§ 67. Sir HENRY COWAN
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether Portuguese labourers have been, or are being, imported into this country for forestry work; and whether, before taking this step, every effort was made through the National Service Department, or otherwise, to utilise for such purposes the part-time or whole-time labour of British workers over military age?
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Mr. Hodge)
My right hon. Friend has requested me to answer this question, as the recruiting of Portuguese labourers for employment on forestry work in this country by the Timber Supplies Department of the Board of Trade has been in the hands of the Ministry of Labour. In consequence of an urgent demand for labour in connection with felling, sawing, and hauling of timber, the Director of Timber Supplies made a request to the Ministry of Labour to obtain about 10,000 workmen. The available sources of supply were carefully examined, and inquiries were made as to the amount of labour of the kind required which might be obtained in this country. It was ascertained that the number of suitable workmen from all sources in this country, including the National Service Volunteers, would fall considerably short of the number required, and it was accordingly necessary to take steps to obtain timber workers from other countries. The best labour of the kind required was found in Portugal, and arrangements were accordingly made to import a certain number of skilled Portuguese timber cutters. Up to the present about 450 Portuguese have been brought over.