HC Deb 09 July 1958 vol 591 c381
26. Mrs. McAlister

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been drawn to the steadily rising unemployment figures in Glasgow; whether he is aware that a substantial proportion of these figures refer to tradesmen, such as painters, who are normally busy at this time of year; and what steps he is taking to find alternative work for them.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Although unemployment in Glasgow is higher than it was a year ago, it has declined very slightly in the last two months and the number of painters unemployed is small. My officers will of course continue to do all they can to place unemployed workers in vacancies notified to them by employers.

Mrs. McAlister

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply, but it amazes me in the extreme. Is he aware that at least one big firm in Glasgow, Scottish Signs, which does not object to being quoted, has told me that painters are normally very hard to get at this time of year but this year they are ten a penny? What is more, semi-skilled men who normally find no difficulty in getting work in the yards at this time of year are also in the market. Will the right hon. Gentleman look into the matter?

Mr. Macleod

I will certainly study what the hon. Lady says. I understand that the number of painters unemployed in Glasgow is 52.

Mr. Lee

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the pattern of employment and unemployment is now worsening in the sense that people in manufacturing trades and industries are falling out of work and the tendency is for them to go into professional work, so that we are losing the basis of our manufacturing capacity?

Mr. Macleod

That is more properly a matter for debate. I dare say that it will arise a good deal in tomorrow's debate.