HC Deb 23 August 1945 vol 413 cc767-8
8. Mr. Touche

asked the Minister of Labour when it is proposed to return to the normal pre-war practice regarding the publication of statistics relating to unemployment.

11. Lieut.-Commander Clark Hutchison

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will now resume publication of the monthly statistical statement of persons employed and unemployed.

Mr. Isaacs

This matter is under constant review, but I should be glad if hon. Members would not press for a decision at the moment.

Mr. Touche

Does not the right hon. Gentleman regard it as the right of the House and the nation to know these statistics as soon as possible?

Mr. Isaacs

That is so, but the position is one of a little difficulty because, with the rapid movement and change in the situation, the figures that we would publish to-day would be out-of-date to-morrow, and, in the long run, they would be far more misleading and not very useful. We are anxious to meet this point in the interests of my Department itself.

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite

In the meantime, will the Minister enable Members to obtain through his Department information about the situation in their constituencies in the event of pockets of unemployment developing?

Mr. Isaacs

I would not like to make a promise, but we shall be glad to look at it sympathetically and see if it is possible.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that in peace-time the same thing applied to the figures, because, if they were published monthly, they were always to some extent out-of-date and misleading, as no doubt he and his friends have learned to their advantage?

Mr. Isaacs

In peace-time there were not 1,000,000 men coming out of industry and another 1,000,000 men expected out of the Forces.

Lieut.-Commander Hutchison

When does the right hon. Gentleman anticipate that he will be able to issue these figures? Will he be able to give them in October?

Mr. Isaacs

I would not like to give a definite undertaking about that. We are anxious to resume the periodical publication of the figures as soon as it is possible to do so without their being out of date as soon as they are issued.