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Written Answers

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 15 April 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 15th April, 1954

Home Department

German Pilots (Visas)

16.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many German pilots have been granted visas to enter the United Kingdom for training; how long they are allowed to remain here; and what steps are taken verify their bona fides and political records before such visas are granted.

As my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs explained in reply to the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) on 26th January, four German pilots sent here by the Federal Government are receiving instruction from a private firm in this country. They have been allowed to come here for four months. It would not be in the public interest to make any statement about the inquiries made in connection with the consideration of applications for visas.

Overseas Subjects (Uk Settlement)

20.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many British subjects from overseas settled down in Britain since 1st January, 1954; and from what countries they came.

Executed Prisoners (Burial)

22 and 23.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will now arrange for the bodies of convicted murderers to be returned to their next of kin so as to ensure a Christian burial;(2) if he will return to the parents of Derek Bentley the body of their son to enable them to arrange for a Christian burial.

The law requires that the body of an executed prisoner shall be buried within the walls of the prison in which the sentence was carried out; and the essentials of Christian burial have always been preserved in the case of those prisoners who professed the Christian faith. The answer to both the requests made by the hon. Member is "No."

Approved Schools (Annual Camps)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what grounds authority has been withheld from approved school authorities to spend money on taking children attending such schools to an annual camp, bearing in mind that, apart from the health aspect, there is continuity of training and education at these camps.

General authority to approved school managers to incur expenditure from public funds on school camps has been suspended since 1952, as one measure of economy designed to off set, as far as possible, unavoidable increases in costs in other directions.

Car Radio Sets (Licences)

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many motorists were asked by police in London to produce licences for their car radio sets during 1953; how many prosecutions resulted; and how many convictions were obtained.

The police are not empowered to demand the production of licences for car wireless sets. If it comes to their notice in the course of other inquiries that a set is unlicensed, the facts are reported to the General Post Office. No such cases were reported in the Metropolitan police district in 1953.

Experiments On Animals (Cancer Research)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish a table showing the number of experiments on animals for the purpose of cancer research in each year since these records were kept to the latest known date, and indicating the number of each variety of animal, separately; and the total over the whole period.

The annual totals of experiments on animals for cancer research since 1907, almost all of which were on mice, were as follow:

YearTotal
190745,032
190840,870
190945,182
191049,662
191141,025
191224,870
191326,269
191422,371
191511,657
19167,624
19176,231
19186,027
19197,644
19206,136
19217,359
192213,146
192314,081
19248,083
192512,623
192615,167
192715,275
192834,180
192920,098
193025,259
193123,873
193232,381
193343,281
193450,022
193529,835
193633,507
193735,008
193835,222
193926,936
194011,730
194115,448
194214,300
194315,674
194421,571
194511,430
194632,286
194731,924
194856,585
194975,343
195078,192
195191,410
195295,991
1,367,820

Dartmoor Prison

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many official inquiries have been made into conditions in Dartmoor in recent years; and whether he will devise a system of discipline and training in Dartmoor that will turn out more co-operative citizens.

Dartmoor Prison is periodically inspected by visiting Prison Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners and by the Prison Commission's Director of Medical Services. There has been no occasion in the last few years to supplement these inspections by any special inquiry. The future of the prison was dealt with in the reply I gave on 25th February last to a Question by the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes). It is a requirement of the Prison Rules that the purposes of training and treatment of convicted prisoners shall be to establish in them the will to lead a good and useful life on discharge and to fit them to do so.

Sports Association, Lincoln (Bowling Green)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now make a statement on the letter sent to him by the hon. Member for Lincoln, asking that the Clayton Sports Association be allowed to retain the green at present owned by Her Majesty's Prison Commission and used by the association for bowling.

The premises occupied by the Clayton Sports Association were purchased by the Prison Commissioners in October, 1949, with other lands adjacent, for the erection of official quarters for prison officers serving at Lincoln prison. Some 20 official quarters have been erected upon the lands thus purchased, leaving only the land occupied by the Clayton Sports Association undeveloped. It is imperative that fur ther quarters be provided on the area occupied by the Association. However, some unforeseen delay has arisen which will defer this development until late in the autumn, and it will therefore be pos sible for the Association to have the use of the green during the summer months.

