HC Deb 15 February 1940 vol 357 cc918-9
4. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that in the administrative county of Durham there were, on 11th December, 1939, 41,693 persons unemployed, and in the five county boroughs 31,450, making a total of 73,143; and can he state whether it is the intention of the Government to build factories in this area, other than on the Team Valley Trading Estate, or to introduce some other means with a view to providing for these people?

Mr. E. Brown

I am aware of the position in this area, and would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 21st November last. Subject to strategic and technical considerations, it is the settled policy of the Government that new production capacity should be located where suitable labour is available. As regards the provision of alternative sources of employment, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Chester-le-Street (Mr. Lawson) on 8th February.

Mr. Stewart

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of my Question, with regard to the Government's intentions in providing work for these people? Is it not a serious matter that, after five months of war, we still have in one county over 75,000 persons unemployed?

Mr. Brown

That is so; but the hon. Member knows that there are particular difficulties in that area.

Mr. J. J. Davidson

Would the Minister like to share the 17s. worth of democracy of those people?