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Written Answers

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 16 November 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 16th November, 1961

Basutoland

Constitution And Economic Development

6.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what plans he has for the constitutional and economic advance of Basutoland.

In response to a resolution passed unanimously by the Basutoland National Council in September, the High Commissioner has invited the Paramount Chief, after consultation with leaders of political parties, to review the working of the 1959 Constitution, in the light of the experience gained. The Committee will be composed of representatives of the Chieftainship and the main political parties. On the economic side high priority is being given to soil-conservation in accordance with the recommendations of the Economic Survey Mission.

Ghana

President Nkrumah (Visit Of Secretary Of State)

7.

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on the result of his visit to President Nkrumah.

I do not think I have anything to add to the statement made by the Prime Minister on 8th November.

South Africa

Mr Segal

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make representations to the Government of the Union of South Africa regarding the refusal to allow Mr. Ronald Segal, a United Kingdom citizen, to withdraw his capital or to receive income from the Union.

I understand that the South African exchange control authorities have refused Mr. Segal the concession which they normally make to bona fide emigrants because his departure from South Africa was unauthorised. He was then a South African citizen.

Nigeria

High Commission (Staff)

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations which of the following officers who are now serving in the British High Commission in Nigeria, namely, the High Commissioner, four deputy high commissioners, three counsellors, ten first secretaries and eight second secretaries, have previously served in British Colonial Territories in Africa; and where, in what capacities, and for how long, they so served.

One counsellor in Kenya as a principal for two years. One first secretary in Nigeria as a Principal Information Officer for two years. One second secretary in Nigeria as an information officer for seven months.

Swaziland

Constitution

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on the proposals he has for a new Constitution in Swaziland; and what steps he is taking to ascertain the wishes of the Swazi people in this respect.

As the Swaziland Constitutional Committee (a multi-racial body representing the Swaziland National Council, the European Advisory Council, and the Swaziland Administration) is at present preparing its recommendations on the form of a Constitution for Swaziland, we shall not be in a position to make a statement until the Committee's report has been received and Ministers have had an opportunity of considering its recommendations and the High Commissioner's comments. Meanwhile, I can assure the hon. Member that no new Constitution will be introduced without taking full account of Swazi views.

Malaya And Singapore

Discussions

26.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when he expects talks to start between the Governments of Malaya and Singapore and Her Majesty's Government on the unification of the two Territories.

The Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya is coming to London at the end of this week to discuss with Her Majesty's Government his proposals for a closer future association between the Federation, the State of Singapore, Brunei, North Borneo and Sarawak. This visit follows discussions which have already taken place between the Prime Ministers of the Federation of Malaya and Singapore.

Colonial Territories

Radioactive Fall-Out (Dried Milk Stocks)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in view of fall-out dangers, he will arrange for quantities of dried milk to be available in British Colonial Territories where danger from iodine 131 may arise.

I have been asked to reply.The attention of Colonial Governments is being drawn to the possible need to have reserve stocks of dried milk available in case there should be any likelihood of a hazard arising from Iodine 131.

Immigrants, United Kingdom (Accommodation)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what consultations he has had with Colonial Governments in order to promote a full understanding by them of the problems facing Her Majesty's Government with regard to the provision of adequate accommodation for immigrants.

My consultations were of a general character. The Colonial Governments most concerned are well aware of the accommodation problems here.

Northern Rhodesia

Sir Roy Welensky (Talk)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on his talks with Sir Roy Welensky on the Northern Rhodesian Constitution.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the talks he is having with Sir Roy Welensky on alterations to the present constitutional plans for Northern Rhodesia.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet Sir Roy Welensky and have a general talk with him; but on possible changes in the Northern Rhodesia Constitution, I am awaiting the representations which have been invited from the political groups in the territory.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Great Ouse Flood Protection Scheme

34.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made so far with Parts II and III of the Great Ouse flood protection scheme; and when it is hoped to complete the cut-off channel.

It is expected that Part II of the scheme will be completed this month.As regards Part III, excellent progress has been made on the cut-off channel and the river board expects to complete it by the end of 1964.

Poisonous Substances (Research Study Group's Report)

35.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the report of the research study group on poisonous substances used in agriculture will be published.

