Employment, North-Western Region

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment and Productivity – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4 December 1969.

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Photo of Mr Tim Fortescue Mr Tim Fortescue , Liverpool, Garston 12:00, 4 December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity whether she will list the total number in employment in the North- western Region at the latest available date and the equivalent date in 1966.

Photo of Mr Edmund Dell Mr Edmund Dell , Birkenhead

The estimated numbers of employees in employment in the Northwestern Region at March, 1969, and March, 1966, were 2,876,000 and 2,987,000, respectively. The figure for March, 1969, is provisional.

Photo of Mr Tim Fortescue Mr Tim Fortescue , Liverpool, Garston

Does the Minister recall that in 1966 the Prime Minister said that he saw no reason why unemployment should increase and that later in the summer he said that the regions would be protected from the effects of the squeeze? There are now 111,000 fewer jobs in the North-West than there were in 1966. Has the Prime Minister been to his own north-western constituency to explain this discrepancy, and, if he has not, when will he come to Liverpool to do so?

Photo of Mr Edmund Dell Mr Edmund Dell , Birkenhead

As the hon. Member knows, being a Member from the North-West, a great amount of industrial restructuring has been going on in the North-West over the last few years as a result of which employment prospects are now very much more secure in many of the industries which in 1966, and since, were declining very fast. I can tell the hon. Member that on the basis of the I.D.C.s issued since April, 1966, when the projects are completed and manned we will have created 76,800 jobs as compared with only 45,000 in the four-year period 1961–64.

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington

Can my hon. Friend confirm that as a result of the Government's help to areas such as North-East Lancashire this area in the North-West, which has traditionally suffered from unemployment, now has a potential danger of a shortage of skilled labour? Is he bearing this in mind?

Photo of Mr Edmund Dell Mr Edmund Dell , Birkenhead

Certainly, I am bearing that in mind. There is to be a conference on employment in that area in the next few months and my hon. Friend will know that, as a result of creating an intermediate area in the area to which he refers, grants for industrial training are now available from the Government.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

How can the hon. Gentleman talk about employment in this area being more secure when, despite all the waffle about restructuring, the fact is that there are 111,000 fewer jobs than there were three years ago?

Photo of Mr Edmund Dell Mr Edmund Dell , Birkenhead

I am saying that employment prospects are more secure because industry in the area has been diversified and is more modern and more capable of competing both in this country and internationally, and that is the basis for the future prosperity of the North-West and in particular of Merseyside which has development area status.