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Written Answers

Volume 480: debated on Monday 13 November 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 13th November, 1950

Ministry Of Works

Westminster Hall (Lighting)

11.

asked the Minister of Works if he will consider the installation of floodlighting in Westminster Hall in order to enable visitors to obtain a better appreciation of the unique beauties of the historic timber roof.

May I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Baker White) last Monday.

Building Licences

7.

asked the Minister of Works what is the total value of the work done to domestic, commercial, and entertainment premises, excluding the value of work done to factory and industrial premises, which has been licensed by his Department, respectively, for 1948, 1949, and to date, 1950.

Licences for domestic premises are issued on my behalf by officers of the local authorities and not by my Department. The information about commercial and entertainment premises is given below.

Kind of Work19481949To end September, 1950
£m.£m.£m.
Commercial (Shops and Commercial Premises)112·790·762·5
Entertainment (including Clubs, Village Halls, etc., etc.)19015·413·3

8.

asked the Minister of Works what is the expenditure sanctioned for buildings, public and private, by his Department since 1945 annually in the London area and Scotland, respectively.

I assume the hon. Member refers to building work licensed by my Department. The detailed information is given below, but the total over the five years amounts to£458 million in London and£133 million in Scotland.The amount of work licensed by my Department in the London Region and

in Scotland respectively during the years in question was as follows:

Value of Licences.
London.Scotland.
£m.£m.
1945 (May-December)22.07.8
194689.229.2
194791.726 8
194885.430.0
1949103.921.5
1950 (January-September)65.717.3
457.9132.6

Food Supplies

Imported Brisling

43.

asked the Minister of Food how many tins of brislings have been imported by his Department each year since July, 1945, and at what cost; what quantity remains unsold; what has been the annual profit or loss on this business; and if he will immediately discontinue importing these fish.

My Department has imported about 110 million tins of brisling since July, 1945, and made a profit of about£230,000 on sales to date. It would not be prudent or in the public interest for me to disclose either the price paid or the stocks now held. No imports have been made for some months and I am now considering future policy.

44.

asked the Minister of Food what has been the total annual cost to the taxpayers of advertising brislings imported by his Department; and what is the purpose of this advertising campaign.

We have had only one advertising campaign for brisling. It lasted from 9th July to 11th August this year and cost about£10,000. Its purpose was to increase sales.

Imported Apples

86.

asked the Minister of Food the quantity of apples imported into this country since 1st January last, or the nearest convenient date.

One hundred and nine thousand tons of fresh apples have been imported since 1st January this year.

Sweets And Sugar

87.

asked the Minister of Food whether he will now permit old age pensioners to exchange sweet points for extra sugar as they find the present ration of sugar inadequate.

This idea of a sugar-sweet exchange is undoubtedly attractive. I have already considered it very carefully in the hope that I could make it a general arrangement. But my inquiries have shown—as I have said many times and as recently as 8th November outlined to the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Vane)—that it just will not work. I regret that these reasons apply with equal force to the proposed transfer scheme for old age pensioners, suggested by the two hon. Gentlemen.

Tuberculosis Patients (Rations)

93.

asked the Minister of Food why the priority ration of an extra ounce of cooking fat and bacon is no longer included in priority food rations granted to people suffering from tuberculosis.

The extra ounce of cooking fat a week was granted in March, 1946, after the ordinary weekly ration had been reduced from two ounces to one, and the extra ounce of bacon in March, 1947, after the ration had been reduced from three ounces to two. In view of the present levels of the bacon and cooking fat rations my medical advisers are satisfied that there is no need to continue these extra rations.

Carcases (Department's Purchases)

94.

asked the Minister of Food what was the difference between estimated weight and actual weight of carcases purchased by his Department since 1st January, 1950, to the latest available date and what was the loss to the taxpayer.

The difference between the estimated and the actual weight of carcases purchased by my Department between 1st January and 25th August was 3,407 tons which at the prices paid to farmers for the livestock would cost£652,257. This represents just under one per cent. of the cost of all the cattle, calves and sheep bought in this period.

Bacon And Ham (Exports)

95.

asked the Minister of Food how much pork, hams and bacon from animals slaughtered in Britain has been exported since 1st January, 1950; and if he will give the quantities and destinations.

We have exported no pork. I give below the details for bacon and ham. The total is just over 60 tons.

