HC Deb 16 October 1945 vol 414 cc893-4
14. Mr. Sidney Shephard

asked the Minister of Labour on what grounds owners of one-man businesses, who are now serving in the Forces, can obtain release; and whether such release is temporary or final.

Mr. Isaacs

There is no provision for the early release of owners of one-man businesses as such. These cases are usually based on considerations of a personal nature and are, therefore, dealt with by the Service Departments under the arrangements for compassionate release. Release on compassionate grounds may be for a definite or an indefinite period, according to circumstances.

Mr. Shephard

Is the Minister aware that there is a general impression that owners of one-man businesses who have served three years in the Forces and who have compassionate grounds now get released; and has there in fact been any alteration at all in the treatment of these cases?

Mr. Isaacs

So far as the treatment of compassionate cases is concerned, that is a matter for the respective Services and not the Ministry of Labour.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Would the Minister consider the advisability of putting this matter on a specific, clear basis which everybody can understand, laying down the definite conditions on which owners of one-man businesses may be released?

Mr. Isaacs

Quite definitely we will do that.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Is the Minister aware that his statement this afternoon appears to conflict with the official statement issued by his Ministry a few weeks-ago on which, I suppose, we must all of us have had innumerable inquiries? Will he, at an early date, make a clear statement on this matter?

Mr. Isaacs

I cannot recall the statement to which the hon. Gentleman refers, but I think there is a clear case made out for what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I will immediately see about getting out a statement on the matter.

Mr. McEntee

Will the right hon. Gentleman give a wider interpretation, if possible, to the term "compassionate leave?" It has been very narrowly interpreted by the Services, and I think we might have a wider interpretation with regard to men in this class.

Mr. Isaacs

This is not a matter for the Ministry of Labour, but I will make contact with the Service Ministers on the matter.