HC Deb 11 April 1940 vol 359 c676
5. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Minister of Labour whether His Majesty's Government are contemplating taking the necessary steps to conscript refugees in this country from Germany, Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, and Poland, who are not considered to be enemy aliens, for non-combatant duties at the appropriate rates of pay?

Mr. E. Brown

No such proposal is at present under consideration.

Mr. Strauss

Will the Minister bear in mind the unfortunate feeling that may be aroused if English nationals are conscripted and refugees from Germany and Czecho-Slovakia doing similar work are not conscripted?

Mr. Brown

That is not my responsibility. The National Service (Armed Forces) Act applies to British subjects.

Miss Rathbone

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the great majority of these refugees are only too anxious to take any work and that the chief obstacle is the slow working and complicatedness of the Ministry of Labour and Home Office regulations?

Mr. Brown

I would not agree with that. There are a great many other difficulties.