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Written Answers

Volume 648: debated on Wednesday 8 November 1961

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Ministry Of Defence

Wednesday, 8th November, 1961

Minstry Of Defency

British Forces, Germany

5.

asked the Minister of Defence whether he will give an assurance that British forces in Western Germany or in Western Berlin will in no circumstances be employed to intervene in case of internal subversion or to interfere in any other way in German internal affairs.

British forces are stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany in accordance with our obligations under the Brussels Treaty and to carry out the defensive measures assigned to them under the North Atlantic Treaty. British forces in West Berlin are stationed there to maintain the rights and responsibilities of Her Majesty's Government in Berlin in particular their responsibility for the security and status of the city.

Scotland

Belshill Maternity Hospital

22.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide in the new Belshill Maternity Hospital, a service for the diagnosis of cancer of the cervix by cytological examination, which has proved successful elsewhere.

This service will be provided for Bellshill Maternity Hospital by the Pathology Department of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Glasgow Northern Hospitals (Rent Increases)

23.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the fivefold increase in rent, a month's notice of which has been given to tenant-employees by the Board of Management for Glasgow Northern Hospitals with no right of appeal; how many other boards have issued similar notices; and if he will postpone the operation of this notice until he has reviewed all the circumstances.

On the general question, I would refer the hon. Member to my Answer of 24th October. The present average rent of the three, four and fiveapartment houses in this group is less than 5s. per week, and it must be kept in mind that the rents are to go up in stages.

Senior Secondary Schools (University Entrance Certificates)

24.

asked the Seretary of State for Scotland if he will state for each of the last three years the number of senior secondary pupils who obtained the Certificate of Fitness for University Entrance.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to his Question on this subject on 24th October.

Valuation Appeal Committees

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the total number of members in each valuation appeal committee; and how many members of each committee were, on appointment, members of local authorities.

Under Section 5 of the Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act, 1956, each valuation appeal committee may consist of not less than 15 and not more than 20 persons who shall be persons residing or engaged in business or employed in the committee's area. The members are appointed by the sheriff. I have no information, therefore, of the actual numbers appointed to each committee or how many members were, on appointment, members of local authorities.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state which valuation appeal committees have, as members, persons who were formerly employed by local authorities as assessors; and which committees have such persons as their secretaries.

I do not have the information asked for in the first part of the Question. As to the second part, I understand that the secretary to the valuation appeal committee for the County of Fife is a former assessor, but I do not know of any other cases.

Cerebral Palsy And Spastic Disease

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made to date with the survey, scientific research and tests begun in Scotland, with financial assistance from the Scottish Hospital Endowments Research Trust, into the causes, treatment and cure of poliomyelitis, spastic disease and cerebral palsy, and into the most appropriate methods of rehabilitation.

The results of a study of cerebral palsy and spastic disease supported by the Trust have been published in book form. The Trust have had no application for financial assistance for research specifically into poliomyelitis, but it is supporting several long term studies in virology which have a bearing upon this disease.

Road Schemes (Aberdeen)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his present plans for improving the main traffic arteries in, and to the north-east of, Scotland through Aberdeen.

Schemes are being prepared for the improvement of the Inver-keithing-Perth Trunk Road and the Perth By-pass. Individual schemes such as those at Bridge of Muchalls and Eassie level crossing are going ahead and other smaller improvements are in hand throughout the area. For the present priority in large scale improvements must be given to the routes in central and southern Scotland which carry the heaviest volume of industrial traffic.

Fishing Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the difficulties experienced by the fishing industry in the distribution of fish from the Scottish ports to consumers; and what steps he has taken during the last three months to remove those difficulties.

I am not aware that any unusual difficulties have been experienced this year in distributing fish landed at the Scottish ports.

Roads

One-Way Street Schemes, London

47.

asked the Minister of Transport if, in view of the success of the experimental one-way street arrange ments, he will further extend this scheme in London.

