A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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Copy No. 284


The aim of this Report is to present an impartial assessment of public feeling about the war and the war effort. It is not a record of fact , except in so far as public opinion is itself a fact. The public is sometimes ill-informed, prejudiced, or inconsistent. The recording of such feelings without comment implies no endorsement of them.

The public is more prone to criticise than to praise. Good work or efficiency is usually taken for granted. An accurate record of expressed feeling will, therefore, tend to be critical rather than laudatory. Though this Report must inevitably represent mainly articulate opinion, it has been found in practice that the views of the less articulate do not substantially differ, though their range is smaller.

The method of compiling the Report is such that the amount of space devoted to each subject, and the order in which subjects are placed, are roughly indicative of the amount of public interest each is arousing. The omission of a subject from the Report means that It is not a matter of widespread comment.

In assessing the state of public feeling there are no absolutes. Findings can only be comparative. Each issue of this Report must therefore be read as part of a continuous series. Unless the series is seen as a whole, the significance of fluctuations in feeling cannot be appreciated.

The figures in brackets at the end of each section refer to sources of information, a list of which Is given on the next page. The weekly reports from Regional Information Officers (R.I.Os.) are compiled by their Regional Intelligence Officers from a large number of sources. Details of the methods of compilation and cross-checking are contained in a paper on “How the Home Intelligence Weekly Report is made”. This will be supplied on request to the Home Intelligence Division of the Ministry of Information.



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Wt 19398 10M 7/43 HJR&L

No. 162. 11th November, 1943

(Covering period from 2nd to 9th November, 1943)


1. General

There is a further rise in spirits, due mainly to continued Russian advances, the success of the Moscow Conference, the belief that German morale is deteriorating, and - to a less degree - our renewed air offensive and Marshal Stalin's speech.

There is growing optimism about an early end to the war. Few doubt this is the last blackout winter; many expect the war against Germany will be over early next year; a number, by Christmas; a few, by the end of November. There are reports of slackening of effort as a result of good news.

But disappointment continues at slow progress in Italy, and at lack of indication of the Governments postwar plans.

Home Front: War weariness, tiredness and strain are again widely mentioned (Eight Regions) and are thought to be increasing.

Comment and concern about strikes have reappeared.

The main domestic topics are footwear, the cut in the milk ration and, in some Regions, housing.

( and 18 passim)

2. Russia

Enthusiasm for Russia is higher than ever, and admiration for the Red Army is now described as boundless.

Speculation as to Russia's postwar aims,and as to whet she will do on reaching her frontiers is again less.

The belief that Germany would prefer to have Britains or Americans rather than Russians on her soil is reported from five Regions. Thus, it is suggested she may ask for Anglo-American help against a Russian invasion, or ,say, offer only token resistance in the West when the Allies land.

Marshal Stalin's speech, particularly his recognition of the Allied effort, has been received with great satisfaction.

There are, however, some doubts about the figures of German casualties given (Two Regions).

( and 18 passim)

3. The Moscow Conference

There is general satisfaction, and great relief at the dispelling of doubts about Allied unity; and particular the blow to German propaganda.

Points picked on have been:

(a) The promise that was criminals shall be handed over to the country in which their crimes were committed (Eight Regions). This is looked on as excellent policy because our Government cannot be trusted to be severe enough. For the same reason, hopes are still expressed that the Russians will get to Berlin first.

(b) The re-establishment of a free Austria (Seven Regions). Feelings are mixed. Some are pleased, but others are anxious or puzzled as to why Austria only should be picked out.

(c) Poland (Seven Regions). The omission of any mention of Poland has aroused disappointment that no agreement has apparently been reached.

It is now suggested that Mr. Roosevelt's advance announcement was made to counter press criticism that Mr. Churchill always gets news out first.

( 17 seven provincial P.Cs. 18 passim)

4. Next move

Feeling is very mixed.

Marshal Stalin's speech has raised hopes of further operations at any moment. This apparent contradiction of General Smuts’ speech leaves people in a state of some bewilderment. Some disappointment and impatience are also apparent. There are again complaints that we ought to be backing up the partisans in the Balkans.

There is little speculation about points of attack.

( 17 two provincial P.Cs. 18 twenty-two P.D.Rs.)

4a. Turkey

Speculation about Turkey's possible entry into the war. Some expect at least concessions in the shape of air bases, and free passage through her territorial waters and overland.


5. Inside Germany

Hopeful talk about collapse from within continues on. the same lines as last week, and for similar reasons. There is even some fear that, as a result of Allied bombing, the Germans will give in before they have “fully tasted the bitterness of war”.

( 17 five provincial P.Cs. 18 ten P.D.Rs.)

6. Italy

Less interest this week.

Military: widespread disappointment at our slow progress continues, but many take account of the difficult ground that was there and are more hopeful since the quickened advance of the last few days.

Rome: Speculation and - from Catholics particularly - concern over the safety of Rome and the Pope are reported. Some fear the Germans will destroy Rome rather than let it fall undamaged into Allied hands.

