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Written Answers

Volume 644: debated on Wednesday 12 July 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday, 12th July, 1961

British Army

Army Form 2761


asked the Secretary of State for War to whom the Army form B 2761 is issued; and why those completing it are asked detailed personal questions about father, mother, wife, and other near relatives.

The Army Form 2761 to which the hon. Member refers was abolished earlier this year and replaced by an inter-Service form which will in future be completed by all Army recruits and I believe by those of the Royal Navy and R.A.F. also. Particulars called for in the current form represent the minimum information about the soldier's background required by my Department.



asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement on the welfare and accommodation of the British troops in Kuwait.

I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence said yesterday.


asked the Secretary of State for War what action was taken to acclimatise troops to excessive heat before sending them to Kuwait.


asked the Secretary of State for War what emergency arrangements he is making for dealing with sickness caused to soldiers in Kuwait by excessive heat.

I would refer the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) on 10th July, and to the detailed statement which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence circulated yesterday in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

National Parks (Training Areas)


asked the Secretary of State for War how many acres are owned or leased by his Department for training purposes in each of the national parks at the latest convenient date; and what arrangements he has for reviewing these requirements periodically.

One hundred and twenty-one thousand acres, or about 3½ per cent., of the total area of the national parks in England and Wales are at present used for military training. The detailed figures are given below. These areas are frequently reviewed, and we are now disposing of some 25,000 acres.

  • Dartmoor—25,575 acres.
  • Pembroke Coast—6,290 acres.
  • North York Moors—16,703 acres.
  • Yorkshire Dales—1,595 acres.
  • Brecon Beacons—3,841 acres.
  • Northumberland—54,500 acres.
  • Peak District—4,099 acres.
  • Snowdonia—8,715 acres.
  • Lake District—Nil.

Personal Case

41 and 42.

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) for what reason it has been decided to retain compulsorily in the service the Oldham Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers craftsman, whose name has been supplied to him, who is serving a sentence of imprisonment, suffers from enuresis and has made several applications for discharge;(2) for what reason the Oldham Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers craftsman, whose name has been supplied to him, has been told that the costs of a discharge by purchase will be greater on the completion of his present term of imprisonment than before his offence.

This soldier enlisted as a Regular in July, 1957, and was absent without leave from July last year until the 23rd March this year. He was court-martialled and is now serving a sentence of detention. In January, while he was still absent, the hon. Gentleman sent me an application from the mother for the soldier's discharge on compassionate grounds. I explained that I could do nothing about it until the soldier surrendered himself. He did this, and while awaiting trial made an application for his discharge by purchase. He was told at the time that it would cost £200, and I have since informed the hon. Gentleman that there are no compassionate grounds for reducing this amount.The soldier did not report sick with enuresis until 2nd June. His condition is being investigated and treated, and I will consider whether he should be discharged on medical grounds.

Royal Air Force



asked the Secretary of State for Air what action was taken to acclimatise airmen to excessive heat before sending them to Kuwait.

Most of the airmen went to Kuwait from other tropical stations and would have already been acclimatised. Airmen posted to tropical stations are told how to avoid heat exhaustion.

Ministry Of Defence

Members Of Parliament (Communications)

asked the Minister of Defence what instructions have recently been issued to Service establishments that will cause persons employed therein to restrict their approaches to Members of Parliament or withhold from them information other than such as would render the informant liable to prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.

None. Both Service men and civilians employed by the Service Departments have the right to communicate with Members of Parliament, subject to security regulations, and any instructions to a different effect would be contrary to established policy.



asked the Minister of Defence what special measures are being taken to provide ice and other amenities for Her Majesty's forces defending Kuwait.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave yesterday to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown).


asked the Minister of Defence what air support to ground troops in Kuwait is being supplied by the Royal Navy.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply yesterday to the Question by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) which showed the important rôle played by H.M.S. "Bulwark" and the naval vessels in the operation.


asked the Minister of Defence whether, in view of the importance of speed in mounting the Kuwait operation, this proceeded within the time scale envisaged.

