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Written Answers

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 9 November 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 9th November, 1950

Noisy Fireworks

13.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will take steps before the firework season next year to obtain power to prohibit the manufacture and sale of thunder flash firework bombs which are capable of having a bad effect upon invalids and old people.

The explosive feature of these fireworks is, according to my information, reduced by agreement with manufacturers to the minimum consistent with their use as noisy fireworks, and I have no sufficient evidence that prohibition of manufacture or sale is desirable on the ground of the noise they make.

Civil Defence (Air-Raid Warnings)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the air-raid warning system is being restored.

I have for some time been in close consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air about this. Following a series of air exercises, our Departments, together with other Departments concerned, are working together in the further study of this problem.

Housing

Site, Thurnscoe

40.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the Dearne Urban District Council purchased 30 acres of land at Thurnscoe for£2,050 in 1947 for housing purposes, and that the council has now disposed of approximately one acre of this land for£4,180; and if his approval was given to this transaction.

I am aware of the purchase of the site by the council, but no application has been made for my consent to the sale of any part of it and I understand that no sale has yet taken place.

Requisitioned House, Menston

87.

asked the Minister of Health if he will reconsider his decision with regard to the Hawthorne, Bradford Road, Menston in Wharfedale, and whether he will pay all, or part, of the rent for the years this house has been requisitioned by his Department.

As indicated in my correspondence with the hon. and gallant Member, I am prepared to ask the local authority to pay part of, but not all, the rental compensation for the years in question.

Allocations

96 and 97.

asked the Minister of Health (1) what is the total number of new houses he has allocated to the Rochford Rural District Council since June, 1945; and whether contracts have been placed in respect of the whole of this number;(2) what is the total number of new houses he has allocated to the county borough of Southend-on-Sea since June, 1945; and whether contracts have been placed in respect of the whole of this number.

In making allocations to individual local authorities account has to be taken of a number of factors, including the amount of work outstanding from previous allocations at the time when the allocation is made. The individual allocations can be judged, therefore, only in the light of full knowledge of the local circumstances on which they were based. Publication of such figures would be misleading and cannot give such a reliable picture of local progress as is already available in the published returns in Appendix B which show every three months both the number of houses under construction in each district and the number of houses in tenders approved or licences issued which have not yet been started.

Tenants (Selection)

100.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that some local councils do not use a points system in allocating houses or licences for the building of houses; and what advisory circulars he has issued on the matter.

Yes. All housing authorities have been supplied with a copy of the Report of my Central Housing Advisory Committee, on the selection of tenants. I am also sending my hon. Friend a copy of the relevant circular dealing with licences for private house-building.

Roadway Costs

103.

asked the Minister of Health what proportion of the total average cost of constructing a council house is represented by the amount that has to be spent on the construction of a roadway outside it.

Precise figures are not available, but I would refer the hon. Member to the Second Report of the Girdwood Committee on the cost of house building. The proportion will necessarily vary according to the circumstances.

Prefabricated Houses (Export)

105.

asked the Minister of Health in view of the fact that the Grimsby Rural District Council has a waiting list for houses of 575 and the borough of Immingham 184, if he will consult with the President of the Board of Trade with a view to ending the export of prefabricated houses, the first shipment of which is due to sail from Immingham on 14th November.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given to Questions on the subject by my hon. Friend the Secretary of Overseas Trade on 7th November.

Starlings (Fouling Of Buildings)

106.

asked the Minister of Health what steps he proposes to take to prevent the fouling of buildings in London and elsewhere due to the large number of starlings which come into towns from the country every night.

Any nuisance from this cause within the meaning of the Public Health Acts is a matter for the local authority in the first instance.

Private Building Licences, Newbury

asked the Minister of Health if he has considered the request of the Newbury Rural District Council for an additional allocation of private enterprise building licences so that the agricultural needs of the district may be met without prejudicing other applications for private enterprise licences of which 92 are outstanding; and what action he proposes to take.

Yes. But as the council have been informed, I do not consider that there are special circumstances in the district which would justify an increase of the proportion of one-fifth of their allocation for houses to be built under private licence.

De-Requisitioning (Elderly Persons)

asked the Minister of Health if he will instruct housing authorities to give special consideration to applications for de-requisitioning of their homes submitted by elderly persons who wish to spend their remaining years in enjoyment of their own property.

Housing authorities already give sympathetic consideration to owners suffering exceptional hardship because of requisitioning, but all the circumstances of each case must be taken into account and I could not give instructions that a particular class of owner should receive special treatment.

Public Health

Cerebral Palsy

82.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that there are approximately 30,000 persons in the United Kingdom suffering from cerebral palsy; and if he will arrange for the establishment of special units for their treatment.

