HC Deb 02 December 1920 vol 135 cc1466-7W

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the expected spread of unemployment this winter, he will consider the advisability of taking up the Prevention of Unemployment Bill, introduced early in the Session?


I have been asked to reply. I would draw the attention of my hon. Friend to the announcement made on the 19th October by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in regard to the measures contemplated by the Government for the relief of unemployment. The schemes outlined in my right hon. Friend's statement are being developed as rapidly as possible; and, in addition, the Cabinet Committee on Unemployment is continuing its examination of further practicable remedies. Account must also be taken of the provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act which came into force on the 8th November. From next week onwards benefit under the Act will become payable in a very large number of cases. In these circumstances the Government cannot undertake to introduce legislation on the lines of the Prevention of Unemployment Bill.


asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the prospective increase in unemployment, any of the schemes for the construction of arterial roads have already been begun; and will he give particulars of the places and the number of men employed already under such schemes?


Work has been started on arterial roads in 16 provincial and 1 London district. This work is additional to some 40 schemes, which either have been or are being negotiated between the Ministry of Transport and the local authorities, for the repair and reconditioning of about 70 main roads in London and the Provinces. I have not been able in the time at my disposal to get the total number of men so employed. It is additional, also, to other work which I understand certain local authorities have, apart from these schemes, initiated to meet the unemployment in their areas. Furthermore, measures have been taken by the Ministry of Health with a view to securing that road and sewer work in connection with Housing schemes and various other pub lie works shall be expedited. And the number of men so employed is increasing.