Skip to main content


Volume 414: debated on Thursday 18 October 1945

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Royal Navy And Royal Air Force Officers


asked the Prime Minister if it is proposed to defer the release of officers of the R.N. and R.A.F. after the group dates already announced.

It is not the intention to depart from the schedules of release already promulgated for the Royal Navy, but it may be necessary to defer under the military necessity clause of the White Paper, the release of a few individuals in the Royal Air Force, particularly in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of the air transport arrangements for the return of men from overseas.

Can the Prime Minister give any estimate of the number involved?

British Oversea Volunteers


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider introducing some special concession in respect of release from the Services as it applies to men who, British subjects residing overseas, volunteered for the British Armed Forces in which they have served.

No, Sir. Volunteers from overseas serving in the Armed Forces will be released, like other members of the Forces, on the basis of age and length of service.

Paper Trade Employees


asked the Minister of Labour whether he can now include in Class B former employees in the paper trade, so as to put them on the same footing as printers and stimulate the production of paper and printed matter for export.

Neither the printing trade nor the paper trade are covered by schemes for block release from the Forces in Class B. It is open to the appropriate Government Department to sponsor an application for the release from the Forces in Class B of a former employee in the paper trade if he is an individual key specialist urgently required for reconstruction work.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether that will apply to binders in view of the enormous and unprecedented demand for British books in Europe?

It applies generally to any industry which can show that an individual key specialist is required to get on with the work.

University Students


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will reconsider the scheme for the release from the Services of University students and extend it as soon as possible to cover men who were reading natural science before being called up.

I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Hallam (Mr. Jennings) on 9th October, a copy of which I am sending him.

Does my right hon. Friend realise how urgent this matter is in the engineering industry?

Honours (Political And Public Services)


asked the Prime Minister if he will discontinue the practice of making recommendations for honours to be given for political and other public services.

Will not my right hon. Friend seriously consider the first part of the Question—to discontinue the practice of making recommendations for honours?

Opticians (Skilled Labour)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that as a result of the shortage of skilled labour it takes from six weeks to three months at the present time to obtain repairs to spectacles; what priority is at present given to assist ophthalmic opticians in this connection; and whether any steps will be taken to improve the position in the near future.

A general priority for the supply of skilled labour to ophthalmic opticians has not been justifiable in recent years because of the necessity for employing these workers on even more essential work. There have, however, been methods of assisting firms in cases of especial difficulty. I have every hope that the position will improve with demobilisation and releases from munition production and as men and women become free to choose their employment.

In view of the fact that the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's statement no longer applies, will he give consideration to the needs of the community as a whole in respect of this very important commodity?

Ex-Service Personnel (Training)


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is satisfied with the working of the Government Training Scheme for ex-Service men and women; what is the maximum capacity of each of the Government Training Centres; how many men and women are at present under training in each centre, and in what trades; how many of these men and women are ex-Service or ex-Merchant Navy; and whether it is proposed to expand the scheme.

In reply to the first part of the Question I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon) on 9th October, a copy of which I am sending him. As the other parts of the Question involve statistical information, I will with permission circulate a detailed statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the general public want to know what is going on in this connection, and will he assure the House that wider publicity will be given to this in future?

Yes, Sir, and I hope the statement I am circulating will give the information required.

Following is the statement:

Centre.Estimated Maximum Capacity.No. in Training.No. of ex-Service, or ex-Merchant Navy, men and women (included in Cols. (3)-(4))

* Adaptation work now in hand must be completed before the maximum number of places will be available

Training Courses in Operation in Existing Centres.

Training is now available in existing Centres in the following trades:

Artificial Limb Making

Building Trades (Bricklayers, Carpenters, Painters, Plasterers, Plumbers and Wood Machinists)

Building and Civil Engineering Fitting





Typewriter Repair

Watch and Clock Repairing


and arrangements are being made to extend training to other trades.

Domestic Service


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the difficulties of the University-hostel in Bangor in obtaining domestic assistance; and whether, in view of the importance of such services to education, he will arrange to expedite his plans for providing an adequate supply of domestic servants, particularly in North Wales.

