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Written Answers

Volume 466: debated on Monday 27 June 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 27th June, 1949

Ministry Of Works

Building Repairs (Limit)

9.

asked the Minister of Works whether he will consider raising the general building limit of£100 a year for maintenance, repair and reconditioning.

I have seriously considered the possibility of raising the£100 limit. Such a step, however, would, in my view, give rise at present to a serious risk of overloading the building industry once again, and thus of slowing down the rate of building and obstructing progress on important projects. I have therefore made an Order maintaining the present limits unchanged for the twelve months from 1st July.

Office Premises, London

12.

asked the Minister of Works what percentage of the total office premises which are being erected, or have been licensed for erection in London, will be leased by a Government Department or by a nationalised industry or undertaking.

Apart from Crown buildings, 83 office premises are at present being erected or have been licensed by my Department in London, and of these 21 will be leased for Government occupation. I am not aware that any will be leased to a nationalised industry or undertaking.

House-Building Costs

13.

asked the Minister of Works what was the average cost of houses built by the mobile labour squad during the last six months of 1948 and the first three months of 1949; and what items are included in this cost.

The average cost of houses completed in the two periods referred to was£1,979 and£2,099, respectively. These figures include site clearance and preparation work, foundations, superstructure and all work within the curtilage, electrical and gas services and equipment, transport charges of labour and material and cost of camp accommodation, but do not include roads and main sewers nor the departmental agency charge.

Bricks (Production)

asked the Minister of Works whether he estimates that the current year's building programme will be affected by any shortage of bricks.

The production of bricks has been rising and is now at a rate of about 11 per cent. above that of a year ago. There may be shortages of certain types in certain localities but they can generally be made up from alternative local sources and I see no reason to expect any general shortage in the country as a whole.

Petrol Supplies (Supplementary Coupons)

28.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that regional petroleum offices are refusing to issue supplementary petrol coupons to applicants for the purpose of visiting relatives seriously ill in hospital, when no alternative transport is available, unless the applicant's car is licensed at the full rate; and whether he will amend the regulations in order to deal with temporary emergencies of this nature.

My right hon. Friend has no power to vary the provisions of the Finance Act, 1948, under which the half rate licence concession does not apply to motorists who receive supplementary coupons.

Coal Industry (Manpower)

25.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether it is his policy to continue the campaign for increased manpower in the coal industry.

26.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to what extent further recruitment for the mines is now necessary; and in what categories and numbers.

The National Coal Board are reviewing their manpower requirements but meanwhile the recruitment campaign which they are undertaking with the Ministry of Labour will continue. However, as was explained in the Report by the Joint Committee on Production last Autumn, output depends on the number of men who are effectively employed at the coal face and, provided the number of face workers increases, a drop in the total number of workers employed is not necessarily undesirable. On the other hand, there are a number of coalfields where shortage of recruits is holding up promotion of the more experienced men to the face and it is here that new labour is most urgently required. The stress will be on recruitment of boys and young men who have completed their National Service, but others will be needed if only to balance wastage, which is estimated at 65,000 to 70,000 during this year.

Food Supplies

Foreign Fish (Landings)

41.

asked the Minister of Food the percentage of foreign white fish landed in this country in the first three months of 1949, to include both direct landings from fishing grounds and boxed.

Fats And Sugar (Bakers' Allocations)

44.

asked the Minister of Food whether the allocation of fats and sugar to bakers can be made no longer to depend on the number of meat pies sold in particular in rural areas.

In general, the allocation of fats and sugar to bakers is based on the quantities which they used before the war. Those bakers, who act as manufacturers for the organisers of rural meals schemes, receive additional allocations which are related to the number of meals served. We do not propose to alter this arrangement.

Sweets

75.

asked the Minister of Food whether he has considered the advertisement, of which a copy has been sent to him, of a Yorkshire firm appearing in a Hampshire paper offering chocolates at 11s. for 2 lbs.; and whether he will now restore rationing of sweets to ensure that all who cannot afford to buy large quantities at high prices get fair shares.

