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Written Answers

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 18 May 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 18th May, 1961

Hong Kong

Electricity Supply Commission (Report)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Hong Kong Government have yet made a decision on the main recommendation of the Hong Kong Electricity Supply Commission's Report, dated 20th January, 1960, to take into public ownership the two electric supply companies in the Colony; and whether some alternative arrangement has been concluded.

I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member on 11th April.

Food Parcels (China)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the latest figures for food parcels sent from Hong Kong to the famine areas of China; and what has been the result of the negotiations with the Chinese postal authorities about the delivery of these parcels.

I am awaiting information from the Governor and will write to the hon. Member.


Kikuyu (Land)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Kikuyu were dispossessed of their land because of Mau Mau activities; how many have since had the land restored to them: and if he will publish lists of the persons in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

I am consulting the Governor and will circulate the information requested in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Police Force (Strength)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is the strength of the police force in Kenya compared with its strength before the declaration of the emergency in 1952.

At the beginning of this year the size of the force was 12,930. The corresponding figure for 1951 was 6,057. These figures exclude police reserves.



asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will now invite the leaders of the political parties represented in the last Legislative Council of Malta to discussions on the position of the islands before formulating his proposals for a new constitution.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 18th April to the hon. Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery).

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Livestock (Antibiotics)


asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to receive the report of the Agricultural Research Council and the Medical Research Council into the law relating to the use of antibiotics in rations for ruminant animals.

The functions of the Joint Committee set up by the two Councils to study the possible consequences of the feeding of antibiotics are not restricted to ruminants, but cover all farm livestock. I understand from the Councils that the Committee is still at work and they cannot say when its report will be available.



asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in full the terms of the agreement with the Cyprus Government on the importation of new potatoes without a skin test.

There is no such agreement with the Cyprus Government. The Cyprus Minister of Commerce and Industry has, however, been advised that, in the judgment of my Department's technical experts, based on the experience of previous years, the risk of spring crop potatoes which arrive here from Cyprus up to the end of June failing to comply with the conditions laid down in the definition for new potatoes is very slight, provided they are harvested when they are immature.

Marine Life (Radioactivity)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the maximum levels of radioactivity in marine life above which it would be unsafe for human consumption; and if he will make a statement.

Maximum permissible levels for continuous daily exposure of human beings, as currently prescribed by the Medical Research Council in the light of recommendations by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, have been published in the Report of the Council entitled "The Hazards to Man of Nuclear and Allied Radiations" (Cmnd. 1225, of December, 1960).Maximum permissible levels of radioactivity have been calculated within the general framework of the above levels for various types of marine life used as food originating from the sites of radioactive discharges. It is not possible to state maximum levels which would be generally applicable, since they will necessarily vary with the extent to which the marine life from a particular site is consumed by human beings.

Forestry Commission Employees (Northumberland)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on developments affecting the welfare of the Forestry Commission's employees in their villages in Northumberland which have taken place since the debate on this subject on 28th July, 1960.

Yes. A number of changes have been made or are being discussed with the local authorities primarily concerned. In addition, after further consultation with the Unions represented on the Commission's Industrial and Trade Council, a Consultative Committee which includes workers, union representatives and representatives of the Commission, has been set up. These arrangements will ensure that the views of workers employed in the villages are known to, and can be taken fully into account by, the Commission.

Farm Incomes, Wales

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the average net farm income on farms in Wales of 50, 100, 150, and 200 acres and over, respectively, in the years 1958 and 1959; what is the figure forecast for 1960; and what was the percentage increase or decrease shown by these figures.

My information on farm incomes in Wales is obtained from a sample survey conducted by the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. The 1960 figures are being collected and will not be available for some months. But the average net farm incomes by size groups and the percentage changes between 1958 and 1959, as disclosed by that survey, are shown in the following table. The size groups given are those broadly corresponding to the sizes referred to by the hon. Member.

Acres19581959Percentage change
50 and under388344-11·3
301 and over1,628930-42·9

Farm incomes on dairying and livestock farms generally suffered in 1959 because the dry summer and the difficult conditions earlier adversely affected the yield and condition of livestock and obliged farmers to buy in more concentrates.

