HC Deb 26 November 1942 vol 385 c838
2. Mr. Craik Henderson

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that young men employed on important war work, for over 72 hours per week, are being directed to join the Home Guard; whether he has considered the effect of this extra work on their health and will he alter the policy of his Department in this respect?

Mr. Bevin

No, Sir. If my hon. Friend is aware of any such cases and will communicate with me, I will have then investigated.

Mr. Craik Henderson

If there are cases of young men of 19 doing important work—I have sent particulars to the Minister—will the right hon. Gentleman give instructions that they shall not be asked to take up Home Guard duties, which would result in their doing their own job inefficiently?

Mr. Bevin

I would like to look at all the aspects of the question. If young men of this age are working 72 hours a week, it may be that their working hours are much too long.

Colonel Sir A. Lambert Ward

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that where men are doing 72 hours a week the Home Guard authorities are entitled to demand a further 12 hours a week training, and that as many of these men live considerable distances from their work and have to travel to and fro, it is placing upon them an absolutely intolerable burden?

Mr. Bevin

I have issued an advice—not an order, because it is difficult to apply in all cases—advising employers not to work people beyond 56 hours a week. Managements ought to co-operate, because the Home Guard is essential in case of danger.

Mr. Hannah

Do the Government realise the strain on elderly Members of this House belonging to the Home Guard?