Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 24 April 1951

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 24th April, 1951

Old Age Pensioners (Retiring Age)

3.

asked the Minister of Pensions what reply he has given to the representations which have been made to him by the Old Age Pensioners' Association objecting to keeping old people working longer in industry and postponing the retiring age.

I have received no such representations. In any event this is not a matter for which I have any Departmental responsibility.

British Army

Reserve And Auxiliary Personnel

5.

asked the Secretary of State for War why he proposes to recall for training men who have joined and served in organised Reserve and Auxiliary Forces since the end of the late war.

Officers of the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces who have joined since the end of the war are, on the completion of their service, transferred to the Regular Army Reserve of Officers or the Territorial Army Reserve of Officers. A limited number are being recalled in order that they may train with units in which they would serve in the event of mobilisation. Other ranks of the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces who have completed their service are not being recalled for training.

Mr W E Evans (Death)

21.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement concerning the death of Mr. W. E. Evans, Cardiff, who was shot by a sentry in the curfew area near Kuala Kubu when his car failed to stop at a road block.

Hotel, St Margaret's Bay (Damage)

14.

asked the Secretary of State for War what was the nature and value of the damage already suffered by the Excelsior Hotel, St. Margaret's Bay, Kent, at the time it was requisitioned by his Department in 1940.

This property was requisitioned in April, 1942, and not in 1940. There had then been slight war damage relating mainly to windows and plaster and barbed wire entanglements had been placed on the property.

Class Z Reserve

22.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will defer the call up of Class Z reservists who are engaged in farming operations until after the ploughing and sowing on the farms.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my hon. Friend to the hon. Member for Abingdon (Sir R. Glyn) on 19th April.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for War why Mr. E. C. Lockwood, 141, Balby Road, Doncaster, has been refused deferment of service under the Class Z reserve call up, in view of the fact that he has a one-man business which will have to be closed during his period of training; and if he is aware that deferment or exemption has been granted in many similar cases.

I should be grateful if my hon. Friend would let me know Mr. Lockwood's regimental number, rank and regiment or corps in order that I can look into this case.

National Finance

Imported Cigars (Tax)

72.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the amount per year of tax obtained on the importation of cigars from non-Commonwealth and colonial sources during the three previous years to the ceasing of permission for such importations; what was the tax obtained in each of those years from importation from Jamaican sources; and how far have we benefited by taxation each year since Cuban cigars were forbidden an import licence.

As regards the first and second parts of the Question, net receipts of duty paid in respect of cigars imported from the sources indicated during the financial years 1936–37 to 1938–39* were as follow:

Financial YearNon-CommonwealthColonial (including Jamaica)Jamaica
£££
1936–37388,2542,1032,080
1937–38336,0882,8882,870
1938–39321,0872,0071,994
As regards the last part of the Question, net receipts of duty paid in respect of cigars imported since imports of foreign cigars were suspended in the financial year 1940–41

* were:

YearDuty paidYearDuty paid
££
1940–4173,0451946–47734,602
1941–4275,8491947–481,207,191
1942–43109,3571948–49501,140
1943–44157,2151949–50590,548
1944–45176,9381950–51707,000
1945–46346,711(estimate)

The rates of duty on tobacco were increased in 1940, 1942, 1943, 1947 and 1948.

* The granting of import licences for foreign cigars ceased on 1st January, 1940.

Spain (Socialist Youth Movement)

73.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has approved the arrangements for transmitting to the underground Socialist Youth Movement in Spain moneys raised by the appeal of the Finance Officer of the Labour Party; and what sum of money is involved.

Building Societies (Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer at what rate profits tax will be chargeable to building societies in the fiscal year 1951–52.

I do not propose to alter the overriding limit of 6 per cent. of the profits computed without deduction of loan interest, as laid down by subsection 3 of Section 7 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1947; but, subject to that limitation, building societies will be liable to the increased rate of Profits Tax as from 1st January, 1951.

Retired Civil Servants (Pensions)

74.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he now pro poses to increase the pension of retired civil servants to meet the rise in the cost of living.

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply of 19th April to the hon. Member for Maidstone (Mr. Bossom).

Pound Sterling (Value)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the internal purchasing power of the £ sterling in 1951 as compared with 1938.

Measured over the whole field of consumers' goods and services about 10s. as compared with 20s. in 1938.

Statutory Instruments

75.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will arrange that when a Statutory Instrument amends a recent one a special note in heavy type be inserted to call attention to the fact.

