HC Deb 17 April 1962 vol 658 cc224-5
22. Mr. Hannan

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the forthcoming complete closure of the North British Locomotive Company, Glasgow, and the consequent addition of 1,200 men to Scotland's existing unemployment; and what immediate steps he will take to provide employment in this area.

Mr. N. Macpherson

My right hon. Friend is aware that if the proposal to wind up the North British Locomotive Company is accepted by the shareholders it will result in the discharge of a large number of workers. He will continue to steer industry to Clydeside, as to other areas of high unemployment. Assistance under the Local Employment Act is available for new industries or expansions of existing industries which will give rise to extra employment for the inhabitants of Glasgow.

Mr. Hannan

Does the Parliamentary Secretary never get bored with reading out these complacent Answers? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Is he not aware that this world-famous locomotive works has closed down and that 5,000 men are now unemployed? What exceptional steps will he take to try to provide employment in this heavily populated industrial area where several other works have closed down in recent times? Does it not call for exceptional action, and what is he prepared to do about it?

Mr. Macpherson

I do not accept that it calls for exceptional action. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The Local Employment Act was designed to meet the needs of changing circumstances. We shall continue to do our best, and if unemployment continues to increase in a place we shall do our best to steer more industry to that place. With regard to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, if hon. Members from different parts of the country ask the same type of Question, they are bound to get much the same Answer.

Mr. Hirst

Is not my hon. Friend aware that much of the difficulty in this industry has been caused by the policy of the nationalised railways building their own stock, thereby denying the industry a basis for export? That is one of the major difficulties.

Mr. Macpherson

That would be a question for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport.

Mr. T. Fraser

Cannot the Parliamentary Secretary just contradict what his hon. Friend has said?

Mr. Speaker

Order. If the question was directed to the wrong Minister, it is no good directing the contradiction to the wrong Minister.

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