HC Deb 31 May 1945 vol 411 cc398-9W
Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Minister of Labour if he can make any further statement indicating what groups are likely to be released from the Services up to the end of the present year.

Mr. Butler

It is not possible at present to say exactly which age and Service groups will be released by the end of this year, or to indicate the position beyond the middle of August, when it is expected that groups 1 to 11 will be released from the Army. I am most anxious that there should be no misunderstanding among the Forces on this matter, and I have therefore examined carefully the forecasts given in the Debate on 16th May. A target figure of 750,000 was given for releases by the end of this year. This was, of course, for all three Services and it is still the best forecast we can make at the present time, though, as my predecessor pointed out, circumstances may arise in which the rate of release would have to be slowed down.

It was also stated that the majority of the 750,000 would be from the Army, and, further, that for the Army it was expected to reach the groups in the middle twenties by the end of the year. This last statement went a little too far, and I think it would be safer to say the very early twenties, but subject, of course, to the reservation made by my predecessor, to which I have already referred. I fully understand that there is a general desire for information about the rate of release from the Forces. Announcements will be made from time to time as soon as definite information can safely be given.