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Vacancies, Birmingham

Volume 480: debated on Tuesday 14 November 1950

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37.

asked the Minister of Labour what is the present number of unfilled vacancies in all trades, and in the building trade, respectively, at employment exchanges in Birmingham.

The number of unfilled vacancies in Birmingham at 25th October was 15,733, including 1,234 in the building industry.

In view of the very large number of vacancies outside the building trade, will my right hon. Friend see that all possible influence is used to get as many building trade workers into the building trade, and to see that the attractions of these other industries will not be allowed to cause a further dwindling of the building labour force?

I shall be glad to look at my hon. Friend's question. We are doing the best we can to encourage building workers to go into the area.

In view of the statement made by the Minister about exemptions, and the need for housing in the country, will he consider exempting from call-up young men, of whom there are 15,000 in one city alone, to enable them to carry out house building for the next three or four years instead of going into the Army?

38.

asked the Minister of Labour the number of persons unemployed in Birmingham in October, 1938, and October, 1950, respectively; and the number of building trade workers unemployed during the same period.

The numbers at 17th October, 1938, and 16th October, 1950, were 34,758 and 2,227 respectively, including 2,870 and 211 in the building industry.

In view of the virtual non-existence of unemployment in the building trade, would not the Minister agree that these figures show that it is practically impossible to step up the building of houses in Birmingham? Will he consult with the Minister of Works to see what can be done?

The labour situation in the country is very difficult at the moment. Most of these vacancies in Birmingham are for skilled workers and, as a consequence, they bring about a great deal of unemployment among unskilled workers. The problem we have is to get more people in skilled trades. I am meeting representatives of the industry this afternoon to discuss the problem.