HC Deb 07 November 1960 vol 629 cc629-30
11. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the recent and sudden increase in redundancy in British industry which has created widespread unemployment among newspaper, motor and other workers; and if he will state his plans for securing their immediate reabsorption into employment.

Mr. Hare

I have nothing to add to the Answer I gave to a similar Question by the hon. and learned Member on 27th October.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister satisfied that this sudden and unexpected redundancy in these two specific industries is not due to some secret plan on the part of the employers in these two industries to create a pool of unemployment for their own purposes? Will he make careful inquiries into that aspect of this problem?

Mr. Hare

I think that the hon. and learned Member is trying to use his imagination far too indiscreetly and inaccurately. As I explained in my Answer, the numbers concerned are not large in relation to the numbers employed. I also explained in my Answer that everything possible is being done to find employment for these men.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is quite untrue to suggest, as is suggested in the Question, that there is widespread unemployment in the motor industry? Does he not agree that the small-scale redundancy which has taken place in one or two places has been very well taken care of by the employment exchanges?

Mr. Hare

I entirely agree with what my hon. Friend has said.

Mr. Prentice

While the numbers redundant may be small, is not the amount of short-time working very large and has not that, too, a catastrophic effect upon the family budgets of people who work in this industry? Does the Minister not agree that it is a most serious situation? Cannot the Government themselves produce some constructive ideas to try to help the motor industry instead of continuing credit restrictions and the rest, which make the industry's problems even worse?

Mr. Hare

Perhaps the hon. Member will put down Questions to the Presisent of the Board of Trade and the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the credit squeeze. I have tried to give a fair and factual answer to the Question put to me by the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes).