HC Deb 15 December 1938 vol 342 cc2149-50
17. Mr. T. Smith

asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons who have been imported to work on the new aerodrome at Hatfield, near Doncaster; on whose authority were they imported; and why local unemployed were not given the first chance of this work?

2. Mr. T. Williams

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that notices have been posted at the Thorne Employment Exchange asking for lodgings for imported labourers who are to be engaged on the new aerodrome at Hatfield; whether he is aware that there are between 3,000 and 4,000 unemployed in the Doncaster and Thorne area; and will he explain why any labour is being imported from Ireland or elsewhere?

Mr. E. Brown

The total number employed at present on these works is between 70 and 80 most of whom have followed the contractors from a previous job. The contractors have undertaken to co-operate with the local Employment Exchange in the filling of vacancies. I can assure the hon. Members that the Exchange will give first preference to suitable local labour, and up to 12th December it had filled nine vacancies all of them with men from either Doncaster or Thorne. I am informed that the local supply of skilled labour is not likely to be sufficient. Such labour must therefore be imported to the necessary extent and it was in this connection that the notice with regard to lodgings was posted at the Exchange. So far as the Exchange is concerned there is no truth in the allegation that labour is being imported from Ireland.

Mr. Smith

Therefore, we may take it that the statement that was made in the Press last week that a number of men were coming over from Ireland is incorrect, and that whatever labour is wanted will be drawn from the locality if the labour is there?

Mr. Brown

Undoubtedly, and, in fairness to the paper which published the report, it has since corrected it.

Mr. Buchanan

Is it the policy of the Minister to see that Ireland shall not be considered in this matter?

Mr. Brown

No, Sir, that is an entirely different issue. The unemployed in Doncaster and district are entitled, other things being equal, to local preference for local jobs.

Mr. Robert Gibson

Is it the practice for there to be some transfer from other service establishments?