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Oral Answers To Questions

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 10 May 1961

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Employment

Trade Union Officials (Elections)

1.

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he takes to satisfy himself that the rules and regulations for the conduct of elections for trade union officials as laid down by the Registrar of Friendly Societies are observed; and what action he takes with regard to persons who infringe these rules and regulations.

The Registrar of Friendly Societies has no power to lay down rules and regulations for the conduct of elections of trade union officials.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the only existing external check of the conduct of trade union elections is the Chief Registrar's powers to prosecute in cases where voting papers or other documents have been fraudulently misapplied? In view of the disturbing evidence which has been given——

In view of the national importance of this question, will my right hon. Friend say whether he is satisfied that the rights of rank and file trade unionists are adequately protected at the present time?

As you have already indicated, Mr. Speaker, that the matter is sub judice because of a certain court case which is going on, it would be better for me to refrain from making any comment at the present time.

Whilst agreeing that it is an issue on which one should not comment, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would not agree that from long usage it has been shown that there is a very fine level of democratic elections within the trade union movement and that it is not for an organisation which never has an election of its officials to criticise a trade union?

I still think that as Mr. Speaker has indicated that the matter is sub judice, it is better for me not to comment even on what the hon. Member has just said.

Fishermen (Medical Examination)

2.

asked the Minister of Labour what consultations he held with representative organisations concerned with the fishing industry before deciding not to ratify Convention No. 113 of the International Labour Organisation concerning the medical examination of fishermen; what views were expressed by those he consulted; and whether he will make a statement.

Both sides of the industry were fully consulted during the various stages of discussion leading to this Convention, and their views have been well known throughout. The reasons for the decision not to ratify are set out in the the White Paper Cmnd. 1318, which was laid before the House on 23rd March.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the arguments in the White Paper are very unconvincing to the trade union mainly concerned here? Would he agree that in the smaller fishing vessels, in particular, a man is often on watch for long hours unaccompanied, either on deck or in the engine room, and that a sudden illness could be serious? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the better employers insist on medical examination? Should not the others be brought into line?

This is a matter of opinion, but I think that the hon. Member will agree that the provisions of the Convention go well beyond what is laid down in the United Kingdom not only for the fishing industry but for the Merchant Navy and indeed for industry generally. I think that this was made clear when the matter was discussed.

School Leavers, Kirkintilloch

3.

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to provide employment for the increased number of school leavers in Kirkintilloch.

Absorption of the additional numbers in Kirkintilloch this year and next should not present undue difficulties.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is a quite unsatisfactory Answer? We want some positive efforts. Is he aware that the population is increasing rapidly as a result of the overspill agreement with Glasgow and that there is some frustration among young families who come out of Glasgow because of the lack of opportunities for young people in the town of Kirkintilloch? Would the hon. Gentleman take some steps to see that there is a drive to bring industry into Kirkintilloch as well as the overspill from Glasgow?

The employment position at the moment is healthy and we have every expectation that that will continue. The Easter school leavers, for example, were absorbed into employment very rapidly; of the 36 boys and 54 girls, only one boy was still on the register on 10th April.

Apprentices, Dumbarton

4.

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to increase opportunities for apprenticeship in industry in the County of Dumbarton.

Opportunities for apprenticeship depend largely on the general employment situation. The Government, through the Local Employment Act, is encouraging further industrial development in Dunbartonshire. A Committee on which all sides of industry in Scotland are to be represented is about to be set up to keep the apprenticeship position under review and encourage employers to increase their intake.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that as a result of the rapid expansion of the new town of Cumbernauld some frustration is felt among young families who come out of Glasgow into the new town because of lack of opportunities or apprenticeship for young people there? Will the hon. Gentleman see what can be done in that direction?

I am grateful to the hon. Member. That is the sort of point we would gladly look into.

Pottery Industry (Tuberculosis And Pneumoconiosis)

5.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the special danger of tubercular infection to workers in some sections of the pottery industry; and what action he is taking to reduce the number of cases of pulmonary massive fibrosis.

I am aware that there is a close relationship between certain forms of pneumoconiosis and tuberculous infection. As my hon. Friend told the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) on 6th March, a Committee comprising both sides of the industry and the factory inspectorate has been charged with following up the Survey on the Pottery Industry. In an interim report, the Committee made recommendations about dust control appliances which have been circulated to every pottery firm in the country. The Committee is continuing its work and I am sure that this is the most effective way of making progress.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is something further which he himself could do at once, by seeing that no entrant comes into the industry suffering from tubercular infection? Will he, by regulation or some other means, see that entrants are X-rayed by the mass X-ray centre, because that would certainly preclude a great deal of suffering and some deaths?

As the hon. Gentleman knows, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said that I was considering the point he raised in an earlier Question on this matter. I am considering this and will be writing to the hon. Gentleman.

Pottery Industry (Dust Sampling Programme)

6.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has yet received a re quest for financial aid to expedite the work of the Joint Industrial Council in the Potteries, particularly in the estimation of dust counts.

