HC Deb 26 February 1946 vol 419 cc345-6W
Flight-Lieutenant Beswick

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the widespread impression in the Services that the weekly rate of demobilisation is to be reduced after the first week of March; and if he will give the facts and the explanation of any reduction.

Mr. Isaacs

As indicated in my statement of 14th February, the rate of release from the Forces must necessarily diminish in the future. The rate of release from a Service is determined by the strength to which the Government have decided that the Service is to be reduced by a given date.

Mr. Medland

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that 233,000 men in Group 25 and 265,000 in Group 26 were released in 26 days and 30 days, respectively; why it will take 45 days to release 299,000 men in Group 27 and 64 days for 282,000 men in Groups 28, 29, 30 and 31; and if he is aware that by 23rd June the R.A.F. will be three groups ahead of this schedule and the Royal Navy 20 groups ahead.

Mr. Isaacs

As regards the first two parts of the Question I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Uxbridge (Flight-Lieutenant Beswick). As regards the last part of the Question, I am aware that the provisional programme provides for the uneven rate of release between the three Services indicated by my hon. Friend. This is because the Services have different proportions of their total strengths in the various age and service groups, and as the strength of each Service is being reduced as rapidly as is consistent with its commitments, it is not possible to release the same groups at the same time in each Service. Although Army releases will not reach beyond group 32 by next June, the statement which I made on 14th February indicates that releases and discharges by that date will represent a greater percentage reduction of the June 1945, strength in the case of the Army than in the case of the other two Services.

Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Labour if he will make available in the Library for the use of Members copies of statements on the progress of demobilisation, similar to those which he issues from time to time to the Press.

Mr. Isaacs

The statements issued to the Press on the progress of demobilisation are copies of those I make in the House which are available to Members in the Official Report.

Mr. Dumpleton

, asked the Minister of Labour whether the release dates for Group 27 are 7th March to 20th April; and why this period is longer than that of any of the three previous groups, which were larger.

Mr. Isaacs

I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War that the period given in the Question is the correct one for the release of Army other ranks in Group 27; as regards the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave today to a Question by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Flight-Lieutenant Beswick).