Yes. Tottenham Court Road-Gower Street has now been made one-way indefinitely. Experimental schemes at Hackney (near Victoria Park) and Deptford (at the Marquis of Granby) have begun and are going well. Baker Street-Gloucester Place is to start soon. So, as I have just announced, is a fresh experiment in Piccadilly-Pall Mall. Oxford Street and some other schemes are being discussed with councils. Still more schemes are being worked out.

Junction, Ilford (Accidents)

48.

asked the Minister of Transport how many accidents have occurred during the past three years at the junction of Woodford Avenue and Clayhall Avenue, Ilford; what represent tations he has received regarding measures required to make this junction less dangerous; and what action he pro poses to take.

24 personal injury accidents were reported during the past three years. Numerous representations for the improvement of conditions have been received, and we are discussing with the local authorities remedial measures including the closure of the gaps in the central reservation, the erection of guard rails and the construction of pedestrian subways.

Road Safety

52.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will take steps to impress on motorists that driving at high speed on wet roads is far more dangerous than on dry roads.

Yes. Motorists are already advised in the Highway Code to pay regard to the weather and state of the road, but we are arranging for more publicity to be given to the need to take particular care when driving on wet roads.

Clayton Road, Neweastle-Under-Lyme

57.

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement on the scheme he has approved for widening Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, and name the date on which it will be commenced.

As a first stage in the improvement of this road, my right hon. Friend has approved a scheme for its widening for about a mile between Buckmaster Avenue and Clayton Lane. A 33 ft. carriageway with two 6 ft. footpaths will be provided. I understand that the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council intend to start the work early next year.

40 Mph Speed Limit

asked the Minister of Transport what is the total mileage of roads under a 40 m.p.h. speed limit; and how many of these miles were previously derestricted.

There are at present in England and Wales 208 miles of roads subject to a 40 m.p.h. speed limit. Of these, 139 miles previously had no speed limit.

A207 (Accidents)

asked the Minister of Transport how many accidents took place on A.207 in the year ended 30th June, 1961, between its junction with A.2 in the west and the point where it crosses the County of London boundary in the east.

In the period in question there were 102 accidents involving death or personal injury. In these accidents three persons were killed, fourteen seriously injured and eighty-five slightly injured.

Motorways

asked the Minister of Transport if he will have a railing or wall built along the centre strip of motorways, possibly combined with an anti-dazzle fence, to prevent cars out of control from crossing it and endangering traffic on the opposite carriageway.

I do not consider that the provision of a crash barrier in the central reservation of motorways would be justified at present. The benefit of such a barrier would lie in preventing collisions with vehicles on the opposing carriageway. There have, in fact, been very few such accidents. During the first year of operation of M.l two people were killed in accidents of this type. Study of accidents on M.l and experience of crash barriers abroad indicate that a central barrier might well cause more accidents than it prevented although they might not be of such a serious character.

Highway And Traffic Engineers (Training Courses)

asked the Minister of Transport what facilities exist in the United Kingdom to train highway and traffic engineers.

All University courses in civil engineering include some instruction in highway engineering. The degree courses of the following universities also include some traffic engineering:

  • Birmingham.
  • Durham.
  • Leeds.
  • London (King's, Queen Mary and University Colleges).
  • Manchester.
Post-graduate courses specialising in highway and traffic engineering are available at:

  • Birmingham University.
  • Durham University (King's College, Newcastle).
  • London University (University College). Royal College of Science and Technology,
  • Glasgow.

Evening courses in traffic engineering are also available at:

  • Westminster Technical College, London.
  • Northampton College, London.
  • Hatfield Technical College.
  • Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow (Post-graduate).

In addition to these facilities, short courses in traffic engineering are provided by the Road Research Laboratory and by the West Ham Technical College. From time to time other short courses and seminars are organised by such bodies as the University of Glasgow and the Institution of Municipal and County Engineers.

Shipping

Continental Shipyards (Minister's Visit)

51.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement about his recent visits to continental shipyards; and whether Her Majesty's Government will provide the same long-term loans as competitors overseas.

The Parliamentary Secretary and I visited a number of shipyards on the continent in order to learn at first hand about conditions there. What impressed us most was the good relations between management and men. We obtained no evidence that the Governments in the countries concerned give long-term loans to the shipyards.

