HC Deb 07 December 1944 vol 406 cc706-7
29. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Labour if he will consider granting a special bonus or extra overtime pay to Service men whose release under the demobilisation scheme is postponed on account of military necessity, such payment to date from the day on which they would otherwise have been released.

Mr. Bevin

The suggestion in the question is based on the assumption that a man has a promise of release in Class A. on a certain date. This is not the case. The promise is that, subject to military requirements, men will be released in a certain order. Adoption of the proposal would put the Government in the position of paying a penalty in cash each time it was found necessary to depart from that order.

Any such arrangement, even if agreed as providing an additional benefit for men retained for military reasons, would present the greatest administrative difficulties. One outstanding objection to the proposal, apart from objection in principle, would be that the date from which the additional pay proposed would accrue would necessarily be different in the different Services and in different branches of the same Service for men in the same age and service groups.

Mr. Driberg

Even if there is not an absolute promise of release, did not the Minister's speech and the Parliamentary Secretary's speech in the recent Debate imply that only comparatively few men would have to be retained after their turn had arrived, and so could not my right hon. Friend try to devise some simple means of granting this consolation prize?

Mr. Bevin

No, Sir, I cannot go further than we have gone in the matter.