HC Deb 07 November 1950 vol 480 cc764-5
43. Mr. Baker White

asked the Minister of Labour if he will set up a committee to inquire into the present high rate of sickness in industry, and make recommendations as to how this drain upon the national production may be reduced.

Mr. Isaacs

Sickness absence in industry which is not above normal is mainly due to common ailments not of an occupational character. I do not think it would be useful to appoint a special committee to consider this subject.

Mr. Baker White

Is the Minister aware that on any one day of the year the average number of persons away from work is 960,000, and that means a loss of 250 million days per year? Does not he think that that situation needs a little inquiring into?

Mr. Isaacs

If it is a matter of sickness unconnected with industry, it is not a matter under my jurisdiction. If it is a matter of sickness arising out of some industrial trouble, it is a matter which I have to investigate; but in that sphere there is not a substantial amount of sickness.

Mr. Harmar Nicholls

Will the Minister draw the attention of the Minister of Health to those figures, as, clearly, the housing shortage contributes to them?