12. Mr. Slater
asked the Minister of Labour how long it took the 972 boys and girls who left school in the summer and Christmas of 1959 and Easter 1960 in the south-west divisional area of County Durham to find work; and what are the prospects for the 18 who have not yet found employment.
§ Mr. P. Thomas
Over 80 per cent. found work within one month, and some 92 per cent. within two months. Of the 18 without work on 11th May, 12 left school at Easter; two have now been placed and the remaining four live in remote areas where opportunities are limited.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for his reply. In view of the exultation of hon. Gentlemen opposite when I asked a similar Question last week, will he not agree that everything should be done to provide employment for young people leaving school? Parents in my constituency and throughout 16 south-west Durham are watching the position very carefully. Is he not aware that last week the Northern Echo—and I quote—said—
I have been in the House for ten years and this will not be the first time that I have known hon. Members having the privilege of drawing attention to matters arising in the Press and relevant to their Questions. I cannot understand how I am now ruled out of order.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman has heard it, and so have I. But I am striving slowly but progressively to conform to the rules about Questions. I am sure that the hon. Member can complete his supplementary question without quoting the newspaper.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that as recently as last week attention was drawn to six boys who had gone after one job in south-west Durham? Is he not aware that that means that young people are going from place to place to find employment and that the position is becoming very serious?
§ Mr. P. Thomas
No, I am afraid that I was not aware of that, but I agree that everything must be done to try to get work for young people as soon as possible after they leave school. When I answered the hon. Gentleman's last Question, I said that out of 990 boys and girls who had left school in that area during the Summer and Christmas of 1959, and Easter, 1960, only 18 had not yet found work. Hon. Members on this side of the House appeared to be quite pleased about that, and I hope that the hon. Member is, too.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am not chasing this matter out of mere curiosity, but because I appreciate the seriousness of the position and recognise that young people are human beings and an integral part of our society, and should be given every possible help?
13. Mr. Slater
asked the Minister of Labour what are the prospects of employment in the south-west division of Durham County for school leavers in 1962, when the school leavers bulge comes on to the labour market.
§ Mr. P. Thomas
The Government's object is to maintain a high and stable level of employment, but I cannot make specific forecasts as far ahead as 1962.
Will not the position be very serious when the bulge of school leavers takes place in 1962? If the hon. Gentleman is not in a position to give any assistance in finding employment for these young people, should not the matter be brought to the attention of his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade?
§ Mr. Thomas
I fully appreciate the problem which the bulge will create in 1962, but I do not think the hon. Member would wish me to make forecasts about prospects in 1962. Present indications are that the prospects for girls are reasonably good, while those for boys are less favourable, but the great majority should be in work within a short time of leaving school.