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Written Answers

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 30 November 1961

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday, 30th November, 1961


Block Grants


asked the Minister of Education what reduction of staff and savings in administrative costs have been achieved in his Department as a consequence of the introduction of block grants to local authorities.

The staff directly engaged on work connected with grants to local education authorities has been reduced by four, with a consequential estimated saving of nearly £5,000 a year. A further reduction of three or four officers can be expected when grant for the period up to 1st April, 1959, has been cleared.

School Meals, Wales


asked the Minister of Education if he will give the number of children taking school meals in Wales at the latest convenient date, and the comparable numbers for 1960 and 1955, respectively.

201,562 in October, 1961, compared with 197,322 in October, 1960, and 190,737 in October, 1955.

Technical Colleges


asked the Minister of Education what representations he has received for more places in technical colleges; and when he expects the shortage to be made good.

The regular applications made to me by local education authorities show that many new places are needed and that a strong demand is likely to continue for some time as technical education develops. The £100 million building programme already announced is making good progress and will go a long way to enable authorities to meet the most urgent needs.

Secondary Technical Schools


asked the Minister of Education how many objections he has received to the closing or merging of secondary technical schools; in how many of these cases the objections have been successful; and what action is taken to ensure that parents' wishes are taken fully into consideration in such cases.

In the last three years, seven opposed proposals were submitted of which six were approved. My right hon. Friend always gives as much weight to parents' wishes as he can consistently with the requirements of Section 76 of the Education Act.


asked the Minister of Education how many secondary technical schools such as the one serving Accrington and district have been closed down or amalgamated with other schools during the last two years; and how many now remain as separate units.

During the calendar years 1959 and 1960, 50 secondary technical schools or departments were closed or amalgamated with other schools. During the same period 14 new schools were established. In January, 1961, there were 228 separate technical schools or departments and l8 more are in course of building.

Temporary Teachers

asked the Minister of Education (1) if he will give the names of the local education authorities which employed the 2,870 temporary teachers and the 1,127 occasional unqualified teachers who were in teaching service in maintained schools on 31st March last; and how many in each category the authorities employed;(2) which local education authorities have decided not to appoint temporary teachers.

The figures for March, 1961, collected from the Teachers' Service Books have not yet been analysed by authorities, but a later return made in October, 1961, is now available, and is as follows. This shows that 28 local education authorities were not employing temporary teachers, though 12 of these had been employing such teachers during the previous 12 months.

Local Education AuthorityTemporaryOccasional


Isle of Ely2111321719
Isle of Wight11
Isles of Scilly
Peterborough Joint Education Board1452810
Suffolk, East54944
Suffolk, West24612930
Sussex, East33633
Sussex, West55
East Riding2211415
North Riding881622
West Riding568614212526

County Boroughs


Local Education AuthorityTemporaryOccasional
East Ham235
Great Yarmouth246
Kingston upon Hull4359102279
Newcastle upon Tyne257123
St Helens112
South Shields325
West Bromwich2141655
West Ham11617122941
West Hartlepool5101588

Local Education AuthorityTemporaryOccasional



County Boroughs

Merthyr Tydfil
Newport (Mon.)11
Total, England and Wales9951,7472,7421361,3131,449

Secondary School Teachers (Refresher Courses)


asked the Minister of Education what arrangements there are for refresher courses for teachers in secondary schools, particularly in the subjects of 20th century history and current affairs.

Thirty-five short courses were arranged by H.M. Inspectors this year specifically for secondary school teachers. These courses included studies of the 20th century. Other courses are arranged by universities, institutes of education, local education authorities and professional bodies.

History (School Syllabuses)


asked the Minister of Education if he will take steps to ensure that the teaching of history in secondary schools takes account of the concept of the European Market and is based on a world-wide, rather than a national, approach to world events.

In recent years school syllabuses have increased their emphasis on the international aspects of history including the Commonwealth and Europe. I hope this trend will continue.

New Primary School, Endor

asked the Minister of Education what are the reasons for the delay in the completion of the new primary school for the village of Endor in the Leek Parliamentary division; and when this project is to be completed.

The local education authority found it difficult to acquire a suitable site. These difficulties have now been overcome, and the new school should be completed early in 1963.

