HC Deb 20 April 1948 vol 449 cc1600-2
9. Mr. Anthony Greenwood

asked the Minister of Labour what success has attended his Department's effort to obtain suitable accommodation for European volunteer workers in Heywood.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Ness Edwards)

Plans are going ahead for adapting the former Government Training Centre premises at Radcliffe and the Warth Mill Camp to meet the needs of the area. The former G.T.C. premises at Radcliffe should provide accommodation for 700 European volunteer workers in Cotton, and plans for adapting the premises are being pressed on with all speed. The Warth Mill scheme is being pursued with Ministry of Works and should provide 500 places.

Mr. Greenwood

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the site he has referred to in his answer will involve a journey of about seven miles for some of these European voluntary workers and will he bear in mind that the labour position in the cotton industry is extremely serious in this respect; and will his Department try to do better than they have done so far?

Mr. Ness Edwards

This matter has been looked into by the regional committee and apparently this is the best that can be done. Our assisted travel scheme is being put into operation to assist these people to get to their employment.

Mr. Greenwood

Will my right hon. Friend look once again into the possibility of using part of the R.A.F. station at Heywood for the housing of European voluntary workers?

Mr. Leslie Hale

Could the Minister say what success has attended his efforts to co-ordinate the requirements of the various Ministries in connection with the housing of European voluntary workers?

Mr. Ness Edwards

This matter has been taken up by the regional committee in Lancashire itself and they can and are taking decisions to cut down any avoidable delay.

10. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Minister of Labour what procedure has been adopted by his Department to enable the return to their own country of European voluntary workers who have come over here either for industrial or domestic purposes but failed to exhibit the necessary standards of workmanship or service and thereby in effect entered the country under a false description.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Where it has been quite clear that a European volunteer worker would not develop into a satisfactory worker, his return to a displaced persons' camp on the Continent has been arranged. I am happy to say that there have been only 23 cases of this kind out of over 50,000 European volunteer workers brought to this country.

Mr. Cooper

Will my hon. Friend see that suitable publicity is given to the procedure followed by his Department, so that workers who prove not to be helpful to this scheme can be returned, without this causing a great deal of trouble to those who employ them?

Mr. Ness Edwards

I think my hon. Friend will agree that it is a small problem. I hope that this Question and answer will give the necessary publicity.

Major Tufton Beamish

Will the Minister bear in mind that it is quite impossible for these people to return to their home country as the questioner asks, since none of them came here from their home country?

11. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Labour how many European voluntary workers entered this country in the first quarter of the year; and how many were placed in agriculture.

Mr. Ness Edwards

During the first quarter of 1948 approximately 15,000 European volunteer workers arrived in this country and 6,300 were placed in agriculture.

Mr. Swingler

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied with the progress of this scheme, particularly in view of the fact of the rejection of German volunteers?

Mr. Ness Edwards

I am quite satisfied that we are getting all the people for whom we can provide accommodation.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

is there any limit to this importing of foreign workers and does not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that any country that depends for the tilling of its soil on foreign labour eventually goes out?

Mr. Ness Edwards

We have to meet our needs for agriculture this year, and I thought it was agreed on all sides of the House that we should take every step open to us.

Mr. Snadden

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what proportion of these workers went to Scotland?

Mr. Ness Edwards

Not without notice.