§ 9. Mr. Ross
asked the Minister of Labour how many registered unemployed in Ayrshire are in districts listed for aid under the Local Employment Act; and how many are in unlisted districts.
§ Mr. Ross
Will the Minister compare those figures with what he said in answer to a supplementary question by my hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mr. Dempsey) when he said that virtually 75 per cent. of the unemployed in Scotland were in development districts, and will he appreciate that the development district has been drawn far too narrowly in Ayrshire and invite the Board of Trade to do something about that as well as trying to draw some industry into Ayrshire to improve the figures?
§ Mr. Heath
My Answer does not contradict the answer I gave the hon. Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie. As was constantly explained during the debates on the Bill when it was passing through the House, the policy is to concentrate development districts on the areas with densest unemployment, that is to say, where the need is greatest. In some cases, it will obviously happen that, over a larger area, there is a greater number of unemployed.
Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that when the Distribution of Industry Acts went out of 428 commission and the present Local Employment Act came in, my hon. Friends were very sceptical about the changes in the development areas then and we asked the Government to keep a careful watch on areas which were formerly development areas but which are not now scheduled? Will the Minister say, taking the old areas as a basis, what has been the effect now that they have been de-scheduled?
§ Mr. Ross
Does the Minister realise that Ayrshire is a county of seaside resorts and the centre of the tourist industry, and that figures like those at this time of the year are really deplorable? Will he once again promise to see the President of the Board of Trade to get something done in this county?
§ Mr. Heath
Of course, my right hon. Friend will see the comments which the hon. Gentleman has made, but the figures have declined much more than seasonally this summer—529 in Ayrshire between May and June and 25 in Kilmarnock—and in Kilmarnock the percentage of 2.6 is, of course, lower than the average for Scotland as a whole, which is3.2 per cent.