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Written Answers

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 27 October 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 27th October, 1954

Royal Navy

Guided Missiles

8.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will make a statement on the equipment of naval vessels for the use of guided missiles.

When introducing the Navy Estimates last March, my right hon. Friend stated that the first guided weapon trials ship would shortly be fitted out. This work is proceeding.

Fareham—Lee-On-Solent Road

21.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what progress he has now made towards contributing to the restoration of a direct road between Fareham and Lee-on-Solent to replace that closed by his Department early in the 1939–45 war.

Proposals concerning the line of the alternative road and the payment for it to be made by the Admiralty have been agreed with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation. Before the draft Order on the subject can be published, however, it is necessary to ensure that the needs of all public service authorities in the area will be met, and this is at present under investigation.

Paid Civilian Appointments

22.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty how many paid appointments to posts outside the Civil Service he is responsible for making; what is the nature of each appointment; and what salary is payable in each case.

I assume my hon. Friend is not here concerned with my right hon. Friend's responsibility for the Greenwich Hospital posts, which are specified in detail in the Greenwich Hospital Estimates and presented to the House annually. The only other civilian appointments outside the Civil Service for which my right hon. Friend is responsible are the three directors of Messrs. S. G. Brown Ltd., Instrument Makers and Precision Engineers. I regret I cannot disclose the salaries paid by the company to the two non-Admiralty Directors. The Admiralty receives a fee of 50 guineas a year for the Admiralty Director.

Nato (Naval Strength)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the number of destroyers, submarines, cruisers and aircraft carriers at present in commission and in reserve of the countries allied in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

It is not the practice of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to disclose details of its naval strength.

Hm Dockyards (Staggered Holidays)

9.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what representations he has received from Her Majesty's Dockyards to revert to staggered holidays.

No direct representations have yet been received by the Admiralty from their employees in Her Majesty's Dockyards in favour of reversion to staggered holidays. Future arrangements for these holidays are now being reviewed and the representatives of the employees will have full opportunity of making any representations on their behalf.

Shipbuilding (Orders)

10.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the total amount of orders, less the amount of cancellations of orders booked in previous years, booked by British shipyards in the third quarter of 1954, and the corresponding figures for 1953.

In the third quarter of 1954, licences to build 42 ships totalling 51,573 gross tons were issued and licences for three ships of 52,400 gross tons were cancelled. The comparable figures for the third quarter of 1953 were, licences issued—32 ships of 62,617 gross tons; licences cancelled—four ships of 25,230 gross tons.

11.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the total amount of orders, less the amount of cancellation of orders booked in earlier years, booked by North-East shipyards in the third quarter of 1954, and the corresponding figure for 1953.

In the third quarter of 1954, licences were issued for the construction in North-East coast shipyards of two ships totalling 10,700 gross tons. This compares with licences for eight ships of 18,180 gross tons issued in the same quarter of 1953. No licences were cancelled in either of these periods.

12.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the number of ships, and their tonnage, upon which work has been suspended.

So far as I am aware, work has not been suspended on any merchant ships under construction in British shipyards.

15.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that in the last three months British shipyards had more cancellations than new orders and that there is danger of unemployment developing in the shipbuilding and ship repairing industries; and if he will make a statement.

Yes. On 30th September the British shipbuilding industry's order book consisted of 647 merchant ships of 4·4 million gross tons, representing upwards of two years' work even if no account is taken of future orders. I cannot, therefore, agree that there is any immediate danger of unemployment developing in the industry.

Telephone Service (Party Lines)

24.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether his Department will investigate the possibilities of making the conversations of one subscriber inaudible to the other on a party line.

We have already investigated this and felt compelled to decide against it. It would mean providing new apparatus and modifying existing telephones on a large scale, thus diverting our effort from the supply of new telephones.

Post Office

Letter Boxes (Supply)

30.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General why there are delays in the supply of new letter boxes from the manufacturers to the Post Office; and what types of letter boxes are affected.

For a time there was delay in providing new wall boxes and boxes of the type attached to poles and lamp-posts, partly due to difficulties experienced by the manufacturers, but this has now been largely put right. If my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind and will let me have particulars, I will gladly make inquiry.

Part-Time Postmen, Caithness And Sutherland

34.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General how many part-time postmen are employed in Caithness and Sutherland; what are their average weekly earnings; to what extent they qualify for pensions on retirement; and what is the annual value of the pension.

