Skip to main content


Volume 441: debated on Tuesday 29 July 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Dismissed Postmen, Aberdeen


asked the Minister of Labour how many postmen in Aberdeen have been discharged as redundant since 31st May; how many have been found jobs in industry; and how many of the remainder are unsuitable for industry by reason of age and or disability.

Two temporary postmen have been discharged as redundant in Aberdeen since 31st May. One is being considered for a suitable industrial job for which he was submitted by the exchange. Information is not available about the other who did not seek the assistance of the exchange in obtaining employment.

Football Pools (Canvassers)


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.

Newspaper Industry


asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the apprehension existent in the newspaper in dustry that the cut in newsprint may cause unemployment; and whether he is making any provision for alternative employment.

In view of the current general shortage of manpower in the printing industry, I do not anticipate any special difficulty in finding alternative employment for workers released from the newspapers.

Can the Minister give any information about the possible variation in unemployment in the different sections of the printing trade?

It is customary in this industry for the workers to be given two weeks' notice of termination of employment. Until this notice has been given and has become effective, we shall not be able to give any definite answers on the position.



asked the Minister of Labour whether, in order to augment our manpower, he will circularise all aliens who have come in on compassionate grounds calling on them to enter the essential undermanned industries.

In general, aliens admitted to this country are subject to the condition that they may only take employment which is approved by me. I am thus in a position to satisfy myself that the work which they wish to undertake is work of a useful nature. There is nothing to prevent aliens admitted on compassionate grounds from applying for employment.

Would the Minister say whether all aliens who were brought into this country on compassionate grounds are aware that they may apply for employment and be allocated to it according to need?

It would be difficult for me to say they are all aware of it, but I hope the publicity given to this statement today will bring it to the notice of them all.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of the trade unions are now opposing the employment of aliens—for example, of Poles?

Are aliens who are admitted on compassionate grounds and directed to serve in an industry allowed to leave it without the right hon. Gentleman's permission?

If we find it advisable to direct an alien to an industry that is undermanned, we expect him to remain in that industry, although not in that particular employment; otherwise we should have people floating into and manning non-essential industries.