Broiler Industry

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the extent of the broiler industry, the value of its annual output, and the number of persons engaged in this industry; and to what extent it is in receipt of Government grants or subsidies.

It is estimated that United Kingdom production of broiler chicken in 1960 was something over 100 million birds with a wholesale value approaching £40 million. I am afraid that there are no figures on the number of persons engaged in broiler production. No Government subsidies or grants are payable directly to the broiler industry.

Bread And Flour (Standards)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is now able to announce his decisions concerning the report on bread and flour by the Food Standards Commitee in relation to the representations made to him by manufacturers, local authorities and the Advertising Inquiry Council on the subject of certain advertising claims by manufacturers of breads and bread substitutes.

I cannot add to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) on 24th April. This is a long and complicated report and I am sure the House would not want me to come to any decisions without fully considering the views of all the various interests concerned. This must, if justice is to be done, take time and I cannot hold out much hope of being able to make an announcement before the Summer Recess.

Trade And Commerce

Resale Price Maintenance


asked the President of the Board of Trade for how much longer he is prepared to receive evidence from consumer organisations and other bodies in connection with the inquiry Which he is conducting into the position of resale price maintenance arrangements in this country subsequent to the enactment of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1957.

If the hon. Member has reason to suppose that additional evidence of the views of consumer organisations is likely to be available in the near future, I shall be glad if he will let me know so that my right hon. Friend can consider whether it will still be possible to take it into account in the inquiry.



asked the President of the Board of Trade how many firms in Glenrothes, Fife, have made re quests for financial assistance under the terms of the Local Employment Act; and what reply has been made.

We have received a few inquiries but no applications eligible for consideration under the Act.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has completed his examination of the problems of spreading holidays more evenly throughout the year; and whether he will make a statement.

No. This is a very difficult problem and discussions with the many interests concerned are bound to take some time to complete.

Films (Quotas)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he has yet made a decision about the quota of British films to be shown by exhibitors during the year beginning 1st January, 1962.

Yes. After consulting the Cinematograph Films Council I have decided not to make any Order to amend the Cinematograph Films (Quotas) Amendment Order, 1950, but to leave the prescribed quotas at 30 per cent. for first feature films and 25 per cent. for the supporting programme for the exhibitors' quota year beginning 1st January, 1962.

National Finance

Inter-Departmental Scientific Panel


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the last meeting of the Inter-departmental Scientific Panel was held; and when it is proposed to hold the next meeting.

The last meeting of the Panel was held in December, 1959. Meetings are held and will continue to be held as and when appropriate business arises. There is, of course, continual consultation between Departments on matters affecting the Scientific Classes of the Civil Service.

Economic Growth


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to examine methods of promoting economic growth in Great Britain.

No. A good deal of useful study is going on in this field within Government and by both sides of industry. Moreover the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation has just set up a working group to study the facts of economic growth in member countries, to analyse the factors in growth and the impact of official policies on it. The United Kingdom will be cooperating fully in this work. In the circumstances I do not think that the establishment of a Royal Commission is called for at the present time.

Prosecution (Costs)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will remit the sum of £2,326 8s. 2d., due to the Treasury from Northampton Corporation in respect of the irrecoverable part of the costs of the Treasury incurred in the prosecution of a resident in north Buckinghamshire, named Sorel, in respect of tax frauds committed in north Buckinghamshire.

No. This was a criminal prosecution. Section 1 of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act, 1952, provides that the costs in such cases may be paid from local funds and the Assize Judge made an order accordingly.

Payroll Tax


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the nature of his reply to the representations he has received against the imposition of a payroll tax.

To the effect that he is noting the representations and will bear them in mind.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated cost in a full financial year of raising the level of Surtax on unearned income to £5,000, £4,000, and £3,500, respectively.

