HC Deb 24 October 1956 vol 558 cc46-7W
88. Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will arrange for all reservists called up for the Suez crisis to be sent home on indefinite leave, with liability for recall at 48 hours' notice, so as to enable these men to carry on with their civilian occupations and thus assist the country in overcoming its present economic difficulties.

Mr. F. Maclean

We cannot do this and maintain the state of operational readiness which is still necessary.

89. Mr. Dodds

asked the Secretary of State for War why, in drawing up the conditions for the recall of reservists under the Emergency Regulations, no provision was made for employers to appeal for the deferment of an employee, which resulted in the taking of key workers at short notice and particularly farm workers at the beginning of harvesting.

Mr. F. Maclean

Those reservists who have been recalled are vital to the Army's plans for mobilization, and in an emergency their military duties must normally take precedence over their civil employment. For that reason they cannot expect to have their notice of recall cancelled, but on this occasion it was subsequently possible to make special arrangements for the release of some farm workers and key industrial workers. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that, in case of a general recall which included reservists of lower priority, the needs of industry would be taken into account.

91. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for War how many men in Section B of the Regular Army Reserve and Army Emergency Reserve, Category II, have been called up; and how many of these men are specialists or skilled in certain essential tasks.

Mr. F. Maclean

About 7 per cent. of Section B of the Regular Army Reserve have been called up and about 3 per cent. of the Army Emergency Reserve, Category IIA. All these men possessed some specialist qualification or belonged to a specialist unit or arm of the Service.

93. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for War what arrangements were made for the payment of craftsmen and specialists called up for service from the various classes of Reserve.

Mr. F. Maclean

Recalled reservists are being paid the normal Regular Army rates for their rank, military classification and length of service. Members of the Army Emergency Reserve may, however, retain their Army Emergency Reserve rates of pay where those are higher. Until exact rates of pay had been assessed by the Army paymasters, reservists were paid at the minimum Regular Army rates for their rank and military classification; any arrears due from the date of recall were paid after assessment.