HC Deb 03 December 1919 vol 122 cc377-9
17. Captain LOSEBY

asked the Minister of Labour if he will inform the House of the main causes of the delay in granting training facilities to the many ex-soldier applicants; and if, in view of the disastrous results produced by these delays, he will take drastic steps in the direction of expediting this training?


The main cause of the delay in providing training for disabled ex-Service men is the lack of sufficient training institutions. Every endeavour is being made to expedite the acquisition of the additional premises required.

18. Captain LOSEBY

asked if more than 6,000 ex-soldiers have applied for grants for training in agriculture, if only 2,000 have been sanctioned, if steps of any kind were taken to assist the unsuccessful applicants; and what were the general grounds which prompted the Department to refuse sanction to such a large proportion of applicants?


The total number of applications received under the Officers' Agricultural Training Scheme for England and Wales is 5,380; grants were made in 1928 cases, or almost exactly 40 per cent of the applications. The number of grants is restricted, partly on financial grounds and partly because the openings in agriculture in this country are not unlimited, especially for applicants with little or no capital.

The Board notify the Ministry of Labour of every case in which a grant for agricultural training is refused, in order that the applicant may have an opportunity of being trained for some other industry.

The Board are considering whether the Treasury should be approached to authorise an increase of the number of training allowances, in view, particularly, of the openings in agriculture overseas.

19. Captain LOSEBY

asked the Minister of Labour the approximate number of ex-soldiers now awaiting training under his Department; if the object of this training is to enable them to earn their livelihood; and what allowances are made to them whilst they are awaiting training?


The number of names on the list of disabled ex-Service men awaiting training is about 20,000. The object of the training is to enable the disabled men to be absorbed in skilled industries at standard rates of pay. No training allowances are made by the Ministry of Labour to men awaiting training. During this period the disabled man is, however, entitled to unemployment donation, together with his disability pension.

20. Captain LOSEBY

asked the Minister of Labour if many officers nominally in receipt of training grants who accepted training in reliance on pledges given to them, and who are entirely dependent upon grants promised, are not paid in some cases for lengthy periods of time; and if he will take such steps as will render the continuance of hardships of this description impossible?


I am not aware that, as a general rule, serious delays are now occurring either in giving decisions on applications for training grants or in making payment by monthly instalments of the grants awarded for maintenance. 1t is true that such grants are not normally paid in advance, but in necessitous cases half the first month's grant may be so paid. If the hon. and gallant Member will give me particulars of any specific cases which he has in mind, I shall be glad to make inquiries.

21. Colonel BURN

asked the Minister of Labour if the period of instruction for disabled Service men in commercial education can be extended beyond the three months laid down by regulation?


I am not aware that the period of instruction for disabled ex-Service men in commercial education is limited to three months by any of the regulations governing the schemes administered by the Ministry of Labour. Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will write to me explaining what particular regulation he has in mind.

25. Mr. F. ROBERTS

asked the Minister of Labour whether it has been decided to increase the hours of training to eight per day of trainees at the Caudron Works, Cricklewood; if so, whether many of the men have to travel long distances and, in consequence of their disabilities, experience great difficulty in getting to and fro, especially during the busy hours in the morning and evening; that the institution of an eight-hour day will mean that many of the men will be from home thirteen hours per day; and whether he will have this matter reconsidered?


The decision to fix a forty-hour working week at the Cricklewood Government instructional factory was arrived at in consultation with the London Local Technical Advisory Committee for the Building Trades. It is essential, in the interests of the trainees, that the conditions of training should prepare them for the conditions of employment. The hours of work and other conditions of training are considerably lighter than those current in the trades in which the men will be employed upon the completion of their training. The forty hours are divided into five days of eight hours each, thus leaving the whole of Saturday free. In allocating trainees to training centres every endeavour is made to place men as near to their homes as possible. The hon. Member will realise that employés in the building trade often have to undertake considerable daily journeys to and from work.