HC Deb 27 June 1944 vol 401 cc598-9
32. Mr. Doland

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if, in view of the passing by the House of Representatives in the U.S.A. of G.I. Bill of Rights, providing for ex-Servicemen a guarantee of 50 per cent. on loans up to £1,000 at four per cent. interest to help establish a business after the war, he will inform the House what provision he proposes to make of a similar character for those small traders who have lost their business through the war and who wish to start again when they return.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir John Anderson)

The whole question of the measures to be adopted to assist the resettlement of ex-Servicemen on de-mobilisation is under examination, and I am not in a position to make a specific statement at present.

Mr. Doland

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in February, 1919, a Department was set up for this purpose? Could not something similar be done now for the men who return?

Sir J. Anderson

The position is that, in the view of the Government, it would be premature at the present moment to make a statement on these matters, all of which hang together.

Mr. Mathers

Is not the Minister aware that there are quite a few ex-Servicemen in the market for employment, and requiring to be settled. Cannot an experiment be made now, with small numbers, as against the day when there will be many?

Sir J. Anderson

Perhaps the hon. Member will put that Question on the Order Paper.

Sir Richard Acland

Is there any real intention of introducing legislation on this matter before a General Election takes place?

Sir J. Anderson

I have nothing to say on that.

Miss Ward

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that this is a matter on which the Government should have made up their minds long ago?

Sir J. Anderson

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a definite statement on that point, and said he considered that this was not the time to talk about demobilisation.

Mr. Bellenger

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House a reason for the reluctance of the Government to disclose their plans, not for general demobilisation, but in connection with other matters which would bring great comfort to the men now fighting, who are very eager to know whether the Government mean to do anything?

Sir J. Anderson

I think the hon. Member will realise that the Question put to me was on a specific financial point. The general question is hardly one for me.

Mr. Austin Hopkinson

Is it not a fact that it is the Government's policy to crush out all individual enterprise, and that they have already taken a decision in that direction?

Mr. De la Bére

Is not the matter urgent, vital and dominant?