§ Mr. GALBRAITH
asked the Minister of Labour whether road and sewer work in connection with the housing schemes has been expedited with a view to absorb- 2154W ing the unemployed; and, if so, how many of the unemployed have been so absorbed?
In pursuance of the decision of the Government in this matter, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health has caused a communication to be addressed to certain local authorities in areas where unemployment is pronounced, urging them to take immediate steps to put in hand road and sewer works which will be required to meet the authorities' programmes for the next twelve months, and the situation is being carefully watched in the areas of these and other local authorities. I am not in a position to state with exactitude the total number of workmen for whom employment has been provided under this arrangement, but I am informed that returns so far received at the Ministry of Health in respect of 54 local authorities show that upwards of 5,000 men are at present engaged on such work in those districts, and that work will be provided for an additional 2,000 very shortly.
§ Major HAYWARD
asked the Minister of Labour whether the road maintenance schemes in which the Ministry of Labour and the local authorities are co-operating have yet absorbed any of the unemployed; and, if so, how many of the unemployed have been so absorbed?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I am advised that financial assistance in connection with schemes of road maintenance has either been approved or is under immediate negotiation in respect of 15 London boroughs and in respect of some 29 provincial local authorities, together covering the cases of about 80 roads. I have no information indicating the number of men actually employed on this work at the present time, but I do know that work has actually begun in a considerable number of cases. I will consult my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport as to whether the local authorities should be asked to furnish, regularly, returns as to the number of men employed on this kind of work.