8. Miss Ward
asked the Minister of Labour whether the new policy adopted by the Ministry of Pensions disregarding a portion of earnings of service men's wives in receipt of war service grants will overcome his difficulties in recruiting married women for industrial work?
§ Mr. Bevin
I would not like to accept the implication in the Question that there has been great difficulty in recruiting married women for industrial work. Having regard to their domestic obligations, such women have rendered, and will increasingly render, valuable service both in direct war work and as substitutes for younger women. The number of married women at present in employment in industry is 2½ millions. On the other hand, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and I had reason to believe that many wives of service men able and willing to take up part-time war work hesitated to do so because they knew that the amounts they earned would lead to almost equal reduction in the war service grants they were receiving, and it was because of this that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions recently increased the amount of earnings which he disregarded before paying war service grants. I have no doubt that this concession will prove of considerable assistance in recruiting additional married women for industrial work, particularly part-time work in the next few months.
I take it that the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied that the amount will have the desired effect?