Juveniles.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1936.

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Mr. W. JOSEPH STEWART:

asked the Minister of Labour the percentage of rejections on medical grounds of applicants for the juvenile transfer centres and the men's instructional centres at Durham county for the years 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, and 1935; and what provision is being made for the medical inspection and treatment of those presenting themselves for training?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The junior transfer centre in Durham was opened in July, 1935, and, during the year from July, 1935, to June, 1936, 571 boys were submitted for medical examination of whom 109, i.e. 19.1 per cent. were rejected on medical grounds. Boys rejected for reception into the centre are those who are considered by the medical officers to be permanently unfit for employment away from home or to be in need of medical treatment. The centre is conducted by the education authority, and they have recently been asked to consider accepting at the centre boys in need of the simpler kinds of medical treatment. The authority already have power to provide medical inspection and treatment for boys attending junior instruction centres. As regards instructional centres, the percentage of men in the County of Durham who were rejected on medical grounds during the period January to October, 1936, was about 17 per cent. 3 it is regretted that figures for the earlier years are not available. Young men who are rejected owing to dental trouble can receive remedial treatment at the insstructional centre at Hamsterley, and arrangements are being made for the opening of two local training centres in the County of Durham at which young men who are suffering from minor physical disabilities will be able to receive treatment.

Mr. STEWART:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a percentage of these rejections is owing to the fact that many of these boys and men are suffering from under-feeding, due to the operation of the means test in many of their homes?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I do not accept that.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

Does the right hon. Gentleman not consider it very unsatisfactory that 19 per cent. of the young men who are examined are found unfit for the comparatively light work for which they have offered themselves, and is he not prepared to recommend that the Government should do something rather serious in the matter?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

The answer is that are taking medical steps to do that.

Photo of Mr Wilfred Paling Mr Wilfred Paling , Wentworth

Do these medical steps apply to youths who are rejected?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will read in detail the answer I have given, which answers that point.

Photo of Mr Henry White Mr Henry White , Birkenhead East

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is considering any action in regard to the health of unemployed young persons between the age of 14 and 18, the time when the need for good nutrition is greatest, and when the benefit of school meals, milk, and physical training is no longer available?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

In nearly all areas in which there is substantial unemployment among boys and girls between 14 and 18 years of age junior instruction centres or classes are provided by the local education authority which unemployed boys and girls may be required to attend. The instruction given at the centres normally includes physical training, and arrangements may be made for the supply of milk. Medical treatment may also be provided at centres in England and Wales. The question of providing meals at the centres is being considered by the National Advisory Councils for Juvenile Employment.