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Written Answers

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 8 April 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 8th April, 1954

Trade And Commerce

Development Areas


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now present a White Paper on the Development Areas.

I have at present nothing to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 19th November last.

East-West Trade


asked the President of the Board of Trade what further progress has now been made in removing restrictions on East-West trade.




asked the Minister of Agriculture how many scholarships are being offered by him during 1954 to the sons and daughters of agricultural workers.


asked the Minister of Agriculture how much money has so far been provided by the Exchequer for the construction or alteration of slaughterhouses under the Livestock Industry Act, 1937.


Special Constabulary, London (Strength)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of special constables in the London metropolitan area; and by how many this number is greater or less than that for the same date last year.

The strength of the special constabulary in the Metropolitan Police District on 31st March, 1954, was 3,479. This is three more than on the same date last year.



asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will state the percentage of the Metropolitan Police engaged in office duties and street duties, other than traffic control, respectively; and how these figures compare with those for 1938.

On 14th March last 1·44 per cent. of the total strength of the Metropolitan police force was engaged in office duties and 79·03 per cent. on street duties other than mobile patrol and traffic point duties. The corresponding percentages on the same date in 1938 were 1·24 and 84·91.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to free members of the Metropolitan Police Force from routine duties so as to enable them to concentrate on the prevention and detection of crime.

A substantial number of Metropolitan police officers employed at headquarters and various police stations on work not requiring the exercise of police powers or experience are being gradually replaced by civilian staff; and 674 school crossings previously supervised by police officers have been taken over by school crossing patrols or police cadets. I should not like to be taken as accepting the implication that the detection of offenders and prevention of crime is a duty of the police to which all their other functions should be subordinated.

Home Department

Flood Prevention (Committee's Report)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the Report of the Waverley Committee on Flood Prevention will be available before the Easter Recess.

Her Majesty's Government expect to receive the Report just before Easter, but it will then be some little time before printed copies can be made available.

Shops (Closing Hours)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to implement the recommendation of the Gowers Committee that seaside shops be permitted to open on 23 Sundays instead of 18 Sundays in the year; and if he will make a statement.

This is one of the recommendations for changes in the law on the closing hours of shops which I have under consideration with a view to legislation; but I regret that I cannot say when it will be possible to introduce the legislation.

Passport (Justine De Almeida)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the passport of Justine de Almeida, a Portuguese citizen, was in order when he arrived in this country recently.

I have no reason to suppose that the passport was not in order, but inquiries have not yet been concluded.

Summer Time


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what protests he has received against the introduction of Summer Time on 11th April or against terminating Summer Time on 2nd October.

A very small number of protests has been received in the last six months—most of them urging an extension of Summer Time in October, but some of them urging the abolition of Summer Time.

Dog Licences

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of disqualification for keeping a dog and for holding or obtaining a dog licence have been imposed under the Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) Act, 1932, since the Act came into force with the respective years in which such disqualification was imposed.

Civil Defence (Hydrogen Bomb)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of steel helmets issued to Civil Defence workers during the past year; and whether, in view of the development of thermo-nuclear weapons, he now proposes to continue issuing this equipment for Civil Defence purposes.

Seven thousand steel helmets were issued last year for the purpose of training of the Civil Defence Corps. The Civil Defence equipment programme is at present under review and, in the meantime, no further orders are being placed for steel helmets.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in view of the effect of the recent bomb experiments in the Pacific and the certainty that conventional methods of civilian defence are futile against these weapons, what recommendation has he given to the subject of Civil Defence.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 1st April to the hon. Members for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) and Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas).


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will be able to give guidance to Civil Defence organisations as to the preparations they should make in the light of the recent development of hydrogen bombs.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Llewellyn) on 5th April.


Employment Facilities


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what facilities exist in all prisons for useful employment of prisoners' time.

