HC Deb 02 July 1908 vol 191 cc965-6

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware of the fact that unemployment reached the percentage of 7.9 during the month of May; whether he can inform the House of the last year in which unemployment reached so high a figure during that month; whether he has any figures to show the amount of unemployment in London and the surrounding districts as compared with other parts of the country during May; also the amount of pauperism as compared with other parts of the country; and whether, in view of the fact that legislation based upon the Report of the Poor Law Commission will not be possible this year, he can state the steps which the Government is proposing to take to tide over the intervening period of unemployment.


I am aware that the Returns made by trade unions to the Board of Trade show that in May last 7.9 of the members were unemployed. The extent of the unemployment was considerably affected by the in- dustrial disputes in the engineering and shipbuilding trades. The latest date at which an equally high proportion of unemployment was shown in the Returns, was, I understand, May, 1887. So far as can be ascertained 7.5 per cent. of the members of the trade unions in the London district making Returns were unemployed at the end of May last. The number of persons receiving Poor Law relief at the same date in London and in the adjoining Poor Law unions was 160,698 or 22.5 per 1,000 of the population, the corresponding proportion in England and Wales generally being 22.3 per 1,000. The Government propose to renew for another year the Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905.

MR. SNOWDEN (Blackburn)

asked whether the Board of Trade Returns did not exclude unemployment on account of strikes and lock-outs.


said that was so; but the unemployed in subsidiary trades affected by strikes and lock-outs were included.