HC Deb 10 September 1941 vol 374 cc171-2
27. Mr. Mander

asked the hon. Member for Dulwich, as chairman of the Kitchen Committee why his Committee have refused to make any payment to the temporary members of the staff during the Recess at a time and under conditions when it was difficult for them to obtain casual employment; and whether the matter can be reconsidered as not being worthy of the dignity of this House as a model employer?

Mr. Bracewell Smith

Members of the temporary staff in the Kitchen Depart- ment are engaged for the Session only, and were given a week's notice to terminate their engagement on 9th August. The majority of these were able to obtain part or full-time employment during the Recess. The matter cannot be reconsidered, and, in the opinion of the Committee, the question of the dignity of the House does not arise.

Mr. Mander

Does my hon. Friend realise that conditions existing today are entirely different from those in peace-time, that these employees of the House cannot get casual work—it appears that some of them have not done so—and does he not think that this is not in accordance with the tradition of this House to set up the highest possible standard as employers?

Mr. Bracewell Smith

I have already assured the House that most of the members of this particular section did get employment.

An Hon. Member: How many?

Mr. Bracewell Smith

Sixteen out of 18, I think.

Sir Irving Albery

Will representations be made in the proper quarter as to the totally unsuitable arrangements which at present exist?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will my hon. Friend make representations to the Treasury for a subsidy if it is required? There would be widespread support in the House for such an arrangement.

Mr. Bracewell Smith

Such representations have already been made.

Mr. George Griffiths

Will the Chairman make application…

Mr. Speaker rose

Sir I. Albery

Mr. Speaker, may I respectfully draw your attention to the fact that this is a matter which concerns all Members of the House and which is very seldom raised, and may I ask whether, in the circumstances, we cannot be given some further opportunity to go into it?

Mr. Speaker

No, I cannot discriminate between one Question and another.