HC Deb 23 February 1939 vol 344 cc539-40
Mr. Tinker

asked the Prime Minister, with a view to reducing the unemployment figures, whether he will set up a Royal Commission to examine the question of reducing the hours of work in all industries and the elimination of overtime?

50. Miss Cazalet

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider the immediate setting up of a Select Committee to inquire into the serious condition of unemployment, with special reference to younger adults, and to make recommendations for the solution of this problem?

The Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain)

All aspects of the unemployment problem are constantly under the Government's consideration. In particular, the special problem of the young men who have been unemployed for a long time—for whom training facilities are already available—is at present under fresh examination, and I hope it will be found possible to provide employment for them on some of the necessary civil defence works. I do not think that the appointment of a Royal Commission or a Select Committee would at this stage help forward the end which we all have in view.

Mr. Tinker

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the two recent discussions on unemployment, last week and this week, proved the utter futility of the present method? Surely the time has come when something should be adopted, and as what I have suggested

Following is the reply:

The table below gives the information desired.

seems to me to be a rather good way of solving the unemployment problem, will he not consider it?

The Prime Minister

I suppose it does seem to the hon. Member a good way, or he would not have put it down, but I am obliged to tell him that I did not think it was.

Miss Cazalet

Does not my right hon. Friend think that only a comparatively small number of the young unemployed will be affected by the present plans of the Government, and would it not be extremely useful to have new constructive proposals by an all-party Committee to deal with this very urgent problem?

The Prime Minister

I think that new constructive proposals would always be important and valuable, but it is not necessary to set up a Select Committee to get them.

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