Shipyards (Home Orders)

53.

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he is taking to encourage British shipowners to order new ships from British instead of non-British shipbuilders.

I naturally hope that British shipowners will place their orders with British yards, but I do not believe that it would be in the long term interests of either shipping or the shipbuilding industry for the Government to subsidise home orders.

Continental Coastal Trade

asked the Minister of Transport what steps he has taken, with a view to protecting British shipping interests, to ascertain which western European countries reserve their coastwise shipping trade to themselves; and if he will publish the results.

I am not aware of any formal definition of what constitutes Western Europe, but I understand that the following countries do not allow British shipping to participate in their coastal trade: Federal German Republic, Finland, France, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Yugoslavia.

Transport

Severn River Board (Transport Commission Contributions)

56.

asked the Minister of Transport what was the result of the discussions he had with the British Transport Commission regarding further financial contributions by the Commission to the Severn River Board to enable the Board to continue remedial work on the banks of the river at an accelerated rate.

The Commission has told me that it is unable at the present time to contribute more than it has already agreed.

Railways

Branch Lines, Scotland

asked the Minister of Transport if he will give a general direction to the British Transport Commission to stop the closure of branch railway lines in Scotland, in view of the need for bringing industry, employment and population to the depopulated parts of Scotland.

No. Under the existing arrangements, the British Transport Commission submits all proposals for such closures to the Scottish Transport Consultative Committee, which thus has an opportunity of assessing the factors to which the hon. and learned Member refers. I have power to give a direction to the Commission on any recommendation which the Committee may make in the light of its consideration.

South Vietnam

United States Troops

59.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether the representative of Her Majesty's Government supported the proposal, put forward by the United States representative at the recent meeting of the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation, that United States combat troops should be sent to South Vietnam.

I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the recent meeting of the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation Military Advisers. These proceedings are confidential.

Police Mission, Saigon

69.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the estimated total annual cost of the British Advisory Police Mission in Saigon; and how much of this will be borne by the local government, and how much by Her Majesty's Government.

As my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal stated on 23rd October, the cost of the Mission is not expected to exceed an overall annual total of £110,000. I cannot, at this stage, give the hon. Gentleman the exact monetary value of the Vietnamese contribution, but the major share will be borne by Her Majesty's Government.

United Nations

Economics

60.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what proposals Her Majesty's Government have made for economies in the United Nations, in view of the fact that it is nearly bankrupt.

On 11th October, the United Kingdom delegate on the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly advocated that the United Nations pursue a policy of austerity and retrenchment and suggested several fields in which economies could be made; a summary of his speech is given in United Nations document A/C.5/SR852, which is available in the Library of the House.

Secretary-General (Appointment)

63.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what arrangements have been made for the appointment of a Secretary-General to the United Nations.

U Thant was elected unanimously by the General Assembly on 3rd November, on the unanimous recommendation of the Security Council, to act as Secretary-General until 10th April, 1963. He will enjoy the full powers of the Secretary-General in accordance with the Charter. This is a satisfactory and encouraging development, and I am sure that I can speak for the whole House in offering our congratulations and best wishes to U Thant.

Disarmament

71.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what proposals have been made in the United Nations by Her Majesty's Government with a view to the establishment of a new commission under the United Nations for the negotiation of general and complete disarmament under effective controls.

None. The Political Committee of the United Nations General Assembly has not yet begun to discuss disarmament.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps he has taken during the last three months to secure international agreement for multilateral disarmament.

We have collaborated with the United States Government in the preparation of their admirable Declaration on Disarmament, and have instructed our delegation to work hard at the forthcoming debates at the United Nations for the resumption of multilateral negotiations and for the adoption of the United States Declaration as one of the basic documents for any resumed negotiations.

European Economic Community

61.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement on the negotiations with the European Economic Community.

I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said on 2nd November in the debate on the Address.

64.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in the course of his negotiations on the Common Market, he has yet received a copy of the French draft for creating a political and military federation of the Six, submitted to the Commission of Experts of the European Economic Community; and whether this falls within the political aims outlined in the Rome Treaty.

