HC Deb 03 December 1936 vol 318 cc1434-5

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that certain clerks in the Inland Revenue office in King's Lynn have been refused permission to join the National Defence Corps; and whether this decision can be reconsidered?

The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Lieut.-Colonel Colville)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Members of the National Defence Companies must be over 45 or unfit for active service and are not liable for any service or training except on the threat of, or during, war. It would not be possible for Departments to decide in advance of such an emergency which members of their staff, being over 45 or unfit for active service, could be spared for service with the Companies, and which could more usefully be employed in the machinery of civil government. In these circumstances it has been decided that it would not be desirable for Departments to great permission to members of their staff to join the Companies.


Does my right hon. Friend not think it is very undesirable that Government Departments should be thought to be discouraging recruiting in any way whatever?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

I quite agree, but the hon. Member should consider that these corps are recruited not for active service, but for home duty, and that in any emergency it is most important to maintain the machinery of civil government.


Does my right hon. Friend think it is possible for manufacturers, for instance, or other employers of labour, to come to a decision in their own cases when the Government say it is impossible?

Lieut.-Colonel COLVILLE

I think the answer which I gave in relation to the importance of the maintenance of civil government fully covers that point.


No, it does not. The point is not answered.

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