I am advised that the number of these cases is not accurately know. The problem is mainly one of rehabilitation and education of children, for which special schools are in general more appropriate than hospitals.

Publication (Cost)

93.

asked the Minister of Health how many copies of publication No. 51–1319, "Trap the Germs in your Handkerchief," were distributed; what the total cost of printing was; and the estimated amount of paper used.

One hundred thousand. The total cost of printing was£233 and the estimated amount of paper used 16¾ cwt.

Streptomycin

95.

asked the Minister of Health what was the United Kingdom production of streptomycin during the year 1949; what amount from this production was exported; and whether he will give similar figures for the first six months of 1950.

I think that, in fairness to the manufacturers, the precise figures should not be disclosed. The rate of production in 1950 is about two and a half times that of 1949, and exports have increased by about 350 per cent.

National Health Service

Maternity Cases

86.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will make arrangements whereby, in maternity cases, when either the matron of a hospital or a patient's doctor certifies that the birth is imminent and no bed is available under the National Health Service, the patient can be reimbursed for expenses incurred in obtaining medical care privately.

The primary use of hospital maternity beds must be for mothers needing institutional confinement. The domiciliary maternity services are available without charge to the remainder. I have no power to make payments in the manner suggested.

Hearing Aids

92.

asked the Minister Health whether he is aware that Mrs. Dyke, 31, Manor Way, Chingford, E.4, aged 83 years, has been certified by a doctor as in need of a hearing aid since October, 1949, but has not yet obtained it through the National Health Service; and whether, in view of the long delay in supplying these aids, he will serve the interests of aged patients by instructing doctors in such cases to advise that the aid be purchased privately.

I understand that this patient was tested in June and has no special claim to priority. The answer to the second part of the Question is. "No."

98.

asked the Minister of Health whether, in cases where the Medresco type of electrical hearing aid is of no avail, he will on a medical recommendation consider the supply of an alternative type.

The existing types of Medresco aid are suitable for the very great majority of patients and new types are being developed which it is hoped will meet the needs of the user.

Hospitals (Private Patients)

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he will consider allowing patients who occupy private wards, if they so desire, to have deducted from the charges made for such private wards the amount which would be chargeable to public funds if they were to receive treatment in a public ward;(2) if he is aware of the different amounts charged by each hospital in the country for treatment in their private wards; what is the reason for this differentiation; and whether there is any possibility of the charge being made more uniform.

Under the National Health Service Act, 1946, the charge for a private bed at any hospital must be such as to cover the whole cost of the accommodation and services provided for the patient at that hospital. I have no power to remit any part of this cost, or to introduce uniform charges at hospitals where, in fact, the costs differ.

Tuberculosis Dispensary, Stone

101.

asked the Minister of Health why it has been decided to close down the tuberculosis dispensary in Stone, Staffordshire; and whether, in view of the small expense incurred and the useful function performed by this dispensary in preventing the spread of tuberculosis, he will see that it is reopened as soon as possible.

I am informed that the closure is only temporary, during staff reorganisation.

Doctor's List (Transferred Patients)

asked the Minister of Health (1) why Mr. George Wingate, 38, Inglewood Road, Barnehurst, Mr. F. Cage, 11, Inglewood Road, Barnehurst, and Mr. R. Stevenson, 46. Holmsdale Grove, Barnehurst, all of whom have been patients of Dr. A. Green, 385, Erith Road, Erith, over 20 years, have been ordered to find another practitioner within seven days or their names will be removed from Dr. Green's list;(2) why Mr. and Mrs. Small, 45, May-place Road, Barnehurst, who are both over 70 years of age and have been patients of Dr. Green, 385, Erith Road, Erith, for over 20 years, were informed that they must find another practitioner within seven days, or be removed from Dr. Green's list of patients.

This doctor had a list of 5,200 patients, the normal agreed maximum being 4,000. As he would himself do nothing to help the Executive Council to meet this situation, they had to take whatever steps seemed best to them. On the whole I think they have acted reasonably, in difficult circumstances.

Water Supply, Stroud District

91.

asked the Minister of Health when a piped water supply will be made available for the Vatch, in the parish of Bisley, Gloucestershire.

The Stroud Rural District Council are to consider the matter at a meeting on the 24th November. I cannot forecast when the area will be supplied.

Agriculture

Smallholdings

56.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what general directions he has issued under Section 50 of the Agriculture Act, 1947, as to the layout, size and equipment of smallholdings; when they were issued; and whether he will send copies thereof to Members of Parliament on request and place copies in the Library.

No directions have been issued under Section 50 of the Agriculture Act, 1947, as to the layout, size and equipment of smallholdings, but advice on these matters in the First Report of the Smallholdings Advisory Council has been brought to the notice of smallholdings authorities. This report was published and a copy is in the Library. In addition, a Manual of Guidance on these matters prepared by the Advisory Council will be issued as soon as it can be printed. Copies will be placed in the Library.

