HC Deb 30 January 1947 vol 432 cc1108-10
55. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in the interests of production, he will issue directions to his officers at employment exchanges explaining the undesirability of drawing the attention of unemployed persons to vacancies on the staffs of football pool promoters while other avenues of useful work are open to them.

Mr. Isaacs

Placing officers are instructed to endeavour to persuade workers to be submitted for jobs which are important to the community, and they fully appreciate the position in this respect regarding the work to which my hon. Friend refers. Bearing in mind that this work is not illegal, and that if my officers were instructed not to handle the vacancies these employers could still undoubtedly get their jobs filled in other ways, I propose to continue the existing practice so that my officers will continue to have the opportunities of persuading applicants for these jobs to take more important jobs.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Does the Minister think that mere exhortation in the direction he desires will have any real and appreciable effect, because I do not think it will?

Mr. Isaacs

It is not a matter of what I or the hon. Member thinks. The fact is that if we shut ourselves completely out of this field, we shall have no opportunity to exercise any persuasion at all, and in the light of our experience of what happens when people go outside the Ministry, I think it would be undesirable.

Major Bruce

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind the undesirability in a planned economy of unproductive enterprise of this kind being able to compete on even terms with productive enterprise?

Mr. Isaacs

I can assure the House that that matter has not escaped our attention. I was dealing with the point raised in the Question.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Will the Minister consider seeing the promoters of these football pools to try to persuade them, if he cannot direct them?

Mr. Isaacs

I think there is something useful in that suggestion, but for the moment I would hesitate to take steps until we have surveyed the ground a little further. Strange as it may seem. they are providing employment in one great city where there would otherwise be unemployment.