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Written Answers

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 15th November, 1950

Telephone Service

Epping Area

8.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that there are residents in the area of Epping, Essex, who applied for telephone service as long ago as March, 1948, and whose telephones have still not been installed even where a shared service was agreed upon; and what steps he is taking to improve the situation.

Owing to the restrictions on our capital expenditure, there is only a limited amount of labour and stores available for connecting up new subscribers. I regret that heavy pressure of priority work is likely for some time to delay completion of applications such as those referred to by the hon. Member.

Silverthorne Exchange

9.

asked the Postmaster-General when it is anticipated that an automatic dialling system will be installed for the Silverthorne telephone exchange.

It is proposed to extend the present manual exchange to meet development in the next few years, and no date can be given for conversion to automatic working.

Stockport

25.

asked the Postmaster-General how many applications for the installation of telephones are outstanding for the Stockport exchange at the last convenient date.

Post Office (Thefts)

17.

asked the Postmaster-General how many postmen were convicted of stealing from the post in 1938, 1939, 1948, 1949 and 1950 to date, respectively.

The figures are: 1938–154; 1939–123; 1948–49 (financial year)—402; 1949–50 (financial year)—339: 1950 (April to September)—176.

Broadcasting (Roumanian Station)

23.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has made representations to the Roumanian Government about the interference with reception of 285 metres by Bucharest II; what satisfaction he has received; and if he will make a statement.

The wavelength 285.2 metres, frequency 1,052 kilocycles per second, is allocated by the Copenhagen Plan for shared use by the United Kingdom, Libya, and the Roumanian People's Republic. I have made representations to the Roumanian Administration and am awaiting their reply.

Wraf (Messing Facilities)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he can arrange for officers of the Women's Royal Air Force, who hold appointments in London, to be provided with central messing facilities.

My right hon. Friend regrets that accommodation is not available in Central London for a Women's Royal Air Force mess.

Civil Aviation

London Airport (Extension)

44.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation how many properties it is proposed to acquire and demolish for the contemplated extension of the London Airport; how many of these properties are dwelling-houses occupied by their owners; and how it is intended that the compensation payable to these owner-occupiers should be assessed.

When it becomes necessary to extend the airport north of the Bath Road, about 665 properties may have to be acquired and demolished. The number of houses occupied by the owners has not yet been ascertained. Rehousing will be provided and compensation assessed in accordance with the provisions of the statutes in force at the time of acquisition.

Air Accident, London (Inquiry)

70.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he will now say when the public inquiry into the loss of the Dakota aircraft at Mill Hill will be opened.

Present indications are that the preparatory work of collecting evidence could not be completed in time for the public hearings to be opened before the New Year. The final selection of the date rests with Mr. Roland Adams, K.C., who has accepted my noble Friend's invitation to preside.

Boac Aircraft

72.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation the number and types of aircraft operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation and the number and types of aircraft now on order; and when delivery can be expected.

British Overseas Airways Corporation's present, and immediately prospective, operating fleet consists of 22 Argonauts. 10 Stratocruisers, 11 Constellations, 25 Hermes and 10 York freighters. The Corporation have placed orders for 14 Comets and 25 Bristol 175s, of which delivery is expected to begin in 1951 and 1954 respectively and there are three S.R.45s ordered on behalf of the Corporation.

Food Supplies

Fruit Juice

asked the Minister of Food how many gallons of apple juice were included in the 7,268,000 gallons of unfermented fruit juice imported in the nine months ended 30th September, 1950.

The 7,268,000 gallons of unfermented fruit juice imported in the nine months ended 30th September, 1950, included about 100 gallons of concentrated, and about 9,200 gallons of un-concentrated, unsweetened apple juice. It may also have included some sweetened apple juice, but this is not separately recorded in the official trade returns.

Tea Subsidy

69.

asked the Minister of Food if he can yet make an announcement as to the rate of tea subsidy when auctions are resumed in this commodity.

As we have already told the trade associations, and publicly announced, there will be a flat rate subsidy of 1s. a 1b. on all tea bought for home consumption after 2nd April.

