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Written Answers

Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday, 13th March, 1962


Mrs Mafeking


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give an undertaking that Mrs. Mafeking will not be handed over to the South African Government.

No request has been received from the South African Government for Mrs. Mafeking's enforced return to South Africa, but, like any other person wishing to settle in Basutoland, she must comply with the immigration law as set out in the Entry and Residence Proclamation. As I said in reply to the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) on 1st March, the question of her continued residence in Basutoland is still before the Appeal Board established in accordance with that Proclamation.


Constitutional Committee's Report


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what has been the result of the consideration by the National Council of Swaziland of his observations upon the proposed new constitution.

The Swazi National Council has dispersed for the purpose of considering further at local meetings the Report of the Constitutional Committee and my observations on it. It is to reassemble at a later date with a view to formulating Swazi reactions.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a statement about future constitutional arrangements for Swaziland.

The Report of the Swaziland Constitutional Committee was published on 2nd March together with a despatch which I addressed to the High Commissioner giving my preliminary comments on the Report. In that despatch I said that the reaction of public opinion in Swaziland to these documents would be of assistance to me in formulating final decisions.


Ritual Murder

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT particulars of cases of ritual murder that have occurred in Nyasaland during the past twelve months.

pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1962; Vol. 654, c. 606–7] supplied the following information:NYASALANDDetails of cases of so-called ritual murder during past twelve months.

(a) Case of murder committed in Port Herald District on 27th March, 1961.
Six persons accused a woman called Nsai of bewitching the daughter of one of them by creating a crocodile which had subsequently eaten the child. They took Nsai from her house, stripped her, lashed her to stakes and burnt her alive. Before Nsai died, she named a second woman in the village, Khanachaka, as being responsible for the death of the child. The six men went to the house of Khanachaka, took her to where the charred body of Nsai was lying and burnt her in similar fashion.
Four of the six were sentenced to death at Blantyre on 21st December, 1961, and the remaining two, who were juveniles were released.
(b) Case of trial by ordeal in the Port Herald District reported on 9th January, 1962.
In this case, which is still under investigation, the allegation is that the deceased woman, who was suspected of witchcraft, was forced to undergo a trial by ordeal which included the administration of a liquid alleged to be a vegetable poison.
A total of thirteen persons have been arrested in connection with this case.

Colonial Territories

Non-Self-Governing Territories

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will specify the number of non-self-governing countries for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible, stating the population of each territory.

As the Answer involves a large number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The number of territories is 45.

Aden Colony200,000
Aden Protectorate1,000,000
Bechuanaland Protectorate237,000
British Antarctic Territory
British Guiana558,769
British Honduras90,505
British Solomon Islands Protectorate124,076
British Virgin Islands7,921
Protected State of Brunei83,877
Caymen Islands8,511
Falkland Islands and Dependencies2,150
Gilbert & Ellice Islands Colony45,600
Hong Kong3,128,000
State of Malta328,892
New Hebrides Condominium60,400
North Borneo454,421
Northern Rhodesia †2,480,000
Pitcairn Islands Group147
St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla56,684
St. Helena and Dependencies5,040
St. Lucia86,108
St. Vincent79,948
State of Singapore1,687,300
Trinidad and Tobago827,957
Turks & Caicos Islands5,668
* For the Caribbean territories excluding Jamaica, the Borneo territories, Hong Kong, British Solomon Islands Protectorate and Bermuda census figures are given; for the rest latest available estimates.
† The Secretary of State for the Colonies is responsible for the administration of these two territories except in so far as they come within the responsibility of the Government of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

Northern Rhodesia

Constitutional Proposals


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what representations he has received from Africain, European and Asian organisations in Northern Rhodesia regarding the new constitution; by what dates the delimitation of the constituencies and the registration of the electors will be completed; and when the election to the new legislature will take place.

I have received representations from the U.N.I.P. in which they criticise the constitutional proposals but indicate that they are prepared to participate in the elections on certain conditions. I cannot give a precise programme at this stage, but I envisage completion of registration by the summer, delimitation by late summer and an election in the autumn.

Tristan Da Cunha

Scientific Expedition (Report)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has now received a report from the delegation which visited Tristan da Cunha to ascertain the conditions on the island and the possibilities of the natives returning to their homes; and if he will make a statement.

The preliminary report of the scientific expedition organised by the Royal Society is expected to be available about mid-April.Radio messages indicate that the volcano is still active with many rock falls and lava still flowing.

Ministry Of Works

Mawley Hall, Worcestershire


asked the Minister of Works what grant to improve Mawley Hall, Worcestershire, has been discussed with or offered to the new owner; and if he will give details of such discussions, the reasons for them and the amount of public funds involved.