The Joint Standing Committee has suggested that financial aid be given to the British Ceramic Research Association to enable it to carry out the proposed dust sampling programme. Government aid to research associations is made available through the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. I understand that the Director of the Association has expressed an intention of raising the question with the D.S.I.R. If he does so, I shall certainly be prepared to make clear the importance I attach to the work.

May I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply? Is he aware that I put this Question down because as long as ten months have gone by between the taking of these dust samples and the announcement of their significance? In view of the importance of this, may I again say that I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his sympathy?

Dispute, Mansfield

7.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the dispute between Harwood, Cash & Company, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and the union representing the employees; and if he will endeavour to bring the two sides together with a view to ending the dispute and entering into negotiations.

Yes, Sir, I am aware of this dispute. Our officers have been in touch with the employer and the union. They will continue to do what they can to end the dispute.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this dispute has been going on since last November? In the meantime, there has been a strike, which was called off in the hope that the employers and trade union could get together, but that move has failed. Will he continue his efforts to get the two sides together, because the central problem is one of recognition?

As I have told the hon. Gentleman, we will certainly continue to do all that we can, but at the moment, as he knows, there is a certain amount of ill feeling over the strike. I hope that this can soon be dissipated and that the two sides can get together and enter into discussion of their problems.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is a particularly unfortunate case of a firm not allowing the ordinary decencies of trade union recognition and discussion? Would he agree to meet my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Mr. B. Taylor) and me to discuss the matter if we can be of any help?

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would not wish me to take sides in this matter. I have already met his hon. Friend and have had a full discussion with him on the matter. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I am fully aware of the position.

Vacancies, Wales

9.

asked the Minister of Labour how many unfilled vacancies exist in Wales, in South-East Glamorgan, and in the Borough of Barry, respectively; and how these figures compare with a year ago.

On 5th April, 14,808 in Wales, 2,053 in the Cardiff, Bute Docks, Penarth and Llantwit Major area, and 216 in Barry; and on 6th April, 1960, 10,290, 1,658 and 133 respectively.

Should not these figures of increased vacancies be good encouragement for areas which suffered from inter-war unemployment? Does not this reflect the remarkable success of the Conservative Government's policy in bringing new industries to these areas and creating extra jobs?

How many of the unfilled vacancies are in coal mining in East Glamorgan?

If the Distillers Company, Limited, is making such a big contribution to the expansion of employment in the area represented by the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower), can we, through you, Mr. Speaker, suggest to the company that it should also store whisky in the area instead of always in Scotland?

Iron And Steel And Tinplate Industries

10.

asked the Minister of Labour how many persons were employed at the latest convenient date in the iron and steel and tinplate industries in England and in Wales, respectively; and how these figures compare with the numbers who were employed in 1951 and 1956, respectively.

As the Answer includes a table of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

TOTAL EMPLOYEES (INCLUDING UNEMPLOYED)
EnglandWales
19511956Latest available date19511956Latest available date
Iron and steel (including tinplate)321,440331,630381,790(a)70,88077,16078,530(a)
Tinplate only1,060940460(b)16,84014,1509,910(b)
(a)1960.(b)1958.
Notes:
1. The figures given are those for mid-year.
2. Separate figures for tinplate are not available after 1958 owing to changes in industrial classification.

Immigrants

11.

asked the Minister of Labour what was the number of immigrants unemployed in the London and South-Eastern and the Midland areas, respectively, on 7th May, 1961, as compared with the corresponding date in 1960; and what percentages they are of total unemployment in the said areas.

On 2nd May, 1961, the numbers of unemployed Commonwealth immigrants were 7,913 and 3,722 for the London and South-Eastern and Midland regions respectively, representing 15·4 per cent. and 13·5 per cent. of the total unemployed register in those regions. The corresponding figures for May, 1960, were 4,754 and 1,202, representing 10·2 per cent. and 7·7 per cent of the total unemployed register.

While I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for circulating the figures, may I ask him whether there is evidence that the greatly increased number of people required for the expansion of these industries in South Wales will be forthcoming, in view of all the problems, such as housing, which must arise?

It is my hope that these vacancies will be filled as they come forward in the future.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also consider the other point that if the Steel Company of Wales is allowed to import coal from the United States there will soon be no vacancies?

Following are the figures:

Does my right hon. Friend realise that these figures indicate that unemployment benefit is paid in these areas at the rate of over £1 million a year? In view of the high incidence of unemployment among immigrants, will he urge his Cabinet colleagues to introduce regulations insisting that immigrants can enter this country only if they have guaranteed jobs to come to?

As my hon. Friend knows, Questions on this subject have been put to my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary as well as to me. I have nothing to add to what they have already said.

Is not the answer that most of the immigrants are unskilled people? Among British personnel, the majority of those unemployed are unskilled people.

I think that there is truth in what the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee) says. As I said only last week, one-third of the unemployed immigrants are women, and two-thirds have been unemployed for less than eight weeks.

Manpower Situation

12.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a statement on the recent discussions of his National Joint Advisory Council on the manpower situation.

At its last meeting the National Joint Advisory Council considered a paper on the manpower situation which had been submitted by the British Employers' Confederation. This emphasised particularly the shortages of skilled labour and suggested a number of points which the Council might discuss. It was agreed at the meeting that my Ministry should seek some further information, particularly about the composition of the unemployed labour force and that a working party of the Council would consider the whole problem.

