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Written Answers

Volume 531: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 27th July, 1954

Ministry Of Works

Atomic Power (International Development)

8.

asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that the Soviet Government have claimed that they have completed the first atomic power station; how far this country has progressed in this field; and whether he will approach the Soviet Government with a request that they should share their knowledge with Britain on a reciprocity basis.

I have seen the statement referred to, which clearly relates to a pilot plant. United Kingdom effort in this field is being directed primarily to the erection of the full-scale plant now being built at Calder Hall.With regard to the last part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the Prime Minister's expression of regret in answer to Questions on 20th July, that the Russians have not agreed to join in President Eisenhower's scheme for the international development of the peaceful uses of atomic energy, and my right hon. Friend's statement that the invitation remains open.

Palace Of Westminster (Car Parking)

asked the Minister of Works if, in order to secure the better parking of cars in the Commons Court of the Palace of Westminster, he will have white markings made for individual cars.

Control of the parking of cars in the Commons Court is a matter for the authorities of the Palace of Westminster. I understand that, in the interests of fire protection, the Commons Court should be kept as clear as possible of parked vehicles, but if it is found that places can safely be allocated for the parking of one or two cars they will be marked out.

Research

Torry Station, Aberdeen

12.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what research work is being held up at the Torry Research Station, Aberdeen, on account of insufficient staff and inadequate buildings.

The work we should like to expand at Torry Research Station includes studies of marine bacteriology, smoke curing, hygiene of fish handling and freezing.

New Ship Tank (National Physical Laboratory)

11.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, whether he will take steps to expedite the construction of the National Physical Laboratory's new ship tank.

Construction could be expedited only at the cost of delaying some other item, and my noble Friend would not consider that justified.

Department Of Scientific And Industrial Research (Building)

13.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, whether it is intended to complete in five years the building programme of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research as stated in 1946.

It is planned to spend about£6 million on building during the five financial years 1954–59. The greater part of the programme envisaged in 1946 should be completed by the end of that period.

Employment

Catering Establishments (Tips)

26.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on his discussions with representatives of the trade unions, employers, and independent members of the Licensed Residential Establishments Wages Board, concerning the question of tips being regarded as wages; and what his proposals are in regard to the proposed wages order.

At their request, I received a deputation from the workers' side of the Licensed Residential Establishment and Licensed Restaurant Wages Board on 6th July, to discuss the "tipping" provisions of the Board's proposals. I subsequently saw representatives of the employers' side and the independent members.I have given the most careful consideration to all the views expressed, and have decided that there are no circumstances which would justify me in referring back the proposals to the Board for reconsideration. I shall, therefore, make an order to give effect to them as soon as practicable.

Remploy Factories, Wales

asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons employed at each of the Remploy factories in Wales; and what increases or decreases there have been in the numbers employed, as compared with two years ago.

The number of severely disabled persons employed at each of the Remploy factories in Wales at the 25th May, 1954 (the latest date for which the information is available), and the increases or decreases as compared with the numbers employed two years ago are:

Name of FactoryNumber of severely disabled persons employed at 25.5.54Increase (+) or decrease (-) as compared with the number at 19.5.52
Abertillery72+14
Blackwood58-8
Bridgend177+6
Brynamman56+3
Merthyr Tydfil119-7
Neath44+14
Pentre62+1
Porth86-9
Swansea106-1
Tonyrefail79-1
Treforest123-19
(includes 14 homeworkers)
Wrexham62-2
Ystradgynlais45-8
Total1,089-15

Trevor-Llithfaen

31.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the actual and prospective unemployment among the granite workers of the Trevor-Llithfaen district of Caernarvonshire; and, in particular, what steps he proposes to take to remedy the situation.

Seventeen granite workers are registered as unemployed at Pwllheli Employment Exchange, and it is expected that a further number will be discharged from two quarries within the next few weeks. My local officers are doing what they can to find other employment for the redundant workers, but I fear that immediate prospects are not good. My right hon. and learned Friend is in touch with his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, who will do what he can to provide additional employment opportunities in the area.

Scotland

Agriculture (Government Policy)

51.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a statement about the Government's policy for agriculture in Scotland.

The Government's general policy for agriculture is laid down in the White Paper on the Annual Review, 1954 (Cmd. 9104), and my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State reviewed the Scottish position in the recent debate on agriculture in the Scottish Grand Committee. There is nothing I can usefully add at the present time.

Monkland Canal (Drowning Accidents)

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now replied to the representations made to him by Coatbridge Town Council concerning the Monkland Canal.

Investigation of a similar problem in Glasgow showed conclusively that the only effective way of preventing drowning accidents in this canal is to fill it in. That is a matter for consideration by the British Transport Commission, the town council and any other interests concerned. I am bringing the town council's representations to the commission's notice.

