Written Answers To Questions
Tuesday, 18th May, 1954
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many council houses were built in Wolverhampton last year; how many it is proposed to build this year; and what is the reason for the reduction.
In 1953 726 council houses were completed in Wolverhampton by the town council, and 384 in Wednesfield and Seisdon for Wolverhampton people—1,110 in all. My right hon. Friend estimates that about the same number will be completed this year—at least 600 in Wolverhampton and 500 for Wolverhampton people in the other two areas.
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government approximately how many local authorities have attempted to implement the principle of differential rents; and in what areas this now operates.
My right hon. Friend has not got the information sought by the hon. Member. The fixing of rents for council houses is a matter solely for the council concerned.
Housing Lists (Co-Ordination)
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what reports he has received and what further steps he has taken to encourage the co ordination of local authorities in dealing with applicants on housing lists for whom it is impossible to provide accommodation in the area in which the applicants now reside.
I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 2nd March.
New Town Tenants (Sub-Letting)
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government to what extent tenants of houses in the new towns are permitted and, in fact, do sub-let in order to off-set the burden of relatively high rentals.
My right hon. Friend has no information on this subject.
War-Damaged Sites (Use)
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will, before allowing more agricultural land to be taken for housing Londoners, consider taking steps to require the sites of bombed houses in the London area to be used for this purpose.
The housing authorities in the county of London are building at the rate of 11,000 dwellings a year within the county and are already making maximum use of suitable war-damaged sites. The urgent housing needs of London cannot be met without some further provision outside the county, but it is my endeavour, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, to see that as little harm as possible is done to agriculture in that process.
Ministry Of Works
St James's And Green Parks (Revised Regulations)
asked the Minister of Works when the proposed revised regulations for St. James's Park and Green Park are to be brought before Parliament.
Drafting of revised regulations for St. James's Park and Green Park is nearly completed. This is the first time for many years that the regulations for the Central Parks have been revised comprehensively, and many points of policy and law are involved. My right hon. Friend hopes to have these matters settled shortly.
Trafalgar Square (Photographers)
asked the Minister of Works how many photographers have been given permission to operate in Trafalgar Square; and what conditions are imposed to ensure that the charges are reasonable and the photographs of a good standard.
Six licences have been given for photography in Trafalgar Square. It is a condition of a licence that the charges are subject to my right hon. Friend's approval. Photographers are also required to refund money paid for unsatisfactory photographs.
Atomic Energy Estimates (Appropriations-In-Aid)
asked the Minister of Works from what source it is estimated that the appropriations-in-aid amounting to £1,579,000 in connection with the Estimates for Atomic Energy will be provided.
It is estimated that appropriations-in-aid of the Vote for Atomic Energy for 1954–55 will be received from the following sources:
|Canteen and Hostel Receipts||523,000|
|Housing Estate Receipts||213,000|
|Radio-Chemical Centre Receipts||171,000|
|Sales of Radioactive Isotopes||150,000|
|Assisted Travel Receipts||78,000|
|Sales of Electronic Equipment||70,000|
|Receipts for research undertaken on behalf of other Government Departments||70,000|
|Rentals for Capital Assistance Schemes||42,000|
|Sundry Receipts (including sales of surplus stores)||262,000|
Royal Parks (Litter)
asked the Minister of Works the result of the tests undertaken
|NUMBERS OF UNEMPLOYED PERSONS ON THE REGISTERS OF THE FALKIRK EMPLOYMENT EXCHANGE AT THE UNDERMENTIONED DATES|
|Date||Total number of unemployed persons on the registers||Number registered as temporarily stopped (included in preceding column *)|
|16th November, 1953||…||…||…||…||369||524||25||29|
|7th December, 1953||…||…||…||…||385||503||22||28|
|11th January, 1954||…||…||…||…||418||496||15||24|
|15th February, 1954||…||…||…||…||475||535||43||33|
|15th March, 1954||…||…||…||…||755||533||323||36|
|12th April, 1954||…||…||…||…||1,043||590||646||82|
|* The "temporarily stopped" are persons working short-time or otherwise stood off from their employment. The figures in the Table under the heading "temporarily stopped" include only those persons in that category who were not at work on the days to which the figures relate. They do not include persons who were at work on those days but were stood off on other days of the same weeks. Complete statistics of short-time working are not available.|
in some of the Royal Parks to encourage the public to throw their litter in baskets: how far these tests have resulted in more care; and if he will circularise local authorities to suggest that a greater number of litter baskets should be provided of a type to catch the eye and thus encourage people to refrain from throwing litter in the streets and parks.
