HC Deb 10 May 1960 vol 623 c197
25. Mr. Owen

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the collier fleet on the North-East Coast is seriously declining; and what action the Government will take to assist these displaced people to find other employment.

Mr. J. Rodgers

I am aware of the decline in coal shipments from the North-East. The Board of Trade will continue to encourage industrial development in those places where, for whatever the reason, the local unemployment problem justifies this.

Mr. Owen

This serious problem is a reflection of the general contraction in the coal-mining industry. Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the collier fleet has declined by 75 vessels over recent years and that the members are seeking on-shore employments? This accumulated evidence should speed him to recognise the need for priority in the provision of industry on the North-East Coast.

Mr. Rodgers

I sympathise with some of the remarks of the hon. Gentleman. He will be aware that Seaham is included in one of the development districts.

Mr. Marquand

Will the hon. Gentleman remember when considering this problem that Middlesbrough seamen as well as persons living further up the North-East Coast are involved? Will he look at that aspect?

Mr. Rodgers

Certainly, Sir.