Political : Criticism continues, though. in diminished volume. The King's abdication would give widespread satisfaction - he is looked on with much disfavour. The emergence of Groce and Sforza and their stand against the King is regarded by some as hopeful, though a few look on Sforza as a place-monger, “out to get his own back”.

Food for Italy : A recent newsreel caused concern at the liberal way in which food was distributed to Italians, particularly as no check seemed to be taken of its distribution (Two Regions).

(l. 17 twelve provincial P.Cs. 18 passim)

7. Allied air offensive

Keen satisfaction with the renewed offensive (Nine Regions). Special reference is made to there being now no sympathy for the Germans. The U.S.A.A.F. raid on Wilhelmshaven and the R.A.F. raid on Dusseldorf are particularly praised.

But it is thought we should be doing still more.

( 18 forty P.D.Rs.)

8. Raids on this country

Again some anxiety and concern among older people (Four Regions) , and criticism of A.A. defences (Two Regions).

In London the raids are described as a disturbing nuisance, and the resultant loss of sleep - “waiting for them to come and go” - is thought to cause a lot of tiredness. People are pleased that our fighters appear to be up in force during raids.

Raid on London November 7 : Sympathy for the victims in the dance hall and milk bar incident (Three Regions). People in far off parts of London quickly learnt where the incident occurred and rumours of the number of deaths were soon circulating. In the South West it is suggested that things in London are worse than the news makes out.

Cross-Channel shelling : According to the South Eastern district report, there is evidence of a change in attitude of many Dover residents towards cross-Channel shelling. Whereas this was at one time regarded as unavoidable, today there is a feeling amounting to some bitterness that our shelling is no more than “gunnery practice” which brings in its train retaliation from the German guns. Official B.B.C. announcements which state our guns opened fire on enemy shipping seem to carry little weight by way of explanation; more authoritative statements are asked for to prove to townsfolk that good military results are obtained from our shelling. There is much comment on the fact that invariably the German guns only fire after ours have gone into action. There is said to be “no question of funk or loss of morale, but simply the bitter feeling we are being shelled out of our homes, and good citizens sacrificed to no military purpose”.

(3.5.5.SE.7.10.11. 18 eight P.D.Rs.)

9. Repatriation of prisoners

Comment is on the same lines as last week, with particular emphasis on the Government's duty to look after the men and not forget them; there is increased criticism of the money it allows them to buy clothes.

( 17 six P.Cs. 18 passin)

10. Far East

Little general comment. Explanations are asked for of the ratio of American and Japanese air losses. One report criticises the lack of maps and commentaries on the S.W.Pacific.

Worry about the safety of prisoners of war continues: “Can exchanges with the Japanese be arranged?”

Some anticipation of early action in Burma.

( 17. 18)

11. Famine in Bengal

Comment continues on the same lines and at about the same level as last week.

( 17. 18)

12. A Secretary of State for Wales

Disappointment, and stronger feelings, are reported from Wales at the Prime Minister's refusal to see a deputation wishing to urge the appointment of a Secretary of State for Wales. It is said that the matter is not controversial for Welshmen; and that if we are fighting for the rights of small nations, including an independent Austria, surely Wales, which has been unitedly behind the war effort, should get at least the same treatment as Scotland.

On the other hand, some hold that the Prime Minister should not be bothered with such a matter at the present time.


13. Broadcasting and presentation of news

Very little comment on news presentation; a few still complain of repetition, particularly of detail (Two Regions).

The Brains Trust (Seven Regions): Comment as last week, with the majority critical; McCulloch is still considered the best question master.

Noel Coward's Postscript, October 24 (Five Regions): Praise continues, with a few critical.

General : The following are praised this week: Francoise Rosay's Postscript, October 31 (Five Regions); “ITMA” (Three Regions); Air Marshal Joubert's commentaries; “Into Battle”; “Marching On”; the V.D. discussion broadcast, October 20 (Two Regions each).

The “trashy” variety programmes are again criticised (Two Regions).

(l. 17 two provincial P.Cs. 18 seven P.D.Rs.)

[Text missing] worse, and the Government is blamed for “tardiness and unwillingness to act”. Some people feel that if the Government can spare material and labour for a new House of Commons, it should provide houses to relieve existing conditions.

Furnished rooms seem to be the greatest problem, and particular reference is made to the difficulties experienced by:

(a) Couples with children (Four Regions). Three reports specifically refer to a landlord's veto on children.

(b) young people setting up home for the first time (Four Regions); some are “living uncomfortable lives with relatives”.

(c) servicemen's wives (Two Regions). Some landlords are said to refuse to let them rooms for fear they will be unable to afford the rent. “Is this the way the Government want us to have children? Our husbands serving abroad, while we have to exist in one room at an exorbitant rent.”

