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Although I have not heard that export orders are being refused I am aware that there is a shortage of skilled workers. My local officers will continue to bring vacanies to the attention of qualified workers registering for employment. There is competition among school leavers for apprenticeships and learnerships with West End bespoke tailors and it is expected that all such vacanies will be filled at the end of the summer term.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that firms are unable to expand their businesses because of the shortage of labour, while there are at least 200 skilled coat makers who are unemployed in Italy and who are willing to come over here to work? Will my right hon. Friend try to persuade the trade unions concerned to change what is an obstructive attitude in this matter, and will he also try to get English people interested in this trade, for of thirty-one trainees at present working in London only one is English?
We have surprisingly few vacancies at the London employment exchanges for these people. As for apprenticeships, I am told there are always more applications than there are vacancies. Although there may be difficulties at present, they will be of very short duration. When the summer term ends, my people are confident that all these places will be filled.