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Volume 654: debated on Wednesday 28 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Labour what change there has been in the ratio of unemployed to vacancies for January, 1962, compared with January, 1961.

The ratio of persons wholly unemployed to unfilled vacancies in January, 1962, was 1 to 0·5. In January, 1961, it was 1 to 0·8. It must be borne in mind that not all vacancies are notified to employment exchanges.

Is not this a very serious deterioration? Is not the position for February rather worse? Is not there also a growing amount of concealed unemployment in the economy, and will not the Minister make representations to his right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer for an immediate end to the credit squeeze?

I think that the hon. Gentleman is wrong. The February figures show a slight improvement. They show a 7,000 drop in the total unemployed. On the general point, as the hon. Gentleman knows, the policies of the Government are aimed at restoring and maintaining the stability of our currency and keeping the balance of payments position under control. These are necessary conditions for the country's economic growth and unless that growth can be achieved the position will be far more serious.

Will the right hon. Gentleman look at the figures again? If he examines them carefully he will see that the figures for vacancies this February, as against the previous February, have deteriorated significantly.

I hope that the hon. Member did not misunderstand me. I said that the total of those unemployed, I was glad to say, was down by 7,000 in February compared with January.

Are not the figures for those fully employed rather good when one considers the scores of thousands of immigrants who have been found jobs in our country?