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Written Answers

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 28 October 1954

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 28th October, 1954

Trade And Commerce

Exports

15.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that British exports during the first half of 1954 were a declining proportion of the world total; and whether he will make a statement.

No. United Kingdom exports of all kinds in the first half of 1954 were the same proportion—just under 11 per cent.—of world exports as in the first and second halves of 1953. Our share of world exports of manufactured goods has remained substantially unchanged at about 21 per cent. over the last 18 months.

Films Production

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many first-feature films are under production in the United Kingdom at present; how his figure compares with those of 12 months and two years ago, respectively; and if he is satisfied that it is sufficient for the maintenance of the present quota.

There is no method of telling which long films now being produced will be booked as first-feature films. At the end of September this year, 13 long films were on the floor in British studios compared with 12 and 24 at the same time in 1953 and 1952, respectively; but these monthly figures are an unreliable guide to the annual rate of production.Having taken the advice of the Cinematograph Films Council, I am satisfied that from the number of long films likely to be available in the current quota year ending 30th September, 1955, exhibitors will find enough to fulfil their first-feature quotas. It is in any event probable that more long films will be made in 1954–55 than in 1952–53.

Film Quota Regulations (Prosecutions)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many prosecutions have now been initiated against exhibitors for failing to fulfil the first-feature film quota in the years 1951–52 and 1952–53, respectively; and how many of these exhibitors are proprietors of less than five cinemas.

Fifteen in respect of the year ended 30th September, 1952, eight of which concerned exhibitors owning less than five cinemas. No prosecution has yet been instituted for the year ended 30th September, 1953.

Monopolies Commission (Reports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what reports Her Majesty's Government have received to date from the Monopolies Commission; in how many cases recommendations were made involving the necessity for legislation; and in how many cases legislation has been introduced.

Reports have been received from the Commission on the following subjects; the supply of dental goods; the supply of cast-iron rainwater goods; the supply of electric lamps; the supply of insulated electric wires and cables; the supply of insulin; the supply and export of matches and the supply of matchmaking machinery; the supply and export of semi-manufactures of copper and copper-based alloys; the supply of imported timber; the process of calico printing; and the supply of buildings in Greater London. The report on the supply and export of semi-manufactures of copper and copper-based alloys was limited by the Commission's terms of reference to the facts of the matter. I have since asked the Commission to extend their investigation to the bearing of the facts on the public interest.In one case, the supply of dental goods, an Order was made under Section 10 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948. In no other case have the Government found it necessary to make an Order or to introduce legislation to give effect to those recommendations of the Commission which they have adopted. It will be appreciated that it is for the Government, and not for the Commission, to decide what action should be taken on any report.

asked the President of the Board of Trade the industries or sections of industry now being investigated by the Monopolies Commission; and by what dates it is anticipated reports will respectively be available.

Copper semi-manufactures; electrical machinery; pneumatic tyres; hard fibre cordage; linoleum; sand and gravel in Central Scotland; industrial and medical gases; standard metal windows and doors; rubber footwear. The Commission are also investigating, under Section 15 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices (Inquiry and Control) Act, 1948, the general effect on the public interest of certain widely prevalent discriminatory practices. The Commission hope to complete one report about the end of this year, and most of the others at intervals during 1955.

Fungicide Imports

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will give further consideration to facilitating the import of orthocide of S.R. 406 from North America, in view of its success in the control of fungus diseases.

Limited imports of this fungicide from North America have been allowed for field trials. When these trials are completed, and in the light of the report on them I shall be prepared to consider applications for licences to import commercial quantities.

National Finance

Grants And Loans

23.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the net average annual amount of the financial assistance received by the United Kingdom, whether in the form of grants or loans, during the periods of July, 1945, to October, 1951, and November, 1951, to September, 1954, respectively, from the United States of America, the Commonwealth countries, the International Monetary Fund and the European Payments Union, allowance being made for repayments of principal and payments of interest.

Overseas Investments

24.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the annual long-term overseas investments made by the United Kingdom for each year since 1945.

Most of this investment is private investment in the sterling area, and it is difficult to derive accurate figures from the available data. The table below gives the best estimates that I can in terms of yearly averages, but even in these the margin of error is considerable.

The average figures for U.K. long-term investment overseas (excluding inter-Government lending, but including U.K. Government loans for commercial projects and borrowing by overseas Governments in the London Market), are:
Annual Averages in £ millions, rounded to 10
1946–531951–53
1.U.K. gross investment overseas210220
Less:
2.U.K. disinvestment overseas; and overseas net investment in the U.K.9040
3.U.K. net investment overseas120180

Hm Stationery Office (Glasgow Sales)

25.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total sales, retail and wholesale, of Her Majesty's Stationery Office publications in Glasgow, for the years ending 31st March, 1951–52, and 31st March, 1952–53, respectively.

