HC Deb 03 December 1958 vol 596 cc1184-5
35. Mr. Edward Evans

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware of the rising incidence of unemployment in Lowestoft and in adjacent areas; and if he will give the latest figures for Lowestoft, Beccles, Bungay, and Hales-worth, with a comparison with figures in November, 1957.

Mr. Wood

Yes, Sir. As the Answer to the second part of the Question consists of a table of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Evans

Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the very grave anxiety caused in the area by the sudden steep rise in unemployment? Will he consult the President of the Board of Trade to ascertain whether Beccles and Lowestoft could be covered by the Distribution of Industry Act, from which they were specifically excluded? Is he aware of the disastrous results of the complete failure of the herring fishing season this year and the fact that very few young boys leaving school can get apprenticeships owing to the depression in the shipbuilding trade?

Mr. Wood

The hon. Gentleman put Questions to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade recently. As he knows, the unemployment figure at Beccles is 2.9 per cent., and although it is over 4 per cent. at Lowestoft it has increased there very recently, for in July it was only 1.3 per cent. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade does not, therefore, consider that these two areas should be given assistance under the Distribution of Industry Act.

Following is the table:

Area November, 1957 November, 1958
Lowestoft 564 817
Beccles 100 120
Bungay 84 100
Southwold including Halesworth 111 148