I am aware that difficulty is being experienced in filling seven vacancies for domestic workers in the University hostel in Bangor. As the hon. Member will be aware, there is an acute shortage of domestic workers and heavy demands for hospitals and similar institutions which have a first call on available labour. I am, however, prepared to give a priority to vacancies in educational institutions when appropriate wages and conditions are offered. In order to meet this particular need I propose, if the University authorities agree, to arrange for them to send a representative to selected Local Offices in Wales to try to stimulate interest in this type of employment.

Will the Minister consider employing female domestic workers from the Continent brought here under proper conditions and supervision?

That is rather another question, but that is being tried out in one London hospital.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consult with the Departments concerned, with a view to bringing over to this country, German and Austrian women on a voluntary basis, to alleviate the shortage of domestic workers both in private homes and public institutions.

No, Sir; I do not think that in present circumstances it would be to the public interest or beneficial to public order to bring German or Austrian women over here for domestic employment.

Will the right hon. Gentleman perhaps reconsider the matter when the conditions he suggested are perhaps more favourable?

I think it will be a long time before the women in the constituency that I represent will feel willing to work with Austrian or German women.

Is the Minister aware that that is not the experience of women who are in close touch with German and Austrian refugee women in this country and that these have been remarkable in getting on with their British fellow workers in industry?

I am not speaking of refugees. I was only anticipating that the experience of other Members in their constituencies might be the same as is mine.

Is not the sentiment expressed in the answer to the first supplementary dangerously near that of National Socialism?

Has not the right hon. Gentleman considered in his answer to this Question the implications of the published declaration in relation to Austrian women?


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is now in a position to state the Government's decisions on the subject of the Markham-Hancock Report on Domestic Service.

I am in consultation with my colleagues on the issues involved in the recommendations of this report and hope to be in a position to announce to the House at an early date the Government's proposals for dealing with private domestic service.

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this report has been in the hands of the Government for a very long time, that it was published in June and is of great interest to all sections of opinion in this country?

Yes, Sir, I have had the advantage of reading the report and I think that its recommendations are of considerable value, and negotiations are proceeding on that line.

Can the Minister say what he is doing to make the masters or mistresses worthy of the domestic servants whom they employ?

Aliens (Employment)


asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the conditions under which foreign nationals temporarily resident in this country may take employment.


asked the Minister of Labour what are the conditions under which foreign nationals are entitled to take up employment in this country.

Foreign nationals temporarily resident in this country normally have a condition on their entry visa and police Certificate of Registration under which they require the permission of my Department before taking up or changing any employment. They may not be placed in or granted permission to accept employment where this would be to the detriment of suitable unemployed British labour, nor where the conditions and wages are less favourable than those which would be offered to a British subject.

In the case of Allied airmen who served in the Royal Air Force and who have been wounded and discharged, are the same difficulties put in their way if they cannot return to their own country for political reasons?

Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter if I give him further information about their difficulty in getting employment?

If the hon. and gallant Member will send me particulars, I will gladly look into them.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that he is getting as good results in his efforts to secure labour for various occupations which are crying out for labour as his predecessor was in getting the necessary labour for the prosecution of the war? Is my right hon. Friend trying the same methods?

I hope it will not be necessary to have a war to induce people to go back to work.

House Refuse (Collection)


asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the difficulties being experienced by many local authorities in the regular collection of house refuse owing to the lack of labour; and, in view of the importance to public health, whether he will instruct his local officers to regard this work as of urgent priority and to give local authorities all the assistance possible in providing the necessary labour.

I am aware of these difficulties and my Department has been doing its best to help the local authorities to overcome them; but the work of refuse collection requires able-bodied men and such labour is in particularly short supply. I am, however, considering, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, whether anything more can be done.

Aircraft Factory, Aberdeen (Redundant Workers)


asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to find work for the large numbers of skilled and unskilled workers who have recently been discharged, and are still being discharged, from the M.A.P. factory at Tullos, Aberdeen.

During the past month 106 workers have been declared redundant at the Tullos Works, Aberdeen. Only eight of those seeking further employment remain to be placed and there are prospects of placing these shortly.

Is the Minister aware that this factory has been declared redundant by the Board of Trade, and will not the further unemployment which will thus be created by the end of the year, cause distress in Aberdeen; and can he say what steps he proposes to take to find employment for the people who have been disemployed in that way?

That is rather a different question, but I can assure my hon. and learned Friend that my right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade is doing all he can to find employment for workers in factories that have been closed down, after being on Government work.

