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Woollen And Worsted Industry (Operatives)

Volume 416: debated on Tuesday 20 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the number of operatives employed in the woollen and worsted combing and spinning industry on 30th September, 1939, and 30th September, 1945, respectively; and what net increase in the labour force has taken place during the last three months.

The combing and spinning sections of the woollen and worsted industry are not separately distinguished in the available employment statistics. Figures are available for the industry as a whole up to the end of September, 1945, when employment was at about 65 per cent. of the level of mid-1939. There was a net increase in the number of operatives of 1,700 in the period from the end of June to the end of September, 1945.

Is the Minister aware that the figures given in the last part of the answer are very disappointing; and is he further aware that the clothing of the people of this country is mainly dependent on this industry, and that unless more labour enters the industry there is a danger of the collapse of the clothing ration system?

Without expressing an opinion on those points, I can inform the hon. Gentleman and the House, that there is considerable improvement since the date I mentioned in the number of operatives in the industry.