HC Deb 11 April 1946 vol 421 cc2094-6
51. Colonel Wheatley

asked the Minister of Labour if he will look into the working of the branch of his Department in Tavistock Square, with a view to ensuring that ex-officers inquiring about employment are received with more understanding and sympathy.

Mr. Isaacs

I have personally examined the working of this office and am satisfied that the existing instructions calling for understanding and sympathy in dealing with ex-officers are being loyally carried out. If the hon. and gallant Member has a particular case in mind and will let me have details, I will gladly make inquiries.

Colonel Wheatley

Is the Minister aware of cases such as that of a regular lieutenant-commander of the Royal Navy who commanded one of His Majesty's ships, and has a disabled arm, who after very casual interrogation by a gift was offered training as a chiropodist?

Mr. Isaacs

if my hon. and gallant Friend will let me have particulars, I will look into it but I do not recognise that as the system operating.

52. Wing-Commander Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Minister of Labour the percentage of ex-officers, whose names are on the appointments register at the London Appointments Office, who have remained on the register for a period of longer than six months without obtaining employment.

Mr. Isaacs

I regret that this information is not immediately available It could only be obtained by the examination of a very large number of individual registration forms involving a disproportionate expenditure of time which would not be justified.

Wing-Commander Cooper

While I am sorry that my right hon. Friend cannot supply me with that information, may I ask if he does not agree that the success of the scheme depends very largely on the suitability of the development officers who have to interview the employers, and can he investigate the qualifications of these men to see if they are adequate for them to carry out their tasks satisfactorily?

Mr. Isaacs

The qualifications of these people were examined before they were appointed. They include high ranking officers of the Services seconded to the Ministry for the purpose, and we get every assistance from them. Up to now I have not heard any complaints about them.

Lieut.-Colonel Byers

Does the Minister mean to tell the House that there is no system of continuous review to see whether these men are getting jobs or not? Does he not think that is rather bad?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir. I do not think it is rather had because I do not admit that that was the case.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Will the Minister undertake to review each case every three months? Many of these men are left six months without a reply.

Mr. Isaacs

These cases are continually being reviewed and, whilst I would not like to say without further examination whether it is three months or at other intervals, they are continuously reviewed because our own files would otherwise be littered up because people—[Interruption]. Perhaps hon. Members will let me answer the question; I thought they wanted information. Some of the applicants are already in employment, and go from one job to another without telling us. Others find employment while waiting for these jobs to be given to them, so of necessity we are anxious to keep our files as clear as we can in order to avoid unnecessary duplication.