§ 46. Sir A. FELL
asked the Minister of Labour if his attention has been called to the small number of unemployed in France and to the fact that at the present time the number is only 35,000 and in March last it was 45,000, whereas in England before the coal strike the number was over one million; if he can give any explanation why in such a time of depression all over the world unemployment in France should be so small; and, seeing that his Department would obtain much valuable information from an inquiry on the spot into the conditions prevailing, whether he is prepared to make such an inquiry?
§ 51. Mr. LYLE
asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been drawn to recent statements that there is practically no unemployment in France; what is the actual rate per 100,000 of unemployed in France and Great Britain, respectively; and to what he attributes the relative freedom from unemployment of the former country?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of LABOUR (Sir Montague Barlow)
According to a statement recently made by the French Minister of Labour, the number of persons unemployed at the end of March was 160,000, or about four times the total of applicants on the "live register" of the exchanges, which appear to be the figures my Friend refers to. On the same ratio the total number of unemployed in France on 21st May, the latest date for which figures are available, would be about 105,000. In France the work of reconstruction in the devastated provinces, the existence of a large standing army, and the large number of peasant proprietors all tend to reduce the number of unemployed industrial workers. The Ministry of Labour is kept regularly informed. I do not think it is necessary to make an inquiry as suggested.
§ Sir A. FELL
Am I to understand that the Ministry thinks we can learn nothing from France by the way in which they treat this matter?
§ Mr. G. TERRELL
Is it not a fact that there are no such restrictions on output in France by the trade unions as we are suffering from now?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
We cannot discuss that question now.