HC Deb 13 November 1957 vol 577 cc955-6
64. Mr. Hayman

asked the Minister of Labour what classes of young men are exempted from National Service; how many, in each category, have been granted exemption in the last six months; and how many young men were actually called up in that period.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The classes of men exempt from National Service are set out in the First Schedule to the National Service Act, 1948. Precise figures are not available but it is estimated that in the six months ended 30th September, the number of men found to be exempt was about 600. In addition about 4,500 men who were liable for National Service were granted indefinite deferment, so long as they continue in the employment concerned. The number called up during the same period was just over 50,000.

Mr. Hayman

Do not the figures disclose that the right hon. Gentleman's Department ought to give very careful consideration to applications for further deferment where it is clear that young men are carrying on studies at technical colleges and have the approval of the principals of the colleges for deferment?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think the hon. Member has got it quite right. Those who are exempt are a very limited number indeed and are such people as ministers of religion and blind persons. There is a second class, which includes coal miners and the Merchant Navy, which has indefinite deferment. Beyond that there is a wide field which the Question did not touch and therefore was not referred to in my Answer, and which covers postponement on hardship grounds.