No. The information required by the hon. Member is given in the "Statutory Instrument Issue List" contained in the daily list of Government publications issued by H.M. Stationery Office. If reference is made to the sixth column of the issue list, it will be seen at once if any Statutory Instrument has been affected in any way by a subsequent Statutory Instrument published on the day to which the issue list relates and set out in the first and second columns of that list.

Trade And Commerce

Cuban Cigars

77.

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he has agreed, as a result of the trade discussion with Cuba, to admit substantially larger quantities of Cuban cigars into the United Kingdom.

Paper Prices

78.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the constantly increasing prices for all forms of paper; and what plans he has in mind for reducing them.

Yes. I am aware of recent increases in paper prices, which are almost entirely due to the steep rise in the cost of imported woodpulp and other papermaking raw materials which have occurred in the last 12 months. Action in one country alone will not reverse this trend, but we are maintaining price control over some of the scarcer types of paper such as newsprint and mechanical printing paper.

Pyrites, Wales

79.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to develop the pyrites resources in Wales; and what action he has taken on the correspondence sent to him on this matter over two weeks ago from Mr. M. Dandrick who owns mines near Aberystwyth.

From an analysis and test recently conducted of certain samples of pyrites from Wales, it was found that the carbonaceous content made them unsuitable for use on existing sulphuric acid plants. Further surveys are in hand. Mr. Dandrick was seen by officers of the Board of Trade on 30th March and I hope that the inquiries, which he was informed would be made, will be completed shortly.

Sulphur Supplies

80, 81 and 82.

asked the President of the Board of Trade, (1) in view of the shortage of sulphur in this country, why his Department declines to purchase lots offered from sources other than the United States of America;(2) what encouragement he gives to importers to obtain sulphur from every possible source;(3) why purchases of sulphur made by manufacturers in this country from sources other than the United States of America are deducted from the allocation to them by his Department.

Consumers of sulphur who wish to import privately any quantity they can secure to supplement the amount they are licensed to receive from the allocation made to us by the United States, have been told they are free to do so. Import licences are granted freely. All possible help is given to overcome any difficulties that arise in the completion of transactions, and any importers who are not themselves consumers, if they so desire, are put into touch with consumers.No deduction is made by the Board of Trade in respect of any private purchase from the supply a consumer is licensed to receive from sulphur imported from the United States. The Board is not competing with private purchasers, but will consider any direct offer where the conditions of sale are reasonable.

83.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will approach the Canadian Government on the possibility of investigating, as a long-term measure, the prospects of obtaining supplies of sulphur from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada.

The possibility of increasing production of sulphur throughout the world is one of the aspects of the sulphur problem which are at present being examined by the Sulphur Committee of the International Materials Conference in Washington. The Canadian Government are represented on the Committee so that they will already have full information about the importance of developing sulphur production. I have been informed that commercial projects are already in hand for producing sulphur in Alberta.

88.

asked the President of the Board of Trade, in view of the shortage of sulphur, what estimate he has made of the likely effect on the textile industry in Macclesfield.

It is impossible to make any such estimate in view of the many industrial uses of sulphur.

Leather Control (Staff)

84.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many persons were formerly employed by the Leather Control; and how many are still employed.

The highest number employed by the Leather Control was 187 on 1st October, 1943. On 1st October, 1950, when the functions of the Control remaining at that date were taken over by the Directorate of Sundry Materials, the number engaged on this work was 19.

Washing Machine (Uk Sales)

85.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the fact that an arrangement was made between the Thor Corporation, Chicago, and the manufacturers of the Parnall washing machine in this country by which the latter organisation was granted a licence by the former to manufacture these machines on condition that the machines would be supplied exclusively to the British Electricity Authority for resale in their showrooms; and what action he proposes to take to stop this practice of monopoly distribution of a household requisite.

We have no power to interfere with the arrangement in question. There are many makes of washing machine on the market and I am informed that the Parnall machines represent only a small proportion of the total supply in this country.

Newsprint

87.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can yet make any announcement of the establishment of an international body to regulate the supply of newsprint.

I am not yet able to add anything to the reply given to the hon. and learned Member for Hove (Mr. Marlowe) on 19th April.

Utility Clothing

89.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that in the Women's and Maids' Utility Outerwear Order, 1951, No. 586, the maximum price for costumes. Group VI, should be 198s. 9d. and not 188s. 9d. as printed; and what action he intends taking in this matter.

