HC Deb 06 December 1949 vol 470 cc1684-5
8. Dr. Broughton

asked the Minister of Labour what is the number of workers employed on the manufacture of machine-made woollen textiles; by what number is the industry undermanned; and what steps he is taking to encourage workers to enter the industry.

Mr. Isaacs

The total number of workers employed in Great Britain in the woollen and worsted industry at the end of October was about 219,000. At the same date, there were 9,900 outstanding vacancies in the industry recorded at Employment Exchanges. Steps taken to increase the number of workers include the accordance of first priority to the filling of vacancies, publicity campaigns, the recruitment of foreign workers, the encouragement of improvements in working conditions, and special arrangements such as day nurseries to enable married women with children to continue or take work in industry.

Dr. Broughton

Is the Minister aware that it is the case that our famous woollen cloth, the oldest manufactured export, is bringing useful dollars to the country, and that output could be further increased by the employment of more people in this important industry? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that the matter of hostel accommodation to enable workers to enter our woollen textile towns has really been fully investigated and carefully considered?

Mr. Isaacs

With reference to the second part of the supplementary, the question of hostel accommodation has been carefully reviewed, and at the moment there is no doubt of our ability to provide accommodation for all concerned. As to the first part of the supplementary, it is clear that this very important industry must be encouraged to develop as much as possible, but other matters as well as man-power enter into the question.