Local Employment

Part of Order of the Day – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st February 1967.

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Photo of Mr Edward Leadbitter Mr Edward Leadbitter , Hartlepools, The 12:00 am, 1st February 1967

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As a matter of fact, I had just arrived at a comma, and four words will get me to a full stop. Why, in spite of the injection, has employment in those areas dropped by 2·8 per cent when the national figure has been a plus?

I thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for the patience which you have shown. It would be ill-fitting and improper to pursue a larger analysis of the employment question. Taking the Supplementary and the original Estimates together, the Government can claim to have provided the maximum possible, within the terms of the economic crisis, to correct the tremendous imbalance which existed between the poverty-stricken regions of this country and the more fortunate. The steps have been bold and imaginative, but they have been taken, as it were, to turn the tide of depression in the Northern and other regions. They were immediate steps, but at best only short-term measures.

Estimates themselves cannot tell us much. I refer to their vagueness and to the difficulties of arranging a clear connection between Estimates and expenditure. Therefore, the only test must be our experience in our own regions. Acknowledgment of the obvious gaps between planning and achievement can only lead us to look ahead and urge my right hon. Friend to heed the warning signs that injections of new factories into an area by themselves do not produce the proper answers to our problems. He must encourage more balanced and more integrated and qualitative development if he is to meet the needs of populations of regions such as mine.