§ 3.49 p.m.
§ Debate resumed.
§ LORD BURDEN
My Lords, may I now resume my speech? The engineering, shipbuilding and electrical industries, the chemical industries, and the shoe and leather goods industries are good industries which keep very near to the average percentage. Then Professor Zweig goes on to say:The position of the most able, experienced, efficient and industrious girls, who can compete with men on completely equal terms all round, and who are at present dragged down by the crowd of inferior female labour, badly needs reviewing and adjusting. I have seen many girls turning out more and better output and taking greater interest in their jobs than their male opposite numbers, while earning considerably less. They are at present handicapped in industry, while they should ha given more encouragement.Now, my Lords, I am aware of the difficulty that most of these rates of pay have been negotiated by trade unions and that it is difficult for any Government to interfere, but the Government can, I think, as was stressed by my noble friend, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, set a good example and concede the rate for the job in the Civil Service. This, undoubtedly, will 374 lead to the same method of payment in the local government service and the teaching profession.
So far as the local government service is concerned the rate for the job is paid equally to a minority of men and women only. The national scales apply equally to men and women in the administrative, professional and technical grades and the miscellaneous grades. In the general division the scales are based on age, from 18 to 32. In the clerical division the scale is £470 to £515, and in the higher clerical division £515 to £560. Women are paid 80 per cent. of the men's rates. That is to say, a man aged 25 in the general division is paid £355 a year, while a woman doing equal work is paid £284 a year. A man on the maximum of the clerical division is paid £515 a year, while a woman on the maximum of the same division and doing equal work is paid £412 a year. A man on the maximum of the higher clerical division is paid £560 a year, while a woman on the maximum of that division and doing equal work is paid £450 a year. Other conditions of employment, such as holidays and so on, apply equally.
In considering this matter, I am sure that there will be no attempt at all to score Party political points. In another place, time after time, the point was put that Labour had been in power for six years and should have conceded equal pay: but, after all, Tory or Tory-dominated Governments were in power practically all the time from 1918 to 1939, when the war broke out. If the point is made that the Labour Government should have conceded the principle, I would remind noble Lords that the present Prime Minister is on record as having told Mr. Morgenthau that at the end of the 1939–45 war this country would be bankrupt. We must look for the real reasons. All Parties, I believe, are fully committed to the principle of equal pay, and I think one is entitled to ask why the expressed will of Parliament has been ignored. The noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, who will, I understand, reply for the Government, will, I am sure, speak earnestly and sincerely in support of the principle and in supporting the principle I know he will say what he really believes. I make no complaint. If the noble Earl will allow me to say so, if one of my noble friends had been 375 sitting on that side and making the speech for the Government, I am sure he would be making a similar speech, with the same brief as the noble Earl's. There might, perhaps, be some slight change of emphasis in the speech, but substantially it would be the same speech.
Therefore, I am afraid that we must be brutally frank. I can assure the noble Earl that I do not want any lessons in Ministerial responsibility and things of that kind. I have been in public life long enough to appreciate those points. But, in my judgment—and it seems to have been reinforced by the slight lifting of the curtain of Treasury experience by my noble friend—it is my Lords of the Treasury, it is their social, political and economic prejudices which have successfully defied and frustrated the expressed will and wish of Parliament for over thirty-three years. In 1920 the principle was overwhelmingly confirmed in another place. I hope I shall not be regarded as cynical if I have not the simple faith of my noble friend Lord Pethick-Lawrence, but if the evidence which they gave before the recent Commission is to be taken as their settled view, unless we get a Chancellor of the Exchequer able, determined and ruthless enough to ordain otherwise, my Lords of the Treasury will go on flouting the will of Parliament for another thirty-three years. Dare I say that we want another Chancellor of the Exchequer of the calibre of the late Sir Kingsley Wood, who, to put it quite mildly, had transferred to another Department the well known autocrat of the Post Office? Until we get a person of that kind we shall still be getting the same answer from whatever Government is in power; and for the women in the Civil Service and the teaching and local government professions it will be, as my noble friend has said, in the immortal words of Lewis Carroll:Jam yesterday, jam to-morrow, but never jam today.