The approximate total sales in 1951–52 were £6,500 retail and £6,100 wholesale, and in 1952–53 £4,650 retail and £6,150 wholesale.

Wages, Prices And Dividends

22.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state, taking 1938 and 1950, respectively, as the base years, the annual indices for wages, prices and gross dividends to the latest convenient date.

The latest annual indices available relate to 1953. The following are the figures:

1938 as 1001950 as 100
Total wage bill301126
Consumer prices227117
Total dividends and interest paid by companies and public corporations*143130
* Comparable figures on which to base an index for dividends are not available because of changes in the company sector due to nationalisation.

Digest Of Statistics (Education Payments)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of the items, teachers' superannuation payments, Victoria and Albert and Science Museums, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Education of Poles, Museums and Art Galleries, as set out in the Civil Estimates, Class IV, Votes 2–9 and 15–16, Grants for science and the arts, and Broadcasting, are included under the cost of Education in table A of the Monthly Digest of Statistics for May, 1954.

Motor Car Imports (Customs Charges)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered representations made to him about admitting free of Customs charges motor cars which are being imported into this country in consequence of a change of residence; and whether he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has decided that, as from the 1st October, a motor car which has been in the importer's ownership and use abroad for at least 12 months may be admitted free of Customs charges when imported on a bona fide change of residence. The qualifying period was previously 18 months. It is a condition that cars imported under this concession must not be disposed of within a period of two years from the date of importation.

Agriculture

Tuberculosis Eradication Area, Southern England

35.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will include the county of Kent in the tuberculosis eradication area.

It is proposed to develop a tuberculosis eradication area in the south of England during the next four years, and I hope that it will be possible to include Kent in it. The timing will depend largely upon the efforts of farmers and graziers in the county to achieve greater progress in voluntary attestation of herds in the immediate future.

Toxic Chemicals (Wild Life)

39.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will make a further statement on the effects on wild life of the use of toxic chemicals.

The Working Party set up by my right hon. Friend's predecessor in May, 1953, under the chairmanship of Professor Zuckerman to go into this matter have completed their inquiries. My right hon. Friend expects to receive their report before the end of the year.

Departmental Stall (Political Activities)

40.

asked the Minister of Agriculture why, in the classification into categories under Command Paper No. 8783, the number of civil servants in the intermediate group who are given standing permission to engage in all political activities for which members of the group are eligible is only two-thirds, whereas in another Government Department the figures are 21,423 out of 21,435.

Most of the staff in the intermediate group in my Department who have not been given standing permission to engage in political activities, are employed in county agricultural executive committees and other local offices. Their work often involves close and special contacts with the farming public and with local authorities. It is therefore desirable to consider individually applications by these Civil Servants to undertake political activities.

Transit Of Horses Order

49.

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many officials, and with what frequency, inspect horses at Maiden Lane Station, London, under the Transit of Horses Order; and what arrangements have been made with British Transport Commission Police regarding enforcement of this order on the railways generally and prosecution in cases of violation.

Maiden Lane Station is visited every weekday by an inspector of the London County Council in connection with the enforcement of the Transit of Horses Order and other Orders under the Diseases of Animals Act and by my veterinary inspectors about twice a month. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation that the British Transport Commission police, while not responsible for the enforcement of the Order, are fully instructed on its requirements for the carriage of livestock, including horses. Prosecutions under the Order would normally be instituted by the local authority.

Land Drainage Report

53.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if his consultations upon the Report of the Land Drainage Legislative Sub-Committee of the Central Advisory Water Committee, the Heneage Report, have been concluded; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) on 21st October.

Rivers (Drainage Works)

43.

asked the Minister of Agriculture in view of the frequency of floods in various parts of the country, if he will hold an inquiry into the silting up of our rivers, small and large, making them inadequate to carry away the surplus water; and how far this is contributing to the flooding of low-lying land.

My right hon. Friend does not accept that our rivers generally are silting up, or that there is any need for an inquiry on the lines suggested by the hon. Member. River boards, and the Thames and Lee Conservancies, have a general responsibility for supervising drainage works in their areas and have powers to do works on channels that are defined as the main river. The works undertaken by them and the catchment boards which preceded them have resulted in a considerable improvement in the condition of our rivers over the last 20 years.

