HC Deb 23 November 1948 vol 458 cc1055-6
9. Mr. William Shepherd

asked the Minister of Labour what additional steps he is taking to attain the labour target for the textile industry for 1948.

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

This industry has first preference for the supply of labour; intensive recruiting campaigns for whole-time and part-time workers are conducted; day nurseries are being developed; and foreign workers are being introduced. We are taking all possible steps to supply the labour needed. Supply of additional labour is not the only, or indeed the most important factor in increasing production.

Mr. Molson

Are the Government still aiming at the target laid down early in the year? Did not the right hon. Gentleman, in a speech he made in Manchester, indicate that that target had now been abandoned?

Mr. Edwards

We are taking all the steps open to us to get as much foreign and native labour as we possibly can. The gravamen of my speech was that it is much more important to bring about redeployment in the textile industry.

Mr. Sidney Shephard

How many European Volunteer Workers are sent to the industry each month?

Mr. Edwards

The total number of foreign workers who have been put into the industry is 18,713, and I anticipate that the number now going into industry will be about 800 per month.

Mrs. Castle

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many married women have had to give up mill work because of lack of provision by any authority for the care of their children during the long school holidays? Will he look into this point?

Mr. Edwards

I have commended to the industry the project which was carried out in Bradford last year, and we are bringing all the pressure to bear that we can, to see that proper holiday provision is made for children.