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Written Answers

Volume 529: debated on Monday 28 June 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 28th June, 1954

German Military Formations (White Paper)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will issue a White Paper setting out the numbers and equipment of military and para-military units and formations, including police, now existing in both East and West Germany.

Yes. Such a White Paper is now being prepared, although it may take a little time to ensure that its contents are as complete and up to date as possible.

House Of Commons Catering


asked the hon. Member for Woolwich, West, as Chairman of the Kitchen Committee, the figures of profit or loss in the Members Dining Room, the Strangers Dining Room and the Press Dining Room, respectively, for the last 12 months to the most recent convenient date.

The figures for the 12 months ended 31st December, 1953, were as follows:

Members Dining RoomLoss6,566
Strangers Dining RoomLoss4,094
Press GalleryLoss3,536
These figures are before taking into account Grant in Aid, which, as hon. Members know, is a reimbursement by the Treasury of wages paid to staff when the House is not sitting. After crediting Grant in Aid, the net losses were £2,906, £1,756 and £1,850, respectively.

Legal Profession


asked the Attorney-General if he will arrange for a committee to be set up to consider the advantages of fusion of the two branches of the legal profession.

No. I do not consider that there is sufficient demand for fusion of the two branches, either from the public or from the profession itself, to justify the appointment of a committee to consider the question.

Pensions And National Insurance

Clothing And Household Effects (Renewal)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what special allowance in case of need is available for persons who have been in receipt of National Assistance for long periods for the replacement of worn-out clothing and household renewals.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Coventry, South (Miss Burton) on 23rd November, a copy of which I am sending him.

Pensions And Allowances (Staff)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why he has no information available concerning the number of persons for which his Department have financial responsibility who have not received any increase in their pensions or allowances since 1946.

Because the persons concerned cannot be identified without a full scale inquiry the cost of which could not be justified.

Staff Increases


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance why the number of civil servants employed by the National Assistance Board has increased from 9,694 to 9,992 between 1st January and 1st April, 1954.

More staff was needed because of the increase in the number of people receiving Assistance.

Industrial Diseases (Committee)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what progress has been made by the Beney Committee appointed to report on diseases not covered by the Industrial Injuries Acts.

I understand that the Committee hopes shortly to complete the hearing of oral evidence.

Meat Transport Vehicles (Hygiene)


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking, in consultation with the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, to safeguard and improve the standard of the hygienic transport of meat in Scotland, following the dissolution of the Meat Transport Organisation Limited.

In considering applications for goods vehicle licences, the licensing authorities take questions of hygiene into consideration. As stated in the reply given to the hon. Member on 9th February, I am, however, considering, along with the Minister of Food, what can be done to improve generally the hygienic standard of meat transport.

Pedestrian Crossings (Accidents)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation principal reasons for the increased number of serious accidents to pedestrians on zebra crossings.

I think it is mainly due to the fact that more people are now using the crossings. While total accidents to pedestrians have been kept proportionately well below the growth in the number of vehicles since the zebras were introduced, there has inevitably been some increase in the number of accidents on the crossings themselves.

Railway Reorganisation (White Paper)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when the White Paper on Railway Reorganisation will be available.

I cannot yet say, but I can assure the hon. Member that there will be no avoidable delay.

Eggs (Marketing)


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will make a statement on the future marketing arrangements for eggs.

I am not yet in a position to add to what my right hon. Friend said on this subject in the Supply debate on 3rd June last. Discussions with the National Farmers' Unions are continuing.

Ministry Of Defence

East German Army (Atomic Weapons)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if he will give an estimate of the number of atomic weapons now supplied to the East German army.

Her Majesty's Government have no evidence of any atomic weapons having been supplied either to the East German army or to the Soviet army in East Germany.

National Service (Carpenters And Joiners)

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence how many carpenters or joiners, or apprentices in those trades, are at present doing National Service; and what numbers of them are not presently engaged in their trade.

Nature Conservancy

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, if he will ensure that when areas are scheduled for nature conservancy purposes, both the tenant and the proprietor of the land concerned will be consulted before final action; how many cases there have been in which neither have been consulted; and in how many cases of land scheduling no visit to the site in question, prior to scheduling, has been undertaken by either a member of the Nature Conservancy or their permanent staff.

The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949, already ensures that owners and occupiers are consulted before any final action is taken as regards nature reserves declared under Section 19. But there is also a statutory requirement on the Nature Conservancy, under Section 23 of the Act, to notify to the appropriate planning authority any land other than a nature reserve which in their opinion is of special interest by reason of its flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features. The Conservancy have informed local planning authorities in rsepect of 1,314 such sites in Great Britain up to 19th June, 1954.Owing to the large number of sites which had to be notified during the first three years of the Conservancy's existence and to the frequent sub-divisions among many different proprietors and tenants, there were inevitably numerous cases in which the local planning authorities had to be notified without there being previous consultation with the owners or tenants. The number of such cases cannot be given. My noble Friend has, however, impressed upon the Conservancy that in all future cases the tenants and proprietors must be consulted wherever they can be traced before further areas are notified to land planning authorities under Section 23. This, however, may not always be easy, as the Conservancy have great difficulty in tracing all the owners and occupiers and in eliciting replies to correspondence.Decisions to notify local planning authorities under Section 23 of the Act are taken in the light of available scientific evidence, published or unpublished, gathered through many channels. Where this evidence is authoritative and conclusive, a further visit by the Nature Conservancy has not been regarded as necessary. But, in all cases of insufficient evidence or of doubt, visits have been made by members or officers of the Conservancy or by reliable scientists acting on their behalf. Statistics as to the proportion of sites so visitied are not available.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, if he will lay before the House the reports on the discharge by them of their functions required to be presented by the Nature Conservancy to the Lord President of the Council under Section 24 of the National Parks Act, 1949.

Two Reports (House of Commons Papers Nos. 16 and 17) were presented to Parliament on 8th December, 1953. A further report covering the year ending 30th September next will be laid before the House in due course.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, the cost of the new premises of the Nature Conservancy in Belgrave Square; and what is the total number of staff employed by the Nature Conservancy as a whole.

The cost of purchasing the unexpired portions of the two leases for the Nature Conservancy's new premises in Belgrave Square is £27,500, which includes £1,000 for legal expenses and stamp duties. As at 21st June the number of staff employed throughout Great Britain was 108.

Niger Waters (Dutch Engineers' Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the report by the Dutch engineers on the Niger waters has now been printed; and when a copy of this report can be placed in the Library.

The report is not being printed for sale, but copies have been placed in the Library.

Street Collections, Metropolitan Area

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many street collections by means of the sale of flags, flowers, etc., were authorised in the Metropolitan Police area in each of the years 1951, 1952 and 1953 and will be so authorised for the year 1954.

The number of collections authorised in 1951, 1952 and 1953 was 18, 20 and 19, and it is expected that about the same number will be authorised in 1954. In addition, a number of local collections have taken place on two days in each year which were allotted for this purpose.

Royal Air Force (Officers' Pensions)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air when the increases in pensions for a limited number of ex-officers, which the Government have approved, will be paid; and from what date arrears will be paid.

Most of the R.A.F. officers concerned are now receiving the new rates, and the rest soon will be. Arrears are being paid from 1st April, 1954.