HC Deb 21 September 1948 vol 456 cc669-70
4. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the uncertainty of employers, and the concern of the men themselves, he will make an early statement about the position of civilianised ex-prisoners of war now working in this country.

Mr. Isaacs

German ex-prisoners of war in the employment of individual farmers will be permitted to remain in this country for agricultural employment after the end of 1948, provided that their present employers are willing to offer-them continued engagement. Germans in the employment of agricultural executive committees in England and Wales or of the Department of Agriculture in Scotland will be repatriated towards the end of the year. Germans employed by the War Office on bomb disposal work will be offered an extension of contract until the end of 1949 or such shorter period for which their services may be needed.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will my right hon. Friend look at the possibility of those Germans who are being allowed to remain here bringing their wives over here in all cases where they are married men?

Mr. Isaacs

I will look at the possibility.

Mr. Gammans

Can the Minister explain to the House the difference between a civilian and a civilianised prisoner of war?

Mr. Isaacs

Not without notice.

Mr. Snadden

Does the Minister mean that the prisoners of war who are in hostels will not be permitted to remain in this country? Is he further aware that many of these prisoners do not want to return, and in view of the shortage of agricultural workers is it a correct policy that they should be sent back against their will?

Mr. Isaacs

There are several points involved in that supplementary question. The first is the shortage of agricultural workers. The second is whether the prisoners of war wish to return. There are other people who are suffering from the effects of the German war, such as displaced persons, who have first claim upon our help.