HC Deb 12 May 1919 vol 115 cc1318-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that before the War the British musical profession was overcrowded with Germans, Austrians, and other foreign musicians; that during the War, when British musicians were called up to serve their country, many of their places were taken by Dutchmen, foreign Jews, and latterly by Russian musicians, and now that British musicians are being demobilised they are experiencing difficulty in obtaining their old situations again, owing to the fact that a large number of Dutchmen and men and women of other nationalities are occupying those positions; and whether he can take any steps to see that all Britishers are reinstated in employment before those of other nationalities are allowed to be employed in this country?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Sir R. Horne)

I have been asked by my right hon. Friend to reply to this question. The attention of the Department has not been specifically drawn to the matters complained of in the first two parts of the question. So far as the last part of the question is concerned, I hope that employers whose musicians were called up for service in the War will be ready and willing to reinstate as many of them as possible on their demobilisation. I have, however, as the hon. Member will readily appreciate, no power to compel reinstatement. I should be glad to have an opportunity of discussing the matter personally with the hon. Member.

Colonel C. LOWTHER

Could not some short Bill be introduced giving the power to reinstate in their positions the musicians who have been fighting for their country?


I dare say my hon. and gallant Friend will recognise that that involves very large considerations.