Yes. As my hon. Friend will have seen from the full statement issued in HANSARD yesterday, the operation was mounted with commendable speed and was accomplished satisfactorily within the time scale envisaged. It reflects great credit on all officers and men who took part in it.

Patrol Boats

asked the Minister of Defence what royalties have been, or will be, paid to Her Majesty's Government by the Government of the Federal German Republic for their use of plans and research data, compiled by the Admiralty originally for the construction of Her Majesty's warships, in the building of patrol boats of the "Brave" class in a British shipyard.

When British shipbuilders construct for a foreign Government a ship which incorporates features of Admiralty design, no design fee is paid direct to the Admiralty by the foreign Government; the shipbuilder negotiates a fee with the Admiralty and pays it himself. This happened in the case which my hon. Friend mentions.

asked the Minister of Defence if he is satisfied that the building of fast patrol boats of the "Brave" class for foreign powers will in no way prejudice any matters of security concerning the two vessels of the class now in service with the Royal Navy and if he will make a statement.

The construction of these patrol boats for other Governments is authorised only after the security aspects of each case have been fully considered.


Road Markings ("Halt" Sign)


asked the Minister of Transport if he will ensure that the painting of the word "Halt," on carriageways is invariably carried out in a standardised fashion.

Two sizes for the word "Halt" on carriageways are prescribed in Regulations, the larger being for high speed roads. As far as I am aware, the advice given by my Department to highway authorities about the use of this marking has in general been followed.

Port Talbot Inner Relief Road


asked the Minister of Transport when he expects plans far the Port Talbot inner relief road to be approved.

When the local authority is able to put to me plans for this road which take account of the plans for the redevelopment of the central area of the town I shall give them early attention.



asked the Minister of Transport why Brighton was not included in his recent list of road schemes of over £300,000 in grant value for certain county boroughs in the next three-year period 1960–61, 1961–62 and 1962–63; and whether he will announce any additional grants in the near future.

The schemes included in the first three year programme of classified roads were those which appeared to command the highest priority throughout the country. I regret that it was not possible to include all the schemes submitted. I hope to announce the programme for 1964–65 later this year.



asked the Minister of Transport why Gloucestershire has not been included as one of the counties obtaining the authorisation of any classified new scheme of over £100,000 grant value for the years 1961–62, 1962–63 and 1963–64; and, in view of the small proportion of funds allocated to the west country, if he will reconsider his decision.

The county council has not submitted to me any schemes costing over £100,000 for this period.

Newcastle-Gosforth Road (Speed Limit)


asked the Minister of Transport on what date he raised with the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Corporation the operation of a 40-miles-per-hour speed limit on the Great North Road between Newcastle and Gosforth; and on what date agreement was reached.

My Divisional Road Engineer wrote on 29th September, 1960, to the Newcastle County Borough Council asking it to review the need for the present 30 m.p.h. speed limit. On the 27th April, 1961, my Department wrote to the council suggesting that it should raise the limit to 40 m.p.h. The council still has the matter under consideration.

Mardley Hill, Hertfordshire (Speed Limit)


asked the Minister of Transport whether he will reconsider his decision concerning the suggested extension of the 40 mile speed limit at Mardley Hill, Hertfordshire.

As my hon. Friend is aware, this proposal was carefully considered by the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee. I accepted its recommendation against extending the speed limit at present. As the Committee advised, I will have another look at the matter when the Stevenage By-pass is completed next year. Meanwhile, I see no reason for deciding against the Committee's recommendation.

Great West Road

asked the Minister of Transport, in order to provide for maximum uninterrupted traffic flow, what are his proposals for the Great West Road, including the period of reconstruction.

