Written Answers To Questions
Tuesday, 26th February, 1952
Pennine Way (Inquiry)
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government when the public inquiry into the Pennine Way route over Kinderscout is to be held; and how soon he expects to receive a report.
The inquiry will be held on 21st March at Chapel-en-le-Frith. I cannot say when the report will be ready.
Water Undertakings (Steel)
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what representations he has received on the subject of the steel allocation to water authorities; and what action he proposes to take.
I have received representations from the British Waterworks Association and from a number of water undertakings. The total tonnage available for schemes of water supply in the second quarter of this year will probably be less than requirements. Subject to this, I shall do what I can, within the allocation, to meet the more urgent needs.
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has yet been able to approve the proposals to prevent further flooding in the Sheringham Road area of the borough of Poole.
. No. Local investigation of the proposals will take place at an early date.
Prefabricated Houses (Wiring)
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is now in a position to make a further statement about fires in prefabricated houses started by faulty electrical wiring.
I am informed that investigation has shown that the chief cause has been the misuse of the electrical installation, and that an advisory leaflet to tenants is being issued by the council concerned.
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will make a statement on the results of his recent conference in Southampton with members of the local authority on the subject of housing and reconstruction.
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will introduce legislation limiting the tied cottage system to those cases where the employer proves, to the satisfaction of the Minister of Labour, that such system is necessary to the conduct of his business; and if he will circularise local authorities requesting them to ensure that, where an order for the possession of a tied house is obtained, the tenant shall receive priority consideration for rehousing.
The answer to the first part of the Question is "No." As to the second part, it is for the local authorities to judge relative housing need in allocating their tenancies.
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware of the hardships caused to widows of deceased workmen who occupied tied cottages; and if he will introduce amending legislation to protect them.
The hon. Member has informed me of the facts of a particular case, but I have had no other special representations on this matter. I do not propose to introduce legislation.
Empty Flats, North London
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware that Viceroy Court, a large block of flats in London, N.W.8, remains unoccupied 18 months after de-requisitioning; and whether he will consider re-requisitioning this block for housing purposes if it is not made available for residential use.
I deeply regret that this block of flats should remain out of commission at a time of acute housing shortage. I am asking St. Marylebone Borough Council to consider urgently the best way of bringing it back into use.
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is now able to announce the arrangement he has reached to increase the housing subsidy to compensate local authorities for the increase in the Bank rate.
I discussed the proposed new arrangements for the housing subsidy with representatives of the Associations of Local Authorities on 21st February and I hope to announce the Government's decision in a day or two.
asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider appointing a committee to investigate all undertakings which have been nationalised for seven years or more.
It would be unwise to lay down any fixed formula for the review of nationalised industries whether as regards the method or the timing of the review. It is better at present for the Government to pursue its consideration of these industries as they come before us.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he agreed to the recent increase of pay in the Civil Service, amounting to £30,000,000, when, in view of the inflationary situation, it is the policy of the Government to attempt the stabilisation of wages and prices.
The recent settlement follows general increases in wage rates outside the Civil Service. The general policy of the Civil Service remuneration, enunciated by the Royal Commission on the Civil Service (1929–32) and followed by successive Governments, is to relate Civil Service remuneration to remuneration outside the Civil Service. The Government accordingly felt it right to make the advances in Civil Service rates to which the hon. Member refers.I fully agree with my hon. Friend that it is vital that all members of the community should exercise the utmost restraint in their demands upon the national economy in the critical months ahead.
Overtime And Agency Work (Cost)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much is being spent monthly by the Civil Service on overtime working and work done by agencies, respectively.
The monthly amounts of overtime payment vary considerably owing to the seasonal nature of some of the work. The average for 1951 was about £1,140,000. I am not clear what sort of agencies the hon. Member has in mind, but the average monthly amount spent in 1951 on contract cleaning and agency typists was about £25,000.
Temporary Ex-Service Men
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in carrying out the proposed reduction in the staffs of Government Departments, he will arrange that fit and efficient temporary ex-Service men shall be the last to be discharged.
The order of discharge of temporary non-industrial staff on redundancy is governed by an agreement between the official and staff sides of the Civil Service National Whitley Council. The basic principle of this agreement is that discharge in higher grades is in reverse order of usefulness and in lower grades in order of shortness of service. There are, however, two special provisions for ex-Service men. Ex-Service men of the 1914–18 war are automatically retained until all other temporary staff in the same staff group have been discharged. Ex-Service men of the 1939–45 war may count their Forces' service in reckoning their seniority for the purposes of the redundancy agreement if they became employed in the Civil Service within three months of their release from the Forces. I consider that these arrangements adequately protect the interests of ex-Service men.
