HC Deb 09 October 1945 vol 414 cc54-5W
Mr. Lipson

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will supplement the demobilisation plan with one by which men not needed for military requirements can be granted extended leave to enable them to help to meet the urgent needs of civil life.

Mr. Lawson

Arrangements have been made with the Ministries of Labour and National Service and Agriculture for troops in the United Kingdom to be provided for work of national importance, wherever required, as a military duty. A close liaison with local Ministry of Labour and National Service officers, Agricultural Executive Committees and farmers is maintained at lower formation and unit levels, to ensure that the best possible use is made of troops available for this purpose during normal working hours, and troops are encouraged to assist voluntarily in their "off duty" hours. It will be appreciated that while a considerable group of men may be available for this work at any one time, while they are being sorted, or awaiting posting or embarkation, the individuals within the group are constantly changing, and extended leave in particular cases is not practicable..

Mr. Piratin

asked the Secretary of State for War what attention is being given to avoid unnecessary fatigues being created for soldiers in camps where they are not being occupied on war duties; and what schemes there are to provide them instead with useful occupations in the needs of the public or by way of training until such time as they are demobilised.

Mr. Lawson

Instructions have been in force for a long time which authorise the use under local arrangements of troops on work of vital national importance whenever they can be spared from their military duties and the supply of civilian labour is inadequate. Apart from such activities troops have the benefit of the Army Educational Scheme which is a very comprehensive one and there are also special courses designed to prepare ex-prisoners of war for resettlement in civilian life if they desire to take advantage of them.