percentage of firms of the whole cotton industry who have accepted the payment.

Particulars of the extent to which the Cotton Spinning Industry is availing itself of the facilities provided by the Cotton Spinning (Re-equipment Subsidy) Act, 1948, were given in my answer to my hon. Friend the junior Member for Oldham (Mr. Hale) on 3rd May. I would also refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Austin) on 22nd February concerning the charge on public funds. No actual payment of subsidy has yet been made.

2.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how far the cotton industry have carried out the re-equipment programme suggested by the Cotton Industry Working Party; if he is satisfied with the organisation of the cotton textile machinery industry, its output and the number employed; and is the industry meeting the needs of world and home orders.

For information of progress in the spinning section of the cotton industry, I would again refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the junior Member for Oldham (Mr. Hale) on 3rd May, and for particulars of re-equipment in the weaving section, I would refer to the answer I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the senior Member for Oldham (Mr. Fairhurst) on 3rd May. As regards the cotton textile machinery industry, output and range has increased considerably over that obtaining before the war, and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply is taking all practicable steps with the industry towards maintaining the maximum progress in this important field.

3.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the total amount of State money spent on subsidies, investigations, etc., in the cotton industry since 1920; what action has been taken since 1946; and what further action it is intended to take.

No payment from public funds has been made in the period mentioned for subsidies to the cotton industry. Expenditure, amounting to £16,185,000 was incurred on utility cotton cloth production from 1944 but this was to reduce the cost of cotton goods to the public. As regards investigations, the total amount expended within the responsibility of the Board of Trade was £359 in 1946–47 in connection with the Cotton Working Party. There have been a small number of other investigations, the responsibility of other Departments, but the cost of these also has, I understand, been very little. Among the major actions taken by the Government since 1946 are the passage of the Cotton Spinning (Re-equipment Subsidy) Act, 1948, and the establishment of the Cotton Industry Development Council in 1948. I cannot foreshadow the further action that may be taken.

Dollar Exports

5.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how the appointment of Sir Graham Cunningham as leader of the new export drive to dollar countries affects the position of Mr. Neville Blond; and how the duties of these two persons will be co-ordinated.

The services of Mr. Neville Blond as Trade Adviser in the United States of America will of course continue to be available to His Majesty's Government so long as his appointment lasts, and I have no doubt that his experience will be of the greatest value in connection with the intensified efforts to earn dollars for which Sir Graham Cunningham's special help has been enlisted.

Raw Cotton Prices

13.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will indicate the comparative prices of raw cotton in this country and world market prices for similar types, making the range sufficiently wide to indicate the relative posi- tion of home and external prices for this raw material.

Price f.o.b. in country of originRaw Cotton Commission selling price (includes freight and insurance, loading and holding charges and carriage to consumer)
Pence per lb.Pence per lb.
American Middling 15/16 in.21·2523·50
American Middling 11/32 in.21·9124·10
Brazilian Sao Paulo, Type 421·9023·25
East Indian R.E.K.22·0021·40
Egyptian Ashmouni, Type 327·4929·40
Egyptian Karnak, Type 15540·7741·50
Peruvian Tanguis32·2532·40

Raw Cotton (Deferred Delivery Contracts)

14.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that under present conditions foreign spinners are able to buy new crop cotton, Egyptian and American, at pence per pound lower than English spinners can purchase it from the Raw Cotton Commission, whose prices are based on old crop cotton; and whether, in view of the fact that this prevents British spinners from booking orders in competition with foreign spinners, he will instruct the Raw Cotton Commision to introduce deferred delivery contracts at the earliest possible date so as to prevent this situation continuing indefinitely.

I understand that the Raw Cotton Commission will shortly introduce a new form of deferred delivery contract giving spinners the advantage of new crop discounts.

Exports, Pakistan

15.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the official announcement recently by the Prime Minister of Pakistan that the supply of British goods and services to Pakistan has been insufficient to fulfil the programme of development planned in that country, he will take steps to meet all reasonable requests from this quarter.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer assured the Pakistan Finance Minister in July, 1948, that the United Kingdom appreciated Pakistan's problems in view of her need to develop her

Following is the information.economy for the first time as an independent State, and would, within the limits of what was possible, do its best to help. United Kingdom exports to Pakistan have, in fact, increased very substantially, namely, from under £2 million in the first quarter of 1948 to over £9 million in the first quarter of 1949. The next in a series of regular economic discussions with the Pakistan Government is due to begin in London this month and it will then be open to their representatives to raise any question of the supply of goods and services from the United Kingdom over which she is experiencing difficulties.