§ 3.59 p.m.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, I shall not detain you for more than a few minutes, but I should not like to allow the chance to go by of adding my voice to those of your Lordships who have demanded justice this afternoon—or 376 rather who have demanded that an injustice which has all too long been a blot on the national honour in this country should be removed. One of the most frustrating things about the whole of this business is the one which has been referred to by the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat—that all political Parties have been committed to this policy and committed to it for a very long time. The trouble is that their leaders, when they find themselves in power, always find it inexpedient that justice should be done at that time. It is obviously within the power of the Government of the day to see that in that part of the economy which they clearly and directly control, the employment of the Civil Service, at any rate an end can be put to this injustice. While I have no hope that the noble Earl who is to reply for the Government will indicate that they are proposing to do so, I feel that it ought to be made clear to them that all those people in the community who feel strongly about justice think that they will be making a serious mistake.
Only last week the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, in a speech which was as full of good sense as it was full of wit, pointed out that, when we find two Front Benches in agreement, it is time for us to be on our guard. Incidentally, I was rather sorry that my noble friend Lord Silkin took him to task afterwards and said that the noble Viscount came here only to hear himself speak, because I suppose, if we are quite frank with ourselves, one of the reasons why most of us come here is because we enjoy speaking. Looking at the serried ranks of the Government Peers at the moment, I do not suppose that I am speaking this afternoon with the idea of converting large numbers of Conservative Peers to this Motion! If the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, likes to hear Lord Hailsham speak, I can assure him that there are many other Members of your Lordships' House who find that experience even more entertaining and more interesting, and even more full of real thought than we get from other speakers to whom we have to listen, both here and in another place—but that is perhaps rather by the way.
What I am emphasising is that the noble Viscount did warn us that we should be on our guard when we found 377 the Front Benches on both sides of the House committed to the same policy. It may be said to me that, as the mover of this Motion and his supporters are sitting on the Opposition Front Bench, this afternoon, at any rate, it is not true. I only wish I could think that if, as I imagine is very probable, during the next two or three years they find themselves back on the Benches opposite, they will then immediately see to it that this injustice is put right. But I am afraid that, as the noble Lord, Lord Burden, indicated towards the end of his speech, it is very unlikely that there would be any actual difference if that political change came about. There always have been, and no doubt there always will be, a large number of people in this and in every other community who, while they see quite clearly where the path of justice lies, also see equally clearly how inexpedient it is to follow it. I do not know what happens to those people when they die. It is a long time since I read Dante's Inferno. I cannot remember, but I think it is almost certain that he must have had some little corner of the Inferno in which those people spend a very long time, and, I think, justly spend a very long time.
I suspect that the noble Lord, Lord Burden, is quite right when he says that the real reason why this injustice was not put right years ago is because of the advice which has been given to successive Chancellors of the Exchequer at the Treasury. It is not the Treasury's job to do justice; it is the Treasury's job to give financial advice. It is for the political leaders to see that justice is done, after listening to such advice as may be given to them at the Treasury on the financial problem. No doubt, the financial experts of the Treasury say that we cannot afford this, just as, during the whole time that I have had any interest in politics, they have advised that we could not afford this or that we could not afford that. I throw my mind back to the years before the war when hundreds of thousands, in fact millions, of men and women in this country rotted—that is literally the only word which can be used to describe it—because of the financial advice which was given to Governments by the Treasury. We can in fact always afford justice, and it is time that in this case we saw our way to afford justice to the women whose work during the war 378 was, I think, the decisive factor. If one looks at the way that the labour resources of the different countries engaged in the war were mobilised, the decisive factor was that our women did a much finer and heavier job that the women in the enemy camp.
I do not propose to follow the noble Lords who have spoken this afternoon into a detailed analysis of the economic reasons which are given in favour of continuing this injustice. The noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, pointed out that in actual fact, viewed against the wage increases which have been going on over these last years and which we see every week as we take up our papers, the necessary expenditure which would be incurred in putting this injustice right would be quite a small percentage. I have no doubt whatever that this claim is at least as just as any of the other claims which are met from day to day, from week to week and from month to month. I am quite sure that this claim is a great deal more just than a large number of them. I have no doubt at all that, when it is viewed against the whole mass of these increased payments which have been going on over these years, the comparatively small expenditure required could be quite easily obtained from economies which could be made in a number of directions. The whole of the amount required could be obtained from a more efficient management of the National Health Service—to give just one example.