The tests will not be completed until later in the year. There is some evidence that the public are responding to appeals to use litter baskets. My right hon. Friend would like to thank the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Press, the newsreel companies and all others who are helping us in this campaign. My right hon. Friend's responsibilities for litter are confined to the Royal Parks and other areas under his control, but the suggestion made by the hon. Member will no doubt be noted by the appropriate authorities.
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will give the monthly figures for the last six months of unemployment and of short-time working in Falkirk.
The following table gives the information desired so far as it is available:
Food Offices (Redundant Staff)
18 and 19.
asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he is satisfied that employment is available for those whose jobs will disappear as the result of the closing of food offices after 3rd July;(2) whether he is satisfied that employment is available for those whose jobs will disappear as the result of the closing of the Sunderland Food Office on 3rd July.
I can assure my hon. Friend that the employment exchanges and appointments offices of my Department will do their utmost to find further employment for all those that register, and in general no special difficulty is expected. At the Sunderland Food Office, where two men and four women will be redundant, the prospects of finding them other employment are reasonably good.
Raf And Royal Navy (Welsh Entrants)
asked the Minister of Labour how many National Service men from Wales called up during the past three years have entered the Royal Air Force; what proportion this represents of all Welsh National Service men called up during this period; and how this proportion compares with the proportions for National Service men from England and Scotland, respectively.
6,207 men, representing 25·6 per cent, of the total number called up through the Wales Office, which covers Wales and Monmouth, during the years 1951–53 joined the Royal Air Force. The corresponding percentages for England and Scotland were 25·0 and 26·7, respectively.
asked the Minister of Labour how many National Service men from Wales during the past three years have entered the Royal Navy; what proportion this represents of all Welsh National Service men called up during this period; and how this proportion compares with the proportions for National Service men from England and Scotland, respectively.
316 men representing 1·3 per cent of the total number called up through the Wales Office, which covers Wales and Monmouth, during the years 1951–53 entered the Royal Navy. The corresponding percentages for England and Scotland were 2·1 and 1·9, respectively.
asked the Minister of Labour if he will consider the early call-up of youths who find difficulty in getting employment during the short period between leaving school and doing their National Service.
Yes, it is the established practice to allow early call-up if the fact that call-up is impending gives rise to difficulty in obtaining employment.
Teachers' Salaries (Working Party)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the working party to consider salary scales in further education has now met.
New Town Corporations (Future)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will set up a working party containing Departmental, local authority and new town corporation members to consider the machinery for the transfer of new town development corporations to local authority status.
No. This would be inappropriate at present.
East Fife Hospitals Board (Appointments)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many members of the East Fife Hospitals Board of Management have served in that capacity for more than three years; and what are the names and qualifications of such members.
Fourteen of the present 21 members of the board have served for more than three years. The particulars are given below. I should make it clear that members of boards of management are appointed by the regional hospital board in an individual capacity, and not on the basis of specific qualifications.
Members Who Have Served For More Than Three Years
(The year of appointment is given in brackets after each name)
( a) Due to retire at 31st March, 1955
Mrs. M. H. Anstruther-Gray, member of Fife County Council, Cupar (1948).
Mr. W. Cunningham, member of Fife County Council, Coaltown of Balgonie (1950).
