HC Deb 05 July 1950 vol 477 cc476-7
49. Mr. Redmayne

asked the Minister of Defence whether he will now make a statement clarifying the position of a National Service man who becomes a Territorial Army volunteer in regard to statutory holidays and annual camp.

Mr. Shinwell

In common with other volunteers a National Service man who volunteers for service in the Territorial Army or in one of the other reserve or auxiliary Forces has no statutory right to additional leave for annual camp, and in this respect he is, of course, at a theoretical disadvantage compared with the National Service man who does not volunteer and whose normal holidays are protected by Section 52 of the National Service Act, 1948.

I am sure, however, that employers will not discriminate against the volunteer. As the House will know, the Government have given a lead by granting extra leave with pay to volunteers attending camps. Broadly comparable arrangements have been made by many industrial and commercial undertakings, including nationalised industries. I am confident that employers in general will follow the lead which has been given, and grant to their employees who are volunteers, not only extra leave but, to the greatest extent possible, extra leave with pay.

Mr. Redmayne

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that although he may call it only a theoretical disadvantage, these facts are affecting the recruitment of volunteers from among National Service men, and that some regard should be had to putting all classes of Territorial soldiers on to the same footing?

Mr. Shinwell

I am quite unaware whence the hon. Member gets this information, because it is only within the last week or two that the switch-over has taken place, and there has not been sufficient time in which to judge.

Miss Bacon

Can my right hon. Friend say on what basis the Question he has just answered is the responsibility of his Department, and not Questions Nos. 64 and 66 on similar subjects, which I addressed to him, and which have been transferred to other Departments?

Mr. Shinwell

I have not got the Questions to which my hon. Friend refers before me, but I expect there must be a subtle distinction.

Earl Winterton

Will the right hon. Gentleman give further sympathetic consideration to this matter, which has been raised more than once in Debate? Is he aware that he has been pressed on both sides of the House to see that some priority should be given to National Service volunteers for the Territorials?

Mr. Shinwell

I am very anxious to effect a solution of this problem, but there are many complexities about it, and I am afraid that the noble Lord must leave it with us for the time being. We shall do our best to solve it.