HC Deb 29 January 1948 vol 446 cc1195-6
50. Mr. Osborne

asked the Minister of Labour on what grounds boys compulsorily directed to the mines are not on demobilisation granted the 56 days' leave with pay, new clothes and 120 clothing coupons, which are granted to all men who are demobilised from the Armed Forces, since volunteering for the mines ranked equal in importance with service in the Armed Forces.

Mr. Isaacs

The benefits referred to which are granted to men released in Class A from the Armed Forces were designed to help them to settle down again in civilian life after long periods of absence in the Services. The same considerations do not apply in the case of men who have remained in civilian life and men who have entered coalmining employment could not be granted special treatment in this respect.

Mr. Osborne

Would the Minister agree that the Bevin boys, who are now suffering under a sense of grievance, did as important a job at the request of the Government as the men who served in the Armed Forces? Will he look at it again?

Mr. Isaacs

I do not consider that their sense of grievance is any greater than that of those who remained in engineering, farm work and many other industries, and they cannot have special treatment.