HC Deb 08 February 1951 vol 483 cc1910-1
5. Sir Harold Roper

asked the Minister of Labour whether, having regard to the national importance of the optimum use of manpower, he will reconsider the policy of discharging first those men in the older groups when pensionable and instead retain middle-aged persons in employment so long as they continue to give good service.

Mr. Bevan

My policy is to encourage the retention of workers so long as they are fit and willing to work. This policy was endorsed by the National Joint Advisory Council representing both sides of industry in 1948 and again at its meeting a week ago.

Sir H. Roper

Is the Minister aware that there is great waste of manpower at present owing to the inability of middle-aged men to obtain suitable employment? Is he also aware that today many men are finding it very hard to live on their pensions owing to the high cost of living?

Mr. Bevan

The last part of that supplementary question is another issue entirely. I am aware that there is some difficulty about the ability of men over 50 years of age to obtain employment. We are now giving this matter special attention, but I could not discern from the obscurity of the Question if that is what the hon. Member had in mind.