In every prison the prisoners, if medically fit, are given useful work in the prison workshops or about the prison and grounds or outside. Both the working week and the nature of the work provided vary greatly from one prison to another. Programmes of evening educational classes are arranged, and reasonable facilities are afforded to prisoners who wish to undertake correspondence courses or private study or to practise handicrafts. It is impossible to deal adequately with this subject within the compass of a parliamentary answer, and I shall be glad to give the hon. Member detailed information on any particular aspect of it in which he is interested.

Releases And Transfers


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department What arrangements are made for consideration of a request by an inmate of one of Her Majesty's prisons for a transfer to another prison.

A prisoner may ask for a transfer to another prison by applying to a visiting Prison Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner or by a petition to the Secretary of State. In present conditions of overcrowding of prisons and of heavy pressure of escort duty, transfer is not granted, save in most exceptional circumstances, for private reasons such as making it easier for relatives to visit. Moreover, many prisoners are in the only prison that is appropriate to their sentence and record.

71 and 72.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) to what extent his regulations allow the relatives and friends of criminals serving the maximum prison sentences for the most serious crimes to claim the release or transfer of these prisoners to hospitals or sanatoria outside the control of the Prison Commissioners on these prisoners attaining an old age;(2) how many sentenced criminals, serving in prison for the more serious crimes involving long or life sentences, have been released from prison since 1945, on an application from their relatives and friends that the prisoners are aged and infirm; and how many have been transferred to hospitals and sana- toria outside the control of the Prison Commissioners, for the same reasons;(3) what is the normal practice and custom concerning the release, transfer from prison to home or hospital, of convicted criminals who are serving the maximum of sentence for the most serious of crimes, on these prisoners becoming aged, infirm or in need of medical attention, for some defined medical disability.

Section 22 (2) of the Prison Act, 1952, empowers me, if I am satisfied that a prisoner requires medical or surgical treatment, to direct him to be taken to an outside hospital or other suitable place. This power is frequently used, but would not ordinarily be invoked in the case of a senile prisoner suffering from no specific disease. It is always open to the relatives or friends of any prisoner to approach me with a view to the remainder of his sentence being remitted by the exercise of the Prerogative of Mercy on the ground of hopeless infirmity or incurable disease, but the decision depends on all the circumstances of the case and not solely on medical considerations. Fifty-four prisoners in England and Wales were released on such grounds during the years 1947 to 1953; figures for 1945 and 1946 are not available.


Digest Of Welsh Statistics


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement to indicate the progress being made in the compilation of the Digest of Welsh Statistics; and if he will indicate the approximate date of publication.

Work on the compilation of the Digest of Welsh Statistics is proceeding and, as I have informed the House, the first number will be published in the autumn of this year at the same time as the annual Report on Government Action in Wales and Monmouthshire.

New Industries, Western Area

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made in the establishment of new industries in West Wales to meet the problem of redundancy that will arise when the old tinplate mills close down.

Since January, 1953, when I announced the steps the Government were taking to deal with this problem, three entirely new types of production have come to the area, for the manufacture of concrete housing units, oil-burner parts, and synthetic sausage skins respectively. In addition to the employment which will arise from these projects, it is hoped that existing undertakings in the area which have expansion projects recently completed or in hand (in addition to the major developments in the steel industry) will provide some further employment.Her Majesty's Government will continue to do everything possible to point out the advantages of the area to industrialists who are looking for sites for new factories, but any industrial development is bound to take time, especially as the amount of industry seeking new quarters is considerably less than it was a few years ago.

National Service (Personal Case)


asked the Minister of Labour why his Department insists on re-conscripting to the military services the Cardiff man whose name has been supplied to him, who, after serving a year and four months, was honourably discharged from the Royal Air Force to look after his one-man business during the illness of his father; whether he is aware that this man's father has since died and that the business will have to close down if this call-up is insisted upon; and whether he will make a statement.

I am in touch with my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Air on this case and will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible. Meantime, action to recall this man has been suspended.

