§ Wing-Commander Hulbert
asked the Secretary of State for War how many Italian prisoners, designated co-operators, remain in the United Kingdom; what work they are now engaged upon; and if it is proposed to repatriate them at an early date.
§ Mr. Lawson
There are now approximately 144,000 Italian co-operators in the United Kingdom. They are, in the main, engaged on harvesting, sugar beet gathering and processing, housing, transport, and in factories for the Ministries of Supply and Food. A number are also employed by the Service Ministries. It has been decided in principle that the repatriation of Italian prisoners of war in this country to Italy shall begin when this year's harvest is completed, as soon as transport is available. The shipping situation is very difficult, however, and it is impossible to fix any definite date for the beginning of this repatriation, although every effort will be made to begin it before the end of the year.