HC Deb 11 June 1958 vol 589 cc207-9
45. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give an analysis of the unemployment figures in Dundee at the most convenient recent date in May according to the lengths of time for which insured workers have been unemployed.

The Minister of Labour and National Service (Mr. Iain Macleod)

As the reply includes a Table of figures I will, if I may, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the information:

Duration of Unemployment Males Females Total
Up to 2 weeks 378 188 566
More than 2 weeks and up to 8 weeks 698 429 1,127
More than 8 weeks 1,720 939 2,659
Total 2,796 1,556 4,352

NOTE: The Table above excludes persons registered as temporarily stopped. The number in that category in Dundee at 12th May was 1,030.

46. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Minister of Labour the percentage of unemployment in Dundee at the most recent convenient date in May; and the ratio of unemployed to unfilled vacancies.

Mr. Iain Macleod

For the purpose of computing a percentage rate of unemployment the Dundee and Broughty Ferry areas have to be combined; the figure for the combined area at 12th May was 6.1 per cent. At that date there were about seven unfilled notified vacancies for every 100 persons registered as wholly unemployed.

Mr. Thomson

Is the Minister aware that these figures are particularly disturbing in a city where the workers have proved themselves specially adaptable to new skills whenever there has been an adequate Government effort to bring in new industries? What are the Government doing to bring jobs to the Dundee workers far more quickly than at present?

Mr. Macleod

I agree that the figures are disturbing; there is a high and increasing rate of unemployment. The hon. Member will appreciate that this is largely a matter for my right hon. Friends, but I can say that we have done a great deal to help Dundee, and it is clear that we must do a great deal more—and we certainly will.

Mr. Strachey

Will not the Minister announce shortly, on behalf of the Government, that in view of these figures they will not contemplate any further reduction in the so called mark-up of jute goods imports? That is the key to the situation.

Mr. Macleod

That is not my Departmental responsibility, but I will certainly discuss it with the Minister responsible.

Sir J. Duncan

Can my right hon. Friend say how soon the five new factories which the Government have induced industry to go to in Dundee will be employing workers?

Mr. Macleod

I am afraid that I cannot answer that question without notice.

47. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Minister of Labour how many persons were registered at employment exchanges in Dundee as being jute workers and building trade workers, respectively; and what percentages of them were unemployed at the most recent convenient date in May.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Estimates of the total numbers of employees in local areas are available for one date only in each year, and the latest figures relate to end-May, 1957. The estimated numbers of employed and unemployed in the jute and building industries in the area of the Dundee and Broughty Ferry Employment Exchanges at that date were 15,630 and 4,880, respectively. The numbers registered as unemployed at 12th May, 1958, represented 13 per cent. and 5.8 per cent. respectively of those two totals.

Mr. Thomson

Is the Minister aware that this very high percentage of unemployment in the jute industry is mainly the result of the Government's action? Does he realise that there is desperate anxiety in Dundee for a definite assurance from the Government as to their future intentions in respect of the jute industry, so that this dreadful uncertainty can be removed?