Many of the early economic decisions taken by the government were couched in terms of manpower . It may not have been prominent in the government ' s th inking at the outset since they had no legislatgion in mind and were content w i t h the scheme for demobilization d rawn up earlier by the Ministry of Labour . But they were soon made aware of a threefold problem. First there was a general shortage of labour that b rough t into sharp conflict the needs of the armed services and civil industry. This was accompanied by a maldistr ibution of labour, w i t h some 'essential ' industries undermanned while other industries that seemed to the government less 'essential ' were able to recruit labour w i t h more success. Finally, the shortage of labour, by adding greatly to its bargaining power , created a serious danger of wage inflation.