Mr. W. JOSEPH STEWART:
asked the Minister of Labour whether anything is being done to provide new industries for the Bishop Auckland, Crook, and Shildon areas in Durham county, where the percentage of unemployed is 46.6, 33.6, and 40.2, respectively?
South-west Durham has the advantage of the general measures taken by the Commissioner to make the Special Areas more attractive and better known. I would also draw the attention of the hon. Member to paras. 143–147 of the Third Report of the Commissioner for Special Areas, England and Wales, which was presented to Parliament on Tuesday last.
I cannot deal with that now. If the hon. Gentleman will give his attention to these paragraphs, he will see that the special position of southwest Durham is fully recognised by the Commissioner.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, according to paragraph 2, the position is hopeless so far as the present policy is concerned, that nothing is being done, and that the Commissioner says nothing can be done along the present lines?
The hon. Member knows very well that this is one of the areas which is very hard hit because of a complete revolution in the coal export trade, and it would be misleading on the part of anybody on either side of the House to pretend that there is any quick and easy way of remedying the results of that tragic change.
Are we to understand that as a result of that deputation there is to be absolutely no action taken on the part of the Government to give attention to the very serious matters raised at that time?