Temporary Staff (Dismissals)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware of the growing difficulties of those men and women over 40 years of age and especially over 50 years of age obtaining alternative employment following dismissal from Government service; and whether he will alter previous decisions about this matter and take this factor into consideration before such action is taken.
The order of discharge of temporary non-industrial staff on redundancy is according to length of service; those in first go out last. This follows on agreement between the Staff and Official Sides of the Civil Service National Whitley Council. I am not satisfied that there are sufficient grounds for departing from an agreement which seems to me to be fair, both to individuals and to the Service. The Ministry of Labour and National Service will make every effort to find alternative employment for those discharged.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has considered the Report of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, indicating structural weakness in the European Payments Union, which enable Continental countries to pay for their dollar indebtedness partly at the expense of sterling; and what alteration in the structure he intends to propose in order to prevent this practice.
Some possibility of converting a surplus with Europe into dollars is inherent in the European Payments Union Agreement. The problems arising out of the present disequilibrium of European payments are under active consideration by the managing board of the Union.
Crown Film Unit (Closing)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether in view of the volume of protest against the decision to close down the Crown Film Unit, he will reconsider the whole matter.
The need for reduction in Government expenditure makes it essential to reduce substantially the production and distribution of films by the Government. In these circumstances I regret that the answer to the last part of the Question must be in the negative.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give separately the gross saving on the dental services and the increased cost of the school dental service which will result from the recently-announced change in policy.
In a full year £6,750,000 for England and Wales and £750,000 for Scotland. The saving in 1952–53 will be rather less, depending on the date when the charges come into force. No estimate can be made at present of the increased cost of the school dental service.
Profits (Tax Investigations)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of the 7,937 investigations into under-assessment of profits for the four years 1948 to 1951 inclusive, Command Paper No. 8436, were the subject of criminal proceedings.
The figures in the table in Cmd. No. 8436 to which the hon. Member refers relate to cases where a pecuniary settlement was effected because they were not thought suitable for criminal proceedings.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will be able to publish a report upon the result of the review which he is at present undertaking of pensions generally, including old age and Service disability pensions.
It is not proposed to publish a report on the result of the review of pensions which is now taking place. A statement will be made to the House in due course.
Married Persons (Tax Allowance)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will assure those intending to be married before the end of the financial year that their rights to repayments of Income Tax, on account of their marriage, will not be affected by his earlier presentation of the Budget.
The higher personal allowance for married persons for the Income Tax year of assessment 1951–52 has already been prescribed by the Finance Act, 1951, and applies to persons married on or before 5th April next. It will not be affected by the early date on which the Budget proposals for the following year will be presented.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take as a result of Japanese foreign exchange regulations, which came into force this week, restricting exports to the sterling area because of the £85,000,000 accumulated sterling balances.
A joint review of the payments relationship between Japan and the sterling area is to be held early next month; consideration will no doubt then be given to the various problems arising out of Japan's sterling accumulation.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is now taking to realise the sterling pre-war debts of Japan, in view of the recent breakdown in trade negotiations over steel because of Japan's claim that she holds too much sterling; and how much of these debts are convertible into dollars.
As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Economic Affairs explained in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for the Cities of London and Westminster (Sir H. Webbe) on 11th February, the settlement of Japan's sterling pre-war debts is primarily a matter for negotiation between Japan and her creditors. I am, therefore, not in a position to answer my hon. Friend's questions about these debts.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what aspects of sterling and economic matters he discussed last week with Mr. Seán MacEntee, the Minister for Finance in the Republic of Ireland and Mr. Seán Lemass, the Minister of Industry and Commerce in the Republic; and what agreements were reached.
A full communique was issued at the conclusion of the talks. I can only add that, while the discussions covered the whole field of sterling area problems in general and those of the Republic in particular, there was no question of negotiating any new agreements.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will increase the rate of interest on National Savings to encourage further investment.
An increase in the rate of interest at the present time would not, in my opinion, add substantially to the volume of new small savings. But this is a matter which I keep under review from time to time in the light of prevailing conditions.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the repayment of post-war credits to all disabled Service men and Service widows.
I am afraid that I cannot anticipate my Budget statement.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of repaying post-war credits to all disabled men and Service widows.
I regret that the information is not available.
Utility Scheme (Report)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has now considered the Report of the Purchase Tax/Utility Committee; and if he will make a statement.
I am not yet in a position to make a statement.
Town And Country Planning Act (Claims)
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the assessment of claims upon the sum of £300 million set aside under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, is sufficiently far advanced to enable him to give the House an indication of the probable total of such claims when finally determined, and therefore of the possible scale of payments.