The high rents for all types of accommodation are criticised (Five Regions, London repeatedly). and particularly for furnished rooms; many people feel that rent restriction should be made to apply to furnished rooms and houses. High rents sometimes mean people have no money left for necessities. Profiteering is alleged - for example, a house which brought £40 in rent before the war, but which is now split up and bringing in £300 - but, one report refers to the need for increasing rents to cover the cost of repairs.

The Local Authorities’ requisitioning: powers have not come up to expectations (Four Regions). There are complaints of the time taken to get the scheme running. Local Authorities are said to be held up by the procedure which has to be adopted and it is thought that “on-the-spot decisions should be allowed, as housing is an emergency matter”. People ask why the Government does not take over empty houses, “if the Local Authorities won't”.

Some people say that requisitioning powers are not the solution, as often there are no empty houses available. One suggestion is that empty space in large occupied houses should be requisitioned.

Repairs : There is comment on the difficulties of getting sufficient repairs carried out to make houses habitable (Three Regions), and one report suggests that the allowance for expenditure on repairs is not always commensurate with the size of the-house. There is said to be great satisfaction in the building trade at the raising of the maximum allowed for effecting essential.house repairs. The increase is said to give much more scope, will enable many urgent jobs to be done and greatly relieve the post-war housing problem. Some, however, say that £250 is inadequate for a house which has been derelict for any length of time.

Agricultural housing; Little comment, but criticism continues of the price, design and small number of the new cottages (Four Regions).

Billeting : The difficulty of billeting workers is reported from the Southern and Eastern Regions - the latter repeatedly. The unfriendly attitude of landladies and the unhomely atmosphere of billets are criticised for conducing to street life and subsequent lowering of morals. It is thought that there should be some general appeal to landladies to be a little more welcoming particularly to young girls sent away from home.

Criticism of unfair billeting comes from two Regions; large houses with one or two occupants are pointed out as an example of unfair treatment.


16. Industry

Strikes (All Regions) : Comment has increased this week, after some reduction in the previous fortnight.

People are very bitter about strikes, particularly unofficial ones, because:

(a) A strike is a stab in the back for our fighting men.

(b) Satisfactory means of arbitration exist for any dispute.

Both the Government and Trade Unions are blamed for not taking stronger action: “severe disciplinary measures are long overdue”; strikers should be treated as traitors.

During the past four weeks there has been little comment about other industrial problems. Some mention is made of:

(a) Enforced idleness (Seven Regions). Only in the Southern Region is any strong feeling about it reported: In the Newport Cowes area of the Isle of Wight there is considerable uneasiness at the number of Island people directed to I.O.W. industries who cannot be absorbed. A case is mentioned of a woman who had done only twenty minutes'work in three days.

(b) Wages (Seven Regions): Criticism continues of:

(i) The high wages paid to munition workers.

(ii) The disparity of pay between skilled and unskilled workers. Particularly mentioned are skilled engineers, bound by Trade Union agreements to their lower wage rates. Arbitration award 326 is said to have cost hundreds of hours and is still after seven months being hotly debated.

(c) Long hours of work (Four Regions) Particularly mentioned as affected are older workers and girls who do a twelve hour shift in the North Eastern Region, and in the North Midland, are on night shifts. Production is thought to suffer.

( 17. 18 thirty-seven P.D.Rs.)

16a. Reports on National expenditure and Industry

Adverse comment is reported about:

(a) The high rates of profit on the construction of warships (report of the Committee of Public Accounts). in the Northern Region, “men with shipbuilding experience say part of the trouble is that shipyards can build a ship at half the price a naval dockyard can - and the Admiralty did not know this”.

(b) The inefficient gun factory near Glasgow (thirteenth report of the select Committee on National Expenditure). In Scotland heated discussion, and a belief Dalmuir is the factory concerned: “Almost all details fit - certainly the strictures on management and workers”. Government control is blamed for this muddle, and people are angry “such conditions should go on airing a life and death struggle”.


17. Mining

Comment continues on the same lines and at about the same strength as reported last week.

( 5.5SE.7.8.9. 18 six P.D.Rs.)

17a Fuel

While some people accept the now restrictions on the supply of coal as a necessary evil, other reactions are:

(a) Grumbling - among both those who could not get stocks in during the summer, and those who could. The latter feel they are being victimised now, by not being allowed any more.

(b) Fear that the North and North. Midlands will be very hard hit.

(c) Criticism that the allowance is the same, whatever the size of the house or family.

During the past four weeks, there has been a small amount of talk about:

(a) The quality, high price and distribution of coal and coke (Five Regions).

(b) Fuel economy (Five Regions). People are on the whole thought to be less careful about saving fuel this year. They should, it is suggested, be praised for what they did last year, and asked to do the same again - not to do more, which only makes them lose heart.

( 6.11. 18 six P.D.Rs.)

18. Manpower

During the last four weeks the main topics have been:

(a) The registration of older women (Eight Regions, many more than once). While talk has died down considerably in some areas, in others criticism and even strong resentment are still reported.

