HC Deb 30 March 1893 vol 10 cc1502-3

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade if he could state to the House how many Trades Union Societies make Reports to the Labour Department concerning the condition of trade; what has been their monthly average number since the present Administration has been in Office; what is the average monthly number of members reported as being without employment; and how it compares with the corresponding period (August to February inclusive) in 1889–90 and 1891–92; and what is the average number of trades reported as good in the first-named period compared to that in the two last-named under the late Administration?


A large and increasing number of Unions are in correspondence with the Board of Trade; but those furnishing the numbers of unemployed during the last three years are from 19 to 23. The number giving this information for the last six months has been 22 to 23. The average number of members reported as being without employment was, in 1889–90, 3,795; in 1890–91,6,523; in 1891–2, 11,317; and in 1892–3, 23,624. This last figure includes four more Unions than in the previous year. The hon. Member will see that there is no such increase as 115,000 unemployed in these Unions, as stated by him on Tuesday last. The number of trades reported from month to month as good will be found in the Report of the Labour Correspondent. Any attempt at averages would be misleading. I have given the hon. Gentleman these particulars; but I respectfully submit that the time of the House ought not to be occupied with these details, which are already published and accessible to Members of the House.


In reference to the closing observations of the right hon. Gentleman, may I ask him whether he does not think it an important matter to a Member representing an industrial constituency that there is an enormous increase in the number of unemployed since the right hon. Gentleman has been at the Board of Trade—some-thing like 24,000; and that scarcely any trade in the country has been reported good since the present Administration has held Office?


The decline has been steady, as I have pointed out, in the 20 odd Unions since 1890, and I do think it is important that hon. Members should inform themselves of these particulars. As the figures are in print, there is no reason why the time of the House should be occupied with questions of this kind.