Independent Schools

asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement on the operation of Part III of the Education Act, 1944.

2,405 independent schools in England and 56 in Wales are finally registered under Section 70 of the Education Act, 1944, 76 English schools and I Welsh school, most of them recently opened, are provisionally registered. A further 1,449 English and 60 Welsh independent schools recognised as efficient are deemed to be registered.Since Part III of the Education Act came into force on 30th September, 1957, I have served notices of complaint under Sections 71 (1) (

a), ( b) and ( c) upon the proprietors of 52 independent schools.

21 notices related to deficiencies in the premises or accommodation; 6 to deficiencies in the instruction provided in the school; and 25 were concerned both with the premises or accommodation and with the instruction.

In 21 of the 52 cases the proprietors remedied the matters complained of; in 2 they moved their schools to other premises; in 13 they closed their schools, or ceased to take pupils of compulsory school age; in 7 they failed to comply with the notice, and in these cases, and in one other, where I considered the matters of complaint to be irremediable, I made Orders under Section 72 (3) striking the schools off the register. 8 cases are still being considered.

I have also served 6 notices of complaint under Section 71 (1) ( d) of the Act in respect of teachers whom I considered to be not proper persons to be teachers in any school. All 6 have been disqualified by Orders made under Section 72 of the Act from being teachers in any school, in 3 cases after appeal to an Independent Schools Tribunal.

Secondary School Examinations Council

asked the Minister of Education whether he will make a statement on the Third Report of the Secondary School Examinations Council.

I announced my acceptance of the main recommendations of this Report in May of this year. The examining bodies are already taking the necessary steps, in consultation with the Council, to introduce the proposed grading scheme and special papers by the earliest possible date convenient to the schools, which is 1963. The examining bodies and the Syllabus Committee of the Council are giving urgent attention to the revision of Advanced level syllabuses as recommended in paragraphs 50 to 52 of the Report.

Virgin Islands



asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what recent representations he has received from officials of the Government of the American Virgin Islands or other authorities in the United States of America with regard to the transference of sovereignty of the British Virgin Islands to the United States of America.

Colonial Territories

Former Colonial Civil Servants (Pensions)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement regarding proposed increases in pensions for former colonial civil servants.

The responsibility for paying increases on pensions of former colonial civil servants lies with the Governments of the Territories concerned. During the past year the Governments of 12 Colonial Territories have introduced improved pension increase schemes and, as a result, about 75 per cent. of all those pensioners who are eligible enjoy increases at rates as good as or better than those granted by Her Majesty's Government to its own pensioners. Only the Governments of Aden, the Gambia, the Leeward and Windward Islands and British Honduras provide increases generally inferior to those granted here. We are, of course, in touch with the Overseas Service Pensioners Association, and meet it at regular intervals for discussions and to review progress.

Independence (United Nations Debate)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether at the 15th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, when the principle of granting independence to all Colonial Territories was under discussion, Her Majesty's Government gave an indication of a time limit by which they hoped to attain this objective.

Malaysian Federation (Consultations)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what previous consultations he had with the Governments of the countries in South-East Asia, other than Malaya, that are now proposed as members of the future Malaysian Federation.

Before the recent talks in London my right hon. Friend had consultations with the Governments of North Borneo and Sarawak. In addition, the views of the Sultan of Brunei were sought. The views of the Government of the State of Singapore were already known.


Civil Servants (Terms Of Service)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of the dissatisfaction of the Tanganyika Asian Civil Servants' Association and the Tanganyika Overseas Recruited Asian Government Servants' Union with the terms proposed for their members after independence, he will refer the issue to an independent arbitrator to decide.

The members of these staff associations were recruited and employed directly by the Government of Tanganyika and their terms of service are a matter for that Government. My right hon. Friend has exchanged views with the Tanganyika Government about the question of possible special retirement benefits for these officers but he understands that they are unlikely to reach any final decision on this question until shortly after independence. It will no doubt be open to the staff associations to make further representations to the Tanganyika Government before a final decision is reached, but it would not be proper for me to intervene in the manner suggested.