Assembly Of British Youth

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is prepared to admit foreigners to attend the Assembly of British Youth, which is to be held towards the end of May, under the auspices of the British Youth Festival Committee.

I hope that no one at home or abroad will be misled by the high-sounding name given to this self-styled Assembly of British Youth into thinking that it is in any way representative of young people in Britain. It is a Communist-sponsored gathering, and, as I have stated on a number of occasions, I am not prepared to allow foreigners to come here to attend meetings of any artificially created body which, under the guise of a harmless name, is really an instrument of Communist propaganda. I am accordingly not prepared to admit foreigners to attend this meeting.

Digest Of Welsh Statistics

19.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he can now state when the White Paper giving details of statistics in Wales will be published.

21.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the promised Digest of Welsh Statistics to be published.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. and learned Friend gave to a Question on 8th April by the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts).

Agriculture

Roadside Land (Cultivation)

9.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he proposes to take to ensure that full use is made of land verging on roads when such land is suitable for cultivation.

Where roadside land has been dedicated for highway purposes, the highway authority have no power to permit cultivation. Where it has not been so dedicated, a farmer wishing to use it should approach the highway authority. I fear that cultivation is rarely practicable or economic, and my right hon. Friend has no other proposals to make.

Land Acquisition

12.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give the reasons for his decision to leave out the portion of the land he is proposing to take at Burwell and Swaffham Prior known as Gibblins Farm, in spite of the fact that the Agricultural Land Commission recommended that it should be taken.

After reviewing the Commission's recommendations and the subse- quent evidence, my right hon. Friend decided that full and efficient use of the land could be secured without the exercise of his powers under Section 84 of the Agriculture Act, 1947.

13.

asked the Minister of Agriculture the duties of the Provincial Land Commission in regard to selection of areas to be investigated by the Agricultural Land Commission with a view to acquisition under Section 84 of the Agriculture Act.

The Provincial Land Commissioners are the senior officers of our Agricultural Land Service. Their wide range of duties includes the giving of advice to my right hon. Friend on such matters as the selection of areas for investigation under Section 84 of the Agriculture Act. 1947.

Employment

Remploy Factories

37.

asked the Minister of Labour how many severely disabled men and women, respectively, are employed in Remploy factories on Merseyside; and how many are available for sheltered employment.

Last month there were 135 severely disabled men and 16 severely disabled women employed in the two Remploy factories on Merseyside. There were 241 men and 17 women unemployed who would be eligible for consideration, but not necessarily suit-table, for sheltered employment.

asked the Minister of Labour what proposals he has for building additional Remploy factories in the South Wales Development Area, or for extending any of the existing factories.

There are no proposals for building additional Remploy factories in the South Wales Development Area in the near future, or for extending any of the existing factories.

Disabled Persons, South Wales (Home Employment)

asked the Minister of Labour what facilities exist in South Wales for providing home employment for disabled persons; and how many persons are now provided with employment in their own homes.

There is one home-working scheme in South Wales which gives employment providing a livelihood to 14 disabled persons. This is based on the Treforest Remploy Factory.

South Wales Development Area (Short Time)

asked the Minister of Labour how many factories are working short time in the South Wales Development Area; how many workers are affected; and what are the prospects for a resumption of full-time working in these industries.

Some short time is at present being worked in 15 factories in the South Wales Development Area, and 1,480 workers are affected. The industries mainly concerned are: vehicle accessories, metal goods, steel tubes, iron founding, light alloys and boot and shoe manufacture. The amount of short time working varies from week to week according to the volume of orders received, and it is not possible to forecast when full-time working will be resumed in all industries.

Ministry Of Health

Hospital, Lichfield (Boiler Installation)

40.

asked the Minister of Health when it is proposed to authorise new boiler equipment at St. Michael's Hospital, Lichfield; and if he is aware of the concern of the management committee and the regional board at the delay in handling this matter.

As soon as my right hon. Friend has satisfied himself that the regional hospital board's proposals, which are at present before him, are acceptable. The delay has been mainly due to the need to obtain clarification of the board's intentions in regard to the future development of the hospital.

