HC Deb 16 April 1940 vol 359 cc772-3
14. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has considered the charges of extravagance in the equipment, etc., of women's service organisations and with what result; and if he is satisfied that these organisations are economically run and are worth the cost?

Mr. Stanley

I cannot speak for the other Services, but, so far as the Auxiliary Territorial Service is concerned, I have no reason to think there is extravagance, and I have seen no charges of that nature which have been substantiated. As regards the last part of the Question, the women cost substantially less than the soldiers whom they replace. The establishment is kept under review in relation to the work done in order to ensure economy and efficiency, and in my opinion the organisation is well worth its cost.

Mr. Edwards

Has the Minister considered the statement which was presented to him a week or two ago in which figures were set out and which is the basis of this Question. Is he aware that since that was submitted to him many of my correspondents have suggested that extravagance arises from appointing society ladies to important positions, with the result that people in the ranks have not a fair opportunity of getting promotion?

Mr. Stanley

All appointments of officers in the Auxiliary Territorial Service are now on the same footing as in the Army—they all go through the ranks.

Mr. Herbert Morrison

Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House what is the cost of the uniform of a woman member of the Army?

Mr. Stanley

Certainly, if I am given notice.

Brigadier-General Sir Henry Croft

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that all these women are provided with uniforms? They are giving such splendid service to the country that they ought not to be forced to use their own normal clothes?

Mr. Stanley

They are all provided with uniforms.

Mr. Thorne

Cannot a man or a woman render the country service without being highly dressed?

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