I should like to finish my few remarks by referring to a profession to which I have the honour to belong, in which equal pay for equal work has been acknowledged ever since women came into the teaching profession at the universities. I can assure your Lordships that in the universities we have neither colour bar nor sex differentiation. Women professors, readers and lecturers receive just the same pay as their male colleagues. They do just as good work and the atmosphere is thoroughly happy. When one looks round and finds the frustration and discontent which the continuance of this injustice undoubtedly causes in the ranks of the Civil Service and in other occupations, one must agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, said in his peroration, that we have here a rankling sore near the very heart of 379 the body politic. It is the job of Governments to see that such sores are removed. I hope that this Government will take their courage into their hands and do something in that direction.
§ 4.10 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF SELKIRK
My Lords, I do not think anybody who has listened to the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence this afternoon has any doubt what a powerful advocate he is for any cause which he cares to take up. He has devoted many years of his life to two subjects in particular, one the interests of women and the other public finance; and in both spheres he has made a notable and important contribution to public life. If I may venture to do so, I should like to recall from his autobiography the circumstances in which he came into the women's movement, about forty-five years ago. He writes in this way:I had a mind open to conviction but I do not suppose that I should ever have become entangled with the suffragettes if it had not been for my wife.He goes on to say,From 1906, the suffragettes surged into my life; they invaded my flat and almost took possession of it and everything in it. They engrossed the attention of my wife who became their honorary treasurer.It is perhaps interesting to note how the lives even of great men are influenced by small events. In fairness, perhaps I should repeat: what the noble Lord, Lord Burden, has already said: that the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, was prepared to suffer pain and penalties for what he considered to be a matter of principle. I should perhaps add, too, that when the movement took on a form of violence he separated himself entirely from it.
My Lords, to-day we are concerned, I think, with rather a small aspect of the whole question in which the noble Lord was engaged. It was well before 1939 that votes were first granted to women, and then extended to what was known as the "flapper's vote," and I can at least claim that that was brought about in association with the Party which is now in power. However, I do not want to make that point. Historically, so far as Parliament is concerned, the question of equal pay may be said to have taken its 380 genesis from a Resolution passed in 1920—it has already been referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Burden:That it is expedient that women should have equal opportunity of employment with men in all branches of the Civil Service within the United Kingdom and under all local authorities and should also receive equal pay.I think it is fair to say that in the last thirty years the first part of the Resolution has been substantially implemented, and it is the second part which has gone relatively slowly. Of course, the matter did not stop there. There was a Royal Commission which sat from 1929 to 1931 and the members of that Royal Commission were almost equally divided in their views.
In 1944 a second Royal Commission was appointed, and reported in the year 1946. Their Report is an extremely interesting document: it made no recommendation—indeed, it was not required to make a recommendation. But it examines the whole situation with such carefully balanced arguments that I think anybody could find a quotation to suit his sentiments, his politics or his economic advantage, whatever he might wish to do. But as a result of that Report of the Royal Commission, Mr. Dalton, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, was asked to state the views of the Government. He said that the Government must be the judge, of priority, and the Government did not consider that this was the time when it would be in the national interest for these additional burdens to be undertaken. He said that the question would be examined later in the light of developments, both economic and social. That was in June, 1947. Your Lordships may recollect that the so-called convertibility crisis occurred in August-September of that year. About six months later, in February, 1948, the same question was put to Sir Stafford Cripps. Sir Stafford expressed sympathy with the claim, but said that, owing to the fact that the White Paper which had just been issued spoke of the need for restraint in regard to prices, wages and salaries, it was quite impossible for him to meet the claim that was being advanced.
The matter rested there for a period of about three years, until 1951, and then the Staff Side of the National Whitley Council again approached the Chancellor 381 of the Exchequer, who was then Mr. Gaitskell; and he announced the results of his decision in June, 1951. He said that the Government could not depart from the decision announced in 1947, and he gave as an additional reason the fact that any action of the Government in this respect would have far-reaching consequences outside the Civil Service. He also stated that the introduction of equal pay in the Civil Service would be swiftly followed in other occupations in industry and commerce; and that any increases in pay given to women in employments common to both sexes would lead to similar increases for women engaged in purely women's work. He went on to say that even this would not be the end of the matter, because the introduction of equal pay would mean that the standard of living of a married man with a wife and children to support would compare unfavourably with that of an unmarried woman with no dependants. This would, in his opinion, unquestionably give rise to demands for large increases in family allowances. It was for that reason that he announced the Government's decision at that time not to introduce equal pay.
