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Written Answers

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 17 May 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 17th May, 1961

Royal Navy

Security

1.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether, in his review of naval security, he will include British naval bases abroad as well as in the United Kingdom.

The security review being undertaken in all Admiralty establishments, which was announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23rd March, does cover overseas as well as United Kingdom establishments.

2.

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty the total numbers of officers and ratings employed on naval security; and what is the cost per year to the Admiralty Votes.

All naval personnel are concerned with, and have a personal responsibility for, security. However, it is estimated that the numbers employed on duties involving physical security, including guard duties, and security of information, total at any one time about 1,700. The pay and allowances for this number would be about £1·9 million a year but many of the men involved, such as regulating staff and sentries, carry out other duties simultaneously. It is not therefore possible to give an accurate figure of the cost of personnel employed on security.

Roads

Knowle By-Pass

36.

asked the Minister of Transport when he expects work to start on the Knowle by-pass.

I now propose to combine the Knowle by-pass with the Solihull by-pass in a single scheme but I cannot say with it will be possible for me to include it in my roads programme.

Somerset

45.

asked the Minister of Transport what is the timetable for the proposed extension of the Birmingham-Bristol motorway to East Brent; and why this is his only proposal for new road construction in Somerset.

The line of route for the southern section of the Birmingham- Bristol motorway is being investigated by consulting engineers. The preliminary survey is well advanced. I shall publish my proposals as a draft Scheme as soon as the necessary consultations with local authorities and other interests are completed.It should be possible for the other traffic needs of the county to be met by the improvement of existing roads. These improvements, including by-passes where necessary, will be carried out as funds permit.

Clayton Lane, Newcastle-Under-Lyme

49.

asked the Minister of Transport if he has considered the petition sent to him on 8th May by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme concerning the urgent need to improve Clayton Lane, Newcastle-under-Lyme: and if he will take steps, in conjunction with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, to widen the road, provide proper pavements, and install adequate lighting.

Clayton Lane is an unclassified road and its improvement is entirely the responsibility of the highway authorities, the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and the Stoke-on-Trent County Borough Council. I am sorry that I am unable to assist.

Street Parking

50.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will consult with local authorities or the police in the Metropolitan Police area with a view to granting priority to householders for the parking of their cars in front of their own residences where street parking is permitted.

No. The highway exists for the benefit of the public generally. Authorised parking places on the highway should be available for general use.

Motorways

54.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will state, giving the mileage in respect of each, those motorways or lengths of motorway for which no line had yet been proposed, a draft scheme had been published, a scheme had been made, tenders had been invited, a contract had been placed, which were under construction, and which were in use, respectively, as at 30th April.

Following is the information requested:

Motorways in use
London to Birmingham73¾ miles
Preston By-pass8½ miles
Lancaster By-pass11½ miles
Ross Spur20½ miles
Maidstone By-pass7½ miles
Motorways under construction
Birmingham to Preston—viaducts and sections in Staffordshire and Lancashire53½ miles
Birmingham to Bristol—Part I (Lydiate Ash to Twyning)28 miles
Stevenage By-pass7½ miles
Doncaster By-pass15 miles
Medway Motor Road—Medway Bridge
London—South Wales
Slough By-pass5 miles
Maidenhead By-pass6 miles
Severn Bridge
Contract placed
None
Tenders Invited
Birmingham to Preston
North Cheshire section15 miles
South Cheshire section10 miles
Medway Motor Road25 miles
London—South Wales—Chiswick to Langley (Part I)2 miles
Scheme made
Preston to Lancaster13 miles
London to Yorkshire—Part II (Crick to Doncaster)86 miles
Darlington-Barton By-pass10 miles
London to South Wales Chiswick to Langley12 miles
Severn Bridge and Approaches9½ miles
Newport By-pass7½ miles
Port Talbot By-pass5½ miles
Midland Links—Dunston to Castle Bromwich26 miles
Draft Scheme published
Midland Links
Lydiate Ash to Great Barr16 miles
Castle Bromwich to Catthorpe29 miles
High Wycombe By-pass13 miles
Line not yet published
Lancaster to Penrith36 miles
Penrith By-pass6 miles
Sheffield-Leeds Spur34 miles
Lancashire—Yorkshire Motorway50 miles
Durham Motorway21 miles
London to South Wales Maidenhead to Almondsbury87 miles
Crick to Newport9 miles
Aldenham to Hendon8 miles
Brighton Radial25 miles
London to Basingstoke24 miles
Norwich Radial32 miles
Ditton By-pass5 miles
Bristol to Birmingham—Part II (Twyning to East Brent)68 miles