We have been kept informed by the European Economic Community Governments of the work of the Committee of Officials of the Six which has been instructed to prepare proposals on political co-operation among the European Economic Community powers. We do not, however, take part in the work of the Committee since we are not members of the European Economic Community. We would not, therefore, expect to receive copies of the working documents which are still at a preliminary stage of consideration by the Committee and which have not yet been submitted for consideration by the Governments directly concerned.As regards the second part of the Question, there is no provision in the Rome Treaty for a political organisation, but one of its expressed objectives is to establish closer union among the European peoples.

Angola

62 and 65.

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) what representations he has made to the Portuguese Government concerning the continuing ill-treatment of United Kingdom citizens who are Protestant Church leaders in Angola; and whether he will make a statement;(2) what further report he has received concerning the work of British missionaries in Angola; and whether he will make a statement.

My information is that United Kingdom and Canadian missionaries now in Angola number together with their families about fifty and eighty, respectively, and that their work is proceeding normally except in the north, where the disturbed conditions have imposed limitations on it. No further representations have been made to the Portuguese authorities, having regard to their published assurance that their security measures in certain areas are a means of guaranteeing the resumption of normal missionary activities.

Berlin

66.

asked the Lord Privy Seal, in view of the expressed willingness of the Soviet and East German Governments to guarantee free access to West Berlin under negotiated agreement, what consultations have taken place between the North Atlantic Treaty Powers about the avoidance of provocative incidents and the reduction of tension at frontier crossings.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Powers are not responsible for the recent incidents at the Friedrichstrasse crossing point. They were the direct result of attempts by the East German authorities, supported by the Soviet Union, to infringe Western rights of access to East Berlin and to establish an international frontier in the centre of Berlin in violation of all existing agreements between the four Powers. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are in regular consultation about all matters related to Berlin. The willingness of the Russians to give genuine guarantees of free access to West Berlin must eventually be tested in negotiation.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what steps have been taken by Her Majesty's Government to further the opening of negotiations between the Western Powers and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics concerning Berlin and the German problem.

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the remarks made by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on 2nd November.

Congo

67 and 68.

asked the Lord Privy Seal, (1) in view of the Security Council resolution of 21st February which authorises the United Nations to use force to prevent the outbreak of civil war in the Congo, whether Her Majesty's Government will propose United Nations armed intervention to halt the aggression on Katanga by Central Government troops;(2) what reports he has received from the United Nations of diplomatic and military action that has been undertaken by the United Nations to halt the attack on Katanga by troops of the Central Congolese Government; and whether Her Majesty's Government will make proposals in the United Nations to ensure that there will be no interference with defensive action taken by the Katanga gendarmerie against the attack, in view of the fact that this would be a violation of the letter and spirit of Article 10 of the Cease-Fire Agreement.

Latest reports which I have received indicate that the fighting*** has come to an end and that Central Government troops have withdrawn from the Katanga. United Nations forces took no part.

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the proposals made by the Katanga Government to the Government in Leopoldville for an economic, customs, monetary and defence union of the provinces of the former Belgian Congo, of which the United Nations has been informed.

I cannot circulate the proposals of the Provincial Government of the Katanga in the OFFICIAL REPORT as the full text has not, so far I am aware, been published.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what further representations have been made in respect of British subjects arrested and maltreated in the former Belgian Congo; and what redress has been received.

As regards thefts from the shop of a Nigerian citizen in Elisabethville, the United Nations authorities have informed Her Majesty's Consul that they believe Baluba tribesmen to have been responsible. For the rest I have as yet nothing to add to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal gave my hon. Friend on 23rd October.

