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asked the Minister of Labour for how long the level of unemployment in North Staffordshire has substantially exceeded the national average; and what steps he has taken to call to the attention of Government agencies and public authorities concerned with industrial expansion the need to create new opportunities for employment in this area.
The level of unemployment in North Staffordshire has been above that in Great Britain as a whole since the end of 1955, but only in January and February of this year has it been higher by more than 1 per cent. of the insured population. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade is aware of the position in this area.
In that case does not the Minister agree that there is a need for new employment, in view of the decline and the short-time working in the pottery industry as well as the redundancies in the Royal Ordnance factories? In view of the existence of those factories, and of the fact that some of them are very well equipped, and in view also of past experience, could they be put to new kinds of production? Will that be borne in mind?