Yes. I am advised that the probable total should be in the region of £345 to £350 million. It seems probable that the so-called "near-ripe" classes of claimants, together with some other groups who have been led to expect preferential treatment, will not absorb more than about £100 million. If this proves to be the case, it would leave about £200 million available against the remaining claims of from £245 million to £250 million.
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury when new coins will be struck bearing the head of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
I regret that I am not able to make any statement on this matter.
Fur Exports (Illegal Transactions)
asked the Economic Secretary to the Treasury for how long the export of furs and fur-skins has been used as a cover for illegal currency transactions; what is the estimated loss in dollars to date; whether the perpetrators are to be prosecuted; and what steps he is taking to ensure that there are no other commodities being used as cover for similar transactions, and that exchange control on the whole operates without heavy losses.
These operations have probably been going on for some time, but recently they have been on a more serious scale. It is not possible, however, to estimate the loss of dollars involved. Vigorous counter-measures have been taken, and the offenders will certainly be prosecuted where possible. The Government are aware that both the commodities mentioned and others are being used in this way and they will do everything in their power to prevent this traffic, which is doing damage to the national economy.The Government are, at the same time, anxious to avoid imposing such additional measures of scrutiny and control as would disturb the legitimate trade of those who are innocent of such action or interfere with the international use of sterling, and they count, therefore, on the fullest possible co-operation from British traders.
"Home Affairs Survey"
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will reconsider his decisions to reduce the size of the Central Office of Information publication, "Home Affairs Survey," by half, and to publish it fortnightly instead of weekly as now, in view of its value to small newspapers, lecturers and teachers.
This publication is being issued on a fortnightly basis instead of a weekly one as an economy measure. It is not being reduced in size, as suggested in the hon. Member's Question. So far as the last part of the hon. Member's Question is concerned, this Survey is not, in any event, generally available in this country.
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what financial savings will result from the proposed economies in the size and incidence of publication of "Home Affairs Survey."
Savings of the order of £2,300 are expected. There is, as pointed out in my previous answer to the hon. Member, no proposal to reduce the size of this publication.
Welsh And Scottish Film Libraries
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what decisions he has made in connection with the future activities of the Welsh and the Scottish Film Libraries, respectively.
None. So far as the Welsh Film Library is concerned, I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in reply to a Question by the hon. Member on 5th February.So far as the Scottish Film Library is concerned, discussions are proceeding with the Scottish Film Council with the object of continuing in the coming financial year the arrangement by which its Library issues official films as an agent of the Central Film Library.
Trade And Commerce
Goods Of Chinese Origin (Imports)
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will say what commodities of Chinese origin, showing total values, have been imported from European countries now under the domination of the Soviet Union, indicating each country separately; whether he is aware that these countries send China supplies of strategic materials which, in agreement with the United States and other members of the United Nations we do not export to China; and if he will consult with other friendly Governments with a view to ensuring that the objects of British trade policy with China are not short-circuited in this way.
I am aware that we have imported from Czechoslovakia and Poland such goods as bristles and soya beans, some of which may have come from China. The Trade and Navigation Accounts do not, however, show which goods consigned to the United Kingdom from other countries are of Chinese origin, and I am not able, therefore, to furnish my hon. and gallant Friend with definite information. It may be the case that European countries under Russian domination export strategic goods to China, but I do not see how we could expect to defeat that policy by refusing to allow the import of materials, which we need, on the ground that some consignments might come from China.
Consumers' Research Council
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to set up a consumers' research council.
asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the subjects of his recent official discussions with Mr. Seán Lemass, the Minister of Industry and Commerce in the Republic of Ireland; and what agreements were reached.
The discussions which my right hon. Friend had with Mr. Lemass about United Kingdom exports to the Irish Republic were of an informal nature. The second part of the Question, therefore, does not arise.
Motor Cycles (Hire Purchase)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make the conditions regarding the hire-purchase of motor cycles identical with that of motor cars.
In the Order dealing with hire-purchase, motor bicycles have been classed with other bicycles; but, as my right hon. Friend said last Thursday in reply to the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), he is considering the suggestion that they should be treated in the same way as motor cars.
Export Markets (Foreign Competition)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the anxiety in South Wales due to undercutting in the export market by German and Japanese competition; and whether he will make a statement.
I am aware that German and Japanese competition is increasing in many export markets. If the hon. Member has any cases in mind in which he considers that the competition is based on unfair practices, I shall be glad to look into them if he will give me particulars.
Industrial Research, Scotland
asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent research into industrial development in Scotland is affected by economy cuts.
