asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the fact that many local authorities are being delayed in the preparation of their postwar development programmes owing to the shortage of suitably qualified staff, both administrative and technical; and whether, having regard to the present conditions and to the urgent considerations of public interest which are involved, particularly in relation to the preparation of housing and planning schemes, he will agree to the early release from His Majesty's Armed Forces of those members of the staffs of local authorities whose services are required for this work.
§ Mr. Bevin
I have been asked to reply. I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health that some representations to that effect have been made by a number of local authorities. As regards the second part of the Question, there can at present be no release from the Armed Forces which would in any degree impair their efficiency in the field. Subject to military requirements, members of the Armed Forces may be released for urgent civilian work of national importance, and any applications made by the local authorities through the oppropriate Government Departments for the release of the men referred to will receive careful consideration.