HC Deb 22 March 1948 vol 448 cc290-2W
83. Sir W. Wakefield

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in view of the fact that the Economic Survey for 1948 estimates that there will be 450,000 persons unemployed in this country by the end of 1948, he intends to review the recent proposal to dismiss 20,000 of the men at present employed in essential road maintenance work.

Mr. Barnes

As is explained in the White Paper, the increase is expected, not in long-term, but in short-term unemployment due to the changing pattern of industry and other temporary causes. In the view of the Government it is necessary for a number of roadmen to be released for other work more essential to our economic recovery.

88. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Transport how many men he has asked highway authorities to dismiss; how many have declined to do so; how many have agreed; and the numbers of men concerned in each case.

Mr. Barnes

I have asked highway authorities to reduce their staffs by some 20,000 men from the numbers employed in September, 1947, and I am hopeful that they will co-operate in achieving this target; an analysis of the results will not be possible until I have received the returns for which I asked in my circular of i6th January.

Mr. Emrys Roberts

asked the Minister of Transport what is the total number of men now or formerly employed on road construction or repairs in each of the counties of Wales who will be displaced from their employment as a result of the proposed cuts in highway expenditure; and what is the alternative employment proposed for such men, particularly in the county of Merioneth.

Mr. Barnes

The number of roadmen to be displaced as a result of the restriction of advances from the Road Fund for 1948–49 will largely depend on the way in which each county council decides to apply the grants which are made available. As their contribution, however, to the 20,000 roadmen to be released by highway authorities, I have asked the county councils in Wales to reduce their staffs from the level of September, 1947, by the numbers shown in Col (2) of the following table; the actual reduction needed on the numbers employed in February, 1948, will be that shown in Col. (3) of the table As regards the second part of the Question, I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service that it is hoped these men will be suitable for employment in important industries in Wales such as coal mining, steel and tinplate, stone quarrying, slate quarrying and agriculture. In Merioneth there is a considerable demand for men in slate quarries.

County (including Boroughs and Urban Districts but not County Boroughs). Reduction asked for on numbers employed on 1st September, 1947. Actual reduction required on numbers employed in February, 1948.
(1) (2) (3)
Anglesey 150 33
Brecon 67 28
Caernarvon 184 86
Cardigan 75 96
Carmarthen 138 59
Denbigh 86 43
Flint 64 90
Glamorgan 319 91
Merioneth 46 11
Monmouth 236
Montgomery 20 7
Pembroke 88
Radnor 27 28