HC Deb 01 November 1944 vol 404 cc802-3W
Sir G. Owen

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, of the members of the building trade called up as tradesmen in March, 1942, the majority were skilled joiners over 32 years of age; many were posted to units, such as the R.E.M.E., as joiners' mates, and that most have remained in that grade at a lower rate of pay than men in grades 1,2 and 3, many of whom had never been apprenticed to the building trade; that these men would be better employed repairing houses in the bombed areas and building new houses; and what will be their position under the demobilisation scheme.

Mr. McCorquodale

I think my hon. Friend must be under some misapprehension. No members of the building trade over 25 years of age at registration, other than labourers, were called up in March, 1942. Perhaps he would be good enough to have a word with me on the matter.

Mr. Martin

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that it has been impossible in a number of cases to secure the release of craftsmen urgently required for work of house repairing in London from the various Services; that in some cases there is evidence that these men are not doing specialist work in the Service concerned; that they are not sufficiently numerous to make any appreciable difference to the fighting effort; and to obviate the delay in their release will he direct further inquiries into the matter.

Mr. McCorquodale

As my hon. Friend stated in his reply to the hon. and learned Member for Ilford (Mr. G. Hutchinson) on 11th October, the Services have made considerable numbers of men available for house repairs in London. The decision as to whether an individual may be released must, of course, rest with the Service Department concerned, but if my hon. and learned Friend will let me have particulars of the cases to which he refers I shall be prepared to consider whether there is ground for making a further application.