I do not make grants for improvement as opposed to repair. The new owner of Mawley Hall has been offered by me, and has accepted, a grant of £60,000 to help meet the heavy cost of necessary structural repairs.

Railings, Piccadilly


asked the Minister of Works, in view of the fact that the London County Council are putting up new railings at the corner of Green Park, London, if he will now replace the concrete posts and wire mesh railing in Piccadilly between Hyde Park Corner and the Ritz with a proper railing.

The cost of providing new railings would be high and no funds are at present available for this.

Telephone Service



asked the Postmaster-General what was the total profit or loss on the telephone service during the last period for which figures are available.

Boxmoor Exchange


asked the Postmaster-General when he expects that the building of the new Boxmoor telephone exchange will start.

Post Office

Sub-Post Offices

43 and 44.

asked the Postmaster-General (1) what are normally the minimum distances in urban areas between sub-post offices;(2) in what circumstances, and for what reasons, permission is given for post offices in urban areas to be situated within less than the normal distance between sub-post offices.

The normal minimum distance betwen sub-post offices in urban areas is a mile, but we do not apply this standard rigidly. We also take into account the number and position of the houses in each area, the nature of the local shopping facilities, whether the journey to the nearest office is particularly difficult, and the possible need to make special provision for old age pensioners.

Stamp Books


asked the Postmaster-General whether he will now introduce 10s. stamp books with 2½d. stamps to enable buyers of such books to send postcards and printed matter.

Yes. The contents of the 10s. stamp book are being changed to six stamps each at 2½d., l½d., and 1d. and 30 stamps at 3d. Books containing the new assortment of stamps will be available in post offices towards the end of April. Existing stocks of 10s. stamp books will be sold off.

Booklet "Exports By Mail"


asked the Postmaster-General if he will arrange for the General Post Office publication entitled "Exports by Mail" to be available at all post offices.

This booklet was intended not for general distribution but for firms interested in selling goods abroad. 50,000 copies have already been sent to those firms thought to come within this category, but any firm which has not had a copy and would like one can obtain it from district postmasters in London or from head postmasters elsewhere.

National Finance

National Economic Developoment Council


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received for the representation of agriculture on the National Economic Development Council.

I have received a number of letters, and the matter has been the subject of several Parliamentary Questions. I have discussed the whole matter personally with the President of the National Farmers' Union and explained to him that members of the Council are not intended to represent particular industries. Arrangements are, however, being made to allow of full consultation between the Council's staff and the industry.

Tobacco Duty


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having regard to the Report of the Royal College of Physicians of London, a copy of which has been sent to him by the hon. Member for Kidderminster, containing statements to the effect that evidence is now so convincing that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, urging decisive Government support and recommending bigger cigarette taxes and smaller pipe tobacco and cigar taxes, whether he will state his policy in regard to the loaded fiscal differentials seeking to discriminate for or against any particular class of tobacco consumer; and whether he will make a statement.

Since virtually all the tobacco revenue comes from the duty charged on the raw leave when it is withdrawn from bond, and does not vary according to the use to which the leaf may subsequently be put, changes of the kind envisaged would involve alterations to the existing framework of the duty. Such changes would be a matter for the Budget.


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his total revenue from tobacco duties, including the regulator, in 1961–62; how much derives from cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco, respectively; and what estimate he has now made of the effect on total revenue from tobacco duty arising from a 50 per cent. increase in dutiable materials in cigarettes and a 50 per cent. reduction in dutiable materials in pipe tobacco and cigars.

My Budget estimate of the yield of the tobacco duty was £835 million and I estimated that the 10 per cent. revenue surcharge imposed last July would produce an additional £50 million in this financial year.In regard to the rest of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I have given to the previous Question.

European Economic Community

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state, for the last convenient year, the rates and amount of Customs duty paid on imports of office furniture, domestic furniture, domestic electric appliances, glassware and pottery, respectively, from each of the member countries of the European Economic Community.

Goods within these general descriptions are subject to duty at various rates, depending on the precise nature of each article involved. These are set out in detail in the Customs Tariff, but some of the principal rates are as follows:

DescriptionRate (ad valorem except where otherwise stated)
Office and domestic furniture of metalgenerally 15 per cent.
of other materials20 per cent.
Domestic electric appliancesmainly from 10 per cent. to 17½ per cent.
e.g. Cookers10 per cent.
Refrigerators15 per cent.
Hairdryers17½ per cent.
Laboratory33⅓ per cent.
Domesticgenerally 30 per cent.
Othergenerally 25 per cent.
Ordinary tableware and cooking utensils.25s. 0d. per cwt.
Fancy and ornamental90s. 0d. per cwt.
Domestic sanitary fittings25 per cent.
Laboratory33⅓ per cent.
Industrial20 per cent.
I regret that information regarding the amounts of customs duty paid on goods of these descriptions imported from each of the member countries of the E.E.C. is not available.

