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Clothes Rationing Staff (Releases)

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 7 April 1949

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51.

asked the Minister of Labour how many of the civil servants released as a result of the abolition of clothes rationing have been absorbed by Government Departments.

I have been asked to reply. The staff employed on clothes rationing had been reduced to about 1,000 by the date of its abolition. Of these, 180 have been or will be absorbed in the Board of Trade to fill current or accrued vacancies. I am unable to state how many will be absorbed by other Departments.

Is not the Minister aware that the figure he refuses to give was the reason for my putting down the Question? Why has the Question been changed from the Minister of Labour to himself?

I made it clear at the time of the announcement that a number corresponding to the total number at that time employed on clothes rationing would be released from the Board of Trade. I did not say that the same civil servants would in each individual case be released, but the Board of Trade would give up 1,000, the number at that time employed on clothes rationing.

Could the President of the Board of Trade tell us whether any of the civil servants released from the clothes rationing Department have been sent to the Ministry of Fuel and Power to supervise the checking of petrol stocks in garages?

May I seek your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, on this Question. I put down a Question to the Minister of Labour asking for a certain number. This was answered by the President of the Board of Trade, who says, quite rightly, that he cannot give the figure I require.

No, Sir, I did not say so, but I did say that I was unable to say how many will be absorbed by other Departments. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman studied the normal arrangements for the release of redundant staff he would realise that most of them who may be employed elsewhere have not yet been released from the Board of Trade.

Does the right hon. Gentleman mean re-employed when he says absorbed.

I am not competent to alter the terms of the Question put down by the hon. and gallant Gentleman