I am not sure what my hon. Friend has in mind as regards the many cases of mixed incomes. Assuming that he does not want to withdraw any benefits to earned income proposed in the Budget the schemes outlined below would implement his suggestions. The estimated costs, which relate to a full year, are additional to the cost of the Budget proposals.To raise the general exemption limit for Surtax to £5,000 and in addition to allow for Surtax the earned income relief allowable for Income Tax would cost £58 million.To raise the general exemption limit for Surtax to £4,000 and in addition to allow for Surtax the earned income relief allowable for Income Tax would cost £38 millionTo raise the general exemption limit for Surtax to £3,500 and in addition to allow for Surtax both the earned income relief allowable for Income Tax and a special earnings allowance of up to £500 would cost £30 million.

New Universities

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has now received a report from the University Grants Committee about the need for more new universities.

Yes. The University Grants Committee have advised me that, within the scope of the building programme which I have already announced, four new universities, in addition to those which are already being established at Brighton, Norwich, and York, should be established as the best means of providing places for some of the increased number of students who will be coming forward in the coming years. The Committee have advised that three of the four should be at Canterbury, Colchester, and Coventry. They are considering where the fourth should be located, and hope to report on this in the next two or three months.It is the Committee's view that the question of the establishment of any more new universities beyond these four must await the report of the Committee on Higher Education under Lord Robbins. I should explain that the University Grants Committee are not proposing any new university for Scotland because it is expected that the expansion of the existing Scottish institutions, under the building programme I have already authorised, will provide the additional places needed.I have accepted this advice. In working out the detailed proposals, the promoters will take into account the existing provision and plans for other forms of higher education in the areas concerned. I have authorised the University Grants Committee to enter into discussions accordingly with the Promotion Committees in Kent, Essex, and Warwickshire.

Inland Revenue Staff (Overtime)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what was the total amount of overtime worked, and at what cost, by the staff of the Inland Revenue Department in the financial years 1959–60 and 1960–61, respectively.

The cost was £310,128 in 1959–60 and £390,218 in 1960–61. It would not be possible to discover the number of hours worked without a disproportionate amount of research but authorities were given for approximately 1,100,000 hours in 1959–60 and 1,300,000 hours in 1960–61.

Home Department



asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he now intends to take to reduce immigration from Common wealth countries into the United Kingdom.

My right hon. Friend is not yet in a position to make any further statement on this matter.

Sexual Offences


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the number of cases that have occurred which have involved sexual offences where cars, lorries or other vehicles have been used in the years 1959 and 1960.

Fire Service


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware of the serious undermanning of the fire service in Staffordshire; and what steps he will take to ensure the maintenance of an adequate and efficient service.

There have been exceptional difficulties in recruiting men to the Staffordshire fire brigade, but despite these difficulties, which I do not underrate, the brigade is providing an acceptable standard of fire cover. Responsibility for maintaining an adequate and efficient service rests primarily on the fire authority, and I know that they are doing everything they can to remedy the manpower shortage.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now set up an independent commission of inquiry on the status, pay and conditions of the fire service in the United Kingdom, to make recommendations on how to secure an adequate and efficient service.

I received a deputation representing the National Association of Fire Officers and the Fire Brigades Union earlier this week. I informed the deputation that I had difficulty in accepting the proposal that there should be an independent inquiry into a matter which had not been the subject of discussion on the recognised negotiating body for the service. I have, however, undertaken to discuss with representatives of the local fire authorities the representations which have been made to me.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the existing fire brigade strength throughout England and Wales consists of men who entered the service in 1939; how many retirements are expected during the next five years; and how many men were recruited to the service in each of the last three years.

I am obtaining and will send to the hon. Member information about the number of serving firemen who entered the service in 1939 or earlier and the retirements expected during the next five years. The numbers of whole-time men recruited to the fire service in England and Wales in 1958, 1959 and 1960 were 1,346, 1,565 and 1,744, respectively.

Railways And Cinemas (Hooliganism)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is proposing new legislation to deal with trouble makers on railways and in cinemas.

My right hon. Friend believes that existing powers are adequate to deal with these offenders.

Metropolitan Police (Duties)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police in the Metropolitan area are now employed on duties which involve the preservation of public decency and morality, control of prostitution and striptease clubs and the enforcement of recent legislation dealing with these matters.

It is part of the duty of all Metropolitan police officers to take action when necessary for the enforcement of the law relating to the matters referred to. The number of officers specially employed for this purpose varies from day to day, but is currently of the order of 70.

Detention Centre (Lincolnshire)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete a detention centre to meet the needs of Lincolnshire magistrates' courts.

I had hoped that one of the three senior centres opened this year might be able to accept committals from Lincolnshire but experience now suggests that this is unlikely. I am expediting the provision of further centres as much as possible, but I regret that I cannot at the moment say when it will be possible to provide a centre for the county.

Motcombe Street, Sw1 (Removal Of Vehicles)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why on 10th May on the south side of Motcombe Street, S.W.1, a number of cars were impounded although there was no notice to say that parking was prohibited.

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that traffic was brought to a standstill because vehicles parked on both sides of this street left insufficient space for through traffic. Five cars were removed by the police because they were causing obstruction.

Middlesex Fire Brigade

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the Middlesex Fire Brigade is undermanned, bearing especially in mind its added responsibilities since the passing of the factories, shops and offices Acts, and the increasing difficulty in getting recruits of the right qualifications to deal adequately with these and other duties; and if he will make a statement.

The Middlesex Fire Brigade is at present 185 men short of its whole-time establishment of 1,457. This establishment includes posts created on account of the fire prevention duties placed on fire authorities by the Factories Act, 1959, and I am informed that it would have to be reviewed if any further statutory duties for fire prevention fell to the authority. This is one of the areas where recruitment is especially difficult, but I know that the fire authority are doing all they can to remedy the shortage.

Criminal Courts (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is yet able to make a statement on the report of the Streatfeild Committee on the Business of the Criminal Courts.

The Government are in general agreement with the recommendations of the Streatfeild Committee. Legislation will be required on certain matters, and I am not yet in a position to say when this can be introduced. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor and I now propose to consult those concerned, with a view to implementing as soon as possible certain of the recommendations which do not require legislation.

Club Premises (Fire Safety)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he proposes to take to strengthen the law relating to fire risks in club premises.

I am putting down amendments to the Licensing Bill to enable a fire authority to inspect premises in respect of which a club has applied for a new registration certificate and to object to the issue or renewal of a club registration certificate on the ground that the premises are unsuitable as regards fire risks.

Visa Abolition (Central And South America)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in the interests of British tourist trade and commerce, Her Majesty's Government will consider the abolition of visas for citizens of Latin American countries visiting the United Kingdom.

Her Majesty's Government have decided to abolish, as from 1st June, the visa requirement in respect of the countries of Central and South America whose nationals are still subject to it.


Teacher Training Colleges, Wales


asked the Minister of Education what is the number of extra places he intends to provide in each of the teacher training colleges in Wales; and whether he will give the target date for completion in each case.

The following is the information:

College*Number of additional placesCompletion date
Cardiff400†September, 1962
Barry255September, 1962
Bangor Normal225September, 1962
Trinity, Carmarthen100September, 1962
Caerleon115September, 1962
160September, 1964
Bangor, St. Mary's130September, 1963
Swansea190September, 1963
* Wrexham Training College will be retained as a permanent institution, but its ultimate size has not yet been decided.
† A new college replacing the existing Cardiff Training College containing 80 places.



asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware of the increased financial difficulties, arising from the general grant system, of certain education authorities in securing adequate staff; and whether he will consider giving special additional assistance to such authorities.

I do not accept that difficulties in recruiting teachers are attributable to general grant or that any special assistance is necessary, since ample provision for all likely increases in teaching staff was made within the estimates of relevant expenditure on which general grant was based.

Don Valley

asked the Minister of Education how many vacancies there are in the Don Valley for qualified school teachers in primary schools, secondary schools, technical schools, and grammar schools, respectively.

Vacancies not permanently filled by qualified teachers number 54 in primary schools, 68 in secondary modern schools and 3 in grammar schools. All but 12 of these vacancies are filled by part time, temporary and supply teachers, of whom about 70 are qualified teachers.

asked the Minister of Education how many classes in schools in the Don Valley contain more than 30 pupils.

412 classes contain more than 30 pupils. Of these, 277 are in primary schools and 135 are in secondary schools.

Ministry Of Works

Central Office Of Information


asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware that the provision of accommodation for the Central Office of Information at Hercules House was made with insufficient regard for future requirements, that the accommodation is already overcrowded, and that the Department is having to obtain other places in several different parts of London, with the consequence of extra expenditure; and what plans he has for the future accommodation of this Department.

When the lease of Hercules House was negotiated it was expected that the accommodation would be sufficient for the staff of the Central Office of Information. The substantial increase in staff which has since been necessary due to expansion in the Department's activities could not have been forecast at that time. Supplementary accommodation has been provided in Lincoln House nearby and space in other buildings is being allocated.

Wireless And Television

Colour Television


asked the Postmaster- General when he received representations from the Radio and Television Retailers Association Limited asking for a date when an announcement will be made about coloured television; whether he has recognised the urgency for such a decision, in view of the frustration felt in the trade; and, in view of the fact that the Pilkington Committee has not yet discussed the future of coloured television and the lineage implications, whether he will ask them to consider it immediately.

The Radio and Television Retailers Association asked me on 25th April for an early decision on line standards, mentioning the possible effect of delay on the introduction of colour television. As regards the more general point raised by the hon. Member, I would refer him to my reply of the 17th May to the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Hunter).


asked the Postmaster-General what information he has about the present drive by United States companies to export colour television tubes into this country before the United Kingdom industry has completed its research and design of colour television tubes; and what consultations he is having with the radio and television industry on the matter.

Post Office

Telephone Instruments

asked the Postmaster-General what was the number of telephone instruments produced in the United Kingdom in 1960, and the number of these that were exported.

Figures of telephone instruments produced in the United King- dom in 1960 are not available. Exports of complete and separately consigned instruments numbered 320,512, and, in addition, an unknown number was exported as part of complete installations. At home, the Post Office bought 633,807 telephones, but how many were bought by other users is unknown.

Telegraph And Telephone Equipment

asked the Postmaster-General what was the figure for telegraph and telephone purchases by the Post Office under bulk supply agreements in 1960.

The value of Post Office orders in 1960, under bulk supply agreements for the supply and installation of telegraph and telephone equipment was approximately £24 million; and for cable and loading coils about £10 million.


Foreign Fishing Vessels


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the damaging effect on the British fishing industry of the use by foreign fishing vessels of British fishing grounds such as those in the Moray Firth; and what action Her Majesty's Government propose to take to prevent such damage.

I am aware that foreign vessels do from time to time fish in the Moray Firth and other areas adjacent to the British coast, but I have no information about the extent of their catches. Her Majesty's Government are keeping United Kingdom policy on fishery limits under review in the light of all relevant factors.

Scottish Education Department (Inspectorate)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the numbers of the staff of the inspectorate of the Scottish Education Department, for the years 1900, 1920, 1940 and 1960.

The numbers in these years were 57, 72, 71 (including eight loaned to other Departments during the War) and 97.


Slum Clearance

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is satisfied with the speed at which housing demolition under the Housing Act, 1957, and the provision of new houses or flats, are being carried out; what recent action has been taken to speed up the demolition and provision of new houses; and if he will publish in tabular form evidence of the progress made by cities with populations of over 200,000.

Local AuthorityNumber of houses estimated to be unfit in 1955 or subsequentlyNumber of houses demolished or closed 1.1.55 to 31.3.61 under Parts II and III of the Housing Act, 1957Estimated Number of houses in confirmed orders under Part III of the Housing Act, 1957 awaiting clearance
Birmingham C.B.50,2507,6447,266*
Bradford C.B.11,1483,8501,587
Bristol C.B.10,0003,0491,916
Cardiff C.B.2,492395231
Coventry C.B.1,67884093
Croydon C.B.705126
Harrow B.57716239
Kingston upon Hull C.B.14,7681,853819*
Leeds C.B.22,5005,3866,832*
Leicester C.B.10,9524,109794
Liverpool C.B.88,2335,8953,003*
Manchester C.B.68,0008,0601,448*
Newcastle upon Tyne C.B.4,6451,990532
Nottingham C.B.2,6901,4011,582
Plymouth C.B.1,5001,005282
Portsmouth C.B.3,041871964
Sheffield C.B.13,5004,2681,075*
Southampton C.B.3,3271,185350
Stoke on Trent C.B.12,0004,443776
L.C.C. and Metropolitan Boroughs20,99317,8923,650
* Indicates that the figure includes houses retained for temporary accommodation under Section 48 of the Housing Act, 1957.

Local Government

Flats (Rating Valuation)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware of the implication of a recent decision by the Lands Tribunal that the law at present permits some repair costs to be taken into account in the ascertainment of the gross values for rating purposes of flats and other hereditaments in a block, as well as a scale deduction from those gross values in respect of repair costs, and whether the Government have any proposals for preventing this duplication.

Though most local authorities have made good progress with slum clearance and rehousing over the past five years, a great deal more remains to be done, particularly in the larger cities. I am concerned to ensure that the rate of clearance is speeded up in these cities, and my proposals in the Housing Bill now before Parliament to relate the payment of subsidy more closely to the financial need of the individual authority will assist to that end. The information asked for in the last part of the Question is given in the following table.

Yes. The Government have been considering what change should be made in the law, and it is proposed to move an amendment in another place to the Rating and Valuation Bill at present before Parliament.


Drugs (Purchase)

asked the Minister of Health if he will make a further statement about the purchase of drugs by hospitals from unlicensed sources.

Yes. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I propose to use Section 46 of the Patents Act, 1949, which enables a Government Department to use patented goods for the services of the Crown, in obtaining certain drugs for the hospital service either from manufacturers in this country or from abroad. The Act requires that payments to patentees be negotiated, or determined by the High Court in default of agreement. Individual hospital authorities are being instructed to make no further purchases of patented drugs from unlicensed sources.

Ministry Of Health


asked the Minister of Health how many prescriptions were dispensed during each month of 1960; and what was the average cost per item in each month.

The information is as follows:

1960Number of items dispensedAverage Cost per item

Departmental Staff (Overtime)

asked the Minister of Health what was the total amount of overtime worked, and at what cost, by the staff of his Department in the financial years 1959–60 and 1960–61, respectively.

Following are the figures for staff borne on the Ministry of Health Vote. Staff borne on the National Health Service Vote (e.g. in directly administered hospitals) are excluded.

YearOvertime hours workedCost


Departmental Staff (Overtime)

asked the Minister of Labour what was the total amount of overtime worked, and at what cost, by the staff of his Department in the financial years 1959–60 and 1960–61, respectively.

The cost of overtime worked by the staff of the Ministry of Labour during 1959–60 was £79,000 representing 186,000 hours: during 1960–61 it was £76,000 representing 190,000 hours.

Pensions And National Insurance

Departmental Staff (Overtime)

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what was the total amount of overtime worked, and at what cost, by the staff of his Department in the financial years 1959–60 and 1960–61, respectively.

The total hours of overtime worked and the cost during the financial years 1959–60 and 1960–61 were:

* Estimated.

National Assistance Board (Overtime)

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what was the total amount of overtime worked, and at what cost, by the staff of the National Assistance Board in the financial years 1959–60 and 1960–61, respectively.

The total number of hours of overtime worked by the stall of the National Assistance Board and the costs were:

Financial year 1959–60396,801159,379
Financial year 1960–61443,500190,896

Ministry Of Power

Solid Smokeless Fuels (Report)

asked the Minister of Power if he will make a further statement on the recommendations made in the report of the Committee on Solid Smokeless Fuels, Command Paper No. 999.

