7. Mr. Vane
asked the Secretary of State for War how many applications he has received from ex-miners for release from the Army under his present regulations; and how many such releases have been granted to men serving inside and outside the country, respectively.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
I understand that up to 28th April, 1951, 1,233 applications had been received by the National Coal Board from serving soldiers. Seven hundred and sixty-three have been found acceptable by the National Coal Board and are in the process of being released. I cannot say how many of the men involved were serving inside or outside this country. Seventy-five applications have either been withdraw or rejected. The remaining applications are under consideration by the National Coal Board.
Can the Minister say when he will be able to let the House know how many men who were in this class have been withdrawn from units overseas, apart from those serving at home?
§ Mr. Stewart
We shall have to wait until we make sure that the total applications coming in are received.
§ Mr. Tom Brown
Why is it that three, four and five months are passing before these men can be returned to the mining industry? Is it due to some defect in the War Office or in the Record Office? Why is it?
§ Mr. Stewart
If my hon. Friend will refer to the debate which took place on 6th April last, he will see that there is no serious delay in the matter.
§ Colonel Ropner
Can the Minister give an undertaking that they will resume work in the mines? After they 979 get back into the mines, if they leave that employment quite shortly, is any action taken?
§ Mr. William Ross
Would my hon. Friend consider extending the regulations to cover all the cases of miners in the Services and not just a limited class?
§ Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite
Would the matter be expedited if some officials were sent to explain all this to the men?