Yes; the incorrect figure appeared as a result of a proof reader's error. The attention of manufacturers has already been drawn to the correct figure; an amending order, making the necessary correction, will be issued to take effect immediately the main Order comes into operation on 15th May.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will include in the utility scheme a limited range of silks suitable for underwear and blouses.

A proposal to include certain silk fabrics in the utility scheme has been made by the Silk and Rayon Users' Association and is under consideration. I cannot yet say whether the proposal will be accepted.

Wood Flour

90.

asked the President of the Board of Trade the quantity and value of wood flour imported into this country in 1950, which was of a character that could not be manufactured in this country.

Thirteen thousand tons of wood flour, valued at £153,000, were imported into the United Kingdom in 1950. Figures of imports of wood flour are not sub-divided according to type in the United Kingdom Trade Returns.

91.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he has taken to ensure that existing plant in this country to produce wood flour is used to its full capacity.

As explained in the reply to the hon. and gallant Member's Question on this subject on 8th February, wood flour is made from the waste (sawdust and chippings) arising from sawmilling activities. It follows that production of wood flour (and consequently utilisation of plant capacity) is limited to the amount of waste material available in this country. There is no control of such waste material but wood flour producers, in their own interests, are, naturally, alive to the importance of procuring all they can, while it is also to the advantage of sawmillers to sell the waste, which has arisen from their timber imports.

asked the President of the Board of Trade for what reasons he considers a 5 per cent. protective tariff sufficient to safeguard the interests of wood flour manufacturers in this country; and whether, to secure the future of this industry, he will consider raising the protective tariff.

The total import duty chargeable on wood flour is 15 per cent. ad valorem. If the manufacturers concerned do not think that this rate is adequate, it is open to them to make application to the Board of Trade for an increase in the additional duty.

Tariff Conference, Torquay (Agreements)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the tariff negotiations which have been concluded at Torquay.

As was stated in an announcement released to the Press on Saturday, 21st April, the tariff conference which has been proceeding at Torquay for some months has now come to an end and the Final Act of the Conference has been signed.Hon. Members will be aware that the normal procedure for tariff negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is for individual countries to negotiate with each other, the concessions given in these negotiations, however, being extended to all countries which are contracting parties to the General Agreement. This procedure was followed at Torquay and limited agreements have been reached by the United Kingdom with four of the existing contracting parties, namely, Denmark, France, Norway and Sweden, supplementing the agreements reached with them at previous tariff conferences, and with five of the countries which intend to become contracting parties: Austria, the German Federal Republic, Peru, the Philippines and Turkey. I am not at present able to give the House any details of these agreements since, for the reasons given by the then President of the Board of Trade on 5th April in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), all the Tariff Schedules incorporating the concessions made at Torquay are to remain secret until 9th May. I hope, however, that it will be possible to table, before the middle of next month, a White Paper on these negotiations.

Meanwhile, hon. Members will have noticed that no agreement has been reached at Torquay between the United Kingdom and certain of the other countries there represented. It was, of course, never intended that we should initiate negotiations with all the 31 other countries or groups of countries which participated in the Conference and, in the event, we entered into negotiations for new or additional concessions with only 12 of them, namely, the nine I have already mentioned and the Benelux Union, Italy and the U.S.A. In these three cases, though negotiations took place, it was, unfortunately, found impossible to come to arrangements which would have been satisfactory to us.

The Benelux countries have a relatively low tariff and we were ready accordingly to accept a balance of tariff concessions in their favour. But they were not prepared, without comprehensive reductions in our tariff, to exchange satisfactory assurances as to the application of import restrictions; and, in the absence of such assurances, we felt unable to justify an unbalanced agreement. Italy was unable to offer us acceptable concessions on certain items which we regarded as particularly important and the negotiations were, by agreement, broken off.

The most important country with which we have not, on this occasion, been able to make an agreement is, of course, the United States. We had hoped that it might prove feasible to come to an arrangement with them which would have materially benefited our export trade. When, however, the United States and we ourselves came, after long negotiations, to make our respective assessments of the relative value of the offers we were willing and able to make on the United Kingdom tariff and of the concessions on the United States tariff they were themselves prepared to make, it became apparent that no agreement was possible between us which satisfied the criterion of mutual advantage.

