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Holiday Towns (Key Workers' Ta Training)

Volume 529: debated on Tuesday 29 June 1954

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12.

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps his Department takes to cause least inconvenience to the holiday trade in towns, such as Brighton, which live by that trade, by precluding key workmen there from being attached to units having their annual training at the peak of the holiday season.

We try to avoid inconvenience to the men themselves and their employers when men are called up for training as individuals, or in fixing the dates of unit camps. Territorial Army training necessarily takes place throughout the summer months, and some inconvenience to the holiday trade is, I am afraid, unavoidable.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the last thing I want to do is to press him on this as a general question, but that the hotel and restaurant business in Brighton is a vital key industry there, and that the hoteliers ask that their key people should not be called up during the peak holiday period? As to the particular case of which he is aware, would my right hon. Friend be willing to see the owner of the hotel in question to discuss with me and with him the very real problem?

My trouble in dealing with a particular point sympathetically is to avoid general repercussions. I am always willing to see anybody who wants to see me, and I will do that, but I cannot extend to my hon. Friend any hope in this matter.

If I were to transfer this man to the Army Emergency Reserve, I should be going against the whole principle of the Territorial Army, which is that if a man is in a certain area he belongs to a Territorial Army unit, whereas if he lives a long way from the Territorial Army centres, he is in the Army Emergency Reserve. One thing which is essential for a successful camp is some good cooks.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in addition to their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden, whom we are glad to see here, more overseas visitors are expected this year than ever before? Is it not the job of the Secretary of State for War to consult the Board of Trade and make satisfactory arrangements to look after the tourist traffic?

It is also my job to see that the Army is in a state to resist unwelcome visitors to these shores.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in this regiment, which also had its camp at the same time last year, there are two more cooks this year and fewer people, I gather, who will be in the camp, so that things are better this year rather than worse?

The total number of cooks available to this camp is exactly one-third of the unit's establishment for cooks.

13.

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps his Department take, when the British Travel and Holidays Association back a recommendation for the deferment of calling-up for Territorial annual training, to find somebody else to take the place of the man so called up.

Representations by this association and similar bodies are always taken fully into account when decisions of this kind are taken.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Jewish Ex-Service Men's Association in Brighton has put this case to him only today, in addition to the British Travel and Holidays Association? Can anything be done to find someone else to take this man's place, because kosher cooks are not easy to find in small Jewish hotels?

I was not aware of that representation until I met my hon. Friend just before Question time, but when I receive the Association's representation I will, of course, look into it.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, as long as we have to have a Reserve Army, its training must come before business considerations?