Oral Answers to Questions — Military Service (Local Authorities' Employees).

– in the House of Commons on 29th January 1942.

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Mr. Bower:

asked the Minister of Health how many local authorities make up the Service pay of their called-up employees to the amount of their former civil pay without making any deduction in respect of food, clothing and accommodation supplied by the Services; and whether, to avoid invidious comparisons, he will consider recommending to all of them which make up Service pay to civil pay that they should take these items into account?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I have no statistics as to the practice adopted by local authorities on the particular point to which my hon. Friend refers. I am aware that in this matter, as on the more general issue of the extent, if any, to which Service pay shall be supplemented, the practice of local authorities varies. This is, however, an issue which, within the limits laid down by the Act, Parliament has left wholly to the discretion of local authorities, and I do not think I could properly make recommendations on a matter of this kind with a view to securing uniformity.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Is it not a fact that if the Minister did what he is asked to do in this Question, the result would be extremely hard upon small employers?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

This is only one small part of a question which covers a very large field.

Photo of Sir Joseph Lamb Sir Joseph Lamb , Stone

Is it not a fact that these local authorities are spending ratepayers' money, while private people are unable to use such resources themselves?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

That may be so, but my hon. Friend will be aware, from his long experience of public affairs, that the councils are responsible to the ratepayers.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that when local authorities made these decisions they had no idea that the decisions would ultimately extend not only to the majority of their male employees but also to the majority of their female employees as well?