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Written Answers

Volume 649: debated on Monday 20 November 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday, 20th November, 1961

Pensions And National Insurance

National Assistance


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will state the amounts paid by the National Assistance Board to retirement pensioners as supplementary payments for rents for each of the years 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960, and the amounts so paid in the City of Norwich; and how many retirement pensioners were concerned in each of these years in both categories.

I am informed by the National Assistance Board that for the reasons which my right hon. Friend has explained to the House from time to time the figures requested in this Question are not available either locally or on a national basis.

Widowed Mothers (Earnings Rule)


asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what would be the cost of raising by 20s. the limit which widowed mothers are entitled to earn before any deductions are made in their pension.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many widowed mothers had deductions made from their widowed mother's allowance in 1960 and to the latest convenient date in 1961 through the operation of the earnings rule; and what would be the cost of abolishing this rule in the case of widowed mothers.

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance how many widowed mothers are affected by the earnings rule; and what it would cost to relieve them of it.

Statistics of the numbers of adjustments for earnings made in the course of a year are not kept as a matter of routine and are not available for 1960 or 1961, but the peliminary results of a special inquiry into the numbers of earnings adjustments current in June, 1961, show that about 20,000 widowed mothers were affected by the earnings rule in the week of the inquiry. It is estimated that the direct cost of abolishing the earnings rule for widowed mothers would be about £1½ million a year. This figure is based on the assumption that the present earnings rules would be applied to such a widow on becoming either a widow, or retirement, pensioner.

Industrial Injuries Act (Regulations)

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he is satisfied that design staff working on vessels outside the three-mile limit are classified as mariners by his Regulations under the Industrial Injuries Act, and are therefore entitled in case of injury to full coverage; and if he will make a statement.

Yes, provided they are engaged in this country and are employed on board for the purposes of the vessel.

Departmental Staff

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what consultations have been held by his Department concerning the proposal that senior members of its professional and technical staff shall be compulsorily retired at the age of 60 years.

None, and no such proposal is being made in respect of my Department.


Glan Ely Hospital, Cardiff

30 and 32.

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he is aware that wards Dinas A and B in Glan Ely Hospital, Cardiff, were converted into use as children's wards at a cost of £5,000 eighteen months ago, that children's baths and toilets were installed, and that since these alterations took place less than a dozen children have occupied beds in this children's unit and that it is now proposed to reconvert the ward back into use by adults; whether he will arrange for this ward to remain as a children's ward; and whether he will make a statement;(2) whether he is aware that completely modernised wards in the Glan Ely Hospital, Cardiff, are being kept empty although there is no shortage of medical, nursing or domestic staff; what proposals there are for the future use of these wards; and if he will make a statement.

Of the £3,500 spent two years ago on modernising these two wards for tuberculous patients only about £100 was on special facilities for children; one ward was then used for children but is now empty because all tuberculous patients can be accommodated in one ward. It will be available for geriatric patients in two or three weeks. No other modernised ward is empty.

asked the Minister of Health what is the number of geriatric cases in Cardiff still awaiting admission to hospital; and what steps he is taking to expedite their admission to Glan Ely Hospital, Cardiff.

Eighteen. I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to him today about this hospital.

Southern Hospital, Dartford

asked the Minister of Health what proposals there are for the future use of the land and buildings belonging to the Southern Hospital near Dartford.

Some of the land is required by neighbouring hospitals. The rest will be sold as soon as the route of the proposed new trunk road is decided.

Ministry Of Health

Mental Patients (Rehabilitation)


asked the Minister of Health if his attention has been called to the experiment made in Robinson and Sherwood's factory, Bristol, in which twenty mental patients have been successfully assisted towards rehabilitation through being employed at this factory under supervision; if he will take steps to encourage other employers to adopt similar schemes; and if he will instruct the regional board to give all the assistance it can in the industrial therapy sponsored by the Glenside Hospital.

Yes, but approach to employers is best made locally. The board has always given support.

