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Written Answers

Volume 478: debated on Wednesday 25 October 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 25th October, 1950

Colonial Empire

Corona Club And Periodical


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how much public funds are spent on the Corona Club and the "Corona" periodical.

No public funds are spent on the Corona Club. A grant of £1,890 has been made from Colonial Development and Welfare funds towards the cost of the periodical "Corona" during the current financial year. In 1949–50 a grant of £1,997 was made and in 1948–49 a grant of £809.

Economic Survey

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when it will be possible to publish a new edition of the Economic Survey of the Colonies.

A new edition of the Economic Survey of the Colonial Territories is being prepared. It is to be published in sections, the first of which will, I hope, be available early next year.

Falkland Islands (Legislative Council)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the operation of the Falkland Island (Legislative Council) (Amendment) Order in Council, 1950, has been frustrated by the presence of foreign troops in part of this Colony.

Not at all. There are no foreign troops in the Colony. The hon. Member may have in mind the Falkland Island Dependencies, to which however this order does not apply.

African Colonies (Executive Councils)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will consider extending to African Colonies, notably Northern Rhodesia, the principle which is being introduced into the administration of the Windward Islands, namely, that all members of the Legislative Councils shall vote for the selection of their representatives on the Executive Council.

As far as the East and Central African territories are concerned, I do not consider that at present a change should be made on the lines suggested. As regards West Africa, under the new constitutional arrangements for the Gold Coast members of the Executive Council will be selected by the Governor subject to a favourable vote in the Legislative Council.

West Indies (Forestry Policy, Dominica)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what area of Dominica is being reserved as permanent forest; whether adequate staff is available for its management; and whether it is proposed to publish a forestry programme for the Colony.

Dominica's forestry policy is based upon a Report by the Conservator of Forests, Trinidad, contained in Bulletin No. 11 published by the Development and Welfare Organisation, West Indies, and of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy. Adequate staff is being recruited to survey Crown Lands. Squatters on them will then be resettled and forest reserves will be defined. The area of the reserves cannot be determined until survey and resettlement are completed, but they will include the central forests and any necessary subsidiary catchment areas.

British Honduras (Maya Welfare Officer)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in the appointment of a Maya welfare officer in British Honduras.

Provision for this post has been made in the Colony's draft long-term development plan, which is now under consideration.

Royal Navy

Explosion, Portsmouth Harbour (Report)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what has been the outcome of the investigations conducted into the explosions in Portsmouth dockyards; and what steps are being taken to prevent a recurrence of further sabotage in dockyards.

In answer to the first part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the statement which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made on this subject on 24th July last. As already announced to the House, the Board of Inquiry which was appointed to investigate this matter has now presented its final report but it is not the intention to publish it. As regards the second part of the Question, it would not be in the public interest to disclose the measures which have been taken to improve the security of Admiralty establishments.

Recruiting Service (Conditions)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether any decision has yet been reached on improving the conditions of service of the Royal Naval and Royal Marine recruiting service.

I hope it will be possible to make a very early announcement on this matter.

Foreign Vessels (British Colours)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty what information he has regarding the use of the British flag by foreign yachts or small craft in the Mediterranean for purposes of smuggling; and whether he will take action to terminate this.

It is believed that foreign vessels have improperly used British colours when smuggling but they have been careful not to be caught wearing them. If a foreigner does masquerade under the British flag his ship becomes forfeit under British law and subject to seizure; but the difficulties in catching such people out, and proving the offence, are extreme.

Shipyards, Lowestoft (Orders)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many vessels, new and for reconditioning, have been allocated to shipyards in Lowestoft under the new re-armament programme; and with what firms these contracts have been placed.

Orders for building two coastal minesweepers have been placed with Richards Ironworks, and three inshore minesweepers with Brooke Marine.

Dummy Deck Landing Practices, Lee


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty why continuous dummy deck landing practice is now being carried out at the Royal Naval Air Station, Lee on Solent, in contravention of an undertaking given to a local school that this extremely noisy practice would cease as soon as the Royal Naval Air Station. Ford, became serviceable.

The Headmaster of the School was told in June, 1949, that it was intended to move the dummy deck landing practices to another air station. He was at the same time warned that this did not mean that there would never be any more dummy deck landing at Lee. Although much of this form of flying was transferred, it has proved impossible to avoid some training at Lee and the Headmaster's Solicitors were so told in January, 1950. This flying is periodical and not continuous. Whilst I fully recognise and regret the inconvenience it causes such flying is essential for defence purposes.

United Nations (Day Of Prayer)


asked the Prime Minister what support His Majesty's Government are giving to the national day of prayer for the United Nations and world peace, which is being arranged by the leaders of the Churches on Sunday 29th October.

I am aware that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, together with the heads of other Churches, have issued a call for the nation-wide observance of next Sunday. 29th October, as a day of prayer for peace and for the United Nations, His Majesty's Government have the fullest sympathy with this appeal and hope that it will meet with a wide response.

Festival Of Britain


asked the Lord President of the Council how much public money is being spent upon the experiments being arranged to send radar messages to the moon from the Festival of Britain.

The equipment which will enable visitors at the South Bank Exhibition to see the reflection of radar signals from the moon will cost £25,000. This display will certainly be attractive and informative to the general public; but, as well as this, its unique equipment will make possible the next stage in the practical development of radar astronomy. Britain, at present, leads the world in this important subject of research—indeed, the South Bank equipment itself will be used during the exhibition for serious research purposes as well as for interesting the public. After the closing of the exhibition it will be devoted wholly to scientific use. I would add that the necessity of building such an equipment for scientific purposes had been established quite independently of any exhibition requirements.


asked the Lord President of the Council whether the admission fee of 5s. to the Festival of Britain will include admission to the side shows on the South Bank; and also whether the fee to enter the amusement park at Battersea will also cover the side shows.

