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Unemployed Persons

Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Labour how many persons in the United Kingdom were registered as unemployed in January, 1960, 1961 and 1962, respectively; and what were the reasons for the differences.

There were 497,636 at 11th January, 1960, 458,024 at 16th January, 1961 and 503,180 at 15th January, 1962. The percentage rates of unemployment at these dates were 2·2, 20 and 2·2 respectively. As the figures show, these changes are marginal.

Does not the Minister realise that it is disgraceful, to say the least, for him to report with such complacency that over half-a-million people were unemployed on the last date which he mentioned? Does not he realise that the time has arrived when we should depart from this haphazard and piecemeal fashion of tackling the problem and get down to energetic planned organisation, so that the unemployed, who represent a wasted asset to the country, may be put to work?

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman is being fair in saying that I announced these figures complacently. I did not do anything of the sort. I answered his question as civilly as I could.