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Written Answers

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 7 July 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 7th July, 1949

National Health Service

Dentists, Todmorden


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that no dentist in the National Health Service at Todmorden possesses X-ray equipment, the nearest being at Halifax, 10 miles away; and whether he can give an assurance that steps are being taken to improve the service at Todmorden in this respect.

I am afraid that I cannot guarantee, in the absence of health centres, that facilities for radiological examination will be available in all areas, but they can be obtained in case of need at the nearest convenient centre under the hospital service.

Deaf Aids


asked the Minister of Health how long persons in Birmingham needing deaf-aids must now wait; and what steps he is taking to reduce the waiting period.

The waiting period depends on priority of need and testing has to be thorough. Supply is being increased, and a new centre is shortly to be opened at Coventry.

Hospital Specialists, North-West Region


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that certain appeals preferred by hospital specialists in the North-West Region against recommendations for their re-grading made by the reviewing committee of the Regional Hospital Board had not been acknowledged by the Board on 25th June, 1949; and what action he proposes to take in the matter, in view of the expiry of these specialists' interim contracts on 5th July, 1949, and the consequent necessity of concluding proper contracts as early as possible.

The Board have offered all hospital staff with interim contracts an extension to carry out the same work as they are now doing for six months or such less period as is necessary for the Board to offer them a permanent appointment.

Nurse's Pension, The Hartlepools


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that a member of the staff of a hospital at The Hartlepools taken over by him will retire shortly with over 30 years' hospital service on a pension of less than£1 per week; and what steps he is proposing to take to see that this allowance is supplemented, as such treatment will not help the drive for additional entrants into the nursing profession.

If this is the case I have traced, this nurse will receive the greater part of her pension from a scheme in which she participated before the new Health Service began; she will, however, receive a useful supplement from public funds. I regret that it is not possible to repair all the omissions of the past, but entrants to the nursing profession now are well provided for by the National Health Service Superannuation Scheme.

Spectacles, Supply

30 and 40.

asked the Minister of Health (1) why Mr. A. Clifford, aged 72, of 3/29 Bracebridge Road, Aston, Birmingham, 6, who applied for his spectacles under the Health Scheme in November, 1948, has not yet received them;(2) why Mr. W. H. Fry, 7A Furnace Lane, Gerrard St. Lozells, Birmingham 19, aged 82, who applied for his spectacles under the Health Scheme last March, has not received them.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for East Islington (Mr. E. Fletcher) on 19th May.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the 11-year-old boy, about whom he has been informed by the hon. Member for Kettering, has not yet got his spectacles, and that another 13-year-old boy, for whom spectacles were prescribed and ordered in September, also has not got them; and whether he will make a statement as to the operation of his priority scheme in these and other cases.

Yes. I understand that the sight of both the boys was tested on 22nd November. The arrangements whereby opticians can give priority to a few of the most urgent cases did not come into general operation until about two months ago and cannot readily be applied to glasses ordered before then. I understand, however, that the optician hopes to get both boys' glasses very soon.

Doctors (Classification)

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the continued opposition to the methods adopted by the assessment committee, under the National Health Service, in the grading of doctors; and if he will direct these committees concerning the conditions of assessing, including the classification of doctors on merit and not on their present spheres of service, and on the right of the down-graded to make a personal appeal before a superior authority.

I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the advice given to Boards. Appeals are considered by the professional reviewing committees suitably enlarged for the purpose, and the committees have discretion to interview practitioners personally if they think it desirable.

Satellite Towns

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that proposals for the construction of new satellite towns, where the consumption of water will be extremely high, will have an adverse effect on local water supplies already in existence; and whether, under such circumstances, it is the policy of his Department that compensation should be paid to the rural district councils who find that they will have to spend large sums in obtaining further supplies of water which would not have been necessary had there been no proposal for the establishment of a new satellite town.


