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Written Answers

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 28 July 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 28th July, 1954

Suez Canal Zone


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what official representations or deputations he has received on the question of the Suez Canal Zone; the nature of his discussions with such deputations; and if he will make a statement.

Ministry Of Food



asked the Minister of Food the places at which slaughterhouses are now operating in the counties of Durham and Northumberland; and what further slaughterhouses are intended to be opened in these counties in the foreseeeable future.

On the latest information available there are licensed private or public slaughterhouses in all but eight of the 68 local authority districts in these two counties. The list is appended. It is not known whether all the private slaughterhouses are actually in use. At the end of June, applications were under consideration for about another 100 prewar private slaughterhouses in the two counties.

Following is the list:


County Durham

Barnard Castle urban, Barnard Castle rural, Billingham urban, Bishop Auckland urban, Blaydon urban, Boldon urban, Brandon and Byshottles urban, Chester-le-Street urban, Chester-le-Street rural, Consett urban, Crook and Willington urban, Darlington county borough, Darlington rural, Durham borough, Durham rural, Easington rural, Felling urban, Hebburn urban, Hetton urban, Houghton-le-Spring urban, Lanchester rural, Ryton urban, Seaham urban, Sedgefield rural, Shildon urban, South Shields county borough, Spennymoor urban. Stanley urban, Stockton-on-Tees borough, Sunderland county borough, Sunderland rural, Tow Law urban, Washington urban, West Hartlepool county borough, Whickham urban,


Alnwick urban, Alnwick rural, Ashington urban, Bedlingtonshire urban, Belford rural, Bellingham rural, Berwick-on-Tweed borough, Blyth borough, Castle Ward rural. Glendale rural, Gosforth urban, Haltwhistle rural, Hexham urban, Hexham rural, Longbenton urban, Morpeth borough, Morpeth rural, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea urban, Newburn urban, Newcastle-upon-Tyne county borough, Norham and Islandshires rural, Prudhoe urban, Rothbury rural, Seaton Valley urban, Whitley Bay borough.

Home-Grown Sugar


asked the Minister of Food when it is intended to introduce legislation to place the home-grown sugar industry on a permanent basis.

Colonial Citrus Fruits


asked the Minister of Food in view of the fact that only negligible amounts of citrus fruit are available from Colonial Territories during the period May to October in the current year during which import licences for the import of United States citrus fruit have been made available, to what extent larger amounts of such fruit are likely to be available from the Colonial Territories in future seasons during that period.

Owing to the seasonal nature of the crops no appreciable increase is expected in the near future during the period in question.

Subsidised Fruit Imports

asked the Minister of Food for what reason the subsidy on exports of raisins to this country, through funds granted under Section 550 of the Mutual Security Act, was accepted whilst that on citrus fruit was refused; and whether his Department will henceforward permit no imports of any foodstuffs into this country which are subject to subsidisation in any form, whether direct or indirect, through such methods as multiple exchange rates.

The raisins bought last year by my Department in the United States were not paid for with Section 550 funds. The subsidy on citrus fruit was refused in the interest of citrus growers in Colonial Territories.

As regards the undertaking asked for in the second part of the Question, Her Majesty's Government are well aware of the many considerations involved, but it is impracticable to lay down hard and fast rules of universal application.

Stock-Feed Potatoes


asked the Minister of Food what quantity of potatoes have been sold by him for stock feed; and at what price.

About 850,000 tons by mid-July at prices ranging from£2 to£4 15s. per ton.

Ration Books (Saving)


asked the Minister of Food how much he estimates will be saved in a full year by the relief of his Department from the task of printing and distributing food ration books.

Imported Wheat (Stocks)


asked the Minister of Food what stocks of imported wheat are held in this country compared with a year ago.

Butter (Price Reductions)


asked the Minister of Food what reductions have been made in the selling price of butter released to the trade from Government stocks; from what date the reductions operate; and what circumstances have made them possible.

Prices of particular types of butter have been reduced on several occasions since 9th June. The last reduction was one of 20s. to 25s. per cwt. on 21st July. As I explained to the hon. and gallant Gentleman on 16th June the price is decided by commercial considerations of supply and demand.


Council Of Ministers (Programme)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give particulars of the progress made in the implementation of his 15 objectives, recently announced, for the Kenya Government, to which he referred in a Written answer to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) on 14th July.

During the debate on 22nd July my right hon. Friend gave the House a great deal of information about progress in these matters. If there is any item not thus covered on which the hon. Member requires information, perhaps he will put down a Question on the particular point or write to me about it.

Security Force And Mau Mau (Casualties)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total numbers of killed and wounded, respectively, among adherents of Mau Mau and British and Kenya Forces since the beginning of the emergency; the respective figures for Europeans and Africans among the latter; and how many European and African civilians, respectively, have been killed by Mau Mau adherents.

Up to 3rd July known casualties to Mau Mau adherents were 5,567 killed and 622 wounded. Security Force casualties were 422 killed (25 Europeans, 2 Asians and 395 Africans) and 367 wounded (44 Europeans, 10 Asians and 313 Africans). Mau Mau terrorists had murdered 1,186 civilians (24 Europeans, 17 Asians and 1,145 Africans).

