HC Deb 13 February 1947 vol 433 cc519-20
46. Mr. M. Lindsay

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the general manpower shortage, he will now offer some inducement to German prisoners of war in Britain to defer their repatriation.

Mr. Isaacs

I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 19th November and that given him by the Secretary of State for War on 28th January.

Mr. Lindsay

Is the Minister aware that the reply of the Secretary of State for War, to which he refers, stated that no inducements whatever are being offered to German prisoners of war. Are we to understand from the Minister's reply that it is a matter of complete indifference to him whether or not this valuable source of labour dries up?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir. It is not a matter of indifference to the Government. There are others who are entitled to preference over the prisoners of war, and they will get it.

Mr. Edelman

Will my right hon. Friend invite ex-prisoners of war to come to work in this country as voluntary workers under contract for a stipulated time?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir, not at this juncture.

Hon. Members

Why not?

Mr. Isaacs

I have heard a good deal, during the last two or three, days, about finding work for the Poles. We will find work for them before we start finding work for some of these others.

Mr. Hogg

Has it not begun to dawn on the right hon. Gentleman that there is a shortage of manpower of such a character that we can afford to take all these people?

Mr. Chetwynd

Would it not be more desirable to bring some of our troops back from Germany?