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Written Answers

Volume 526: debated on Tuesday 13 April 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 13th April, 1954

British Army

Paratrooper's Death, Egypt

18.

asked the Secretary of State for War when he will be able to report on the circumstances in which Sergeant K. C. Goldsmith was killed in a parachute accident in Egypt on 27th November, 1953.

The hon. and gallant Member will now have received a letter from my hon. Friend dealing with the circumstances of this tragic accident.

Troops, Canal Zone (Cremation Facilities)

19.

asked the Secretary of State for War what facilities are available for the cremation of Servicemen who die in the Canal Zone and the cost of cremation and despatch of the remains to the United Kingdom.

There are no facilities in the Canal Zone. It is possible to arrange cremation in Cairo, but there are special difficulties as I have explained to the hon. and gallant Member. The cost varies from £140 upwards.

Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, Berlin (Duty)

asked the Secretary of State for War what tour of duty the officers and men of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment may expect to have in Berlin.

World Child Welfare Congress (Local Authority Representatives)

41.

asked the Minister of Housing and local Government why he has prevented local authorities who wish to do so from enabling representatives of their children's committees to attend the World Child Welfare Congress to be held in Zagreb in August and September of this year.

The then Minister indicated in 1949 that, as a rule, sanction would not be given to expenditure by local authorities in sending representatives to conferences held abroad. I do not think I should be justified in departing from the rule on this occasion.

Housing

Building Byelaws (Height Of Rooms)

54.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the number of local authorities which are charged with the duty of preparing building byelaws affecting the minimum height of rooms; how many have already submitted them for approval; and in how many cases his approval has been given, or has been withheld.

1,336 local authorities had to revise their building byelaws. 1,309 have new byelaws confirmed or about to be confirmed; discussions are continuing with 14, and 13 have not submitted drafts.Nearly all the authorities have adopted the new model byelaw prescribing 7 feet 6 inches as the minimum height of rooms. I refused approval in about 100 cases to a proposal to insist on a greater height, and in almost all of these the model provision has now been adopted.

Plumbing (Cold Weather Effects)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has now received the report on the effects on plumbing of very cold weather at the end of January and the beginning of February; what it shows; and what action he proposes to take.

Yes. The sample survey for which I asked covered over 200,000 post-war council houses. While the available evidence suggests that postwar houses fared rather better than prewar houses, it indicates that in England as a whole 8·5 per cent. of the post-war houses suffered damage to their water systems. In some localities, and particularly in Wales, the figure was very much higher.It is clear that more needs to be clone to give effect to the recommendations contained in the Housing Manuals and their Technical Appendices. I am satisfied that these recommendations, if properly applied, provide adequate protection against conditions normally to be expected in this country.I have, therefore, issued a circular, of which I am sending my hon. Friend a copy, to all local authorities reminding them of the importance of taking the precautions recommended. I have also asked my regional officers to take steps to see that the recommendations are observed. In addition, I have written to the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Federation of Registered House-builders, and the Institute of Plumbers, asking them to do all they can to help avoid a recurrence of this year's loss and inconvenience.

Ministry Of Works

Historic Buildings (Grants)

55.

asked the Minister of Works the number of applications for assistance so far made to the Historic Buildings Councils for England and Wales; and how many of these have been granted.

The Historic Buildings Council for England has received 150 applications, and, so far, I have approved 22 grants. The Historic Buildings Council for Wales has received 23 applications and I have approved three grants. I am at present considering further recommendations for grants from both Councils.

Royal Parks, Trees (Standing Committee)

asked the Minister of Works what further steps he proposes to take in connection with the felling and planting of trees in the Royal Parks

As I told the hon. Member last July, before starting to fell and replant trees in Kensington Gardens I was taking expert advice and as I said in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. F. Maclean) on 26th January I obtained advice from Kew, Oxford and Edinburgh as well as my own expert staff. Further decisions on trees in the Royal Parks will be required. I am satisfied that this important matter must be constantly studied. The advice of experts will be more frequently needed and I am anxious to ensure continuity of policy.I have, therefore, appointed a Standing Committee to advise me on policy and on special problems of felling and planting. I have been fortunate to secure the services of the following:Sir William Taylor (

Chairman).

Members: Mr. R. C. B. Gardner, Lord Hurcomb, Mr. A. D. C. LeSueur, Mr. J. Macdonald, Sir Edward Salisbury.