We have made inquiries and the prices advertised are those authorised by my Department. As regards the reimposition of rationing, I can add nothing at present to the reply given by my right hon. Friend on 22nd June to my hon. Friend the Member for Kings Norton (Mr. Blackburn).

85.

asked the Minister of Food whether he will now take steps to ensure that a supply of sweets is available for every child.

So long as demand is in excess of supply I do not think we can do what my hon. Friend proposes except by the resumption of rationing.

Snoek

76.

asked the Minister of Food how much snoek is being held in his Department's warehouses or on behalf of his Department; and when and at what price it was imported into this country.

The unsold stock of snoek now held by my Department is 570 tons. It was imported on various dates since November, 1947. It is not the policy of my Department to disclose the price paid.

Dock Strikes (Undischarged Cargoes)

78.

asked the Minister of Food what tonnage of foodstuffs had to be left in the holds of ships and taken away on outgoing voyages owing to the strikes at Liverpool, Bristol and Avonmouth; what tonnage had to be held in ships delayed in getting to their berths; and what has been the total cost to his Department of this extra transport and the delays in discharging cargoes.

About 8,000 tons of food left these ports undischarged, a part of which has now returned and been unloaded, and vessels carrying 50,000 tons were delayed, but I do not anticipate that any additional cost will fall on the Ministry of Food nor do we anticipate any significant losses through deterioration.

Gifts Parcels

81.

asked the Minister of Food whether he will now withdraw the regulation whereby donors of food parcels of unrationed goods to friends overseas must include an equivalent or larger quantity of rationed goods in their gifts.

Meat Allocations, Cardiff

83.

asked the Minister of Food the number of disabled pensioned ex-Service men of the recent war who have been granted an allocation of meat for manufacturing purposes in Cardiff.

Allocations have been made to eight ex-Service men who had pre-war businesses. No applicants have qualified on the only alternative ground, namely, that their disablement makes this their only chance of resettlement.

Bacon Factories

84.

asked the Minister of Food his reasons for declining to allow the Llandovery Farm and Produce Company to open a bacon factory; and if he will now reconsider his decision.

The reason is that at present about one-third of the bacon curing capacity is closed under a concentration scheme. Factories are, however, reopening in October next, though output then is expected to be little more than one-half of potential capacity. We could not justify the opening of new factories when existing ones are employed to such a limited extent.

French Products (Imports)

86.

asked the Minister of Food the quantity of butter, cheese, meat and other products of agriculture imported from France during 1948; and what prospects there are of increasing these imports in the future.

As the answer to the first part of the hon. Member's Question contains a number of figures, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. We have recently received small supplies of pork and, subject to price, we hope to get more in future. We are unlikely to obtain any butter: but we are importing substantially increased quantities of cheeses, and canned meats. We are also getting useful quantities of animal feedingstuffs.

Following is the statement:

IMPORTS INTO THE UNITED KINGDOM CONSIGNED FROM FRANCE IN THE YEAR ENDED 31ST DECEMBER, 1948

Quantity Tons

Butter (Government Imports)Insignificant (1 cwt.)
Cheese (Government Imports)2,249
Other milk products (Government Imports)24
Meat, including canned meat and meat products (Private Imports)274
Poultry (Government Imports)30
Wheat (Government Imports)18,001
Other cereals and cereal products10
Fresh fruit and table nuts (Private Imports)17,070
Fresh vegetables (Private Imports)6,094
Miscellaneous fruit and vegetable products (Private Imports)9,336

Gallons

Cider and perry (Private Imports)1,001,116
Fruit juice (Private Imports)17,927

Tons

Tomato juice (Private Imports)1,374

Gallons

Wine (Private Imports)1,911,190

Proof Gallons

Brandy (Private Imports)510,860
Liqueurs and high strength spirit (Private Imports)90,925

Fat Stock, Carlisle (Transport)

87.

asked the Minister of Food what are the comparative costs for road and rail transport of fat stock from Carlisle to a representative Lancashire town; and what are the losses in weight and the average casualty losses by the two methods of transport.

