HC Deb 06 December 1911 vol 32 cc1407-8

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether or not the figures frequently cited by the Government with regard to unemployment are taken from the reports of the 394 unions making regular monthly reports with regard to employment to the Board of Trade; whether it would be possible to obtain statistics more representative of trade unions generally; and, if not, will he undertake to print in the Board of Trade Gazette, by way of a footnote, that the total number of trade unions in 1910 was 1,153 and their gross membership 2,435,704, so that the readers of that journal may not be misled by the returns made from the 394 unions specified?


I presume that the figures referred to by the hon. Member are those published in the Board of Trade Labour Gazette, which are based on returns made by 394 unions. The scope and limitation of these figures are quite well known, and under present conditions I know of no means of obtaining better statistics, though I am always open to receive suggestions. I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by printing the footnote suggested, which, it seems to me, would itself be calculated to mislead.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that several of the greatest trade unions in this country have had to suspend unemployed benefit entirely for several months this year?


Perhaps the hon. Member will give me the information. I have not heard it.