66.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the principal of the land acquisition and management division of his Department announced in a Press interview at Cambridge in September, 1950, that it was his Department's policy to eliminate smallholdings to make way for block farming; and whether he will alter that policy, in view of the need for smallholdings, including part-time smallholdings.

No such Press interview was held and no such announcement was made. The last part of the Question does not arise.

Apples And Pears (Marketing Scheme)

63.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can make a statement on the progress of the apple marketing scheme.

I understand that a scheme under the Agricultural Marketing Acts for regulating the marketing of apples and pears may be submitted to my right hon. Friend shortly.

Hill Farming Schemes, Wales

67.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many schemes of improvement under the Hill Farming Act have been submitted; how many have been approved; and how many have been completed in Wales.

Two thousand five hundred and thirty-nine schemes for the improvement of hill farming land in Wales had been submitted by 30th September, 1950, of which 1,700 have been approved formally or in principle. These schemes are comprehensive and necessarily take a considerable time to carry out, but work is well under way on over half of the 1,700 and eight have already been completed.

Rabbit Destruction

70.

asked the Minister of Agriculture under what circumstances cartridges are available at a reduced price to those engaged in his Department's campaign to reduce the rabbit pest.

No cartridges are supplied at reduced prices for rabbit destruction, nor would this be administratively practicable.

Allotments

71.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that many local authorities in England are giving notice to quite to tenants of allotment gardens on land owned by the local authority and on requisitioned sites, and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend is aware that some local authorities are giving notice to quit to tenants of wartime allotments. My right hon. Friend is about to circularise authorities explaining that the continuation of the Supplies and Services Act for a further period will enable them to keep their war-time allotments in cultivation, and recommending the retention of such allotments unless they can be permanently replaced or there are good reasons for giving them up.

Fowl Pest Outbreaks

73.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many cases of fowl pest have occurred in England and Wales during this year up to 4th November; to what extent the source of these outbreaks is imported live or dead poultry; and to what extent the disease is spread by unsatisfactory marketing arrangements.

There have been 86 such outbreaks. Thirty-seven of these are definitely attributable, directly or indirectly, to infection brought to this country by imported poultry carcasses. In many other cases it was not possible to trace the origin definitely. Special arrangements for marketing have been imposed in certain areas to assist in the control of the disease, which does not appear to have been spread through markets recently.

Houses (Possession Certificates)

74.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what action is taken by county agricultural committees to ensure that, where they have granted certificates to farmers who claim possession of houses for essential farm use, such houses are subsequently occupied by agricultural workers.

No such action is taken, as the committee have no jurisdiction after a certificate is issued.

Main River Scheme, Hampshire

69.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that there were 155 separate objectors, including nearly all the landowners of the upper rivers, to his proposed main river scheme for the Hampshire River Board area; and why these objectors were given no opportunity of stating the grounds of their objections.

My right hon. Friend is aware that the Hampshire Rivers Landowners' Committee, which objected to the proposed definition of main river, represents some 150 riparian owners. The grounds of the objection were in fact stated by the Committee on behalf of these owners.

75.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what consultations he had with the Hampshire River Board about works on the new main river area mentioned in the Gavin Committee's Report.

Sea Defence Schemes, East Suffolk

asked the Minister of Agriculture what are the works in hand for protecting the Suffolk coast in the Aldeburgh and Walberswick area from erosion and sea-flooding in the coming winter; and what is the estimate for such works contemplated and at present being carried out.

The East Suffolk Rivers Catchment Board, as the statutory drainage authority, have during the past five years carried out four schemes costing in the aggregate over£50,000 for the benefit of the Aldeburgh area. A substantial grant was paid by my Department in each case. An application for grant on a further scheme estimated to cost£63,000 is at present under examination.No work is in hand or in immediate contemplation in the Walberswick area. The problem there is extremely complex, not least because of the difficulty of devising works at a cost which has some reasonable relation to the value of the land. The matter is receiving continued study by the Board in consultation with my Department.Questions relating to sea defence schemes carried out by local government authorities, under the Coast Protection Act, 1949, or otherwise, are for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health.

Forestry

Dedication Scheme

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many woodland owners have dedicated their woodlands under the dedication scheme to the latest convenient date; and what is the acreage of woodland involved.

The total acreage dedicated at 30th September, 1950, was 35,028 acres on 50 separate estates, involving 45 owners.

Poplar Growing (Demonstration Plots)

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, for the guidance of farmers and landowners wishing to take advantage of the recently announced subsidy for growing poplars, he will indicate where the Forestry Commission have established demonstration plots.

As stated in the Report on Forest Research for the year ending March, 1949, by the Forestry Commission, trial areas have been established for poplar at Yardley Chase, Northamptonshire: Thetford, Norfolk; Auchen Castle, Dumfries-shire, and Dyfnant, Montgomeryshire. A new series of plots was then being planted at Hallyburton, Angus, and since that time new areas have been formed at Quantocks, Somerset; Clocaenog, Denbighshire; and Urray, Inverness-shire. A collection of poplars is in course of formation in the New Forest when three plants of all clones in the Commissioners' possession will be planted. Stool beds are maintained at Alice Holt, Hampshire; and Rendlesham, Suffolk.

National Finance

Balance Of Payments (Marshall Aid)

76.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what special steps he is taking to enable payment to be made for the 13 per cent. United Kingdom imports, which in 1949 were free of cost under Marshall Aid and included one-third of all our wheat, flour and sugar, four-fifths aluminium, two-fifths raw cotton and one-half tobacco; and if he is satisfied that the action he is taking will prevent lower rations and unemployment when Marshall Aid ceases.

Since the end of 1949, the gold and dollar receipts of the sterling area have exceeded expenditure, before taking account of receipts under the European Recovery Programme. The sterling area has therefore been paying its way with the dollar area during 1950 irrespective of receipts under E.R.P. The continuance of a favourable balance of payments with the dollar area when Marshall Aid ceases will depend on the maintenance of a high level of sterling area exports to the dollar area and on continued economy in sterling area dollar expenditure. The policy of His Majesty's Government continues to be directed to these objectives. To fulfil them and at the same time to build up our defences will require the highest possible level of production and the sacrifice of much that we might otherwise have enjoyed, but there is no reason to suppose that the ending of Marshall Aid would give rise to lower rations and unemployment.

Halfpennies And Threepenny Bits

77.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether more halfpennies and threepenny bits are being minted, in view of the increasing transport use to which these coins are being put.

Coin is circulated through the banks and the fact that their demands for halfpennies and threepenny bits are being met shows that the public are getting what they require. Halfpennies to the value of£1,000 a week have been issued by the Mint for the last five years, but the demand for threepenny bits has fallen off recently.

Rhodesian Mining Companies (Headquarters)

78.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what annual loss will be suffered by the Treasury in taxation as a result of the transfer of the headquarters of certain copper mining companies to Rhodesia.

I cannot disclose information about the taxation liability of individual companies or groups of companies.

Double Taxation (India And Pakistan)

79.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to conclude a double taxation agreement with Pakistan and India.

It is hoped that negotiations with India may be resumed shortly. As to Pakistan, we are awaiting a moment convenient to the Pakistan authorities before opening discussions.

Company Managements (Transfer Abroad)

80.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies have been given permission by the exchange control department to transfer registrations abroad since 1st January, 1948; and how many applications are awaiting a decision.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to permission to transfer the seat of management abroad. Twenty-seven companies with an issue capital of about£37 million have been granted permission since 1st January, 1948. There are at present two applications outstanding. It is contrary to practice to give the names of applicants. The chief reasons for granting applications are the more efficient management of the company or the requirements of the country in which the company operates.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the names of those companies which have been given permission to transfer registration abroad since 1st January, 1948; and what is the combined capital involved.

On the same assumption as in my reply to Question No. 80, the answer to the first part of the Question is, "No." The answer to the second part is that the total of issued capital of the companies concerned is about£37 million.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what principles are applications from companies to transfer registration abroad granted.

I assume again that the hon. Member means applications for permission to transfer seat of management abroad. The main considerations are, on the one hand, whether a case is made out on efficiency grounds, and, on the other, whether there are any countervailing considerations of wider national interest which make the transfer undesirable.

French Wine (Imports)

81.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much French wine under 25 degrees was imported for the six months ended 30th September, in each of the years 1938, 1939 and 1950; how much was in bottle and how much in cask; and what duty was collected from the bottled wines and from the wines in cask, respectively.

Full information in the form requested is not available, but particulars corresponding to the Question as nearly as possible are given in the table below. As wine is normally stored on importation in bonded warehouse, duty being paid only on withdrawal for home consumption, receipts of duty cannot be related to quantities imported in any particular period. Particulars of the quantities

PeriodImports in cask* of French wine not exceeding 25°Period (April—Sept.)Quantities of French wine (not exceeding 25°) duty paid and receipts of duty
Wine imported in bottleWine imported in cask
QuantityDuty ReceiptsQuantityDuty Receipts
gallonsgallons£gallons£
Calendar year 1938946,6141938297,138216,263449,55389,911
Calendar year 1939919,6291939292,521212,622426,71385,379
April-September, 1950485,000 (approx.)1950276,264488,906519,281337,532
* Corresponding particulars for wine in bottle are not available.

