HC Deb 23 May 1960 vol 624 cc14-5
11. Mr. F. Noel-Baker

asked the Minister of Labour what instructions he has given to his local offices, and particularly to his office in Swindon, regarding employment with firms whose managements do not accept foreign and colonial labour; and what reports he has received on this subject.

Mr. Heath

My local offices have instructions to try to persuade any employer who stipulates that he will not employ Commonwealth or foreign workers to consider them on their merits. But, if he refuses, my Department has a duty to assist him to obtain workers who satisfy his requirements. I am informed that the unemployment problem is not serious at Swindon. At the latest count only six men and one woman from Commonwealth countries were registered as unemployed, and during the last three months about 20 men and six women have been placed in employment.

Mr. Noel-Baker

The Minister will know that, on the whole, Swindon has a rather good record in this respect, but that the situation with two firms is rather less satisfactory. Will he use whatever influence he has, either publicly or privately, to see that those firms conform with what is now the normal practice in this country?

Mr. Heath

As I understand it, there is no firm in Swindon which puts a ban on Commonwealth or foreign workers. It is true that there are difficulties in two firms, as the hon. Member knows, but, of course, those difficulties concern both sides engaged in the firms and not only the employers.