HC Deb 16 November 1939 vol 353 cc797-8
6. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour the method adopted to compile the Central Register at his Department; how many names are included in the register; and what steps are taken to provide work for those on the list?

1. Mr. Lyons

asked the Minister of Labour the number of applicants whose names are available for employment on the Central Register; and the number from that register selected up to date for employment in Government Departments?

Mr. E. Brown

The Central Register has been compiled under the guidance of an Advisory Council, consisting of representatives of the professional institutions and other interests concerned, each section of the register being managed on the advice of a specialist committee of this council. The register now consists of the names of 79,268 persons who have offered their services. The register is, of course, available for work of national service outside Government employment. Government Departments are required to use the register to meet the staff requirements of the kind for which it caters. From the outbreak of the war until the nth November the number of selected for such employment was 1,145. In addition, 2,169 people were earmarked before the war for employment with Government Departments. I should add that the register was not compiled with a view to finding employment for the people on it, but is a record of offers of service from persons, the majority of whom are employed on their normal work. Its purpose is to have at hand a ready means of finding suitably qualified people for employment of national importance of a specialised or professional character. The number of persons on the register who are known to be unemployed or in employment likely to be adversely affected by the war is 2,746. Such persons are specially noted so that they can be given preference, other things being equal, wherever a suitable vacancy arises.

Mr. Griffiths

May I ask the Minister, first, whether the fact that he is making this register has been made widely known to the members of various organisations, so that their names may be put on the list; and, secondly, whether he has communicated with other Government Departments asking that their staff requirements should be recruited entirely from this register?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Gentleman will see from my answer that Government Departments are required to use the register to meet staff requirements. With regard to the first part of his question, I do not think there is any need to go further. We have had consultation with and advice from all the big scientific and technical organisations concerned.

Sir Percy Harris

As this is the only channel through which professional men can offer their services to the State, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the result is small considering the new Departments which have been created and the number of existing Departments which have been expanded?

Mr. Brown

I do not think so. I think there is some misunderstanding. This is a register of persons of very high special qualifications and the purpose is not to fill posts from unemployed people, but to get information with regard to people of specially high qualifications whether in the Government Departments or in industry.