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Domestic Service

Volume 245: debated on Thursday 20 November 1930

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asked the Minister of Labour if her Department has made any estimates of the vacancies available in private service for domestic servants, and if she will give the number?

Has the Minister considered the enormous number of applications there have been for private domestic servants, and is she going to do something in order to find out how many are required and to arrange for a supply?

The Employment Exchanges are taking up this work very energetically. It is understood, of course, among domestic servants that the great majority of places are places for trained women. We have no means at present of knowing the number of vacancies.


asked the Minister of Labour whether she can say how many women have actually been placed in the last year in domestic service through Employment Exchanges; and if she can show cooks and kitchen-maids separately?

Between 23rd September, 1929, and 6th October, 1930, 81,064 vacancies for women in domestic service were filled by Employment Exchanges in Great Britain. Of these, 38,082 were in resident domestic service and 42,982 in non-resident service. Separate figures for cooks and kitchen-maids are not available.


asked the Minister of Labour what is the number of foreign girls who have been permitted to enter this country and take up domestic situations; and what is the number of women of British nationality qualified for domestic service who are in receipt of unemployment benefit?

As regards the first part of the question the number of permits issued this year up to 31st October was 4,475. I have no statistics enabling me to answer the second part of the question.

Are the same steps taken with regard to girls coming over here, as with regard to the waiters referred to in a previous question, in order that they may be more or less kept out of the country?

We make the most careful investigation as to whether the mistresses requiring this foreign labour would be satisfied with English labour.

Is consideration given to the number of women in this country eligible for domestic service who are being paid the dole; and will the right hon. Lady take steps to keep out as many as possible of these foreign girls?

Is it not the case that if girls do take employment in domestic service they immediately transfer themselves out of insurable employment?

Is it not the ease that domestic service is not an insurable occupation and therefore that the last question of the hon. and gallant Member for Dulwich (Sir F. Hall) does not arise; and does not the right hon. Lady agree that women corning under the unemployment insurance scheme must not be shoved out into domestic service, whether they are British or not?

In cases where these girls enter into service, does any supervision of any kind follow them, as to the conditions of service under which they work?

I believe that in the case of Finnish, Swedish, and Danish Girls there are associations in London which take that matter into account.