Income Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the product of a 1d. rate of Income Tax.

On the basis of the Budget estimates for last year the product of each 1d. of the standard rate of Income Tax and proportionate amounts of the reduced rates is £30 million.

Trade And Commerce

Commonwealth Trade


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will give an assurance to the House that the expansion of Commonwealth trade remains a prime aim of Her Majesty's Government's trade policy, and that, in furtherance of this policy, preference will continue to be given, in all our trade dealings, to Commonwealth countries.

As to the aim of Her Majesty's Government I readily give my hon. Friend the assurance he wants. The methods by which this aim can best be pursued must in future as in the past depend on the circumstances of the time.

European Economic Community

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state, for the last convenient year, the value of office furniture, domestic furniture, domestic

Western GermanyNetherlandsBelgiumLuxembourgFranceItaly
Glass and glassware1,419,109223,7492,110,9601,328,260413,585
Pottery (domestic)686,841120,43123,0626,213156,127574,811
*Furniture (incl. parts)485,850256,29299,55733161,370296,786
Domestic electric appliances1,558,9581,153,297110,97636439,953479,425
Glass and glassware552,690947,477216,04892279,182505,131
Pottery (domestic)293,781153,94138,2681,169105,634296,791
*Furniture (incl. parts)216,485279,267236,8101,159221,88998,433
Domestic electric appliances3,010,8771,423,1761,071,3144,2711,992,6431,468,449
* Separate figures for office and domestic furniture are not available.
ItalyFranceBeneluxWestern Germany
Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.Per cent.
Office furniture11·4–21·815–22·311·4–182·9–14·4
Domestic furniture
Domestic electric appliances18–31·116–2011·4–16·88·1–11·6
Domestic glassware12·8–27·419·2–242419·2
Domestic pottery12·8–37·915–2715–2412–17·6
Full details of the import duties levied, together with particulars of any additional taxes which may be applied, on the individual items covered by this very wide range of products are available from the Board of Trade.

Local Government

Blackwater Estuary


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will give an assurance that, before approving further schemes for industrial or holiday-camp development by the Blackwater estuary, Essex, he will give full weight to the unique character of this estuary as the only stretch of coast within 50 miles of London which is still largely unspoiled and therefore mainly visited and enjoyed by the minority of townspeople, ramblers, youth hostellers, bird-watchers, pilgrims, and others who prefer to avoid crowds and do not seek electric appliances, glassware and pottery, respectively, imported from and exported to each member country of the European Economic Community; and what rates of Customs duty are payable on these items of entry into those countries.

The following is the information:the urban amenities of large seaside resorts.

In considering any schemes for development my right hon. Friend will certainly have the character of this area in mind.

Croydon Airport Inquiry


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he intends to publish the findings of the public inquiry held on 14th October, 1960, in connection with the future of Croydon Airport.

Yes. It will be published when the decision is issued. On that I am consulting the local planning authorities about the modifications I want to make to the proposals they submitted. These must then be published; and I hope that it may be possible to settle the whole question soon thereafter.


Slum Clearance, Gateshead


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs, in view of the 4,023 houses estimated to be unfit in the Gateshead County Borough and the promised special drive for slum clearance in the worst areas, why this local authority has been asked to reduce its plans for building 1,000 houses to fulfil its commitments for slum clearance during 1962 to a figure of 500 houses.

The Council estimated in September, 1960, that 2,818 unfit houses remained and said that they expected to deal with these within ten years. They succeeded last year in completing only 206 houses although they put nearly 600 into contract. It seems unlikely that they could manage a programme of anything like 1,000 this year or that they would be wise to try it; and they have been advised to plan for 500. But I am quite prepared to review this figure if they are able to make substantially better progress.

Bracknell (Middlesex Families)


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs how many families from Middlesex were given accommodation in the new town of Bracknell in 1961; and what is the total number from Middlesex, at the latest convenient date, who have been so accommodated since the new town's inception.

During 1961, the Bracknell Development Corporation housed 173 families from Middlesex. The total number of Middlesex families accommodated in Bracknell up to the end of 1961 was 1,744.


