§ 10. Mr. Hector Hughes
asked the Minister of Labour if he will make a comprehensive statement of the work done and plans for further work by the North-East of Scotland Development Association, set up by him jointly with the President of the Board of Trade to promote trade, industry and employment in the city of Aberdeen and the counties of Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine.
§ Mr. Hare
A decision to set up the North-East of Scotland Development Committee was taken at a conference called by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen. The committee has not yet been formed. Neither my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade nor I are responsible for setting up such bodies, although, of course, we welcome local initiative in these matters in areas such as this where additional employment facilities are needed.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is the Minister aware that this forms a very important aspect of his work? Does he not agree that although he now disclaims responsibility for this association, he should, in conjunction with the President of the Board 629 of Trade, take steps to reinforce the association and to see that it does the very important and urgent work which it was set up to do and solves the relevant problems?
§ Mr. Hare
We do welcome the association but this question is one for local initiative. As the hon. and learned Member knows, Aberdeen is still a development district, and that is where the Government come in. I am glad to say that things have improved there. If he looks at the unemployment figures, he will see a rate of 2.7 per cent. in October of this year, compared with 3.6 per cent. in October, 1959.