HC Deb 20 November 1941 vol 376 cc434-5
13. Major Lloyd

asked the Minister of Labour the reasons for the differences in the ages of reservation applicable to local authorities' staffs and to Civil Service staffs; and whether, in view of the increased work which local authorities are called upon to undertake in war-time, he will take steps to ensure that the services of key men at any rate may be retained by local authorities as otherwise these authorities will be unable to carry out the duties and responsibilities imposed upon them by Parliament?

Mr. Tomlinson

Until 1st October last, the higher grades of whole-time officers of local authorities were reserved at age 25, and other grades at age 30; the ages of reservation then became 30 and 35 respectively. As regards the reservation of civil servants, I would remind my hon. Friend that an independent committee under Lord Kennet has been considering the position. The committee's interim report, which was published in August as a White Paper (Cmd. 6301), recommended that the age of reservation of the administrative, executive and analogous grades of civil servants should be raised from 25 to 30, and that of clerical and analogous grades from 30 to 35. These recommendations were accepted and will be put into force on 15th December. Regarding the second part of the Question, the position of whole-time officers of local authorities who, though unreserved, are engaged on work of urgent public importance is safeguarded by deferment arrangements administered by my Department in co-operation with the other Departments concerned.

Major Lloyd

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many local authorities are in despair at the loss of their key men? Is it really in the public interest to take these men away at present?

Mr. Tomlinson

No man is taken from a key post without consultation first taking place with the Ministry of Health or the Department.

Sir Joseph Lamb

Will the hon. Gentleman take care that, where women have been put in and trained to replace men. who have been taken, they will be given no inducement to leave, as they have in the past?

Mr. Tomlinson

I could not make a promise of that kind. Circumstances are changing, and, as they change, the right to review the position in any undertaking must be reserved.