HC Deb 09 December 1946 vol 431 cc739-40
13. Wing-Commander Roland Robinson

asked the Minister of Transport the reasons for refusing to consider applications for the position of driving examiner from men who were born before August, 1905; whether he is aware that this age discrimination bears unfairly against many ex-Servicemen; and whether he will take steps to remove it.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. G. R. Srauss)

As I explained during the Second Reading Debate on the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Bill, the upper age limit of 41 for applicants for the post of driving or traffic examiner was fixed after consideration of all factors including the ages of the present staff. With a view to affording opportunities for ex-Servicemen the upper age limit was fixed six years higher than would otherwise have been justified.

Wing-Commander Robinson

In view of the shortage of manpower, is not the Minister setting a thoroughly bad example by refusing to employ men over 41 years of age in jobs which they could perform adequately?

Mr. Strauss

No, Sir. It is essential in this group of examiners to have a balance from the point of view of age. Most of the existing examiners are getting on in age, and it is essential to have younger ones.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Is the Minister aware that his colleague the Minister of Labour not very long ago sent a circular to employers asking them to give special consideration to men over 45 years of age, in view of the difficulties which men of that age are meeting, and why does not the Ministry of Transport set an example?

Mr. Strauss

That may well be, but the work of an examiner is very strenuous, and most of our present examiners come from the prewar staff and are elderly. It is essential to have the balance of a young group of fresh entrants.

Mr. Leslie Hale

In view of the fact that many persons driving on the road are now 80 or more years of age, why should men of 50 years of age who have served for years in the Forces be debarred?

Mr. Strauss

In view of the consider able age of our prewar examiners, it is better that we should have that balance of younger people of a maximum age of 41. It does not debar ex-Servicemen.

Wing-Commander Robinson

I beg to give notice that owing to the unsatisfactory answer I propose to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

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