Engineering And Shipbuilding (Courts Of Inquiry)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he has now had the opportunity of considering the request originally made by the hon. Member for Leeds, West for the transcript of the proceedings of the Engineering and Shipbuilding Courts of Inquiry to be placed in the Library.

Ministry Of Health

Tuberculosis, Sunderland


asked the Minister of Health the number of persons known to be suffering from tuberculosis in the county borough of Sunderland at 31stDecember, 1952, and 31st December,1953, respectively.

The numbers and at 31st December, 1952, and at 31st December, 1953, respectively, were 1,701 and 1,773.

Mental Illness And Deficiency (Royal Commission)


asked the Minister of Health how long he expects the Royal Commission will take to receive evidence on the law relating to mental illness and mental deficiency; and when it is expected to receive their recommendations.

My right hon. Friend is afraid it is much too early to make any forecast of this.

Legal Actions


asked the Minister of Health the number of cases where litigation has been entered into against local hospital authorities on grounds of negligence of patients in each of the years since and including 1948.

Hydrocortisone Supplies


asked the Minister of Health what steps he is taking to make supplies of hydrocortisone more generally available in this country.

Production of hydrocortisone in this country started only recently. The supplies now available to hospitals receiving cortisone will be increased as the need arises.

Mental Hospitals (Staffed Beds)


asked the Minister of Health the total number of staffed beds, of medical staff above the grade of registrar, and of junior medical staff, in

Available BedsMedical Staff above the grade of RegistrarJunior Medical Staff (including Registrars)
North West Metropolitan Region.Mental Hospitals9,241302739
M.D. Hospitals5,235715114
North East Metropolitan Region.Mental Hospitals8,7443849222
M.D. Hospitals2,8438935
South East Metropolitan Region.Mental Hospitals9,0184987684
M.D. Hospitals5,147144566
South West Metropolitan Region.Mental Hospitals28,039934/111231019
M.D. Hospitals7,9892314167
The figures for each Region include Teaching Hospitals in the regional area and are for 31st December, 1952, the latest available date.
* The figures given are the full-time equivalents of officers who work full-time with the Hospital Service.
† The figures given are the numbers of part-time appointments of officers who work part-time with the Hospital Service.

St George's Hospital, Morpeth


asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the overcrowding at the St. George's Hospital, Morpeth; and if he will take steps to improve the accommodation available for both men and women patients.

My right hon. Friend is well aware of the overcrowding. The regional hospital board is starting work very shortly on two 40-bed female villas and further construction for both male and female patients is planned as soon as other priority needs permit.

Hospital Consultants


asked the Minister of Health the number of consultants employed by regional boards in England and Wales who have transferred from whole-time to part-time service in each of the last three years.

Forty-two in 1951, 61 in 1952, and 46 in 1953. the mental hospitals, and in the mental deficiency hospitals, of each of the four metropolitan regions at the latest convenient date.

Ear, Nose And Throat Cases, Birmingham


asked the Minister of Health what steps he intends to take to remedy the emergency created by a list of 4,934 patients awaiting treatment at the ear and throat hospital in Birmingham.

Although my right hon. Friend shares the hon. Member's concern that this waiting list should be reduced, he cannot accept that an emergency exists. In fact, emergency cases are admitted immediately, and urgent waiting cases within two or three weeks. Steps have, however, been taken to increase facilities in the Birmingham area for the treatment of these cases at several other hospitals.

Hearing Aid Repairs, Barry


asked the Minister of Health if he will arrange for a depot to be set up at Barry for the distribution and repair of hearing aids.

My right hon. Friend is not satisfied that the small volume of work would justify the expense of a separate centre here.

British College Of Physiotherapy


asked the Minister of Health if he will give recognition to the British College of Physiotherapy under the terms of the National Health Services (Medical Auxiliaries) Regulations, 1954.


