HC Deb 09 November 1916 vol 87 cc454-5W

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that there has been circulated among Government officials in London an official memorandum, headed Memorandum on the Urgent Need for Strengthening the Position of Labour Exchanges, and wherein it is urged that the Government should give increased, and the necessary, legislation enacting that no employer shall engage anyone except through the medium of Labour Exchanges, and that it should be made a penal offence for anyone to engage employés in any other way; whether such circular has been issued with his sanction or knowledge; and whether it is his intention to promote such legislation?


The Memorandum referred to is, I believe, one prepared for the consideration of the Board of Trade by an association of local officers of the Employment Department. Its communication to the Press was unauthorised either by the Board or by the association, and was regrettable. An announcement, of which I have sent my hon. Friend a copy, was sent to the Press at the beginning of September last, stating that the Memorandum had no official authority and did not represent the views of the Board of Trade. I should add that a proposal is now under consideration that while the War continues certain classes of persons, in particular men of military age and women required for munitions work, should be engaged solely through the Employment Exchanges, so as to secure more effective control over the allocation of labour power for war purposes. This, however, is a wholly different proposition from that referred to in the Memorandum, and, if adopted, it would only continue for the period of the War.