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Written Answers

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 28th June, 1961

Wireless And Television

Colour Television


asked the Postmaster-General whether he will arrange a demonstration for Members in the Palace of Westminster of colour television and its potentialities.

I know many hon. Members have already seen demonstrations of the good results in colour which the B.B.C. are getting on 405 lines. I suggest we wait, therefore, until the B.B.C. begin their experimental colour transmissions on 625 lines in Band V next year when I am sure they will be glad to arrange a demonstration in the Palace of Westminster.

Telephone Service

Emergency Calls (Kiosks)


asked the Postmaster-General whether he will arrange for the provision of telephone kiosks at regular intervals on the main roads for the use of the public, police, motorists and others involved in accidents or other emergencies on the roads.

My right hon. Friend does not think that this would be justified as a regular practice. But in deciding where to site telephone kiosks he takes account of the likelihood of emergency calls. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind and will let my right hon. Friend know, he will be glad to make inquiry.

Blind Persons

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that blind persons are finding it progressively necessary to use telephones; and if he will consider making allowances to those who are registered as being afflicted by blindness in respect of the rates of charges for telephone calls.

I can well believe that blind people are using the telephone more often. It is hardly practicable, however, to apply differential telephone charges to particular groups, and I am sorry I am not prepared to make a concession.

Post Office

Poland And Azores (Air Mail)

asked the Postmaster General whether he will now remove the 2 oz. limit on the weight of a letter which can be sent to Poland by air.

Yes. From the 1st July the letter mail service to Poland will be brought into line with that for the rest of Europe and all letters within the normal weight limits, prepaid at the international surface postage rate, will be sent by air whenever this will result in earlier delivery. My right hon. Friend is also pleased to say that from the same date letters for the Azores, prepaid at the ordinary international surface rate of postage, will be sent by air without surcharge.


United Nations Operations (Contributions)


asked the Lord Privy Seal what contributions in cash, kind and services have been made to date by the United Kingdom and other countries, respectively, to the United Nations operations, both civil and military, in the former Belgian Congo.

Contributions by Her Majesty's Government

  • (a) Assessed share of the cost of United Nations operations in the Congo (see (2) below):
    • 1960 (July 14-December 31)—$3,768,002.
    • 1961 (January 1-October 31)—$7,706,785.
  • (b) Contribution to the United Nations Special Fund for the Congo: $3,000,000, and;
    • Famine Relief: Food shortages in Leopoldville area—£10,000.
    • Famine in Kasai Province—£5,000.
    • 150 army tents for hospital use in Kasai province.
    • (Large sums of money were donated voluntarily by the British public for the Kasai famine).
  • (c) Airlifts in support of the United Nations operation:
  • R.A.F. aircraft have carried out numerous tasks, principally in support of Commonwealth contingents to the United Nations Force. The total amounts moved to date are:
    • Men—12,000.
    • Freight—500 tons.
    Her Majesty's Government agreed to waive reimbursement in respect of these operations up to an amount of $520,000.

    (2) Assessed Contributions to the Cost of the United Nations Congo Operation

    Details of assessments, and of amounts paid will be found in United Nations Document No. ST/ADM/SER.B/144 of the 16th of May, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

    (3) Waiver of Claims to Reimbursement in Respect of Airlift Cost

    Member Nations who have made significant contributions to the task of transporting the United Nations Force to the Congo agreed to waive their claims to reimbursement of the costs for the period up to the 31st of December, 1960. Figures are:


    (4) Contributions to the United Nations Special Fund for the Congo

    New Zealand280,000280,000
    United Kingdom3,000,0003,000,000
    United States10,000,00010,000,000

    (5) Contributions to the United Nations Force in the Congo

    Strengths of the various contingents have varied during the eleven months that the United Nations Force have been in the Congo.

    The following table gives approximate figures for contingents at present in the Congo:


    (6) Governmental Contributions to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Famine Relief Programme (excluding contributions by Her Majesty's Government shown above)

    Offers or donations made to the Food and Agriculture Organisation were as follows:

    Maize: United States, Nigeria.

    Rice: Portugal, United Arab Republic, Vietnam, United States, Spain, Netherlands/Surinam, Pakistan, Cameroun.

    Dried Fish: Norway, West Germany, Portugal.

    Palm Oil: Norway.