Number of PrescriptionsAverage cost per PrescriptionTotal Cost
October19,201,000Declared by Chemists47·09Estimates obtained from sampleNot yet available
These figures include prescriptions for appliances ordered by general practitioners and dispensed by chemists, and prescriptions given by hospital out-patient departments which were dispensed by chemists because hospital dispensing service was not available. No figures are available to show the number of prescriptions dispensed at hospitals to out-patients.
MonthNumber of completed courses of dental treatment under normal procedure (Note 1)Number of courses for limited treatment under emergency procedure (Note 2)Estimated Cost to Exchequer (Note 3)
October, 1952 (5 weeks)496,000155,0001,100,000
November, 1952 (4 weeks)414,000127,000850,000
December, 1952 (4 weeks)333,000102,000700,000
January, 1953 (5 weeks)521,000166,0001,100,000
February, 1953 (4 weeks)382,000126,000800,000
October, 1953 (5 weeks)538,000171,0001,250,000
November, 1953 (4 weeks)454,000144,0001,050,000
December, 1953 (4 weeks)385,000126,000900,000
January, 1954 (5 weeks)570,000176,0001,300,000
February, 1954 (4 weeks)434,000134,0001,000,000
1. The courses exclude those for the provision of dentures to which the 1952 Act charges do not apply. Of the courses shown when the 1952 Act charge was fully effective over half bear no charge, being for exempted classes of patients or for items of treatment to which the charges do not apply.
2. Courses for limited treatment consisting of extraction of one or two teeth cost under £1 and many patients may, therefore, be assumed to have had the treatment privately
3. The 1952 Act charges were not fully effective in the latter part of 1952 as some of the course may have started before 1st June, 1952.

Prescriptions, Dental Treatment And Appliances (Statistics)


asked the Minister of Health the number and cost of prescriptions issued, dental treatment provided and appliances issued for which charges are imposed under the National Health Service Act, 1952, for the months of October, November, December, 1953, and January, February, 1954, as compared with the same months of the previous year.

Surgical Boots/Shoes3,95535,0003,25528,0992,40920,625
Repairs to Boots/Shoes3,2692,4002,5981,7632,0361,304
Surgical Abdominal Appliances5,99620,0004,49714,4523,51111,306
Elastic Hosiery3,2425,2002,5864,1552,0123,105

Surgical Boots/Shoes3,75332,4142,79624,045
Repairs to Boots/Shoe2,8191,8522,5041,645
Surgical Abdominal Applicants4,95515,5883,91712,438
Elastic Hosiery2,8044,3672,4773,914

Surgical Boots/Shoes3,78130,8062,97025,8292,22719,041
Repairs to Boots/Shoes3,4142,1382,4921,6661,437882
Surgical Abdominal Appliances5,32518,3304,90116,7763,51812,137
Elastic Hosiery2,6055,6372,1824,7771,6603,569

Surgical Boots/Shoes3,03926,1353,04426,483
Repairs to Boots/Shoes2,2161,5092,4551,589
Surgical Abdominal Appliances4,24215,0594,41715,459
Elastic Hosiery2,1814,6892,1664,657
1. The figures for repairs of surgical footwear include all types of repairs and are not related to soling and heeling only.
2. The figures for surgical abdominal appliances also include all types of belts, some of which are not chargeable.
3. The figures for issues of elastic hosiery for the first five months period are those orders completed (singles or pairs) and those for the last five months period are in terms of pairs


asked the Minister of Health the number of prescriptions dispensed by chemists and the total cost of these prescriptions in England and Wales for each month since June, 1952, and for the comparable period before June, 1952.

June, 1952 to February, 1954June, 1950 to February, 1952
Number of PrescriptionsTotal cost of PrescriptionsNumber of PrescriptionsTotal cost of Prescriptions

* Not yet available


* Numbers declared by chemists.


asked the Minister of Health the average cost per prescription in England and Wales for

June, 1952 to February, 1954June, 1950 to February, 1952
October47·09Estimated obtained from sampleOctober45·31

each month since June, 1952, and for the comparable period before June, 1952.

asked the Minister of Health the cost per head and the total number of National Health Service prescriptions, respectively, for people in Sunderland for each of the years 1951 and 1952.