Government Departments (Non-Civil Service Appointments)

51.

asked the Minister of Agriculture 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.

The following is the reply:I. The following appointments are made by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries to posts outside the Civil Service.

Agricultural Land Commission

  • Chairman: £1,500.
  • Chairman of the Welsh Agricultural Land Sub-Commission: £1,000.
  • 6 Members: £500.

Agricultural Wages Board

  • Chairman: £6 6s. per day when the Board is sitting.
  • 4 Members: £4 4s. per day when the Board is sitting.
  • Average annual cost: £100.

Chairman of Tribunals under the Milk and Dairies Regulations, 1949

  • 8 Chairmen: £5 5s. per day when the Tribunal sits.
  • Average annual cost: £65.

Scientific Adviser on Civil Defence (part time): £100 per annum (maximum).

Land Settlement Association

  • Chairman (part-time): £975 per annum.
  • This salary is paid from the funds of the Association.

II. The following appointments are made jointly by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Minister of Food, the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Scotland to posts outside the Civil Service.

White Fish Authority

  • Chairman: £4,000 per annum.
  • Deputy-Chairman (part-time): £2,000 per annum.
  • Member: £3,000 per annum (of which the Herring Industry Board pay £400).
  • Member (part-time): £1,500 per annum.
  • Member (part-time): £500 per annum.

Committee for Scottish and Northern Ireland A flairs under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Chairman of the Authority

  • 5 Members: £500 per annum each.

Herring Industry Board

  • Chairman (part-time): £2,000 per annum.
  • 2 Members (part-time): £400 per annum.

III. The following appointment is made jointly by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Scotland to a post outside the Civil Service.

Vice-Chairman of the Wheat Commission (part-time): £700 per annum.

  • This salary is paid from the Wheat Fund.

IV. The following appointments are made jointly by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for the Home Department to posts outside the Civil Service:

Merchandise Marks Act. Standing Committee

  • Chairman: £13 2s. 6d. per day when Committee is sitting.
  • Two Members: £10 10s. per day when Committee is sitting.
  • Average annual cost: £140.

V. The following appointments are made by lie Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1949 to posts outside the Civil Service. Salaries are fixed by producers at their Annual General Meeting and are paid out of the Board's funds:

Milk Marketing Board

  • Three Members.

Hops Marketing Board

  • Two Members.

VI. The following appointments are made jointly by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Secretary of State for Scotland under the Agricultural Marketing Act, 1949, to posts outside the Civil Service, Salaries are fixed by producers at their Annual General Meeting and are paid out of the Board's funds.

Tomato and Cucumber Marketing Board

  • Four Members.

VII. The following appointments to posts outside the Civil Service are made jointly by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Secretary of State for the Home Department and Secretary of State for Scotland. Salaries are fixed by producers at their Annual General Meeting and are paid out of the Board's funds.

Wool Marketing Board

  • Three Members.

82.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department 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.

A list giving the particulars for which my hon. Friend asks is as follows:

Appointments made directly by the Secretary of State

  • 10 Commanders, Metropolitan Police: £1,720—£1,900.
  • Government Secretary, Guernsey: £800.
  • Government Secretary, Jersey: £800.
  • Government Secretary, Isle of Man: £1,200—£1,500.
  • Land Commissioner, Alderney: £1,320.
  • London Probation Service:
    • Whole-time Probation Officers:
      • 58 men: £470 at age 23 to £555 at age 29; £570 at age 30 or over to £730.
      • 55 women: £455 at age 23 to 540 at age 29; £555 at age 30 or over to £620.
    • Senior Probation Officers:
      • 16 men and 7 women: £75 allowance on their salaries as whole-time officers.
    • Assistant Principal Probation Officers:
      • 2 men: £830—£950.
      • 2 women: £705—£830.
    • Deputy Principal Probation Officer:
      • man: £940—£1,060.
    • Principal Probation Officer:
      • 1 man: £1,255—£1,405.
    • Temporary Probation Officers:
      • 6 men: £7—£8 10s. a week according to experience.
      • 2 women (part-time): £310 and £75.
    • Clerks—General Division:
      • 3 men: £190—£470.
      • 32 women: £154—£380.
      • 18 women (part-time). Proportionate to number of hours worked.
    • Clerks—Clerical Division:
      • 1 man: £495—£540.
      • 1 woman: £401—£437.
    • Clerks—Higher Clerical Division:
      • 1 man: £540—£585.

Chairman of the Racehorse Betting

  • Control Board: £2,000.
  • 1 Coventry Civil Defence Commissioner: £750.

98.

asked the Minister of Education 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.

