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Written Answers

Volume 524: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 3rd March, 1954

Colonial Territories (Officers' Pay)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in which Colonial Territories different salary scales operate between staff of different races with equivalent qualifications in posts of comparable responsibility; and whether he will expedite in those Territories a single salary scale, with the expatriation allowances in suitable cases.

I have been asked to reply.In most Territories basic salaries are paid to all officers according to their duties and responsibilities. In some Territories expatriation or overseas pay is drawn in addition to basic pay by officers who do not belong to the country. In East and Central Africa, non-Europeans in senior grades of posts are at present paid three-fifths of the salary of a European. The matter raised by the hon. Member is one of the questions before the Salaries Commission which is considering a revised salary structure for the East African Services.

Royal Air Force

Personal Case


asked the Undersecretary of State for Air why, in a case about which details have been sent to him, a man who has completed his National Service in the Royal Army Service Corps and has done Reserve training in the Army, has now been called for Reserve training with the Royal Air Force.

This man carried out his period of full-time service in the Royal Air Force, but was subsequently allowed to enlist in the Army Emergency Reserve. He should not have been called up for training with the Royal Air Force and I regret any inconvenience that may have been caused as a result.

Requisitioned Land And Buildings, Gravesend Airport


asked the Undersecretary of State for Air whether he will now derequisition land and buildings near the Gravesend airport about which he is already aware.

I cannot at the moment add anything to the letter which my noble Friend sent to the hon. Member yesterday.

Pioneer Aircraft, Malaya

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many single-engined Pioneer aircraft were purchased by Her Majesty's Government for service in Malaya.

Driving Licences


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, in view of the inadequate tuition which many prospective car drivers get, usually from friends or relatives who are themselves often untrained, what steps he will take to impose stricter standards of tuition before licences are issued to drivers for the first time.

My responsibility is to maintain the standard of the driving test. I shall give all the help and encouragement I can to improve standards of driving, but it is up to the candidate, if he wants to pass the test, to see that he gets adequate tuition. I will not, however, overlook the point which the hon. Member has in mind.


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation why Mr. L. C. Munden, of Bristol, who lost his left arm in an air crash in the Middle East in 1945, was refused a licence to drive a coach after his Department's examiner, police, insurance officer and solicitor all said that he was fully capable of performing the work, that his disability had been overcome, and that he had been driving a vehicle for several years.

The licensing authority for public service vehicles refused the licence because they were not prepared to entrust the lives of possibly 33 passengers to a driver with only one arm. Appeals against decisions such as this do not lie to me, but a court of summary jurisdiction. The applicant exercised his right of appeal and the magistrates eventually dismissed it "with great reluctance."

Prestwick Airport Purchase (Agreed Settlement)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the sum originally estimated as fair compensation for the compulsory purchase of Prestwick Airport; and the sum paid for disturbances of the company's business, loss of profits, etc., in the agreed settlement with the company.

The sum proposed to the arbiter in respect of the land and buildings purchased from Scottish Aviation Limited was £180,650. No sum was paid in respect of the company's claim for business disturbance, loss of profits, etc., and this claim was never evaluated.In fact these, together with other claims from both parties, were covered in the agreed settlement which resulted in the payment by Scottish Aviation Limited to my Department of £5,795.

Newbury Park Bridge (Widening Scheme)

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he can now give an approximate date for the commencement of the Newbury Park, Ilford, bridge widening.

Land has yet to be acquired and certain other preparations completed, but my right hon. Friend hopes to authorise these steps in the next financial year so that the work can begin within that year.

Leek Road, Stoke-On-Trent

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many children, women and men have been killed, and seriously or otherwise injured in the past 20 years on that stretch of the main Leek Road which runs from the lime kiln to the Milton Cross Roads in Stoke-on-Trent; and for how many years the question of widening this stretch of road has been under consideration.

The required particulars are:

The widening of this stretch of road has been under consideration for 20 years, but has been delayed by the war and subsequent financial stringency.

European Coal And Steel Community


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply has been sent to M. Monnet's official proposal for closer association between the United Kingdom and the European Coal and Steel Community.

