§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. J. J. Lawson
I should like to have some explanation from the Minister about this Clause. The Committee will notice that this Clause deals with the appropriation of vacancies in certain employment to registered persons only, and I would like the Minister to tell us what 961 is in his mind in this matter. Does he mean to apply this at once or in stages? There will be men who have been called up from such jobs as lift attendants and messengers, and if all such jobs have been appropriated under this Clause they will not get them back. I suppose the object is to take the matter in stages, but I should be much obliged if the Minister would give us an explanation as to what particular employments are going to be taken over wholly for disabled persons.
§ Mr. Bevin
We decided on this principle of designated employment for two reasons. One is that it will help us to deal with certain establishments which employ lift men but which come below the quota. It may be that although only a few people are employed we can designate the lift man's job as suitable for a disabled person. It is a job which I have always regarded personally as unsuitable for young people. This will enable us to designate jobs for people who are semi-disabled, though the jobs would not come in the quota. The other reason is this. You may have a big firm which is quite willing to designate such jobs and not count them in its quota. It cuts both ways. We get the chance of designating employment solely for disabled people who cannot be trained for anything else, jobs we should not get in establishments below the quota of 20, and we also get the advantage of the goodwill of firms who are willing to take on disabled men for such jobs and not count them in the figure at all. That is a great gain which cuts both ways. I think it is a very big asset in an area of disablement which will be extremely useful.
§ Mr. J. J. Lawson
May it not be that some of these jobs have been held by men who were not too strong, but who in spite of that were called up? When they return home will they be able to resume their jobs?
§ Mr. Rhys Davies (Westhoughton)
I only want to intervene in this matter in a friendly manner to call attention to a memorandum which I have received. That memorandum says:The object of the Bill is the very fine one of fitting disabled persons to earn their livelihood on their own merits and not on charity. They are to be fitted into jobs which, despite their disability, they can do as well as anybody else. In that connection there is just one point in Clause 12, of the Bill to which attention ought to be directed. That Clause appropriates certain jobs for disabled people only and nobody else can be employed in them. The jobs in question may be lift attendants, messengers, and so on. It seems that the disabled people who will get those jobs will be employed not because they are disabled but because they are able to do the work. Reserving that work for disabled people only seems, however, to imply that they would not secure or hold the job on their merits. That seems on the face of it to be inconsistent with the general purpose of the Bill.In view of that memorandum I should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would say a word or two on that point in order to dispose of any misunderstanding about the Clause.
§ Mr. Bevin
I though I had made that clear when I spoke before. Jobs will be designated which these men can do, and so they will hold them on their merits. Some people seem to assume that because jobs are designated for disabled men those are the only jobs into which disabled men can be drafted. That is wrong. I shall have to keep all this legislation in mind when dealing with this matter.
§ Sir Ralph Glyn (Abingdon)
Could the Minister tell us how that can be reconciled with encouraging men to fit themselves for other jobs?
§ Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.