HC Deb 10 July 1967 vol 750 cc78-80
26. Mr. Peter Mills

asked the Minister of Labour what has been the drop in numbers employed in chemicals and allied industries between July, 1966 and the latest convenient date.

Mr. Fernyhough

It is provisionally estimated that between July, 1966 and May, 1967 the numbers employed in Order IV of the Standard Industrial Classification (Chemicals and Allied Industries) fell by about 14,000.

Mr. Mills

Does not this show that these industries—the chemical and allied industries—have been hit more by the freeze than have the nationalised industries? Is this really the policy of the Government and the Ministry?

Mr. Fernyhough

The chemical industry has been hit less hard than the general body of manufacturing industry.

Mr. R. Carr

In view of the decline in the numbers employed in these industries, how do we account for the need for an increase in the gas and electricity industries, referred to a little while ago?

Mr. Fernyhough

If the hon. Member thinks that we are going to stay in this trough for ever he will probably be very happy—but I assure him that we are not going to.

54. Sir D. Glover

asked the Minister of Labour what was the total number of vacancies in the chemical and allied trades in April, 1967 and April, 1963.

Mr. Fernyhough

The numbers of notified vacancies remaining unfilled in Order IV of the Standard Industrial Classification (Chemicals and Allied Industries) were 4,276 in April, 1967, and 2,120 in April, 1963.

Sir D. Glover

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these figures are also disturbing? As these are important manufacturing industries, on which we rely for our exports, is he satisfied that unemployment in them should be heavily up while employment in the Civil Service and service industries is increasing? Would not he agree that this trend shows that the S.E.T. system is not working and that it should be rescinded?

Mr. Fernyhough

Since there are double the vacancies in this respect than there were in 1963—the sort of situation which, surely, workers want—what is the hon. Gentleman complaining about? I would have thought that an unemployed man would much prefer the present situation, in which there more employers wanting labour than was the case in 1963.