There are 70 part-time postmen in Caithness and Sutherland, with average weekly earnings of £3 7s. They are not eligible for pensions in respect of their Post Office service; but those who work for not less than 18 hours weekly may, after seven years' service, qualify for gratuities on retirement under the Civil Service Superannuation Acts.

35.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he is aware that, in a number of districts in Caithness and Sutherland where part-time postmen are employed, correspondence, which is delivered the same day in summer, is not delivered until the following day during the winter months; and whether he will consider using a greater number of full-time postmen, using light motor vans, for speedy delivery.

There are five districts in Caithness and Sutherland in which letters may have to wait for delivery until the next day in winter. In four of them most letters are delivered on the same day all the year round. The fifth district is Janetstown, where the postman has a 12-mile walk over ground which is waterlogged and dangerous in winter, especially after dark. For this reason a van would not help, and a full-time postman would clearly be uneconomical as the number of letters is very small.

Television (World Link-Up)

33.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General if he will authorise a British contribution to a television link-up round the world, now under discussion by a United States Senate Committee, details of which have been sent to him.

Her Majesty's Government have not yet been approached in this matter by the United States authorities but will, of course, be very willing to give careful consideration to any proposals that may result from the inquiry.

Wireless Licences (Car Radios)

38.

asked the Assistant Postmaster-General whether he is aware that under existing regulations the seller of a private car fitted with a wireless obtains no rebate against the balance of the annual wireless licence although the purchaser is required to take out a new licence, that this means that for a period the wireless licence is being paid twice; and what steps he will take to correct this anomaly.

As the law now stands, my noble friend has no power to grant a rebate. A licence is for a specified period for a named holder. My noble Friend is, however, seeing if something can be done to compensate licence-holders under the existing statutes.

Raf Personnel (Egypt, Trieste And Korea)

41.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air how many airmen are now serving in Egypt, Trieste and Korea.

Railways

Forth Bridge Incline

43.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is aware that during the last three years 30 trains have failed to negotiate the steep Forth Bridge incline, the last being on 7th March, 1954, when the Aberdeen—London express train was, as a consequence of this obstacle, derailed; and what arrangements are in hand for removing this danger to life, limb and property.

In accordance with a recommendation by the inspecting officer, the permitted passenger engine loads have been reviewed and reduced where necessary to minimise the possibility of failure to negotiate the Forth Bridge incline; the loading of freight engines is still being examined. I have also been informed by the British Transport Commission that marker lights are being installed in the Inverkeithing and North Queensferry tunnels, and their provision in other steeply graded tunnels is under review. In addition, the catch siding at the entrance to the North Queensferry tunnel is being moved further back and its design improved.

Inverness-Wick-Thurso Line

66.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will approach the British Transport Commission with a view to taking over the railway line between Inverness, Wick and Thurso for conversion into an autobahn, which will give a faster and cheaper service for passengers, mails, newspapers and goods and relieve British Railways of heavy financial losses.

No. This line is being operated by the British Transport Commission, and an adequate road, A.9 and A.882 already exists between these points.

Transport

Road Haulage Assets (Disposal)

56.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the amount he has estimated, in accordance with Section 14 of the Transport Act, 1953, as the capital loss to be incurred by the British Transport Commission in disposal of its road haulage undertaking; and for how long it is now proposed that the Transport Levy shall be imposed.

On the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) on 20th October. On the second part, this depends upon such revised estimates as may be made in accordance with Section 14 of the Traffic Act, 1953.

70.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how much of the estimated loss on the disposal of vehicles by the British Transport Commission of £20 million has been incurred on actual disposals to date.

I am afraid that it is impossible to calculate this figure. Sales are going on all the time.

73.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the length of time it will be necessary for the transport levy to continue in operation to meet the estimated loss which will arise to the British Transport Commission through the disposal of its road vehicles.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I have given to the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies).

74.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the latest estimate of the annual income of the transport levy which was set up under the Transport Act, 1953.

77.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if, when he gave his consent to Transport Unit No. 66/4508, South-West Scotland, comprising 90 vehicles, being offered for public tender, he was aware that private negotiations for its acquisition were proceeding.

Goods Vehicles (Size)

65.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, in view of the unsatisfactory state of the traffic on many of our roads, he will postpone the operation date for the recent order to permit the extension of the size of goods vehicles until greater progress is made with road improvements and extensions.