Unemployment Statistics, Glasgow


asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed men and women, respectively, in each exchange at Glasgow at 1st October, 1945.

A count of the unemployed was made on 15th October, and I will send the figures to my hon. Friend as soon as they are available.

Excess Profits Tax And Purchase Tax


asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when it will be possible to refund to business concerns the proportion of Excess Profits Tax due to be refunded to them after the end of the war.

71 and 72.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he proposes to abolish Excess Profits Tax now that the war is over;

(2) when he proposes to abolish the Purchase Tax.

I have been asked to reply. I would ask my hon. Friends to await my right hon. Friend's Budget Statement.

Unofficial Strikers (Ration Cards)


asked the Minister of Labour if he will arrange for ration cards to be withdrawn, after due warning, from all workers who strike without trade union authority and in defiance of Government advice.

What steps is the right hon. Gentleman taking to strengthen the hands of the trades unions in dealing with the conduct and indiscipline which we see at present, and the attempts to hold the State up to ransom?

Nobody with any intelligence would accept the last part of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's reference. Secondly, you will not help the trades unions to restore confidence if you starve the members; and thirdly if people are to be fed on the basis of the amount of return they give to the community, a lot of other people will be hungry.

Business Of The House

May I ask the Leader of the House if he will make a statement on the Business for next week?

The Business for next week will be as follows:

Monday, 22nd October—Second Reading of the Consolidated Fund (No. 1) Bill. A Debate will take place on Demobilisation.

On Tuesday, 23rd October, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will open his Budget.

Wednesday and Thursday, 24th and 25th October—General Debate on the Budget Resolutions.

Friday, 26th October—Committee and remaining stages of the Consolidated Fund (No. 1) Bill. A Debate will take place on conditions in Europe.

During the week we shall ask the House to approve the Government of Burma (Temporary Provisions) Order.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Government have come to any decision in regard to the setting-up of the Select Committee on National Expenditure?

Yes, Sir. It is not proposed to set up the Select Committee on National Expenditure. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has decided that next year Estimates shall be presented on pre-war lines, and that there shall be no Votes of Credit after 31st March next. In the circumstances, we propose to appoint a Select Committee on Estimates to examine the annual Estimates when they are published. We shall do our best to ensure that Estimates are presented as long as possible before the beginning of the next financial year.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will consider granting an early day for a discussion on cartels, national and international, and the Government's policy thereon?

I do not think so. The matter might be raised through the usual channels, and we might find some suitable early opportunity in the course of Business, but it would be difficult to provide a special day.

Can the Leader of the House indicate when the House is likely to have an opportunity of discussing the two White Papers which have been circulated, the one dealing with conditions on the scientific side of the Civil Service, and the other dealing with the pay of the higher posts in the Civil Service?

It was not intended by the Government when they published the White Papers that they would be debated, and on the face of it I cannot see any great need for a Debate, unless there is a widespread and general wish in the House. They, of course, can be discussed on Civil Estimates in one form or another.

May I ask the Leader of the House whether, in view of the experience we had on Tuesday night when the Scottish Supplementary Estimates were rushed through with little discussion, he will, when he is discussing through the usual channels, include a representative of the Scottish Members, as it is about time we got some consideration?

I shall be very much surprised if there is not a representative of Scotland to be found somewhere in the "usual channels."

May I ask the Leader of the House whether in regard to today's Business he is proposing to move the suspension of the Rule?

No, Sir, not to-day. I remember what the hon. Gentleman said yesterday, and I thought it was time that he had a concession.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he proposes to give facilities for discussing the Motion standing in the names of about 150 hon. Members of this House on old age pensions?

May I ask a question on the Business to-morrow? The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary will probably remember that, during the Committee stage of the Supplies and Services (Transitional Powers) Bill, he undertook to put down an Amendment to Clause 2, the terms of which he would consider in the interval. I have his speech here and I have read the Amendments which have been put down, and I cannot find an Amendment to Clause 2. As the House is to discuss this to-morrow, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us something about it?

I have considered the Clause as printed in the Bill, and I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to include any Amendment that would meet the point raised by the Opposition. But I shall be quite willing to discuss it with any Members of the Opposition to see if we can come to some arrangement whereby the general convenience might be met. I cannot say more than that at the moment.

