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Unemployment, Development Areas

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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17.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed persons in the Development Areas; and how many of them have been unemployed for a period of more than six months.

The number at 8th December, 1947, was 102,897, of whom 33,788 had been continuously unemployed for more than six months.

In view of those figures, is the Minister satisfied that the progress with the building and re-equipping of the new factories in those areas is going ahead at full speed?

No, Sir, we are not satisfied that it is going ahead at full speed. The problem of the shortage of materials has affected it. It has not stopped, but it has slowed up a little, and is now being pressed forward. These people are to have every opportunity in spite of the disadvantages at the moment. In May, 1946, the number of unemployed rose to the very high figure of 172,000. It is now down to 102,000, so that the situation has eased very considerably.

Can my right hon. Friend give the separate figures of women unemployed for more than six months, as their problem is more serious?

I have not the figures at the moment, but if my hon. Friend will put down a Question, I will try to get them for him.