HC Deb 30 October 1918 vol 110 cc1487-8W

asked the Minister of National Service how many employés of industrial co-operative societies in the United Kingdom have received protection certificates from military service since the issuing of the National Service Instruction No. 123, of 1918, on 4th July, 1918, which granted concessions to that particular class of traders?


The hon. and gallant Member appears to be under some misapprehension as to the purpose and effect of National Service Instruction 123 of 1918. It did not give concessions to the employés of industrial co-operative societies, but was designed to protect the retail distribution of food from dislocation through the ordinary working of the recruiting machinery. No man of the old military age has under it received protection, unless he formerly held some form of exemption, and many men who were formerly exempted have been made available for recruitment and are now serving in the forces. I have not got complete figures as to the number recruited, but it is considerable, and has been effected without real injury to the retail distribution of food. So far as retail food distributers of the new military age are concerned they are protected under the List of Certified Occupations R. 136 revised, whether they are one-man business men or employés of private traders or co-operative societies.