Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 529: debated on Monday 21 June 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 21st June, 1954

Pensions And National Insurance

Central Advisory Committee


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance the frequency of meetings of the Central Advisory Committee during the three years preceding the merging of the Ministry of Pensions with the Ministry of National Insurance; the number of occasions on which the committee has been convened since the merger was effected on 31st August last; and to what extent the status of the committee, and war pensioners' interests, have been altered since the merger.

In the three years before the merger on 31st August, 1953, there were six, three and four meetings. respectively. Since the merger there has been one meeting. As regards the last part of the Question, there has been no alteration.

New Zealand Negotiations (Reciprocal Benefits)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will make a statement on the resumption of negotiations with the New Zealand authorities for a reciprocal agreement on social security.

Negotiations have now been resumed and my right hon. Friend discussed the matter personally with Sir William Bodkin, the New Zealand Minister of Social Security, at the end of last month

Old-Age Pensioners (Assistance)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many persons are in receipt of National Assistance in the area of Bolton; and how many of these are old-age pensioners.

At 30th March, 1954, about 11,250 regular weekly grants of National Assistance were being made by the Board's two Bolton area offices, which cover a wider area than the county borough. Of these grants, about 8,250 were in supplementation of retirement and non-contributory old age pensions and some of them covered the needs of more than one pensioner.


asked the Minister of Pension and National Insurance whether he will consider what arrangements can be made for old-age pensioners who also receive National Assistance benefit to draw such benefit with their pensions at the post office.

Departmental Staff (Pensions And Allowances)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance the number of persons for which his Department has financial responsibility who have not received any increase in their pensions or allowances since 1946.

Industrial Diseases (Benefit Regulations)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance when regulations will be made under the Industrial Diseases (Benefit) Act. 1954.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how soon he expects to be able to make the necessary regulations under the Industrial Diseases (Benefit) Act, 1954.

The preparation of schemes under this Act is well advanced and my right hon. Friend hopes shortly to consult interested organisations about the detailed proposals. I cannot yet say when it will be possible to seek Parliamentary approval.



asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many cases of pneumoconiosis have appeared before the board each year since 1950 in Durham, Northumberland and Cumberland; how many, each year, were rejected; and how many, each year, were determined as suffering from this disease.

The precise figures asked for by the right hon. Member are not available. The Pneumoconiosis Medical Panel at Newcastle covers a rather wider area, but it was only established in November, 1951. The following table gives the cases dealt with by the Newcastle Pneumoconiosis Medical Panel.

Preliminary X-ray examinationsFirst examinations (clinical)DiagnosedNot diagnosed

War Pensions (British Legion Resolution)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he has considered a copy of the resolution passed by the British Legion in Newport indicating their growing dissatisfaction at the basic rate of pensions remaining at 55s. in spite of the increase in cost of living during the last few years, particularly amongst the poorest members of the community; and what action he proposes to take.

My right hon. Friend has received and taken note of a resolution from the Monmouthshire County Committee of the British Legion concerning the basic rate of war pensions. On this subject, I am afraid that I cannot usefully add to what I said in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Sedge-field (Mr. Slater) on 17th May last.

Iron Foundry Orders, Falkirk—Bonnybridge Area


asked the Minister of Supply to what extent defence orders for the iron-founding industry in the Falkirk-Bonnybridge area are likely to decrease; and what are the specific reasons for the decrease.

As the defence programme advances, fewer orders for iron foundry products are being placed. I cannot say what proportion of the available orders %ill go to any particular area.

Miners (Athletes' Foot)


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power the relative incidence of athletes' foot in mining areas with pithead baths and in other areas; and on what evidence these figures are founded.

I regret that I have not got this information but a committee has recently been set up to inquire and advise on the prevention and treatment of this disease among miners.

Fuel Saving Appliances


asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many of the new approved high-efficiency types of solid fuel burning appliances, as recommended by the Ridley Committee, were delivered to the home market in 1953.

About 1½ million improved appliances recommended by my Ministry.

Overseas Information Services (Report)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if be will now state the action he proposes to take on the recommendations of the Drogheda Committee on Overseas Information Services.

Home Department

Political Refugees


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have applied for, and been granted, political asylum in Britain in each year since 1932; and how many such requests have been refused.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the policy of Her Majesty's Government in granting political asylum to those aliens who apply for it; and from what authority the power to grant or refuse such asylum is derived.

Her Majesty's Government follow the traditional practice of United Kingdom Governments in granting political asylum in appropriate cases. The normal criterion for deciding whether a foreigner is entitled to be regarded as a political refugee is whether there are good grounds for thinking that his life or liberty would be endangered because of his political opinions if he were required to leave the United Kingdom. It is the right of any sovereign State to grant asylum: the power to refuse to allow a foreigner to remain in the United Kingdom is derived from the Aliens Order, 1953, made under Section 1 of the Aliens Restriction Act, 1914, as amended by the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act, 1919.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many aliens resident in Britain are stateless; how many such persons have been accepted for permanent residence in each of the years from 1945; and what principles govern the policy of Her Majesty's Government in accepting such persons for permanent residence.

