HC Deb 18 July 1934 vol 292 cc1099-100
8. Mr. JANNER(for Captain STRICKLAND)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied with the procedure adopted in collecting unemployment statistics among the Arabs in Palestine, in view of the statements in the report of the Department of Agriculture for June, 1934, on crop prospects that there is a shortage of labour, especially in the villages of the central plain and foothills, and that in the typically Arab Gaza-Majdal district there is a shortage of labour in this district notwithstanding the influx of Bedouin from Sinai?


I have not received the report to which my hon. Friend refers, but I should not regard a shortage of Arab labour in a particular village or district as being in itself an indication of unreliability in the unemployment statistics for Palestine as a whole, which showed at the end of April 14,000 Arabs unemployed. Various measures have been taken in recent years to improve the system of collecting these statistics, and provision has now been made for the establishment of a central statistical bureau, by means of which it is hoped, in course of time, to obtain statistics of greater accuracy with regard to unemployment and many other matters.


Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to ascertain whether the report which has been issued is correct? As I understand, it refers to employment over a very wide area.


The hon. Member knows that the High Commissioner has constantly under review the conditions of labour in Palestine, and I do not think it is in the least necessary to make a special inquiry. Some months ago I made some inquiries about an allegation that foreign labour was being employed, and the High Commissioner made exhaustive inquiries and reported that the allegation was wholly unfounded.