Hedgerow And Farm Timber (Committee's Recommendations)

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to bring to the notice of landowners, farmers and others the recommendations of the Committee set up by him about the need to preserve hedges and hedge timber.

When the Report of the Committee on Hedgerow and Farm Timber was published the Forestry Commission invited a wide variety of interests—including the Country Landowners' Association and the National Farmers' Union—to bring it to the notice of their members; and in the course of their duties field officers of the Commission and of the Ministry advise landowners and farmers on the value of planting and maintaining hedgerow trees in appropriate situations.

Trade And Commerce

Pit Closures

37.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to mitigate the loss of opportunities for work which will result from recently announced pit closures.

The Board of Trade will continue to make full use of the powers available under the Local Employment Act to steer new industry to areas affected by pit closures and to assist industrial expansion in those which are development districts. My right hon. Friend is also prepared to add to the list of development districts any area in which high and persistent unemployment exists or is to be expected.

Home Department

Cremation (Medical Certificates)

41.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that there is no uniformity in the charges for cremation and burial certificates, and that some hospitals charge four guineas while others charge two; and if he will take steps to fix a maximum charge for this service so that the public will know what fee they will be called upon to pay.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer which I gave on 9th November to my hon. Friend the Member for Solihull (Mr. Lindsay).

Prisoner, Dartmoor (Death)

44.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what psychiatric treatment had been given to Thomas Nelson, a Dartmoor prisoner who recently died in a straitjacket, since his imprisonment; and why he was not transferred to a mental hospital under the provisions of Section 72 of the Mental Health Act, 1959.

This prisoner was not suitable for psychiatric treatment or transfer to a mental hospital.

45.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will arrange for an independent inquiry into the circumstances in which Thomas Nelson, a prisoner at Dartmoor, came to be wearing a straitjacket and occupying a padded cell at the time of his death.

This prisoner was placed in a loose canvas restraint jacket and located in a padded room because he had become violent and was injuring himself. A post-mortem examination by an outside pathologist showed death to be due to myocardial ischaemia. At the inquest a verdict of death from natural causes was returned.

Immigration And Emigration

46.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the total number of immigrants from Commonwealth and from foreign countries who have entered and settled permanently in the United Kingdom since the end of the Second World War, and the total number of emigrants who have left the United Kingdom and settled permanently in Commonwealth and in foreign countries during the same period.

The net total of immigrants from Commonwealth countries other than Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa since the end of the Second World War is believed to exceed 400,000. The total number of foreigners who have settled in this country during the same period is roughly estimated at 350,000. No estimate can be given in respect of the Irish Republic.No record is kept of the numbers of persons emigrating from this country.

Immigrants From Commonwealth

48.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of the total population of the United Kingdom is represented by the total number of immigrants from the West Indies, West Africa, India, Pakistan, and other Commonwealth countries in Africa and South-East Asia who have settled in the United Kingdom since the end of the Second World War.

Justices' Clerks (Salaries)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that the salaries of magistrates' clerks are fixed on a population basis; and if he will take steps to see that their salaries are fixed on the basis of the population in conjunction with the number of cases dealt with in the courts.

The salaries of justices' clerks are normally settled by reference to the recommendations of a Joint Negotiating Committee on which local authorities, magistrates' courts committees and justices' clerks are represented. The recommendations of the Committee are based on population figures, but allow some scope for other factors, such as the volume of work, to be taken into account.

Berlin

Q10.

asked the Prime Minister, in view of Mr. Khrushchev's statement that concessions and compromise on both sides are necessary for the achievement of a Berlin settlement, if he will now make approaches to the Heads of Governments concerned with the Berlin problem with a view to commencing negotiations.

We have always been anxious to reach a negotiated settlement of the problem of Berlin and we are at present searching with our allies for the basis of an understanding with with the Soviet Union.

Ministry Of Defence

Armed Forces (Strength)

asked the Minister of Defence whether he will re-issue Annex 1, Tables 1 and 2, of the Report on Defence, 1961, modified in the light of recent recruiting figures including and excluding boys.

I am sorry that I am unable to vary the Answer I gave my hon. Friend on 24th October last.

Education

University Students (Grants)

asked the Minister of Education what is the amount of the grant awarded to a student who elects to pursue his medical studies at Trinity College, Dublin; and whether this is the same as the amount granted to a student who attends a provincial university away from home in some part of the United Kingdom.

Standard rates of grant are not prescribed for students from England and Wales attending universities outside Great Britain. The general practice of local education authorities when they make an award to a student at Trinity College, Dublin, is to use the rate for English and Welsh provincial universities. For a student living in lodgings, this rate is £265.

Over-Size Classes

asked the Minister of Education what proportions of children were being taught in oversize classes in January, 1961; and how these figures compare with those for the last two years.

In January, 1961, the percentage of junior pupils in over-size classes was 19·7 compared with 21·7 a year earlier and 24·2 two years earlier.The percentage of senior pupils in over-size classes was 61·6 compared with 62·9 a year earlier, and 64·2 two years earlier.

Unqualified Teachers

asked the Minister of Education how many temporary and occasional teachers who are unqualified, giving the numbers of each group separately, were employed at the last convenient date in schools maintained by local education authorities.

On 31st March, 1961, 2,870 temporary and 1,127 occasional unqualified teachers were employed full-time in maintained primary and secondary schools.

Training Colleges

asked the Minister of Education how many training college places for day students are now available in London, Essex, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, Tyneside, Tees-side, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Leeds, respectively; what percentage these students form of the number of students in residence in these areas; and how many application's were received for these places.

The following table shows the provisional number of students in 1961–62 in the general, house-craft and physical education colleges in the various areas. It is not possible to say how many applications there were for day places at these colleges.

STUDENTS IN TRAINING, 1961–62
AreaNumber of day students (a)Total number of students(2) expressed as a percentage of (3)
(1)(2)(3)(4)
England and Wales5,33136,21814·7
London6514,72513·8
Essex16065824·3
Middlesex1971,31814·9
Surrey335336·2
Kent647168·9
Total1,1057,95013·9
Northumberland27789530·9
Durham (b)1141,1789·7
Total3912,07318·9
Birmingham15379019·4
Manchester4611,32434·8
Cardiff7441817·7
Leeds30699230·8
NOTES:(

a) At both day and residential colleges.

( b) There is one college on Tees-side with 173 students in training of whom 25 are day students.

Evening Institutes (Women Students)

asked the Minister of Education to what causes he attributes the large decrease in women students attending evening institutes since the peak period of 1949 to 1952; and what steps he proposes to take in 1962 to increase recruitment to nearer the level of 1949–50.

The whole of this decline took place in the year 1952–53 when, following an increase in fees. there was a heavy fall in enrolments for ballroom dancing and some other recreational subjects; but enrolments for vocational courses rose. The provisional figure for 1960–61 is the highest since then and there has been a marked upward trend during the last two years despite the transfer of many vocational courses to technical colleges.

Local Government

Historic Buildings (Preservation)

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is satisfied with the existing machinery for preserving buildings and groups of buildings of both architectural and historical interest; and what steps are taken to prevent deterioration in buildings subject to a preservation order.

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the listing of buildings of special architectural or historic interest ensures an adequate opportunity for the local planning authority and for him to consider whether proposed works of demolition or alteration should be prevented by the making of a building preservation order.The owner of a building subject to a preservation order cannot be compelled to keep it in good condition, and the only remedy may lie in purchase by a public authority. But if the owner finds the cost of repairs and maintenance too high a contribution from public funds may be made available to encourage him to secure proper preservation. Sometimes the local authority have proved able to help, or the building may be eligible for a "historic buildings" grant by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works if it is of outstanding architectural or historic interest.

Tree Preservation Orders

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (1) what action he has taken to bring to the notice of local authorities the need to make tree preservation orders; and with what result;(2) what is the number of tree preservation orders which were made in each of the years 1950 to 1960.

General guidance on the preservation of trees and woodlands in the interests of amenity was contained in a memorandum issued in 1949 to the local authorities.Throughout the country authorities are becoming increasingly active. The figures asked for are as follows:

YearNo. of orders confirmed
1950202
1951242
1952172
1953201
1954180
1955198
1956227
1957253
1958342
1959328
1960401

Employment

Unofficial Strikes

asked the Minister of Labour when he last had discussions with the Trades Union Congress about unofficial strikes; and what was the result of the meeting.

