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Written Answers

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 17 May 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 17th May, 1949

Disablement Pension (Claim)


asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that a provisional award of a 50 per cent. disablement pension was made as long ago as the middle of February to Mr. D. F. Winson of Colchester, whose particulars have been sent to him; and whether, in view of the delay which has taken place in this case, he will expedite a final decision.

This claim raised some difficult medical points. During the time that has elapsed since the provisional award was made there has been full consideration of the pensioner's employability and suitability for training. It has now been decided to award pension at the 100 per cent. rate plus a constant attendance allowance of 20s. a week, with effect from 14th February last. Arrears from 31st July, 1942, will be paid at the 70 per cent. rate. I am writing to the hon. Member.

British Army

Swill Disposal


asked the Secretary of State for War what are the present arrangements for the disposal of swill by units in Britain.

Swill from military establishments in areas scheduled by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries must be disposed of either to the local authority or to persons licensed to collect kitchen waste. In other areas swill is disposed of under local contract.

Venereal Disease

asked the Secretary of State for War what has been the incidence of venereal disease among National Service men in home commands and in the British Army of the Rhine, respectively, for any recent convenient period.

The incidence of venereal disease among National Service men (namely, those called up on or after 1st January, 1947) in B.A.O.R. during 1948 and the first quarter of 1949 was as follows:

Quarterly rates per 100 strength
1st quarter.9.7
2nd quarter1.2
3rd quarter1.0
4th quarter.9
These figures are derived from a special return and are subject to a small margin of error. Comparable figures for National Service men in home commands are not available.

National Insurance (Staff, Blackpool)


asked the Minister of National Insurance whether the temporary staff in his Blackpool office will be invited to transfer to Newcastle or elsewhere when this office is closed in mid-1950; and what arrangements have been made.

Applications to transfer will be invited when the Blackpool office closes but it is not possible at this date to say how many are likely to be accepted. No detailed arrangements have yet been made.

Trade And Commerce

Kitchen Waste Collection


asked the President of the Board of Trade in view of complaints sent to him by the hon. Member for Brighton about insanitary methods for collecting food salvage in Brighton, what steps he is prepared to take to improve sanitary conditions in collecting food salvage.

The Corporation are required by Direction under the Defence (General) Regulations, 1939, to collect and sterilise kitchen waste. The method and conditions of collection are matters for the local authority. My right hon. Friend understands that they are trying out in part of the borough the use of containers in individual households, and if this system is extended it should remove the conditions to which the hon. Member has called attention.

Property Claim (Dr Hollos)

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what is the reason for the delay by the Custodian of Enemy Property in dealing with assets belonging to Dr. Paul Hollos, which was raised in November, 1947;(2) when the Custodian of Enemy Property will be able to come to a decision as to the release of assets belonging to Dr. Paul Hollos in this country, reference number T.E. 81891.

The property claimed by Dr. Hollos, a Hungarian national, falls into two parts. Part stood, ostensibly, in the name of a Swiss company which was included in the List of Specified Persons to be treated as enemies and remains vested in the Custodian. Part represents a share claimed with five other people in the contents of a safe. Prima facie Dr. Hollos' property, rights or interests are subject to the charge imposed by the Treaty of Peace (Hungary) Order, 1948, but, apart from this, the ownership and identification of the property claimed is by no means clear, and I am not in a position to say when a final decision can be given.

Transport (Electric Vehicles)


asked the Minister of Transport what is the policy of his Department regarding the future of electric street traction systems in urban areas in this country.

My right hon. Friend does not favour keeping systems which require a fixed track in the public road. As regards trolley vehicles, their suitability as compared with motor omnibuses depends on local circumstances.

Gold Coast (Customs Department)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will inform the House as to what action has been taken by the Gold Coast Government on receipt of the report of the Sachs Commission which was set up to report on alleged irregularities in the Customs Department during the war.

Since 28th July last, when a full statement was made in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for East Harrow (Mr. Skinnard), it has been decided to terminate the appointment of the officer in charge of the Import Licensing Branch, and to reduce his pension by 5 per cent.

Surplus Mobile Clinics

asked the Minister of Supply how many mobile medical and dental clinics, utilised by the Armed Forces in the last war, have now been allocated to local authorities for use for school children and for remote villages.

Local authorities and hospitals are given special facilities to acquire surplus vehicles of all types, but separate figures are not available of the number of mobile medical and dental clinics supplied to them.

Education (Exchange Visits)

asked the Minister of Education whether he will give a list of official and other organisations engaged in promoting holiday exchange visits between British and foreign school children, with whom local bodies organising such exchanges may co-operate.

The Central Bureau for Educational Visits and Exchanges, which was set up by my Department in conjunction with the U.N.E.S.C.O. National Co-operating Body for Education to assist the organisation of educational visits, is at present preparing for publication a list of the bodies with which it co-operates. Local bodies organising such exchanges who need advice should consult the Director of the Bureau whose address is Hamilton House, Bidborough Street, London, W.C.1.

National Health Service (Spectacles)

asked the Minister of Health what is the approximate average delay in the issue of spectacles under the National Health Scheme to applicants in the Merseyside area; and what improvement does he anticipate in the near future.

I regret that this information is not available in relation to particular areas. On the general issue I would refer to the replies given to the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. G. Williams) on 15th and 31st March.

Water Undertakings

asked the Minister of Health how many water undertakings there are in England and Wales; and what respective numbers of undertakings supply approximately 50 per cent. and 75 per cent. of the population.

There are approximately 1,200 statutory water undertakings in England and Wales. It is estimated that 26 undertakings supply 50 per cent. of the population and that 123 undertakings supply 75 per cent. of the population.


Needs And Standards

asked the Minister of Health, in order to ascertain the minimum requirement of new houses in the course of the next 25 years, if he will instruct local authorities to carry out a close survey and report upon the number of dwellings at present below any reasonable standard of fitness; the number that should be replaced in the course of the above period; and the number of people already registered as requiring more suitable accommodation.

The stage has not yet been reached when such a survey can profitably be undertaken. As regards the final part of the Question I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 5th May to the hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard) of which I am sending him a copy.

Construction Rate

asked the Minister of Health how long it will take at the present rate of construction to provide accommodation upon the lowest reasonable standard for all people requiring it.

The course of the housing programme is fully indicated by the facts and figures in the published Housing Returns.