HC Deb 15 March 1960 vol 619 cc1107-8
30. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the numbers employed at the Lurgi plant at Westfield, Fife, are likely to decline from about 750 now to approximately 200 in October, and that within one year there will be 1,100 fewer jobs available in the mining industry in East Fife; and whether, in view of these considerations, he will include Central West Fife on the list of places eligible for aid under the terms of the Local Employment Bill.

Mr. J. Rodgers

My right hon. Friend is aware that the numbers employed on the construction of the Lurgi plant will decline during the year, and that there will be fewer jobs available in the mining industry. On the second part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member on 23rd February, when I said that a close watch would be kept on the position.

Mr. Hamilton

It is not much consolation to the man unemployed that the Minister is going to keep watch on the situation. Will the hon. Gentleman seek to supplement the information he has now got on this area by the information provided in a series of five articles in the Scotsman a fortnight or so ago? Will he further give an indication whether he included in the Third Reading debate on the Local Government Bill the Dunferm-line area in the total Central West Fife area?

Mr. Rodgers

If the position in Dun-fermline deteriorates we shall naturally consider adding it to the list. For the purpose of the Bill it includes the employment exchange area.

Mr. Mitchison

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that he and his right hon. Friend are looking far enough in these cases? We have now had three or four areas on which he is keeping a watch and in which unemployment seems to be likely. He will remember that "imminent" came out of the Bill.

Mr. Rodgers

I think that underlines the difficulty. We know when unemployment seems to be likely, but in many of the cases mentioned we also know that alternative employment is available, or shortly will be available.

Mr. Ross

In England that is where they will be offered employment.