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Written Answers

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 November 1950

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 16th November, 1950

Housing

Oldham

18.

asked the Minister of Health if he will give the total number of licences granted to the Oldham Corporation since 1946 for the erection of working class houses; the number of houses erected; the number in the course of erection; and the number licensed but not yet commenced.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply on housing allocations given to the hon. Member for Southend, East (Mr. McAdden), on 9th November, of which I am sending him a copy. Information as to progress is available in the published Housing Returns.

19.

asked the Minister of Health if, in view of the large number of old houses and the serious overcrowding in the Oldham area, he will consider giving extra licences to the Oldham Corporation.

The factors referred to by my hon. Friend have already been taken into account in deciding the Corporation's allocation of houses. The allocation will, however, be reviewed in the light of progress.

Sanderspool Cross, Devon

20.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will now allow permanent houses to be built at Sanders-pool Cross, South Brent, in the county of Devon, in order to avoid the use of good agricultural land for this purpose.

No. As the hon. and gallant Member has already been informed, this site is unsuitable for housing purposes.

Allocations

80.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will alter the present system of making housing allocations to local authorities so as to allow proportionately larger numerical allocations to those who wish to build higher proportions of one and two bedroomed houses.

The existing system of allocations is sufficiently flexible to allow account to be taken of considerations such as those mentioned by my hon. Friend when the detailed building programme of an authority is known.

Requisitioned Property, Holborn

83.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the Holborn Borough Council requisitioned four flats at 9, 10, 14 and 15 Dalmeny Mansions, Theobalds Road, W.C.1, in April last and that up to date no rent has been paid; and if he will take action in this matter.

Yes. The local authority were authorised on 13th October last to make a payment on account of compensation rent due, and I understand a payment is being made forthwith.

"On Site" Houses

87.

asked the Minister of Health whether his Department have examined the "On Site" houses now being built for the London County Council at St. Mary Cray, Kent; what conclusions have been reached as to their suitability; or if he will examine these houses and issue a report for the guidance of local housing authorities.

This system of construction was investigated in the usual way before the London County Council and other local authorities were authorised to place contracts. No special points have arisen which call for further report.

Dorran Aluminium House

88.

asked the Minister of Health what approaches he has received from the manufacturers of the Dorran aluminium house; whether this type of house comes up to the required standards; and whether he will make a statement concerning it.

I have received a copy of a brochure. This does not give the technical details necessary for a full examination, but it is clear from the available information that the house is obviously below standard.

Local Authorities (Circular)

90.

asked the Minister of Health whether paragraph 4 of Circular 5/50 to local authorities dated 12th January, 1950, is still in force.

As stated in Circular 108/50 issued on 6th November, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy, the answer is "Yes."

Requisitioning Powers

92.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is prepared to delegate his powers of requisitioning house property to the local authorities in all heavily war damaged areas; and in such other areas where there is an acute housing need.

I cannot see my way to delegate general powers of requisitioning, but I am prepared to consider applications for delegations in respect of individual properties in the light of the circumstances of each case. I would, however, remind my hon. Friend that there may be preferable alternatives to requisitioning; for instance, acquisition by the local authorities.

Rural Areas

asked the Minister of Health how many houses were built in rural areas in England and Wales and, separately, in Hampshire in 1949.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Quarterly Housing Return Appendix B.

National Health Service

Chemists (Payments)

85.

asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been drawn to the delays in making final payments to pharmaceutical chemists; and if he will state what steps he proposes to take to deal with this grievance.

Yes, and I am arranging for a special payment to be made to chemists in December.

Hearing Aids, Taunton

37.

asked the Minister of Health what is the number of appli- cants now awaiting delivery of hearing aid instruments in the area served by the Taunton and Somerset Hospital; and what is the date of the earliest application still outstanding.

This hospital is not a distribution centre for the purpose. The number of applicants in the town of Taunton, who rely for this upon the Bristol Royal Hospital, is 127.

Alien Dentists

89.

asked the Minister of Health, in view of the shortage of dentists, if he will introduce legislation to enable qualified dental surgeons from European countries, who had a practice in their own countries before becoming domiciled here, but who are not qualified for registration, to practise here.

For the protection of the public we must ensure that foreign-trained dentists admitted to practise here are no less well qualified than British-trained dentists. Subject to this principle, I am about to discuss with the bodies concerned, at a convenient opportunity, the question whether existing arrangements can be improved.

