asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons who have now been released from the operation of the Essential Work Orders, or similar statutory provisions; the numbers now remaining under such Orders; and what classes of workers are likely to be released in the near future.
The number of persons covered by the Essential Work Orders which, at its peak was about 8¾ millions, has now been reduced to 661,000 workers. As from 1st January, 1947, the number will be still further reduced to 232,000 workers, of whom practically all will be employed in building and civil engineering, certain building materials industries, and by the county agricultural executive committees. Civil servants have been covered by a special Order, and, with the concurrence of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I have decided to revoke this Order as from 1st February. This will affect about 660,000 civil servants.