Import Licences (Applications)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the numbers of applications for import licences with letters N to Z from France pending on 1st May; the number of such applications dealt with in March and April; and whether he will give orders to end the delay in their consideration, which is hampering Franco-British trade.

The information asked for by the hon. Member is not readily available, but if he will give me particulars of any case of delay he has in mind, I will gladly look into it.

Maintenance Orders, Newcastle

16.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of wife maintenance orders issued out of and still in operation within the City of Newcastle-on-Tyne; what is the number of these maintenance orders on which payment is now in arrears; and if he will circularise courts of summary jurisdiction drawing their attention to the power given them under paragraph 5 of Schedule 2 of the Emergency Laws (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1947, to enforce the payment of wife maintenance orders in courts adjacent to the residence of the husband in cases where husbands have left the town from which the maintenance order was originally issued.

The number of maintenance and guardianship of infants orders made by the Newcastle Justices in 1947 and 1948 which are still in operation is 430. Corresponding figures for previous years are not readily obtainable but about 80 per cent. of the total number of such orders, made by the Newcastle Justices and still in operation, are in arrears although in many cases the arrears involve quite small amounts only. The attention of clerks to Justices was drawn to the provisions of the Emergency Laws (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1947, to which my hon. Friend refers, in a circular dated 30th December, 1947.

Sexual Offences

17.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of convictions and acquittals in sexual cases by magistrates and juries, respectively, in 1948.

Following are the figures relating to indictable sexual offences in 1948; In assizes and quarter sessions: convictions 1,818; acquittals 253. In magistrates' courts: convictions 2,000; cases discharged under the Indictable Offences Act or cases dismissed or withdrawn, 445.

Civil Defence (Outer London)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the special Civil Defence problems peculiar to the outer London area, he will include representatives of the Outer London Standing Joint Committee in his consultations with representatives of local authority associations on matters relating to Civil Defence.

It was not, in my opinion, necessary to include the Outer London Standing Joint Committee in the consultations with local authority associations which have taken place on Civil Defence matters relating to the country as a whole, but a stage has now been reached when it is important for me to know the Committee's views. Arrangements are accordingly in hand for the deputy secretary in charge of the Civil Defence Department to receive representatives of the Committee on my behalf.

Gravel Lorries, Essex

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Essex County Council may expect to receive confirmation of proposed by-laws controlling the nuisance occasioned by gravel lorries.

If the Essex County Council accept some drafting amendments which have been suggested to them, it will be open to them to submit the by-laws for confirmation as soon as they have been made and the statutory period for depositing them for inspection has elapsed.

Public Health

Smallpox (Ss "Mooltan")

30.

asked the Minister of Health how many passengers on the s.s. "Mooltan" have died from small-pox; and how many are still suffering from the disease.

I regret to say that six of the passengers have died. Two are still under treatment in hospital.

Scabies

39.

asked the Minister of Health the total number of local authorities in England and Wales responsible for the administration of public health services; and which of these authorities have applied for scabies to be scheduled as a notifiable condition.

The number of local authorities in England and Wales with general powers under the Public Health Act, 1936, is 1,468. Sixty of them, of which I give particulars below, have made scabies a notifiable condition in their areas. The particulars are as follows:

County Boroughs:

Bournemouth, Gateshead, Norwich, Salford, York.

Metropolitan Boroughs (28): All.

City of London.

Boroughs:

Barking, Bexley, Boston, Cambridge, Dartford, Poole, Tottenham, Wanstead and Woodford, Weymouth.

Urban Districts:

Barnet, Burgess Hill, Chigwell, Chislehurst and Sidcup, Crayford, Crook and Willington, Cuckfield, East Grinstead, Northfleet, Orpington, Portland, Seaham, Swanscombe.

Rural Districts:

Boston, Cuckfield, Dartford, Sedgefield.

Broadmoor Institution

77, 78 and 79.

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he is aware that a claim for improved pay for orderlies employed at Broadmoor Institution, with effect from 1st April, 1948, has been outstanding for many months, and that the Prison Officers' Association, which represents the staffs concerned, cannot obtain either a decision on its claim, or an agreement for the issue to be referred to the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal; and whether he will take steps to bring the long delay to an end;(2) whether he is aware that certain staffs employed at Broadmoor Institution who are required to spend their nights there for security purposes, are required to pay a rent for the accommodation they occupy, although in a number of cases they have to have their own houses in the vicinity; whether he is aware that the Prison Officers' Association, which represents these staffs, has been seeking for months a decision from the authorities to their claim that this practice should be brought to an end; and whether he will give an immediate decision on this matter;(3) whether he is aware that a decision concerning the pay of student nurses in the Broadmoor Institution has been outstanding since September, 1948; that in consequence of the uncertainty about what the new scales of pay are to be, recruitment to the permanent staff of this already severely under-staffed establish- ment has been in suspense; that in January last the Prison Officers' Association, which represents the staffs concerned, asked for the matter to be referred to the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal without obtaining any definite decision; and whether he will now come to an immediate decision on this subject.

