Women's Land Army

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture – in the House of Commons on 19th November 1942.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr James Hollins Mr James Hollins , West Ham Silvertown

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will seek to secure for the Women's Land Army similar conditions and recognition as enjoyed by the other women's services; whether he is aware of the appeal by Lady Denman for £100,000; is he satisfied that this sort of appeal is desirable in view of the great national importance of this service; is he aware that members of the Women's Land Army receive no pay during sickness and are frequently dismissed when ill with only 12s. 6d. sickness benefit; and will he seek to protect these women in this service?

Mr. Hudson:

The position of members of the Women's Land Army is altogether different from that of members of those women's services which are in State employment and there cannot, therefore, be similar conditions of work. I can see no objection to the raising of a Women's Land Army benevolent fund. Members of the Women's Land Army and their dependants will be able to receive assistance from this fund in cases of special hardship in the same way as do members of the Forces and their dependants from the various charitable and benevolent funds established for their benefits. Generally speaking, members of the Women's Land Army work under the ordinary conditions of employment which apply throughout the agricultural industry. They have precisely the same rights to pay during sickness and to benefit under the National Health Insurance schemes as are enjoyed by other civilian agricultural workers.

Photo of Mr James Hollins Mr James Hollins , West Ham Silvertown

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is widespread discontent among members of this body, which may lead to serious repercussions if something is not done? Will he look into the matter again?

Miss Ward:

With regard to future plans for the demobilisation of women in the Land Army, are they not the responsibility of the Government? Is not this one of the matters being dealt with by the Minister of Works and Planning?

Mr. Hudson:

I think that Question should be addressed to the Paymaster-General.

Miss Ward:

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his Department is making any financial contribution to the objects of the appeal being made by Lady Denman on behalf of the Women's Land Army?

Mr. Hudson:

The appeal referred to is for a benevolent fund similar to other funds raised in connection with other Services, and is quite distinct from the financial provision made for the Women's Land Army on my Department's Vote.

Miss Ward:

In view of the fact that the benevolent fund exists for the purpose of making payments to women from the Land Army when the war is over, is not that part of the responsibility of the Government in plans for reconstruction? Are the Government making a contribution, as a good employer, to the benevolent fund?

Mr. Hudson:

I have said that the appeal referred to is quite distinct from financial provision made for the Women's Land Army by my Department.

Miss Ward:

But are the Government making a contribution as a good employer?

Mr. Hudson:

The answer is "No."