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Written Answers

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 9th May, 1961

Trade And Commerce

Imported Goods (Merchandise Marks)

16.

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent the practice of some foreign and Commonwealth exporters of avoiding a clear indication of the country of origin of the goods they export to the United Kingdom has diminished; and, in particular, if he is satisfied that all imports of umbrellas and similar goods are thus clearly marked.

The Merchandise Marks Acts, 1887–1953, prescribe the conditions in which imported goods should bear the indication of origin. This may be either the word "foreign" or "Empire" as the case may be, or alternatively, a definite indication of the country in which the goods were manufactured or produced. The option rests with the person applying the indication. As regards umbrellas, the marking requirement applies to certain specified parts, but not complete umbrellas. My right hon. Friend has no reason to suppose that these requirements are not being met, where they apply, but he will be glad to consider any evidence that the hon. Member may care to send him.

British Trade Fair, Moscow

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many firms taking part in the forthcoming British Exhibition in Moscow intend to exhibit goods which are subject to the strategic embargo; whether the Committee on Strategic Exports to the Soviet bloc has given its permission for the export of these items; and what conditions have been stipulated in this respect.

Export licences have been issued to eight firms to export, for exhibition at Moscow, goods subject to embargo. The licences were given on the understanding that the goods would be returned at the end of the Fair, and that confirmation of return would be made to the Board of Trade. This procedure is in line with that observed by our allies.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the Soviet proposal for a public discussion of Anglo-Soviet trade prospects with representatives of British industry during the forthcoming British Exhibition in Moscow; and whether he will ensure that Her Majesty's Government's views are represented at such talks.

I am aware of a Soviet proposal that a meeting should be held to mark the British Trade Fair in Moscow between the Soviet All-Union Chamber of Commerce and a number of British Chambers of Commerce. I understand that representatives of the latter will be ready to attend such a meeting. Chambers of Commerce in this country are private organisations, and it would not be appropriate for a representative of Her Majesty's Government to be present.

Science

Atomic Energy Establishment, Culham

18.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what progress is being made with the development of the Atomic Energy Authority's new establishment at Culham in Oxfordshire.

The Atomic Energy Authority plan to concentrate at Culham all their work on plasma physics and controlled thermonuclear reactions. The development of the site is proceeding in three stages of which the first, including the construction of a large experimental hall, should be completed early next year. My noble Friend and the Treasury have just approved the development of the second stage by mid-1963, which will include further provision of laboratories and a lecture theatre.

Radioactive Isotopes

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what co-operation there is between the Atomic Energy Authority and the Central Electricity Board for the production and sale of radioactive isotopes.

The Electricity (Amendment) Act, 1961, permits the Central Electricity Generating Board to use the reactors in their nuclear power stations to produce radioactive isotopes for sale. The Board and the Atomic Energy Authority are now negotiating an agreement with the objective that the Board should be able to have its output of isotopes handled by the Authority's precessing, packaging and marketing facilities.

Ministry Of Works

Royal Parks (Taxis)

26 and 27.

asked the Minister of Works (1) why a taxi is not allowed to pick up a passenger in the Royal Parks under any circumstances; when this was introduced into the parks regulations; and what consideration is being given to repealing these regulations in the light of contemporary conditions;(2) what restrictions there are on taxis setting down passengers in the Royal Parks.

There are no restrictions on taxis setting down or picking up passengers in the Royal Parks except the prohibition of active plying for hire by standing or coasting which dates from 1872 and has been retained for traffic reasons. I accept that contemporary conditions do not justify the retention of this prohibition in all areas of all the Royal Parks and I am considering where it can be relaxed.

Housing

Slum Clearance

59.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will circulate, in respect of those authorities having long-term slum clearance tasks, details of the numbers of houses estimated to be unfit at the latest available date; what was the percentage of fit to unfit houses in each area; and, on the basis of the latest available information, which authorities qualify for the proposed subsidy grant of £8 or £24.

The estimates asked for by the hon. Member in the first part of his Question are given below. With regard to the final part, I would refer him to my reply of 21st February to the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. M. Stewart).

