§ 25. Mr. G. M. Thomson
asked the Minister of Labour if he will state, for the most recent convenient date in respect of the Cities of Dundee and Leeds, the percentage rates of unemployment, and the ratios of unfilled vacancies to persons unemployed.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
On 17th March the percentage rate of unemployment was 5.4 for Dundee and Broughty Ferry and 1.3 for Leeds, Horsforth and Stanningley. For every 100 persons wholly unemployed on 17th March there were on 12th March about five unfilled vacancies in the Dundee area and 85 in the Leeds area.
§ Mr. Thomson
In view of the much graver unemployment situation in Dundee than in Leeds, as revealed by the Minister's figures, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what is probably the largest foundry in the East of Scotland has just closed in my constituency in order to be concentrated in Leeds? Is he further aware that this took place without adequate consultation with the workers and without adequate notice to his own Department concerning the question of redundancy? Would not the Minister agree that this sort of behaviour by a firm in present circumstances is fully against the national interest?
§ Mr. Macleod
I am, of course, aware of the facts that lie behind the hon. Member's question. If foundries or factories have to be closed, I should prefer, if possible, that they were closed in an area such as Leeds, which is doing extremely well, rather than in an area such as Dundee, which has considerable difficulties; but that must be a matter for the commercial judgment of the firms. I should like finally to say once again how 152 important it is, if redundancy has to take place, as in a changing economy, of course, it must, that the very earliest notice be given, particularly to my Department and in all fairness to the representatives of the workers themselves, because there is a tremendous amount that can be done in these cases if only adequate notice is given.