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Written Answers

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 29th July, 1954

Education

School Milk Scheme

5.

asked the Minister of Education if she has yet made a decision on the possibility of supplying milk to five-year-old children who happen not to be in school.

Local education authorities have no power to provide milk for children who are not in attendance at school.

Teachers Superannuation (War Service)

10.

asked the Minister of Education if she will take steps to amend the Teachers Superannuation Rules, 1926, so as to enable persons who were teachers in 1914, and who intended to pursue a teaching career and subsequently fulfilled that intention, to count their years of war service as recognised service for pension purposes.

No. War service by a teacher during the 1914–18 war can be treated as pensionable service under the Teachers (Superannuation) Acts if the teacher was recognised at the time as a certified teacher, or was employed in pensionable service immediately before beginning his war service. The broad purpose of this provision of the rules is to continue the pension rights which a teacher enjoyed when he entered on war service.

Religious Instruction

19.

asked the Minister of Education approximately how many teachers have qualified in religious instruction, and how many are now officiating in this respect; what hymn books are in general use for the purpose of worship in schools; and to what extent attention is given in teachers' training colleges to the most effective means of conveying moral and ethical values in religious instruction to be subsequently given to school children by those specially qualified in this subject.

The number of teachers in service who have passed an examination in religious knowledge during or after their training is not known. In primary schools religious instruction is usually given by the class teacher; in secondary schools there is a growing tendency for it to be given by specialist teachers. The choice of hymn books is a matter for the teachers and managers or governors of each school. I am satisfied that the moral and ethical aspects of religious knowledge are much in the minds of those responsible for the subject in training colleges.

Trade And Commerce

Nigeria (Export Credits)

39.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what instructions he has given to the Export Credits Guarantee Department concerning the encouragement of exports to Nigeria.

The Export Credits Guarantee Department exists to encourage exports generally and I have not thought it necessary to give any special instructions about exports to Nigeria.

Imperial Preference (Reductions)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will provide a list of the reductions which have been made in the preferences on United Kingdom imports from the Commonwealth in each year since the Torquay Conference of 1951; the present estimated average margin of preference; and how this average compares with that obtaining in 1948.

The only reductions which have been made in margins of preference since the end of the Torquay Conference are those which have incidentally resulted from reductions in most-favoured-nation rates of duties imposed on foreign goods. Such reductions are listed below. In many of these items there is little or no Commonwealth trade. In no case has a commitment under the Ottawa Agreements been affected.I regret that a comparison of the average margins of preference in 1948 and at the present time is not available and could not be obtained without the

ProductRate of duty reduced
FromTo
1951
Albardin grass10 per cent.Free entry
Diss or vine-tie grass10 per cent.Free entry
Fibre of common broom or Spanish broom (in certain forms)10 per cent.Free entry
Lithium sulphate (of certain specification and value)10 per cent.Free entry
Wool sliver (of certain specifications)10 per cent.Free entry
Unwrought cobalt (in certain forms)10 per cent.Free entry
1952
Bagasse pulp, bleached10 per cent.Free entry
Softwood sleepers, not further prepared or manufactured than square sawn10 per cent.8s. per standard of 165 cubic feet
Milo starch, of value exceeding 10s. per cwt.10 per cent.7½ per cent, or 1s. per cwt., whichever is greater
1953
Citrus fruit in brine15 per cent.12½ per cent.
Apricots and certain other fruits preserved without sugar25 per cent.15 per cent.
Parts of and accessories to concertinas and accordians33⅓ per cent, (full)25 per cent, (full)
22 per cent, (preferential)16⅔ per cent, (preferential)
1954
Parts of musical instrument:—Reed plates incorporating reeds.33⅓ per cent, (full)20 per cent, (full)
22 per cent, (preferential)13⅓ per cent, (preferential)
Inset mails of a kind used in the manufacture of wire healds for textile looms20 per cent.Free entry
Aerial survey film (of certain specifications)10 per cent.Free entry

Footnote: In all these cases, except where a preferential rate has been stated, the preferential rate is free entry so that the margin of preference has been reduced to the extent of the reduction in the full rate of duty.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what applications have been made for the reduction or removal of Empire preference in relation to duties imposed on goods imported into Great Britain during the current year; in what cases such reductions or abolitions of preference have been granted; what applications are at present under consideration; and what steps are taken to consult the Commonwealth countries concerned in connection with such applications.

Machinery (Duty-Free Licensing)

expenditure of a disproportionate amount of time and effort.

Following is the list:

in a position to make a statement about the Wilson Smith Committee Report on duty-free entry of machinery, which has recently been published.

Yes. The Government accept the Report as a whole and, with one reservation, propose to put into effect the committee's recommendations as from the 4th August. The basic recommendation is that some discretionary system to permit the duty-free entry of machinery in suitable cases is in the national interest, but the Committee does not recommend the continuation of so general and widespread a scheme as that which obtained before duty-free licensing was suspended in 1952. The Government accept this recommendation and propose to resume duty-free licensing of machinery under Section 10 of the Finance Act. 1932.

The report recommends four main changes in previous practice. The first of these is that the applications eligible for consideration should be confined to consignments of similar or closely associated machines where the value of the machinery otherwise eligible for a duty-free licence required by the individual user is not less than£2,000. The Government accept this value limit of£2,000 as recommended by the committee.

Secondly, as regards similarity of machines, the Report recommends that the suitability of machines for the particular work for which they are required should be taken into account in cases where the applicant can establish that the machine is to be used to a very substantial extent for this special purpose, but that duty-free entry should not be allowed unless the imported machine has a definite and marked technical superiority for that purpose.

This recommendation will, as the Report recognises, give rise to some formidable difficulties in administration. Previously, machines were compared solely on the basis of their general use, and this criterion provided a clear rule which made it possible to ensure and demonstrate that all applicants were treated alike. The criterion now recommended cannot be expressed as a clear-cut general rule. Decisions will have, to a much greater degree than under the previous arrangements, to depend on the individual circumstances of each case, and may thus appear to be somewhat arbitrary in character. The Government nevertheless propose to adopt this recommendation. The criterion will, as the Committee recommends, be strictly administered.

Thirdly, the Report recommends that the responsible Department should set up a consultative committee containing representatives of industry whose functions would be to keep under review the broad policy followed by the administering Departments and to represent industry's views to the Departments. I propose to appoint a consultative committee as soon as possible.

The one recommendation on which the Government must for the present reserve their decision is the one for the extension of the duty-free entry provisions to cover plant. Legislation would be necessary before this recommendation could be put into effect, and I propose to explore this matter further with the consultative committee as soon as it is appointed.

In addition to these definite recommendations for changes in the previous rules and methods of administration, the Report also suggests that the administering Departments should consider whether the rules formerly followed in dealing with applications made on the ground that delivery of United Kingdom machines is protracted could be made somewhat more flexible, for example, by varying the qualifying period according to the type or value of the machinery. This suggestion will be examined with the assistance of the consultative committee.

The Report recommends that the other rules followed by the Departments in administering duty-free licensing since the war should be retained. This decision to resume the duty-free licensing of machinery on the above basis will apply to machinery which has not been delivered from Customs charge before the 4th August, provided that the applicant, before delivery of the machinery from Customs charge ( a) has ensured that an application for a duty-free licence is received by the Board of Trade, ( b) has informed Customs about the application. Applications (which may be lodged forthwith) should be made to I.M.1 Division, Board of Trade, Horse Guards Avenue, S.W.1, from whom application forms can now be obtained. A notice to this effect will appear in this week's Board of Trade Journal.

I should like to add that there will probably be a heavy flow of applications at the outset, and there is likely, therefore, to be some initial delay in dealing with them. Delays in the issue of duty-free licences do not mean that the importer has to delay the import of the machine since, provided that the application has been received before clearance through Customs, the importer can obtain clearance by paying the import duty, which will be refunded if a duty-free licence is issued.

I would like to take this opportunity to express the Government's thanks to the chairman and members of the committee for the valuable public service they have rendered in their examination of this complex problem.

Anglo-Indian Trade

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can yet make a statement on the result of the representations he has made to the Indian authorities about the disparity between our treatment of her exports to us of Indian grey cloth and her import regulations which operate against us.

National Finance

Roads Expenditure (Loans)

61.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has now given consideration to the difficulties involved in financing road development and the construction of motorways out of revenue; and whether he will undertake that, before introducing his next Budget, he will investigate the desirability of arranging for such work to be financed at least in part by way of loans.

My right hon. Friend has noted the views expressed on this point by hon. Members. But the disadvantages of incurring debt for this purpose are formidable. As the hon. Member knows, increased expenditure on roads has already been undertaken without resort to this expedient.

Customs Facilities (Greatham Airport)

67.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered a resolution of protest from the North-East Industrial and Development Association about the refusal to continue "on call" Customs facilities at Greatham Airport; and what reply he has made to the Association.

I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation on 21st July, and the North-East Industrial and Development Association are being informed accordingly.

71.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total cost to the Customs Department in overtime and additional payments for the provisions of officers at Greatham Airport to clear arriving and departing aircraft in the year 1953; and what proportion of such sum was recovered by the Customs Department from the aircraft operators.

Fatstock Marketing Board (Loans)

69.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what applications to borrow his Department has received from the Fatstock Marketing Board Limited; and how much has been granted.

Income Tax (Personal Case)

72.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury when the hon. Member for Keighley can expect a reply to his letter of 21st June on the taxation queries of Mrs. Sunderland of Keighley; and what has been the reason for the delay.

My right hon. Friend the then Financial Secretary sent a letter in reply to the hon. Member yesterday. In view of the nature of this case, my right hon. Friend wished to make very full inquiries and these took a little longer than usual.

Member's Expenses (Sessional Allowance)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, under his regulations, a Member who does not wish to draw the Sessional Allowance can claim allowable deductions for the purposes of Income Tax up to a total of£1,250 per annum.

No. If the expenses of an office exceed the emoluments, the law does not allow the excess to be deducted from other income for tax purposes.

Fiduciary Note Issue (Increase)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about the fiduciary note issue.

Yes. To provide for a further seasonal increase in the demand for notes, the Treasury, in agreement with the Bank of England has directed that the fiduciary note issue shall be£1,750 million, an increase of£25 million. The Treasury Minute giving the direction will be laid before Parliament.

Government Departments

Regional Organisations

68.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Departments, having a regional organisation in 1945, have now closed it down completely; and which Departments have extended their regional organisation since 1945.

No Departments have closed down their regional organisation completely. The answer to the second part of the Question is that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have established provincial centres for their national Agricultural Advisory Service and their Agricultural Land Service; the Ministry of Education have set up their small regional organisation; the National Assistance Board have set up one additional regional office; the Ministry of National Insurance, as it then was, have set up offices, with which those of the Ministry of Pensions have now been amalgamated, to administer the National Insurance (1946) Acts; and the regional functions of the Central Land Board were added to those of the War Damage Commission.

Ministry Of Food (Transferred Staff)

70.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what efforts he is making to ensure that members of the Ministry of Food who are being transferred to other Ministries, consequent upon the reduction in the work of that Department, shall be posted within a reasonable distance of their homes, particularly where they have special family or similar responsibilities in the area where they have been employed by the Ministry of Food.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which my right hon. Friend the then Financial Secretary gave to the hon. Member for the Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) on 19th July and to that which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) on 20th July.

Land And Properties

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will arrange for publication of a periodical return showing the numbers of properties and acreage of land held by individual Government Departments.

I think there would be formidable difficulties about the preparation and publication of such a return. Government Departments hold land and buildings for many different purposes, and on many different forms of tenure, and the compilation of such a return would involve very substantial cost and labour. But if there is any particular information within my sphere of responsibility which my hon. and gallant Friend desires on this subject, I will try to let him have it.

Forestry Commission

Pitwood Working Party (Report)

74.

asked the Minister of Agriculture when this House may expect to receive the report of the Forestry Commission Pitwood Working Party.

It is expected that the report will be made to the Commissioners before the autumn. When the report is received the Forestry Commissioners will consider the desirability of publication. In any event, any recommendations will be made available to the interested parties who have representatives on the Working Party.

Forest Name Boards

77.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many of the posts and signs of the Forestry Commission were erected on the Commission's property declaring it to be State property; what was the cost of these posts and signs, including cost of erection; on what date these signs and posts were replaced omitting the word State; and at what cost, and why, this change was made.

Some 2,200 forest name boards have been put up showing the name of the forest, at a total cost of approximately£7,000. In view of the public criticism of wording of the original name boards, the Commissioners decided in 1952 to use different wording for new notices and to replace existing notices as and when convenient. So far some 360 of the original notices have been replaced. at a total cost of£900.

East Yorkshire River Board (Schemes)

73.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will now indicate when the Hull and East Yorkshire River Board will submit a scheme, as they are required to do, under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Land Drainage Act, 1930, for the abolition of the Commissioners of Sewers in their area, and so enable the debts owing by the Commissioners, which have been outstanding for 24 years, to be discharged.

The Hull and East Yorkshire River Board cannot submit a scheme for the abolition of the Commissioners of Sewers in their area until internal drainage districts have been set up for the area administered by the Commissioners. I understand that the last two schemes under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Land Drainage Act, 1930, setting up these districts are likely to be made available by the River Board for inspection later this year.

Agriculture

Land Tribunals (Procedure)

75.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if his attention has been called to the criticisms made by Mr. Justice Stable of the way in which two men were appointed to a land tribunal at Chelmsford, which agreed in one day to the dispossession of 19 owners and occupiers, particulars of which have been sent to him; what action he intends to take; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) on 26th July.

76 and 78.

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) if it is his intention to lodge an appeal against the judgment given in the Woollett case of dispossession;(2) when he proposes to derequisition Mrs. Woollett's land.

As my hon. Friend will have seen from the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) on 26th July, the question of an appeal is under consideration. Pending a decision on this and the outcome of an appeal if one is made no further action is being taken affecting Mrs. Woollett's land.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if his attention has been drawn to the observations of the honourable Mr. Justice Stable in the case of Woollett versus Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries respecting the irregular method of appointment of members of the Agricultural Lands Tribunal; and what remedial action he proposes to take.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) on 26th July.

Myxomatosis

80.

asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of counties affected by myxomatosis.

Myxomatosis is known to exist in 29 counties in England, 10 in Wales and one in Scotland.

81.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what evidence he now has that myxomatosis has been spread from one county to another by the removal of infected rabbits to a clear area; and how many cases are involved.

Television Station, Hessary Tor (Common Rights)

82.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what representations he has received in recent months under Section 194 of the Law of Property Act, 1925, in regard to common rights over Walkhampton Common in the Dartmoor National Park, parts of which the British Broadcasting Corporation wants to buy for a television station; and whether he will make a statement.

The period for the submission of objections to the application by the B.B.C. for the Minister's consent under Section 194 of the Law of Property Act, 1925, to the erection of a television station on Hessary Tor has been extended to 7th August. One objection has been received and in the light of this, and of any further objections the matter will be considered and an announcement made as soon as possible.

Marketing Schemes

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will take steps to ensure that the period of 10 weeks between the coming into force of schemes made under the Agriculture Marketing Acts shall be a period of 10 weeks from the completion of the register of producers or, alternatively, that the register must be completed and available to objectors within three weeks of the coming into force of the scheme.

I assume that this Question relates to the statement on 9th March that in future a period of not less than 10 weeks would be normally allowed beween the coming into force of a scheme and the completion of the initial poll. This includes the time taken to compile the register, and would normally give enough time both for the completion of the register and for the canvassing of producers. If in any particular case it seemed likely that the compilation of the register would take an abnormally long time, the question of providing for a longer period would certainly be considered.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what steps have been taken to implement the changes promised regarding approval of schemes under the Agricultural Marketing Acts, 1931–49.

The new arrangements described in the statement of 9th March were brought to the notice of the National Farmers' Unions, by whom marketing schemes are normally promoted. The attention of existing marketing boards has also been drawn to particular points as occasion arises. Provisions intended to give effect to the new arrangements as appropriate have been incorporated in the draft amendments of the Milk Marketing Scheme and in the draft Fat-stock Marketing Scheme.

French Fishing Vessels (Arrests)

79.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many French fishing vessels were arrested for poaching off the Sussex coast in the year ended 31st March last; and what was the amount of the fines inflicted on the skippers of those vessels.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "four." The fines inflicted ranged from£5 to£25, with confiscation of gear and the catch of fish, if any.

Home Department

Royal Commissions (Reports)

93.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, when recommending the appointment of future Royal Commissions, he will at the same time recommend that dates be given for the submission of their reports.

In their terms of reference Royal Commissions are generally requested to report with as little delay as possible but the time which it may take a Royal Commission to conduct its inquiry cannot be accurately forecast. It is the practice to draw the attention of a Royal Commission to any special urgency about the whole or any part of its inquiry and its terms of reference make it clear that it is open to a Royal Commission to reports its proceedings from time to time if it judges it expedient so to do.

Aliens Order (Personal Case)

84.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why Mr. E. S. Sherry, passenger on the R.M.S. "Queen Mary," was refused permission to land at Southampton on Monday, 12th July, and was sent back to the United States of America on the next liner.

Mr. Sherry was refused leave to land in pursuance of a certificate issued for the purpose of Article 4 (2) of the Aliens Order by the medical inspector appointed under the Order.

Mock Auctions

87 and 88.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what conclusions have been reached from his investigation into the activities of mock auction operators; and whether he will now introduce legislation to give reasonable protection to the public;(2) if he has considered certain further information supplied to him by the hon. Member for Dartford, as to undesirable practices at mock auctions; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this matter.

I have considered all the information supplied to me by the hon. Member and have received full reports from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and the Commissioner of Police for the City of London. A watch is kept on these auctions by the police, but so far there has been no evidence which would justify criminal proceedings. I regret that I cannot hold out any hope that the Government will be able to find time for amending legislation.

Docks And Harbours (Rescue Services)

89.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to assign a definite responsibility for rescue services in docks and harbours to a statutory authority in each area.

No. I do not think there is any need for fresh legislation on this subject at the present time.

Dr Joseph Cort

91.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will exercise his statutory powers and waive the five years' residence rule to allow Dr. Joseph Cort to apply for British naturalisation at once.

American Nationals, Burtonwood (British Law)

93.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement in connection with the agreement he has come to with the United States authorities as to proposed changes of procedure in respect of the application of British law to American nationals at Burtonwood Air Base.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to statements which appeared in the Press to the effect that wives and dependents of United States service men would no longer be required to register under the Aliens Order, and that they would no longer be required to take the British driving test if they wished to continue to drive after a stay of more than 12 months in this country. These reports arose from a local misunderstanding. No alteration is contemplated in the present arrangements on either of these matters.

New Criminal Courts, South Lancashire

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action it is proposed to take on the Report of the Departmental Committee on a Central Criminal Court in South Lancashire, which was presented to Parliament in September last.

My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor and I, after some local consultations, have it in mind to proceed with the committee's proposals, but in a slightly modified form. We contemplate that there should be established in Liverpool a new court which would combine the functions of the Liverpool assizes, so far as criminal business is concerned, and of the Liverpool city quarter sessions, and that a similar court should be established in Manchester combining the criminal work of the Manchester assizes and the functions of the Manchester city quarter sessions.Under these proposals, the recorder-ships of Liverpool and Manchester would be full-time, pensionable appointments. A permanent assize commission would be issued constituting all the Queen's Bench judges and the two recorders as members of the Liverpool court; and a similar permanent commission would be issued in respect of the Manchester court. Arrangements would be made whereby certain of the most serious cases would in practice be dealt with by a Queen's Bench judge. The ordinary assize commission, so far as South Lancashire was concerned, would then relate only to civil work.The Liverpool city justices would commit to the new Liverpool court all cases which they at present commit to Liverpool city quarter sessions or to the Liverpool assizes, and also cases for sentence under Sections 28 and 29 of the Magistrates' Courts Act, 1952; and the court would hear appeals from the Liverpool city justices. Similar provision would be made in respect of Manchester. Other justices in South Lancashire would commit to the Liverpool or to the Manchester court cases which at present they commit to the Liverpool or Manchester Assizes. The Exchequer would make a contribution towards the costs of the Liverpool and Manchester courts.Legislation will be necessary to give effect to these proposals. I cannot at present say when it will be possible to introduce such legislation.

Police

Caravans, London

90.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to control the growing number of caravans which are being parked in London streets and used for temporary or semi-permanent residential purposes.

A few instances of caravans used for residential purposes being parked on grass verges and service roads in outer London have come to the notice of the police, but the Commissioner of Police has no reason to think that the practice is increasing. Proceedings are being taken in some cases in which oral warnings have been disregarded.

Goods Vehicles (Speed Limit Prosecutions)

85.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will obtain a report from the police authorities as to why, for several years, they have failed to find any effective way of enforcing a 20 miles-per-hour speed limit for goods vehicles over three tons; and the number of prosecutions for this offence during the past year.

The statistics of prosecutions for exceeding a speed limit do not distinguish between goods vehicles of various types, which are subject to various limits. The total number of prosecutions for exceeding a speed limit in a goods vehicle in England and Wales in 1953 was 20,293. In the light of these figures I could not accept the implication in the first part of the Question.

Motor Vehicles, London (Noise)

92.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that the owners of many motor cars and motor cycles in the Metropolitan area fail to fit proper silencers to their vehicles; and if he will take steps to see that the law is enforced.

The Metropolitan Police are fully alive to the need to enforce the relevant Regulations. The Commissioner of Police informs me that in 1953 they dealt, by summonses or warnings, with 2,796 cases of infringement of the Regulations relating to the emission of noise from motor vehicles, which include those which specifically require a silencer to be fitted.

Abnormal Loads (Mobile Patrol Escorts)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the cost of the services provided by mobile police patrols in escorting abnormally bulky and slow-moving loads transported by road is charged to the firms transporting the loads; and from what other duties these police patrols are taken in order to perform these services.

None of the cost of providing mobile police patrols to escort abnormal loads, and thereby to minimise inconvenience to other road users, is charged to the firms concerned. The patrols are normally employed on general traffic duties.

Civil Defence, Coventry (Transferred Functions)

86.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will appoint a commissioner to carry out the civil defence duties which have been revoked by Coventry City Council.

On 24th July I made an Order under Regulation 4 of the Civil Defence (General) Regulations, 1949, authorising and requiring Air Vice-Marshal Sir Geoffrey Bromet, K.B.E., C.B., D.S.O., Major General J. B. Dalison, C.B., O.B.E., and Miss Mary Gray, C.B.E., to exercise, in the name of the council and at the council's expense, the civil defence functions conferred by the Secretary of State on the council (other than as a fire authority) by Regulations made under Section 2 of the Civil Defence Act, 1948. My right hon. Friends, the Ministers of Housing and Local Government, Food, and Health have made similar Orders. We have also decided to withhold the whole of any Exchequer grants that would otherwise be payable to the council in respect of the discharge, after 22nd July, of the functions transferred.

