HC Deb 28 February 1951 vol 484 cc2084-5
50. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Defence how many ex-miners, now in the Forces, have volunteered for the mines in the last month.

53. Mr. Murray

asked the Minister of Defence how many ex-miners have applied for permission to leave the Forces; and how many of these applications have been granted.

Mr. Shinwell

The administrative details of the scheme for allowing ex-miners in the Forces to return to the mines have only recently been completed and there has therefore been no opportunity yet for ex-miners officially to apply for release. The necessary instructions are being issued to Service commands at home and abroad this week.

Mr. Hamilton

In view of the importance of speed in getting these men back to the mines, can my right hon. Friend say whether commanding officers have been given instructions accordingly?

Mr. Shinwell

It takes some time to work out the administrative details of a scheme of this character.

Mr. Murray

Will my right hon. Friend use his good offices to expedite this matter, because we in the mining industry are satisfied that the only people who can really get the additional coal we require are our ex-miners?

Mr. Henderson Stewart

So that hon. Members may be assisted in answering questions from miner constituents on this matter, would the Minister explain to us the administrative details so that we can cope with such questions—the conditions, for example?

Mr. Shinwell

It is impossible to do so by way of Question and answer, but I will, if the hon. Member wishes, give him in writing what information I can.

Mr. H. Hynd

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the other two Services have reached the same deplorable decision as the Army in withholding this concession from ex-miners who are National Service men, and whether he will extend it to the ex-miners who are National Service men?

Mr. Shinwell

There has been no deplorable decision in relation to anyone in the Services.

Sir Ian Fraser

Will the right hon. Gentleman make clear what categories of Service men can be brought back—whether all or only some?

Mr. Shinwell

This arrangement applies to ex-miners in the Forces without regard to any particular category. If they wish to apply to return to the pits they may do so, but it does not follow that their application will always be favourably received.