HC Deb 01 April 1925 vol 182 cc1303-4
64. Colonel DAY

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the fact that the present restrictions upon the entry of aliens have been imposed on account of prevailing unemployment, he will state the grounds upon which permits are being issued for the entry of alien bands and musicians at a, time when many British musicians are out of employment?


Permits for alien musicians are only issued after careful consideration and are given for limited periods, generally for eight weeks in the first instance. It is normally made, a condition in the case of alien bands that the employer shall increase the number of British musicians employed by him, e.g., by engaging a British band of equal size. Permits for individual musicians are, in general, issued only for specialists and artistes of international reputation. Most of the permits are for London, where, according to my information, unemployment among musicians of this type is in no way serious.

Colonel DAY

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that on 5th March an arrangement was come to by the Ministry of Labour giving permission to two bands to enter for the purpose of playing at a club and at a West End cinema respectively on the express condition that British musicians there engaged should not be reduced in number or have their wages reduced, and that a band of 30 British musicians was reduced to 18 as soon an the permit had been granted?

Viscountess ASTOR

Is it not true that the musicians in this country have a trade union which keeps women musicians out of the orchestras?


As regards the supplementary question of the hon. and gallant Member for Central Southwark (Colonel Day), I think the stipulation I made was a perfectly right and proper one, and if he has any reason to believe that it has not been observed I hope he will communicate the facts to me.

Colonel DAY

As the last three Governments always communicated with the Musicians' Union before permits were granted, will the right hon. Gentleman do the same, the Musicians' Union being the only body which can see that these arrangements are carried out?


Has the attention of the Minister of Labour been called to the proposed visit, of a party of discordant vocalists from Moscow?