§ MR. FELL (Great Yarmouth)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the 271 trade unions, with a total membership of 581,121, which made returns of employment for January last, represent the whole or the bulk of the trade unions; or, if not, what proportion they bear to the total number of trade unions.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. LLOYD GEORGE,) Carnarvon Boroughs
The total membership of the trade unions making returns of employment for January last was about 650,000, of whom a certain number were superannuated, not entitled to benefit abroad, on strike, &c., leaving a net membership of 581,121 on which the percentage of unemployed was calculated. The number represented in the Returns is over three-quarters of the membership of all trade unions which give unemployed benefit, which are the only trade unions† See (4) Debates, cli., 829–30.†† See (4) Debates, clii, 786–7.637 invited to make these monthly Returns. The total membership of all trade unions is over 1,800,000. Valuable Returns of a non-statistical kind relating to employment are received monthly from a number of other unions. These are utilised in the article on employment, but do not enter into the total on which the percentage of unemployed is based.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
It is the most complete Return made by any country and far more reliable than any other, but if the hon. Gentleman can suggest any improvement I will consider it.
§ SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)
Do I understand that only one-third of the trade unions make a report?
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE
On the contary, I said that all trade unions make some Return, but the Returns which are utilised are those of the unions which give an unemployed benefit, which involves a very severe test of unemployment. The other Returns are published by the Board of Trade.
§ MR. CHIOZZA MONEY (Paddington, N.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of urging upon the census authorities the provision of a column on the census paper, which would enable workmen to make some statement as to unemployment?
§ Mr. LLOYD-GEORGE
The next census will be five years hence, and I hope that before then we shall be having much better Returns.