HC Deb 31 October 1966 vol 735 cc10-2
17. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Labour if he will now state an up-to-date and revised estimate of the numbers unemployed, after redeployment during this winter.

Mr. Gunter

As I made clear in the debate on 24th October I am not prepared to forecast future levels of unemployment.

Mr. Allaun

Is not a total of 470,000 after redeployment far too high, particularly when compared with, say, West Germany where there are only 130,000 unemployed? Secondly, will the Minister confirm the hint given by the Prime Minister last week when pressed about relaxing the deflationary measures before it is too late?

Mr. Gunter

I do not know what exactly I am asked to confirm, but I think that the Prime Minister has said on a number of occasions that the position is being watched and, when the time comes in his opinion and in the opinion of the Government, the necessary steps will be taken.

30. Mr. Wainwright

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the dates, during the period from 1951 to 1964, when the unemployment figures exceeded a total of 350,000.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Total numbers registered as unemployed exceeded 350,000 on 88 of the 168 monthly counts during the period. I will with permission circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Wainwright

Does my hon. Friend agree that this is rather a shocking record of the Tory Government? Will she state when the figures under the Tory Administration exceeded 473,000? Does not she agree that under the Labour Government schemes for retraining men in new skills have far exceeded anything that the Tories ever did?

Mrs. Williams

Yes, but we would not deny that both retraining facilities and also economic assistance in development areas must be taken further still.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Does the Minister nevertheless agree that it is likely that this figure of 350,000 will be doubled before we get through this winter? Does she not further agree that when her party was elected to power it was on the basis that it would get rid of "stop-go" and not give us a worse "stop" than before?

Mrs. Williams

I am not as good at reading crystal balls as is the hon. Member.

Following is the information:

Months during which the count of total numbers registered as unemployed in Great Britain exceeded 350,000