HC Deb 02 July 1958 vol 590 cc1323-4
39. Mr. du Cann

asked the Minister of Labour how many persons formerly employed by British Railways in Taunton and at the Pool Wall, Taunton, shirt factory of Messrs. McIntyre Hogg and Marsh and Company, Limited, have sought new employment through the local offices of his Department; for how many persons new employment has been found; what prospects exist of finding further employment; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Thirty-six workers discharged by British Railways at Taunton at the end of May have registered for employment at my local offices. Of these, 32 have obtained other work and four men are still unemployed; 133 workers from McIntyre Hogg and Marsh have registered for employment, but of these only 83 have so far been discharged; 45 are known to have obtained other employment and 13 women, 10 of whom are available for part-time work only, are registered as unemployed. The prospects of finding other employment for the remaining workers are reasonably good, particularly if the women are prepared to consider work outside their usual trade.

Mr. du Cann

Is my right hon. Friend aware that everybody concerned is most grateful for the efficiency of his local officers, but would he not agree that there is a certain disbalance in employment in Taunton which may possibly be rectified by the introduction of a small amount of selected industry?

Mr. Macleod

Taunton is reasonably well off in comparison with many of the other serious problems that we have. It is true that within the limits of that situation there are certain problems in Taunton, and if we can help we will.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

Although Taunton may be relatively well placed, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a good deal of anxiety among railway workers throughout the Western Region of British Railways, not least of all in my own constituency, about the prospects? Will the right hon. Gentleman keep a close watch on the situation and keep in touch with his right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport?

Mr. Robens

Is it not the case that there is no intention at this stage of introducing any new industries into Taunton to meet the unemployment situation there?