Domiciliary Physiotherapeutic Treatment

91.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the disquiet felt by patients at the proposal to terminate the contract with the Liverpool Queen Victoria Nursing Association for domiciliary physiotherapeutic treatment; and if he is satisfied that adequate arrangements for a similar service can be brought into operation by the regional hospital board by 1st January, 1951.

After the present contract has been terminated, the regional hospital board will do their best to provide domiciliary physiotherapy for those of their patients for whom it is essential.

Tuberculosis Patients

93.

asked the Minister of Health what progress has been made in the allocation of additional beds for tuberculosis cases in general hospitals since his urgent recommendations were circulated to all regional hospital boards and boards of governors last August.

Details are not yet available, but I propose to call for a full report at the end of the year.

Rampton And Moss Side Hospitals (Staffs)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware of the chronic understaffing existing in the Rampton and Moss Side hospitals; and what steps he is taking to deal with the matter.

I am aware of the position, and constant efforts are being made to recruit additional staff. But the percentage of vacancies at these two hospitals is, in fact, lower than the average for mental institutions generally.

Rural Water Supplies

asked the Minister of Health how much has been spent on improving water supplies in rural areas since 1945.

I have no information of the amount expended. Works to the value of £28,167,080 have been authorised for commencement during the period 1st August, 1945, to 31st October, 1950. This includes £7,400,000 authorised for farm water supply schemes, but does not include the sums authorised specifically for supplies to houses erected by local authorities in rural areas, details of which are not readily available.

National Finance

Taxation Of Profits (Committee's Report)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to receive the Report of the Committee on Taxation of Profits, sitting under the chairmanship of Mr. Millard Tucker.

I understand that the Committee are engaged on the preparation of their Report and that much of it has already been drafted, but I cannot say when I shall receive it.

Post-War Credits

66.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in view of the fact that post-war credits are not included in the estate of a deceased person for assessment of duty when the person dies before reaching the age at which repayment can be made, under what conditions such credits become liable to assessment; and what machinery is in existence for ensuring that credits not liable to assessment for many years are not lost sight of.

Post-war credits of persons who die before reaching the age at which repayment can be made are statutorily exempt from Estate Duty and are not, therefore, liable to assessment.

Carpeting (Purchase Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the fact that the Board of Trade has reduced the margin of profit available to the retailer as prices of carpeting have increased at the factory, he will reduce the rate of Purchase Tax to 16⅔ per cent. in order to still further peg the price of this essential commodity to the public.

No. Carpeting is already chargeable at the lowest of the three statutory rates of Purchase Tax.

Employment

Trade Disputes

94.

asked the Minister of Labour in what circumstances he regards himself as being answerable to Parliamentary Questions in respect of a stoppage of work in industry.

I am answerable to Parliament in respect of the functions conferred on me under the Conciliation Act, 1896, the Industrial Courts Act, 1919, and the Conditions of Employment and National Arbitration Orders, 1940–1950, in relation to trade disputes whether or not they involve stoppages of work. In regard to Questions concerning the Conditions of Employment and National Arbitration Orders, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor) on 17th October.

Family Budget Inquiry

98.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now give the estimated cost of holding a family budget inquiry in 1950–51.

It is impossible to estimate the cost of holding a family budget inquiry in 1950–51 until decisions have been taken on various matters such as the classes of persons to be covered and the number of budgets to be collected, the amount of detail to be sought, the payments, if any, to be made to the households, and the agency through which the information would be collected.

Weekly Earnings Statistics

99.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will include in the statistics of average weekly earnings issued periodically by his Department an estimate, in all relevant cases, of the weekly cash value of any remuneration in kind such as the free provision of uniforms or clothing, free travel warrants, fuel allowances, etc.

Statistics are not available of the average weekly cash value of remuneration in kind in the industries covered by the six-monthly inquiry into average earnings conducted by the Ministry of Labour and National Service. This inquiry is based on voluntary returns made by employers. I do not think that, in the manufacturing and other industries covered, remuneration in kind is sufficiently important to justify adding to the questions which employers are asked to answer.

Recalled Reservists (Reinstatement)

100.

asked the Minister of Labour when he expects that the proposed legislation to confer rights of reinstatement in civilian employment on reservists recalled to the colours will be introduced.

