North-East

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th March 1961.

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Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central 12:00 am, 7th March 1961

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will state each project which has been approved in the North-East since the operation of the Local Employment Act; and where they are located.

Photo of Mr Ernest Popplewell Mr Ernest Popplewell , Newcastle upon Tyne West

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many projects have been approved in the North-East since the operation of the Local Employment Act.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

About 150 projects have been approved in the Counties of Northumberland and Durham and the North Riding of Yorkshire. The details of individual projects are confidential.

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Does the Minister realise that all of us on this side of the House and some hon. Members opposite, together with everyone in the North-East with knowledge of the situation, regards the Local Employment Act as an utter and dismal failure when set against the problems in an area like the North-East? Does he realise that, since the Act came into operation, in two industries alone in the North-East, ship-repairing and coal mining, there have been 50 per cent. more redundancies than there have been jobs provided under the Act? When will the Government do something to prevent the tragic migration from the North-East which, as this year's census will show, is just as great now as it was in the 1930s? If he wants information about this, his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will tell him all about it.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

I am aware that the Local Employment Act has, perhaps, not been quite so successful in the North-East as it has been in other parts of the country in attracting industrialists to the area. But the Act is there and we are doing our best to offer the inducements and get industrialists to take them.

Photo of Mr Ernest Popplewell Mr Ernest Popplewell , Newcastle upon Tyne West

The Minister puts it very mildly when he says that the Local Employment Act has not been successful in the North-East. Will he now apologise to the representatives from Durham whom he met a short time ago and told that there were 14,500 jobs in the pipeline, since his Answers today indicate that there are fewer than 7,000? That was a deliberate misstatement—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—yes, a deliberate misstatement, and I am asking the Minister to apologise. Does he realise that there are between 35,000 and 37,000 unemployed in the North-East and, at his present rate of progress, there is absolutely no hope of those people getting a job? Also, is he aware that there is a wastage of 10,000 men in the mining industry in Northumberland and Durham, and that his Answers today indicate that he is doing absolutely nothing for them? Will he be honest with us?

Photo of Sir Richard Pilkington Sir Richard Pilkington , Poole

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are not supplementary questions far too long this afternoon?

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

Very often, I think they are too long every afternoon.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

The hon. Gentleman is confusing two separate things. The Question asks about what jobs are available as a result of the Local Employment Act. The 14,500 jobs for Durham are all the jobs which are in prospect, whether available under the Local Employment Act or not.

Photo of Mr Robert Woof Mr Robert Woof , Blaydon

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are we to take it from the Minister's reply that the jobs he has referred to are drawn out of a lucky dip?

Photo of Mr Ernest Popplewell Mr Ernest Popplewell , Newcastle upon Tyne West

I wish to give notice, Mr. Speaker, that I shall raise this whole series of matters at the first opportunity on the Adjournment of the House.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I have to require the hon. Member to specify one particular Question. Otherwise, I do not know what the subject is.

Photo of Mr Ernest Popplewell Mr Ernest Popplewell , Newcastle upon Tyne West

Unemployment in the North-East and the prospects available, Sir.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

asked the President of the Board of Trade what has been the north-east of England's share in Government loans to industry since the beginning of the present financial year; and the number of jobs this expenditure of money has now provided.

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

£320,000, or about 6 per cent. of the loans offered for England and 1½ per cent. of those offered for Great Britain. The firms concerned estimate that employment will ultimately be provided for 1,900 persons. The amount of loans actually paid in the North-East during the present financial year is £832,000, of 17·3 per cent. of total loans paid in Great Britain.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

As previous Questions and Answers this afternoon have indicated, this is merely tinkering with the problem. Does the hon. Gentleman realise that flying visits by himself and the President of the Board of Trade, flying in and out again in an hour or so, are no way of examining the tremendous unemployment problem in the North-East? Will he give an assurance that, instead of making promises about the future, he will do something about it from this moment?

Photo of Mr Niall Macpherson Mr Niall Macpherson , Dumfriesshire

I have been at pains to point out that we have not been making promises at all. The jobs of which we were speaking are the estimates of the firms themselves. As to our visits, we were extremely well received, and we hoped that they would do good. That was the object of the visits.