Railways

Accident, Pitsea (Inquiry)

38.

asked the Minister of Transport why the Press and public were excluded from the inquiry into the recent rail crash at Pitsea.

The Press and public were excluded from part of this inquiry because the inspecting officer considered that the position of some of the witnesses might have been prejudiced if their evidence was given in public.The inspecting officer's report will, of course, be published and will contain, along with his conclusions, a summary of the evidence given both in public and in private.

Shipping

Shipyards, North-East Scotland (Orders)

46.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will hold a special inquiry into the dearth of orders in the shipbuilding and ship-repairing yards of North-East Scotland and report the result to the House.

A special sub-committee of the Shipbuilding Advisory Committee has recently examined the causes of the shortage of orders in the country as a whole. The report of the Fleck Committee is of particular concern to the shipyards in North-East Scotland. I do not think a further inquiry would help.

Nuclear Propulsion

55.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will now make a statement on the building of a nuclear-powered ship for commercial purposes.

My right hon. Friend hopes to make a statement shortly.

Flag Discrimination

asked the Minister of Transport what counter measures he now proposes taking to offset the damaging effects on British shipping of flag discrimination.

The hon. Gentleman will recall the Answer which I gave on 29th March, 1961, to my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East (Mr. McMaster).

Since then the suggestions put forward in the recent Survey of British Shipping have been under discussion with the General Council of British Shipping but the talks have not concluded.

Transport

Electrical Apparatus (Abnormal Loads)

asked the Minister of Transport if he has studied the proposals contained in the memorandum prepared by the British Electrical Manufacturers, a copy of which has been sent to him, for safeguarding the future of heavy electrical plant exports, especially for the heavy indivisible electrical plant shipped for export from Trafford Park, Manchester, Stafford, Hollinwood, Rugby and Birmingham, which concern increased costs and changed designs due to lack of direct transport facilities; and what reply he has made.

I understand that the hon. Member is referring to the memorandum submitted to the Ministry of War Transport in November, 1944, and subsequently published. This was fully considered before the Ministry agreed in 1947 to establish a network of roads capable of carrying heavy abnormal indivisible loads between the main centres of manufacture and the ports. The centres mentioned by the hon. Member are now all connected to ports by this network. On modern vehicles it has proved possible to move loads of up to and over 200 tons net from all but one of these centres. From Rugby loads of up to 170 tons net have been moved. Manufacturers of heavy electrical apparatus in the London area should also be able, within the next few years, to export plant of the same size.I am most grateful to the manufacturers, the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers Association and the Central Electricity Generating Board for their close and willing co-operation with the Department in dealing with the difficult problem of the transport of heavy electrical plant.

Vehicle Testing Stations

48.

asked the Minister of Transport how many of the officially-accredited testing stations for motor vehicles have facilities for testing vehicles which exceed 30 cwt. unladen weight.

All the 15,000 or so garages authorised to test four-wheeled vehicles would be able to test vehicles exceeding 30 cwt. unladen weight. Not all would have the accommodation or plant to deal easily with exceptionally high or heavy vehicles. These represent only a small proportion of the vehicles to be tested My Department's officers are always glad to help in any case of difficulty.

London Transport Executive

56.

asked the Minister of Transport what reply he has made to the recent letter sent to him by the East Ham Borough Council on the need for a public inquiry into the operations of the London Transport Executive; and what replies he made to other recent representations on this subject from public authorities in the Greater London area.