ANALYTICAL TABLE SHOWING NUMBERS OF PERSONS COMPRISING THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS IN LONDON AND ENJOYING DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITIES AND PRIVILEGES DURING THE PERIOD 1958–61 INCLUSIVE
1958195919601961
Foreign Diplomatic Missions
Diplomatic Staffs1,586 (incl. 661 wives)1,515 (incl. 659 wives)1,570 (incl. 668 wives)1,640 (incl. 689 wives)
Non-Diplomatic Staffs (i.e. administrative, technical and service staffs of Missions and servants in the personal Households of Heads of Missions)1,962 (incl. 302 wives)2,142 (incl. 342 wives)2,161 (incl. 346 wives)2,200 (incl. 331 wives)
Commonwealth Diplomatic Missions
Diplomatic Staffs552 (incl. 251 wives)560 (incl. 254 wives)661 (incl. 301 wives)766 (incl. 350 wives)
Non-Diplomatic Staffs (i.e. administrative, technical and service staffs of Missions and servants in the personal Households of Heads of Missions)2,082 (incl. 619 wives)1,860 (incl. 538 wives)1,668 (incl. 489 wives)1,798 (incl. 520 wives)
TOTAL6,182 (incl. 1,833 wives)6,077 (incl. 1,793 wives)6,060 (incl. 1,804 wives)6,404 (incl. 1,890 wives)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what action has been taken by the United Nations to stop bloodshed in the former Belgian Congo as a result of aggression against Katanga by outside forces.

Latest reports which I have received indicate that the fighting has come to an end and that Central Government troops have withdrawn from the Katanga. United Nations forces took no part.

Diplomatic Immunities And Privileges

asked the Lord Privy Seal, if he will make a detailed statement on the members, officers and staff of the diplomatic corps in Britain who enjoy diplomatic immunities and privileges; and how their numbers and the nature of their diplomatic immunities and privileges compare with those in each of the three previous years.

The attached table shows the numbers of persons comprising the Diplomatic Corps in London and enjoying immunities and privileges during the period 1958–1961 inclusive. The nature of the immunities and privileges has undergone no change during the period in question.

Sudan (Ex-Civil Servants)

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will make a statement regarding proposed increases in pensions for former civil servants in the Sudan.

We have recently made a renewed approach to the Sudan authorities on this question. We await a reply.

Employment

Factory Inspectors

72.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is satisfied that there are enough factory inspectors available to carry out efficient accident prevention work.

There has been a substantial increase in the number of inspectors over recent years. The position is kept under regular review in relation to the changing volume of work. The Inspectorate has also been substantially strengthened this year by a considerable increase in clerical help following a fulscale review of methods of work.

Liverpool

asked the Minister of Labour what steps have been taken to find employment for the men who have been made redundant by Messrs. John Laing, Ltd., as a result of the closure of the Littlewood's contract in Derby Lane, Liverpool.

Of the 112 men discharged, 52 registered for employment at Employment Exchanges in the Liverpool area. Of these, three have so far been placed by my Department and 24 have found work for themselves. My local officers will continue their efforts to find employment for the remainder.

Technical Scientific Register

asked the Minister of Labour what proposals he has for the future of his nation-wide service for placing professionally qualified people in employment, based on the Technical and Scientific Register maintained by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

Labour Attaches

asked the Minister of Labour what are his proposals as to the maintenance of the number of labour attaches in posts overseas; and whether he will make a statement.

At present there are 18 labour attaches in post. The Attache in Mexico will be withdrawn in 1962, but a new post in West Africa will be filled. The total number of attaches will therefore continue to be 18.

Aberdeen

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that a large number of workers in Aberdeen has been paid oil' by MacFisheries; and what steps he is taking to deal with the unemployment problem which this presents in Aberdeen.

Yes; my local officers are doing all they can to assist those redundant workers who are seeking alternative employment.

Disabled Persons, Glasgow

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the number of registered disabled unemployed in Glasgow at the latest available date.

British Army

British Army Of The Rhine

73.

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps he is taking, following Exercise Spearpoint, to increase the capacity of the British Army of the Rhine to meet a conventional attack without resort to tactical nuclear weapons.

I have nothing to add to the remarks made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence in the debate on the Address on 1st November.

74.

asked the Secretary of State for War what further redeployment of forces he is proposing in order to strengthen the British Army of the Rhine.

I gave this information in answer to a question by the hon. and gallant Member for Arundel and Shore-ham (Captain Kerby) on 24th October, 1961.

