HC Deb 19 February 1958 vol 582 cc1207-8
41. Mr. T. W. Jones

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he proposes to take to alleviate the present serious position in the slate quarrying industry in North Wales.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The difficulties of this particular industry are reflected at the present time mainly in short-time working rather than in discharges of workers to seek other work. The needs of the slate quarrying areas of North West Wales for additional employment opportunities are fully appreciated by the Government.

Mr. Jones

Is the Minister aware that this important industry in North Wales is declining rapidly and that we are losing the services of experienced quarry workers? Will the Minister look again at the Rees Report, which was published some years ago, which will help the Government in the consideration of this matter?

Mr. Macleod

This decline, as the hon. Member knows, is an old problem. The hon. Member had a Question down recently to the Minister of Housing and Local Government and to other Ministers about what might be done. I will consult my right hon. Friend and will be glad to study again the report to which the hon. Member has drawn my attention.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Will the Minister also pay special attention to the problem which arises in the decay of an old industry in my constituency, the tinplate industry, in which men of 45 and 50 years of age, who have rendered skilled service to the country, find themselves faced with unemployment and with all the difficulties which confront an unemployed middle-aged man?

Mr. Macleod

I think that is an important aspect and, as the right hon. Gentleman says, it is common to both situations.