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Written Answers

Volume 648: debated on Thursday 9 November 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 9th November, 1961

Home Department

Betting Shops (Clocks)

1.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it compulsory for all betting shops to display a clock, thereby offering a check to the timing of bets.

Murders

2.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many murders there have been since the recent Homicide Act; and how many there were in the same period before the Act.

In the four-year period from 21st March, 1957. when the Homicide Act came into force, the number of murders known to the police in England and Wales, adjusted so as to exclude offences since found not to be murder, was 559. The corresponding number for the four-year period ended 20th March, 1957, was 548.The figures for the two periods are not strictly comparable because the Act changed the definition of murder. The principal change was the introduction in Section 2 of the defence of diminished responsibility. In the four-year period after the Act, 106 offences were reduced to manslaughter on that ground.

Metropolitan Police Force (Strength)

3.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present shortage of police in the Metropolitan area.

On 30th September, male officers were 2,673, and female officers 142, under establishment. The strength of the force had increased by 487 since the beginning of the year.

Commercial Vehicles (Street Parking)

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the practice of parking heavy lorries in residential districts in London over the week-ends, as well as the night-time, is not only an inconvenience, but increases the fire risk by impeding the movement of fire engines; and what steps he is taking in the matter.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport has appointed a working party to study the problem of street parking by commercial vehicles, and has asked it to consider the fire aspect. The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, who is represented on the working party, assures me that the Metropolitan police, as far as their other commitments allow, take what action they can to maintain free passage for other vehicles.

Cremation (Medical Certificates)

37.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has considered the statement of 29th June, 1961, by the Federation of British Cremation Authorities, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Solihull; and what action he proposes to take to keep down the rising costs of cremation death certificates.

Yes. My right hon. Friend is awaiting the outcome of the review of the Cremation Regulations now in progress before considering whether he should exercise his power to prescribe fees for the issue of cremation medical certificates. He will take account of the Federation's views in reaching his decision.

Fireworks

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to prohibit the manufacture and sale of dangerous fireworks.

The Fireworks Act, 1951, empowers my right hon. Friend to order the seizure and destruction of dangerous fireworks, and steps are taken to ensure that fireworks sold to the public ate not dangerous if used according to the directions and with care. Accidents are generally due to misuse. But my right hon. Friend has been much concerned to read reports in the Press of incidents resulting in injury and death; he is seeking fuller information and when he has received it he will consider whether any further action is possible and desirable.

Civil Defence

41.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total expenditure on civil defence for the period 1st January to 1st November, 1961; and what percent age of the total cost was allocated to the provision of deep air raid shelters.

The information requested in the first part of the Question is not available, but the estimated Government expenditure on home defence preparations for the financial years 1960–61 and 1961–62 is shown in the Report on Defence 1960 (Cmnd. 952) and the Report on Defence 1961 (Cmnd. 1288). These estimates do not include any expenditure on the provision of deep air-raid shelters.

42.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to safeguard the general public against a surprise nuclear attack; and if he will make a statement.

It is impracticable to hold emergency services and emergency preparations in a state of instant readiness at all times; but these arrangements, including in particular the system for giving public warning of attack, could be brought into operation at short notice in a period of alert.

Probation Officers

43.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current shortage of probation officers in Birmingham, and in England and Wales, respectively; what steps he has taken to recruit more officers for this service; and what further action he proposes to take.

The Birmingham Probation Service has no vacancies, but two officers are leaving shortly and it is intended to increase the establishment by five officers next year. The immediate need in England and Wales is for about 80 additional officers. 155 persons are in training for probation work, recruitment proceeds continuously and means of improving it are being considered by the Morison Committee whose report I expect soon.

Domestic Oil Heaters

44.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the number of domestic f oil heaters still in use which are unsafe in a draught; and what further measures he proposes to take to minimise the dangers of domestic fires from this source during the coming winter.

The information asked for in the first part of the Question is not available. I understand that the manufacturers of oil heaters offer facilities for s modifying heaters made by them before 1960. The responsibility for making use s of these facilities rests with the owners of the heaters and I would urge those who have unmodified heaters to do so.

Mental Health Review Tribunals

45.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what considerations he takes into account I in deciding whether to accept or reject the advice of a mental health review tribunal that a patient subject to an order restricting discharge or kept in custody during Her Majesty's pleasure should be discharged.

In those cases in which a tribunal has advised discharge I have considered its advice in the light of all the information available to me about the risk of danger to the public if the patient were released.