I need not remind hon. Members that in any tariff negotiations of this kind between Commonwealth and foreign countries the question of preferences granted or enjoyed by Commonwealth countries enters substantially into the picture. The United States' position had been that without a considerable reduction in such preferences they could not conclude the wide agreement which they, and indeed we ourselves, would have wished, or make corresponding agreements with certain other Commonwealth countries. Similarly, no agreement proved possible between the United States on the one hand and, on the other, Australia or New Zealand, nor was any agreement made by the United States with South Africa.

Textiles (Production And Exports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give the relative figures for the main branches of the textile industry for 1938 and 1950 on the basis of which he calculates that neither production nor exports for 1950 had recovered to the extent of 1938.

I assume that this Question has arisen from a statement made by the then President of the Board of Trade during the debate on the Budget proposals on 16th April. This related solely to the cotton industry, and the relative figures are set out in the table below:

Unit19381950
Production:
Cotton and cotton waste yarnsMn. lbs.1,050954
Woven cotton clothMn. lin. yds.2,800 (a)2,123
Exports:
Cotton yarnsMn. lbs.12371
Woven cotton piece goodsMn. sq. yds.1,368822
(a) Estimated

Housing

Temporary Houses (Maintenance Costs)

92.

asked the Minister of Local Government and Planning the number of housing authorities who have submitted claims for a reduction of the annual contribution payable in respect of temporary houses because of high maintenance costs; what percentage of the claims have been granted; what is the number of temporary houses; what is the average sum per house; and what is the total sum involved.

Claims have been received from 80 authorities; 47 have been allowed and 12 are still under consideration; 12,439 houses are involved: the average per house is roughly £6 and the total annual sum £74,467.

Statutory Instrument, No 1008

95.

asked the Minister of Local Government and Planning why, having regard to the fact that the Housing (Rate of Interest) Regulations, Statutory Instrument, 1950, No. 1008, were not revoked until 9th October in pursuance of the Prayer for their annulment on 25th July, and that the Housing (Rate of Interest) Regulations, Statutory Instrument, 1950, No. 1318, were made in similar terms on 3rd August, the House of Commons was informed on 18th September that only one set of regulations was then in force.

My right hon. Friend's statement was in accordance with the legal advice which he had received.

Parish Councils (Consultations)

98.

asked the Minister of Local Government and Planning whether he will consider issuing directions to rural district councils to make it a rule to consult parish councils in regard to the selection of housing sites.

Selling Prices

100.

asked the Minister of Local Government and Planning why, although local authorities are allowed to issue supplementary building licences to cover the additional cost of raw materials, they cannot allow such increase to be added to the maximum selling price of the house.

If the hon. Member will let me have particulars of any individual cases he has in mind I will have inquiries made.

New Town, Basildon

93.

asked the Minister of Local Government and Planning when he proposes to give final approval to the draft master plan for the new town of Basildon.

After I have considered any representations made at the public local inquiry to be held on 13th June.

Local Government

County Councils And Boroughs (Rates)

96.

asked the Minister of Local Government and Planning the average increase in rate poundages announced by county councils and county boroughs, respectively.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell), on 5th April.

Rating Of Site Values (Committee)

97.

asked the Minister of Local Government and Planning whether he has received the report of the Committee on the Rating of Site Values; and when he will make a statement on the matter.

No. I shall be glad to make a statement when I have received the report.

Ministry Of Works

Cast-Iron Rainwater Goods (Report)

101.

asked the Minister of Works what steps he proposes to take to secure the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Monopolies Commission concerning the supply of cast-iron rainwater goods.

102.

asked the Minister of Works whether he will now say what action he proposes to take to implement the report of the Monopolies Commission on cast-iron rainwater goods.

103.

asked the Minister of Works whether discussions to implement the Report of the Monopolies Commission on cast-iron rainwater goods have begun with the trade associations concerned.

The Report recommends that those concerned should amend their trading arrangements in such a way as to meet certain objections, and that discussions should take place with them for this purpose. My Department has been in communication with them and discussions will take place as soon as they have had an opportunity of studying the implications of the Report.

Temporary Buildings, Dorking

104.

asked the Minister of Works whether he has considered the representations made to him by the Surrey County Council for the removal of the unsightly buildings erected for temporary use by the Surrey War Agricultural Executive Committee at Westhumble Street, Burford Bridge, Dorking; and if he is aware of the assurance given by his predecessor in 1948 that these buildings would be removed when alternative accommodation could be obtained for the Surrey Agricultural Executive Committee.

121.

asked the Minister of Works if he will consider the removal of the buildings formerly used by the Surrey War Agricultural Executive Committee at Westhumble Street, Burford Bridge, Surrey.

