13. Colonel Sir F. HALL
asked the Home Secretary what is the present number of German prisoners in this country; what are the purposes for which their labour is allowed to be used; if these include working in coal mines; and, if not, whether he will consider as to making arrangements for their service in this way, having regard to the similar use made of English prisoners in Germany and the shortage of mine labour in this country owing to the additional drafts taken from that industry?
§ Mr. MACPHERSON
My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question.
There are at present 65,000 German prisoners of war in this country, of whom 42,000 are employed on agriculture, quarrying, construction, and other work of national importance; and 10,000 more have been earmarked for such employment pending the provision of arrangements for their safe custody.
The Coal Controller was approached on the subject of the employment of these men in mines a short time ago, but there are great difficulties in the way.