While welcoming that statement, and hoping that these further discussions will have constructive results, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he will say what views were expressed at the last meeting of the Council about the payroll tax? What was the view of the employers' representatives and of the T.U.C. representatives about the effect of this tax on the manpower situation?

Again, that is hardly to do with the original Question. The employers' representatives asked me to convey to my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer their feelings about the payroll tax, but very little expression was given about the matter by the trade union representatives. That applied purely to discussion on the payroll tax—not to the discussion to which I referred in reply to the Question on the Order Paper.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether both sides are against the payroll tax?

While not desiring to create difficulties, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that the trade unions catering for highly-skilled tradesmen have another point of view on this matter in view of their experience in the last twenty years? Will he also bear in mind that certain hon. Members who have made so many observations about this are not necessarily representing the trade union point of view about it?

This is a complicated and difficult subject, and there are many aspects to it. That is why it will be useful to have the working party, which will consider all those aspects, including the point which the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) has in mind.

Royal Navy

Shipbuilding And Ship-Repairing (Orders)

13.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what proportion of orders by his Department for shipbuilding and ship-repairing, in tonnage and value, have been allocated to Scottish and English shipyards, and in particular to Aberdeen, during the last six months.

Orders for naval new construction during the past six months have been for three new frigates, one submarine, two replenishment-at-sea tankers, two seaward defence boats and various small craft. Roughly 18 per cent. of the orders in tonnage and 36 per cent. in value were placed with Scottish firms. A similar proportion of the ship-repair work, by value, outside the Royal Dockyards, went to Scotland. All the orders were placed as a result of competitive tendering and I regret that none were won by Aberdeen firms.

I thank the Minister for that Answer and regret its last sentence. Is he yet in a position to say who won the tender for the new research ship for the National Institute of Oceanography? In that connection, will he bear in mind that Aberdeen shipyards have built many research ships with great success?

I know that an Aberdeen firm has tendered, but I am not yet in a position to say which firm has been successful with its tender for this vessel.

14.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what plans the Government has for placing additional orders for warships with the shipbuilding industry, following the recommendations of the Report of the Sub-Committee of the Shipbuilding Advisory Committee.

The matter is under urgent consideration. Pending the outcome of this review I am afraid I am not in a position to make a statement.

Would not my hon. Friend agree that this is the best opportunity since the war to build warships quickly and, consequently, economically. Will he ask his right hon. Friend to make further representations about this matter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

It is true that in the present state of the shipbuilding industry we are getting our warships built much more quickly and, through competitive tendering, more cheaply than we have previously. I am sure that my hon. Friend, having been in my office, will understand that only 8 per cent. of all the shipbuilding industry's construction comes from Admiralty orders, so that a solution of its problems cannot come entirely from the Admiralty.

Holy Loch (Security)

16.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty, in view of his responsibilities for joint arrangements for the security of United States ships in the Holy Loch, if he will make a statement on the recent activities of canoeists approaching and boarding these ships.

So far as the local naval authorities are concerned these demonstrations although sometimes foolhardy are no more than a nuisance. They do not in any way endanger the security of the American ships involved or the contribution which this anchorage makes to the Western deterrent and the peace.

As a few canoeists, however much of a nuisance they may have been, seem able completely to riddle whatever security or insecurity arrangements have been made in consultation with the hon. Gentleman, would he not find it more to his advantage if he were to follow the advice recently tendered by certain great trade unions and the Scottish Trades Union Congress, that the sooner he gets these vessels out of this country the better for himself and for every other person concerned?

I am glad that the hon. Member agrees that it is only a very small number of canoeists. Our information is that there were eight, all English, I think. Of that number, only two or three provided most of the publicity stunts. I cannot agree with the second part of the hon. Member's supplementary question. The country as a whole believes that this is a very valuable and safe method of adding to the deterrent.

Is my hon. Friend aware that public opinion in Scotland would welcome the prosecution of these law breakers, especially as they are mainly Sassenachs anyway?

I think that that is a matter for the Procurator Fiscal rather than myself.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Scotland treats the English much better than his hon. Friend wants to see them treated?

18.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty for how long it is expected that the additional cost of £24,000 to provide Admiralty constabulary personnel in connection with the Polaris base at the Holy Loch will have to be met.

The duties on which these personnel are employed and the cost involved are likely to continue so long as the depôt ship and Polaris submarines are using the Holy Loch. I cannot say how long that will be.

Do these police, costing £24,000 a year, have to play a part in protecting the Polaris submarines from these canoeists, from English "weirdies" who are attracted to the Holy Loch by the inflammatory speeches of Left-wingers and pacifists and fellow travellers?

These police are normally employed on security duties at the Navy Buildings, Greenoch, the Cardwell Bay jetty and Ardnadam Pier, Dunoon. Although they play a small part, they do not play all the part in protection against the canoeists.

Can the hon. Gentleman explain why the police protect the Holy Loch and the vessels so ineffectively? Is he aware that the point of the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) was not the damage done by these canoeists—because it is common ground that they do not intend to do any damage—but that if the canoeists who do not intend to do any damage can get through with the ease which has been demonstrated on this occasion, it is clear that people with much more nefarious designs could get through?

