HC Deb 22 January 1942 vol 377 cc398-9
20. Mr. Mathers

asked the Minister of Labour what is the present rate of recruitment of Scottish women workers for employment in England and Wales; and will he give special consideration to the continuance of women in essential employment in Scotland instead of moving them far from home?

Mr. Bevin

In the second half of the year 1941 about 2,400 women were transferred by Employment Exchanges from Scotland to England. Such transfers are not made without full regard to current labour demands in Scotland, and I lose no opportunity of urging the Supply Departments to place new contracts and new industrial capacity, wherever possible, in those areas where the shortage of labour is least acute and, in particular, in Scotland.

Mr. Mathers

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware of the perturbation that exists concerning 400 women, as he shows in his Answer, being drafted from Scotland every month, and may I ask him to continue this good work and try to do better than his Answer actually implies?

Mr Maxton

Does the Minister realise that this is happening every week even to girls who can get a job locally of national importance, that they are told by the Ministry that they must go to some place in England?

Mr. Bevin

Yes, Sir, it is happening in Wales, it is happening everywhere, it is happening in England. There is no exceptional treatment for Scotland. The war production demands that I shall fill certain factories. I announced to this House quite clearly that I proposed to fill those factories with mobile women, and to use immobile women, who ought not to be moved, in the localities near their homes, and the House approved that policy. I have not made any exceptional treatment for Scotland or any other part of the country.

Mr. Maxton

Is the Minister moving London girls to Glasgow and Glasgow girls to Wales, or what is the game?

Mr. Bevin

No, Sir.

Lieutenant Butcher

Is not the objection of Scots to coming down South very unusual?