As I informed my hon. Friend in reply to his Question on 21st June, this route between Knightsbridge and the Chiswick Flyover is to become London's first peak-hour clearway. I hope to start this scheme shortly. Subsequently I propose to extend it westwards to Sipson Road (London Airport) and also to introduce 24-hour clearway conditions from Sipson Road to the existing clearway on the Colnbrook By-pass. I am arranging that during the construction of the viaduct the work will be so organised that there will never be less than two clear traffic lanes in both directions.

Road Programme (Schemes)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will issue a list of schemes under the road pro

Estimated Completion DateEstimated Total Cost
North Cheshire Section (Birmingham-Preston Motorway)August, 19639,913,000
Lancashire Section (Birmingham-Preston Motorway)June, 196317,364,000
Medway Motor RoadApril, 196313,141,000
*Medway Bridge (Mcdway motor road)April, 19632,461,000
Slough By-passApril, 19634,769,000
Severn Bridge (substructure)May, 19631,753,000
Trunk Roads:
A.1—Widening through Girtford, BedfordshireOctober, 1962365,000
A.4—Henley's Corner to Cranford Lane, MiddlesexApril, 1962236,000
A. 13—Widening New Road, Rainham, EssexOctober, 1962447,000
A.23—Widening between railway bridge and Hooley Lane, Redhill, SurreyAugust, 1962128,000
A.34—Stafford Boundary to Strongford Bridge, Part IV (Milestone 2½ to Strongford Bridget, Staffs.October, 1962344,000
A.38—Lichfield to Burton, Part II (Alrewas to Wychnor Farm), Staffs.October, 1962447,000
A.38—Lichfield to Burton, Part III (Wychnor Farm to Barton Turn), Staffs.May, 1962148,000
A.59—Northeastwards from Lancashire County Boundary including diversion at Sawley Brow, West RidingSeptember, 1962214,000
A. 1079—Kexby Bridge Diversion, East RidingDecember, 1962142,000
Classified Roads: Urban Areas:
Watford, St. Alban's Road Railway Bridge (Hertfordshire C.C.)Summer, 1963270,000
Exeter, Inner Relief Road, Section 3 (Exeter C.B.C.)October, 1962394,000
Exeter, High Street, dual carriageways (Exeter C.B.C.)June, 1961251,000
Bristol, Inner Circuit Road, Part 3 (Bristol C.B.C.)Autumn, 1961276,000
Swindon, New Road in Town Centre, Fleming Way (Swindon B.C.)May, 1963315,000
Hull, Elimination of Hessle Road level crossing (Hull C.B.C.)January, 1963812,000
Sheffield, New road west of the Moor (Sheffield C.B.C.)December, 1961339,000
*Birmingham, Coventry Road, underpass at "The Swan", South Yardley (Birmingham C.B.C.)June, 19641,172,000
Classified Roads: Elsewhere:
A. 129—Construction of Rayleigh Spur Road (Essex C.C.)May, 1963392,000
A.249—Detling By-pass (Kent C.C.)Summer, 1962369,000
Guildford, Quarry Street Relief Road (Surrey C.C.)February, 1962156,000
A.374—Heskyn Hill Diversion (Cornwall C.C.)October, 1961135,000
* Work started during period July-December, 1960, not previously reported.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will list the schemes, with lengths and particulars of each, authorised or about to be authorised for development of the following ring routes of London, namely, North Circular Road, South Circular Road, North Orbital Road and South Orbital Road.

A.406, North Circular Road

Preparation of the following major schemes costing over £¼ million has been authorised.

gramme, costing over £100,000, which were started in the six months ended 30th June, 1961, with estimated completion date and total cost of each.

The schemes are:Brent Cross Flyover—3-tier flyover to provide separate levels for A.406, A.41 and turning traffic.Bowes Road to Great North Way—Duplication of 3½ miles of carriageway.Silver Street diversion—Construction of dual carriageways on new alignment, three-quarters of a mile in length.Detailed consideration is now being given to the standard to which this road is to be improved and the correct order of priority of the further schemes needed.

