§ 9. Mr. Rhys Davies
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, owing to the large percentage of their male employés already serving in the Forces, distributive trade employers have recently trained young women to fill their places; that some of those women are now likely to be conscripted; and whether he will consider placing the most essential sections of the retail food trades in the category of work of national importance?
§ Mr. Davies
Will the Minister bear in mind that, in view of the very difficult situation in shops, particularly in dealing with supplies and the demands of customers, the life of some managers in particular is becoming very difficult?
§ 13. Sir P. Hurd
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the misapprehension arising from the announcement by his Department that women should not give up their present employment, whatever it may be, unless the Employment Exchange advises them to do so; and whether, seeing that in most cases the Employment Exchanges have no opportunity of intervening, he will make it clear that women should themselves exchange non-essential employment for work of national value?
§ Mr. Bevin
When women think that they ought to transfer to more essential 677 work better results will be obtained by guiding and advising them than by leaving it to them to make up their own minds without knowledge of all the facts on. which their course of action should be based. The Employment Exchanges will be ready to give advice to any women who consult them.
§ Sir P. Hurd
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the state of bewilderment of many thousands of women at the moment, and will not he help to clarify their position by telling them what, in the view of the Government, under present War conditions, are essential occupations and what are not?
§ Sir P. Hurd
Is not the census so long drawn out that most of the women are left still in a state of serious embarrassment?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the embarrassment in the women's minds is not due to any particular stupidity of the female mind, but to the extraordinarily imperfect information hitherto given to them by the entirely inadequately staffed employment exchanges?
§ 14. Sir P. Hurd
asked the Minister of Labour whether he will provide the information necessary to measure the woman-power problem by arranging for an occupational register of all women under 45 years of age, so as to ascertain exactly what women are, and are not, doing in the national war effort, and especially to discourage non-essential employment and encourage all capable women to take their part?
§ Sir P. Hurd
Would it not be better for the right hon. Gentleman, first of all, to ascertain the facts over the whole field 678 and then to base his policy upon those facts?