asked the Minister of Labour why unemployment benefit is still paid to 30,000 women in London, and to thousands of girls over school age, when for most of them domestic service is immediately available in good homes at good wages; and whether he will take steps to remedy this?
The figure of 30,000 women to which my hon. Friend refers is not the number drawing benefit, but the number registered as wholly unemployed on 29th May, as he will see by referring to the answer given on 28th June. The number of women actually drawing benefit in the Greater London area on 19th June is estimated at about 14,000. In addition, there were about 7,600 whose benefit was temporarily suspended owing to the "gap." The number of girls drawing benefit at the same date was about 800, and in addition there were 140 on the "gap." As has been stated in reply to a number of questions during this Session, applicants who are suitable for and refuse domestic service would not be granted unemployment benefit. If my hon. Friend wishes I will send him a list of the occupations of the women unemployed and drawing benefit.
I am afraid I cannot accept the term "abuse." My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and I are examining this matter, and give it close attention daily. If my hon. Friend will come to the Ministry, I think I can put before him figures which will relieve his mind on the subject.