§ Major Procter
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the hardship caused to Lancashire women over 40 years 318W of age who have lost their jobs in cotton mills closed by Government action, and who are now finding great difficulty in getting employment in essential industries on account of their age; and whether he would appeal to employers or issue instructions to Government factory managers to leave the primary selection of female workers to local exchanges and not to impose an age limit on applicants irrespective of merit?
§ Mr. Bevin
Every effort is being made to find work for older women who are temporarily unemployed through the closing of mills under the scheme for the concentration of the cotton industry. Firms retained as nucleus are required to take on older workers discharged from other mills, releasing younger workers as necessary for transfer to vital war work. If the older women are unable to leave home and move either to nucleus firms in the industry or to Royal Ordnance Factories they will be placed, so far as possible, in suitable local employment as substitutes for younger workers in other industries who are available for transfer to vital war work. The employers have been informed that they must be ready to engage older women, and in this I have the support of the British Employers' Confederation. So far as the Royal Ordnance Factories are concerned no age limit is now imposed.