It is our intention to maintain essential research into industrial development in Scotland as well as elsewhere, but we must keep a close watch on expenditure in this field, as in all other fields.
asked the President of the Board of Trade the countries of origin for the carpet imports proposed as the subject of reduction; the methods to be adopted for securing the reduction in imports; the total estimated value of the reductions in carpet imports during 1952; and the estimated total retained value of carpet imports during 1952.
The countries affected by the restrictions on imports of carpets, which were imposed on 8th November, 1951, are the following:
Member countries of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and their dependencies:
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Trieste, Turkey, Western Germany.
Afghanistan, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Andorra, Bhutan, Brazil, Chile, China (including Manchuria), Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Formosa, Indonesia, Israel, Lebanon, Paraguay, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Siam, Spain, Syria, Uruguay, Yemen.
The open general licence permitting carpets to be imported freely from these countries has been revoked and separate licences are now required. The import licensing arrangements were announced in Notice to Importers No. 464 and the value of the relevant quotas for period ending 30th June, 1952, were announced in Notice to Importers No. 467. In view of the fact that carpets can still be imported on open general licence from a number of countries and of the general uncertainty of the market, it is not possible to give a worthwhile estimate of the total value of carpet imports from these or other sources during 1952.
Ministry Of Works
South Bank Exhibition (Cost)
asked the Minister of Works the financial outcome of the South Bank Exhibition.
The revenue was about £1,930,000, which is some £75,000 in excess of the estimate. Firm figures of the cost cannot be given pending the demolition of the buildings and the conclusion of the negotiations on a number of contracts. It is, however, not expected that the final figure will exceed by any large amount the estimate of cost which was £6,445,000 on the Festival Office Votes including operational staff, but without allowance for the services of headquarters staff or publicity, or the expenditure of Departments other than the Festival Office.
Government Offices (Heating)
asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that Government offices in general are excessively heated; and if he will inquire into this matter, with a view to reducing the temperature of such offices, both in the interest of the health and well-being of the officials occupying them and for the purpose of saving fuel.
As in the Palace of Westminster overheating occurs from time to time, but Government offices in general are heated only to the minimum standard of 60 degrees laid down in the Factories Act, 1937. I made special arrangements for economies in fuel consumption by Government Departments this winter. These arrangements, coupled with the mild weather in the first half of the winter, have saved fuel in comparison with former years.
asked the Minister of Works the five highest amounts by which expenditure on building work has been found to exceed the amount licensed, since January, 1947; and what fines or sentences were imposed in each case in which proceedings were instituted.
It is regretted that the information required cannot be provided without the expenditure of an unjustifiable amount of staff time.
asked the Minister of Works in how many cases have sentences of imprisonment been carried out since January, 1947, upon directors of publicly-owned and privately-owned undertakings and of private individuals, respectively, for contraventions of the building licensing regulations.
Between January, 1947, and December, 1951, sentences of imprisonment were imposed on one director of a publicly-owned undertaking, eight directors of privately-owned undertakings, and four private persons.
asked the Minister of Works how many licences have been issued for the repair, maintenance, extension and improvement of garages; and what is the amount involved in 1951.
The number of licences issued in 1951 for the repair, maintenance, extension and improvement of commercial garages in England and Wales was 2,127 with a total value of £1,851,223. No figures are available for similar work licensed before 1951, nor for work on private garages, which is licensed by local authorities.
Coal Board (Brickworks)
asked the Minister of Works what proportion of the country's brick-making capacity is the property of the National Coal Board; and how far this is in full production.
About 7 per cent. of the country's brick-making capacity is the property of the National Coal Board, who inform me that their brickworks are in full production.
Dome Of Discovery
asked the Minister of Works what are the results of his further investigation into the durability of the structure of the Dome of Discovery; and, in view of the fact that the London County Council is interested in the possibility of taking it over and of removing it elsewhere when times are more propitious for an undertaking of such magnitude, he will now consider allowing it to remain on its present site, unless and until the land is required for some other purpose.
While the structure could be maintained for longer than was originally intended this would involve considerable expense. Proposals for re-erecting the Dome elsewhere involve other technical considerations. My reasons, however, for asking the London County Council to decide by 5th March whether they wish to acquire and re-erect the Dome are not connected with these technical questions.The site should be cleared as soon as possible. This is the more urgent with the Coronation ahead of us. I am unwilling to become the caretaker of empty and deteriorating structures. I hope, therefore, that the London County Council will see the necessity for removing the Dome now; if the Council wishes to re-erect the structure elsewhere I will support an application for authority to do so.
Building Materials (Production)
asked the Minister of Works to what extent building materials will be available in greater quantities during 1952.
