HC Deb 16 November 1948 vol 458 cc199-200
38. Mr. Symonds

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the number of men who have become liable for National Service in each year since the end of the recent war; how many of them have not so far been called up for service; how many of these were excused on medical or conscientious grounds; how many were granted deferments to complete apprenticeships or educational courses or for other purposes; how many of those granted deferment have still not been called up at the expiry of their deferment period, and for what reasons.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)

As the reply is long and includes a number of figures I will, if I may, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Symonds

Could my right hon. Friend say now whether the figure asked for at the end of the Question is a large one or a small one?—because there is a suspicion in certain quarters that some people have been able to use deferments in such a way as to avoid military service altogether.

Mr. Isaacs

I could not say whether it was large or small without relating it to the whole set of figures. However, I think I have given all the information for which my hon. Friend has asked.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

Could the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is satisfied that the present method of call-up is not interfering with industry and education?

Mr. Isaacs

I should much rather see that Question on the Order Paper.

Following is the reply:

Men born between 1st January, 1928, and 30th September, 1930, became liable to register under the National Service Acts at various dates between 1st December, 1945, and 4th September, 1948. The estimated total numbers in these age-classes in Great Britain were as follow:—

Men born in 1928 334,000
Men born in 1929 327,000
Men born in January-September, 1930 256,000

Statistics of the numbers in the 1928 class who have not yet been called up are not available. As regards the 1929 and 1930 classes, the latest count was made on 3rd September, 1948, and the figures relate to the 1929 class and the first half of the 1930 class (they do not include the third quarter of the 1930 class who registered on 4th September). The principal groups of men who had not been called up at that date were as follow:

1929 Class 1st Half 1930 Class
Number found unfit for service in the Forces 28,700 12,600
Apprentices 41,400 25,800
Agricultural workers 18,400 8,400
Coal Mining Workers 8,400 2,800
Seamen 5,300 1,200
Railway footplate staff 1,000
University students, etc. 7,000 4,000
Boys at school granted deferment to 31st July, 1949 (to take Higher School Certificate, etc.) 100 800
Conscientious Objectors 400 200
Others not called up (including among others, men whose applications for deferment were under consideration and men granted postponement of calling up on grounds of personal hardship, but excluding men immediately available for posting to the Forces) 2,000 6,300

These figures represent the numbers in the various categories whose call-up was still deferred or suspended at 3rd September. It is not possible to say how many separate individuals have, during any stated period, had their call-up deferred in order to complete their apprenticeships or take examinations, etc., nor are statistics available showing the numbers still not called up after the termination of their deferments, but the latter figure must be small.

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