HC Deb 03 May 1956 vol 552 c587
38. Mr. Moody

asked the Minister of Labour the latest available figures of the number of furniture trade operatives registered as wholly unemployed at the Gateshead employment exchange; the number who are on short-time working; and the comparative figures of a year previous.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Robert Carr)

The number registered as wholly unemployed on 16th April was 13; the corresponding figure on 18th April, 1955, was six. The number at present on short-time is 45, which is about the same as a year ago.

Mr. Moody

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that while those figures may appear small, in a small community they represent a big percentage of unemployment and that unemployment is directly due to Government policy? The Government have a responsibility for these people; what are they going to do about it?

Mr. Carr

There are in all about 460 workers in the furniture industry in this town. I cannot believe that 13 unemployed is something about which we need be unduly worried.

Mr. Willey

The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the position last year. Is he aware that there was very serious short-time working in the furniture trade in the North-East at this time last year and that now it is worse? That is a matter of serious concern to the workers in the, new estate factories.

Mr. Carr

There are 45 on short time—[Interruption.] The Question on the Order Paper relates to Gateshead—losing one day a week.

Mr. Moody

On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.