HC Deb 28 February 1957 vol 565 cc1384-5
20. Mr. Allaun

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will reconsider his refusal of the further deferment of a Salford man, aged 22 years, of whom he has been sent particulars, who has his Higher National Certificate and A.R.T.C.S., and is undertaking his second year studies for intermediate B.Sc., and who has so far been deferred from National Service, after completing his apprenticeship because he is on super priority research work at A. V. Roe's.

Mr. Iain Macleod

No, Sir. The reasons for this decision were explained in my letter to the hon. Member of 18th February last, to which I have nothing to add.

Mr. Allaun

Is the Minister aware that this young worker, who has a wife and child, has educated himself to university standard outside factory hours? Cannot the Minister let him complete his degree course first, since it will be extremely difficult for him to resume his studies after two years in the Army?

Mr. Macleod

I have looked again at the ruling that was given and which I confirmed. This man's deferment has been extended for two years from the end of his apprenticeship—that is, until August this year—and it is possible in certain circumstances for there to be further deferment for an approved final examination. However, one must apply these rules to everybody in the country, and the examination for which the man wishes to study is not one that has been included in the arrangements for additional deferments.

Mr. Robens

While I recognise that, as the right hon. Gentleman says, the rules which are laid down must apply to everybody in the country, surely that applies only when one is comparing like with like? Here is a man who may become a B.Sc., and he is studying in his spare time, as distinct from someone who has had the opportunity of having full-time education. As the country requires all the scientists and technical people that it can get, is it not a good thing to encourage young men who are prepared to study outside their working time for examinations of this character? Is it not a good thing to assist them and let them do their military service afterwards?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that anyone has done more to assist than I have tried to do recently, as I have enormously increased the ways in which deferment can be granted. I am prepared to look at the matter again, in view of the feeling which there is about it—I will do that—but the intermediate B.Sc. examination has never been considered a final examination in the sense in which deferment arrangements have been allowed in the past. Nevertheless, in view of what has been said, I will look at the matter again.