Under the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, Broadmoor Institution vested in the Minister of Health from the 1st April, 1949, and is managed by the Board of Control who are now responsible in the first instance for staffing matters. I am giving the matter my personal attention and will see that it is brought to an issue immediately.

National Health Service

Medical Practitioners And Pharmacists

82.

asked the Minister of Health how many applications have been made for registration in the medical register under Sections 1 and 4 of the Medical Practitioners and Pharmacists Act, 1947; how many applications are now pending; for how long they have been pending; and when it is anticipated they will be decided.

Polish And German Dentists

asked the Minister of Health how many dentists of Polish nationality have been granted registration in this country, and how many have been refused registration; and if he will further state the corresponding figures for dentists of German nationality.

The numbers of dentists with Polish and German qualifications registered or refused registration during the period 1935 to 1948 inclusive are: Polish qualifications: 50 registered, 15 refused. German qualifications: 210 registered, 800 refused.

Peckham Health Centre

asked the Minister of Health whether he has considered making a grant to the Peckham Health Centre; and if he will make a statement.

I am awaiting information from the Centre to enable me to consider whether a grant can be made under Section 16 of the National Health Service Act.

Salford Hospital

31.

asked the Minister of Health why a handyman employed at Salford Royal Hospital was discharged from his employment while he was suffering from an injury sustained while following his employment; and if he will instruct the committee to reinstate this person immediately.

This is a matter for the hospital management committee who have, I am informed, indicated that alternative employment will be offered if it is available when the employee is fit.

32.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that, despite the shortage of hospital beds, the Salford hospital management committee have decided to close six wards to accommodate doctors; and if he will refuse to sanction this proposal.

Tuberculosis Treatment, West Riding

38.

asked the Minister of Health how many individuals suffering from tuberculosis in the West Riding of Yorkshire are awaiting admission to a santorium.

My information is that at 31st March last there were 314 persons in the West Riding awaiting institutional treatment for tuberculosis.

Spectacles (School Children)

43.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will take steps to see that where a school medical officer so advises, priority is given to school children in the provision of spectacles.

Opticians have made arrangements which enable a measure of priority to be given to the most urgent cases but my hon. Friend will understand that it is only possible to apply such arrangements to a very small proportion of cases if they are not to result in a general slowing down.

Hearing Aids

71.

asked the Minister of Health how many patients have been recommended a Medresco hearing aid; how many aids have been provided; how many are still being awaited; and when he expects that production will catch up with demand.

The precise number is not known, but over 19,000 have been distributed out of the total of more than 41,000 manufactured. The total number on the waiting lists at distribution centres is 56,000. It is not possible to estimate when demands will be met since the size of the demand is itself not known.

76.

asked the Minister of Health what percentage of deaf persons applying for hearing aids under the National Health Service Act have found the Medresco type unsuitable.

The percentage is not known but my information suggests that it is very small.

Dentists (Sleeping Partnerships)

80.

asked the Minister of Health what is the position of a dentist who joined the National Health Service and then retires from active work, but remains a sleeping partner in the firm.

It is not quite clear what point is in mind. The dentist's position would appear to depend on his partnership agreement.

Water Supplies

Tubes And Pipes

72.

asked the Minister of Health if he will give an estimate of how many tons of cast tubes and pipes not exceeding six inches internal diameter, and wrought and welded tubes exceeding six inches internal diameter would have been required to meet the demands connected with rural water supply schemes submitted and approved in principle in the years ended 31st March, 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949; and how many tons were in fact available for this purpose.

The considerable work involved in preparing such an estimate would not, in my opinion, be justified by the results.

Tottington, Lancashire

75.

asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the failure of the water supply in the village of Four Lane Ends, Tottington, Lancashire, resulting in inconvenience and distress to its people; and whether he will therefore reconsider his decision to reject the district council's scheme to lay a piped-water supply at a cost of some £16,000.

I am aware of the failure, and that the district council are providing water under emergency arrangements. No scheme has been rejected, but I understand that proposals for a piped

Loans authorised for local authorities in the County of Berkshire for purposes of housing and water supply respectively in the period 1st April, 1945 to 1st April, 1949.
Local AuthorityLoans for HousingLoans for Water SupplyTotal
NumberTotal sumNumberTotal sumNumberSum
£££
Berkshire C.C.*1363,6331363,633
Reading C.B.C.431,284,760674,689491,359,449
Abingdon B.C.7147,17112,9268150,097
Maidenhead B.C.22399,56322399,563
Newbury B.C.22361,089515,38027376,469
New Windsor B.C.48746,470914,66557761,135
Wallingford B.C.754,04111,109855,150
Wokingham B.C.14164,14914164,149
Wantage U.D.C.11114,029310,10614124,135
Abingdon R.D.C.20290,95320290,953
Bradfield R.D.C.39237,79839237,798
Cookham R.D.C.25151,53725151,537
Easthampstead R.D.C.11287,03211287,032
Faringdon R.D.C.10149,884526,77915176,663
Hungerford R.D.C.20176,50120176,501
Newbury, R.D.C.17109,56417109,564
Wallingford R.D.C.22202,835745,51929248,354
Wantage R.D.C.24266,1081137,47735303,585
Windsor R.D.C.40235,15440235,154
Wokingham R.D.C.21422,994731,99028454,984
TOTALS4365,865,26555260,6404916,125,905
* Houses for their employees under Section 97 of the Housing Act, 1936.

Nitrogenous Fertilisers

asked the Lord President of the Council what steps have been taken to increase the capacity for producing nitrogenous fertilisers as recommended by the Panel on Imports Substitutes of the Committee on Industrial Productivity.

supply are being considered by the Irwell Valley Water Board and the district council.

Local Authorities' Loans, Berkshire

asked the Minister of Health the number and total sum of loans authorised by his Department to local authorities in the County of Berkshire for the following purposes, housing and water schemes, respectively, since 1st April, 1945, to 1st April this year.

I understand from my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade that steps have already been taken which should result, in the Autumn of 1950, in a substantial increase in the production of nitrogenous fertilisers. Plans to increase capacity still further are now being considered.

Local Government Boundary Commission (Report)

74.

asked the Minister of Health if he proposes in the lifetime of the present Parliament to promote any legislation dealing with the recommendations made in the Report of the Local Government Boundary Commission of 1946–47.

Severn Barrage Tidal Model

45.

asked the Lord President of the Council whether the site for the new Severn Barrage tidal model has now been obtained.

A suitable site has been found for the new Hydraulics Research Station, where work on the Severn Barrage tidal model will be undertaken, and negotiations for its acquisition are proceeding.

Scientific And Industrial Research

asked the Lord President of the Council to what extent the Intelligence Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research has been strengthened, as recommended by the Panel on Technical Information Services of the Committee on Industrial Productivity.

The staff of the Intelligence Division has been steadily built up since the war, and now numbers 50. The estimates now before Parliament provide for increasing the staff to 59. It is my intention to strengthen it further as recommended by the Panel on Technical Information Services.

National Finance

Income Tax (Ex-Service Men)

64.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will consider writing off the arrears of £51 Income Tax which has recently been demanded from Mr. L. Warman, 269, Bradford Road, Otley, who has served six years in the Armed Forces and two years abroad with Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes and is in receipt of a disability pension, and was unaware of this debt which has been incurred through no fault of his own.

I will make inquiries into this case and write to the hon. and gallant Member as soon as possible,

66.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how long it is intended that the Inland Revenue Department shall make demands on ex-Service men for arrears often two or three years old; and if he will consider introducing a scheme similar to that in use in connection with war damage compensation whereby claims that are not made before a certain date cannot be taken up.

Considerable progress has been made in dealing with these cases. Tax, however, cannot by law be remitted on the ground that there was delay in collecting it.

Purchase Tax

60.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why Metatone has been exempted from Purchase Tax, when other medicinal tonic preparations of a similar nature remain subject to tax at the rate of 33⅘ per cent.

Metatone, in company with all other preparations which satisfy the same criterion, is exempt from Purchase Tax because its medicinally active ingredients are specified in Head III of the Schedule to the Purchase Tax (No. 5) Order, 1948.

61.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why mixtures of substances described in the official monographs named in Part II of the Eighth Schedule to the Finance Act, 1948, may be sold free of tax under a brand name for dispensing purposes, while compounds of such substances remain subject to tax; and if he will take steps to remove this anomaly at an early opportunity.

