HC Deb 18 April 1950 vol 474 cc22-3
41 and 42. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) if he is aware that the replacement of civilian clerks by National Service men in Army pay offices is leading to unemployment among these temporary civil servants; and if he will reconsider the decision to employ young soldiers on this type of work;

(2) if he is aware that the employment of successive batches of National Service men in Army pay offices makes continuity of work in these offices difficult and is detrimental to efficiency. and if he will stop this practice.

Mr. Strachey

Soldiers must be employed in Army pay offices in this country in order to provide trained staff for pay offices overseas. Enough National Service men are employed to make good the shortage of Regular soldiers and to produce a trained military reserve to meet the requirements of the Pay Services on mobilisation. The rundown of work and the reorganisation of pay offices make it inevitable that some temporary clerks should become redundant.

National Service men are employed in pay offices according to a phased programme and are fully trained before taking up full duties in an office. The accounting system now being introduced is designed to allow for the employment of National Service men and I am satisfied that their employment is not detrimental to efficiency.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

Has the Minister received any representation from the Civil Service Clerical Association on this matter-about efficiency?

Mr. Strachey

No, Sir.

Mr. A. R. W. Low

Surely the right hon. Gentleman will agree that this is a complete waste of the use of National Service men. If he wants trained men on mobilisation, he could get them by taking them from civilian firms where a lot of men have been doing this sort of thing. Is it not a complete waste of the Services of National Service men?

Mr. Strachey

I should have thought it was wise to provide a certain limited number of National Service men trained in this work for use immediately on mobilisation.

Mr. Molson

Are the men selected for this particular sedentary job, medically unfit for any other active service?

Mr. Strachey

Not necessarily, but I think it is right that a certain number of men suitable for this type of work should be se used.