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National Service (Ex-Fire Service Personnel)

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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30.

asked the Minister of Labour why ex-N.F.S. and ex-A.F.S. personnel now called up under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act are not allowed to reckon their previous service in these fire-fighting organisations when calculating length of service for demobilisation group numbers.

The claim that service in the N.F.S. and A.FS. before enlistment in the Armed Forces should count for priority of release from the Forces has already been fully and sympathetically considered. It would, however, be impossible to allow this service to count without making a similar concession for many other forms of pre-enlistment service and this would completely undermine the release scheme. Moreover, the concession could only be made at the expense of men who have served longer in the Armed Forces.

Is not the Minister aware of the difference between this service, and certain other forms of national service, and that in this particular case there was the same discipline, or similar discipline, as in the Armed Forces?

The matter has been raised and discussed in the House on more than one occasion, and has been reconsidered repeatedly, but I see no grounds at all for changing the decision which has been reached.