HC Deb 26 February 1946 vol 419 cc366-7W
Mr. Naylor

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make inquiries into the conditions prevailing at S.A.D.E. workshops, R.E.M.E., Ufford Park, Woodbridge, the complaints being that there is no education scheme in operation, no handicraft centre or library; that the men have to line up for their meals for long periods in all weathers; that some of the men are engaged on domestic jobs and making articles at the officers private billets; and if he will take steps to remedy these grievances.

Mr. Lawson

I have now had a full report on these complaints. I understand that every facility and encouragement is given to men to take part in the Army Educational Scheme in this unit. For example, the usual A.B.C.A. and British Way and Purpose discussions take place twice weekly for all personnel and a number of men are taking educational courses of various kinds. This workshop is, however, a permanent peacetime unit fully occupied with important work, with the result that it is impossible to devote as much time to the educational scheme as in some other units.

There is every opportunity for handicraft training in the unit, as the entire workshops are available for the men to use out of working hours and they are encouraged to do this. A technical library is available to all men and a central library is maintained at the establishment's headquarters, from which this unit draws books for the unit library.

It is true that dining facilities are restricted so that two sittings of meals are necessary, but men who have to wait are protected by an ironwork shelter which has been erected outside the dining hall. Any articles made and repairs done for other ranks' and officers' billets have been the result of voluntary work done in the men's own time as part of their handicraft training.