HC Deb 04 November 1936 vol 317 cc75-7

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister whether he can now state precisely and in figures the number of resolutions he has received (a) from public bodies and corporations, (b) from other sources, from 1st July to the opening of Parliament, regarding the position at Jarrow?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)

Yes, Sir. The figures for which the hon. Member asks are as follow. I have received 66 resolutions and eight letters in similar form from public bodies regarding Jarrow, and one telegram, five postcards and eight letters—one of which was signed by eight persons—from individuals throughout the country. These figures include those received on the subject of the proposed steelworks at Jarrow.


(by Private Notice) asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that there are a large number of unemployed shipyard workers in Jarrow, and whether in view of the present emergency he will take steps to see that the ban placed upon shipbuilding at Palmer's Yard at Jarrow should be lifted if a new company is prepared to re-open it?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

I am aware that the latest information available to the Ministry of Labour shows that, on 28th September last, there were 1,185 unemployed shipyard workers, skilled and unskilled, resident in Jarrow. In addition there were 818 general labourers unemployed in Jarrow, some of whom were probably unskilled shipyard workers. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer to the reply which the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Jarrow (Miss Wilkinson) on 29th October. As my right hon. Friend then explained, the unemployment position at Jarrow, while still far from satisfactory, has improved during recent months. There is every reason to hope that the industrial improvement now taking place in the Tyneside area will continue with a consequent increased demand for shipyard workers. This increased demand should provide more work for those still unemployed at Jarrow, notwithstanding the restriction on the use of Palmer's Yard.


While thanking the right hon, Gentleman for his full and lucid reply, may I ask whether he is aware that with the shipyard not being open there is no rating value, because there are no factories in Jarrow? The people are getting more employment elsewhere, but there are no rating facilities.


If the hon. Member will put that question on the Order Paper, I will certainly consider it with my own and related Departments.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government's complacency is regarded throughout the country as an affront to the national conscience?


(by Private Notice) asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether any ban has been imposed which prevents work being done in respect of shipbuilding for Admiralty purposes at Palmer's Shipbuilding Yard at Jarrow; and in view of the present emergency will the Government undertake to give Admiralty and other Government work for at least two years, to enable Palmer's Shipyard to be re-started if a new company is established.

The FIRST LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Sir Samuel Hoare)

I understand that Palmer's Shipyard at Jarrow has been disposed of by National Shipbuilders Security, Limited, under a restrictive covenant which precludes the use of the site for shipbuilding for a period of years. As regards the second part of the question, I regret that even if a new company were established the Admiralty could not give such an undertaking so far as contracts for Naval shipbuilding are concerned. It is the practice to invite tenders from various shipbuilders and the allocation of contracts depends on a number of factors, including the prices tendered by the different firms, but, as the hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware, the Admiralty has recently placed extensive contracts on the Tyne which are giving employment to large numbers of workers in this district.


Does the Prime Minister consider that it is in the public interest that a private company should be free to barter away the livelihood of the population of a district in this way?

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