Employment, Northern Ireland (Meeting Of Ministers)

94.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will indicate the conclusions reached at the meeting of Ministers on the subject of the alleviation of the unemployment problem in Northern Ireland.

The meeting reviewed the steps already taken by United Kingdom Departments to assist the Government of Northern Ireland in dealing with the unemployment problem and considered further possible methods of assistance. Consultation with the Government of Northern Ireland is continuing.

Employment

Older Workers

95.

asked the Minister of Labour what further steps he is taking to encourage the employment of older people in industry.

Since the issue of the first report of the National Advisory Committee, my officers have taken active steps to bring its findings to the notice of all who are concerned with the problems of older workers. The principal recommendations of the report have commanded a wide measure of acceptance from employers, trade unions, and the general public, and an encouraging amount of evidence has come to the notice of the Ministry of the removal, or modification of restrictions on the employment of older persons.My Ministry will continue to do all that it can to encourage employers to consider older people on their merits, without regard to their age. The National Advisory Committee is continuing its work, including the further examination of some of the important matters raised in its report. I am most grateful for the assistance which has been given both by members of the committee and by local employment committees and other bodies throughout the country in focusing attention upon this subject.

Factory Inspectors (Science Graduates)

asked the Minister of Labour how many factory inspectors, engaged in regular routine inspection, are attached to the 95 districts of the factory department; of that total how many hold university degrees in engineering, chemistry, and physics, respectively; and how many of such science graduates now in such district posts were appointed up to and including 1940.

The answer to the first part of the Question is 282, including 28 inspectors attached to the 13 divisional offices, and to the second, 39, 30 and 13, respectively, of whom 64 were appointed before the end of 1940.

Industry (Electricity Load Spreading)

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make a statement about the arrangements for spreading the industrial electricity load during the winter of 1954–55.

Yes. I have received the report of the Electricity Sub-Committee of the Joint Consultative Committee, which has been considering this matter. The report is being published today. The recommendations of the sub-committee are essentially the same as last year, when for the first time it was able to recommend that no national load spreading target should be set, but that regional boards for industry should have discretion to make load spreading arrangements in the light of the conditions likely to arise in their respective areas. These arrangements worked well, and the sub-committee has made the same recommendation this year.It has also recommended that all possible encouragement should continue to be given to the use of private generating plant during winter peak hours, and that a general appeal should be made to domestic and small commercial consumers at the beginning of the winter for economy during peak hours. The Government have accepted the sub-committee's recommendations, and regional boards will, as in previous years. be responsible for working out the detailed arrangements. I should like again to thank both sides of industry for their continued assistance in this matter.

Ministry Of Health

Foundry Workers (X-Ray Facilities)

96.

asked the Minister of Health what facilities there are for the X-raying of foundry workers in order to ascertain whether or not they have pneumoconiosis.

Diagnostic X-ray facilities in National Health Service hos-

HospitalJan.Feb.Mar.AprilMayJuneTotals
Manchester Royal Infirmary262033192121140
Ancoats Hospital776857616368394
Manchester Northern Hospital453130323443215
Victoria Memorial Jewish Hospital192313353823151
Wythenshawe Hospital182162801662462101,046
Duchess of York Hospital19191516131698
Withington Hospital2454217
Booth Hall Hospital11311913511915286724
Manchester Ear Hospital617582617453406
5445214455146455223,191

103.

asked the Minister of Health what hospitals are scheduled in Durham County for tonsil and adenoid operations for children; the waiting period experienced; and how such wait-

pitals are available to all persons who are shown by a clinical examination to need them. In addition, the services of mass miniature radiography units are provided by regional hospital boards throughout the country.

Associations For The Blind

98.

asked the Minister of Health the total sum of public money paid in the last available financial year to the regional associations for the blind.

The total sum of public money paid to the four regional associations for the blind for the financial year 1952–53—the latest for which figures are available—was£18,374 9s. 0d., one half of which was paid by the Exchequer and one half by local authorities.

102.

asked the Minister of Health what organisations of blind persons are affiliated to the Southern Regional Association for the Blind.

Tonsil And Adenoid Operations

99.

asked the Minister of Health the number of tonsil and adenoid operations carried out at each of the nine Manchester hospitals in each month of 1954 up to the nearest convenient date.

The answer is contained in the following table:ing period compares with that for hospitals scheduled for this type of operation in the other parts of the Northern Regional Hospital Board area.

The following is the answer:

TONSIL AND ADENOIDS WAITING LISTS
The following numbers of patients have been waiting as shown:—
0–1 months1–2 months2–4 months4–12 monthsOver 12Total
Durham administrative county—
Palmer Memorial, Jarrow4530406421200
Ellison Hall, Hebburn20142232694
Maiden Law5810376120357
Hartlepools3018691879313
Sedgefield General232016968
Durham County Hospital826892155397
258253315567361,429
County boroughs in County Durham—
Gateshead Children's524157
Ingham Infirmary1824228624170
South Shields General192662231237575
Sunderland General1551395313360
Darlington Memorial89773131201
3332701693332621,367
Rest of region—
Newcastle E.N.T.89180175444
Fleming Memorial162765868364
Newcastle General10818
Preston (N. Shields)45347618428367
Tynemouth Victoria Jubilee2812265310129
G. B. Hunter Memorial, Wallsend301638809173
Hexham General1268531
Alnwick Infirmary1212
Morpeth Cottage14115
Thos. Knight, Blyth38775691144406
N. Riding Infirmary34850398
Cumberland Infirmary94101033
Carlisle City General14114897101397
Whitehaven3034687139
9686466125081922,926

asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking to reduce the waiting period for tonsil and adenoid operations being experienced by children at the Park Hospital, Davyhulme, Manchester.