As already announced, the prices of admission (except on Tuesday) to the South Bank Exhibition—to which I assume the hon. Member refers—will be 4s. through the turnstiles and 5s. if a ticket guaranteeing entry is purchased in advance. Children five years old and under 15 will be admitted at half price. Except for the Telecinema there will be no supplementary charges for any display, feature, demonstration or musical performance within the Exhibition. At Battersea, the Amusement Park will occupy an area of one-fifth of the whole Festival Pleasure Gardens. The price of admission to the Gardens will be 2s., or, if an advance ticket is purchased 2s. 6d. Children under 15 will be admitted at half price. Throughout the Pleasure Gardens there will be a variety of entertainments which will be free to all who have paid the price of admission, and will be ample to keep them amused without any necessity for further payments. There will be no additional fee for entering the Amusement Park but the Amusement Park will, of course, include all the usual features, including side-shows, for which the customary charge will be made.

asked the Lord President of the Council if he will arrange with the appropriate authority for a plan of the amusement arrangements being provided in Battersea Park for the Festival of Britain to be displayed in the Tea Room.

Yes. A plan showing the complete layout of the Festival Pleasure Gardens in Battersea Park, including the amusement arrangements, is being prepared and will be displayed in the Tea Room as soon as possible.

Armed Forces

National Service Men (Civilian Outfits)


asked the Minister of Defence if, in view of the increase in service for conscripts, he will now consider granting to all National Service men on the completion of their two years in the Forces, a complete civilian outfit free of charge.

No. I do not consider that this is a sufficient reason for altering the decision announced by my predecessor on 30th March last year.

Equipment (Standardisation)


asked the Minister of Defence whether he has considered the advisability of some measure of standardisation of equipment, organisation and staff methods in the various national forces which may have to work together in Western European defence; and how far agreement has been reached to give effect to any such policy of standardisation.

The promotion of the standardisation of equipment, organisation, and staff methods has been one of the agreed objectives of the defence organisations set up, first under the Brussels Treaty, and subsequently under the North Atlantic Treaty. The military planning staffs have already made good progress on specific aspects of the general standardisation problem.

Regular Recruitment


asked the Minister of Defence how many Regular recruits have been accepted for His Majesty's Forces since the pay increases were announced; and how soon he expects these new enlistments to be sufficient to enable him to release Regulars whose service has been compulsorily extended.

I have given the figures requested by the hon. Member in my

1st June, 1950
OwnedRequisitioned under D.R.51Training Rights under D.R.52Total
Royal Navy42,75011,40015,60069,750
Royal Air Force161,50057,3001,950220,750
1st September, 1950
OwnedRequisitioned under D.R.51Training Rights under D.R.52Total
Royal Navy42,80011,40015,60069,800
Royal Air Force163,60051,4001,950216,950
NOTE.—On both dates the Services rented or leased a total of 57,000 acres, a part of which was used for training.

Western European Defence


asked the Minister of Defence how far definite plans have been made and agreed on with the allied

answer to the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) this afternoon. As regards the second part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Portsmouth, West, (Brigadier Clarke) last Wednesday.

Service Departments (Land)

asked the Minister of Defence the total acreage of land owned by each of the three Service Departments on 1st June, 1950, and 1st September, 1950; the total acreage held on requisition on the same dates; and the total acreage of land over which training rights existed on those dates.

Details of the approximate acreages of land held by the Service Departments on 1st June, 1950, and 1st September, 1950, are given in the following table:nations as regards the contingents to be furnished by them for Western European defence; and as to the assembly and initial action of such contingents in case of war.

This is a matter which is being closely studied by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the statement I made during the Defence Debate on 14th September. With regard to the last part of the Question, I can assure the House that plans are being concerted with our Allies, but it would clearly not be in the interests of security for me to say more than that.

Food Supplies

Danish Butter


asked the Minister of Food what progress has been made in negotiations with the Danish Government for further supplies of butter for this country.

We have a long-term contract with Denmark up till 1955. Under this contract we have agreed to take 75 per cent. of her exportable surplus of butter up to a limit in any year of 115,000 tons (which is the average of our pre-war imports from her). It is provided that prices will not be varied up or down by more than 7½ per cent. in any one year. For the year 1950–51 the Danes have asked for an increase of 7½ per cent. which we have not been able to agree to. Shipments are, however, continuing uninterrupted.

Form Rg 5A


asked the Minister of Food why solicitors are not included in the list of witnesses to signatures of Form R.G. 5A, Application for Replacement of Ration Document.

This list is not exhaustive; it is just intended to illustrate the kind of responsible person whose signature is acceptable. But I shall be glad to consider including solicitors when the form is reprinted.

Canned Brisling And Sild


asked the Minister of Food how long stocks of canned brisling and sild now held by his Department will last based upon the most recentestimate of consumption which is available.

I cannot give such a forecast, since obviously the rate of sale may vary considerably according to the supply of other foods and variations in public demand.



asked the Minister of Food if, in view of the official estimate that there are plenty of good quality apples available, he will limit imports until such time as the main home crop has been marketed.

The submission in the Question is precisely what I am doing and propose to do. No apples have been imported since the end of July and, may I add, in view of the hon. Member's supplementary question on 18th September, he will be interested to know that those imported in July were Australian and New Zealand apples and not Italian apples as he said. Apart from a comparatively small supply of dessert apples which I hope will arrive from Canada in time for Christmas, no further imports will be permitted until the New Year when the great bulk of the homegrown crop will have been marketed.



asked the Minister of Food what steps he is taking to increase the number of licensed slaughterhouses; and how many does he plan to have in operation by 29th September, 1951.

