asked the Secretary for Mines why the applications made by Fordel Mains (Midlothian) Coal Company, Limited, for the release from the Army of their surface foreman, Guardsman T. Craig, have been refused; and whether he is aware that this man is grade 2, employed in a sanitary squad at a home depôt and anxious to get back to his work in the pits, where he would be doing work of greater national importance?
Is the Minister aware that Guardsman Craig is a key-man and that his firm miss his services? Is he aware that the firm have, without success, made every effort to release him and that he is employed only on these duties? Will the hon. Gentleman not make representations to the Army authorities for his release?
I recognise that there are key-men not working underground, but the agreements for releasing men so far are confined to men for whom work underground is available. I will, however, take note of what my hon. Friend says.
I do not think it can be made plainer. It has been done, and 20,000 applications have been made. The men are not returning because of the limitations of the terms of release which the Government have set down.