HC Deb 19 November 1953 vol 520 cc196-7W
119. Mr. G. Roberts

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that farmworkers who move from one farm to another in Wales, in accordance with the long-established custom of the Welsh hiring fair, are being called up for National Service; that this is causing concern to agriculturists in many parts of Wales; and if he will take steps to protect continuity of agricultural employment in the areas affected.

121. Mr. Watkins

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the situation arising out of the sudden insistence of regional offices that young agricultural workers who are deferred from call-up and who subsequently change their places of employment in agriculture shall be no longer eligible to be considered for further deferment; and whether he will make a statement as to the future position and upon the action to be taken in connection with young men who have already changed their employment since they were first granted deferment.

Sir W. Monckton

I explained the difficulty I feel about this problem in the debate on the National Service Order last Tuesday. The trouble is that to make the concession suggested in these Questions would mean putting into a privileged class a group of men quite fortuitously selected because they happened earlier to be in a job which merited deferment, and would give them an unfair advantage over others of their own age. As however I am still receiving representations on this matter I would like to defer my final answer. Meanwhile I have arranged that where the move from one farm to another has already taken place, applications for further deferment may, if within scope, be considered.

Mr. Gooch

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the disturbing effect his decision, that agricultural workers granted deferment from National Service cannot, in any circumstances, be given further deferment if they move to another farm, has had upon farmworkers; and if he will make a statement.

Sir W. Monckton

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Members for Caernarvon (Mr. G. Roberts) and Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Watkins) today.

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