§ 63. Mr. HOLT
asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board if he will say why the office staffs of all shipowners and shipbrokers carrying on business in the port of London are, under certain conditions, able to obtain certificates of exemption from military service from the Board of Trade, and for what reason this privilege is limited to the port of London; and whether he will take steps to put all persons doing similar work in other ports in the same position as those in London?
My right hon. Friend has asked mc to reply to this question. Port Labour Committees were established to deal with the granting of exemption certificates mainly to manual workers, and the Board of Trade think that the office staffs of shipowners and shipbrokers, like all other clerks, should be dealt with by the local tribunals, to whom representations can be made by their employers. The anomalous position of London is due to the fact that there the Board took over an existing scheme which included the clerical staffs and they felt bound to continue on the lines on which the London committee was already working.