Following are the details:

The quantities of hams and bacon from pigs slaughtered in Great Britain for which export licences were granted between 1st January, 1950, and 31st October, 1950, for destination other than the Channel Islands are given below. The full quantity may not yet have been shipped in all cases.

Destination

Quantity

Tons

Cwts.

Gibraltar336
Malta90
Other Commonwealth countries49
Belgian Congo4
Peru15
Portuguese possessions23
United States of America28
Ships and stations abroad79
Others5
Totals609

Fish Albumen (Experiments)

97.

asked the Minister of Food if he has any statement to make with regard to the experiments he has carried out into the use of fish albumen in the manufacture of many and various products; and if these experiments include investigation into the use of dogfish for this purpose.

This work is being carried out by the Association of Fish Meal Manufacturers, not by my Department. I understand that they have not yet been able to produce an albumen substitute which is acceptable. Their experimental work is being continued on a small scale, but does not include the use of dogfish, which is considered to be technically unsuitable.

Imports (Protests)

98.

asked the Minister of Food if he will cause to be published a complete list of each and all of the official protests made to his Department since 1945, whether by letter or deputation or both, on behalf of the National Farmers' Union or other agricultural producer organisations on the subject of actual or proposed imports of foodstuffs from countries overseas.

I am afraid I cannot provide this information because of the considerable amount of detailed research which would be necessary.

Coal Industry (Parliamentary Questions)

15.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power for what matters in respect of the coal industry he now regards himself as being answerable to Parliamentary Questions.

I regret that it is not possible within the scope of a Parliamentary answer to enumerate the many and varied matters in the coal industry for which I am answerable to Parliament. I would, however, refer my hon. Friend to the statement made to the House by my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council on 5th April last.

Electricity Supplies

Kirkstall Power Station, Leeds

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will now give a date by which the emission of grit and dust from the Kirkstall Power Station, Leeds, will cease; and if, in addition, steps will be taken to prevent the spread of grit from the tipped piles of spent ash near the power station.

The British Electricity Authority assure me that before the autumn of 1951 the additional grit-arresting plant and the new high chimney at the Kirkstall Power Station will be in full operation. They further inform me that active steps will be taken in 1951 to prevent the spread of grit from the tipped piles of spent ash near the power station.

Load Shedding

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware that a power cut by the Southern Electricity Board on 30th October lasted for three hours, resulting in a baker in Chedworth, near Cirencester, being unable to continue his work for that period, and whether he will take steps to ensure that such a long cut does not occur again.

There was considerable load shedding on 30th October but I was not aware of the result at Chedworth to which the hon. and gallant Member refers. As to the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Barkston Ash (Colonel Ropner) on 6th November and the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) on 8th November.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the severe electricity cuts which occurred recently in the Alresford area of Hampshire; and what steps are being taken to prevent a repetition of the dislocation caused, particularly in the agricultural industry.

There has been considerable load shedding all over the country in recent weeks. I am not aware of the extent to which load has been shed in the Alresford area, as the decision that a cut will have to be made in a particular area is the responsibility of the British Electricity Authority and the area boards.As to the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Barkston Ash (Colonel Ropner) on 6th November and the reply give n by right hon. hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service to the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) on 8th November

114.

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking on the report of the Electricity Sub-Committee of the Joint Consultative Committee of his Department.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement which I made in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Rotherhithe (Mr. Mellish) on Tuesday, 4th July last and also to the reply which I gave to a Question by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) on 8th November.

Festival Of Britain

55.

asked the Lord President of the Council how much money has been made available to the main committee of the Festival of Britain; and how much has been allocated to the Welsh Committee.

No money is made available to the Council of the Festival of Britain or to the Welsh Committee. Both are advisory. On the recommendations of the Welsh Committee£64,000 is being spent on projects in the Welsh Committee's programme. It must not be assumed that this£64,000 is the sum of benefits to Wales. In addition to the visit of the "Campania" to Cardiff, Wales will benefit from Festival publicity all over the world and the inclusion in the South Bank Exhibition of exhibits of interest to the Welsh. For example, there is to be a prominent exhibit in the Land of Britain Section on Snowdonia.

Victoria College, Alexandria

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the nature and the scope of the work which is being done by the Victoria College in Alexandria in fostering friendship and understanding between the peoples of the Middle East and this country; and if he is satisfied that the funds available are adequate to the importance of the work.

