HC Deb 03 June 1938 vol 336 cc2413-4
11. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Labour, whether his attention has been called to the proposal to establish a new aircraft factory at Birmingham; and whether, in view of the fact that this factory will give employment to 15,000 workpeople and will consequently involve large-scale transference of labour from other areas since the percentage of unemployment in the Birmingham area is as low as 6.8 per cent., he will make representations for this factory to be established in Wales where the percentage of unemployment varies from 25 per cent. to 55.6 per cent.?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air to the hon. Member for Everton (Mr. Kirby) on 1st June.

Mr. Griffiths

In view of the fact that the establishment of this factory will mean employment to a very large number of workpeople, will the right hon. Gentleman not consider whether it should not be established in an area where there is skilled and unskilled labour available which is at present unemployed?

Mr. Brown

My Department and the Air Ministry have a sub-committee, and these factors are being constantly pressed upon those who desire to establish new factories, but, as usual, there are other factors which have to be taken into consideration.

Colonel Baldwin-Webb

Is it not true that the labour is available in this particular area?

Mr. Lawson

Will not this factory add 15,000 people to the population of this area? Why is this being done when we are considering the evacuation of whole populations?

Mr. Brown

This is a case where there has been a request from this particular manufacturer, with a great national service himself, to establish a factory in order to serve the national needs at the quickest moment.

Mr. Shinwell

What are the other factors to which the right hon. Gentleman referred in his answer, and if vulnerability is one, does he not appreciate that vulnerability is less obvious in other parts of the country?

Mr. Brown

That question should be addressed to my right hon. Friend.

Sir Edmund Brocklebank

Was the right hon. Gentleman consulted before a decision was made?

Mr. Brown

I have pointed out that the Ministry of Labour and the Air Ministry have a sub-committee working together, and we are regularly making representations as to sites, but the hon. Member must understand that there are other factors which the Secretary of State for Air has pointed out.

Mr. Batey

Was the Minister of Labour consulted before this factory was agreed to, and is he considering the needs of the Special Areas where there are none of these factories?

Mr. Brown

I am always consulting the needs of the Special Areas, and of other areas as well.