HC Deb 10 September 1914 vol 66 cc651-2

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he can make any statement as to the extent of unemployment and distress due to the War, and as to the measures which are being taken for the prevention and relief of distress?


Information has been collected from a large number of sources by the Board of Trade, by the Home Office, and by the Local Government Board, with regard to the extent to which employment has been affected by the War, and this information has been carefully collated. The reports received indicate that while there has been considerable contraction of employment, this has been largely met by working short time, and that the number of men entirely out of work is not a large percentage of the whole.

Lancashire and the adjoining cotton districts are considerably affected. Employment at the ports and fishing centres on the East coast has been severely curtailed. Unemployment has also been acute in the tinplate trade and in the anthracite collieries. In London the furniture and allied trades and certain branches of the clothing trade, dressmaking especially, are affected. The building trade in London is also depressed.

Generally, unemployment is more prevalent among women than among men. The large number of men who have joined the Colours has, of course, contributed to the reduction of unemployment among men.

There is no evidence at present of any widespread distress. Apart from sporadic cases, such distress as exists is principally confined to some of the ports, and to some of the cotton districts.

With regard to the measures taken for the prevention and relief of distress, I would refer the hon. Member to the White Paper which was issued yesterday.