MR. T. F. RICHARDS
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he can state the date and year when his Department decided to teach soldiers the trade of Army boot-making; whether he can state how many are usually employed at this work, and how long does it take on the average to make them efficient and what is the usual price per pair of boots produced in this way.
§ MR. HALDANE
Action was taken on the recommendations of the Committee on the employment of Reserve and discharged soldiers and sailors in 1906. There is no attempt made to teach the trade in its entirety, but only, on the one hand, to give men who have a prior knowledge of the trade an opportunity to acquire further experiences by practising it in their leisure hours, and, on the other hand, to provide elementary instruction for men without such knowledge so that they may become familiar with the implements of the trade and be enabled to carry out repairs. No fixed number of men are under instruction, and no statistics exist to enable me to reply to the last two parts of the Question.
§ MR. H. C. LEA
Cannot the right hon. Gentleman see his way to give a certain number of men in every regiment an opportunity to learn a trade, so that when the time comes for their discharge they may not be driven into the ranks of the unemployed, after having devoted the best years of their life to the service of of their country?
§ MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of instructing men in an elementary knowledge of the law, so that they may take up posts in the Law Courts?