Government Policy

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

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Photo of Mrs Lucy Middleton Mrs Lucy Middleton , Plymouth, Sutton 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

I am claiming that it is a very grave insult to talk of the older women of our community with the contempt which was in the voice of the hon. and gallant Member for Holderness when he made that reference last night. I am defending the womanhood of this country, and particularly the older womanhood, from insulting remarks of that kind. I am doing so because of the record which the women of this country established for themselves in the years before the war and during the war, and which they are continuing to establish for themselves today. Our older women are going back to the factories and to cotton and woollen mills in their leisure time to work, in order to get the country out of the difficulties which face us. I was tempted to refer to the hon. Member's interjection because of the fact that, in this question of housing our womenfolk, and especially, in some cases, the older women, are bearing a more grievous burden than any other.

I should like to quote from a letter which I received only yesterday from the housing manager of the Corporation of Plymouth. This is the situation as he, describes it: In a very large number of ordinary three bedroom houses in Plymouth it is customary to find three families, each with children, usually consisting of the tenant, his grown family, and two of the married sons, or daughters who now have their own families I see, Mr. Speaker, you are indicating that I have exceeded my time. However, I did feel that in the Debate this evening I ought to say something about the burdens which the women of this country are bearing with regard to housing. It is for that reason in particular that I regard the question of housing as one which cannot be postponed; it involves the very raw materials upon which our national recovery depends; it is one which in our war damaged cities presents a situation demanding the very highest priority. I ask the Government in determining priorities, not to overlook this fact, and to see to it that those who are living under conditions imposed by bombs and blitz are given the earliest opportunity of recreating their homes and lives on a satisfactory basis.