Poultry

asked the Minister of Food if he is satisfied that there will be an adequate supply of poultry at moderate prices available for the Christmas period.

I would refer the hon. Member to my statement about Christmas food prospects on 13th November.

Onions

asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that two shiploads of imported onions in Liverpool are to be auctioned on Wednesday, 15th November; and, in view of the protest made to him by the National Farmers' Union, if he will make a statement on the position.

I understand that two ships carrying onions will arrive in Liverpool on Friday, 17th November, but that no arrangements have yet been made for the supplies to be auctioned. Under the arrangements which I described in my reply to the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) on 6th November any supplies of onions arriving in this country before 1st December will be held in Customs control until that date.

Japanese Students (Scholarships)

73.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the nature of the arrangements made by the British Council for Japanese to be received in Great Britain as students; the cost to the British taxpayer during 1950–51 of free passages to this country; the cost of tuition fees, grants for books and monthly living grants: and the total cost for the years 1950–51.

The British Council are offering five scholarships for Japan for the academic year 1951–52. These cover the cost of return sea passages, and of one year's study at a university. Fees and maintenance grants of £25–£35 a month are included, and places are found for scholars at suitable universities or other institutions of learning. The scheme does not come into operation until the beginning of the academic year 1951–52 and the total cost for that year is £3,350.

Communist Countries (British Policy)

74 and 75.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (1) what steps His Majesty's Government takes to emphasise the distinction it makes bewteen the Governments of the Communist-dominated countries in Europe which are members of the Cominform and the peoples of those countries; and whether he is satisfied that those Governments are fully aware that this distinction is being made(2) what steps His Majesty's Government takes to emphasise the distinction it makes between the Soviet Government and the Soviet people; and whether he is satisfied that the Soviet Government is fully aware that this distinction is being made.

In its publicity the policy of His Majesty's Government makes a clear distinction between these people and their Governments, and I have no doubt that the Governments are aware of the fact.

Germany (Rearmament)

80.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he has taken to ascertain the views of the Government of the German Federal Republic on the rearmament of Germany.

The views of the German Federal Government were expressed fully in the debate of the Federal Assembly on 8th November last. These views have been noted by His Majesty's Government. Should it become necessary to discuss any questions of this nature with the German Federal Government His Majesty's Government would, of course, act in consultation with the two other Western Occupying Powers and through the Allied High Commission.

South-East Asia (Defence Consultations)

82.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will suggest special consultations with the French Government with regard to common action in the defence of South-East Asia, in view of the deteriorating situation in Indo-China and its threat to Siam and Malaya.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield (Air Commodore Harvey) on 6th November. I would add that as there is continual consultation with Commonwealth and other interested Governments regarding the situation in South-East Asia and the Far East, I do not consider that further special consultations of the kind suggested are necessary.

Korea (Un Commission)

85.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the new United Nations Commission for Korea, established by the General Assembly resolution of 7th October, is expected to arrive in Korea.

I understand that the Commission will meet in Tokyo on 20th November and proceed to Korea very shortly thereafter.

Colonial Empire

Deportations

88.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in respect of how many of the colonial territories the Governor has a legal right to deport residents without trial and without any right of appeal.

The general rule is that persons who belong to a colonial territory cannot be deported therefrom. The laws of the different territories vary somewhat as regards the class of persons who are to be treated as belonging to the territory for this purpose. In some territories only persons born in the territory are so treated; in others the class is much wider and includes persons naturalised there or having certain residential qualifications.

In seven territories, however, the Governor or High Commissioner, where satisfied by information on oath that any person is conducting himself so as to be dangerous to peace and good order in the territory, has power under various orders in Council to order his removal to some other territory within His Majesty's Dominions or under His Majesty's protection. In Gibraltar, also, the Governor has power to order any undesirable person to leave the Colony. The Malay States are not strictly within the terms of the Question, but the High Commissioner of the Federation, in association with the Ruler of the State, has power under local legislation to banish any undesirable person.

