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Written Answers

Volume 477: debated on Tuesday 4 July 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 4th July, 1950

Service Pensions And Gratuities


asked the Minister of Pensions how long usually elapses between the discharge of Regular members of His Majesty's Forces and the first payment of their pensions and the payment of their gratuities.

Where the member is invalided and the invaliding disability is accepted as due to service, payment of disablement pension usually follows immediately on or a short period after the cessation of Service pay. As regards Service pensions and Service gratuities, this is a matter for my right hon. Friends the Service Ministers.

British Army (Jamaicans, Enlistment)


asked the Secretary of State for War why 140 Jamaicans who enlisted under the impression that they were joining the Regular Army 1946 Short-Term Service Scheme, have now been informed that they have enlisted under special contract, which involves reduced pay and conditions of leave; and whether he will take steps to end this racial discrimination.

I am not aware of the cases referred to or of any reductions in pay or worsening in leave conditions for the soldiers in the Jamaica Battalion or in other local units. But if my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of the cases he has in mind, I will have them examined and will communicate with him.

National Insurance (Pneumoconiosis)


asked the Minister of National Insurance what are the administrative difficulties which prevent her from abolishing the five-year time limit for miner's pneumoconiosis compensation.

I am not sure that the hon. Member appreciates that, as the Workmen's Compensation Acts have been repealed, further legislation—which would have to operate retrospectively—would be needed.




asked the Minister of Labour what provision he has made for the employment of manual and clerical workers who suffer from epilepsy but are otherwise capable of taking their normal part in industry.

Sufferers from epilepsy, like other handicapped persons, can readily get advice and guidance about their employment difficulties from disablement resettlement officers who have been able by special approach to employers to place a considerable number in suitable employment. To assist in this work explanatory notes about epilepsy have been issued by my Department to employers for their information and guidance. A number of the more severe cases have been placed in employment under sheltered conditions in Remploy factories.

Building Industry

asked the Minister of Labour what was the number of unemployed of each of the principal grades of the building industry on the nearest convenient date.

The following table gives the information desired:

Numbers of unemployed persons on the registers of employment exchanges in Great Britain at 15th May, 1950, whose last employment was in the building industry.
Slaters and tillers133
Painters and decorators1,858
Plumbers and glaziers647
All other occupations18,386


asked the Minister of Labour to the nearest convenient date the number of unemployed at Southampton classified according to trades with the percentage of unemployed in each trade.

The following table shows the numbers of persons registered as unemployed at employment exchanges in Southampton at 12th June, 1950, and those numbers expressed as percentages of the estimated total numbers of employees in the area at July, 1948. Estimates of the total numbers of employees are not yet available for any later date, and the percentage figures must, therefore, be regarded as rough approximations only.

NumberApproximate Percentage
Shipbuilding and ship repairing3213
Manufacture and repair of aircraft241
Civil Engineering Contracting383
Sea Transport1331
Distributive trades1101
National Government Service291
Local government service261
Professional services361
Catering, hotels, etc.1454
Laundries and dry cleaning232
All other industries and services4111
Total all industries and services1,3842

National Finance

Government Messengers (Wages)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what weekly wages are paid to the messengers employed in Government Departments; and what extra payment was made following the extension of their working hours from 44 to 45½ a week.

The weekly wage of non-industrial messengers employed in Government Departments is 100s. a week on entry, rising to 103s. after one year's service.No extra payment is paid to messengers working 45½ hours a week; messengers are not entitled to overtime payment unless they work 48 hours a week gross, and any messengers who work less than 48 hours a week gross are, in fact, enjoying better terms than their conditions of service provide.

Dog Licences, Durham


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction in the County of Durham about the present method of taking out dog licences; that many people have received intimation that unless they pay the mitigated penalties in the notice within ten days, a summons will be taken out against them; and if he will consider in future giving due notice to owners of dogs when their licence is due similar to the method adopted for wireless licence and Income Tax.

Certain representations have been received on this matter from persons in the county of Durham. but the action taken by the county council is within their discretion and I am not in a position to intervene.

Trade And Commerce

Printed Designs (Infringements)


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the concern in Lancashire regarding Japanese infringement of printed designs; what representation the Government have made; and whether he will consider the setting up of a Government-controlled organisation similar to the trade marks section of his Department.

In all the cases brought to our notice of Japanese imitation of British designs, representations have been made to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers. Where the complaint has been found to be justified, further use of the design has been stopped. Two of the British members of the recent Anglo-American Textile Mission to Japan discussed this question with representatives of the Japanese industry and with the patents and designs section of the Supreme Commander's administration, and they are reporting to the appropriate sections of the Lancashire industry on the results of their discussions. I understand that the improvements which it is proposed to introduce are reasonably satisfactory.

Soviet Timber (British Vessels)


asked the President of the Board of Trade what arrangements have been made in connection with the prospective purchase of timber from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to secure to British vessels a proportion of the carrying of this timber; and what is to be the proportion.

In accordance with normal procedure, chartering will be effected by the Timber Control in the open market. The proportion of British ships employed will depend on offers received from British shipowners.

