asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there are approximately 1,700 women employed at the Ministry's Department at Kew, and that strenuous efforts are made to bring about the complete staffing of this Department with female labour; and whether, having regard to the fact that thousands of ex-service men who are capable of doing the work are at present unemployed, he will have the matter thoroughly inquired into, and not permit the threatened change until this House has had an opportunity of discussing the same?
There are approximately 1,700 women now employed at the claims and record office at Kew wholly engaged on work classified by the Treasury as permanent women's work, and there are upwards of 1,800 ex-service men. A year ago the corresponding figures were 1,800 and 1,700 respectively. The principles laid down in the Lytton Reports upon the employment of ex-service men are being fully observed at Kew, and there is, therefore, no ground for the suggestion contained in the question.
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean by that that the suggestion that strenuous efforts are made to bring about the complete staffing of this Department with female labour is not borne out by the facts?
I am compelled by the Treasury Regulations to allocate a proportion of this work to women, and that has been done, but there is no foundation for the suggestion that "strenuous efforts are made to bring about the complete staffing of this Department with female labour." I have not heard of the suggestion. I should have something to say about it if it were made.