I am informed that the present waiting periods are unusually high because it has not yet been possible to fill the vacancy caused by a recent resignation from the medical staff. Temporary assistance has however been provided to hold three operating sessions a week at this hospital and thereby reduce the waiting list.

Chronic Sick Beds, Newport

97.

asked the Minister of Health how many beds are available for the chronic sick in Newport; how the number compares with other areas; whether he is aware of the long lists of applicants waiting for beds in the Royal Gwent Hospital; and what action he is taking to deal with the situation.

Eighty-five beds are available, which is somewhat less than the average for the country. I am aware of the long waiting list at the Royal Gwent Hospital and steps have been taken to improve the position by a quicker turnover of beds. The provision of additional beds and other facilities is under consideration for action when resources permit.

Hospitals, Manchester (Operations And Waiting Time)

100.

asked the Minister of Health how many patients are awaiting admission to the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital for cataract operation; and whether he will ensure that the waiting list is regularly checked to maintain contact between hospital and patient.

I am informed that there are 728 such patients; regular contact is maintained by correspondence with patients on the waiting lists.

101.

asked the Minister of Health what steps are being taken to reduce the period of waiting by patients in the out-patients' departments of Manchester hospitals.

The Manchester Regional Hospital Board and the board of governors of the United Manchester Hospitals are at present reviewing the arrangements in out-patients departments at the hospitals under their administration, as requested in the circular which I sent to all boards on 3rd June, 1954.

Hearing Aids, Lincoln

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that in the last two weeks there has been considerable delay in Lincoln in the repair of National Health Service deaf-aids; and what he is doing to prevent a recurrence of such a delay.

Owing to the sudden resignation of one of the technicians the hearing aid centre at Lincoln had temporarily no staff on duty for repairs. The hospital is always ready to advise patients in difficulties how to get their aids repaired with the least possible inconvenience.

Dentists

asked the Minister of Health how the estimated figure of some 1,950 dentists with addresses in England and Wales who are not available for dental practice there, is accounted for.

These dentists consist of those who have retired from active practice, although their names are still in the Dentists' Register, those who are in the Armed Services and those engaged in administrative work.

asked the Minister of Health how many dentists engaged in the general dental service in England and Wales employ assistant dental practitioners; how many dental practitioners are so employed; and whether their names are included in the figure of approximately 9,500 dentists engaged in the general dental service for England and Wales.

At present 929 such dentists are recorded as regularly employing a total of 978 assistants. The latter were included in the estimate of 9,500 dentists engaged in the general dental service in England and Wales.

Hospitals (Compensation Expenditure)

asked the Minister of Health on which vote the expenditure of£328,916 on compensation of all kinds in England and Wales by national service hospital authorities will be borne.

The expenditure was incurred in the five years ended on 31st March, 1953, and the appropriate amount charged each year to the Vote for the National Health Service in Class V as part of the total advances to hospital boards.

Transport

Speed Limits

104.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware that the manufacturers of heavy goods vehicles in this country suffer handicaps in the export trade by reason of the fact that an unrealistic speed limit of 20 miles per hour is imposed upon such vehicles in this country; and whether he will call an early conference with such manufacturers with a view to improving the position in this respect.

Representatives of manufacturers of heavy goods vehicles have already made representations to me on several occasions. I do not think a further meeting with them would be likely to carry matters further at the present time.

105.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what changes have been made in the application of speed limits to various categories of road vehicles since the passage of the Road Traffic Act, 1930; and what steps were taken in each case to obtain the approval of the trade unions concerned.

The First Schedule of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, in which the speed limits for various classes of motor vehicles were laid down, was replaced by a new schedule in the Road Traffic Act, 1934. In addition, regulations under Section 10 (4) of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, varying the speed limits laid down by the 1934 Schedule were made in 1937, 1938, 1940 and 1950. Section 111 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, requires the Minister to consult representative organisations before making regulations, and the appropriate trade unions have been amongst those consulted on these occasions.

Greatham Airport

106.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what reply he has given to the representations made to him by the North-East Industrial and Development Association respecting the future of Greatham Airport.

I have informed the Association that I have taken note of their resolution. As regards its substance, I regret that I have nothing to add to my reply to the right hon. Member's Question on 21st July.

Clyde Tunnel (Deputation)

107.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will make a statement on his meeting with the Glasgow Corporation about the Clyde Tunnel.

Yes. In company with my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary of State for Scotland, I received a deputation from the Glasgow Corporation on 27th July. I explained that when I undertook last December to make£3 million available for the project, I did so in the belief that this would enable the construction of two tunnels at an estimated cost of£4 million. The latest detailed estimate of the whole project amounts, however, to over£5 million and, while the ultimate plan remains the provision of twin tunnels, as authorised by Parliament, I told the Corporation that the amount of money at my disposal would permit me to authorise only the construction of a single tunnel at present, although the approaches could be designed for the ultimate layout.

I undertook that when certain further details were supplied I would authorise work to go ahead, using two shields, on the construction of the first tunnel and the access roads for twin tunnels. and that before its completion the question of proceeding with the second tunnel would be reconsidered on its merits in relation to available resources and the claims on them of road projects in the country as a whole. I also agreed that any reductions in the Government's expenditure below the total of£3 million would not be diverted to other projects in the meantime.

Bovingdon Airport (Notice Board)

108.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation by whose authority the notice board at Bovingdon Airport bears the message, "The United States Air Force Welcomes you to Britain."

A notice reading "The United States Air Force, Bovingdon Airport, welcomes you" was very naturally and quite properly placed outside a hut used exclusively by the United States Air Force for passengers on their own air transport services. Because the notice was visible to passengers on other services using nearby buildings and gave rise to misunderstanding, the United States authorities removed it on 19th July.

