HC Deb 28 October 1952 vol 505 cc1731-2

The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:


,—TO ask the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed workers in the building industry at the last available date; and what percentage were craftsmen.

Sir H. Williams

On a point of order. May I ask why this Question has been permitted to appear on the Order Paper, having regard to the fact that the information is published in the Ministry of Labour Gazette?

Mr. Speaker

It is usual not to ask for information which is readily available in the papers. I will look into the matter.

Mr. Watkinson

Twenty-one thousand, seven hundred and fifty-six at 15th September, of whom 21.1 per cent. were building trade craftsmen.

40. Mr. Lewis

asked the Minister of Labour the number of building trade workers registered as unemployed at the employment exchanges in the county borough of West Ham at the latest convenient stated date and similar figures for a given date in October, 1951.

Mr. Watkinson

Two hundred and fourteen at 13th October, 1952, and 96 at 15th October, 1951.

Mr. Lewis

Can the Minister give any explanation for the rapid increase in the number of building trade workers unemployed in view of the urgent need for houses, hospitals, sanitoria and factories? And in view of the fact that the Government said that they would get on with the job of building houses, why are these workers unemployed?

Mr. Watkinson

If the hon. Member will again look back to October, 1950, he will find that the figure was almost exactly the same as it is now.

Mr. Lewis

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that at the last Election the Tory Party told us that if there was a Tory Government we should be going forward, and yet he has now confessed in his own answer that we are going backwards to the bad old days?

Mr. Watkinson

If the hon. Member really wants to go into this matter, I would tell him that one of the causes for the increased unemployment in the building industry is the fact that we are now feeling the effects of the major capital cuts which had to be imposed under the régime of his Government, due to devaluation. These are only now beginning to take effect.

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