HC Deb 18 December 1952 vol 509 cc1600-3
7. Mrs. Mann

asked the Minister of Labour the total figure, to the latest date, of unemployment in Scotland, stating in which counties and cities the percentage is heaviest; and what percentage the overall figure bears to that of England.

Sir W. Monckton

Seventy-two thousand one hundred and thirty-five or 3.4 per cent. at 10th November. The counties with the highest percentages of unemployment were Zetland, covered by Lerwick Employment Exchange, 15.8 per cent.; Bute, covered by Rothesay Employment Exchange, 14.3 per cent.; and Ross and Cromarty, covered by Invergordon, Stornoway and Tain Employment Exchanges, 11.6 per cent. Of the four cities, Glasgow had the highest percentage, 3.8 per cent.

The unemployment percentage for England in November corresponding to the percentage of 3.4 for Scotland was 1.7.

Mrs. Mann

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that these figures are likely to be higher; that January always provides the highest figure of any month in the year in Scotland; and could he indicate what action he is taking to ensure some reduction of unemployment in Scotland?

Sir W. Monckton

The hon. Lady will understand that my task is rather to see that we find work for people, so far as we can, through the employment exchanges, and that I shall endeavour to do.

Captain Pilkington

Is it not a fact that a large number of Scotsmen with very good sense have come to this country for their employment?

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Minister aware that most Scots people want to work near their own home, and would he consult the Secretary of State for Scotland to see whether something more could be done with a view to attracting industries to Scotland? There is a suspicion in Scotland that the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Supply are not too enthusiastic about responding to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's request for more work in Scotland.

Sir W. Monckton

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not include me among those who do not take this into account. I will consult on this with my right hon. Friends.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

On a point of order. Was the remark that people come to this place for personal employment not a reflection on you, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker

I can see nothing derogative in the reflection.

19 and 20. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Labour (1) how many employment exchanges there are in Scotland; how many of these exchanges record a rate of unemployment of more than 20 per cent., 10 per cent. to 20 per cent., 5 per cent. to 10 per cent., 3 per cent. to 5 per cent., and under 3 per cent., respectively, on the latest date for which figures are available; and what are the corresponding figures for the last two years;

(2) in which areas of Scotland the incidence of unemployment is heaviest among women and girls under 18 years of age, respectively.

Sir W. Monckton

There are 212 employment exchanges and youth employment offices in Scotland. I regret that it is not possible to undertake the very large amount of work involved in computing percentage rates of unemployment for all these offices. The numbers of unemployed persons on the registers of each employment exchange are, however, available and I will send the hon. Member a table giving the figures for November, 1950, 1951 and 1952.

Mr. Hamilton

Can the Minister say how many employment exchanges have an unemployment figure of more than 20 per cent.? Is he aware that the unemployment figure which he gave in answer to a previous Question shows an increase of about 4,000 for last month; and in view of the fact that unemployment in Scotland is consistently higher than in the rest of Britain, will he give an undertaking that he will impress upon the Government the need for extra special measures in Scotland to remedy that situation?

Sir W. Monckton

I am aware of the disparity to which the hon. Member refers, and I will do what I can to combat it. As to the percentage, the difficulty is that without undue work I cannot get the top figures from all these exchanges in order to express the figure as a percentage.

Mr. McInnes

Can the Minister say what special action he has in view for dealing with the problem in Scotland?

Sir W. Monckton

In my Department I have no special means apart from the means which I try to employ everywhere. Where we find employment, I try to find the workers to fill the posts.

21. Mr. Hamilton

asked the Minister of Labour what effects the recently-announced reduction in the arms programme will have on employment in Scotland.

Sir W. Monckton

The full effects of the changes in the defence programme cannot be judged until the details have been worked out, but as far as can be seen there is not likely to be any reduction in the total numbers employed in Scotland on that account. Certain Scottish factories engaged on main contracts will still need to take on more labour.

Mr. Hamilton

Does that answer mean that the Minister is now giving us an assurance that, as a result of the reduction in the armaments programme, there will be no increase of unemployment in Scotland over the next 12 months or two years?

Sir W. Monckton

When the hon. Gentleman sees my answer be will see that, so far as can be judged at present, the total number of employed people will not be reduced by this change in the armaments programme.

Mr. Hamilton

May I take it that the Prime Minister's statement to the effect that there would be local difficulties does not apply to Scotland?

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