The details for the comparison will take a few days to compile. I will, with permission, circulate the reply in the Official Report when it is available.

Canadian Products (Imports)

88.

asked the Minister of Food what contracts exist between the United Kingdom and the Dominion of Canada for apples, oats, bacon and canned salmon; when they were entered upon; and when they expire.

There are no running contracts with the Dominion of Canada for apples, oats or canned fish, we are arranging for the importation of a small quantity of apples this year, but the details have yet to be worked out. We contracted in May to buy canned salmon from the current year's pack. The bacon contract is on an annual basis and expires on 31st December, 1949.

Potatoes (Quality)

89.

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the quality of potatoes now being distributed to merchants in the North-Western Region is so low that a large proportion is unsaleable; and what action he is taking.

There are ample supplies of very good quality potatoes available in the North-West and merchants are free to refuse consignments which are not of the specified standard. If the hon. Member will let me have details of any particular case he has in mind, I will gladly look into it.

Trading Accounts

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that the amounts for subsidies shown on pages 24 to 45 of Trading Accounts and Balance Sheets, 1947–48 (Paper 49), total 100,925,725 and that the total shown on page 48 in the Consolidated Account is£102,409,623; and if he will explain the difference.

Yes. In arriving at the figure of£100,925,725 the hon. Member has omitted subsidies paid on maize and maize starch sold for the manufacture of glucose (£568,527) and to British Sugar Corporation Limited (£915,371) shown on page 42.

asked the Minister of Food if he will give detailed particulars of the£6,332,343 for fish distribution scheme on page 48 of Trading Accounts and Balance Sheets. 1947–48.

This item represents the cost of transport of all price-controlled varieties of sea fish (excluding salmon and trout) in respect of movements (for which the Ministry assumes responsibility) from the ports of landing to inland markets, retailers and fish friers and movements between one port and another for smoking.An analysis is given below:

£
White fish5,110,315
Herrings1,220,982
Unallocated1,046
£6,332,343

The object of the scheme is to ensure equitable distribution at even prices by way of equalisation of carriage charges, and a levy is imposed on first-hand buyers to meet these charges. The levy is collected under the Fish Sales (Charges) Order and amounted in 1947–48 to£5,401,297, as shown on page 49 of the Trading Accounts and Balance Sheets, 1947–48. There was thus a deficit in 1947–48 of£931,046. In the previous year there was a surplus of£781,917. The net deficit over the two years has been recovered in 1948–49.

asked the Minister of Food if he will explain the difference between the amount shown on page 50 of the Trading Accounts and Balance Sheets, 1947–48, of£16,653,880 and the detailed amounts called general overheads on pages 24 to 44 which total£13,927,623.

The Foreword to the Accounts (page 22) explains that the overhead expenses of the Ministry consist of administrative expenses (£16,653,880), together with the cost of deinfestation services (£138,358). Of the total (£16,792,238)£912,500 was allocated to the cost of Welfare Schemes, etc., and this figure was transferred as part of the credit entry of£1,093,392 on page 51. In referring to a figure of£13,927,623 the hon. Member has apparently omitted to take account of the general overhead expenses totalling£1,952,115 shown on page 47.

Soap Ration (Special Allowances)

77.

asked the Minister of Food why self-employed persons are not permitted a special soap allowance when the nature of their work corresponds with that for which allowances are permitted for those employed by others.

Special soap allowances are provided through their employers for workers in a number of occupations on grounds of health or the dirty nature of the work. This also applies to self-employed workers. Allowances are also made to employers who provide washing facilities for their employees at the place of their work. These allowances do not apply to self-employed workers, who are able to wash at home.