Doctors And Dentists (Review Body)


asked the Minister of Health if he will now state what is to be the membership of the new review body which is to be set up in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration to advise the Prime Minister on the conditions of service applying to doctors and dentists taking part in the National Health Service.


asked the Minister of Health by what percentage the average net profit per prescription dispensed by chemists under the National Health Service exceeded the 1956 agreed figure in each year since 1956; and what was the estimated percentage figure for 1961 if no alteration had been made on 1st November, 1961, in the system of remuneration.

The 1956 settlement was not in terms of an agreed net profit. On my estimates, the average net profit per prescription produced in 1956 by the settlement of that year was exceeded by 30 per cent. in 1957, 40 per cent. in 1958, 50 per cent. in 1959, 80 per cent. in 1960, and would have been exceeded by about 100 per cent. in 1961 if no alteration had been made.

Population (Statistics)

asked the Minister of Health (1) which of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Population, Command Paper No. 7695, with regard to population research, namely paragraphs 682 to 684, have been carried out; and on what date such recommendations were implemented;(2) what steps have been taken to implement recommendation 685 of Command Paper No. 7695, relating to matters of social policy.

These recommendations related to the improvement of vital statistics and to the promotion of population research. The official vital statistics are kept under review, and the Population (Statistics) Act, 1960, has made permanent, with some changes, the collection of additional statistics at the registration of births and deaths first authorised by the Population (Statistics) Act, 1938. Questions on duration of marriage and the number of children born were included in the population censuses in 1951 and 1961. Annual reviews of population trends are included in the reports of the Registrars General, and figures for the United Kingdom and for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are included in the Annual Abstract of Statistics.No changes have been made in the Departmental responsibility for population statistics; current population trends and forecasts are made available to Departments concerned with social policy under the existing arrangements.


asked the Minister of Health whether he will give the numbers of qualified physiotherapists in the National Health Service during each of the past five years, and at the latest available date.

The figures for the Hospital Service in England and Wales on 31st December were:

The figures include the whole-time equivalents of physiotherapists employed part-time and a small number of unqualified assistants.I regret that the corresponding figures for local authorities are not available.


Older Persons


asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the number of unemployed persons over 50 years of age, registered at the employment exchanges at the latest convenient date, and the comparative figures for the same period in 1960.

Disabled Persons


asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the numbers of unemployed disabled persons registered at the employment exchanges at the latest convenient date, and the comparative figures for the same period in 1960.

On 16th October, 1961, 47,523 compared with 49,229 on 17th October, 1960.

Mr Vacaric (Yugoslav Note)


asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is yet in a position to make a statement about the reply Her Majesty's Government has sent to the Yugoslav Government's Note on the arrest of Mr. Vacaric in West Germany.

I have for the moment nothing to add to the written reply given by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on 15th November to the hon. Gentleman and to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson).



asked the Lord Privy Seal how many officials are employed in the Foreign Office on the full-time study of the problems of disarmament.

As the then Minister of State said on 15th February in reply to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), the study of disarmament problems in the Foreign Office is dealt with by the Atomic Energy and Disarmament Department. It is not the practice to give precise numbers of those serving in particular Departments.



asked the Lord Privy Seal what official correspondence he has received from the West German Government concerning the conversation between its ambassador in Moscow and the Soviet Foreign Minister about negotiations for a solution of the Berlin problem; and what reply he has sent.

In accordance with the usual practice, we have been given a full account of the recent discussion between the German Federal Ambassador in Moscow and Mr. Khrushchev at which the former expressed his personal views on certain aspects of the Berlin problem. There has been no question of any formal comment by Her Majesty's Government.

Embassies And Consulates, Africa (Staff)

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many officers with a rank of second secretary and above in the British embassies and consulates in African countries have previously served in British Colonial Territories in Africa; and where, in what capacities, and for how long they so served.

