Durham County.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 12th November 1936.

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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?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

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.

Mr. STEWART:

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that during the past 12 months there has been very little reduction in the percentage of unemployment in that area and no signs of new industries being introduced? What is the policy of the right hon. Gentleman to deal with that situation?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

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.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dalton Mr Hugh Dalton , Bishop Auckland

It may be recognised by the Commissioner, but is it recognised by the Government?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

It is also recognised by the Government.

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

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?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

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.

Photo of Mr William Whiteley Mr William Whiteley , Blaydon

asked the Minister of Health whether, arising from the interview he had with representatives of the Durham County Council, he has anything to suggest whereby the difficulties in that Special Area may be minimised?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

I can add nothing to what was said on behalf of the Government in last Monday's Debate with reference to the Special Areas.

Photo of Mr William Whiteley Mr William Whiteley , Blaydon

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?

Photo of Sir Kingsley Wood Sir Kingsley Wood , Woolwich West

No, Sir, that is another matter altogether.