Famine And Flood Relief

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what help has been given by other Commonwealth countries in the relief of distress from famine and flood in Kenya.

I am consulting the Governor of Kenya about this matter and will circulate a further reply in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Foreign Trawlers (Illegal Fishing)


asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many and which foreign trawlers were arrested and prosecuted for fishing illegally in British fishing grounds during the last six months, indicating where any such prosecutions occurred, and with what results, respectively.

Five: the French trawler "Catherine Laurence", the French crabbers "Amour de l'Humanité" and "Etoile du Souvenir" and the Belgian trawlers "Erna" and "Vertrouwen". All five were convicted, the first and fourth at Lowestoft, the second in the Isles of Scilly the third at Penzance and the fifth at Great Yarmouth.

Meat Prices


asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by how much the price of a joint of English beef costing 25s. today would rise if the subsidy were abolished and the full cost charged in the shops.

The Government guarantee is designed to maintain farmers' returns for their cattle. If the guarantee were abolished home production would fall substantially, but the effect on meat prices would depend on the extent to which imports would be able to fill the gap. For this reason it is impossible to estimate the likely effect on retail prices.

Trade And Commerce

Electronics Industry, North-East


asked the President of the Board of Trade what plans are in hand for encouraging the development of the electronics industry in the North-East.

There are at least eight firms wholly or partly engaged in electronics in the North-East. My right hon. Friend would be glad to see more go there. The facilities offered by the Local Employment Act are available to any who are prepared to go to a development district.

Butter (Imports)

asked the President of the Board of Trade to what extent France has agreed to the voluntary limitation of butter shipments; and whether he will now seek to impose a countervailing duty against the dumping of French butter in this country.

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer given to my hon. Friend, the Member for Torrington (Mr. P. Browne) on 28th November. France was one of the countries approached.

National Finance

Schedule A (Leaflet)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what distribution his Department intend to make of the Board of Inland Revenue leaflet N.99 (N) which deals with relief from taxation charged under Schedule A.

A copy of this leaflet is being sent to all owner-occupiers making a maintenance claim, as an enclosure to their next claim form. It is also available in tax offices to anyone asking for it.

University Students (Expulsion)


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to ensure that students expelled from universities shall have the right of appeal against expulsion.

University Laboratories And Workshops (Accidents)

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many accidents involving injury to students or damage to equipment occurred in university laboratories or workshops during 1960.

Hydrocarbon Oil Duty

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the receipts for tax on motor fuel for the last financial year including that used in diesel engined road vehicles.

Receipts of hydrocarbon oil duty in the financial year 1960–61 in respect of fuel used in road vehicles of all kinds amounted to about £365 million.

Home Department

Surrendered Arms And Ammunition (Disposal)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the final disposal of arms and ammunition which were surrendered under the recent amnesty.

Arms and ammunition surrendered under the amnesty are handed over to the War Office for disposal. Weapons suitable for Army use are retained. Prohibited and unuseable weapons are mutilated and disposed of as scrap. I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War regarding the disposal of the remainder. Ammunition is broken up.

Lord Russell's House (Demonstrators)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what authority the Metropolitan Police removed two people from Lord Russell's House, and later from the steps of the house.

The Commissioner of Police informs me that the police removed these persons from the house at the request of the lawful occupier who had asked them to leave. When they left the house they sat down on the footway and refused to move. They were then arrested and charged under the Highways Act, 1835, for wilfully obstructing the footway.

Motor Vehicles (Insurance)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the number of convictions in the courts for each of the last three years against motor vehicle owners for not having a current motor insurance certificate.

The number of convictions in magistrates' courts during the years 1958, 1959 and 1960 for the offence of failing to insure against third party risks was 35,232, 47,930 and 58,418 respectively. In addition there were 7, 55 and 23 committals for trial, but the figures available do not show how many of these resulted in convictions. The statistics do not distinguish between owners and other drivers.

Probation Service (Committee's Report)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the Report of the Departmental Committee on the Probation Service; and whether he will give an assurance that prompt action will be taken in respect of the recommendations of the Committee, in view of the present shortage of probation officers.

I understand that the Committee expects to report in the very near future upon all matters included in their terms of reference, except the approved probation hostel system. The Committee's recommendations will receive prompt attention.

