§ 9. Mr. Swingler
asked the Minister of Labour how many persons, and what proportion of the working population, were unemployed in Newcastle-under-Lyme at the latest date for which figures are available; how many of them were disabled persons and for how long, on average, these persons had been without work; and what steps are being taken by his Department to extend organisations like Remploy in order to provide work for the disabled, as well as to expand industry generally.
§ Mr. Heath
At 12th October, 826 persons, representing 3.1 per cent. of the estimated total number of employees in the area, were unemployed. On 29th October, there were 193 unemployed registered disabled persons, of whom 75 had been unemployed for up to six months, 37 between six months and a year and 81 for more than a year. The employment position in Newcastle and the surrounding area is not such as to warrant special steps to expand industry generally, but my local officers take all possible steps to place disabled people either in open or sheltered employment.
§ Mr. Swingler
Despite what he has said, is the Minister aware that unemployment in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been running at a substantially higher figure than the national average for a period of over five years and that there is a hard core of disabled persons who have been unable to find work? May I now enlist the support of the right hon. Gentleman for the proposals which I shall be renewing to his right hon. Friends the Ministers for Education, Transport, and Housing and Local Government to solve the unemployment problem in Newcastle-under-Lyme?
§ Mr. Heath
I will, of course, gladly consider any proposal to help to solve the unemployment problem at Newcastle-under-Lyme, especially in relation to disabled people. I understand that the Disablement Advisory Committee has made certain proposals which are 648 being considered. I have had an opportunity of chatting with Sir Alex Zealley, chairman of Remploy, and it is encouraging to learn the way in which its work is going.