Japan (Reparations)

71.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can now make a statement on the policy of His Majesty's Government concerning reparations from Japan.

No. His Majesty's Government are now studying the replies of the United States Government to our request for clarification on several points raised in their proposals of 12th May.

Anglo-Argentine Agreement

72.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the objections to his recent meat contract with the Argentine brought to his notice by the American Government on the ground that it is contrary to the Anglo-American Loan Agreement and the Draft Charter of the International Trade Organisation.

73.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any further statement to make to the House with regard to the recent negotiations for a trade agreement with the Argentine.

Owing to the timing of the signature of the Agreement in Buenos Aires, I regret that I am not at this moment in a position to make a statement. I understand that my right hon. and learned Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will be making a reply on this subject tomorrow.

Brazil (British Interests)

16.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a further statement concerning the payment of compensation to an expropriated British utility company in Brazil, the Ceara Tramway, Light and Power Company.

Yes. This is one of the questions which has been discussed recently during the official visit to this country of Dr. Machado, who has given a written assurance that the settlement of these and certain other claims will be accelerated. The following is the relevant extract from the letter received from Dr. Machado:

"I am authorised to inform you that the Federal Government will ask the Governments of the States concerned to recommend, or themselves will recommend, as the case may be, the acceleration of the study for a solution, in the shortest possible period, of the questions relating to the interest of the British-owned utility companies in the Northern States of Amazones, Ceara and Para, and in respect to the claims of the Sao Paulo Railway Company, Ltd., it being understood that their action in this respect involves no commitment as to the eventual decision on these questions."
My right hon. Friend is hopeful that, as a result of this assurance, a settlement satisfactory to the British interests involved will be reached in the near future.

Eastern Europe (Religious Freedom)

9.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what further action he proposes to take through the United Nations organisation or elsewhere to secure the religious freedom now guaranteed by treaties in Bulgaria, Hungary and Roumania.

The issue of religious freedom is part of the larger issue of human rights in regard to which the Bulgarian, Hungarian and Roumanian Government all undertook certain obligations in the Peace Treaties. As the House will already be aware, His Majesty's Representatives in Sofia, Budapest and Bucharest addressed notes to the three Governments on 2nd April charging them with having repeatedly violated and continuing to violate these particular provisions of the Treaties. Their replies were very unsatisfactory and not one of the three Governments addressed itself to answering the charges made against it. The Peace Treaties provide that whenever a dispute arises concerning their interpretation or execution and is not settled by direct diplomatic negotiation, it shall in the first instance be referred to the Soviet, United Kingdom and United States diplomatic representatives in the country concerned. His Majesty's Representatives accordingly addressed further notes to the three Governments on 31st May informing them that in the view of His Majesty's Government disputes in this sense had arisen. They also addressed notes to their Soviet and United States colleagues informing them of the existence of these disputes and proposing that since they had not been resolved by diplomatic negotiation an early meeting of the three Heads of Missions should be held to consider them in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Treaties.The Soviet Government informed His Majesty's Government through their Embassy in London on 12th June, however, that in their opinion it was unnecessary for the Heads of their diplomatic missions in Sofia, Budapest and Bucharest to join their British and United States colleagues in considering the disputes. His Majesty's Government naturally regret that the Soviet Government should have refused to co-operate in putting the Treaty enforcement provisions into practice. If the Heads of Missions fail to resolve the disputes the Treaty provides as a next step for the creation of commissions composed of one member named by each party and a third member named by agreement between the parties or appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Since the Treaties provide a two months period during which the disputes remain theoretically before the three Heads of Mission the question of naming these commissions will not arise until the end of July.The House will no doubt also be aware that the question of religious freedom in Bulgaria and Hungary was raised at the last session of the General Assembly of the United Nations when the representative of the United Kingdom supported a resolution drawing the attention of these two Governments to their obligations under the Peace Treaties. The question is retained on the agenda of the fourth session of the Assembly.