Since then there has been a change of Government. During the last year there have been two debates in another place on this subject, and. as I think the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence mentioned, after one of those debates there was passed a unanimous Resolution, that the Government should announce an early and definite date for the application of the principle of equal pay. In the meantime, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had had two meetings with the Staff Side of the National Whitley Council, and also meetings with the T.U.C. As a result of the second meeting, in September of last year, he asked the Staff Side whether they would like, quite informally, to examine the possibility of working out a plan for the gradual introduction of the principle of equal pay, but on the clear understanding that the Government were not committed either to a date or, indeed, to any particular scheme—that is to say, to discuss the sort of scheme which, if it were introduced, would be most agreeable to both sides of the Council. The Staff Side considered that carefully. However, on November 10, they said that on the whole they did not think that at 382 that time any useful purpose would be served by considering these proposals.
That is how the position stands at the present time. Perhaps I may just remind the House what the Tory Party said in regard to this subject in the course of the Election of 1951. They said:We hope that during the life of the next Parliament"—that is, of course, this Parliament—the country's financial position will improve sufficiently to enable us to proceed at an early date with the application in the Government service of the principle of equal pay for men and women for services of equal value.Of course, the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence knows the terms of that pledge, and it is, of course, if I may say so, an implied compliment to the Government that he brought forward this Motion indicating—I think, by implication it must—that the financial and economic strength of this country has in a considerable measure improved. I assure the noble Lord that we find some encouragement in that thought. He has asked me for some details in round figures of the implications of his proposals. If your Lordships will permit me, I will give those details as fully as I can. I must emphasise that the figures are only approximations and are to the nearest million. First of all, I should like to give the amounts which would have to be met from public funds in what is strictly an overlapping area—that is, an area in which the sexes have exact equality of work and jobs are interchangeable. For the Civil Service the cost to the Exchequer would be £8 million and to the rates nothing. In the sphere of teachers, the cost would be £6 million to the Exchequer and £9 million to the rates. In the case of the Health Services the cost would be under £500,000 to the Exchequer and nothing to the rates. In the case of local authorities, as regards employees other than teachers, the figures are under £500,000 to the Exchequer and under £500,000 to the rates. That is to say, direct expenditure would be about £15 million to the Exchequer and £9 million to the rates.
Now I must deal with what might be called the sympathetic area in these services, where rises might be expected. The cost would be in regard to the Civil Service £3 million to the Exchequer and nil to rates; nothing in respect of teachers. With regard to the 383 Health Services the figure is £2 million to the Exchequer. In respect of local authority services other than teachers, the cost would be £1 million to the Exchequer and £1 million to the rates. That is to say that in this sphere there would be an expense of £6 million to the Exchequer and £1 million to the rates. There is thus a total figure of £20 million to the Exchequer and £10 million to local authority expenditure. The total public expenditure, therefore, would be, very roughly, £30 million. With great respect to the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, it really is not practical to call this quite a small sum. As I have said, the grand total is £30 million, and that is in fact, in any context, a substantial sum of money.
§ LORD CHORLEY
It is less than 5 per cent. of the figure which the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, mentioned as wage increases over the last three years.
§ THE EARL OF SELKIRK
I am very glad indeed that the noble Lord should have mentioned that. With respect, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, confused two things which are really separate. He mentioned the public services and said that the expenditure required would be £28 million. Actually, as I have shown, it would be about £30 million. He then went on to say that the annual increase in wages throughout the country over the last three years or so was of the order of £200 million. But that, of course, is over the whole field—nationalised industries, private industries. Government services, everything. Strictly speaking, those figures have not a very close correlation. I must emphasise that this subject cannot be regarded as one which is entirely detached from the general economic situation of the country. The noble Lord was very fair about that, and I have no complaint to make. But I would stress that it must be regarded within the framework in which the country stands and of other claims which are being made on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Recently in this House we have been discussing Service pensions and post-war credits. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, is not here now, but he reminded me the other day that many people wanted a general reduction in taxation. These are problems which it is the task 384 of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to bear fully in his mind. He cannot regard them as entirely detached.
The noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, though not shirking the question of repercussions, was a little anxious, I thought, to underplay them. He made a quotation from evidence by the Treasury which I am afraid I must say would not be endorsed at the present day. Besides the figures I have given, it is anticipated that there would be considerable repercussions throughout the whole of industry outside. I am not going to attempt to say what they would be, but the total cost would amount to a very substantial sum—a sum substantial even in comparison with that which could be borne from public funds. With regard to what Lord Burden has said in this connection, the Government would certainly not interfere in any way with the discussions between the parties in which the trade unions take part, as to the way in which these increases would occur. They would undoubtedly occur sympathetically over a very large sphere. It is because of that that we have to watch particularly the repercussions at the present time.
The position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this matter is clear. He has, as everyone knows, taken a real and personal interest in this subject. He has no reason in any way to amend the statement of policy which I have quoted, and which was made a year ago last Autumn. At the same time he has to keep a balance of his duties. He must maintain the economic strength of this country. After all, if that were to go, any concessions of this sort would be entirely valueless. I do not think it is necessary for me to remind the House that only twelve months or little more ago, gold was flowing out of the Bank of England at a rate which would have meant its being exhausted by last September, while at the present time we are building up the gold reserve. This is only part of the story. I am not pretending it is the whole answer; we are still, in effect, working our way along a lee shore. The noble Lord, Lord Burden, is not here at the moment, but he seemed to suggest in his speech that behind my right honourable friend there was a vindictive and powerful body of men who had a quirk on this subject. My Lords, there is nothing nicer in the world than spending other people's money—nothing happier 385 and more pleasant. But I say, with great respect, that we all have great reason to be thankful for the care with which many of our affairs are dealt with in the Treasury.
We do not get very much satisfaction from considering the fact that the gap between the wages of men and women is narrowing, but still it is perhaps worth considering. I will give your Lordships some figures which show the general tendency. Between 1947 and the present date, for instance, men's rates have risen 32 per cent., whilst women's rates have risen 38 per cent. That is not very much, of course. Between 1938 and the present date, the earnings, as opposed to rates—which I have just mentioned—have risen from 52 per cent. of men's hourly earnings to over 61 per cent. That probably means that the actual rate movement has been rather greater than that. I know that these figures do not bring any real satisfaction to the advocates of equal pay. There is little use examining the Report of the Royal Commission, and I do not propose to go into questions of principle at all. I do not suppose the advocates of the principle are even interested in examining the subtle arguments which may arise, and this is not a time to examine whether women, by gaining the prerogatives of the oak, may perhaps lose the perquisites of the vine. There is no question of expressing any sympathy for the claim; sympathy is not wanted. What is wanted is action. I can only say that action becomes possible only when the strength of this country is such as to enable the principle of equal pay to be put into force without doing damage which would outweigh any benefits arising from it.
I should like to take up one point which the noble Lord raised—namely, that this claim is based on grounds of elementary justice. Of course, if it were only a matter of justice it could be met by lowering men's wages at least to some intermediate level, and bringing those of women up to it. That is not a proposition which would commend itself to the people of this country. From a practical point of view it must be regarded as a wages claim, with all the results which naturally flow from such a claim. The noble Lord, I thought, endeavoured to show that his proposals, if adopted, would not have a very serious inflationary 386 effect. But this claim is being based not on hardship and not on increased productivity; it is being based on justice. I do not know whether the noble Lord is prepared to say that all other wages should stand still. He did not say so to-day. I do not really think he could say so. In these circumstances, I think the noble Lord cannot get away from the proposition that, unless the economic situation is strong, the inflationary effect will be very considerable indeed.