The average cost per person on doctors' lists was £1 2s. 4d. in 1951 and £1 2s. 8d. in 1952. The total number of prescriptions was 1,181,673 in 1951 and 1,125,976 in 1952.

Out-Patients, Birmingham


asked the Minister of Health the total number of out-patients attending hospitals in Birmingham; how many are in attendance at Selly Oak and Dudley Road hospitals, respectively; and what action is being taken to provide adequate accommodation for out-patients in Birmingham.

In answer to the first part of the Question, I am circulating the figures below. With regard to the second part, proposals are under consideration for developments of the outpatient facilities at the General, Selly Oak, Dudley Road and Little Bromwich hospitals.

Consultant ClinicsCasualty DepartmentsPhysiotherapy etc.
All Birmingham Hospitals263,656208,78466,936
Selly Oak Hospital17,29823,2075,829
Dudley Road Hospital15,97321,7053,385

Nurses (Recruitment)


asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that girls are anxious to take up the nursing profession but have to wait until they are 18 before they can enter, and that in the interim period they take jobs which they are reluctant to leave; and whether he will introduce a scheme to employ them on work ancillary to nursing so that they can pass into the profession they desire easily and smoothly at 18 years of age.

Many hospitals already employ younger girls in work other than nursing prior to their entering training at the age of 18. As this practice calls for very careful control in the interest of the patients and the girls alike, a memorandum giving advice to hospitals was issued in 1950.

Ex-Ministry Of Pensions Hospitals And Services


asked the Minister of Health how many of the hospitals administered by the Ministry of Pensions before the merger are directly administered; and how many, and which, are administered by regional hospital boards.

All the hospitals for war pensioners which became my right hon. Friend's responsibility on the transfer of functions are still under direct administration.


asked the Minister of Health by how much the expenditure borne by the vote of the Ministry of Pensions in the year 1951–52, in respect of services now administered by his Department, increased or decreased in the years 1952–53, 1953–54 and in the current estimates, 1954–55.

Some research is necessary to obtain the required figures for years before 1953–54, but I will write to the hon. Member as soon as it is completed.

Myasthenia Gravis

asked the Minister of Health the number of cases of myasthenia gravis in this country; what research is being conducted to discover the cause of this disease; and what progress is being made towards finding a cure for it.

No information is available of the number of cases. The disease is due to some defect in neuro-muscular transmission, the cause and nature of which is obscure, but research is in progress at a number of centres.

Hospital Medical Staff (Pay Increases)

asked the Minister of Health whether the Medical Whitley Council have yet reached agreement on the pay of hospital medical staff.

Yes, an agreement has just been reached. Details are given in the following announcement issued by Committee B of the Medical Whitley Council:Committee B of the Medical Whitley Council have reached agreement on increases in the rates of pay of hospital medical staff which have been in operation since 1948.The agreement, which has effect from 1st April, includes the following provisions:

  • (i) The basic scale for consultants is to be £2,100 rising by annual increments of £125 to £3,100. This new scale gives an increase over the 1948 scale of £400 at the minimum and of £350 at the maximum.
  • (ii) the new basic scale applies to consultants with C distinction awards, who therefore obtain the same increase as consultants without distinction awards.
  • (iii) The increases for consultants with B and A distinction awards are, however, limited to £150 and £50 respectively.
  • (iv) The basic scale for senior hospital medical officers is to be £1,500 rising by annual increments of £50 to £1,950, an increase of £200 over the 1948 scale.
  • (v) Senior registrars will receive £1,100, £1,200, £1,300 or £1,400 according to their year of service, an increase of £100 over the 1948 rates.
  • (vi) Registrars will receive £850 or £965 according to their year of service, an increase of £75 over the 1948 rates.
  • (vii) Junior hospital medical officers will receive a scale of £775 rising by annual increments of £50 to £1,075, an increase of £75 over their 1948 scales.
  • (viii) Senior house officers will receive £745, an increase of £75 over their 1948 salary.
  • (ix) House officers are to receive an annual rate of £425 for the first, £475 for the second, and £525 for the third and subsequent posts, an increase of £75 over the 1948 rates, but the annual charge made to them for residence is to be increased by £25.
  • (x) A maximum of ¾ of a session is to be placed on the weighting that part-time consultants and senior hospital medical officers are allowed when their salaries are calculated. This replaces the present maximum weighting of 1¼ sessions.
  • (xi) There is a protection against any individual losing pay on the coming into operation of the new agreement.
  • The details of the new arrangements are being worked out by the two sides of Committee B, and the full agreement will be transmitted to the Minister of Health and the Secretary of State for Scotland as soon as it is ready. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have told the Committee that we are prepared to approve this agreement. We estimate its cost at about £3¼ million in a full year.

    X-Ray Service (Cost)

    asked the Minister of Health the cost of the X-ray service in 1948 and each successive year to 1953, inclusive.




    asked the Minister of Education the number of pupils now receiving grammar school education in Sunderland; and what proportion of pupils in Sunderland go to secondary modern and secondary grammar schools, respectively.

    In January, 1953, there were 2,209 pupils attending grant-aided grammar schools in Sunderland. At the same date, of the children aged 13 for whose education the education authority were responsible, about half attended secondary modern and about one-eighth secondary grammar schools.



    asked the Minister of Education whether she is now in a position to make a statement on her discussions with the British Broadcasting Corporation and the School Broadcasting Council on the proposed school television service.

    A discussion with representatives of the School Broadcasting Council took place last week; representatives of the B.B.C. were also present. The Council's representatives undertook to recommend the Council, in the interval before any school television service would be practicable, even on an experimental basis, to arrange for the matter to be investigated further by a committee. Drawing fully on the help of all concerned with the question this committee would collect and assess all available evidence on the special contribution which television (as a medium additional to sound broadcasting, films and other existing audio-visual aids) might be expected to make to the work of the schools and the form which such a contribution would be likely to take. I have made clear my own interest in an investigation of this sort and the readiness of my Department to collaborate fully in the work of such a committee.



    asked the Minister of Education whether she is now in a position to make a statement on her discussions with the governors of the Educational Foundation for Visual Aids regarding educational films.

    Technical Colleges (Grants)


    asked the Minister of Education how many of the technical colleges for which she has approved advanced technology grants at the rate of 75 per cent. under Circular 255 have satisfied her about their arrangements for the admission of out-county students in accordance with paragraph 3 of that Circular.

    All of them, but if the hon. Member has come across any apparent difficulty in a particular case, I shall be glad to look into it.

    Nursery Schools

    asked the Minister of Education the number of nursery schools which have been built during the last year in England and Wales and in Cheshire, respectively; and the number of such schools planned for the next year.

    During 1953, nine new nursery schools were completed, and four more are expected to be completed by the end of 1954. None is in Cheshire.

    Physical Training And Recreation (Grants)

    asked the Minister of Education the total grants made under the Physical Training and Recreation Act, 1937, during the years 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953; and what percentage of these grants was in each year given for the provision and equipment of playing fields.

    The following table gives the total value of the offers of capital grants under the Physical Training and Recreation Act, 1937, confirmed in the financial years beginning on the 1st April, 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953, and the percentage for playing fields:

    £Per cent.

    Civil Defence Centres (School Sites)

    asked the Minister of Education (1) whether she is aware of the dangers involved in building Civil Defence centres as adjuncts to school premises; in how many cases she has sanctioned such action; and whether she will make a statement;(2) what were her reasons for sanctioning the siting of a Civil Defence centre beneath the extensions to be made to the Northgate Grammar School, Ipswich; what protests she has received against this decision; whether she is aware of the anxiety of teachers on this question; and whether she will make a statement.