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (1) if he will indicate the schemes, to which he refers in his letter addressed to the Warwickshire and Worcestershire County Council on 28th February, which in his view would make a major contribution to the ultimate solution of the Birmingham housing problem;(2) in view of his recent proposal that the Birmingham Corporation and local authorities for potential areas of overspill reception beyond the green belt should in conjunction with him pursue urgently those schemes which are physically capable of yielding housing accommodation within a few years, if he will give particulars of these schemes;(3) in view of his decision not to approve the Wythall housing development plan, if he will now give his estimate of the housing needs in the West Midlands and Birmingham, respectively, after taking into account the provision allowed for in schemes already approved.

At the local inquiry into objections to the development of land at Wythall, Birmingham said that their urgent problem stemmed from the need to replace 47,000 slum houses. In addition they have many families lacking a separate home; estimated by the Council, I believe, at 30,000. For the whole of the conurbation these figures may be nearly doubled.The great difficulty for Birmingham lies in finding land on which to build the houses or to get them built. They estimated that, building at the rate of 2,000 to 2,500 dwellings a year, they could carry on till 1967, but that they would then be in difficulties for new land. While they hope to carry on at this rate within the city, houses for overspill are being built outside the city at the rate of about 300 to 400 a year.Wythall, of course, would have helped; but it would only have postponed the real problem—which is to promote more and faster development beyond the green belt. What is needed is to get started as soon as possible two or three major schemes beyond the belt, while pushing on all other town expansion schemes which have been or can be agreed. As the hon. Member knows, I am investigating the possibility of building a new town at Dawley. Places which have been suggested as suitable for major expansion are Redditch, Worcester, Daventry. I understand that consideration is also being given locally to a substantial expansion of Droitwich.Discussions have begun between my Department and the local authorities concerned about how to mount a programme which will secure and maintain an adequate output of houses to meet the needs of Birmingham over the years. No conclusions have yet been reached; and a great deal must depend on the co-operation of the authorities affected. The County Councils of Worcestershire and Warwickshire were very strongly opposed to any development of Wythall. I believe that, this having bean settled, they will now do everything they can to help in ensuring that Birmingham's needs are met elsewhere.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs on what basis he estimates the need for a housing programme in Birmingham of at least 2,500 houses annually; and how long he estimates it will take to meet the existing housing need at this rate of building.

I have made no such estimate. Birmingham managed to complete only 2,142 dwellings last year and at the end of the year had 3,607 under construction. They have been advised to plan for a programme of 2,500 this year because that seems to be as much as they are likely to succeed in putting into contract; but I am quite prepared to reconsider this if progress improves.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what is his estimate of the annual rate of obsolescence in houses in Birmingham.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what grant he has made annually to the Birmingham Corporation in the last 10 years for expenditure on the repair and reconditioning of substandard houses; and what further expenditure is proposed.

The amount of grant paid towards expenditure incurred by Birmingham in acquiring and reconditioning unfit houses is shown below. As the Council's programme of reconditioning is some way from completion, I can make no reliable forecast of the claims that will be made in future years.

Financial year to which claim is relatedAmount paid to date

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food



asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the annual saving in subsidy would be if millers paid the same price for British milling wheat as the Government guarantee.

The amount of the saving in subsidy if growers received from millers the full guaranteed price for wheat used for flour milling would depend primarily on the quantity of home-grown wheat used for this purpose and on the price realised for the rest of the crop. These factors vary from year to year and no precise calculation is possible. But for the 1960 crop, it is estimated that the saving on the basis suggested would have been of the order of £12 million out of a total wheat subsidy of just over £24 million. This estimate assumes that the price of wheat sold for other purposes would have remained unchanged.


asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food if he will take steps, in negotiating the Annual Price Review, to ensure that the milling industry pays the same price for British milling wheat as the Government guarantee.

Wales And Monmouthshire

asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food if he will give details of the amounts of Government funds which are now spent in Wales and Monmouthshire on agricultural education, agricultural research services and the agricultural advisory services.

The approximate cost of advisory services provided by the Ministry in Wales and Monmouthshire in 1961–62 is £810,000. The estimated cost of agricultural research within the Principality is £220,700 for the same period. Work at establishments outside Wales may often be concerned with or applicable to problems of Welsh agriculture.I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education that expenditure from public funds on the agricultural education provided by local education authorities cannot be distinguished from other expenditure on further education. The Ministry of Agriculture is only responsible for agricultural education at diploma level and will be contributing £2,000 towards the cost of the dairy diploma course at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, for the academic year 1961–62.Financial support from public funds for all university teaching in Wales at degree level and above is provided in the form of a block grant paid to the University of Wales by the University Grants Committee, which does not allocate a specific sum for agricultural teaching.

