§ 7. Mr. Simmonds
asked the Minister of Labour whether he maintains a Register of retired scientists and other technical men who offer their services?
§ Mr. Simmonds
Is it not a fact that there has been no appeal to retired scientists and technical men to place their names on this Register, and that the Register is running very dry with regard to certain categories of scientists? Would my right hon. Friend, therefore, consider making an appeal to retired men or women to enter their names on the Register?
§ Mr. Bevin
My predecessor made it clear when the Register was established that it applied to every person of all categories of scientists, whether retired or not, and there has never been any limitation. In fact, I was not aware that scientists ever retired, but there has been no distinction drawn between retired and unretired. In order to get over the difficulty about technicians, scientists and others of whom there is a shortage, an overhaul is going on in all the Departments in order to introduce a little dilution into the professions.
§ Sir Francis Fremantle
Does this apply to constituents of whom I know who are being called up and are doing donkey work in some Service or other, and who obviously might be usefully employed elsewhere?
§ Sir Herbert Williams
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of engineers and other people with scientific attainments have been on the Register 954 for over 18 months, and not the faintest effort has been made to use their services?
§ Mr. Bevin
I do not accept that. I am constantly hearing these general statements without a single fact to back them up. The bulk of the people on the Central Register are in employment, but they have volunteered to help the State in any capacity. When those responsible for the Central Register are asked for a person, it would obviously be stupid to take a man away from a job which he is doing satisfactorily and merely put him somewhere else. It is not an unemployment Register. It is a Register of offers of service, and I can assure the House that it has been combed through time and time again.
§ Sir F. Fremantle
How are we to deal with the case of a man, of which I can give instances, who is tied down in a particular Department and is doing work which the Department thinks is useful, but is not employing his scientific abilities?