HC Deb 19 February 1920 vol 125 cc1101-2W

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that in the northern region there are 1,600 ex-service men waiting for industrial training; whether the local war pensions committees are concerned with this matter since its transfer from the Ministry of Pensions; if not, whether he will consider the importance of employing the war pensions committee in this work, seeing that they are in daily touch with the men, and that it is in fact difficult to convince the men that the war pensions committees are not responsible for the delay?


I would refer the hon. Member to the answers which I gave to the hon. Member for the Chester-le-Street Division and to the hon. and gallant Member for Durham on the 17th and 18th February respectively. I am not satisfied that there is sufficient ground for making the alteration suggested by my hon. Friend, in the present system of administering the training schemes for disabled men.


asked the Minister of Labour whether over 40 men in the general subjects section of the training schemes for discharged and disabled soldiers at Fountainbridge School, Edinburgh, have received notice to leave that class, intimation having been sent by the Ministry of Labour in London; whether the reason suggested is that this is a class for men awaiting training in other spheres in which vacancies are not at the moment available and that the time limit for the general subjects class has been exceeded; whether a number of the men are seriously disabled and all of them will have the greatest difficulty in obtaining employment in a city in which there are over 5,000 men unemployed; whether the men will have any income save the unemployment donation or any pension to which they are entitled; and whether steps can be taken to continue the men in the general subjects class until vocational training is available rather than leave them to draw unemployment dona- tion for doing nothing, a course to which these disabled men have in writing expressed their strong objection?


The facts are substantially as stated by the hon. Member. Preliminary instruction classes are intended to afford disabled men general practical training which will serve as an introduction to specialised trade training. Under the arrangements made by the Ministry of Pensions, the duration of such a course was not to exceed four weeks, but this has now been extended to six weeks, and men are not placed in the course unless it is reasonably clear that specialised training vacancies will be available at the end of that period. In every case in the particular class to which the hon. Member draws attention, the recognised period of training had been largely exceeded, and I regret that it is now not possible to grant any further extensions. Certain of the men concerned have already been placed in specialised training, and every endeavour is being made similarly to place the remainder. In the meanwhile, such men as fail to secure employment will receive whatever disability pension and unemployment donation they may be entitled to.