HC Deb 21 November 1939 vol 353 cc1021-2
78. Mr. Levy

asked the Secretary for Mines whether there has been any undue recruitment of young men from the coalfields; and whether it is intended to recall these men from the armed Forces in order that they may resume their normal work in the pits, in view of the necessity of increasing the output of coal for home and export markets?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I have been asked to reply. In general, I think that the Schedule of Reserved Occupations has afforded the mining industry the protection to which it is entitled. I have the matter under constant review and, as I have already said in reply to a previous question, some of the ages of reservation have been reduced. Moreover, a number of miners have been released from the Territorial Army as part of the general arrangement to return to industry certain men in vital occupations recruited in peace time.

Mr. George Griffiths

Could the right hon. Gentleman say that not only members of the Territorial Army but members who have been called up for the Regular Army, who are key men in the industry at the present time, shall also be returned?

Mr. Brown

It is difficult to see how members of the Regular Army could be key men.

Mr. James Hall

Could the right hon. Gentleman state what is the age up to which the exemption ranges?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Member will see that there is a whole series and it is a long list.

Mr. G. Griffiths

May I ask whether the key men to whom I have referred—men between the ages of 18 and 21—are being recalled?

Mr. Brown

The hon. Member is probably thinking of reservists.