FIGURES RELATING TO HOUSES ESTIMATED TO BE UNFIT IN THE AREAS OF THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES LISTED IN THE APPENDIX TO THE WHITE PAPER ON HOUSING IN ENGLAND AND WALES, CMND. 1290
Houses estimated remaining unfit at 31st March, 1961 (1)Houses remaining unfit as a percentage of fit houses in the area (2)
Ashton-under-Lyne B.1,4088·0
Bacup B.1,95830·2
Batley B.3,55224·4
Bilston B.1,00110·9
Birmingham C. B.42,60613·2
Bishop Auckland U. D.1,90816·7
Bolton C. B.3,8406·7
Bootle C. B.2,28011·2
Bradford C. B.4,9895·0
Brighouse B.1,1149·6
Castleford B.1,2499·7
Chester C. B.1,81710·0
Colne Valley U. D.97611·8
Coseley U. D.1,41311·4
Crook and Willington U. D.1,60518·2
Dukinfield B.1,04316·9
Ennerdale R. D.1,55217·0
Gateshead C. B.2,6717·7
Halifax C. B.2,4876·9
Hartlepool B.70813·8
Heywood B.7028·4
Huddersfield C. B.2,6865·8
Hyde B.1,10610·0
Kerrier R. D.1,84226·7
Kidsgrove U. D.1,02318·2
Kingston-upon-Hull C. B.12,91514·3
Leeds C. B.17,1149·7
Liverpool C. B.82,33838·6
Macclesfield B.3,03823·1
Manchester C. B.59,94029·0
Merthyr Tydfil C. B.2,42713·5
Morley B.2,02513·6
Oldham C. B.11,00024·9
Pembroke B.1,23328·0
Preston C. B.4,69112·4
Rawtenstall B.1,07211·6
Rochdale C. B.3,98512·4
St. Helens C. B.3,31010·5
Salford C. B.8,95017·8
Sheffield C. B.8,5004·9
Spenborough B.8286·1
Stalybridge B.1,58819·6
Stockport C. B.4,8949·9
Stockton-on-Tees B.3,10513·3
Stoke-on-Trent C. B.11,55713·6
Tredegar U. D.86915·0
West Bromwich C.B.2,6229·2
Wolverhampton C. B.2,7936·3
Wrexham R. D.2,00919·3
York C. B.3,47810·5

Commonwealth Immigrants

37.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what representations he has had from local authorities regarding the housing difficulties arising from the increasing flow of Commonwealth immigrants.

I have had representations from very few local authorities. Where they have been made, they have been concerned mainly with the need for stronger powers to deal with unsatisfactory conditions in houses let in lodgings. Provisions for dealing with such houses, whoever the occupiers may be, are included in the Housing Bill now before Parliament.

Manchester

61.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when he expects to hold a public inquiry into Manchester's proposal to clear the unfit houses in the City Road area; whether he is aware that this area was designated by the Manchester Corporation as a clearance area in 1958; and whether he will revise the procedure employed by his Department which results in such delays.

There has been no delay in my Department. The Manchester City Council informed me in January, 1960 that it had not decided whether to proceed is this case by clearance order or compulsory purchase order, and asked for an extension of time, which was granted. Five months later the Council asked for a further extension. It was not until 23rd February, 1961 that it submitted to me a compulsory purchase order. It was then advertised according to statute, and some 75 objections were received, and accordingly a public local inquiry is to take place on 20th June.

Local Government

Lake District (Motor Traffic)

60.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if his Department has studied the recent report by Friends of the Lake District on a road policy for the Lake District, a copy of which has been sent to him; and whether, in view of the growing anxiety among bodies of this kind about the increasing weight of motor traffic in areas of outstanding beauty, he will, after consultation with the Minister of Transport, invite the National Parks Commission to consider the problems raised and to make recommendations to him.

I have studied this report. I know that the Lake District Planning Board has had the effects of increasing motor traffic under consideration, and has consulted the National Parks Commission about particular problems that have arisen. I understand that the Board is satisfied with the present arrangements between itself and the three county councils, and that being so I do not think there is need for me to take special action.

Rates (Highway Expenditure)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what was the total amount of rates levied by local authorities in England and Wales during the last five financial years in respect of highway expenditure.

It is not possible to identify the amount of rates levied for this purpose; after deduction of the amounts of grant and other income specifically in aid of expenditure on highways and bridges, the net cost is met out of the local authorities' revenue from rates, grants and other income in aid of their expenditure generally. The net cost in each of the last five years for which information is available was:

£ million.
1954–5557·8
1955–5661·5
1956–5766·2
1957–5871·4
1958–5973·5

Local Employment Act, 1960

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what is the total sum made available to local authorities under Section 5 of the Local Employment Act, 1960, to the latest convenient date.

