HC Deb 07 March 1940 vol 358 cc537-8
7. Sir Joseph Leech

asked the Minister of Labour how many semi-skilled and unskilled unemployed persons are asking for work in the engineering industries; and what arrangements are being made with the trade union leaders and the employers to help to train these applicants in workshops where employment is available?

Mr. E. Brown

On 12th February, the number of insured persons in Great Britain aged 16–64, classified as belonging to the engineering industries and recorded as unemployed, was 43,143. This figure, however, includes all workers connected with the industry, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled, and also ancillary workers of all types, such as clerks, cleaners and transport workers. I am not in a position to state separately the number of semi-skilled and unskilled workers included in the total. As my hon. Friend will be aware, I am at present engaged in discussing with the employers and the trade unions in the engineering industries the measures required for the expansion of the labour force to the extent rendered necessary by the Government's war programme. The question of training facilities is amongst the matters being discussed.

Mr. Kirkwood

Is it not time that the Government sat down to think out ways and means of employing all the unemployed in this country, whether skilled or unskilled? Surely it is not outside the wit of the Cabinet to devise ways and means of employing the unemployed.