Offices Act, 1960

46.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to lay draft regulations under Section I of the Offices Act, 1960, before the House.

For the reasons given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour on 1st November, in Answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, North, it is not proposed to make regulations under this Act.

Travelling Shops

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to remove the present discrimination between fixed and travelling shops.

I cannot undertake to introduce legislation on this subject at present.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation requiring local authorities to furnish him annually with the number and type of all travelling shops operating in their respective areas.

No. I do not think that the information would be of sufficient value.

Motor Vehicles (Test Certificates)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many owners of cars over ten years old have so far been prosecuted for using such cars on a public road without a certificate of fitness.

Provisional figures show that up to 30th June there were 829 prosecutions in England and Wales for using a vehicle without a test certificate.

Juvenile Delinquency (Conference)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to convene a conference on the causes of juvenile delinquency; and what film and television interests will be invited to send representatives.

On 29th November, with those of my colleagues concerned, I am holding a conference of leaders of the churches and of local government and representatives of other organisations closely concerned with the moral health and welfare of the community, and especially the upbringing and education of young people, to discuss the steps that might be taken to prevent delinquency and to promote better standards of conduct. The Cinema Consultative Committee, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Television Authority have been invited to send representatives to this conference, and to include among them representatives of some of the different cinema and television interests.

Charities (Registration)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what Orders he has made, or intends to make, applying Section 4 of the Charities Act, 1960, which provides for the establishment of a register of charities, to pre-1961 charities.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Education and I have made two Orders applying Section 4 to local charities for the benefit of any part of the counties of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckingham, Cambridge, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Ely, Isle of Wight, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Soke of Peterborough, Somerset, Wiltshire, Worcester, the administrative County of Surrey and the County Borough of Croydon.We intend in the spring of 1962 to apply Section 4 to local charities for the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Sussex and the administrative counties of Essex, Hertford, Middlesex, Kent, London and the City of London, and also to charities whose work is not carried on mainly for the benefit of some particular part of England and Wales.We intend to apply Section 4 in the autumn of 1962 to local charities for Wales and Monmouthshire and the counties of Cheshire, Derby, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincoln, Nottingham, Rutlandshire, Shropshire, Stafford and Warwickshire, and in the spring of 1963 to local charities for the remaining counties of England.If this programme is carried out, all charities in England and Wales will have been required to register by the spring of 1963.The Act contains a number of exemptions; and in addition Regulations have been made excepting from registration voluntary schools and certain charities for boy scouts and girl guides. Religious charities are excepted from registration until 1st January, 1963, and the Charity Commissioners are discussing with denominational bodies the question of permanent exceptions for such charities. It is not however intended to except denominational charities for secular purposes.It is also proposed that the schools and institutes of the University of London and other universities in receipt of grant from the University Grants Committee should be placed on the same footing as those listed as exempt charities in the Second Schedule to the Act.

Metropolitan Police (Pensions)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are now made to compensate Metropolitan Police officers injured or killed in the course of their duties.

Special provision is made under the Police Pensions Regulations for police officers who are disabled as a result of an injury received in the course of duty, and for their widows if they die in consequence of the injury. The widow's pension is payable at a higher rate if the officer's death results from an attack which the police authority regard as intrinsically likely to cause death.

Commonwealth Relations

Information Services And British Council

47 and 48.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, (1) why he is proposing to reduce information expenditure in Commonwealth countries; and what form the proposed reductions will take;(2) why he is proposing to reduce British Council activities in Commonwealth countries; and what form the proposed reductions will take.

The Government are reviewing our diplomatic and other administrative services overseas with the object of reducing costs. It is too early to say what reductions in expenditure will be found possible or how far they may affect Information Services or the British Council in Commonwealth countries.

European Economic Community

52.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what arrangements have now been made for the association of other Commonwealth Governments with the negotiations with the European Economic Community.

The British delegation will keep Commonwealth representatives at Brussels continuously informed of developments during the negotiations. We shall also keep in close touch with Commonwealth Governments through their High Commissioners here in London and our High Commissioners in their capitals.

High Commission Territories

Workers, South Africa

49.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what will be the future status of Africans from the High Commission Territories working in South Africa; and to what extent their employment will be affected now that South Africa has left the Commonwealth.

As the House knows, we are having a series of discussions with the South African Government about various aspects of our future relations. The point raised in my hon. Friend's Question is one of the matters which we shall be raising at the appropriate stage.

West Africa

Diplomatic Missions

53.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how many officers there are in the United Kingdom diplomatic missions in Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone, respectively; and how many officers in these missions, and of what rank, have previously served in British Colonial Territories in Africa.

