HC Deb 10 December 1942 vol 385 cc1690-2
40. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Home Secretary whether before, and since, the introduction of the 48/24 hour scheme, statistics are kept of the incidence of sickness among members of the fire service; and can he give figures in this connection comparing them with the rate before that scheme was introduced and the known rate of sickness among the general public?

Mr. H. Morrison

The 48/24 hour duty system has been introduced gradually and in some areas only very recently. No statistics at present available would form a reliable basis for a comparison such as my hon. Friend suggests, but the point is one which will be watched.

Mr. Davies

If the right hon. Gentleman cannot take a census of all the sickness before and after the introduction of this scheme, would he be good enough to select six or 12 stations and make comparisons between the incidence of sickness now and before the introduction of the 48/24 hour scheme?

Mr. Morrison

I have said that the matter will be watched, and I will consider that point. We have some records, but they are not fully conclusive, though they are rather interesting.

58. Mr. Butcher

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that an issue of uniform clothing is now being made to young women performing telephone duties in the National Fire Service for 48 hours per month; and whether he proposes to continue such issue?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir. The scale of issue laid down for part-time women in the National Fire Service allows for the issue of one set of uniform. On recent reconsideration of the matter I have issued instructions that newly recruited part-time women should not be given uniform until they have undergone training, established their usefulness, and have given an indication that they will remain in the Service.

Mr. Butcher

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask whether he really thinks that the best utilisation of our resources is to supply these heavy uniforms for young women?

Mr. Morrison

I think it is desirable that in a fine service a high degree of esprit de corps and discipline should be maintained, and I think uniforms are conducive to that.

Mr. Butcher

Has the right hon. Gentleman any complaint about the London Telephone Service, which seems to get on quite well in ordinary clothes?

Mr. Morrison

I have no complaint about the London Telephone Service, but a lot of other people have.