HC Deb 04 November 1937 vol 328 cc1083-4
3. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

asked the Minister of Labour the number of unemployed persons in Durham County in age groups from 16 years of age and upwards that have been unemployed for six months or more.

Mr. E. Brown

The numbers of applicants for insurance benefit and unemployment allowances at 13th September, 1937, who had been continuously on the registers of Employment Exchanges in the County of Durham for six months or more, were as follow:

Persons aged 16–17 158
Persons aged 18–20 406
Persons aged 21–64 36,418

Mr. Batey

What steps are being taken by the Ministry to find work for these men?

Mr. Brown

We are taking continuous steps, and, as the hon. Member knows, very remarkable progress has been made.

Mr. Batey

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what steps are being taken?

Mr. Brown

Not at Question Time.

Mr. Lawson

Would it not be possible to issue a report showing the position?

Mr. Brown

I have given the figures in the answer.

21. Mr. Leslie

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in his recent tour in the North of England, he visited the derelict villages in the county of Durham; and whether he has considered any scheme for location of industries in these villages thereby preventing further depopulation?

Mr. Brown

Yes, Sir, I visited some of the villages to which the hon. Member refers, and was impressed with the difficulty of the problem they present. The South West Durham Improvement Association, Limited, was recently formed with the special object of improving conditions in South West Durham, and I would also refer the hon. Member to the answer given on Tuesday last to the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. W. Joseph Stewart).

Mr. Leslie

Does the Minister not think it advisable to try to save these villages from extinction when they can provide good transport, rather than to concentrate industry in a particular estate 20 or 30 miles away from them?

Mr. Brown

I should not care to generalise. As the hon. Member knows, these villages all have their individual character. As the answer I gave last week shows, the Commissioner is already taking steps, through the Improvement Association, to obtain sites in that area.

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