HC Deb 01 July 1948 vol 452 cc2365-6
47. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Labour whether it is still his policy to bring about reductions in manpower in the building industry, the clothing trade, and the local government service as given in Table XXI of the Economic Survey for 1948; and whether he is satisfied with the progress made in the first four months of this year.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Isaacs)

It has never been my policy to reduce employment in any industry. As is most clearly explained in the Economic Survey for 1948, the Government's policy is to reinforce the essential industries which are under-manned. The figures showing reductions in certain other industries given in the Economic Survey are merely forecasts of what was likely to happen, and are not objectives.

48. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the changes in the distribution of labour in the first four months of this year, he is satisfied that the increases referred to in paragraph 186 of the Economic Survey for 1948 can be achieved.

Mr. Isaacs

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 22nd June to a similar question asked by the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick).

Mr. Swingler

Is it not the fact that these were stated as objectives in the Economic Survey, and that according to the figures of the first four months of 1948 recruitment to the under-manned trades has not been up to the standard set by the Government? Will the Minister make a statement on what further steps he is taking to increase the recruitment during the next few months?

Mr. Isaacs

The answer to the second part of the supplementary question is that the information was given in the reply to the hon. Member for Uxbridge on 22nd June, which, sets out further figures.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is it my right hon. Friend's policy to increase the number of workers employed in the building trade as far as Scotland is concerned?

Mr. Isaacs

That is quite another question.

52. Sir John Mellor

asked the Minister of Labour why he has requested the co-operation of employees and trade unions in reducing the number of workers in the clothing industry; and if he will give an assurance that he will not direct such workers to do other work.

Mr. Isaacs

I have not asked any industry to reduce the number of workers they employ. What I have done is to ask employers in textile areas to facilitate the transfer of suitable workers to the textile industries. Compulsory directions are not being used under this scheme.