Fowl Pest


asked the Minister of Agriculture what precautions are being taken to prevent the further spread of fowl pest amongst poultry; how far such precautions are proving to be successful; and how far healthy fowls that have been destroyed on account of having been in contact with the disease can be used for food.

The precautions include the slaughter of infected birds and contacts, the maintenance of restrictions on the movement and marketing of poultry in certain areas, the compulsory boiling of waste foodstuffs that contain or have been in contact with any part of a poultry carcase and the evisceration of poultry brought from the Continent of Europe. Unfortunately, there has been some increase in the number of outbreaks in recent weeks, and I am considering whether any further steps should be taken. Birds slaughtered as contacts may be salvaged for human consumption if they can be eviscerated and dressed for table on the infected premises. In most cases, however, this is not practicable.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a statement on the measures that have been taken towards preventing the further extension of fowl pest.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to a reply given today to the hon. and gallant Member for Petersfield (General Sir G. Jeffreys).

Rabbits (Damage)


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that rabbit damage is taking place in certain parts of the country owing to the inability under the Agriculture Act of 1947 to use the steel trap where such instrument is the only effective one; and what steps he intends to take in the matter.

I am aware that in certain parts of the country damage is taking place because no effective method is available for control of rabbits which harbour in dense scrubland, in woodlands with heavy undergrowth, and in rocky ground.The use of spring traps in the open was prohibited by the Prevention of Damage by Rabbits Act, 1939. Investigations into the problem of an alternative as well as other problems in the control of rabbits, are being pressed forward.

Poultry Rations


asked the Minister of Agriculture why he did not seek the advice of the poultry farmers' organisations before restricting the quantity of feeding-stuffs to be allowed to accredited poultry breeders; and if he will now consult with them to ameliorate the effects of this decision which, coupled with the closing of the accredited scheme to new entrants, is likely to prejudice the production of sound stock.


asked the Minister of Agriculture to what extent representatives of the poultry industry were consulted before the decision was reached to freeze the level of supplementary poultry rations; and whether he will reconsider the decision to the extent of freezing the level of supplementary rations at whichever is the greater of the 1948 or 1949 Autumn counts.

The basis of supplementary rations for accredited poultry breeders has been under review for some months following a recommendation from my Advisory Committee on Rationing, which includes members representing a wide field of farming interests. The precise steps to be taken were communicated to poultry farmers' organisations at a meeting of 27th May and the comments received were considered before a final decision was announced. I am advised that a sufficient quantity of sound stock for the needs of the industry can be produced on present rations, and I cannot undertake to reopen the matter now.

Drainage, East Yorkshire


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that His Majesty's Commission on Sewers for the east part of the East Riding of Yorkshire which should have been replaced by a Land Drainage Board under the Land Drainage Act, 1930, is still in existence; what are the present liabilities of the Commission; and what steps are being taken to arrange for the abolition of the Commission and the discharge of its liabilities.

Yes. This body is not now exercising any functions. The River Hull Catchment Board and the East Riding County Council exercise in the area the general powers of the Land Drainage Acts. The Commissioners' powers have been abrogated in the districts of certain drainage boards that have been set up in recent years. Proposals for establishing further drainage boards are under consideration.



asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a statement on the damage done to agriculture by the present drought.

It is too soon to assess the effect of the present drought upon agricultural production. In some ways the prevailing weather has been beneficial.



asked the Minister of Agriculture the acreage under potatoes in the county of Norfolk in the years 1939 and 1948, respectively.

The area returned by occupiers of agricultural holdings exceeding one acre, was about 24,100 acres in 1939 and 49,500 acres in 1948.

Smallholdings, Norfolk


asked the Minister of Agriculture what plans he has in hand to assist the Norfolk County Council to create additional smallholdings at Ludham airfield, Norfolk; what is delaying the start of the scheme, and if he will take all appropriate measures to overcome the present hold-up.