Youth Employment, Airdrie And Coatbridge

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he is taking in reply to the representations made to him from Coatbridge and Airdrie town councils, and from the Airdrie and Coatbridge Area Youth Employment Committee, concerning the nature of emplowment available to the youth of the area.

I am consulting my right hon. Friends the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Labour and National Service about these representations, and shall let the hon. Member know the outcome as soon as possible.

Drainage Schemes (Discussions)

54.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects agreement by the interested parties concerned so that he can proceed with legislation for the purpose of major drainage schemes in Scotland.

Discussions with the interests concerned are still going on, but I cannot say when an agreed solution is likely to be found for the difficult problems involved.

Cowal Ari-Sawmilling Co Ltd

55.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the name of the private company incorporated last year in Argyllshire with the financial assistance of the Forestry Commission; what proportion of the capital has been advanced in the form of debentures by the Forestry Commission; and who is the independent chairman.

The company is the Cowal Ari-Sawmilling Co. Ltd.; 50 per cent. of the capital has been advanced in debentures by the Forestry Commission. The independent chairman is Mr. J. M. Turner, chartered accountant.

New School Places

56.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many new school places were provided by local authorities in each year from 1946 to 1953; and how many are expected to be provided in the current financial year.

The following table shows the number of new places provided in grant-aided and approved schools in each of the calendar years from 1946 to 1953:

19461,210
19471,835
19485,075
19499,260
195016,294
195118,205
195214,235
195326,954
The figures include a few places provided in grant-aided schools not managed by education authorities, but exclude places provided by the Ministry of Works under the H.O.R.S.A. scheme. About 70,000 school places are now under construction, but it is too early yet to say accurately how many of these will be provided in the financial year 1954–55.

Industrial Estates Ltd (Factories)

57.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in which areas Industrial Estates Limited are now building; at what maximum rent, per square foot, the resultant factory space will be let; and how this latter figure compared with the minimum annual rent per square foot which could be charged by the Glenrothes Development Corporation at the present time.

Scottish Industrial Estates, Ltd., are at present building factories at Greenock, East Kilbride, Thornliebank, Newhouse, Queenslie, Kilmarnock and the Vale of Leven. The rent at which they will be let cannot be calculated until their completion but will probably be about 1s. 6d. per square foot. For similar accommodation provided by Glenrothes Development Corporation the economic rent, which is the rent the corporation would normally expect to receive, would probably be about 4s. per square foot.

Specialist Consultant Facilities, Dalkeith

58.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consider appointing specialist consultants under the National Health Service in the growing districts of Dalkeith, Easthouses, Newtongrange and Gorebridge.

The specialist services based on Edinburgh hospitals cover the whole of the areas mentioned, and the usual facilities for domiciliary consultation are available for those who are unfit to travel to hospitals in Edinburgh.

Cortisone

59.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when cortisone will be available in sufficient quantity to allow sufferers from rheumatism and arthritis to be freely treated in Scotland.

Supplies are increasing, but I am advised that this is a potent drug which can have harmful effects and that experience of its use is limited. I cannot at present forecast when it may become generally available without restriction.

Conspiracy Trial, Edinburgh (Transcript)

60.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will arrange for copies of the conspiracy trial held in Edinburgh last October to be placed in the Scottish National Library.

It would be contrary to practice to place in the National Library of Scotland transcripts of the proceedings in criminal trials.

Psychiatric Research

62.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent on psychiatric research in each of the last two years, in Scotland and in the Crichton Royal, respectively.

Specific allocations from National Health Service funds for research projects in this field amounted to£326 in 1952–53 and to£2,329 in 1953–54. The figure for 1953–54 includes£578 for the Crichton Royal. Complete figures are not available for expenditure from endowments and other sources, but the board of management for the Crichton Royal informs me that expenditure from its endowment funds was£1,416 in 1952–53 and£4,966 in 1953–54.

63.

asked the asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what provision he will make for the continuation and extension of psychiatric research at the Crichton Royal, Dumfries.

I am not aware of any difficulty. In addition to the provision for research at present made from Exchequer funds and to the resources of the hospital's own endowments, the Hospital Endowments Research Trust will shortly be in a position to provide financial assistance for suitable projects.

Local Authorities (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the expenditure of local authorities in Scotland, other than out of loans for capital works, under the usual headings for the year 1952–53 ended 15th May.

The estimated expenditure of local authorities in Scotland, other than out of loans for capital works, for the year ended 15th May, 1953, is as follows:

£ thousand
Housing23,067
Revenue-producing undertakings17,595
All other purposes92,900
Total133,562
Details of the expenditure by services are not yet available.