South Circular Road

This is a classified road for which the London County Council are the improvement authority. No major schemes are planned to start within the next 5 years.

A.405, North Orbital Road

The preparation of the following major scheme has recently been authorized—
Green Lanes to northern intersection of A.1 and A.405—Construction of dual carriageways, improvements of junctions and construction of a subway on one-half mile of road.
A pre-Order survey has recently been authorised to fix the line of the North Orbital Road from the Northern approaches of the Dartford/Purfleet Tunnel to A.12.

South Orbital Road

A pre-Order survey has recently been authorised to fix the line of the South Orbital Road from the Southern approaches of the Dartford/Purfleet Tunnel to A.224.

Sheffield-Leeds Motorway

asked the Minister of Transport when he anticipates that a start will be made on the construction of the Sheffield-Leeds motorway spur.

It is too soon to say when construction can start on this motorway. The draft scheme was published on 9th June and the period for objections does not expire until 8th September. We have then to consider the objections received and it may be necessary to hold a public inquiry. Thereafter detailed preparation of the project will require further statutory processes, for alterations to side roads and accesses and for acquiring land. The project is, however, being prepared for construction as fast as possible.


Great Lakes


asked the Minister of Transport if he has now considered the proposal of the Canadian Government to vary the British Commonwealth Merchant Shipping Agreement so as to reserve domestic trade on the Great Lakes to Canadian ships; and what representations it is intended to send in reply.

The views of the United Kingdom Government have been communicated to the Canadian Government and the matter is under discussion with them.



asked the Minister of Transport what recent researches his Department has made into shipbuilding science designed to ensure that British shipbuilding yards maintain their supremacy over competing foreign shipyards.

The responsibility for shipbuilding research rests primarily on the shipbuilders. The research of the individual companies is coordinated by the British Shipbuilding Research Association, to which the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research makes a substantial grant. I am satisfied that the Association has access to, and receives appropriate aid from, Government research establishments which can make a contribution to its work.


Vehicle Tests


asked the Minister of Transport why the vehicle tests are limited to vehicles not exceeding 30 cwt. unladen weight.

All goods vehicles are subject to inspection, on or off the road, by my examiners. Light vans of up to 30 cwt. unladen were included in the vehicle testing scheme because their conditions of operation made them on the whole less liable to be inspected than the heavier goods vehicles.

Urban Traffic (Steering Group)


asked the Minister of Transport what are the terms of reference to the Steering Group on problems of urban traffic to which he has appointed Sir Geoffrey Crowther as chairman; what its relation will be to the London Traffic Survey; how long he anticipates it will take to accomplish its task; and whether he will make a statement.

The Steering Group has no formal terms of reference and will be free to range over the whole field of the problem. It will be kept informed of the work being undertaken in my Department by Mr. C. D. Buchanan on traffic in urban areas; will give Mr. Buchanan general advice on the broad lines to be pursued; and will advise me on the conclusions reached. I hope that the results of these studies will be available within about two years.The Steering Group will have no responsibility for the London Traffic Survey being undertaken jointly by the L.C.C. and my Department, but the facts about the travel pattern and travel requirements elicited by the Survey will, of course, be available to the Steering Group.

Motor Vehicles (Smoke Meters)

asked the Minister of Transport if he has now decided which smoke meter to use in measuring fumes emitted from diesel-engined motor vehicles; and when he proposes to introduce it.

No existing smoke meter has yet proved itself to be suitable for enforcement purposes. My Department is hoping to develop a standard test procedure involving the use of a smoke meter for roadside enforcement, but a considerable amount of experiment will be necessary.


Euston Station (Doric Arch)

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has approved the British Transport Commission's plans for the reconstruction of Euston main line and Underground stations; what is the estimated cost of this scheme; and whether it includes provision for the removal of the historic buildings, including the Doric Arch, the preservation of which was recommended by the Royal Fine Arts Commission.