Opposition is still chiefly because it is thought this call-up would be unnecessary if full use were made of existing manpower; health is another reason given.

The desire for older interviewers for this age group is again reported.

(b) Alleged inequalities (Eight Regions).

(i) Young men’ still in reserved positions in civil life, while older men are called up for the Forces.

(ii) Influence or education having “a great’ deal to do” with direction and exemption - “Hardly any one ever meets people from richer classes in industry”.

There is also criticism of the alleged method of appointment to key positions in some Government factories of persons with few capabilities.

(c) Overstaffing (seven Regions) in the Civil Senvice, factories, local government offices and Civil Defence.

(d) Women evading call-up (Four Regions). A strict watch, it is felt, should be kept on:

(i) Women who avoid direction by claiming they have secured a job on their own initiative.

(ii) Young married women who move from their parents to their parents-in-law, and back again, and so are difficult to trace.

(iii) Camp-follower wives.

( 17. 18 four P.D.Rs.)

18a. Domestic help

Serious shortage has been reported during the past four weeks from nine Regions; the difficulties of expectant mothers, mothers with children, the sick, and very old people with no relatives to call on could be emphasised. It has been asked if domestic help could be directed into homes where it is urgently needed; some women are very indignant at this suggestion.

The question of domestic service after the war is considered a burning one (Two Regions). It is advocated that the status should be raised, to encourage more women, demobilised after the war, to take it up.

Mr. Bevin's proposals for recruitment of domestic staff for hospitals, etc. during wartime have aroused interest during the past week (Four Regions). Some people welcome the move, although many married women are alarmed at the prospect of such direction, as they feel they already have enough to do at home.


19. Civil Defence and firewatching

New Fireguard Orders: During the past four weeks these have continued to be criticised as unnecessarily complicated (Five Regions). Some are unable to see the need for them at this stage of the war in view of the lack of raids (Three Regions).

Fire-watching, as it is at present organised, is considered a waste of time in some districts and it is thought the regulations could be relaxed (Five Regions). Much unnecessary expense would, it is thought, be saved. People are still thought to be able to evade doing their duty (Four Regions).

Fire-watching is blamed for much of the weariness of workers (Three Regions) and fireguards complain of the monotony of duties (Three Regions). Some Wardens are said to feel injured, and to look upon the new Fireguard Orders as an unmerited slight (Three Regions). Having faced the blitz, they now feel superseded by fireguards.

Blackout : The desire for some modification of the blackout continues (Six Regions). Better street lighting would be welcomed.

C.D. personnel : Full time C.D. workers, it is thought, could be given some useful employment to do in their spare time on duty (Three Regions).

Torches: There have been complaints of torches being flashed “anywhere but where they should be” (Two Regions), and of the bright torches used by American soldiers.

( 17 five provincial P.Cs. 18 two B.D.Rs.)-11-

19a. Home Guard

During the past three weeks there have “been complaints from Home Guards of their “weary duties after a long day's work” (Four Regions). The necessity for three or four parades per week is found difficult to understand, and interest is falling off. There is a feeling that the Home Guard could be disbanded, or its duties modified, as the Germans are not likely to invade now (Four Regions).

Penalties imposed for failure to attend parades, especially in the cases of agricultural labourers, are causing some agitation, and are condemned as ineffective (Three Regions). Cases reported in the press are the subject of outspoken sympathy for the men involved. Home Guard officers in the North Midland Region complain that the press tends to sympathise with the offenders and does not print all the facts.

The recent Home Guard Order which states that certain men working a 60 hour week will not be required to enrol in the Home Guard is said not to be understood (Two Regions).


20. Clothing

During the past four weeks clothing difficulties have, continued a major topic of conversation (Eleven Regions).

Chief complaints are:

Footwear problems (Eleven Regions). There is irritation, indignation, and, with the approach of winter, concern, particularly among people in parts of the country with a severe winter.

Chief complaints are:

(a) The poor quality of shoes on sale, particularly children's (Eleven Regions). “Parents are at their wits’ end to know how to keep their children dry-shod in the coming winter.”

At the same time some satisfaction is expressed that the quality of children's footwear is to be improved (Three Regions).

(b) Scarcity of children's shoes (Eleven Regions) which some fear may lead to illness.

(c) Repair difficulties (Ten Regions). “The time the cobblers keep the shops and boots, and the wretched quality of the repairers’ leather” are a great problem to many.

(d) The high price of shoes for both adults and children (Seven Regions).

(e) Shopping difficulties (Three Regions). The closing of shops when their quota is sold is thought to operate against workers.

(f) The number of coupons required for women's shoes (Three Regions)

(g) The shortage of clogs, clog-soles, and clog-irons in the North Western Regions.

The demand for special household coupon allowance continues (Ten Regions): Housewives, in particular, resent” “the sacrifice” of personal clothing coupons.

The present position is particularly difficult for newly-weds (Two Regions).

Some people complain of the high price of household linen ( Two Regions).

