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Military Service

Volume 389: debated on Thursday 6 May 1943

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Hardship Committees


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is satisfied that Military Service (Hardship) Committees are composed of entirely impartial and independent persons and are, in fact, selected for these reasons?

The composition of Military Service (Hardship) Committees is prescribed in Part II of the Schedule to the National Service (Armed Forces) Act, 1939. I have every reason to believe that members of these committees are carrying out their duties in an impartial manner.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that Glasgow Trades Council is seeking to exercise control aver these committees and has issued instructions to members of the committees as to how they should act under various circumstances? Does my right hon. Friend approve of such action?

If my hon. and gallant Friend will send me particulars, I will look into the matter, but I have never heard of it.

If I send the documents to the right hon. Gentleman, will he take action to prevent an unauthorised body of this character attempting to influence hardship committees?

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that he does not interfere with legitimate action taken by Glasgow Trades Council to secure the interests of the workers?

Home Guard


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider making arrangements whereby suitable men who fail to pass the medical examination for military service are considered for direction into the Home Guard?

Can the right lion. Gentleman say when he will be able to make an announcement?

Applications For Postponement

7 and 8.

asked the Minister of Labour (1) whether he will instruct Military Service (Hardship) Committees that, when interviewing applicants for deferment, they should not request that the relations for whom such applicants keep house should move into lodgings and dispose of their household effects;

(2) whether he will instruct Military Service (Hardship) Committees to grant deferment to the daughter of a widower if she is the only female relative available to look after his house?

I have no authority to issue such instructions to the Military Service (Hardship) Committees. It is the duty of the committees to consider applications for postponement in accordance with the principles laid down in the National Service (Postponement Certificates) Regulations, as interpreted by the Umpire. I am sending my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of a leading decision recently given by the Umpire to indicate the circumstances in which postponement should be granted to the daughter keeping house for a widower father. The principles laid down in that decision would be applicable to the sort of case to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers in his Question No. 7.