HC Deb 01 May 1956 vol 552 cc199-200
50. Mr. Ross

asked the Minister of Labour to give figures at the nearest available date of short-time working in the carpet industry generally, and for Kilmarnock in particular.

Mr. Iain Macleod

It is estimated that in the week ended 28th April there were about 6,000 on short-time in the carpet industry, of whom 570 were in Kilmarnock.

Mr. Ross

Is the Minister aware that this is rather a serious matter, and will he tell us what he and his colleague, the President of the Board of Trade, are doing, particularly in reference to the serious fall in demand from the Commonwealth countries? Might not this be a point which could be taken up by the Prime Minister when we have the Commonwealth Conference?

Mr. Macleod

I am sure that my right hon. Friend will note the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. As far as figures are concerned, this is apt to be a quiet period of the year, but I do not pretend that the figures are not very much higher than one could expect from any seasonal causes. Where the services of my Ministry are required, we are doing everything we possibly can to help, but there is no question that there has been a considerable amount of short-time working in the consumer durable industries, of which the carpet industry is an example.