There are 16 Commonwealth Service officers of Administrative grade serving in the British High Commissions in West Africa—8 of them in Nigeria, 5 in Ghana and 3 in Sierra Leone. Of these 16, 3—a High Commissioner, a Deputy High Commissioner and a Counsellor—have had previous service in British Colonial Territories in Africa: another 3 have served in other C.R.O. posts in Africa. Over one-third, therefore, of the C.R.O. administrative staff in West Africa have had previous government service in Africa.

Swaziland

Economic Development

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on economic developments in Swaziland, including plans for the construction of a railway and concessions for iron ore and other mineral exploitation.

Since 1948, 273 square miles in Swaziland have been afforested. A pulp mill is being established which will convert this timber into wood pulp for export. Thanks to irrigation schemes, 29 square miles have been planted to sugar cane. Two sugar mills have been established to cope with this cane. The present production target is 80,000 tons of sucrose sugar a year. On one irrigation scheme rice and citrus are being grown.Iron ore deposits have been proved at Ngwenya near the western border of Swaziland. The building of the Swaziland Railway, of which I informed the House on 24th October, will permit the development of these iron ore deposits. The Swaziland Administration is considering the terms of a mining lease to the Swaziland Iron Ore Development Company, which now holds an exclusive prospecting licence in that area.The Havelock asbestos mine is at present the largest mineral development but production of iron ore from Ngwenya is expected in 1964 and deposits of coal and anthracite have been proved near the eastern border of Swaziland. The proposed line of the railway should facilitate their development in due course.

Basutoland

Diamond Industry

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what restrictions are placed on African diamond diggers in Basutoland; and if he will make a statement on the future of the diamond industry in the Protectorate.

No restrictions are placed on Basuto diamond diggers except that they may not dig without a written permit granted by the Paramount Chief, to which certain conditions are attached.The diamond industry in Basutoland is still in its infancy and I cannot say at this stage what its future will be. Colonel Scott has been prospecting for diamonds since 1955 but has not yet found diamond deposits worth mining. Basuto permit holders have started operations at Letsa-la-Draai but it is still too early to say what the area will produce.

Rhodesia And Nyasaland

Kariba Dam

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations have been made to the Federal Government of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland regarding weaknesses in the construction of the Kariba dam, in view of the large monetary contributions from Her Majesty's Government.

Education

School Children (Concessionary Fares)

54.

asked the Minister of Education whether he will make representations to the British Transport Commission, with a view to raising the age limit up to which children may travel at half fare, from the age of 14 years to school leaving age at 15 years or to whenever the child leaves school.

asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware that the London Transport Executive charges full fares to boys and girls over the age of 18 years when they are still attending schools as full-time pupils; and if he will make representations to the Executive to continue the cheaper school-children's fares for all those who are full-time pupils in day schools.

Local education authorities arrange for the free transport to and from school of children of compulsory school age who live beyond walking distance. In respect of other journeys by school children, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport dealt at length with the fixing of fares in the reply which he gave to the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) on 27th October, 1960.

Oversized Classes

55.

asked the Minister of Education if he will now state the figures for oversized classes in January, 1961,

CERTAIN CLASSES IN MAINTAINED PRIMARY AND SECONDARY (EXCLUDING NURSERY AND SPECIAL) SCHOOLS
Junior classes over 30Senior classes over 30
NumberPercentageNumberPercentage
January, 195983,26565·849,20455·0
January, 196080,81864·450,38453·5
January, 196179,10463·251,24652·3
Junior classes over 40Senior classes over 40
NumberPercentageNumberPercentage
January, 195922,92818·14,2974·8
January, 196020,06616·03,7103·9
January, 196118,06514·43,0473·1
Junior classes over 50Senior classes over 50
NumberPercentageNumberPercentage
January, 19591880·1630·1
January, 19601380·1650·1
January, 19611290·1750·1
NOTE: Separate figures for infant classes are not readily available. They are included under the "junior" classes. Also included are the relatively small number of nursery

classes (wholly or mainly of children under 5) in primary schools. Of these, last January, 412 (18·9; per cent.) were classes with more than 30 children, 21 (1·0; per cent.) with more than 40 and 1 class with more than 50 children. The position in this age group has remained roughly unchanged in the last 3 years.

Youth Service (Building Programme)

56.

asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement on the progress made in the Youth Service building programme to the value of £3 million for starts in 1960–62.

