§ Sir R. GREENE
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether the decisions of the Joint Substitution Board with regard to the employment of ex-service men in place of those who did not serve are invariably carried out, or whether the Departments concerned have the power to override such decisions?
The decision in cases of doubt on the propriety of retaining an individual non-service employé in an authorised vacancy is a matter for the Head of the Department concerned. In practice, Departments do not often feel compelled to adopt a course of action contrary to the views expressed by the Joint Substitution Board.
§ Sir R. GREENE
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many ex-service men at present employed in Government offices are under notice of discharge; and how many persons who did not serve in the War, and who could, without endangering the efficiency of the public service, be substituted by ex-service men, are at present employed in Government offices?
Warnings or notices of discharge given to 1,026 ex-service men, whose appointments were due for termination within two months of notification to the Joint Substitution Board, have been reported by Government Departments in the London area between 4th February, 1922, and 3rd March, 1922. It is probable, however, that a certain number of these men will be retained in their present Departments in substitution for non-service personnel, and the warnings or notices cancelled. As regards the latter part of the question, I would refer to the answer I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Lewisham (Lieut.-Colonel Pownall) on the 20th ultimo, in which I estimated the number of women who could, in course of time, be substituted by ex-service men. The number of non-service men now in temporary employment is about 5,000. A large number of these are filling technical posts, and a further large proportion are employed on 873W manipulative duties in the Post Office, pending the assignment of permanent officers. The small number employed on clerical or administrative duties have mostly five or six years' experience, and are necessarily retained on grounds of efficiency.
§ Mr. RAPER
asked the Secretary of State for Air why an ex-service man, Mr. Wicker, who passed the examination and who applied to remain at the Air Ministry, was, at the request of the establishment branch, posted to another Ministry in spite of the fact that there were numerous vacancies at the Air Ministry, and that many ex-service men were, in fact, dismissed to make room for qualified candidates?
The reason for Mr. Wicker's transfer was, that he was not recommended as suitable for retention in the Air Ministry.
§ Mr. RAPER
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that a married ex-service man, Captain Collins, with undeniable technical qualifications, is under notice of discharge in the Directorate of Supply and Research; that in this same Department there are retained numerous non-service personnel regarded as indispensable, and in particular one single man who was given provisional exemption and whose work could be efficiently performed by the officer under notice; that this officer's qualifications for such work have been vouched for in writing by the acting Director-General of Supply and Research; and whether, since in view of these facts the recommendations of the Lytton Report are not being adhered to, he will cancel the ex-service man s notice and dispense with the services of a non-service man instead?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Torquay (Colonel Burn) on the 23rd ult., to which I have nothing to add.
§ Mr. RAPER
asked the Secretary of State for Air what is the reason for the preferential treatment being extended to a non-service surveyor's clerk, Mr. M'Gill, whose qualifications were- only those of having been employed by an estate agent, over a disabled ex-service man, Mr. Sleeman, with similar qualifications, and who had, prior to the War, 874W been in practice on his own account as an estate agent; and whether he will take steps to rectify this infringement of the terms of the Lytton Report?
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Bradford, East (Captain Loseby) on the 15th February. The review by the Substitution Committee then referred to has now taken place; as a result, Mr. McGill has been given a month's notice and the Joint Substitution Board are endeavouring to find a candidate with the necessary special qualifications to take his place. Mr. Sleeman is not regarded as suitable for this appointment.