75.

asked the Secretary of State for War in what trades there is a shortage of manpower in the units of the British Army of the Rhine; and whether he will make a statement.

The major shortages are of doctors, medical orderlies, signallers, drivers and cooks. Steps have already been taken to improve the position.

78.

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make a statement about the shortage of medical personnel in units of the British Army of the Rhine.

The numbers of medical personnel in the British Army of the Rhine are sufficient to provide essential peace-time medical services to the troops together with their families and dependants. It would not, however, be possible without reinforcement to man the necessary field medical units together with the hospitals and medical centres in the rear areas. Plans already exist for these reinforcements to be provided.

Recruiting (Dependent Territories)

76.

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps he has taken since last June to increase recruiting for the British Army in dependent territories overseas; and with what success.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Arundel and Shoreham (Captain Kerby) this Monday. In addition to our recruiting campaign in the Seychelles and Fiji, we are also recruiting in Jamaica as a pilot scheme for the West Indies as a whole. It is as yet too early to know the results.

Royal Air Force

Radioactivity

81.

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has completed the building of the 1,500 monitoring stations designed to track the course and strength of radioactive clouds and fallout; and if he will now man them in an exercise with members of the Royal Observer Corps to detect the initial fallout of Iodine 131 and later the expected fall-out of Strontium 90.

Over 1,000 underground posts have been completed and a further 250 are under construction. The Royal Observer Corps is trained and equipped to track and measure radioactive fall-out in the event of a nuclear attack on this country. I do not consider an exercise of the sort the hon. Member suggests would be justified since the operational equipment of the Corps is not designed to monitor changes in the level of radioactivity expected to arise in peace for which other arrangements have been made.

Aircrew

82.

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will make a statement on the aircrew position in the Royal Air Force; and what shortages of personnel he estimates there will be in two or three years hence.

The position has improved in recent months, but we still need more recruits. In particular, as our equipment grows more complex we shall need more recruits with high academic and personal qualities. This is, however, a long term problem. I do not foresee any shortage of aircrew in the next two or three years.

Short Take-Off Aircraft

asked the Secretary of State for Air if he has yet come to a final decision about the development of a short take-off and landing aircraft for air defence and ground attack rôles.

No; we need first to see what comes from the consultations referred to on 7th June last by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation.

Cluntoe Airfield

asked the Secretary of State for Air what plans he has for derequisitioning Cluntoe Airfield; and when these will be put into effect.

The land, which is Air Ministry property, has been offered back to the former owners. In a few cases terms for resale have now been agreed.

Science

Radioactivity

83.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary for Science what further information is now available regarding the fall-out from recent nuclear explosions; and whether he will now take steps to put into operation the plans outlined for the distribution of dried milk to those areas which are most likely to be immediately affected.

Measurements of Iodine 131 in milk were published on 24th October and 1st November and further figures are being published today. The Government are satisfied, on the advice of the Medical Research Council, that radioactivity in milk has not so far reached a level that would require the plans for the distribution of evaporated and dried milk to be put into operation in any area.

Education

Commonwealth Education Conference

asked the Minister of Education what is to be the composition of the United Kingdom delegation to the Commonwealth Education Conference at New Delhi.

Membership of the delegation is not quite complete, I expect to announce the composition shortly.

National Finance

War Loan

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has considered the possibility of holding periodically draws, annually, bi-annually or quarterly, in which all holders of 3½ per cent. War Stock, 1952 or after, would participate, the amount of stock so drawn and repaid to amount to one per cent. annually of the total outstanding.

Yes; but only to reject it. I am advised that, as War Loan was not issued in numbered units of a fixed amount but was issued, and has been bought and sold ever since, in any amounts that suited the requirements of those concerned, even down to the odd shillings and pence, repayment by drawings is not a practical possibility.

