HC Deb 09 July 1958 vol 591 cc374-5
17. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will give the figures for employment in the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent for December, 1955, December, 1956, and December, 1957, and the number of workers unemployed and temporarily stopped for the latest available date.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Statistics of employment in local areas are obtained only in respect of the end of May in each year. The figures for 1955, 1956 and 1957 for the china and earthenware industry in Stoke-on-Trent were 58,470, 57,170 and 51,630 respectively.

On 16th June, 1958, the numbers of persons on the registers of Employment Exchanges in Stoke-on-Trent, whose last employment was in the china and earthenware industry, were 785 wholly unemployed and 614 temporarily stopped.

Dr. Stross

Do not these figures imply that the blood-letting which the industry received as a result of the imposition of the 30 per cent. Purchase Tax two or three years ago has done it a great deal of harm? While it is fair to say that the industry is today fairly prosperous, is it not now at a much lower level?

Mr. Macleod

It is certainly true that it is at a lower level, but some of the indices of prosperity are today more comforting than they were a year or so ago.

Mrs. Slater

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the figures he has just given of people unemployed and temporarily stopped do not include large numbers of married women not registered at the employment exchanges; and that, therefore, in an industry like pottery, in which women are employed, that fact makes the position very much more serious?

Mr. Macleod

With respect to the hon. Lady, I tried to make this point in connection with the cotton industry a week ago. It is not true that married women are not included in the figures. If they are looking for another job and if they are registered, they are included. These figures include applicants for employment, whether or not they are qualified for unemployment benefit.