Out of 132 such officers now in Africa, ten have previously served in British Colonial Territories in Africa, in the following places and capacities and for the periods indicated:

  • (1) Somaliland, Police Service 1947–1960.
  • (2) Northern Rhodesia, District Commissioner, 1960–61.
  • (3) Nigeria, Administrative Officer, 1948–1961.
  • (4) Tanganyika, Administrative Officer, 1955–1961.
  • (5) Nigeria, Administrative Officer, 1950–1961.
  • (6) Southern Rhodesia, High Court and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1952–1959.
  • (7) Southern Rhodesia, Administrative Service, 1958–1961.
  • (8) Sudan, Political Service, 1942–1954.
  • (9) Sudan, Political Service, 1947–1951.
  • (10) Tanganyika, Administrative Officer, up to 1952.
  • Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Famine Relief


    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken in this country and through international organisations in which his Department is represented to encourage measures for the relief of famine in general.

    The United Kingdom plays a full part in the Food and Agriculture Organisation whose main aim is to tackle world food problems, including the raising of nutritional levels. Our contribution to the Food and Agriculture Organisation Budget for 1961 is £350,000.The Food and Agriculture Organisation has sponsored an international campaign to free the world from hunger. As I announced in the House on 6th February, Her Majesty's Government has set up a National Committee to lead the campaign in this country. We have contributed £30,000 to the Committee's funds and have given an additional £20,000 towards the campaign costs of the Food and Agriculture Organisation headquarters in Rome.

    Tuna And Bonito


    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his study of the spawning, breeding and migratory habits of the tuna and the bonito indicating the extent of their increase in recent years and the effect of that increase on the fish with which the British fishing industry deals and to which the British public is accustomed.

    No Government Research has so far been done on the tuna and the bonito, since there is at present no great consumer demand in this country for such fish and in consequence the British fishing industry does not catch them. Nevertheless, we are now making plans to survey the available resources of both species in waters which may be of interest to us. I am not aware of any evidence that the stocks of either species have recently increased, but there has been increased fishing by other nations.

    Ullswater (Water Levels)

    59 and 60.

    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will state the number of days in the year, averaged over the last five years, that the water on Ullswater has been above normal level; and to what extent agricultural and fishing interests in Westmorland rely on a full and adequate outflow of water in the river below Pooley Bridge; (2) if he will state the known highest and lowest levels of the water on Ullswater, the volume of water outflow at Pooley Bridge at the highest and lowest levels of the lake, respectively, and at normal lake level; and what study has been made of the effect on agriculture of the present proposals to construct a dam at Pooley Bridge so as to hold flood water on the lake at an artificially high level and to

    Water Level in Ullswater at Glenridding
    PeriodNumber of DaysNumber of Days
    At or less than 475·75 ft. Ordnance DatumMore than 475·75 ft. Ordnance DatumAt or less than 476 ft. Ordnance DatumMore than 476 ft. Ordnance Datum
    June, 1946—May, 194772293111254
    June, 1947—May, 1948110256195171
    June, 1948—May, 19493433180285
    June, 1949—May, 1950125240164201
    January, 1951—December, 195176289142223
    Average number of days in each 12 month period83·4281·8138·4226·8
    The Board has no records of discharges from the Lake at Pooley Bridge, but after a dry period in 1959 the flow at Carleton was 13½ million gallons per day.
    When Manchester Corporation has provided details of its proposals it will be possible for the river board in consultation with the Ministry to consider the likely effects on agriculture and fishing below Pooley Bridge.

    Meat (Marketing Board)


    asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has had for the setting up of a meat marketing board; what his answer has been; and if he will make a statement.

    I have not received proposals for the setting up of a meat marketing board.




    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he will take to assist in preventing recurrent famines in Kenya.

    The present famine is the result of abnormal weather conditions. A long period of drought has been followed by exceptionally heavy restrict the volume of outflow water below Pooley Bridge.

    I regret that the information about water levels and flows is not available in the precise form asked for by my hon. Friend, but some information which I have received from the Cumberland River Board is given below:"short" rains which have inundated or isolated large areas of the country. In the long run the possibility of serious famine can only be minimised by improved agricultural practice, more enlightened habits in the matter of diet and nutrition, and better communications. The Government are seeking to achieve these ends by continuing endeavours to break down conservative prejudice, and through its general development projects. Since, meanwhile, the possibility of recurring emergencies exists the Governor is considering whether the National Food Relief Committee should be established on a permanent basis to keep under continuous review problems of malnutrition and their solution.