The whole programme has been allocated. Two hundred projects to a value of £1⅓ million have been finally approved and building work has started on at least 130 of these to a value of £¾ million. One hundred and eighty other projects to a value of £1¼ million have passed the preliminary planning stages.

showing the numbers and proportions of infant, junior, and senior classes of over 30, over 40, and over 50 pupils respectively; and how they compare with the figures for the last two years.

Teachers' Refresher Courses, Nigeria

asked the Minister of Education what information he has received about the success of the teachers' refresher courses recently completed in Nigeria, for which staff were recruited by Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.

The Nigerian authorities have told me that the courses were extremely successful. The fifty-five British teachers and their Nigerian colleagues established excellent relations with each other and benefited from exchanging ideas.

Teachers

57.

asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement on his campaign to encourage more teachers to return to teaching.

The latest reports from authorities show that 3,416 married women have returned to teaching in the eight months between the launching of the campaign on 1st February and the 1st October. The education authorities are continuing their efforts to recruit more teachers from this source.

Teacher Training Colleges

asked the Minister of Education how many applicants possessing the necessary qualifications were unable to gain admission this autumn to a teacher training college.

This information will be available later in the year and I will send it to the hon. Member.

Clifton Training College, Nottinghamshire

asked the Minister of Education how many staff of the Clifton Training College in Nottinghamshire are qualified in mathematics and science; what proportion they constitute of the total teaching staff; how many students now attending the college are specialising in mathematics and science; and how many are following general courses.

Eleven or 27·5; per cent. of the 40 full-time teaching staff teach, and are qualified in, mathematics and science. There are also three part-time lecturers in science. 186 students are taking main courses in mathematics and science and 252 in other subjects.

Preparatory Schools

asked the Minister of Education what powers he proposes to take to secure a measure of control over preparatory schools.

My hon. and gallant Friend will have seen from what I said in the debate on Friday last that I have no intention of taking new powers.

Kenya

Emergency Legislation

58.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will specify the number and nature of the changes since 1st July, 1961, in the emergency legislation operating in Kenya.

The provisions of the Emergency Powers Order in Council, 1939, ceased to have effect in Kenya as from 12th January, 1960, and there have been no changes in this regard since then. I am asking the Governor for information about any regulations which may have been made under local security legislation in Kenya, and will communicate with the hon. Member.

Malta

General Election

59.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is now in a position to state the date on which the election is to take place under the new Malta Constitution.

Yes. Polling will take place from 17th to 19th February, both dates inclusive.

Mauritius

Reconstruction And Development Programme

60.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether steps are being taken in Mauritius to implement the Titmuss and economic reports; and what assistance is being provided by Her Majesty's Government.

The main recommendations in the Report of Professor Meade and others on the economic and social structure of Mauritius have been accepted and incorporated in the Mauritius Reconstruction and Development Programme 1960–65. Her Majesty's Government are providing loans and grants totalling £7·6 million towards the cost, which involves total expenditure of about £26·5 million. The Mauritius Government are considering to what extent they can carry out the recommendations in Professor Titmuss's Report on social policies and population growth in Mauritius, having regard to the absence of any consensus of opinion in the Legislature on the question of family planning, which is one of the cornerstones of the Report.

Tristan Da Cunha

Former Inhabitants (Resettlement)

61.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state Her Majesty's Government's plans for the future of the former inhabitants of Tristan da Cunha.

63.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what plans he has made for the resettlement of the inhabitants of Tristan da Cunha; and if he will make a statement.

Various possibilities are being investigated and they will then have to be discussed with the people. It may well be some time before a final decision is taken.

62.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the arrangements made for accommodating the former inhabitants of Tristan da Cunha in the Pendell camp.

Pendell Camp has been converted into a reception centre to provide temporary homes for the people of Tristan da Cunha until they can be resettled in a suitable place in this country. The staff, who left Tristan with the islanders, will continue their services until the people are resettled.I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the very valuable help which has been, and is being, received from the Women's Voluntary Service, the Red Cross and St. John's.

The West Indies

Commonwealth Immigrants Bill

64.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what date he communicated the proposed con tents of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill to the Prime Minister of the West Indies.

I was in communication with the Prime Minister of the West Indies about this matter well before the Bill was published. Copies of the Bill were sent to the Government of the West Indies immediately after publication.

Northern Rhodesia

Churches And Chapels (Destruction)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many churches have been damaged or destroyed in Northern Rhodesia since the disturbances began in July; and what was the denomination of each church.