Insufficient clothing coupons is another main topic of conversation (Nine Regions) , particularly “now that clothing stocks are depleted”, and specially those with small pre-war stocks.

Others for whom the present allowance is considered too small are:

(a) Children (Seven Regions).

(b) Industrial and heavy workers . The heavy toll on boots and suits cannot be made good, they say, even with the extra allowance granted (Eight Regions).

(c) Agricultural workers (Four Regions) for whom, it is thought, a supplementary allowance is badly needed*

(d) Expectant mothers (Two Regions). “Thirty-six coupons on nappies alone.”

The shortage and poor quality of clothing generally is deplored (Nine Regions)., and in particular women's stockings (Five Regions) : Their “poor quality” and, to a small extent, the shortage of certain sizes are a source of continual grumbling.

The Board of Trade and workers’ supplementary coupons (Four Regions). The lack of definite information about this year's industrial coupons is causing uneasiness and dissatisfaction, particularly in the North Midland Region.

An early official announcement is hoped for, especially among heavy and chemical workers, who feel they badly need the supplementary coupons.

“Trafficking” in coupons and Black Market (Five Regions) are complained of.

“Make Do and Mend” classes (Two Regions) seem to be popular, particularly in the South West.

( 17 nine provincial P.Cs. 18 eleven P.D.Rs.)

20a. Furniture

Complaints about the high price of second-hand and non-utility furniture have been made during the past four weeks (Five Regions). The enormous prices realised at sales make it impossible for people with small incomes to get the necessary furniture. Coupons for utility furniture are said to allow only for the furnishing of about one room.

Utility furniture is said to take a long time to come through (Three Regions);one Regional report mentions some improvement in distribution and less complaint that orders are not taken in rotation. Some people think that, while utility furniture is satisfactory in view of the shortage of material, the price is “out of all proportion to its value”.

( 18)

20b. Alarm clocks

During the past three weeks complaints of shortage have been reported (Six Regions), and there is strong criticism that permits are not made available to workers in general (Two Regions). Absenteeism in a Scottish factory is thought partly to be due to lack of alarm clocks; it is said also that some people who cannot get them keep the wireless on continuously.


20c. Toys

During the past two weeks there have again been complaints of the high price, poor quality and scarcity of toys. Parents are disappointed that so far few seem available and say that, in spite of control, prices are high in comparison with value... “22/6d. for four rough pieces of wood and two wheels”.

( 18)

21. Food

Satisfaction with the general food situation is again reported this week.

There is, however, widespread complaint at the reduction in the milk ration (Ten Regions). It is said to be more unpopular than any other food deprivation.

During the past four weeks satisfaction with the general food situation has continued. In addition to the complaints of the shortage of fish and the distribution of oranges (sec Constant Topics 19 and 11), the poor selection of extra jams, and the distribution and shortage of dried fruits, the following have been reported:

The distribution of milk (Eleven Regions): Before the announcement of the further reduction, people were reported to be complaining of the smallness of the milk ration (Nine Regions). It was considered to be barely adequate, particularly for old people and those living alone. Criticism was also made of the quality and difficulty of keeping milk (Five Regions) which was often sour when delivered. People continue to be dissatisfied with the rationalisation of milk deliveries (Four Regions). It is thought that milkmen favour their old customers to the detriment of the new.

Difficulties of small families (Six Regions) : Rations are still considered to be inadequate for people living alone. Particular mention is made of the milk, meat and jam rations.

Ration for workers in heavy industries (Five Regions): These are not considered adequate and there is a desire that the workers should be allowed extra rations, especially more meat.

Cooking Fat (Four Regions): The cooking fat allowance is considered to be inadequate, and there is a desire that more should be allowed for Christmas.

National Bread (Three Regions): There have again been complaints that bread is causing indigestion. The poor keeping qualities of the bread are also criticised, and more instruction on how to keep it is asked for.

Poultry (Three Regions): The high price of poultry is complained of. Geese in the North Eastern Region are said to be 58/- each, and chickens in the Northern Region are 18/- to 24/- each.

Lack of variety of food (Three Regions) : The general diet is thought to be monotonous. Minor ailments are attributed to this lack of variety.

(, 17 one Special, eleven provincial P.Cs. 18 passim)

22. Shopping difficulties and food queues

During the past four weeks complaints have continued fairly widespread, on familiar lines:

(a) Lunch-time and earlier winter closing of shops (Six Regions). Women workers have difficulty in getting their shopping done owing to shops closing “at times which appear to suit themselves”. The enforced earlier closing is also the subject of bitter complaint and thought to be unnecessary. There is some desire for a preference scheme for workers.

(b) Queues (Five Regions). Time wasted in shopping is complained of by both housewives and women workers. It is the distribution of goods on certain days only which is blamed for queues in some cases.

Malpractices of shopkeepers : The following have been reported from one Region each:

(a) Shopkeepers withholding goods which are about to go up in price. ”They completely disappear from the shop during the previous week.”

