The Local Employment Acts are designed to promote employment in places of high and persistent unemployment, not to deal with problems of migration. Nevertheless, the provision of employment in these places helps to lessen outward migration.
Would not the Minister of State agree that areas such as the North-East, the east of Scotland, and the Border suffer tremendously from migration and find it very difficult to maintain existing industry, let alone attract new industry? Would he not consider, in implementing certain promises made during the election, including migration as a criterion for designation as a development district?
Is it not a fact that one of the great defects of the Local Employment Acts was precisely that depopulation was not accepted as a criterion by the then Government, although we on this side tabled Amendments designed to secure this?
Does the Minister of State realise that these Acts are not really effective for the purpose for which they were designed? In particular, they are not stopping the drift south of craftsmen from the north-east of Scotland. Will he have a look at it from this point of view, with a view to stopping that drift south?
Is the Minister of State aware that one of the problems in areas which may suffer from depopulation is that they are unable to attract new and vital labour because of shortage of housing induced by the Government's monetary policy? Will he urge his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland to help in this matter?