HC Deb 12 June 1956 vol 554 cc13-4W
73. Mr. G. Brown

asked the Minister of Labour whether he can now specify the measures which Her Majesty's Government are taking to ease the process of transfer for the individual worker who may be affected by automation or by the Government's economic policy.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The Government's most important assistance to a worker who becomes redundant is to help him to find fresh employment, if possible without any intervening period of unemployment. If employers will cooperate in giving as long notice as possible and in providing facilities for their workers to register in advance the services of the Employment Exchanges can be used to the best advantage. With the current level of employment we do not in my view face any large scale geographical re-distribution of labour but there must be from time to time a considerable change of jobs and some of these changes may involve transfer to other districts.

I have powers under the Employment and Training Act of 1948 to facilitate the transfer of workers to other districts and to provide training. Facilities for advance of fares are available in all parts of the country and workers transferring from areas where prospects of employment are poor are eligible for free fares and in appropriate cases for lodging allowances. A statement giving details of the facilities at present available is given below. These together with the assistance which employers themselves offer have, I believe up to now met the need. I am keeping the adequacy of all these arrangements under review.

Following is the statement: The following facilities are at present operating to assist workers to transfer to other areas or to fit them for other employment.

  1. (a) Financial assistance to workers to transfer from one area to another.
    1. (i) Advance of fares to any form of employment.
    2. (ii) Free fares to persons who live in districts where employment prospects are poor, and to ex-Regulars and disabled persons for resettlement. Such persons with household responsibilities who transfer to work away from home are eligible for lodging allowances (24s. 6d. a week) and subsequently for a refund of the cost of household removal.
  2. (b) Assistance in obtaining lodgings— help is given by the Exchanges through the maintenance of lodging lists.
  3. (c) Government Training Centres. There are at present 16 of these Centres, all engaged in training for skilled occupations. In the main, they are training disabled and ex-Regulars, but also small numbers of other able-bodied men who wish to qualify for skilled employment. A wide range of training facilities is provided for the disabled, and a smaller though still substantial range for the ex-Regulars. Training for the other able-bodied is limited to training in a few undermanned trades which are at the same time important to national needs. It is the policy of both sides of industry that the main part of training should be undertaken in industry and not in Government Training Centres.

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