    Dried Milk: United States, Norway, West Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, South Africa.

    Miscellaneous Foodstuffs: Portugal, Morocco, Norway, France.

    Hospital Tents: France.

    Transport: United States.

    The Government of Tanganyika donated £1,000 to the United Nations for famine relief work in August, 1960.

    The figures in the reply are based on the latest available reports but are not fully up to date in all cases. Whilst the reply is exhaustive so far as contributions from Her Majesty's Government are concerned, we do not have complete details of all contributions in kind and services from other countries.



    asked the Lord Privy Seal what has been done through the United Nations or otherwise to prevent the further use of Congo territory for attacks on Angola.

    It has not been definitely established that attacks have been made on Angola from the territory of the Congo. In our view it should be one of the chief concerns of the United Nations sub-committee on Angola to ascertain the true position in such matters. The United Nations authorities are, in any case, fully alive to the importance of preventing armed incursions into Angola from the Congo.



    asked the Lord Privy Seal what reply he has sent to the British Council of Churches' request for a deputation of church leaders to be received to discuss the mounting Christian concern about the Angola situation, in view of its effect upon the safety of United Kingdom missionaries and the need for rapid and effective action by the United Nations.


    asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations have been made to him by the British Council of Churches in respect of events in Angola, now being examined by a United Nations sub-committee; and what reply he has made.


    asked the Lord Privy Seal what reply has been returned to the request by the British Council of Churches that a deputation from the Council should meet the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in order to discuss the situation in Angola now being studied by a United Nations sub-committee; what other representations on this subject have been received from responsible Christian bodies; and what replies have been returned thereto.


    asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations he has received from representatives of the Baptist Church regarding Great Britain's policy in the United Nations in relation to the Portuguese Government's action in Angola.

    My noble Friend received the deputation of church leaders referred to this morning at a meeting at which I was also present. There was a general discussion at which the deputation of the British Council of Churches expressed the deep and mounting concern of Christians here at the situation in Angola. Her Majesty's Government share this concern and, as the House knows, are considering how we can best help to improve the situation. My noble Friend expressed his desire to keep in touch with the Council as the situation developed. The Baptist Union and the Baptist Missionary Society have also been in contact independently with the Foreign Office.

    St Helena (Bahraini Prisoners)


    asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the expense incurred by Her Majesty's Government in the removal from Bahrain to Saint Helena of the three Bahraini prisoners convicted in the courts of the ruler of Bahrain.

    None. The expense involved in diverting H.M.S. "Loch Insh" ninety miles out of her way was recovered from the Bahrain Government.



    asked the Lord Privy Seal, in view of the fact that there is growing anxiety in Berlin about the possibility of the city being again bombed in the event of war, if he will give an undertaking that Her Majesty's Government will never again agree to the bombing of Berlin, but will regard Berlin as an open city, as Paris and Rome were in the last war.

    Common Market


    asked the Lord Privy Seal whether following the practice adopted by Sir Anthony Eden on 17th November, 1954, he will submit any agreements concluded with countries on questions relating to the Common Market for approval by Parliament before formal ratification takes place.

    In accordance with established practice any international agreements requiring ratification would be laid before Parliament for twenty-one Parliamentary days before formal ratification. If the House wished to debate the matter at that stage, this could no doubt be arranged through the usual channels.


    asked the Lord Privy Seal what conclusions he has reached regarding the composition of the committee which will shortly resume negotiations on disarmament.

    The composition of an appropriate body to resume negotiations on disarmament is one of the subjects under discussion between the United States and Soviet Governments at present. We have been in continual consultation with the United States Government but I should prefer to await the results of the United States-Soviet discussions before saying anything further.


    Works, Stockton-On-Tees (Closure)


    asked the Minister of Labour what action he is taking to provide alternative employment for the 180 women and girls made redundant by the pending closure of the Phoenix Telephone Works, Stockton-on-Tees.

    I understand that between 120 and 130 female workers will become redundant when the works closes on 21st July. Alternative employment is not immediately available in Stockton, but there are suitable vacancies within daily travelling distance. 20 women have already been accepted for employment by a firm in Middlesbrough, which is prepared to take up to 50. There is also work available in Darlington, for which special transport is provided.None of the remaining employees concerned has so far registered with the employment exchange for alternative employment, but my local officers will do all they can to give help to any who seek it.

