HC Deb 29 March 1956 vol 550 cc2337-8
31. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that on 9th February 368,416 vacancies were left unfilled, whereas on 13th February there were 275,628 people unemployed; and what steps are being taken to correct this uneconomical maldistribution of labour.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The filling of vacancies is dependent upon finding suitable workers who are ready to go to the jobs, and this is one of the regular duties of the employment exchanges, through which vacancies are given the widest reasonable circulation. In the four weeks ended 8th February, 235,000 vacancies were filled.

Sir F. Medlicott

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there appears to be a lack of flexibility in trade union practice about the transfer of labour but that it has its roots in the housing problem, and that if he could persuade his right hon. Friend to scrap the Rent Acts he would make a great contribution towards solving this problem?

Mr. Hobson

How can the Minister equate the premises contained in the Question within the realm of a free society?

Mr. Macleod

It is impossible to equate vacancies with those people who are seeking jobs unless one has direction of labour. It can be done only by that method.