HC Deb 06 May 1958 vol 587 cc1023-4
36. Mr. Swingler

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that unemployment in Newcastle-under-Lyme is substantially higher than the national average; and what steps are being taken to provide more opportunities for work.

Mr. Erroll

I am aware of the present unemployment position in the area. The facilities for establishing new industry in the area and in North Staffordshire generally continue to be brought to the notice of industrialists.

Mr. Swingler

Will the Parliamentary Secretary and his right hon. Friend recognise that the high level of unemployment now in Newcastle-under-Lyme and North Staffordshire generally is due to the de-dine in the building trade, the contraction of the pottery industry and the closing of the Swynnerton Royal Ordnance Factory, all of which are due to Government policy? Will he, therefore, consider whether some positive action should be taken by the Government in order to bring employment to those whom the Government have displaced?

Mr. Erroll

My right hon. Friend is keeping a close watch on the position.

39. Mr. Ainsley

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the largest limestone quarry in the Weardale rural district, County Durham, employing some 70 men, is to close down, and that 25 men at the Wolsingham steel works in the same area have been given notice; and, with no prospect of other employment in the area, what arrangements he is making to bring additional employment into North-West Durham.

Mr. Erroll

I understand that some of the quarry workers have already found other employment. No special action is proposed to bring additional employment to the district.

Mr. Ainsley

Is the Minister aware that this is the problem area of the North-East Development Area and that Professor Dayhish, of Durham University, has spoken of the declining opportunity in industry, both for young people and adults, in mining, in quarrying and in the steel industry, from which people are now on short time or are signing on at the employment exchange? How long are we to wait for the Government to do something? Must we wait until somebody else like my right hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) can attend to the area?

Mr. Erroll

The position is not as black as the hon. Member has indicated. In fact, employment opportunities in the area as a whole are satisfactory.