§ 6. Mr. Quintin Hogg
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that women are working in factories during the seventh, eighth and ninth months of their 1024 pregnancies and after the expiration of one month of their delivery; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this situation?
§ Mr. Bevin
The existing restriction on the freedom of women to work at such times is contained in the public health law, and I would refer my hon. Friend to the Reply given to him in this connection by my right hon. Friend on 28th January. I doubt whether the matter could be adequately dealt with merely by proposing further restrictions under the Factory Acts.
§ Mr. Bevin
I think my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health said that so far as it affects the Factory Acts it was under my jurisdiction. That is quite true. I am doubtful, however, whether I can deal with the whole problem raised in the Question by altering the law as it applies to factories alone.
§ Mr. Hogg
Is it not a fact that at the moment the conditions in which these women in the seventh, eighth and ninth months of their pregnancy work are determined solely by the welfare organisation of the factory in which they work and depend entirely on the excellence and good will of that organisation? Would it not be better to have some legal supervision?
§ Dr. Edith Summerskill
Does the right hon. Gentleman know that the whole trouble is due to the fact that these women are not eligible for National Health Insurance benefit until the last few weeks of pregnancy?