Public Relations and Press Officers.

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons on 16th July 1942.

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Mr. De la Bère:

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury what steps have been taken by his Department to ensure that, in view of the demand for manpower for the Services, young men of military age are not being exempted as Press officers, assistant Press officers, public relations officers and engaged on work of publicity committees, where there are older and more experienced men available?

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to officials engaged on Press and public relations work in Government Departments. The question of the reservation of these officers, as of other civil servants, is kept under review by the Kennet Committee. In that con- nection I would refer him to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Deritend (Sir J. Smedley Crooke) on 3rd June.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware of the very high percentage of these men who are of military age and could be serving, and is he not further aware of the enormous demand of the agricultural community for men? Does it not make an unfortunate impression if these men are exempt while other men who are wanted for work are not exempt?

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

If my hon. Friend will refer to the reply to which I have referred him, he will see that his assumption is incorrect.

Mr. De la Bère:

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend not aware of the enormous number who ought to be serving, and does he not think it is very wrong?

Photo of Captain Harry Crookshank Captain Harry Crookshank , Gainsborough

No, Sir, because there is no such number. Again I invite my hon. Friend to look at my answer.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Is it necessary to employ 1,019 people at a cost of £400,000, in order to advertise Government Departments?