HC Deb 10 November 1953 vol 520 c755
18. Mr. M. MacMillan

asked the Minister of Labour the figures of registered unemployed and the total and percentage at Stornoway Employment Exchange at the most recent convenient date.

Mr. Watkinson

A total of 1,183 males and 145 females at 12th October. The total of 1,328 represented about 24 per cent. of the estimated total numbers of employees in the area.

Mr. MacMillan

Recognising, as I am sure the Minister does, that this is the worst figure of unemployment in Great Britain, could he specify at all the measures which have been taken during the last two years to try to deal with this very urgent problem?

Mr. Watkinson

This is a most difficult and intractable problem, as the hon. Member, who fights so well for his constituency, knows. If we examine the figures over the past three or four years, they show no material change. I can only say that in co-operation with the Scottish Office and other interests involved, we are doing what we can, but I would remind the hon. Member of what I said in a recent debate, that the trouble in Stornoway is that we cannot bring the people to the work nor, unfortunately, can we bring the work to the people.