§ 4. Mr. Chapman
asked the Minister of Labour how far there has now been an improvement in short-time working in the motor car industry and its ancillary trades generally; and how far the situation has changed in Birmingham.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
It is estimated that in the week ended 14th April, 27,000 were working short time in the manufacture of motor cars and accessories, of whom about 12,000 were in Birmingham. Both these figures were 11,000 less than the corresponding figures in the preceding week.
§ Mr. Chapman
Is the Minister aware that less than two weeks ago trade union officials, at any rate, could not see any real improvement at all? Is it not rather alarming that this grave situation is persisting for so long after the end of the winter? Does that not hold out a bleak prospect for that trade for the coming autumn and winter?
§ Mr. Macleod
I would not necessarily agree with that. The figures which I have quoted show, at any rate so far as these two weeks are concerned, a very substantial and, of course, to me and to the hon. Member, a very welcome improvement. I see no reason to be despondent about the long-term future of the motor car industry.