HC Deb 07 December 1927 vol 211 cc1368-70
28. Mr. GROVES

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will inquire into the circumstances attending the issue of notices from the East India Dock Road, E.14, Employment Exchange offering employment in connection with the erection of the proposed greyhound-racing track in the borough of West Ham; whether he is aware that such invitations have been sent to men who are already in regular employment and therefore are not on the live unemployment register; that such notices contain a request that the person should bring documents connected with his garden allotment situate on the site of the proposed work; and whether he will take steps to see that the Employment Exchange is not used in this way to persuade men to give up their regular work and accept situations of such a temporary character?


I have had inquiries made, and find that, by arrangement with the promoters of the scheme, who wished to give preference in employment to men over whose allotments part of the racing track was to be constructed, a. letter was sent by the Canning Town Employment Exchange to a number of such men, inquiring whether they wished to be considered for work on the scheme, and, if so, whether they could furnish proof that they were allotment holders. A number responded and were engaged. Only one of the applicants was in regular work, and he withdrew his application on its being pointed out to him by the Exchange that the work was temporary.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Is this the right hon. Gentleman's contribution to the problem of agriculture?


Does the right hon. Gentleman think that greyhound racing is more important to the nation than the cultivation of allotments?


That question does not arise now.


Is the right hon. Gentleman going to take any action with regard to the officials of the Employment Exchange inviting men to bring their allotment-holding agreements in order to offer them this kind of temporary employment, and does he think it right that the Exchanges should be used for that purpose?


I think the action of the Exchange was perfectly right and proper. What happened was that the racing track was to be made on ground which included some of these allotments, and the allotment holders were going to be given the first chance of employment on it. It seems to me that to facilitate their having the first chance of this employment was a proper thing to do, but there was no obligation on them to take it.


No, but they had to give up their allotments; otherwise, they could not take employment.


No, the hon. Member is mistaken. The allotment holders would be given the first chance, but they had to show that they were allotment holders.

Colonel DAY

Would they receive any compensation for the work that they had already done on the allotments?


Has the right hon. Gentleman any information as to how his Department became possessed of the names of the men, seeing that they had never applied for unemployment benefit?


I will find out and let the hon. Member have the information if he wishes it.


Could the right hon. Gentleman say what business it was of the local Employment Exchange to offer jobs to men who were not out of work?


A number of them were out of work, and some were engaged. One of them, as I have said, was in regular work, and he withdrew his application when he was told that it was a temporary job.