90.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many deportations from Uganda have taken place during the last 12 months up to the most recent convenient date; and in how many cases the deportations were of natives of Uganda.

Jehovah's Witnesses

89.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is prepared to reconsider the embargo on the admission to a number of African Colonies of members of the organisation of Jehovah's Witnesses, in view of the fact that this embargo constitutes an invasion of the right of the freedom of speech and of freedom of faith.

Certain Colonial Governments have imposed restrictions on the entry of representatives of this Society because experience has shown that its teaching may have harmful results in colonial communities. This is a question which Colonial Governments are best able to judge, and it is not one in which my right hon. Friend is prepared to intervene.

Racial Discrimination

100.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the report by Colonial Governments on the extent of legislation establishing racial discrimination have now been fully analysed; and whether he will now make a statement.

The reports have now been analysed and are at present being studied. It will be necessary to consult Colonial Governments on certain points and my right hon. Friend would prefer to defer any statement until these consultations have been concluded.

Economic Research

102.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in research by the Colonial Economic Research Committee into fiscal policy in relation to colonial economic development.

The Colonial Economic Research Committee does not itself undertake research, but advises my right hon. Friend on the organisation of economic research studies. Progress on the scheme referred to has not got beyond the stage of preliminary consideration.

United Nations Committee (Reports)

111.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the new decisions taken by His Majesty's Government on the question of making reports about colonial questions to the United Nations' Sub-Committee for Dependent Territories; and whether reports submitted to this Committee will also be regularly available to Members of Parliament.

No new decisions have been taken. Under Article 73 (e) of the United Nations Charter, we have supplied to the Secretary-General, annually since 1947, statistical and other material, for information purposes, on economic, social and educational conditions in the non-self-governing territories, other than trust territories, for which we are responsible. The General Assembly set up a Special Committee to examine this information, and this year the United Kingdom representative played a full part in its discussions. Copies of the Reports dealt with by the Committee are available in the Library of the House.

Nigeria

Palm Oil

91.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why 10,000 acres in Nigeria are to be planted with palm oil when the production of this crop in Malaya is considerably more.

The project in question, in which the Colonial Development Corporation has a part interest, is still under investigation. It is designed to improve the economy of this part of Nigeria, which depends at present on production from the wild palm. There is considerable scope for improvement in both yield and quality in Nigeria.

Sacks (Prices)

92.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Nigerian Government have arranged that Nigerian farmers are to pay more than the world price for sacks made at the Colonial Development Corporation's new sack factory at Onitsha; and why similar discriminatory arrangements are not being made to assist African-owned industries.

Forty-five per cent. of the capital of this factory has been provided by the Nigerian Cocoa and Cotton Marketing Boards. The Boards have agreed to pay a special price for sacks produced during the pilot stage of development if it is found to be necessary during this stage. It is open to any industry which is African owned to ask for assistance of a similar nature.

Bahamas (Constitution)

93.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether early consideration will be given to the reform of the Bahamas constitution, particularly in view of the fact that the present constitution is virtually equivalent to our own constitution in the 17th century and that little constitutional progress or revision has taken place in the Bahamas since then.

Successive committees of the Bahamas elected House of Assembly have over recent years been considering whether there is need for revision of the constitution. Any recommendations which I may receive from the Bahamas will receive my careful consideration. I do not accept the suggestion that there have been no important changes since the Bahamas constitution was established in the 18th century.

Gibraltar (Nylon Stocking Exports)

95.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the efforts which he has made, at the request of the President of the Board of Trade, to bring to an end the practice of re-importing to this country nylon stockings previously exported from the United Kingdom to Gibraltar.

The Governor of Gibraltar has, at the request of my right hon. Friend, brought to the attention of the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce the conditions under which gifts addressed from abroad to individuals in the United Kingdom may be imported, and the Chamber of Commerce has informed its members.

Colonial Development Council (Membership)

98.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many members there are on the Colonial Development Council; and how many of them are Colonials born in any of the Colonies.

The Colonial Economic and Development Council at present consists of 15 persons. The answer to the second part of the Question is "One."

