HC Deb 31 July 1941 vol 373 cc1505-6
4. Mr. Tinker

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will give the number of undertakings now scheduled under the Essential Work Orders; and how many people are now working under it?

Mr. Bevin

By 18th July, 1941 (the latest date for which figures are available) 10,409 undertakings had been scheduled under the various Essential Work Orders, excluding the Essential Work (Merchant Navy) Order, which schedules the Merchant Navy as a whole. As regards the second part of the Question the number is large. It would not be in the public interest to give more precise information.

Mr. Tinker

From the reports which my right hon. Friend gets, is it working fairly satisfactorily now?

Mr. Bevin

I think I can answer "Yes." The industries, on both sides, were a little slow to grasp the right procedure, but, like every new measure, affecting so many millions of people, and introduced suddenly, one cannot expect it to work without some teething troubles.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Is it confined to businesses only; have public social services the right to make application?

Mr. Bevin

Every industry that regards itself as essential to the life of the nation can make application. Those which do not come under that category can apply under the Protected Work Order.