The principle of the exemption is that the exempt substances must have the authority of one of the official publications specified. In mixtures the substances retain their properties and authority. But compounds may be entirely different in character from the substances from which they are derived and are therefore exempt only if they are themselves specified in one of the official publications.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing what increases have been made in the various Purchase Tax rates by the Finance Act, 1948, and subsequently by Treasury Order; and what is the estimated annual yield.

The following table shows the principal increases. The estimated annual yield is about f15 million a year.

Brief DescriptionRate at 1st April, 1948Current Rate
Per cent.Per cent.
Group 1—
Utility fully-fashioned stockingsExempt33⅓
Group 4—
Children's safety reins and safety harnessExempt33⅓
Group5—
Non-utility domestic textiles, except pillows, bolsters and certain mattresses5066⅔
Group 6—
Non-utility tissues and fabrics except pile and woven-figured fabrics and certain other fabrics5066⅔
Group 7—
Plastic sheeting5066⅔
Group 9—
Rugs, not made of fur-skin, other than floor rugs5066⅔
Group 10⅓
Certain window display papersExempt33⅓
Serviettes, doyleys, table covers, etc., of paper5066⅔
Group 11—
Certain articles, not being vessels, used for food and drinkExempt33⅓
Domestic vermin trapsExempt33⅓
Non-utility kitchen cup-boards and dressersExempt33⅓
Mirrors75100

Brief DescriptionRate at 1st April, 1948Current Rate
Per cent.Per cent.
Group 12—
Domestic refrigeratorsExempt33⅓
Electric space and water heating appliances75100
Group 13—
Clasp knives and cutlery blanksExempt33⅓
Group 14—
Fluorescent lighting tubes not exceeding 80 wattsExempt33⅓
Group 19—
Musical instruments except gramophones adapted for the blind and non-portable organs and parts5066⅔
Player piano records and gramophone records not adapted for the blind5066⅔
Group 20—
Parts of toys, games and sports requisitesExempt33⅓
Group 21—
Umbrellas and sunshades5066⅔
Group 22—
Smokers' requisites except matches and mechanical lighters5066⅔
Group 23—
Trunks, bags and other receptacles not of leather, hide skin, cane or wicker5066⅔
Trade or professional receptacles of leather, hide or skin5066⅔
Group 24—
Certain photographic equipment5066⅔
Group 25—
Reproductions of pictures, engravings etc., executed more than 100 years ago5066⅔
Group 31—
Toilet mirrors75100

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider making a reduction in the Purchase Tax on the instruments of the Salvation Army band, and other religious organisations.

It is unavoidable that liability for Purchase Tax should depend on the character of the article, and I regret that it is impracticable to provide relief according to the uses to which articles of a chargeable kind are put.

Foreign Travel Allowances

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the desire of many people to see the Passion Play at Ober-Ammergau in 1951, he can announce an increase in the amount of money such persons may take with them, so that they can get arrangements for their holiday completed in good time.

The hon. Member will not expect me to make any commitments about foreign travel arrangements for 1951. If there is a basic travel allowance for Germany at that time, it will, of course, be available for anybody who wishes to see the Passion Play, but I cannot hold out any hope of special currency allowances being granted for this purpose.

British Subjects, France (Loans)

asked the Chancellor the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the decision of the Court of Appeal in Boissevain versus Weill, which decided that a British subject who borrowed money in France during the German occupation was not liable to repay it as being contrary to the Defence (Finance) Regulations, with the result that British subjects who, when destitute, were in danger of the Gestapo, were lent money by foreigners, are refusing to repay these loans, thus damaging the British reputation for honesty; and whether he will instruct the Treasury to give retrospective sanction to the original borrowing in deserving cases, so as to enable the lender to recover at least blocked sterling.

It would not be within the powers of the Treasury to give retrospective permission in a case of this kind. Anyone who wishes to repay a loan contracted in such circumstances may, of course, apply to the Exchange Control, and such applications would receive sympathetic consideration.

Civil Service (Clerical Posts)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the 34,000 tem- porary civil servants who are to be established in the near future will be selected by interview or examination or by a combination of both.

Methods of selecting temporary clerks to fill 34,000 established clerical posts under the scheme recently announced are still under consideration. Up to 15,000 posts are to be filled during 1949 mainly by departmental methods of selection which will be fixed in consultation with Staff Sides of Departmental Whitley Councils; written examinations are not precluded. To fill the remainder of the posts, selection will be carried out centrally by the Civil Service Commission in 1950 by methods to be fixed in consultation with the Staff Side of the National Whitley Council.