I have considered the representations made by the Surrey County Council and I am aware of the letter in which my predecessor expressed in 1948 the intention of clearing these buildings as soon as it might be practicable to do so. In the changed circumstances of today it is necessary to retain the buildings for a further period, but the position will be reviewed as soon as defence needs have been met.

Building, St James's Street (Licence)

105.

asked the Minister of Works what is the value of the recent licence granted to the proprietors of 74, St. James's Street; and what were his reasons for granting such licence.

The value of the licence is £34,000, of which £10,000 is for lifts. It was granted because, when necessary repairs, decorations and alterations have been carried out on this building, the Conservative and Bath Clubs will be able to amalgamate and thus free the present Bath Club premises for use as a club for American officers.

Hyde Park And Kensington Gardens (Fencing)

113.

asked the Minister of Works if he will give an estimate of the cost of enclosing Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with a wire fence.

Government Offices, Whitehall Gardens (Gates)

110.

asked the Minister of Works why, in view of the serious economic situation of the country, two pairs of 20 ft. high gates are being erected for new Government offices at Whitehall Gardens.

112.

asked the Minister of Works what is the cost of each of the doors which have been ordered for the two main entrances to the new Government offices in Whitehall Gardens; whether tenders for the construction of these doors were invited; and what quantities and kinds of raw materials will be required for the doors which have been ordered.

119.

asked the Minister of Works if he will indicate the estimated cost of the Government offices now under construction in Whitehall Gardens and, in particular, the cost of the two doors to the main entrances of these offices.

122.

asked the Minister of Works why it is his intention to spend over £20,000 on the erection of two pairs of 20 ft. high gates which will open automatically at the push of an electric button for the new Government Offices at Whitehall Gardens.

123.

asked the Minister of Works if he will state the cost of the steel gates to be erected at the entrance to the new Government offices in Whitehall Gardens.

The estimated cost of the Government offices in Whitehall Gardens as shown in the Civil Estimates is £5,681,700. Two pairs of doors for the two main entrances which are approximately 33 feet wide by 23 feet high were ordered in August, 1949, after competitive tendering, at a price of approximately £13,000 per pair. Each pair weighs approximately 11½ tons, of which 8½ tons is steel and 3 tons aluminium. The architect's original proposal was that the doors should be of bronze, but for reasons of economy this was changed to steel and aluminium. The doors are a main architectural feature of the building. They will have to be mechanically operated because of their size.

Plasterboard Supplies, Scotland

114.

asked the Minister of Works whether he is satisfied that supplies of plasterboard in Scotland are sufficient to ensure no delay in the house-building programme.

The production of plasterboard is increasing and I hope that supplies will be sufficient to avoid delays in house-building, provided orders are placed in good time.

Public Buildings (Cleaning)

116.

asked the Minister of Works what programme of washing down and cleaning public buildings is to be undertaken by his Department this year.

It is not proposed to undertake the washing down or external cleaning of any public buildings in London during this year. The work of repairing and washing down the stonework of the National Gallery and Apsley House, which was started last year, will be completed shortly.

Building Workers, Bristol

118.

asked the Minister of Works how many building operatives are engaged in Bristol on the building of fiats or dwelling-houses; and how many on the construction of other types of buildings.

The number of building and civil engineering operatives engaged on building new flats and dwelling-houses in Bristol at the end of March was estimated to be about 2,700; there were some 2,400 operatives engaged on the construction of other types of new building and civil engineering projects.

Festival Of Britain

School Parties

108.

asked the Minister of Works the number of applications received for tickets for organised school parties to visit the Festival of Britain; and whether such parties will be allowed to visit the fun fair at a reduced cost all round.

The number of tickets sold for the South Bank Exhibition to members of organised school parties is upwards of 260,000. Arrangements at the Festival Pleasure Gardens are a matter for Festival Gardens Ltd., but I understand that reduced admission prices for organised school parties are not being offered, and it would in any case be impracticable to apply them to the fun fair section without applying it to the Gardens as a whole.

Blind Persons

117.

asked the Minister of Works whether he will arrange with the executive of the Festival of Britain to admit to the South Bank Exhibition a blind person and his guide at a single person's entrance fee.

No. The Festival organisers examined this and similar suggestions and reluctantly came to the conclusion that such facilities could not, in fairness, be given to one group unless the same facilities were given to the many other groups who might be considered to have a comparable claim. As a result, as the House will know, only organised parties of schoolchildren accompanied by teachers are allowed special terms.

