HC Deb 19 December 1946 vol 431 cc2160-1
48. Mr. Manningham-Buller

asked the Minister of Labour why certain volunteers for service in the coalmines are ' not allowed to count such service for the purposes of Class A release from His Majesty's forces when persons directed to such service are allowed in similar circumstances to do so.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)

The reasons for confining to ballotees the concession that a period spent in the mines might count towards release from the Forces were explained in my statement to the House on 29th November, 1945, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his statement gives no explanation of the reasons for the different treatment allotted to those who accepted the Government's invitation to volunteer for service in the coal mines when they registered and the treatment given to the Bevin Boys? Is he aware that the optant working in the mine can be called up for service if released, and if he is discharged from the mines on medical grounds and is then called up he cannot count as part of his service the period spent in the mines?

Mr. Isaacs

In spite of that information, I still refer the hon. Member to the answer I have given previously.

Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite

In view of the fact that the answer referred to in the Minister's reply was given over a year ago, and the Government have now a great deal more knowledge of this matter, would he not look at it again and see if the volunteer cannot be placed at an advantage?

Mr. Isaacs

I can say that the matter is being looked at again.

49. Mr. Manningham-Buller

asked the Minister of Labour the number of men who, on registering under the National Service Acts, in consequence of the Government's invitation, opted for service in the mines and are now serving in His Majesty's Forces and are unable, by reason of his decision, to count their service in the mines for the purposes of. Class A release.

Mr. Isaacs

I regret that this information is not available.