During the first two months of the disturbances, when the majority of incidents occurred, thirty churches and chapels were destroyed. I am asking the Governor to provide later figures and information about the denominations affected and will write to the hon. Member when these are available.

Trade And Commerce

Children's Nightwear (Flame-Proof Material)

65.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to encourage the use of flameproof clothing for children's nightwear.

Extensive publicity for the use of such materials has been arranged this autumn, both by producers and retailers and as part of the National Fire Prevention Campaign.

Company Accounts (Audit)

asked the President of the Board of Trade on what criteria he bases his decision under Section 161 (b)of the Companies Act, 1948, as to adequate knowledge and experience in the course of employment with a member of a body of accountants recognised for the purpose under Section 161 (a) of the Act.

It is important that the standard of audit of company accounts should remain high. In reaching a decision in these cases I must therefore take into account such matters as the length of service with a member of a recognised body of accountants, the nature of the experience gained and the position held during that service, the references furnished by the past employers and the results achieved in any professional examination which may have been taken.

Irish Republic (Protective Duties)

asked the President of the Board of Trade what joint tariff reviews have been or are being carried out by Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the Irish Republic pursuant to the 1960 Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom.

In accordance with their general undertaking in Article III of the Trade Agreement of 1960, the Government of the Irish Republic, after consultation with Her Majesty's Government have instituted reviews of the protective duties on imports from the United Kingdom of the following items:

  • Wheaten breakfast foods.
  • Full chrome hide upper leather.
  • Cotton bags and sacks.
  • Braid.
  • Wood furniture.
  • Glazed and vitrified domestic pottery.
  • Floor tiles.
  • Files.
  • Textile floor coverings.
  • Drinking glasses.
The results of three of these reviews have so far been published. The duty on wheaten breakfast foods imported from the United Kingdom has been reduced from 66⅔ per cent. to 25 per cent. and on full chrome hide upper leather from 50 per cent. to 15 per cent. The duty on cotton bags and sacks remains unchanged.

Motor Cars (Export)

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many motor cars were exported in August, September and October, respectively, compared with the same months last year.

Details for the months of August and September, 1961, and for the months of 1960 are available from the Trade and Navigation Accounts which are documents presented to the House. Details for October, 1961, are not yet available.

Colliery Closures (Special Assistance)

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will take steps to make special assistance available to those areas affected by colliery closures, in order to ensure continuation of employment.

I am prepared to include as a devlopment district under the Local Employment Act any area in which I am satisfied that as a result of colliery closures high and persistent unemployment exists or is to be expected.

China (United Nations Representations)

66.

asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the admission of China to the United Nations.

As has previously been stated in this House and elsewhere, Her Majesty's Government believe that the Chinese People's Republic should be represented in the United Nations. But any decision on the subject will have to be taken by the United Nations as a whole.

United Nations (Children's Fund)

asked the Lord Privy Seal what quantities of processed milk the British Government proposed to supply to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund in 1962.

Her Majesty's Government have no plans to supply processed milk to the United Nations Children's Fund. Our general practice is to make our contributions to the Fund and to other United Nations and related agencies in cash rather than in kind.

Technical Co-Operation

Overseas Students (Educational Facilities)

67.

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation what discussions he has had with the Minister of Education and the University Grants Committee about the extension of higher educational facilities in Great Britain in order to meet the increasing needs of the new Commonwealth countries for training teachers, doctors, social workers and other categories of key workers.

The Government's education programme already takes account of the needs of students from overseas countries. My Department is naturally concerned to ensure that a reasonable proportion of places in educational institutions in this country go to such students; for this purpose we are in close and continuous touch with other Departments and with the educational institutions concerned in Britain.

British Army

Meeanee Barracks, Colchester

68.

asked the Secretary of State for War what is the accommodation provided in Meeanee Barracks, Colchester, for officers, warrant officers, sergeants and men, respectively; and what is the number of married quarters for officers, warrant officers, sergeants, and men, giving separate figures for each category.

Following is the information:

Barrack accommodation Meeanee Barracks
Officers21
Warrant Officers/Sergeants30
Rank and File540
Warrant officers and sergeants are not differentiated in respect of barrack accommodation, nor are warrant officers, sergeants or rank and file in respect of married quarters. Married quarters are not allocated by barracks, but on a garrison basis, according to the needs of the units posted there. There are at present 162 quarters for officers and 573 for other ranks.
Ministry of Supply/ War OfficeAir MinistryAdmiraltyTotal
1. Bayonets691,404114,058805,462
2. Rifles904,638132,4301,037,068
3. Pistols and revolvers262,65456,378319,032
4. Carbines2,208
5. Shotguns, etc.238281519
6. Browning machine guns2,832
7. 303 ammunition400 rounds
8. Military aircraft132288420
9. Small vessels112

Coal

Coal Mining Industry

69.

asked the Minister of Power if he will give an assurance that he will not introduce legislation during the current Session of Parliament to streamline the coal mining industry, or to set a target for it to become economic and commercially competitive within a specified time.

