Burnley

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley 12:00 am, 31st July 1952

asked the Minister of Labour if he will indicate by reference to the latest unemployment figures in the Burnley employment exchange area and the figures for March, 1952, what has been the effect of placing Government orders in the area.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

The latest count of persons registered as unemployed in Burnley was made on 14th July and while the figures showed a very substantial drop, they were, as the hon. Member will know, affected by the Wakes weeks. In any case it is difficult to single out the effect of Government orders on the employment situation.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

Is it not a fact that for over six months the unemployment figures in North-East Lancashire, particularly Burnley, have remained at a very high figure? Therefore, is it not obvious that the problem ought to be tackled outside the textile industry by giving more diversification of industry?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

Yes, and I should not like the hon. Member to think that we are not trying to do that because, as my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade announced in this House this week, we have persuaded the Burnley Aircraft Products Limited in Burnley, the B.T.H. Company, in Nelson, and the General Electric Company, in Shaw, to take other enterprises into this part of Lancashire.

Photo of Mr Wilfrid Burke Mr Wilfrid Burke , Burnley

While we are thankful for that, since the figures have not dropped very much, is it not obvious that there is need to go further?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

We shall certainly keep on trying to solve this difficult problem in North-East Lancashire.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, while we are all appreciative of the efforts that have been made to bring new industries into this area, the real reason why it is so difficult to detect the effect of Government orders upon the unemployment situation is because that effect is infinitesimal?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I do not think the effect of£20 million worth of orders can be regarded as infinitesimal, and if it has not brought the figures down it has at least stopped them going up much further. I think the Government have so far done all they can do in the limited time they have had and, as I have told the hon. Member for Burnley, I have been there myself and I know the human problems and we shall certainly do all we can.