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Written Answers

Volume 641: debated on Friday 5 May 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 5th May, 1961

Royal Navy

Personnel (Overseas Deaths)

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty how many men and women are now serving with Her Majesty's ships; how many of these are serving abroad; how many of those serving abroad have died, or been killed, since 1945; and in how many cases their bodies were brought home at Government expense.

On 1st April, 1961, there were 98,128 men and women, including juniors and locally entered personnel, on the strength of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Women's Royal Naval Service and Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service, and of these 24,296 were abroad, either ashore or afloat.Between 1st January, 1946, and 1st April, 1961, a total of 1,019, including 58 locally entered personnel, died or were killed abroad.It is contrary to the practice of all three Services to bring home at Government expense the bodies of Service men and women who die or are killed abroad. The only exception during the period in question was made in the case of two officers and seven other ranks of the Royal Marines killed during the Port Said operations in 1956, when it was feared that their graves would not be respected.

Royal Air Force

Personnel (Overseas Deaths)

asked the Secretary of State for Air, how many men and women are now serving in the Royal Air Force; how many of these are serving abroad; how many of those serving abroad have died, or been killed, since 1945; and in how many cases their bodies were brought home at Government expense.

At 1st April, 1961, 158,152 men and women were serving in the Royal Air Force, 38,100 of them overseas. Between January, 1946, and April, 1961, there were 2,395 deaths overseas. During this period, nine bodies were brought home, in Royal Air Force aircraft, at public expense. This was exceptional as it is a long-standing practice that members of the Forces who die overseas are buried there.

Barotseland

Paramount Chief (Visit To United Kingdom)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what was the cost of the official visit of Paramount Chief Mwanawina of Barotseland and his retinue to this country; and by whom the expenses were paid.

The estimated cost of the visit of the Litunga and his delegation is £5,560, of which £3,341 will be met by the Northern Rhodesia Government and £2,219 by the Barotse Native Government.

Education

Coventry (Grants)

asked the Minister of Education what has been the total amount of money his Department has provided, by way of grant, for all educational purposes to Coventry Corporation since January, 1952.

Nearly £16 million. This amount includes over £15 million paid by way of specific grant on the Corporation's educational expenditure for the period up to 31st March, 1959, and £800,000 paid in respect of expenditure since that date on school milk and meals, which fall outside the scope of general grant.

Burnham Committee (Teachers' Panel)

asked the Minister of Education if he will now reconsider his decision not to include representatives of the National Association of Head Teachers on the Teachers' Panel of the Burnham Committee.

I am satisfied that head teachers' interests are adequately met by the present system of representation of teachers by types of school.

Home Department

Fire Service (Salaries And Conditions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set up an independent committee of inquiry into the salaries and conditions of employment in the fire services.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer which I gave to a Question by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) on 4th May.

Whitehall Demonstration

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of the operation in which several hundred civil disobedience campaigners were removed from Whitehall on Saturday, 29th April, 1961; and how many policemen were used on patrol and for making arrests during the day.

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the total number of police officers of all ranks engaged in the operation to which the Question refers was 3,012. It is not possible to say what additional cost to the Metropolitan Police Fund was involved.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested on Saturday, 29th April, 1961, during the civil disobedience campaign in Whitehall.

Preservation Of Public Order

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for offsetting the disruption to traffic and town or city life when future operations are planned by the civil disobedience campaigners within the Metropolitan area.

In the Metropolitan Police District it is for the Commissioner of Police to decide what action to take in any particular circumstances to preserve public order and to prevent obstruction or a breach of the peace.

Employment

Cost-Of-Living Index (Food Group)

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state for each of the past five years the variations in the index for food items in relation to variations in the cost-of-living index as a whole.

The following is the information required:

YearPercentage change in index for
Food groupAll items
March, 1956 to March, 1957−0·8+2·8
March, 1957 to March, 1958+3·5+4·1
March, 1958 to March, 1959+3·0+1·8
March, 1959 to March, 1960−1·9−0·5
March, 1960 to March, 1961+0·6+2·7

Pensions And National Insurance

Personal Case

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will reconsider the claim to a widow's pension made by Mrs. E. M. Brewer, of 67 Purser House, Tulse Hill.

