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War Economy

The Manpower Committee's Achievements

The Manpower Committee's Achievements

The Manpower Committee served a useful purpose prior to the outbreak of war by providing facilities for thinking and discussion on the manpower problems which would arise under war conditions. Thus manpower problems could be handled more efficiently when they actually arose; but it is a sobering thought that comparatively few of the recommendations of the Committee were in fact implemented prior to or on the outbreak of war. The list of essential occupations and some draft acts seem to have been the only material products of the Committee's work which survived into the war period.

It is interesting to note that the rather drastic original recommendations of the Committee for a national register involving the registration of the entire population were whittled down in the actual event to the registration of particular occupations and age page 36 groups as required.1 The main reasons which seem to have emerged at the time were the difficulty in providing staff for a full-scale national register and the large amount of work which would be involved in keeping the register up to date because of population movements.

1 When compulsion came, it was based initially on Social Security registration, but those in specified groups who did not receive a notice of registration were required to register. See also p. 100.