asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the difficulties which are being experienced in the refractories industry owing to a shortage of skilled labour; and whether, in view of the importance of this industry in the production of war materials, he will arrange for it to be included in the lists of munitions industries published by his Department?
I am not aware that the refractories industry is suffering any exceptional difficulty owing to the shortage of skilled labour, but if my hon. Friend has any particular case in mind and will let me have details, I will look into the matter. It is not practicable to designate the manufacture of refractory goods as a munitions industry because it forms only a small, though important, section of other industries which are not themselves munitions industries. The most skilled occupation, however, is treated as a vital war occupation, which has the same effect as inclusion in the munitions industries and I am considering the possibility of adding other occupations. It is, of course, open to employers to apply for the deferment of calling-up of any of their workers who are liable under the National Service Acts and are not reserved.