§ Mr. DUNCAN
asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether he is aware that a number of workmen employed at the Royal Army Ordnance Depot, Weedon, have been given notice of discharge on the ground that they are over 60 years of age; if so, is this the first time men have been discharged from Weedon on the ground of age before they have reached 65 years, and whether, in view of the acknowledged efficiency of these men, and of the extreme difficulty they will have in finding other employment, he will reconsider this matter?
§ Mr. LAWSON
I am aware that 18 men have recently become due for discharge on attaining the age of 60 years, and that notice of discharge has already been given in 12 cases. It has not, hitherto, been customary at Weedon to discharge men under 65, but certain discharges are, in any case, necessary on account of reduction of work, and the choice lies between these men and younger men, who are all ex-service men and mostly with young families. I deeply regret the necessity for these discharges, but I am satisfied that the Chief Ordnance Officer has exercised the discretion which he possesses with great care and sympathy in difficult circumstances. I would point out that, with the one exception of a man of only three years' service, the 18 men will receive, on discharge, either a pension or a gratuity of a week's pay for each year of their service.