Royal Navy

Hms "Dreadnought"

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty what he estimates will be the approximate cost of building H.M.S. "Dreadnought" and operating her for one year.

It is not the practice to disclose the building costs of vessels which have not been accepted into service. Only experience will show the size of such important elements of running cost as fuel and refits; but the annual cost of the crew is likely to be rather more than £100,000.


Mellow Lane Comprehensive School, Hayes

asked the Minister of Education when he will sanction urgently needed building extensions for Mellow Lane comprehensive school in Hayes, Middlesex.

I have recently approved the inclusion of a project at this school in the building programme for 1962–63 in substitution for other work which has had to be postponed.

Welsh-Language Schools

asked the Minister of Education if he will give details of the numbers of Welsh-language schools in Wales at the present time, the number of teachers employed therein, and the number of pupils on their registers.

In practically all primary schools in Welsh-speaking areas instruction is given through the medium of the Welsh language. The latest available particulars about primary and secondary schools or departments for Welsh speakers in areas which are mainly English-speaking are as follows:

L.E.A.No. of Schools/DepartmentsNo. of pupilsNo. of Fulltime teachers
* Includes one Secondary School.
† Includes two Secondary Schools.

Royal Air Force

Nuclear Deterrent

asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the approximate proportion of Air Votes spent on the provision of the British nuclear deterrent, including cost of new aircraft for the year and pay.

As stated in the Air Estimates Memorandum, capital and recurrent expenditure represents approximately 10 per cent. of the defence budget. This includes pay and the cost of new aircraft.

It would not be in the public interest to divide this figure between Air Votes and the expenditure on research and development for which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation is responsible.

Ministry Of Aviation

London Airport

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will have the name of Northern Ireland added to the list on the departure board at passenger building No. 2, London Airport.


Fire Service, Coatbridge

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many fires have bean extinguished by the Coatbridge Fire Service since the opening of the new fire station; what was the nature of the fires involved; and what was the extent of financial loss incurred by the proprietors of the property damaged by fire.

I am in communication with the fire authority about the information required, and I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as I can.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT the cost of the new fire station in Coatbridge, the estimated annual cost of maintaining the station, and the number of fire personnel involved.

The capital cost of the fire station at Coatbridge was £85,900; the estimated annual cost of maintaining it is £46,000; and the establishment of firemen there is 38 whole-time men and 10 part-time volunteers.

Fire Service, Lanarkshire

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of each full-time and part-time fire service unit in Lanarkshire, the annual running costs of each full-time and part-time unit, the number of fire fighting personnel employed in each respective case, and the population served by each unit.

I am in communication with the fire authority about the information required, and I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as I can.

Salmon And Trout Fisheries Committee (Membership)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now announce the names of the members of the Committee on Scottish Salmon and Trout Fisheries.

Yes. I have already announced that Lord Hunter is to be Chairman. The other members will be:

  • Professor A. D. Campbell.
  • Mr. A. Gordon Chalmers.
  • Mr. H. C. Gilson.
  • Mr. Ian W. Mclnnes.
  • Mr. Peter Meldrum.
  • Professor V. C. Wynne-Edwards.

Mental Welfare Commission (Membership)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is now able to announce the names of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland to be set up under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act, 1960, and the date for bringing the whole of the Act into operation.

I have made an order bringing into operation on 1st June all those provisions of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act, 1960, that are not already in operation, including those relating to the functions of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.The Queen has been pleased to appoint, on my recommendation, the following as Commissioners of the Mental Welfare Commission:

  • Sir Hugh Rose, Baronet (Chairman);
  • Mrs. Joan Wolrige-Gordon;
  • E. J. C. Hewitt, Esq., M.D., D.P.M.;
  • Miss L. M. D. Mill, O.B.E., M.B., Ch.B., Dip.Psych.;
  • W. M. Millar, Esq., M.D., M.R.C.P.E., Dip.Psych.;
  • R. C. M. Monteith, Esq., D.L., M.C., T.D.;
  • F. W. F. O'Brien, Esq., Q.C.; and
  • R. W. Paterson, Esq.


M1, A5 And A45 (Accidents)

asked the Minister of Transport if he will state the numbers of drivers and passengers in cars, lorries and motor cyclists, respectively, who

Road userM.1, M.10 and M.45A.5 and A.45
KilledSeriously injuredSlightly injuredTotalKilledSeriously injuredSlightly injuredTotal
Car drivers and passengers1385114212367135205
Goods vehicle drivers and passengers239611024113146
Motor cycle riders and passengers110294024877127

were killed and injured on the M.1 and the sections of A.5 and A.45 which it relieves of traffic, between 1st November, 1960, and 31st October, 1961.