Five, The present director of the Imperial Institute was appointed by my predecessor in 1952 at a salary of £1,850 per annum, under Section 5 of the Imperial Institute Act, 1925, as varied by the Transfer of Functions (Imperial Institute) Order, 1949. Under the trust deeds of the four national colleges established by my Department between 1947 and 1949, the appointment of the principal rests with me in consultation with the governors. The salaries of these four posts are fixed by my Department in the light of current salaries for comparable posts in colleges of further education maintained by local education authorities.

Cost Of Living

55.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there are great variations in food prices, for example, for different cuts of meat; and on what basis prices are taken for the compiling of the Interim Index of Retail Prices.

For most articles of food and for various other items prices are obtained each month from a number of representative retailers in 200 different areas throughout the United Kingdom. A detailed account of the methods used in collecting the prices and computing the index is given in the publication "Interim Index of Retail Prices: Method of Construction and Calculation."

Employment

Agriculture

54.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of workers employed in agriculture as recorded on the latest available date; and the comparable figures for the previous year.

The available figures include farmers as well as their employees. At the end of August, 1954, the estimated total number in agriculture and forestry in Great Britain was 1,060,000, compared with 1,078,000 at end of August, 1953.

West Riding

56.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the general employment position in the West Riding of Yorkshire compared with a convenient date 12 months ago.

The general employment position in the West Riding is very good. The number unemployed has fallen from 14,068, or 0·9 per cent., in September, 1953, to 10,580 or 0·7 per cent. in September, 1954. This improvement was shared by practically every industry, including woollen and worsted, iron and steel, and tools and cutlery. The unemployment rate is well below the national figure of 1·1 per cent.

Welsh Affairs (Royal Commission)

57.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, after the Report of the Royal Commission upon Scottish Affairs has been received, he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission on Welsh Affairs.

61.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from Wales recommending the appointment of a Royal Commission on Welsh Affairs.

The only representation which I have received from Wales is a suggestion from the chairman of the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire that I should discuss the matter with representatives of the Council, which I have agreed to do.

Home Department

Antoni Klimowicz (Writ Of Habeas Corpus)

62.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions Antoni Klimowicz has been charged and found guilty of offences under British law; what were these offences and the sentences in each case; why this man was forcibly removed from the s.s. "Jaroslaw Dubrowski"; and what consultations were held with the Consul-General of the Polish People's Republic, or his representative, by the police, with a view to enabling a consular representative to be present in accordance with international law.

It would be contary to long-established practice to disclose information about a person's criminal convictions. Antoni Klimowicz was removed from the Polish ship because the master of the ship refused to give any assurance that he would obey the writ of habeas corpus which had been issued by the Lord Chief Justice on the application of my predecessor. The Polish Ambassador had been given ample notice that the writ would be served and that all appropriate measures would be taken to ensure compliance with it.

63.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why, on the night of 31st July-1st August, a police force of 84–120 men, under the personal command of Sir John Nott-Bower, Commissioner of Police, used force for the purpose of arresting a Polish national, Antoni Klimowicz; and what was the result of his appearance in the British courts on 3rd August.

Mr. Klimowicz was not arrested. The result of his appearance in court was that the court was satisfied that the writ of habeas corpus which had been issued with respect to him had been complied with.

64.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a British immigration officer on 30th July. 1954, handed to the master of the s.s. "Jaroslav Dubrowski" a written order asking him to take away from the British port, Antoni Klimowicz; whether he will state the terms of the written order handed to Antoni Klimowicz at the same time by this officer refusing this man permission to land; why these orders were countermanded on 31st July; and whether he will make a statement.

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. The corresponding notice handed to Mr. Klimowicz informed him that he had been refused leave to land under the Aliens Order, 1953. These notices were countermanded by my predecessor in order that he might give further consideration to the case. The circumstances received such wide publicity that I do not think it necessary to add to the public statements issued at the time.

Pet Shops Act (Prosecutions)

65.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions were taken in connection with the Pet Shops Act during 1953.

United States Prosecution (Police Inquiries)

69.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance has been rendered by his Department to the United States authorities in the collection of evidence against Mr. Owen Lattimore.

70.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what requests for assistance in securing evidence against Mr. Owen Lattimore have been received from the United States Government; on how many occasions police have been supplied with his authority in order to question British publishers in order to obtain such evidence; and under which international agreement police assistance is supplied in such cases.

72.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent help and co-operation have been given by the Metropolitan Police and by the Home Office to the United States Government in the case of Mr. Lattimore; and whether he will make a full statement on the matter.