Yes. I am aware of the excellent work which these schools are doing and I am satisfied that the funds available are adequate.

Spain (Ambassador)

61.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government propose to accept the decision of the United Nations and to appoint an Ambassador to Spain without further delay.

64.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the resolution of the Assembly of the United Nations, His Majesty's Government will resume full diplomatic relations with Spain.

79.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now appoint an Ambassador to-Spain; and when he proposes to do so.

His Majesty's Government have repeatedly stated their intention to abide by the decisions of the United Nations Assembly in this matter. In consequence of the vote in the Assembly on 4th November, His Majesty's Government therefore propose, in due course, to seek the agéement of the Spanish Government to the appointment of an Ambassador in Madrid.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when final arrangements will be made for His Majesty's Government to be represented by an Ambassador at Madrid.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave today to hon. Members.

France (Imprisoned British Subject)

62.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when Mr. George Dace, who is still detained in a French prison, is likely to be released.

Mr. Dace became eligible to apply for conditional release on 28th August. This is subject to the condition that a decision should first have been reached regarding the issue of an expulsion order against the prisoner. A decision in regard to such an order is, I understand, likely to be reached in the near future.

Security Council (China)

63.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government will declare their opposition to the inclusion of Communist China on the Security Council until the Chinese Communist forces now invading Tibet withdraw.

Korea

Atrocities (Reports)

65.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the continued reports of atrocities in the Korean war, alleged against both sides, he will seek for a report from the International Red Cross Organisation.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made in the House on 1st November and the reply given to a Question on 6th November. I can assure hon. Members that this matter will continue to receive the closest attention of His Majesty's Government. I doubt whether this is a matter which could be appropriately handled by the International Red Cross, as it appears to fall outside the scope of its activities.

Chinese Troops

68.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now say what evidence has reached him through the Security Council to the effect that Chinese Communist troops have crossed the frontier to take part in the fighting in Korea; and if he will now make a statement on this evidence.

76.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations he has made to the Peking Government, through the British Chargé d'Affaires, regarding the invasion of Korea by Chinese troops; and whether he will make a statement.

Hon. Members will have seen the Special Report of the Unified Command which was transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 6th November. Since that date the Security Council have invited Peking to send representatives to state their case, and on 10th November a resolution was introduced in the Security Council by the United Kingdom, United States, France, Norway, Cuba and Ecuador. As the whole question is before the United Nations, which is the appropriate place for its consideration, I do not propose to make any statement. For the same reason, no representations have been made to the Central People's Government through His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires at Peking. Nor is it at present contemplated making any such representations.

War Criminals (Trial And Punishment)

74.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will ascertain from the Security Council what action the United Nations Interim Commission proposes to take for the trial and punishment of those who planned the North Korean aggression against the Republic of Korea, as well as of the North Korean Communists who have been responsible for the murder of United Nations prisoners of war and Korean civilians.

Austrian Loan (Italian Liability)

71.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make about the refusal of the Italian Government to make payments on account of the Capital Fund of the Austrian 4½per cent. Guaranteed Loan and their declaration that they will not make further interest payments, bearing in mind that the guaranteeing Powers, including Italy, have deposited securities of their own Governments, covering such guarantees, with the National Bank of Switzerland.

When this matter was last brought to the attention of the House on 10th July by the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling), I said that it was being discussed in the Anglo-Italian Economic Committee which was then in session. At that meeting the Italian representative undertook to bring the views of His Majesty's Government to the attention of His Government for further consideration. The Committee will shortly meet again, and I hope soon to be in a position to report further to the House. We have in the meantime not remained inactive.

Falkland Island Dependencies

72.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, since repeated diplomatic protests against the establishment and maintenance of Argentinian and Chilean posts and for military establishments on British territories in the Falkland Island Dependencies have proved without avail, he will raise this matter of prolonged trespass and violation of sovereignty at the Security Council of the United Nations.

No. The policy of His Majesty's Government is that this question should, in the first instance, be brought before the International Court of Justice.

Germany

Civil Defence

73.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what arrangements for civil defence exist in the British zone of Germany.

This subject has been discussed with the German Federal Government and the Allied High Commission are awaiting their proposals.

Berlin Constitution

77.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action he proposes to take in regard to the proposal of the Mayor of Berlin, Dr. Reuter, that Berlin should join the West German Republic as a member State.

