HC Deb 15 August 1940 vol 364 cc925-6
1. Mr. Craven-Ellis

asked the Minister of Labour what is the approximate percentage of the 60,481 increase in the number of the unemployed for July attributable to the policy of restricting the sale of consumable goods; and why this restriction is imposed at a time when there are 827,266 able-bodied persons registered as unemployed?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Bevin)

The information asked for in the first part of the Question is not available. With regard to the second part, I would remind my hon. Friend that there are other matters than the use of labour governing this policy as has been made clear by my light hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade in reply to Questions by the hon. Member for Seaham (Mr. Shinwell) and the hon. Member for West-houghton (Mr. Rhys Davies) on 6th June and 23rd July.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

If my right hon. Friend is unable to give any information on the first part of the Question, how are the Government able to say whether their policy of restricting the consumption of consumable goods has succeeded or not?

Mr. Bevin

Questions as to the policy affecting the restriction of consumable goods should be addressed to the Department responsible, namely, the Board of Trade.

Mr. Craven-Ellis

I thought that my right hon. Friend was responsible for labour.

5. Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the increase of 114,491 in the number of the unemployed in Scotland, what steps he is taking to provide employment for these people?

Mr. Bevin

The figure 114,491 is the total number of unemployed registered in Scotland on 15th July. The increase over the previous month was 3,218. This increase, some part of which was due to seasonal causes, was confined to women and juveniles. A certain amount of unemployment is to be expected during the process of transferring workers from peace-time employment to war-time industries, but I am taking steps to find other employment as rapidly as possible for persons displaced.

Mr. Kirkwood

While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I inform him that Scotsmen have a greater terror of unemployment at the moment than they have of the Germans?

Mr. Robert Gibson

Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with the question of the transfer of the workers displaced from sugar refineries?