Storage Of Petrol (Accidents)


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he proposes to take to give the widest possible publicity to the accidents involving petrol related in the Report of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Explosives for 1960, especially those which occurred at garages and petrol filling stations.

The Report is published by the Stationery Office and I hope that the local authorities which are responsible for the grant of licences for the keeping of petrol at filling stations and other similar premises will study its contents.

Tribunals (Rules Of Procedure)


asked the Attorney-General on what date the Lord Chancellor submitted to the Council on Tribunals his latest draft Rules of Procedure for planning appeals and for inquiries relating to the compulsory purchase of land by local authorities in accordance with Section 7 (a) of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act, 1958, as amended by Section 33 of the Town and County Planning Act, 1959.

Local Government

House, Liverpool (Compulsory Purchase Order)


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will give sanction to the Liverpool Corporation to acquire by compulsory purchase, the house, 71, Mulgrave Street, Liverpool, in the constituency of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Exchange, where notice to quit has been obtained on tenants 52 and 72 years of age with 21 years' residence and clear rent book, and on one 86 years of age, one 72 years of age and three over 70 years of age, in order to sell the property, with vacant possession details of which have been sent to him.

It is for the Liverpool Corporation to decide whether to make a compulsory purchase order and I have no power to act unless and until it does so. If, as is suggested, the owner wishes to sell, the Corporation may be able to buy by agreement.

Commonwealth Relations

Republic Of Ireland


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will open negotiations with the Commonwealth Governments with a view to inviting the Republic of Ireland to re-enter the Commonwealth.

No. I am not aware of any circumstances which would justify an initiative of this kind.

Students, United Kingdom (Information And Accommodation)


asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what arrangements there are for the provision of information, accommodation and welcoming arrangements for Commonwealth students arriving in Britain for educational purposes.

Information, accommodation and other services are provided by the British Council for students on arrival in Britain from independent countries of the Commonwealth and from Colonial territories. Details are given on pages 6 to 8 of the Handbook Overseas Students in Britain, of which I am sending a copy to the hon. Member.The Council co-operates closely with educational authorities and voluntary organisations who make a valuable contribution to the welfare of Commonwealth students. Assistance is also given by Commonwealth High Commissions and Students Offices in London.

Commonwealth Relations Office (Staff)

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in which British Colonial Territories the 14 former Colonial Service officers, who are first secretaries (principals) in the Commonwealth Relations Office, have served; and for how long and in what capacities they so served.

The details are as follows:

  • (1) Malaya, 27 years. ending as Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
  • (2) Ghana, 9 years, ending as Administrative Officer, Class II.
  • (3) Ghana and Cyprus, 8 years, ending as Senior Assistant Secretary.
  • (4) Malaya, 11 years, ending as Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Justice.
  • (5) Malaya, 10 years, ending as Chairman of Border War Executive Committee.
  • (6) Malaya, 28 years, ending as Resident Commissioner, Malacca.
  • (7) Malaya and Singapore, 20 years, ending as Attorney-General, Singapore.
  • (8) Nigeria and West Indies, 27 years, ending as Civil Secretary, Northern Region of Nigeria.
  • (9) Malaya, 12 years, ending as Controller of Rubber.
  • (10) Malaya and Gambia, 6 years, ending as Financial Secretary, Gambia.
  • (11) Malaya, 7 years, ending as Administrator, Petaling Jaya.
  • (12) Ghana, Tanganyika and Cyprus, 18 years, ending as Under-Secretary in Secretariat.
  • (13) Sierra Leone, West Indies and Nigeria, 26 years, ending as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • (14) Solomon Islands and Singapore, 15 years, ending as Principal Assistant Secretary, Singapore.
  • Tanganyika

    High Commission Designate (Staff)


    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations how many officers with a rank of second secretary and above have been appointed to the British High Commission designate in Tanganyika; how many of these officers, and of what rank, have previously served in British Colonial Territories in Africa or in Commonwealth Relations posts in Africa; and in what capacities, in which territories, and for how long they so served.