Eglinton Hotels Ltd (Claims Hearing)

asked the Lord Advocate (1) if he is aware that a tribunal hearing claims by Eglinton Hotels did not examine evidence of contractors who carried out rehabilitations, while evidence of the War Office representative received unqualified consideration; and if he will consider a rehearing of this case;(2) who were the members of the tribunal which heard the case of Eglinton Hotels, Scotland, held in 1952; and what knowledge or practical experience of the hotel industry each of the members had;(3) if he is aware that during the proceedings of the tribunal which heard the case of Eglinton Hotels, Scotland, in 1952, statements of costs were only perfunctorily considered; and if he will therefore now have the case reconsidered.

The claims by Eglinton Hotels, Limited, were heard in 1952 in Edinburgh by a tribunal appointed under the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939. The Members were:

  • Arthur Moon, Esq., Q.C. (Chairman),
  • The Honourable Lord Sorn,
  • The Honourable W. Holland-Hibbert, and
  • Ian W. Macdonald, Esq., C.A.
All four members were well qualified to determine the issues. The Eglinton Hotels, Limited, were represented by counsel, and had every opportunity to substantiate their claims. The decision of the tribunal is not subject to review, and I have no power to order a rehearing.

Roads, Scotland

Road, Kilmuir (Report)

61.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware of the bad condition of the road from Dunans township, Kilmuir, to the main road; and what he proposes to do to improve conditions.

Yes. A report on the improvements required and the cost involved is being obtained. I will write to my noble Friend as soon as I am in a position to do so.

Crofter Counties (Grants)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the total of normal grants, over and above special grants promised by this Government and its predecessor, for road repair, improvement and construction in the crofting counties this year.

It is estimated that normal grants for 1954–55 for maintenance, and improvements of roads in the seven crofter counties, including township roads together with expenditure authorised on trunk roads will amount to£1,016,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how much of the£750,000 special grant for Highland roads remains unspent and unallotted, respectively.

Total expenditure will not be known until outstanding accounts are submitted. Expenditure to date on schemes started under the programme amounts to approximately£400,000. Two schemes which it was intended to include in the programme, at a cost as then estimated of£323,000, were deferred. These works, the Borgie-Naver Bridge and St. Catherine's-Strachur roads, are now in hand in accordance with my announcement of 14th July, 1953.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the total extra grant for road construction and repair which the Government have promised for roads in the crofting counties, over and above normal grants, and the£750,000 previously promised; and how much of this has been allotted.

The special allocation, announced in July, 1953, is of Government expenditure totalling£1 million. Proposals have been made for Government expenditure of£979,375, on present Estimates.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the total amounts allotted to each of the crofting counties for roads from the£750,000 special grant, from the extra grant promised by this Government and by way of normal road grants, respectively.

The following table gives the information required:

£750,000 additional expenditure (1950)£1m. special allocation of Government expenditure (1953)Normal grants 1953–54*
£££
Argyll28,093403,512209,111
Caithness7,51845,910
Inverness111,658325,000261,619
Orkney5,3854,83830,711
Ross and Cromarty218,57348,463189,068
Sutherland28,104192,854106,183
Zetland27,2574,70863,571
Total426,588979,375906,173
* The figures for individual counties for the current year cannot be given, as schemes for township roads are submitted during the year. The total grant for the year is estimated at£1,016,000.

Ministry Of Defence

Bacteriological Experiments (Results)

64.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence whether the results of the recent experiments in bacteriological warfare in which H.M.S. "Lomond" took part have now been considered by his Department; and with what result.

Suez Canal Base

65.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence the estimated cost of building and equipping alternative establishments in the Middle East on evacuation from the Suez Canal Zone; and the estimated value of the stores, equipment and vehicles which will have to be abandoned there and the estimated cost of their replacement.

The cost would depend on the size and disposition of the forces to be redeployed, on which I am not in a position to make any statement. It is not intended to abandon valuable stores, equipment or vehicles in the Canal Zone.

66.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence the annual cost of maintaining the present forces in the Suez Canal Zone; and what estimate he has made of the saving which would accrue to the United Kingdom Exchequer and to the balance of payments, respectively, if one of the divisions stationed in the Canal Zone were brought back to the United Kingdom.

The annual cost of maintaining the present forces in Egypt is about£55 million. In present circumstances the buildings and installations in the Zone are not being adequately maintained and are, therefore, deteriorating. If all the forces in the Zone were brought back to the United Kingdom there would be a saving of about£10 million a year to the Exchequer and of a similar amount to the balance of payments. If one division were brought home the saving would be roughly proportionate, but it is impossible to give a precise figure.In addition, savings will accrue in so far as the scope of our overseas commitments affects the size of the Armed Forces; just as in the longer term redeployment may result in economies which it is at present impossible to estimate.