I have given approval in principle to the early reconstruction of the Euston main line and Underground stations, which is made necessary by the main line electrification and by increased traffic demands. This scheme is urgent not only because of the electrification programme but because the Underground lifts have almost reached the end of their useful life. The Underground scheme will cost about £700,000, but a detailed estimate is not yet available for the much more extensive work involved in the main line station reconstruction.All possible ways of preserving the historic buildings

in situ have been considered by the British Transport Commission and by independent advisers, but they have been forced to the conclusion that the operational requirements make this impracticable. The possibility of

moving the Doric Arch to another part of the site has also been examined by the Commission and by the expert advisers to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works. They estimate that the cost of dismantling and re-erecting the Arch alone, without its flanking lodges, would be about £190,000 as compared with £12,000 for simple demolition. The Arch weighs about 4,500 tons, and to brace it and remove it on rollers would cost even more.

The Government has decided that the preservation of the Arch does not justify expenditure of this order. This decision has not been reached without regret at the passing of a major monument of the early railway age, but there is no practicable alternative. The Commission have accordingly been informed that they may proceed on this basis.

Post Office

Giro System


asked the Postmaster-General whether he has now completed his study of the possibility of the introduction of a Giro system into the operations of the Post Office, following the recommendations of the Radcliffe Committee; and if he will now make a statement.



asked the Postmaster-General whether he will increase the maximum size of parcels for export.

My right hon. Friend is looking into this matter and will write to my hon. Friend.

Telephone Service

Capital Expenditure


asked the Postmaster-General whether, in the light of current expenditure on telephone developments, he is satisfied that capital expenditure planned for 1961–62 as shown in Post Office Prospects, 1961–62, is adequate to meet the growing requirements; and if he will make a statement.

This matter is under consideration, but I am not ready to make a statement.



asked the Postmaster-General if he will state the numbers of applicants for telephones in each region at 31st December, 1960, 31st March, 1961, and at the latest convenient date, respectively.

Apart from applications under inquiry or in the course of provision, the figures are as follows:

Waiting List
Region31st December, 196031st March, 196130th June, 1961
Home Counties12,82914,48915,023
North Eastern5,5355,8866,404
Northern Ireland9501,1051,195
North Western5,9416,6497,327
South Western1,0339641,254
Wales and Border Counties2,3462,3382,690

House Of Commons

asked the Postmaster-General what steps he is taking to remedy the shortage of staff on the Houses of Parliament switchboard.

I am most anxious that the House should have a good telephone service at all times. More staff is now available during the day period, and I hope before long to be able to make good the shortage in the evenings also.

Telephone Numbers

asked the Postmaster-General why he has refused to allow Welbeck Motors Limited to be allotted the telephone number MINcing Lane 4222.

As my hon. Friend knows the number MINcing Lane 4222 is equivalent to MINICAB on the type of dial used in London. Telephone numbering systems are not designed to be used for advertising, and it would be impossible to provide numbers of this sort for all who might want them.

Information Service (Cooking Recipes)

asked the Postmaster-General what plans he has for introducing a telephone information service giving cookery recipes.

Yes. I intend to introduce such a service experimentally in Birmingham on 26th July, 1961. The recipes will be provided by the British Farm Produce Council and will be changed daily. The telephone number in Birmingham will be ASK 8071, and the charge will be the same as for a call to a central Birmingham exchange.

Middle East (Military Aircraft)


asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will state the hour and day on which the Governments of Turkey and Iran were asked to grant permission for British military aircraft to fly over their territories en route from Cyprus to the Persian Gulf, and the hour and day on which such permission was granted; and if he will state the hour and day on which the Government of Saudi Arabia was asked to grant permission for British military aircraft to fly from Aden to the Persian Gulf, and the hour and day on which such permission was granted.


asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the nature of the instructions which he has recently given to the United Kingdom Ambassador in Leopoldville about making inquiries among the refugees from Angola in the Congo regarding conditions and events in Angola.