    National Service (Call-Up)

    asked the Minister of Labour how many men are still liable to call-up for National Service, and in what ages or categories.

    pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT; 26th June, 1961, Val. 643, c. 17] supplied the following:—The men still legally liable under the National Service Acts fall, with few

    exceptions, into one of three categories:—

  • 1. Men who have been medically examined and found unfit for service.
  • 2. Men who were granted deferment of call up
  • (a) Indefinitely (e.g. underground coalminers, agricultural workers).
  • (b) As students, apprentices or trainees. It was announced in December, 1959, that men whose deferment for training or study ended on or after 1st June, 1960, would not be called for medical examination.
  • 3. Men born between 1st October, 1939, and 31st December, 1940. These men were not called upon to register.
  • Royal Navy

    Romer Committee (Report)


    asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what consideration he has given to the criticism of Admiralty conduct set out in paragraph 8 of the summary of the Report of the Romer Committee; and if he will make a statement.

    I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 22nd June.

    British Army

    Soldiers, British Cameroons (Medical Treatment)


    asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that a sick soldier was recently flown back from the British Cameroons because local hospital facilities were inadequate, despite hospital building undertaken for the Army there; what was the cost of flying this soldier to the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

    Private Simm, to whom I believe my hon. Friend refers, urgently needed specialist treatment not available in the Cameroons. He and four other patients were flown back at a cost of £2,500. We have a clear obligation to look after soldiers, and I make no apology for spending money to save lives. Moreover, although the individual cost may be high, it is cheaper to evacuate the more serious cases to the United Kingdom, than to provide comprehensive specialist facilities all round the globe. I am sure my hon. Friend will be glad to hear that Private Simm made a successful recovery.

    Scottish Command (Enlistments)


    asked the Secretary of State for War how many recruits joined the Regular Army in Scotland in May; and from what counties they were recruited.

    The following is the information:

    1ST MAY to 27TH MAY, 1961
    Place of EnlistmentRecruits
    Dumfries (and outstation Ayr)17
    Dundee (and outstation Kirkcaldy)43
    Glasgow (and outstations Hamilton and Stirling)113
    Inverness (and outstation Elgin)11
    NOTE.—These figures are taken from the weekly returns of the local Army Offices, and do not take account of extensions and reengagements of those already serving, returned reservists or boys maturing for men's service.It is not practicable to say from what counties these recruits came.

    Ministry Of Defence

    German Troops, United Kingdom


    asked the Minister of Defence what arrangements have been made regarding the extent to which German troops, undergoing training in the United Kingdom under North Atlantic Treaty Organisation arrangements, will be subject to British laws.

    No such arrangements have been made because no agreement has yet been reached with the Federal German Government about the training of their units in this country; but before they can train here it will be necessary to apply the Visiting Forces Act. This would put them in the same position as troops of any other N.A.T.O. country here.

    asked the Minister of Defence what undertakings have been given to the German Government regarding the subjection to British criminal law of German troops training in Wales and regarding liability to trial by British courts.

    No undertakings have been given. Before German units can train here it will be necessary to take the normal action to apply the Visiting Forces Act.

    Second Frigate Squadron (Lisbon Visit)

    asked the Minister of Defence whether the visit of the Second Squadron of the Home Fleet to Lisbon was approved by him; how long the squadron stayed there; what was the purpose of the visit; what exercises it engaged in on the way; and which other forces were involved.

    The answer to the first part of the Question is no. The Second Frigate Squadron visited Lisbon from the 16th-20th June. This was a normal courtesy visit, which did not require my consent. On passage the Squadron carried out a N.A.T.O. communications exercise with Portuguese maritime aircraft. No other forces were involved.


    Modernisation Programme


    asked the Minister of Transport if he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission to accelerate the modernisation, under the capital development programme, of the railway signalling system, in order to meet the needs of new rolling stock and services now being provided.

    No. It is for the Commission to ensure that the various parts of the modernisation programme are properly related to each other.


    Rural Omnibus Services (Report)


    asked the Minister of Transport if he is now in a position to make a statement on the recommendations of the Jack Committee on Rural Omnibus Services.


    asked the Minister of Transport what action he proposes to take upon the recommendations of the Jack Committee on Rural Omnibus Services; and if he will make a statement.

