HC Deb 19 March 1957 vol 567 cc193-4
11 and 12. Mr. Allaun

asked the Minister of Labour (1) if he will exempt from National Service all men who are the main breadwinners for a widowed mother and one or more young children

(2) whether he will have printed on the registration form for National Service a notice that exemption can now he obtained for a man who has a relative physically dependent on him or who is the mainstay of an orphaned family, a widow with a child or children to look after, and a man living alone with a widowed mother.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The National Service Acts make no provision for the exemption from National Service of men with heavy domestic responsibilities. What they do provide is that call-up may be postponed on grounds of exceptional hardship. This is explained in a leaflet (N.L.2) which is handed to all men who register. The leaflet is being revised in the light of the amended Regulations. If a man applies for postponement in the circumstances mentioned by the hon. Member, his application will certainly be most sympathetically considered.

Mr. Allaun

While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask whether he could not save much unnecessary anxiety by automatic exemption of such cases? On 4th March, he told the House that exemption could be applied for in cases of less hardship, such as that of a man living alone with his widowed mother. As many men are not aware of these new important concessions, could not the Minister bring them to their attention in the way I have suggested?

Mr. Macleod

I am doing that by revising the leaflet to which I have referred. If the hon. Member studies his Question No. 11, for example, he will see, however, that it would not be inconsistent for the man to whom he refers to be a millionaire. It is necessary for all the authorised officers and then for the hardship committees to consider individual cases, but I have sent the most special instructions to the authorised officers to deal with all these cases most sympathetically, and that will be done.

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