I will not detain your Lordships, except to say this. The noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, has worked for many years for this cause, which he has spoken to to-day; and I would say to him, and to those who work with him, that we all, both men and women, have reason to be grateful to them because the policy which we have applied progressively over the years of opening opportunities to women has paid enormous dividends. I know that it is not a desirable thing to draw examples from war time, but they are the most striking, particularly in comparison with other countries, and especially with Germany. In this field of work, the contribution which women were able to make was enormous. They not only held high administrative appointments but were regarded as an integral part of the Armed Forces, whether it was as fitters in the Royal Air Force, or manning antiaircraft guns or acting as ferry pilots. It may well be that it was just that contribution which was the vital and decisive influence in the time of our greatest trial. I think we can fairly claim that the real status of women is as high in this country as in any other country in the world. I feel that the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, can to-day take real satisfaction in the work which he has given to this cause since as long ago as 1906. May I end by repeating that the Government adhere firmly to what they have said, but that they must remain the judge of the economic circumstances and of both the timing and the manner in which this matter can be put into force?
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ LORD PETHICK-LAWRENCE
My Lords, I am grateful for the kind personal remarks which the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, has made in reference to myself, both at the beginning and at the end of his speech. As he has differed from me 387 in the principal claim that I made, he will not mind if I differ from him in his decision. I think the simplest way I can put the difference is this: that he has reinforced the plea that has been made for a supplementary BeatitudeBlessed are they who expect nothing; for they shall not be disappointed.I did not expect much. The noble Earl is not the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I knew that he would not be able to go far beyond what the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already said. The Chancellor has gone only to this extent beyond what he has already said—he has said that he stands exactly where he was. We are thankful to know that, at any rate.
I am reminded of a British force that was marching in France in the First World War. The troops had to reach a certain place, and it was a very hot day. One of the French peasants they met was asked how far it was to this place. He said, "Dix kilomètres." They marched on. It was very hot and they went on for what seemed an unconscionable long time. They came across another peasant and asked him how far it was to this place. "Dix kilomètres" he replied. On they went—it was frightfully hot and they were all sweating. They stopped a third peasant and asked him how far they had to go. "Dix kilomètres" was again the answer. "Thank God the place isn't gaining on us!" said the colonel. It seems to me that that is exactly where the Chancellor of the Exchequer stands. But I am glad to see that he has not receded from the position he took up at the General Election.
There are two more things I should like to say. First of all, there is this question of repercussions in outside industry. As the noble Earl admitted, I did not attempt to disguise in the least the fact of these repercussions, and I did not even attempt to stand entirely by the Treasury advice to the Royal Commission. I said that it would be the job of the T.U.C., as it was also my own hope, to see that women secured advances in ordinary industry. But, though I agree fully with the Treasury about the repercussions, I anticipate that they will not occur immediately, but are likely to be spread over a large number of years. Before all the ripples caused by casting a stone in the middle of the pond have reached the 388 edges, a long period of time elapses: let us hope that the dangers of inflation will be gone by then. Only to-day I was reading a Report of the economic advisers to the United States Treasury in which they said that they saw a sign of full business activity during 1953, but that they were not so sure of 1954 and 1955. I certainly am not going to make any prophecy about 1954 and 1955; nor do I think the noble Earl would venture to do so. But since the repercussions are likely to be spread over twenty or thirty years, I think they may be treated with a certain amount of—I will not say indifference: that is putting it too high. But at any rate they must not be given too great a prominence.
Towards the end of his speech the noble Earl said something with which I am in full agreement. He said that, so far as opportunities of service were concerned, nearly everything had been opened up to women in recent years, particularly during the war, and that those opportunities were part of the demand—in fact, a main part of the demand—which women made of successive Governments. The noble Earl said how well the women had done when those opportunities were offered to them. Yes; but do not forget that women might have said they would do those things provided that they were paid the proper rate for the job. They did not say that. They accepted the task offered to them and put their backs, their minds and their spirit into it. The noble Earl repeated what was said by my noble friend Lord Burden: that we won the war, in part, through their action. Now they say, after all that has gone by, "We did not make a bargain with you. We trusted to your honour and good sense that, when we made a demand for adequate payment for the job, which you say we have done so well, you would not boggle over the terms, any more than we boggled over terms at the time when our services were desperately needed by the country." I say that it is up to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whichever Party he belongs, to do something. I take no exception to the record of events which the noble Earl has put forward. I make this no Party question. It is the duty of any Chancellor of the Exchequer to bear in mind that fine record of women during the war; not to 389 put them at the back of the queue, and to keep on putting them at the back of the queue, whenever fresh applicants arrive. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.