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Domestic Service

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

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asked the Minister of Labour how many women are in receipt of the unemployment donation at the Falmouth Employment Exchange; how many of them are registered as domestic servants; how many of these registered women have been offered employment in domestic service; how many have refused this employment; and what is the weekly cost of the donations paid to women at this Exchange?

I understand that five women were in receipt of unemployment benefit at Falmouth on 26th May. I am obtaining the further details asked for, and will communicate them to my hon. and gallant Friend as soon as possible.


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the increasing difficulty experienced by all families in obtaining domestic assistance and the dissatisfaction felt by the taxpayer at assisting 200,000 women, of whom a very large number could be absorbed in this class of employment, he will agree to the appointment of a small committee of business women to investigate the whole question and to advise the Government on the subject?

I do not under-estimate the difficult of obtaining domestic assistance, but I do not think any appreciable number of the women now drawing unemployment benefit could reasonably be asked to enter domestic service or would be accepted by mistresses if they were willing to do so. Many of them are trained workers in the textile and other trades. On 15th May under 140,000 women were drawing benefit out of a total of 911,000 registered as wholly unemployed. As 2,750,000 women are employed in insured trades, it will easily be seen, having regard to the general state of trade, that the proportion of women drawing benefit, namely, about 5 per cent., is not at all surprising.

May I have a reply to my question if the hon. Gentleman will reconsider the possibility of appointing a committee of business women to advise him?

I do not think at the moment the necessity for such an inquiry arises. I can assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman and the House that we at the Labour Ministry are spending a great deal of time in perpetually watching the administration of the Act.