HC Deb 11 June 1947 vol 438 cc1062-3
41. Mr. D. Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many unemployed persons are there at Freetown; and what plans have been made with regard to the rehabilitation of these men in the vicinity of Freetown who served in His Majesty's Forces during the war.

Mr. Creech Jones

Because of the length of the answer, I will with the hon. Member's permission circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

At the end of May, 2,700 unemployed persons were registered at the Freetown Employment Exchange. In addition it is estimated that about 2,000 general labourers and stevedores, whose attendance at the exchange is irregular, are on the look-out for casual employment in Freetown. Of the 2,700 registered unemployed, 1,138 are ex-Service men. Most of them are unskilled labourers and nearly all are villagers from the Protectorate who have returned to Freetown in search of work, after being repatriated to the Protectorate on demobilisation. I understand that employment is available for them in the Protectorate, either at their prewar occupation of farming, or on development works. The same is true of most of the 2,000 casual labourers.

The resettlement of ex-Service men with a claim to employment in the Freetown area was, to all intents and purposes, completed some time ago, although there are still some seamen for whom there is inadequate employment in the Merchant Marine. Under local legislation ex-Service men have the first claim on vacancies and new work, but it is not possible to provide wage-earning employment in Freetown for the considerable number of ex-Service men from the Protectorate who were not normally so employed before the war. Throughout the process of demobilisation and resettlement the Sierra Leone Government have always emphasised the need for such men to return to their farms.