HC Deb 02 April 1917 vol 92 cc887-8

asked the Home Secretary whether be is aware that R. Purser, aged thirty-eight, with three children, carrying on a hairdresser's business in St. George's Road, S.E., is shortly being called up for service; whether the nearest hairdressers who will compete for his business are an Italian at 36, St. George's Road, a Belgian at 8, St. George's Road, a German at 91. London Road, an Italian at 3, Earl Street, a a German-Swiss at 49, Newington Butts, and a German widow, with a Russian Pole as manager, at 138a, Newington Causeway; whether five of these are of Army age; and what steps the Government is taking to render impossible the continuance of such injustice to English tradesmen?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)

It is the fact that Mr. R. Purser, who is a hairdresser, has been called up for military service. As regards the second and third parts of the question, the hon. Member's information is inaccurate. The persons whom he describes as a German, a German-Swiss, a German widow, and a Russian Pole, are respectively a Russian, the British-born wife of an Austrian, the British-born widow of a naturalised British subject, and a Dutchman. Of the men mentioned in the question three only and not five are of military age, and of these three, one, a Russian, has attested; the other two are an Italian and a Dutchman. I cannot compel these persons to abandon their businesses; but I am confident that the patriotic citizens of Walworth will see to it that Mr. Purser's business shall not suffer because he is serving his country.