§ Mr. Madden
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest estimate of short-time working in Great Britain; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Golding
In the week ending 10th December 1977 31,000 operatives in manufacturing industries in Great Britain were on short-time working. Of these, 4,000 were stood off for the whole week and 27,000 for part of the week. The figure compares with a total of 82,000 on short-time in the week ending 12th November 1977.
An early estimate of short-time working for mid-February 1978 is 25,000; this is based on reports from the regions, covering all industries and services, and is not comparable with nor does it have the same accuracy as the regular monthly statistics. The corresponding estimate for the middle of January on this basis was 35,000.
These estimates were introduced in March 1975 when short-time working was rising sharply. There is considerably less short-time working now and I am no longer satisfied about the reliability of this estimate. I have therefore decided 638W to discontinue the monthly early estimate.
The monthly compilation of actual figures for manufacturing, collected by monthly inquiries under the Statistics of Trade Act will, however, continue, as will the publication of the results in the Department of Employment Gazette.