HC Deb 09 November 1937 vol 328 cc1582-3
56. Mr. Day

asked the Secretary of State for War what fresh steps the Government are now preparing for the purpose of stimulating recruiting; and whether any arrangements are being made by the various Government Departments in order that further preference may be given to time-expired soldiers in the public services after having completed their Army service?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Recruiting, as the hon. Member will be aware, has been steadily improving in recent months. The weekly figures which have come in to-day for London again show a striking increase—the increase being over 100 per cent. compared with the corresponding week last year. I trust the hon. Member will await the Estimates for any further proposals which may be desirable.

Mr. Day

Are the Government making any arrangements to provide work for time-expired soldiers?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Yes, Sir. Certain arrangements have been made, and the Home Office and the Scottish Office have again circulated local authorities, asking them wherever possible, to give preference to applications for employment from ex-service men.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Is the improvement in recruiting to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, due in any way to a lowering of the medical standards?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Well, I suppose to some extent that would be the case. I do not know that I should admit that the standard has been lowered, but there have been certain changes which, I think, are in accordance with commonsense. For instance, there was a limitation upon the number of false teeth which a recruit was allowed to have. I have removed that limitation.

Mr. McGovern

Has any good result accrued from the right hon. Gentleman's visit to the Trade Union Club?

Sir A. Knox

Is there any change in the standard of sight or hearing?

Mr. Levy

Now that the Socialist party have agreed to rearmament, are they doing anything to assist recruiting?

Sir A. Knox

Can my right hon. Friend answer my question, as to whether there are any changes in the standard of sight or hearing?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Yes, Sir; the revisions that have been made, as in the case of teeth, are in accordance with commonsense. The requirements of physique have not in any way been changed, but in regard to teeth, sight, and hearing, there have been revisions.