HC Deb 28 January 1947 vol 432 cc750-1
25. Mr. M. Lindsay

asked the Minister of Labour whether the Government will invite suitable displaced persons in Europe to work in those British industries which are short of manpower.

Mr. Isaacs

In addition to the existing arrangements for bringing women displaced persons to this country for domestic work in hospitals, I am considering, with other Departments concerned, the possibilities of meeting current manpower,shortages by the recruitment of displaced persons.

Mr. Lindsay

But is it not a bit late for the Minister to consider this matter now? Ought not this to have been considered at least 12 months ago?

Mr. Isaacs

What we are considering is an extension of the arrangements which have already been made. No publicity has been given to them, although, as the hon. Member has put down a Question, I can refer to it. We have already brought in for purely domestic work in private households over 7,000 people, but the question of getting the men over for these other schemes must be taken into consideration with other factors.

Sir Arthur Salter

Has the Minister already taken steps to see that the displaced persons are classified according to their different skills and eligibility for the work which is required to be done?

Mr. Isaacs

Yes, Sir. I would not like to be too specific about all the camps, but we have had officers of the Ministry of Labour in many of the camps classifying these people and finding out their capabilities, especially the women workers. Well over 1,000 women displaced persons who have come here to work in institutions and hospitals have given the greatest satisfaction, and are an excellent type of person.

Mr. Hogg

Is not the number required something like 600,000 at present?

Mr. Lipson

Can the Minister say how long these discussions are likely to take and when he hopes to be able to make a statement as to the outcome?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir. I could not give any definite time, but it is quite obvious that we are governed by another factor, the most worrying factor of the lot, and that is accommodation. It is fairly easy to find a person who is willing to come here and another person is willing to supply that person with accommodation, but, while we have such trouble in finding accommodation for our own people and for the Poles, it would be unwise to bring in other great crowds of people.

Sir A. Salter

Would the Minister take steps to see that the men are classified as fully and carefully as-the women?

Mr. Isaacs

Yes, Sir, I will see that that is done.

Mr. M. Lindsay

I beg to give notice that owing to the very unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment as early as possible.