HC Deb 13 December 1939 vol 355 cc1196-7
53. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

asked the Minister of Supply whether any steps are being taken by his Department to bring into productive employment the large volume of unemployed labour now available in Durham by the setting up of suitable works?

Mr. Burgin

Certain extensions of works are in hand which will increase the demand for labour on munition work in this area and a number of firms have received substantial orders. I am informed by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour that unemployment in the mining industry has decreased and is still decreasing.

Mr. Stewart

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, in spite of what is being done by the Government, there are in Durham to-day over 50,000 persons still unemployed, and is it not possible for the Government to set up new factories in that area, in addition to giving Government work to existing factories, and in that way to absorb a certain percentage of those people, many of whom have been unemployed for a long period of years?

Mr. Burgin

We shall have an opportunity of discussing that further in a few minutes, but one of the necessities in quick production is to increase the existing factories rather than to wait until new factories can be brought into production.

61. Mr. Hogg

asked the Minister of Supply what has been done in the last two months to mitigate the serious unemployment situation in Oxford?

Mr. Burgin

The unemployment in Oxford is due to falling off since the outbreak of war in the demand for light cars produced by the motor industry at Cowley. I referred to the matter at length in the answer which I gave my hon. Friend on 2nd November. I am afraid that I am unable to report any improvement since that date in the demand for light cars. I understand, however, that other branches of the Morris organisation are making use of the Cowley works for subcontract work, whenever the plant is suitable, and that those factories producing the industrial type of vehicle are employed to capacity. I can assure my hon. Friend that I will do all I can to help.

Mr. Hogg

Will my right hon. Friend hear in mind that unemployment is not confined to the Morris factory, but is found also in the radiator factory, which is capable of production in many other spheres, and also in pressed steel, which is capable of the direct production of armaments?

Mr. Burgin

Yes, Sir, the pressed steel company has received considerable orders and can be utilised. Radiators present a much more difficult problem, but as soon as they can in any way be absorbed in the armament programme they will be.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Will the right hon. Gentleman call the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the first part of his answer?

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