Production of the building materials for which I am responsible is showing an upward trend.
asked the Minister of Works what residential accommodation has been released either directly or indirectly by the transfer of the Board of Trade, the Ministry of Materials and the Air Ministry to the new Government building in Horse Guards Avenue.
Most of the premises de-requisitioned are offices belonging to private firms, but 13 houses in Princes Gate and Princes Gardens will also be released when consequential moves have been completed.
Mining Subsidence, N Staffordshire
asked the Minister of Works if he will bear in mind the special difficulties caused by mining subsidence in North Staffordshire when making arrangements for capital expenditure for work done under licence; and if he will make a reasonable allowance to meet the difficulty in each case.
Yes. These difficulties have been taken into account in determining the licensing quotas for North Staffordshire for the current year.
Palace Of Westminster
Clock Tower (Repairs)
asked the Minister of Works when it is proposed to carry out permanent repairs to the war damage on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament.
If the financial position permits, I hope to start repairs on the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament in 1955, when the work on the Victoria Tower will be completed.
Maintenance Work (Cost)
asked the Minister of Works the total amount spent on the Palace of Westminster since the end of the war; and how much of this was incurred for work other than that in connection with the building of the new House of Commons.
Between 1st April, 1945, and 31st December, 1951, £2,944,175 was spent on new works, maintenance and repairs, and operation of plant, in the Palace of Westminster; £1,122,410 was on work other than the rebuilding of the Commons Chamber, and of this figure £826,785 was spent on maintenance, including the restoration of stone work.
Westminster Hall (Roof Repairs)
asked the Minister of Works whether the repairs to the roof of
|NUMBERS OF MALES WHOSE LAST EMPLOYMENT WAS IN THE BUILDING INDUSTRY, REGISTERED AS UNEMPLOYED AT EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGES IN THE LONDON ADMINISTRATIVE COUNTY AT THE UNDERMENTIONED DATES|
|Occupation||10th January, 1949||16th January, 1950||15th January, 1951||14th January, 1952|
|Carpenters and Joiners||…||…||86||53||66||244|
|Slaters and Tilers||…||…||60||30||30||29|
|Painters and Decorators||…||…||486||944||1,755||1,967|
|Plumbers, Gas Fitters, etc.||…||…||69||58||66||119|
|All other occupations||…||…||2,577||2,014||1,769||1,886|
Night Baking (Report)
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make a statement in regard to the Report of the Departmental Committee on Night Baking; and how far action is to be taken in accordance with its recommendations.
asked the Minister of Labour what steps are being taken to implement the recommendations
Westminster Hall have now been completed; and what proportion of Sussex oak from Wadhurst and of chestnut, respectively, are now in this roof.
Repairs to the roof of Westminster Hall were completed in June, 1950, although treatment for death watch beetle will be necessary from time to time. There is no chestnut timber in the roof, which is entirely of oak. About 96 per cent. of the oak came from Wadhurst in Sussex. It is not possible to trace the origin of the remaining 4 per cent.
Building Workers (Unemployment)
asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the number of building trade workers, itemised by trades, who were registered as unemployed in the county of London on 1st January during the past three years, and the latest convenient date.
The table below gives the information desired:of the Committee on Night Baking, which reported in October, 1951, Command Paper No. 8378.
I have been awaiting the observations of the main organisations in the baking industry on the Report. The last of these was received within the past few days. The observations, which are very detailed, are being examined and I intend to make a statement on the Governments attitude as soon as a review can be completed.
asked the Minister of Labour the number of building trade workers, in the respective trades, registered as unemployed in Edinburgh at the latest convenient date.
The table below gives the information desired:
|NUMBER OF MEN AND BOYS WHOSE LAST EMPLOYMENT WAS IN THE BUILDING INDUSTRY, REGISTERED AS UNEMPLOYED AT EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGES IN EDINBURGH AT 14TH JANUARY, 1952|
|Carpenters and joiners||17|
|Slaters and tilers||4|
|Painters and decorators||155|
|All other occupations||305|
asked the Minister of Labour the number of building trade workers, in the respective trades, registered as unemployed in Scotland at the latest convenient date.
The table below gives the information desired:
|NUMBER OF MEN AND BOYS WHOSE LAST EMPLOYMENT WAS IN THE BUILDING INDUSTRY, REGISTERED AS UNEMPLOYED IN SCOTLAND AT 14TH JANUARY, 1952.|
|Carpenters and Joiners||199|
|Slaters and Tilers||37|
|Painters and Decorators||1,054|
|Plumbers, Gas Fitters, etc.||41|
|All other occupations||3,446|
asked the Minister of Labour how many leather workers are at present unemployed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Twenty-one at 14th January.
asked the Minister of Labour what effect he estimates the recent cuts in tobacco imports will have on employment in Bristol; and what plans he has for securing alternative employment for those so affected.
