North-East

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Popplewell Mr Ernest Popplewell , Newcastle upon Tyne West 12:00 am, 20th July 1964

asked the Minister of Labour how many workpeople left the North-East in the years ended mid-1963 and mid-1964, respectively.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

It is estimated that in the year ended mid-1963 the net migration of employees from the Northern Region was 12,000. Details for the year ended mid-1964 are not yet available. I regret that separate figures are not available for the North-East.

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

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these figures continued to show the same average for a number of years before 1962? Does not his reply make nonsense of the Government's claims, put forward in this House last Thursday by the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

No, it does not. The figures I gave were up to the middle of 1963. There has been progress since then, but the plans for the North-East had not yet had time to affect the figures.

Photo of Mr Anthony Bourne-Arton Mr Anthony Bourne-Arton , Darlington

How many workpeople came into the area?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

The figure I gave was a net figure. During the year ending May 1963, a total of 45,000 people left the region but 33,000 entered it. There is thus considerable movement in and out.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Will the right hon. Gentleman note that most people who migrate from the North-East, Scotland or Wales inevitably tend to gravitate towards; the London area, causing very serious problems in housing, transport and other social services?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

That is one reason why the Government have been producing regional plans, including that for the South-East.

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

When will later figures be available? According to previous information given to me, they are usually made up to mid-April. If that is so, why are they not available in this case?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

I cannot tell the precise date on which they will be available. The figures I gave were for the middle of 1963, so that they were up to the end of June.

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

asked the Minister of Labour how many firms have ceased production in the North-East since April 1963 to the latest convenient date; and how many workpeople have lost their employment in consequence.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

Other than National Coal Board establishments, the closures of 47 firms in the North-East affecting 3,796 workers have been notified to my local offices during the period.

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

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this pattern has been continuing for many years? What efforts have he and the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade been making to get some parent firms into the North-East instead of offshoots, which close down quite quickly as soon as the first breath of ill wind comes?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

The hon. Gentleman has a Question down to my right hon. Friend later this week and I will therefore leave my right hon. Friend to answer that point. It is relevant to point out now, however, that over the period referred to unemployment in the North-East has dropped by 27,487—from 5·4 per cent. to 3 per cent. This shows that, in spite of closures, a great deal has been done in the area.

Photo of Mr Paul Williams Mr Paul Williams , Sunderland South

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we in the North-East welcome new firms coming in, whether they be parents or offshoots? But to encourage them to stay, might it not be worth while for a more positive policy to be adopted of selling trading estate factories to sitting tenants so that they may feel they own property that is worth while?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

I will draw that suggestion to the attention of my right hon. Friend, who is pressing ahead with more advance factories in the area. These are helping to attract new firms.

Photo of Mr Anthony Bourne-Arton Mr Anthony Bourne-Arton , Darlington

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a large number of new factories have started production at the same time as others have ceased? Is he further aware that a large number of existing firms have increased production in the North-East?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

I can confirm that statement. The only reason that I have not spoken more fully on this subject is that there is a Question to my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Industry and Trade, later this week.