73.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he gave his approval to recent investigations by police officers involving the examination of British publishers at the request of the United States State Department and with the co-operation of staff of the United States Embassy.

77.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what statute or authority police officers, either alone or in company with United States officials, questioned British publishers about their association with Professor Owen Lattimore.

78.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what form the request for investigations to be made into the relations between British publishers and Professor Owen Lattimore was made by the United States Government.

79.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance was given to the United States authorities in obtaining in the United Kingdom information likely to be used in the prosecution of Mr. Lattimore; and by what authority such services were rendered.

84.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what requests for help the United States authorities have made from the police of this country in collecting evidence in the case of Professor Owen Lattimore; and what reply has been given to such requests.

86.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department at whose request inquiries have been made through his Department into the writings of Professor Owen Lattimore; and if he will publish the correspondence on the subject.

At the end of September last, New Scotland Yard received a request on behalf of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation to obtain certain information in connection with the prosecution of Mr. Owen Lattimore on charges of perjury. The request was for the names and addresses of witnesses who could testify as to the numbers of copies which had been printed of certain books and articles written by Mr. Lattimore and others, and published in this country, and the names of the countries in which these writings had been placed on sale. A police officer saw the principals of two publishing houses to ask for this information, and was informed that neither of the firms concerned was prepared to allow any of its members to give evidence. The reply of the publishers was communicated to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.These inquiries were made by a Metropolitan Police Officer, who saw the publishers personally; no American official was present. There was however another occasion in 1952 when, in response to a similar request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a police officer introduced a representative of the American Embassy to the principal of one of the publishing houses concerned, and remained while the United States official asked some questions about the publication by this firm of a book with which Mr. Lattimore had been concerned.There is a standing arrangement whereby the police in this country assist the police of any other friendly country in making inquiries in criminal cases. The arrangement is reciprocal and has on many occasions proved advantageous to ourselves. It does not depend on any formal international agreement and does not require statutory authority.The action taken by the Metropolitan Police in this case was so much regarded as a routine response to a request for help from the police of another country in the investigation of a criminal charge that the matter was not brought to the personal notice of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, nor was the matter reported to the Home Office. It will be seen therefore that the Home Office took no part in these inquiries. I have given instructions which should ensure that in any comparable case which might arise in future no action will be taken by the police in this country until there has been an opportunity for the matter to be considered at a high level.

Prison Sentences (Parole)

71.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to introduce a system of parole for men who are serving prison sentences for the first time and who have served a part of their sentence, in order to relieve the overcrowded conditions of our prisons and to give men an opportunity to reform after a short experience of prison life.

Any such proposal would require legislation, and I cannot say more at present than that careful note will be taken of the hon. Member's suggestion.

Civil Defence Mobile Column

74 and 75.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what will happen to the instructors, the buildings and the equipment of the experimental Civil Defence mobile column when it is disbanded at the end of the year;(2) how many Civil Defence mobile columns it is proposed to establish during the coming year; and in what areas of the country.

It is not the intention to establish further experimental Civil Defence mobile columns next year. Provided the Civil Defence (Armed Forces) Bill becomes law the existing headquarters of the 1954 column will be used next year to train certain R.A.F. reservists in rescue work. A second centre will be opened for this purpose at Millom, and a third, which will be used for training in fire fighting duties, at Charley.

Boundary Commissions (Reports)

76.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Final Report of the Boundary Commissions for England, Scotland and Wales will be available.

I understand that the reports of the Boundary Commissions for England and Wales are likely to be submitted to me during the next week or two. I am not yet able to say, however, how soon it will be practicable to publish them, together with the draft Orders in Council giving effect to their recommendations which, in accordance with section 2 (5) of the House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act. 1949, must accompany them. My right hon. Friend expects to lay the report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland before Parliament by the middle of November.

Minor Traffic Offences

80.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to make a statement on the findings of the Departmental Committee which was set up to consider the proposal to allow motorists admitting certain minor traffic offences to pay an agreed penalty without a magistrates' court hearing.

The Departmental Committee which my hon. and gallant Friend appears to have in mind was appointed as recently as 12th October, 1954. I have no doubt that the Committee will work with all possible speed, but it is too early to form any estimate of when it is likely to submit its report.

National Flood And Tempest Distress Fund

83.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, when further public funds are advanced to the Lord Mayor's National Flood and Tempest Distress Fund, he will take appropriate steps to ensure that where such funds are paid out to landlords to pay for repairs and redecorations of houses let by them to tenants, such landlords should give an undertaking that they will refrain from claiming increased rents from their tenants by reason of repairs and redecorations so paid for by the Lord Mayor's Fund.