At 5th May, 1961, no payment of grant has been made to local authorities in England and Wales under Section 5 of the Act. Grant amounting to £152,500 had been approved for payment.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs how many applications for grants under Section 5 of the Local Employment Act, 1960, have been received from local authorities in Wales, England and Scotland, respectively, and how many have been granted to the latest convenient date.

At 5th May, 1961, five applications had been received from local authorities in Wales and fifteen from authorities in England. Two of the former and six of the latter had been approved. My right hon. Friend has no responsibility for applications made by local authorities in Scotland.

George Blake (Conviction)

44.

asked the Prime Minister what qualifications are needed for acceptance into the intelligence ser vice operated by the Foreign Office, in view of the recent case of Regina v. Blake.

It has long been the accepted practice of the House under successive Governments that questions relating to intelligence are not matters for public discussion.

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make available to the House more information about the activities over the past nine years of George Blake, in view of the fact that they are well known to a foreign power.

56.

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the case of Regina v. Blake, he will give an assurance that appropriate steps have been taken to strengthen Government security and counter-espionage measures to prevent such an occurrence in future.

I have nothing to add at present to the statement which I made to the House on 4th May.

55.

asked the Prime Minister what disciplinary action he has taken consequent upon the trial and conviction of George Blake.

None. I do not necessarily accept the implication in the Question that disciplinary action is called for. But, as I said in my statement on 4th May, I am reviewing all the circumstances with very great care to see whether there are any possible further measure which could be taken to protect this country from treachery of this kind.

Laos

48.

asked the Prime Minister what is the nature of the latest communication he has received from President Kennedy regarding Laos.

Any communication I may receive from President Kennedy about Laos would naturally be confidential.

Council On Tribunals (Discussions)

53.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now make a statement concerning the discussions between the Lord Chancellor and the Chairman of the Council on Tribunals which arose out of a recent planning decision by the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

In the course of his speech yesterday, my noble Friend dealt with his discussions with the Chairman and some other members of the Council on Tribunals. I could not adequately summarise this speech in answer to a Question. But my noble Friend said that he was collecting the opinions of professional bodies concerned in the proposed rules of procedure for these inquiries and that he would in due course submit the draft rules to the Council on Tribunals. He also said that he was most ready to receive and discuss proposals on all aspects of this difficult and important problem.

World Peace

54.

asked the Prime Minister if he will propose a meeting between the heads of the Government of the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China and the United Kingdom in order to allay the sense of insecurity which prevails throughout the world.

As I told the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Pent-land) on 7th February, the three Western Powers issued a statement in Paris after the failure of the Summit Conference stating that they were ready to take part in negotiations at any suitable time in the future. This remains our policy.

Security (Committee Of Inquiry)

57.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will require the committee dealing with security to examine the different methods employed as between the Services and other Government Departments.

The Service Departments and other Departments employ the same security methods and procedures. The Committee of Inquiry has already been asked to draw attention to any failure in the existing procedures which may come to their notice.

Foreign Office (Security)

58.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint a Parliamentary Secretary to the Foreign Office to deal with security.

Kenya

Jomo Kenyatta (Press Interview)

63.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the nature of the reply he has sent to the editor of the Daily Worker, who protested to him by letter against the withdrawal of permission for a representative of that newspaper to enter Kenya for the purpose of interviewing Jomo Kenyatta.

The editor of the Daily Worker has been informed that this is a matter for the discretion of the principal immigration officer in Kenya and that I am not prepared to intervene. He has also been informed that it is not the practice to give reasons for the refusal or withdrawal of such passes.

Civil Servants (Representations)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply he has made to the representations of the Senior Civil Servants' Association of Kenya in reply to the complaints about their future conditions of service, set out in a recent letter to him.

I assume that these representations are the same as those referred to in the Question by the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Mr. H. Clark) on 4th May and I have as yet nothing to add to the reply I gave then.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply he has made the East African High Commission Association of Professional Technical and Executive Officers, the East African Railways and Harbours European Staff Association, and the East African Posts and Telecommunications European Staff Association who have endorsed the complaints made to him about their future conditions of service following a special general meeting of the Senior Civil Servants' Association in Kenya.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply today to his Question concerning the representations of the Senior Civil Servants' Association of Kenya.

Tanganyika

Civil Servants (Representations)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply he has made to the representations of the Tanganyika Overseas Recruited Asian Government Servants' Union about their future conditions of service.

