HC Deb 09 December 1937 vol 330 cc542-3
6. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, in Durham and Tyneside in the decreases in unemployment during 1937, 55 per cent. took place in the 18 to 34 age group, while 8.7 per cent. was among men aged 55 years and over; and will he state what plans he has to deal with the question of the elderly unemployed in this area?

Mr. E. Brown

I have at present nothing to add to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) on 2nd December.

Mr. Stewart

Has the right hon. Gentleman's Department any definite plans for dealing with this class of labour?

Mr. Brown

It is in reference to that point that I gave the answer.

23. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will consider taking steps to induce employers of labour, when they employ fresh labour, to employ a fixed proportion of elderly unemployed men; and whether he will take steps to secure that some such provision is in- serted in Government contracts, and that the adoption of such a proposal is made a condition upon industries receiving Government assistance?

Mr. Brown

I have this, and other suggestions, in mind in connection with my general examination into the problem of the older unemployed, but I have not yet completed my inquiries and am not in a position to make any pronouncement on the matter.

Mr. Griffiths

In view of the fact that it is now four months since an announcement was made by the right hon. Gentleman, in an interview which he gave, that the Government were considering plans for replacing these unwanted workers in industry, how long shall we have to wait for action?

Mr. Brown

I pointed out that it was my intention to visit every one of the nine Ministry of Labour divisions. I have visited eight and have one more to visit; after that I shall consider all the evidence.

Mr. Griffiths

Since this problem is very largely one of the distressed areas, and as the announcement was made four months ago, how long shall we have to wait before some attention is given to this very serious matter?

Mr. Brown

If the hon. Member's suggestion is that nothing is being done now, I would point out to him that this is an administrative tour, and that a good deal is being done.

Mr. E. J. Williams

Has not the right hon. Gentleman already got all the facts bearing on this matter?

Mr. Markham

Is my right hon. Friend extending his inquiries to Government factories?