§ 37. Mr. Sparks
asked the Minister of Labour the causes which have resulted in the continuous rise in the numbers of registered unemployed.
§ Mr. Wood
The increase in unemployment during the past year has been due to a variety of causes both at home and abroad. My right hon. Friends the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the President of the Board of Trade explained them during the recent debate on the Address. In recent months a large part of the increase has been due to seasonal factors.
§ Mr. Sparks
Would it be correct to say that the continuous rise in unemployment in recent months is the direct result of deliberate Government policy?
§ Mr. Gower
Will my hon. Friend resist the implication in some of the supplementary questions put to him that there is not a real desire on the part of the Government to maintain a high level of employment? Will he also make it clear that it is in the interests of the Conservative Party to maintain full employment, as only social distress and unemployment on a high scale are likely to induce a large number of people to adopt the half-baked policies of Socialism?
Would the hon. Gentleman agree that his right hon. Friend has on more than one occasion agreed that the increase in unemployment is due to Government policies? Is he aware that for the last hour hon. Friends of mine from all over the country have been stressing the importance of this issue, that the answers which he has given show that unemployment is rising in all the areas, and that we should need yet another hour to get through all the Questions on the Order Paper dealing with this issue? What do the Government intend to do to reduce the unemployment figures?
§ Mr. Dudley Williams
Does my hon. Friend agree that the present standard of unemployment is well within the limits set by Lord Beveridge in his Report when deciding what was full employment?