HC Deb 18 October 1945 vol 414 cc1363-6
56. Lieut.-Colonel Price-White

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the difficulties of the University-hostel in Bangor in obtaining domestic assistance; and whether, in view of the importance of such services to education, he will arrange to expedite his plans for providing an adequate supply of domestic servants, particularly in North Wales.

Mr. Isaacs

I am aware that difficulty is being experienced in filling seven vacancies for domestic workers in the University hostel in Bangor. As the hon. Member will be aware, there is an acute shortage of domestic workers and heavy demands for hospitals and similar institutions which have a first call on available labour. I am, however, prepared to give a priority to vacancies in educational institutions when appropriate wages and conditions are offered. In order to meet this particular need I propose, if the University authorities agree, to arrange for them to send a representative to selected Local Offices in Wales to try to stimulate interest in this type of employment.

Lieutenant Skeffington-Lodge

Will the Minister consider employing female domestic workers from the Continent brought here under proper conditions and supervision?

Mr. Isaacs

That is rather another question, but that is being tried out in one London hospital.

60. Colonel Erroll

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consult with the Departments concerned, with a view to bringing over to this country, German and Austrian women on a voluntary basis, to alleviate the shortage of domestic workers both in private homes and public institutions.

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir; I do not think that in present circumstances it would be to the public interest or beneficial to public order to bring German or Austrian women over here for domestic employment.

Colonel Erroll

Will the right hon. Gentleman perhaps reconsider the matter when the conditions he suggested are perhaps more favourable?

Mr. Isaacs

I think it will be a long time before the women in the constituency that I represent will feel willing to work with Austrian or German women.

Miss Rathbone

Is the Minister aware that that is not the experience of women who are in close touch with German and Austrian refugee women in this country and that these have been remarkable in getting on with their British fellow workers in industry?

Mr. Isaacs

I am not speaking of refugees. I was only anticipating that the experience of other Members in their constituencies might be the same as is mine.

Mr. Stokes

Is not the sentiment expressed in the answer to the first supplementary dangerously near that of National Socialism?

Mr. Warbey

Has not the right hon. Gentleman considered in his answer to this Question the implications of the published declaration in relation to Austrian women?

Mr. Isaacs

No, Sir, I did not have that before me when I drafted the answer.

66. Mr. R. A. Butler

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is now in a position to state the Government's decisions on the subject of the Markham-Hancock Report on Domestic Service.

Mr. Isaacs

I am in consultation with my colleagues on the issues involved in the recommendations of this report and hope to be in a position to announce to the House at an early date the Government's proposals for dealing with private domestic service.

Mr. Butler

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this report has been in the hands of the Government for a very long time, that it was published in June and is of great interest to all sections of opinion in this country?

Mr. Isaacs

Yes, Sir, I have had the advantage of reading the report and I think that its recommendations are of considerable value, and negotiations are proceeding on that line.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Can the Minister say what he is doing to make the masters or mistresses worthy of the domestic servants whom they employ?