We have already, as a result of a survey made during the summer, brought nine extra slaughterhouses into use. We are encouraging local authorities to build slaughterhouses at certain places where existing facilities are seriously inadequate and where there seems to be a permanent need for additional ones, and we are also building two model slaughterhouses at Fareham and Guildford. In reply to the second part of the Question I should not like to make any forecast at this stage; and in any case it is not the number of slaughterhouses but their capacity and location which counts.

Home-Grown Meat


asked the Minister of Food the comparative quantities of home-grown meat available for slaughter as at 29th September, 1939, 1945 and 1950; what percentage of these livestock were slaughtered; and what factors are preventing a higher proportion from being killed and thus increasing the meat ration.

Information as to the numbers sold in the last week of September, 1939, is not available but I give below the numbers of home-fed animals purchased by my Department in the last week of September, 1945 and 1950. All stock is normally slaughtered within a few days of purchase and no meat has been lost to the ration because we could not accept stock from farmers.

Following is the information:

The numbers of stock purchased by the Ministry of Food in Great Britain are as follow:

CattleCalvesSheep and LambsPigs

Russian Crabmeat


asked the Minister of Food what was the cost of transporting Russian crabmeat to the United States of America and back to England; and how he proposes to recover the cost.

We do not yet know what our total liability may be, but we expect to sell the goods without loss.

Surplus Fat


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that butchers' shops all over the country are overstocked with surplus fat: and what he proposes to do about it.

I have received some complaints that butchers cannot always sell surplus fat at the maximum retail prices but we have seen no evidence to suggest that their shops are overstocked. Before I look into this problem—as I will—I would like more detailed evidence from the hon. Member.

Butchers (Deposits)


asked the Minister of Food why his Department has demanded a deposit from butchers for a week's permit of meat in the North of Scotland Wholesale Meat Supplies Association's area.

This request was made, not by my Department, but by the North of Scotland Wholesale Meat Supply Association Ltd., who, as our agents, must be free to adopt this generally accepted method of protecting themselves against possible defaults in payment.

Sausages (Price Increases)


asked the Minister of Food whether he will decontrol the price of sausages.

No. I am sure that it would be unwise to do this at present. At the same time I have decided to allow certain increases in the present maximum retail prices so as to enable increased costs of production to be met and better quality pork sausages to be made. The minimum meat content of pork sausages will be increased to 65 per cent. which is about pre-war standard; the retail price for these sausages will go up to 1s. 10½d. a lb. There will be no change in the 50 per cent. minimum meat content of beef sausages but, because of the increased costs which I have mentioned, the price will go up by 1d. to 1s. 4d. a lb. I shall be making the necessary order next week. These changes cannot obviously, in themselves, increase the quantity of good quality pork sausages available—this depends on the supply position. In fact there may even be a small reduction, since more meat will now be needed to make the same quantity of sausages.



asked the Minister of Food whether he has decided to purchase the consignment of sugar he has been offered from France.


asked the Minister of Food whether the Government will negotiate for the supplies of sugar from the dollar sources in terms of sterling in the same successful manner that supplies of dollar petrol were obtained for sterling, with a view to ensuring the cessation of sugar rationing.

The circumstances in the case of petrol were quite exceptional and in no way form a precedent. I can assure the hon. Member that we will bear this suggestion in mind, but there are, in the case of sugar, serious disadvantages in arrangements of this kind.

Butchers' Profits


asked the Minister of Food what reply he has given to the request made to him by the National Federation of Meat Traders Association that he should make a practical demonstration how butchers can make a profit with present costs; and, if so, what reply he has given to this request.

The costings investigation on which my Department relies reflects the actual profits earned by butchers over an agreed period. The National Federation has been told of this several times.

Nigerian Products (Prices)


asked the Minister of Food on what date he is opening his negotiations with Sir Sydney Phillipson on the prices paid by his Department to Nigerian farmers for their products; and whether representatives of the Nigerian farmers will be present to state their case.

These negotiations are starting today. I understand that Sir Sydney Phillipson will be accompanied by six African members of the Nigerian Marketing Boards.

Ewe Mutton

asked the Minister of Food how much old ewe mutton was bought in the last 12 months; whether all of this has now been sold; whether it was all classified as B quality; and if all of it was accepted by the butchers.

About 73,000 tons of all qualities of ewe mutton were imported in the 12 months July, 1949—June, 1950, the latest complete year for which figures are available. Some of this is still in store, since the ration is mainly made up with home-killed meat at this time of year. All imported ewe mutton issued to butchers for ration purposes should be sold at second quality prices. While individual butchers have been reluctant to accept some of the ewe mutton for the ration, all that has been offered has been sold.

Meat (Quality)

asked the Minister of Food whether butchers, when inferior quality meat is allocated to them, are free to change it or to refuse to take it.

All meat issued for the ration is graded as suitable for that purpose before issue. A butcher who disagrees with the grading may appeal to the district meat agent who is himself a practical butcher. If the retailer's appeal is upheld a replacement is arranged; if the appeal is not upheld and the butcher refuses to accept the meat then no replacement is given.

Chocolate And Sugar Confectionery

asked the Minister of Food when he expects to be able to remove or substantially to modify the present restrictions upon the issue of licences to people wishing to manufacture chocolate and sugar confectionery.

