HC Deb 12 December 1958 vol 597 cc126-7W
Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that the present rules relating to the call-up of veterinary surgeons and their assistants deprives the public of services which are badly needed; if he will relax them in the public interest; and if he will apply this relaxation to the case of the Aberdeen veterinary assistant, of which he has notice, and whose application for deferment was postponed on technical grounds.

Mr. lain Macleod

The rules relating to the call-up and indefinite deferment of qualified veterinary surgeons, including qualified assistants, are aimed at providing the maximum assistance to agricultural veterinary practice, consistent with meeting the requirements of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps for a small number of qualified men holding National Service commissions. I do not feel that I should be justified in relaxing these rules any further.

The veterinary assistant referred to by the hon. and learned Member was told that he could apply for postponement of call-up on grounds of hardship, but he informed my Ministry that he did not intend to exercise this right. He has therefore been called up and now holds a National Service commission in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the essential services to agriculture performed by veterinary surgeons and their assistants, if he will now make arrangements to ensure that they will not be called up for National Service.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given today to a related Question from the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes).