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Written Answers

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1952

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 2nd April, 1952

Telephone Service (Agricultural Industry)


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will give an assurance that the agricultural industry will be allotted a high proportion of new telephones to be installed during 1952.

I can assure my hon. Friend that the agricultural industry will continue to be given priority in common with public utilities and firms engaged in production and distribution for export or for saving imports.

"Attributable" Pensions, i.e. for widows of officers whose deaths were due to service"Ordinary" Pensions awarded to widows, if the relevant conditions are fulfilled, where the husband's death is NOT attributable to service
Yearly rates
Ranks of Officers*Widow under 40 years with no dependantWidow over 40 years with no dependantWidow with 1 child under 16 years of age
Basic pension only
Widows who (a) have attained the age of 40 years, or (b) are in receipt of an allowance in respect of a child‡ of the officer, or (c) are incapable of self-support.Other widows
Commissioned Officers (Branch List) R.N. and R.M.125105354965160
(1) There are very few widows under 40 years of age.
(2) These rates are based on the amounts shown in the preceding column, plus increases under the Pensions (Increase) Schemes, 1944–47, and are applicable only where the total gross income, including pension and pensions increase, does not exceed £402 a year.
(3) These rates include the child's allowance, and Pensions Increase on that allowance, and the widow's pension combined, and are applicable only where the total gross income, including pension etc. and pensions increase, does not exceed £502, a year.
* Army ranks only above Lieutenant shown; but the rates apply to corresponding ranks in the R.N. and R.A.F.
† There is only one rate of "attributable" pension for widows of officers above the rank of Major (or equivalent).
‡ An allowance of £36 a year in respect of each child of the officer under the age of 18 is payable in addition.

Ministry Of Defence

Widows' Pensions


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence for particulars of the pensions payable to widows of officers from brigadier downwards, and equivalent ranks in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, to widows under 40 years of age with no dependants and widows over 40 years of age with no dependants and widows with one child under 16 years of age.

National Service (Postings)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if he will ensure, as far as possible, that National Service men who were engaged in agriculture shall be posted as near home as possible, in order that they may help on the land during their weekend leaves.

No. It is essential that National Service men, once trained, should be available for duty in any part of the world. The arrangement suggested by my hon. Friend would tend to restrict their employment. It would, in addition, be inequitable to give particular individuals such preferential treatment.

Ex-Miners (Release Applications)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if he is aware that some Service men with experience in the coalmining industry were debarred from applying for release from the forces to return to the mines under last year's scheme because they were at that time serving in Korea; and if he will consider accepting such applications for release from these men on their repatriation.

There is no question of reopening the general scheme, but if the special cases mentioned by the hon. Member are brought to the attention of the Service Departments they will be considered.

Pay And Allowances

49 and 50.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (1) what steps are being taken to increase the daily rate of pay of Regular naval personnel to compensate them and their wives and families for the increase in the cost of living, consequent upon the reduction in the food subsidies by some £160 million;(2) what steps his Department are taking to increase the daily rate of pay of Regular personnel in the Royal Air Force and their wives and families, to compensate them for the increase in the cost of living, consequent upon the reduction in the food subsidies by some £160 million.

None. As I informed the hon. Member yesterday in reply to a similar Question, the emoluments of Service personnel, which include issues in kind of foodstuffs, are reviewed from time to time to take account of any marked alteration of conditions. Service men and their families will benefit from the increased family allowances and Income Tax reliefs, announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech.

Ministry Of Food

Bread (Retailers' Discount)


asked the Minister of Food what percentage of the total retail price of bread is represented by the margin of profit charged by re-retailers.

I assume my hon. Friend is referring to the discount allowed by wholesale bakers to retailers. This discount amounts to about 9 per cent. to 10 per cent. of the retail price. The actual discount given varies in different parts of the country.

Biscuits (Prices)


asked the Minister of Food by what amount the maximum retail prices of sweet, semi-sweet and chocolate biscuits were increased in February, 1952.

Cheese Ration


asked the Minister of Food how long the cheese ration will remain at one ounce; and what alternative to the rationed cheese is available to the housewife.