(b) Articles going off the market as soon as controlled price, point or coupon value is reduced.

(c) Retailers displaying goods in short supply but withholding their sale until a certain date, or releasing them to certain classes of customer only.

(d) Shoe shops opening at 10 a.m. and closing as soon as their quota is sold.

( 10)

23. Transport

20a. Familiar complaints of transport difficulties have continued to be widely reported during the past four weeks . Complaints are chiefly about:

(a) Rural districts (Eight Regions, several more than once). Buses running from town to town are said to be filled at their starting points and passengers in rural districts have little chance of boarding them.

(b) The crowding out of workers by people making unneccessary journeys (Six Regions, several more than once), chiefly shoppers ignoring the request to shop between 10 a.m - 4 p.m.(Five Regions), pleasure seekers (Three Regions), and children (One Region).

(c) The over-crowding of buses at peak hours (Five Regions).

(d) Queuing (Five Regions).

(e) Short distance travellers crowding out long distance ones (Four Regions).

(f) Empty or half empty special workers’ or Forces’ buses. leaving queues of other people standing (Four Regions).

(g) Bus drivers “deliberately” leaving people behind (Three Regions) particularly in the black-out.

In the Northern and North-Eastern Regions, complaints of the withdrawal of return bus fares have continued each week. The reply in the House to Mr. Turton is said not to have convinced people that the bus companies do not profit, and the restrictions, it is complained, have not resulted in any cutting down of unnecessary travelling.

(,13. 18 eight P.D.Rs.)

23a. Waste of petrol

Complaints of waste and misuse of petrol have continued to be fairly widespread during the past four weeks . Complaints are chiefly of petrol wasted by:

(a) Taxis (Four Regions) being used for shopping, theatres and pub-crawling.

(b) The Forces (Three Regions).

(c) The N.F.S. and the Home Guard (Two Regions each).

(d) Visits of Royal personages (Two Regions), both by car, and by plane with Spitfire escort.

(e) Farmers, Local Government officials, Civil Servants, the W.V.S., the W.A.E.Cs., and hired cars (One Region each).

( 18 three P.D.Rs.)

24. Agriculture (See also Section 14)

During the past four weeks there has been some miscellaneous comment on:

(a) Agricultural labourers’ wages (Five Regions). Some think they should be higher, more in line with those of industrial workers. The 5/- increase is said to have had a poor reception among farm workers in N. Bucks. Adverse comment is, however, reported on the high price of seasonal and piece rate labour - 14/- a day for women who refuse to do more than five hours’ work, and 5/- a day for school boys on potato picking.

(b) The compulsory ploughing up of land (Four Regions), “without regard to soil, condition of land”, or the impossibility of harvesting it if the season is wet. Isle of Man farmers are alleged to plough the land to get the subsidy, and then leave it.

(c) The work of children on the root crop (Three Regions), which is said to have pleased Scottish and Lincolnshire farmers.

(d) The present prosperity of farmers (Three Regions). The money being raked in by farmers is said to be a constant talking point in country districts. Some even say that agriculture has had more than its fair share of assistance and is now in a position to carry on without taxpayers being asked to shoulder further burdens in the form of subsidies.

Italian prisoners of war (Five Regions): Some doubt as to their present status is reported, and an increasing feeling that more use could now be made of them, whether in the mines, engineering, or the fighting line. Some people think it is “not fair for the British soldiers to do all their fighting to reclaim their country for them, while they are working on farms here and being treated to the best in the land”. An instance is criticised, in which our soldiers, called in to help with the harvest, were given sandwiches which they ate standing or sitting on the floor, while Italian prisoners sat down at tables to a hot meal. Two reports also mention a feeling that Italian prisoners on the land are better fed and treated than British farm workers.

( 18 four P.D.Rs.)

25. Health

Complaints of tiredness and minor ill health have been widespread during the past four weeks (Eleven Regions). These are attributed to general war strain, long hours often with extra duties, and the wartime diet “which gives no reserve of strength”. Women, particularly, are said to be showing signs of exhaustion, caused by the heavy demands on them. It is thought most people have got into a routine of war and are able to carry on, but as soon as anything goes wrong they feel overtired and are dangerously near a breakdown. Many cases of minor ailments are thought to be due to diet deficiencies. Government statements about the health of the nation are not always believed. People are anxious about the winter, and the effects on health of long waits in bus queues and poor footwear.

Shortage of hospital accommodation is reported (Three Regions): It is felt there is need for immediate action.

Tuberculosis (Two Regions): People are concerned about the increase; some instruction on prevention would be welcomed. Planned occupation for T.B. cases, “to keep their minds off their plight”, is urged.

Doctors : Some concern about the shortage of doctors; patients often have to wait two or three hours for attention. It is thought that the hours spent by doctors in Home Guard practices are a waste of valuable time.