Raf Aircraft, Egypt (Compensation)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now had time to study the report of the United Nations Acting Mediator on the subject of the five Royal Air Force aircraft which were attacked and shot down by Israeli fighters over Egypt on 7th January, 1949; what compensation he is claiming from the State of Israel; and what other action he is taking.

The matter is under further discussion with the Acting Mediator. I have nothing I can usefully add at this stage.

House Of Commons Catering (Wages And Prices)

74.

asked the hon. Member for Walthamstow, West, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, if he will give a comparative statement as to salaries and wages in selected classes of staff and a similar comparison made in the prices of selected dishes, wines, spirits and beers in the House of Commons Members' Dining Room.

As no year for comparison is mentioned in the Question, I have taken in regard to wages, the earliest year that I have been able to find—1929.The following wages were paid then and now:

£s.d.£s.d.
Waiters1116Now6100
Barmaid140Now400
Scullion136Now4100
Chef326Now800
Vegetable Cook1166Now700
Chief Cashier2150Now8100
It must be remembered that the wages in 1929 were paid only when the House was sitting, but are now paid all the year round.

In regard to wines:—ln the year 1900—
Burgundies were 2s. 6d. per bottle—Now 24s. 0d.
Clarets were 5s. 0d per bottle.—Now 26s. 6d.
Champagnes from 10s. 0d. to 17s. 0d. per bottle—Now 33s. 0d. to 38s. 0d. per bottle.
A Liqueur Brandy was 1s. 0d. and is now 4s. 6d. a glass.

I regret that we have no records in regard to food in the Members' Dining Room as the old food records were sent to the Waste Paper Collection during the War.

Transport

Blind Corner, Doveridge (Removal)

90.

asked the Minister of Transport how many men have been employed for how many weeks on the removal of the blind corner on the turnpike road in Doveridge; and what has been the total cost and the cost of the timber fencing erected.

Five men were employed for 17 weeks on this work. The total cost, including the land acquired for the improvement and the fencing, was£1,210. The fencing cost£108.

Main Road, Lairg

92.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the main north-south road at Lairg is blocked to traffic several times each day for periods of from 15 minutes to half-an-hour; and what steps he is taking to end this situation.

My information does not indicate that this road is blocked for unduly long periods. One of the Inspecting Officers of Railways will, however, be visiting the crossing in the near future, and I will write to the hon. Member when I have his report.

By-Pass Road, Cardiff

93.

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he is taking to ensure the completion of the Manor-Way By-Pass road, Cardiff; and when the work of completion will be begun.

I propose to make an order directing that the whole of this by-pass shall become a trunk road, and also to proceed with the preparatory work for the section which remains to be constructed. At the moment I am unable to say when it will be possible to put further constructional work in hand.

Road Executives

95.

asked the Minister of Transport if he has any statement to make on the establishment of the Road Passenger Executive; the reasons for its establishment; and the division of functions between it and the Road Haulage Executive.

I have always contemplated the establishment of a separate Executive to deal with road passenger transport when the work of the British Transport Commission under Part IV of the Transport Act, 1947, was sufficiently advanced to justify it. After consultation with the Commission, I am satisfied that that time has now arrived and that the appointment of the new Executive will assist them in the discharge of their statutory duties. The division of functions between the two Executives is indicated by their titles. The new Executive will advise the Commission on all important questions affecting its road passenger interests outside London, and its principal immediate functions are likely to be the preparation of Area schemes, and planning and advice on general policy. The two Executives will collaborate in any matter of common concern.

96.

asked the Minister of Transport of he will name the chairman and members of the Road Passenger Executive and the Road Haulage Executive, respectively; and state their respective emoluments and terms of service.

