HC Deb 24 July 1919 vol 118 cc1592-3W

asked the Minister of Labour if the attention of his Department has been called to the growing insistence of the demand of ex-soldiers for employment rather than unemployed pay; and whether it is not possible to meet, in some degree, their desire by expediting the indication of inevitable schemes of public utility?


I am fully aware of the desire, not only of unemployed ex-Service men, but of unemployed civilians, to obtain suitable employment rather than to continue in receipt of out-of-work donation. The expediting of schemes of public utility is one step among many for achieving this object, and I am doing all that is possible in this direction, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health, who is, of course, primarily responsible in this matter.

Brigadier-General Sir OWEN THOMAS

asked the Pensions Minister whether a mass meeting of ex-Service men, representing 7,000 discharged soldiers and sailors, in the city of Cardiff has sent a strong protest against the action of the Government in giving appointments in connection with matters directly affecting ex-Service men to men who have never seen any active service or taken any active part in the War; whether the protest was directed in particular against the appointment of Mr. Silyn Roberts as head of the department for training ex-Service men; whether Mr. Silyn Roberts has any military training or experience justifying such an appointment; and, if not, what were the special reasons for appointing this gentleman to a post to discharge the duties of which there arc so many qualified ex-Service men available?


I have been asked to reply to this question. I understand that a resolution of the character referred to was passed at a recent meeting of ex-Service men held at Cardiff, but I am not aware that it was particularly directed against the appointment of Mr. Silyn Roberts to the temporary post of Divisional Director of Industrial Training for Wales. Mr. Silyn Roberts was over age at the outbreak of the War, and was for that reason, and on account of physical disability, rejected for military service. I would point out that military training is by no means essential for the appointment which Mr. Silyn Roberts fills, and I am satisfied that Mr. Silyn Roberts' personal qualifications and long experience of administrative and educational work in Wales, both before and during the War, fully justify his appointment.