I have no reason to think that the reduction in imports of tobacco will result in workers becoming redundant in the tobacco industry in Bristol. If any did become redundant, however, the Employment Exchanges would assist them to find alternative employment.
asked the Minister of Labour the number of registered unemployed in West Ham for each of the four weeks in October, 1951; and comparable statistics for the latest stated four-weekly period.
1,199 at 15th October and 1,627 at 14th January. Figures are compiled for one date only in each month.
Firemen's Union (Claims)
asked the Minister of Labour if, with his knowledge of the failure of the recent arbitration court adjudicating on the firemen's claim, to reach a decision and the discontent in the fire service arising out of the independent decision of the chairman, he will appoint a new court to examine again the claims of the British Firemen's Union.
No, I cannot accept any suggestion that the procedure under which this award was made is open to criticism.
asked the Minister of Labour in what trades redundancy has contributed to the recent increase of un-employment in Sunderland.
The principal industries affected by the recent increase of unemployment in Sunderland are: shipbuilding and ship repairing; building and civil engineering contracting; furniture and upholstery.
Ordnance Factory Workers
asked the Minister of Labour in which areas there is an acute shortage of unskilled workers for Royal Ordnance factories; and what steps are being taken to overcome the difficulty.
The greatest need for unskilled workers for Royal Ordnance factories is at Chorley and Swynnerton. The employment exchanges are making special efforts to recruit suitable workers for these factories and they will be assisted by the Notification of Vacancies Order which came into operation yesterday.
Cotton Workers, Bolton
asked the Minister of Labour the total number of cotton operatives employed in the borough of Bolton who were registered as wholly unemployed and temporarily unemployed, respectively, on 1st February or the last convenient date.
One hundred and sixty-nine wholly unemployed and 858 temporarily stopped at 14th January. The figures include all registered unemployed (including clerks and other ancillary workers as well as operatives) whose last employment was in the cotton industry.
Albert Road Exchange, Southampton
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will provide cover for men waiting for employment outside the Employment Exchange, Albert Road, Southampton.
No. I am informed there is no need at present to provide accommodation, and I understand this is also the view of the trade unions representing the men concerned.
British Transport Police
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will accede to the request by the British Transport Police Federation to appoint an independent chairman to hear their case for parity between British Transport Police and the rest of the police service.
I would refer the hon. Member to my answer of 21st February to the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton).
Limitation Act, 1939
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will introduce legislation to extend the provisions of Section 21 of the Limitation Act, 1939, to Scotland.
I see no prospect of time being found during the present Session for legislation on this subject.
Civil Service Redundancies (Disabled Persons)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that, as a result of the policy of Her Majesty's Government to effect cuts in the Civil Service, ex-Service personnel suffering from serious war disabilities have received redundancy notices from his Departments in Scotland; and whether he will reconsider the decision to terminate the employment of such people, in view of their difficulty in obtaining suitable alternative employment in the open labour market.
I am aware that among the temporary officers who are being declared redundant in my Departments there are a number of disabled persons. It has not been found possible, however, to retain any of these officers out of the order laid down in the agreement between the staff and official sides of the Civil Service National Whitley Council relating to the discharge of redundant temporary non-industrial staff. Efforts are being made to find suitable alternative employment in each case.
115, 117 and 118.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many male and female students, respectively, receiving grants from education authorities in Scotland are now attending a full-time course of undergraduate study at each of the following universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London, other English universities, University of Wales, Queen's University, Belfast, and Dublin universities, respectively;(2) what are the total amounts of annual grants now being made by local authorities in Scotland to students attending a full-time course of undergraduate studies at Scottish universities, at other universities in the United Kingdom, at Queen's University, Belfast, and at Dublin universities, respectively; and
(3) how many students receiving grants from education authorities in Scotland are attending a full-time course of undergraduate study at universities in the United Kingdom outwith Scotland and at Queen's University, Belfast; and whether he will classify these students under each of the headings given in Table 4 of Command Paper No. 8307, namely, arts, pure science, medicine, dentistry, technology, agriculture and forestry, and veterinary science.
Following are the figures:Number of undergraduate full-time students at certain universities receiving grants from Scottish education authorities:
|Universities||Estimated amount £|
|Others in Great Britain||4,500|
|Faculty or School||Number of Students|
|Agriculture and Forestry||2|
Sheep Losses, Shetland (Aid)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been drawn to the severe losses of sheep in Shetland; and if he will take measures to help the crofters concerned.
