§ 6. Mr. Pryde
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the need for the introduction of new industries into the Calder areas of Midlothian, where two parishes are scheduled under the Distribution of Industry Act; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with this matter.
§ Sir H. Shawcross
Unemployment in these areas now approximates to the average for the country as a whole, but my Department will continue to keep a close watch on the employment opportunities in the district. There are, however, many other districts in Scotland and elsewhere whose present need for additional industry is far greater.
§ Mr. Pryde
Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that young women in this area of Scotland have as much as three hours added to their working day because they require to be transported into Edinburgh and other labour establishments? Is it not a fact that firms have offered to build factories in this area, and will my right hon. and learned Friend institute an inquiry into this position as it is perfectly obvious that this area has not received the due attention from his Department which it should have done?
§ Sir H. Shawcross
I cannot accept the implications of that question. We have given the most careful consideration to this area as to other areas where there is some degree of unemployment, but the existing circumstances of the country and the amount of capital investment I can permit for factory building does not enable me to authorise the building of new factories to shorten travelling time. The position in one of the areas to which my hon. Friend's question relates is that against an unemployment figure of 17 per cent. in July, 1938, the figure is now down to the average of the whole country—something of the order of 1 per cent.—and compares very favourably with other parts of the Scottish development area as a whole.