Miss J. H. M. Houston, member of former governing body of Kirkcaldy General Hospital, Kirkcaldy (1948).
Dr. J. M. Johnstone, medical practitioner. Leven (1948).
( b) Due to retire at list March, 1956
Mr. W. I. Alison, chairman of former governing body of Kirkcaldy General Hospital, Burntisland (1948).
Mr. J. W. Brown, member of Fife Executive Council, Kirkcaldy (1948).
Dr. C. V. Hendry, medical practitioner, Cupar (1949).
Dr. J. Wilson, medical practitioner. Buckhaven (1948).
Provost D. Wright, Kirkcaldy (1948).
( c) Due to retire at 31st March, 1957
Dr. G. Matthew Fyfe, County Medical Officer, Cupar (1948).
Mr. T. Gibb, former member of Fife County Council, Kirkcaldy (1948).
Bailie A. Kinsman, member of Fife County Council, Cupar (1948).
Dr. J. Maxwell, medical practitioner, Kirkcaldy (1948).
Mr. J. W. M. Sutherland, consultant surgeon, Kirkcaldy (1951).
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland why he has approved of the non-reappointment of only two of the 11 members of the East Fife Hospitals Board who have served since 1948, bearing in mind the desirability of having new experience on the board; and whether he will give specific reasons for the non-reappointment of the two mentioned.
These appointments are within the discretion of the regional hospital board and are not subject to my right hon. Friend's approval. In deciding against the reappointment of two of the six original members who retired by rotation this year, the regional board had regard to the variety and balance of experience on the board of management as a whole, and, as I have already explained, there is no reflection on the capacity or services of members who are not reappointed.
Ministry Of Defence
Visiting Forces (Claims)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence what arrangements he is making under Section 9 of the Visiting Forces Act, 1952, to ensure that claims for personal injuries caused by members of visiting forces while on duty are duly met.
I circulated in HANSARD on 15th April the draft of a statement which my noble Friend proposes to publish as the Act requires. The 12th June, 1954, has now been fixed by Order in Council for the coming into operation of the Act, and the arrangements set out in the statement will enter into force from that date.
Nato Countries (Defence Contributions)
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if he will initiate discussions in the North Atlantic Treaty Council on the desirability of standardising the period of compulsory military service in the organisation.
I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) on 11th May.
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if, in view of the fact that the latest official figures of annual defence expenditure per head of population of the European member-States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, reveal a span from £3 to £35, he will now initiate discussions on the North Atlantic Treaty Council on the desirability of a fairer distribution of the economic burdens of defence.
The defence burdens of member countries are reviewed by the North Atlantic Council every year. Expenditure per head of population is not a valid basis of comparison.
asked the Secretary of State for War the definition of a day of local or national significance on which commanding officers are allowed to order compulsory church parades.
No definition has been published. Examples of such days are Remembrance Sunday, Battle of Britain Sunday, St. George's Day, regimental anniversaries and similar days.
Wd Property, Singapore (Thefts)
asked the Secretary of State for War what thefts of War Department property have taken place in Singapore during the past six months; how they occurred; and what steps are being taken to prevent such practices.
My hon. Friend has no doubt in mind the recent theft which has had some publicity, including much exaggerated estimates of the loss. In fact, there have been six thefts of vehicles and stores of a total value of about £27,500 and 15 lesser cases of pilferage of a total value of about £200. Of the cases where investigations have been completed, one was due to fraud by a civilian employee, and the rest were due to theft by civilians. The most important safeguard is strict stores accounting, and special attention is being paid to this matter.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the entitlement of ordinary and sick leave of civil servants in all grades; how much sick leave is taken annually without the support of a doctor's certificate; and what would be the saving in personnel and finance if Civil Service holidays were brought into line with industry generally.
