§ Mr. Heath
These figures show that there has been a decrease from 5.1 per cent. to 2.9 per cent. on a year ago. I understand that it has been possible for miners who became unemployed as a result of the closure this year of a colliery in the Hindley area to be absorbed elsewhere. One appreciates that future difficulties may arise, but firms with new buildings which are already there have not yet completed their recruitment, which is a hopeful sign.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Would not my right hon. Friend agree that all the proposals in the Local Employment Bill show how anxious are Her Majesty's Government to take early steps in the matter of employment difficulties, notably in coal and mining areas such as Wigan?
Is the Minister aware that his hon. Friend has a point here? Is he aware that the Government are indeed proposing to scrap the D.A.T.A.C. scheme which only last year they said would do so much good? Did the Minister notice that my hon. Friend pointed out that in this area and others there are industries, such as coal, cotton and railways, which are now contracting? Will he pay particular attention to areas where the stable industries are contracting and will never again employ the same numbers and tell us what sort of policy he proposes for such industries?
You may have noticed, Mr. Speaker, that I was addressing my supplementary question to the issues in Wigan by trying to point out that the main industries in Wigan are contracting without provision being made for new employment.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman is right. In so far as the Minister desires to answer in relation to Wigan, it would be clearly in order for him to do so. I wished to confine supplementary questions to what arose out of the situation in Wigan.
§ Mr. Heath
It is true that the Government's proposals in the Local Employment Bill will be of special weight in contracting areas. Far from the D.A.T.A.C. arrangements being abandoned, they have been absorbed in the constructive proposals in the new Bill.