I think it shows the sort of tolerance with which we have approached this—the fact that we have not tried to use strong-arm methods but have shown sensible tolerance. The hon. Member will agree that these canoeists are sometimes very foolhardy and even dangerous, and I fear that if they continue with these very strange tactics, they will not only risk their own lives, but may also risk the lives of those people who are trying to save them from accident.

Shipbuilding And Ship-Repairing Contracts, Aberdeen

19.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty how many Admiralty shipbuilding and ship-repairing contracts have been allocated to Aberdeen during the last twelve months.

It is the policy to place orders for new ships and craft as far as possible by competitive tender. As to contracts for repairs, the majority of naval repair work is undertaken in the Royal Dockyards. Aberdeen firms have not so far won any of the competitive tenders. No Admiralty shipbuilding and ship-repair contracts have been placed in Aberdeen in the last twelve months.

The hon. Gentleman has not given any figures. Is he aware that Aberdeen gets a very small proportion of the orders from the Admiralty—quite disproportionate to the amount of skill, the good shipyards and excellent workers and the unemployment in Aberdeen? Will he try to remedy that situation?

Yes, but it so happens that the shipbuilding firms in Aberdeen are not suitable for building frigates, or submarines, or the large tankers for which we have placed orders in the last year. I am aware of the problems, but the hon. and learned Member will agree with me that it is not just Aberdeen which is suffering from these difficulties.

Commonwealth Technical Training Week

20.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what Admiralty support will be given to the Common wealth Technical Training Week.

Commanders-in-chief and other authorities throughout the Commonwealth have been asked to give their utmost support to the local organisers of the Commonwealth Technical Training Week. As a result displays and exhibitions are being contributed at 150 different events. The Royal Navy and Royal Marines are also to be well represented at the parade and service at St. Paul's Cathedral on 1st June.

Navy Days And Naval Air Days

21.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what plans are being made this summer for Navy Days and Naval Air Days.

Two or three Navy Days will be held at each of the naval ports at Portsmouth, Devonport, Rosyth and Portland. One Air Day will be held at each of the seven air stations. I will circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Can my hon. Friend say whether the attendance figures in recent years indicate that these events are maintaining their popularity?

Yes, Sir, I can. More than a quarter of a million people attended the open Navy Days and Air Days last year and the figure is increasing rather than decreasing. This is an excellent way of bringing the Navy into the eyes of the public, not just potential recruits, but parents, women and children who visit our ships. These are certainly a popular form of outing for many families.

Will my hon. Friend bring to the attention of his hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for War, who is sitting beside him, the possibility of having Army Days as well as Navy Days in future?

Following are the details:

Navy Days will be held during 1961 as follows:

  • At Rosyth on 20th and 21st May.
  • At Portland on 20th, 21st and 22nd May.
  • At Portsmouth and Devonport on 5th, 6th and 7th August.

Air Days will be held as follows:

  • At H.M.S. "Ariel" (Lee-on-Solent) on 15th June.
  • At R.N.A.S., Arbroath, on 24th June.
  • At R.N.A.S., Yeovilton, on 17th June.
  • At R.N.A.S., Abbotsinch, on 8th July.
  • At R.N.A.S., Culdrose, on 15th July.
  • At R.N.A.S., Brawdy, on 15th July.
  • At R.N.A.S., Lossiemouth, on 22nd July.

Shipbuilding, Devonport Dockyard

22.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty in view of the fact that the building of H.M.S. "Plymouth" has now been successfully completed in Her Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, what plans he has for allowing another ship of this class or any other class to be built there in the near future.

Although H.M.S. "Plymouth" is virtually completed the construction of H.M.S. "Tartar" will continue until August, 1962. I am not yet in a position to make a statement considering future new building. I can promise that the particular claims of Her Majesty's Dockyard at Devonport will be fully taken into account.

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that Plymouth has twice the national average of unemployment and that H.M.S. "Eagle" will be finished in three years and that we do not now come under the Local Employment Act? Has he considered how he is to employ the 20,000 people who are now employed by the Admiralty in the dockyard?

I can foresee—and I have looked at this matter very carefully—a long period of high employment for Her Majesty's Dockyards, because we have to undertake a good deal of major refitting and modernisation of our ships. Only about 10 per cent. of our new construction, a comparative trickle, goes to the dockyards, while more than 90 per cent. goes to the commercial yards.

Car Parking Accommodation, Devonport Dockyard

23.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what action he is taking to provide increased parking accommodation for the cars of his Department's employees working in Her Majesty's Dockyard, Devonport, in view of the fact that these are now parked all day in College Road, Royal Navy Avenue, Avondale Terrace, and the lane behind the terrace, to the inconvenience of the residents.

There is already parking space within Devonport Dockyard for 570 cars and 330 motor cycles. Parking space for another 480 cars and 320 motor cycles has been provided within the dockyard extension and outside, or is now being sought in local negotiations. The possibility of acquiring further sites for parking another 90 cars is at present being examined.

