HC Deb 04 July 1978 vol 953 cc107-8W
37. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what he estimates to be the likely effects on employment and industry of introducing a shorter working week.

Mr. Golding

Estimates of the effects of a shorter working week on unemployment and labour costs were published in an article in the Department of Employment Gazette for April 1978. The article showed that the estimates of the impact on unemployment are extremely sensitive to variations in the assumptions about the effects on overtime, productivity and output on which they are based and are therefore highly uncertain.

The article also pointed out that consequential increases in unit labour costs would affect prices and international competitiveness and therefore damage job prospects.