HC Deb 03 July 1928 vol 219 cc1170-1
59. Mr. KELLY

asked the Minister of Labour whether consideration has been given by his Department to the subject of unemployment among juveniles in all parts of the country; if so, what action has been taken to deal with this problem and what effort has been made to place young people in employment; and have the various juvenile advisory committees presented reports giving the class of work available now and in the future, with proposals for training and after care?


As the reply is necessarily long and contains important detail, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Are there any figures indicating the number of young people in respect of whom action has been taken?


If the hon. Member will look in the second paragraph of this answer, he will find a full statement on the point he has raised.

Following is the reply:

The problem of unemployment among juveniles is under constant review by the Department, both in its relation to the general unemployment position and in its special aspects.

Continuous effort is made through the machinery of the Ministry and through the juvenile employment bureaux of local education authorities, to minimise unemployment by guiding boys and girls to a wise choice of occupation and by placing them in suitable vacancies. A full account of this work is given in the Annual Reports of the Ministry, and I would also invite attention to the last Annual Report of juvenile advisory com- mittees, with which the hon. Member is, of course, familiar. In each year, some 300,000 juveniles, on leaving school, seek the advice of the juvenile committees in their area, and last year 264,662 juveniles were placed in employment through these agencies as compared with 207,221 in 1924.

A system of juvenile unemployment centres has been established in conjunction with local education authorities in most districts where there is any appreciable unemployment among juveniles; there are at present 97 such centres open, with a daily average attendance of about 5,500. I should add that under the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1927, power was taken to make a grant from the Unemployment Fund towards the cost of these juvenile unemployment centres.

The whole question of the adequacy of the arrangements for enabling young persons to enter into and retain suitable employment has recently been the subject of inquiry by two Committees, one for England and Wales and one for Scotland. These Committees recommended that there should be appointed national advisory councils for juvenile employment, representative of all the different interests concerned. These recommendations have been accepted by the Government: the English council has been appointed and has held three meetings, and my right hon. Friend hopes shortly to announce the composition of the Scottish council.

The various juvenile committees present periodical reports of their work dealing, among other things, with the demand for and the supply of juvenile labour in their area. They have also recently undertaken at my right hon. Friend's request, a special review of the position now arising out of the diminished birthrate in the War years. My right hon. Friend has not yet received all of their reports on this subject, but proposes to refer them, together with any questions which arise out of them in regard to training and the after-care of boys or girls who find employment away from home, to the national advisory councils for consideration and advice.