May I thank my hon. Friend for that reply? Is he aware that I put down this Question in view of the many representations and petitions I have had which show that there are still at least a hundred cars being parked in an area where there is no private parking space? Would he be kind enough to try to see that more space is made available in the dockyard area for these persons' cars?

I should like to take ths opportunity to say how grateful we are for the forbearance of the Plymouth City Council and also of the local residents in helping us to overcome this parking problem.

British Army

Recruits (Discharge)

24.

asked the Secretary of State for War what percentage of the recruits enlisted in 1959 have now either been discharged or bought themselves out; and what was the cost to the Army in money and manpower of training these men.

Twenty-five per cent. of which just over one-third bought themselves out. It is not practicable to assess the cost in training manpower, but in money terms the cost would be about £1¾ million.

Are not these figures a little disturbing, since it was thought that one of the advantages of the volunteer Army would be that it would save in the training of manpower? Will the War Office take this problem very seriously?

Yes, but I think that we must keep the problem in perspective. As the House knows, my right hon. Friend is well aware of the problem of wastage by purchase during the early months of a man's service, and is taking steps to try to contain it, but 14 per cent. of this number are accounted for by discharge on medical grounds and other reasons, such as that their service was no longer required.

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that if one can solve this problem it will go a long way towards solving the extraordinary crisis in recruiting? Is he aware that there is a great difference between units in their success or failure in retaining recruits? What has been done to ensure that less successful units learn from the more successful ones?

There is the long-term study by the Army Operational Research Group to investigate in more detail the cause of excessive wastage, which is not yet fully understood. We shall take action when we receive that. Apart from that there are measures proposed by the Select Committee to which, I hope, the House may give effect later.

Private H A Daker

25.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will order an independent inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Private Herbert Albert Daker after he was ordered back to his unit by an Army doctor.

No, Sir. A board of inquiry has already been held to investigate the circumstances of this man's tragic death. I have studied its report and am satisfied that all the facts concerning the death of Private Daker were fully established and that there was no neglect of duty on the part of the medical officers or the unit to which Private Daker's death could be attributed.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this man, although feeling very ill indeed, returned to his unit because his wife's allowance book had been requested by the authorities? Can the hon. Gentleman explain how it was that the Army doctor ordered this man to return although he saw him for only five minutes or less without proper examination, and how it was that he was charged with being absent without leave for a period for which he had a certificate from his own doctor? In view of these unsatisfactory details, would it not be better for the Army to have an independent inquiry?

Private Daker returned on the 16th of the month to Dover with a clean bill of health from his own doctor, whom he had seen. On his return he was fit to resume normal military life, including having to answer the charge which resulted ultimately in the award of detention. The administrative mistakes about which my right hon. Friend has been in correspondence with the hon. Member, although doubly unfortunate in view of the sequel, had no bearing, I can assure the hon. Member and the House, on the illness of Private Daker and its tragic outcome.

Yes, but can the hon. Gentleman explain why the Army doctor who went to see him in his own home spent only five minutes or less and did not give him a proper examination? Did the regimental doctor examine the man when he was returned back?

There is this difference, I think the House will appreciate, in the functions of an Army and a civilian doctor. It was the duty of the Army doctor to form a view on whether the man was fit to travel, to return to his unit, where he would still have been under medical supervision. When that doctor saw him he was up and about, and he gave it as his opinion that he was fit to travel. The civilian doctor in this case said that he thought that the man was fit for work, that is, fit to return to normal duty. Those were the different bases for making the diagnosis.

Recruiting Films (Television)

26.

asked the Secretary of State for War on how many occasions since 25th February, 1961, recruiting films have been shown on television; in what areas they were shown; and with what results.

From 25th February to date Army advertising films have been shown on television on seventy-nine occasions. I will, with permission, publish full details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Does my hon. Friend appreciate that this Answer will give general satisfaction? Will he assure the House that it is the intention to continue with this recruiting campaign till the target figure set for volunteer recruits has been achieved?

Yes. We have a full programme for television this summer. I can tell the House that in the Northern television area from 12th February to 8th April enlistment was 20 per cent. higher than the corresponding figure last year. It is too early yet to assess the results of this campaign over the country as a whole.

Will the figures which the hon. Gentleman proposes to publish also refer to the wastage of recruits drawn in primarily by television?

Following are the details:

AreaPeriodNumber of Occasions
Northern25th February–8th March.9
11th April–9th May8
London9th April–8th May8
Southern9th April–9th May8
Anglia10th April–9th May8
Ulster9th April–9th May8
Midlands10thApril–7th May7
Wales and West.11th April–7th May8
Scottish9th April–9th May8
Tyne Tees11th April–6th May7

Military Knights Of Windsor (Houses)

28.

asked the Secretary of State for War on what basis recommendations are made for the allocation of houses to the Military Knights of Windsor.

The appointment of a Knight of Windsor is made by Her Majesty and carries with it the allocation of a residence. The question of any special allocation of a residence does not therefore arise.

Is it not the fact that these houses are allocated on the basis of military service? If that is the case, is not the War Department consulted at all? How long has this practice been going on? In view of the fact that now the wealth of the country is determined not by military prowess but by industrial prowess, would he consider that representations be made through the Government that these houses should be allocated to industrial workers rather than to military people?

