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Written Answers

Volume 529: debated on Wednesday 7 July 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 7th July, 1954

Telephone Service

Installation And Maintenance Work


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will employ or allow subscribers to employ approved contractors on telephone installation and maintenance to do specified work in cases where the Post Office staff cannot undertake it within a reasonable time.

It is some time since this matter was examined, but I will look into it again and let my hon. Friend know.



asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the number of applications for telephones outstanding in the Hornchurch urban district, to the nearest convenient date; the date of the application longest outstanding; and the number outstanding for one, two, three, four and five years, respectively.

1,023 lines have been connected during the past 12 months and 1,529 applications were outstanding at 30th June. Of these, 313, 122, 75, 27 and seven have been outstanding for more than one, two, three, four and five years respectively. The earliest application is dated July, 1947.

Television (Interference)


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what instructions have been given to Government Departments to ensure that all vehicles under their control are now fitted with suppressors.

No instructions have been given; but so far back as the spring of 1952 all the Government Departments concerned told us that their vehicles had been, or were being, fitted with suppressors.


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what fresh steps he is taking to prevent interference in television reception around the Waltham wireless station; and, in view of the correspondence sent to him, if he will make a statement.

I am disturbed to find that the trouble has recurred after so many attempts have been made to overcome it. We are going into the matter afresh with the Admiralty, and I will keep my hon. Friend informed of progress.


Parking Place, Islington


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will arrange for the middle of Petherton Road, Islington, to be scheduled as a recognised parking place.

My right hon. Friend has received no application of this kind from the Islington Borough Council, with whom the initiative should rest. I understand some local residents have already complained of cars being parked in the middle of this road.

Bridge, River Tamar


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he has yet considered the report of the technical panel set up in July, 1953, to consider the construction of a bridge over the River Tamar.

New Schemes


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the total number and cost of new commitments for road construction and major improvements that have been entered into to date in fulfilment of his recently-announced roads programme; and on how many work has begun.

In the first quarter of this financial year £1,371,636 of Road Fund money has been committed on 330 new schemes, including 20 for land acquisition and preparatory work on trunk roads. A further £183,115 has been committed towards the extra cost of 106 earlier schemes. We do not keep detailed records of the progress of all these schemes, most of which are on classified roads, but I estimate that over 40 of the new schemes have started.


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when the hon. Member for Clapham will receive a reply to his letter of 17th June as to the representations made, concerning an improvement in the allocation of capital for large road improvements in the London area, by a deputation of Members who discussed this matter with him on 10th May.

Highway Code


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when the new Highway Code will be presented to Parliament.

I regret that I cannot yet give a precise date, but we hope to present it soon.

Civil Aviation

Airline Pilots (Memorandum)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what reply he has made to the memorandum drawn up by a committee presided over by Air Chief Marshal Sir Guy Garrod, Chairman of the Air League, on the future supply of commercial air pilots.

None. A reply to the memorandum must await the outcome of the joint study to which I referred in reply to a Question on this subject by the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner), on 30th June.

Helicopters (Passenger Flights)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will permit single-engined helicopters to fly passenger flights over water for distances not exceeding 10 miles.


River Vessels (Speed Limit)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware of the damage being done to the banks of many of the rivers of which the British Transport Commission is the navigation authority, by the excessive speed of tugs and barges; and whether he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission to take such steps as will ensure that stricter speed limits are introduced.

I do not think this is a problem of such a general character as would justify a general direction. I am glad to say, however, that in the course of a general review of byelaws which the British Transport Commission intends shortly to undertake, it will discuss with representatives of the waterway carriers the whole question of erosion on the River Severn, including the question of the speed limit.

Road Hauliers (Nationalisation Payments)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the total sum still owing to road hauliers as payment for nationalisation; and what rate of interest accrues on it.

The British Transport Commission estimates that at 30th June, 1954, about £2m. remained to be paid. Interest on outstanding compensation accrues at 3 per cent. per annum.

Legislation (Members' Votes)


asked the Prime Minister whether he will introduce legislation to prevent an hon. Member from voting on any Measure which would be to his financial advantage, or the advantage of a company of which he is a stock or share holder, or in connection with which he has a directorship, without first declaring, in writing, to the editor of HANSARD, for publication in the OFFICIAL REPORT, the amount by which he, or his company, will benefit from the proposed legislation.