Employment

Cotton Mills (Canteens)

83.

asked the Minister of Labour how many cotton mills in Lancashire are still without canteen service for the workers.

Of the 1,200 mills about 800 have canteens. Of the 400 without canteens about 125 employ fewer than 50 workers and a large proportion of the others employ fewer than 100 workers.

Irish Workers

84.

asked the Minister of Labour what is the approximate annual number of persons entering the United Kingdom from the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, respectively, to obtain work.

In the year ending 31st March, 1949, approximately 8,000 persons were placed in employment in Great Britain through our Liaison Office in Dublin and 2,000 through the Ministry of Labour, Northern Ireland. I am not aware how many other persons from Ireland found employment in Great Britain in the same period.

Colliery Workers, Gloucestershire

85.

asked the Minister of Labour if, in view of the threatened closure of the Coalpit Heath Colliery, Gloucestershire, he will take immediate steps to provide alternative employment for the workers who will be displaced.

If this colliery should be closed, the employment exchange service will be available to any redundant workers whom the National Coal Board cannot employ in other collieries.

Exchange, Liverpool (Officer's Leave)

86.

asked the Minister of Labour how many weeks' holiday with pay the assistant manager of the Liverpool employment exchange gets a year.

All members of the same grade of the officer mentioned and of comparable grades throughout the Civil Service are entitled to 36 days' leave with pay each year.

Retired Officials, India

asked the Minister of Labour to whom persons should apply for employment who have previously been employed by the Government of India and have now been released under the Premature Retirement of European Government Servants Scheme.

Persons released under this Scheme who desire assistance in obtaining fresh employment should apply to the India and Burma Services Section of the London Appointments Office at 1–6, Tavistock Square, London, W.C.1, where they will be given all possible assistance.

Education

School, Beenham

87.

asked the Minister of Education when the school at Beenham, Berkshire, which was destroyed by fire, is to be re-built so as to provide proper facilities for the education of local children.

I have approved the local education authority's proposal to rebuild Beenham school in prefabricated huts and am now awaiting submission of final plans. I understand that the authority hope to begin building the huts during the summer.

Music And Art Teachers

88.

asked the Minister of Education, in view of the fact that no new registrations will be entered in the register of the Royal Society of Teachers, if he will introduce legislation to protect the public from the operations of inadequately qualified persons claiming to be teachers of music and art, and defining how the qualifications of these are to be assessed.

No. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of Circular 173, which shows the qualifications, including qualifications in music and art, which are accepted at the present time for granting the status of qualified teacher for the purposes of the Primary and Secondary Schools (Grant Conditions) Regulations.

Technology

89 and 90.

asked the Minister of Education (1) whether, in view of the fact that the Reports of the Percy Committee on Higher Technological Education, of the Barlow Committee on Scientific Manpower and of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee on Colleges of Technology and Technological Manpower, were all accepted by him in principal, he will now give some information as to how far the general recommendations of those Reports have been carried out, so far as his Department is concerned;(2) if a decision has yet been reached as to the technological qualifications to be made available to students who complete a course equivalent to a university degree course in technology.

92.

asked the Minister of Education when he proposes to take steps to give effect to the Percy Report recommendation that colleges of technology should be treated as a group and some of them be developed into major university institutions.

The regional and national organisation of advisory councils recommended by the Report of the Percy Committee has been set up and the National Advisory Council is at present considering the various questions raised by recent Reports. In particular, it is examining the problem of the status of technical colleges and the qualifications to be awarded to students from them. Until I have received the advice of the Council I am unable to reach any decision in this matter. In the meantime, other important recommendations in the Reports, such as those relating to the development of national colleges and awards to students, are being carried out as circumstances permit.

Infants Schools (Teachers)

91.

asked the Minister of Education what is the present estimated shortage of teachers in infant schools; how many more would be required to ensure that no class contained more than 40 children; and how many infant school teachers now in training will become available at the end of the present college year.

Two thousand five hundred additional teachers would be required to reduce the size of infants classes now to a maximum of 40 children. This summer some 2,800 teachers trained primarily for infants schools will be leaving the permanent and emergency colleges, and another 1,000 will have included infants teaching in their training. Seven hundred such teachers have already entered the schools from the emergency colleges since last September. It is expected that most of these new teachers will be required to make good normal wastage due to retirement at the end of the school year.

Swimming Instruction

93.

asked the Minister of Education what proportion of the pupils in the schools under his control are taught to swim; and whether he will consider making swimming a compulsory subject.

