Early in the year the Government issued a notice with regard to holidays in 1942, which recommended that as many workers as possible should receive two days' holiday either at Christmas or the New Year. The actual arrangements for the holidays must naturally be made by individual firms in the light of war requirements and their own particular circumstances, but I have no doubt that sympathetic consideration will be given by employers to the natural desire of Scottish workers to take their leave at the New Year season.
Perhaps my right hon. Friend will call the attention of industrial firms generally to the fact that the New Year has considerable emotional and spiritual significance to Scots?
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will take steps to increase the number of voluntary clubs for mobile girl workers who have been transferred to the Midlands?
The welfare officers of my Department are continuously active in this direction in co-operation with the voluntary organisations. Fifteen clubs are either already functioning or are about to start, while seven others are under consideration. One club has an almost exclusively Scottish membership.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in Birmingham alone the need is not only for 15 but for 50 of these clubs? At present the vast majority of these girls have nowhere to go except back to their billets, which they are naturally reluctant to do.
I think club life, especially when people are transferred, is absolutely vital, but the claims are so great. I agree that Birmingham is certainly a very special case.
asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to the evidence given by a National Service officer, at Falkirk Sheriff Court, to the effect that he had issued a direction to a girl despite the recommendations of an appeal board; whether this action is in conformity with the practice of his Department; and whether he is satisfied that the powers of an appeal board adequately safeguard the interests of an applicant?
I am aware of one such case, and am writing to my hon. Friend. It is the practice of National Service officers to accept the recommendations of local appeal boards in all save the most exceptional cases, and I am satisfied that the interests of the workers are adequately safeguarded.
In view of the fact that the Court have not the power to decide whether the girl is guilty or not, but must accept the decision of the national service officer, would my right hon. Friend see that the case is, at least, not proceeded with as a criminal case?
The difficulty is that I have to do it both ways. At one time I accepted the appeal board's recommendation completely, and then there was complaint the other way. If I have to review now and again one way, I must be able to do it the other way.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that in this case it was stated that there was no right on the part of the person involved to hear the result of the appeal, and that the girl was not advised what the result was?