HC Deb 13 March 1958 vol 584 cc593-4
28. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why the number of unemployed agricultural workers has increased; and what action he is taking to remedy this state of affairs.

Mr. John Hare

At this time of the year seasonal unemployment in agriculture is at its height and the numbers include many who would normally find temporary employment in other industries. The local offices of the Ministry of Labour are doing all they can to place the workers concerned in such other suitable vacancies as are available.

Mr. Lipton

Is not the Minister aware that, quite apart from seasonal changes—which we all know about—according to the last available Monthly Digest of Statistics the number of unemployed rose from 13,100 in December, 1956, to 19,400 in December, 1957—a 50 per cent. increase? That has nothing to do with seasonal changes. What is he doing about it?

Mr. Hare

I think that I have answered the Question. It is largely due to these seasonal changes. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that agriculture still has a need for skilled workers within its ranks. I am sure that that situation will continue.