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Written Answers

Volume 531: debated on Monday 26 July 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 26th July, 1954

Pensions And National Insurance



asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many widows are receiving 10s. per week pension; how many of them contribute 4s. 5d. weekly for an insurance stamp; and what steps are being taken to relieve these widows of this liability.

About 170,000 widows are receiving this pension. There is no record to show how many are paying contributions as non-employed persons; those whose income is under£2 a week can already claim exemption.

Limbless Ex-Service Men


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance when he hopes to have the Report of the Rock Carling Committee.


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what reply he has given to the British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association claim, details of which he is aware, expressed at its recent annual conference, for a special allowance for the ageing limbless ex-Service man.

Anglo-French Relations


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, having regard to the declarations made by the leaders of the French and British Governments during the recent celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, what specific action it is proposed to take to improve the cultural, economic and defensive ties between the two countries.

Although the closest ties already exist in the spheres mentioned between the United Kingdom and France, Her Majesty's Government would be ready to examine any specific suggestions which hon. Members may wish to put forward for improvements.

Emperor Of Ethiopia (Visit To United Kingdom)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what official arrangements will be made for Members of Parliament to meet the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia when he makes his official visit to this country next November.

Though final details of the programme have not yet been settled, it is hoped that Members of Parliament will be afforded opportunities to meet the Emperor of Ethiopia during his visit to this country.

Anglo-Iranian Oil Co (Negotiations)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the negotiation between the Persian Government and the international consortium of eight companies formed to market Persian oil.

Substantial progress has been made, and I am hopeful that agreement in principle upon all matters under discussion will be reached shortly.

Un Trusteeship Council (Hydrogen Bomb Tests)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how the British delegate to the United Nations Trusteeship Council voted at the sitting called to consider a petition from the Marshall Islands on resolutions which sought to ban further hydrogen bomb tests in the Eniwetok-Bikini proving grounds and to outlaw further tests pending an International Court of Justice ruling on their legality.

A resolution proposed by the Soviet delegate in the Trusteeship Council which called on the United States to cease from testing hydrogen bombs within the Pacific Islands Trust Territory. and also one proposed by the Indian delegate recommending that no more such tests be carried out pending an opinion from the International Court of Justice as to the legality of such tests within the Trust Territory, were rejected by the Trusteeship Council. In both cases the United Kingdom delegate voted with the majority. The resolution which he sponsored with the French and Belgian delegates took full account of the islanders' petition and inter alia recommended that if the United States considered it necessary in the interests of world peace and security to conduct further nuclear experiments in the Trust Territory, it should take such precautions as would ensure that no inhabitants of the territory were again endangered, including those precautionary measures requested by the petitioners. This resolution was passed by the Council by nine votes (Australia, Belgium, China, El Salvador, France, Haiti, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and United States of America) to three votes (India, Syria and Soviet Union).

Broadcasting, Wales (Vhf Stations)


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General what sites in North Wales were included by the British Broadcasting Corporation in their application for very high frequency stations.

In the full B.B.C. plan of development for V.H.F., three stations for Wales were included, one of these being for North Wales. The station for West Wales has been approved, but my noble Friend has asked the Television Advisory Committee to make recommendations about the remaining proposals.

British Army



asked the Secretary of State for War what decision has been reached in his discussions with the Secretary of State for Air on the Army's need for helicopters.

Northern Command Tattoo, Leeds

asked the Secretary of State for War the total cost and receipts of the Northern Command Tattoo held in Leeds from 28th June to 3rd July, 1954.

These figures are not yet available and are, in any case, due to be accounted for in private not public accounts. The financial interest of my right hon. Friend is to ensure that no additional expense of any kind falls on public funds as a result of military participation in the Tattoo. This condition has been accepted by the organisers and will be fulfilled. I understand that should a deficit arise there are private funds available to meet it.

Training (Constructional Work)

asked the Secretary of State for War in how many cases in 1952 and 1953, respectively, Army units, as an exercise, constructed roads and bridges on private estates; and if he will give the mileage of roads and the number of bridges so constructed.

In 1952 one bridge was repaired and about three miles of track improved. In 1953 three bridges were built and about 150 yards of track constructed.


Parking, Westminster (Memorandum)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what reply he has sent to the memorandum submitted to him by the Westminster Chamber of Commerce on parking in London.

We have informed the Westminster Chamber of Commerce that their memorandum is being carefully considered.

Abnormal Loads


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how soon he expects to be in a position to announce the results of his review of the procedure for carrying abnormally heavy and outsize loads by road; and what outside bodies he is consulting on this problem.

I have nothing at present to add to the statement which my right hon. Friend made last week in reply to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell).

Classified Roads, Wales (Expenditure)

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the total expenditure on trunk roads, Classes I, II and III roads, for each of the county councils in Wales for the last financial year; what was the amount of grant allocated; and what are the estimated figures for the current year.

CountyTrunk Roads Approved expenditure (all met by Road Fund)Class IClass IIClass III
Approved expenditureGrantApproved expenditureGrantApproved expenditureGrant

I regret that the desired statistics of total expenditure in 1953–54 are not yet available pending the receipt of annual returns from local authorities. I will send the information to the hon. Member as soon as I can. Meanwhile, I give below figures relating to approved expenditure on, and grants for, maintenance and minor improvement in respect of last year and the current year.I cannot make reliable estimates of total expenditure, or of total grants for major improvement and new construction, in the current year; nor would figures relating to such grants be comparable with the figures relating to expenditure since grants are made towards the total cost of schemes, some of which will be spread over several years. I can, however, if desired, let the hon. Member have such grant figures for 1953–55.