Cancer Deaths

41.

asked the Minister of Health whether he will publish a table showing the number of cases and deaths from cancer, giving men, women, boys and girls, separately, since these figures were kept, to the latest known date.

The number of deaths from cancer, analysed by various factors including sex and age, for each year from 1847 to 1952 and for certain groups of years are already contained in the Annual Statistical Reviews and other publications of the Registrar General. I am afraid that the total number of cases of cancer is not available for any year.

Boy, Dagenham (Guardianship)

asked the Minister of Health what action will be taken to relieve Miss Trebes, of 31, Windsor Road, Dagenham, of the care of her brother Allan, a mentally defective boy of 12 years of age, in view of her unwillingness to become his guardian.

Inquiries are being made into this case and my right hon. Friend will be writing to the hon. Member shortly.

Education

School Meals, Oldbury

43.

asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the reduction in the number of school children taking school meals at Oldbury during the past year; and if she will state the reasons for this reduction.

Yes. The reduction in demand is probably due to a number of factors, but my right hon. Friend has no means of knowing how far any particular cause has been responsible.

Village Halls (Grants)

44.

asked the Minister of Education whether she is yet able to widen the scope of grants towards the building of village halls.

Not yet, but my right hon. Friend is convinced of the value of village halls, and hopes to do something for them as soon as her resources permit.

Nursery Schools

45.

asked the Minister of Education whether she will now withdraw Circular 155 which bans the opening of new nursery schools.

No. It is still necessary to concentrate on providing for children of compulsory school age.

50.

asked the Minister of Education how many nursery schools have been provided in England, Wales and Newport, separately; what is the total accommodation for children in each; how many are in course of con struction; and what plans are being prepared for their further extension for each of the coming five years under the Education Act, 1944, in view of the growing necessity for the provision of such schools.

In January, 1954, the numbers of maintained and direct grant nursery schools in England, Wales and Newport were 439, 38 and three, and the numbers of children on the rolls of these schools were 21,556, 1,913 and 90, respectively. Four new nursery schools are in course of construction. My right hon. Friend cannot remove the present restrictions on the provision of new nursery schools so long as it is necessary to concentrate her building resources on providing for children of compulsory school age.

Teachers (Sexual Offences)

46. Dr.

asked the Minister of Education if she will take steps to see that information is always given to the police by a local education authority when it dismisses a teacher for sexual offences against children.

It has always been the practice of the Department, when asked, to advise that the police should be informed where there is reason to suspect that an indecent assault has taken place. My right hon. Friend is considering whether it would be useful to give any general advice to this effect.

Schools, Yorkshire

47.

asked the Minister of Education how many secondary and primary schools there are in the county of Yorkshire; and how many new schools of both categories are being built.

In January, 1954, there were 1,628 primary and 262 secondary schools or departments in the three administrative counties of Yorkshire. There are 26 primary and 14 secondary schools under construction. These figures do not cover county boroughs.

Camp School, Alsager

asked the Minister of Education on what date, after 25th March, 1954, she notified the Cheshire County Council Education Committee that the Alsager Urban District Council could use the Excalibur Camp School to relieve the overcrowding at the Church of England Primary School; on what date the Cheshire County Council notified the Alsager Urban District Council of the fact; and when the school will commence to be used.

The Alsager Urban District Council as such has no responsibility for the provision of schools. On 5th March last the Cheshire Local Education Authority informed me that they had accepted the view that I put to them last summer that the accommodation in the Excalibur Camp should be used, and I am now waiting to hear whether they propose to use it as an annex to the existing school, as I think preferable, or as premises for a new school, for the establishment of which public notice must be given.

Bechuanaland

Headmen, Tswapong District

51.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Common wealth Relations how many headmen in the Tswapong District of Bechuanaland have been deposed; and for what reasons.

Native Authority Meetings (Tribal Representatives)

52.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Common-wealth Relations what reasons tribal representatives in Bechuanaland have given for refusing to attend meetings called by the Native Authority and Government officers; and how many villages are affected.

The Protectorate Administration has no knowledge of any refusal to attend meetings called by the Native Authority or by Government officers. All such meetings have been well attended both in Serowe and else where in the Reserve.

Trade And Commerce

New Potatoes

54.

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many new potatoes were imported during February and March, 1954 and 1953, respectively, both in volume and value; and, since there are still heavy supplies of home grown potatoes available at lower prices, and, in view of the difficulty which English and Scottish growers have in finding a market for these supplies, if he will take steps to control the importation of new potatoes until the old stock has been absorbed.

Revised import duties on new potatoes have recently been introduced for the period 16th May to 30th June. My right hon. Friend is not at present prepared to consider any change in these arrangements.The following are the figures for which my hon. Friend asks:Imports of new potatoes from all sources into the United Kingdom have been as follow:—

19531954
Cwts.£Cwts.£
February68,081196,11257,687166,804
March217,187602,349
The figures for March, 1954, are not yet available.

Census Of Production

55.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if a decision has yet been reached on whether or not to proceed with the Census of Production, 1954.

The Board of Trade are required by law to take a Census of Production every year.

Exports To Saudi Arabia (Attestations)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether British firms exporting goods to Saudi Arabia are still being asked for attestations in accordance with Saudi Arabian Government instructions that the firm is not Jew-owned; and whether he will make a statement.

I have been in formed that some Saudi Arabian importers are asking for such attestations. I am inquiring whether these requests are based on any instructions from the Saudi Arabian Government.

Coal

Miners, Yorkshire

58.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the number of miners employed in Yorkshire; and how many of this number have been recruited since 1st January, 1953.

140,600 on 27th March last. Total recruitment between 1st January, 1953, and 27th March, 1954, was 15,100, but how many of these recruits were employed on the 27th March is not known.

Retail Prices

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the average retail price of the total domestic coal allocation made available to each household in each of the years 1951, 1952 and 1953 and at present, as recorded by the retail price index.

Cyprus (Earthquake Victims)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many earthquake victims in Cyprus are still living in tents.

Of the 33,000 people originally rendered homeless by the earthquake, approximately 3,000 are still living in tents.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the amount collected from voluntary sources for Cyprus earthquake victims; and how the money has been disbursed.

The amount totals £69,500. Of this, approximately £55,000 is being spent to provide prefabricated buildings for use as community centres: £1,300 has been spent in providing milk for school-children; £1,000 in helping parents affected by the earthquake to pay school fees; and £462 on stoves for heating tents. The balance has not yet been allocated.

Kikuyu Reserve (Village Life)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action he is taking to encourage villagisation in the Kikuyu Reserve.

Village life is not in accordance with the habits and customs of the Kikuyu. At present therefore villages are only being established by voluntary action or for security reasons where it is necessary to collect people together to enable them to be better protected, or as a penal measure in specially bad areas.

Nyasaland Railways

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement indicating when he intends to take over the ownership of the Nyasaland Railways.

If at any time any such proposal were under consideration, I doubt whether the public interest would be served by indicating the fact in advance. In any case, this is now largely a matter for the Federal Government by virtue of item 20 of the Federal Legislative List.

Gold Coast (Cocoa Marketing Board)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies for what reasons the Co-operative Marketing Association and the Cocoa Purchasing Company were appointed as agents in the Gold Coast of the Cocoa Marketing Board for the granting of loans to Gold Coast farmers.

I am asking the Governor of the Gold Coast and will write to the hon. Member.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies who are the Gold Coast producers' representatives on the Cocoa Marketing Board; and what organisations of producers these members represent.

Gold Coast legislation provides that the membership of the Cocoa Marketing Board shall include three producers, who are Mr. G. K. Martin, Mr. B. E. Dwira, and Mr. E. A. Haizel. The legislation does not require that they shall represent producers' organisations.

Visiting Forces (Claims Procedure)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence the arrangements contemplated for the settlement of claims in respect of the tortious acts of members of visiting forces when the Visiting Forces Act, 1952, comes into operation.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has informed the House that it is the intention of the Government to bring the Act into force and to ratify the N.A.T.O. Status of Forces Agreement, 1951 (Cmd. 8279), in the near future. When this has been done, arrangements which have been made for the settlement of these claims (most of which are likely to arise from traffic accidents involving Service vehicles), will come into effect and my noble Friend will issue in due course (as the Act directs) a statement showing the nature and operation of these arrangements for the information of persons who may be concerned with them.I circulate below a draft of this statement; the date to be inserted in paragraph 3 will be the date when the N.A.T.O. Status of Forces Agreement enters into force for the United Kingdom.

Visiting Forces Act, 1952

Statement to be issued by the Minister of Defence in pursuance of Section 9 (2) of the Act

The nature and operation of the arrangements made by the Minister of Defence under Section 9 of the Visiting Forces Act, 1952, with regard to the settlement of claims against members of a Visiting Force to which the Act applies or is made to apply, are as follow:

2. The claims to which the arrangements relate are:

  • (a) Claims arising out of tortious acts committed on land in the United Kingdom by any member of a Visiting Force or its civilian component including claims arising out of accidents caused in the United King dom by aircraft owned or controlled by a Visiting Force;
  • (b) Claims (hereinafter called maritime claims) in respect of death or personal in jury caused by tortious acts arising out of or in connection with the navigation or operation within the United Kingdom or the territorial waters thereof of a ship engaged for the purposes of a Visiting Force present in this Country and owned by or at the risk of a Country to which that Visiting Force belongs including claims in connection with the loading, carriage or discharge of the cargo from any such ship in the United Kingdom.
  • 3. The arrangements will apply to claims arising out of acts committed on or after the day of, 1954.

    4. Claimants must address their claims as follows:

    ( a) Maritime claims should be addressed to:

    The Secretary of the Admiralty, Naval Law Branch, Queen Anne's Mansions, London, S.W.I.

    ( b) Claims arising out of accidents involving aircraft owned or controlled by a Visiting Force should be addressed to:

    The Under Secretary of State, Air Ministry F7 (d), Metropole Buildings, Northumberland Avenue, London, W.C.2.

    ( c) All other claims arising out of tortious acts of any member of a Visiting Force or its civilian component should be addressed to:

    The Secretary, Claims Commission, War Office, Nuffield House, Piccadilly, London, W.I.

    5. If the alleged tortious act complained of was committed during the performance of an official duty, the claim will be dealt with in the same manner as it would have been jf such tortious act had been committed by a member of the British Armed Forces. If a settlement of the claim is reached by negotiation any sum due under that settlement will be paid. If, however, a settlement of the claim cannot be reached by negotiation it is open to the claimant to bring proceedings in the British Courts in respect of his claim against the individual wrongdoer concerned and any sum due under any judgment of the Court obtained by the claimant will be paid to him (provided notice of the intention to start proceedings against the wrongdoer has been given to authorities referred to in paragraph 4) except that in the case of maritime claims there will be paid only so much of the amount of the judgment as the Crown would be liable to pay if it were able to limit its liability under the Merchant Shipping Acts, 1894 to 1940 as applied by Section 5 of the Crown Proceedings Act, 1947.

    6. If on investigation of a claim it is ascertained that the act complained of was not committed during the performance of an official duty, no responsibility for settlement will be accepted by the Minister of Defence. The claim will, however, be investigated by the appropriate United Kingdom authority and a report prepared and submitted to the appropriate authority of the Visiting Force concerned so that the latter may consider whether or not an ex gratia payment might be made to the claimant direct by the particular Force concerned. A claimant, if he so desires, may institute proceedings against the individual

    concerned in respect of any act outside the scope of an official duty, but responsibility for satisfying a judgment obtained in these circumstances will not be accepted by the Minister of Defence.

    7. If a dispute arises whether a tortious act of a member of a Visiting Force or civilian component was done in the performance of official duty the question may be submitted to a legal Arbitrator whose decision will be binding and conclusive upon all the parties concerned. The same course will be followed where a claimant is unable to identify the wrongdoer.

    Ministry Of Food

    Barley Stocks (Sale)

    asked the Minister of Food whether he is satisfied that the larger manufacturers of animal feedingstuffs will purchase home-grown barley from the stocks which his Department has acquired in fulfilment of the guarantee under the Agriculture Act.

    Yes. The President of the Compound Animal Feeding Stuffs Manufacturers' National Association has assured me that the members of his Association propose to buy at least 80 per cent, of their barley requirements from Ministry of Food stocks, provided that the price and conditions of sale are competitive.

