HC Deb 13 December 1960 vol 632 cc195-6
24. Mr. Milne

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he intends to take in view of the effects of pit closures on employment in the Seaton Valley and Bedlington areas; and what assistance he is prepared to give to local authority development committees to provide alternative employment.

Mr. N. Macpherson

My right hon. Friend understands that the National Coal Board does not expect serious redundancies to arise from these closures; but he is keeping a careful watch on the position in these areas. We would nevertheless be glad to see new industry going to the area and welcome the co-operation of local development committees in seeking to attract it.

Mr. Milne

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that prevention of unemployment is better than cure? What will he do to prevent these situations from arising?

Mr. Macpherson

As I say, under the Act my right hon. Friend has to keep this matter under careful examination. The present unemployment rate, however, does not warrant his scheduling these areas and he considers that it would be over-pessimistic to anticipate a heavy rate of unemployment in the future. Incidentally, the National Coal Board expects to be able to place those miners Who will be affected by redundancies as a result of mines which are closed.

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