I am bound to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he does not remember that, in his statement, he did go a little beyond that, and said that something would be put down. If nothing has been put down, our discussion is likely to be a trifle abortive.

If it can be suggested in the course of the discussions, and if I can be satisfied, that an Amendment is necessary, I will put it down and it will then appear on the Order Paper to-morrow and Mr. Speaker can consider it; or, if the Opposition still think the point ought to be met, they can put an Amendment on the Order Paper. I admit that the time is very short, but I will endeavour to conduct these negotiations in a reasonably conciliatory spirit.

In view of the great interest taken in the Inshore Fishing Bill and its importance to some parts of the country, can the Leader of the House give us an assurance that adequate time will be allowed for the discussion of this Measure to-day?

I am, of course, in the hands of the House, but I am hoping that the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Bill, whilst, no doubt, it will be debated, will not occupy too long, and that adequate time will remain for discussion of the Inshore Fishing Bill.

Official Report (Written Answers)

I should like to inform the House that written replies to Questions will appear, in future, at the end of HANSARD, instead of immediately after Oral Questions. This alteration is made in order to speed up the production of HANSARD, and I do not think it will inconvenience hon. Members in any way.

Selection (Chairmen's Panel) (Parliament Act, 1911)

Mr. Neil Maclean reported from the Committee of Selection; That, in pursuance of Sub-section (3), of Section 1, of the Parliament Act, 1911, they had appointed from the Chairmen's Panel Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew and Mr. Watson to be the two Members whom Mr. Speaker shall consult, if practicable, before giving his certificate to a Money Bill.

Selection (Standing Committees)

Mr. Neil Maclean further reported from the Committee; That they had discharged the following Member from Standing Committee A; Mr. Spearman; and had appointed in substitution: Colonel Dodds-Parker.

Mr. Neil Maclean further reported from the Committee; That they had added the following Twenty Members to StandingCommittee A (in respect of the National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Bill): Mr. Blyton, Major Boyd-Carpenter, Mr. Daggar, Mr. Clement Davies, Mr. William Foster, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, Mr. James Griffiths, Mr. Glenvil Hall, Mr. Lingdren, Major McCallum, Mr. Marlowe, Major Sir Basil Neven-Spence, Mr. Proctor, Mr. Pryde, Major Renton, Mr. Scollan, the Solicitor-General, Mr. Bernard Taylor, Mr. Ivor Owen Thomas and Lieut.-Colonel Walker-Smith.

Mr. Neil Maclean further reported from the Committee; That they had discharged the following Members from Standing Committee B: Mr. James Hudson, Mr. Manningham-Buller, Sir John Mellor, Mr. Nield and Mr. Williamson; and had appointed in substitution Major Beamish, Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite, Mr. Brooks, Brigadier Peto and Mr. Sunderland.

Mr. Neil Maclean further reported from the Committee; That they had appointed the following Members to serve on Standing Committee C:—Mr. Max Aitken, Mr. Astor, Mr. Awbery, Mr. Balfour, Sir John Barlow, Mr. Berry, Mr. T. J. Brown, Mr. Champion, Colonel Clarke, Mr. Cluse, Mr. Coldrick, Mr. Rhys Davies, Captain Drayson, Mr. Driberg, Mr. Gallacher, Mr. Gilzean, Lieutenant William Griffiths, Professor Gruffydd, Flight-Lieutenant John Haire, Mr. Hastings, Miss Herbison, Lieut.-Colonel Hope, Mr. Lipson, Major Guy Lloyd, General Sir George Jeffreys, Mr. McEntee, Mr. McKinlay, Commander Marsden, Mr. Mort, Mrs. Nichol, Mr. Nutting, Mr. Popplewell, Mr. Edward Porter, Mr. Reeves, Mrs. Ridealgh, Mr. Goronwy Roberts, Commander Christopher Shaw-cross, Lieutenant Shepherd, Mr. George Thomas and Sir Wavell Wakefield.

Message From The Lords

That they have passed a Bill, intituled, "An Act to provide for the holding of elections of members or officers of certain bodies in cases where elections have been postponed under the Chartered and Other Bodies (Temporary Provisions) Acts, 1939 and 1941; for validating elections held after such postponement; for amending the said Acts and removing doubts arising thereon; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid."—[Chartered and Other Bodies (Resumption of Elections) Bill [ Lords.].