Assaults On Africans (Convicted Europeans)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Europeans have been convicted by civil or military courts of offences against Africans in Kenya during the course of the emergency; how many of these charges have been for threats or acts of violence; and what have been the sentences imposed.

Twenty-five Europeans have been convicted for assaults on Africans. They were sentenced to fines ranging from£5 to£100 by civil courts and from severe reprimand to cashiering and imprisonment for five years by military courts.



asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons in Kenya have been detained without trial under the Emergency Regulations; how many have appeared before the Advisory Committee on Detainees; and in how many cases they have been discharged on appeal.

I have no later information than that given by my right hon. Friend in reply to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) on 30th June.

Emergency Regulations (Convicted Africans)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Africans in Kenya have been convicted since the declaration of the emergency of offences under the special regulations or of criminal offences of a political character; and how many of these have been sentenced to death and to terms exceeding one year and exceeding five years.

Seven hundred and forty have been convicted in the Supreme Court under Emergency Regulations. Five hundred and eighty-one were sentenced to death and 81 to terms exceeding one year, including 70 to terms exceeding five years' imprisonment. Figures for cases in magistrates' courts are not readily available, but I will send these to the hon. Member as soon as they are received from the Governor.

Old-Age Security (Committee)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will take steps to ensure the early introduction of old-age security for persons of all races in Kenya.

Legislative Council (African Members)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will take steps to ensure the immediate consideration by the Kenya Government of new methods of choosing the African members of the Legislative Council, including the method of direct election.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he hopes to appoint the body which is to study and advise on the best method of electing African members of the Kenya Legislative Council in 1956.

As I informed hon. Members on Thursday last, my right hon. Friend is already considering urgently in consultation with the Governor how this matter can best be investigated; but he is not yet ready to make a statement.

Newspapers (Proscriptions And Warnings)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many African, Asian and European newspapers, respectively, in Kenya have been suppressed during the emergency; and how many, respectively, have been warned without suppression.

Fourteen African newspapers published in Kenya have been proscribed under Emergency Regulations. One European, one Asian and one African newspaper have been warned without suppression.

Africans (Executions)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Africans have been executed during this month in Kenya; and how many of these were charged with murder.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the number of Africans who have been executed in Kenya since the declaration of the emergency; and on what grounds.

Up to 16th July, executions numbered 537. The charges were:

Murder (including 211 Mau Mau cases)232
Unlawful possession of arms or ammunition188
Consorting with terrorists91
Administering unlawful oaths18
Acting with intent to further terrorism6
Procuring supplies for terrorists2
From 27th June to 16th July there were 68 executions, 11 of them for murder.

Forfeiture Orders (Seized Property)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many oxen, sheep, goats, bicycles and motor vehicles have been attached and confiscated in Kenya under the ordinance authorising collective punishments; what sums have been realised by their sale; what form of judicial investigation is undertaken before collective punishment is imposed; and on how many occasions counsel have represented any of the parties so punished.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the totals of cattle and small stock, of all kinds, seized from Kikuyu and other tribes of Kenya; what was the date of the last seizure; what numbers have been disposed of, and are still in the hands of the Government; if he is satisfied about the condition of the stock held by or on behalf of the Government; and what are the proposals of the Government regarding their return to their owners or for alternative disposal.

Forfeitures up to 24th July were 11,915 head of cattle and donkeys, 44,003 sheep, goats and pigs, 183 bicycles and one motor vehicle. The last forfeiture order was made on 10th June. All stock for which orders have been made has been disposed of, but 427 head of cattle and 353 sheep and goats are held pending decisions on forfeiture. Stock so held is cared for under the advice of the Veterinary Department and in satisfactory conditions.Full details of the circumstances of each seizure are reported, with a covering report and recommendations of the Provincial Commissioner, to the Governor, who decides, after the case has been scrutinised by the Chief Native Commissioner and the Attorney-General, whether or not a forfeiture order should be made. Counsel has represented parties so punished on one occasion. When a forfeiture order is made, the stock seized is sold; otherwise it is returned to the owners. Information about the amount realised by sales is not readily available but I will arrange for it to be sent to the hon. Member.

European Farmer-Settlers (Immigration)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if Objective 4 in the recent statement of policy of the Kenya Government for continuing the development and support of European farming and agricultural settlement, includes the continued immigration of European farmer-settlers.

Land Policy


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will urge the Kenya Government to make competence and not race the principle for the allocation of farming land, as proposed by the recent all-party Delegation.

Whilst the Delegation wrote of moving towards a more flexible land policy designed to encourage the utililisation under suitable safeguards of undeveloped areas by competent farmers of whatever race, it also referred to the work of the Royal Commission and thought it wise to refrain from detailed comments on land adjustments in Kenya. My right hon. Friend does not at this time propose to rush in where the Delegation feared to tread.

Military And Police Personnel

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Regular military personnel, regular police, and reserve police and Reserve military, respectively, are now in Kenya engaged in restoring law and order.

East Africa

Professor Hancock's Mission, Uganda


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he expects to receive the report of Professor Keith Hancock on his inquiry into the constitution of Buganda; and whether he proposes to publish it.

Professor Hancock hopes to complete his work in Uganda by the end of September and if, as we all trust, his mission is successful, recommendations agreed between the Uganda Protectorate Government and the Buganda representatives may be received in October and would be made known to the House at an appropriate time.

