asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that female civilian clerks employed at Ordnance Depôts are being called up from that work under the National Service Acts, although Royal Army Ordnance Corps soldiers and Auxiliary Territorial Service personnel are doing precisely the same work in the same depôts; that the civilian girls, when called up, are being sent to other static establishments as Auxiliary Territorial Service personnel, being replaced in the original establishments by Auxiliary Territorial Service personnel or by untrained mobile civilians transferred from other work; and whether he will stop this waste of trained women-power?
The calling up of female civilian clerks in ordnance depôts is in accordance with the arrangement made for the Civil Service generally. This arrangement provides for the release of a proportion of women in the younger age groups with the provision, where necessary, of suitable civilian replacements. I understand that it is not the practice to post Auxiliary Territorial Service personnel to Ordnance depots as substitutes for civilians. They are used to replace soldiers, to provide additional staff where no civilian clerks are available, and to ensure mobility and flexibility in the event of an emergency. I am not aware that untrained mobile civilians have been placed as substitutes, in these depots. If the hon. Member will send me details, I will make inquiries.