The Government's promise to contribute to the Lord Mayor's Fund was unconditional responsibility for administration of the fund rests with the authorities of the Fund itself. The policy of the Fund was explained in a letter from the then Lord Mayor to my predecessor which was printed in the OFFICIAL REPORT of 18th March, 1953.

Defence Information (Informal Agreement)

85.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the particulars of the agreement between the British, French and United States authorities as to provision of information in cases of alleged subversion.

I am not aware of any such agreement. I think the hon. and learned Member must have in mind an informal agreement between the three countries to work to common standards for establishing the reliability of persons having access to secret defence information.

Education

Adult Students (Fees)

87.

asked the Minister of Education if he will make a statement on the Report of the Committee on the Organisation and Finance of Adult Education in England and Wales and what action he will take on its recommendations.

I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) on 21st October.

Grammar School Places

88.

asked the Minister of Education why he has approved the construction of new grammar schools in four areas in which grammar places form more than 50 per cent. of total secondary places when no additional grammar places are being constructed in eight other areas which have less than 20 per cent. of grammar places.

For the reason given in answer to the hon. Member on 20th July last the new grammar school premises under construction in the first group of areas will not add to the number of grammar school places there. In the second group of areas additional places are being provided in one or more of the following ways: in direct grant and independent schools and other schools outside the authority's jurisdiction; by means of extensions to existing secondary schools; and by the provision of grammar courses in other kinds of secondary school.

School Places (Distribution)

89.

asked the Minister of Education to what extent it is part of his policy to secure a more equal distribution of secondary grammar and junior technical places throughout England and Wales.

The proportion of secondary grammar places appropriate to each area depends on several factors: for example, whether there are any comprehensive schools, what educational character the Authority envisage for their grammar schools, the Authority's policy about extended courses in modern schools, and the arrangements for transfer between secondary schools of different kinds. For secondary technical schools the right decision depends even more on local considerations. The need to provide new secondary places for the rapidly growing school population offers most authorities whose present proportion of grammar or technical courses is unsatisfactory an opportunity to correct the balance. My aim will be to see that they take it.

Classes (Size)

90.

asked the Minister of Education what was the number of primary school classes in January, 1954, with over 40, over 50, and over 60 pupils, respectively.

In January, 1954, in maintained primary schools there were 41,013 classes with more than 40 pupils. Of these, 1,154 classes had more than 50 pupils and five classes had more than 60 pupils.

91.

asked the Minister of Education what was the number of secondary school classes in January, 1954, with over 30, over 40, and over 50 pupils, respectively.

In January, 1954, in maintained and assisted secondary schools, there were 29,746 classes with more than 30 pupils. Of these, 2,738 classes had more than 40 pupils and 35 classes had more than 50 pupils.

School Milk (Middlemoor)

92.

asked the Minister of Education if he is aware that the children of Middlemoor School, near Pateley Bridge, 11 of whom are under eight years of age, are not getting school milk; in view of the fact that this school is deep in the country, why these children are deprived of milk; and if he will take steps to see they get this valuable foodstuff.

Yes. My right hon. Friend is in touch with the local education authority and hopes that supplies will be resumed shortly.

School Buildings (Maintenance Costs)

94.

asked the Minister of Education what inquiries are being held to compare the maintenance costs of different types of school buildings.

Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to provide any reliable evidence about the maintenance costs of different types of post-war school buildings. In its development work my Department is concerned, among other things, to minimise maintenance costs.

Technical State Scholarships

95.

asked the Minister of Education the number of technical state scholarships given in 1953, which were for courses leading to honours degrees, and to higher national diplomas, respectively.

Of the 119 students who took up new technical state scholarship awards in 1953, 111 embarked on courses leading to an honours degree, three on courses leading to a higher national diploma, and five on other courses.

Science Teachers

96.

asked the Minister of Education how many schools have been compelled to close down their laboratories because the teachers have left to take up positions in industry, and owing to the shortage of this type of teacher have failed to obtain others to take their places; and what steps are being taken to increase the number of science teachers.

No case of this kind has been reported to me. I am aware that a number of schools have found difficulty in filling vacant science posts and that this has in some instances meant that the teaching of a particular science has been interrupted. I am examining the wider issue of measures needed to improve the supply of teachers of science, and I will make a statement as soon as I can.

Secondary School Libraries

97.

asked the Minister of Education how many maintained secondary schools in England and Wales are without libraries.

I regret that I could not give this information without obtaining a special return from local education authorities.

