HC Deb 24 February 1960 vol 618 cc349-50
8. Mr. Prior

asked the Minister of Labour the number of shipyard workers employed in Lowestoft in January, 1956, and January, 1960, respectively.

Mr. Heath

I regret that information for January is not available. Shipbuilding and ship-repairing firms rendering, employment returns from Lowestoft had 1,680 workpeople in November, 1955, and 1,440 in November, 1959.

Mr. Prior

Will my right hon. Friend draw these figures to the attention of the Civil Lord of the Admiralty and, in view of the Navy Estimates, try to obtain more employment for shipbuilding at Lowestoft? Will he also draw the figures to the attention of the President of the Board of Trade and point out to him that percentages are not the only criteria to go on when deciding on B.O.T.A.C. areas? Will he also take into consideration depopulation, which is causing some trouble for the whole of the East Suffolk region?

Mr. Heath

Fortunately, my hon. Friend the Civil Lord is present on the Treasury Bench and has heard what my hon. Friend has said. There has been a decline in the number of workers employed in this industry, but the figures of unemployment are not so high, because many of the men have obtained employment in other industries in other areas.