HC Deb 23 May 1960 vol 624 cc21-2
24. Mr. P. Wells

asked the Minister of Labour what was the number of registered unemployed on the Isle of Sheppey at the latest convenient date; and what was the corresponding number a year ago.

Mr. Heath

Seven hundred and two at 11th April compared with 375 at 13th April, 1959.

Mr. Wells

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the most serious aspects of this problem is the lack of opportunity for school leavers? That problem is already serious, and might became much more severe as time goes on. What special measures does he propose to deal with this and the general problem that arises from the deliberate policy of the Government in closing Sheerness dockyard?

Mr. Heath

The closure of the dockyard was the result of general defence policy, but the area is a development district and I am glad to say that there are signs of firms coming into the dockyard which was sold to Building Development Limited. One firm has already started production. Another is due to start at the end of the month, and another has already started to prepare for its operations. Four I.D.C.s have been granted and three are under consideration. I hope that industry will begin to develop in the area.