Partially-Sighted Children

asked the Minister of Education the number of grammar schools for partially-sighted children; the number of pupils in such schools; whether he is satisfied that such provision is adequate; and what steps he is taking to increase the provision.

There is no grammar school for partially-sighted children in England and Wales, but my right hon. Friend has no evidence that the present arrangements are inadequate by which provision is made for the more seriously handicapped in the two existing grammar schools for blind children and for the less seriously handicapped in ordinary grammar schools.

Senior Scholarships

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware that dissatisfaction and hardship are caused by the fact that the schemes of the various county councils for the award of senior scholarships tenable at universities differ so markedly as to operate unfairly; and what steps he proposes taking to ensure that there should be uniformity throughout the country.

I am aware that there are still certain differences in the practice of authorities, but on all major matters the differences have now been very largely eliminated. All but four of the 146 authorities have now adopted wholly or substantially the basic rates of grant for university students recommended in my Department's Administrative Memorandum No. 425, and all but six authorities have adopted the minimum standards of selection recommended in Circular 263. I shall continue to keep the matter under review and seek to secure the largest measure of uniformity which is consistent with leaving a reasonable degree of discretion to local education authorities.

Armed Thefts, Northern Ireland (Extradition Treaty)

102.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether, in view of the fact there have been armed raids on two British Army barracks in Northern Ireland recently and that, in at least one case, there is evidence that some of the participants have taken refuge in Eire, he will now consider taking steps to conclude an extradition agreement between Eire and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North Ireland.

I would refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. and gallant Member for Belfast, North (Lieut.-Colonel Hyde), on 29th July last, to which I regret I have at present nothing to add.

Un Assistance (Backward Countries)

103.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what additional contributions Her Majesty's Government is prepared to make to help backward countries, in view of the resolution adopted by the Economic Committee of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations on 2nd August, 1954, recommending the General Assembly to ask members in a position to provide capital to keep the question under review.

This matter is being debated at the moment in the General Assembly of the United Nations. So far there have been no developments leading Her Majesty's Government to change the view expressed by my right hon. and learned Friend in his reply to the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. George Craddock) on 2nd June.

Pensions And National Insurance

Old-Age Pensions

104.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he is aware that the present rates of old-age pension are insufficient; and when, and by how much, he intends to increase old-age pensions.

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given to similar Questions on Monday last.

Retirement Pensions

105.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many men and women who have reached retirement age have postponed their date of retirement since the National Insurance Act, 1946, came into force; and for what average period.

Since July, 1948, about ¾ million. As regards the second part of the Question, the hon. Member will appreciate that, as most of these people have not yet retired, it is not possible to give the information he asks for.

106.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance by what amount the cost of retirement pensions have been reduced by the postponement of retirement since the National Insurance Act, 1946, came into force; and what has been the total cost of the increases paid in retirement pensions to those who retired later than normal retirement age.

In respect of people reaching retirement age since 1948, the saving to the National Insurance Fund from postponement of retirement has been about £160 million. The cost of the increases so far paid on account of postponed retirement is about £5 million.

Local Government

De-Rating (Business Premises)

107.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the total allowance for 1953 for which business premises and land were exempted, respectively, under the De-Rating Act.

The Local Government Act, 1929, exempted agricultural land from rates and, since then, it has not been valued for rating. I cannot therefore say what is the value of the exemption. In respect of industrial premises, the 75 per cent. exception involves a figure of about £37 million.

Reorganisation

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what progress has been made in his proposals for the reorganisation of local government; and what conclusion he has reached after considering the Report of the Association of Municipal Corporations on the matter.

Requisitioned Premises

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the number of private houses still held under requisition by local authorities; and what progress has been made in the past three years in returning these houses to their owners.

The number of private houses still held under requisition in England and Wales is approximately 64,500. Releases in the past three years were about 22,200.

South Downs Landscape (Protection)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to preserve the South Downs as one of the most ancient beauty spots of southern England.

Proposals have been made in the relevant development plans for the protection of the South Downs as an area of special landscape value. My predecessor has already approved one such proposal for part of the area; the remainder are under consideration.

Ministry Of Food

Agene

108.

asked the Minister of Food what process alternative to agene is to be recommended by him; and to what extent the alternative aeration process is now being used.

My right hon. Friend has not yet received the report of the appropriate Sub-Committee of the Interdepartmental Committee on Medical and Nutritional Problems. As regards the second part, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) on 25th October.

Slaughterhouses (Siting)

110.

asked the Minister of Food if he will now furnish information as to where slaughterhouses are to be sited in North-West Wales.