    I am now considering the comments on the Report which have been received from the associations which I have consulted but am not otherwise in a position to add to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) on 7th June.


    Death Hill, Farningham (Dual Carriageways)


    asked the Minister of Transport when he proposes to publish his revised plan for the provision of dual carriageways on Death Hill, Farningham, Kent.

    I am prepared to approve in principle the revised scheme for dual carriageways. I will make arrangements for the preparation and publication of the necessary Order under Section 9 of the Highways Act, 1959.

    High Street, Feltham (Accidents)


    asked the Minister of Transport what has been the number of road accidents and casualties in High Street, Feltham, this year up to the latest convenient date; and what were the comparative figures for the same period in 1960.

    There were ten accidents resulting in twelve casualties between 1st January and 31st May, 1961; in the same period in 1960 there were sixteen accidents and eighteen casualties.


    asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that the County Councils Assciation has made it clear that county authorities in general are ready to back from rateable income a gross classified road programme substantially greater than is possible under the Government grants at present contemplated; to what extent he is prepared to increase the grants; and to what extent his proposed grant in 1962–63 to the County of Leicestershire of £173,000 for road schemes falls short of the amount which the county have notified him that it is prepared to back from rateable income over the next three years.

    I am aware of the views of the County Councils Association. The three-year programme which I have announced, and to which I have at present nothing to add, reflects the policy of giving priority to urban schemes. With regard to the last part of the Question, the Leicestershire County Council proposed schemes to a grant value of £725,000 in 1962–63 and 1963–64.

    Urban Area Problems (Study Group)

    asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a further statement about the study of the developing problems of roads and traffic in urban areas.

    Yes. Last October Mr. C. D. Buchanan, formerly a Principal Inspector in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, was seconded to my Department to make a study of these problems. To help Mr. Buchanan in this work I am appointing a small Steering Group and I am glad to tell the House that Sir Geoffrey Crowther has agreed to be Chairman. The other members of the Group will be—

    • Sir William Holford.
    • Mr. O. A. Kerensky.
    • Mr. C. H. Pollard.
    • Councillor T. D. Smith.
    • Mr. Henry Wells.

    Home Department

    Clubs (Tombola Games)


    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the judgment given in the case of the Huddersfield Friendly and Trading Societies Club, he will introduce legislation to amend the Small Lotteries and Gaming Act to make it lawful for clubs to arrange tombola games in aid of their funds.

    I am studying the implications of this case, and will make a statement when I have done so.

    Law Reform Committee

    asked the Attorney-General what matters are now being considered by the Law Reform Committee.

    Two matters are at present being considered by the Law Reform Committee. The first is the law relating to innocent misrepresentation. The second is the desirability of abolishing the right of action for loss of services and creating a right of action enabling an employer to recover damages for any loss he suffers in consequence of a wrong done to his employee by a third person.

    Ministry Of Aviation

    London Airport

    asked the Minister of Aviation how many channels and lounges at London Airport Central are available for passengers on outward flights to destinations outside the United Kingdom: and why at least two flights were accommodated in the lounge at the end of channel four between 11.30 a.m. and 12 noon on 21st June, resulting in many passengers being compelled to stand.

    Four Customs channels and five lounges, with a total seating for 410 people, are normally available to passengers on outward flights to destinations outside the United Kingdom. On 21st June one of the lounges was temporarily out of service during alterations to the ventilation system, but there was no need for passengers to stand as there were spare seats in an adjoining lounge.


    Birmingham Maternity Hospital

    asked the Minister of Health what are the cases taken by the Birmingham Maternity Hospital which are more difficult than those taken by other maternity hospitals in the city of Birmingham.

    asked the Minister of Health where he plans to provide hospital accommodation for the 300 cases per annum which the Governors of the Birmingham Maternity Hospital have now decided they cannot treat in their hospital.

    asked the Minister of Health how many beds are available to private patients in the Birmingham Maternity Hospital; and what reduction in these was notified to him consequent upon the decision of the Governors of that hospital to reduce the number of cases that will be dealt with in the hospital in future years.

    National Finance

    Income Tax

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many persons have incomes too low to be eligible for tax at the present rates; how many persons are eligible to pay tax at each of the rates up to the standard rate; and how many pay Surtax.