The Report of the Committee on Solid Smokeless Fuels (Cmnd. 999) has been fully considered by Government Departments in consultation with the Gas Council, the National Coal Board and other organisations. The Government welcomes the Committee's recommendations and considerable progress has been made in implementing them.In most areas there is a prospect of adequate supplies of coke suitable for burning in improved grates to meet the rising demand. Seven of the twelve gas boards are now producing and marketing as "Gloco" improved open fire cokes complying with the British Standard Specification. Other gas boards are marketing cokes that are also satisfactory for burning on an open fire with an improved grate. In order to ensure that these cokes are used to the best advantage, the gas industry is consulting the distributors and doing its best to see they are bought by consumers with appropriate appliances and that advice on their use is freely available.The gas industry has increased its production of premium smokeless fuels which are specially reactive and can be burnt on any open grate. My Department and the industry are discussing further increases in output. Capacity is likely to be available in the gas industry to meet the potential shortage of premium smokeless fuels in 1962, to which the Committee drew attention. Looking to the future, the National Coal Board is developing two new types of premium smokeless fuel, one at Birch Coppice in Warwickshire and the other at Graigola in Glamorganshire. Progress at both pilot plants has been satisfactory and the Board hope to have substantial quantities of these premium fuels on sale by 1965.The Committee foresaw that supplies of open fire smokeless fuels in the Northern Region and in Scotland might become scarce as time goes on. The Government is discussing with the producers the best way of ensuring that supplies of these fuels will be available in these areas when they are needed.My right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government has now decided that, in smoke control areas in those parts of the Northern Region where smokeless open fire fuels are scarce, grant may be paid on closed stoves which will burn hard coke of which large stocks are available in the area. My right hon. Friend will shortly explain the new arrangements to the local authorities concerned. Meanwhile the British Standards Institution is working on a specification for fuels suitable for closed stoves.A Paper containing the smoke control programmes of local authorities in the black areas in England and Wales was published last July (Cmnd. 1113). This should help producers and distributors of fuels in planning to meet the demand for smokeless fuels arising from the Clean Air Programme. The information contained in the White Paper will be brought up to date from time to time.The Social Survey Division of the Central Office of Information is now making a full survey of domestic fuel use in sixty smoke control areas in England and Scotland. The results should be available later in the year and should provide additional information of value to the future planning of supplies.In view of the importance of smokeless fuel I have asked my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to become Chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Smokeless Fuels. This national committee was set up by my predecessor so that he could be given the authoritative advice of producers and distributors of smokeless fuels.


Machine Tool Industry

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science to what degree research in the machine tool industry is hampered by the shortage of skilled labour, particularly draughtsmen and designers.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Report of the Sub-Committee of the Machine Tool Advisory Council, published in November last, in which the research and development requirements of the industry are closely considered.


Goods Vehicles (Loads)

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that a large load of heavy packing cases was carried through Manchester and Salford on Monday, 15th May, between 5.30 a.m. and 9 a.m., that omnibuses carrying workpeople to their employment were held up, that a mobile crane was needed to right the cases which had moved into a dangerous overhanging position, and that traffic was interrupted on Broad Street, near Pendleton Town Hall; and if he will now state when this new regulations, in particular those concerning inadequately secured loads, will be put into force.

Existing regulations require loads to be so secured that danger is not likely to be caused to any person on the vehicle or trailer or on the road; the new regulations which I hope to introduce in the near future will strengthen police powers of enforcement.


King's Lynn

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has obtained an estimate of the number of vehicles involved in the traffic jam at King's Lynn on 14th May, 1961; and what action he proposes in order to prevent a repetition.

British Army

Road, Warminster-Gore Cross

asked the Secretary of State for War whether, subject to safeguards on days when firing is taking place in the area, he will reopen the road from Warminster to Gore Cross, Wiltshire.

As I have already informed my hon. Friend through whose constituency this road runs, I am considering the possibility of opening it for public use from time to time, subject to proper safeguards and to the requirements of military training.

Ranges, Larkhill And Imber

asked the Secretary of State for War why all the rights of way at Larkhill Range, Wiltshire, remain open, while no such facility exists on the adjoining Imber Range.

The risk of an accident to the public using the rights of way over Imber is greater and more generally spread over the whole area than at Larkhill.

Territorial Army (Bounties)

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider giving some financial award to those former members of the Territorial Army who had attended sufficient drills to qualify for the annual bounty but who cannot claim this because the recent amalgamation of Territorial Army units has prevented their attendance at camp.

Yes. Members of the Territorial Army who were unable to attend camp owing to the amalgamation of units will receive a proportionate bounty based on each completed month of service during the current training year.