HC Deb 18 February 1946 vol 419 cc797-8
93. Mr. S. Shephard

asked the Minister of Labour the number of distributive workers in 1939 and at the latest known date.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. Ness Edwards)

It is estimated that at mid-1939 there were approximately 2,160,400 insured persons (men 14 to 64 and women 14 to 59) in employment in the distributive trades. The corresponding figure for the end of 1945, including half the number of part-time women, was 1,588,800.

Mr. Shephard

Could the Minister say why his right hon. and learned Friend the President of the Board of Trade, when he was lecturing to Birmingham industrialists, said there were 3,000,000 employed in the distributive trades?

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Before the hon. Gentleman answers that question, will he say precisely, or tell us in the OFFICIAL REPORT, how he makes up such a figure as this? Does it include the "big boys" of the City of London represented on the other side[HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] who charge very heavily for the cost of their service, but render no service at all?

Mr. Edwards

The figures I referred to were the figures relating to insured persons only.

Mr. Walkden

So it does not mean the "big boys" over there?