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Written Answers

Volume 477: debated on Friday 21 July 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 21st July, 1950

West Indies (Lime Trees)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been make in investigating the dying-out of lime trees in the West Indies; and whether any remedy is now being applied to prevent this disease.

I am consulting the Governors concerned and will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Food Supplies

Imported Pork

asked the Minister of Food how far he anticipates any substantial improvement in the supply of imported pork or pig products in the next three months.

Not to any extent, although of course there may be variations, in the supply of some types.

Poultry

asked the Minister of Food if, in view of the introduction of an open general licence for imported table poultry, what steps have been taken to maintain a reasonable price level for the home producer.

Shops Act

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when legislation will be introduced to amend the Shops Acts, in the light of the recommendations of the Gowers Committee; and if he will give an assurance that he will consult with the various interests in the distributive trade before such legislation is introduced.

I recognize the importance of this matter and am keeping it in view, but regret that I cannot at present say when it will be practicable to introduce amending legislation. I am glad to give the assurance for which my hon. Friend asks in the second part of the Question.

National Finance

Old Age Pensioners (Wireless Licences)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the national revenue of giving old age pensioners an annual remission in the tax on wireless licences of £1 to 10s.

Tobacco (Duty)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the net amount of duty collected at full and preferential rates on cigar and cigar leaf withdrawn from bond and retained for consumption in the United Kingdom for each of the five financial years ended 31st March, 1946, to 1950.

Cigar leaf is not distinguished for duty purposes from leaf used for making other tobacco products, and this part of the information requested is, therefore, not available. As regards imported cigars, particulars of duty receipts are set out in the following table:

Financial year ended 31st MarchNet receipts of duty in respect of imported cigars retained for home consumption
FullPreferential
££
194641,716304,995
194797,888636,714
1948181,2321,025,959
1949120,643380,497
195094,786495,762

Education

Special Responsibility Posts

asked the Minister of Education whether he is satisfied that the present system of posts of special responsibility is desired by the greater part of the teachers themselves and that the method of distributing the posts meets with general approval.

It is my duty to see that remuneration of teachers is considered by committees consisting of persons appointed by bodies representing local education authorities and teachers respectively, and these committees make representations to me about salary scales for teachers. I have no doubt that the Teachers' Panel of the Burnham Committee is fully informed of the views of the teachers. Provision for posts of special responsibility is made in the current Burnham reports on salaries for teachers in primary and secondary schools and in further education establishments. As the hon. Member knows, the Burnham Committee is sitting at present and I expect that this will be among the questions which they are considering.

Parents (Financial Assistance)

asked the Minister of Education whether, in order to relieve the pressure on the teachers and reduce the size of classes in day schools, he will consider encouraging local education authorities to make grants not exceeding the amount which it is estimated would normally be expended by the local education authorities on a child attending a day school, to parents whose child has been offered a place at a boarding school which cannot be accepted without some financial assistance.

In general, the places available to an authority in its own maintained and in any accessible direct grant schools should enable effect to be given to parents' wishes and the only circumstances in which I consider that authorities may assume responsibility for independent school fees without regard to parents' means are where the facilities provided by the authority are insufficient educationally. Otherwise, in view of the terms of Section 81 of the Education Act of 1944, any assistance by an authority with the fees at independent schools, whether day or boarding, should be on an income basis. I could not sanction flat rate grants based on the assumed cost of tuition in a maintained day school.

Road Schemes, Scotland

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give for each county mentioned in Appendix B to Command Paper No. 7976 the proportion which has already been expended of the estimated cost of road improvements under the crofter counties and trunk roads schemes as shown in that appendix.

Of the estimated cost of the schemes in Inverness about 10 per cent. has been spent; in Orkney, 78 per cent.; in Ross and Cromarty, 17 per cent.; in Sutherland, 7 per cent. None of the listed schemes in Argyll has yet been commenced.

Bridge, Lincolnshire

asked the Minister of Works when it is proposed to start work on rebuilding the bridge connecting land in the occupation of Mr. G. E. Holmes of Burgh-le-Marsh, Lincolnshire, with the public highway.

I hope that it will be possible to replace the bridge towards the end of the year.