Restrictive Practices (Report)

asked the Minister of Labour when he expects a report from the sub-committee of the National Joint Advisory Council, consisting of representatives of the Employers' Federation, the Trades Union Congress and nationalised industries, which was set up in April, 1949, to examine restrictive practices in industry.

I am informed that a report may be made to the full National Joint Advisory Council at its next meeting on 31st January.

Ex-Officers

asked the Minister of Labour how many ex-officers of 50 years of age and over have been placed in employment suitable to their age, qualifications and experience during the nine months ended 30th September, 1950.

Statistics of placings by age-groups are not available, but during the nine months up to 16th October, 1950, employment was found through the Ministry's appointments offices for a total of 398 ex-Regular officers. The appointments offices are concerned with posts of managerial, senior executive and professional type.

Education

Lancashire (Amending Scheme)

101.

asked the Minister of Education when he proposes to give final approval to the amending scheme of the Lancaster County Council for divisional administration of education; if he will state how many local authorities in Lancashire have objected to the amending scheme and in how many cases he has met their objections; and if he will further consider the objection of Morecambe and Heysham to the proposed amalgamation of their Divisional Executive Committee with that of a neighbouring town.

I have approved this scheme. Objections to particular features of the scheme were made by 19 local authorities. In the case of seven of these I am making modifications in the scheme which substantially meet the objections. I gave very careful consideration to the Morecambe and Heysham Borough Council's objections before I decided not to modify the scheme in the sense they desired.

Dental Service

102.

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware that the school dental service in North and South Lewisham is so understaffed that each child has to wait a year before receiving attention; and what steps he proposes to take to improve the position.

I am aware that the school dental service in Lewisham is seriously understaffed. I understand, however, that although children may have to wait for periods of up to a year for routine treatment, the local education authority have arranged for children to have emergency treatment at short notice. I hope that the present negotiations on the Dental Whitley Council will result in a satisfactory settlement which will substantially improve the position in the school dental service.

112.

asked the Minister of Education if any decision has yet been reached on the salaries of school dental officers; and if he will make a statement regarding the present condition of school dental service.

No. Negotiations on the establishment of salary scales for dental officers employed by local authorities are still proceeding through the Dental Whitley Council. The latest figures I have show that there were at the beginning of June the equivalent of 734 full-time dental officers employed by local education authorities in the School Dental Service. This compares with figures of 738 at the beginning of this year and of 866 at the beginning of 1949.

School Milk, Norfolk

103.

asked the Minister of Education how many Norfolk schools which previously had a regular supply of milk for the scholars have been without a supply since the summer holidays; and how many children are involved.

Seven of the 10 schools about which my hon. Friend wrote to me and seven other Norfolk schools are still without a supply of school milk. There are 976 pupils on the registers of these 14 schools. The local education authority and officers of the Ministry of Food are taking vigorous action to find a supplier for all these schools.

Criminal Trials (Scholars' Visits)

104.

asked the Minister of Education if he will make a statement on the circumstances in which a party of school children were brought to the last York Assizes and remained there during the hearing of criminal cases of an especially sordid character; and if he will seek to prevent further occurrences of this kind.

Visits of this kind have to be arranged well in advance, but on the occasion to which I assume the hon. Member refers the secretary of the school society concerned was informed by the court authorities that they would try to let him know beforehand if an unsuitable case should come up on the day selected. The headmaster made inquiries on the day and was informed that everything was in order for the visit. In general, I feel sure that matters of this kind can be left to the good sense of the school and court authorities concerned.

Leathercraft

105.

asked the Minister of Education whether he has yet decided to institute a national certificate in leather-craft; and what are the qualifications he proposes to require.

Teachers' Salaries

108.

asked the Minister of Education, if he will make a statement on the recommendations of the Burnham Committee in regard to teachers' salaries.

117.

asked the Minister of Education if he has now received the Report of the Burnham Committee: and if he will make a statement.

118.

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction among school teachers at the Burnham Committee's recommendations; and whether he will make a statement.

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

Swimming Instruction

110.

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware of the decision of the West Riding County Council to restrict school instruction in swimming to children between the ages of 10 and 13 years; and whether this is in accordance with his advice to education authorities.

I am aware of the authority's decision, which I understand was made for reasons of economy. With regard to the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. York), on 19th October last.

Spastic Children, Wales

111.

asked the Minister of Education what progress has been made in the provision of a school for spastic children in Wales.