67.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence whether his attention has been drawn to the memorandum by the War Office annexed to the Seventh Report of the Select Committee on Estimates, 1952–53, to the effect that the estimated cost of building a base equivalent to that in the Suez Canal Zone would be between£200 million and£300 million and that the value of the stores, equipment and vehicles was approximately£210 million; and if he will give comparable figures for an up-to-date estimate.

There has been no change in the estimated cost of building an equivalent base. The value of stores, equipment and vehicles is somewhat less, as stocks have been run down since the previous estimate was prepared.There is no intention of providing a base of the same size elsewhere in the Middle East, nor is it expected that valuable stores will be abandoned.

Service Widows (Additional Benefits)

70.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence what steps he proposes to take to ensure that no Service man's widow whose husband's death was due to service, receives a smaller total award from the State than she would have received if her husband's death had not been so due.

This anomaly arises where the widow, when in receipt of a "war widow's" pension, is debarred under the relevant rules both from a "Service" pension which she would otherwise have received in recognition of her husband's long service, and from a National Insurance widow's pension which she would otherwise have received in virtue of his insurance contributions.With the recent increases in widows' "Service" pensions, which had effect from 1st December, 1952, cases can occur in which the widow's "Service" and National Insurance pensions together may exceed the "war widow's" pension.The following additional widows' benefits are now being introduced.(1) In future, the receipt of a "war widow's" pension will not be a complete bar to the receipt of a pension in respect of the husband's service; instead, where the widow is qualified for a "Service" pension, a pension on the scale below will be given in addition to the "war widow's" pension. This provision is introduced as an integral part of the Forces Family Pensions Scheme (Cmd. 8741) and will apply where the husband's death occurred on or after 1st September, 1950.

Widows
p.a.
£
Field Marshal (or equivalent)135Officers on permanent commissions.
General (or equivalent)125
Lieut.-General (or equivalent)115
Major-General (or equivalent)105
Brigadier (or equivalent)95
Colonel (or equivalent)85
Lieut.-Colonel (or equivalent)75
Major (or equivalent)65
Captain/Lieutenant/Senior Commissioned Officer (Navy) (or equivalent)55
Commissioned Officer (Navy)45
Pilot Officer (Branch List) (R.A.F.)
Warrant Officer, Class I (or equivalent)40
Weekly
Warrant Officer, Class II (or equivalent)—
37 years' service12s.
32 years' service11s.
27 years' service10s.
22 years' service9s.
Staff Sergeant (or equivalent)—
37 years' service11s.
32 years' service10s.
27 years' service9s.
22 years' service8s.
Sergeant (or equivalent)—
37 years' service10s.
32 years' service9s.
27 years' service8s.
Corporal or Private (or equivalent)—
37 years' service9s.
32 years' service8s.
Each Child
Officers£15 p.a.
Warrant Officer, Class I
Warrant Officer, Class II, and below3s. weekly
Arrears will be paid back to 1st December, 1952, or to the date from which the "Service" pension would have been payable, if later.Although these pensions will be awarded in recognition of the husband's service, they will have the incidental effect of removing the anomaly referred to.(2) A few "war widows" whose husbands died before 1st September, 1950, may be in the anomalous position referred to. In these cases the Service Department concerned will make an award equal to the amount by which the widow is, from time to time, out of pocket through having a "war widow's" pension instead of "Service" and National Insurance pensions. Arrears will be paid back to 1st December, 1952, the date on which the anomaly arose.All these awards will he made automatically by the Service Departments without application by the widows.

Anglo-Us Co-Operation

69.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, following the missions of the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Supply to the United States of America, what steps are to be taken to avoid duplication in defence equipment, particularly guided weapons, and to strengthen scientific and military co-operation between the two countries.

Arrangements have long existed for exchange of information with the United States on the development of defence equipment and for the pooling of effort wherever practicable. It is hoped that these arrangements will be further strengthened by the visits of my noble Friend and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply. Further comment on my noble Friend's visit must await his return.I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply hopes to make a statement before the House rises on co-operation in development of guided weapons.

Regular Recruits (Enlistment)

71.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence the number of Regular recruits enlisted in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, during the period 1st January, 1954, to 30th June, 1954, together with the comparable figures for 1953.

The number is as follows:

1st JANUARY–30th JUNE, 1953
Royal NavyArmyAir ForceTotal
Men5,26422,17617,02644,466
Women8261,7601,4694,055
1st JANUARY–30th JUNE, 1954
Royal NavyArmyAir ForceTotal
Men4,60819,66615,72740,001
Women8081,1851,1243,117

British Army

Constructional Work

72.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, from time to time, he will make available in the Library of the House and to local authorities who may be concerned lists showing the present and prospective location of military units prepared to make or mend roads or bridges free of charge.

