asked the Minister of Labour whether he will amend the regulation whereby a building contractor or his son or brother when released under Class B may be directed by the employment exchange to a firm other than his own.
:I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Isle of Wight (Sir P. Macdonald) on 11th October, a copy of which I am sending to him.
In view of the fact that it is the usual practice not to send these men away from their home towns, does the Minister think that it is justifiable that these men released under Class B should be directed to work for a rival firm?
:I would prefer not to add to the answer which I have given. If the hon. Member will look at that, and let me have any further information, I will be glad to have it.
asked the Minister of Labour approximately how many men would be eligible for immediate release under Class B in the categories of building and civil engineering and industries ancillary thereto, if Class B releases were not restricted to 10 per cent. of Class A releases; and if he will consider removing or modifying such restriction in respect of such category.
:The information asked for in the first part of the Question is not available. As regards the second part, the answer is in the negative. The Government has repeatedly stated its intention to maintain the principle of release by age and length of service, subject to the provision for limited release in Class B, which has been accepted by men and women in the Services as fair and reasonable.
Is the Minister aware that according to a careful calculation made by the present Minister of Works, and explained to this House on 7th December last, only one in ten ex-Service families will be found housing accommodation within two years after the-end of the war? In view of that does he not consider that the majority of men in the Forces would welcome the early release of everyone who could help in building houses, even if it meant prolonging the service of others?
No, Sir, that is not the impression we are getting from the communications we are receiving. On the other hand, there is every reason to believe that with the demobilisation of 1,500,000 men by the end of this year there will be considerable labour augmentation generally in industry.
asked the Minister of Labour whether building operatives in the Middle and Far East are considered for Class B releases equally with those stationed nearer home.
Could my right hon. Friend publish comparative figures to illustrate his reply, as the men in the Far East are a little sceptical about it?
I hesitate to make any more promises, but I will look into it.