I have not yet received the views of the Joint Education Committee for Wales on the way in which the lack of special school provision in Wales for physically handicapped children, including spastic children, should be made good.

Primary Schools (Accommodation)

113.

asked the Minister of Education how many children have been unable, during the past year, on reaching the age of five to obtain entry to a primary school owing to lack of accommodation.

I have no statistics of children who, on reaching the age of five, have been unable during the past year to obtain entry to a primary school owing to lack of accommodation. It is, however, estimated that just over 91 per cent. of the five year old age-group were in maintained primary schools in January, 1950. This was a higher percentage than in any other post-war year.

asked the Minister of Education how many infants of school age have been refused admission to schools this term because of lack of accommodation.

I have no information as to the number of infants of school age who were unable to obtain entry this term to a primary school because of lack of accommodation. It is, however, estimated that just over 91 per cent. of the five year old age-group were in maintained primary schools in January, 1950. This was a higher percentage than in any other post-war year.

Festival Of Britain (School Children)

114.

asked the Minister of Education to what extent he has been approached by local education authorities about bringing large groups of children to London for the Festival of Britain; what plans are being prepared, with a view to extra facilities being available for schoolchildren; and if he will give an estimate of the aggregate cost involved.

I have been approached by a number of local education authorities and other organisations about this matter. I propose to issue as soon as possible a circular to local education authorities about the arrangements that are being made, in consultation with the Festival authorities, to provide facilities for school children.

Technical Colleges (Part-Time Students)

115.

asked the Minister of Education if he will give the numbers of students at technical colleges in England and Wales, who were engaged in part-time education, for the years 1947, 1948 and 1949, respectively.

The following figures include attendance at technical and commercial colleges and institutes recognised under the Further Education Grant Regulations as providing day or day and evening courses. They do not include attendance at evening institutes (recognised as providing evening work only) or art colleges.

PART-TIME DAY STUDENTS

Educational year

Men

Women

Total

1946–47134,83943,136177,975
1947–48154,02049,074203,094
1948–49179,21959,835239,054

EVENING STUDENTS

Educational year

Men

Women

Total

1946–47272,070178,692450,762
1947–48338,150203,869542,019
1948–49385,684220,404606,088

School Clothing Grant

116.

asked the Minister of Education if he will take steps to see that adequate grants for distinctive school clothing are provided by all education authorities.

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of Addendum No. 1 to Circular 210 under which in July last I resumed payment of grant on local education authorities' provision of distinctive school clothing. I cannot in the present time of financial difficulty go beyond the terms of that circular.

Communist Teachers

asked the Minister of Education what steps he has taken to ascertain the extent to which Communists are employed as teachers in schools; and whether he can make any statement as to the result of such investigation.

None. I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Ilford, South (Squadron Leader A. E. Cooper) on 25th October last.

Emigrants, Canada

119.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what steps he proposes to take to increase emigration from this country to Canada.

I take it that the hon. Member is referring to the present limitation of currency remittances to Canada. I can only refer to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the hon. and gallant Member for Cheltenham (Major Hicks-Beach) on 23rd October.

Trade And Commerce

Cotton Re-Equipment Subsidy Scheme

121.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many schemes under the Cotton Re-equipment Subsidy Scheme have been submitted to him after the expiry of the statutory period; and whether he will take steps to make them eligible for inclusion.

No application for registration as an approved group under the Cotton Spinning (Re-equipment Subsidy) Act, 1948, has been received since 6th April, 1950, which is the date specified in the Act. Under the Act, it is also required that contracts be placed before 6th April, 1950, unless a special extension is granted. In the case of only one mill an extension has been requested to cover a complete scheme of modernisation, and this request was granted. In addition, extensions to allow of minor changes to seven previously approved schemes have been requested and each request is being considered on its merits. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind, I shall be pleased to look into it.

British Subjects, Enemy Territory (Property)

122.

asked the President of the Board of Trade by what authority the Custodian of Enemy Property denies to a British subject, albeit resident in enemy territory, the right to dispose of his British investments when in the United Kingdom.

The property of all persons resident in enemy territory is subject irrespective of their nationality, to the terms of the Trading with the Enemy (Custodian) Order, 1939, made under Section 7 of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 1939.

Fireworks

125.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can give any estimate of the total expenditure on the manufacture of fireworks this year.

No. The Board of Trade does not require manufacturers of fireworks to render returns of their current production, either by quantity or value, and I regret, therefore, that I cannot give any estimate of the manufacturing costs of these goods.