The following have accepted my invitation, made after consultation with the British Transport Commission, to become members of the Road Passenger Executive:

Salary per annum
Chairman:
Mr. George Cardwell, M. Inst. T.£5,000
Member (whole-time):
Mr. W. Vane Morland, M. I. Mech. E., M.I.A.E., M. Inst. T.£3,500
Members (part-time):
Mr. James Amos, O.B.E., M. Inst. T.Unpaid
Mr. William Beckett£750
Mr. Stanley Kennedy, M. Inst. T.Unpaid
On their appointment to the Road Passenger Executive Mr. Cardwell and Mr. Beckett vacate their appointments as members of the Road Haulage Executive (which is the new name for the Road Transport Executive). The members of the Road Haulage Executive and their salaries are:

Salary per annum
Chairman:
Major-General G. N. Russell, C.B., C.B.E.£5,000
Members (whole-time):
Mr. Claud Barrington, M. I. Mech. E., M.I.A.E., M. Inst. T.£3,500
Mr. Harold E. Clay£3,500
Mr. Archibald Henderson, M. Inst. T.£3,500
Members (part-time):
Mr. Henry Dutfield, M. Inst. T.£750
Mr. Percy J. R. Tapp, C.B.E., M.C., M. Inst. T.£750
The members of the Road Passenger Executive will be appointed for a term expiring on the 30th September, 1952. The appointments of the Chairman and whole-time members of the Road Haulage Executive run to the 30th September, 1952, and those of the two part-time members to the 30th September, 1950.

Road Improvements, Sutherland

94.

asked the Minister of Transport why none of the Sutherland roads scheduled for improvement under the Crofter Counties scheme have been completed, while 50 per cent. completion has been achieved on the scheme as a whole; why only 3¾ per cent. has been commenced; and what is the reason for this discrimination against the County of Sutherland.

Seventy-five miles out of the 207 miles of roads in Sutherland scheduled to the Crofter Counties Programme were completed before the war, that is 36 per cent. to compare with the 50 per cent. quoted by the hon. Member for the scheme as a whole. Work on a further five miles of these roads in Sutherland has been put in hand since the war. There has been no discrimination against Sutherland, but the strictly limited resources available since the war have been allocated according to need, which varies from county to county.

British Railways (Accounts)

97.

asked the Minister of Transport when the 1948 accounts of British Railways will be published.

I am informed that the first Annual Statement of Accounts of the British Transport Commission is nearing completion, and I hope to make formal arrangements for the presentation of the Annual Report and Accounts to the House before the Summer Recess and to publish them by the end of August.

Road Undertakings (Acquisition)

98.

asked the Minister of Transport what progress is being made in the taking over of goods road transport undertakings by the Transport Commission.

The negotiations for the acquisition of road haulage undertakings by voluntary agreement are now practically concluded and the Commission inform me that the position at 1st June, 1949, was that 359 undertakings with about 15,000 vehicles had been thus acquired. The process of compulsory acquisition is well in train and approximately 1,300 notices have been served. At the 1st June, 346 undertakings with some 6,500 vehicles had been compulsorily acquired.

99.

asked the Minister of Transport what progress has been made in the taking over of passenger road transport undertakings by the Transport Commission.

The British Transport Commission have now acquired the Tilling and Scottish Motor Traction groups of omnibus companies, in which they had previously a large investment interest. Apart from this, the Commission have initiated consultations with the local authorities and other interests in the North-East with a view to preparing an Area Scheme for submission to me under Part IV of the Transport Act, 1947.

Selby Toll Bridge

100.

asked the Minister of Transport what progress has been made in the negotiations for the purchase of the toll rights of Selby Bridge; and whether he is now in a position to say when work will commence on the temporary bridge to be used during the construction of the new toll-free bridge at Selby.

The negotiations with the bridge owners are progressing, but are not yet completed. The preparation of the contract details for the temporary bridge is well advanced, but I cannot yet say when construction will begin.

Goods Vehicles (Regulations)

101.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will vary Regulation 5 (a) of the Goods Vehicles (Permits) Regulations, 1949, by providing that the time during which an application for an original permit may be made, shall be extended to a period of three months from 1st July, 1949, instead of the period of one month prescribed by the Order.