I have not made any order on this subject. The present position is that I am awaiting views of interests concerned.

Old People (Concession Fares)

67.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will introduce legislation to empower local authorities to provide free travel for old people on their transport undertakings.

I understand that the decision in the case of Prescott v. Birmingham Corporation, in which this issue is raised, is likely to be taken to appeal and, in these circumstances, I think I must await the result of such appeal.

Reflectors (Supplies)

72.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is aware that motorists in County Durham are unable to purchase reflectors for their motor cars; and whether he will suspend the operation of his regulations until these reflectors are readily obtainable.

I understand that heavy last minute demands caused a shortage of supplies in this area at the end of September, but that the principal manufacturers have since been able to satisfy all orders placed with them. I have no authority to alter the operative date fixed by Parliament for the obligation to carry reflectors.

Night Parking

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make regulations concerning the extension to the provinces of the practice whereby cars may be parked in well-lighted streets with their lights turned off.

The chief officer of police of any police area may give consent for vehicles to stand without lights on any part of a road specially set aside for parking, or as a stand for hackney vehicles, if he is satisfied that the parking place or stand is adequately lighted. This holds good for London and the provinces.

Roads

Construction And Improvement Schemes

57.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the total commitment made for new road construction or major improvement on which work has been started under the new roads programme announced in November, 1953.

Authority has been given for work to start on schemes representing commitments of £3,738,407.

Angel Road Bridge, Edmonton

61.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will include the rebuilding of the Angel Road bridge on the North Circular Road in the borough of Edmonton in his plans for the coming year.

I am afraid I cannot give any indication when this expensive scheme is likely to be authorised.

Pedestrian Crossing, Brentford

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what representations he has received regarding the provision of a pedestrian crossing or light control in High Street, Brentford; and whether, in view of the volume of traffic using this road, which is in a busy shopping centre, he will give fresh consideration to the danger to pedestrians and, in particular, children, crossing the street.

Civil Aviation

Helicopters

63.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what further information he can now offer to interested local authorities on the development of twin-engined helicopters in this country; and what prospects there are of inter-city helicopter travel in the not-too-distant future.

I have at present no further information to add to the information my Department has already given to the interested local authorities. Services of the kind referred to depend upon the availability of twin-engined helicopters capable of carrying commercial loads.

Bristol Britannias (Boac Orders)

75.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation on what date it was first agreed that British Over- seas Airways Corporation should purchase Bristol Britannia aircraft; what was the delivery date then promised; and what is now the expected date of delivery for the Britannia 100 and 300LR, respectively.

Permission was given to the British Overseas Airways Corporation to order Bristol Britannia aircraft in June, 1949. It would not be right for me to disclose delivery dates which are a matter of arrangement between the manufacturer and the purchaser of aircraft.

Gatwick Airport (Development)

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what danger areas restrict airspace near Cliffe and so make it impracticable as an alternative to Gatwick; and whether he is satisfied that the welfare of the 75,000 residents will not be adversely affected by the development of Gatwick.

Danger areas at Shoeburyness, Isle of Grain and Barton Point restrict the airspace in the vicinity of Cliffe. Of course the construction of an airport necessarily involves some inconvenience to residents in the area affected, but I do not think the number seriously inconvenienced will be anything like the figure quoted.

Ministry Of Defence

West European Defence (Financial Commitments)

79 and 80.

asked the Minister of Defence (1) when, as a result of understandings reached at the London Conference, it is expected that the local expenditure of British Forces in Germany will have to be met from Service votes;(2) what is the annual rate of local expenditure of British Forces in Germany which is at present met by the Federal Republic.

South African Defence Talks

81.

asked the Minister of Defence whether he will make a statement on the recent talks with the South African Minister of Defence.

Discussions of defence matters of mutual interest took place last month during the visit of Mr. Erasmus, Minister of Defence in the Union of South Africa who was accompanied by his Service Advisers. The talks extended over a wide field and afforded an opportunity for a full exchange of views and information on present trends in weapon development and problems of tactics and supply, and more generally on the part our two countries can appropriately play in defence against aggression.

Paid Civilian Appointments

82.

asked the Minister of Defence how many paid appointments to posts outside the Civil Service he is responsible for making; what is the nature of each appointment; and what salary is payable in each case.

Apart from purely military appointments, which I assume are not what my hon. Friend has in mind, the answer is "None."

