HC Deb 18 March 1937 vol 321 cc2228-9
8. Miss Cazalet

asked the Minister of Labour how many domestic service training centres are in existence; their total capacity; and the numbers attending at the present time?

Mr. E. Brown

There are seven residential and 3o non-residential domestic training centres administered by the Central Committee on Women's Training and Employment, the former being situated in areas which afford good opportunities for placing those trained in domestic employment after training, and the latter in areas where unemployment is heavy. The training course normally lasts 13 weeks, or longer for younger girls. The girls are readily placed in approved employment, and are provided with a free outfit. The centres provide a total of 1,284 training places of which 984 were filled on 6th March. There is considerable difficulty in finding sufficient recruits, and this is attributed partly to unwillingness to enter domestic service when opportunities of obtaining industrial employment seem favourable, and partly to ignorance of the opportunities which this scheme offers. I should welcome any assistance in making the scheme better known.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

Are there any training centres for mistresses where they can be taught to treat their maids properly?

Mr. Brown

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Member will give me the advantage of any experience he may have in this matter.

17. Sir John Mellor

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been drawn to the shortage of domestic servants in Warwickshire; whether he will consider taking more effective steps to promote the migration of suitable persons from areas where many are unemployed; and whether he will consider, in conjunction with the Home Secretary, giving temporarily greater facilities for the employment of suitable alien immigrants?

Mr. Brown

I have no information to indicate that the difficulty in securing domestic servants is greater in Warwickshire than elsewhere. The Employment Exchanges take active steps to fill the vacancies notified to them. I should, however, point out that the great majority of the women registered as unemployed are ordinarily engaged in industrial occupations or are unsuited by reason of their age, training and other circumstances for domestic service. The opportunities afforded by domestic service are brought to the notice of all unemployed women on the registers who appear suitable, and training is provided through the Central Committee on Women's Training and Employment for women who might be suitable but lack the necessary experience. Permits for the employment of foreign women domestics in private households are granted in cases where the conditions of employment are not below accepted standards, and it is clear that, after making all reasonable efforts, the employer cannot get suitable British workers.

Sir J. Mellor

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what is the normal interval of time between an application for a permit for an alien immigrant to work in this country and the notification of the Ministry's decision?

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Member will put the question down, I will try to give him a mean answer. [Laughter.] Hon. Members will be aware that there are many meanings in the dictionary of the word "mean." The difference would, of course, depend on the circumstances.

Mr. T. Williams

What would the right hon. Gentleman regard as reasonable conditions for female labour before he would allow permits for immigrants?

Mr. Brown

I could not say in answer to a supplementary question.