New licences to make chocolate and sugar confectionery are issued freely but I cannot supply sugar or other controlled materials with them, and they allow the use only of the uncontrolled materials available on the open market. The provision of additional sugar for manufacturers, including newcomers, will, I am afraid, have to wait until it is possible to increase the domestic ration.


asked the Minister of Food whether he is satisfied that supplies of poultry this winter will be sufficient to guarantee adequate supplies at reasonable prices.

The quantity of home-produced poultry should be about the same as last year but for a number of reasons imports are likely to be much less than we should wish. Poultry is now decontrolled and I cannot give any estimates of prices.

Retail Prices

asked the Minister of Food whether he will give a list of the retail prices for the principal foodstuffs at the latest convenient date, together with a list of prices prevailing in 1945.

CommodityUnitRetail Price at 20/10/45Retail Price at 20/10/50
Bacon (Smoked in Slices)1 lb.1s. 5d to 2s. 4d.1s. 8d. to 3s. 1d.
(Prices for green bacon 1d. per lb. less)
Bread3½ lbs.8d.11d.
Butter1 lb.1s. 8d.2s. 0d.
Cheese (Ration)1 lb.1s. 1d.1s. 2d.
Eggs (Shell)1 doz.1s. 6d. to 2s. 0d.*2s. 6d. to 4s. 6d.
Flour (Plain and National)7 lbs.1s. 5½d.1s. 9d.
Flour (Self-Raising)7 lbs.2s. 0½d.2s. 4d.
Margarine (Special)1 lb.9d.10d.
Meat (Scrag End of Mutton to Rump or Fillet Steak)1 lb.4d. to 2s. 2d.8d. to 2s. 8d.
Milk, Ordinary (whether Pasteurised or not)1 quart9d.10d.
Potatoes7 lbs.7d. to 10d.9d. to 1s. 1d
Sugar (Granulated)1 lb.4d.5d.
Teat†1 lb.2s. 6d. to 3s. 6d.2s. 10d. to 3s. 10d.
* These are peak prices. Prices are now adjusted throughout the year according to seasonal supplies. The lowest prices in 1950 were from 1s. 6d. to 3s. 0d.
† A small proportion of high quality teas, less than 2 per cent. of the total, sold at prices higher than 3s. 6d. and 3s. 10d., respectively.


Forces, Malaya (News)


asked the Postmaster-General if he will consider arranging for broadcasts of recordings made by men on the spot, dealing with the Army and the Royal Air Force in Malaya, on the lines of broadcasts given of the Allied Armies in France and Germany.

These arrangements are a matter for the B.B.C., but I understand that the Corporation proposes to cover Malaya in their news service on the basis of news agency material and despatches from time to time from a Special Correspondent. The Corporation has recently appointed a regular correspondent based at Singapore. It is in regular touch with the War Office and takes every opportunity of getting stories from men who have returned from Malaya to this country.

Reception, South-East England


asked the Postmaster-General whether he will make a further statement about plans to improve radio reception, especially of the British Broadcasting Corporation's services, in south-east England.

The B.B.C. is aware that in some areas, including parts of the south-east of England, reception of one or more of the programmes is not entirely satisfactory but because of the wavelength changes made last March, the full extent of the problem will not be known until winter conditions have been experienced. The B.B.C. will then be able to review the problem and consider what steps may be desirable and practicable to improve reception. Conditions in south-east England and other poor reception areas will be included in this review.

Telephone Service

Proposed Exchange, Disley


asked the Postmaster-General if he will reconsider his decision regarding the erection of a telephone exchange in Stanley Hall Lane, Disley; and if he will bear in mind that the proposed site is agricultural land situated in an essentially rural area.

I am looking into this matter again and will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Kiosk, Aldersley


asked the Postmaster-General when he proposes to install a telephone kiosk at Blakeley Green, Aldersley, as no public telephone facilities are available in this area, the nearest public telephone being 10 minutes walk away, where people often have to queue for its use.

The provision of this telephone kiosk is already in hand, and I hope that it will be brought into service during the next few weeks.



asked the Postmaster-General when sufficient labour is likely to be available for the installation of telephones to those requiring them.

Expenditure on labour and stores for installing telephones has to be met from the limited capital resources available to the Post Office. So long as these resources continue to be restricted, I regret that I cannot say when all outstanding demands for service will be completed.

Applications, Selby


asked the Postmaster-General how many subsribers are waiting for telephones in both the urban and rural districts of Selby.

Sanday And North Ronaldshay


asked the Postmaster-General how far the reports he has received of the radio-telephone link with North Ronaldshay have been satisfactory; and if similar links may be installed in Outskerries and other islands.

The new radiotelephone link between Sanday and North Ronaldshay is experimental and its performance is not yet satisfactory. When a reliable service can be given, I will consider installing similar apparatus on other islands.

Shared Service

asked the Postmaster-General why he has not developed equipment to provide separate ringing on party telephone lines, as is used extensively throughout the United States of America.

Separate ringing is provided for all subscribers with shared service, which is the standard form of party line in this country. This means that neither of the two parties on the line hears when the other is rung.

Post Office

Overseas Parcels (Registration)


asked the Postmaster-General why parcels to troops serving overseas cannot be registered, although Customs forms have to be filled in and civilians are able to send parcels by registered post to the same areas.

Parcels may be insured to troops in certain areas overseas. I am considering with the Departments concerned the possibility of extending the facility. and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Supervisory Officers (Pay)


asked the Postmaster-General if he will make a statement on the appeal made to him by the Federation of Post Office Supervisory Officers for improved rates of pay.

The Federation is referring the matter to arbitration, and it would be inappropriate for me to make any statement.