Disarmament (Anglo- French Proposals)

83.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the reasons which led him to propose 31st December, 1953, as the datum line from which agreed reductions in armed forces are to be made under the Franco-British disarmament proposals.

In any disarmament plan the reductions of armaments must start from existing armaments levels. In the Anglo-French proposals tabled in June, we consequently chose what seemed to be a convenient recent date.

United Nations (Employees)

84.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will propose an. Amendment, for the removal of doubt, to Chapter IV of the United Nations Charter, to give effect to the recommendation of the International Civil Service Advisory Board that the duty and loyalty of the civil servant employed by the United Nations Organisation should be primarily to that international organisation in accordance with the oath taken on establishment.

No. Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that the duty and loyalty which an employee of the United Nations owes to that Organisation in performing his functions are already adequately defined in Article 100 of the Charter and the Secretariat's staff Rules. The recent Report of the International Civil Service Advisory Board does not recommend that the existing regulations should be amended.

Barbados

Deep-Water Harbour, Bridgetown

85.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has now concluded his discussion with the Governor and the Premier of Barbados with regard to the provision of a deep-water harbour at Bridgetown; and whether he will make a grant from United Kingdom funds for this purpose.

A public statement covering these discussions will shortly be made simultaneously here and in Barbados. I should prefer not to anticipate it.

Over-Population

98.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps have been recommended by the special committee set up in Barbados to deal with the over-population of the island, which is about 1,300 to the square mile.

The Joint Committee of the Legislature have recommended the improvement of the economy of the Island, the encouragement of emigration, and the institution by Government of family planning clinics.

West Indian Federation

86.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further progress has been made towards West Indian Federation.

So far, the Federal Plan agreed by the Conference on West Indian Federation in London last year has been accepted by the Legislatures of Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and by the Barbados House of Assembly.

Kenya

Banned Publications

87.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies who is responsible for keeping a record of the books and journals banned in Kenya; and why such a record is not readily available.

All orders banning books or journals are published in the Kenya Official Gazette as they are made. The responsibility for keeping any necessary records rests with the Government of Kenya. I regret any inconvenience which may have been caused to the hon. Member by the delay in supplying him recently with a list.

88.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the circulation of "Kenya, the History of two Nations," by Richard K. P. Parkhurst, has been banned in that country; and whether he will now remove this ban.

The import and circulation of this book are considered by the Governor in Council to be contrary to the public interest and have, therefore, been prohibited. I do not propose to intervene.

Indian Congress Resolution

89.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what consideration he has given to the possibility of Indian mediation in Kenya, in accordance with the representations made to his officers by the Kenya Indian Congress on 1st August; and if he will make a statement.

A resolution on the subject of Indian mediation, adopted by the Kenya Indian Congress on 1st August, was forwarded to the Kenya Government on 7th October. I understand that the Kenya Government proposes to reply that the resolution has been noted, and I do not myself intend to take any further action.

Mau Mau Terrorists (Internment Camp)

92.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Mau Mau terrorists it is proposed to intern on an island in Lake Victoria; and what precautions are being taken to reduce the danger of infection by sleeping sickness and other communicable diseases to all those inhabiting this island.

It is too early yet to give any precise numbers. The island at present contemplated is Mageta Island. There is almost certainly no sleeping sickness at present on the island, but clearing will be carried out to eradicate the tsetse fly. The usual precautions will be taken against other diseases, under the advice of the Medical Department.

Coffee Conferences (African Producers)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what recommendation was made by the Kenya Coffee Board to the full coffee conference for the purpose of enabling African coffee producers to be invited to future conferences; and what decision has been reached on such recommendation.

The Kenya Coffee Board recommended that coffee officers be invited to attend future conferences to represent African Co-operative Societies, and that they should be accompanied by some African planters. This recommendation has been accepted and will be brought into effect at the next conference.

Situation

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the growing difficulties in Kenya, he will arrange for a round table conference of all interested parties to submit practical proposals for their solution.

No. I do not think a round table conference would serve any useful purpose at the present time.

Northern Rhodesia

Legislature (European Seats)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the statement by the Governor of Northern Rhodesia on 12th October to the African Representative Council to the effect that there would always be reserved seats for Europeans in the Northern Rhodesian legislature; and whether this represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The Governor of Northern Rhodesia included the following statement in his speech on 12th October, 1954, to the African Representative Council:

"It is the stated policy of Her Majesty's Government, and this policy has been stated repeatedly by successive Secretaries of State for the Colonies, to develop Northern Rhodesia for the benefit of all the people of whatever race who live in it. Europeans in this country are going to stay in this country. Many of them are already in their second and third generations and those people are as much natives in this country as any African.
If Europeans stay in a country those Europeans must share in the government of the country and I say to you again that there will never come a time in Northern Rhodesia when all members of the Legislature are Africans, unless it be because the Europeans and the Africans together have put them there.
Of course, the opposite of this is also true. We have African members in our Legislature today and there will never come a time in Northern Rhodesia when we do not have African members in the Legislature unless it be because at some time in the future the Africans and the Europeans together do not happen to have put them there."
This statement is entirely in accordance with the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr Sangala (Entry Visa)

90.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why Mr. James Sangala, the President-General of the Nyasaland African Congress, was declared a prohibited immigrant into Northern Rhodesia.

The Governor considered Mr. Sangala to be an undesirable visitor to the territory. It would be contrary to the public interest for the grounds for his decision to be made public.

Native Trust Land

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether a decision has yet been made concerning the regulations governing the conversion of Native Trust Land in Northern Rhodesia into native reserves.

It is not a question of converting Native Trust Land into native reserves. As stated by my predecessor on 21st July, the Governor is considering modification of the Regulations governing Native Trust Land. The African Representative Council have been asked to make suggestions, but have not yet done so

Convicted Nationals, South Africa

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made towards securing a reciprocal arrangement from the Government of South Africa to enable Northern Rhodesian nationals convicted in South Africa to serve their sentences in Northern Rhodesia.

Nigeria (Communists Ban)

91.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the decision to ban Communists from certain Government posts in Nigeria was made with his approval.

This is a matter within the competence of the Federal and Regional Governments in Nigeria. It was not therefore necessary for them to consult me before they took their decision, and they did not do so. I may say, however, that the decision has my unqualified support.

British Guiana

Trade Activity

93.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the percentage increase or decrease in turnover of wholesale and retail trade in British Guiana since October, 1953.

The only available indication of trade activity is the level of imports. In the first quarter of this year they were at the level of the last quarter of 1953, but in the second quarter they rose by more than 10 per cent.

Savings Deposits And Withdrawals

95. Mr.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total of savings-bank deposits, withdrawals and net withdrawals in British Guiana during the period October, 1953, to the latest available date, and during the first fortnight in September, 1954.

From 1st October, 1953, to 30th September, 1954 (the latest available date) deposits amounted to $11,529,526 (£2,401,984) and withdrawals to $10,346,880 (£2,155,600), leaving a net deposit during the period of $1,182,646 (£246,384). In the first fortnight of September, 1954, deposits amounted to $356,628 (£74,297) and withdrawals to $375,337 (£78,195), a net withdrawal of $18,709 (£3,898).

Building Trade (Employment)

94.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the increase or decrease in unemployment in the building trade in British Guiana since October, 1953.

I have asked the Governor how far this information is available, and I will let the hon. Member have the information when I get it.

Uganda (Prison Conditions)

99.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether prison conditions and regulations for Africans in Uganda convicted of sedition are the same as those for Africans convicted of ordinary criminal offences.

Jamaica (Immigrants)

100.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the conditions under which persons from Great Britain and Northern Ireland may emigrate to Jamaica; and what restrictions are applied by the Jamaican Government.

Any non-Jamaican wishing to enter Jamaica may be required to produce proof to the Jamaica Government of sufficient funds for maintenance while on the Island and for subsequent departure therefrom. There is also power to exclude various classes of undesirables.

Malta (Departmental Responsibility)

101.

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

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the proposal that responsibility for the handling of matters relating to Malta should be transferred to the Home Office. I cannot yet make a further statement on this.

African Territories (Constitutional Reform)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply has been made to the appeal to him by African leaders from Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, meeting at Blantyre, Nyasaland, in August, for constitutional reform based on population, the abolition of the Thangata system, the return of all illegally-taken land to the original owners, free and compulsory education for African children, and the ownership of all schools by the State.

Malaya (Education)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will take steps to set up local education committees in the Federation of Malaya.

There is already an advisory committee on education in every State or Settlement.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the results of the consideration of the increase of fees for secondary schools in Malaya; and what steps he will take to prevent hardships arising from the increase, which will prevent the children of most workers from obtaining a secondary education.