I have nothing further to add to the reply given to a similar question from the hon. Member for Taunton on 19th September.

China (Vice-Consul, Mukden)

75.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement about the deportation of the British Consul-General at Mukden by the Chinese Communist Government; and whether Mr. Steventon has now reached British territory.

According to information received from His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires in Peking, His Majesty's Vice-Consul in Mukden was on 30th October ordered by the Chinese authorities to leave by 3rd November. The reason given him was that he had objected to the digging of rifle pits in the Consulate grounds. Mr. Steventon reached Tientsi on the 4th November.

Philippines (War Damage Claims)

83.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement with regard to compensation for war damage sustained in the Philippines by British concerns and provided for by Act of Congress.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him on 8th May, 1950. Since that date the United States War Claims Commission Report has been published and, as it did not propose amending legislation, further representations were made to the United States Government in a Note of 6th July, 1950. In September, 1950, the United States State Department sent a copy of that Note to the War Claims Commission and asked whether the Commission recommends an amendment to the Philippine Rehabilitation Act, 1946, to enable reciprocal agreements to be negotiated. In the interpretation of that Act British nationals are not, at present, eligible to receive compensation for war damage sustained in the Philippines.

International Children's Emergency Fund

84.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the Government made their last contribution to U.N.I.C.E.F.; and whether we are proposing to maintain contributions to this organisation.

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 19th June to my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen). His Majesty's Government have made no contribution since August, 1948. In view of other commitments, it is improbable that His Majesty's Government will be able to make any further contribution to U.N.I.C.E.F.

Hungary (Trade)

85.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what considerations of Government policy are preventing the import of turkeys for the Christmas market from Hungary which, last year, provided over one-fifth of our imported supplies; and what action he proposes to take to enable trade with this traditional source of the supply of small turkeys to be resumed.

His Majesty's Government have discontinued the purchase of Hungarian goods and the issue of licences for imports from Hungary since December, 1949, when the Hungarian Government refused to allow His Majesty's Consul at Budapest to visit Mr. Edgar Sanders, a British subject, who had been arbitrarily arrested and is now undergoing a sentence of 13 years' imprisonment. I regret that the Hungarian Government have hitherto taken no action in this matter such as would open the way for the resumption of trade.

Transport

Merchant Navy (Recruitment)

99.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give figures to indicate the number of deck and engineer officers respectively in the Merchant Navy now serving in British ships; to what extent there has been a rise in the rate of resignations and whether he is satisfied that an adequate number of cadets and apprentices are coming forward to make good any wastage.

The number of masters and navigating officers serving in the Merchant Navy on 30th September, 1950, was 15,631, of whom 13,122 were certificated and 2,509 uncertificated. The number of engineer officers on the same date was 22,978, of whom 7,188 were certificated and 15,790 were uncertificated. These figures all show increases over a year ago. I have no reason to suppose that there has been an increase in the number of resignations.In general, recruitment of cadets, apprentices and junior engineers, and of men returning to the industry, is keeping ahead of wastage and enabling the increasing British tonnage to be manned, but the shortage of certificated engineers which we have experienced since 1939 still persists.

Road Maintenance (West Riding)

100.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the new report prepared by the surveyor of the West Riding County Council with regard to the condition of the roads in that area, of which he has been sent a copy, indicates that a severe winter would result in the collapse of considerable lengths of roads carrying industrial traffic and that they are wholly unfit to meet the strain which would be involved by the outbreak of any war emergency; and whether he will take steps to made adequate sums available for their proper maintenance forthwith.

I am aware of the contents of this carefully prepared report and I have every sympathy with the county council, who in common with most other highway authorities are experiencing difficulty in maintaining their roads adequately. Such difficulty is due to the present economic situation and I cannot promise immediate relief, but every endeavour is made to distribute the central funds available for road maintenance as fairly as possible among the different areas, having regard to all relevant factors, including those to which reports such as these call attention.

Public Service Vehicles (Form)

101.

asked the Minister of Transport why Form Stats. (Revised 1950) has to be filled up so frequently; and if he will consider requiring this form to be returned less often.

Form Stats. 15 (Revised 1950), to which I assume the hon. Member refers, is required in order to provide quarterly particulars of numbers of public service vehicles, nature of services, passengers carried, miles run and receipts. This information, which shows considerable seasonal variations, is necessary for a current appreciation of transport resources and performance.

