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National Service Age

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1947

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8.

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that some firms are dismissing youths from their employ a few months before they are liable to report for national service; and if he will take steps to stop this practice.

Only a very few complaints have been received during the last few years that young men have been dismissed from their employment because they have become liable to be called up under the National Service Acts. If my hon. Friend will let me have details of the cases he has in mind, I will certainly see what action I can take.

Would the right hon. Gentleman say how many complaints he has received during the last six months?

9.

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the growing difficulty of boys under the calling-up age for military service to obtain work; and what steps are being taken to safeguard their interests until they join the Forces.

I am aware that some boys approaching military age are finding difficulty in obtaining employment. The Juvenile Employment Service will give them all possible assistance in finding suitable work, and I would like to take this opportunity of asking employers of labour to approach this matter with a sense of public obligation.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the reason for this is the fear about reinstatement after service, or has it something to do with training, learning and apprenticeships and the fact that employers do not wish to give training to apprentices when they are to be called up for military service so soon?

We have not had any cases reported to us, but we gather it is -mainly that the employer feels that he does not want to go to the trouble of training a lad for the few months before he leaves.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this problem will be permanently with us so long as we have permanent conscription?

It will be permanently with us if employers think of their own convenience instead of that of the country.

Can the Minister say what steps he is taking to safeguard the interests of returning ex-Servicemen as well as those of the men who are going into the Services?

If the hon. Gentleman will put that question down, I think we can give him a very satisfactory answer.