HC Deb 29 July 1941 vol 373 cc1234-6
17. Sir Percy Hurd

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the urgent call of the Secretary of State for War and other Ministers for recruits for war services, he will issue an instruction to his Department that eligible men and women whose age groups have been or are being called up shall not be taken into or kept in employment in rationing or other departmental activities unless they are especially certified by him to be irreplaceable?

Captain Waterhouse

The retention of permanent staff and the recruitment and retention of the temporary staff of the Board of Trade are in compliance with the conditions prescribed in the Schedule of Reserved Occupations and Protected Work. Requests for deferment of calling-up have only been made for certain temporary officers with professional or other specialist qualifications essential for their work who cannot be replaced. This condition will continue to be strictly observed.

Sir P. Hurd

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that there is considerable resentment among those who have been called up, often at great personal loss, that there should be retained in Departments like his men and women who could easily be replaced if the effort were made?

Captain Waterhouse

I can assure the hon. Member that we do not retain people who could easily be replaced—ever.

An Hon. Member

What about the President of the Board?

24. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of the staffs engaged on work in Bournemouth connected with the clothes rationing, woven textiles, miscellaneous trades orders, and concentration of production; what proportion is composed of permanent civil servants; and whether he is satisfied that the Department there is working smoothly and with efficiency?

Captain Waterhouse

The total number of staff of all grades, including minor common services staff, employed in the Board of Trade offices at Bournemouth on these duties is 943 of whom 208 or 22 per cent. are permanent civil servants. There are many problems inherent in these new duties, and I am satisfied that the Department is doing its utmost to overcome the initial difficulties.

Mr. Hall

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that the public, at any rate, are not satisfied that these four hotels are being properly run and that a very large number of complaints are made that the whole thing appears to be in a most chaotic condition? Would the President of the Board of Trade have inquiry made?

Captain Waterhouse

I do not think there is a case for inquiry at all. We are well aware of the difficulties which are inherent in the position. I did not say I thought the position was perfectly satis- factory; I did say I thought that an improvement was taking place and that, given a chance, this matter would be got right.