Rhodesia Railways (Colour Bar)

101.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how far any colour bar operates on the Northern Rhodesian Railways, either in respect of appointment to particular grades in the service or of eligibility of Africans for membership of trade unions.

Rhodesia Railways are owned jointly by Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Bechuanaland Protectorate. Africans are employed on them in unskilled and semi-skilled posts but, so far, no African railway worker has been employed in a skilled post. There is no clause in the constitution of the Rhodesia Railways Workers' Union debarring an African from becoming a member of that Union. An African Railway Workers' Union has recently been formed in Northern Rhodesia and has applied for registration under the Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Ordinance. Its constitution, however, does not comply in all respects with the provisions of the ordinance and the Union has been advised of the amendments necessary to make it eligible for registration.

British Guiana (Appointment)

103.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the qualifications of Miss Hinden who has recently been appointed to the Committee on Constitutional Reform in British Guiana.

Dr. Rita Hinden has made a close study of Colonial problems and was for 10 years Secretary of the Fabian Colonial Bureau. She is a member of the Colonial Economic and Development Council, and of the Colonial Labour Advisory Committee.

West Indies (Trade With Canada)

104.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered the resolutions passed at a meeting of directors of the Incorporated Chambers of Commerce of the British Caribbean held at Port of Spain 10th–14th July, a copy of which has been sent to him, with particular reference to passenger shipping, differential freight rates to smaller Caribbean Colonies, and the difficulties of trade between Canada and the West Indies; and what action he is taking to meet the requests contained therein.

I have seen the resolutions of the Chambers of Commerce. As far as passenger shipping is concerned the shipping companies have been invited to submit proposals for improved services to the Caribbean but no practical plan has yet been submitted. Freight rates on cargo from this country to the Caribbean are not controlled by the Government, and no doubt those concerned in the West Indies are taking this matter up with the shipping lines. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a Press announcement which was issued on 30th October about new arrangements in the West Indies to allow for a certain expansion of their imports from Canada.

Jamaica (Governor's Appointment)

105.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he will appoint a new Governor of Jamaica.

My right hon. Friend announced this morning that the King has been pleased to approve the appointment to this office of Mr. H. W. Foot, Chief Secretary of Nigeria.

Kenya (Education)

109.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the voting in the Kenya Legislative Council on the Beecher Report on African Education was 24 in favour, and seven against; that the seven against were four African and three Indian members, and that two Arab and one Indian member abstained; and whether, in these circumstances, it is the intention of the Kenya Government to implement the Report.

The answer to both parts of the Question is "Yes." This Report will lead to a great improvement and expansion of African education at all levels with a greatly increased programme of expenditure. Much of the African opposition is due to certain features which they consider will adversely affect the financial position of African teachers. Modification of these features is under consideration by the Kenya Government, although considerable extra expenditure will be involved, and I will let my hon. Friend know of the outcome.

110.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the expenditure incurred by the Kenya Government on education per head of the school-going population for Europeans, Asians and Africans, respectively, in schools.

The net expenditure per head by the Central Government is: European, £59; Asian, £14 16s.; African, £1 10s. These figures are misleading, however, as they take no account of the contribution of local Government funds to African primary education. The extent of the resulting dilution is shown by the fact that the net cost of an African pupil in a Government secondary school is £30. School fees paid to the Government per head amount to: European, £46; Asian, £2 18s.; African, 1s.

112.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why 3,500 copies of a booklet have been distributed in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and a Deputy and Assistant Director of Education brought to this country from Kenya to recruit 16 education officers; what is the expense involved; and what efforts were made to recruit Africans in Kenya and from Makerere College in view of the fact that suitable Africans are available locally.

This recruitment drive was initiated by the Government of Kenya following the Beecher Report on the Development of African Education in Kenya. The booklet states the problem briefly and advertises the vacancies, and the two officials are here to give firsthand information to applicants. The booklet cost £100 and the two return air passages about £400. That expense is borne by the Kenya Government which made these special arrangements for recruitment here because suitable Africans are not yet available for these particular vacancies or supervisory and teacher training officers.

113.

asked the Secretray of State for the Colonies whether the Government of Kenya has accepted the principle that no child should be excluded on racial grounds from any Government-aided secondary school in Kenya.

Differences in language and cultural background make it desirable on educational grounds to provide each race with the separate facilities best suited to its children, so that the question of accepting such a principle has not yet arisen.

Togoland (Commission Members' Boycott)

114.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the boycott of the Anglo-French Consultative Assembly for British and French Togoland; and what is the reason for this.

Five of the 17 members representing Togoland under United Kingdom Trusteeship absented themselves from the first session of the Standing Consultative Commission on 7th November. The reason for these absences is being investigated by the Gold Coast Government.

Seychelles (Food Subsidies)

115.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will clarify the announcement recently made in the Seychelles Legislative Council in respect of price controls and food subsidies; and, in view of the low minimum male wage of 8s. 6d. for a 40-hour week, he will give an assurance that subsidies will be maintained on sugar, maize, coconut oil and soap until and unless compensating wage increases have been granted for their withdrawal.

Since the statement, to which I presume by hon. Friend refers, was made in July last, my right hon. Friend has received no recommendation from the officer administering the Government of Seychelles for the winding up of the Government Supplies Department in the Colony. On the other hand, the Government of Seychelles has recently, with my right hon. Friend's approval, increased the subsidy on rice and sugar to assist in meeting the higher landed cost of later consignments. As regards the second part of the Question, the maintenance of subsidies is primarily one of the Government of Seychelles to decide, but I can assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend will continue to keep a close watch on the situation.

Gold Coast (Ferry, Adiembra)

116.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the inconvenience caused by the ferry at Adiembra in the Gold Coast; what is the charge made for a motor-car after scheduled hours; and when he expects that a bridge will be built.

This is a matter for the Gold Coast Government. My right hon. Friend has asked the Governor for information, and will write to the hon. Member when the reply has been received.

Royal Navy

Naval Constructors

117.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty how many resignations from, and recruits to, the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors have taken place in 1950; and whether there has been any change since 1945 in the conditions required to be fulfilled by the recruits to this corps.

There have been three resignations from and three recruits to the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors during 1950. In April, 1949, the bond under which recruits undertook to remain in His Majesty's service for seven years after completing their course at Greenwich was abolished for an experimental period of five years. There has been no other change since 1945 in the conditions required to be fulfilled by recruits to the Corps.

Ex-Civilian Employees (Gratuities)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether he is aware of the extreme hardship imposed on Admiralty civilian employees who would have qualified for a gratuity under existing regulations, but who were invalided out of the Service within two years of the coming into force of the Act defining the new and shorter qualifying period; and whether steps will be taken to remedy this injustice to old employees in contrast to the situation of men of shorter service.

I am aware of the position of unestablished civilian employees who were invalided from Admiralty employment before 14th July, 1949, i.e., the date of the operation of the Superannuation Act, 1949, under which the minimum qualifying period for the award of gratuities to such persons was reduced from 15 to seven years. Although the fixing of a date for the grant of improved conditions of any kind may appear unfortunate to persons who just fail to qualify for them, the Admiralty is, in this instance, merely administering an Act of Parliament which contains no provision for the application retrospectively of the revised conditions relating to the award of gratuities, and which applies to all unestablished Government employees, not only to Admiralty employees.

Transport

Coastguard Service

119.

asked the Minister of Transport what reductions he proposes in the numbers employed in His Majesty's Coastguard Service; and what steps he is taking to prevent the reduction in the safety of coastal shipping.

At the end of last year I instituted a review of the organisation of His Majesty's Coastguard. I am now considering the report which proposes certain changes in the strength and disposition of the Service. The safety of coastal shipping has been prominently in the minds of those undertaking the review.

Traffic Lights, Tynemouth

120.

asked the Minister of Transport on what date the Tynemouth Corporation first requested permission to install traffic lights at the junction of Lerham Road and the Coast Road; what was the dates of letters requesting reconsideration from the local authority and from the hon. Member for Tyne-mouth; and the date on which a reply was sent.