Steel

120.

asked the Minister of Works what quantity of steel he has authorised for use in connection with the Festival of Britain.

The Festival of Britain covers the whole of Great Britain. At this juncture, with only a few days to go before the opening, I am not prepared to divert the energies of the Festival office staff to getting out the quantities of steel used for the official and unofficial events being planned for the Festival all over the country.

Festival Gardens

124.

asked the Minister of Works on what date the Festival Gardens in Battersea Park will be opened.

I shall await a report from Festival Gardens, Ltd., who will make an announcement in due course.

125.

asked the Minister of Works how much revenue he estimates will be lost for every week's delay in the opening of the Festival Gardens in Battersea Park.

The net loss of revenue resulting from the late opening of the Festival Pleasure Gardens is estimated at £31,000 per week.

Distinguished Guests

asked the Minister of Works who have been invited to the Festival of Britain as distinguished guests.

I presume my hon. Friend is referring to distinguished guests from overseas and would refer him to the answer given by the then Lord President of the Council on 20th February. There will, of course, be many important people from overseas making private visits during the Festival period, and arrangements have been made with the Departments concerned to inform the Festival organisation of such visits.

Westminster Hall (Lighting)

111.

asked the Minister of Works if he proposes to remove the present clusters of lights in Westminster Hall, so that Festival visitors may see the Hall in its true beauty and dignity.

No. The lights are required both to illuminate the Hall after dark and to floodlight the roof when required. I do not regard them as unsuitable for their purpose.

115.

asked the Minister of Works whether the roof of Westminster Hall can be floodlit on dark mornings between 10 a.m. and 12 noon during the Festival of Britain.

Employment

Elderly Persons

126.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that many employees are compelled to give up their employment when they reach 65 years of age; and, in view of the country's great need of an increased labour force, what he proposes to do about this situation.

Yes, and I would refer my hon. Friend to my statement in the debate on this subject on 13th April, 1951.

asked the Minister of Labour what machinery is to be used to ensure that everything possible is to be done to maintain older people in employment in such public services as the Civil Service, the teaching profession, the Army, Navy, Air Force and the police.

My Department co-ordinates the activities of the various public services on this matter; and the individual services make any necessary changes in their policies and practices acting where appropriate through Whitley or other joint consultative machinery.

Agricultural Workers (Call-Up)

asked the Minister of Labour what is the number of men involved in the call-up of agricultural workers.

After making allowances for men likely to be found medically unfit for service, the number of agricultural workers who will become available for call-up is expected to be about 15,000 a year.

Pensioners' Earnings

129.

asked the Minister of National Insurance whether it can be arranged that pensioners seeking summer employment, for example, gatekeepers at county cricket grounds, should benefit forthwith from the increased earnings limit of 40s.

Any change in the earnings rule must await the passing of the necessary legislation by Parliament.

Scotland

Schools, Edinburgh And Glasgow

127.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what capital expenditure was incurred by the local authorities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in their financial years ended 28th and 31st May, 1950, respectively, on the erection of permanent schools, temporary schools, and also what was spent on school furniture and equipment.

Following are the figures:

Nature of expenditureEdinburghGlasgow
££
Permanent schools124,243120,925
Temporary schools131,80991,372
Furniture and equipment:
Capital account19,92217,651
Revenue account13,80339,011
The figures are based upon the Corporation's accounts and include the cost of adaptations and additions to schools as well as of the erection of schools.

Flats And Houses (Sale)

128.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the date when he received the resolution of the Scottish Labour Party Conference urging that a Bill should be introduced in order to prevent the further sale of flats and all tenement occupied houses; the date on which he received a similar resolution from the Scottish Trades Union Congress; the number of resolutions received from other organisations urging action; and when he intends to introduce such a Bill.

I received the resolution of the Scottish Labour Party Conference in October last year. I have not received such a resolution from the Scottish Trades Union Congress. Taking into account all Scottish organisations, some of them understandably not very large, I have received nine other submissions on this subject. I am not in a position to say when a Bill will be introduced.

Houses, New Cummock (Complaints)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what complaints he has received from tenants of the Myton Clyde houses built by the Scottish Special Housing Association at New Cummock, Ayrshire; what inquiries he has made; and what steps are being taken to deal with the complaints.

I received complaints in February about water penetration in these houses. I found on inquiry that the Scottish Special Housing Association had received earlier complaints and had asked the contractors to try out a number of different remedies. Several experiments were unsuccessful, but one at present being tried holds out prospects of success.

