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Written Answers

Volume 465: debated on Friday 20 May 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 20th May, 1949

National Finance

Bank Of England (Profits)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the profits of the Bank of England have been since nationalisation; and whether they show an increase or decrease on the last pre-nationalisation figures.

Since the Bank of England Act, 1946, came into force, the Bank have paid to the Treasury £873,180 half-yearly in lieu of dividend, as provided in Section 1 (4) of the Act. This is the same amount as the half-yearly dividend previously paid on Bank of England Stock. The balance of profit after provision for the half-yearly payment is carried to the Rest, to which was previously carried any balance of profits after provision for the half-yearly dividend; these movements are shown in the Bank Return.

Land (Management)

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the names, location and authority to which property has been transferred for management will be included in future years in the annual account of the National Land Fund.

These particulars are given in the statement laid before Parliament each year under Section 50 (4) of the Finance Act, 1946.

Trade And Commerce


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will import sufficient wood, necessary to form the sides of ladders required in harvesting the cherry crop, to make these ladders available in time for this year's crop.

Arrangements have already been made to import poles suitable for making ladders and a shipment is now on its way to this country. Supplies should be sufficient to meet all essential needs, including the harvesting of this year's cherry crop.

Mending Wool

asked the President of the Board of Trade, whether he still requires wool mending skeins to be made in the war-time make up of very short lengths; and by what time he estimates that adequate supplies of long length mending wool will be available in the shops.

No. Supplies of mending wool in longer lengths will begin to be available in the shops by the beginning of July.

National Insurance

Family Allowances

asked the Minister of National Insurance to the nearest convenient date, the number of children receiving the five shillings a week family allowance in Great Britain and the number of families concerned respectively.

At 9th May, 1949, approximately 2,910,000 families in Great Britain were receiving family allowances in respect of 4,600,000 children.

Claims And Payments

asked the Minister of National Insurance what provision is made in his regulations for persons living alone and falling ill to obtain their benefit even though they cannot apply for it within four days.

Under the National Insurance (Claims and Payments) Regulations a person who fails to give written notice within three days from the first day of incapacity will not thereby lose benefit if he can show good cause for the delay. What constitutes good cause is determined on the facts of each case by the independent statutory authorities. Special arrangements can be made for sickness benefit to be paid to an insured person in his own home if he is unable to cash an order himself or to get someone else to do it for him.

Road Improvement Schemes, Berkshire

asked the Minister of Transport what is the total sum authorised by his Department for road improvement schemes in the county of Berkshire since 1st April, 1945, to 1st April this year.

On classified roads, grants were authorised from the Road Fund totalling £171,540 towards schemes estimated to cost £248,665. On trunk roads, schemes estimated to cost £161,516 were authorised.

Transport Facilities, Beira


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what measures are being considered for making use of alternative ports to relieve pressure on the port of Beira.

The problems arising from the pressure on the port of Beira are the subject of constant consultation between the Portuguese Government, the Government of Southern Rhodesia, and His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom on behalf of the Colonial Governments concerned, and measures for relieving this pressure are at present being actively considered by the three Governments. Of the alternative routes available at present, greater use is being made of those through ports in the Union of South Africa by the railway through the Bechuanaland Protectorate; through Lobito Bay by the Benguela Railway to Northern Rhodesia; and through Lourenco Marques by rail to the Southern Rhodesian border at Beitbridge, from which point goods are carried by motor transport to the nearest railhead in Southern Rhodesia. This last route is, however, too expensive for any but the most urgent traffic.Recently His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have accepted an invitation from the Portuguese Government to send a delegation to a Central African Transport Conference to be held in Lisbon at the end of this month. It is understood that similar invitations have also been accepted by the French, Belgian and Union of South Africa Governments. The main object of this Conference is to facilitate an exchange of views on transport problems in Africa south of the Sahara. It is also proposed at this Conference to draw up an agenda for a subsequent and more detailed African Conference to co-ordinate communication development in that area.

Proposed Factory, Edmonton

asked the Minister of Works what is the present position in regard to the projected special factory for disabled which was to be opened in the Edmonton area.

Negotiations to acquire the site are in progress but it will probably be a year at least before occupation can take place.

Retail Milk Businesses (Sale)

asked the Minister of Food why he has ceased the practice of announcing, with local newspaper advertisements, the sale of retail milk businesses; and what steps does he propose to take to notify customers who may wish, in such circumstances, to change their retailer.

I have done this to save money. The cost of these advertisements, already about £5,000 a year, was growing. The period during which customers may change to another retailer has been extended from a fortnight to a month and I believe that in that time all customers will learn that the business has been sold.


Lodging Allowances

asked the Minister of Labour the latest figures of the numbers of workers who are being paid subsistence allowances by his Department; and the total sum of money involved in the first quarter of 1949.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to lodging allowances paid to certain transferred workers who but for their transfer would be living with and maintaining their dependants at home. On 31st March, 1949, the number of such transferred workers was 9,500; and the total sum of money involved in the first quarter of 1949 was approximately £140,000.

Foreign National

asked the Minister of Labour on what grounds he refused Mr. Josef Salbach, of 48, Kew Bridge Court, permission to work in this country, in view of the fact that Mr. Salbach had previously found a potential employer who was willing to give him agricultural work.

The employment of a foreigner not domiciled in this country, to fill a permanent job in agriculture, is not normally approved unless the foreigner has some special skill or qualifications and the vacancy cannot be tilled from amongst British subjects, Poles or European Volunteer Workers. In this case, when the vacancy was notified to my local office, we were able to fill it by a disabled local applicant, a British subject.