HC Deb 02 March 1939 vol 344 cc1421-2
23. Mr. Dunn

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that the number of boys unemployed under 17 years of age has increased from 48,432 in December, 1938, to 67,422 on 16th February, 1939, an increase of 18,990 boys, and that during that same period and for the same ages, unemployment amongst girls has increased from 46,423 in December to 67,514 in February, an increase of 11,091, a combined increase of 30,061 in two months' time; what explanation has he to give, and what does he propose to do?

Mr. E. Brown

The figures quoted by the hon. Member relate to the numbers of juveniles under 18 years of age unemployed at 12th December, 1938, and 16th January, 1939, in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Between these dates there is normally a considerable increase in unemployment owing to a temporary slackening in activity after Christmas. This year the increase was accentuated by severe weather on the day of the January count. The increase in the number of unemployed juveniles in Great Britain included 25,541 boys and girls under 16 years of age, most of whom had registered as applicants for work upon reaching the school-leaving age at the end of the Christmas term; and a large proportion of these juveniles continue to attend whole-time at school. An increase in the juvenile unemployed register is normal after a school-leaving date and the majority of school-leavers experience little difficulty in finding employment within a short time.

Lieut.-Colonel Macnamara

Could my right hon. Friend consider carefully the possibility of organising more of these unemployed youths in camps on the lines of the civilian conservation corps camps, which are very popular in the United States?

Mr. Davidson

Would you go yourself? It would do you good.

Mr. Brown

I do not know whether my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to the camps for youths over 18 years of age, but for youths under 18 there is, as a matter of fact, no need for them, because in many parts of the country there is a shortage of this kind of labour.

Mr. Dunn

Do not the figures and the answer of the Minister prove the necessity of increasing the pensions at 65 years of age, in order to absorb the unemployed?

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