I agreed last year, after consulting my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air, that Ludham airfield should be purchased by the State in accordance with the Government's policy for acquiring surplus runwayed airfields, and that it should be made available to the Norfolk County Council for development as smallholdings. Eleven separate owners are involved and negotiations for the purchase of their land by the Air Ministry are proceeding as quickly as possible. I cannot lease the land to the County Council until the negotiations are completed. However, as a large part of the airfield surface was owned before the war by the Norfolk County Council and developed by them as smallholdings, I am prepared to discuss with them now the re-development of that land for smallholdings in advance of the acquisition of the remainder of the site.



asked the Minister of Agriculture what organisations are responsible for the implementation of the recommendations of the Grassland Development Commission initiated in 1948; and what progress has been made up to date in obtaining the 20 per cent. increased yield of grassland in this country stated to be possible by the Committee on Industrial Productivity.

I assume that my hon Friend is referring to the grassland development campaign for which the officers of my Department, including the National Agricultural Advisory Service, are primarily responsible. It is too early to estimate with any accuracy how far the average yield of grassland in the country has yet increased as a result of the campaign, but a great deal of interest has been aroused amongst farmers and the amount of silage and dried grass produced has increased very considerably.

Hanover Lodge (Acquisition)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether Hanover Lodge, Regent's Park, has now been acquired by Bedford College for women; and what proposals there are for the erection of new buildings there.

The Bedford College for women have acquired the existing Crown lease of Hanover Lodge and negotiations have been proceeding for the grant to the College of a new building lease for a term of 99 years under which the College will erect in the grounds of Hanover Lodge a students' hall of residence which—with the existing house which is to be retained and incorporated into the scheme—will accommodate 150 to 200 students. The new building will be stucco faced to harmonise with the other Regency buildings on the perimeter of the park. With the permission of the authorities concerned I have arranged for drawings of the scheme to be placed in the Tea Room. The drawings have been considered by the Royal Fine Art Commission, who have accepted the scheme subject to further consideration of the materials to be used for the roof.

Fishing Industry

Damaged Gear, West Mersea


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the continuing damage done to the equipment of fishermen at West Mersea by underwater obstructions and war debris; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter.

While some damage to nets and gear has been caused by obstructions in the West Mersea area, no recent case has been reported. It is not practicable to clear the fishing grounds of all debris but when an obstruction which is a continuing danger to fishing is located, the salvage authorities of the appropriate Service Department remove it as soon as possible.



asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give a list of publications which have been issued to the public making known the findings of Government research in the fishing industry.

The number of publications on fishery research is very large, and I am therefore sending the hon. Member the lists he requires.

Forestry (Houses, Wykeham)


asked the Minister of Agriculture why nine houses built by the Forestry Commission at Wykeham, Yorkshire, and completed in February of this year, are not yet available for occupation by their employees.

The nine houses under construction by the Ministry of Works are not yet available for occupation because essential sewage works are not yet completed. Completion and handing over to the Forestry Commission is expected in the course of the next few weeks.

Food Supplies



asked the Minister of Food if he will explain why, during the first five months of 1949 nearly three times as many apples were imported from foreign as from British countries, a reversal of the position as it was in 1948; and why imports of apples from New Zealand have been cut by 60 per cent. and those from Australia by 90 per cent.

Due to bad weather, Australia and New Zealand had disastrous seasons and could spare us little more than one-third of what we got in 1948.

Barley Stocks, Langthorpe (Weevil)


asked the Minister of Food what quantity of barley is stored at Langthorpe, near Boroughbridge; whether he has received any reports of weevil infestation of this barley; and what action he has taken.

The answer to the first part of the Question is 280 tons, and to the second, "Yes." As to the third, the barley has been treated and is being used at once.


asked the Minister of Food whether the Government propose to discontinue the bulk buying of tea; and what are the Government's intentions regarding the re-starting of the London tea auctions in 1950.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) yesterday.

Petrol Supplies

Supplementary Allowances


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that his refusal to grant additional supplementary petrol to Mr. Basil Johnston, auctioneer and valuer, of Boroughbridge, has prevented a number of claims from being submitted by the date stipulated under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, and has held up farm valuations in the North Riding; and what action he is taking to remedy this dislocation of business and loss that has been caused.

