R.A.S.C. Clerks, Middle East (Release Deferment)

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd March 1948.

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Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon 12:00 am, 23rd March 1948

asked the Secretary of State for War how many R.A.S.C. clerks in groups 68, 69, and subsequent groups, serving in M.E.L.F., are to be affected by the impending deferment of their release; if he is aware of the under-employment of many of these clerks and of the unfairness of discriminating in this respect between clerks from different arms of the Services doing identical work; and by what authority the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, has extended the principle of deferring the release of individual key men, whose services are operationally vital, to cover whole groups numbering many hundreds each.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

I cannot forecast how many men in groups 68, 69 and subsequent groups the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, may find it necessary to defer. I have no reason to believe that the clerks concerned are under-worked. These R.A.S.C. clerks are being deferred because the job they are doing is vital and they cannot at present be replaced by men in later groups. Even if it were possible to replace them by men in the same group from other corps, no useful purpose would be served by doing so. As regards the total number deferred, I am confident that the Commander-inChief is not deferring men unnecessarily.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Could my right hon. Friend re-examine the question of underemployment, about which a good deal of actual evidence has been given to him?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Since the matter was brought to my notice, we have been examining the allegation but, so far as I am aware, there is no under-employment.

Photo of Captain Charles Smith Captain Charles Smith , Colchester

Can the Secretary of State say how long it takes to train an R.A.S.C. clerk, and what steps have been taken to avoid such steps as this by the training of efficient personnel?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

That is not the Question on the Paper.