HC Deb 26 October 1908 vol 194 cc1625-6

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury if he will give the best estimate in his power of the number of unemployed in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, respectively, distinguishing between those who are classified as skilled and unskilled, and specifying the principal trades affected and the principal localities where unemployment is serious.


I regret that the information at the disposal of His Majesty's Government does not enable me to give any trustworthy statistical estimate of the nature asked for. Such information as is available as to the state of employment in various trades and districts is contained in the Board of Trade Labour Gazette, published on the 16th of this month. I may, however, say that the principal trades in which employment is specially bad include shipbuilding engineering building, pottery and, in some districts, dock labour. The districts most affected include the Clyde, the North-East Coast of England and the Potteries. Among large towns from which distress is specially reported are Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sunderland, the Hartlepools, Coventry, Sheffield, Leeds, and Bradford. The dispute in the cotton trade is also causing a good deal of distress in Lancashire.


asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was aware that a census of unemployed had been directed to be undertaken in Berlin and other great centres of industry in November, December, January, and February next, and whether, in view of the fact that no reliable information was possessed by the Board of Trade, he would institute a similar census here.


I will consult the Board of Trade.


asked whether it was not possible to instruct the Board of Trade to analyse the last census returns with regard to occupations and to collate the number of unemployed as returned by the trade unions so far as they related to similar trades, and thus arrive at a reasonable estimate.


I will put that suggestion also before the Board of Trade.

MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN (Worcestershire, E.)

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any information as to the special reasons for distress in towns like Bradford and Coventry which are not concerned with any of the trades he has mentioned?


I cannot say offhand. I should like notice of the Question.

MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)

Does Manchester include Salford?


For this purpose it does.

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