HC Deb 01 June 1921 vol 142 cc1029-31
18. Mr. CAIRNS

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been called to a statement in the Press on 20th May with regard to ex-service men in the building trade; whether the number of ex-service men employed on that date was seven; and what is the exact number of ex-service men now employed under the scheme?

20. Viscount CURZON

asked the Minister of Labour how many ex-service men have now applied under the Government scheme for employment in the building trades, and how many are now employed?

The MINISTER of LABOUR (Dr. Macnamara)

16,244 ex-service men have now applied for employment under the scheme. In spite of the increasing industrial stagnation due to the coal mines dispute, I am glad to say that building trade employers in London, and His Majesty's Office of Works, are starting to-day to employ ex-service men on jobs on which there is a shortage of bricklayers, plasterers, slaters or tilers. Over 50 men have been taken on and have already started work under the scheme; 70 others have been allocated to employers in the London area, and should be starting to-day or to-morrow. As my hon. Friends have doubtless seen from the Press, in order that there may be no misunderstanding, notices have been posted in all the jobs in the London area that the job is only open, so far as bricklayers, plasterers, slaters and tilers are concerned, to men who are willing to work and to assist ex-service men to learn such trades. Any suggestion that the urgent necessity for more building trade operatives does not continue is contrary to the facts.


What are the conditions of employment?


I will send my hon. Friend a copy of the scheme in all its details.


Of these 16,000 men, how many have started?


Fifty men have started work already, and some of the others will be started to-day or to-morrow. I must point out the great difficulties that were in the way of implementing this scheme, which began on 18th April, when we were in a period of industrial trouble.

Viscount CURZON

Are we to under-stand that the net increase since this time last week amounts to 105 men either in employment or expecting employment?


Yes, if you include those who are to start to-day or to-morrow.


Is that confined to London, or does it apply to the whole country?


The fifty taken on are general; the seventy referred to are in the London area.


How many are in the country areas?


The building employers have undoubtedly been under great difficulties because of the stagnation in the industrial world, and therefore progress has been very much slower than either they or I wished. We hope that now the scheme may go ahead.

Lieut. - Colonel FREMANTLE

Have similar steps been taken with regard to plasterers, who are in a still more difficult position than bricklayers—or, at any rate, quite as difficult a position?


They are included