    The number of incomes below the effective exemption limit of £180 is not known. The estimated numbers of incomes above £180 in 1960–61 are as follows:

    Not liable2,500
    Liable at 1s. 9d.2,500
    Liable at 4s. 3d.7,000
    Liable at 6s. 3d.5,400
    Liable at 7s. 9d.4,600
    Liable to Surtax450
    The joint income of a married couple is counted as one unit.

    Local Government

    New Towns (Commission)

    asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when he intends to set up the Commission for the new towns.

    I have laid before Parliament an Order appointing 1st October, 1961, as the date on which the Commission shall come into being.



    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will state, in a form comparable to Table 9 of Command Paper No. 939 and on the basis of 1955 salaries, the total career earnings from the age of 30 to 65 of certificated teachers, certificated teachers with ordinary university degree or equivalent, certificated men teachers with ordinary university degree or equivalent, certificated teachers with first or second class university degree, and certificated men teachers with first or second class university degree, respectively, calculated in each case on a basis as near as is practicable to that explained in paragraphs 121 and 122 of Command Paper No. 939.

    The total career earnings from age 30 to age 65 of various categories of certificated teachers in schools are estimated, on the basis of 1955 salaries, to be as follows:—

    1. All certificated teachers including 2 and 4 below)27,000
    2. All certificated teachers with ordinary university degree or equivalent28,000
    3. Men certificated teachers with ordinary university degree or equivalent32,000
    4. All certificated teachers with first or second class university degree36,000
    5. Men certificated teachers with first or second class university degree39,000
    Salaries of women teachers in 1955 included only one instalment (1/7th) of the "equal pay" increase.

    Bingo (Premises)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the overcrowding prevailing in premises where bingo is promoted; and what steps he is taking to ensure that such promoters provide adequate fire and other emergency precautions.

    To date I have received no complaints or reports of overcrowding in the premises referred to. As regards the second part of the Question, town councils have certain powers to ensure that fire and other precautions are taken in buildings of public resort.

    Motorways (Roadhouses)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals have been made that the new motorways should include provision for the building of roadhouses; and if he will refuse to sanction such buildings.

    No such proposals have been made to me. I shall keep the hon. Member's point in view when considering the terms of any lease to be granted for a service area on a motorway in Scotland.

    Shops And Warehouses (Fire Prevention)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now issued advice to fire authorities in respect of higher standards of fire precautions in shops, departmental and bonded stores.

    Not yet, but progress is being made. As regards shops and departmental stores, final consideration is being given today by the Joint Fire Prevention Committee of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils to a fire prevention note containing guidance designed to secure a higher standard of fire precautions. As regards warehouses in which spirit is stored, work in the preparation of a code of practice is well ahead but will take a little longer to complete.

    Trade And Commerce

    Southern Cameroons

    asked the President of the Board of Trade whether Her Majesty's Government have considered the effect upon the existing trading arrangements of the Southern Cameroons of termination on 1st October, 1961, of the United Nations trusteeship administered by Her Majesty's Government, and in particular the importance of Commonwealth Preference to the territory's economy.

    Yes. The adjustment of the trading arrangements of the Southern Cameroons to accord with its new international position will inevitably take some time. In order to allow for consideration of those transitional arrangements which will best facilitate such adjustments, Her Majesty's Government will shortly invite Parliament to approve legislation allowing products of the Southern Cameroons to continue to be eligible for Commonwealth Preference for a period of up to one year from 1st October, 1961. This would be a stopgap measure only.

    Weights And Measures Bill

    asked the President of the Board of Trade when he proposes to make progress with the Weights and Measures Bill.

    It is now clearly impracticable to pass the Weights and Measures Bill through all its stages in this House in the present Session. The Bill has been fully discussed in another place and many useful amendments have been made or suggested. Public discussion has also brought out additional matters of interest to particular trades, consumers and local authorities. All these suggestions have received careful consideration, and it is clear that numer- ous amendments would have been required in Committee if time could have been found.In the circumstances, I have decided to present in the near future a Weights and Measures (No. 2) Bill. This will include the amendments which I would have moved in Committee, and will show that the discussion of the present Bill in another place and by the public has not been abortive. Its publication at this stage will, I hope facilitate further Parliamentary consideration of the Measure by giving hon. Members and the public an early opportunity to study the Bill with the proposed Government amendments incorporated in it.