Seditious Material Conviction, Uganda


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what grounds Appollinari Kagwa Ddamba, acting editor of the "Uganda Express," has been sentenced to six months' imprisonment, the newspaper prohibited from publish- ing for six months and its printing presses confiscated for the same period.

Mr. Ddamba was convicted on four counts of printing and publishing seditious material in the "Uganda Express." My right hon. Friend understands that he is appealing.

Co-Operative Development Council, Uganda


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give the membership of the Co-operative Development Council of Uganda; how many times it has met since its establishment; and what significant recommendations it has made.

The council has met four times. It has made suggestions, which have been adopted, for the amendment of Protectorate legislation bearing on the work of Co-operative societies; has scrutinised the draft estimates of the Department of Co-operative Development; and it has recently set up a sub-committee to investigate the possibility of further encouraging consumer co-operatives.The composition of the council is:The Commissioner for Co-operative Development or his representative (


The Registrar of Co-operative societies.

Mr. E. W. K. Bulera: member elected by registered thrift societies.

Mr. F. C. Elliott: member elected by registered consumer societies.

Mr. C. H. S. Kyazze: member elected by the Uganda Growers' Co-operative Union, Ltd.

Mr. E. Nabwoyo: member elected by the Masaba North Co-operation Union, Ltd.

Mr. S. Kitutu: member elected by the Bubulo Co-operative Union, Ltd.

Mr. W. Wanda: member elected by the Bagisu Khuheentsa Co-operative Union, Ltd.

Mr. G. Kirenda: member elected by the Busoga Growers' Co-operative Union, Ltd.

Mr. D. B. Gema: member elected by the South Bukeda Co-operative Union, Ltd.

Mrs. F. Ngoda (née Miss F. Wamala); and Mr. B. K. Mulyanti: members appointed by the Governor.

The Senior Co-operative Officer performing the duties of accountant in the Co-operative Department (Secretary).

Salaries Commission (Report)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if Her Majesty's Government accepts the recommendations of the Commission on the East African Civil Services; and when it is intended that they shall be applied.

The Report of the East African Salaries Commission was addressed to the East African Governments, who are at present considering it.

Gold Coast

Bribery And Corruption Allegations


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what representations he has received from the Northern People's Party in the Gold Coast asking him to recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission on the Gold Coast; and if he will make a statement.

The Northern Peoples' Party in the Gold Coast have submitted to my right hon. Friend a resolution requesting the appointment of a Royal Commission to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption in public corporations in the Gold Coast and also among all holders of public office by virtue of their election to the Legislative Assembly. My right hon. Friend is awaiting the considered view of the Gold Coast Government on this request.

Cocoa Production


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made in the elimination of diseased cocoa trees in the Gold Coast and in the improvement of the quantity and quality of production; and what changes in the price to the producer are contemplated.

In the period 1st April, 1953–31st March, 1954, 8,634,615 trees were cut out. As my right hon. Friend informed the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) on 21st July, measures to increase production are being taken, and these include the issue of new high-yielding varieties. As regards quality, the object must be to maintain the traditional West African flavour, which is that desired by the manufacturers. The producer price for next season has not yet been announced by the Cocoa Marketing Board.

West Africa

Marketing Boards (Accumulated Profits)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total accumulated profits of the West African Marketing Boards to the latest convenient date; and to what purposes these funds are to be put.

The Governments concerned are being asked if they can obtain this information from the marketing boards for my right hon. Friend, who will communicate with the hon. Member when the replies are received.

Nutrition Research, Nigeria


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what facilities exist in Nigeria for study and research in nutritional problems on a permanent basis, as distinct from occasional visits from specialists.

The Nigerian Government has a full-time nutrition adviser. Research on nutrition is also carried on at the University College of Ibadan and by the Hot Climate Physiological Research Unit. Further research work is being considered by the West African Council for Medical Research.

Fire Service, Nigeria


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the amount of the losses from fire in Lagos, Ibadan and Onitsha; what fire-fighting arrangements exist in these towns; and if he will set up a fire service in Nigeria separate from the police.

These are matters for the Government of Nigeria. I will ask the Governor for the information requested and will communicate with my hon. Friend when I have his reply.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if the report is yet available of the Home Office Fire Service Inspector who visited Nigeria early in 1954 at the request of the Nigerian Government to report on firefighting arrangements; and if the report, when ready, will be available to hon. Members.

The report which is addressed to the Governor of Nigeria has just been submitted. It will be for the Nigerian Government to decide whether it should be published. If it is a copy will be placed in the Library.

Colonial Territories

Banned Publications, Africa


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what publications have been banned from entrance into Kenya, Uganda, Tankanyika, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia during the last two years.

As my right hon. Friend told the hon. Member on 21st July, some East African Governments have still to reply to his request for information on this subject. The Governors of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia have now been asked for this additional information and the hon. Member will be informed as soon as the replies are complete.

Corporal Punishment


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the sentence of lengthy imprisonment, together with the imposition of up to 24 lashes, for persons found guilty of housebreaking and violence at Kampala on 13th July, if he will recommend to Colonial Governments and judiciaries the same restriction of flogging as a punishment as is now observed in this country.