Blood transfusion (Two Regions): In Wales it is thought that the indifferent response to leaflet appeals for donors was due to ignorance about what happens and whether it is harmful; verbal or film appeals are suggested. The North Western Regional report states that Birkenhead people working in Chester who come to the Birkenhead Hospital to give blood lose pay for the time they are away, This is considered unfair, as the scheme is run through the works.

( 17. 18)

26. Venereal Diseases campaign

During the past two weeks the campaign has continued to receive general approval. The advertisements are thought excellent; they have “eased the minds of many women who had strange ideas about it all”.

People are concerned about the number of cases of V.D. among young girls; they feel more should be done to protect them from the dangers arising from the large numbers of foreign troops in the country. Some feel the non-treating order in public houses should be reimposed.

The statements by the Archbishops of York and Canterbury (October 20) and the broadcast discussion between the Radio Padre and Doctor (October 20) are again praised (Two Regions each)


27. “Pay-as-you-earn” income tax

During the past two weeks approval has continued for the “pay-as-you-earn” income tax scheme (Ten Regions). It is hoped that it will eventually be extended to cover all salary earners.

Some fears are entertained, however, that:

(a) The scheme will cause absenteeism (Three Regions).

(b) Much extra clerical work will be required, particularly by large firms (Three Regions). Some employers are said to claim that wages will have to be paid seven days in advance.

Many people, it is thought, do not understand the scheme sufficiently (Three Regions), and a further statement is suggested.

( 17 one P.C. 18 ten P.D.Rs.)

27a. Married women's savings

Criticism of the recent decision that money saved on housekeeping is the property of the husband comes from seven Regions. Many people, particularly women, are indignant strongly condemning the “antiquated law”, but there is also some amused comment. According to men, wise housewives do not support the paying of a wage by a husband, as this would jeopardise the comradeship of married life.


27b. Old age pensions

Criticism of inadequacy continues (Five Regions). People feel pensioners are neglected in this “era of youth” There is also comment on the decrease in supplementary allowance in munitions £5 and grudge shillings to old age pensioners?”

( 17)

27c. Servicemen's pensions and dependants’ allowances

During the past two weeks references have been made to;

(a) Inadequate pensions (Three Regions). These are considered insufficient for the present standard of living.

(b) Resentment at refusals and decisions made by Pensions.. Tribunals, who “whittle you down to the last farthing" (Two Regions). People would like to be assured that all servicemen will get a square deal and that there will be no repetition of the treatment of the last war.

(c) Concern at delay in the issue of pensions to discharged men, which causes “real distress of mind and much hardship to wives and families” (One Region).


28. Juvenile Courts

Comment continues about the Hereford case, although on a reduced scale (Eight Regions).

Opinion is divided as to the magistrates’ responsibility; as regards the boy, it is felt there should be “some form of deterrent for the young hooligan class”.

Many feel the Juvenile Courts should be examined and reformed and suggestions are as follows:

(a) J.Ps. should be younger (Three Regions).

(b) They should be paid (Three Regions )

(c) They should be qualified for the job (Two Regions).

(d) Methods of appointment should be revised, preferably to give a wider class representation - appointments should not be made as a reward for political services (Three Regions).


29. Salvage

Some slackening of effort in the salvage campaign has been reported during the past four weeks , owing, it is said, to poor collection services (Four Regions). “People are tired of saving salvage when collections are so far apart or completely suspended.” There are again grumbles about the removal of railings from private property (Three Regions)...”Gardens are looted with not a hope of redress for the owner of produce”.

Long-standing dumps of tins and scrap metal are again reported (Two Regions).

Paper (Three Regions): Uncollected paper salvage deteriorates or is burnt because there is no collection...”sacks of books collected in the book drive are still not taken up by the central authority”. But in Llandudno the local Council is reported to have set a good example.

Timber (One Region): The appeal to save timber is described as “a trifle out of place when firms are breaking up good boxes for firewood”.

Old clocks and watches now given merely for metal content: The suggestion is made that these should be collected at a central depot for use as spare parts in repair work (One Region).



(Covering period from 12th October to 9th November, 1943)

All topics arising for the first time are included in the main weekly Reports. The following have lost their novelty, while still retaining their importance for large sections of the public. They are arranged according to the frequency with which they have been reported.

No subject has been included to which fewer than nine references have been made during the past month.

1. Transport difficulties

21 October Regions 5SE. 6.8.10.
28 October Regions 5SE. 6.10.
4 November Regions 5SE.
11 November Regions

2. Opposition to the registration of women of 46-50

21 October Regions 5SE. 6.7.9.
28 October Regions
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

3. Difficulty of getting shoes repaired

21 October Regions 1.5.5SE.9.10.
28 October Regions 1.2.3.
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

4. Tiredness and ill-health

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions l.
11 November Regions

5. Inadequacy of clothing coupons for:

(a) Renewing household goods

21 October Regions
28 October Regions 2.5.5SE.
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

(b) Unspecified

21 October Regions
28 October Regions 3.5.7.
4 November Regions l.
11 November Regions

(c) Growing children

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions 5.
11 November Regions

(d) Working clothes for workers

21 October Regions
28 October Regions 3.4.6.
4 November Regions 6.8.9.
11 November Regions 1.3.10

6. Belief that the best use is not being made of man and woman power

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions
11 November Regions 1.5.6.

