HC Deb 13 May 1952 vol 500 cc1099-100
26. Miss Herbison

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the growing unemployment in Lanarkshire; and what steps he has taken or proposes to take to deal with it.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Unemployment in Lanarkshire in April, although slightly higher than in March, was less than at the beginning of the year. My right hon. Friend is in constant touch with my right hon. Friends, the President of the Board of Trade and the Minister of Supply, with a view to placing defence and other work in Lanarkshire and other unemployment areas in Scotland.

Miss Herbison

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that to obtain a proper comparison he must compare the figures with those for this time last year? Is he also aware that in Lanarkshire there is quite a bit of unemployment? Will his right hon. Friend take steps to safeguard against that?

Mr. Stewart

Comparing, as the hon. Lady suggested, this time this year with the same time last year, the fact is that the figures for males are practically the same. The increase in unemployment is mainly among women. The steps the Government have taken to ensure that Scotland receives a share of the new defence programme and, in particular, that part which may be concerned with textiles will have, we hope, a fairly good effect for the benefit of Lanarkshire.

Miss Herbison

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that in many cases in Lanarkshire the women who are under-employed or men who have lost their jobs completely can find no alternative work at all? Will he ensure that when the re-armament programme gets under way these Lanarkshire girls will not have to come to England to find work, as they did when we had re-armament work previously?

Mr. Stewart

I can only assure the hon. Lady that we have made special repre- sentations to the Minister of Supply to ensure that Scotland receives a fair share of the extra £20 million to £25 million in defence contracts for textiles and clothing.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

is my hon. Friend aware that at present there is an insatiable demand for labour at East Kilbride in Lanarkshire?