No. As I have stated in reply to previous Questions, the Army can undertake very few tasks of this kind and then usually only minor ones.

Personal Cases

73.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that 23202942 Signalman P. Miles was passed as Grade I by the Brighton Medical Board on 30th April, 1954; why he has been notified that his 22 years' Regular engagement is being determined on the ground of medical unfitness after only one month's service; and what compensation he will receive.

Signalman Miles injured his right hand when he was four and he had considerable difficulty in training. It was decided as a result of a medical board and two specialist examinations that, although his hand is still useful to him in his civil work, he is not fit for military service. I am sorry that this decision had to be taken but I cannot accept, on the facts as I know them, that he has any claim to compensation.

80.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that a constituent of the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, who was born in Southern Ireland but lives in England and has volunteered for military service has been refused permission to be a cypher clerk; to what extent this is customary; and what other branches of the Army Forces are closed to those born in Southern Ireland.

If my hon. Friend will let me have particulars of his constituent, I will look into the reason for his not being accepted for this type of work.

81.

asked the Secretary of State for War why Lance-Corporal Hooker, of whom he has particulars, was reported to his parents as on the danger list when only on the seriously-ill list; why urgent letters from his hospital in Germany to his parents, passed through the War Office and took five or six days to reach Brighton; and why, in view of his parents anxiety to see him, nobody at the War Office knew to what hospital in what part of England he was to be flown until the day after he had already arrived.

I am sorry that I have not yet been able to go fully into these three questions. I hope, however, to write to my hon. Friend very shortly.

Household Cavalry Sentries (Saluting)

74.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the order that sentries mounted by the Household Cavalry must salute all civilians wearing bowler hats and carrying umbrellas was issued with his knowledge and consent.

Under Queen's Regulations soldiers salute all commissioned officers whom they know to be such, whether in uniform or not. No order in the terms of the hon. Member's Question has been issued.

Balaclava Centenary Ceremonies, Skail And Dornoch

75.

asked the Secretary of State for War why the date of the August centenary celebration at Skail and Dornoch of the Thin Red Line, 93rd Sutherland Highlanders at Balaclava, remains unknown whilst the dates of the celebrations at Stirling, London and Glasgow in October have been arranged and published; and if he will expedite the fixing of the date in August so that the descendants of the men who fought at Balaclava who live in Caithness and Sutherland will receive reasonable notice of this event.

It has been necessary to find the most suitable date for the members of the regimental association. The ceremonies are now likely to be held on 26th August at about 12.30 p.m. at Skail and at about 5.30 p.m. at Dornoch.

Northern Ireland

76.

asked the Secretary of State for War the names of the regiments or units and the approximate number of troops at present stationed in Northern Ireland.

No. It is not the practice to give these details for particular garrisons.

77.

asked the Secretary of State for War what regimental units from Northern Ireland have served overseas since 1945; and in what theatres.

Details of the service of the existing Regular regimental units outside Northern Ireland since 1945 are as follows:

The 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards

  • England, Germany, the Middle East and Korea.

The 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars

  • England, Germany and Korea.

The 1st Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

  • England, the Far East, Jamaica, the Middle East and East Africa.

The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

  • England and the Middle East.

The 1st Battalion, The Royal Ulster Rifles

  • England, Austria, the Middle East, the Far East and Korea.

The 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Fusiliers

  • England, Germany, Gibraltar, the Middle East and Korea.

Brigadiers (Pension Qualifications)

78.

asked the Secretary of State for War how many years a brigadier must serve in Her Majesty's Forces before being entitled to retire on pension.

To get his full pension, a brigadier must have given 28 years' service, have had at least two years in the rank unless he is being invalided, and, if retiring voluntarily, be within two years of his compulsory retiring age. If he goes earlier, he gets a reduced award. The minimum service qualifying an officer of any rank for retired pay is 20 years or, if the officer is invalided, 10 years.

Kosher Cook, Brighton (Training Call-Up)

79.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, in view of the protests and appeals made to him by the Chief Rabbi of Brighton, the Jewish Ex-Servicemen's Association and the London head offices of the British Travel Association, he will now reconsider his decision concerning the calling up of Mr. Webber, a kosher cook of the Beach Hotel, Brighton, for annual training over the August Bank Holiday; and whether he will defer the date till later in the year, or since, in spite of the publicity of this case over many weeks and the efforts made by the hotel owner, an alternative kosher cook has not been found for this period, he will, at least, let Mr. Webber remain at the hotel for one of the two weeks, preferably the Bank Holiday week.