War Damage Claims

127.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the amount of claims under Part II of the War Damage Act, 1943, still unpaid and the amount of interest paid to date on these outstanding claims.

The total amount still deferred under Part II of the War Damage Act, 1943, is £41 million, not including interest. Interest accrues and is payable when the claims are finally paid off.

Dress Cloths (Price)

128.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in order to simplify the Utility Scheme, he will arrange to fix one maximum price for rayon or cotton for all dress fabrics.

No. But the hon. and gallant Member will have seen from the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Booth) on 14th November that the Cotton and the Rayon Utility Scheme Committees have recommended a number of broader specifications for dress cloths, and that these specifications are being discussed with the organisations concerned in the wholesale trade and the garment industry.

Electrical Machinery (Exports)

129.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the value of electrical engineering plant and of electrical distribution equipment, respectively, exported since 1945.

Electrical engineering plant and electrical distribution equipment are not defined as such in the Trade Accounts. A comprehensive analysis of exports of electrical machinery prior to 1950 is given in the December issues of the Trade and Navigation Accounts for the appropriate years, while similar figures for the first nine months of 1950 are available from the Trade and Navigation Accounts for September.

Turkeys

130.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why import licences for turkeys from Hungary have been refused, in view of the fact that nearly 1,500 tons were imported from that country last year.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 13th November by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley).

133.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now prepared to grant import licences for the importation of turkeys from Yugoslavia and Italy; and what quantities it is estimated can be obtained from these sources.

The import of turkeys from Yugoslavia and Italy is prohibited because the way in which the birds were prepared for slaughter exposed them to the risk of infection from fowl pest. The second part of the Question does not arise.

Prices

131.

asked the President of the Board of Trade which items in the cost of living index have risen in price after removal of price controls during this year.

Apart from non-utility goods which have counterparts in the utility schemes and are not covered by the index to any significant extent, the only items in the Board of Trade field which have been removed from price control this year and are covered by the Interim Index of Retail Prices are children's wellingtons, children's plimsolls, baby knitting wool, toothpaste and cold cream. Because of the higher cost of materials, the first three items have risen in price since the dates of decontrol, but in the case of the other two items there has been no change.

Geese Imports (Poland)

134.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why licences to import geese from Poland have been refused; why licences to import chickens from Poland have been granted; and whether he will reconsider this decision in view of the shortage of turkeys.

The import of geese from Poland was prohibited because the way in which the birds were prepared for slaughter exposed them to the risk of infection from fowl pest. To minimise this risk, the Polish Government has agreed to changes which we can accept, and imports will therefore again be permitted. Our requirements in the case of chickens were accepted earlier by the Polish Government.

Bankrupt Farmers, East Suffolk

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state the number of farmers in East Suffolk judged bankrupt during the years 1935 to 1939, and 1945 to 1949.

The numbers of farmers adjudged bankrupt in the Ipswich Court, which is the Bankruptcy Court for East Suffolk, during the years 1935–39 and 1945–49, were as follows:1935, 2; 1936, 3; 1937, 1; 1938, 6; 1939, 3; 1945, Nil; 1946, Nil; 1947, Nil; 1948, Nil; 1949, 1.

Canadian Engineering Students (Training Scheme)

126.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, following the recent visit to this country of a party of professors from Canadian engineering faculties, he is able to announce proposals in connection with the advanced technical training in this country of engineering graduates from Canada.

132.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what progress has been made towards the establishment of a scholarship scheme to encourage Canadian engineering graduates to come to the United Kingdom for further training.

Yes. As I said during the Debate on Anglo-Canadian Trade on 1st May last, we were examining the possibility of bringing to this country more Canadian engineering students, to build up in the long term a greater awareness on the part of the Canadian engineers and buyers, of this country's engineering products.I am now glad to be able to announce a scheme which the Government have decided to introduce, involving a number of awards to be made annually for the post-graduate training in this country of engineering graduates from Canada. With the gracious permission of Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, awards under this scheme, which will come into operation at the beginning of the academic year 1951–52, will be known as "Athlone Fellowships." The number of awards, each of which will normally cover a two-year period, will be 38 a year, and a proportion has been provisionally allocated to each engineering faculty in Canada for new graduates, whilst some will be reserved for graduates already employed in industry.Training facilities will be provided at industrial establishments or academic centres in this country, and the awards will cover the cost of travel to and from Great Britain, maintenance and tuition fees. Part of the expense of maintaining these graduates while they are in industrial establishments will be borne by the firms concerned; the rest of the cost of the scheme will be borne on public funds, and I estimate that in the first year of its operation expenditure falling on the Exchequer will be of the order of £16,000 rising to approximately £31,000 in the third year.The planning and successful operation of the scheme are matters of interest to my right hon. Friends the Minister of Education, the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Minister of Supply, whose Departments will be represented on the Committee of Management which I am setting up to administer the scheme. The Committee will include representatives of both sides of industry and of the academic interests involved. It is intended that it should keep in the closest touch with the Committee which is responsible for a somewhat similar scheme originated by the Federation of British Industries for placing overseas graduates in industry.

