HC Deb 11 November 1937 vol 328 cc1815-6
5. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour whether, as a result of his visit to South Wales and other Special Areas during the Recess, he has developed any new plans for dealing with the situation in those areas as it now exists, and particularly if he has any proposals to deal with the problem of the unemployed men who are over 45 years of age?

Mr. E. Brown

No, Sir, but as I have already stated, I have not yet completed my inquiries into these problems. In regard to the last part of the question, I would refer to the reply which I gave on 4th November to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Accrington (Major Procter).

Mr. Griffiths

In view of the fact that on his visit to South Wales the right hon. Gentleman gave interviews to the Press which raised the hopes of these men, will he inform the House when we shall have plans for dealing with this situation?

Mr. Brown

I have visited seven of the Ministry of Labour divisions, I have two more to visit—which I hope to do shortly —and then I propose to survey all the evidence put before me. As the hon. Member knows, these tours are administrative.

Mr. Lawson

In view of the surplus of labour in South Wales and other areas, who is responsible for plans to meet the situation? This is going to be a very serious matter.

Mr. Brown

That is a matter for debate.

Mr. G. Griffiths

Will the Minister keep in mind the fact that in several semi-depressed areas, there are thousands of men over 45 who are out of work and who never expect to get back to work?

Mr. Brown

In one or two areas, including Yorkshire, I have myself called attention to difficulties of that kind.

Mr. Lawson

Is anybody in the Government responsible for plans?

Mr. Brown

The measure of success we have recently obtained is a very remarkable tribute to the activities of the Government.

Mr. T. Williams

Has the right hon. Gentleman paid any attention to the position in those mining districts in Yorkshire, and will he intimate to the area officers there that there is room for more benevolent treatment than has been given in the past?

Mr. Brown

I get regularly a list of areas in which there has been little or no improvement, and I am happy to say that the list becomes shorter every time it is revised.

26. Mr. Whiteley

asked the Minister of Labour the amount of direct employment provided in each of the main groups of Special Areas as a result of financial assistance from the Special Areas Fund?

Mr. Brown

It is not possible to give details of the amount of employment provided in the Special Areas as the result of assistance from the Special Areas Fund. I would remind the hon. Member that the purpose of the Special Areas Acts is not to provide direct employment, but to stimulate the economic recovery of the areas and thus to improve the employment prospects.