My right hon. and gallant Friend cannot hold out hope of a bigger ration for some months. Among the alternatives to rationed cheese are milk and fish as well as bacon and eggs which have recently become more plentiful

East Africa (Transport Development)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking to meet the recent increase in rail and harbour traffic and the probable further increase in the near future, in East Africa.

At a recent meeting between myself, the Chairman of the East Africa High Commission and the East African Commissioner for Transport the following arrangements were approved:

  • (a) sufficient funds will be made immediately available to finance urgent port developments;
  • (b) a loan programme for the development of railways and harbours at a cost of some £30 million.
  • Once local legislation has been passed, and subject to the claims of other borrowers and to access to new sources such as the International Bank, loans may be raised as market conditions permit. These arrangements will enable orders for equipment to be placed at an earlier date.


    Farming Economy (Inquiry)


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has now received the expert's report on Kenya farming economy; and what are his recommendations concerning the method of fixing cereal prices each year.

    Agricultural Betterment Fund


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total amount now in the African Maize Betterment Fund, Kenya; and how this is being utilised.

    The estimated balance in the Agricultural Betterment Fund, to which I assume the hon. Member refers, was £560,578 on the 31st December, 1951. The Fund is used by African District Councils to encourage the development of African agriculture.

    Colonial Empire

    Sexual Offences (Corporal Punishment)


    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in how many British Colonies corporal punishment is, or can be, administered for sexual offences including homosexuality; and whether the incidence of that class of offence has increased where corporal punishment has been abolished or suspended.

    Corporal punishment may be administered for sexual offences in 21 territories. No information is available to answer the second part of the Question.

    Smallholders (Tree Planting)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the success achieved by the organised Tree-Planting Campaign in Jamaica in encouraging smallholders to plant trees; and in which other Colonies it is proposed to hold similar campaigns.

    Yes. With regard to the second part of the Question Cyprus is, according to my information, the only other Colonial Territory in which a similar campaign has been started or is proposed.

    Brabazon Aircraft (Cost)


    asked the Minister of Supply if his attention has been called to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, in which it is stated that the original estimate for Brabazon I aircraft was £8 million and that the cost is now expected to be £14 million; what factors accounted for the error in calculation; and to what extent the building of this aircraft was put out to open tender.

    The increases have arisen mainly from the exceptional complexity of the work. Competition for building the aircraft was impracticable.


    Student Awards


    asked the Minister of Education how many new awards to students in the current academic year have been made by her Department and local education authorities, respectively, for first, universities and university colleges, and, secondly, technical colleges.

    The following is the number of new awards taken up in the academic year, 1951–52:

    At Universities and University CollegesFull-time courses at Technical Colleges and other Establishments of Further Education
    State Scholarships2,62717
    Further Education and Training Scheme110284
    Awards by Local Education Authorities10,2856,487


    asked the Minister of Education if she will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT, a list of local education authorities whose new awards for 1951 per 10.000 aged 5–14 years estimated population are less than the England and Wales average, and also show their respective figures.

    This information is given in the Appendix to Circular 247 of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

    School Meals And Milk

    asked the Minister of Education how many school meals are being taken; how many children in Newport

    Number of applications received2,2551,9581,5801,3681,067
    Number of certificates issued1,134999869768582
    Number of certificates refused582548425318254
    Number of applications withdrawn545422332282259
    Note.—In some years more applications may be dealt with during the year than the number received as the former figure may include applications made during the previous year.

    Pigs (Slaughtering)

    asked the Minister of Agriculture what compensation is available for farmers prevented from sending pigs for slaughtering, owing to foot-and-mouth standstill orders, with the result that their animals are unable to fetch maximum prices.

    port are now receiving free milk; and how these figures compare with 1938 and 1945.

    The following figures give the information for a day in October, 1945, and in October, 1951:

    School meals taken
    England and Wales
    October, 19451,831,877
    October, 19512,895,054
    School meals taken
    October, 194513,470
    October, 195114,837
    Number of children receiving free milk in
    October, 1945670
    October, 195113,354
    Comparable figures are not available for 1938.


