Coalmining Areas

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Robert Woof Mr Robert Woof , Blaydon 12:00 am, 22nd November 1967

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he proposes to take in order to effect an improvement in the employment position in coalmining areas; by what date he expects to have completed and occupied sufficient new advance factories to provide 135,000 new jobs for men by 1970–71; how many factories are involved; and what the cost will be to the Exchequer.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave on 14th November to my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda, East (Mr. G. Elfed Davies). The provision of advance factories is only one of the many methods employed by the Government to attract industry to the areas where it is most needed. It is not proposed to provide 135,000 jobs by building advance factories alone.—[Vol. 754, c. 84–6.]

Photo of Mr Robert Woof Mr Robert Woof , Blaydon

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that 135,000 new jobs for men will be required in the coalmining areas by 1970–71 due to the Government's policy for running down the mining industry, he will indicate how many firms have so far agreed to move to these areas; and how many jobs for men they will be able to provide.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

The latest estimate of the rundown of manpower in coal-mining throughout the country by 1970–71 is roughly 100,000. Because of the movement of population the number of new jobs required will not necessarily be the same. In the coalfields most seriously affected by the rundown in coal-mining, those in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern development areas, 145 new firms have decided to set up factories since the end of 1964 and at present employ 4,260 men. Over 43,000 more new jobs for men are expected to be created when these factories are complete and fully manned and from expansions now planned by firms already in these areas. The existing development area incentives and the special additional measures which I announced on 14th November should lead to the creation of further new jobs by 1970–71.

Photo of Mr Robert Woof Mr Robert Woof , Blaydon

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the disastrous effects of contraction over many years in the Blaydon area? Is he further aware that local authorities in the area have spent a good deal of public money to provide sites for industries? Would he not agree that after the disappointing results in the development of industry, his Department should set a stronger pattern to build up a stronger economic and industrial structure in the area instead of leaving it like the little boy that Santa Claus forgot?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I am very well aware of the problems to which my hon. Friend draws attention. It is precisely because of our awareness of these problems that we not only now have very strong incentives in the development areas as a whole—so strong, indeed, that one hon, Member last night in the debate said that they were too powerful now—but, in addition to that, as I said on 14th November, we have announced further special incentives for those areas which will be particularly hard hit by colliery closures.

Photo of Miss Irene Ward Miss Irene Ward , Tynemouth

As the new fuel policy has just been announced, is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that we shall need much more attention to be given to the development areas with special kinds of jobs in order to absorb the miners who will be displaced? When are we going to hear about that?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

With respect, the hon. Lady has not been following our procedures very closely. On the same day that the White Paper on Fuel Policy was published, precisely for the reason she has given, we announced these additional incentives for the areas which are likely to be the worst hit.

Mr. Bob Brown:

Could my right hon. Friend give me an assurance that there is the close liaison that there ought to be between his Department and the National Coal Board on pending and future closures?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

Yes, I can give my hon. Friend that assurance.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery Sir Peter Emery , Honiton

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there is one figure missing from the statistics that he has given? Will he say what the cost to his Department is estimated to be in the period of run down till 1975?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

We have announced the total cost of the special measures that will be taken to assist in solving the problems raised by the rundown of the industry. We have not as yet broken the figures down completely between the Departments, but I will get a figure and will write to the hon. Gentleman about it.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that, with the best will in the world, his Department will not be successful until confidence is reestablished in industry and that the Government's failures on the economic front are doing grave damage to the re-establishment of that confidence?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I would entirely agree that this kind of problem cannot be effectively solved except against background of rapid growth and expansion. The measures announced over the week end were designed precisely to ensure that.