HC Deb 29 May 1941 vol 371 cc1993-4
61. Mr. Batey

asked the Minister of Supply why a healthy man is prevented by the Ministry of Labour from being given employment in a Government factory because he is the holder of a hotel licence?

Mr. Harold Macmillan

One of the standing rules relating to employment by the royal ordnance factories forbids employés to keep or hold a licence for, or in any way assist in conducting, a public house or beer house, pawn shop, or marine store dealer's shop or bookmaking business. My right hon. Friend has recently considered suggestions for relaxation, in the light of the present urgent demand for labour, but as the additional labour which would become available would be comparatively small, it seemed that any arguments for modification of this salutary rule did not outweigh those in favour of its retention. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the rule referred to.

Mr. Batey

Is the Minister himself aware that there is a war on? One could understand this arrangement in normal times, but man-power is wanted, and here are men with nothing to do during the day, strong, healthy men? Why not take them?

Mr. Macmillan

On reflection, I think my hon. Friend will see a number of reasons for this good rule. In regard to the first part of the Supplementary Question, my right hon. Friend is aware of the existing circumstances.

Mr. Batey

It is a silly rule, so I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter at an early opportunity.