Work Direction, Birmingham

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort – in the House of Commons on 1st October 1942.

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Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

asked the Minister of Labour by what authority the Birmingham District Man-Power Board claims the right to direct persons, who are not due for registration, to change their employment?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The Regulation which gives powers to direct persons to perform specified services is 58A of the Defence (General) Regulations; these powers are not dependent on prior registration of the persons concerned. Inquiries are being made into an individual case of which my hon. Friend has supplied particulars.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

Has the Minister authorised this particular exercise of the power under Regulation 58A, and if directions are to be given to people to change their employment before their age group has had to register, is this not a very fortuitous and unfair way of applying the Regulation?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Direction has never depended on registration. This House carried the Bill giving me power under these Regulations to direct any person anywhere, including my hon. Friend.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

Did my right hon. Friend delegate that power to the Brimingham District Man-Power Board?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

Certainly, that is my duty. They act for me and on my behalf. I am responsible for what they do, and in so far as they have to carry out their administrative duty they are carrying it out on my account.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Tamworth

But only under my right hon. Friend's instructions?