HC Deb 19 April 1956 vol 551 cc1149-50
5. Mr. Callaghan

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the growth of unemployment among Somali seamen resident in Great Britain; and what action he is taking to find them employment.

Mr. Iain Macleod

No, Sir, I am not aware of any significant change recently in the number of Somali seamen unemployed. The employment exchange service is doing everything possible to assist those who are seeking work ashore.

Mr. Callaghan

Will the Minister take my word for it that there is a considerable growth of unemployment among these seamen in Cardiff? Is he aware that although these are British seamen registered with the Shipping Federation, British shipowners are flying foreign seamen over here in order to take jobs that the Somali seamen could otherwise occupy? Will he take this matter up with British shipowners and see that this problem does not become more serious?

Mr. Macleod

I should be very glad to do that. In view of the Question, I did not neglect the precaution of checking the figures for Somali seamen in Cardiff. I am told—from the investigations made there—that there is no increase in the number of Somali seamen unemployed there, and, with the exception of Liverpool, that is the general position in respect of all the ports of which I have been able to take a spot check. But I will take note of what the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Callaghan

I am extremely surprised to hear that, because I was in contact with the appropriate authorities only last Saturday, and they gave me an entirely different picture.

Mr. Macleod

Perhaps I have been in contact with them even more recently than that. I will send the hon. Gentleman the figures I have, and he can compare them with his.

Mr. Page

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that there is an increase in unemployment of Somali seamen in Liverpool?

Mr. Macleod

That is what I said.

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