Unemployment

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North 12:00 am, 20th July 1964

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will publish in HANSARD a table of figures giving the percentage rise or fall in unemployment for each quarter from January, 1952, taking that date as 100.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

I am arranging for a table of figures to be published in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Knowing that I am only ever allowed to ask one supplementary question, may I ask whether the Minister is aware that during my tour, looking prosperous, I noticed people who were not so prosperous and who were unfortunately finding themselves unemployed, conveniently between elections, but able to get their jobs back just prior to elections? Can we have an assurance from the Minister that this is not just another Tory election gimmick?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

It is a pity that the hon. Gentleman did not wait until he had studied the figures, for had he done so he would probably rather not have asked that supplementary question. When he studies the figures, he will see that there was a fall consistently, apart from the beginning of 1952–53, right through the period until the end of 1957—

Photo of Mr Arthur Lewis Mr Arthur Lewis , West Ham North

Just right for the election.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

The elections were in 1955 and 1959. The figures rose in 1958 and the rise went right through from 1959 until 1960 and fell thereafter. The figures have no relevance whatever to the claim made by the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Ernest Fernyhough Mr Ernest Fernyhough , Jarrow

Would not the right hon. Gentleman readily agree that the rise was the outcome of Government policy? Although he now claims that unemployment is coming down, would he not admit that it is not coming down as much as Government policy put it up?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

It is coming down very sharply. Over the whole period of Conservative Government full employment has been maintained in this country to a greater degree than in any other developed country.

Following is the table:

QUARTERLY AVERAGES OF THE NUMBERS UNEMPLOYED EXPRESSED AS A PERCENTAGE RISE OR FALL COMPARED WITH THE AVERAGE NUMBER UNEMPLOYED IN THE QUARTER JANUARY TO MARCH, 1952
PeriodPercentage rise (+) or fall (-)
1952—
April to June+14·1
July to September-1·5
October to December- 0·1
1953—
January to March+ 6·1
April to June-15·9
July to September-28·8
October to December-20·9
1954—
January to March-8·5
April to June-29·8
July to September-42·3
October to December-35·8
1955—
January to March-29·5
April to June-42·4
July to September-51·3
October to December-45·5
1956—
January to March-33·2
April to June-41·0
July to September-37·6
October to December-32·3
1957—
January to March- 6·6
April to June-23·6
July to September-35·5
October to December-23·1
1958—
January to March- 4·0
April to June+ 9·6
July to September+10·6
October to December+31·2
1959—
January to March+ 47·7
April to June+ 18·2
July to September+ 1·8
October to December+ 5·4
1960—
January to April+ 9·8
April to June-13·9
July to September-23·8
October to December-13·3
PeriodPercentage rise (+) or fall (-)
1961—
January to March-3·8
April to June-24·9
July to September-26·9
October to December-5·2
1962—
January to March+ 12·6
April to June+ 4·5
July to September+ 10·3
October to December+ 33·8
1963—
January to March+98·8
April to June+ 35·9
July to September+ 19·2
October to December+ 16·9
1964—
January to March+ 15·4
April to June- 8·5