Land Tribunals (Procedure)


asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps he is taking to ensure that members of the Lands Tribunal hearing appeals against requisitioning or compulsory purchase by his Department are validly appointed.

In the light of the judgment in Woollett v. the Minister, further instructions have been issued to the officers concerned to ensure that there are no grounds for doubt about the validity of future appointments of members of tribunals.


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he proposes to appeal against the High Court decision in the case of Mrs. H. A. Woollett.

71 and 72.

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) what steps he will take to ensure that all appeals to agricultural land tribunals shall be considered separately if the appellants so desire;(2) what investigation he will order into the procedure of agricultural committees and agricultural land tribunals in the light of the recent case of Mrs. Woollett, of South Woodham, Essex.

The Agriculture (Procedure of Agricultural Land Tribunals) Order, 1948, gives discretion to the chairman of an agricultural land tribunal to deal at one hearing with references required by two or more persons in relation to a single proposal or decision of the Minister. Chairmen are experienced lawyers appointed by the Lord Chancellor, and I do not think it would be desirable to interfere with their discretion in this matter. The case referred to was in no way concerned with the procedure of county agricultural executive committees.



asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will give details of the recent spread of myxomatosis among rabbits both North and South of the Border.

Since the reply given to my hon. and gallant Friend on 15th July, isolated outbreaks of the disease have been confirmed for the first time in Hertfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Denbighshire and Merionethshire. So far as is known, the only outbreak in Scotland is that in Kincardineshire. In most of the areas affected the disease appears to be spreading slowly.

Home Department

Betting And Lotteries Legislation


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the game of "roll-a-penny" has been held to be illegal, but that there appears to be some doubt or ignorance on this question; and what steps it is proposed to take to clarify or amend the law relating to gaming, wagering and lotteries.

I am aware that the law about the playing of games at fairgrounds presents certain difficulties, but, on the question of its amendment, I can add nothing to the reply I gave to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) on 8th July.

Cruelty To Animals (Myxomatosis)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is now prepared to introduce legislation against people who deliberately spread disease amongst wild animals.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture on 22nd July to a Question by the hon. Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery).

Hong Kong (Sentenced Service Men)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Service men are serving sentences in prisons in Hong Kong; what is the length of sentence; and in how many cases has flogging been administered as part of the sentence.

pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th June, 1954; Vol. 529, Col. 89], supplied the following further information:On 12th July, there were 16 Service men (15 Army and one Navy) serving sentences in prisons in Hong Kong. The lengths of sentences are: 2 of 3½years; 3 of 3 years; 2 of 2½years; 1 of 13 months; 2 of 12 months; the remaining 6 of between 4 and 9 months. One of the 16 Service men referred to above has received corporal punishment as part of the sentence. He was sentenced on a charge of assault with intent to rob, and wounding, to three years' hard labour and eight strokes of the cane on the first charge, and one year's hard labour concurrently on the second charge. An appeal was dismissed.

Local Government

House Purchase (Loans)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many local authorities have agreed to exercise the powers contained in the appendices to Circular No. 42/54 and to guarantee loans for the acquisition of houses and flats; and how many have refused.

Three hundred and thirty-two local authorities in England and Wales have agreed to help would-be house purchasers who cannot find the deposit ordinarily required by a building society by adopting the two guarantee schemes explained in the appendices to Circular 42/54. Thirty-seven authorities have said that they do not propose to operate the schemes, but I have asked them to reconsider the matter and hope that they will change their minds. As the circular was sent to local authorities only just over two months ago, I think the figures I have given are satisfactory. In the autumn I hope to hear from more authorities that they have decided to use the two guarantee schemes to help men in the£11 to£14 a week group who want to own their own houses.

Abattoir, Swindon (Complaint)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will take steps to abate the nuisance caused day and night by the noise made by animals confined at Swindon abattoir.

New Towns (Ex-Service Men)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many ex-Service men evicted from married quarters have been given accommodation in new towns since 1st January, 1954.

Information as to the number of ex-Service men formerly occupying married quarters and now housed in new towns is not available.

Ministry Of Food

Lcc Restaurants (Discussions)

asked the Minister of Food for a statement on his discussions with the London County Council on the future of its restaurants service.

These discussions are still proceeding, and it would be premature to make any statement at this stage.

Ministry (Future)

asked the Minister of Food whether he will now make a statement on the future of his Department.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 8th July.

Legal Aid And Advice Act

asked the Attorney-General whether he is now able to state when the remainder of the Legal Aid and Advice Act will be brought into operation.


School Building

asked the Minister of Education the number of schools which were under construction on 1st October, 1951, and which have not yet been completed.

Local Authority Expenditure

asked the Minister of Education the expenditure of local educa-

Expenditure of Local Education Authorities Percentage of (1) met from rates Percentage of (1) met from Ministry of Education grant (1) expressed as a percentage of the gross national product

tion authorities for the years 1938–39 and 1952–53, the percentage of such expenditure met from local rates and from government grant, and the total expenditure in each year as a percentage of the national income, respectively.