HC Deb 25 February 1920 vol 125 cc1710-2W

asked the Minister of Labour why the negotiations for the acquisition of the Strand Union Work house as a training centre for discharged and disabled sailors and soldiers have not yet materialised; whether he is aware that the War Pensions Joint Sub-Committee, composed of representatives from the Tottenham, Edmonton, Enfield, and Wood Green districts, view the position of affairs with the utmost alarm owing to the fact that nearly 200 disabled men have been interviewed by the Selection Committee and passed as suitable, out of which only six have commenced training, whilst some of the applicants were interviewed as long ago as August of last year; whether he is aware that the committee regard it as disheartening to place before disabled men the prospects of being trained when there is no prospect of the same being realised, in view of the fact that there is an absence of training establishments; and if the Parliamentary Secretary will be prepared to receive a deputation on the subject from the War Pensions Joint Sub-Committee?


The greater portion of the Strand Union Workhouse is not at present available for the industrial training of disabled men owing to its being used as a hospital and as a centre for the treatment and training of men requiring both forms of assistance concurrently. The remaining accommodation is not suitable for industrial training purposes. I am aware that the Pensions Joint Subcommittee mentioned have made energetic representations in regard to the training position in this area, and I am glad to say that negotiations are on the point of completion for the acquisition of other suitable premises which, when fully equipped, will accommodate approximately 350 trainees. As an early improvement of the position may, therefore, be expected, I do not think it necessary to receive a further deputation on this matter.

Captain BOWYER

asked the Minister of Labour whether many young men who joined the Forces at the commencement of the War have had no trade training and are now out of employment; and whether he will take steps to provide at the earliest possible moment to demobilised men the same facilities for learning a trade as are extended to disabled men?


It is not possible to provide training in the staple skilled trades for fit demobilised men who have a pre-war occupation to which to return, nor have the trade unions concerned recognised any obligation to admit to membership such able-bodied men. Attempts are, however, being made to come to an understanding with the unions in the case of such lads as joined the Forces under the normal age for commencing their apprenticeship.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir ALFRED WARREN

asked the Minister of Labour if his attention has been called, in connection with the Military Service (Civil Liabilities) Department, to the cases of men who, having undergone a course of training fitting them for carrying on business, are, because of such training, refused any grant from the Civil Liabilities Department to enable them to set up in business; and if he will consider if it is in the public interest that such cases, if necessary, should be assisted?


The Civil Liabilities fund is designed to assist men who lost their businesses through having to go on military service. In such cases a grant is given to help to re-establish them in their old business. On the other hand, a man who applied for training in an occupation presumably means to go into service in that occupation, or has prospects which induce him to take that form of training. No fund and arrangements at present exist for, first, training and then making a capital grant to start men in business. Any such scheme would, obviously, be very costly.

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