§ Q6. Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Prime Minister what further proposals he now has to mark the 50th anniversary of women's franchise.
§ Mrs. Short
That is very disappointing. Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have sat on two platforms when he has made very good speeches supporting the anniversary of women's franchise? Is he aware that the women of this country 176 now want actions, not words? Does my right hon. Friend think that a start could be made by giving equal pay to 30,000 women industrial civil servants employed by this Government who do not yet receive equal pay? Will he give consideration to this?
§ The Prime Minister
I am always glad when my hon. Friend is sitting on the same platform as myself. I am glad that she heard those two particular speeches. Since she thinks they are good ones, I will put them in the Library so that other hon. Ladies can read them.
I dealt with equal pay at the second of the meetings referred to by my hon. Friend. I gave the estimate that would be involved this year on our total incomes bill if we were to proceed rapidly to implementation of it. It would mean that there could be no other increase in any form of pay, and even then it would be a rather big increase.
§ Mr. Thorpe
If the Prime Minister is not prepared in this year to consider equal pay for equal work, will he at least have a word with the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a view to separate tax assessment for wives who go out to work?
§ The Prime Minister
I am sure the whole House would wish me to convey to the right hon. Gentleman our felicitations on the news that was announced yesterday. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Concerning tax assessment proposals and the proposals of my hon. Friend this afternoon, I am not in a position to make either the hon. Lady or the right hon. Gentleman happy about those. This has been dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a number of occasions.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the action which the Leader of the Liberal Party is contemplating is the only method available to him to increase the membership of the Liberal Party?