As the contribution conditions are not satisfied, there is no way in which an award can be made to this lady. It is thus not open to my right hon. Friend to reconsider her claim. Nor, for reasons of which the hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware, would issue of a widow's pension to this lady improve her financial position.

Post Office

Post Offices, Liverpool (Modernisation)

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has any plans to modernise Crown post offices in Liverpool and, in particular, the head post office in Victoria Street.

Yes. All old-fashioned public offices in Liverpool will be modernised over the next few years as part of our general modernisation programme. The Corn Exchange office has already been modernised and work is about to start at the Ullet Road, and Park Place Offices, and also at the Head Post Office. At the Head Post Office there is to be a new glass counter screen and a new entrance vestibule, as well as internal and external redecoration, and acoustic treatment, and the work should be finished in August. The offices in Breck Road, Scotland Road, and Old Swan, also should be modernised within the next 12 months.

Scotland

National Theatre

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will set up a small committee to examine the possibility of establishing a national theatre for Scotland.

No. The Government's policy for giving increased support to the living theatre was indicated in the statement by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 21st March. The proposals now being worked out by the Arts Council in accordance with that policy will cover the repertory theatres in Scotland as well as in England.

National Finance

Social Services (Expenditure)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the total estimated expenditure on the social services, current and capital, in the years 1959–60 and 1960–61 by the Exchequer, the National Insurance Fund and local authorities, respectively.

The figures in the table below cover expenditure on education, child care, school meals and milk, welfare foods, health services, National Insurance, National Assistance, War Pensions, Non-Contributory Pensions, and Family Allowances. They also include housing. To avoid double counting, grants from the Exchequer to the National Insurance Funds and to Local Authorities are excluded from the figures given for Central Government Expenditure.

£ million
1959–601960–61
Central Government:
Current expenditure1,2121,337
Capital expenditure5460
National Insurance Funds:
Current expenditure1,034*1,089*
Local Authorities:
Current expenditure1,007†1,097†
Capital expenditure400397
Total, all authorities, current and capital3,7073,980
* Grants from the Exchequer to the National Insurance Funds were £185 million in 1959–60 and £187 million in 1960–61.
† Grants from the Exchequer to Local Authorities, mainly in respect of social services expenditure and housing, totalled £565 million in 1959–60, and £658 million in 1960–61.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the estimated percentage of the national income to be spent by all public authorities on the social services in 1960; and what were the corresponding figures for 1951 and 1959.

Total current and capital expenditure by all public authorities on social services and housing in 1960 is estimated at about 17·5 per cent. of the gross national product (at factor cost). The corresponding figures for 1951 and 1959 were 16·1 per cent. and 17·3 per cent. respectively.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give an estimate of the percentage of central Government revenue devoted to current expenditure on the social services for the years 1959–60 and 1960–61.

Current expenditure by the Central Government on the social services and housing, including grants to the National Insurance Funds but excluding grants to local authorities, was 23·1 per cent. of Central Government revenue (excluding National Insurance contributions) in 1959–60 and about 23·7 per cent. in 1960–61. If current grants to local authorities, which are mainly but not exclusively for social services are also included, the corresponding figures are 32·4 per cent. and 33·9 per cent. Central Government revenue has been defined as in Table 37 of the National Income Blue Book for 1960, which differs in several respects from the Exchequer receipts "above the line".

Transport

Coventry (Grants)

asked the Minister of Transport what has been the total amount paid by his Department in grants for all purposes to Coventry Corporation since January, 1952.

Excluding certain small items, for which figures are not readily available, the total amount of grants made by my Department to Coventry Corporation in the nine financial years 1952–53 to 1960–61 inclusive was £1,467,064. About 98 per cent. of this was for major improvement and new construction on classified roads.

British Army

Germany (Revaluation Of Deutschmark)

asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent Service men serving in Germany have been affected by the revaluation of the deutschmark; and what steps have been taken by his Department to offset any adverse differences in pay and allowances this may have caused.

