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National Finance

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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Cement Works, Strood (Rating Assessment)

58.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it has yet been possible to reach agreement about the assessment for rating purposes of cement works in the area of the Strood Rural District Council.

University Teachers' Salaries

60.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that, apart from an increase in salaries below £600 per annum, the range of salaries laid down in 1949 for university teachers is still in operation; whether he is satisfied that these salaries are adequate; and what representations he has received on this matter in recent months.

Apart from an increase in 1952 for junior staffs, existing rates of pay are those announced by Sir Stafford Cripps on 15th March, 1949. Revision of academic salaries is now under consideration, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that since that time there has been a considerable increase in professional salaries generally—about 30 per cent.—and that university teachers have a strong case for reconsideration of these scales?

I have no doubt that that point is being put forward in the course of these discussions that are taking place.

Would the Economic Secretary bear in mind that there is a very great difference between the medical and non-medical teaching staffs at the universities and that this alone is a cause of offence to those who are not so happy as to be medical people?

University Grants Committee (Welsh Representation)

62.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps have been taken, or will be taken, to secure representation from Wales on the University Grants Committee.

Though the members of the University Grants Committee are chosen to cover among them the main fields of university study, as well as certain interests outside the universities, they serve in a personal capacity and not as representatives.

International Bank (Sterling Loan)

63.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the purpose of the sterling loan recently raised by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the London market.

The purpose of the loan of £5 million which the International Bank is now raising on the London market is to provide the Bank with sterling for lending to borrowers outside the sterling Commonwealth.

Dividends (Distribution Rate)

64.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the rate of dividend distribution by public companies in the first six months of this year as compared with the similar period for 1953.

The figures available show that the shareholders' gross return on invested capital for the first six months of 1954 was about 6 per cent. compared with about 5·4 per cent. for the same period last year.

Could not the hon. Gentleman also tell us what has been the absolute increase as well as the increase relating to the amount of invested capital?

If the hon. Gentleman would put that question on the Order Paper I would be glad to give him the information, but it would be very misleading information.

Private Industry (Capital Investments)

65.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he can give about current rates of capital investments in private industry.

I regret that I have no current figures. The figures for 1953 were published in the Economic Survey, 1954.

Is the hon. Gentleman unable to give us any indication of the effect of the Budget and its investment allowances on the rate of capital investment?

I think it is too early in July to hope for evidence of the effects of the Budget on investment through the investment allowances. It takes a little while for investment allowances to bear fruit through the building of plant.

Houses (Estate Duty Valuation)

66.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date, in the valuation of houses for the payment of Estate Duty on small estates, the term "vacant possession," and the concession made in 1944 in relation to the valuation of houses became the identical basis of calculation; and whether the directive to district valuers will be placed in the Library of the House.

The statutory and concessional values for Estate Duty purposes of owner-occupied houses within the scope of the concession have now tended to coincide in some cases but not in all, and not as from any common date. No directive has been issued to district valuers in this connection; the assessment of the concessional figure is essentially a question of valuation and depends on the circumstances of each individual case.

Is my hon. Friend aware that his answer is most unsatisfactory and that I am sending his right hon. Friend particulars of cases? Is he also aware that 1953 is the date by which the change of policy came into operation, and that, when the House reassembles, I hope he will be able to give me a better answer?

So far as that question conflicts with my statement, I cannot accept the point of view of my hon. Friend.