HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 cc14-5
25. Miss Quennell

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is now taking to make it easier for married women to return to work.

Mr. Thornton

Our employment exchanges are in constant touch with employers about adjusting hours of work and other conditions to enable women to combine employment with their family responsibilities. Further possibilities will be considered in the light of the results of the recent survey of women's employment.

Miss Quennell

Would the hon. Gentleman consider two further lines of approach? First, would he have discussions with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance to see whether some modification can be obtained of the National Insurance obligations of employers in respect of part-time employees? Secondly, would he consult his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to see whether the fiscal impediments whereby a wife's income is assessed with her husband's for Surtax purposes can be removed?

Mr. Thornton

These are certainly very complicated issues, which, as the hon. Lady said, affect both my right hon. Friends the Minister of Pensions and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I will certainly look at the matter.

Mrs. Renée Short

Will my hon. Friend consider asking employers to set up nurseries attached to factories to encourage married women with young children to return to work?

Mr. Thornton

That is one of the many matters which is under consideration in the survey now taking place.