The Tynemouth Corporation first applied in September, 1948, but agreed that consideration of the application should be suspended to allow them to study the question further. They renewed the application in March, 1949, and then also proposed the imposition of a speed limit. They agreed to drop the latter proposal and renewed their application for traffic lights in August. 1949. After various discussions with the divisional road engineer the council again pressed their case and in May, 1950, after the fullest possible investigations the council were informed that the installation of traffic signals could not be approved.The hon. Member wrote to me on 21st July this year and I replied on 11th August, promising a further investigation into the increase of traffic which was said to have recently occurred. This has taken place and I am now in a position to reply to her further letters of 13th and 23rd October.

121.

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that a fatal accident occurred at the junction of the Coast Road and Lerham Road, Tyne-mouth, on 8th November; that the local authority have been refused permission to install traffic lights; and that, at the inquest, the coroner added a rider stating that traffic lights should be installed; and what action has been taken.

I am aware of this unfortunate accident. The hon. Member wrote to me in July suggesting that conditions had changed in the last two years and I promised to make an investigation. A traffic census has now been taken and I find that traffic has only increased from 329 vehicles an hour in 1948 to 392 per hour in 1950, of which only 31 came from one side road and 15 from the other. These figures fall very considerably below the minimum volume normally regarded as warranting traffic signals, and I am advised that the best solution for conditions at this junction would be to improve the layout. I am, therefore, putting this proposal to the highway authority.

National Finance

Historic Buildings (Recommendations)

122.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government intend to put into effect the recommendations of the Gowers Committee Report on Houses of Historic and Architectural Interest.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Hollis) on 14th November.

Cost Of Living

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what percentage has the cost of living increased since 1938; and by what percentage have personal incomes, after payment of all taxes, increased since 1938.

In 1949 the average price of all consumer goods and services currently bought is estimated to have been about 85 per cent. above the 1938 level; Total personal disposable income (that is, personal income less Income Tax, Surtax and employees' National Insurance contributions) is estimated in 1949 to have been about 95 per cent. higher than in 1938; no estimate for 1950 for personal incomes can yet be made.

Post-War Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason sums due to individuals through post-war credits are not shown in the Finance Accounts.

Information regarding amounts outstanding in connection with Income Tax post-war credits and similar refunds of sums previously credited as revenue has been published in the Financial Statement. A full analysis of the amounts of Income Tax post-war credits originally created and amounts repaid also appears in the latest Inland Revenue Report. The question of noting these and sums of a similar character in future issues of the Finance Accounts is under consideration.

Government Departments (Debt)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state, to the nearest £1 million, the amount of debt held by Government Departments on 31st March, 1950, under the headings of floating debt and other internal debt, excluding bonds tendered for Death Duties, respectively.

Greyhound Racing (Bookmakers' Licence Fees)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the amount collected for licence fees from greyhound bookmakers from April to September, 1949; and for the same period in 1950.

The monthly figures of receipts of bookmakers' licence duty from April to September in 1949 and 1950 are as follow:

1949.1950.
££
April213,602187,498
May201,780184,298
June255,851229,026
July238,647184,023
August265,004224,671
September251,381171,368

Central Office Of Information ("The Times")

124.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many copies of "The Times" are purchased daily for use by the Central Office of Information; and what reduction in the supply has been made since the cut in newsprint on 6th November.

The Central Office of Information purchases 82 copies of "The Times," of which 59 are required in connection with overseas publicity and 14 for the regional offices of the Department. No reduction has been made since the cut in newsprint on 6th November, since the number of copies purchased is the minimum required by the Department.

British Army (Military Medal)

125.

asked the Secretary of State for War why the pecuniary benefits accompanying the award of the Military Medal during the 1939–45 war should not be available to those who won this decoration prior to 3rd September, 1939.

The various changes in the provisions for the grant of pensions and gratuities to the holders of gallantry decorations and medals which were made in 1945, and which included for the first time provision for pecuniary awards in respect of the Military Medal, were intended for application only in the case of decorations and medals earned since September, 1939. There was no intention of giving retrospective effect to the provision. Apart from other considerations the cost of doing so would have been prohibitive.I am sending the hon. Member a copy of an answer given to a Question on this subject by the then Secretary of State for War on 1st February, 1949.

