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Employment

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 12 July 1949

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Appointments Department

2.

asked the Minister of Labour how many persons were placed during 1948 by his Appointments Department and at what initial salary; what was the average cost, including overhead expenses, per person placed; how many of these placings were in Government service or nationalised industries; and whether such placings were competitive with private agencies.

Thirty thousand, nine hundred and seventy-four in 1948. The great majority of these were in private employment. Records are not maintained in such a way as to give the other statistical information asked for. There is no restriction on competition by private agencies in this field, and there is a substantial amount of co-operation with a number of them.

If there are no statistics available, how can one possibly gauge the efficiency of this service? Surely the Minister should be in a position to prove that the Appointments Department are at least as efficient as private agencies?

We do not keep a record of the exact wages paid to various people; we know that they range from about £400 to over £1,000. The other statistics as to the cost per individual cannot be accurately ascertained because this Department does other work in addition to actual appointments, such as careers advice, manpower surveys and the recruiting service for the nursing profession. All these are involved, and we cannot separate them.

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is nothing which the Appointments Department can do which private agencies cannot do more cheaply?

I do not admit that. I am satisfied that many of the 30,000 whom we have placed would not have been placed but for the services which we provided for them.

Ex-Service Men (Training)

3.

asked the Minister of Labour what arrangements are being made to help those who entered into Regular engagements to train, after their time in the Services, for the professions and business.

A scheme was recently started to provide training for those who wish to enter business. Full particulars are given in a leaflet (P.L. 309) a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member. There are no similar arrangements for training for the professions.

In view of the statements which the Minister of Defence has made about the desirability of providing training for civilian life for ex-Regulars, would not the Minister of Labour expand his scheme to cover the professions as well as business?

We have examined that, but the point is that ex-Regular officers who leave after long service have usually reached an age when it is not easy for them to undertake a long course such as is required for the professions. We have not turned down the idea completely. We have been examining it in regard to younger men who leave after less extended service, and, as I say, we have not abandoned it as impracticable. We wish to see whether something can be done.

London Docks (Canadian Boats)

4.

asked the Minister of Labour how long have the Canadian boats, s.s. "Beaverbrae" and s.s. "Agramont" been in the London Port; and whether the Port of London Docks Board operated the full terms of the docks labour scheme from the time of the arrival of these two boats.

The "Beaverbrae" has been in the London Docks since 4th April last and the "Agramont" since 10th May. In reply to the second part of the Question I would refer the hon. Member to the statement which I made in reply to a Private Notice Question by the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) on 1st July.

In view of the length of time that these boats have been in the London Port and the fact that at no time prior to two or three weeks ago did the Port authorities insist that these boats should be unloaded by the dockers, could the right hon. Gentleman explain why the Port authorities took this provocative action, which led to the present dispute?

I have nothing to add to the reply which was previously given, and to which I have referred.

Is it not the case that there is a strike on these two boats carried on by a bona fide Canadian trade union—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—and that an American union is trying to destroy the Canadian union so that the Americans can get control of the Canadian seaboard?

Stornoway

5.

asked the Minister of Labour what is the number of unemployed persons on the Stornoway register at the most recent census; and what percentage this is of the local insurable population.

The number of unemployed persons on the register at 13th June was 660. This represents 13 per cent. of the number of employees to whom insurance cards were issued at July, 1948.