    Eight, of whom five have previously served in Africa. The details are as follows:

    High Commissioner: As First Secretary in the High Commission in South Africa for 44 years; also in Central Africa for a short period as Assistant Secretary to the Rhodesias Nyasaland Commission.
    Deputy High Commissioner: As Principal in the High Commission Territories for 2 years, and as First Secretary in the High Commission in South Africa for 1 year.
    First Secretary: As Principal seconded to the Nyasaland Government for 20 months.
    Principal Information Officer: As Principal Information Officer in Tanganyika for 34 years.
    Senior Information Officer: As Senior Information Officer in Tanganyika for 2¾ years.


    Accra (First Secretary, Information)

    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in which British Colonial Territories, in what capacity, and for how long, the first secretary, information, in Accra has served.


    Agricultural Credit Societies

    asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what progress has been made in the development of co-operative societies in Basutoland; and how far such societies are able to provide credit to their farmer members to assist them in their agricultural and pastoral operations.

    There are now over 100 agricultural credit societies in Basutoland. As I informed the House in answer to a Question by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) on 30th March, £80,000 had at that time been made available to the Basutoland Administration to finance an agricultural credit scheme through the cooperative movement and to provide loans to co-operative societies.I am glad to say that arrangements have now been made for a further £100,000 to be made available to the Basutoland Co-operative Banking Union from commercial banking sources. The Banking Union in turn will make advances against this sum to agricultural credit societies for crop loans to farmers.

    Central Europe (Controlled Disarmament)


    asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the most recent date upon which Her Majesty's Government put forward proposals to other Powers for an area of controlled disarmament in Central Europe along the lines included in the communique issued following the Prime Minister's visit to Moscow in 1959.

    Discussion with one's allies is a continuing process. But I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the Western Peace Plan put forward at Geneva in May, 1959 [Command 797] of which there is a copy in the Library.

    Pensions And National Insurance

    National Assistance (Caravan Dwellers)


    asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance if he will publish monthly figures showing comparisons over recent years of the number of caravan dwellers in receipt of National Assistance; if he will show these by counties or by other convenient areas; and if he will differentiate between static and mobile caravan dwellers.

    I regret that the information asked for is not available and could not be obtained without the expenditure of an excessive amount of time and labour.

    Retirement Pensioners (Earnings)

    asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance what would be the estimated cost to the Exchequer if the earnings rule for retirement pensioners were increased from £3 10s. to £4, to £4 10s., and to £5 weekly, respectively.

    On the assumption that no changes were made in respect of widows and widowed mothers, I estimate the cost of a 10s. increase in the earnings limit for retirement pensioners as about £½ million a year. This would fall on the National Insurance Fund. I regret that it is not possible at present to give even approximate figures in respect of the further increases mentioned in my hon. Friend's Question.

    President De Gaulle (Visit)


    asked the Prime Minister whether during the official talks he had recently with General de Gaulle he raised the Berlin problem; and whether he will make a statement on these discussions.


    asked the Prime Minister whether he has any statement to make concerning his recent consultations with President de Gaulle.

    I would refer the hon. Members to the Answer which I gave to the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), on 28th November.



    asked the Prime Minister what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken at the United Nations to ensure that Mr. Tshombe will enter into negotiations with the Central Government of the Congo; and what was his reply to the communication sent to him from Mr. Tshombe on this matter.

    Since I answered a Question by my hon. Friend on 24th November, the British representative at the United Nations has repeated Her Majesty's Government's position in the Security Council. A reply was sent to Mr. Tshombe's message through Her Majesty's Consul in Elisabethville—the normal channel of contact with the Provincial Government of Katanga. Her Majesty's Consul was instructed to impress on Mr. Tshombe the importance which Her Majesty's Government attach to an early meeting and reconciliation between him and Mr. Adoula.



    asked the Prime Minister what official communications he has received from President Kennedy regarding his recent talks with Dr. Adenauer on the subject of the Western Powers' position in Berlin; and what reply he has sent.

    Any communications between President Kennedy and myself would be confidential.

    Information Services (Answers To Questions)

    asked the Prime Minister which members of Her Majesty's Government are now responsible for, and will answer Parliamentary Questions on, the Information Services, including the Central Office of Information.