    I see no reason to think that the provision of a Civil Defence control centre as part of a school building would increase the danger to which it would be exposed in time of war. I have agreed to one such proposal on conditions designed to ensure no interference with school activities in peace time. I have not yet finally sanctioned the Ipswich proposal to which the hon. Member refers, but I have told the local authority that, if they can satisfy me on certain points, I should have no objection to it. I have received five protests, three of which relate to a resolution passed by the Ipswich Association of the National Union of Teachers, one comes from the Grammar School Parent-Teacher Association and one from a private person.

    Teachers (Grants)

    asked the Minister of Education whether she has now considered the inadequacy of the grants made to qualified teachers who undertake an extra year's training to obtain specialist qualifications; and what recommendations she will make to local education authorities for the improvement of the scale of grant.

    I am considering this matter with representatives of the local education authorities, but it may be some time before I am in a position to make any statement.

    Private Schools (Convicted Persons)

    asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the concern arising from the length of time it is taking to decide upon the necessary action to prevent people convicted of indecency towards children teaching in private schools; and if she will now announce the result of her discussions with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the matter.

    My discussions are not yet complete, and I am not, therefore, in a position to make a statement.

    Citrus Fruit (Thiourea)


    asked the Minister of Food if he will cause an investigation to be made into the harmful effects caused by the use of thiourea as a preservative on citrus fruits; and whether he will make a statement on the results of these investigations.

    I would refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. and gallant Friend gave him yesterday about this product. I do not think further investigation is necessary.

    War Pensions


    asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what would be the annual cost of granting an increase in the basic rate of disability pension to 90s. a week for the war disabled, and a corresponding increase for war widows.

    Highways Hostel, Euxton (Welfare Officer)


    asked the Minister of Supply what investigations were made before the appointment of Douglas Gordon Remington as welfare officer at the Highways Hostel, Euxton; what references were supplied, and by whom.

    Staff serving the Highways Hostel, Euxton, are appointed toy the Y.M.C.A./Y.W.C.A. Joint Committee who manage the hostel as agents for the Ministry of Supply. They are entirely responsible for the individual appointments of hostel staff.

    Northern Rhodesia (Immigrants)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the numbers of immigrants into Northern Rhodesia in 1953; and which of these came from the Union of South Africa.

    Of the 8,861 immigrants into Northern Rhodesia last year, 3,793 stated that the Union of South Africa was their last place of residence.

    Telephone Service (Cardiff)

    asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many applicants in the Cathays, Central, Gabalfa, Penylau and Plasnewydd wards of Cardiff are waiting for telephones to be installed; what is the longest period for which applicants have been waiting; and what is the estimated annual loss of revenue to the Post Office resulting from its inability to provide telephone service to those who want it in Cardiff.

    I regret that information is not available for wards, but on the exchanges mainly concerned there are 915 applications outstanding, excluding 491 in course of being met or under survey. The longest outstanding application is dated April, 1946, but this will shortly be met as line plant is now available. The loss of revenue cannot be estimated as the situation is constantly changing.


    Fat Stock Prices

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how often it is intended that the minimum guaranteed price for individual sales of fat stock shall be reviewed; and how the guarantee will be operated for sheep.

    The guaranteed individual prices for eligible fat stock fall to be determined as a result of annual or special reviews held in accordance with the Agriculture Act, 1947.The detailed method of applying the guarantee to fat sheep is set out in Appendix V to the White Paper published after the recent Annual Review (Command 9104).

    Local Authority Rates

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities in Scotland have a levied rate of £1 or over.

    In 38 burghs the rate levied (including domestic water rate) for 1953-54 is £1 or over and in 16 counties the average rate levied (including special district, district council and domestic water rates) is £1 or over. In 12 other counties there are separately rated areas with a total rate of £1 or over.


    Users' Consultative Committee, Wales (Vacancies)

    asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the reason for the delay in filling three vacancies on the Transport Users' Consultative Committee for Wales which have existed since 1st August, 1953.

    I decided to strengthen this Committee for its third term by the addition of further members representing respectively, agriculture, commerce, industry, shipping, labour and local authorities. The filling of some of these additional seats with a view securing a balanced distribution of the interests concerned within the area covered by the Committee has taken longer than I expected. Only one of these appointments remains to be made, for which I am now issuing an invitation.

    Berkeley And Sharpness Canal Bridge (Accident)

    asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement on the recent fatal accident at Frampton-on-Severn, resulting from the collapse of the bridge over the Berkeley and Sharpness Canal.

    I much regret to report this unfortunate accident, the facts of which are as follows.On Tuesday, 30th March, at about 2.25 p.m., a British Road Services 8-wheel tipper lorry, loaded with barley in sacks, weighing in all about 18½ tons on its way from Poole to the Ministry of Food Buffer Depot near Saul, Gloucestershire, missed the turning to the Depot and attempted to cross a wooden swing bridge over the Berkeley and Sharpness Canal near the villages of Arlingham and Saul. A sign on the roadside by the bridge warns drivers that the bridge is insufficient to carry an axle weight exceeding 3 tons (clearly below the highest axle weight in this case).The bridge consists of two halves, and when the back wheel load was transferred to the second half-span, this tipped on its fulcrum, the lorry ran backwards into the canal and the driver was trapped in his cabin and fatally injured. The bridge is in the charge of a bridge-keeper, but he has no responsibility for checking the weight of vehicles crossing it. The bridge was in a good state of repair.

    Road Safety (Shop Lights)

    asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what representations he has had in respect of glare from neon-lighting in shop windows affecting drivers; and, in view of the danger thus caused, if he will consider encouraging the use of shields to prevent glare and windscreen reflection from such lighting.

    I have received very few complaints about glare from neon-lighting in shop windows, and in view of the lack of evidence of any material danger to road users, I should not feel justified in taking action on the lines suggested by the hon. Member.

    National Finance

    Overseas Investments (Income)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the net income from overseas investments for each of the years 1946 to 1953, inclusive.

    U.K. net overseas income may be obtained by comparing items 3 and 10 of Table 1 of Cmd. 9119, as follows: —

    U.K. net income from overseas investments

    Film Industry (Tax Reliefs)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has examined the provisions in force in foreign countries, and notably in Italy, details of which have been sent to him, whereby a percentage of cinema entertainments tax is allocated to film producers, with the result that the motion picture industries of such countries are in a flourishing condition; and if he will consider introducing a similar system in this country.

    My right hon. Friend has examined various schemes, including that in operation in Italy, which have been proposed for the purpose of assisting the British film industry. He considers however, that the limited amount of relief which can be spared is best given in the way proposed in his Budget statement.

    Palace Of Westminster

    Quasi-Parliamentary Organisations

    asked the Minister of Works what services at the public expense are provided for quasi-parliamentary organisations occupying office accommodation in the Palace of Westminster; and the names of the organisations and the services provided in each case.

    My right hon. Friend has consulted the authorities of the Palace of Westminster and the following information is given with their agreement.The British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union occupy two rooms with a total area of about 650 square feet, and the United Kingdom Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association four rooms with a total area of about 1,500 square feet. No charge is made to either organisation for accommodation, furnishings, lighting, heating, cleaning or the use of telephones.

    Members' Smoking Room (Electric Fire)

    asked the Minister of Works whether he is satisfied that the electric fire provided in the Members' Smoking Room of the House of Commons is provided with a guard that is in accordance with the regulations issued under the Heating Appliances (Fireguards) Act, 1952.

    The electric fire in the Smoking Room was purchased by the Department before October, 1953, when the regulations about fireguards came into force. It was installed at short notice during a severe cold spell as a temporary means of supplementing the central heating, and it will shortly be removed.