On 31st December, 1953, 1,398 aliens were registered under the Aliens Order as stateless, but this is not necessarily the number of aliens resident in the United Kingdom who are actually stateless: since an unknown number of others may have lost their nationality since registration. I regret that the figures requested in the second part of the Question are not available. Apart from persons in strictly defined classes, including stateless people who are treated in the same way as others who are allowed to enter on compassionate grounds, foreigners are not normally admitted to the United Kingdom for permanent residence in the first instance. Stateless persons who have been resident for some years may, as may other foreigners, have conditions limiting their stay to a fixed period. removed.

Prisoners (Mental Deficiency And Insanity)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of men and women, respectively, who have been certified in prison during the last three years under the Lunacy Acts and under the Mental Deficiency Acts, respectively; what is the number of such persons committed to Broadmoor and how many were under 21 years of age; and on what principle certified prisoners are selected for committal to Broadmoor.

The following table shows the number of persons certified insane in prisons or Borstal Institutions in England and Wales and removed to Broadmoor Institution or to a local mental hospital under Section 2 of the Criminal Lunatics Act, 1884, during the years 1951, 1952 and 1953. The table does not include persons found insane on arraignment or guilty but insane The figures for 1953 are provisional.

YearInstitution to which removedNumber of persons certified
1951Broadmoor institution.2121
Local mental hospital.841498
1952Broadmoor institution.17118
Local mental hospital.9713110
1953Broadmoor institution.12113
Local mental hospital.8718105

Two of the persons removed to Broad-moor Institution, both male, were under 21 years of age.The following table shows, for the years 1951, 1952 and 1953, the number of persons certified mentally defective while detained in prisons or Borstal institutions.


Persons so certified are not sent to Broad-moor, but to appropriate institutions for mental defectives.Each case is considered according to its particular circumstances, but, in general, persons who are certified insane while serving sentences of imprisonment or Borstal training are not sent to Broad-moor Institution unless they are considered to be unsuitable for removal to a local mental hospital, by reason of the violent and dangerous character of their insanity, or of their previous history, or of the nature of the offence of which they have been convicted.


Ruislip—Ickenham Bridge


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when the hon. Member for Uxbridge can expect a reply to his letter of 5th April regarding the decision to widen the Ruislip—Ickenham road/railway bridge.

Bath Road (Additional Traffic)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he has made an estimate of the effect on the road traffic along the Bath Road from the Great West Road which will result from the transfer of services from Northolt and other airports to London Airport; and whether he is satisfied that the present roadway can efficiently carry the traffic.

Yes. The Bath Road will for some time be adequate to carry the additional traffic resulting from the transfer of Northolt services to London Airport. I am examining the question of whether improvement will be necessary at a later stage to deal with traffic when it reaches its peak.

London Airport (Transferred Services)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what services will be transferred from Blackbushe and Bovingdon to London Airport; and when the transfers will take place.

Hunting Clan Air Transport Limited, now based on Bovingdon, and Airwork Limited, now based on Blackbushe, have been granted permission in principle to operate services from London Airport from October onwards. The exact scope of these services has yet to be settled.

Road Regulations (Funeral Carriages)

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware of the inconvenience caused to some funeral directors and the distress to mourners when the assembly point is sandwiched between two zebra crossings or near a "no-waiting" street; and whether, in placing traffic signs or crossings, he will give special consideration to the needs of funeral directors.

I have received representations from the National Association of Funeral Directors that in certain cases the no-stopping zone on the approach side of zebra crossings may cause distress and inconvenience. On the strongest grounds of road safety, however, I cannot agree to make any exemptions from this no-stopping rule. If a funeral director is able to arrange for the police to control a zebra crossing at the time of a funeral, the no-stopping provisions cease to apply while a police officer is in control. Orders and Regulations for "no-waiting" streets almost invariably allow stopping for loading or unloading and for picking up or setting down passengers. In placing traffic signs or crossings, for which, except on trunk roads, I am not directly responsible, I have no doubt that the authorities concerned take into account any special needs of funeral directors which may be brought to their attention.

British Railways (Fares And Improvements)

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission to make a thorough review of our railways system; to improve the present service; and to stop the rise in fares which is causing concern.

Togoland (United Kingdom Trusteeship)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any changes are now envisaged in the Trusteeship Agreement for British Togoland when the Gold Coast becomes self-governing.

