HC Deb 03 August 1939 vol 350 cc2599-600
38. Mr. Brooke

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that, although a substantial general reduction took place in unemployment between February, 1938, and May, 1939, there was no reduction during that period in the number of men aged 45 years and over who have been unemployed for more than 12 months; and whether he will give further consideration to methods of securing for such men a fair chance in the labour market?

Mr. E. Brown

Yes, Sir. This appears to result from the displacement of a number of elderly workers which occurred during the recession in trade in the Autumn of 1937, and is indicative of the difficulty which older men, in general, experience in regaining employment. It must not, however, be assumed that the recent improvement in employment has in no way benefited the older workers since, during the same period there was a reduction of over 4,000 in the number of men over 45 years of age who had been unemployed for two years or more. As I mentioned in my replies to the hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) on 2nd February, 1939, and to the hon. Member for Wallsend (Miss Ward) on 15th June, 1939, the question of re-absorbing the elderly unemployed is a matter which is engaging my attention.