Transport Commission (Report)

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will now state when the annual report and accounts for 1953 of the British Transport Commission will be available.

I understand that the Commission are about to consider the final draft of their Report. They hope it will be ready in September.

Local Government

House Refuse, London (Disposal)

109.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will discuss with local authorities the health aspects of the situation which is likely to arise from the shortage of land in the London area for house-refuse disposal.

New Towns (Sale Of Houses)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will give the number of houses or housing sites sold to private owners by development corporations for each of the new towns since 1st August, 1952.

Following is the information requested:

Houses soldHousing sites sold
Aycliffenilnil
Basildonnil1
Bracknell13
Corbynilnil
Crawley73 areas for 202 houses
Cwmbrannil23
Harlow1nil
Hemel Hempstead16
Peterleenilnil
Stevenagenil2
Welwyn Garden City1982
Hatfield2829

Estate Development, Avon Castle

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what action he proposes to take with regard to the hardships of the Avon Castle Smallholders' Association regarding the development of their estate, particulars of which have been sent to him; and if he will make a statement.

A number of plot holders on the Avon Castle and Matcham Park estates have appealed to me against the Hampshire County Council's refusal to permit them to put dwellings on their land. Their appeals have been heard at two public inquiries, of which the second took place last month. I am now considering the appeals, and the county council's proposals for this estate which gave rise to them, in the light of my inspector's reports.

Air Pollution Committee (Report)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government, in view of the considerable period that has elapsed since a report was made, and because of the public interest in this matter, if he will make a statement indicating what progress has been made in recent months by the Air Pollution Committee.

Vice-Consul, Belgian Congo

110.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how far Her Majesty's Vice-Consul at Leopoldville, Belgian Congo, is responsible for answering queries raised by the Export Credits Guarantee Department; what are his normal routine sources of information; and how far is a knowledge of the French language is considered necessary to be able to conduct such inquiries.

Her Majesty's vice-consul at Leopoldville, who performs the commercial work at the post under the superintendence of Her Majesty's consul-general, would normally answer queries raised by the Export Credits Guarantee Department. His normal routine sources of information are banks and commercial contacts. A knowledge of French, which Her Majesty's vice-consul uses extensively, is important for the conduct of such inquiries.

Egyptian Swahili Broadcasts (Representations)

111.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Egyptian Government broadcasts in the Swahili tongue have continued to issue propaganda designed to stir up African hatred of British colonial administration, even hailing Mau Mau terrorists on 20th July as Kenya nationalists; what have been the results of Her Majesty's Ambassador's protests to the Egyptian Government; and whether he will instruct the Ambassador to protest further and more strongly.

Yes. Her Majesty's Government have made further representations to the Egyptian Government about the continuance of these broadcasts.

Trieste

46.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he can now make a statement on the latest proposals to resolve the Trieste dispute.

British Army

Goodge Street Deep Shelter (Conditions)

112.

asked the Secretary of State for War how many Service men are accommodated on an average night at the Goodge Street deep shelter; what sanitary and washing facilities have been provided for them; and what steps have now been taken to improve the sanitary arrangements and the messing at this transit hostel, and to ensure cleanliness in handling and preparation of food.

About 250 all ranks. In spite of additions in 1952, sanitary and washing arrangements have proved unsatisfactory and improvements at a cost of some£3,500 are now being carried out. This work has unfortunately caused some unavoidable temporary inconvenience. Cooking is now going on normally and extra equipment for dish washing has been provided. I hope that the other work will soon be complete.

Suez Canal Zone (Vegetarians)

113.

asked the Secretary of State for War what special dietary provision is made for vegetarians serving in Her Majesty's Forces in the Suez Canal Zone.

In place of the normal meat and bacon rations, an additional 4 oz. bread, 1 oz. margarine, 1 oz. cheese and 1 oz. skimmed milk powder may be drawn daily.

Colonial Territories (Lotteries)

114.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Colonies in the British Commonwealth have official lotteries; and if he will give particulars.

Lotteries run by Colonial Governments for Government revenue purposes exist in Malta and Gibraltar and will shortly be started in St. Lucia. In the Federation of Malaya there is a Social and Welfare Services Lotteries Board established by ordinance and appointed by the High Commissioner in Council, which is authorised to promote public lotteries for social and welfare purposes. If my hon. Friend will tell me what further particulars he desires I will endeavour to supply him with them.

East Africa

Mau Mau Terrorists (Surrender Terms)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the terms of surrender offered to Mau Mau adherents during the negotiations with General China.

Terrorists who surrendered, with their weapons, at places and times determined by the Government:

  • (a) would not be shot at while surrendering (but the cessation of operations during negotiations applied by agreement, in the forest areas only, not in the reserves);
  • (b) would not be ill-treated after surrender;
  • (c) would not be prosecuted for being in possession of arms and ammunition;
  • (d) would not be executed for crimes committed before the date of their surrender.
  • On the other hand those who surrendered would be put into detention camps, and the Government would decide how long they remained so detained.These terms applied only to the particular arrangements made as a result of "General China's" capture.

    Extra-Mural Studies, Tanganyika And Kenya

    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the Governments of Tanganyika and Kenya have not followed the example of the Uganda Government in voting money for the appointment of a resident tutor for the territory who, in due course, will work under the director of extra-mural studies.

    The Governors of Kenya and Tanganyika are being communicated with and a letter will be sent to the hon. Member on receipt of their reply.

