HC Deb 13 November 1958 vol 595 c539
1. Mrs. Castle

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of rising unemployment and short time in Blackburn, not only in the textile industry but in engineering, he will reconsider his refusal to include Blackburn in a development area.

The President of the Board of Trade (Sir David Eccles)

I am glad to say that unemployment in Blackburn does not make it necessary to add that city to the list.

Mrs. Castle

Is the President aware that since his predecessor turned down Blackburn's application to be included in the North East Development Area some two or three years ago, unemployment in the town has risen to 5 per cent.; that that is a higher figure than that obtaining in some towns scheduled at that time; that in the town there are 2,500 wholly or temporarily unemployed, and that the figure is rising and that the Blackburn Town Council and the Trades and Labour Council have officially gone on record with this demand? Will he please give this matter serious consideration and not dismiss it in that lighthearted and inaccurate way?

Sir D. Eccles

According to my information, at the October count there were 1,500, or under 2.7 per cent., wholly unemployed. It is that percentage that we use when considering whether or not to add an area to the list under the new Distribution of Industry (Industrial Finance) Act, and the figure on which we operate is 4 per cent.