HC Deb 11 July 1962 vol 662 cc1335-7
29. Mr. van Straubenzee

asked the Minister of Labour what arrangements he is making to deal with the problems

Mr. Hare

I have no information on that, but I do not believe for a second that our paper industry would not be fully competitive with the countries of the Six if we joined the Common Market. I have every reason to think that they would, indeed, be well capable of competing. Taking the argument, which I believe to be true, that if we joined the Common Market there would be considerable trading facilities, then that would be to the advantage of a great manufacturing country like Scotland.

Mr. Baxter

Then why has it been necessary to keep in operation a tariff of 16⅔ per cent. on the importation of paper? Why is it believed that that tariff is necessary if, by wiping it out, the British industry could compete in the Common Market countries?

Mr. Hay

I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that our industry is quite incapable of working without a large measure of protection because, if it were so, we should not be able to earn our living.

Following are the figures:

arising from the forthcoming closure of the Handley-Page factory at Woodley.

Mr. Green

Our local officers are today beginning to register workpeople at the factory in advance of their discharge, and should have little difficulty in finding alternative employment for most of them.

Mr. van Straubenzee

Will my hon. Friend instruct his local officers to have particular regard to the problems of the older men—those of 55 years and upwards—who, even in an area with mercifully high employment, are likely to find it most difficult to find another place?

Mr. Green

I accept that.

Mr. Emery

Can my hon. Friend say whether the Reading Employment Exchange has kept in touch with the movement, because many of these men at Woodley live in Reading; and will all assistance be given by that exchange to deal with these redundancies?

Mr. Green

I take my hon. Friend's point. Since unemployment in the Reading area is about 1 per cent. we do not anticipate that we shall have too much trouble there.

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