Government Hospitality Fund

83.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how much was spent of the Government Hospitality Fund on wine, spirits and tobacco in the last financial year; and how much of this was spent on Empire and Commonwealth products.

The answer to the first part of the Question is£3,743, and to the second part£1,630.

Statutory Instruments (Explanatory Notes)

84.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the rule forbidding any reference in the explanatory note on a Statutory Instrument to anything not in the Instrument makes it difficult for the note to explain correctly and precisely to laymen what the document means; and if he will consult with the editor of Statutory Instruments with a view to amending the rule.

I am not aware of any general rule of the nature described in the Question.

Development Charge (Single-Plot Owners)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is considering the position of single-plot owners, to on which duty was paid in the periods in question and the corresponding duty receipts have accordingly been included in the table.whom the concession applies to waive development charge provided they build before 1st January, 1953, who may be frustrated from building by that date owing to refusal of building licence; and whether he will take steps to ensure for them compensation for loss of development rights.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which my right hon. Friend gave on 7th November to the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth).

Employment

Working Hours

107.

asked the Minister of Labour how many people have had their weekly working hours reduced since the end of the war; what has been the average reduction of working hours per week; how many people have been granted holidays with pay; and for how many hours per annum.

Since August, 1945, about 8+ million wage-earners have had their normal weekly working hours reduced by about three hours on the average. Similar information is not available of the number of wage-earners who have been granted holidays with pay since that date or of the number of hours per annum for which payment is made.

Rearmament Programme (Manpower)

108.

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to ensure that an adequate supply of labour s available for those factories and organisations concerned with the increased armament programme, and whether he will give an assurance that in undertaking any necessary action in this field he will not reintroduce the Control of Engagements Order.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Donner) on Tuesday, 7th November. So far as can be foreseen the reintroduction of control of engagement will not be required.

Engineering Industry (Wage Claim)

112.

asked the Minister of Labour on what date he was asked to intervene in the present application for an increase in wages in the engineering industry what action he took; what was the result; on what date he was asked that the application be referred to the Arbitration Tribunal, and what action has been taken.

On 17th July last I received a letter from the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, submitting a report under the Conditions of Employment and National Arbitration Order. 1940, in connection with their wage claim. Following informal conversations officers of my Department met representatives of the Engineering and Allied Employers Federation and the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions later in the month to consider the situation. At this meeting it was agreed on my invitation to appoint a small informal committee of representatives of each side to see whether a basis could be found for a full resumption of negotiations. This committee met twice and there emerged a basis acceptable to both sides for a resumption of negotiations. Formal conferences between the parties followed on 20th September and 2nd October but agreement could not be reached on the Confederation claim.On 19th October, the Confederation requested reference of their claim to the National Arbitration Tribunal, and this was made on 21st October. The hearing was on the 6th November and the Tribunal's award is awaited.

118.

asked the Minister of Labour on what date the engineering unions made their last application for an advance in wages; and give the industries which have made advances in wages since that date.

Remploy Factories

115.

asked the Minister of Labour how many Remploy factories have started production since 22nd March, 1950; where these are situated; and what is the total number of disabled people they employ.

Ten Remploy factories which had started production since 22nd March, 1950, were employing 303 severely disabled persons at 16th October. These factories are situated at Birmingham, Blackburn, Brynamman, Buckhaven, Burnley, Croydon, Hillington, Jarrow, Rotherham and West Hartlepool.

Factory Inspectors

116.

asked the Minister of Labour how many factory inspectors left the service during the 12 months ending on the latest convenient date; and how many of these left because of having reached retirement age.

Nineteen factory inspectors (including two medical inspectors) left the service during the 12 months ended 31st October. 1950. Of these eight retired on age grounds, four were transferred to other Government Departments, three took other employment, one left on health grounds. one got married and two died.

Wages

117.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give a tabular statement showing the relative wages and the difference in percentage paid in 1913, 1920, 1938 and 1950 for skilled fitters. engineering labourers, agricultural workers, local authority workers and local authority officers.

I am having the available information extracted and will write to my hon. Friend.

National Service (Deferments)

113.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider the possibility of making it a condition of deferment or exemption from military service that such people who receive exemption or deferment should serve a period of training in one of the Civil Defence sections.

No. Apprentices and students, who constitute the great majority of young men granted deferment, will in due course perform their full period of National Service and I can see no grounds for putting this additional obligation on them. Nor would this serve any useful purpose as in an emergency they would not be available for Civil Defence but would be required in the Forces. As regards men employed in coalmining and agriculture, the enforcement of such an obligation might be difficult but I am giving further consideration to this.

Education

Spring Term, Oxfordshire

120.

asked the Minister of Education why the school term in Oxfordshire primary and secondary schools is to extend over Easter; and whether he will ensure that in all cases Good Friday will count as a Holy Day and not as an occasional closure.

The spring term for Oxfordshire schools has in fact been so arranged as to end on 20th March next year—three days before Good Friday.

Burnham Committee (Recommendations)

123.

asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement on the recommendations of the Burnham Committee.

128.

asked the Minister of Education if he has now given consideration to the recommendations of the Burnham Committee; and if he will make a statement.

I have not yet received any recommendations from the Burnham Committee and I am therefore not yet in a position to make any statement.

School Attendance

121.

asked the Minister of Education whether his attention has been drawn to a decision of a divisional education executive to take court proceedings against the parents of boys who absented themselves from school to attend a pre-service training camp; and whether he will advise education authorities to permit such absences.

My attention has been drawn to this case. I cannot condone breaches of the law of school attendance.

General Certificate (Examination Dates, 1951)

125.

asked the Minister of Education on what date in 1951 will the examinations for the new General Certificate of Education be held; and whether, in order to assist the movement for the spreadover of holidays, there will be any consequential changes in the dates of school summer holidays.

Examination dates for 1951 vary from late in May to July according to the examining body and the level of examination taken. The fixing of school holiday dates is a matter for local education authorities within a prescribed maximum total of holidays for the year. They are well aware of the need for a spreadover of summer holidays.

Welsh Language

126.

asked the Minister of Education how many Welsh language schools are now operating; how many pupils are thus catered for; and how many teachers are thus employed.

I assume that my hon. Friend's Question refers to primary schools or departments recently opened by local education authorities in some urban centres in Wales. At present one primary school and 13 departments are open in such areas providing for approximately 520 pupils, with 27 teachers. In addition, as I told my hon. Friend on 8th December, 1949, in practically all primary schools in Welsh-speaking areas instruction is given through the medium of the Welsh language.

Students, Wales (Financial Assistance)

127.

asked the Minister of Education what is the number of students assisted financially by each

Local Education AuthorityAwards tenable at Universities and University CollegesAwards tenable at Technical Colleges and other Establishments of Further Education
Academic Year 1948/49Academic Year 1949/50Academic Year 1948/49Academic Year 1949/50
Number of awards currentAverage grant per studentNumber of awards currentNumber of awards currentAverage grant per studentNumber of awards current
££
Anglesey211382111948
Brecon4518456265317
Caernarvonshire686977255634
Cardiganshire3765511712
Carmarthenshire14194202806354
Denbighshire23136393683
Flintshire73609975415
Glamorganshire470124777798289
Merionethshire278244444435
Montgomeryshire441455198323
Monmouthshire3151683459980112
Pembrokeshire531395486017
Radnorshire151661471335
Cardiff119109171817494
Merthyr Tydfil601817061605
Newport4018248815011
Swansea891497451903

School Dentists, Wiltshire

129.

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware that in Wiltshire there are only six school dentists as against an establishment of nine, and that, as a result, the infants' school at West Lavington has not received a visit from a dentist for the last two years.

I am aware that there Is a shortage of school dentists in Wiltshire as elsewhere in the country, and that as a result children in certain parts of the county are unable to have regular dental inspection. Special arrangements are, however, made by the local education authority to give emergency treatment to children in these areas.

Trade And Commerce

Furniture Trades (Hessian)

130.

asked the President of the Board of Trade the reasons for the local education authority in Wales; and what is the average individual grant made by each authority.

Following is the answers:present shortage of hessian in the furnishing trades; and what steps he is taking to improve the supply.

The reason for the continuing shortage of hessian in the furnishing trades, as well as in other trades using this material, is the lack of supplies from India from which a large part of the United Kingdom's requirements are normally drawn. The Board of Trade is endeavouring to secure all available supplies from other sources, but I regret that I can see no prospect of any improvement in the position until exports of hessian from India return to their previous level.

Stationery Office (Paper Allocation)

132.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why a priority demand has been imposed by control in respect of paper requirements of His Majesty's Stationery Office during the current period; why this allotment represents an increase of 40 per cent. on previous allocations; and whether he is aware of the serious consequences of this increased demand on the book publishing trade.

The increase in the allotment of mechanical printing paper to His Majesty's Stationery Office during the current period amounts to only some 5 per cent. as compared with their consumption during the period ending on 4th November. This is not excessive having regard to the heavy demands now arising and has been provided for by allowing the mills to increase their production by a corresponding amount. There should therefore be no reduction in the total supplies available to other users.

Imports From Canada

133.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the present policy of His Majesty's Government towards increasing imports from Canada.