Schuman Plan Treaty

130.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make with regard to the co-operation of the British coal and iron and steel industries with those of the countries participating in the Schuman Pact signed in Paris on 18th April.

His Majesty's Government welcome the signature of the Schuman Plan Treaty as an important practical step towards the realisation of Franco-German co-operation. The final text of the treaty as signed in Paris on 18th April is now being examined at official level and will be most carefully considered by His Majesty's Government. There can be no question of formal discussion on the possible association of the United Kingdom with the Schuman Plan organisations until the treaty is ratified; but His Majesty's Government note with satisfaction that special provision is made in the treaty for the initiation by the High Authority as soon as it is set up of such discussions with His Majesty's Government.I shall add that the signature of the Schuman Plan Treaty raises important questions on the future of various international controls of the German coal and steel industries, and that His Majesty's Government is prepared to discuss these questions in the near future with other interested Governments.

Food Supplies

Tinplate Supplies, Aberdeen

132.

asked the Minister of Food when manufacturers in Aberdeen may expect to secure their allocations of tinplate delivered in full at each allocation period.

I do not know any firm in Aberdeen which is now receiving an allocation of tinplate from the Ministry of Food, but I shall be pleased to look into any difficulties if the hon. Lady will give me details.

Canned Meat Exports

asked the Minister of Food what quantity of canned braised steak and beef with onions, prepared by a company of which he has been informed, is exported to North America; what has been received in payment for this food; what is the total quantity of canned meat exported to North America by all British firms engaged in this trade; and what is the total value in dollars of the sale of these products.

There are no official records in the form for which the hon. Member asks, but from such information as I have it appears that the quantity of meat products sent to North America in the period 1st January, 1950, to 28th February, 1951, was about 735 tons. This trade is wholly in the hands of private traders, and I do not think I should be justified in giving details of any one business.

Hides And Skins (Sale)

asked the Minister of Food what were the receipts from the sale of cattle hides and calf skins during the year 1950; and how these compared with the corresponding receipts for 1949.

The total proceeds of sale in the calendar year 1950 were £13,200,781 for hides and £1,751,016 for calfskins, compared with £7,314,229 and £884,620 respectively in 1949. My Department retained the full proceeds of sale only from 1st July, 1950; before that date the Board of Trade received part.

Transport

Bridge, Ilford

asked the Minister of Transport if, in view of the resolution, a copy of which has been sent to him, passed at a public meeting held at the Town Hall, Ilford, on Friday 16th March, 1951, supporting the representations which have been made by the Ilford Borough Council to him for the reconstruction of the bridge carrying Eastern Avenue over the railway at Newbury Park station and asking that the reconstruction of this bridge be carried out during the forthcoming financial year, he will reconsider his decision not to proceed with this scheme during 1951.

The limitations on the funds that I have available for works of this kind are at least as serious as when I first reached my decision. I therefore regret that I cannot reconsider it.

Port Works, Scotland

asked the Minister of Transport what works are in progress, and what works are sanctioned but not yet in progress, for trade harbours in Scotland; and what is the expenditure contemplated for each trade harbour.

PortDescription of WorkEstimated Cost
£
GlasgowProvision of main Switch House, Renfrew Workshops5,500
GlasgowAdditional Paved Area behind Goods Shed, West Quay, King George V Dock160,000
GlasgowReconstruction of Section "K" Merklands Animal Lairage15,000
GlasgowNew Sewer and Roadway, Braehead64,000
GlasgowNew Office for Customs and Excise Waterguard, King George V Dock6,500
AberdeenNew Bridge and Approaches, South Entrance88,000
DundeeReconstruction of Administration Offices, etc., Craig Pier25,000
LeithNew Electric Sub-stations8,000
LeithInstallation of Permanent Navigation Lights, Buildings and Structures26,000
LeithReconstruction of Sheds, Edinburgh Dock32,100
The following works have been authorised but not yet started:

PortDescription of WorkEstimated Cost
£
GlasgowNew Quay Wall and Paving of Timber Yard, Shieldhall Riverside Quay674,000
MallaigReconstruction of Inner Berth Wall61,000
KirkwallVerandah, North Side Store, Kirkwall Pier3,500
DundeeConstruction of Offices, etc., for Customs and Excise Waterguard, King George V Wharf6,500
GrangemouthInstallation of Fresh Water Supply28,000
Bo'nessReconstruction of jetty and renewal of extension of West Pier25,000
GrantonReconstruction of Fish Shed and Market45,000
LeithAdditional Storey to Warehouse East Old Dock7,300
LeithExtension to Shed. Outer Harbour25,000
The above lists do not include works of normal maintenance carried out by statutory port authorities, as such works do not require authorisation under Defence Regulations.

