§ Sir R. ASKE
asked the Minister of Labour what steps the Government propose to take to deal with the recent exceptional increase in unemployment in the north-eastern district; and whether he will confer with other Departments with a view to more Government contracts being placed in the area?
§ Mr. E. BROWN
The net increase at 27th April, 1936, as compared with 23rd March, 1936, of 9,572 persons on the registers of the North-Eastern Division was mainly due to a seasonal increase of 16,621 in the numbers unemployed in the coal mining industry (of whom approximately 16,000 were temporarily stopped) and to an increase of 3,205 in the number of unemployed boys and girls, following the registration of juveniles who left school at Easter. In the majority of the principal industries in the Division the numbers recorded as unemployed decreased between these dates and the total number recorded as unemployed at April, 1936, was 51,812 less than a year ago, and was the lowest April figures recorded since 1930. My hon. Friend will, therefore, see that the increase in the figures is primarily seasonal in character and also temporarily affected by the influx of school leavers. Though this is the case I shall continue to use every effort within the powers of my Department, either alone or in consultation with the other Departments concerned, to increase employment generally in the area.