The policy of Her Majesty's Government in encouraging the progressive reduction and ultimate abolition of corporal punishment in the Colonies is unchanged. My right hon. Friend has this matter very much in mind, but does not see any reason to make this particular case an occasion for a further general exhortation to Colonial Governments. In any event it would not be proper for him to make any recommendation to colonial judiciaries as to what penalties should be imposed within the law as it stands at any particular time.

Malta (Constitutional Proposals)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a further statement on the constitutional proposals for Malta.

Mauritius (Constitutional Changes)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he can now make a statement regarding measures of constitutional advance in Mauritius, following the discussions held by the Under-Secretary of State during his visit to this Colony.

No. I have nothing at present to add to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the Question asked by the hon. Member on 23rd June.

Northern Rhodesia And Nyasaland

Convicted Persons (Transfer)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make reciprocal arrangements with the South African Union, arising from the Removal of Prisoners Ordinance (Northern Rhodesia), No. 54, 1953, enabling citizens of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland who are prisoners in South Africa to be transferred to prisons in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) on 30th June. The conclusion of any such arrangement, if it were considered desirable, would be a matter for the Federal Government.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make arrangements whereby citizens of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland upon whom sentences of imprisonment in lieu of the payment of fines are imposed in South Africa shall be given facilities for the payment of their fines, so that they shall not have to undergo imprisonment in South African prisons.

The responsibility for safeguarding the interests of its inhabitants in this kind of matter in neighbouring Territories is one which now falls to the Federal Government.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons convicted in a competent court in Northern Rhodesia, and by arrangement with the Union of South Africa sent to a South African prison, are still in such a prison; whether he will give particulars of such cases, including length of sentence, balance of sentence to be served, nationality and race; and what steps he is taking to arrange the return of these persons to a Northern Rhodesian prison.


(1) One European South African citizen sentenced to ten years imprisonment for manslaughter from 21st February, 1952: balance of sentence seven and a half years, subject to remission.
(2) One British subject (of South African origin) born in Northern Rhodesia, aged 18, juvenile: sentenced for store breaking and theft to two years in juvenile reformatory from 25th April, 1953; balance of sentence nine months subject to remission.
(3) One European South African citizen, aged 15: sentenced for conversion not amounting to theft to two years and nine months detention in juvenile reformatory from 20th November, 1953; balance of sentence two years subject to remission.
(4) One European South African citizen, aged 17: sentenced for theft to three years in juvenile reformatory from 6th October, 1953; balance of sentence two years and two months subject to remission.
The first person described will not return to Northern Rhodesia at the end of his sentence, since he has also been deported to South Africa under the Immigration Ordinance; the three other persons will be brought back to Northern Rhodesia at the end of their period of detention.

Press Article (Sedition Charge)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what were the contents of the article, which is the subject of the sedition charge against the Service Press Limited and Mr. W. O. Briggs, publisher of the "Nigerian Statesman."

The Service Press Limited published an article in the "Nigerian Statesman" of the 5th December last entitled "British Action in Kenya. Is it just another cold blooded murder. Is it legalised butchery by law of conquest." The charge against Mr. W. O. Briggs was withdrawn.

African Trust Land

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what freehold land for industrial undertakings is now to be allocated by the Nyasaland Government; and what proportion of this is African trust land, or land that has just been, or will be declared public land, although previously African trust land.

My right hon. Friend is in discussion with the Acting Governor on the matter raised in the first part of the Question. The second part does not, therefore, arise, but I must make it clear that African trust land is only declared public land for public purposes and after consulting the Native Authority.

West Indies

Police Force, Jamaica (Personal Case)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply he has received from the Governor of Jamaica to his letter of 11th May last, asking for a report on the delay in arriving at a decision on the request of Mr. Hudstan Howell, 54, Londorn Square, Cardiff, to be reinstated in the Jamaica police force.

The Acting Governor states that when Mr. Howell had completed 10 years' service he was allowed to re-enlist for six months on probation, but that his re-enlistment was not confirmed. No claim for his reinstatement is on record in Jamaica.

Political Situation, British Honduras


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement to the House in respect of the present Government in British Honduras; what are the main legislative proposals of that Government; and the relationship between the Government and the Governor.

The constitutional changes referred to in my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Arundel and Shoreham on 26th May have been brought into effect. The first meeting of the Legislative Assembly was held on 18th June. My right hon. Friend has not yet had details of any new legislation proposed. As regards the last part of the Question, the relations between the Governor and the political leaders, so far as I am aware, are harmonious.

British Guiana (Potomac Charter)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the Potomac Charter, recently signed by the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister, applies to British Guiana.

In its references to development towards self-government and independence Clause (iii) of the Potomac Charter reflects what has been for many years the central purpose of the policy of Her Majesty's Government in regard to the political advance of all Colonial Territories, including British Guiana.

Prohibited Immigrants, Trinidad


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total number of British citizens, natives of West Indian Territories, who have been ordered to leave Trinidad within the last month; and what was the reason for the directive, ordering a British Commonwealth citizen to leave British territory.

During the period 16th June—15th July, 1954, 19 persons from other British West Indian Colonies were ordered to leave Trinidad. These were all prohibited immigrants under the Trinidad Immigration (Restrictions) Ordinance.

Kildare Land Settlement, Portland


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are being taken to provide practical help at the Kildare Land Settlement, Portland, Jamaica, for ex-Service men who were resettled on this land without an adequate water supply or other necessities, such as proper marketing arrangements, and are now under notice to quit by 31st August, 1954, because they are in arrears with the repayment of the instalments of the high purchase price of their holdings.

I am informed that the settlement has an adequate water supply close by and that there is no difficulty in marketing coconuts, which are its main crop. The ex-Service settlers were provided with a house and land and other assistance on generous terms but are required to make small half-yearly repayments. Many have not done so and have not developed their land. The Jamaica Government are now taking proceedings against a few of the worst defaulters.

Singapore And Malaya

Sedition Ordinance (Press Freedom)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of the stage of political development now reached in Singapore, he will consider legislation to relax the existing sedition laws, which bear hardly in particular upon the freedom of the Press.

No. The Sedition Ordinance in force in Singapore does not bear hardly on the freedom of the Press.

Terrorists (Voluntary Surrender)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a special effort to further peace in Malaya by offering an amnesty on generous terms jointly agreed between the political parties who are now co-operating with him in securing the further democratic progress in Malaya.

No. Under current policy the Government of the Federation of Malaya accept the voluntary surrender of Communist terrorists and offer them generous opportunities to start a new life. Over 1,000 armed terrorists have already taken advantage of these opportunities.

Cyprus (Emigrants)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Cypriots have emigrated in each year since the end of the war.

Permanent emigrants are not distinguished in the available statistics. Below are figures of excess of departures over arrivals, which provide the nearest indication of the scale of emigration. The total excess, for the eight years 1946–53, amounted to 14,650.

Following are the figures:

Excess of departures over arrivals 1946 to 1953: 1946–810; 1947–2,238; 1948–351* ; 1949–1,048; 1950–2,847; 1951–3,808; 1952–2,379; 1953–1,169.

* Excess of arrivals over departures.

Seychelles College (Rules)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the rules in force at Seychelles College authorise the punishment of pupils for the non-observance of sectarian religious observances outside the college.

I am consulting the Governor and will write to the hon. Member in due course.

Royal Navy

Defence Equipment Packaging (Remploy)


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will give an assurance that it is still his policy to give preference to Remploy for the packaging of defence equipment.

When such contracts are placed directly by the Admiralty, Remploy and similar organisations are invited to tender and they receive special consideration in this, as in other fields of tendering. The facilities offered by Remploy in this direction have also been brought to the notice of Admiralty contractors likely to be concerned with the supply of defence equipment.

Trebah Beach, Cornwall

98 and 99.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty (1) what expense has been incurred by his Department on breaking up the road, on requisitioned land, leading to Polgwidden Cove, Cornwall; and what further expenditure is envisaged on this project during the current financial year and during 1955–56;(2) whether his Department has now derequisitioned Trebah Beach, Polgwidden Cove, Cornwall.

No expense has been or will be incurred by the Admiralty in breaking up the road leading to Polgwidden Cove. The sites of the road and the part of Trebah Beach, which had been held on requisition by the Admiralty, were derequisitioned on 25th August, 1953.

Lieut-Commanders (Pensionable Service)


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how long a lieut.-commander must serve in Her Majesty's Forces before being entitled to retire on pension.

Twenty-two years from age 21 for full pension; 20 years on voluntary retirement, or 10 years on invaliding, for a modified pension.


Ussr Orders


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will now make a further statement about shipbuilding orders by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Poland.

I have nothing to add to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Civil Lord to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) on 19th July.

United Kingdom Yards (Orders)


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the amount of shipbuilding orders booked by United Kingdom shipyards during 1954 to the latest available date; and the amount of the orders cancelled during the same period.

Up to 22nd July, licences were issued to United Kingdom shipbuilders for the construction of 100 ships totalling 200,600 gross tons. During the same period, licences for the construction of 32 ships totalling 269,600 gross tons were cancelled.


asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the amount of shipbuilding orders booked by North-East coast shipyards during 1954 to the latest available date; and the amount of the orders cancelled during the same period.

Up to 22nd July, 1954, licences were issued to North-East coast shipyards for the construction of six ships totalling 41,000 gross tons. During the same period, licences for the construction in those yards of 10 ships, totalling 100,000 gross tons were cancelled.

Post Office (Mailbag Robberies)


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many mailbag robberies have occurred during the 12 months to the latest convenient date; and to what extent recent measures to counteract raids by armed gangs have been successful.

The number of robberies as such is not available but, out of roughly 350 million bags in transit, 586 bags were recorded as missing during the 12 months ended 30th June, 1954. It is not possible to estimate the precise effects of our steadily increasing precautions. My hon. Friend may, however, have noticed that in recent months several mailbag robbers have been caught and sentenced by the courts.

Telephone Service



asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many applicants were on the waiting list for telephones in the Woolwich Borough area 12 months ago; how many applications are still outstanding; and for how long, on average, those applicants have been waiting for telephones.

Two thousand six hundred applications were outstanding a year ago and this number has now fallen to 1751: of these about 250 have been waiting between one and two years and 600 over two years. Two thousand and eighteen telephones were fitted during the last 12 months.

Hospitals (Portable Coin Boxes)


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many portable telephones have been installed throughout the country; to whom they are available; how many will be fitted this year; what estimate he has made of the annual number likely to be demanded; and whether he will give hospitals and similar institutions priority.

I assume that the Question refers to the portable coin box telephone recently installed at Acton Hospital. A few preliminary inquiries have been received from other hospitals and from hospital group management committees, but so far as I am aware no firm requests for installation of equipment have yet resulted. It is too early to say what the demand is likely to be. There will be no avoidable delay in providing this facility at hospital or similar institutions.

Merton And Morden


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many applications for telephones are outstanding in the Merton and Morden area; how many applications have been granted in the last two years; and what provisions are being made for additional demands.

Two thousand, eight hundred and sixty-five applications are outstanding excluding 791 in the course of provision. 1,630 telephones were connected during the last two years. Some additional equipment and line plant have been provided and further extensions will be made during the coming 12 months.



asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the average over the past five years of the investment in telephone development; the cost of the work in hand this year; and the cost of the further development in prospect for next year will be.

Over the past five years the average investment on the telephone system including renewals has been£51·7 million; the estimated investment in the present financial year is£68·8 million and for next year£79·4 million.

Bookmakers, Cardiff (Installations)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will give the respective dates when the Cardiff bookmakers, who wrongfully received business priority, had their telephones installed; and the number of protests which had been received from other applicants before the last telephone was installed.

These lines were connected on 19th May, 2nd July and 5th July. There is no record of any protest having been received from other applicants.

Wireless And Television

Band Iii


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether any committee has yet been set up to investigate the problems of mobile radio operating in Band III; and whether he will announce the names of the members of that committee.

Yes. An informal committee has been appointed under the Chairmanship of the Director of Radio and Accommodation of the Post Office. The membership comprises two representatives of the Mobile Radio Users' Association, one representative of the Radio Advisory Service of the Chamber of Shipping, two representatives of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation and two other representatives of the Post Office. There are two secretaries, one from the Post Office and one from the Mobile Radio Users' Association.It is likely that as the work of the committee proceeds its membership will be extended to include representatives of other interests, e.g., the equipment manufacturers and authorities responsible for the operation of ambulance services.


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General by what date he expects Band III to be cleared for television.

I cannot at present add to the reply which I gave on 16th December last to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Down, South (Captain Orr).

Vhf Transmitters


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General on what frequencies the proposed British Broadcasting Corporation's very-high-frequency transmitters will operate; and what will be the capital cost involved.

We expect these transmitters to operate on frequencies in the range (known as Band II) from 88 to 95 megacycles per second; but the precise frequencies to be used for each station have not yet been settled. The B.B.C. estimate the capital cost of the first nine stations at£1¼million.

Reception, Dundee


asked the Assistant Postmaster-General to what extent he expects that the proposed new very-high-frequency station at Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, will improve reception of British Broadcasting Corporation's programmes in the City of Dundee.

Dundee is outside the area which the B.B.C. expect to be served satisfactorily by the proposed station at Meldrum. The Corporation's long-term plans for V.H.F. development, which, as I told the House last week, have been referred to the Television Advisory Committee for advice, include provision for a station which would cover Dundee.

Aerials (Polarisation)

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that no television aerials can be manufactured for receiving the alternative television programmes until he announces the polarisation to be used; and whether he will make a statement at the earliest opportunity.

My noble Friend has now decided, in accordance with a recommendation which is supported by the Radio Industry Council and the B.B.C., that the I.T.A. stations should, as far as possible, employ the same polarisation as that used, or planned, for B.B.C. Band I stations serving the same areas. The first three I.T.A. stations, which will serve the London, Birmingham and South Lancashire areas, will, accordingly, have vertical polarisation.

North Hessary Tor Station

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he has any further statement to make on when television programmes will be radiated from North Hessary Tor.

The British Broadcasting Corporation hope to have a service in operation by the end of the year provided that an early decision in their favour is given on the question of common rights on North Hessary Tor.

Royal Air Force

Crichel Down


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how he intends to remedy the omission to make an order under Section 88 of the Agriculture Act, 1947, in January, 1950, vesting Crichel Down in the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, which omission has invalidated all subsequent acts of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in respect of that property.

In January, 1950, the Air Council agreed that the Crichel Down property should be transferred to the Minister of Agriculture and that he should be responsible for it from that date. The fact that an Order was not made in January, 1950, under Section 88 of the Agriculture Act, 1947, has not invalidated subsequent acts of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in respect of this property, because the Minister was in control of the land and was in a position to call for a transfer at any time.

Bomber Pilot (Training Cost)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air if he will give details showing how he arrives at the figure of£25,000 for the cost of training individual bomber pilots.

This figure represents the average cost of training pilots for jet or piston engined bombers up to the time they join a squadron.The training is divided into four stages: Initial Training School, Flying Training School, Advanced Flying School, and Operational Conversion Unit. The second of these stages includes 200 hours flying on preliminary types of aircraft, the third stage 50 to 60 hours on advanced types, and the fourth stage from 60 to 85 hours on the operational type the pilot is to fly when he joins a squadron. The training, therefore, requires from 310 to 345 hours flying, much of which is on heavy types of aircraft, and more than half the total cost is accounted for by the capital and direct operating costs of the aircraft.The approximate cost of each of the stages is as follows:

Initial Training School300
Flying Training School8,500
Advanced Flying School8,500
Operational Conversion Unit8,000
These figures are arrived at by apportioning the total cost of the schools between the successful pupils, so that they include an element to cover the nugatory expenditure on the unsuccessful pupils.

Troops (Movement To Middle East)


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how quickly he estimates that one Army division could be moved by air from the United Kingdom to any central point of Middle Eastern defence, given the most favourable circumstances.

So many factors are involved that it would be dangerous to give an estimate, but it can be said that, using all the resources which might be available, a division, but not, of course, its heavy equipment could be moved to the Middle East in a matter of days.

Wing Commanders (Pensionable Service)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many years a wing commander must serve in Her Majesty's Forces before being entitled to retire on pension.

A wing commander must give 24 years' reckonable officer service to qualify for the standard retired pay for his rank.


Heavy Vehicles (C Licences)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the approximate number of heavy goods vehicles over three tons unladen weight which are now operating in this country under C licences; and what proportion this represents of the total number of such vehicles.

Of some 97,000 goods vehicles exceeding 3 tons in unladen weight licensed at 31st March, 1954, under the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, about 57,000 vehicles, or 59·0 per cent., were authorised under C carriers licences.

Public Service And Goods Vehicles (Speed Limit)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the latest information available from the Road Research Laboratory as to the extent to which goods vehicles of over three tons unladen weight are continuing to make a practice of travelling over 20 miles per hour.

Some recent observations by the Laboratory indicate that on roads in areas not built up about 95 per cent. of heavy goods vehicles exceed 20 miles per hour, and some 65–70 per cent. exceed 25 miles per hour.


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is satisfied that the present arrangements for the inspection and issue of certificates of efficiency to public service vehicles over three tons in weight are sufficiently effective to justify the retention for such vehicles of a 30-miles-per-hour maximum speed limit: and whether he will consider the desirability of permitting all road vehicles which obtain similar certificates of efficency a similar maximum speed limit.

I see no good reason why the speed limit for any public service vehicle should be changed. Arrangements for the inspection and certificates of public service vehicles have no bearing on the considerations which govern the speed limit of other road vehicles.

Traffic Laws (Enforcement)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many of his officers are engaged in preventing breaches of the law by road hauliers who employ drivers for longer hours than the law provides; and if he is satisfied that the present force of preventive officers is sufficient.

Sixty-two traffic examiners are engaged whole time in enforcing certain provisions of the Road Traffic Acts relating to the operation of commercial vehicles, including the restrictions on drivers' hours. This figure does not include staff engaged on office work in support of the enforcement activities of these examiners. In addition, 472 driving and traffic examiners are available for this work when they are not required to conduct driving tests.Owing to the large increase in the demand for these tests in recent months, I am looking into the need for an increase in staff to enable more time to be spent on enforcement.

London Transport Executive Members (Reappointment)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the action he proposes to take in regard to the future of the London Transport Executive when the period for which members were appointed expires.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Written Answer I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Merton and Morden (Captain Ryder) on 27th July.

Railway Superannuitants


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the result of his inquiries into the position of many railway super-annuitants who did not benefit under the recent increases announced by the British Transport Commission.

As my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary informed the House during the debate on the Adjournment on 2nd June, the Commission have recently considered this matter afresh and have told me that, taking all the factors into account, they do not feel justified in improving the scheme of pension supplements which they introduced in March, 1953. I feel bound to accept their judgment.

Special A Licences

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many applications for A special licences have been refused by the licensing authorities under paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 of the Transport Act, 1953, because the base from which the vehicles are to operate differs from that from which the Commission operated the vehicles.

Two applications for special A licences have been refused by the licensing authorities for goods vehicles under the provisions of paragraph 4 of Part I of the First Schedule to the Transport Act of 1953.

Civil Aviation

Maintenance Base, Renfrew


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what representations he has received recently from the Scottish Advisory Council for Civil Aviation in respect of the Renfrew maintenance base; and what reply he has made.

The deputation from the Council which I received on 24th June, represented against the proposal to transfer work from Renfrew to London, stressing, in particular, social and strategic aspects of the problem. The chairman has subsequently, on behalf of the Council, sent me a list of further points which I have assured him will, along with the statements made at the meeting, be taken into account before any final decision is taken.

Foreign Aircraft (Boac Orders)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the total cost of aircraft recently ordered for British Overseas Airways Corporation; and what proportion of this cost represents dollar expenditure.

It would be contrary to normal practice to disclose the purchase price of aircraft. The negotiations are not yet concluded, but about 70 per cent. of the expenditure will be in dollars.

Gatwick Airport (Future)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement regarding the future of Gatwick Airport.

The Report of the public inquiry into the proposed extension of Gatwick Airport is still being considered.

Oil Pollution (Resolution)


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what steps he is taking to implement resolution 6 passed by the International Conference on Pollution of the Sea by Oil in which are set out interim measures to be taken pending the coming into force of the convention.

To a large extent this resolution has already been implemented by voluntary action in the United Kingdom. I hope that it will be possible at an early date to introduce legislation which will not only enable the resolution to be fully implemented, but will also enable Her Majesty's Government to accept the convention as a whole.