No. The rules governing Membership are well known and are the outcome of long-established practice.

Africans, Dar-Es-Salaam (Shops)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that shops in Dar-Es-Salaam serve Africans separately from other customers at a hatch or window without their entering the shop; and if he will cause this practice to stop.

No. But there is a system followed in a few grocery shops whereby to avoid congestion domestic servants deliver written orders at a special service hatch and collect the parcels there later. I understand that this system is convenient for everybody and my right hon. Friend has no intention of trying to stop it.


Assistant District Commandant (Conviction)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the result of the prosecution in Kenya of Assistant District Commandant Howell for his part in the incident when Guchu Gaithongo set fire to oil poured on the head of a suspect under interrogation.

He was convicted on two counts of common assault, and fined a total of £20.

Native Children (Malnutrition)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how far the recent influx into some of the native reserves in Kenya has resulted in starvation or malnutrition among the children in these reserves; and whether the supply of maize meal or the capacity to pay for it by those in need is yet exhausted.

There have been no cases of starvation, but in a few areas there have been some indications of malnutrition among children. The Kenya Government, assisted by voluntary agencies, have arranged for such cases to be treated promptly and extra milk and supplementary diets are provided as necessary.There is no shortage of maize meal and where people cannot pay for it from their own resources the children are provided with free food or their parents are given paid employment on reconstruction projects.

Social Welfare Report (Recommendations)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action he has taken upon the findings of the Chinn Report upon Social Welfare in Kenya.

This report, prepared by my right hon. Friend's Adviser on Social Welfare, covered a very wide field, but its main recommendation concerned the setting up of a separate department to control and co-ordinate the many activities in this sphere. The Kenya Government have not up to now felt able to accept this recommendation.In the African reserves this work is carried out under the Provincial Administration and, particularly at the present time, when rehabilitation in the Kikuyu reserves is of such importance, it has been thought inadvisable to change the present organisation.

Development Programme (Policy Statement)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement upon the new development plan issued by the Government of Kenya.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the statement of policy issued by the Kenya Council of Ministers. My right hon. Friend warmly welcomes this progressive statement and he has placed copies of it in the Library so that hon. Members can study it. Some projects to carry out the programme are already in hand and others are being planned, but the rate of progress must, of course, to some extent, depend on the length of the emergency.

Mau Mau Murders


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Europeans and Africans, respectively, have been murdered by Mau Mau terrorists in Kenya since the declaration of the emergency.

Up to 19th June, 24 European civilians and 1,113 African civilians had been murdered by terrorists.


Empire Day Celebrations, Western Region


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the decision of the Western Regional Government of Nigeria not to hold Empire Day celebrations, although upholding the principle and fact of a British Commonwealth of Nations, why the Lieut.-Governor of that region over-ruled the decision.

The Lieut.-Governor did not over-rule the Western Regional Government's decision.

British Official (Corporal Punishment)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the circumstances under which a British official in Nigeria has been ordered corporal punishment; and in what cases corporal punishment is now permitted in Nigeria.

My right hon. Friend has seen the report referred to, but as the accused has appealed against his conviction and sentence I can make no statement at the moment. Magistrates' courts may sentence to whipping any person convicted of any offence for which he is liable to imprisonment for a period of six months or more having regard to the local prevalence of crime or to the antecedents of the offender.Native Authority courts may inflict corporal punishment for offences against native law and custom but such sentences are subject to connrmation by the Emir or by the district officer according to the grade of the court.


Terrorist Murders


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Europeans and Asians, respectively, have been murdered by terrorists in Malaya each year since the outbreak of terrorism began six years ago.

The numbers of European and Asian civilians murdered by terrorists since the outbreak of terrorism in the Federation of Malaya are as follow:

June, 1948 to December, 194962035
January, 1954to May, 1954431

Bath Arang Mines (British Experts)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many mining experts have been sent from this country to the Batu Arang coal mines in Malaya which are in danger of closing down since oil instead of coal is being used on the Government railways; the result of their inquiries into the methods and costs of production; and what consideration was given to the position of the displaced miners.

