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Written Answers

Volume 467: debated on Friday 22 July 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 22nd July, 1949

French Leather (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is yet in a position to announce the result of the discussions with the French authorities on supplies of leather.

Yes. We have concluded our discussions with the French authorities and the original import quotas for leather from that country which totalled £420,000 for 1949 have now been increased to a total of £720,000, made up as follows:

Box and suede calf and other upper leathers£260,000
Glace and suede kid£235,000
Sole leather (medium tannage)£130,000
Sole leather (slow tannage)£90,000
Leather belting£5,000
In consideration of this increase the French have made an additional allocation of 600 tons of calfskins to this country for early delivery. This will bring their total allocation for 1949 to 900 tons.

New Office Buildings, Holborn

asked the Minister of Works what area of office premises is in course of erection in the borough of Holborn; and what percentage of that area will be leased by a Government Department or nationalised industry or undertaking.

Six office buildings with a total area of 481,000 square feet are at present under construction in the borough of Holborn, of which three buildings with an area of 386,000 square feet, 80 per cent. of the total, will be leased by my Department. I am not aware that any will be leased by a nationalised industry or undertaking.

asked the Minister of Works what area of office premises is licensed to be erected in the borough of Holborn in addition to the building now in progress; how much of that area will be leased to a Government Department or nationalised industry or undertaking; and how much requisitioned office accommodation in the borough will be released to its pre-war owners when this building is completed.

No further office premises apart from those now under construction have been licensed for erection in the borough of Holborn, but one building with an area of 92,000 square feet will be licensed shortly for lease by my Department. At this stage it is impossible to say how much requisitioned office accommodation will be released in Holborn on completion of these schemes.

Recorders (Retiring Age)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the proposed retiring age for J.P.'s, consideration will also be given to the desirability of a compulsory retiring age for recorders.

I will bear this suggestion in mind; but it is already the practice, before a new recorder is appointed, to obtain an undertaking from him that when he reaches the age of 70 he will place his resignation in the hands of the Home Secretary of the day if called upon to do so.

Family Allowances, Wales

asked the Minister of National Insurance to state for the most recent convenient date, the number of children in Wales in respect of whom family allowances are in payment; and the number and the approximate distribution by size of the families to which these children belong.

As at 30th June, 1949, there was approximately 156,000 families in Wales drawing allowances in respect of 252,000 children. The distribution by size of families is as follows:

  • Families with 2 children (including the eldest)—61½ per cent.
  • Families with 3 children (including the eldest)—24 per cent.
  • Families with 4 children (including the eldest)—9 per cent.
  • Families with 5 children (including the eldest)—3½ per cent.
  • Families with 6 or more children (including the eldest)—2 per cent.


School Dental Service

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that, by the rules of the school dental service, dentists are enforcedly idle during the school holidays, as they are not allowed to take up private practice when the schools are closed; and if, in view of the fact that the dental services everywhere are in short supply, he will examine the position.

I have been asked to reply. No such rule has been made by my Department, but I am making inquiries about the general practice and will consider whether any change is desirable.

Voluntary Schools (Assistance)

asked the Minister of Education if he will now consider giving further financial assistance to non-provided schools taking into consideration that 1939 costs which are the present basis of estimates are inadequate; and if he will introduce legislation to meet the financial demands of the present Education Act.

No. The estimates which my hon. Friend has in mind were prepared as a basis for discussion only and it was made clear during the passage of the 1944 Act through Parliament that no undertaking could be given that additional assistance would be given to the voluntary schools if costs increased more than was then expected. In any case legislation of the kind suggestion would upset the balance of the 1944 settlement.

Usa (British Representation)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the total outlay in dollars on British Government representation and services; and the total numbers employed therein in the United States of America, as compared with a year ago.

The total administrative expenditure incurred by His Majesty's Government in the United States of America on all aspects of British Government representation and services is estimated at seven million dollars for 1949. This includes the cost of such bodies as the United Kingdom Delegation to the United Nations. The total number employed in the United States of America on 31st May, 1949, the latest date for which information is available, was 1,618; the corresponding figure for 31st May, 1948, was 1,682.

Day-Old Chicks (Sale)

asked the Minister of Agriculture what restrictions apply to the outdoor and indoor sale of day-old chickens in London; and whether the description "day-old" is to be taken literally as 24 hours, or broadly interpreted when the chicks are hatched in provincial hatcheries and sold in London next morning, thus exceeding 24 hours by a narrow margin.

My Department has not imposed any restriction on the sale of day-old chicks in London. The order which prohibits the sale of live poultry in London and certain other places does not apply to day-old chicks. The expression "day-old chick" is not defined in the order, but it has a generally accepted meaning in the poultry trade which does not restrict it to chicks that are literally no more than 24 hours old. An authoritative interpretation of the order can only be given by the courts, but I have no doubt that, in considering the interpretation of this expression, the courts would have regard to its generally accepted meaning in the trade.

British Investments, Usa

asked the Economic Secretary to the Treasury what is the present total of British investments in the United States of America.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for the Exchange Division of Manchester (Mr. Lever), on. 4th November, 1947.

Malaya (Casualities)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of Europeans in civilian work killed and injured in Malaya during each of the last six months; and the number of Service

Europeans in civilian work.Europeans in civilian work.Servicemen (European and non-European).Police (European and non-European).Civilian Non-Europeans domiciled in Malaya.

Post Office (Telegram Delay)

asked the Postmaster-General what were the reasons for the delay in handling a telegram, of which details have been sent to him, which was handed in at Kensington at 4.47 p.m. on 4th July and was not received in Hastings Head Post Office until 8.19 a.m. 5th July.

men, police and Malayan nationals also killed during this period.

The following are the approximate numbers of persons killed, and of European civilians injured, by bandits in Malaya during each of the last six months:

I much regret that this telegram was mishandled at the Central Telegraph Office in London, where it was not passed to an operator for onward transmission until after the Hastings office had closed. As a result of this delay, the telegram was not delivered till the next morning. Full investigation is being made into the cause of this unfortunate lapse.