The allowance granted to Mr. Basil Johnston for the current rationing period took into consideration the special needs referred to by the hon. Member, and should have been adequate for his purposes.


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will reconsider the application of Mr. W. J. J. Dando, of 138 Malefant St. Cathays, Cardiff, for a supplementary petrol allowance for his private hire car, in view of the exceptional circumstances of this case.

Mr. Dando has applied for permission to transfer a hire car allowance from Ystrad Mynach to Cardiff, but as we are advised that the hire car facilities in Cardiff are already fully adequate to meet essential requirements my right hon. Friend cannot agree to his request.

Refinery, Haifa


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will give an estimate of the amount of dollars which could be saved annually as a result of petrol supplies from the Haifa refineries being again made available.

At current prices the annual value of the British companies' share of the petrol production of Haifa refinery when working to full capacity would be about 16 million dollars. It would, however, take some months to restore the refinery to a full rate of production. The potential dollar saving to us would be somewhat less than this amount as there is some dollar expenditure in the operation of the refinery and some of the petrol would probably be consumed locally.

National Finance

Petrol (Government Departments)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to state the total sum of money spent by Government Departments on petrol during 1948; and the amount represented by Customs duty.

:£5,623,430 in the Financial Year ended 31st March last, of which£2,367,670 represented Customs duty.



asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the sum per household per week paid in taxation for education in England and Scotland.

Estimated expenditure on education, including grants to universities, in England and Wales in 1949–50 is equivalent to is. 10d. per head of population. The corresponding figure for Scotland is 2s. 2d. There is no recent information as to the number of households in Great Britain, and separate figures for expenditure on education in England, apart from Wales, are not readily available.

Fuel Taxation


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in view of the increasing demands for, and growing shortage of, kerosene, the progress being made with the construction of new oil refineries in this country and other developments in this connection, he will consider the desirability of setting up an expert inquiry to review the whole field of fuel taxation.

This matter is kept under constant review, and my right hon. and learned Friend sees no need for a special inquiry at present.

Taxation (Collection Costs)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set up a committee to investigate the whole range of taxation, with a view to eliminating every tax the cost of collection of which exceeds or approximately equals the actual revenue produced.

Purchase Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what articles in connection with school building and school equipment are subject to Purchase Tax; and if he will estimate the total annual value of the Purchase Tax involved.

Building materials are not subject to Purchase Tax, and there is no specific charge of tax on school equipment. I fear I cannot give a list of taxable articles which may be used in schools, nor estimate the amount involved.

Timber Substitution


asked the Economic Secretary to the Treasury what progress has been made with his investigation into the economics of timber substitution.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for East Norfolk (Brigadier Medlicott), on Tuesday, 5th July.


Remploy Factories


asked the Minister of Labour how many Remploy factories were opened by the Disabled Persons Employment Corporation in 1946, 1947 and 1948, respectively; how many are now in operation; how many it is planned to provide; and when the programme will be completed.

In the first place, I should like to announce that as from 1st July, the Corporation will be known as Remploy, Ltd., which hon. Members will agree is a more concise and descriptive title for this body.In 1946, the number of Remploy factories opened was four; nine were opened in 1947 and 20 in 1948. The number now open is 67—an increase of 34 since the beginning of this year. This rapid rate of increase in recent months, which is a great credit to the Corporation, has given rise to serious problems of organisation, production and marketing. While necessary steps have been taken to strengthen the organisation, the Board of the Corporation have represented to me that, if the commercial prospects of the factories are to be reasonably assured, it is important in the best interests of the severely disabled themselves that the Corporation should not be overloaded at this stage of its development, and that men should not be taken on faster than they can be efficiently trained and successfully employed. I have considered the whole matter very carefully with the Board, and I am impressed by the fact that in the long run it would be a false kindness to the severely disabled to jeopardise the success of the Corporation by over-hasty expansion at the present stage.There are now 18 additional factories in various stages of completion, and I have agreed with the Corporation that they should come into operation as they become available. But with regard to the remainder of the Corporation's programme, involving 56 factories, I have had to agree that the rate of building should be phased so as not to put an undue strain on the organisation. This means that there will be 79 factories in operation at the end of this year, and that there will be some slowing down thereafter involving some delay in the provision of those factories where building has not yet started. But I am satisfied that, if these factories are to give steady employment, they must first establish themselves securely as efficient production units, and they can only do this if they are given a chance of orderly and progressive development.I am aware that this statement may cause some disappointment to hon. Members, particularly to those interested in Remploy factories yet to be opened, and I have arranged for a meeting to be held in Committee Room 10 at 4 p.m. on 12th July to meet the Chairman of Remploy Ltd., and myself.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will indicate the nature of the productive activities carried on at each of the Remploy factories in South Wales.

Following is the information:

Black woodLink mats, Colliery conveyor belting.
BridgendBookshelves, kitchen furniture, violins, repair of beds, industrial leatherwork.
PorthSimple furniture.
SwanseaStillage and kitchen woodware packing cases.
TonyrefailAssembling kitchen woodware and office equipment. Machining components for Treforest.
TreforestWriting tables, draining boards, packing cases and machining of components for other Remploy Factories.
TreorchySimple furniture.
YstradgynlaisBookshelves, occasional tables radio sets.

asked the Minister of Labour how many disabled persons are at present engaged at the respective Remploy factories situate at Tonyrefail, Treorchy, Porth and Treforest; and when the last batch of trainees were placed at each factory.

Following is the information:

Number of severely disabled persons employed at 4.1.49.Date of last intake

Disabled Persons


asked the Minister of Labour what was the number of registered disabled persons at the last count; and how many of them are held to be capable of work under normal conditions.

At 19th April, 1949, there were 914,693 registered disabled persons. It is not possible to state how many of these were capable of work under ordinary conditions, because the classification into those capable of work under ordinary conditions and those available only for sheltered employment applies only to those registered disabled persons who are unemployed.


asked the Minister of Labour how many Industrial Rehabilitation Centres have been opened to provide courses for training for disabled persons.

Twelve. No vocational training is given in Industrial Rehabilitation Units, only physical and mental reconditioning and hardening, with vocational guidance where required. If vocational training is found to be necessary, separate arrangements are made.

Unemployed Engineers, Glasgow

asked the Minister of Labour how many unemployed engineers are at present held on the list of his Department's employment exchanges in Glasgow.

At 13th June there were 545 wholly unemployed men aged 18 and over registered at Employment Exchanges in Glasgow for employment in engineering occupations.

Rural Crafts

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he has in mind to encourage the training of boys for rural crafts for which there is at present no apprenticeship scheme.

It is primarily the responsibility of the crafts themselves to consider their needs and devise, either for districts or nationally, such measures for the training of boys as they may deem appropriate. In co-operation with other interested parties, the Youth Employment Service will be prepared, if requested, to give any assistance in its power in the preparation and operation of apprenticeship or other training schemes.


Blacklisted Buildings

asked the Minister of Education what proportion of the new buildings recently approved by his Department are, in part or wholly, composed of prefabricated units; and whether there has been any reduction in the number of schools blacklisted in 1925 and still in use for classrooms.

The information asked for in the first part of the Question is not available. As regards the second part of the Question, the number of black list school buildings has been reduced by 2,188 since the list was first compiled in 1925.

Retarded Children


asked the Minister of Education what additional provision he has approved for the education of retarded children in Harrow; from what date this will be available; and whether it will accommodate all the pupils of the district now awaiting this special facility.

I have not received any specific proposal for a day special school for educationally sub-normal children in Harrow, but I understand that the Middlesex local education authority are considering whether certain existing premises could be made suitable for this purpose temporarily.


asked the Minister of Education how many additional classes, centres and places were provided in 1948 for retarded children in England and Wales; and how many it is proposed to add this year.