Lner Superannuation Fund (Option)

102.

asked the Minister of Transport whether in view of the fact that the consolidation of war allowances for the purposes of superannuation has invalidated the basis on which the option fell to be considered, he will take steps to enable members of the London and North-Eastern Railway Superannuation Fund to revoke their exercise of options, pursuant to the London and North-Eastern Railway (Superannuation Fund) Act, 1939, in favour of retiring on the benefits of the North-Eastern Railway Superannuation Fund.

When the London and North Eastern Railway Superannuation Fund was inaugurated on 1st July, 1939, the members of the old superannuation funds, including the North Eastern Railway Superannuation fund, were transferred to it. The rules of the L.N.E.R. Fund provided that such transferred members could exercise an option to take the retirement benefits of their old funds, and a period of five years, ending on 30th June, 1944. was allowed for the exercise of this option. The option, once exercised, was irrevocable and it would be undesirable to allow an option to be re-opened when it has subsequently transpired that the choice made by the individual was less favourable to him than the choice he might have made.

Cardiff Docks

103.

asked the Minister of Transport what representations he has received from the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce concerning trade at Cardiff docks; and what reply he has sent.

Ministry Of Supply

Raf Equipment (Sale)

104.

asked the Minister of Supply why, when His Majesty's Forces are being increased in number,and need equipment, large quantities of clothing and equipment were sold by his Department on 10th October at Handforth. Cheshire.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 8th November by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Air.

Atomic Energy Research

105.

asked the Minister of Supply how many scientists who have been employed on atom bomb research in Communist countries are now employed on atom bomb research here in this country.

Zinc

106.

asked the Minister of Supply how far it is intended to make the present allocation of zinc retrospective, and, how he proposes to deal with the requirements of the motor car industry for December.

The restrictions on the supply of zinc apply from 1st October. This measure of restriction was necessary in order to preserve the country's stocks at a reasonable level, but I appreciate that to relate allocation to usage in 1949 without taking into account developments since then or the relative importance to the economy of the different uses of zinc can only be a stop-gap measure. Some temporary adjustments have been made for November to meet urgent cases and I have the matter under immediate review.

Vehicles (Armed Forces)

107 and 108.

asked the Minister of Supply (1) what progress has been made in the development of standardised load carrying vehicles for the fighting Services; what is the value of orders he has placed and when any substantial number will be in use by the fighting Services;(2) If orders are being placed in the United Kingdom for a new jeep, or if he is ordering jeeps from the United States of America.

Considerable progress has been made with the construction and trial of prototypes of vehicles of this kind. A vehicle, designed to meet the requirement previously met in part by the American jeep, has passed the development stage and a production order has been placed in this country. It would not be in the public interest to give the value of orders placed nor to say when the vehicles will be in use. Jeeps are not being ordered from America.

Asbestos Cement Presses (Export)

109.

asked the Minister of Supply whether it has now been decided to prohibit the export of asbestos cement presses to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and, if not, if he will take an early decision on this matter.

After consulting my technical advisers I have decided that there is no case for prohibiting the export of these presses on security grounds.

Vans (Local Authorities)

110.

asked the Minister of Supply if he is aware of the long delay in the delivery of motor vans to local health authorities, by whom those vehicles are being used for the collection and delivery of bedding, etc., for disinfestations; of the inconvenience caused to local government authorities; and if

