HC Deb 08 April 1959 vol 603 cc180-2
26. Dr. King

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he proposes to take to deal with the growing problem of unemployment among school leavers.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Richard Wood)

The number of Christmas school leavers not yet in employment fell from 16,932 on 12th January to 3,347 on 9th March. The Youth Employment Service will continue to make every effort to find jobs for those still unemployed and for the Easter school leavers.

Dr. King

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the whole House accepts with very real pleasure the improvement in the position, but is he also aware that this problem will get graver and graver as the "bulge " now passing through the secondary schools come out into the labour market? It is a real tragedy if young children leaving school, after all we are trying to give them in education, are faced with a spell of unemployment. Will the hon. Gentleman give this his personal attention?

Mr. Wood

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I am well aware of the imminence of the " bulge ", but I have said over the last few months that I am convinced that the extra number of school leavers coming into the labour market is insignificant in comparison with the general economic situation, and therefore the prospects of those boys and girls getting jobs depends far more on the general economic situation obtaining than on the extra numbers that will be leaving school.

Mr. Lee

As the right hon. Gentleman has referred to the reduction from 16,000 to 3,000, may I ask him whether the 13,000 have obtained work or whether a number of them have gone back to school because they failed to find work?

Mr. Wood

I understand that the difference between those numbers is the number in employment.

Mr. F. Harris

Is my hon. Friend aware that it is generally recognised, as the figures indicate, that in this matter the youth employment officers in the main are doing a first-class job of work in this connection?

Mr. Wood

I entirely agree.

32. Mr. Brockway

asked the Minister of Labour how many children left schools in Slough at the end of the Easter term; and how many of them have obtained employment.

Mr. Wood

Two hundred and sixty-one boys and girls left schools in Slough at the end of the Easter term, of whom 216 are known to have obtained employment, 36 have not asked for the help of the Youth Employment Service and nine are registered as unemployed.

Mr. Brockway

May I ask the hon. Gentleman if he is aware that, while these figures are much more satisfactory than those for the areas to which my hon. Friend the Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) has just referred, they do show that, even in a comparatively prosperous place like Slough, difficulty is now emerging with children failing to find employment on leaving school?

Mr. Wood

I cannot see that that really emerges in Slough, because, as I said to the hon. Gentleman, there were nine boys and girls registered as unemployed who could be placed right away, but who are waiting for the type of vacancy they want.

Captain Pilkington

Can the children of Slough learn a truer version of colonial history than that propounded by their Member of Parliament?