My right hon. Friend's responsibility in this matter is limited to the submission of a list, from which Her Majesty makes the final allocation. As to the qualifications, they are laid down in Appendix XIX to the Queen's Regulations.

Gurkhas (63Rd Brigade)

29.

asked the Secretary of State for War why the 63rd Brigade of Gurkhas is to be stationed in this country; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add to the Answer my right hon. Friend gave my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) on 24th March.

But can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether or not it is the case that these Gurkhas—who are recruited in Nepal, where there is a poverty which is completely unknown in this country despite the large sums of money which we pay to King Mahendra for the purpose of getting these soldiers—when they are stationed here will be paid the rate paid to our own soldiers? Is it the case that they are coming here basically because of the failure of his recruiting campaign?

No. The Gurkhas will be a welcome accession to the Strategic Reserve, and I think in general the presence of these fine troops in this country will be widely welcomed.

Will my hon. Friend agree that in view of the magnificent record of the Gurkha Brigade——

—these soldiers will be very welcome in this country and will be a great accession to our armed strength not only in this country but overseas as well, and that we should welcome them in every possible respect?

May I ask the Under-Secretary of State not to be misled by the people behind him? Will he answer the supplementary I have put to him? Are these soldiers, whom we respect, of course—there is no personal attack in this——

—to be paid the same rate and given the same conditions and the same treatment as British soldiers in this country?

Germany (Local Overseas Allowances)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the additional cost of maintaining United Kingdom forces in Germany as a result of the revaluation of the Deutschmark; and whether any steps are being taken to assist members of these forces to meet the increased cost of living.

37.

asked the Secretary of State for War what changes he has now made in the overseas allowance of British forces in Germany to meet the devaluation of the Deutschmark; and what was the reason for the delay in making these changes.

38.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he has now completed his consideration of the revision of local overseas allowance rates for troops stationed in Germany; whether the necessary adjustment will be retrospective to the date of revaluation of the Deutschmark; and if he will make a statement.

As my right hon. Friend told the hon. Gentlemen the Members for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) and Barking (Mr. Driberg) in a Written Answer last week, the revision of local overseas allowances is still being considered. Apart from any increase this revision might bring, the additional cost to Army Votes arising from the revaluation of the Deutschmark will be in the region of £2 million a year.

Is my hon. Friend aware that as a result of the revaluation of the Deutschmark a soldier in Germany who was being paid £10 a week is now receiving 10s. a week less in terms of real money, and that where such a soldier has to go into German accommodation and pay for it he may well be suffering severe hardship?

The factors mentioned by my hon. Friend, and others, are among those which we are considering in the course of this review.

Why is the review taking such a long time? It is many weeks since the Deutschmark was revalued. Will the Minister also say what statements have been made to the Forces in Germany that the changes will be retrospective and that they will not be out of pocket in any way on account of this change?

The time factor is a complicated matter, and it involves inter-Service consultation. The hon. Gentleman is right in saying that any adjustment that may be made will be retrospective, and this is in fact the safeguard of the soldier's position.

Royal Wedding, York

31.

asked the Secretary of State for War how much his Department expects to spend on the occasion of the Royal Wedding at York next month; and if he will itemise such expenditure.

The Army will have the privilege of providing a guard of honour for Her Majesty The Queen. This will be found from troops in the neighbourhood; the cost will be about £50.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is something like the figure we appreciate?

Training Area, Imber

32 and 33.

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether, under the reorganisation of Southern Command, any of the land occupied by the Army at Imber, Wiltshire, will be released;

(2) when he expects that the Army will cease to occupy the village of Imber, Wiltshire.

The reorganisation of Southern Command affects in no way our need to keep the Imber training area; and as my right hon. Friend told the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) on 1st March, there is no prospect of this need coming to an end.

In view of the bitterness felt by the dispossessed villagers of Imber, and their feeling, right or wrong, that the war-time undertakings and agreements have not been honoured by the War Department, will the hon. Gentleman consider meeting some of them so that, once and for all, this bitterness and misunderstanding can be cleared out of the way and they can put their questions to him and get answers?

Naturally I will consider any suggestion made by the hon. Gentleman. I am satisfied that the Army locally is very well in touch with local feeling and very appreciative of it and does its best to smooth over difficulties which inevitably arise from time to time.

This happens to be in my constituency. Will my hon. Friend suggest to the hon. Gentleman that it would be as well if, instead of butting into other people's constituencies, he took a little trouble to find out what the actual feeling is?

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that it is because the villagers are not satisfied that they have asked somebody else to look at this?

The close co-operation of the Army on the spot, to which I have referred, especially as it concerns myself, has been much helped by the information I have had from my hon. Friend.

Recruiting Campaign

35.

asked the Secretary of State for War what progress he has made in his campaign to increase recruiting.

Has the Minister taken note of his right hon. Friend's recent speech in which he stated that he expected the target of 165,000 by 1963 would not be reached by 1 per cent.? Is this what is meant by a "promising start" to the recruiting campaign? May I also ask the hon. Gentleman to give us an assurance that there has been, and will be, no lowering of standards of physical fitness and intelligence for those recruited and retained in the Army?

