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Ministry Of Works And Buildings (Staff)

Volume 380: debated on Wednesday 17 June 1942

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether, as there are many highly skilled, experienced, professional and technical men above military age unemployed at this time and as the Central Register does not function for this purpose, he will apply to the various professional institutions for lists of suitable men available to replace those in his Ministry who are medically fit and below the age of reservation?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings
(Mr. Hicks)

The hon. Member appears to be under a misapprehension about the functions of the Central Register of the Ministry of Labour and National Service. This Department is the official channel for the recruitment of professional and technical staff in all Government Departments and for this purpose maintains the closest liaison with the professional Institutions. I would refer him to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service on nth December, 1941, regarding the setting up of the Appointments Department and to my reply to his Question on 13th May; no men below the age of reservation have been retained in the Ministry of Works and Buildings except with the concurrence of the Kennet Committee.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are a great number of men capable of doing this work who are over military age? Why should they not replace these men?

As I have informed the hon. Member on previous occasions, where these men are called up, and they are being called up with the exception of those reserved by the Kennet Committee, older men are appointed in their place.

Will the hon. Gentleman consider sending some of these highly skilled men to clear the blocked channels of the Central Register?

As in every instance there is a tendency for young men of military age to pledge their consciences to their seniors, will not the hon. Gentleman do what he can to encourage them to redeem their consciences?