HC Deb 19 December 1921 vol 149 cc383-5
11. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Minister of Labour how many unemployed men and women respectively are on the registers; how many of these are not receiving any form of insurance allowance; what is his estimate of the numbers of unemployed not on the registers; and how many persons are now employed on the various forms of relief works?


On 9th December there were registered as wholly unemployed 1,412,372 men and 321,346 women. These figures compare with 1,549,307 men and 477,627 women registered as wholly unemployed at 24th June. As regards men and women registered as working short-time, the figures for 9th December were 150,700 men and 104,600 women as against 565,000 men and 511,000 women on 27th May. Of those registered as wholly unemployed on 9th December, all, except about 32,300 men and 25,800 women were on benefit. These latter figures represent persons not in insured trades—agriculture and domestic service—and persons disqualified for one reason and another by the local employment committees or the referees or the umpire. Over and above these last named figures there is a further margin, largely, I should say, of agricultural labourers unemployed, but not registered with us. The number of persons reported as employed on the various forms of work specially provided to deal with unemployment was round about 107,000 on 9th December. These figures are certain materially to increase in the new year because of the preliminary steps which are being taken in a number of directions. As regards the last part of the question, I have prepared a detail of the progress already made in putting into operation the several plans recently approved by the House, and as the statement is necessarily lengthy, I will, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

The following is the statement:— The Unemployment Grants Committee has since the middle of September, on the old basis of grants up to 60 per cent. of the wages bill of unemployed men taken on, approved 600 further schemes involving work amounting to nearly £2,000,000 and expected to employ about 27,000 men. In the same period, on the new basis of assistance towards loan charges, the Committee has approved 660 proposals by local authorities involving £7,500,000 worth of work. At the same time, with the additional £2,000,000 set aside from the Road Fund for road works, considerable schemes of work have been mapped out in the home counties, and operations have now begun in one or two cases. Sixty-two land drainage schemes have been approved, estimated to cost in all about £118,250 and to employ about 3,000 men for average periods of 17 weeks. Over 1,000 men have now started work. As regards afforestation, 1,300 men are now employed on the Forestry Commission's own operations, and about 85 other small schemes of forestry have been appro ved. The figures which I have given for men employed do not include any allowance for the effect of the export credits scheme in stimulating trade. Under the extended export credits scheme, credit to the amount of nearly £2,000,000 has been sanctioned since the end of October, and this is bound, of course, to re-act upon employment. As regards the scheme for the guarantee of the principal or interest on loans up to £25,000,000 for capital undertakings, after the passing of the Trade Facilities Act a Committee was set up to administer this scheme, with Sir Robert Kindersley as Chairman and Sir William Plender and Colonel Schuster as members. The Committee has considered generally the questions before it and indicated the kinds of application to which it will give preference. The schemes already submitted are numerous and varied, and others are coming in. As regards the £563,000 which was allotted for the acceleration of Government contracts, contracts under this arrangement have now been placed by the Post Office and by the Admiralty.