I cannot altogether accept the interpretation put by the hon. Gentleman on my right hon. Friend's speech without seeing the text, but I assure him and the House that if results continue to improve on the lines indicated by the figures for the first quarter of this year I have every confidence that we shall get to where we want to be.

Will the hon. Gentleman answer my second part of my supplementary question?

Will the right hon. Gentleman translate the term "promising start" into figures so that we might know what progress has been made? Is not the War Office a little optimistic about this matter, and could not the House be informed of a matter so vital to the interests of the country?

Naturally we shall give the House all the information we properly can. The figures, when taken in isolation, particularly these recruiting figures—it is so much a question of the interpretation of statistics—can be misleading, and I think that it would be unwise to go beyond what I have said today.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am willing to be misled? Will he be good enough not to deal with this matter in isolation but to give us the facts and figures so that we can know the present position?

The figures to the end of February have been published, and I understand that some more are due. We have to think of those who are less subtle in the ways of the House and Whitehall than the right hon. Gentleman.

The House is happy to know that the figures show that we are likely to reach the target, but it is not clear to me when we are likely to reach it. Can my hon. Friend give us that information?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that speaking on the radio on Monday night Field Marshal Montgomery said that this country could not possibly discharge its military commitments without a strength of 200,000 men? Would he care to correlate that figure with his recruiting campaign?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Secretary of State for War said that he did not expect to get the target of 165,000 by 1963, but 1 per cent. under? So already, presumably, that target has been abandoned?

Recruiting (Press Advertisements)

36.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will give instructions for the withdrawal of advertisements appearing in the national Press appealing for recruits for Sandhurst, the illustrations of which show soldiers with their guns at the ready for internal warfare in Kenya; and whether he will ensure that any future recruiting advertisements are so designed as to avoid giving any impression of armed suppression of colonial people for whose welfare and development towards independence this country is responsible.

No, Sir. These advertisements were designed to show routine training and exercise of troops in the field. I cannot accept the implications of the hon. Member's Question.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in the advertisement appearing in The Times yesterday the copywriter gave an impression of trigger-happy adventure in Kenya? This can create a most unfortunate impression. May I ask the Minister whether these matters, and other related questions, have been discussed with the newly-installed administration of Mr. Ngala?

No. As I said in the Estimates debate, the presence of our troops in these stations is a contribution to stability and the preservation of law and order, which is of inestimable benefit to the ordinary folk of all races since they are the first to suffer if law and order breaks down.

Royal Air Force

Fighter Command

40.

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will make a statement on the arrangements which have now been made to implement the decision placing Royal Air Force Fighter Command under the direct orders of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence explained the general position to the House on 12th April. Staff discussions are proceeding on the detailed arrangements which flow from the assignment.

Is it now the position that a foreign commander, from his headquarters in France, can order British fighter aircraft to intercept other aircraft in the vicinity of British territory and therefore commit an act of war, without consulting Her Majesty's Government?

This is part of a general N.A.T.O. decision and it is in the general interest of the West that the defence of N.A.T.O. in Europe should be as efficient as possible. A unified system in needed to achieve this. As for our purely national position, closer co-ordination with the European warning system is bound to be of value, and this fact must not be left out of the thoughts of the hon. Member.

Will the Minister answer my question? It is of vital importance to know whether a foreign commander can commit British forces to hostile acts.

S.A.C.E.U.R. has the responsibility of deciding what orders shall be given under certain circumstances. The main point is that we still maintain the right to control our Fighter Command force in this country, and only in the context of the general requirement of S.A.C.E.U.R. would it be brought into action.

Lightning Fighter Aircraft (Weapon)

42.

asked the Secretary of State for Air what weapon is, or will be, fitted to the Lightning fighter; and whether this weapon has been designed and tested.

The Lightning Mk. l's main armament is the air-to-air missile Firestreak, which is in service now. Later marks of Lightning will carry an improved missile at present under development.

Can the Minister say whether the present Lightning can fire a Firestreak without a reduction in speed? Can he also state when he hopes to have the new weapon in operation?

I am not able to give the date when the new weapon will be brought into service, but development is going on. There are certain restrictions, in relation to firing the present weapon, but they are not considered by the military authorities as being in any way seriously detrimental to the weapon. The new weapon will have, as one of its main features, a much wider field of attack.

Can the Minister confirm that the missile-firing arrangements of the Lightning are not inferior to those of the fighters of other countries, such as the American F.104?

Space Vehicles

43.

asked the Secretary for Air what steps will be taken by the Royal Air Force to put vehicles into space.

The Royal Air Force is studying the possible military applications of space vehicles with close interest.

Will the Minister induce his Ministry to move rather faster than that, in view of its rather slow appreciation of the existence of space? Will he also bear in mind the fact that much of the American work on space has been done with Thor missiles, of which he has had about sixty at his disposal for several years?

I am aware of those facts, but I would remind the hon. Member that other of my right hon. Friends have an interest in these matters. On this occasion I shall confine myself to saying that the Royal Air Force and the Air Ministry are always forward-looking. We are always looking into the future, and we shall not neglect our responsibilities in this regard.

