HC Deb 19 November 1940 vol 365 cc1839-40W
Mr. Profumo

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the urgent necessity for large numbers of Civil Defence workers, he will consider introducing compulsory part-time national service for all men between the ages of 20 and 60, not at present serving in the Forces, or any one of the public or works civil defence organisations?

Mr. Mabane

I am aware that in some areas the Civil Defence Services could do with further offers of voluntary part time service. The possibility of applying the principle of compulsion has been carefully considered. On examination the difficulties and disadvantages of requiring compulsory service, part-time and unpaid, on a local basis, were found to be serious. Moreover, at the present time my right hon. Friend is engaged in a review of the strengths of the services in order to secure that strengths may accord with need, and is hoping also to equalise the burden on the services by requiring an undertaking from all to perform a minimum number of hours of duty when called upon. It should also be borne in mind that in many parts of the country the enrolments in the various services are already in excess of establishments. Nevertheless arrangements are in hand, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour, to issue a special personal appeal to classes of persons, selected in accordance with principles similar to those indicated in my hon. Friend's Question, in particular areas where increases in strengths are found to be necessary.

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