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave last week to the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor).

Singapore (Legislative Assembly Elections)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if the compilation of the electoral registers for Singapore has now been completed; what are the qualifications for inclusion in the list;and if he will state the date on which the Legislative Assembly election will take place.

The electoral register for Singapore will be published in mid-November.Any person is entitled to be registered who:—

  • (a) is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of the provisions of the British Nationality Act, 1948, or was born in any of the States or territories now included in the Federation of Malaya or in Sarawak, North Borneo or Brunei;
  • (b) was ordinarily resident in the Colony of Singapore on the 1st day of April in the year of registration; and
  • (c) was not less than twenty-one years of age on the 1st day of July in that year.
  • The first election will, it is hoped, be held early in April, 1955.

    British Army

    Courts-Martial, Kenya

    105.

    asked the Secretary of State for War on what dates the General Officer Commanding in Kenya notified him of proposed courts-martial from time to time in that Colony; and on what dates his assent was given.

    The convening of a court-martial is a matter for decision by the appropriate convening officer. Although my right hon. Friend's assent is not needed, he is, of course, aware of all major trials by court-martial that are to be held.

    E1 Alamein Memorial (Relatives' Fares)

    106.

    asked the Secretary of State for War if his Department will pay the fares of relatives of those killed at E1 Alamein to enable them to attend the unveiling ceremony which takes place at E1 Alamein this month.

    The cost of travel to similar ceremonies in the past has not been met from Service funds and my right hon. Friend did not feel that special arrangements were justified on this occasion. The Imperial War Graves Commission, who were responsible for this ceremony, arranged with certain travel agencies for reduced fares, and the British Legion gave assistance to a number of cases.

    Crichel Down (Treasury Circular)

    107.

    asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will give instructions that the Treasury circular dealing with the lessons of the Crichel Down affair should be brought to the attention of all civil servants.

    I am glad to assure my hon. Friend that the Treasury circular, which was issued on 20th August, specifically included this point.

    Waterproof Coats (Tax)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he can yet state what action he is taking to authorise a revision of Customs Notice 78D, in order to deal with the anomaly under which, in the case of double-texture waterproof coats under the D Scheme, tax is more severely assessed on cheaper garments made from cotton than on the more expensive garments made from wool.

    This is not a matter my right hon. Friend could deal with by itself: it will be considered on the next general review of the tax.

    Ministry Of Food

    Pigs

    asked the Minister of Food how many pigs were offered to his Department from the week commencing 2nd August, 1954, up to the latest convenient date; how many were accepted; and, in view of the anxiety of pig producers about the position, if he will make a statement on future policy.

    None. My Department ceased buying pigs on 26th June, 1954. In answer to the last part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Agriculture to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Spence) on 19th October, 1954.

    asked the Minister of Food if he can yet state the Government policy in respect to the marketing of pigs.

    I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary Ministry of Agriculture to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Spence) on 19th October, 1954.

    Slaughterhouses, Kent

    asked the Minister of Food where slaughterhouses are now operating in Kent; and what further slaughterhouses are contemplated.

    On the latest information available, there are public or licensed private slaughterhouses in the local authority districts in the county of Kent named below. It is not known whether all the private slaughterhouses are actually in use. The last part of the Question could only be answered by reference to all the separate local authorities in the county.

    Local Authority districts in the county of Kent where there are public or private slaughterhouses.

    • Ashford Urban.
    • Bridge Blean Rural.
    • Canterbury County Borough.
    • Chatham Borough.
    • Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban.
    • Cranbrook Rural.
    • Dartford Rural.
    • Deal Borough.
    • East Ashford Rural.
    • Eastry Rural.
    • Elham Rural.
    • Erith Borough.
    • Faversham Borough.
    • Folkestone Borough.
    • Gillingham Borough.
    • Gravesend Borough.
    • Herne Bay Urban.
    • Hollingbourn Rural.
    • Hythe Borough.
    • Lydd Borough.
    • Maidstone Borough.
    • Maidstone Rural.
    • Mailing Rural.
    • Margate Borough.
    • New Romney Borough.
    • Orpington Urban.
    • Ramsgate Borough.
    • Rochester Borough.
    • Romney Marsh Rural.
    • Sandwich Borough.
    • Sevenoaks Urban.
    • Sevenoaks Rural.
    • Sittingbourne and Milton Urban.
    • Southborough Urban.
    • Strood Rural.
    • Swale Rural.
    • Tenterden Borough.
    • Tenterden Rural.
    • Tonbridge Rural.
    • Tunbridge Wells Borough.
    • West Ashford Rural.
    • Whitstable Urban.