The revaluation of the deutschmark has made purchases on the German market about 5 per cent. dearer for servicemen. But most of them spend a proportion of their pay with N.A.A.F.I. and N.A.A.F.I. have made arrangements which reduce their prices by 3½ per cent. Money spent in the United Kingdom is not affected by the revaluation. Adjustment of local overseas allowances is being considered.

Housing Accommodation, Germany

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give an estimated date when all families with Servicemen in Germany will be properly housed.

On present calculations, the requirement should be met by December, 1963. These calculations will of course vary if circumstances do.

asked the Secretary of State for War, how many officers and other ranks are still awaiting satisfactory service accommodation in Germany.

2,432 officers and 8,686 other ranks are in normal War Department accommodation in Germany. 159 officers and 2,443 other ranks are accommodated in hotels, in private accommodation, or in quarters at weekend distance.

asked the Secretary of State for War what is his estimate of the number of families in the United Kingdom waiting to join Servicemen in Germany who are held up because of the lack of service accommodation.

asked the Secretary of State for War how many families of Servicemen in Germany have returned to the United Kingdom because of unsuitable accommodation or lack of accommodation.

Families are not sent to Germany unless accommodation is available for them. A small number have subsequently returned because they did not like the accommodation provided, but I regret the details are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for War how many families living with Service men in Dortmund, Munster and Minden, respectively, are still without Service housing accommodation; and when he estimates this problem in these three areas will be solved.

The Answer is:Dortmund—3 officers and 82 other ranks;Munster—21 officers and 182 other ranks;Minden—Nil officers and 137 other ranks.The immediate problem should be solved by mid 1963.

asked the Secretary of State for War how much money will be spent on new housing programmes to accommodate satisfactorily Service men in Germany during the current year.

Two and a half million pounds on Army Votes. In addition, 80 married quarters—cost about £350,000—will be built and charged to the Berlin city budget.

asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent he has made a survey of all families who have joined their Service men in Germany without official notification; how many have done so; whether he has instituted inquiries into their type of housing accommodation; and what they have revealed.

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps he has taken to introduce his caravan housing programme in Germany to house British Servicemen quickly; whether any orders for caravans have yet been placed; and whether they are to be provided by a British or German company.

The arrangements I announced in the House of Commons on 7th March were for the provision of sites by the Department, together with essential services to accommodate caravans. Caravans will be provided either by individuals or under unit or similar corporate arrangements. The setting up of sites will be the responsibility of Command or subordinate Headquarters.Enquiries have been made about the hirings of caravans in bulk number from or through N.A.A.F.I., and we have also received offers from British firms. At this stage I cannot say whether the caravans will be provided by a British or German Company; this will depend on who offers the most advantageous terms.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will list the sites he has in mind for his caravan towns to house British Servicemen in Germany; and if he will give an estimate of how many families he hopes to accommodate.

Six garrisons are likely to be included: Verden, Celle, Soltan, Honne, Fallingbostel and Mustenlager. It is too early to say how many families will be accommodated.

asked the Secretary of State for War what response his caravan scheme to solve the Servicemen's housing problem in Germany has received from the respective unit commanders.

Personnel (Overseas Deaths)

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men and women are now serving with the Colours; how many of these are serving abroad; how many of those serving abroad have died, or been killed, since 1945; and in how many cases their bodies were brought home at Government expense.

On 1st April, 1961, there were 223,548 men and women in the Army, 104,839 of these overseas.Between January, 1949, and April, 1961, there were 4,243 deaths overseas. Figures prior to these dates are not readily available. Eleven bodies were, in most exceptional circumstances, brought home at Government expense.

Territorial Army (Reorganisation)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has yet considered the representations made to him since the publication of the White Paper on the reorganisation of the Territorial Army by representatives of the counties of Shropshire and Pembrokeshire concerning the amalgamation of the Shropshire Yeomanry and the Pembrokeshire Yeomanry.

Yes. After careful consideration of the representations made to me on behalf of the Territorial Associations of both counties, I have come to the conclusion that in the case of these two units, one in England and the other in Wales, it would be more appropriate to describe their relationship as "permanently attached" rather than "amalgamated." The arrangements outlined in the White Paper, Command 1216, should therefore be regarded as modified to this extent.