No. Special steps have been taken through the Press, the B.B.C., and the trade associations to bring the effect of these regulations to the notice of hauliers, and I propose to take similar steps to remind them during July.

River Clyde (Proposed Tunnel)

102.

asked the Minister of Transport upon what evidence he based his decision that the immediate employment of consulting engineers would not expedite the commencement of work on the proposed Linthouse and Whiteinch tunnel under the Clyde when circumstances warranted a start on the work; and why he refused to receive a delegation in connection with this project.

Constructional work on this tunnel would make heavy demands on scarce resources and will be precluded by financial and supply conditions for a period considerably longer than that required for the preparation of plans by consulting engineers. I suggested to the Lord Provost of Glasgow that it was not necessary for a deputation to meet me because I saw no prospect of being able to reverse my decision about the preparatory work.

Railways System (Survey)

103.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement as to the directions of a general character he will issue to the British Transport Commission instructing them to have a comprehensive survey made of the railway system in order to ascertain which railway lines are incapable of bearing the cost of operating the traffic on them.

I do not feel it is necessary for me to issue any such direction to the British Transport Commission. The Transport Act places on the Commission the general duty of providing or securing or promoting the provision of an economical and properly integrated system of public inland transport, and the fulfilment of this obligation will involve questions of the type which the hon. Member has in mind.

Halleaths Camp, Lockerbie

104.

asked the Secretary of State for War why the material available for disposal on the breaking up of Halleaths Camp, Lockerbie, is not being offered for sale locally.

The materials recovered from the breaking up of Halleaths Camp are not being offered for sale, either locally or elsewhere, as they are required for further use by the War Department.

Trade And Commerce

Manilla Rope

105.

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he expects that manilla rope will be available for the production of salmon nets; and why it is not obtainable at the present time.

I understand that manilla is not normally used for the manufacture of salmon nets, though before the war it was to a small extent used in the manufacture of hauling ropes for salmon seine fishing. It is not practicable to relax the present limitation on the use of manilla to purposes for which suitable substitutes from non-dollar sources are not available.

Rhubarb (Import Licences)

106.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many special licences have been issued since 1st January for the import of rhubarb; what quantities are involved; and for what purpose they are intended.

Sixteen licences to import approximately 3,000 tons of outdoor rhubarb from the Irish Republic and the Netherlands have been granted since 1st January. Supplies of home-grown rhubarb were inadequate, and the imported rhubarb was necessary to keep in production the new canning industry in Northern Ireland and in a Scottish Development Area.

War Losses, Far East (Payments)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will now make a further statement on the subject of the compensation to be paid to British subjects for war losses of private chattels in the British and former British territories in the Far East.

Yes. The Government have decided to make limited ex gratia payments to United Kingdom British subjects in respect of losses of furniture and other personal goods in the territories in question as a result of the Japanese occupation. The following is an outline of the scheme:EXTENDED FAR EASTERN PRIVATE CHATTELS SCHEME (WAR DAMAGE)(1) The scheme will apply to United Kingdom British subjects who return to the United Kingdom from Hong Kong, the territories now forming part of the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo, Sarawak, Brunei, the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony and Burma. Such persons may apply for grants under the scheme provided that, prior to the Japanese invasion of those territories, they were resident therein, and on their return to this country intend to set up home permanently in the United Kingdom. In the case of persons who have not yet returned permanently to the United Kingdom but who propose to return at a future date, payment will be deferred until such time as they do so.(2) The scheme will not apply to any person who, in respect of his losses in any of the above territories, is entitled to compensation under any other compensation scheme operated by a United Kingdom Government Department.(3) The losses must have been directly attributable to circumstances connected with the war, including the enemy occupation of the country and the breakdown of organised government consequent on imminent Japanese occupation or British liberation.(4) The scheme does not cover losses of cash, securites, profit or generally consequential loss.(5) The limits of compensation are as follow:

£
Householder, unmarried300
Householder, married450
Every child under 16 years of age at 8th December, 1941, who was a member of the household35
Any other person over 16 years of age75
For this purpose the expressions "household" and "householder" will be construed with regard to the special conditions in the territories in question.(6) Any grant awarded under this scheme will be reduced by the amount of any compensation received in respect of losses from any of the Governments of the territories mentioned in paragraph 1 above.(7) Grants already made to applicants under the existing scheme relating to former internees will be deducted from any amounts payable under the extended scheme.(8) Application forms, which provide for a statutory declaration to be made by the claimant, may be obtained from the Assistant Secretary Board of Trade, Insurance and Companies Department (Far Eastern Private Chattels), Romney House, Tufton Street, London, S.W.1.

Stowaways

107.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many stowaways have arrived in the United Kingdom in each of the last three years from West Africa and West Indies; how many were repatriated; and whether since this problem is causing the shipping companies grave concern, he will take steps to ensure that all stowaways are immediately repatriated.

The number of stowaways from British Colonies in West Africa or the West Indies who arrived in the United Kingom in 1946, 1947 and 1948 were 246, 429 and 440. There is no power to deport a British subject who arrives in this country, whether as a stowaway or otherwise; and I cannot say how many of the stowaways have voluntarily left the United Kingdom. The only effective way of dealing with the problem is to tackle it at the ports of embarkation: owing to the conditions under which ships are loaded, this is often difficult, but my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Minister of Transport, in consultation with the shipping companies, will continue to take all possible measures to prevent stowaways from boarding vessels in colonial ports.

Civil Service (Communists And Fascists)

109.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many civil servants have now been suspended from duty; how many have been dismissed or transferred to other Departments because of their political views or activities; and what is the total cost up to date of the inquiries and action taken.

Nineteen people are at present suspended from duty as being thought to come within the scope of the Government's policy on the employment of Communists and Fascists in certain parts of the Civil Service; 14 have been transferred; none have been dismissed but three have resigned. No identifiable additional cost is caused by these inquiries.

Anglo-Czechoslovak Financial Agreement

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason His Majesty's Government have discontinued the provision of Article 2, paragraph 1, sub-paragraph (a) of the Anglo-Czechoslovak Financial Agreement.

This was an interim measure to adapt the Monetary Agreement to changed circumstances so that it could be continued, after the end of its three-year term, pending discussions between the two Governments for a new agreement. These discussions are now in progress in London.

Pig Production (Increase)

110.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that many people of small means in this country would feed pigs for his Department if he would supply the meal; that the present arrangements of supplying the meal when the pigs are delivered for slaughter is not helping or encouraging pig keeping; and if he will look into this matter with the object of removing this barrier, and assisting the country towards a higher bacon ration.

As my right hon. Friend announced on 19th May increase rations will be given to commercial pig keepers with the object of stimulating the breeding and fattening of pigs for both the bacon and pork markets. Anyone wishing to keep pigs on a domestic scale can obtain a monthly ration to help fatten one or two pigs and, in addition, all pig keepers are eligible for the bonus rations on pig meat they deliver to slaughter-houses and bacon factories.

Nigeria (Groundnut Stocks)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress is being made in the clearance of the accumulated stocks of groundnuts at Kano, Nigeria.

Increased locomotive failures have caused a decline in the railings of groundnuts from Kano during the last few months. Some difficulty has also been experienced in shipping the various components for the new wagons. However, a considerable quantity of wagon parts has now arrived in Nigeria. When erected, the additional wagons with the 26 new locomotives also available should enable the monthly railings to be substantially increased. Unfortunately, this setback means that the earlier expectation of a clearance of the present stocks by the end of January next may not now be fulfilled, but the Nigerian authorities are doing their utmost by every possible means including the maximum use of river transport to make up for the drop in railings in the past months.