Unemployment

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

asked the Minister of Labour how far he is able to forecast the state of employment in the next two years; and what schemes are in contemplation by the Government for the purpose of dealing with unemployment.

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

There is every prospect that employment will continue to expand with the recovery in economic activity. As to the second part of the Question, the right hon. Gentleman will be aware of the measures taken by the Government to reduce unemployment, both in the country as a whole and in particular areas. Those measures will continue to be applied when and where it seems necessary.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Is the right hon. Gentleman really satisfied that these minor measures which the Government are adopting are sufficient to deal with redundancy in, let us say, the mining industry, the railways and elsewhere in the next few years? Have the Government no plan whatever? If they have a plan, will they tell us what it is?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

As regards the plan, of course, that is governed by the general economic measures which the Chancellor, in particular, takes. As regards local employment, we have been working through the machinery of D.A.T.A.C. and the Distribution of Industry Acts. I do not pretend that I am wholly satisfied with what has been achieved over the last eighteen months, but, as we are moving into and, indeed, we are already in a period of considerable economic expansion, I very much hope that it will be possible to solve the problems of some of the more difficult areas in this period through which we are now moving.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

Can the Minister make a statement about the prospects in the shipbuilding and ship-repairing industries?

Photo of Mr Walter Monslow Mr Walter Monslow , Barrow-in-Furness

Will the Minister agree that D.A.T.A.C. and the Distribution of Industry (Industrial Finance) Act have not stimulated employment at all?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

No. Those Measures have, to some extent, had their effect, but, as I said in my answer a moment ago, not to the extent that I should like to see. The reason, of course, is that, in the difficult times we have had during the last year or fifteen months, there has been less industry ready and anxious to move. I believe that that situation is now on the turn, and that is why I am more hopeful.

Mr. Lee:

The Minister speaks of the action of the Government as if it had reduced unemployment. Is it not a fact that they have merely refrained from doing the things which caused unemployment last year?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

This is really a very important matter. Despite his good will, I doubt that the right hon. Gentleman is really dealing effectively with the matter. Will he say, for example, what plan is in contemplation to deal with the deterioration in the shipbuilding industry? Is he aware that people in the shipyards have very few orders and they do not expect to receive many orders in the next five or six years?

Photo of Mr Iain Macleod Mr Iain Macleod , Enfield West

Yes, but I think that a question which goes as widely away as that from the Question on the Order Paper is one which ought to be put down. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, a short time ago in the House, dealt specifically with the problems of the shipbuilding industry.