HC Deb 20 March 1945 vol 409 cc626-7
36. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the Secretary of State for War what percentage of the total number, respectively, of German and of Italian prisoners of war in Britain are usefully employed.

Sir J. Grigg

Over 97 per cent. of the Italian and 25 per cent. of the German prisoners of war in this country are usefully employed.

Sir A. Knox

In view of the great shortage of man-power in this country would it not be possible to employ more Germans?

Sir J. Grigg

To the best of my recollection there is a Question later on the Paper about the escapes of German prisoners. One of the reasons why there is a certain number of escapes of prisoners, is that we are attempting to use them on useful work in conditions where they cannot be guarded 100 per cent.

Mr. Astor

How does the number compare with the percentage of our men who are made to work in Germany?

Sir J. Grigg

I cannot say without notice.

Mr. Leach

Has the Minister any information as to the relative value of the work of Italian and German prisoners?

Sir J. Grigg

Yes, Sir, I have, but wild horses would not drag it from me.

37. Sir A. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for War whether any attempt has been made to give occupation to prisoners of war in the trade they followed before the war.

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

I have been asked to reply. Prisoners of war have been employed in general on unskilled work but arrangements have recently been made by which Italian prisoners have been specially selected for work in connection with the repair of bomb damaged houses because of their previous experience.

Sir A. Knox

Surely there are any number of these men who are carpenters, builders, or plumbers in civil life who might long ago have been employed on the repair of houses?

Mr. Bossom

How many have been so employed?

Mr. Tomlinson

All I can say is that number are being so employed.

Mr. Bossom

How many?

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