HC Deb 03 November 1959 vol 612 cc829-30
5. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that unemployment in Aberdeen is still high, and that this affects not only the major industries in the city but also the related industries in the county and in the Highlands, and that discontent and distress continue to grow in these areas; and if he will now specify as a matter of urgency the additional steps he has taken, is taking and intends to take to solve the relevant problems.

Mr. Maudling

I am aware of the level of unemployment in Aberdeen. The Board of Trade is continuing its efforts to persuade new industry to go to Aberdeen, as to other places affected by unemployment.

Mr. Hughes

As the Minister is one of the survivals on the Front Bench from the last Parliament, he will realise that I have been pressing this matter for years without result, but does he realise that Aberdeen and the North-East of Scotland are facing a hungry winter? In conjunction with the Board of Trade, cannot something be done to bring advance factories into North-East Scotland?

Mr. Maudling

I quite accept the difficulty of the situation in the Aberdeen area. I understand that so far twelve firm and eligible applications for assistance have been received by D.A.T.A.C.; two have been approved, two rejected and the remaining eight are still under consideration.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Will my right hon. Friend say whether his Department has direct contact with the chambers of commerce in Scotland, particularly in Aberdeen, and also whether his Department has in any way had difficulties put in its way by the closure of certain branches of the Board of Trade in the North?

Mr. Maudling

I do not think that closures have caused any difficulties. I am sure the contacts are considerable. I am not aware of the exact details, but will look into the point made by my hon. Friend. I am certain that no difficulty has arisen from that source.