    Spanish Oranges (Thiourea)

    asked the Minister of Food if he can now state what action is being taken to safeguard the public from thiourea poisoning in oranges imported from Spain.

    Local authorities in whose areas such oranges have been reported have been approached with a view to their taking appropriate action. As a result they have warned merchants against further importation. The Spanish Authorities have also warned all their fruit inspection offices that the complete prohibition of the export of such oranges to Great Britain must be strictly enforced.

    Vietminh Communist Forces (Chinese Aid)

    asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what evidence he has of the extent to which the Communist forces in Indo-China are receiving military assistance from outside sources.

    According to our information, the Vietminh Communist forces are entirely dependent on aid from China for the conduct of regular military operations against the French Union forces in Indo-China. The recent effort of the Communist forces at Dien Bien Phu has been on a much greater scale than anything attempted hitherto. According to a recent statement by the French Prime Minister, the military mission sent by Peking to Viet-Nam has been reinforced; artillery and anti-aircraft material equipped with radar and manned by Chinese are now in the field; and lorries of Soviet make which brought up supplies to the attackers at Dien Bien Phu are also driven by Chinese. Monsieur Laniel added that the battle for Dien Bien Phu would already be at an end if there had not been assistance from Peking.

    Edison Swan Co (Government Orders)

    asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that the Edison Swan Electric Company of Lydhook, Gloucestershire, has been experiencing a shortage of orders for cables which may cause some unemployment in the Forest of Dean; and whether, in order to avoid this, he will see that Government Departments place some orders with this industry.

    Subject to the Government's policy of giving a certain preference to firms in Development and unemployment areas, the allocation of Ministry of Supply orders to any particular firm de pends on whether they offer the most favourable prices and deliveries when tendering for contracts. The volume of orders placed by the Ministry of Supply depends on the requirements of the Services.

    Scotland

    Diphtheria Inoculations

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of the children under 15 years of age in each of the county council areas can be considered as having been inoculated against diphtheria; and what percentage of children under five years of age.

    Percentages of (a) children under 15 years of age, (b) children under five years of age in each of the county council areas in Scotland estimated at 31st December, 1953, as having been inoculated against diphtheria are as follow:

    CountyPercentageofchildrenunder15Percentageofchildrenunder5
    Aberdeen7566
    Angus6979
    Argyll6457
    Ayr8174
    Banff6774
    Berwick8280
    Bute7172
    Caithness8685
    Clackmannan8175
    Dumfries9298
    Dunbarton7964
    EastLothian7492
    Fife6679
    Inverness5751
    Kincardine7685
    Kirkcudbright8374
    Lanark8059
    Midlothian9399
    MorayandNairn6782
    Orkney4534
    Peebles9690
    PerthandKinross6477
    Renfrew5163
    RossandCromart6142
    Roxburgh7583
    Selkirk5756
    Stirling8087
    Sutherland6373
    WestLothian7798
    Wigtown8179
    Zetland7151

    School Classes (Size)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) in view of the fact that Scottish schoolchildren's classes are so crowded that only an exceptional child can make the most of his education, what steps he is taking to remedy the situation;(2) what proportion the number of teachers employed in Scotland this year bears to the number employed in the preceding four years; if he will give the number of school teachers employed in the last four years; and how many classes have grown in size.

    The table appended shows for the past five years the number of teachers employed and the total number of classes and for the past three years the numbers of classes of different sizes making up the total. In 1953, 90 per cent, of primary and secondary pupils were in classes which were below the maximum permitted size: and only about 11/4 per cent, were in classes which exceeded the permitted maximum by more than five. It is our aim to secure further reductions in the size of classes by the

    19491950195119521953
    Numbers of teachers32,37432,84333,53834,15134,924
    Percentage of number in 1949(100)(101·4)(103·6)(105·5)(107·9)
    Classes:—
    1–20pupilsNot availableNot available4,8204,7894,758
    21–30"""6,0865,8985,871
    31–35"""4,0034,1034,228
    36–40"""4,6214,8245,098
    41–45"""3,3143,4433,562
    46–50"""1,0661,0441,103
    51–55"""147128124
    Over 55"""172827
    Total24,06524,51324,07424,25724,771

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of Scottish schoolchildren are taught in classes larger than the size fixed by law for English schoolchildren.

