HC Deb 04 December 1947 vol 445 cc575-6
58. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Minister of Labour how many of the 23,000 officers and men in the three Services covered by the Ministry of Labour classification, "Agricultural Trades," formerly lived in Scotland.

Mr. Isaacs

This information is not readily available, and its extraction would involve a disproportionate expenditure of time which would not be justified.

Mr. Hughes

Is not the Minister aware that this is vitally important to agriculture in Scotland; and, in view of the fact that there are separate Agriculture Bills for England and Scotland, will he consider paying special attention to the employment position in Scotland?

Mr. Isaacs

The difficulty is that the Ministry of Labour records are not centralised. We would have to go to every one of our Departments, and we are confined to the National Service men. The records relating to the Service Departments and volunteers for regular engagement are kept in the records of the Service Departments. It would require a considerable amount of work to get the figures out.

Mr. Frank Byers

Would the Minister now consider releasing any of these 23,000 officers and men who wish to take up work in agriculture, since they are required vitally at the present time.

Mr. Isaacs

As I announced many months back, every opportunity has been given to men in the Forces to take their release if they want to take up agricultural work.

Mr. Scollan

Does the Minister's original answer mean that when young men are called up for service the employment exchanges take no account of their former employment, and keep no record?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir, it means quite the contrary. We do keep those records very carefully. They are kept in the exchange in the area, and are not brought to the central office.