Street Musicians (Police Powers)

135.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to strengthen the powers of the Metropolitan Police to control street musicians.

I have no reason to think that the existing powers of the Metropolitan Police to control street musicians are inadequate.

Cruelty To Children

136.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has yet received the Report from the Inter-Departmental Committee which was set up to consider the problems of children not included in the terms of reference in the Curtis Report; and if he will publish the recommendations of this Report.

The working party of officials of the Home Office and other Departments submitted in April a report on the subject of children neglected in their own homes. The report was of the nature of recommendations made by officials to their Ministers and will not be published, but I circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 20th July a statement of the conclusions reached on the recommendations. A joint circular from the Home Office, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education was sent to local authorities on 31st July asking that co-ordinated use should be made of all the local services concerned with the welfare of children in their own homes.

139.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the increase in the number of offences of cruelty to children; and what steps does he propose to take to give greater powers to the courts to deal more effectively with these offences.

The number of offences of cruelty to, or neglect of, children in the first half of 1950 was slightly more than one half of the number in the year 1949, and almost exactly one half of the numbers in each of the years 1948, 1947 and 1946, which showed a substantial decrease from the numbers in the four preceding years. I have no reason to suppose that the powers of the courts to deal with these offences are inadequate.

Prosecution, Brighton

137.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is prepared to advise the remission of the sentence imposed upon Patrick O'Sullivan, of Princess Street, Brighton, who has been sent to prison because he was unable to pay the fine imposed upon him for the offence of building a house with his own labour, without having obtained all the necessary consents.

I have made inquiry. This was a prosecution by a local authority. In December, 1949, summonses were taken out by the Brighton Town Council against O'Sullivan for a breach of Defence Regulation 56A and non-compliance with local building by-laws and later a warrant for his arrest was issued as he failed to appear on the return of the summonses. He was eventually arrested, and on 31st October he pleaded guilty before the Brighton bench to the several charges and was committed to prison on failure to pay the fines imposed by the court. On the information before me I can find no ground for recommending any interference with the sentences.

Juvenile Delinquency (Committee's Recommendations)

140.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet considered the recommendations of the Wolverhampton Juvenile Delinquency Committee which has, at his request, been studying child crime for the last 12 months, and which include the establishment of junk playgrounds on waste grounds and more protection by firms of their goods when displayed on open counters; and how far he is proposing to introduce legislation to cover these recommendations.

The Committee was appointed by the Wolverhampton Town Council, with whom it rests in the first place to consider the report. The recommendations referred to by my hon. Friend do not appear to require legislation.

Congress, Sheffield (Admission Of Foreigners)

143.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long the Reverend John Paul Jones, of Brooklyn, United States of America, who wished to attend the Sheffield peace congress, was detained by his officers for questioning; and what was the nature of the interrogation.

It was made clear to the organisers of the Congress that delegates would not be admitted before 11th November, unless the travel facilities available did not allow them to arrive on this date, and that foreigners would not be admitted in advance in order to organise the Congress. The Reverend John Paul Jones arrived at London Airport on 10th November and was interviewed by the Immigration Officer at 10.30 a.m., and questioned for some 15 minutes in order to establish his status. After reference to the Home Office he was given leave to land at 11.45 a.m.

145.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what expenditure he incurred in dealing with applications to enter the United Kingdom by foreign delegates wishing to attend the peace congress at Sheffield.

Applications by foreigners wishing to attend the proposed Sheffield Congress were dealt with by the Aliens Department of the Home Office and the Passport Control Department of the Foreign Office, as part of their ordinary duties.

Air-Raid Shelters

141.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether priority will be given to Brighton for the provision of deep air-raid shelters.

