HC Deb 14 May 1931 vol 252 cc1336-7

asked the Minister of Labour how many centres for the training of domestic servants have been established, where they are situated, and how many who have been trained have been placed; and whether she is satisfied that the methods in operation are satisfactory and likely to improve the status of domestic servants?


During the week ending 2nd May, 1931, 48 centres, of which five were residential, were in operation, a list of which I am circulating. The number of trainees placed in domestic employment at the conclusion of their course during the year 1930 was 3,524. This represents 89 per cent. of the number who completed the course, and indicates, in my opinion, that the methods in operation are satisfactory. As regards the last part of the question, I think that anything that tends to dissipate the illusion that there is anything derogatory in the occupation of domestic service is of advantage.

Following is the lists:

Centres in operation on 2nd May, 1931. Residential Centres.

Leamington Spa, Market Harboro', Warrington, Long Benton (Newcastle), Lenzie (Glasgow).

Non-residential Centres.

Annfield Plain, Bishop Auckland, Blay-don-on-Tyne, Blyth, Durham (2) Gateshead, Jarrow, Leeds, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Alexandria, Clydebank, Dumbarton, Edinburgh, Glasgow (3), Greenock, Hamilton (2), Aberdare, Cardiff, Sheffield, South Shields, Stockton, Sunderland, Liverpool, Preston, Chatham, Dover, Aberdeen, Arbroath, Garnant, Hengoed, Maesteg, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath, Pontypool, Pontypridd, Swansea, Ystrad.

Centres for older women.

Burnley, Leeds.


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the fact that courts of referees are now refusing benefit to insured unemployed women who decline to accept domestic service, she is prepared to include domestic service as an insurable occupation?


I am not prepared to propose any alterations in the scope of the unemployment insurance scheme pending the receipt of the report of the Royal Commission.


In view of the number of totally unemployed workers who are being disallowed benefit because they will not go to domestic service, as that takes them out of insurable employment to which they have always been accustomed, will the right hon. Lady send instructions that in future courts of referees are to act according to the Unemployment Act, and not disallow these women who have been asked to go into an uninsurable occupation?


I think it would be useless to send instructions of that kind, because that is the present practice.


Is it not the case that the Umpire himself has already given a decision upon that question which has been circulated to the courts of referees, and will that be stopped or withdrawn?


That cannot be done by me.

Mr. MACLEAN rose


We cannot carry the matter any further.


On a point of Order. May I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that, if we put down a question with regard to the Umpire's decision, we are told that it is a matter of law, and we cannot get it passed the Table. This is a matter in which I think the Umpire is not acting according to the Unemployment Insurance Act, and he is going beyond the conditions laid down, with the result that we cannot raise the question in the House.