Festival Of Britain (Overseas Students' Accommodation)

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he will undertake that no objections will be made by his Department to the ample provision during the Festival Year of holiday camps and temporary hostel accommodation to accommodate the large number of students from France and other European countries who will be unable to visit Great Britain unless such additional cheap accommodation is made available for them.

I hope many students from France and other European countries will visit Britain during the Festival, and that voluntary organisations and local planning authorities will co-operate in providing suitable accommodation.

Agriculture (Hill Farming Schemes)

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many schemes have been submitted for improvement of hill farming land; how many have been approved: and what is the amount of grant paid in England, Scotland and Wales, respectively, under the Hill Farming Act. 1946, to the most convenient date.

The figures at 31st October, 1950, are:

EnglandScotlandWales
Schemes submitted1,4661,1742,579
Schemes approved formally or in principle8695571,725
Grant paid£71,000£158,000£20,000

Scotland (Rents)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the composition of districts into which Scotland is divided for the purpose of the Rent of Furnished Houses Control (Scotland) Act, 1943, as amended by the Landlord and Tenant (Rent Control) Act, 1949; for which of these districts rent tribunals are at present in existence; how many references were made to rent tribunals in the year ended 31st March, 1950; and in how many cases the rent was reduced, maintained or increased, respectively.

The Rent of Furnished Houses Control (Scotland) Act, 1943, has been applied to all local authority areas in Scotland except the counties of Banff and Selkirk, and the burghs of Cullen, Portknockie, Auchterarder, Elie and Earlsferry, Kilrenny and Anstruther, St. Monance, Crail, Pittenweem, Linlithgow, Armadale, Kirkintilloch, Millport and Inveraray.Scotland is divided into the following districts for the purposes of the Act and each district is served by a separate rent tribunal: 1, City of Aberdeen; 2, City of Dundee; 3, City of Edinburgh; 4, City of Glasgow; 5, Counties of Aberdeen and Kincardine; 6, Angus; 7, North Argyll; 8, South Argyll and Bute; 9, North Ayrshire; 10, South Ayrshire; 11, Counties of Banff and Moray; 12, Counties of Berwick, Roxburgh and Selkirk; 13, Caithness; 14, Counties of Clackmannan and Stirling; 15, Dumfries and Galloway; 16, Dumbartonshire; 17, Fife (Dunfermline area); 18, Fife (Central and East area); 19, Harris and Lewis; 20, Counties of Inverness (except Harris) and Nairn; 21, Lanarkshire; 22, Lothians and Peebles; 23, Orkney; 24, Counties of Perth and Kinross; 25, East Renfrew-shire; 26, West Renfrewshire; 27, Ross and Cromarty (except Lewis); 28, Sutherland; 29, Zetland.During the year ended 31st March, 1950, 292 competent references to fix reasonable rents (including original references and subsequent references following on a change of circumstances in the let) were made to the tribunals. In the 282 cases decided by the tribunals during the year, the rents were reduced in 218 cases, approved in 44 and increased in 20.

Quarter Sessions Appeals (Shorthand Note)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider the desirability of a shorthand record being taken of proceedings in all cases before an appeal committee of quarter sessions.

The question whether an appeal committee of quarter sessions has a shorthand note of its proceedings taken is a matter for the appeal committee. Decisions of appeal committees on appeal from decisions of courts of summary jurisdiction are final on matters of fact, and the only appeal is by way of case stated on a point of law. Such appeals are infrequent and seldom involve a minute consideration of the evidence. I am not satisfied on the information at present before me that the legislation which would be needed to require appeal committees to have a shorthand note taken in all cases would be justified.

Nurses And Midwives (Salary Scales)

asked the Minister of Health if he has yet given his approval to the payment of arrears ender the new salary scales approved by the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council.

Yes, wherever the revised rates have been embodied in circulars agreed by the Whitley Council.