HC Deb 13 April 1948 vol 449 cc780-1
27. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there is a shortage of skilled labour in Newport and that contractors are short of carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, glaziers, electricians and other skilled labourers, which is holding up completion of houses; and what steps are being taken to provide them with suitable workers.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)

Yes, Sir. At Newport, as in other parts of Wales, there is an unsatisfied demand for certain building craftsmen owing to the large number of constructional jobs that are at present in progress in the area. My local officers are doing all they can to fill outstanding vacancies from the normal turnover of the register both in Newport itself and in adjoining areas. I understand that if local contractors would agree to employ a higher proportion of building trainees than they now do, the number of outstanding vacancies could be substantially reduced.

Mr. Freeman

Could my right hon. Friend indicate in what categories there are the greatest shortages, and also what steps are being taken to employ trained apprentices rather than to bring in unskilled and semi-skilled men to do this work?

Mr. Isaacs

Yes, I have the figures. The shortages are mainly of bricklayers and carpenters. There are 26 bricklayers required, 14 carpenters and a few others, totalling 74. However, we have unplaced trainees, young men who have gone through the centres, who have had their basic training and come within the scheme for acceptance of trainees. We have 34 of these trainees, including seven carpenters and 20 bricklayers, and if the building employers would give these young men the chance to which they are entitled, it would help the young men and help to meet the needs of the industry.