Figures are not available, but I am satisfied that local education authorities make good use of available facilities. I should not regard it as either practicable or desirable to make swimming a compulsory subject.

School Dentists

94.

asked the Minister of Education what is the average number of school-children in the care of each dentist in the school service in the country and in London, respectively; what is his estimate of a satisfactory number of children per dentist; and what steps he is taking to reach this position.

The figures at present available relate to January, 1948. The aggregate staff of school dentists was then equivalent to 921 full-time officers, a ratio of one dentist to 5,815 children in the country as a whole; the ratio in London was one to 7,300. For a complete service of dental inspection and treatment it is estimated that a ratio of about one dentist to 3,000 children would probably be required. I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health about the difficulties at present holding up the development of the service which has been progressing steadily until now.

School Mistresses

asked the Minister of Education how many more women teachers are wanted to carry out the requirements of the Education Act.

An estimate of the number of school mistresses required and expected to be available for this purpose, including a reduction in the size of classes, was given in Circular 174, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

Sports And Prize Grants

asked the Minister of Education whether he will issue instructions to local authorities to establish parity of treatment in grant-aided schools by granting facilities for sports grants and prize grants to primary departments relatively similar to those enjoyed by modern and secondary schools.

I think that a matter of this sort is best left to the good sense of local education authorities.

Ministry Of Pensions (Personal Case)

95.

asked the Minister of Pensions why the hospital case notes and X-ray films of an ex-Service patient at the Cheltenham General Hospital, of whose name he has been informed, have been kept by his Department since February and have not been returned to the hospital, in spite of many requests that they should be as they are required to enable the patient to receive urgent medical treatment; and if he will arrange for them to be sent to the Cheltenham General Hospital forthwith.

I much regret the delay which occurred in regard to this matter. The medical documents to which the hon. Member refers have now been returned to the Cheltenham General Hospital.

Agriculture

Experimental Farms, Wales

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number, location and acreage of any State Experimental Farms in Wales; and by whom will they be administered.

My hon. Friend presumably has in mind the experimental husbandry farms which are to be acquired by my Department and managed and directed by the National Agricultural Advisory Service. There are to be two such farms in Wales. The first was bought some time ago and is at Trawscoed near Aberystwyth. This is an upland farm of 1,000 acres. The second is to be a hill farm large enough to carry 1,000 breeding ewes. A suitable property is now being sought.

Cattle Grids

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that more sheep and cattle could be grazed on hill land if cattle grids were provided to prevent straying; and what steps he is taking to ensure that this provision is made.

I am aware that if straying could be prevented an increased head of stock might be grazed on hill land. With regard to the second part of the Question the construction of grids by owners and occupiers on private roads may be included in schemes of improvement assisted under the Hill Farming Act, 1946, but the subject of grids on the public highway is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.

Armed Forces (Family Pensions)

asked the Minister of Defence when he expects to be in a position to state the new arrangements governing the award of pensions to widows of the three Services.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave on 11th May to the hon. Member for Woodbridge (Mr. Hare).

asked the Minister of Defence if he is now in a position to state the arrangements for the award of pensions to widows of the three Services, which he promised on 12th May, 1948.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the answer which I gave on 11th May to the hon. Member for Woodbridge (Mr. Hare).

Sweets (Derationing)

asked the Minister of Food what saving in staff has been effected by the abolition of sweet rationing.

We shall not know the final saving until food offices have discharged the casual staff taken on for the distribution of new ration books. At the moment those released by the end of sweets rationing are helping with this work. As I told my hon. Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Harrison) on 21st February, we expect to save about 400 staff.

British Army (Unmarried Wives' Allowances)

asked the Secretary of State for War the total number of unmarried wives' allowances paid during the recent war.

I regret that it is not possible to state the total number of unmarried wives' allowances paid during the recent war, but I can give the numbers of cases in which allowances were in payment to unmarried dependants at the following dates: 23rd May, 1942, 8,062; 7th August, 1943, 8,031; 22nd July, 1944, 6,046.

Uganda (Cotton Sales)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the present cotton producers of Uganda are only allowed to sell their cotton to two or three designated agencies, and why the deputation from the Uganda cotton farmers on this matter has been refused an interview by his Department.

Sales of cotton are controlled within zones to maintain uniformity of quality and purity of seed supply, but in most zones there is a wide choice of firms to whom sales may be made. The deputation referred to was refused an interview because it was not representative of farmers' opinion and it was told that it should make its representations through the Governor.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the present cotton producers of Uganda are not allowed to have a check weighman present when cotton is weighed for sale and that this is causing hardship; and what action he proposes to take.

