40. Mr. ANDERSON
asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the possible cessation of hostilities, his attention has been directed to the fact that sudden unemployment on a wide scale may, unless guarded against, be caused amongst munition workers; and whether the Government amongst other forms of provision against unemployment are prepared to 1112 take steps to provide an adequate maintenance allowance and free railway facilities to return home?
§ The MINISTER of LABOUR (Mr. G. Roberts)
I have had under consideration for some time, in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Reconstruction and the Minister of Munitions, the measures which ought to be taken to deal with the possibility of large numbers of munition workers being suddenly thrown out of employment upon the cessation of hostilities, and steps will be taken to minimise, so far as possible, the inevitable dislocation of industry. Among the measures under consideration are the provision of unemployment benefit and of free railway facilities in proper cases for enabling discharged munition workers to return home, when their homes are at a distance.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this House will have an opportunity of discussing this question, and, if so, when? If the right hon. Gentleman is not able to reply personally, may I ask the Leader of the House when the House will have an opportunity of discussing these big questions of reconstruction?
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Bonar Law)
I really can say nothing definite about it to-day; but I quite realise the importance of the matter, and an opportunity must some time be found.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the practicability of keeping all the munition factories producing other goods that are under national control for a while?