HC Deb 28 February 1917 vol 90 cc2048-9W

asked the Home Secretary if he has received any protests against the Regulations that allow German prisoners interned in the Isle of Man to be trained in industrial pursuits; if he is aware that a fear exists that the trades which these prisoners are being taught at the expense of the taxpayer will be utilised after the War to flood the labour market, and thus reduce wages in Great Britain; if he can give any guarantee against such a thing happening; and if the teaching of trades to German prisoners will be stopped and they be put to till the land to provide food?


I have received some representations with regard to the employment of German prisoners in brush-making, but I am advised that the fears which are entertained as to the effect of such employment on the English industries after the War are not well founded. The German prisoners have nearly all other occupations, which they will prefer to resume (either in this country or elsewhere) after the War, and the conditions under which industries are carried on in the Isle of Man are not such as are likely to lead to undesirable competition after the War. Every effort is being made to employ the prisoners on the land, and some thousands are waiting to be employed in agriculture as soon as the Board of Agriculture is ready to take them over; but others are not suitable for this purpose, and it is very desirable to meet the needs of the country by utilising their services in other ways.