Government Contracts

Oral Answers to Questions — National Finance – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30 April 1959.

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Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South 12:00, 30 April 1959

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer when deciding with which civilian firms Government contracts are to be placed, what consideration is given to the employment situation in those areas where such work will be carried out; and if he will make a statement on Government policy in this matter.

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

In the placing of Government contracts preference is given to Development Areas and areas of high unemployment. The list of such areas has recently been revised. It is the Government's policy to continue to operate these arrangements.

Photo of Miss Elaine Burton Miss Elaine Burton , Coventry South

I had hoped that this Question might have been answered by the Prime Minister to whom it was originally addressed. May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to note that the word in the Question is "employment" and not "unemployment"? Is he aware that shop stewards and, I believe, progressive employers in Coventry are very disturbed about the way in which, because of a contraction in Government orders, skilled machine tool operators are unable to find jobs where they can exercise their skill? Will he ask his right hon. Friend to take up this matter with the Prime Minister? Is he aware that it arose about two years ago in connection with another firm, and that when expansion does come—if ever it does under this Government—these men will not be able to get back into employment which will enable them to exercise their skill?

Photo of Mr Jocelyn Simon Mr Jocelyn Simon , Middlesbrough West

That supplementary question goes considerably beyond what I understood by the original Question on the Order Paper. Perhaps the hon. Lady will allow me to discuss it with my right hon. Friend.