HC Deb 26 October 1967 vol 751 cc1872-3
29. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the forthcoming hard winter, he will cease issuing work vouchers during any period of unemployment above the average of the last five years.

Mr. Ennals

No, Sir. Only a small number of vouchers are made available each year. They are issued by the Ministry of Labour to Commonwealth citizens who either have specific jobs to come to in this country, or have qualifications which are scarce here.

Mr. Cooke

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour denied that this was a matter for him and said that it was a matter for the Home Office? In view of the hard, dark winter promised by the Prime Minister and the industrial troubles and the unemployment foreshadowed, would it not be better to stop all vouchers during the winter?

Mr. Ennals

The hon. Gentleman greatly exaggerates the problem. As he will know, since August, 1965, the number of vouchers issued has been reduced to 8,500. In 1966 only 5,461 voucher holders actually came in. Up to the end of August this year only 3,215 voucher holders have arrived compared with 3,802 for the same period last year. Admission on this scale, particularly of those with jobs to come to or to fulfil urgently needed requirements in this country, does not affect the employment situation here.