Speed Limit, New Forest


asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, in view of the increasing number of road accidents in the New Forest, due to wandering ponies, he will restrict the permitted speed on those roads on which no speed limit is now imposed, and introduce cattle-grids where needed.

I have been gravely concerned by the increase in the number of road accidents in the New Forest and recently convened a meeting of local authorities and other interested bodies under the chairmanship of my divisional road engineer to consider what might be done to reduce the risk of accidents caused by animals without serious interference with the amenities of the New Forest.I am now considering his report. He does not recommend the imposition of speed limits in the New Forest except in built-up areas. He points out that cattle grids would not be effective unless the roads were fenced and he does not recommend fencing of the trunk road until it is reconstructed with dual carriageways. Fencing of other roads is not permitted by the Acts relating to the forest.

Bridge, Ballachuilish Narrows

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, in the plans for making the Oban—Fort William Road via Ballachuilish a trunk road, there has been included a bridge across the Ballachuilish Narrows; and whether, in view of the convenience and amenity it would provide, he will consider proceeding with such a bridge at an early date.

The whole of the route between Oban and Fort William is already a trunk road. The building of a bridge across the Ballachuilish Narrows has been considered, but its cost would be high and I do not think I could justify it at present.

Doncaster By-Pass

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when he estimates that a start will be authorised for the Doncaster by-pass road; and the estimated cost of this construction.

I am sorry that I cannot forecast when this by-pass can be started. Plans are being prepared for the making of a scheme under the Special Roads Act, 1949, and it will be some time before I can publish this in draft. If there are objections, a public inquiry may be necessary before it is decided whether or not to make the scheme. The cost of the works is estimated at about£3½ million.

Comet Aircraft (Loss)


asked the Attorney-General if he is now satisfied that the Comet disasters were in no way due to sabotage.

The causes of the Comet disasters near Elba and Naples are to be the subject of public inquiries. I cannot anticipate their outcome.

Ministry Of Supply

Trials, Bristol Channel (Lights)


asked the Minister of Supply if he is aware that naval men using Very lights on 19th July to signal aircraft during sea exercises in the Bristol Channel were the cause of calling out one of the lifeboats; and if he will arrange for closer co-operation with the lifeboat stations in the future to avoid unnecessary launchings.

Yes. I am aware of this incident, but no naval personnel were involved. Very lights were fired at St. Thomas' Head sea range on 19th July by the Ministry of Supply Torpedo Development Unit during trials. Unfortunately, contrary to the regulations, some lights of the wrong colour were fired. Steps have been taken with a view to ensuring that the regulations are observed in future and that the Weston-super-Mare lifeboat authorities are informed of the dates of trials involving such signals. An expression of our regret is being sent to the lifeboat authorities.

Supersonic Damage (Ex-Gratia Payments)

asked the Minister of Supply on what grounds he is making ex gratia payments on claims for supersonic damage; how many such payments have been made; and what is the total sum involved.

Supersonic flying by aircraft for which the Ministry of Supply is directly or indirectly responsible is restricted to essential tests. Instructions are given to minimise disturbance to the public. The comprehensive review of this problem, to which I referred in my answer to the hon. Member for Maidstone (Sir A. Bossom), on 6th July, has not yet been completed. Meanwhile, where evidence shows that damage to property may have been caused by supersonic flights, ex gratia payments are being made without admission of liability. Fifty-two such payments, totalling£440, have so far been made.



asked the Minister of Agriculture what obligation he imposes on owners of diseased rabbits to notify the presence of myxomatosis.

There is no legal obligation on occupiers to notify the existence of myxomatosis in rabbits on their land.

Fertilisers (Import Duty)


asked the President of the Board of Trade the rate of duty payable on imported fertilisers for agriculture; and what purpose this duty serves.

Fertilisers cover a wide range of products and the duties on the various descriptions are set out in the Customs and Excise Tariff. I am writing to the hon. Member to give him details. About 90 per cent. by value of these materials is at present admitted free of duty from all sources.

Housing, Llanlennoch (Water Supply)


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether his attention has been drawn to the anomaly existing at Llanlennoch, near Newport, where the Welsh Board of Health will not sanction any grant for the building of new houses until a piped-water supply is available and the Pontypool Rural Ristrict Council as the immediate authority are unable to sanction a grant for a piped-water supply as the number of houses for such a purpose is insufficient; whether he is aware that the present supply of water from a pump has been declared as unfit for human consumption; and what action he is taking in the matter.

An outline scheme for providing a piped-water supply in this village was prepared by the Pontypool Rural District Council in 1946, but was dropped. I have no record of an application by the district council for approval of the erection of new houses in the village nor am I aware that the present supply of water from a pump there is unfit for human consumption. I am communicating with the rural district council on these matters and will inform the hon. Member of the result.

Dental Service, Scotland (Assistants)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many dentists engaged in the general dental service in Scotland employ assistant dental practitioners; how many dental practitioners are so employed; and whether their names are included in the figure of approximately 1,200 dentists engaged in the general dental service for Scotland.

At present 69 such dentists are recorded as regularly employing a total of 77 assistants. The latter were included in the estimate of 1,200 dentists engaged in the general dental service in Scotland.