Air Mail, Korea


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that a parcel sent by ordinary mail to His Majesty's Forces in Korea takes three months in transit and that even a small parcel costs 27s. 6d. to send by Service air mail; and whether he will take steps to reduce substantially the Service air mail charges.


asked the Postmaster-General if he is aware that some distress is being caused to the families of men serving in Korea by the high cost of air mail; and if he will make a statement.

Parcels sent by surface mail and addressed to His Majesty's Forces in Korea should secure delivery, on the average, within 60 days. In general, postage on Forces correspondence sent by air is already fixed at rates below cost. The question of Service air mail charges to Korea is, however, being considered with the Departments concerned, and I will write to the hon. Members as soon as possible.

Office, Islington


asked the Postmaster-General when the proposed new post office at 204. Essex Road, Islington will be opened.

I hope that the new Crown Post Office which is to be opened at Bentham Court in the immediate vicinity of 204, Essex Road, will be ready by about the middle of next year.

Posting Box, Eastington

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has yet been able to arrange for a new post box to be fixed at Churchend, Eastington, Stroud, Gloucestershire.

The disposition of posting boxes in the Eastington area has been discussed with the responsible parish council and, in agreement with them, an additional posting box has been provided at Mill End, Eastington. This box is within easy reach of Churchend and in a position where I hope it will best serve the locality as a whole


Amateur Transmission


asked the Postmaster-General why he will not permit amateurs in this country to transmit television in the internationally-agreed amateur bands, as is at present being done by amateurs in the United States of America and Holland.

This question has been reviewed and I am glad to announce that arrangements are being made to licence the transmission by amateurs of television signals in the bands 2300 to 2450 megacycles per second, 5650 to 5850 megacycles per second and 10,000 to 10,500 megacycles per second.



asked the Postmaster-General how much of the television capital expenditure of £811,500, given in the British Broadcasting Corporation accounts for the last financial year, has been spent on new technical equipment; and what portion of this has been spent on developing methods for the film recording of television programmes.

This is a matter for the British Broadcasting Corporation, but I understand from the Corporation that the amount for new equipment was of the order of £400,000; it would, however, be contrary to the independence in day-to-day management accorded by Governments to the Corporation to ask them to furnish a more detailed account of then expenditure on individual items.

Interference, Northampton


asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the so-called Daventry pattern has reappeared on Northampton television screens; and what steps he will take to prevent this.

Royal Air Force

Houses, St Athan


asked the Secretary of State for Air the number of houses built at St. Athan Royal Air Force camp with six, five and four bedrooms respectively.

Houses built at the Royal Air Force Station, St. Athan, with six, five and four bedrooms number six, nil and nine respectively. All were built before the war.

Transport Squadrons, Far East


asked the Secretary of State for Air how many transport squadrons in the Far East are equipped with Dakota aircraft; and what steps he is taking to re-equip them with new aircraft.

All the R.A.F. transport squadrons in the Far East Air Force are equipped with Dakotas. They are due to begin to re-equipment with Valettas next March.


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is satisfied that there is a constant and adequate supply of Dakota spare parts at the disposal of transport squadrons in the Far East to maintain a standard of servicing which complies with his Department's regulations; and how much aircraft maintenance is done by National Service men with short experience.

In general there is no shortage of spare parts for these aircraft in the Far East. A limited range of infrequently required parts have to be obtained by priority demand, but there is no undue delay. The standard of servicing and serviceability is high. About 10 per cent. of the personnel engaged on servicing are National Service airmen working under the supervision of experienced regular N.C.O.s.


asked the Secretary of State for Air whether transport squadrons in the Far East are equipped with serviceable parachutes on a scale which fully complies with his Department's regulations.

Adcock Radio Range (Land)


asked the Secretary of State for Air when a decision regarding the lease of land for the Adcock radio range at Severn Beach, Bristol, can be expected; and whether he will take all possible steps to expedite it in view of the hardship being caused to the owners of the land concerned.

A decision about the lease of this land has now been reached and draft agreements have been sent to the solicitors acting for the owners concerned. I very much regret the delay that has occurred and assure the hon. Member that everything possible will be done to ensure the early completion of the legal formalities.

Courts Martial

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will give instructions that when a National Service airman under the age of 21 years of age is to be tried by court martial or a civil court that the next of kin are informed.

No. While every encouragement is given to young airmen to inform their parents or relatives if they are in trouble of this kind, I consider that it is the airman's right to decide himself whether they should be told. I am, however, considering whether there should not be some alteration in our present practice in cases where a man is to be tried on a capital charge.

Civil Aviation

London And Prestwick Airports


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what has been the capital cost of London Airport and Prestwick Airport, respectively, up to a convenient date for comparison.

The approximate capital costs of London Airport and Prestwick Airport met from public funds up to 31st March, 1950, are £12,800,000 and £2,530,000 respectively. This includes the cost of purchase of land and expenditure by the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Aircraft Production during the war.

Dakota Aircraft


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether instructions will now be given to the British European Airways Corporation to withdraw all Dakota aircraft from service.

Ministry's Airports

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what is the number of staff, in each grade, employed at each of the United Kingdom airports operated by the Ministry; what is the estimated cost for 1950–51 of the maintenance and operation of each airport, excluding capital development; and what is the estimated revenue for 1950–51 from rentals, landing and handling fees and other sources, respectively, at each airport.

I am sending to the hon. Member a detailed list, showing under six main functional headings, grades of Ministry of Civil Aviation employees at State-controlled aerodromes. I am also placing a copy of this list in the library of the House of Commons.