On 1st March, I told the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) that I had come to the conclusion that an inquiry would not serve any useful purpose at that stage. I have considered the letter from East Ham Borough Council and similar representations from other bodies, but see no reason to change this view.

Telephone Service

Kiosks, Cambridgeshire

58.

asked the Postmaster-General how many telephone kiosks there are in Cambridgeshire, excluding the City of Cambridge; how this figure compares with the position twelve months ago; and how many additional kiosks are to be erected during the next twelve months.

There are now 235 kiosks as compared with 233 twelve months ago. I hope to provide at least two more during the next year.

Mid-Ulster

60.

asked the Postmaster-General how many applications for telephones are outstanding in the constituency of Mid-Ulster; and how many have been connected during the year 1960.

There are at present 131 outstanding applications. 297 telephones were connected in 1960.

asked the Postmaster-General how many telephone kiosks are at present requested in the constituency of Mid-Ulster; and how many applications have been rejected during the year 1960.

There are four requests at present; three are being met and the fourth is under consideration. Eighteen applications received during 1960 were rejected and four kiosks were provided.

Post Office

Post Office, Forfar (New Site)

59.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has yet found a site for a new post office in Forfar.

No; but I am continuing the search for a new site. A new post office is certainly required.

Wireless And Television

Bbc (Colour Television)

61.

asked the Postmaster-General what consideration he has given to permitting the British Broadcasting Corporation to operate a limited pilot colour television scheme on 625 lines, in Band IV or Band V; and if he will make a statement.

The Television Advisory Committee has welcomed a proposal by the B.B.C. to carry out a series of field trials on 625-line colour transmissions in Band V from its Crystal Palace transmitter next year. The B.B.C. hopes, as I do, that these trials will help in the development of receivers and give opportunity to study operational problems. They will be a continuation of the series of Band V test transmissions in black and white put out by the B.B.C. in 1957 and 1958, and will be similar to those now being put out by the B.B.C. on 405 lines in Band I.

Pilkington Committee (Report)

62.

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is now in a position to state the approximate date when he expects to receive the report of the Pilkington Committee; and, in view of the importance of colour television to the radio and television industry and to the general public, if he will ask them to make an interim report.

I hope the Committee will be able to let me have its report within the next twelve months. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply of 10th May to the hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason). The Committee was set up—with very general approval—to consider a very wide range of connected problems including colour television, and I think it should be allowed to get on with its work.

Congo

63.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the implementation of the United Nations decisions in the Congo.

It has always been the view of Her Majesty's Government that these resolutions should be implemented after consultation and in collaboration with the Congolese themselves. It is, therefore, encouraging that an agreement has been reached between Mr. Hammarskjoeld and President Kasavubu on measures to carry out the provisions of the Security Council resolution of 21st February.

67.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the result of the Government's efforts made through the United Nations to secure the release of President Moisé Tshombe of Katanga.

Since our representative at the United Nations was instructed to discuss this matter with the United Nations authorities, the Leopoldville Government have announced that they intend to bring Mr. Tshombe to trial, or to intern him temporarily under a decree-law of 25th February. This involves a matter of internal Congolese jurisdiction in which it would not be proper for the United Nations to intervene. The United Nations authorities have told us that they will try to ensure that Mr. Tshombe will be properly treated and, if he is brought to trial, will be given a fair trial.

United States Under-Secretary For Economic Affairs (Visit)

66.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what discussions he expects to have with Mr. Ball, United States Under-Secretary for Economic Affairs, during his official visit to London this week.

Mr. Ball is visiting London primarily for an informal discussion with officials of some of the current problems of international trade in textiles. I hope to have an opportunity for an exchange of views with him on European economic problems.

Commonwealth And African Territories (Preferences)

68.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what proposals have been received from the United States Government for the reduction, or removal, of preferential economic arrangements between the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth States and territories in Africa or elsewhere.

