HC Deb 27 January 1959 vol 598 cc877-8
40. Mr. Ainsley

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the nature of his reply to a letter he received from the Crook and Willington Urban District Council, County Durham, dated 15th January, 1959, on unemployment and lack of industry in the area.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. John Vaughan-Morgan)

A reply will be sent by the Department tomorrow. My right hon. Friend has great sympathy with the District Council in their plea for the introduction of new industry into the district to offset reductions in employment in recent months. We cannot direct industry to particular places, but we shall do what we can to steer suitable firms to the district. In the larger area, of which this district forms a part, approved extentions to Government factories are expected to provide several hundred new jobs in the course of the year, and I hope that workers in the Crook and Willington district will succeed in getting a share of them.

Mr. Ainsley

Is the Minister of State aware that sympathy at the moment is not sufficient? Is he aware that when the Prime Minister toured the North-East he did not contact the employment exchanges in the west of Durham? Is he aware that, according to the latest figures that I have received, unemployment is 4.4 per cent in an area which covers three constituencies and the percentage in the North-West Durham constituency—the area in question—is considerably higher than that? Will the hon. Gentleman now consider some special financial aid to encourage industrialists to enter the area?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

The area is not on the D.A.T.A.C. list, but the matter is, of course, kept under review.