    Cottage Certificates

    asked the Minister of Agriculture how many applications have been made to county agricultural executive committees for cottage certificates each year since 1947; how many have been granted; and how many refused until 31st December, 1951.

    The answer is as follows:owing to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, efforts are made to see that slaughtering facilities are included in these areas. It does happen from time to time that adequate facilities cannot be made available, but I have no power to pay compensation in respect of any consequential losses in such cases. The Diseases of Animals Act enables compensation to be paid only in respect of animals slaughtered by order of my Department.

    National Finance

    Usa Securities (Uk Holdings)

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the present total of British investments in the United States of America.

    I am not yet in a position to give this information beyond the end of 1950, when the nominal capital value of United Kingdom holdings of quoted U.S. domestic securities (including those pledged with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation) was, it is now estimated, £124 million. This figure continues a series of estimates for the years 1938 to 1949 published by the Bank of England.

    Tax Evasion (Prosecutions)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many prosecutions for Income Tax and Surtax frauds have been made during the last five financial years.

    The figures for which the hon. Member asks are as follows:

    YearNumber of Persons ProsecutedNumber of Persons Convicted

    Fiduciary Note Issue (Increase)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the fiduciary note issue.

    Yes. In anticipation of the seasonal increase in the demand for notes the Treasury, acting under the power conferred by Section 8 of the Currency and Bank Notes Act, 1928, as subsequently amended, have authorised an increase in the amount of the fiduciary note issue by £50 million to £1,450 million as from the 1st April, 1952, for a period of not more than six months.The Treasury Minute will be laid before Parliament.

    Devonshire House, Piccadilly

    asked the Minister of Works the Departments or public authorities occupying office accommodation in Devonshire House, Piccadilly, showing in each case the area and rental value of the accommodation so occupied.

    Devonshire House is occupied by the following Departments and authorities:

    Sq. Ft.
    Central Land Board and War Damage Commission35,000
    Civil Service Commission1,100
    Foreign Office20,400
    Ministry of Health2,300
    Ministry of Labour8,800
    National Parks Commission3,500
    War Works Commission200
    Ministry of Works7,700
    Telephone Exchange600
    It would be contrary to normal practice to disclose the rents.The Central Land Board and War Damage Commission and the Foreign Office will shortly be surrendering space in the building.

    Tuberculosis, Sunderland

    asked the Minister of Health the number of persons known to be suffering from tuberculosis in the county borough of Sunderland at 31st December, 1951, and at 31st December, 1938, respectively.

    My information is that the numbers were 839 and 1,618, respectively.

    Road Accidents, Sunderland

    asked the Minister of Transport the number of persons killed and the number of persons seriously injured on roads in Sunderland during the years 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951, respectively, in the following categories: pedestrians under 15 years of age and over 15 years of age, respectively; pedal cyclists under 15 years of age and over 15 years of age, respectively; motor cyclists; motor cycle passengers; car drivers; car passengers; and other persons, respectively.

    Following are the particulars asked for:

    Class of road user1945194619471948194919501951
    KilledSeriously InjuredKilledSeriously InjuredKilledSeriously InjuredKilledSeriously InjuredKilledSeriously InjuredKilledSeriously InjuredKilledSeriously Injured
    Under 15718626322810612219720
    Over 15413516435633613718427
    Pedal cyclists—
    Under 152721461101
    Over 1518215171511211111
    Motor cyclists5282312149
    Motor cycle passengers2112
    Car drivers12112
    Car passengers1531
    Other persons7192134321719220

    Immigration Control Staff

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the total number of immigrants in each of the years 1946 to 1951 inclusive; and what was the total number of the immigration staff employed in each of these years.

    The United Kingdom is not a country of immigration and foreigners are normally admitted on

    YearVisitorsOthersTotalImmigration Staff

    a temporary basis, and not as immigrants, in the first instance. The following figures for foreigners passing through the immigration controls in the years 1946 to 1951 distinguish between (i) holiday and business visitors and (ii) other foreigners admitted for periods of varying length or returning after temporary absence abroad. The figures for immigration staff represent the average number employed in each year.