May we take it that the Ministry of Aviation and the Air Ministry are not waiting for each other to act, and doing nothing?

Will the Minister take a ride on the London Underground during a peak hour of travel and then consider whether putting space into vehicles should not have a higher priority?

I do not see the relevance of the hon. Member's supplementary question, except that it might have been asked with the intention of taking me for a ride.

Ministry Of Defence

Accidental War

44.

asked the Minister of Defence if he will order an inquiry to be made into the dangers of accidental war, in view of the increasing evidence that they now constitute a major possible cause of nuclear war.

48.

asked the Minister of Defence what consideration has been given to the special measures necessary to prevent a third world war starting by accident or by the misinterpretation of a signal or a situation.

As the House has been assured on many occasions, we take the most stringent precautions against any accident or miscalculation which could lead to accidental war. These are kept under review and no special inquiry is necessary.

Is the Minister aware that about a month ago the United States Secretary of Defence, Mr. McNamara ordered a special inquiry to be made in America into the ways in which the accidental causes of war might be reduced, and into the basic policy in relation to both strategic and tactical nuclear weapons? Since Britain intends to have her own nuclear force, would it not be as well to follow the American example?

I had the advantage of having discussions with Mr. McNamara in Washington recently, but I am not prepared to say what we discussed.

Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that this danger exists and will be enormously increased if forty-five Polaris submarines are roaming the seas, or if nuclear weapons are placed in advanced positions in Germany?

I do not admit that this danger exists, in the sense that the hon. Member puts it, because, as most people who have studied the matter carefully admit, the Polaris weapon is a second strike weapon which is much safer, and this greatly decreases the chances of an accidental war.

In that case is there not a powerful case for getting rid of the first strike weapons, such as the Thor missile?

The right hon. Gentleman has his time tenses a little mixed. Thor is a perfectly valid contribution to the deterrent now. It may not be so in a few years' time.

If no conceivable danger of the possibility of an accidental war arising exists, can the Minister say why, after his conversations with Mr. McNamara, he has ordered an inquiry into the matter?

Is it the Minister's policy that, while allowing complete political control over nuclear bases, and of weapons operating from nuclear bases in this country, to be in the hands of the American Government, we should also leave the question of the reduction of the causes of accidental war to the Americans?

Not at all. I said in my original Answer, if the hon. Lady will study it, that this matter is kept under the most careful and detailed examination. The warning systems that we use, as a whole, include a wide range of built-in checks, and I consider that those checks are satisfactory.

European Economic Community (Agriculture)

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether the speech made on Saturday, 6th May, in Essex by the Secretary of State for the Home Department on agriculture and the Common Market represents Government policy.

I have been asked to reply.

Yes, Sir.

In view of the contradictory statements being made by Ministers on this important matter, and in view of the fact that they are causing a great deal of confusion in the agricultural community, is it not time that the Prime Minister co-ordinated the Home Secretary, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the President of the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office Ministers so that a sensible and definite statement could be made, after the rather contradictory ones that have been made?

There is no contradiction at all. If the hon. Member will look at column 220 in yesterday's HANSARD he will see that the Prime Minister said:

"I want to make it quite clear that the interests of agriculture, the Commonwealth and of our partners in E.F.T.A. must be a precondition for any negotiations to be satisfactory."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th May, 1961; Vol. 640, c. 220.]
That is exactly the same line as I took in Essex.

Can my right hon. Friend assure me that in any eventual arrangements which are made with Europe there will be no damage whatsoever to Commonwealth trader? Will he remember that the Commonwealth is much more important to us than Europe is or ever was?

The point about the Commonwealth is covered by the Prime Minister's statement yesterday and by the same observations that I made in Essex. It is a precondition for the consideration of our future action in this matter that our relations with the Commonwealth, with agriculture and with E.F.T.A. are all properly taken into account.

Is the Home Secretary aware that the most serious contradictions in relation to this matter are those which occur in the statements made by the Prime Minister himself, on different occasions in different places? Will he use his influence with the Prime Minister to try to get him to come clean on this matter and not adopt different forms of words in different places according to what he thinks is best calculated to win approval?

As is usual, the Prime Minister is defending the interests which are chiefly at stake in this very important matter while preserving the obvious advantage of examining the future with a constructive attitude.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Prime Minister gave me the exact assurance yesterday that he gave me in 1957 with regard to agriculture, and that for that assurance—in which there is no contradiction—the farmers and my constituents are very grateful?

Why on earth are the Government only now examining this matter, when it has been quite apparent that the Common Market has been growing for years? Should not the Government long ago have made up their mind and commenced these negotiations?

The Government entered into negotiations with a view to obtaining a rather different arrangement with Europe, which would have excluded agriculture and saved us the embarrassment of the present situation. That proved unacceptable, and we are now looking at the matter again with a view to seeing whether the same interests can be protected in a different way.

Has my right hon. Friend been able to conclude what the Opposition really think about this question?

I read an article in the Sunday Express, written by an hon. Member opposite who takes a great interest in foreign affairs, and I thought that the article seemed to express a negative point of view.