The provisions governing sick leave and annual leave in the Civil Service (which are complicated) are described in the Factual Memorandum submitted by the Treasury to the Royal Commission on the Civil Service, of which I am sending a copy to my hon. and gallant Friend, As regards the second part of the Question, Departments may at their discretion allow a few odd days of sick absence without a medical certificate, not exceeding seven days in any 12 months. But without special inquiry I could not say how much sick-leave is so granted, or frame an estimate in reply to the last part of the Question.
Temporary Staff (Disabled Persons)
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the number of married women civil servants established under the 1953 scheme for the establishment of temporary clerks as clerical assistants; and whether he will give an assurance that no unestablished civil servant registered under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act, 1944, will be dismissed for redundancy provided that he or she is giving satisfaction.
The establishment scheme is not yet sufficiently advanced for me to be able to answer the first part of the Question. As to the second part, I am afraid that I cannot give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance for which he asks. But, under the National Redundancy Agreement regulating the order of discharge of temporary staff, special consideration is given to those who are severely disabled and who would find difficulty in finding other work. Moreover, under the current clerical assistant establishment scheme specifically favourable eligibility rules apply to registered disabled persons.
Peruvian And Ecuadorian Bonds (Debt Agreement)
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what representations have been made to the Peruvian and Ecuadorean Governments regarding payment of their debts to bondholders in this country.
In both cases the terms of settlement have been agreed, and it now remains for a formal offer to be made to the bondholders. We are in close touch with the Council of Foreign Bondholders and, if necessary, we will certainly make further representations.
Bank Rate Reduction
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the reasons for the reduction of the Bank rate.
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave today to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne).
Pornographic Publications (Importation)
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he has considered the pornographic publication, imported from Australia, a copy of which has been sent to him; and whether he will take steps to prevent the importation of such literature.
I cannot agree that this issue of this publication should have been prohibited under the Customs Acts, but I can assure my hon. Friend that the Customs and Excise will use their powers wherever appropriate.
Ironfoundry Industry, Falkirk-Bonnybridge Area
asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware of the recession in the iron-founding industry in the Falkirk-Bonnybridge area; and what steps he is taking to place defence orders with this industry.
Yes. The ironfoundry industry in the Falkirk-Bonnybridge area has been suffering from a decline in orders. Firms in the area will continue to be invited to tender for Ministry of Supply orders as occasion arises, but, with the progress of the defence programme, orders on the ironfoundry industry are not likely to be as large in the future as they have been in the past three years.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many persons in 1953 had permanent diplomatic immunity in this country; and how many persons had temporary diplomatic immunity.
During 1953, 2,645 persons attached to foreign diplomatic missions were included in the list of those officially regarded as entitled to claim diplomatic immunity in this country. A further 170 persons were granted temporary diplomatic immunity while attending meetings of international organisations here. In addition, there were 1,300 members of the staffs of Commonwealth High Commissions and of the Embassy of the Republic of Ireland who were also officially regarded as entitled to claim diplomatic immunity.
Government Departments (Honorary Pros)
pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 1017], circulated the following particulars of honorary appointments as public relations officers:
Sir William McLean is employed as honorary liaison officer with members of both Houses of Parliament, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and political bodies. In addition, he prepares memoranda on special colonial topics which are widely distributed to interested bodies and persons.
Mr. G. Huxley is employed as part-time honorary consultant on information matters. He is Vice-Chairman of the International Tea Market expansion Board.
Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation
Mr. Fleetwood C. Pritchard is employed as honorary adviser on public relations to the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation. This is a part-time appointment.
Mr. Pritchard was Director of Public Relations in the Ministry of War Transport until September, 1944, and continued in an honorary capacity as adviser on Road Safety Publicity till February, 1947. Since January, 1946, he has been Chairman of the National Publicity Committee of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. He is chairman and managing director of F. C. Pritchard, Wood and Partners Ltd., Advertising Agents.
Mr. Sidney Rogerson is employed full-time as honorary publicity and public relations adviser to the Army Council. He is on temporary loan from Imperial Chemical Industries and advises on public relations policy in the broadest sense with particular reference to those aspects which concern recruiting.
