HC Deb 10 February 1938 vol 331 cc1232-3
51. Mr. Lawson

asked the Prime Minister whether he can now state the nature of the steps he is taking to cope with the increased numbers of the unemployed; whether he has a committee working on plans; and who are the members of such committee?

The Prime Minister

In reply to the first part of the question, the increase in unemployment to which the hon. Member refers is largely due to causes of a seasonal character and is not of such a nature as to call for the institution of measures, other than those which the Government are continuously applying for the stimulation of employment. As regards the preparation of plans for the future, this matter has not been overlooked and the Government are now considering what further steps they can take in conjunction particularly with local authorities. At the same time, I think it right to say that too much reliance should not be placed upon the possibility of doing more by such plans than contributing in some degree to reduce fluctuations of trade and employment.

Mr. Lawson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there has been a very heavy increase of unemployment during the last three consecutive months, and that it cannot be attributed to seasonal influences; and will he or the Minister of Labour be in a position to make a statement to the House at an early date as to the nature of the plans and, generally, what the Government intend to do?

The Prime Minister

I did not say it was wholly due to seasonal causes, but was largely due to them. This is a season when these causes particularly operate. With regard to plans and any statement, no doubt the Government will make a statement when there is something to state.

Mr. H. Morrison

Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether the Government do or do not recognise that the time for preparing for a depression and for preparing plans is before the slump, and are the Government really doing anything about it?

The Prime Minister

If the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to look at the report of what I have said when it is published and consider it, he will see it is evident that we are considering it.

Mr. T. Williams

Is the Prime Minister aware that there is a definite relationship between the last four months' consistent increase of unemployment and the increased productive capacity of the individual, and is he further aware that none of the orthodox methods will solve the problem of unemployment?

Mr. Lawson


Mr. Speaker

I would remind hon. Members that there are a large number of questions on the Paper.