The Interdepartmental Committee on Slaughterhouses is at present preparing a siting plan for England and Wales, and I hope a report will be made by the early part of next year.

Danish Bacon

asked the Minister of Food what requests have been made to the Danish suppliers to hold back substantial quantities of contract bacon since July; what is the reason for the holding back of supplies; and what is the present position.

Shipbuilding (Ussr Orders)

116.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the fact that Russian orders have recently been accepted by Dutch shipyards for nine large swimming dredgers and two floating derricks, and by Belgian shipyards for 14 floating cranes, orders for similar equipment can now be accepted by British shipyards.

The export of dredgers and floating cranes to the Soviet bloc is not prohibited.

Kenya (Detained Persons)

117.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will place in the Library a copy of the regulations of the Kenya Government applying to the conditions of detainees.

A copy of the Emergency (Detained Persons) Regulations is available in the Library.

Malta (Football Match Film)

118.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what ground the British film of the Dynamo v. Arsenal football match has been withdrawn from the cinemas in Malta.

This is a matter within the competence of Maltese Ministers. I am asking the Maltese Government if they will supply the information and will write to the hon. Member in due course.

Ministry Of Health

Hospitals (Transfer)

112.

asked the Minister of Health what hospitals have been taken over from the Armed Forces,

RegionName of HospitalWhere situatedAccommodation provided
Bed ComplementStaffed Beds
NewcastleFriarage HospitalNorthallerton337337
LeedsFulford Military Hospital(Naburn Mental Hospital grounds) York6060
SheffieldSt. George's HospitalLincoln152152
King's Mill HospitalSutton-in-Ashfield372172
East AngliaNil
North West MetropolitanCanadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital.Taplow, Maidenhead334334
North East MetropolitanNil
South East MetropolitanCanada House Maternity Home.Gillingham3030
South West MetropolitanColdharbour HospitalSherborne, Dorset150150
Forest HospitalHorsham, Surrey175175
Loperwood Manor(Annexe to Tatchbury Mount) SouthamptonNo figures available.
Odstock HospitalSalisburyNo separate figures. Hospital included with Salisbury General Hospital.
Queen Alexandra HospitalCosham, Portsmouth464464
St. LeonardsRingwood, Hants143143
Smallfield Hospital(Redhill County Hospital) Earlswood Common, Redhill.No separate figures. Included with Redhill County.
OxfordBradwell GroveBurford, Oxford9090
Churchill HospitalOxford283283
BristolFrenchay HospitalBristol519519
Musgrove Park HospitalTaunton535333
Manor HospitalBathNo separate figures. Included with Royal United Hospital, Bath.
Sandhill Park HospitalBishops Lydeard, near Taunton136136
WalesPembroke County War Memorial HospitalWithybush, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire151151
Bryn Beryl HospitalPwllheli, Caernarvonshire2727
West Wales General HospitalGlangwili, Carmarthen160160
Prince of Wales Orthopaedic Hospital.Rhydlatar, near Cardiff222150
BirminghamMarsten Green Maternity Hospital.Birmingham150150
St. Wulstans HospitalMalvern Wells, Worcs.512262
All Saints HospitalBromsgrove, Worcs.423226
Shugborough Park CampNear StaffordNo figures available.
ManchesterNil
LiverpoolNil
NOTE. Civilian hospitals requisitioned and used for the Armed Forces or for Commonwealth Governments or the United States Government have not been included.

Commonwealth Governments, or the United States Government since the war; where they are situated; and what accommodation each provides.

New Hospital, Cornwall

113.

asked the Minister of Health when work will begin on the promised area hospital for Cornwall.

Maternity Cases, Poole

114.

asked the Minister of Health whether the procedure in the Poole area, when an expectant mother appeals against the decision of a hospital not to allow her to have her confinement in a hospital, has now been expedited.

Yes. The Poole area medical officer is now dealing with these cases without the need for any reference to the county medical officer.

Weather Modification (Field Trials)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what progress has been made by the Meteorological Office in studying the problem of weather modification.

The Meteorological Office has completed a plan for the large-scale field trials necessary to test the effectiveness of proposed methods of weather modification which I mentioned in my written reply to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas) on 15th June, 1954. Preparations are now being made by the Meteorological Office to carry out the trials themselves. We hope to start them in the spring or summer of next year, but it will, of course, be some years before any conclusions of scientific value can be drawn from them.

British Guiana (Constitutional Commission Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the Report of the British Guiana Constitutional Commission will be published.

The Report will be published as a Command Paper on Tuesday, 2nd November.