No formal reply has yet been sent but my right hon. Friend has discussed the matter personally with M. Monnet. As my right hon. Friend said in reply to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas) on 21st January, the interests concerned have first to be consulted. These consultations are now taking place.

Inter-American Conference, Caracas


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government have been invited to be represented at the Inter-American Conference at Caracas, in view of the fact that matters affecting British Colonies in the Caribbean are to be discussed there.

No. The United Kingdom is not a member of the Organisation of American States, under whose auspices this conference is taking place.

Ministry Of Food

Sugar Beet Factory Facilities, Southern England


asked the Minister of Food whether the improvements in the capacity of sugar beet factories, forecast by him on 15th April, 1953, in answer to the hon. Member for Huntingdon, have now been completed; and whether he will now consult the British Sugar Corporation Limited with a view to their building a new sugar beet factory in the south of England.

The British Sugar Corporation's programme of reconstruction and improvement is not due to be completed until 1956. With reference to the second part of the Question, I have nothing at present to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture to my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury on 19th November, 1953.



asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the delays on the part of his Department in recent weeks in taking delivery of wheat from farmers; and what steps he intends to take in order to overcome such delays.

The conditions of purchase of home-grown wheat by my Department allow a 28-day period for delivery. I am not aware that this is being exceeded but if my hon. Friend has any specific case in mind I should be happy to look into it.


asked the Minister of Food what quantities of wheat from the 1953 harvest have been imported from France; and how this compares with the average of wheat imports from France in the previous five years.

Following in the information.

It is not possible to say whether wheat imported from France came from the most recent harvest, and the best figures available are those in respect of imports during the conventional crop year, July to June.
During the period from July, 1953, to January, 1954, imports into this country of wheat from France amounted to about 64,000 tons.
Imports of wheat from France during the five preceding crop years were:
Average 1934–38159,000


asked the Minister of Food the tonnage of live and dead meat sent, from August to October, 1953, from the northern area of Scotland to London; and the sum paid for the movement of this meat.

Six thousand, eight hundred and fourteen tons of dead meat, and live cattle of the equivalent of about 1,112 tons of dead meat. The sum paid for transport was about £82,000, but flat rates are used and the exceptional length of this haul is thus not reflected in the cost.

Duck Eggs

asked the Minister of Food why duck eggs were not included in the readjustment of prices during the Christmas period; and if he will re-examine the situation now.

Hen eggs may be sold by the producer only to packing stations or direct to consumers. There are no similar statutory provisions in respect of duck eggs, and producers sell to packing stations only when direct sales to retailers or wholesalers are less advantageous. I do not, therefore, consider that any price adjustment was called for.

British Army (Personal Case)


asked the Secretary of State for War when he will reply to the letter of 8th February from the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme about 22989597 Sapper J. D. Atkins.

The hon. Member will now have received the reply to his letter.

Postal Facilities, East Kilbride

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he is aware that more than 1,500 houses have been built in East Kilbride; and if he will state the number of post offices and sub-post offices in this new town.

Close watch is being kept on the development of East Kilbride, in which there is at present one sub-post office; additional postal facilities will be provided as the development of the town proceeds.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the designated area of the new town of East Kilbride covers several thousand acres; and if he will state the number of pillar-boxes in the new town.

In the designated area of East Kilbride there are seven posting boxes, including three in the newly developed parts of the town.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he will increase the supply of pillar-boxes at East Kilbride and affix a stamp machine to each.

Additional posting boxes will be put up soon and stamp-selling facilities will be provided where they can be justified.

Birmingham․Melksham Power Line (Bea Application)

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is aware of the opposition in Gloucestershire to the proposals of the British Electricity Authority concerning the Birmingham․Melksham power line; if he will bear in mind the fact that in view of the development in atomic energy it is probable that the authority's proposals, if adopted, will become redundant within a foreseeable time; and if he will make a statement on the action he proposes to take in this matter.

A joint public inquiry into the application for permission to erect this line was held at Cheltenham on 27th January and I am awaiting the report of the officers who held it. I shall consider all the views put forward at the inquiry before making my decision on the application.Since electricity generated by nuclear energy will have to be transmitted to the point where it is consumed, future developments are most unlikely to make the grid redundant.