HC Deb 10 April 1952 vol 498 cc2958-9
11. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has now completed his examination of the possibility of allowing some measure of deferment for ex-apprentices in the aircraft industry.

Sir W. Monckton

Yes, Sir. Arrangements are being made to allow deferment of call-up for a limited number of men in highly skilled occupations for not more than two years after completion of apprenticeship where full use is being made of their skill on certain specified rearmament projects of the highest priority, including the latest types of military aircraft. This is subject to the men concerned not being required for service in a Service trade making full use of their skill. Information as to the procedure to be followed is being given by the Admiralty and the Ministry of Supply to the contractors and main sub-contractors whose work comes within the scope of these arrangements.

Air Commodore Harvey

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the statement which he has just made will give great satisfaction to those concerned in this great industry? Will he be a little more explicit about sub-contractors, because in this industry sub-contractors are carrying out a great percentage of the work involved?

Sir W. Monckton

Yes, Sir. This is a very limited exception from the general rule, and it is only in the case of the contractors and the main sub-contractors that it will apply.

Mr. Shinwell

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say whether the exception is applicable to the electronics industry?

Sir W. Monckton

Yes, Sir.

Mr. H. Hynd

As this is the second case recently in which, as a result of special pleading, certain sections have been exempt from call-up for National Service, the other case being that of agricultural workers, does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman think that a general review should take place so that the matter should not be dealt with piecemeal like this? Can he harmonise these special exceptions with his refusal to release miners from the Forces?

Sir W. Monckton

The difficulty about these exceptions is that in such a case as that to which the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) referred a moment ago, very exceptional considerations apply. I am most anxious not to see the numbers available for the Forces reduced below what they need, and it is with great reluctance that I have gone as far as I have done.

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