HC Deb 18 April 1939 vol 346 cc166-8
51. Mr. Sandys

asked the Prime Minister whether he is in a position to announce any new measures designed to increase our ability to discharge our recently extended military commitments, and, in particular, whether His Majesty's Government have reconsidered the desirability of compiling a complete and compulsory national register?

The Prime Minister

In addition to a number of detailed measures which cannot be set out in reply to a Parliamentary question, steps are being taken both to accelerate and to widen the basis of production, with a view to providing increased war potential, bearing in mind the increasing demands upon our resources which it is prudent to anticipate in view of recent developments. With regard to the last part of the question, I have nothing to add to the answer which I gave on 3rd April to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Salford (Major Stourton).

Mr. H. G, Williams

May I ask whether anybody has yet told my right hon. Friend what a national register means?

57. Mr. Anstruther-Gray

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is in a position to announce any revision in the Schedule of Reserved Occupations, Cmd. 5926?

The Lord Privy Seal (Sir John Anderson)

I cannot at present add to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend on 3rd April, beyond saying that the many details involved are being discussed by the Departments concerned and every effort is being made to enable decisions to be announced at an early date.

Mr. Anstruther-Gray

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that every day thousands of people are being prevented from offering their services as Territorials although they are engaged in occupations which are by no means vital, and, in view of the importance of getting Territorial recruits, will my right hon. Friend deal with this matter with the utmost despatch?

Sir J. Anderson

I realise the urgency, but my hon. Friend must remember that a mass of detail has to be examined and several Departments are involved. There will be no avoidable delay.

Sir Archibald Sinclair

Is it necessary to wait until that detail has been examined? Would it not be possible to strike off the list of reserved occupations a few quite obviously absurd cases which ought never to have been included?

Sir J. Anderson

I do not think it would affect large numbers. Certain changes have already been made and are effective.

65. Mr. Lipson

asked the Postmaster-General why he refused to allow an appeal by the mayor of Brighton for National Service volunteers to be broadcast through the local relay station, although the relay services were willing to give facilities, and although he intends to use these services for national purposes in an emergency?

The Postmaster-General (Major Tryon)

Relay exchanges are established for the sole purpose of relaying to their subscribers programmes broadcast by recognised broadcasting stations. They are prohibited by their licences from transmitting local messages; and except during the September crisis all requests for an exception to be made to this rule have hitherto been refused. As I recently announced, however, it has been decided to make arrangements for the use of the relay exchanges for special local announcements in time of emergency. In view of various requests which I have received, I am in consultation with the responsible Departments as to the desirability of authorising the distribution in present circumstances of certain special announcements by means of the relay exchanges.