In reply to the second part of the Question, an analysis for every aerodrome of estimates for bulk stores, materials, services and labour, would be a lengthy task as such estimates are prepared centrally on a national basis and not in respect of individual aerodromes or other ground stations. Details of such expenditure on a national basis are shown for 1950–51 in Part III of the published estimates for the Ministry (House of Commons Paper 7—VI of 1950) under parts of the Subheads A XII, D, E, G.4–5, J and M. The total comes to approximately £4,500,000.

MaintenanceOperationRentalsLanding and Handling FeesOther Revenue
Northolt (a main international and internal terminal airport)96,068383,424 (137,811)46,096172,95639,977
Bovingdon (an alternate kept open for 24 hours every day primarily for aircraft diverted from other airports)77,646119,563 (43,599)17,19828,73917,734
Elmdon (a typical provincial airport)22,92562,394 (26,777)11,2777,1217,337
Tiree (a remote island airport operated to provide a social service)5,45113,686 (5,370)639600704
The figures in brackets shown below the costs of operation are the amounts therein included in respect of aerodrome Control, Telecommunications and Meteorological services.

Vhf Radio Network

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what consideration he has given to the provision of remote V.H.F. transmitting and receiving stations for London Airport in order to provide improved communications with aircraft.

A single channel V.H.F. radio network, which covers a considerable area of Southern England is already in operation and provides communication facilities to aircraft in the approaches to the Metropolitan Control Zone. A V.H.F. multi-channel network of a similar type is in course of construction and should be in operation early in the new year.

Japanese Scholars, United Kingdom


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why the British Council are inviting nine Japanese scholars to Britain to study for one year and pay

Revenue is shown under Subheads Z.3–7 and totals approximately £1,500,000 after deducting revenue derived from overseas. It is probable that during 1950–51 revenue will be rather higher and expenditure on maintenance and operation slightly lower than in 1949–50.

A table showing actual expenditure and revenue at certain typical aerodromes is, however, available and I attach a copy for information.

Following is the table:

all expenses, including travel; and what the total cost will be.

Five British Council scholarships have been offered to Japanese students the total cost of which is £3,350. The rising generation in Japan has been cut off from contact with Western civilisation for nearly 10 years. There are few ways of re-establishing contact and the British Council scholarships, which will bring a number of young Japanese to this country to learn something of Britain at first hand, are particularly valuable.

Austria (Newspaper, Sale)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what were the terms of the sale of the British-sponsored Vienna newspaper "Weltpresse."

The contract for the disposal of "Weltpresse" was in fulfilment of an agreement made with the Austrian Socialist Party in 1946, as I explained on the 18th September in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Carlton (Mr. Pickthorn).The form of the transaction was a contract under which we agreed with effect from 1st September, 1950, to relinquish our rights to have the paper produced on the premises belonging to the Austrian Socialist Publishing Company, and to authorise the latter to use the title "Weltpresse." The consideration was a sum of 300,000 Schillings. The Austrian Socialist Publishing Company undertook to reimburse the British Element of the Allied Commission for any staff liabilities due in accordance with Austrian Law after 31st August.

Geneva Conventions (British Reservations)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reservations were attached to British signatures to the Geneva Conventions, set out in Command Paper No. 8033; and when those Conventions will be ratified by this country.

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom reserved the right to impose the death penalty in accordance with the provisions of Article 68, paragraph 2 of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War without regard to whether the offences referred to therein were punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory at the time the occupation begins. Similar reservations were made by the representatives of Canada and New Zealand. In addition, New Zealand made a reservation to Article 70.The ratification of the Conventions by this country is being given urgent consideration and a decision on this matter will be reached at the earliest possible date.

Italy (British Nationals' Claims)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the number and total amount of claims for compensation by British nationals for loss of or damage to property in Italy described in Article No. 78 of the Italian Peace Treaty: how many of such claims are admitted and how many paid; and when it is expected that outstanding claims will be disposed of.

As at 22nd September, 1950, 943 claims had been presented to the Italian Government and 197 claims were under examination. These claims represented a nominal value of 22½ thousand million lire. Thirteen claims have been admitted, of which three have been paid. I am unable to say when the outstanding claims will be disposed of. The Peace Treaty provides no time limit within which Italy must fulfil her obligations in respect of these claims but new machinery has been set up which should facilitate the settlement of the outstanding cases and I shall keep the situation under review.


Casualties And Damage


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the United Nations have been informed of the approximate number of civilians killed and the value of the property destroyed from the outbreak of hostilities in South Korea until its liberation.

The Secretary-General is being asked whether this information is available.

United Nations' Assistance


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will request the United Nations for information indicating what measure of assistance has, up to date, been offered and supplied, respectively, by each member of the United Nations to assist the campaign in Korea.


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will request the United Nations for information as to the number of members of the United Nations who have offered to send troops or material to help in Korea; what the offers have been; what nations have already completely implemented their promises; and what nations have partially implemented their promises, and to what extent.

Genocide Convention (Ratifications)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what Governments have ratified the Convention on Genocide and when he intends to ask Parliament to take similar action.

The following countries have now ratified or acceded to the Genocide Convention: Australia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Ceylon, Costa Rica, Ecuador. Ethiopia, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Liberia, Monaco, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Viet-Nam, Yugoslavia, El Salvador.Since the Debate on the Adjournment of 18th May, a further serious point of international law has been raised by certain signatures, ratifications and accessions to this Convention with reservations attached. These reservations derogate in important aspects from the Convention as drafted and, until the effect of such conditional accessions has been clarified, His Majesty's Government will be unable to take a decision. This matter is at present under discussion in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly.