Brighton is one of the areas which will be asked to make a survey

RegionIncrease During October, 1950Total Strength at 31st October, 1950Strength Per Thousand of Population
London8969,6391·55
North Western1,5059,0171·42
Eastern1,8458,6832·22
South Eastern1,5178,4252·20
Midland1,1796,7591·54
South Western1,4596,3342·11
Southern1,0796,0842·30
North Midland6685,3281·56
Northern6344,8991·56
North Eastern5764,7211·16
Wales7993,7771·46
12,15773,666Average for England and Wales 1·69

Festival Of Britain (Traffic Operation)

146.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to alleviate traffic congestion at the approaches to the Festival of Britain.

In addition to the road improvements which are being carried out in the vicinity of the Exhibition sites,

of shelter resources and needs, but I am not prepared at this stage to go into questions of priority for shelter. I should like to make it clear that I see no prospect of deep shelter being provided on any considerable scale, except where suitable caves or tunnels happen to be available.

Civil Defence Corps And Auxiliary Fire Service

144.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the strength of the Civil Defence Corps and Auxiliary Fire Service on 31st October, 1950; and how many recruits joined the Corps and the Fire Service, respectively, during the month of October.

In England and Wales during October, 12,157 recruits joined the Civil Defence Corps, bringing the strength at the end of the month to 73,666; and 456 recruits joined the Auxiliary Fire Service, bringing the strength at the end of the month to 5,892.Following are detailed figures relating to the Civil Defence Corps:arrangements are being made for the approach routes to be specially sign-posted, and the area will be policed both by officers on foot and by mobile patrols in wireless contact with a local traffic control headquarters at the South Bank Exhibition and with the central traffic Headquarters at Scotland Yard. The Commissioner of Police is preparing regulations under the statutory powers vested in him, covering the scheme of traffic operation, and these will be adapted as necessary to meet any emergency that may arise.

Defence Discussions, Nairobi

148.

asked the Minister of Defence if he will make a statement regarding the outcome of discussions between representatives of British and French military commands in Africa, which have recently terminated in Nairobi.

The aim of the talks recently held in Nairobi between representatives of the French Indian Ocean Command and of the British naval, military and Air Force Commands concerned was to consider matters of mutual interest with regard to the defence of the area. The discussions were successfully concluded on 8th November, but a full report has not yet reached London.

Tibetan Appeal

151.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will instruct our representative on the Security Council to press for the appeal of the Tibetan Government to be placed first on its agenda.

We are now studying the text of the Tibetan appeal and are in consultation with the interested Governments. We cannot decide what attitude we should adopt towards it until these measures have been completed.

Transport

Traffic Congestion, Central London

153.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will consider steps, such as the prohibition of horse-drawn transport and the restricting of private vehicles not on business errands, to ease the traffic congestion in the Metropolitan area.

Restrictions on slow-moving traffic including horse-drawn vehicles already operate on certain Central London streets, and I may have to consider extending these restrictions. There are, however, considerable difficulties in restricting private vehicles. Both these matters, as well as other measures, will, I understand, be dealt with in the report of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee on traffic congestion in Central London. I hope to receive this report by the end of the year.

Motor Buses And Coaches

asked the Minister of Transport if, in view of the fact that he has authorised the use of 8-foot wide buses and coaches in certain areas, he will state the numbers of such vehicles at present on the roads; the area in which they are operating; and if he intends to permit these vehicles to operate in the Greater London area.

The use of motor buses and coaches up to 8 feet in width is permitted in all areas, including London, subject to any special conditions imposed by the licensing authorities for public service vehicles as regards the use of stage or express carriages on any particular route. Up to 31st October, 1950, over 2,800 of the wider vehicles had been granted certificates of fitness.

Agriculture

Farm Workers' Wages

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will state the average weekly wage of farm workers in the years 1935 to 1939 and 1945 to 1949.

The average weekly minimum rates of wages for adult male regular workers in agriculture in England and Wales over the years in question were as follows:

s.d.
1935(a)318
1936(a)32
1937(a)331
1938(a)34
1939(a)34
1945689
1946742
1947828
1948900
1949(b)930
(a) average of county rates.
(b) 94s. from 13th March, 1949.
Comparative statistics of actual earnings in these years are not available.

Subsidies

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will state the amount of the subsidies paid to the industry of agriculture in the years 1935 to 1939 and from 1945 to 1949.