In 1948, 734 additional day or boarding places were provided in new or enlarged special schools for educationally sub-normal children. The corresponding programme for 1949 amounts to about 1,300 places. The education of such children by special methods in ordinary schools is carried on in many different ways and cannot be assessed statistically.

School Meals, Manchester

asked the Minister of Education what is the income test applied by the education authority in the City of Manchester to determine whether parents shall make a contribution towards the cost of meals supplied to their children in the schools.

In determining under Regulation 10 (1) of the Provision of Milk and Meals Regulations, 1945, whether, in their opinion, payment for schools meals involves financial hardship, the Manchester local education authority consider the income of the parent in relation to a scale which has been jointly adopted by a large number of Lancashire authorities. As the scale includes a number of details, I am sending a copy of it to my hon. Friend.

asked the Minister of Education how many school children in the City of Manchester are receiving school meals at the nearest convenient date; and how many are receiving such meals without charge.

On the day in February to which the latest returns relate, 34,230 children had dinner in Manchester school canteens; 5,832 did not pay for it.

Building Programme

asked the Minister of Education how much of the£26,000,000 spent in 1948 was spent on new schools on new housing estates; extra accommodation in existing infant schools for the five-year-olds; enlargement of junior schools to accommodate the extra children who will be there in two years' time; further education, respectively; and how much of the£50,000,000 allocated for this year falls into the same four categories.

The figures of£26 million for 1948 and£50-£55 million for 1949 relate to the value of the annual programmes of work to be started. As long as the educational building programme is expanding expenditure in each year will be less than the value of work started in the same year, particularly as the average construction time for educational building projects is relatively long. In 1948, expenditure on new educational building, excluding maintenance work and plant and machinery, was about£18 million of which about£12 million was spent on major projects providing now school places and about£700,000 on major projects for further education. The corresponding target figures for 1949 are about£33½ million,£21 million and£3½ million. It is not possible to assign the cost of new school places in the manner suggested since, whatever their primary purpose, most projects affecting school accommodation in fact meet a variety of needs either directly or indirectly.

Ministry Of Works

Building Workers


asked the Minister of Works what is the average number of all types of builders engaged in all types of building per 1,000 people throughout England and Wales; and what percentage of the total number of all builders is engaged upon housing.

The average number of building workers per 1,000 people in England and Wales is about 20; of these about 52 per cent. are employed on housing work of all types. About 22 per cent. are employed on new housing. In addition there is an average of about three self-employed building workers, but it is not known what percentage of them is engaged on housing work.

Concrete Building (Admiralty)

asked the Minister of Works whether the concrete building erected at the west end of the Admiralty during the last war is to remain permanently; and whether anything will be done to make it look less ugly.

No decision on the future of this building has yet been taken but, for the present, labour and materials could not be spared either for its removal or for any extensive work to alter its appearance.

British Army

Officers, Greece

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that officers serving in Greece, who are willing and able to make private arrangements for their families to join them, are not entitled to make use of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute family shops; and if he will take steps to remedy this situation.

I am not aware of the restrictions referred to in the Question. Inquiries are, however, being made from the Command concerned, and when these are completed I will write to the right hon. Member.

Far Eastern Draft (Training)

asked the Secretary of State for War how long personnel of No. 2 Company of the Royal Sussex Regiment, now sailing for the Far East in the s.s. "Empire Windrush," have been trained before departure.

The draft which sailed on the s.s. "Empire Windrush" was from the 1st Battalion, The Royal West Kent Regiment. The majority of the men were Regular soldiers with between one and 10 years' service. The remainder were National Service men, all of whom had completed at least 16 weeks' training.

Malaya (War Damage Compensation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the low price of Malayan rubber, immediate aid by way of payment for war damage compensation will be paid to planters, who are facing serious financial difficulties.

