§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate for the latest convenient date the number of persons in the United Kingdom on short time; what is his estimate of the person days per week not being worked; and what is the equivalent of that figure for additional persons who would otherwise now be unemployed.
§ Mr. Jim Lester
[pursuant to his reply, 29 October 1980, c. 223] Information on short-time working is available only for operatives in manufacturing industries in Great Britain. During the week ended 16 August, the latest date for which information is available, 262,900 operatives were on short time and 3,760,600 hours were lost, an average of 14.3 hours per person per week. Because the circumstances of short-time working vary from firm to firm and the extent may vary from a few hours to a complete week and affect a large number of firms and industries, it would not be meaningful to conclude that if there were no short-time working a given number of people would otherwise have been unemployed.