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary for Technical Cooperation, as co-ordinator of Government Information Services Overseas, will answer Questions which concern Overseas Information work generally, including external broadcasting and the work of the British Council. My noble Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friends the Commonwealth and Colonial Secretaries will continue, as hitherto, to deal with Questions which relate to information work in the countries with which they are respectively concerned.

    Ministry Of Defence


    asked the Minister of Defence, what agreement has been reached on the rôle of Singapore as a Commonwealth and South-East Asia Treaty Organisation base under the proposed Malaysian Federation.

    The position of Singapore under a Malaysian Federation is set out clearly in the White Paper (Cmnd. 1563) laid before the House earlier this week.


    Rehabilitation Centres

    asked the Minister of Labour what system operates at rehabilitation centres to provide a channel of communication between rehabilitees and management so that complaints and suggestions may be properly ventilated.

    A rehabilitee may at any time ask his supervisor to arrange an interview with any member of the staff. He is told this in person when he arrives and also in an explanatory leaflet, a copy of which I am sending the hon. Member.

    asked the Minister of Labour why protective gloves are not automatically available to persons doing engineering work at rehabilitation centres; and if he will take steps to ensure that they are provided.

    There are no bench or machine operations in industrial rehabilitation units in which the use of gloves is regarded as sound industrial practice or is required by Safety Regulations. If such operations are introduced, provision will be made for supply of approved industrial gloves. Rehabilitees suffering from skin diseases or with a history of skin diseases are not permitted by the medical officers to undertake exercises in which their hands may come into contact with substances—e.g. mineral oils—likely to aggravate or revive the condition.

    asked the Minister of Labour how the standard of aptitude tests for rehabilitation centres is determined; and if he is satisfied that they ensure fair opportunities to people of lower educational attainment.

    The tests are varied to suit individual requirements by the industrial psychologists at the centres. In so doing, they take into account educational attainment and I am satisfied the system works fairly.

    asked the Minister of Labour why no qualified gymnast is in post at the Handsworth, Birmingham, rehabilitation unit; and what arrangements are proposed to ensure that physical exercise is available there to those who need it.

    There is a general shortage of remedial gymnasts and despite continued advertising and other efforts, we have been unable to fill this post since the former occupant resigned a year ago. On medical advice the gymnasium has been closed as it is considered unwise to allow its use in the absence of suitable supervision. It will be re-opened as soon as this again becomes available.


    Adolescents (Psychiatric Treatment)

    asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will increase the facilities for the psychiatric treatment of adolescent boys and girls in Scotland.

    Psychiatric provision for adolescents is among the questions being considered by a sub-committee of the Scottish Health Services Council whose report is expected shortly. I am writing to the hon. Member about a case he has brought to my notice.


    North Staffordshire (Capital Investment)

    asked the Minister of Transport what capital expenditure he has authorised for new railway stations in North Staffordshire; and whether this includes the modernisation of Stoke-on-Trent station.

    The British Transport Commission has not put to me any proposals for capital investment in new railway stations in North Staffordshire. It tells me that, in connection with the London Midland electrification scheme, it has allocated about £120,000 for improvements to stations on the Staffordshire and Cheshire sections of the North Staffordshire railway line. It also tells me that the London Midland Region is considering plans for modernising Stoke-on-Trent station.

    asked the Minister of Transport what capital expenditure has been authorised for the electrification of the North Staffordshire railway line; whether such expenditure includes the Crewe—Kidsgrove line, the main line by-pass of the Harecastle Tunnel, and the North Staffordshire loop line; and when it is expected that electrification will be completed.

    Electrification of the North Staffordshire line is part of the London Midland Region electrification scheme which I approved as a whole.The British Transport Commission tells me that it has so far authorised expenditure of £5,142,100 for works and plant for electrification between Cheadle Hulme and Kidsgrove Central and between Stoke-on-Trent and Colwich. Electrification of the North Staffordshire line will involve the provision of a main line by-pass for the Harecastle tunnels. It should be completed in 1966. The total cost is estimated at £8,200,000.I understand that the Commission has no plans for electrifying either the Crewe—Kidsgrove line or the North Staffordshire loop line.