Germany (Martin Bormann)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Martin Bormann, the Nazi leader, is alive; and what steps he intends to take to apprehend this man.


Festival Of Britain (Overseas Visitors)


asked the Minister of Transport what special arrangements for an increase in shipping space are being made for the transport of overseas visitors to this country for the 1951 Festival of Britain.

The, importance of providing adequate shipping space for all intending visitors in 1951 is fully appreciated by my Department and by the shipping companies with whom we have the closest liaison. The large demand for trans-Atlantic passages this year has been met in a most successful manner. Next year there will be more accommodation on most routes than at any time since the war, but the question whether special arrangements are necessary to supplement any particular services during the peak period, especially on the North Atlantic, will be kept under review. The continental services of British Railways will be augmented, within the limits of available ships, to deal with any additional traffic.

Railway Maintenance


asked the Minister of Transport whether he has listed those sections of the railways of the United Kingdom which he considers to be of strategic importance; and whether he has consulted with the British Transport Commission and other authorities concerning the necessity of maintaining these sections.

The answer to both parts of the Question is "No." The present state of maintenance of railways was fully referred to in the Commission's recent Report.

Ministry Of Works

Building Licence, Grimsby


asked the Minister of Works why he refuses to grant a licence for the completion of the work on the warehouse in Abbey Road, Grimsby, to Messrs. T. Wilkinson & Sons, Builders, of Cleethorpes, when the whole steel work and about half the brick work have been completed for about three years, and is deteriorating owing to the long exposure; and since all the roofing materials required are already on the site and are paid for and no other materials are required, and in view of the considerable unemployment in the district, if he will reverse forthwith the decision issued from his Nottingham office dated 25th September.

My right hon. Friend, the Minister of Food is not prepared to support the application in view of the more urgent and essential projects within the food industries and the limitations of the capital investment programme.

Requisitioned Property


asked the Minister of Works how much property is still requisitioned under Defence Regulation No. 51; and how much has been released during the last 12 months.

Five thousand two hundred and fifty-three buildings or parts of buildings were held on requisition by Government Departments on 30th September last. One thousand six hundred and eighty-two buildings or parts of buildings have been released during the past 12 months. Houses and flats requisitioned by the Health Departments for housing purposes are not included in these figures, and land under requisition has also been excluded as the details are not immediately available.

National Health Service (Bi-Focal Lenses)


asked the Minister of Health what steps he proposes to take to expedite the supply of solid bi-focal lenses.

The manufacturing capacity for these lenses has been greatly extended and the supply is already increasing.

Water Supply, Alderley


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that a large number of villages in Berkeley Vale are in great need of a piped water supply; that the West Gloucestershire Water Company are unable to meet this demand owing to lack of water; and whether he will state the date when he proposes to hold a local inquiry into the water company's application to develop a new source of supply at Alderley.

Yes. It is hoped that there will be a local investigation next month.


Statutory Tenants


asked the Minister of Health whether he will introduce legislation to enable a court of summary jurisdiction on the granting to a wife of a separation order to substitute such wife in place of the husband as the statutory tenant of premises controlled by the Rent Restriction Acts or as the tenant of a council-owned house.

No. Questions of possession of houses controlled under the Rent Restrictions Acts are within the jurisdiction of the county court and my right hon. Friend sees no reason for making any change. As regards the particular circumstances the hon. Member has in mind I would refer him to the decision of the Court of Appeal on 2nd March, 1950, in the case of Middleton v. Baldock (Law Reports, 1950, 1 K.B., p. 657). The Housing Acts give local authorities full discretion in the allocation of their tenancies.

Rate Of Interest Regulations


asked the Minister of Health if he will revoke the Housing (Rate of Interest) Regulations, which he made on 3rd August, 1950, and which are invalid by reason of the provisions of the Statutory Instruments Act, 1946.

No. My right hon. Friend is advised that the procedure adopted is fully in accord with the provisions of the Act in question.

British Army (Recruitment)


asked the Secretary of State for War how many recruits to the Regular Army he has obtained as the result of the increased pay announcements; and if he is satisfied that he will now get the numbers he requires.

The number of recruits provisionally accepted during the month of September was 4,082 men, including 599 men enlisted on a special 18 months' engagement for Korea, and 376 women. It is too early to say whether all the recruits needed are likely to be obtained.

Imported Fruit And Butter


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that retailers have no choice but to accept what supplies are offered to them, he will give an assurance that it is not his intention to reimpose the Orders in Council, made under the provisions of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1926, relating to imported dried fruit and butter.

The marking requirements under the Merchandise Marks Act, 1926, relating to imported dried fruit and butter have been suspended until the 25th May, 1951. The question of extending the period of suspension will be considered before that date.

National Finance

Income Tax Commissioners, East Bucklow


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the names, ages and qualifications of the present members of the Commissioners of Income Tax for the Bucklow East, Division of Chester; the length of time each has served in his present appointment the annual salaries paid; and the individual expenses reimbursed during the last two years.

I circulate below the names of the General Commissioners for this division and the dates on which they were appointed. I have no information about their ages. The qualifications of General Commissioners are laid down in Section 65 and the Third Schedule of the Income Tax Act, 1918. No salaries or expenses are payable to them.

Following is the list:

  • James Blakey.
  • Harry Lomax.
  • E. F. Pilkington.
  • Norman Cowell.
  • Arthur W. Cowburn.
  • William Proctor Smith.
  • Robert Alan Boddington.

The appointment of Mr. James Blakey as Commissioner was notified to the Board of Inland Revenue in 1934; those of the other Commissioners in 1946.

