HC Deb 06 March 1945 vol 408 cc1812-4

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. COLLIN DRIDGE:

64. To ask the Minister of Labour why he allows miners who may, by reason of illness or industrial disease, have to leave the mining industry for short periods, later to be called up for military service, instead of being returned to the mining industry.

Mr. Collindridge

May I ask your guidance on this Question, Mr. Speaker? I submitted it to the Ministry of Fuel and Power, which had entertained it for months in discussions and correspondence. This transfer has taken place without any notification to me.

Mr. Speaker

I cannot dictate to Ministers who shall reply to a Question. It is for the appropriate Minister to reply.

Mr. Collindridge

In this case the Ministry of Fuel and Power have entertained the matter by discussion and correspondence, and it was to that Department that the Question was submitted.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Tomlinson)

Miners are not called up for military service merely because they may have been absent from work for a short time on account of illness or industrial disease. Such action is taken only when my right hon. Friend is satisfied, on the medical evidence available, that a return to coal-mining would be detrimental to the worker's health or that he is likely to be permanently unfit for that work. Our officers consult the appropriate officers of the Ministry of Fuel and Power on all these cases.

Mr. Collindridge

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a few weeks ago a miner was taken from opencast work and spent five months in the Army, and was then allowed to return to the mining industry, and that I have had particulars of a similar case sent to me this morning? Is he aware that we are losing miners, who are spending time and effort being trained in the Army, and are finally sent back to the mines?

Mr. Tomlinson

I think that it was admitted, in the first case to which my hon. Friend refers, that a mistake was made. If a mistake has been made again, and if he sends me particulars, it will be rectified.