The subsidies paid to the agricultural industry in the United Kingdom were as follows:

£ millions
1935–365.8
1936–375 1
1937–385.5
1938–396.9
1945–468.9
1946–479.7
1947–4810.3
1948–4922.1
1949–5026.7
The pre-war figures include price supplements such as fat cattle subsidies and (in 1938–39) oat and barley subsidies but exclude wheat deficiency payments, which were not borne by the Exchequer.

Produce, East Suffolk

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give the total wheat, barley, sugar beet and milk production for East Suffolk in the years 1929 to 1939, and 1940 to 1950.

I am sending the hon. Member a statement giving the desired information.

Feedingstuffs, Devon

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he is taking to ensure an adequate supply of feeding-stuffs to maintain the present level of farm stock during the coming winter in the county of Devon.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Members for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) and Truro (Mr. G. Wilson), on 9th November.

Sugar Beet (Subsidy)

17.

asked the Minister of Food if he will state the total amount paid in direct or indirect subsidy to the British sugar beet industry.

The amounts vary from year to year. The direct subsidy for the last year for which figures are available, namely, the financial year 1949–50, was £4,502,462. In addition, the industry receives the benefit of an indirect subsidy, represented by the difference between the Excise Duty rate on home-produced sugar and the Import Duty rates. During 1949–50 all the sugar imported for consumption in the United Kingdom was imported from Commonwealth sources at preferential rates. The difference in that year between the Excise Duty and the Preferential Import Duties would be about £500,000; the difference between the Excise Duty and the full Import Duties would be about £3 million.

British Honduras (Coconuts)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to increase the production of coconuts in British Honduras.

I am making inquiries of the Governor and will write to the hon. Member as soon as I get his reply.

Malaya

Volunteer Force

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement on the formation of the new anti-bandit force, to be known as the Malayan Scouts.

The Malayan Scouts are a special volunteer force which will be used in anti-terrorist operations in Malaya. It is not in the public interest to enlarge on the employment of this unit.

European Police Recruitment

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is satisfied with the present rate of recruitment for junior European police officers for the Malayan Police; and to what extent vacancies have not been filled.

Yes. All Malayan requests for officers of this kind have been met in full except the most recent one, which was received at the end of August. It asked for 191 officers, and 116 have already been appointed. Of the 75 outstanding vacancies, 14 have already been offered to selected candidates and recruitment for the remainder is going on as rapidly as possible.

Constitutional Changes

asked the Secretary at State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the proposals of the Government of the Federation of Malaya under which the unofficial members of the Federal Legislative Council in Malaya are to be appointed as heads of Government departments in the Federation.

The proposals to which my hon. Friend refers are set out in Federation of Malaya Council Paper No. 49 of 1950, copies of which have now been placed in the Library of the House. I am sure that hon. Members will welcome these proposals, which are designed to entrust to local citizens certain high responsibilities for the conduct of public affairs.

Elections

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what objections now remain to the introduction of elections to the Federal Legislative Assembly in Malaya based on a limited adult suffrage.

Great importance is attached to the introduction of elections to the Federal Legislative Council of Malaya as soon as practicable, but it is intended that the electoral system should first be introduced for certain local authorities. This has already been provided for in legislation recently passed by the Federal Legislative Council. It is proposed that the next step should be elections for the State and Settlement Councils, and finally for the Federal Legislature. I understand this is the desire of the leaders of the local communities who have carefully considered this matter.

National Insurance

Pensioners (Payments)

asked the Minister of National Insurance if she will give the comparable figures of insurance paid to non-contributory and old age pensioners for the years 1935 to 1939 and 1945 to 1949.

Particulars of payments by way of contributory and non-contributory old age pensions and of retirement pensions are not available in respect of calendar years. The figures for the financial years 1935–36 to 1939–40, inclusive, and 1945–46 to 1949–50, inclusive, are as follows:

Year ended 31st MarchAmount
£000
193662,606
193764,244
193866,577
193969,541
194070,832
£333,800
194693,919
1947154,529
1948224,194
1949258,133
1950(approx.) 275,000
£1,005,775

Widows

asked the Minister of National Insurance in how many cases widows, who were incapable of self-support at the start of the 1948 insurance scheme and whose claims for an increased widow's pension have been rejected on the grounds that they were not made within the given date, have appealed to the pensions appeal tribunals.