HC Deb 18 March 1952 vol 497 cc2081-2
17. Mr. Leslie Hale

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the difficulties caused to the staff of his Department in Oldham by the sudden increase in the number of men and women in the textile industry wholly unemployed or upon short time; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this position.

Sir W. Monckton

Yes, Sir. Steps have already been taken to reinforce the staff of the Oldham Employment Exchange.

Mr. Hale

Yes, but is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that also the number of unemployed has been greatly reinforced; that 15 temporary workers were sent off a fortnight ago; that the air conditioning is bad; that 46 steps have to be climbed by each person to change his cards; that today there are 10,000 people in Oldham wholly or partly unemployed? Will he tell the House how soon he can make a statement of policy on this matter?

Sir W. Monckton

I am not aware that the precise number is as high as the hon. Gentleman mentions. So far as the increase of my staff is concerned, I added 24 people to cope with this work. So far as the premises are concerned, I have been asking the Ministry of Works to give me some better accommodation.

Mr. Shinwell

Is this the Government's policy for dealing with unemployment—to increase the staffs of the labour exchanges?

Sir W. Monckton

No, Sir, the policy of the Government, when they are asked what they are doing to deal with the position and the difficulties of the staff at Oldham, is to state what that policy is.

Mr. F. J. Erroll

Has not the increase in the number of unemployed in Oldham been considerably aggravated by the advice not to buy textiles given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton)?

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