HC Deb 09 May 1935 vol 301 cc1114-6

asked the Minister of Labour the number of juveniles unemployed between the ages of 14 to 18, and the number who were receiving instruction at the most recent date?


At 15th April, 1935, there were 57,989 unemployed boys and 52,225 unemployed girls, under 18 years old, on the register of Employment Exchanges and juvenile employment bureaux in Great Britain. During the week ended 10th April, 1935, the average attendance at junior instruction centres and junior instruction classes was 16,998 boys and 8,371 girls. The total number of individuals who attended during the week was 31,172. For other authorised courses of instruction the latest figures relate to the month ended 20th March, 1935, during which the average attendance was 1,253 boys and 1,250 girls.


Does it not mean that only a small proportion of those who are unemployed are receiving this instruction?


Is it not the case that the bulk of the unemployed people are not receiving instruction because they are unemployed for such short periods that organised instruction is not possible?


My hon. Friend is right. No one would expect 100 per cent. of those who are unemployed to attend these centres. The numbers attending have shown a continuous improvement, and the figures I have read out are 100 per cent. higher than those of last year.


Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied with what local authorities are doing?


In view of the great difficulties in their way, I am satisfied that they are doing their best to carry out their statutory obligations.


asked the Minister of Labour the number of education authorities who have now made provision for courses of instruction for juveniles under the 1934 Act; and how many have not yet made provision?


Out of 181 higher education authorities in England and Wales and education authorities in Scotland 144 were, on 4th May, 1935, conducting courses of instruction for unemployed juveniles, or had had proposals for them approved. Of the remaining 37, 11 have submitted proposals which are under consideration.


In the light of recent experience, would it not have been far more economic to have maintained these children in the elementary schools?


asked the Minister of Labour whether he can furnish an estimate of the number of young persons between the ages of 14 and 16 who are now in employment and the corresponding number a year ago?


I regret that precise information on this point is not available. It is estimated, however, that the total number of juveniles in this age group in employment at the end of March, 1935, exceeded the corresponding total at the end of March, 1934, by over 100,000.


asked the Minister of Labour whether the young persons of from 14 to 16 years of age who have recently been taken into unemployment insurance are included in the estimates of persons employed and in the returns of persons unemployed; whether they had been so included before being taken into insurance; and whether he can give for any completed period the numbers recorded as being in employment and being unemployed?


As regards the first two parts of the question, the monthly statistics of the estimated numbers of insured persons in employment relate to perons aged 16 to 64 only, and in their compilation the numbers insured and the numbers unemployed, under the age of 16 years, are not taken into account. The statistics of the numbers of unemployed persons on the register include all registered unemployed, irrespective of age or whether insured or uninsured. In both cases the present practice of my Department in compiling these statistics is the same as before the extenion of unemployment insurance to boys and girls under 16 years. As regards the last part of the question, statistics of the numbers of juveniles under 16 years of age to whom unemployment books were issued between 3rd September, 1934, and the end of March, 1935, the numbers of these who would still be under 16 years of age at the end of March, and the numbers recorded as unemployed, are given on page 133 of the issue of the Ministry of Labour Gazette for April, 1935.