    Sierra Leone

    High Commission (Staff)


    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in which British Colonial Territories in Africa the British High Commissioner and Deputy High Commissioner in Sierra Leone have served, in what capacities, and for how long.

    The High Commissioner served in Ghana as Assistant Secretary to the West African Inter-Territorial Secretariat for seventeen months. The Deputy High Commissioner served in Northern Rhodesia in the Central and Provincial Secretariats for two years.

    British Army

    Recruiting (Colonial Territories)


    asked the Secretary of State for War in which of the Colonial Territories, other than the West Indies, he is now recruiting for the Army; what is the expenditure incurred in each Territory; and what have been the results up to 31st October.

    Apart from the West Indies, we are now recruiting in the Seychelles and in Fiji. Enlistments to 31st October are as follows:

    • Seychelles—
      • 127 men.
      • 47 women.
    • Fiji—
      • 200 men.
      • 12 women.
    It is too early to assess the expenditure involved.

    Recruiting Team (West Indies)


    asked the Secretary of State for War what has been the cost of sending his recruiting team to the West Indies; how many are in the team; and what is the nature of the methods they employ in their campaign.

    The recruiting team sent to the West Indies consists of one officer and a sergeant. The cost of their fare was £220. They are assisted by a regimental officer and a doctor already stationed there. The arrival of this team was given much excellent publicity by the local Press and radio. There have been many applicants, and the normal selection methods have been used to enlist them.


    Rothes Colliery, Scotland

    asked the Minister of Power if his technical experts will consult the National Coal Board regarding the technical and geological findings which preceded the sinking of the Rothes Colliery, in Scotland, involving heavy capital expenditure.

    No. The sinking of a new pit, which is always a speculative operation, is the responsibility of the National Coal Board.


    Lochgelly Town Council (Letter)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from Lochgelly Town Council on the proposed reduction in housing subsidies; and what reply he has sent.

    I have received a letter dated 15th November of which I understand a copy was sent to the hon. Member, and I will see that he gets a copy of my reply.

    Trade And Commerce

    Gas And Electricity Authorities (Hire Purchase And Credit Sales)

    asked the President of the Board of Trade what were the amounts of hire purchase and credit sales effected separately by the gas and electricity authorities in each of the years 1959 and 1960, and to the latest convenient date in 1961.

    Sales on hire purchase and similar terms by the gas and electricity authorities are published only for financial years; the figures are given in the Reports of the Electricity Council, the Gas Council, the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and the South of Scotland Electricity Board, which are documents presented to the House.


    Transport Users' Consultative Committees (Dorset Representation)

    asked the Minister of Transport who represents Dorset in general, and North Dorset in particular, on the local Transport Users' Consultative Committee, and the Central Transport Users' Consultative Committee respectively.

    Dorset has two representatives on the Transport Users' Consultative Committee for the South Eastern Area. They are County Councillor Colonel The Rt. Hon. Lord Basing, T.D., of Gillingham (North Dorset) and Lieut.-Colonel Sir Mervyn Wheatley, K.B.E., D.L., J.P., of Poole.There are no representatives of Dorset on the Central Transport Users' Consultative Committee. The local authority representatives on the central committee are appointed, after consultation with the local authority associations, to represent local authorities generally.

    Traffic Engineering

    asked the Minister of Transport (1) how many highway and traffic engineers with full and formal post-graduate training are at present employed by the Ministry of Transport and by local authorities, respectively;(2) how many local authorities have seconded their engineers to obtain higher degrees or qualifications in highway traffic engineering.

    Two of the engineers in my Department engaged in traffic engineering have taken post-graduate courses in traffic engineering. Most of the others have practical experience in traffic engineering. I have not the information asked for about local authorities' employees.


    M1 (Extension)

    asked the Minister of Transport if he will make a statement about the extension of M.1 to join the Hendon Urban Motorway, the scheme for which has recently been made.

    The draft Scheme for this length of motorway was published on 17th November. I am sending my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of the explanatory statement and plan we issued at that time. There is now a three-month period during which objections to the line proposed in the draft Scheme may be lodged.