I informed the representatives of this union when I met representatives of all the Asian Civil Servants' Associations in Tanganyika, in Dar-es-Salaam on 30th March, that before independence is granted to Tanganyika I would honour the undertaking given in Colonial No. 306 and reaffirmed in Command 1193 that the interests of certain categories of overseas pensionable officers appointed to the service of territorial Governments otherwise than by selection by the Secretary of State would not be overlooked. I am giving earnest and urgent consideration to this question.

East Africa

Asian Civil Servants

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will receive a delegation from the Asians' Postal Union, the Railway Asian Union, and the East African High Commission Asian Staff Association to consider their complaints about their future conditions of service.

The position of the Asian civil servants in East Africa is a serious and difficult matter which I am urgently considering in consultation with the East African Governments and Administrations. As soon as I can usefully do so I will willingly see a delegation of the recognised Asian staff associations.

Tonga

Hurricane

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement about the hurricane which struck Tonga on 16th and 17th March last.

A hurricane swept through the northern part of Tonga on the 16th and 17th March affecting the islands of the Há'apai group and Vava'u. Two people were reported killed and 8,000 rendered homeless. Reports show that extensive damage was done to houses and public buildings, copra plantations and subsistence crops.Immediate assistance was afforded by the Fiji Government who sent a Public Works Department engineer and the Inspector-General of the South Pacific Health Service to survey the Kingdom's needs. Anti-typhoid vaccine was flown in on 22nd March, clothing and food were provided by the Fiji Branch of the Red Cross and a party consisting of an engineer and 20 artisans with equipment and stores left Fiji for the affected areas on 25th March.The New Zealand and Australian Governments have generously made available foodstuffs to the value of £5,000 and £5,600, respectively, as practical demonstrations of interest in the welfare of the Tongan people. Her Majesty's Government have agreed, as a token of sympathy, to make a grant of £7,500, which will cover the immediate aid already given by the Fiji Government on behalf of Her Majesty's Government as a contribution to the relief of the Kingdom's distress. A Supplementary Estimate for this sum will be presented at the earliest convenient opportunity and, in the meantime, the necessary funds will be issued from the Civil Contingencies Fund.

Scotland

Fleck Committee (Report)

64.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he proposes to take to implement the recommendations in the Fleck Report; and when he intends to take them.

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food gave to him and also to the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) and the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) on 26th January. I have nothing to add to this reply.

Fires

65.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the nature and the cost of loss of property and of life, respectively, caused in Scotland by fire damage, indicating where those losses occurred; and what steps his fire services took to avoid or mitigate those losses.

I regret that the information requested is not available in that form; but particulars of fatal casualties in fires, with much other useful information, are given in the annual statistical analyses of reports on fires in the United Kingdom. These are prepared by the Joint Fire Research Organisation and copies are in the Library of the House. I am satisfied that Scottish fire authorities, who are responsible for administering the fire service, are providing adequate fire cover in their areas.

Forth River (Pollution)

66.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has considered the Report on Salmon Fishing in the Forth for 1960 and the dangers to this industry of continuing pollution; and what progress is being made with purification.

I am informed that the main pollution occurs in the narrow tidal stretch in the upper estuary which has come within the jurisdiction of the Forth River Purification Board only since August last year. The Board has reported that the rivers flowing into this stretch are generally clean already with the exception of the Devon which, as a result of remedial measures in hand or planned, should be very substantially improved within a few years.

Hospital Accommodation (Mothers Of Child Patients)

67.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many hospitals now have arrangements to permit mothers to stay in hospital with their children.

A number of hospitals have such arrangements, the practice is extending, and my Department encourage it. No precise figures are available because hospital authorities do not make regular returns giving information of this kind.

Electricity Supplies (Remote Areas)

68.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what decision has been reached about giving assistance under the Local Employment Act to the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to bring electricity to the more remote areas and the islands not already served.

The purpose of Section 7 of the Local Employment Act, 1960, is to assist the provision of improvement of some local service on which the development of the district, and particularly of industrial undertakings there, depends. Further, it must be shown that the improvement in question is expedient for the purposes of Part I of the Act, that is in order to promote employment for the benefit of a development district.

Firemen (Pay And Conditions)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the standard hourly working week of firemen; what is the weekly rate of wages paid; at what stage are overtime rates payable; and what is the nature of such overtime rates.

I have no power to regulate the pay and allowances or the hours of duty of members of fire brigades in Scotland; these are matters within the province of the National Joint Council of Local Authorities' Fire Brigades. I understand that hours of duty of operational members of fire brigades vary at present but most commonly total 56 a week; that the pay of an operational member of the rank of firemen, recommended by the National Joint Council, ranges from £575 to £700 a year; and that, subject to certain conditions, the overtime allowance payable to a fireman is at the rate of 6s. an hour.

