HC Deb 06 April 1939 vol 345 cc2975-6
26. Mr.Henderson Stewart

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is aware that the staffs of banks in Scotland have received no indication from their employers as to whether their enrolment in Territorial or Air-Raid Precautions service is encouraged; that, as a result, considerable misunderstanding exists among such staffs and recruiting is handicapped; and whether he will consult with the head quarters of the various banks with a view to securing a clear ruling on the matter?

Sir J. Anderson

I have made inquiries into this matter, and I cannot find any grounds for thinking that such misunderstanding exists. None of the Scottish banks has placed any obstacle in the way of any of their staff volunteering for National Service, and I am advised that in the case of one bank, for example, there are to-day seven times as many members of their staff in the Territorials as there were 12 months ago. Appeals for recruits have in some instances been received from the Commanding Officers of Territorial Units, and these have been circulated to the appropriate branches of the banks, and where meetings of the staff have been suggested, every facility has been given.

Mr. Stewart

Is my right hon. Friend aware that within the last few days the facts set out in my letter have been confirmed to me by bank clerks and local branch managers of banks in Scotland, and that it is at their direct request that I have asked this question?

Sir J. Anderson

The information I have just given was supplied by the Treasurer of the Bank of Scotland, who acts as chairman of the monthly meeting of managers of Scottish banks. I will see that what my hon. Friend has just said is brought to his notice.

Mr. Mathers

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what are the comparative numbers where the numbers are seven times what they were a year ago?

Sir J Anderson

I cannot reply to that question without notice.

38. Miss Rathbone

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether civil engineers, being members of a reserved occupation, will be allowed, in the event of war, to apply for admission to the non-commissioned or commissioned ranks of the Royal Engineers?

Sir J. Anderson

The provisional schedule of reserved occupations which has been published relates solely to peacetime recruitment. I am unable to make any statement about the application of such a schedule to recruitment in time of war.