HC Deb 09 May 1940 vol 360 cc1368-9
6. Mr. Muff

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there is a greater proportion of unemployment in Kingston-upon-Hull than in any county borough north of the Trent; and will he inform the House what steps the Government is taking to improve industry in Hull?

Mr. Assheton

The rate of the unemployment in Kingston-upon-Hull is considerably lower than that in several other county boroughs north of the Trent. I cannot state precisely the prospective demand for labour in Hull, but if strategic or technical considerations prevent full employment there I am confident that all able-bodied unemployed who are not liable to compulsory military service will wish to take part in the war effort either by assisting in other areas where there are urgent demands for labour or by filling the demands for volunteers in the Forces. My Department will give every help to men desiring to take advantage of such opportunities.

Mr. Muff

Will the hon. Gentleman give the name of one county borough in the county of Yorkshire, or Durham, or Northumberland, with figures worse than those for Hull?

Mr. Assheton

Yes, Sir. South Shields, Tynemouth, Gateshead, Sunderland, West Hartlepool, Newcastle, Leeds.

Mr. Ede

Does the hon. Member really quote that list with pride?

Mr. Assheton

No, Sir. I was answering a straight question.

Mr. R. Gibson

Can the Minister say whether in those areas the Employment Exchanges are refusing to advance their railway fares to men who have got jobs in other districts, as has been done in Greenock?

Mr. Assheton

That is another question, but I should not like to be taken as accepting the premises of the hon. Member.

Mr. Leach

Are not all those places where this unemployment is so rife war production centres, and, if so, what is the Minister doing about it?