HC Deb 05 June 1956 vol 553 cc847-8
3. Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for War by what annual amount his Department's estimates could be reduced if National Service were abolished.

Mr. Head

The saving would depend on the size of the Regular Army, which in turn depends on Regular recruiting. It would also be influenced by where that Army was stationed. I therefore do not think a realistic estimate is possible at this stage.

Mr. Lewis

Is it not a fact that there would be quite a large saving of money? Is not this one way in which both the right hon. Gentleman and the Government could implement their promises to cut the cost of living? If we were to cut down on this and put these men on to useful work, would that not be helping the balance of payments position? Will the right hon. Gentleman put that suggestion to the Chancellor and the Cabinet?

Mr. Head

That is another question, but I would agree with the hon. Member that undoubtedly there would be a saving, a considerable saving.

10. Mr. Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will abolish the fifteen days' reserve training for National Service men in view of its interference with industry, domestic life and family financial commitments.

Mr. Head

No, Sir.

Mr. Allaun

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many one-man firms are being endangered because the proprietors are unable to obtain substitutes while they are doing their fifteen days' training? Is he aware that in many cases employers do not make up the men's wages, and that consequently they suffer financial hardship, so that some of these men and their families cannot have their ordinary summer holidays?

Mr. Head

We have gone into this question frequently in this House, and I do not think I can answer it by way of answer to a supplementary question. A great many employers do make up their men's wages, and men are paid at camp.