As I stated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 6th July, the policy of the Government is to obtain as much of our requirements from Canada as we can afford to pay for in dollars.

Canadian Rubber Footwear

134.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how he intends to remove the discrimination against imported Canadian Purchase-Tax-paying rubber footwear caused by the bringing of identical and similar British-made footwear into the tax-free utility scheme.

I am aware of these difficulties and I am considering the position in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I cannot, however, say when it will be possible for any statement to he made.

Utility Cotton And Rayon Goods

135.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress is being made by the two committees set up in May of this year to inquire into the supply position of utility cotton and rayon goods and the changes in the utility cotton and rayon schemes.

These committees have held a number of meetings and I have now received certain interim recommendations from them. These recommendations are being considered urgently and I hope to make a statement shortly.

Emigrants (Ages)

136.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any statistics are available showing the age distribution of emigrants leaving this country.

Detailed statistics are published annually in the Board of Trade Journal showing in nine age-groups the number of persons of Commonwealth nationalities leaving the United Kingdom direct by sea for countries outside Europe and not within the Mediterranean Sea. Figures for alien emigrants to these countries, but divided only between persons aged 12 years and over and children under 12, are also issued. The latest figures relating to 1949 were published on 17th June, 1950, and I am sending the hon. Member an extract from the Board of Trade Journal of this date which will give him all the information available.

German Pencils (Imports)

137.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what relaxations have been made recently in the restrictions on imports of pencils from Germany.

Imports of pencils from the Federal Republic of Germany were placed on open general licence on 26th September, 1950. Licences are still required for the import of pencils from the Soviet zone of Germany.

Monopolies Commission

138.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of His Majesty's Government's statement in another place on 28th March, 1950, to the effect that the Commission set up under the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948, as at present constituted, does not work quickly enough, what steps have been taken or are contemplated by his Department to make adequate and effective the machinery for investigating the large number of industries brought to the attention of the Commission by the general public, consumer associations and consumer industries.

I have been considering this matter in consultation with the Monopolies Commission and hope to be able to make a statement shortly.

Restrictive Practices

139.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps have been taken by him to give effect to the warning, in respect of restrictive practices, given by His Majesty's Government on 28th March, 1950, to the Trade Protection Associations.

I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to my statement in the Debate on resale price maintenance on 16th June, to which I have nothing to add at present.

Newsprint

140.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why 100,000 tons of newsprint of the 580,000 tons prepared in British mills is allocated to Australia, when British newspapers are faced with acute shortages.

The production of the British newsprint mills is at present about 560,000 tons per annum, and our exports to all markets for this year and next should not exceed 100,000 tons per annum. Australia's share of this quantity will amount to about 75,000 tons in 1950 and 70,000 tons in 1951. These exports are to traditional markets and form part of long-term contracts which help to pay for our imports of food and raw materials.

142.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to secure from the dollar countries more newsprint for the British Press in order to avoid disaster to many local newspapers, to maintain full employment for journalists and to present adequately the serious issues which confront the democratic world.

The Newsprint Supply Company has already been authorised to place contracts for 25,000 tons of dollar newsprint, in 1950 and 75,000 tons for 1951. I understand that in consequence of the very large demand for newsprint, difficulty is being experienced in securing early delivery against these orders, and I am in close consultation with the Newsprint Supply Company as to means of improving the situation, including the possibility of a long-term contract.

Copyright Law

141.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what are to be the terms of reference of his contemplated committee to inquire into existing copyright laws; and who he is inviting to comprise such a committee.

The question of a general inquiry into the working of the copyright law of this country is under consideration, as indicated in the reply I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Yarmouth (Squadron Leader Kinghorn) on 28th July, 1949. I am not in a position to make any further statement on the subject at the moment.

Honey Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the quantities of honey imported from the principal countries of supply, both Commonwealth and foreign, for 1938 and the first nine months of 1950.

I am sending the hon. Member a statement giving him the information he desires.

Waste Paper Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many tons of waste paper was imported each year in the years 1946 to 1949.

The approximate quantities of imported waste paper received by the mills in the years in questions were as follows: 1946, 7,000 tons; 1947, 50 tons; 1948, 14,000 tons; 1949, 500 tons.

Transport

Railways (Welfare And Safety)

144.

asked the Minister of Transport when it is proposed to implement the recommendations of the Gower Report in so far as they concern welfare and safety on the railways.

These recommendations are now being examined in consultation with other Departments concerned. Until this examination is complete, I cannot say when it will be possible to take further action.

Road, Newbury—Hungerford

asked the Minister of Transport if he will call for a report on the condition of the Bath road between Newbury and Hungerford, particularly the two-mile stretch where three fatal accidents have occurred in the past two months; and if he will ensure that all practicable measures are taken to improve the road surface.

