HC Deb 24 July 1934 vol 292 cc1643-4

asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the large number of workers who are unemployed in the road-stone industry; and what steps the Government are taking to improve the position?

Captain AUSTIN HUDSON (Lord of the Treasury)

I have been asked to reply. As the reply is somewhat long, I propose, with my hon. Friend's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

As the road-stone industry is not separately distinguished in the statistics of employment and unemployment derived from the working of the Unemployment Insurance Acts, the only figures I can quote are those for the stone mining and quarrying industry, in which the road-stone industry is included. On 24th July, 1933, the percentage of unemployed was 24.3; the figure rose in December last to 28.4, but on the 25th June last it fell to 19.5 (subject to revision). With regard to the second part of my hon. Friend's question, a condition is attached to all grants made to highway authorities from the Road Fund that all materials shall, so far as practicable, be of United Kingdom origin, and that all manufactured articles shall be of United Kingdom manufacture, subject to such exceptions as may be found to be necessary or desirable in any particular cases. Failing the purchase of the necessary supplies from the United Kingdom sources, products of the Overseas Empire must be used wherever possible. Highway authorities are fully aware of this condition, which appears on every grant form issued, and the Ministry has urged the adoption of the same principles as widely as possible in connection with all highway expenditure, whether grant-aided or not.