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Written Answers

Volume 653: debated on Friday 9 February 1962

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 9th February, 1962

Ministry Of Aviation

Skybolt Missile

asked the Minister of Aviation how much the United Kingdom contribution has been to date in assisting the development of the Skybolt missile; and what is the estimate of its total eventual cost.

:The United Kingdom Government are making no financial contribution to the development of the Skybolt missile and are not therefore qualified to pronounce upon its total eventual cost.


Trade Mission

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what conversations he has had with the British trade mission going to the Caribbean in March; and whether he will recommend it to visit the Windward and Leeward Islands with a view to encouraging economic development there.

The trade mission which will be visiting the Caribbean in March is being organised under the auspices of the Western Hemisphere Exports Council. One of its main aims will be to examine the possibility of further industrial development in the West Indies and visits to the Windward and Leeward Islands are included in its itinerary. The mission is receiving the full co-operation and assistance of my Department and of the Board of Trade.

Commonwealth Relations

Anglo-Nigerian Defence Agreement

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on the abrogation of the Anglo-Nigerian defence pact, particularly on the questions of overflying and testing Royal Air Force aircraft; and whether his Department will still have any maintenance staff in Nigeria.

The following statement was issued on 22nd January by the British and Nigerian Governments.

"The British and Nigerian Governments have been consulting together about the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Agreement. They have noted with concern that the scope and purposes of the Agreement have been widely misunderstood. In particular, fears have arisen that in consequence of the Agreement, Nigeria's freedom of action might be impaired and that she might even be drawn into hostilities against her wishes.
The text of the Agreement shows that these and other anxieties which have been expressed are wholly without foundation. Nevertheless, in order to end misunderstanding, the two Governments have thought it wise to reconsider the need for a formal agreement.
As a result, they have decided to abrogate the Agreement. Each Government will, however, endeavour to afford to the other at all times such assistance and facilities in defence matters as are appropriate between partners in the Commonwealth."
Questions of overflying and testing will therefore fall to be dealt with under the normal arrangements for Commonwealth consultation and cooperation. There is at present in Nigeria an R.A.F. detachment employed in servicing and operating the Hastings aircraft engaged in support of the Nigerian elements of the United Nations Force in the Congo.

National Finance

Refinance Credits

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in view of the advantages for United Kingdom exporters, the increased earning of invisibles, and the need, particularly in a European context, to offer in London a complete range of financial facilities, he will now allow refinance credits.

Yes. I have requested the Bank of England to allow refinance credits of up to 180 days in respect of sterling area exports. This additional credit facility should be of benefit to United Kingdom exports, in cases where the buyer requires short-term credit but the seller expects cash payment and is unwilling to draw a bill himself.


London Government (White Paper)

asked the Minister of Education, in view of paragraph 40 of the White Paper on London Government, on what grounds he has come to the conclusion that the 22 counties and 60-odd county boroughs in England and Wales, with populations of less than 200,000 each, do not provide a satisfactory education service because of their size.

I have come to no such conclusion. The proposals on education in the White Paper are related solely to the circumstances and needs of the Greater London area.

Local Government

New London Boroughs

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs on what he bases his estimate that boroughs of 200,000 inhabitants and over in the Greater London area will make for higher standards and greater economy in administration than those of the size suggested by the Royal Commission.

Type of AdvertisementTotal Number of appeals decidedDealt with by HearingDealt with by correspondence(a)
Public Information panels694821
Trade Signs(b)70397432255
(a) In all these cases the site was visited by an officer of the Department; in some cases he was accompanied by representatives of both parties to the appeal.
(b) The figures in brackets relate to appeals for direction signs not on the trader's premises.

Council Of Europe (United Kingdom Delegation)

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list the Members of the House of Commons who are at present appointed to attend meetings of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of

The Government's intention to aim at boroughs with a minimum population of around 200,000 had regard to a number of factors including the greater resources that would be available to boroughs of this size, the increased specialisation of staff and institutions in all the personal services that would be practicable, and the special circumstances of the continuously built-up area of Greater London.

Pensions And National Insurance

Graduated Pensions Scheme

asked the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance whether he will ensure that pension rights under the graduated scheme are not reduced when earnings have been lost through time spent on unpaid public service.

I am afraid not. It is of the essence of the graduated pension scheme that contributions are related to actual earnings, and benefits to actual contributions.


Forth Road Bridge

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will give an assurance that tolls will not be charged on the new Forth Road Bridge.

No. Government policy is that tolls are an appropriate method of financing expensive tunnel or bridge schemes, where great advantages to traffic are to be gained. The Government assistance offered to, and accepted by, the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board in 1956 was based on this policy and the Forth Road Bridge Order, 1958, which the Board promoted to give effect to the agreed financial arrangements requires them to levy tolls to repay the loans which I am advancing.

