Domestic Service.

Oral Answers to Questions — National War Effort. – in the House of Commons on 23rd July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will instruct his Independent Women's Panel to take into account the hardships imposed on old people in the larger country houses by calling up their key domestic servants, as in the case sent him by the hon. Member for Newbury; whether these women's panels are appointed by his Department; and in what way are they independent of his Department?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The Women's Advisory Panels are already aware that they should give special consideration to cases in which the household includes aged and infirm persons. These panels are appointed by the Department in consultation with the chairman of the local employment committees and women's sub-committees attached to the employment exchanges. They consist of non-official members, not less than two in number, and are not subject to the instructions of the Department; they discuss cases, generally in a personal interview with those concerned, and are expected to make common-place recommendations in accordance with general guidance given to them by the Department.

Brig.-General Brown:

Is the Minister aware that these panels are subject to the instructions they get from local employment exchanges and that in many cases, I do not say all, they are not carrying out the purposes for which they were formed? What is the good of these useless committees?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I do not accept that. I think that the discussions which have taken place on doctors' certificates in this House make it very important that even the Women's Panels should look at them with care.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

Will the Minister explain to the House what is meant by "larger country houses," and "key domestic servants?"

Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western

Will the Minister make these regulations applicable to working girls who are the domestic help of aged parents in the evenings and at the weekends?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

With all my long traditions I cannot discriminate between anyone.