The British Employers' Confederation and Trades Union Congress, have had direct discussions about unofficial strikes during the last twelve months. I have myself been in regular touch both with the Trades Union Congress, the British Employers' Confederation and other bodies, on the whole question of improving industrial relations; in this way alone can a satisfactory answer be found to the problem of unofficial strikes.

asked the Minister of Labour what discussions he has had with the Federation of British Industries on the problem and effect of unofficial strikes on exports; and when they were held.

I have had no such discussions with the Federation of British Industries, but I am fully conscious of the effects which unofficial strikes may have on exports. This is one of the considerations I have had in mind in my discussions on industrial relations with the British Employers' Federation (which is the organisation concerned) and other bodies.

Fishing Vessel "Red Crusader" (Commission Of Inquiry)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will state the reason for delay in appointing a tribunal to investigate and report on the "Red Crusader" incident in the North Sea; whether the tribunal has yet been appointed; if he will give the names of its personnel and its terms of reference; where and when it will sit; whether its sittings will be public; and when it is expected to report.

Notes were exchanged yesterday between the Danish Embassy and the Foreign Office formally establishing the Commission, laying down its terms of reference and appointing its members. It has taken time to find suitably qualified persons who are willing to serve on the Commission but we hope that it will be able to hold its first meeting in the near future. The text of the Exchange of Notes will be laid as a White Paper. Meanwhile I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library.

Telephone Service

Hayes And Harlington

asked the Postmaster-General how many persons are awaiting telephone installations in the urban district of Hayes and Harlington now as compared with twelve months ago.

During the last twelve months the situation has improved, the corresponding figures being: in September, 1960, 290 applications on the waiting list and 164 under inquiry or in course of being met, and on 30th September, 1961, 100 applications on the waiting list and 202 under inquiry or in course of being met. During this period nearly 1,000 new telephones were installed.

National Finance

Taxes

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the gross national product is represented by taxes collected by central and local government combined in the United Kingdom; what information he has, through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, of the comparable per-

Direct taxesSocial Security contributionsIndirect taxesTotal
United Kingdom1241532
Federal Republic of Germany11111739
United States of America1641030
France8112039
Italy171633
Japan101021

Expenditure

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the gross national product is represented by Government expenditure in the United Kingdom; what information he has, through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, of the comparable percentage in West Germany, France, Japan, the United States of America and Italy, respectively; and if he will publish this information.

Total expenditure by central and local government in the United Kingdom, on current and capital account combined, on goods and services, debt interest, subsidies and grants (including payments from the National Insurance Funds) but excluding loans and other transactions in financial assets, represented 37 per cent. of the gross national product at factor cost in 1960. Corresponding figures for the other countries mentioned in the Question are shown below, with the exception of Japan, for which information on this basis is not available.

Per cent.
Federal Republic of Germany39
France40
United States of America31
Italy40
While these figures are as far as possible on a comparable basis to those centage in West Germany, Japan, the United States of America, France and Italy, respectively; and if he will publish this information.

The table below shows total taxes collected by central and local government expressed as percentages of the gross national product at factor cost. The figures for Japan relate to the financial year beginning 1st April, 1959. The figures for other countries are for the calendar year 1960.for the United Kingdom, there are minor differences in the available statistics and this should be borne in mind in making comparisons.

War Widows' Pensions (Income Tax)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that British war widows living in Canada are liable, unlike Canadian war widows in identical circumstances, to pay tax on grants received from the United Kingdom Government, and also on any grants received from the Canadian Government; and if he will introduce legislation to assist these widows in these respects.

A war widow's pension from British funds is subject to United Kingdom tax whether she lives in this country or abroad; and I do not think there should be a special exemption when she lives in Canada. In the type of case of which the hon. Member is thinking United Kingdom tax would not be chargeable on the grant from Canadian funds; but under the normal rules relating to non-residents the latter grant, in common with any other non-liable income, would affect the amount of personal reliefs allowable against the recipient's liable income from British sources. I am considering this last aspect.