HC Deb 22 March 1922 vol 152 cc441-2

asked the Minister of Labour the total number of women on the unemployment register for London at the present time, and what are the principal trades in which such women are registered; is he aware that there is great difficulty in obtaining female labour, either for indoor domestic service or for daily work in London; and can he suggest to Employment Exchanges the desirability of pointing out to women unemployed the demands for such domestic labour?


The number of women registered as unemployed in the Metropolitan area at 13th March was 51,869, belonging principally to the hotel, restaurant, and boarding-house service, the clothing trades, and manufacture of food and drink. I am aware of the shortage of women domestic servants. It is a standing instruction to Exchange officers to direct the attention of unemployed women to the opportunities of work in domestic service, and large numbers have been placed in employment in this way. As a matter of fact, the number, of women placed in employment by the Exchanges during the last 12 months was 218,000, of whom 124,000 were placed in domestic service—residential and daily.

Sir J. D. REES

Are women who are offered employment as domestic servants and refuse it allowed to draw the unemployment benefit?


It is a matter for the local Committee whether they are competent to receive it, and in case of doubt it goes to the Board of Referees.


Has the right hon. Gentleman received many complaints from women such as accountants, typists and dressmakers, who object to domestic service as such, but are quite willing to accept work as ward maids and similar work, which is all lumped together under the title of domestic work, and therefore leads to much misapprehension?


I cannot say that I have. The point is a perfectly simple one. If a woman with children dependent on her asks for benefit her attention is drawn to vacancies which are posted in the office—I wish we had more of them—and if she refuses to take such a vacancy, then a question may arise and, if necessary, it is referred to the Board of Referees.