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Written Answers

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 14 June 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 14th June, 1950

Trawler "Etruria" (Arrest)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now received a report from the skipper and crew of the trawler "Etruria"; and if he will make a further statement as to the circumstances in which the trawler was boarded by a Russian crew.

Yes. A formal investigation into the arrest of the steam trawler "Etruria" was held in Grimsby on 9th June by an independent board set up by the United Navigation Committee, representing the owners and insurance companies at the port. According to the evidence given by the skipper at the investigation, the trawler when arrested by the Soviet authorities was not within three miles of the Soviet coast; but the board found that the method adopted by the master of the vessel in fixing his position was liable to error. In the circumstances the owners do not propose to appeal against the conviction and sentence.

Food Supplies

Pigs (Innkeepers And Caterers)


asked the Minister of Food if he is aware of the hardship caused to innkeepers and other caterers in having to surrender to his Department half the carcase of a bacon pig fed by them; and if he will modify the present regulations.

It is still necessary to share our supplies of pork and bacon fairly over the whole population. I do not think the present arrangements are unreasonable, and I am not prepared to change them at present. If I did I would be extending the area of hardship from caterers and innkeepers to the consumer.

Marzipan Imports


asked the Minister of Food why he imports marzipan from Denmark rather than import the sugar and almonds to make it in this country.

I am already buying all the sugar I can; these imports by private traders represent an addition to our food supplies, and we would get no more sugar by prohibiting them.

Buildings (Construction)

asked the Minister of Food the capital sum involved in expenditure authorised for the current financial year by his Department for the construction of buildings for food concerns in Great Britain; and how the authorised sum is divided between England and Wales, and Scotland, respectively.

Imported Rabbits

asked the Minister of Food how much money was spent last year and so far this year upon imported rabbits; and opproximately how much has so far been received for those that have been sold.

The cost of buying imported rabbits, including the estimated cost of receiving, storage and delivery was £5,910,551 in the year ended 31st December, 1949, and £652,983 in the four months ended 30th April, 1950. Receipts from sales during the same periods were £5,183,185 and £974,649 respectively.

Fruit Pulps

asked the Minister of Food what were the amounts of fruit pulp manufactured in Great Britain during the years 1945 to 1949, inclusive; and what were the amounts imported from abroad during those years.

According to my Department's records, the quantities of fruit pulps manufactured in Great Britain and imported into the United Kingdom during the years 1945 to 1949, were as follows:

YearsFruit pulps manufactured in Great BritainFruit pulps imported into the United Kingdom*
'000 tons'000 tons
* Figures of imports for Great Britain alone are not separately distinguished.

West Indian Sugar (Negotiations)

asked the Minister of Food if he will make a further statement on his negotiations with the West Indian sugar delegation.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs and I have had two meetings with the West Indian delegation and another will take place on Friday. I would rather say nothing more at present.

Television (Motor Vehicles, Suppressors)

asked the Postmaster-General whether, in order to help television reception, he will now introduce legislation making suppressors in motor vehicles compulsory.

During the passage of the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1949, my predecessor undertook to proceed as far as possible by voluntary cooperation. The Standing Joint Committee of the Automobile Association, the Royal Automobile Club and the Royal Scottish Automobile Club have now given support for a policy of taking voluntary action for the suppression of motor vehicle ignition systems. I am glad to see that the Automobile Association has issued a circular to its members to this effect; and I hope that all motor owners and manufacturers will respond quickly to this appeal. It is not proposed to take legislative action until I see what progress is made by this means.

Post Office

Air Mail Stamps

asked the Postmaster-General what is the estimated revenue in any recent year from air mail stamps; and how much was paid out in the same year for the carriage of mail by air.

Special air mail stamps are not issued by the British Post Office; but receipts in 1949–50 from all class of mails carried by air were about £7,950,000. Payments for air conveyance were about £5,750,000 and the relative Post Office handling costs were about £2,100,000.

Telephone Applications, Darwen

asked the Postmaster-General what, as at the most recent convenient date, were the total number of persons in the Borough of Darwen whose names were outstanding as having applied for the installation of a telephone; and what were the comparable figures for the same dates in 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949.

The Borough of Darwen is served mainly by the Darwen exchange, for which the particulars requested are as follows:

DateApplications Outstanding
1st April, 194554
1st April, 194687
1st April, 1947163
1st April, 1948150
1st April, 1949160
1st April, 1950158

Registered Letters And Parcels

asked the Postmaster-General how many registered letters and parcels were sent by post in each of the years 1936 to 1939 and 1946 to 1949; what proportion was lost; and how much was paid in compensation in each year

YearPostingsNumber of Claims paidAmount of CompensationClaims paid expressed as percentage of total traffic
*The figures for 1949–50 are provisional.
YearPostingsNumber of Claims paidAmount of CompensationClaims paid expressed as percentage of total traffic
*The figures for 1949–50 are provisional.

Festival Of Britain (Overseas Visitors)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is proposing to take, either by the issue of lists of approved hotels or otherwise, to help visitors to the Festival of Britain to avoid being charged unreasonable prices for food and accommodation.

As the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay) was informed on 18th May last, the London

Statistics relating to inland postings and to claims for total loss paid in the years mentioned are as follows:Hotels Information Service will give overseas visitors to the Festival of Britain information about available accommodation, in all categories of hotel and boarding house. The Information Service will' ensure that establishments on their list provide a reasonable standard of accommodation and service. The prices quoted will be those shown in the published tariffs of the hotels on the list, and any allegation of unfair prices will be investigated by the Service.