HC Deb 17 December 1953 vol 522 cc552-4
8. Mr. G. Jeger

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is now in a position to state the result of his review of the present system of deferments of farmworkers, with a view to allowing a change of employer within the industry.

12. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Minister of Labour if he has now arrived at a decision regarding the call-up for National Service of farmworkers who transfer from one farm to another; and if he will make a statement.

13. Mr. Watkins

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will make a further statement about the proposed call-up of farm workers who have transferred from farms after their deferment and for which further applications for deferment are pending.

Mr. Watkinson

My right hon. and learned Friend has already explained the difficulties of principle that he feels about this problem. Nevertheless, we recognise the strength of the representations made to us that it would be a serious set-back to production on the small farms if we were to start, at this stage, refusing all applications for further deferment of men who have had deferment on one farm and change their employment. Accordingly, for these practical reasons, we are prepared to allow the old practice to continue for the time being. We propose, however, to review the position again towards the end of next summer in the light of further experience.

Mr. Jeger

Will the hon. Gentleman consult the National Farmers' Union and the unions catering for agricultural workers on this question? Does he realise that there is a great sense of grievance and injustice about tieing men to specific farms or farmers, instead of to the industry generally, which would be an advantage.so far as production is concerned?

Mr. Watkinson

That does apply under the present arrangements.

Commander Donaldson

Will my hon. Friend also take into consideration the great concern in Scotland on this subject, and make it clear that the answer he has just given applies to Scotland as well?

Mr. Watkinson

Yes, Sir.

Science and Mathematics Teachers (Exemption)

10. Mr. Morley

asked the Minister of Labour if he will consider taking measures to exempt intending teachers of science and mathematics in secondary schools from military service.

Mr. Watkinson

My right hon. and learned Friend has not yet received any representations on this matter.

Mr. Morley

Is the Minister aware of the very great scarcity of science and mathematics teachers in secondary schools, and of the fact that that scarcity will be considerably increased when the post-war higher birth-rate affects the secondary schools in three years' time? Would it not be in the national interest to give some such inducement as this to science and mathematics graduates to take up the teaching profession?

Mr. Watkinson

We still have had no representations.

Mr. W. R. Williams

Are we to assume that the Minister of Education has not made the Minister of Labour aware of the difficulties experienced in this field?

Mr. Langford-Holt

Will my hon. Friend undertake to reconsider the whole question of calling up in peacetime, at considerable expense for training, those who, in no circumstances, would be required to serve in the Armed Forces in wartime?

Mr. Watkinson

We are always only too pleased to look at any of these problems, and if my hon. Friend and any other hon. Gentleman likes to make any representations we will certainly consider them.

Mr. Marquand

Will the hon. Gentleman ask his right hon. and learned Friend to review again the work of the Hankey Committee on technical personnel during the war, and to consider whether the time may not have come for possibly a temporary resurrection of that committee?

Mr. Watkinson

We will certainly have a look at that.