HC Deb 16 July 1953 vol 517 cc2232-3
20. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Minister of Labour what factors have contributed to the recent reductions in the total of unemployed; and if he will make a statement on the future course of the Government's policy of full employment.

Sir W. Monckton

During the first half of this year unemployment has fallen by 155,000. This has been brought about in part by a welcome recovery in production in the manufacturing industries, particularly in textiles and clothing and in the vehicle industry; and in part by the normal seasonal increase in activity in a number of industries and services. The seasonal influences must be expected to begin working in the other direction in the autumn. The Government will continue to shape their policy with a view to maintaining a high and stable level of employment.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Can my right hon. and learned Friend say to what extent the hard core of unemployment has been reduced in the past year as a result of this splendid record?

Sir W. Monckton

I think the satisfactory feature is that if one compares this time this year with a normal period, such as three years ago—right hon. Gentlemen opposite will know why I do not take the year before this—we find that we have now got back to approximately the June, 1950, position.

Mr. Shurmer

While the Minister's figures show that unemployment has dropped, is it not a fact that underemployment has increased and short-time working has increased enormously?

Sir W. Monckton

I am happy to be able to assure the House that short-time working, as recorded in returns from manufacturers, has also fallen. At the end of May it affected only 62,000 workers, compared with 112,000 in February.