HC Deb 21 March 1923 vol 161 cc2544-5
40. Colonel NEWMAN

asked the Minister of Labour whether, having regard to the amount of female labour which is at present registered as unemployed, his attention has been called to the difficulty experienced by housewives in obtaining domestic help; whether he is aware that no domestic bureau in the Metropolis can supply a junior for work in the kitchen; and will he say what steps are being taken to render available the services of pupils who have been trained in a course of the culinary art at domestic training centres?


The difficulty of obtaining domestic help is, I am afraid, a matter of common knowledge, but I am not aware that this difficulty is so great as is suggested in the second part of the question. Pupils trained at a domestic training centre may be engaged either by application to the superintendent of the centre or to the local Employment Exchange. Those responsible for training centres receive a far larger number of applications from intending mistresses desirous of obtaining servants than they are able to supply.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether these local committees are still sending girls who have been untrained 100 miles in order to obtain employment?


Notice must be given of that question.


asked the Minister of Labour whether he can now make a statement as to the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the question of domestic service?


I have decided to set up a Committee with the following terms of reference, namely, "to inquire into the present conditions as to the supply of female domestic servants, and, in particular, to inquire into the effect of the Unemployment Insurance scheme in this connection; and to make recommendations."

I have invited a number of ladies to serve on the Committee—[HON. MEMBERS:"Oh!"]—Yes, it is a woman's question. I have already received acceptances from the hon. Member for the Louth Division of Lincolnshire (Mrs. Wintringham), from Lady Askwith, Mrs. Harrison Bell, Mrs. Burgwin, Mrs. Cohen, Lady Procter, and Miss Julia Varley. Mrs. E. M. Wood, whose services as Secretary of the London War Pensions Committee are well-known, has consented to act as Chairman of the Committee.


Will the right hon. Gentleman add to the terms of reference that the Committee should inquire into the suitability of mistresses to have girls as domestic servants?


Is it not advisable to have on the Committee a representative of the fathers whose daughters are in domestic service?


Would it not be well to add to the Committee an adult working woman?