HC Deb 19 June 1958 vol 589 cc1300-1
30. Mr. Lee

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that between April, 1957, and April, 1958, unemployment increased by 113,000, that the number of vacancies on 7th May, 1958, was 10,000 less than in April, 1958, that the numbers working short-time in manufacturing industries on 26th April was 46,000 more than in the previous month, and that on 12th May 448,000 persons were unemployed, an increase of 4,000 over 14th April, while total vacancies are only 207,000; and what action he proposes to take to arrest this deterioration.

Mr. Maudling

My right hon. Friend is aware of the facts mentioned by the hon. Member. He is keeping the situation under review, but has nothing to add to the statements he made in the debates on the Budget.

Mr. Lee

As the Minister of Labour has referred this Question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, may be take it that he agrees that these results have been brought about as a result of deliberate Government policy? That being the case, will the right hon. Gentleman define how long we must suffer this policy rather than have a change which would help to get rid of the awful figures I have quoted?

Mr. Maudling

My right hon. Friend has made clear, and the Opposition has agreed, that the prime consideration must be the strength of sterling. Subject to that consideration, my right hon. Friend is keeping his policy, as he said, flexible. Only yesterday, we had an example of what that means.

Mr. S. Silverman

Can the Paymaster-General confirm that these figures are the figures returned by the employment exchanges in respect of fully insured workers and that there are a large number of other workers, notably married women, especially in Lancashire, who are not included in these figures because they are not separately insured? Are there any means of finding out how many unemployed there are in this category?

Mr. Maudling

I confirm that the figures included in the Question are correct. As to whether there should be further and better statistics, I should be grateful if the hon. Member would put a Question on the Paper.

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