I am not aware of any such practice but have asked the Governor for information.

St Helena

Development Plan

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what proposals he has for improving the economic position of St. Helena.

£200,000 has been allocated under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act to finance the ten-year development plan. This will help to increase agricultural production and to develop peasant industries. The rehabilitation of the hemp mills is also in hand.

Government Employees' Salaries

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is satisfied that the increase in the salaries of Government employees in St. Helena of 1s. a day is sufficient to cover the increased cost of living, in view of the fact that the food subsidies have now been abolished.

Yes. I should however add that the subsidies on fats and flour have not been abolished, though they have been reduced.

Northern Rhodesia (Europeans)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give an assurance to the African populations of British territories in Central Africa that no step will be taken in regard to further European settlement or in regard to federation of the territories which will result in an increase of political power for European minorities at the expense of African interests.

Declarations by His Majesty's Government have from time to time made clear that the present and future interest of Northern Rhodesia can be served only by a policy of wholehearted co-operation between the different sections of the community based on the real interests of both sections. The policy in regard to paramountcy was defined by Parliament in 1931 and restated by the Secretary of Native Affairs in Northern Rhodesia in August, 1948. That policy remains as stated. No change in existing land policy or settlement is or has been foreshadowed as it affects either Europeans or Africans. As to constitutional change, His Majesty's Government have a special responsibility to the African communities and full account would have to be taken of African opinion before any alteration affecting African interests could he considered.

Colonial Service (Vacancies)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what were the numbers of vacancies outstanding in the Colonial Service at the latest convenient date in the Development, Economic and Commercial, Social Services, and Administration Branches, respectively.

The number of vacancies in the branches named at 30th April, 1949, were: Development 8; Economic 1; Commercial 6; Social Services 8; Administration 258. Of the Administrative vacancies 202 are for the Probationary Training Course beginning in October, 1949, selection for which will take place this Summer.

European Economic Organisations

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who is the principal British representative on Economic Commission for Europe, Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, and Economic Co-operation Administration, respectively; and what contribution is made to each organisation from the Exchequer.

For the full sessions of the Economic Commission for Europe the British delegations have been led either by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State, or by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. His Majesty's Government also have a small permanent delegation to the E.C.E. which is headed by Mr. E. R. Warner, a member of the Foreign Service.For the meetings of the Council of O.E.E.C. at Ministerial level, the United Kingdom has been represented either by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer or myself. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer also attends the meetings of the Ministerial Consultative Group. The head of the permanent Delegation to the O.E.E.C. is Sir Edmund Hall-Patch, who holds the personal rank of Ambassador.The Economic Co-operation Administration is the organisation set up by the United States Government under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948 to deal with matters arising from the granting of United States aid under the European Recovery Programme. No question of British representation therefore arises.The United Kingdom makes a contribution to the United Nations as a whole and this is then sub-divided to pay for the various subsidiary bodies of the United Nations of which E.C.E. is one. No direct subscription is made to E.C.E. The United Kingdom contribution to the United Nations for 1949 is $4,615,230.86.The United Kingdom contribution to the O.E.E.C. is 31.63 per cent. of the budget of the Organisation. £435,764 have been paid for the period ending 30th June, 1949, in addition to £256,439 towards the Working Capital Fund.

Naval Ordnance Inspection Corps

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty on what date his Department received the report of Rear-Admiral A. C. G. Madden on the Organisation of the Naval Ordnance Inspection Corps; and when he expects to be in a position to make a statement concerning these improvements.

The Madden Committee reported in April, 1948. Its recommendations are still being considered, and I cannot forecast when it may be possible to make any general statement. I am, however, hopeful that decisions will be reached within the next few weeks on those recommendations which are concerned with improvements in existing conditions of service.

Supplementary Petrol Allowances

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will authorise the granting of a supplementary petrol allowance, when public transport is not reasonably practicable, to members of the Institution of Plant Engineers to enable them to attend branch meetings, in view of the fact that their purpose is to increase production by educating technologists in methods calculated to secure maximum efficiency in industry and to exchange ideas to that end.

I regret that owing to the large number of voluntary organisations in the country similar to the Institution of Plant Engineers, we could not at present afford the extra petrol which would be necessary if special allowances were granted to members of these organisations for attending branch meetings. Much as I appreciate the importance of the work of the Institution of Plant Engineers, I could not agree to make an exception in their case.