Oxford (Light Industries)

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th January 1948.

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Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford 12:00 am, 20th January 1948

asked the Minister of Labour whether he has considered the resolution of the City of Oxford Conservative and Unionist Association Executive Council viewing with alarm the notices of termination of employment from local works and requesting the appropriate authorities to take all the steps in their power to explore the possibility of attracting other light industries to Oxford, in view of the possibility of widespread unemployment in the city and its immediate neighbourhood; and what steps he proposes to take in the matter.

Photo of Mr George Isaacs Mr George Isaacs , Southwark North

Yes, Sir. A number of workers were discharged by local firms last autumn, but many of these have since been reinstated or re-absorbed into other employment. As the demands for workers in the area greatly exceed the numbers registered as unemployed, there does not appear to be any special need to attract light industries to the city in order to provide additional employment, and I should not feel justified in suggesting that any steps should be taken to this end.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

While understanding the reasons behind the right hon. Gentleman's reply, can we not be assured that some rather longer-term planning is taking place in regard to a city which is slightly unbalanced — [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"]—in regard to its industrial development?

Photo of Mr George Isaacs Mr George Isaacs , Southwark North

Yes, Sir, the difficulty is, of course, that Oxford has in recent years rapidly developed as an industrial area, but at the moment we have no doubt at all about the possibility of absorbing the unemployed there. At the moment there are 363 registered as unemployed for 1,465 vacancies.

Photo of Squadron Leader Samuel Segal Squadron Leader Samuel Segal , Preston

Will my right hon. Friend explain that this is one of the benefits of private enterprise?