Fat Cattle And Sheep (Price Guarantees)
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a further statement following his recent negotiations regarding the price guarantees for fat cattle and sheep.
Full details of the price guarantees for fat cattle and sheep have now been made public in leaflets which are available to farmers and others interested.
Ministry Of Food (Administrative Savings)
asked the Minister of Food how much has been saved, and by how much the staff of his Department has been reduced, as a result of the ending of the rationing of fats.
The ending of rationing of fats will result in an administrative saving of about £90,000 per annum and a reduction in staff of about 200.
asked the Minister of Food how much will be saved, and by how much the staff of his Department will be reduced, as a result of the ending of meat rationing and control in July.
This final step in terminating rationing will enable me to close the local food offices. The savings will be about £2½ million, together with savings on the Votes of other Departments in respect of such items as accommodation, printing and telephones; and about 5,300 staff.
Mental Institutions (Capital Expenditure)
asked the Minister of Health the total capital expenditure devoted to improving the provision for mental illness and mental deficiency during each of the financial years 1950–51 and 1953–54, and what is the estimated amount for 1954–55; and what proportions these are of the total capital expenditure on the hospital service.
Precise figures showing the actual capital expenditure on mental health and mental deficiency services for the years in question are not available, but the capital programmes of boards show that the estimated expenditure is as follows:
|—||—||Percentage of total estimated capital expenditure|
Scilly Isles (Population)
asked the Minister of Health what were the population figures in the Scilly Isles from 1946 to 1953, inclusive.
The Registrar-General's Mid-Year Estimate of the population of the Isles of Scilly is as follows:
Trade And Commerce
Savoy And Berkeley Hotels (Inquiry)
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the terms of reference of the inspector he has appointed to investigate the affairs of the Savoy Hotel Limited and the Berkeley Hotel Company, include specific investigation into the source of the financing of the purchase of the stock which was in the possession of the person of whom he has been separately informed; and whether this inspector will report in what circumstances, and by whom, a financial guarantee was given in respect of this particular purchase.
The inspector's terms of reference require him to investigate the affairs of the Savoy Hotel Limited and the Berkeley Hotel Company Limited, with special reference to the formation of Worcester Buildings Company (London) Limited and the transfer to the latter company of the freehold of the site of the Berkeley Hotel. The terms of the inspector's appointment do not require him specifically to investigate or report on matters relating to the purchase of the stock in question, and, therefore, although it is a matter for the inspector's decision, it is unlikely that he will report on the transaction referred to.
Weights And Measures (Cattle Cake)
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it a statutory requirement that merchants supplying cattle cake, etc., should make it clear that it is sold by gross weight, the bags being included, and riot by net weight.
The Committee on Weights and Measures Legislation made recommendations in regard to the sale of any article by weight, measure or number. Consultations are proceeding on these general recommendations, which include the need for statutory control for particular commodities.
Great West Road
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what tonnage of merchandise he estimates was carried in 1953 on the stretch of the Great West Road between its termini at Brentford and Slough
I regret that I have not sufficient data for such an estimate.
London Development Plan
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what development has taken place since 1937 which is inconsistent with any recommendation of the Bressey Report.
The development plans for the County of London and adjacent counties were much influenced by the proposals of the Bressey Report. I do not think that any major development has taken place which is inconsistent with those proposals.
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what the cost would be today of implementing the recommendations of the Bressey Report in respect of Route No. 1, East-West connection, and Route No. 48, Harrow Road improvement.
I have no up-to-date estimate of the cost of carrying out these recommendations of the Bressey Report, but the proposals in the County of London Development Plan, 1951, which correspond to such parts of Route No. 1 in the Bressey Report as are included in the 20-year programme of that plan were at the time the plan was prepared estimated to cost about £17 million. The proposals in the Plan for improving the Harrow Road are not comparable with those for Route No. 48 in the Bressey Report.