HC Deb 25 June 1942 vol 380 cc2133-4
14. Dr. Summerskill

asked the Home Secretary whether he will give an assurance that women will not be called upon for compulsory fire-watching without an undertaking that compensation equal to that received by men fire-watchers will be paid in the event of injury owing to enemy action?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Home Security (Miss Wilkinson)

The rates of compensation payable to fire-guards for war service injuries are governed by the Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme, and it would not be equitable or practicable to give more advantageous terms to fire-guards than to other classes covered by that scheme.

Dr. Summerskill

Is the hon. Lady aware that to-day two further petitions have already been presented to the House on the question of unequal compensation and that there is a considerable amount of resentment in the country, which is culminating in meetings and protests, and does she not think that this is a form of exploitation of women by the Government?

Mrs. Tate

Is the hon. Lady also aware that this is supposed to be a democratic country, ruled by the will of the people, and that it is no longer the will of the people that gainfully-employed civilian women should be compensated for war injury at a lower rate than gainfully-employed civilian men, and is she also aware of the very sorry figure the Minister of Pensions cut when he opposed me recently on a public platform?

Miss Wilkinson

I am perfectly sure that in this democratic country the views of the hon. Ladies and their petitioners will be taken into consideration by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Lipson

Does the hon. Lady agree that to accept the suggestion contained in this Question would be a good way to establish the principle of equal compensation?