HC Deb 10 September 1942 vol 383 cc273-4
16. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there is dissatisfaction at the refusal of hardship tribunals under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act, to grant postponement in cases where several members of the same family have been called up; and whether he will consider taking steps to secure that the burden of service is more equitably distributed between families?

Mr. Bevin

Liability to be called up under the National Service Acts rests equally upon all persons to whom the Acts apply. Questions of exceptional hardship are dealt with by hardship committees and in the event of appeal by the Umpire, and I would not propose to interfere with the present arrangements, which have worked well, and, I believe, given general satisfaction

Mr. Griffiths

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is some feeling about the fact that some families have five, six or even seven sons in the war while other families have not given a son? Would he consider a suggestion which has often been made to me by men in the Forces that the youngest sons in families of four or five sons should be considered exempt?

Mr. Collindridge

Is the Minister aware that five members of a family are sometimes serving and that, when the sixth is called up, no consideration is given by the hardship tribunals to the position?

Mr. Bevin

If there are exceptional cases to which hon. Members wish to call my attention, I will have a look into them; but, by and large, the system has worked pretty well. I do not think it can be altered by changing the Regulations.