HC Deb 01 May 1956 vol 552 cc206-7
49. Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is now prepared to revoke the Notification of Vacancies Orders, 1952.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Yes, Sir. I have come to the conclusion that the present usefulness of the Orders is not sufficient to justify the restrictions which they place on the engagement of workers and after consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council, I have decided to revoke them with effect from Monday, 7th May, inclusive. The Employment Exchanges will remain freely at the service of employers and workers and I hope that they will, for their own advantage, make the fullest use of this service.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that much time and trouble will be saved both to employers and to trade unions by this welcome step? Can he give any idea how much manpower and money will be saved in the Ministry as the result?

Mr. Macleod

I hope the revocation of these Orders will save employers, trade unions and my Ministry a good deal of work. I have not completed my own sums, but I would hope to save 150 staff as a result of the revocation.

Mr. Lee

The original purpose of the Orders has never been fulfilled and they were a useless gesture. Will it affect the ability of the Ministry to record accurate figures of the change from one employment to another, which under present conditions is vital?

Mr. Macleod

I would not agree with the assertion made by the hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Lee). These Orders have had a value in relation to the defence programme, at the time they were made. There was no sanction. They relied entirely upon persuasion, but they have progressively and inevitably lost their efficiency. In regard to the second part of this question, there may be a certain sag in the notification of vacancies, but we shall have a more accurate figure, and the trend will re-establish itself very soon.