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European Volunteer Workers (Welfare)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 20 May 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour what provision is being made for the welfare of displaced persons brought into the country for employment here.

The general welfare of European volunteer workers coming to this country is the responsibility of my Department, who make the necessary arrangements in conjunction with the other Government Departments concerned and with the National Service Hostels Corporation, and who also have the valuable co-operation of the Churches and of voluntary organisations.The arrangements include the following:

Transit and Reception

The parties are escorted by members of the W.V.S. or by ex-U.N.R.R.A. officers, themselves displaced persons, who have been appointed for the purpose. They are met on arrival at the ports on this side by welfare officers of my Department and conducted to reception camps in the vicinity and later to holding camps. On arrival at the holding camps they are issued with ration books, clothing coupons, etc., and, where necessary, with certain items of reconditioned clothing.


An allowance of 5s. is paid on board the ship and a further 15s. on arrival at the camp.
Pocket money of 5s. a week is paid while the worker is at the holding camp and on being placed in employment he will receive the facilities of the schemes for assisting transferred workers in this country.
The workers normally remain in the reception camps for 24 hours and then are transferred to holding camps which are being established in various parts of the country and which, like the reception camps, are under the management of the National Service Hostels Corporation and will be largely staffed from the European volunteer workers themselves. They will later be found accommodation near their work if the employment is nonresidential and is outside daily travelling distance of the holding camp.

Religious Ministrations

Representative organisations of the Churches have offered their co-operation and are taking steps for workers at the holding camps to be informed of the arrangements which can be made for pastoral visits and other religious administrations.

Medical, etc., Arrangements

Doctors are being appointed by the National Service Hostels Corporation at each of the holding camps to supervise general camp hygiene and medical arrangements. Until such time as the worker becomes eligible for benefit under the ordinary National Health and Unemployment Insurance Schemes, provision will be made for him to be cared for and maintained during sickness or unemployment.

Educational and Recreational Facilities

English classes, discussion groups, etc., are being arranged with the assistance of the local education authorities and of various voluntary organisations.
Recreational facilities at the camps include arrangements for indoor games, concerts, etc.


The National Council of Social Service and the leading voluntary bodies affiliated to it are, through their headquarters and local organisations, co-operating with my welfare staff in the arrangements for helping the workers to settle down happily in their new environment.
I am keeping my Factory and Welfare Advisory Board informed of the arrangements and will look to them for general guidance as in the case of the welfare of British workers