HC Deb 23 February 1939 vol 344 cc543-5
23. Mr. Snadden

asked the Minister of Labour why local Employment Exchanges have not been instructed as to where applications should be addressed by persons wishing to enrol in the special register detailed on page 46 of the National Service Guide; and to what address should persons residing in Pitlochry and district apply for enrolment?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Local offices of the Ministry of Labour have been instructed to forward such applications for enrolments on the central register of persons with scientific, technical, professional and higher administrative qualifications, referred to on page 46 of the National Service Guide, to the Ministry's headquarters where they are dealt with in consultation with the advisory council which the Lord Privy Seal and my right hon. Friend have appointed to advise on the utilisation of specialised personnel in the event of war. Persons residing in the areas named may apply either to the nearest local office of the Ministry of Labour or may write direct to the National Service Department at the Ministry's Headquarters.

29. Sir Thomas Cook

asked the Lord Privy Seal to what extent negotiations have been carried on between his Department and the British Legion with a view to stimulating response to the call for national service?

The Lord Privy Seal (Sir John Anderson)

In September, the President of the British Legion conveyed to the Prime Minister an expression of the readiness of the Legion to place the whole of its resources, energies and influence unreservedly at the disposal of the Government, in the event of an emergency. The spirit which prompted this offer is greatly appreciated. I have myself recently received a communication from the British Legion, offering to make available the resources of their benevolent organisation in time of war, and this offer is now being considered by the Service Departments which are primarily concerned.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what services he expects the British Legion to perform now? That is what they want to know.

40 and 41. Mr. Davidson

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) what sections of the labour, trade union, or co-operative movement were consulted with regard to the appointment of regional directors under the National Service scheme;

(2) whether Scottish local authorities have been fully informed of the powers and authority of the regional director appointed for Scotland, under the National Service scheme?

Sir J. Anderson

I presume that the hon. Member refers to the Regional Commissioners to be designated under the scheme for the regional organisation of civil defence. No appointments have yet been made, and before this is done the Government will make such inquiries as it considers appropriate. Local authorities in Scotland, as in England, were informed of the general arrangements proposed by the circular letter, dated 2nd February. These arrangements do not in themselves in any way affect the position of local authorities, and it has yet to be decided how the machinery of local government will be linked with the regional organisation. I have undertaken that local authorities will be consulted as regards this matter through their associations, and this will be done in the case of Scotland and England alike.

Mr. Davidson

In view of the contemplated appointments, which have received much publicity, will the Lord Privy Seal's Department consult with the trade unions, the Labour party, and the co-operative movement before those appointments are made?

Mr. H. G. Williams

Will my right hon. Friend also consult with the Conservative party and the Liberal party?

Mr. Davidson

Does not the Government represent the Conservative party?

44. Mr. Lipson

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will consider the desirability of providing steel shelters free to all who have undertaken obligations for National Service?

Sir J. Anderson

My hon. Friend's suggestion would involve complete departure from the basis of distribution already announced, and I am afraid I cannot entertain it.

Mr. Lipson

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that special consideration ought to be given to those who have undertaken obligations for national service, and will he not at least consider whether he cannot raise the income limit of those who have undertaken such obligations?

Sir J. Anderson

I do not think any special consideration that may be due to these people ought to take this particular form.

Mr. Cartland

Would it not be much better if everybody were to undertake some national service?