Ministry Of Power

Fuel Cell Research

73.

asked the Minister of Power if he will give details of the progress in fuel cell research.

Up to 31st March, 1960, my Department sponsored research on fuel cells. It had then reached an appropriate stage for handing over to the National Research Development Corporation, which is now supporting the work. I understand the Corporation is discussing with industry the further research and development required. Other work is being carried out by the Central Electricity Generating Board and by private firms.

Hospitals

Amenity And Pay Bed Accommodation

asked the Minister of Health if he will state the average occupancy of Section 4 and Section 5 beds in each region at the latest date for which figures are available, distin- guishing between occupancy by paying and by non-paying patients.

AVERAGE DAILY BED OCCUPANCY—YEAR ENDED 31ST DECEMBER, 1960
RegionSection 4Section 5
No. of beds designatedPaying PatientsNon-Paying PatientsTotalNo. of beds designatedPaying PatientsNon-Paying PatientsTotal
Newcastle21245·67110·56156·2325973·0687·40160·46
Leeds449243·5968·15311·74332166·6050·56217·16
Sheffield476202·10230·42432·52353151·3563·56214·91
East Anglia10724·4044·7169·1115068·9728·3297·29
North West Metropolitan316142·16127·21269·37256153·5642·59196·15
North East Metropolitan16863·4462·66126·1020778·8260·54139·36
South East Metropolitan33993·94164·11258·05332138·6671·28209·94
South West Metropolitan903549·04158·04707·08306150·4451·65202·09
Oxford15237·5356·9694·4920697·1627·30124·46
South Western398144·77160·56305·33333121·6959·65181·34
Welsh10418·9144·8563·769931·0223·0154·03
Birmingham465101·47200·17301·64513188·83122·45311·28
Manchester355144·39110·62255·01403217·9433·77251·71
Liverpool14649·9852·40102·3819165·9945·93111·92
Wessex290101·85124·30226·1520193·7544·26138·01
Provincial Teaching Hospital:
Newcastle24Nil22·3522·355015·6431·1546·79
Leeds2512·706·5719·277460·801·4262·22
Sheffield291·0822·4923·574929·335·7235·05
Cambridge1411·371·5512·922314·252·3616·61
Oxford75·081·026·103719·551·1420·69
BristolNilNilNilNil204·3712·0216·39
CardiffNilNilNilNilNilNilNilNil
Birmingham80·536·146·6712273·3326·0599·38
Manchester642·6149·2051·8110466·6312·0778·70
Liverpool4226·663·1429·808431·9411·6743·61
Total Provincial Teaching Hospitals21360·03112·46172·49563315·84 103·60419·44
London Teaching Hospitals:
Undergraduate15949·9680·58130·54690525·5627·90553·46
Post-graduate7316·9732·1249·09234147·9533·32181·27
Total London Teaching Hospitals23266·93112·70179·63924673·5161·22734·73

Consultants

asked the Minister of Health if he will set out in tabular form the number of consultants in each speciality and those with A, B and C

The figures are as follows:distinction awards as at 31st December, 1960, and the comparative figures for the previous year.

SpecialtyAt 31st December, 1960At 31st December, 1959
Number of consultantsAwardsNumber of consultantsAwards
A plusABCABC
General Medicine883186815127086862160273
Diseases of the Chest299142259295112358
Mental Health67945305964892362
Neurology823917267992023
Paediatrics2142133159209113654
Radiology47729226946391972
Radiotherapy12634102112071021
Physical Medicine891211871113
Pathology72572751101693274999
Infectious Diseases37131339415
Dermatology14714172714451726
Venereology7521277213
Ophthalmology3012132545303152746
General Surgery872204913926186457144261
Anaesthetics82836278479582581
Neurosurgery614510165871016
Plastic Surgery581113175641214
Thoracic Surgery9349212691102029
Orthopaedic Surgery3486144272333144274
Dentistry26414133526051234
Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery308132958304103059
Obstetrics and Gynaecology450918541134392055120
NOTE: If a consultant practises in more than one specialty, he has been included in each.

Drug (Purchases)

asked the Minister of Health if he will bring to the notice of hospitals buying chlorothiazide, tetracycline and chloramphenicol from the Continent at cut rates the danger of contravening the patent laws of the United Kingdom.

The hospital authorities known to be concerned have been asked to await advice on these purchases.

