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Major redundancies have been confined to the aircraft industry and defence establishments. Other small redundancies have been offset by increased employment in firms new to the area.
Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that everything possible has been and is being done to find alternative employment either within the area or outside it for those who have been made redundant?
We are doing everything we can. My hon. Friend does realise, of course, that this is not and cannot be, on these figures, a priority area. Subject to that, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade and I will try to help if we can.
The Minister mentioned the aircraft industry. Is he aware that there is very considerable apprehension now about the future of the industry, and that de Havilland, A. V. Roe and Short Brothers are all declaring redundancies? Will the Minister see to it that, in the areas where people will be affected, a special effort is made to supply alternative work?
Yes, I am aware of that anxiety, but we should recognise, also, the other side, that the Ministry of Labour has, on the whole, had more remarkable success in the placing of people made redundant in the aircraft industry—perhaps because of their skill and adaptability—than in any other sector of the economy.