HC Deb 18 February 1959 vol 600 c68W
114. Mr. Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer why, in view of the fall in import prices, the increased payment for United Kingdom exports, and the generally favourable terms of trade, together with the various financial, economic and political actions taken by Her Majesty's Government, unemployment and short-time working rose from 329,905 in September-October, 1951, to the figure of 698,442 in October, 1958, whilst at the same time the number of unfilled vacancies fell from 371,209 in October, 1951, to 166,686 in October, 1958; what were the figures for mid-January, 1959; and what action he proposes to take to restore the employment situation to its October, 1951, level.

Mr. Erroll

The causes of changes in the numbers of persons unemployed and working short-time, on the one hand, and of unfilled employment vacancies, on the other, are too complex to be satisfactorily described in a short answer. I would refer the hon. Member to Government statements in recent debates on the Economic Situation and on Unemployment, which also set out the various measures which have been taken by the Government to influence the levels of industrial activity and of employment. The number of registered unemployed was 621,000 on 12th January, and the number of unfilled vacancies was 156,000 on 7th January.