I greatly regret that the recent snowstorm in Shetland should have caused losses to sheep stocks. I have been informed about the matter and am advised that the facilities afforded under the Livestock Replacement Scheme will be enough to help the crofters to replace stock lost.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if his attention has been called to the comments of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the keeping of hospital accounts in Scotland; and if he will make a statement on this matter.
I must not prejudge the findings of the Public Accounts Committee who will review this report in the ordinary course. But I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that all steps consistent with reasonable economy in staff numbers are taken to remedy faults of this kind.
Town Development Bill
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will introduce a Bill for Scotland similar to the Town Development Bill for England and Wales.
No, not in the meantime. There is no immediate overspill problem in Scotland of the kind with which the Bill is intended to deal.
Regional Hospital Boards (Expenditure)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what instructions have been issued to regional hospital boards to reduce their expenditure; and on what items economies have to be effected.
I have recently asked regional hospital boards to see that even more than the usual care is exercised this year to eliminate all unnecessary expenditure. In particular, the recruitment of additional nursing, domestic, administrative and clerical staff will have to be justified by reference to specific needs. A reduction of hospital building work, of the order of 10 per cent., is being made to release labour and materials for housing and defence purposes.
Unemployment (Raw Material Cuts)
asked the Minister of Labour how far unemployment in Scotland is occasioned by cuts in allocation of raw material; and if he is giving heed to the special needs of development areas.
Unemployment in Scotland has been little affected so far by cuts in allocation of raw materials. The special needs of development areas are constantly in mind.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has concluded his discussions with the local authorities on the question of the re-adjustment of the housing subsidies; and when he expects to be able to make a statement on this subject.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now make a statement regarding the alteration of housing subsidies to meet the increased loan charges; and whether the local authorities will be compensated equally in the increased borrowing costs for roads, water, sewage, and other necessary local authority projects.
I hope to make a statement announcing the proposed new rates of subsidy shortly.
Myton Houses, New Cumnock
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent reports he has received from his inspectors of the defects in the Myton houses erected at New Cumnock by the Scottish Special Housing Association; what is the cause of these defects; and how it is proposed to remedy them.
I am told that water penetration has occurred in these houses. After a number of experiments, a remedy has been found and the Association have instructed the contractors to apply this to all the houses as soon as possible.
Ministry Of Pensions
asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications for disability pension on the ground of disseminated sclerosis have been made during a period of five years to the most recent convenient date; how many have been refused; and how many applications have been wholly or partially successful.
During the five years ended 30th September, 1951, 806 applications in respect of disseminated sclerosis were received; 282 were rejected; 524 were successful.
1914–18 War Widows
asked the Minister of Pensions to what extent the pensions of widows of the 1914–18 war have been increased; by what amounts; and on what dates.
In 1914 the standard rate was 5s. It was increased by stages during the war and in November, 1918, was 16s. 6d., or 18s. if the widow was over 45. In September, 1919, it was increased to 26s. 8d. for widows over 40 or with children or incapacitated, and to 20s. for other widows. The 26s. 8d. was increased in May, 1944, to 32s. 6d. and in February, 1946, to 35s.
asked the Minister of Pensions what is the maximum amount payable to a married pensioner with three children if he has a 100 per cent. disability and is in need of constant attendance; and what a man in similar circumstances would have been entitled to in 1944.
The maximum amount payable to an ex-private today would be £8 11s. a week. In 1944, a pensioner in similar circumstances would have received £5 2s. 6d.
asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications for disability pension on the ground of Parkinson's disease have been made during a period of five years to the most recent convenient date; how many have been refused; and how many applications have been wholly or partially successful.
In the records kept by my Department Parkinson's disease is grouped with other diseases of an organic nervous nature. It is estimated, however, that in the five years ended 30th September, 1951, 170 applications in respect of this disease were received, of which 55 were rejected and 115 were successful.
asked the Minister of Pensions whether he is aware that a large number of claimants failed to obtain disability pensions based on rulings on law which have now been the subject of judicial reversal; and whether he will make provision for the reconsideration of all cases which might have been the subject of successful application had the law been correctly understood at the time of the application.
As I have explained to the hon. Member, the position of these claimants was met by the arrangements for special review announced in this House on 25th July, 1946. I can find no justification for any extension of these special arrangements.
asked the Minister of Pensions if he will make a statement concerning the basic rate of pension for disabled ex-Service men.
This matter is being considered in the course of the Government's general review of pensions. I am not yet in a position to make a statement.
asked the Minister of Pensions what was the total amount paid in war pensions during the years 1945 to 1951, inclusive, as compared with the amount paid during the previous seven years.
