HC Deb 13 December 1955 vol 547 cc995-6
37. Mr. Allann

asked the Minister of Labour what representations he has received from trade unions and employers regarding the adverse effect of the two years' National Service on production.

Mr. Watkinson

My right hon. and learned Friend has received no general representation from industry in these terms. He is, of course, in constant touch with trade unions and employers' organisations on all matters concerning manpower through the National Joint Advisory Council.

Mr. Allaun

Is the Minister aware that the T.U.C. has unanimously asked for a cut in the call-up, and that leading employers are blaming National Service for the acute shortage of technicians? Is not the waste of 300,000 "square bashers" plus 300,000 civilians providing their supplies too great for our industry to afford?

Mr. Watkinson

The hon. Member asked me what representations my right hon. and learned Friend had had. I do not think that he quite knows how closely in these matters we are associated with the National Joint Advisory Council. I have said that we have had no general representations from that body or others.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that some time ago there was a conference of industrialists, trade union representatives, educationists and so on discussing this very important matter of the effect on production of National Service? Is he not aware of that, and has not what happened on that occasion influenced his mind in the direction of making some adjustments in the period of National Service?

Mr. Watkinson

Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will put that question down. It has nothing to do with the present Question.