Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment (Agricultural Workers).

– in the House of Commons on 27th January 1930.

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Photo of Sir Victor Warrender Sir Victor Warrender , Grantham

56.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has any information showing the numbers of agricultural labourers at present unemployed; and, if so, whether he can give the figures for each county?

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

60.

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he has information from the crop reporters of the, Ministry as to the extent of unemployment among agricultural workers; and, if not, will he direct that such information shall be supplied?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

In their monthly reports to the Ministry the crop reporters give information as to the supply of labour in relation to farmers' requirements, but the reports are not in a position to ascertain the number of agricultural workers out of employment. There is no machinery at present in existence for obtaining exact statistics.

Photo of Sir Victor Warrender Sir Victor Warrender , Grantham

In view of the support among members of the right hon. Gentleman's party for the extension of unemployment insurance to farm workers, is it not about time that the right hon. Gentleman found some means of ascertaining this information?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

Means can only be found through such an Act as the Unemployment Insurance Act and its system. What can be obtained is general information, and that is obtained as far as possible, but exact statistics are not available.

Photo of Mr George Lambert Mr George Lambert , South Molton

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give us some approximate information on this matter, as the Government propose, I understand, or are considering the introduction of a Measure for the extension of insurance to agricultural workers? Cannot we have approximate information as to the amount of unemployment?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

I shall be able to give general information. If my right hon. Friend will put down a question as to that, I shall do my best to answer it, but I have not exact information.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

By "general information," does the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration the distinction between two such areas in the West Country as Devon and Cornwall, where there may be very little unemployment, and Wiltshire and Dorset, where there may be a good deal? In that case, what use will general information be?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

The reporters can only report on their different regions, but they are concerned with the supply of labour and not definitely with the extent to which unemployment may exist.

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Does the term "general information" apply generally over the whole country, or does the right hon. Gentleman mean to give the information for county by county, which would be the only valuable way?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

Perhaps the hon. Member will put a question down on that subject.

Mr. GUINNESS:

Will the right hon. Gentleman get statistics to show whether this unemployment is on the increase?

Photo of Mr Noel Buxton Mr Noel Buxton , Norfolk Northern

Yes, I shall do my best.