Certain non-ferrous metals:
Ministry of Supply selling price
November, 1948November 1949November, 1950
£'s or long on
Copper (high conductivity electrolytic)1401st–3rd140202
4th–30th153
Lead (good soft pig)1121st–16th105136
17th–20th103
21st–22nd101
23rd–30th97
Zinc (good ordinary brand)921st–2nd8310s.151
3rd–9th8510s.
10th–22nd8710s.
23rd–30th8510s.
Tin57210s1st–14th757(a) 1st–8th price range 995 to 1,300
(a) 15th–30th price range 75 to 620
(a) Price range on the London Metal Exchange. Tin reverted to private trading on 15th November, 1949.
Manganese ore:
Sold commercially to the iron and stee industry. Prices, as published the "London Gazette," are as follows:—
November, 1948 (b) 32d. a unit of manganese
November, 194935d. a unit of manganese
November, 195046½d. a unit of manganese
(b) After allowance for Government subsidy on freight charges The subsidy was withdrawn on 31st March, 1949.
Iron and Steel Scrap:
The current controlled delivered prices of the various specifications of iron and stee scrap are given in the Iron and Steel Scrap Order, 1950 (S.I No. 1523 of 1950). Prices in November, 1948 and November, 1949 are set out in the Control of Iron and Steel (No. 30) (Scrap) Order, 1943 (S.R & O. No. 435 of 1943), as varied by the Control of Iron and Steel (No 36) (Scrap) Order, 1944 (S.R. & O. No. 1335 of 1944); the Control of Iron and Steel (No. 38) (Scrap) Order, 1944 (S.R. & O. No. 1423 of 1944); the Control of Iron and Steel (No. 49) (Scrap) Order, 1946 (S.R. & O. No. 659 of 1946); the Control of Iron and Steel (No. 51) (Scrap) Order, 1946 (S.R & O. No. 1101 of 1946); the Control of Iron and Steel (No. 60) (Scrap) Order, 1947 (S.R. & O. No. 2095 of 1947) and the Control of Iron and Steel (No. 71) (Scrap) Order, 1949 (S.I. No. 1178 of 1949)

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will give a list of commodities which he has freed from price control, showing the price before decontrol and the present price.

A very wide range of iron and steel products has been freed from price control. Information about he will consider giving some priority to them for the supply of these vans.

I am aware that there is delay in the delivery of vans to many classes of user. I am not prepared to ask the industry to give priority to any particular one.

Metal Prices

asked the Minister of Supply if he will give the prices being paid per lb. or ton at present and in November, 1948 and 1949, for copper, lead, zinc, tin, manganese, steel scrap and iron scrap.

Details of prices are as follow:current prices is not readily available and could not be obtained without the expenditure of an undue amount of time and labour. On 15th November, 1949, tin reverted to private trade and was freed from price control. The United Kingdom selling price before that date was£757 a ton. Since then it has fluctuated widely. On 10th November, 1950, the price on the London Metal Exchange was£970 a ton.

National Finance

Double Taxation (The Argentine)

111.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether negotiations on the subject of double taxation have yet been opened with the Argentine Government.

A draft agreement has been presented by the United Kingdom Government as a suggested basis for discussions. We are awaiting a further communication from the Argentine Government.

Savings Certificates

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the present limitations on the amount of War Savings Certificates to be held by any one person; and what are the reasons for these limitations.

In addition to holdings of earlier issues any one person may hold up to 1,000 10s. units of the current issue of National Savings Certificates. National Savings Certificates which were always intended to encourage small savings are a very favourable investment, in view of the fact that the interest on them is not subject to tax; to protect the revenue there must clearly be some limit upon individual holdings.

Post-War Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will arrange to pay post-war credits to persons in needy circumstances recommended for this purpose by the National Assistance Board.

This suggestion has been carefully examined; but it has not been found practicable to devise any scheme.

Bonus Share Issues

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total amount of bonus share issues from 1st January, 1950, to date.

During the period 1st January, 1950–8th November, 1950, 153 bonus share applications were received, of which 93 involving in aggregate an amount of just over£39 million were approved.

Kew Gardens (Opening Hours)

112.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, for the greater convenience and pleasure of British citizens as well as visitors from abroad, he will arrange during the period of the Festival of Britain for Kew Gardens to remain open until lighting-up time instead of being closed at 8 p.m.

As the hon. Member is aware, the Royal Botanic Gardens are primarily a scientific institution. They are open to the public from 10 a.m., and from the middle of May until early in August they are not closed until 8 p.m. My right hon. Friend cannot see his way to extend this time.

Agriculture

Turkeys (Importation)

113.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what is preventing the import of turkeys from Italy and Yugoslavia, both of which countries supplied us before the war with excellent turkeys of 7 lb. to 12 lb. in weight; and what he proposes to do to enable this trade to be resumed.

The importation of poultry carcases from a number of countries including Italy and Yugoslavia is prohibited by the Poultry Carcases (Importation) Order, 1950, because of the risk that they would cause outbreaks of fowl pest in our own poultry flock.

Drainage Rates, York

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will take steps to reduce the inequality in the incidence of rates in respect of land drainage as between the occupiers of hereditaments in the City of York.