Italian Debts (Payments)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total amount which has been paid into the special account established by the Italian Government under Article 79 of the Italian Peace Treaty and the Anglo-Italian Financial Agreement of 17th April, 1947, for the purpose of meeting debts owing from Italians to British citizens; what is the number and total amount of such debts which have been paid; what is the number and amount of those outstanding; and what is the total amount which has been withdrawn or released from the special account for purposes other than meeting such debts.

Following is the answer:

Position as at 30th September, 1950. Values to nearest £'000.
1. Payments to Special Account:
(paragraph 3 of the Agreement)—
From Custodian and Administrator£
of Italian Property3,028,000
From Italian Government (by arrangement with H.M.G.)6,000,000
£9, 028,000
2. Number and value of claims paid:
3,408 claims value£1,912,000
Transferred to Paying Agents of Italian Sterling Loans£2,695,000

Number and value of claims outstanding:

As United Kingdom creditors are not required to register claims no accurate estimate of the number and amount of claims outstanding can be made.

4. Amount withdrawn from Special Account for purposes other than debt settlement:


Trade And Commerce

Anglo-Japanese Agreement


asked the President of the Board of Trade why the trade agreement with Japan which was to operate as from 1st July has not yet been signed.

A number of important questions are involved in these negotiations and several Governments are concerned. I believe, however, that agreement may shortly be reached on the outstanding points.

Clothing Industry Development Council

asked the President of the Board of Trade how often the Clothing Industry Development Council meet; and when a report of their activities can be expected.

The Council meets as often as is required for the transaction of its business. I am informed by the Council that it has met 10 times since its establishment in January, 1950, and that in addition the three principal committees of the Council, concerned with the heavy, light and proofed sections of the trade, have met on a number of occasions. Under Section 7 of the Industrial Organisation and Development Act, 1947, a Development Council is required to prepare a report of each year's working. The Report of the Clothing Industry Development Council for 1950 will be laid before Parliament early in the New Year.

Coal Industry

Safety Appliances (Training)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he will take steps to ensure that all workers in the coal mines who work underground are fully trained in the use of all up-to-date safety appliances before they are allowed to undertake such work.

The Training Regulations of 1945 provide that no person shall be employed in any coal mine on any work of which he has had no previous experience until he has been adequately trained and is competent to do the work without supervision. There are detailed provisions about the amount and kind of training to be given to persons before being employed underground. Such training has to be particularly directed to the practice of safe methods and the use of the appropriate safety appliances.


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what action he is taking to stop the fall in manpower in the mines disclosed in the recent figures issued by his Department; and to what extent it is estimated that this fall has already affected output.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service and the National Coal Board are together primarily responsible for recruiting manpower for the mines.The National Coal Board have greatly improved the wages of the miners. They have contributed 4d. a ton to the Miners' Welfare Fund, and have approved the expenditure of £9 million for pithead baths and canteens. By the Ladder Plan, they have offered training and scholarships to men in the industry every year. In each coalfield, their Divisional Board, in close association with the Ministry of Labour, conducts a campaign to recruit men of the right kind. Young men are exempt from military service for so long as they remain in the mines. Special efforts are being made to check the wastage of manpower which has occurred in recent months.Housing remains a difficulty, especially in the expanding coalfields, but I am working with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to overcome it wherever possible.With regard to the second part of the Question, the estimate given in the Economic Survey for 1950 was that, allowing for the declining trend in manpower, the output of deep-minded coal would range from 205 to 210 million tons. It now seems likely that the output for the year will be nearer the lower than the higher of the two figures mentioned in the Survey. This is in part due to the fall in manpower. But it is impossible to assess the effect of one of the many factors which influence the level of output.

New Towns (Housing)

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning how many families have moved to and been accommodated in new housing in the new towns; and how many housing applications from the old residents of these towns still remain unsatisfied.

By the end of September, 394 houses had been completed and occupied in the new towns. I cannot say how many housing applications remain unsatisfied in these areas, since these figures are not kept separately for the new town areas.

Leasehold Reform

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware of the anxiety prevailing in Cardiff, resulting both from the Government's failure to introduce any measure of leasehold reform and from the declared opposition to enfranchisement of the Government Departments which gave evidence before the Leasehold Committee; and what steps the Government propose taking to reform the cruel leasehold system forthwith.

The hon. Member will be aware that the Government have this matter under consideration, and I must ask him to await an announcement of their intentions, which we hope to make shortly.

Electricity Supplies (Load Shedding)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he is aware that the continued cuts in the supply of power in the mornings, lasting as long as two hours, are creating a standstill in industry at 8 a.m. and are seriously hindering production and export; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that industry has a regular supply of power.

I am aware that recent load-shedding has caused some loss of industrial production. The load-shedding was due to the unusually cold weather which occurred at a time when a fairly large proportion of the electrical generating plant was still being overhauled in preparation for the winter. Load-shedding must be expected from time to time until sufficient capacity is available and, as it is impossible to segregate industrial supplies entirely, some interruption of industry is inevitable.From information that I receive regularly from the British Electricity Authority it is clear that the rate of commissioning of new generating plant is increasing as the months go by and is keeping pace with the capacity of the manufacturers and civil engineers to instal and erect new stations. All possible steps are being taken to ensure that this rate of increase is not only maintained but improved.

Education (Communist Teachers)

asked the Minister of Education what steps he has taken to ensure that Communist teachers are not employed by local education authorities.

None. In my opinion the political views of teachers are their own private concern so long as they do not use their position to propagate those views in the schools. If it were brought to my notice that they were doing that, I should at once take action.