Sunderland and Wearside

Oral Answers to Questions — Economic Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th April 1968.

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Mr. Wiley:

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs whether he will make a further statement on the action he has taken pursuant to the visit of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to Sunderland.

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

Action has been taken on all the points raised. The most important point was that of the Pennywell site, and as my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade announced on 22nd February, the Board of Trade has entered into negotiation to acquire the site.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what recommendations the Northern Economic Planning Council has made to improve the prospects of employment in the Sunderland and Wearside area.

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

The Northern Economic Planning Council has made no specific recommendation about Sunderland and Wearside. The Council is, however, concerned at the high level of unemployment in this area and supports the Government's efforts to bring new industries to Wearside and to encourage the formation of a shipbuilding group on the Wear.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

While appreciating what my right hon. Friend has done, may I ask whether he realises that these Answers are not really satisfactory and that what we want is to have prompt and concerted action about the problems of Sunderland? Above everything else, we want a more ambitious provision of employment.

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

Yes, Sir. That is why I mentioned the Pennywell Estate, which will add considerably to the amount of industrial land available. In addition, I know that my right hon. Friend will rejoice, as I did when I heard on Monday, about the £10 million of orders which have now been placed on the Wear with shipbuilders there.

Photo of Mr Robert Elliott Mr Robert Elliott , Newcastle upon Tyne North

Has the right hon. Gentleman been advised by the Economic Planning Council of the detrimental effect on employment on Wearside of the Government's decision not to take up the South African arms order?

Photo of Mr Frederick Lee Mr Frederick Lee , Newton

No, Sir. I have not been informed of that.