None. Her Majesty's Government have suggested to the European Economic Community countries that there might be advantage in an early and informal exchange of views on the treatment to be accorded to tropical products. We have not yet received a reply. Meanwhile we have had an informal and exploratory exchange of views with the United States Government. There have been no proposals from the United States and no conclusions have been reached.

Luanda (United Kingdom Representation)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what diplomatic representation Her Majesty's Government has in Luanda, Angola; and how often reports are received of the situation in the territory.

Her Majesty's Government are represented in Luanda by a Consul-General and supporting staff of one Consul and one Vice-Consul.We receive full and regular reports from the Consul-General on the present situation in Angola.

Disarmament

65.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will formulate new proposals for disarmament based on a ceiling of 500,000 ground troops in Western Europe and a similar number in the Warsaw Pact Group, as suggested by the Columbia University group on arms control, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Dunfermline Burgh.

I do not think it would be useful at the present stage to put forward any such proposals. The Columbia University discussions referred to were aimed at studying the measures of inspection and control appropriate to various possible disarmament measures and did not make proposals for disarmament measures as such.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will formulate new proposals for armaments contol, based on restricting the movement of such potentially dangerous fleet units as aircraft carriers, submarines, and missile-carrying destroyers to internationally agreed areas.

Restriction on the movement of naval units may perhaps be found to be a useful element in the controls which would have to be applied as part of a comprehensive disarmament plan. But I do not think it appropriate to deal with this single aspect of control in isolation from a wider scheme of disarmament.

German Naval Vessels (Tonnage And Armament)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what decisions have now been reached by the Western European Union regarding the maximum permitted tonnage and armament of German naval vessels; and if he will make a full statement, with particular reference to the Bonn Convention and the effect of the proposed changes.

A decision by the Western European Union Council is expected shortly and the House will be informed as soon as it has been reached.

Employment

School Leavers

69.

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the number of school leavers this year he expects to be available for employment in comparison with 1960; and if he will take all necessary steps to ensure that they are suitably placed in employment in commerce and industry.

About 660,000, compared with 548,000 who started work in 1960. The staff of the Youth Employment Service has been increased and in this and other ways it is the policy of the Government to assist the larger numbers of school leavers in obtaining suitable employment.

Payment Of Wages Act, 1960

asked the Minister of Labour when he proposes to bring into force the remaining provisions of the Payment of Wages Act, 1960; and if he will make a statement on the working of those provisions of the Act already in force.

It is too early for me to make a useful statement on the working of the provisions of the Payment of Wages Act, 1960, now in force as they came into operation as recently as 1st December, 1960. I propose to wait until we have had more experience of their working before I consider making the remaining provisions of the Act operative.

Home Department

Road Vehicles (Transport Of Chemicals)

70.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the danger of vehicles carrying dangerous chemicals such as nitric and sulphuric acids and the ever-increasing size of these bulk-carrying vehicles; and if he will take steps to reduce the danger to the public by limiting the amount of such chemicals which can be carried in them.

The Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, 1955, made by the Minister of Transport, place a limit on the laden weight of a vehicle, and I have no reason to think that further action is necessary in this respect.

Drunkenness

71.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that convictions for drunkenness of boys under 18 years of age were approximately 40 per cent. higher in 1960 than in 1959; and what was the comparable figure for girls under 18 years of age.

Complete statistics of the number of offences of drunkenness for the year 1960 are not yet available, but I expect to be able to give the information shortly.

Immigrants

72.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the net inflow of immigrants from the West Indies, India, Pakistan, and Cyprus, respectively, for the four months ended 30th April, 1961, as com pared with the same period in 1960.

The following is the information requested:

ESTIMATED NET INWARD MOVEMENT FOR FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF:
——19601961
West ladies9,80018,550
India9504,950
Pakistan−400*4,800
Cyprus5001,500
* Net outward movement.