Heavy Goods Vehicles (Speed)

asked the Minister of Transport how many road safety committees have written to him in support of the proposal to increase the speed limit of heavy goods vehicles from 20 to 30 miles per hour.

Mineral Development Committee (Recommendations)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what action has been taken to implement the recommendations of the Mineral Development Committee.

I assume that my hon. Friend has in mind those commercial ports of Scotland in which the authorisation of constructional works under Defence Regulation 56A is the responsibility of my Department. The following is a list of building and civil engineering works which have recently been authorised and are now in progress:—

In 1949 the Government accepted the main recommendation, of the Mineral Development Committee, that certain minerals, included in its terms of reference, should be brought into public ownership. It was not found possible to introduce the legislation required in the last Parliament, and I cannot say what prospect there is of doing so in the present Parliament.

Allied Command, Europe (Field-Marshal Montgomery)

131.

asked the Minister of Defence, having regard to the fact that General Juin, commander of the land forces in the central sector of the Allied command in Europe, is responsible direct to General Eisenhower, what functions Field Marshal Montgomery, the Deputy Supreme Commander, has in relation to the land forces in that sector.

I would refer the right hon. Member to paragraph 17 of the White Paper on the System of Command Established within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which makes it clear that Field Marshal Montgomery will assume the functions of Supreme Commander in the absence of General Eisenhower and will have a special responsibility for the training and organisation of all Forces allotted to General Eisenhower.

County Colleges, Wales (Report)

asked the Minister of Education what is the policy of His Majesty's Government towards the Report of the Central Advisory Council for Education (Wales) concerning the commencement of county colleges in Wales; and whether he will make a statement.

This valuable Report needs careful study and it is therefore too soon to say what will be the Government's policy on the matters with which it deals.

Poultry Keepers (Feedingstuffs)

asked the Minister of Agriculture if be will now make it possible for newly-established small poultry keepers and backyard poultry keepers to obtain a ration of feedingstuffs irrespective of the number of head of poultry.

No. For the reasons given in the statement on feedingstuffs rations which my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary made to the House on 22nd March there is no hope of any improvement upon the present rationing arrangements for small and domestic poultry keepers.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what is the estimated quantity of feedingstuffs and cost in a year required to issue rations for a third pig to pig club members; and the estimated weight of pig meat that would result.

We do not know how many pig club members are keeping two pigs at present, but if all the present members of pig clubs were able to keep three pigs each all the year round, the extra annual commitment for rationed feedingstuffs would be about 160,000 tons a year, which at present controlled prices would cost about £5 million. The resulting extra quantity of pigmeat in a year would be between 40,000 and 50,000 tons.

Royal Air Force (School Liaison Officers)

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many schools have been visited by his schools liaison officers in the year ending at the latest convenient date; and how many of these are schools represented on the Headmasters' Conference.

In the year ended 31st January, 1951, 1,178 schools, including 45 Headmasters' Conference Schools, were visited by R.A.F. schools liaison officers. In addition, visits have been made during the year to 60 Headmasters' Conference schools by senior R.A.F. officers who are old boys of those schools.

Overseas Food Corporation

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is satisfied that the Overseas Food Corporation is, within the terms of the seven-year programme laid down in Command Paper No. 8125, making due provision for the continuance of agricultural research and soil conservation work on its properties in Tanganyika so as to ensure that the experience gained by scientists and agriculturists there can be applied to the general advancement of the colonial territories.

Yes. These matters have just been reviewed in consultation with the Chairman-designate, and provision is being made in the estimates for 1951–52 to continue these activities broadly on the present scale. The programme will be reviewed later in the year with a view to its stabilisation for the future.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether steps have now been taken to implement the decision that the board of the Overseas Food Corporation should be located in East Africa instead of in London; or how soon he expects this action to be taken.

The board of the Corporation expect virtually to wind-up their London headquarters and commitments by the beginning of July, leaving only a small agency in London, and to transfer to East Africa in the same month.

Hong Kong (Requisitioned Tanker)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the Hong Kong Government requisitioned the Chinese tanker "Yung Yao."

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth (Squadron Leader Kinghorn) on 13th April.