Drainage boards are autonomous bodies and I have no power to intervene in this matter. The districts of three internal drainage boards extend slightly into the area of the City of York. The determination of the drainage rate in any particular drainage district rests solely on the board for that district, and the level of the rate is related to the amount of work the board intend to do in the district and to the circumstances of the district.

Forestry Schemes, Wales

asked the Minister of Agriculture the areas in Wales where forestry schemes are in operation, together with a number of full time and regular part-time men engaged on each of them.

I regret that this information in respect of private forestry is not available, but I am sending the hon. Member a statement of the number of schemes under the Forestry Commission and of the workers employed on them.

Malaya (Rubber Fund)

115.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the total amount of the Rubber Duty Fund in Malaya; for what purpose it is being used; and what proportion of it was used in 1949 for social development in the Federation of Malaya and Singapore, respectively.

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the cess which is collected on exports of rubber. That cess is paid into the Malayan Rubber Fund and is exclusively used to finance rubber research and development. I regret I am unable to say what the present amount of the fund is, but I will send my hon. Friend further particulars.

Trade And Commerce

Newsprint

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will state the amount of newsprint of British manufacture allocated to various countries overseas for 1951.

The following quantities of newsprint of United Kingdom manufacture have been allocated for export in 1951:

DestinationTons
Australia70,000
South Africa13,500
New Zealand8,500
Ceylon1,500
East Africa and Southern Rhodesia800
Irish Republic350
Colonies5,000

Rubber And Wool Prices

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the prices being paid per pound or ton at present and in November, 1948 and 1949, for rubber and wool.

The spot price for No. 1 RSS rubber on the London market on Tuesday, 7th November, was 5s. 4d. per lb. The corresponding average prices f this grade during November, 1948 and 1949 were 11–23/32d. and 1s. 1⅝d. respectively.The following are the average raw wool prices for the months in question, based on quotations from auction sales in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, of a typical merino (64's) quality and a typical crossbred (46's) quality grown in the overseas countries mentioned:

In pence per lb clean cost delivered United Kingdom
November, 1948November, 1949October, 1950
64's (merino)98106202
46's (crossbred)3251½132
I understand that auction prices for similar types of United Kingdom-grown wool have moved closely in line with these.

Cigarette Supplies, Sheffield

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that there is still an acute shortage of popular brands of cigarettes in Sheffield, in contrast to the improved position in many other areas; and what steps he proposes to take to increase allocations to Sheffield, in view of the changed pattern of demand since the base year on which allocations are calculated.

I do not control the distribution of tobacco and cigarettes, but I have no reason to suppose that the position in Sheffield is worse than in a number of other large towns. I will, however, draw the attention of the principal suppliers to the matter.

Horses (Cruelty)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he proposes to take any action arising from the cruelties inflicted on hares at the Coursing Club meeting at Altcar.

I do not think it would be appropriate for me to consider this matter until I have received the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Cruelty to Wild Animals.

YearLeicestershireRutlandEngland and Wales
Indictable OffencesBreaking OffencesIndictable OffencesBreaking OffencesIndictable OffencesBreaking Offences
1949553757554738
1948544951554336
1947534555414336
1946555249364136
1945514144504135
1944524754554540

Secondary Grammar Schools

asked the Minister of Education if he is aware that, owing to the inadequacy of accommodation in grammar schools, many capable children are denied the benefits of a grammar school education, and that the curriculum of the secondary modern school is not yet an adequate substitute; and if he will, pending the establishment of the comprehensive school, consider building more grammar schools to meet this emergency.

I am aware that as between different local education authorities there are variations in the percentage

Offences (Rutland And Leicestershire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the percentage of indictable crimes detected, and of breaking offences detected in the county of Rutland and in Leicestershire, respectively, for the year 1949 and for the preceding five years; and the average for the rest of England and Wales for the same periods.

The following table shows the percentage of offences cleared up out of the total number of offences known to the police:of children who can obtain a secondary grammar school education. It is possible to hold justifiably different views about the proportion of children for whom a secondary grammar school education should be provided and I should not be prepared to impose a uniform percentage on all authorities, though it is my aim to bring about equality of opportunity. At present, however, the resources available for educational building must be concentrated on the provision of the extra places needed for children of statutory school age as a result of new housing developments and the increase in the birthrate.