No. My right hon. Friend gave most careful consideration to this case before deciding that Mr. Webber must go to camp.

Trade And Commerce

Dollar Goods (Import Restrictions)

82.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what trades, in addition to the fresh fruit trade, are being subjected, at the present time, to complete prohibition of imports from dollar sources; and whether, at an early date, he will review the whole range of dollar food imports so as to spread the restrictions as fairly as possible between the various trades concerned.

Apart from purchases under the token import scheme and the Mutual Security Act, we cannot at present afford to import most manufactured consumer goods and many foodstuffs from the dollar area. Our import restrictions are subject to continuous review, so as to ensure that our limited dollar resources are used to best advantage.

Monopolies Commission (Report)

83.

asked the President of the Board of Trade when he anticipates that he will receive a report from the Monopolies Commission with regard to the reference made to them under Section 15 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act in December, 1952; and whether, in view of the time which has since elapsed, he will call for interim reports on some of the particular questions contained in that reference.

I cannot say when the Commission is likely to report. It is for the Commission itself to decide, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the form in which it will make its report.

East-West Trade (Strategic Controls Agreement)

84.

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a statement on the relaxation of controls on East-West trade.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made yesterday by my right hon. Friend.

Film Production (Entertainments Duty)

85.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he will take to ensure that an adequate portion of the recent entertainments tax concession is devoted to promoting the British film-producing industry.

As the hon. Member knows, representatives of the various sections of the industry have been discussing among themselves how the benefit of the recent concession should be divided between exhibitors and the British Film Production Fund. My right hon. Friend is now considering the replies of the four associations to the letter to which he referred in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) on 22nd July, 1954.

National Film Finance Corporation (Chairman)

86.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is in a position to make a statement about the new company which is to be set up to continue the distribution functions hitherto discharged by the British Lion Film Corporation.

The composition of the board has not yet been settled as there are a number of complicated issues still to be resolved by the National Film Finance Corporation and the receiver. My right hon. Friend has, however, agreed with the corporation that in principle it is desirable that its chairman should also be chairman of the new company. The present chairman of the corporation, Mr. R. J. Stopford, while in agreement with this decision, has indicated that it would not be practicable for him personally to assume this additional burden. Sir John Keeling has accepted my right hon. Friend's invitation to become Chairman of the National Film Finance Corporation; he will also become chairman of the new company when formed. We are grateful to Sir John Keeling for undertaking these important duties which, at his request, will be without remuneration. Mr. Stopford, for whose past work as chairman the Government are most grateful, will remain on the board of the corporation.

Horses (Imports And Exports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade the value in pounds sterling of the imports and exports of stallions, mares and geldings during 1952 and 1953; and what proportion of the value is accounted for by the import and export of racehorses.

The values of imports and exports of horses, not for food, including horses imported or exported temporarily, for example, for racing, were:

ImportsExports
1952195319521953
££££
Stallions1,529,7511,500,1891,519,1981,755,240
Mares3,300,8563,039,5863,212,9482,782,954
Geldings1,103,4041,040,385831,558713,590
Imports and exports of racehorses (included in the above figures) are not separately recorded in the trade statistics.

Gatt (Us Citrus Fruit Subsidies)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the progress of the consultations under the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade about United States subsidies on citrus exports.

When these subsidies were discussed at the last session of the contracting parties to the General Agreement, the United Kingdom delegate underlined the interests of some of our overseas Territories in this matter, and there will be an opportunity to consult further with the United States when the contracting parties meet again in the autumn.

National Finance

Coal Imports (Non-Dollar Sources)

87.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now lift all restrictions on the importation of coal from non-dollar sources in order that sufficient extra fuel may be available to permit the Government to dispense with the domestic fuel allocation system.

Savoy Hotel Stock (Purchase)

88.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in consenting to the borrowing of money for the purchase of the Savoy Hotel stock controlled by Mr. Harold Samuel, he took account of the market, as opposed to the demand, price of the stock in question.

No. The market quotations of this stock were not relevant to the application for which Treasury consent was given.

Tourist Industry (Customs Formalities)

89.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he proposes to ease Customs and other formalities which are hindering the development of Britain's tourist industry.

90.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that large numbers of foreign visitors are discouraged from entering this country by reason of the difficult Customs formalities; and whether he will review the present arrangements with a view to making them easier.

I am not aware that Customs formalities at ports and airports are having the marked effect indicated, but if my hon. Friends have any particular difficulty in mind I shall be glad to look into it.

Klinger Manufacturing Company (Share Issue)

91.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he has refused permission to the Klinger Manufacturing Company, Limited, to make an issue of ordinary shares for cash.

The Capital Issues Committee considered the case and the Treasury acted on their recommendation.

Post-War Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applications he has so far received for the repayment of post-war credits due in respect of people who would, if still living, be 65 years of age, or over, in the case of men, or 60 years of age, or over, in the case of women.

pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th July, 1954; Vol. 530, c. 104], supplied the following information:In the fortnight ending on 17th July, 1954, approximately 70.000 claims were received for payment of post-war credits of persons who had died and who would, if still living, have been able to claim payment themselves.

Housing

Lincoln

92.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware that, owing to the reduction in the allocation of houses for 1954, over the last three months there has been a progressive reduction in the number of men employed on house-building in the City of Lincoln; and whether he will reconsider the request made by the Town Clerk of Lincoln in his letter of 15th June for an increased allocation.

No. The amount of housing and other building work now in hand, or known to be coming forward, is at least sufficient to absorb all the building labour in the area.

Requisitioned Houses

93.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware that many houses have been derequisitioned in Birmingham and other cities while people are still living in rooms; and whether he will circularise all local authorities, recommending that only when a house is required for the occupation of the owner or a member of his family should it be derequisitioned.

No. The derequisitioning of privately owned dwellinghouses does not reduce housing accommodation. Local authorities have already been asked to accord priority in the release of requisitioned properties to owner occupiers suffering hardship through being deprived of their houses and my right hon. Friend does not, therefore, consider that further guidance is necessary.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will consider sending a circular to local authorities suggesting that they warn persons proposing to acquire requisitioned property to ascertain the probable date of derequisitioning before signing a contract for purchase.

I think it is usual for any prospective purchaser or his solicitor to approach the local authority for information about the house before committing himself. A circular to local authorities would, therefore, seem hardly necessary.

Local Authority Loans

99.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many local authorities have, and how many have not, taken advantage of powers given to them to advance loans to prospective house purchasers.

In the year ended 31st March, 1953, 975 local authorities in England and Wales out of 1,531, made loans under these powers.

Prefabricated Houses (Purchase)

100.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware that many building societies are unwilling to make advances to purchasers of prefabricated houses; and if he will take steps to ensure that such houses can take advantage of the recent arrangements he made with the local authorities and building societies for a joint government and local authority guarantee of part of the building society loan.

It was never my right hon. Friend's intention that the arrangements referred to should be limited to traditional houses and he hopes that those who wish to buy "new traditional" houses will receive proper consideration. But the hon. Member will understand that my right hon. Friend cannot interfere with the discretion of building societies.

Standards

101.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the number of local authorities who have protested against the restrictions on the quality of houses he permits them to build; the number who have stated to him their belief that these houses will be slums in a short period; and whether he has considered a report on the state of houses built at Brighton during the past three years.

My right hon. Friend has seen Press reports of allegations made at meetings of the Brighton Housing Committee and Town Council. He is looking into them, although he has not yet received any representations from the Council.The answer to the first two parts of the question is, "none."

Local Government

House Refuse, London (Disposal)

94.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware of the concern felt by local authorities in the London area at the growing problem of house-refuse disposal; and whether he will call a conference to discuss the future situation.

There has been a series of consultations with the Metropolitan Boroughs' Standing Joint Committee on the general question of the disposal of London's refuse but my right hon. Friend will keep his hon. Friend's suggestion in mind.

Water Supplies, East Cleveland

95.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps he is taking to bring about a reorganisation of water supply authorities in East Cleveland, so as to ensure a regular and reliable supply of water to householders and industry.

Informal discussions are proceeding, but my right hon. Friend is not ready to make a statement.

Fence, Trebah Beach (Planning Permission)

96.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why planning permission was given for the erection of a fence on Trebah Beach, Polgwidden Cove, Cornwall, which denies the general public the full use of the beach.

The erection of fencing is permitted development under the Town and Country Planning General Development Order and Development Charge Applications Regulations, 1950. Consequently no specific permission was given for the fence in question.

Old Isleworth (Redevelopment Proposals)

97.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how soon he expects the Middlesex Development Plan to be approved; and whether he is prepared to approve in advance that part of the plan covering the development plan for Isleworth.

I would refer to the reply given to my hon. Friend on 1st June and that given to the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. F. P. Crowder) on 15th July.

Ministry Regional Offices (Changes)

98.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what changes he proposes to make in the staffing and the functions of his regional offices; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has at present nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) on 20th July.

Planning Permission (Farm Buildings)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government in what circumstances planning permission is given for the erection of farm buildings on land owned by the National Trust when that body opposes it.

In general, planning permission need not be sought for farm buildings on agricultural holdings of over 1 acre. If however the hon. Member cares to let me have particulars of the case he has in mind I will let him know the position in more detail.

West Indies

Maude Bill, Barbados

102.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made by the Select Committee of the House of Assembly in Barbados in connection with the Maude Bill; and when it is likely to be put into operation.

The Bill to which the hon. Member refers has now passed through all stages in the Barbados Legislature and it remains for the Government of Barbados to decide when to put it into operation.

Female Franchise, Bahamas (Select Committee)

103.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made by the Select Committee of the House of Assembly in Bermuda with the proposal to grant the franchise to women in the territory.

I understand that the hon. Member's Question refers to the Select Committee of the House of Assembly in the Bahamas. The Committee has not yet presented a report.

Persian Oil (Uk Cost)

104.

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power what steps he proposes to take to ensure that consumers of oil in the United Kingdom get the full advantage of the cheaper cost of production in the British-controlled oilfields in the Persian Gulf area.

I believe that we are more likely to get full advantage from any reduction of costs if we continue to rely on competition than if we reimpose Government control.

Us Citrus Fruits (Purchase)

105.

asked the Minister of Food in connection with the recent information conveyed to the Regional Economic Committee that Her Majesty's Government would make no further purchase of citrus fruits from funds made available in the present United States fiscal year under Section 550 of the Mutual Security Act, the actual amount of the purchase made to date; what amount has actually been imported in connection with that purchase; what amount still remains to be shipped; and the reason for the delay in shipping it.

According to information available in my Department, 1,245 tons of grapefruit, 118 tons of lemons and 55 tons of oranges have so far been purchased. Up to 30th June, 75 tons of grapefruit had been imported. Arrangements for further purchase and shipment of these fruits are the responsibility of the private trade. Import licences are valid until 31st August for lemons and 31st October for oranges and grapefruit.

Level Crossings, Lincoln

107.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what applications have been made to him within the last 2½ years by the city of Lincoln, British Railways or any other body in connection with reducing the inconvenience caused by the level crossings in Lincoln.

The city of Lincoln applied for a grant towards the cost of erecting traffic control signals at the northern level crossing in High Street. This was issued in December, 1953. They have also sought approval, which has now been given, to the appointment of consulting engineers and architect for the design of a bridge to eliminate the level crossing in Pelham Street. Representations have also been made by Messrs. Ruston Hornsby Ltd, and the National Farmers' Union.

London Transport Executive Members (Reappointment)

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement about the reappointment of the members of the London Transport Executive when their present terms of office expire in September next.

It will be remembered that I have appointed the Chairman and members of the London Transport Executive on each of the last two occasions for a term of one year only, for the reason that the changes contemplated in the structure and organisation of the British Transport Commission made it advisable for me to do so. I greatly regretted having to limit the period of their appointments as they have my complete confidence, and I still more regret, as does Sir Brian Robertson, who shares my confidence, that, until the major changes in the structure and organisation of the British Transport Commission have been put into effect, I am still unable to make these appointments for a longer term. In these circumstances the Chairman and members of the London Transport Executive have agreed to accept office for a further term of one year from the 1st October next.

Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (Negotiations)

108.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make available a White Paper on the Iranian oil talks; and what relationship the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company will now bear to the consortium of eight companies formed to market Iranian oil.

Negotiations continue and it would, therefore, be inappropriate to make a White Paper available at this stage. If a settlement is reached on the lines contemplated the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company will hold 40 per cent. of the shares of the consortium.

Nervous Illness (Inoculations)

asked the Minister of Health how many reports his Department has received in 1951, 1952, 1953 and the first six months of 1954 of nervous illness developing after inoculation with diphtheria toxoid, the combined diphtheria-whooping cough prophylactic, or any other inoculation; and how far these cases have been investigated.

I do not receive regular reports of individual cases, but the possible association between nervous illness and such inoculations is being investigated by the Medical Research Council, but they are unable to advise me at this stage of the inquiry.

Telephone Service, Brentford And Chiswick

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many new telephones were provided in Brentford and Chiswick in the first six months of this year; how many applications were still outstanding; and how long the earliest applicant has now been waiting.

Two hundred and twenty-three telephones were connected in the first six months of this year and 471 applications are outstanding, excluding 157 in course of being met. The earliest application is dated September, 1947.

Nationalised Industries (Select Committee)

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now name the nationalised industries which will fall within the ambit of the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries to be established.

They are as follows:

  • British Overseas Airways Corporation.
  • British European Airways Corporation.
  • National Coal Board.
  • British Electricity Authority.
  • Gas Council.
  • North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.
  • British Transport Commission.

Comet Aircraft (Tests)

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a further statement on progress on the tests on the Comet aircraft.

There is nothing I can add at present to the statement I made in reply to a question by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss), on 5th July.