Notes:

Sir William Taylor, C.B.E.; Former Forestry Commissioner and Director General of the Forestry Commission. Member of the Nature Conservancy and other bodies.
Mr. R. C. B. Gardner; Secretary of the Royal Forestry Society for England and Wales.
Lord Hurcomb; Member of the Nature Conservancy. Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Bird (Life in the Royal Parks.
Mr. A. D. C. LeSueur, O.B.E., F.R.I.C.S.; Consultant on arboriculture.
Mr. J. Macdonald, C.B.E.; Director of Research and Education, Forestry Commission.
Sir Edward Salisbury, C.B.E., D.S.C.; Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Scotland

Development Corporation, Glenrothes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in view of the fact that the population of Glenrothes is expected to be 18,000 in about 20 years, he can indicate at what stage in that development the corporation will be wound up; and whether there will be any redundancy in the next five years.

The New Towns Act enables a new town corporation to be disbanded when the purposes for which it was established have been largely achieved. It is not yet possible to say when this stage will be reached at Glenrothes.On the question of staff redundancy, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to his Question of 16th March.

Schools (Direct Grants)

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide a list of the schools to which direct grants are paid by his Department; and if, in each case, he will say for the most recent convenient year how much that grant was, and how much each

GRANT-AIDED SECONDARY SCHOOLS
SchoolGrantFeesEndowmentsOther Income
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)
££££
Aberdeen, The Convent of the Sacred Heart Secondary School for Girls6,1472,7281,144
Aberdeen, Robert Gordon's College.31,44713,4761,58613,250
Crieff, Morrison's Academies27,25315,5903,258
Dollar Academy32,99217,7994,250
Dundee, High School27,05221,069844,250
Edinburgh Merchant Company Schools147,789104,7461,501890
Edinburgh, George Heriot's School47,97020,87910,503
Glasgow, Hutchesons'Grammar Schools39,81521,0675,99513,919
Glasgow, St. Aloysius' College15,7026,7284,740
Troon The Marr College24,3277,4856,8825,000

Service Men, Hong Kong (Civil Imprisonment)

58.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of soldiers who were or are serving sentences for civilian offences in prisons in the Hong Kong area during 1951, 1952 and 1953, and at the present time, respectively.

The numbers of British Service men sentenced by the civil courts in Hong Kong to terms of imprisonment are as follow:

1951
Army18
Navy12
1952
Army30
Navy2
1953
Army24
R.A.F.2
1954
Army11
Navy3
There are 12 Service men at present serving prison sentences in Hong Kong; Army, 7; Navy, 5.

Employment

Dock Workers, Sunderland

56.

asked the Minister of Labour how many dock workers were unemployed in Sunderland at the latest available date; and what steps are being taken to provide them with employment.

school received from fees and endowments, respectively.

In the week ending 3rd April, the average daily number of registered dock workers surplus to requirements was 134. These men remain in the employment of the National Dock Labour Board and they are offered work in neighbouring ports as opportunity occurs.

Agriculture (Foreign Workers)

asked the Minister of Labour how many foreign workers have been placed in the agricultural industry in England and Wales since 1949.

Interim Index Of Retail Prices (Fares And Food)

asked the Minister of Labour the percentage rise in the cost of transport fares as compared with the percentage rise for food over the years 1952 and 1953, as recorded by the retail price index compiled by his Department.

Between January, 1952, and January, 1954, the fares component of the Interim Index of Retail Prices showed a rise of 15·4 per cent., compared with a rise of 10·2 per cent. for the food group.

asked the Minister of Labour the percentage rise in the cost of food between July, 1945, and October, 1951, as recorded by the retail price index compiled by his Department.

Up to June, 1947, the only official index of retail prices was the earlier Cost-of-Living Index, based on a 1914 standard of consumption. The Interim Index of Retail Prices was introduced in June, 1947, and in its scope and nature this index is radically different from the earlier Cost-of-Living Index. Owing to these differences it is not possible to calculate any official figure, on a comparable basis, which could be said to measure the rise in the average level of food prices between July, 1945, and October, 1951, but the rise between June, 1947, and October, 1951, was about 43 per cent.

National Museum Of Wales (Space)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to assist museums to acquire adequate space for their exhibits; and whether he is aware of the problems arising out of lack of space with which the National Museum of Wales is confronted.

The provision of buildings for the national museums in England and Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works. I am aware of the problems of the National Museum of Wales, which receives a grant-in-aid from the Science and Arts Vote. The grant for 1953–54 was increased so that the galleries might be rearranged to exhibit the collection bequeathed by the late Miss Gwendoline Davies.

Old-Age Pensions (Treasury Publicity)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will instruct his public relations department to make clear that he will, in the course of the current financial year, introduce proposals for basic changes in old-age pensions payments.