§ MR. BONAR LAW
I bog to ask the President of the Board of Trade what has boon the average percentage of unemployment of members of trade unions making Returns since the 1st May, 1903; what was the average percentage for the five years previous to that date; and what has boon the average percentage since the 1st May, 1903, of unemployment among members of German trade unions as published by the German Labour Department.
§ MR. LLOYD GEORGE
The periods named by the hon. Member are so arbitrarily selected that merely to give the figures he asks would give a misleading impression of the course of employment. I am therefore having printed with the Votes the average percentage of unemployment returned by trade unions in each mouth since the beginning of the period to which the Question refers. From May, 1903, to the end of 1905 (a period of trade depression) the average percentage was 5.8. In the first ten months of 1906 it has fallen to 3.9. During the five years 1898–1902 (which was mostly a period of active trade) the percentage was 3.3. The German Returns do not go back before June, 1903, but the years 1901 and 1902 are known to have been years of great depression in Germany. Since June, 1903, the mean percentage published by the German Labour Department has been W. As stated in the Memorandum dealing with unemployment in the second Fiscal Volume published by the late Government this figure is not comparable with the Percentages returned by trade unions in the United Kingdom, as the basis of the official statistics differs in the two countries.
§ The following is the statement referred to in above Question:—595
§ In reply to the hon. Member's Question the following statements show the average percentage of unemployed returned by trades unions in the United Kingdom in
|UNEMPLOYMENT IN UNITED KINGDOM.|
|Percentage of trade union members unemployed at the end of each month from January, 1898 to October, 1906.|
|Year.||Jan.||Feb.||Mar.||Apr.||May.||June.||July.||Aug.||Sept.||Oct.||Nov.||Dec.||Mean for Year.|
|*Mean for ten months.|
|UNEMPLOYMENT AMONG MEMBERS OF GERMAN TRADE UNIONS.|
|Membership of Unions Reporting.||Members Unemployed.|
§ NOTE.—The above figures are an abstract of such official information as is available with regard to the state of employment in Germany, and ate given in order to indicate as far as possible the fluctuations in employment from period to period. The bases of the Official Statistics published in Germany are, however, not the same as those for the United Kingdom, and therefore the figures quoted above cannot be properly used to compare the actual level of employment in the United Kingdom and Germany.
§ † It is stated in the Reichs-Arbeitsblatt, from which these figures are extracted, that on the inquiry form for this month it was for the first time made clear to the persons furnishing returns that all members out of work were to be included as unemployed, whether in receipt of unemployed benefit or not. Formerly, a certain proportion of members who were out of work, but who were not entitled to unemployed benefit, were not included in the returns as unemployed. For this reason, therefore, the statistics relating to this and subsequent dates are not strictly comparable with those for previous periods, but to what extent the figures are affected by the difference it is not possible to state.596
§ each month since the beginning of 1898, and the percentage of unemployed members of trade unions in Germany from June, 1903 to September, 1906.597
§ MR. BONAR LAW
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since the Fiscal Blue-book was published it has been stated in the Board of Trade, Journal that the German Government gave statistics of every kind in regard to unemployment—not only such as are included in our own Returns but also some that are not. And is it not the net result that the amount of unemployment is less than 1 per cent?
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. If he will look at the Labour Gazette he will find it pointed out there that the German computation is on a totally different basis from our own.