It is one of the conditions of His Majesty's Government's recent final offer of financial assistance towards the Malayan War Damage Compensation Scheme that an early start should be made with the scheme. No awards can, however, be made until the scheme, which is under consideration by the Malayan Governments, has been accepted by the local Legislatures.

Jamaica (Water Supplies)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the inadequate water supplies in Jamaica which in times of drought all but fail; and what steps he is taking to effect an immediate improvement.

The Government of Jamaica are fully aware of the need for improving water supplies. Their development plan provides almost£2 million for water supplies, irrigation and river training works. Since 1942, expenditure from Colonial development and welfare funds of above£833,000 has been approved. Almost£250,000 from Colonial development and welfare and colonial funds has been approved for expenditure on tanks for dry areas, and further programmes are expected.

National Insurance

Sickness Benefit

asked the Minister of National Insurance the number of persons in receipt of sickness benefit on 1st June, 1949, the average duration of the sickness period and the comparable figures for the same day in 1948.

It is estimated that about 800,000 persons were in receipt of sickness benefit on 1st June, 1949. A statistical inquiry into the average duration of sickness in 1949 is being made, but the results will not be available until early next year. Figures for 1st June, 1948, are not available.


asked the Minister of National Insurance the number of persons registered under the National Insurance Act on 1st June or the latest convenient date.

It is estimated that about 24 million persons are now registered under the National Insurance Act.

Kashmir—Jammu Dispute

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what reports the Security Council has received from the United Nations Kashmir Commission; and what attitude the United Kingdom representative on the Security Council has been instructed to adopt.

At at early stage of the Kashmir-Jammu dispute the Government of India proposed that the future status of Kashmir should be settled in accordance with the will of the people freely expressed in a plebiscite to be undertaken by the United Nations, and the Government of Pakistan agreed. The Security Council endorsed this principle and sent a United Nations Commission to India and Pakistan. In January last, the Commission reported to the Council that it had secured the acceptance by both Governments of the principles on which a truce might be made and a plebiscite conducted on the question whether the State should accede to India or Pakistan. On the strength of this agreement a cease-fire was arranged with effect from New Year's Day between the armed forces which had been engaged in Kashmir. Since then the Commission have been endeavouring to negotiate a truce in order that conditions suitable for a plebiscite could be brought about.In March Admiral Nimitz was nominated as plebiscite administrator with the agreement of both Governments. Progress has been temporarily held up by differences of view about the detailed application of the principles for a truce but it is our earnest hope that these differences will shortly be resolved, and I am confident that both Governments still desire that the matter shall be settled by the vote of the inhabitants of Kashmir, in a plebiscite conducted under free and fair conditions. His Majesty's Government have always believed that the Kashmir dispute could best be settled by such a plebiscite and that in this way an early solution of the problem can be found which will in future be accepted as just and lasting by the peoples of India and Pakistan. The United Kingdom representative in the Security Council has been instructed accordingly.

Royal Navy (Pensioners)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the total number of Royal Navy petty officers and ratings on retired pay and the approximate annual pension figure paid to each rate.

At 31st March. 1949, there were 73,540 Naval and Royal Marine pensioners. The great majority of these men are long-service pensioners and approximate annual figures for each rate are:

Able Seamen£59£94
Leading Rates£70£109
Petty Officers£78£119
Chief Petty Officers (Seamen Class)£79£121
Chief Petty Officers (Engineering and Electrical Class)£100£151

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty the total number of officers of the Royal Navy on retired pay; the number in each grade; and the approximate retired pay of each rank.