    Ministry Of Defence (Chaplains' Pay)

    115.

    asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence why no announcement has yet been made on increases in pay for chaplains in view of promises previously made that an announcement would be made soon after Whitsun.

    asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence if

    FORCES CHAPLAINS
    DAILY PAY RATES
    All three ServicesPresent rateNew rate
    s.d.s.d.
    After 4 years326366
    After 6 years350390
    After 8 years376426
    After 10 years400450
    After 12 years426476
    After 14 years450500
    After 16 years476526
    Navy and R.A.F.ArmyPresent RateNew Rate
    s.d.s.d.
    After 18 yearsChaplain 2nd Class526576
    After 20 yearsChaplain after 2 years550610
    After 22 yearsChaplain after 4 years576636
    After 24 yearsChaplain 1st Class600660
    After 26 yearsChaplain after 2 years626686
    Chaplain 1st Class after 4 years650710
    Principal Chaplain (R.A.F. only)Deputy Chaplain General676736
    Chaplain of the Fleet; Chaplain-in-Chief (R.A.F.).Chaplain General776846

    Malaya (Ambush)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the ambushing of British civilians in Malaya on 25th July; and what instructions he has given to the authorities so as to avoid a recurrence of such tragedies.

    The incident to which my hon. Friend refers took place at Kulai in Johore on 25th July, when a party of about 20 Communist terrorists ambushed Colonel Gregoire, the Regional Controller of the Colonial Development Corporation, Mr. Gibson, their estate manager, and Mr. Christopher Shawcross, Q.C., while they were on a tour of the estate. Colonel Gregoire and Mr. Gibson were

    he is now in a position to make a statement on the pay of chaplains to the forces.

    I regret the delay in making this announcement. Increases in basic pay have now been approved for chaplains in all three Services similar to the improvements which were granted to Service officers in the middle range with effect from 1st April last (Cmd. 9088). The new rates for chaplains, which are shown in the table below, will have retrospective effect from the same date.both killed and Mr. Shawcross was slightly wounded.The authorities in Malaya take every possible precaution to prevent such incidents but in the local circumstances tragedies of this kind cannot always be avoided. I am sure that hon. Members will join with me in extending the sympathy of this House to the families of the murdered men.

    Telephone Service, Southend

    116.

    asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he is aware that shortage of labour alone is delaying the provision of telephones for 1,600 would-be subscribers in the Southend telephone area; and what steps he is taking to meet this need.

    No. The overriding restriction is finance, which governs the size of our labour force. Over 4,500 telephones were provided in this area in the past 12 months, but the rate of new applications has been exceptionally high and this has added to our difficulties. We are planning for increased expenditure and rate of connection this year.

    Television Licences, Harlow

    asked the Assistant Postmaster-General the number of television licences issued to residents in the new town of Harlow in the current year.

    Figures for the new town itself are not available, but in the Harlow Post Office district, which includes the new town, there are at present about 3,930 television licences.

    Aerodrome, Ashbourne (Disposal)

    117.

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air when, and to whom, it is proposed to hand over the aerodrome at Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

    The runways and buildings on this airfield (which is owned by the Air Ministry) are used by the Royal Air Force for the storage of bombs. When these are taken away later this year, the disposal of the land will be considered.

    Comet Aircraft Losses (Public Inquiries)

    It is hoped to open the public inquiries at Church House, Westminster, on or about 19th October.

    Basutoland (Mental Defectives)

    asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make provision in Basutoland for the treatment of men- tally defective and insane persons. who are now kept in common gaols.

    Mentally defective persons are admitted to gaols in Basutoland for observation only. If certified they are detained in the medical detention centre at Mohale's Hoek. The Basutoland Administration are now planning to construct a modern mental hospital at Maseru.

    Northern Ireland (Fatstock Marketing)

    asked the Minister of Food whether he is now in a position to make a fuller statement about the special arrangements for the marketing of fat-stock in Northern Ireland, referred to in paragraph 16 of the White Paper, Command No. 8989.

    Negotiations are continuing with the Government of Northern Ireland on the amount of the grant and the method of its application. It has. however, been decided that the cost of such residual buying as may be necessary where no bids are made and the cost of ensuring adequate transport facilities for the movement of fatstock from Northern Ireland to other parts of the United Kingdom during the months immediately following decontrol will be met from the Vote of my Department.

    Scotland

    Requisitioned Properties (Disposal)

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

    Four hundred and seventy-seven properties, including 401 houses and 55 camps used for the accommodation of the inadequately housed, are still held under requisition by my Departments. When no longer required the properties will be returned to the owners. I expect that at least 300 of them will be derequisitioned this year. The remainder will be given up as soon as possible thereafter.

    Southern Electricity Board (Appointments)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what preparations he is making for the establishment of the South of Scotland Electricity Board when the Electricity Re-organisation (Scotland) Bill is passed.

    The Board cannot, of course, be appointed until the Bill is passed. If it becomes law in substantially its present form, it is my intention to appoint Mr. J. S. Pickles, the present Chairman of the South-West Scotland Electricity Board and Sir Norman Duke, the Chairman of the South-East Scotland Electricity Board, to be the chairman and deputy-chairman, respectively, of the new Board. I am not in a position at present to make any statement about the other members.

    House Of Commons (Works Of Art Committee)

    asked the Minister of Works what arrangements he is making to review works of art at present displayed in the Commons area of the Palace of Westminster.

    With the agreement of Mr. Speaker, I have invited six hon. Members to form a small Advisory Committee on Works of Art in the Commons area of the Palace of Westminster. My noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) has kindly consented to act as chairman, and the hon. Members for Farnham (Mr. Nicholson), Bury and Radcliffe (Sir W. Fletcher), Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross), Deptford (Sir L. Plummer), and Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) have kindly agreed to serve on the Committee.The terms of reference for the Committee are:

    (1) to examine works of art at present in the Commons area of the Palace of Westminster, and to make recommendations on their suitability and display;
    (2) to make recommendations about the selection and acquisition of works of art for the Commons area of the Palace of Westminster.

    Offers of works of art should be made to the Secretary to the Committee (A.S.16), Lambeth Bridge House, S.E.1