§ 61. Mr. Rhys Davies
asked the Minister of Labour why, in the statistics of unemployment recently published, the township of Hindley, with 25,000 inhabitants, and the highest rate of unemployment in Lancashire for several years past, is now merged with Wigan for this purpose?
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Lennox-Boyd)
This change was made because the unemployment books of many Hindley residents are exchanged at, and attributed to, the Wigan Exchange. The unemployment percentage calculated on the number of books exchanged at Hindley was, therefore, seriously inaccurate. The reason for the change at Hindley and certain other places was explained in a Note in the Local Unemployment Index which I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Davies
How comes it that the figures have been merged, whereas, in fact, the hon. Gentleman's Department have just completed the construction of an entirely new Employment Exchange in Hindley?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is so, but it has no relation to this question. As the hon. Member knows, the percentage of unemployment in any area is arrived at by relating the number of people registered as unemployed with the number who register their books at an Exchange, and in this case many of those who reside at Hindley exchange their books at Wigan.
§ Mr. Davies
May I take it that this is not an attempt on the part of the Ministry to cover up the high rate of unemployment in Hindley?
§ Following is the Note referred to:
§ (2) For areas within a radius of approximately ten miles from the centre of London (the names of which are shown in italics) the numbers insured represent estimates of the numbers of such persons resident in the areas. For all other places the figures represent approximately the numbers of insured persons aged 16–64 whose unemployment books were exchanged at Employment Exchanges serving the respective areas. The numbers unemployed used in calculating the percentages are the numbers of insured persons recorded as unemployed at those exchanges. In this connection it should be noted that while on the one hand an 33 unemployed person usually registers as such at the Employment Exchange nearest his place of residence, on the other hand, if he is in employment at the date of the exchange of books in July his unemployment book will usually be exchanged at the Employment Exchange serving the area in which his place of employment is situated. In some areas there may thus be considerable numbers of persons registering, during periods of unemployment, at Employment Exchanges other than those at which their unemployment books were exchanged. (In some cases it has been considered desirable, for this reason, to combine the figures for two or more areas.) The percentages shown, therefore, do not necessarily reflect the rates of unemployment among persons resident in particular areas, and they should not be regarded as providing more than a broad indication of the extent of local variations in unemployment.