    Eggs

    asked the Minister of Food the total subsidy paid this year, up to the latest convenient date, in respect to eggs; and what is his policy in respect of an egg marketing scheme.

    The cost of the subsidy on home produced eggs for the six months ended 30th September last was £13·5 million. The present arrangements were designed to leave scope for a producers' marketing board. Discussions with the National Farmers Unions about more permanent arrangements have not yet been completed. I shall make a statement at the earliest possible date.

    Australian Dried Fruit

    asked the Minister of Food what decision has been reached following consideration of the request by the Australian Government that the guarantee support prices for Australian dried fruits shipped to the United Kingdom and sold before 31st March, 1955, should be extended so as to cover the disposal of the 1954 crop owing to the slowing down of sales.

    Australian dried fruit has been selling well, and I hope that the whole of the remaining supplies will be disposed of before the 31st March, 1955.

    Dutch Canned Meat

    asked the Minister of Food how many cases of 1 1b. tins of luncheon meat of Dutch origin have been sold of the 20,000 cases for which bids were invited.

    Wheat Removal Permit

    asked the Minister of Food if he is aware that Mr. J. P. Stevinson, Sandhill Farm, Withycombe, Washford, Somerset, Registered Grower No. S.T. 77, was given a Removal Permit No. 2550, for the purpose of drying 60 cwt. of wheat, issued on 1st October, 1954, but only valid from 30th August to 13th September, 1954; and if he will see that in future no permits are issued that cannot be complied with.

    Wheat may be removed from a farm for treatment or for storage as soon as an application is made for a removal permit. The permit is required to validate the subsequent claim to a deficiency payment. Mr. Stevinson applied for a permit to remove wheat on 30th August. He did not reply to an inquiry from the Ministry on a point of detail, but the permit was issued to validate the movement of wheat from the farm over a period of 14 days from the date specified in the application.

    Pensions (Ex-Service Men)

    asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether, now the principle of making ex gratia payments in the case of property rights has been accepted by Her Majesty's Government, he will consider the initiation of legislation to permit the making of ex gratia payments to disabled ex-service men who have failed on technical grounds to establish a claim to a pension.

    I think my existing powers are sufficient to enable me to deal fairly with any case where a causal connection between the disability and the man's service can be established. To go further would alter the whole character of the war pensions scheme.

    Scotland

    Mathematics And Science Teachers (Report)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive the Report of the Appleton Committee on the Supply of Mathematics and Science Teachers.

    The Committee have held 20 meetings and have made very considerable progress with their task: but their inquiries have not been completed, and I cannot yet say when they will be able to submit their report.

    Myxomatosis

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the incidence of the disease of myxomatosis among rabbits in the counties of Aberdeen and Kincardine, indicating its reactions upon the food-producing and life-stock potentialities of those two counties, in particular, and of Scotland in general.

    Myxomatosis is known to have broken out amongst rabbits in 33 areas in Aberdeenshire and nine in Kincardineshire, covering in all some 4,250 acres of land, but the disease is probably more widely spread than these figures suggest. It is too early to assess what effect the disease may have on the food-producing capacity of the two counties, or of Scotland as a whole, but increased production of both crops and livestock may reasonably be expected.

    Deer (Close Seasons) Committee Report

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has received and considered the Report of the Deer (Close Seasons) Committee,

    I have received a report signed by the majority of the committee and a separate report signed by a minority of three members. These reports are being published today as a Command Paper. In view of the considerable differences of opinion disclosed in these reports, I have come to the conclusion regretfully that the introduction of legislation at the present time would achieve no satisfactory result.

    Cancer Research

    asked the Minister of Health in view of the public concern at the substantial rise each year in the number of cases of cancer, if he will recommend the setting up of a Royal Commission to inquire into this disease.

    The Medical Research Council is promoting and coordinating research on a large scale and in a wide variety of ways, and close relations are maintained with the British Empire Cancer Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. I do not consider therefore that the appointment of a Royal Commission would be likely to be of any advantage in the exploration of this problem.