Trade And Commerce

China (Imports From United Kingdom)

74.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the value of exports from countries outside the Communist bloc to China was approximately £110,000,000 in 1949 and approximately £220,000,000 in 1959; and, approximately, what percentage of these exports was from the United Kingdom.

I am aware that exports from the non-Communist countries to the People's Republic of China increased by approximately this amount between 1949 and 1959. United Kingdom exports contributed 2 per cent. of the total in 1949 and 11 per cent. in 1959.

National Finance

Civil Service (Clerical Association Questionnaire)

75.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the United Nations Association is sending a political questionnaire to many thousands of civil servants through the good offices of the Civil Service Clerical Association; whether the regulations governing the political activities of civil servants permit them to answer such questionnaires; and whether he will make a statement.

I am aware that the Civil Service Clerical Association is distributing to its members a questionnaire from the United Nations Association. The regulations governing the political activities of civil servants do not specifically forbid them to answer such questionnaires. I understand that the Civil Service Clerical Association has made it clear that no member of the Association is obliged to reply to the questions.

Post-War Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the average time that is taken to pay post-war credits in cases where applications are accepted by the Treasury.

Post-war credit claims are made to, and paid by, inspectors of taxes. Straightforward claims are often paid within a week of receipt, but sometimes inquiries are necessary which occupy some time.

Personal Incomes (Social Security Payments)

76.

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what was the percentage of personal income involved in social security payments in each of the years 1938–39, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1955–56, and 1960–61.

The following table shows National Insurance and Health contributions—excluding employers' contributions—expressed as a percentage of total personal income. The figures relate to calendar years, as similar information for financial years is not available.

YearPercentage of National Insurance and Health contributions to personal income
19381·1
19502·2
19512·1
19552·0
19602·4

Universities (Clinical Academical Staff)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are being taken to bring the remuneration of whole-time medical teachers into line with the recommendations of the Royal Commission on salary scales for doctors in the National Health Service both as regards current salaries and as regards the back-dating of any increases granted.

Following consideration of the advice of the University Grants Committee and the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, the universities were informed in September last of revised salary scales for clinical, academical staff to take effect from 1st January, 1960, for which additional Exchequer funds would be made available. No further steps are in mind.

Ministry Of Works

Banqueting Hall, Whitehall

73.

asked the Minister of Works whether he has any further information on the proposal to remove the museum from the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall.

I cannot yet add to the reply given to the hon. Member on 21st February, 1961.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Barley (Deficiency Payments)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the new arrangements for adjusting deficiency payments on barley.

The Government announced in the White Paper on the 1961 Annual Review that deficiency payments on barley in the 1961–62 cereal year would be adjusted so as to encourage a better seasonal spread of marketings by growers. This will be achieved by making deductions from acreage payments for deliveries early in the season and paying premiums for deliveries later in the season.After consultation with representatives of the growers, merchants and main users of barley, it has been decided that the seasonal scale of deductions and premiums for barley in 1961–62, and the periods to which they relate, will be:

For each cwt. of barley delivered (after sale) inRate of deduction or premium (per cwt.)
July, August, September or October9d. deduction.
November or DecemberNo deduction or premium.
January or February1s. 0d. premium.
March, April, May or June1s. 6d. premium.
Deductions will be made or premiums paid on growers' deliveries (after sale) of barley, except deliveries to a farmer who uses the barley on his own holding. Growers who retain their barley, or part of it, for use on their own holdings will not incur any deduction or qualify for premium on the barley which is retained. Growers should bear in mind that deliveries of 1960 crop barley made in the 1961–62 cereal year beginning on 1st July next will be subject to the new arrangements; for example, old crop barley delivered in July, 1961, will incur the deduction.The necessary Statutory Instruments amending the Cereals (Deficiency Payments) Order, 1955, and the Cereals (Protection of Guarantees) Order, 1958, to provide for these new arrangements will be laid before the House as soon as possible.

Local Government

Roads, Oxford (Inquiry Report)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when the report of the inspector who conducted the inquiry into the Oxford roads problem will be available.