My right hon. Friend is asking the High Commissioner for this information and will write to the hon. Member when his reply has been received.

Singapore (Students' National Service)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the terms of the settlement with the Singapore students who have been camping out in the school grounds as a protest against their National Service.

There was no question of a settlement between the Government and the students. So far as is known, all the students liable for National Service have now registered.

Admiralty (Requisitioned Properties)


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many properties are still held under requisition by his Department; if he will order a new investigation into the circumstances of each case; and if he will direct that prior consideration be given to the original owner, or owners, whenever a sale is contemplated.

Two hundred and seventy-six properties are still held on requisition by the Admiralty. These requisitions are kept under constant review. Requisitioned property remains vested in the owner, and, therefore, the third part of the Question does not arise.


Derequisitioned Properties, London

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government, in respect of each of the Metropolitan borough councils in the years 1952 and 1953, respectively, how many families occupying requisitioned property and other property, respectively, were granted tenancies in premises belonging to the

Metropolitan Borough CouncilReleased during 1952Released during 1953
PropertiesUnits of AccommodationPropertiesUnits of Accommodation
City of London1411
Bethnal Green7877
St. Marylebone1340826
St. Pancras25442888
Stoke Newington202649117

Repairs And Rents Bill (Information Booklet)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what methods of publicity he proposes to employ in order that the rights of landlords and tenants and the relevant powers and duties of local authorities may be widely known and easily ascertainable when the Housing Repairs and Rents Bill becomes law.

council; and how many requisitioned premises, vacated as a result, were de-requisitioned.

I regret that the information requested in the first part of the Question is not available and cannot readily be obtained.The following statement gives the number of properties released by each Metropolitan borough in 1952 and 1953 respectively and the number of units of accommodation that they represent:answers for landlords and tenants on the main provisions of Part II of the Bill. A poster will also be issued for use by local authorities advertising the booklet and showing where information can be obtained.Local authorities will be urged to exercise to the full their powers of giving information on the Rent Acts, and I shall give them and voluntary bodies such as the Citizen's Advice Bureaux, who run information centres, all the help I can.


Town Development Act (Application)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the Clyde Valley Regional Planning Advisory Committee to report to him their views on proposals that the Town Development Act, 1952, should be applied to Scotland.

I am unable to give any accurate forecast at present. I understand that it will be some time before the Committee can report on this question.

Houses, East Kilbride (Dampness)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that tenants of the East Kilbride Development Corporation in Le Froy Gardens, East Kilbride, continue to complain of dampness in the Lawrence houses in that district; and what remedial measures are now being undertaken.

Tenants of houses of this type in this locality have complained about dampness due to condensation in larders. The Development Corporation had decided upon certain remedial measures, but the local Residents' Association made alternative proposals, which the Corporation are now considering.

Village Schools, Lanarkshire (Closing)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland which village schools have been closed in Lanarkshire since 1945.

The schools are Upper Duneaton, Forrestfield, Northrigg and Whitecleugh.

Trade And Commerce

Imported Apples And Pears

asked the President of the Board of Trade why the quota for imported apples and pears has been increased for the period 1st July to 31st December, 1954, compared with the same period last year.

The quotas for imports of apples and pears in both the first and second halves of this year were increased as one part of our relaxation of the restrictions on imports from Western Europe. Owing to our balance of payments position, this relaxation could not in all cases take the form of complete removal of quantitative restrictions but in view of the importance of this trade to some of our fellow members of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation, we decided that the right course was to increase the quotas for these fruits.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give consideration to amending helpfully to home producers the tariff on imported apples and pears for the year 1955.

The application referred to in the answer which I gave my hon. Friend on 3rd February is still being considered, and I cannot anticipate the result.

Exports To Canada

asked the President of the Board of Trade what he did in Canada to encourage imports from the United Kingdom generally and of engineering products and pedigree livestock in particular.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt) on 6th July. My right hon. Friend did not have any occasion to speak about our exports of pedigree livestock to Canada, but I mentioned the difficulties affecting this trade in the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 29th June.

Supply Of Buildings, Greater London (Report)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has yet received the report of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission on the supply of buildings in the Greater London area.

Yes. My right hon. Friend received this Report on 19th June, 1954. When it has been printed it will be laid before Parliament in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948.