Under Article 5 (a) of the Trusteeship Agreement approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations Her Majesty's Government, on behalf of Her Majesty who is the Administering Authority, are bound to administer British Togoland as an integral part of Her territory. It has, in practice, been administered as an integral part of the Gold Coast for the past 40 years.The Gold Coast is now at the last stage before assuming full responsibility for its own affairs. When it does so the United Kingdom Government will no longer be able to administer the Trust Territory as an integral part of the Gold Coast. Other arrangements will then need to be made for the administration of the Territory involving in practice the revision or termination of the Trusteeship Agreement. This would of course require the consent of both parties to it, namely the United Nations and the United Kingdom.Her Majesty's Government have considered in the light of the situation how best the aims of the Trusteeship system can be fulfilled. A memorandum has today been sent by the United Kingdom representative at the United Nations to the President of the Trusteeship Council and the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council have been asked to give preliminary consideration to the question, and the Secretary-General has been asked to include an item "The Future of Togoland under United Kingdom Trusteeship" in the agenda for the coming Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.In this memorandum, copies of which are available in the Library of the House, Her Majesty's Government have emphasised the need to take into account the particular circumstances of the Trust Territory and the freely expressed wishes of its peoples before any conclusions are reached. The memorandum expresses the view of Her Majesty's Government that the objectives of the Trusteeship system will best be achieved by the integration of Togoland with the Gold Coast when that territory becomes self-governing. This would involve the termination of the Agreement. It also suggests that the General Assembly will wish to ascertain the opinions of the inhabitants of the Trust Territory, and it invites the Assembly to do so at the appropriate time by whatever method seems most satisfactory, including, if necessary, the holding of a plebiscite.

Mauritius (Sugar Estates)

53 and 57.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) how many weighbridges there are on the sugar estates of Mauritius; how many Government inspectors are employed; and how many estates there are with automatic weighing machines;(2) if he is satisfied with the method of sampling, weighing and testing of canes of Mauritius sugar planters, before their delivery to the factories of the millers; and what action he is taking to encourage improved methods.

pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th May, 1954; Vol. 527, c. 75] supplied the following further information:There are 157 weighbridges on sugar estates in Mauritius; the Government employs one Weighbridge Inspector; seven estates have automatic weighing machines. I am satisfied that methods now being employed of weighing, sampling and testing of sugar cane in Mauritius are reasonably accurate and fair. Only one case of inaccuracy in weighing machines has been discovered by the Inspector during the last three years. The method of determining sucrose content was re-examined in 1952 and found to require no modification. The Central Board and the Government are well aware of the need to ensure maximum efficiency in testing for sucrose content, and an alternative system has recently been examined in consultation with representatives of the planters' organisations and the Chamber of Agriculture.



asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of livestock producers in England and Wales, respectively, who have had in their possession livestock in excess of six head of cattle. 10 sheep and eight pigs at any time during the preceding 12 months.

I regret that there are no statistics giving the information desired by my hon. Friend.

asked the Minister of Agriculture for an estimate in pounds sterling of the annual sales, to the last available date, of pigs, cattle, and sheep, respectively, in England and Wales, respectively.

It is estimated that in the year ending 31st May, 1953, the values of annual sales in England and Wales together were £84 million for cattle, £35 million for sheep, and £128 million for pigs. It is not practicable to give separate figures for England and Wales.

Myxomatosis, Wales

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will make a statement about the latest spread of myxomatosis among rabbits in Wales.

Since the outbreak of myxomatosis in Radnorshire which I reported to the House on 20th May, the existence of three outbreaks in Anglesey and two in Pembrokeshire has been established. So far there has been no appreciable spread of the disease at any of these outbreaks.

Gin Traps

asked the Minister of Agriculture what representations he has received from Wales concerning his decision to retain the gin trap; and whether he is aware of public disapproval of his decision.

My hon. Friend appears to be under a misapprehension. As I announced on 27th May in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford the Government propose, with the approval of the House, to fix 31st July, 1958, as the date after which the use of spring traps other than approved traps should be prohibited.

Industrial Machinery (Dollar Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in the interest of industrial efficiency and re-equipment, he will now remove or modify the present licensing restrictions on the import of machinery from the dollar area.

The Government think it of the greatest importance that British industry should be well equipped and believe that re-equipment can usually be carried out with British-made machinery which in so many fields is second to none. At the same time the Government, while still unable in our present balance of payments situation to remove licensing restrictions on imports of dollar machinery, consider that some of the severity of the existing restrictions can be relaxed. Accordingly, in future, more favourable consideration will be given to applications for import licences whenever the Board of Trade are satisfied, from the information before them in each case, that a dollar machine will reduce costs and that no alternative non-dollar machine offering roughly similar advantages is available.

Government Cold Storage Depots

asked the Minister of Food how many Government cold stores are at present on a care and maintenance basis.


asked the Minister of Health to give the figures of the incidence of tuberculosis in England and Wales, respectively; and the number of persons suffering from tuberculosis who are awaiting admission to sanatoria in each of the two countries.

In 1953 the number of primary notifications of new cases of tuberculosis (all forms) per million population was 1,041 for England and 1,289 for Wales. At 31st December, 1953, the number of persons on clinic registers awaiting admission to sanatoria was 4,322 for England and 660 for Wales.