asked the Minister of Labour whether complaints have been made that confidential letters addressed by the secretary of the Norwich Launderers' Association to the secretary of the Laundry Trade Board have been communicated to certain persons who had no concern with their contents, with the result that avoidable friction has been caused in trade circles; and whether he will cause these complaints to be investigated?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I have made enquiry into the matter to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. On the 21st Juno the secretary to the Norwich Launderers' Association wrote to the secretary to the Laundry Trade Board stating that a trade union official had informed one of the members of the association that he had seen the letters conceraing certain physically defective workers addressed by the employer to the Trade Board, and that he had also been furnished with copies. The secretary to the association, on the inference that the letters had been communicated by the secretary of the Trade Board, asked for an explanation of his action. On 24th June the latter replied it was not his practice to make such communications, and that he would be glad to have particulars of the case. The reply stated also that Permits of Exemption 1411W were dealt with by the Trade Board, to which applications must be communicated by the secretary. As no reply had been received to the above letter the secretary wrote again on 26th July asking that the particulars required might be supplied, and on 27th July the secretary to the Norwich Launderers' Association replied, indicating that the information might have been obtained from a source other than the secretary of the Trade Board, and that, in the circumstances, he did not consider that the matter could be pursued any further. For my hon. and gallant Friend's information, the Laundry Trade Board has delegated to a committee, under the pro- 1412W visions of the Trade Boards Acts, its powers and duties with regard to Permits of Exemption for payment of the minimum rates. All the information supplied relevant to an application for a Permit of Exemption is furnished to the members of this committee, who make personal inquiries into the cases. I am able to assure my hon. and gallant Friend that no such information has been communicated by the secretary to other persons. I propose, however, to bring my hon. and gallant Friend's statement to the attention of the Trade Board in order that they may take the matter into consideration.