HC Deb 02 May 1929 vol 227 cc1706-8
35. Mr. MOND

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider adopting a more satisfactory method of calculating the weekly statistics of unemployment by basing the Return on the numbers unemployed in the previous week and not upon the number signing-on on Monday morning as unemployed, dividing the total figure into two principal categories of persons totally and persons partially unemployed, and further into sub-divisions showing for each category men and women and persons over and under 21 years of age?


The statement issued each week by the Department already gives separate figures for persons wholly unemployed, those temporarily stopped, and those normally in casual employment, and for men and women, boys under 18 and girls under 18. I am doubtful whether it would be an advantage to substitute figures relating to persons under 21 for those relating to per- sons under 18. As regards the numbers unemployed in the previous week, I am not sure what this means, but I should be glad to discuss the point with the hon. Member.

36. Mr. MOND

asked the Minister of Labour whether physically unfit, mentally unfit, and partially disabled persons are included in the unemployment Returns; and whether, with a view to obtaining a more accurate representation of the condition of the labour market, he will consider the omission of the figures of such persons in future Returns?


The published totals do not exclude any person on the ground that he or she is of a low degree of employability, and I doubt whether it would be practicable to apply a discrimination of this kind in the figures regularly tabulated. Some idea of the extent to which such persons appear on the registers may be got from an inquiry made in April, 1927, from which it appeared that 2 per cent. of the total were "verging on the unemployable" owing to age, infirmity, or other reasons, while an additional 4.9 per cent., though not verging on the unemployable, were persons "who would not, in normal times, obtain a fair amount of employment."


Does the hon. Gentleman not think that the figures, as shown now, do not give an accurate view of the unemployment situation?


The questions put by the hon. Member are, I know, based on certain resolutions passed the other day by the Associated Chambers of Commerce. I shall be quite ready to discuss, either with them or with the hon. Member, any matter which he, or they, think would make the figures more accurately represent the true state of affairs.


Is it the hon. Gentleman's opinion that if the suggestions contained in these questions were carried out the Conservative Government would be able to show that there is no unemployment at all?


Does the Minister not think that the best way to remove these people from the list would be to provide them with adequate pensions?


It is an insulting question to put on the Paper. The Member who put it should be examined by a medical specialist. Is a Member entitled to insult the unemployed by putting down a question of this kind?


There is no insult to the unemployed in the question.


He is not entitled to put down a question insulting to the unemployed even though his father happens to be a lord. He has no right to do it.