Export Incentives

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in view of the negotiations which are proceeding for the entry of the United Kingdom into the Common Market, if he will seek information about the financial incentives which are given to exporters in countries which are members of the Common Market and the percentage of turnover tax remitted in those countries on that part of a company's business represented by exports; and, having regard to the necessity for export incentives, if he will consider the desirability of a turnover tax, reducing Profits Tax proportionately, and remitting the whole of such turnover tax on that part of a company's trading which is represented by exports.

Her Majesty's Government have already collected a wide range of information of this kind and they are keeping in close touch with developments. The answer to the second part of the Question is that consideration is constantly being given to various means, including fiscal changes, of expanding exports.

Home Department

Rampton And Moss Side Hospital Patients

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases to date he has sought the advice of the Mental Health Review Tribunal in respect of patients at Rampton and Moss Side hospitals.

The cases of two patients at Rampton hospital and of two patients at Moss Side hospital have, at the request of the patients concerned, been referred by me to the appropriate tribunals.

Hospitals

Rampton And Moss Side Hospital Patients

asked the Minister of Health how many applications to Mental Health Review Tribunals have been made to date by or on behalf of patients in Rampton and Moss Side hospitals, respectively.

At 6th November, applications had been made for 154 and 98 patients, respectively.

Housing

Building Rate

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what should be the annual rate of house and flat building over the next 20 years to meet the needs of all families requiring houses, to replace slums and to eradicate overcrowding.

The best estimate I can make is that if in the whole of Great Britain we could continue building at the rate of about 300,000 houses and flats a year, we should, over the next 20 years, meet the needs as we at present see them—though even then I do not think that we should have replaced all the slums.

Land

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what is the total acreage of land available for housing in the home counties; and how long this will last at the present rate of building.

On such information as is available, the best overall estimate I can make is that there is land to last about eight years on the basis of present allocations and approvals. I am in touch with the planning authorities on the allocation of further land up to 1981, and the supply of land for housing will be one of the factors to be re-assessed in the examination of the planning needs of the south-east generally.

Local Government

South Downs

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when he expects to receive a submission from the National Parks Commission following the proposal to declare the South Downs an area of outstanding natural beauty; and what has been the cause of the delay since the draft proposals were first made public.

I expect to receive the order made by the Commission within a month. The interest aroused by the public advertisement of the proposals was quite unprecedented and since then the Commission have been considering the large number of representations made to them.

Royal Commission On Local Government

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when he expects to make a statement giving the Government's views on the findings of the Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London.

An announcement will be made as soon as possible, but I cannot forecast the date.

Telephone Service

Huddersfield Hospital Network (Charges)

asked the Postmaster-General what representations have been made to him about the increased charges in telephone wire rentals for broadcasts to Huddersfield hospitals and welfare homes; and whether he will make a statement.

I am not aware of any specific representations about the Huddersfield hospital network. I have, however, already stated that I am making some changes, the effect of which will be to moderate the increases substantially and will help the renters of hospital commentary circuits and similar networks. I have asked telephone managers to work out the details with the renters.

Subscriber Trunk Dialling

asked the Postmaster-General whether he has assessed the financial results of the new system of Subscriber Trunk Dialling; and if he will make a statement.

So far only about 10 per cent, of telephone subscribers have Subscriber Trunk Dialling and I cannot, therefore, make any final assessment of the financial results. The purpose of the new system was to give telephone users the benefits of automatiSation and to encourage them to make greater use of the telephone. Subscribers on S.T.D. are now making nearly 30 per cent. more trunk calls than they did before its introduction. Nevertheless, they are paying for these calls some £2 million a year less than they would have done under the old system.

Pensions And National Insurance

West Bromwich Office (Staff)

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is aware of the shortage of officers in the West Bromwich branch of the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance; and whether he will increase the number.

There is no shortage of staff at this office. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.

Trade And Commerce

Japanese Binoculars

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent binoculars manufactured in Japan may be imported into Great Britain; and what rates of duty and Purchase Tax are levied on such imports.

Binoculars are imported from Japan under quota arrangements; the quota for the period from 1st April, 1960, to 30th September, 1961, was £30,000. Arrangements for the next licensing period are still under negotiation. There is an import duty of 50 per ad valorem on these binoculars, but no Purchase Tax.