Instructions issued to Her Majesty's representatives abroad about matters of this kind are necessarily confidential. I am accordingly unable to give details of any which may have been given to Her Majesty's Ambassador in Leopoldville.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will give details of the representations which he made recently to the Government of Portugal to allow the representatives of British newspapers to visit Angola with freedom to acquire in- formation from all quarters.

Her Majesty's Ambassador at Lisbon on 23rd June discussed with the Portuguese Government the advantages of allowing newspaper correspondents to visit Angola. As the conversation was confidential I am unable to give details.

Falkland Islands



asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what plans exist for the future of the Falkland Islands Survey; and if he will make a statement.

No changes are proposed in the general scope of the activities of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey. We all hope that the coming into force of the Antarctic operation among the nations carrying out exploratory and scientific work in the Antarctic and we shall continue to play our part.

National Finance

Expense Claims (Leaflet)

asked the Chancellor of Exchequer when, and how, the Inland Revenue leaflet, setting out the rules followed in dealing with expense claims applicable to director and senior executives, will be made available.

The Inland Revnue expects to publish this leaflet early in August. Copies will be obtainable from Inspectors of Taxes.

National Theatre

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement about a national theatre.

I have informed the Chairman of the L.C.C. that the Government would be prepared to join with them in considering a scheme to embrace the Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford on Avon, and Sadler's Wells.As I informed the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) on 4th July, I would not in any event be prepared to agree to more than the sum of £1 million already approved by Parliament towards capital costs nor could I agree to increase the sum by way of annual subvention already contemplated in accordance with my statement of 21st March. I have made it clear to the Chairman of the L.C.C. that this limit would allow the Government for their part to guarantee to provide an annual subvention of up to £400,000 to cover drama and opera (including any ballet) at the headquarters of the institutions concerned, but not expenditure on provincial touring, which would be provided for separately.I must emphasise that I am not prepared to contemplate any further increase in these figures. Covent Garden and the Royal Ballet will continue to be provided for separately.

Ministry Of Health

National Health Service Establishments

asked the Minister of Health if he will give details of the size of the National Health Service establishment for dieticians, medical laboratory technicians, radiographers and chartered physiotherapists, respectively; and how many are now employed in each category.

Establishment figures as returned by hospital authorities are available for radiographers only and totalled at the end of December last 3,856 whole-time and 209 part-time for England and Wales. The numbers (whole-time equivalents) employed were:—

Medical Laboratory Technicians2,729
The figures exclude students and do not distinguish between chartered and other qualified physiotherapists.

Home Department

Motor Vehicles (Theft)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cars and lorries were stolen in 1960.

The number of motor vehicles, including motor cycles, reported by the police in England and Wales as stolen was 16,565. Separate figures for cars and lorries are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to make it compulsory for all motor vehicles to carry a safety device which will guard against theft.

It is primarily the responsibility of the owner to protect his motor vehicle against theft. The police are always ready to advise owners as to the precautions that can be taken, but I can find no sufficient grounds for introducing legislation of the kind suggested.



asked the Minister of Power what is the current strength of the coal industry's labour force; and whether he is satisfied that sufficient miners can be recruited to meet the demand for deep-mined coal.

568, 260 on 1st July, 1961. The National Coal Board is vigorously tackling the manpower shortages which exist in some areas. Taking into account increased mechanisation and improved productivity, it hopes to recruit all the men it needs.

Trade And Commerce

Weights And Measures (Legislation)

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he intends to place an obligation on retail traders in the Weights and Measures (No. 2) Bill to check the quantity of goods for which they receive a warranty from a United Kingdom wholesaler.

I hope that the Bill will be introduced within a week and that the hon. Member will agree to wait until he has had a chance to study it.