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Civil Service (Ex-Service Men)

Volume 437: debated on Thursday 22 May 1947

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asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will inquire into the possibility of making pensionable employment available in the Civil Service to men with the necessary qualifications who have served in both the 1914–18 war and the last war; and if he will make a statement on this matter.

Ex-Service men of the 1914–18 war have always been given preference for retention in unestablished posts and opportunities for their subsequent establishment have, from time to time, been made available. Increased opportunities for the establishment of unestablished civil servants will, I hope, soon be given. Long and competent service in an unestablished capacity has been, and will continue to be, a qualification for such establishment.

In making arrangements for permanent and pensionable appointments, to which the Question refers, will the right hon. Gentleman have regard to the findings of the Tomlin Commission in 1931 which recommended that temporary employment should be limited to a very short period, and that more permanent work should be staffed by permanent and pensionable staff?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are many men who have given upwards of 12 years' exceptional service to their country—men of considerable ability—who have been rendered almost desperate by their complete inability to find employment, and is it riot within the compass of his Department to endeavour to do something to find employment for people of this kind?

Yes, Sir, but the pressure from all quarters of this House is to reduce the Civil Service and not to increase it. Unfortunately, we cannot find jobs for people just because they need them, much as we would like to do so.

My supplementary question did not imply increasing staffs, but consideration of these men when appointments are made. Is my right hon. Friend aware that men over 41 years of age are not considered suitable to give tests for driving instruction and things of that kind? Those are the things of which we complain.