I am arranging to lay a new surface on the stretch of road immediately east of Hungerford on which one of the accidents occurred through skidding. Further east, where the other two accidents happened, the surface is good, and it does not seem that these accidents were attributable to the state of the road.

European College Bruges (British Students)

145.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many places are available for United Kingdom students at the European College at Bruges; and what grant he proposes to make in respect of such places.

Five places are available for British students for the first session of the European College at Bruges. His Majesty's Government do not propose to make any grant to British students to enable them to attend the College at the present time.

Food Supplies

Meat Trimmings

asked the Minister of Food how many tons of trimmings and unsaleable ration meat has had to be disposed of by retailers to the fat and bone merchants during the last 12 months at nominal prices.

Some trimming of meat is unavoidable, and the collection of meat waste from butchers' shops is arranged between the butchers themselves and the fat and bone merchants. No returns of such collections are rendered to my Department and I am, therefore, unable to give any estimate of the tonnage involved. I have no evidence to show that any ration meat is unsaleable to ordinary consumers.

Meat (Quality)

asked the Minister of Food how much meat, representing rations, he estimates has been lost by the butcher due to its quality being so rough that the housewives will not buy it.

Surveys carried out by my Department show that all rationed meat is taken up by consumers and I have no evidence that any meat is lost to butchers because of housewives' refusal to purchase on grounds of quality.

National Insurance (Pneumoconiosis)

asked the Minister of National Insurance how many cases in Wales have been brought to her notice of workers who have contracted pneumoconiosis but are unable to claim compensation for loss of faculty because they do not work in a prescribed process.

I have no record of such cases as it is not the practice of the Pneumoconiosis Medical Panels to proceed to a diagnosis of the disease until it has been established that a claimant has worked in a prescribed occupation.

Gold Coast (Legislative Council)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why members nominated to represent special interests in the new Legislative Council of the Gold Coast are not to have votes; and what precedents there are for this.

The Coussey Committee recommended that under the new Constitution the chambers of commerce and mines should be represented by one member each in the Legislature as at present. The Legislative Council has since agreed that this should be increased to three members each, but that only the first of these three members should have full voting powers in the Legislature. The other two should not have a vote in the full Assembly, but should each have a vote in Select Committees to which they are from time to time appointed. It is provided in many colonial constitutions that extraordinary members may be appointed to the Legislature for particular occasions when it is thought that the Legislature should have the assistance of such persons, but such members do not have the right to vote.

Telephone Service

Applications

asked the Postmaster-General how many subscribers are awaiting the installation of telephones in each of the four urban districts of Billericay, Rayleigh, Benfleet and Canvey Island; how many of these in each district have been waiting for over 12 months; and on what grounds priority is given.

The particulars desired are as follows:

Urban DistrictTotal applications outstanding at 30.9.1950Applications (included in the previous col.) made prior to 1.10.1949
Billericay539378
Rayleigh9534
Benfleet269176
Canvey Island7825
Priority for the provision of telephones is given to the essential requirements of public utilities, health and life saving services, Government Departments, and to those engaged on production for export or for saving imports. Subject to these broad classes of priority, business applicants are in general given preference over residential applicants.

asked the Postmaster-General how many applicants at the latest available date were waiting for telephones in Leeds; what was the date of the oldest outstanding application; and how many telephones it is hoped to install in Leeds in 1951.

Five thousand eight hundred and sixty-five applications were outstanding on 30th September, 1950, the date of the earliest being 7th December, 1940. It is hoped to provide service for about 3,600 in 1951.

Shared Lines, Leeds

asked the Postmaster-General what is the number of shared telephones in Leeds; and how many householders have been requested and how many compelled to share their telephone facilities within the last 12 months.

Three thousand one hundred and ten at 30th September, 1950. Since January, 1948, all new and removing residential subscribers have been under obligation to share their telephone lines, but I am glad to say that other subscribers have voluntarily agreed to share. Full details are not available, but it is estimated that 5–10 per cent. of the 627 sharing subscribers given service in Leeds in the last 12 months are volunteers.

British Army (Retained Regulars)

asked the Secretary of State for War how many Regular other ranks who did not re-engage at the end of their current agreements or before have been retained in the Army after the expiration of their engagements.

Discharge or transfer to the Royal Army Reserve of Regular, including short service, soldiers, other than those eligible for discharge on completion of pensionable engagements, was suspended from 1st August, 1950. Approximately 3,743 Regular, including short service, soldiers were, as at 30th June, 1950, due for discharge or transfer to the Royal Army Reserve during the period 1st August to 31st October, 1950, on completion of their current engagements. It is not possible to say how many of these have, since 30th June, extended their Colour service or re-engaged.