Trade And Commerce


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out in tabular form the import prices, export prices and terms of trade in the years 1950, 1954, 1958, 1960, and 1961; whether United Kingdom terms of trade are more favourable than they were; and why United Kingdom exports have not greatly increased in view of the world expansion of trade.

Details of import and export prices and of the terms of trade are published regularly in the Report on Overseas Trade and the Board of Trade Journal. There has been an improvement in our terms of trade; but in so far as this reflects lower commodity prices it has reduced the opportunities for trade with primary producing countries which take about half our exports. Nevertheless our total exports have increased by about 70 per cent. in value since 1950.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what recent action has been taken by Her Majesty's Trade Commissioners in Australia, New Zealand and Canada to increase the importation of British manufactured pottery, tiles and sanitary products; and what further action it is intended to take;

(2) what action has been taken by Her Majesty's Trade Commissioners in the United States of America to increase the importation of Stoke-on-Trent pottery; and what further action it is intended to take.

Trade Commissioners in Commonwealth countries and Embassy and Consular posts in the U.S.A. are in close and frequent touch with the pottery industry both by correspondence and by personal contacts in this country and overseas. I have been assured that pottery manufacturers are getting valuable help from them in various ways: for example, they provide market reports and they assist in finding agents for particular firms, in presenting cases against tariff increases and in the staging of trade exhibitions and fairs. These activities will continue. The Board of Trade will be glad to consider any proposals that the industry may have for further action designed to bring about an increase of exports.

Cost Of Living

asked the President of the Board of Trade why the cost of living has not been reduced, in view of the reduction in wholesale prices since 1954 and the improvement in the terms of trade.

The increase in the cost of living since 1954 has been due to increases in domestic costs: income from employment has increased more than output over this period and so have profits. Import prices are a little lower than in 1954. Average prices of basic materials and fuel used by manufacturing industry are about the same as in 1954.

Commodity Prices

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out in tabular form the percentage reduction between 1953 and 1961 of world commodity prices; and if he will give the same figures for the commodity prices charged to manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom.

The following is the information:

Changes in commodity prices
World commodity prices*1953 to 1961-9%
1954 to 1961-12%
Prices of basic materials and fuel used in United Kingdom manufacturing industry †1954 to 1961+ 1%
* United Nations index; 1961 represented by average of first three quarters.
† Comparable figures are not available for 1953.
Comparison of the figures shown in the table does not reflect a difference between the change in prices charged to British manufacturers and the change in prices charged to manufacturers in other countries, mainly because of differences in the composition of world trade in primary commodities and of manufacturers' consumption of materials and fuel. For example, the United Nations index covers all basic foods and beverages entering into world trade (with coffee the largest item, one-fifth of the total) whereas the calculation for the United Kingdom covers food only to the extent that they are purchased by manufacturers for processing; and the United Nations index excludes metals as being manufactures, and not primary commodities, whereas imported metals are included in United Kingdom manufacturers' purchases of materials.

Lettuce, Potatoes And Dried Peas

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he can announce his decisions on the applications for increased import duties on lettuce, new potatoes and dried peas.

The Government have given the most careful consideration to these three applications. Taking into account all the circumstances, they have come to the conclusion that the duty on lettuce imported during March and April should be increased from 20s. to 30s. per cwt., and the necessary Order is being laid before the House today. They have decided that an increase in the duties on new potatoes and dried peas would not be justified, and these applications have therefore been rejected.


asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the estimated general value of the exports to Hungary of complete factories and plant mentioned specifically in Annexe B of the trade and financial agreements which have been agreed for the 12 months ending January, 1963.

The Hungarian Government have agreed to give general facilities for the import of a broad group of United Kingdom capital goods and raw materials to the value of £.4¾ million under Part I of the Hungarian import quota list. Complete factories and plant fall under this heading. No specific estimate has been made of expected exports in this category during the current trade year.

Technical Co-Operation

Low-Priced Book Scheme

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation if he will list the titles of low-priced paperbacks under the official scheme which are at present being circulated; and what are the overseas territories where they are being sold.

I have been asked to reply.In addition to the university textbooks, the following titles have been offered under the Low-Priced Books Scheme to the countries named.

The Progressive English Dictionary.Hornby and Parnwell.
Good EnglishVallins.
Pocket Medical DictionaryRoper.
The Public Speaker's Pocket Book.Wallace.
A Grammar of English Words.Palmer.
The following further titles are likely to become available in the next few weeks:—

An A.B.C. of English Usage.Treble and Vallins.
A Guide to Patterns and Usage in English.Hornby.
Life on Other WorldsSpencer Jones.
The Making of Modern Britain.Derry and Jarman.
Hong Kong.North Borneo.Vietnam.