HC Deb 22 July 1952 vol 504 cc249-50
5. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men in Scotland have sought, and how many have been granted, remission of periods of service on the Z Reserve; on what grounds such remission was granted; and for what periods.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Antony Head)

To get these details would involve a special scrutiny of the documents of all those who have applied for exemption from, or deferment of, Z reservist training. I do not think the effort would be justified, since men in Scotland are treated the same as everyone else.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that there is discontent as to the manner in which some of these applications are dealt with and the evidence adduced to support them, and would he state the principles upon which he acts in these matters?

Mr. Head

Men are granted exemption either on compassionate or medical grounds. Any man who applies and does not get exemption is always discontented, but I can assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that applications are carefully considered and, on the whole, I think we have made a reasonably good job of it.

18. Mr. A. Evans

asked the Secretary of State for War why form A.F.D. 406 sent to Z reservists is referred to in a covering letter as a "screening" form.

Mr. Head

This form is designed to provide the Ministry of Labour and National Service with the necessary information to find out whether or not a reservist is in a category likely to be available for recall in emergency. This process is known as "screening," a word of wide application and borrowed from the coal trade.

Mr. Evans

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the use of this term tends to cause annoyance to those who receive the letter? Will he consider discouraging the importation of unnecessary and ambiguous terms into these documents?

Mr. Head

The word "screening" has a very wide application. I think it is only because of certain notorious individuals who have talked about screening that it has acquired a certain slur in its connotation.