HC Deb 29 March 1956 vol 550 cc2336-7
25. Mr. Allaun

asked the Minister of Labour to what extent production cuts in the motor car industry have, so far, increased short-time working and redundancy in sections of the textile industry.

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

I am aware of only two cases of short-time working, a firm in Lancashire making tyre fabrics and a firm in Yorkshire making car upholstery. At the former 300 and at the latter 100 workers are on short time. As regards redundancy, I understand that approximately 125 workers are being discharged by a firm in Lancashire making rayon yarn for motor tyres.

Mr. Allaun

Is the Minister aware of the fears in the North that the effects will be felt more acutely within the next six weeks? Is it not becoming increasingly obvious that if the Government permit unemployment in one industry it must spread to others, and that, having conjured up the genie of unemployment, the Government are completely losing control of it?

Mr. Macleod

I do not accept that. I think it is important to keep in mind the distinction between unemployment and short-time working. The unemployment figures are still at an all-time low record for this time of the year. There is a good deal of short-time working, which is causing us much concern, and naturally the ripples of it spread to the firms which help to make components and other parts for the motor car industry. It is a matter which the Government and I myself, in particular, are watching very carefully.