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Pottery Industry

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 28 February 1952

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asked the Minister of Labour what action he has recently taken to increase the numbers engaged in the pottery industry; what action he intends taking; how many decorators are required; what special steps are being taken to meet the urgent needs of the industry.

Special attention has been given to the requirements of the industry, and at the end of 1951 the total number of workers employed had in nine months increased by over 2,300. There are vacancies for about 350 decorators and employment exchanges will continue their efforts to fill them.

Could not a great increase in output be brought about if more decorators were available? If so, is the Minister aware that the Bank of England, with a large staff, was brought into the area during the war? If that were done during the war, why cannot a big hotel or hostel be taken over now, which would provide an opportunity for women from other parts of the country who are relatively well placed and who are making no contribution to Britain's economic recovery?

I appreciate the importance of this industry in relation to exports. One of the difficulties is that it is close to a re-armament factory, and one has to consider where the employees should be encouraged to go. Other things permitting, I hope to visit that area in a very short time, and I shall then be in a better position to inform the House.

Is the Minister aware that people are hoping that re-armament will not take precedence over this important industry, which is making such a vital contribution to Britain's economy? Can he give an assurance that this industry will still have priority?

I can only give this assurance, and I think that no more could reasonably be expected of me: that in looking at the importance of the rearmament factory there I shall not overlook the importance of the export trade. I shall endeavour to see that we fill both if we can.

When my right hon. and learned Friend visits the Potteries, will he go a little further north and visit Macclesfield, where there is plenty of scope for people from the textile mills to make armaments?

When the Minister visits the Potteries, will he inquire whether facilities are available for training women when they are found; and when he comes back, after finding that there is a shortage of facilities for technical training, will he impress upon his right hon. Friend the Minister of Education how shortsighted is the policy of cutting educational expenditure?


asked the Minister of Labour the number engaged in the pottery industry in 1939, 1945 and 1950, respectively; and the number of women engaged in the same years.

As the reply includes a table of figures I will, if I may, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The estimated numbers of insured persons in employment in the pottery industry in Great Britain at mid-1939 and mid-1945 were as follows:

TotalNumber of females included in Total

These figures relate to persons who were insured under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, and they therefore exclude men aged 65 and over and women aged 60 and over, non-manual workers earning more than £420 a year, and part-time women employees. These classes became insured, however, under the National Insurance Acts, which came into operation in 1948, and they are therefore included in the following figures for the end of May, 1950:


Number of females included in Total