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the table circulated in my reply to a Question by the hon. and gallant Member for Angus, South (Captain Duncan) on 16th March, which shows that in the 1952-53 session 28.7 per cent, of classes in Scotland and 39.6 per cent, of classes in England and Wales were over-size by English standards.

    Local Government

    Smedley's Hydro, Matlock

    asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what representations he has received from the Derbyshire County Council regarding his proposed acquisition of Smedley's Hydro, Matlock; and what reply was given to them.

    I have received no recent representations on the subject from the Derbyshire County Council.

    Houses, Wales (Cold Weather Effects)

    asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will publish statistics concerning the sample survey recently conducted in construction of new schools and the recruitment of additional teachers, but there is no foundation for the allegation that with classes of the present sizes, only an exceptional child can make the most of his education.Wales relating to the effects of cold weather on council housing; and whether he will state the areas in Wales in which damage to the water systems of post-war houses was heaviest.

    I will consider my hon. Friend's suggestion, but I am not clear that any sufficiently useful purpose would be served thereby. Of the authorities sampled, those principally affected were in South Wales.

    National Finance

    Hungary (British Claims)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will give figures as to the total amount of Hungarian bonds outstanding in this country; and what are our total claims, including claims for compensation for the nationalisation and expropriation of British interests in Hungary.

    The total amount of Hungarian sterling bonds outstanding is estimated to be in the region of £13 million, most of which is held in this country. I regret that at the present time it is not possible to give a figure for our total claims which are still under examination.

    Production (New Capital Investment)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the increase in production resulting from the increased capital investment in 1953 in the coalmining and manufacturing industries, respectively.

    I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave today to his oral Question No. 3.

    Liqueur Chocolates (Duty)

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the specification of alcoholic content, or any other relevant factor, of liqueur chocolates which attract Excise Duty and which incur the necessity to be sold from licensed premises; and if he will give equivalent data for liqueur chocolates which do not attract Excise Duty or incur sale from licensed premises.

    Liqueur chocolates do not as such attract Excise Duty. Only duty-paid spirits may be used in the manufacture of confectionery in this country. Imported liqueur chocolates are charged, inter alia, with the appropriate Customs Duty in respect of the spirits used in their manufacture. Chocolates containing more than a negligible proportion of free spirits may be sold only from licensed premises.

    Furniture (Tax Receipts)

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the revenue received in the last financial year from the Purchase Tax on furniture.

    St Kentigern's Church, Lanark (Damage)

    asked the Minister of Works what report he has received about the storm damage sustained on 8th April by the 12th century ruins of St. Kentigern's Church, Lanark, which is scheduled as an ancient monument; and whether he will authorise the restoration and preservation of what now remains.

    I am informed that the arcade of St. Kentigern's Church, Lanark, collapsed on the night of Thursday, 8th April. Preliminary inspections indicate that the collapse may have been caused by subsidence in the churchyard, and not by storm. I am glad to hear that Lanark Town Council is prepared to restore the arcade. Officers of my Ministry will meet the burgh officials as soon as possible and give all the advice and technical assistance they can.

    Eton High Street

    asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what steps he is taking to relieve the dangers resulting from the heavy traffic in Eton High Street.

    As a result of my right hon. Friend's visit to Eton last month with the hon. Member, I understand that the Bucks County Council Highways Committee have recommended that an Order should be made derestricting the length of road between the Prince of Wales Public House, Slough, and the northern approach to Eton College. This would enable a 30 m.p.h. restriction sign to be erected immediately to the north of the College buildings, which should have the effect of slowing down traffic through Eton. I understand that the Highways Committee have also recommended that traffic signals should be installed at the junction of Keats Lane with the High Street. When these suggestions are put to us formally, we will consider them sympathetically. At my right hon. Friend's request De Havillands have agreed to send their vehicles, which formerly used Eton High Street, by a different route.

    asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the prospects for the authorisation of a bypass to relieve the congestion of Eton High Street.

    I understand that the two highway authorities concerned have not yet agreed on the line of this road, and my right hon. Friend cannot consider the proposals until this has been done. But I ought to say that this would be an expensive scheme and my right hon. Friend sees little prospect of being able to authorise it for several years.