Sub-Normal Persons (Admissions)

asked the Minister of Health if he will state the numbers awaiting admission to hospitals for the sub-normal and severely sub-normal in each region as at 31st December, 1960, and the comparative figures for the previous year.

RegionWaiting list (from returns by local health authorities)
31st December, 195931st December, 1960
1. Newcastle428435
2. Leeds174158
3. Sheffield799573
4. East Anglia301293
5. North West Metropolitan256264
6. North East Metropolitan441422
7. South East Metropolitan555543
8. South West Metropolitan238235
9. Oxford169201
10. South Western243299
11. Wales709749
12. Birmingham479417
13. Manchester612455
14. Liverpool287242
15. Wessex227216
Total5,9185,502

National Finance

Department Of Technical Co-Operation

69.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many economists and statisticians will be included in the staff of the new Department of Technical Co-operation.

The staffing of the new Department has not yet been settled in detail.

Common Market Countries (Investment)

70.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the amount of private investment by Common Market countries in the United Kingdom in the last half of 1960; and what was the amount of United Kingdom private investment in the Common Market countries for the same period.

I regret that the information which would enable me to add to the replies given to the hon. Member on 13th December, 1960, is still not available.

Press Cutting Service

71.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated annual cost of a Government Press cutting service to be made available by Her Majesty's Government for the use of Members of Parliament, with a staff of 10, and cutting the main newspapers for news items of parliamentary importance.

The estimated annual cost is about £7,000: but the expenditure could vary considerably according to the selection of newspapers covered and the type of Press cutting service provided for Members.

Payroll Tax (Retail Trade)

72.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect of the payroll tax on the retail trade; and what representations Her Majesty's Government have received against the imposition of the tax.

I would expect the effect of the employers' surcharge, if levied, on costs in the retail trade to be slight; but it is not possible to make a reliable estimate in quantitative terms. I have received representations about the employers' surcharge direct from the Federation of British Industries and from other representative associations in industry and trade, as well as from a number of firms and individuals and from a few local authorities.

Foreign Pension Funds (Contributions)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what Income Tax relief is or can be allowed in respect of contributions to a foreign pensions fund which foreign seamen may be obliged to pay in addition to National Insurance contributions.

So far as I am aware, the only foreign seamen who may be obliged to pay contributions to a foreign pensions fund in addition to their National Insurance contributions are certain Norwegian seamen employed by British whaling concerns. As I told the hon. Member in a recent letter, these men are allowed relief from United Kingdom Income Tax on the amount of their compulsory contributions to the Norwegian Scheme. If he has any other cases in mind and will write to me about them, I will look into the matter.

Home Department

Belgian Embassy (Police Guard)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why it is still necessary to have a Metropolitan Police guard at the Belgian Embassy.

Because the Commissioner of Police, on whom the responsibility rests for deciding the degree of protection to be afforded to a particular Embassy at a particular time, considers that these precautions are appropriate in present circumstances.

Coloured Population

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated annual increase in the coloured population in Great Britain; and what it is estimated the total coloured population will be by the turn of the century, if no further coloured immigrants are admitted.

I regret that on the information available the natural increase of coloured people in this country cannot be estimated with any precision.

Mental Health Review Tribunals (Cases)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases, in each of the three special hospitals, respectively, he has referred to Mental Health Review Tribunals for their advice; how many have been heard to date; in how many cases the tribunal advised discharge and in how many it adjourned the hearing; and whether he has in all instances accepted the advice tendered to him.

I have referred 88 cases from Broadmoor Hospital, of which 67 have been heard to date; the tribunal have advised discharge in two cases (which I have at present under consideration) and have adjourned six. I have not yet referred any cases from Rampton or Moss Side.

Ministry Of Health

Hearing Aid Technicians

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that hearing aid technicians employed full-time at National Health Service clinics are acting as part-time hearing aid salemen for private firms; and if he will examine the matter with a view to taking appropriate action.

One case of this kind has recently come to my notice. I have informed the hospital authority that such activities are inconsistent with employment as a hearing aid technician in the National Health Service and should cease.

Wireless And Television

Programme Companies (Ita Receipts)

asked the Postmaster-General if he will exercise his powers under Section 15 (5) of the Television Act, 1954, and ask the Independent Television Authority to send him details of the annual amounts received by them from each programme company since 1955; and if he will publish this information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

No. The contracts between the Independent Television Authority and the programme are a matter for the Authority and I see no grounds for asking the Authority for details of their rental charges.