HC Deb 26 June 1956 vol 555 cc256-7
39. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Labour the numbers of the male labour force employed in Coventry at the beginning of the years 1946, 1951, and 1956, respectively.

The Minister of Labour and National Service (Mr. Iain Macleod)

Estimates of the total numbers of employees are compiled in respect of the end of May only in each year. The estimated total numbers of male employees in employment in Coventry were 110,200 at end-May, 1951, and 122,300 at end-May, 1955. Comparable figures are not available for 1946.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Do not these figures demonstrate that in recent years about 10,000 men must have come to the city of Coventry from other towns? Does not it demonstrate the fact that there is a good deal of mobility of labour? Cannot we conclude from that that any man who is unemployed in Coventry may be able to find a job in the town from which he came?

Mr. Macleod

The figures show that rather more than 10,000 men were added to the labour force in Coventry. It does not necessarily mean that they came from outside, although I am quite sure that a number did. Of course, it is true that there is a good deal of mobility of labour—much more than people think. I believe that in the manufacturing industries one person in three changes his job every year.

Mr. Snow

Is not this a rather horrifying argument for the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) to employ? Is it not a fact that, although a man can be trained to do certain work, it is a very different matter to put him into another industry? Is it not a fact that many of these people are rather young? The argument used by the hon. Member for Twickenham is not the sort which should be employed in these days.