HC Deb 16 March 1917 vol 91 cc1436-7
Mr. NEVILLE (by Private Notice)

asked the Home Secretary whether he has received a representation on behalf of the drivers of taxi-cabs against his decision to approve the issue of driving licences to qualified women, and with what result?


I received on the 9th instant a deputation representing the London and Provincial Union of Licensed Vehicle. Workers, who put before me their arguments against the issue of licences to women. I informed the deputation that I had never intended and do not now intend to sanction the issue to women of licences to drive trams or motor omnibuses. I reminded them that it was well understood that the places of those taxi-cab drivers who have joined or may join His Majesty's Forces will be kept open for them by their employers on their return, and I added that the whole question of the licensing of women to drive taxi-cabs would be reconsidered at the end of the War. The deputation appeared to be satisfied with the statements made.

No woman has yet obtained a driving licence, although it is understood that a few of them are seeking to qualify for the purpose.

I regret to say that an attempt is now being made to misrepresent the facts to the men and to induce a strike not only of taxi-cab drivers, but of tram and omnibus drivers. The Minister of Labour met a deputation of the men last night, and it is still hoped that the proposed stoppage, for which there is no reasonable cause and which may seriously hamper the issue of munitions, will not be persisted in.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think it advisable, before doing anything as regards this question, to make quite sure that sufficient women can be found to take up this work?


No woman can possibly be licensed unless she qualifies.