The total amount paid in pensions and allowances during the seven financial years 1938–39 to 1944–45 was £298,509,000. The corresponding amount for the seven years 1945–46 to 1951–52, the amount for the year ending 31st March, 1952, being estimated, is £545,868,000.
Australia (Uk Emigrants)
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he is aware that Mr. Holt, the Australian Minister for Immigration, said officially, on 29th January, that Australia hopes to receive 150,000 emigrants every year for the next few years, and that any smaller number would reduce development to stagnation level; what conversations have taken place with Australia about this matter; and what agreements have been reached in order that all those who wish to emigrate from the United Kingdom will be given every possible help and encouragement.
I have seen reports of this statement but there have been no conversations with Australia about it. As my hon. and gallant Friend is aware, assisted migration to Australia is the subject of an agreement between the two Governments.
Commonwealth Economic Affairs (Discussions)
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when it is proposed that a further meeting of financial and economic experts from the Commonwealth will take place; and whether in the meantime he will set up permanent machinery for studying Commonwealth economic affairs.
It is hoped that it will be possible to hold a further meeting with Commonwealth representatives on financial and related subjects within a few months, but that is a matter for consultation between Governments.With regard to the latter part of the hon. Member's question no new machinery for the purpose in mind is contemplated.
Anglo-Argentine Meat Negotiations
asked the Minister of Food if he will make a statement on the annual Anglo-Argentine meat price negotiations.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. and gallant Friend gave to the hon. Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger) on Monday, 25th February.
asked the Minister of Food to what extent it is his intention to allow private buyers to negotiate the new agreement with Argentina when the annual meat contract comes up for review in April.
I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger) on Monday, 25th February.
Apsley House (Public Admission)
asked the Minister of Education whether she will make a statement on the opening of Apsley House as a national museum.
asked the Minister of Education when Apsley House is to be opened to the public.
I regret that I cannot yet add anything to the reply which I gave to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) on 21st February.
Infant Schools (Admissions)
asked the Minister of Education whether she will obtain from all local education authorities information as to the number of children already being refused admission to infant schools before approving of any reduction in expenditure proposed by local education authorities in response to Circular 242.
No. The Circular does not require authorities to submit to me their proposals for reducing their forecasts and makes it quite clear that I do not expect reductions to be made which would impair the essential fabric of the education service.
Bbc European Service (Economies)
asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what would be the cost of maintaining the news bulletins in the European Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which are about to be cut for economy reasons.
I am informed by the B.B.C. that the cost would be about £40,000 per annum.
asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many applicants are on the waiting list for telephones in the Borough of Bolton; how many telephones have been installed during 1951; and what is, and who settles, the order of priorities in the allocation of new telephones.
On 31st December, 1951, 1,283 applications were on the waiting list, and 70 under survey, 866 applications were met during 1951.Priority is given to the essential requirements of public utilities, health and life saving services, Government Departments and businesses engaged on production and distribution for exports or saving imports. Outside these broad classes of priority, business applicants are in general given preference over residential applicants, and removing subscribers over new applicants. Individual cases are settled by the local telephone manager within the order of priorities laid down by my noble Friend.
Aluminium (Agreement With Us)
asked the Minister of Supply what effects the recent agreement with the United States of America upon the supply of aluminium will have upon the industry of this country.
National Assistance Board (Car)
asked the Minister of Supply, in view of the recent economies effected on Ministers' private cars, if a car and chauffeur are still maintained for the sole use of the Chairman of the National Assistance Board.
No. A car is and always has been allotted for the general purposes of the Board's headquarters.
Veterinary Surgeons (Report)
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has now received the report of the Committee set up to consider the wording of Section 7 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1948; and whether he proposes to publish the Report.
This Committee, which was set up to advise the Minister on problems raised by certain applications for licences under Section 7 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1948, reported in January. I shall be getting in touch with the applicants' societies and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons about the Report shortly. I have not at present taken a decision as to publication.
Electric Shock Treatment
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the danger involved in unqualified practitioners offering treatment, including electric shock treatment, to patients; and whether he will consider extending health education by every possible means.
A great deal of health education is already being carried out. I am considering the cases of which the hon. Member has sent particulars.
asked the Minister of Health the number of cases of poliomyelitis recorded prior to 1942; and the ages of the cases.
There were 20,332 cases of poliomyelitis (including 1,785 cases of polio-encephalitis) notified between 1st September, 1912, when the disease was made notifiable, and 31st December, 1941. The ages of these cases are not available.
Hospitals (Patients' Food)
asked the Minister of Health if he will give instructions to regional hospital boards that no economies should be made in hospital expenditure on patients' food.
No, because this is within the discretion of hospital authorities, who may well find it possible to secure some measure of economy without prejudicially affecting patients' diets.