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Written Answers

Volume 467: debated on Wednesday 13 July 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 13th July, 1949

Trusteeship Council (Reports)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make representations to the United Nations organisation that reports of visiting missions of the United Nations organisation Trusteeship Council to Trusteeship territories should not be discussed at the Council until the written comments of the Colonial Office thereon, based on governors' reports are also available to the Trusteeship Council thus enabling it to have all the facts before it and to come to responsible decisions.

Strong representations in this sense were made by the Belgian and United Kingdom representatives at the January session of the Trusteeship Council but those representations were not wholly accepted. At the present session of the Council the United Kingdom and French representatives have again made proposals to the Council.

Post Office

Parcels (Date-Stamps)


asked the Postmaster-General why no date of posting is stamped upon parcels by the Post Office, making it difficult to check how long parcels take in transit; and whether he will consider altering the present system.

The standard arrangement is to stamp the date of posting on parcels. During the war, owing to supply difficulties, rubber stamps of simple design with no provision for the date had to be issued. These undated stamps are being replaced by the pre-war standard pattern date-stamp as rapidly as the current supply position permits.

Mail Delivery, City Of London


asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that the first delivery of mail to the city banking firm about which he has been in correspondence with the right hon. Gentleman the junior Member for the City of London was made at 9.40 a.m. on Friday, 1st July; and what steps does he propose to take to remedy this matter.

Yes. I very much regret this late delivery which was caused by an abnormally heavy seasonal receipt of correspondence at a late hour. As I have informed the right hon. Member by letter, action is being taken whereby the first delivery of mail should reach the firm concerned at an earlier hour.

Television (Development)


asked the Postmaster-General, in view of the prominence which it is proposed to give to television in the exhibition of 1951, what new plans there are for developing television in this country.

A plan for extending television so as to serve the main centres of population has been made. I outlined this plan to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton (Mr. J. Lewis) on 9th February. How quickly the various stations in the plan can be built depends on the economic situation, but I hope it will be possible to start building the northern station next year. I cannot say yet when the station will be opened.

Telephone Service

Call Offices, County Of Ross

asked the Postmaster-General how many of the 143 telephone call offices, which are in service at the present time in the County of Ross, cannot officially be used after Post Office closing hours.

Thirty-eight public telephone call offices in the County of Ross are not normally available for service outside business hours.


asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that post offices are inadequately provided with telephone directories; and what he proposes to do to remedy this defect.

A local telephone directory is provided in every telephone call office, including those associated with rural post offices. At larger post offices, a range of telephone directories is available for the use of the public. If the hon. Member will let me know of any individual post offices which are inadequately provided with telephone directories, I shall be glad to look into the matter.

Royal Observer Corps (Recruits)


asked the Secretary of State for Air if he is satisfied with the numbers enrolling for service with the Royal Observer Corps.

An average of 300 recruits is being enrolled every month but I shall not be satisfied with the rate of recruiting until the Corps is fully up to strength.

Festival Of Britain


asked the Lord President of the Council whether he is aware of the lack of appreciation throughout the country of the value and significance of the great exhibition of 1951; and whether steps can be taken by the Central Office of Information and other appropriate bodies to give out more information about this matter so that interest may be stimulated.

The public has recently been given a good deal of information about plans for the Festival of Britain, 1951, and interest in it is growing rapidly throughout the country, very largely as a result of the meeting of representatives of local authorities in England and Wales held by the Lord Mayor of London on 8th June, and of similar steps taken in Scotland. I would welcome any help from hon. Members and from the Press in stimulating even wider appreciation of the Festival.As regards the second part of the Question, the body responsible for the giving out of information about the Festival is the Festival of Britain Office, who will of course make use of the Central Office of Information and other agencies. The Festival of Britain Office will continue to give out information about the Festival as plans develop.

Potatoes, Lincolnshire


asked the Minister of Food why he sent 600 tons of new Cornish potatoes to Boston for cattle food at a time when Lincolnshire growers are unable to market their own crops; and why he does not abolish the potato and carrot division now that supply has overtaken demand.

These potatoes were sent to Boston for manufacture into potato flour for human consumption. They had therefore no effect whatever on the market for local potatoes. My Department must continue to implement the guarantee to growers given under the Agriculture Act, 1947.

Contraceptives (Sale)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that some hairdressers in the Borough of Fulham, particulars of whom have been submitted to him, are supplying contraceptives on the slot machine system; that some of them have advertisements of contraceptives in their shops; and if he will introduce legislation to prevent this practice.

The information which the hon. Members has given me does not suggest that the contraceptives are exhibited or advertised in an indecent or obscene manner. As previous experience shows any legislation to deal with the sale of contraceptives is very controversial and I can hold out no prospect of legislation on the lines he proposes.

Horse Slaughter (Committee)

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many meetings of the Committee appointed under Lord Rosebery to consider the slaughter of horses have so far been held; and when their report is likely to be issued.

The Committee has so far met once, and a second meeting has been arranged for 15th July. Although it will be necessary to take and study a considerable amount of evidence, I understand that the chairman hopes to have the report ready early next year.

Harvest Labour, East Suffolk

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is satisfied that a sufficient labour force will be available to deal with the harvest in East Suffolk, or what measures he proposes to deal with this urgent requirement.

Given average weather conditions, I do not expect any marked or unmanageable shortage in this area.


Child Guidance (Treatment)

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware that, notwithstanding the arrangements made by him that a boy who required urgent treatment for a mental condition should be treated at once at the child guidance centre provided by the local education authority at Canterbury, the parents have been presented with a bill for a considerable amount in respect of this treatment; and whether he will take measures to enforce fulfilment of his instructions.

There is no statutory obligation on the local education authority to provide free treatment for this boy who attends an independent school; but arrangements have recently been made for the regional hospital board to provide the services of the psychiatrist at the child guidance centre conducted by the Canterbury authority, and no charge will therefore be made, from 1st April for the treatment the boy is receiving.

Teachers (Advisory Council)

asked the Minister of Education what is the composition of the new Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers; and to what extent it is designed to supersede the advice on this subject given by the McNair Committee in 1944.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton (Mr. H. D. Hughes) on 2nd June. This Council has been set up to give continuing advice in the light of changing circumstances, whereas the McNair Committee was asked to make a single report based on information available at the time when it was sitting.

New Buildings, Wales

asked the Minister of Education how many new primary and secondary schools have been built in each of the counties of Wales since August, 1945.

The only new school buildings in Wales which have been finished since August, 1945, are one secondary school and three temporary primary schools in Cardiff. This does not, however, give a complete picture, because six secondary schools and 16 primary schools are under construction, and some will shortly be ready for occupation. In addition, a number of existing schools have been, and are being, extended.

Royal Navy (Tuberculosis)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in the case of personnel discharged from the Navy for pulmonary tuberculosis, it is the practice to send the necessary précis of case notes, together with X-ray findings to the civilian doctors who will be in charge.

Notification of a case of pulmonary tuberculosis invalided from the Royal Navy is sent to the Ministry of Health who pass it to the appropriate regional hospital for them to arrange the necessary treatment. When the regional hospital board nominate the sanatorium or the board's chest physician in whose care the patient will be placed, full particulars of the case including X-ray films are made available.

M Dimitrov (Funeral)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions were issued to His Majesty's Minister in Sofia in connection with the official funeral celebrations of the death of M. Dimitrov.