Newsprint Supplies


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is yet in a position to make a statement on the imports of newsprint from Canada for 1951.

As my right hon. Friend announced on 29th June in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend, the Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery), we are authorising the provision of dollars for the importation of 37,500 tons of Canadian newsprint during the first half of 1951. No decision has yet been taken about the second half year.

Film Control Order


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether in view of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of British Movietonews Limited v London and District Cinemas Limited. he will now rescind the Cinematograph Film (Control) Order. 1943.

The decision of the Court of Appeal in the case to which the hon. Member refers would not appear to affect the validity of the Cinematograph Film (Control) Order, 1943, the purpose of which is to regulate the supply of cinematograph film raw stock, and I see no reason why it should be rescinded. However, as I told the hon. and learned Member for Northwich (Mr.J.Foster) on 20th June, my right hon. Friend has for some time been examining the practicability of revoking the Order. In the light of the present raw stock supply prospects, he expects to be able to do so within the next three months.

Gas Bomb Stocks, Forest Of Dean


asked the Minister of Supply what steps he is taking to dispose of the remaining stocks of poison gas still in the Forest of Dean; and when the last lot is likely to be disposed of and this part of the forest reopened to the public.

The disposal of gas bombs has been completed and derequisitioning of the area concerned is almost complete.

Overhead Electricity Cables (Regulations)

asked the Minister of Transport what are the present regulations regarding the height of overhead electricity cables which cross navigable rivers.

So far as tidal waters are concerned, Section 34 of the Coast Protection Act, 1949, provides that my prior consent is required to any works, including electricity cables, over any part of the seashore below high water mark of ordinary spring tides if they are likely to cause obstruction or danger to navigation. Since 1922 special Orders made under the Electricity (Supply) Acts also include a section providing that the undertaker shall not construct works over the shores of tidal waters without my consent. In giving my consent it is my practice to specify a height which will avoid interference with navigation. I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power that the Overhead Line Regulations, ELC. 53 (1947 Revised) prescribe certain minimum heights for general observance, but not specifically in relation to navigable waters.

Town And Country Planning

New Town Board, Bracknell

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning the names of the members of the Bracknell New Town Development Corporation Board the dates of their appointments; and their remuneration.

This Corporation was appointed on the 21st October, 1949. For the other particulars asked for, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) on 23rd May, 1950.

Bombed Cities (Reconstruction)

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning if he will give the names of the provincial bombed cities which will benefit from the local authorities reconstruction programme announced on 20th June.

I shall not be in a position to give this information till I have received and considered the reports called for from the cities.

Development Areas Treasury Advisory Committee

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what is the total sum which the Development Areas Treasury Advisory Committee has so far agreed to lend; how much of this has already been advanced; with how many separate concerns arrangements have been made; and what bad debts have been incurred.

The figures as at 1st July are as follow:

Agreements completed1,988,200
Loans approved, but agreements still to be completed211,000
Total commitment2,199,200
Cash advances1,759,050
Number of undertakings43
Amount finally written off£21,600

Mental Defectives, Huddersfield

asked the Minister of Health what arrangements are now made for the admission of Huddersfield mental defectives to institutions.

Particulars of mental defectives requiring institutional care are referred by the Huddersfield local health authority to the Leeds Regional Hospital Board, who are responsible for providing such accommodation in their hospital area.

Housing, Stockton

asked the Minister of Health what was the allocation of houses for the Stockton Rural District Council for the period of 1949 and 1950; what was the actual number of houses built by this authority; and if he is satisfied with the rate of progress.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 28th April to the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Hardy), on the general subject of allocations, of which I am sending him a copy.

Emergency Teachers

asked the Minister of Education the number of emergency trained teachers who have received appointments with the following education authorities to the nearest convenient date: London, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Essex, respectively.

The numbers of emergency trained teachers in service on 1st June, 1950, with the local education authorities named were:


Agriculture (Hostels)

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he is taking to reduce the average deficit of 19s. per week per head on the running of agricultural hostels.

I am taking all practicable steps consistent with the maintenance of reasonable standards, to achieve economical administration in the C.A.E.C. hostel service, while the number of hostel residents and hostels is being steadily reduced. The charge which may be made to residents is determined by Orders of the Agricultural Wages Board.

Hong Kong (Refugees)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the present situation in Hong Kong with special reference to the numbers of refugees who have arrived, and are still arriving, in the Colony, with consequent heavy increases in the cost of local administration and of the various services; and what steps are being taken to meet this exceptional expenditure from local sources or from United Kingdom funds.

It is estimated that about half a million refugees have arrived in Hong Kong during the past two years and that the total population is now about 2,300,000. The strain which this influx imposed on the Colony, particularly as regards living accommodation, necessitated the introduction in May of further immigration control measures which have now succeeded in stemming the influx. All social services are still over-taxed, but they are being expanded as rapidly as possible to meet the needs of the present situation; the cost is being met from local resources as part of the normal cost of administration. Additional welfare services are, however, being provided by local Chinese organisations.