There are at present 9,059 officers of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines on retired pay. An analysis of this total is given below:

Vice Admirals91
Rear Admirals200
Commanders (L)1
Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants2,141
Communication Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants57
Engineer Vice Admirals5
Engineer Rear Admirals114
Engineer Captains45
Engineer Commanders309
Engineer Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants426
Engineer Sub-Lieutenants4
Surgeon Vice Admirals5
Surgeon Rear Admirals20
Surgeon Captains47
Surgeon Commanders184
Surgeon Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants13
Surgeon Captains (D)5
Surgeon Commanders (D)9
Surgeon Lieutenant-Commanders (D)10
Rear Admirals (S)5
Captains (S)88
Commanders (S)241
Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants (S)231
Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants Instructors in Cookery1
Sub-Lieutenants (S)4
Instructor Captains14
Instructor Commanders37
Instructor Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants14
Chaplains of Fleet6
Shipwright Commanders1
Shipwright Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants81
Ordnance Lieutenant-Commanders and Lieutenants12
Electrical Lieutenants31
Wardmaster Lieutenants18
Generals, Royal Marines7
Lieutenant-Generals, Royal Marines25
Major-Generals, Royal Marines16
Colonels, Royal Marines17
Lieutenant-Colonels, Royal Marines58
Majors, Royal Marines97
Captains, Royal Marines56
Lieutenants, Royal Marines19
Quartermasters, Royal Marines47
Temporary Royal Marine Officers136
Senior Commissioned Aircraft Officers2
Senior Commissioned Gunners417
Senior Commissioned Boatswains69
Senior Commissioned Signal Boatswains19
Senior Commissioned Communication Officers25
Senior Commissioned Masters-at-Arms9
Senior Commissioned Engineers226
Senior Commissioned Mechanicians30
Senior Commissioned Writer Officers16
Senior Commissioned Stores Officers21
Senior Commissioned Cookery Officers7
Senior Commissioned Shipwrights83
Senior Commissioned Ordnance Officers15
Senior Commissioned Electrical Officers26
Senior Commissioned Wardmasters14
Keeper and Steward of Royal Cabins in H.M. Yachts1
Senior Commissioned Photographers1
Commissioned Gunners313
Commissioned Boatswains120
Commissioned Signal Boatswains27
Commissioned Communication Officers21
Commissioned Masters-at-Arms14
Commissioned Engineers132
Commissioned Mechanicians18
Commissioned Writer Officers22
Commissioned Stores Officers4
Commissioned Cookery Officers1
Commissioned Shipwrights58
Commissioned Ordnance Officers4
Commissioned Electricians13
Commissioned Wardmasters1

Commissioned Aircraft Officers2
Commissioned Photographers2
Temporary Branch Officers, Royal Navy1,028
Temporary Officers, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve32
Senior Chief Officers, Shore Wireless Service19
Divisional Officers, Coast Guard9
Battery Officers, Coast Guard1
Chief Officers, Coast Guard74
Senior Mates, Permanent Cruiser Service4
Second Mates, Permanent Cruiser Service3
Senior Commissioned Officers, Royal Marines43
Commissioned Officers, Royal Marines69

Admiral or General, Royal Marines1,300001,50000
Vice-Admiral or Lieutenant-General Royal Marines1,120001,30000
Rear-Admiral or Major-General, Royal Marines950001,10000
Captain, Royal Navy (over six years) or Colonel, Royal Marines81410090000
Captain Royal Navy (under six years)81410082500
Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Marines71286
Commander, Royal Navy, or Major, Royal Marines58314662500
Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Navy, or Captain, Royal Marines4400047500

Branch Officers and Officers promoted therefrom

Commander, Royal Navy, or Major, Royal Marines3984050000
Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Navy, or Captain, Royal Marines3483045000
Lieutenant Royal Navy or Royal Marines29813037500
Senior Commissioned Officer, Royal Navy or Royal Marines24812030000
Commissioned Officer, Royal Navy or Royal Marines1796025000

These rates are received by officers who completed a normal career. I regret that it is not practicable to give approximate rates for officers whose careers terminate prematurely, for example on

Royal Navy7,299
Royal Navy, Temporary1,028
Royal Marines454
Royal Marines, Temporary136
Temporary, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve32
Coast Guard and Permanent Cruiser Service110

The rates for the various ranks are:

invaliding, as these rates vary considerably in individual cases according to the length of service actually rendered and other factors.