asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware of the growing unemployment among the workers employed in the letterpress printing trade in Scotland; that unemployment has more than doubled in the period May, 1938, to May, 1939; and whether he will consult with the Commissioner for the Special Areas in Scotland with a view to the institution of a State-owned printing works in a distressed area in Scotland for the production of a share of the Post Office letterpress printing work?
§ Captain Crookshank
I am aware that unemployment in the letterpress printing trade increased generally during the period May, 1938, to May, 1939, and that the increase was relatively greater in Scotland, where the percentage of unemployment among insured persons aged from 16 to 64 rose from 8.7 per cent, to 10 per cent., namely, from 2,399 to 2,745 persons. Apart from the telephone directories, all printing required by public Departments in Scotland, including certain, but not all, forms for the Post Office which are common to the whole country, is executed under contracts held by Scottish printers. The volume of work would not justify the setting up of a State-owned printing works in Scotland.