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Football Pools (Canvassers)

Volume 441: debated on Tuesday 29 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware that some football pool promoters are employing full-time canvassers and opening shops for the distribution of their sheets; and if he will take powers to prevent this and all other uneconomic uses of manpower.

I am informed that full-time canvassers are employed by some football pool promoters, but I have no information as to the numbers involved or as to the extent to which shops are used. The Government strongly deprecate the use of manpower on all forms of uneconomic employment. This question raises wide issues which are at present being examined in consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council.

Will the right hon. Gentleman make it quite clear to the country that in this present state of emergency we cannot have both football pools and clothes, and will he make sure that labour goes into the textile industry, where it is so urgently needed?

That question calls for rather a long answer which would not be appropriate at the moment; but, to summarise it, we are anxious to have the cooperation of the pool promoters in getting some of these women into the textile industry. However, the bulk of the women are employed in areas which are a long way from the textile areas, and it is difficult to move them because of the accommodation problem.

While the examination to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred is taking place, will he consider reverting to what happened before, when all the pools were merged into one unit, thus saving a lot of labour and materials?

I cannot give a pledge about it, but I would draw attention to the last sentence in my main answer:

"This question raises wide issues which are at present being examined in consultation with the National Joint Advisory Council."

Will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position to make a statement on this matter before the House adjourns?

I am not quite sure, but if there is a possibility of making a statement on the matter I will certainly do so before the House adjourns.

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Would it be possible to disconnect the electrical amplifier apparatus which has been erected along the rearmost benches? It makes the answers of Ministers almost inaudible by emitting a continual booming?

I am very sorry about that. It is an experiment, and we ought not to be afraid to try experiments. Yesterday I noticed it booming. I think that the experience so far proves it not to have been a success. I expect improvements will be made, so that, I hope, it will not boom. It is necessary that all of us should speak clearly. I try to speak clearly.

Further to that point of Order. The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) broke the apparatus yesterday.

When the hon. Member for Oxford broke it yesterday, we could hear nothing at all.

I have no doubt that the engineers of the Ministry of Works, who put in this apparatus, will take note of what has been said.