HC Deb 23 July 1941 vol 373 cc872-3
26. Sir Percy Hurd

asked the Minister of Information how many men and women of age groups which have been called up are still retained in the Ministry of Information; and what steps are being taken to replace them by those who by reason of age or otherwise are ineligible for war work?

Mr. Bracken

The staff of the Ministry, excluding the Postal and Telegraph Censorship, now includes 295 men born in the years 1904 to 1922, and 164 women born in the years 1917 to 1920. Of the 295 men, 187 are reserved under the Schedule now in force; 62 are film technicians, employed either in the Crown Film Unit or on the Regional staff of the Ministry, and their age of reservation is under discussion with the Ministry of Labour and National Service; 31 are medically unfit for active service; and only 8 have had their calling up deferred at the request of the Ministry. Women employed in the Civil Service have not been called up for other national service. The possibility of employing women and older men in place of men of military age is constantly borne in mind and substitution is already taking place in certain grades. But a high proportion of the staff consists of men and women with specialised qualifications and there are no large blocks of routine or repetition work in the Ministry. The whole question of the reservation of Civil Service staff is under consideration by the Committee presided over by Lord Kennet.

Sir P. Hurd

Has my right hon. Friend yet discovered that there are sections of the Ministry that are superfluous and even mischievous?

Mr. Bracken

It may surprise my hon. Friend to know that I arrived at the Ministry only yesterday, and it will take me a little time to look around.