7. Shopping difficulties and food queues

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

8. Milk difficulties, due to:

(a) Distribution

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions
11 November Regions 2.5.10.

(b) Reduction of ration

21 October Regions Nil
23 October Regions Nil
4 November Regions 1.4.6.
11 November Regions

(c) Poor Quality or not fresh

21 October Regions 1.
28 October Regions 3.4.
4 November Regions 2.6.
11 November Regions 5SE.

9. Waste of petrol

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions
11 November Regions 1.9.

10. Disparities in pay

21 October Regions 3.5SE.
28 October Regions 1.3.
4 November Regions l.
11 November Regions

11. Poor distribution of oranges

21 October Regions 2.
28 October Regions
4 November Regions
11 November Regions 4.8.9.

12. Preferential treatment by shopkeepers and conditional sales to the public

21 October Regions 4.6.
28 October Regions 5.5SE.8.
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

13. Enforced idleness in industry, wasted time, or complaints of bad organisation

21 Octoter Regions 3.5.
28 October Regions
4 November Regions 1.5.
11 November Regions

14. Poor quality, high price, or distribution of coal

21 October Regions 4.
28 October Regions 3.4.
4 November Regions 1.5.6.
11 November Regions

15. Inadequacy of Service pay and dependants’ allowances and Service pensions

21 October Regions 10.
28 October Regions 3.5.10.
4 November Regions 3.4.8.
11 November Regions 3.4.9.

16. Complaints about salvage collection

21 October Regions 10.
28 October Regions 3.5SE.9.
4 November Regions 3.6.8.
11 November Regions 3.5.


17. Shortage and poor quality of footwear for:

(a) Children

21 October Regions
28 October Regions l.
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

(b) Adults

21 October Regions
28 October Regions 5.10.11.
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

18. Shortage and high price of housing accommodation and difficulty of billeting workers

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

19. Shortage of fish

21 October Regions
28 October Regions 2.4.5SE.6.10.
4 November Regions
11 November Regions

20. Shortage and high price of crockery, glass and kitchenware

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions 4.5SE.7.10.
11 November Regions

21. Shortage of domestic help

21 October Regions 2.7.8.
28 October Regions 1.3.9.
4 November Regions 5.5SE.7.9.
11 November Regions

22. Shortage and poor quality of adults’ and children's clothing; including utility clothing

21 October Regions
28 October Regions 4.5.6.
4 November Regions 5.
11 November Regions 4.5.10.

23. Shortage of biscuits

21 October Regions
28 October Regions 4.6.7.
4 November Regions 5SE.
11 November Regions 2.7.

24. Shortage of, and demand for alarm clocks

21 October Regions
28 October Regions
4 November Regions 1.
11 November Regions

25. Shortage of sweets and chocolate

21 October Regions 2.4.5SE.7.
28 October Regions
4 November Regions 5SE.
11 November Regions 3.7.10.

26. Shortage and unequal distribution of fresh fruit

21 October Regions 1.6.7.
28 October Regions 1.2.
4 November Regions 2.6.10.
11 November Regions 2.3.

27. Shortage of breakfast cereals

21 October Regions 4.7.
28 October Regions 2.6.8.
4 November Regions 3.5SE.6.
11 November Regions 6.

28. Shortage of torch and cycle batteries

21 October Regions 5SE.10.
28 October Regions 2.10.
4 November Regions
11 November Regions 3.

29. Shortage of cornflour and custard powder

21 October Regions 3.4.
28 October Regions 1.10.
4 November Regions 2.5SE.
11 November Regions 2.7.10.

The following subjects, included in this list last month, are now omitted as there have been fewer than nine references to them during the past month: (i) Transfer of labour (ii) Shortage of golden syrup.


1. Northern Region (Newcastle) Weekly Reports from R.I.Os.
2. North Eastern Region (Leeds)
3. North Midland Region (Nottingham)
4. Eastern Region (Cambridge)
5. London Region (London)
5SE. South Eastern District Office, London Region (Tunbridge Wells)
6. Southern Region (Reading)
7. South Western Region (Bristol)
8. Wales (Cardiff)
9. Midland (Birmingham)
10. North Western Region (Manchester)
11. Scotland (Edinburgh)
12. See 5SE.
13. Northern Ireland (Belfast)
14. Special Reports from R.I.Os.
15. Regions Adviser's Reports
16. M.O.I. Speakers’ Reports
17. Postal Censorship
18. Police Duty Room Reports
19. Wartime Social Survey Reports
20. B.B.C. Listener Research Papers
21. B.B.C. Special Papers
22. Scottish Unionist Whips’ Reports
23. Liberal Part's Reports
24. Primary Sources

D 37138-1 10,000 6/43 R P W

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