My right hon. Friend is not yet able to add anything to the statement which he made on this subject during the debate on 24th October.

Pit Closures

asked the Minister of Power to what extent he has consulted the President of the Board of Trade on the question of alternative work as a consequence of pit closures.

There is the closest cooperation between my Department, the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Labour in order to mitigate the effect of pit closures. Wherever it is appropriate my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is prepared to use the powers available to him under the Local Employment Act.

Ministry Of Defence

Surplus Weapons And Arms (Disposal)

asked the Minister of Defence if he will give figures showing the total numbers and types of weapons and arms surplus to the requirements of the Armed Forces which have been disposed of in the last five years to commercial firms, whether British or foreign.

The following have been sold to commercial firms during the five years ending 31st October, 1961.

With the exception of fifteen of the small vessels, all items were sold to British firms.

Employment

Motor Industry

asked the Minister of Labour what estimate he has made of the present working force in the motor industry, compared with 1958, 1959 and 1960, respectively.

At the end of September, 1961, it is estimated that there were 419,000 persons employed in the motor vehicle industry, compared with 439,000 in September, 1960 and 399,000 in September, 1959. Comparable figures for 1958 are not available because of changes in industrial classification.

Vacancies

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the latest figures he has for vacancies in each region, compared with unemployment.

The following table gives figures of the numbers of registered unemployed in each region on 16th October, and the numbers of notified vacancies remaining unfilled on 11th October.

RegionRegistered Unemployed on 16th October, 1961Unfilled Vacancies on 11th October 1961
London and South Eastern56,55887,550
Eastern and Southern29,26636,661
South-Western19,36516,801
Midland39,37728,644
North Midland15,99124,181
East and West Ridings20,73724,839
North-Western51,34334,651
Northern33,2607,954
Scotland65,28414,355
Wales34,56413,593
Great Britain365,745289,229

Hospitals

Medical Staffing (Report)

asked the Minister of Health whether he is yet able to make a statement on the Report of the Working Party on Medical Staffing Structure in the Hospital Service.

Yes. The Government, with the agreement of the medical profession, accept the main principles of the Report. The profession has reserved its position on the precise type of intermediate grade that may be required, its extent, title and salary. These matters will be further considered following the review of medical staffing in accordance with the principles of the Report, which will now be undertaken.

Pensions And National Insurance

Armed Forces (Pensions And Gratuities)

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what compensation is paid to junior officers, non-commissioned officers and men of Her Majesty's forces who are injured or killed in course of their duty in peace time.

Provision is made under the Royal Warrants and other War Pensions Instruments for pensions, allowances and gratuities to be paid to persons disabled or bereaved, in consequence of service in the forces after 2nd September, 1939, in war or in peace.In addition, Service pensions or gratuities, related to service given, may be awarded by the Service Departments to regular members of the forces who are invalided from the service and to widows and children of those who die while serving. The rates and conditions of issue of these awards are laid down in the Army Pensions Warrant and the corresponding provisions for the other Services.

Wireless And Television

Bbc, Northern Ireland (Party Political Broadcasts)

asked the Postmaster-General what new direction he has recently issued to the British Broadcasting Corporation under Clause 15 (4) of the Corporation's Licence and Agreement, 1952.

On 18th October I gave the Corporation a direction which, besides continuing the present procedure for party political broadcasts arranged for transmission throughout the United Kingdom, also enables them to arrange party political broadcasts from the Corporation's stations in Northern Ireland in connection with General Elections to the Parliament of Northern Ireland. I am arranging for copies of the new direction to be made available in the Library.

Transport

Traffic Engineers

asked the Minister of Transport what discussions he has had with local highway authorities regarding the appointment of highway and traffic engineers in every large city in the United Kingdom to help work out the flow of traffic.

In December, 1960, my Department sent to all local highway authorities a memorandum giving advice on the contribution which traffic engineering can make to the smooth flow of traffic and suggesting the need for them to have staff trained in traffic engineering. I have recently been reviewing the facilities available in the universities and technical colleges for training traffic engineers and I am proposing to have further discussions with the local authorities about their making the fullest use of these facilities.