§ 21. Mr. Ross
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the present position and prospects of the lace industry, he will add the Irvine Valleys area of Ayrshire to the schedule of development districts under the Local Employment Act.
§ Mr. Erroll
No, Sir. While the lace industry in the Irvine Valleys has been contracting, workers have been able to get employment in Kilmarnock and the numbers of unemployed have remained fairly steady. I do not consider that high and persistent unemployment is threatened in the district as a whole.
§ Mr. Ross
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since I tabled this Question yet another factory, that of William Morton and Co., has closed? Is he also aware that this is an industry which traditionally employs married women who naturally will not be shown on the register as unemployed because they have not been paying unemployment insurance and must be employed locally? At least five factories are vacant and good skilled labour is available. This is just the kind of place where the right hon. Gentleman could make a success of the Local Employment Act if it were properly applied. Will he look at this matter again?
§ Mr. Erroll
Nearly all the redundant workers in the lace industry in this 625 locality have, in the past, found work in Kilmarnock. I understand that knitting machines for the production of Terylene lace and net have been installed by a number of firms, which justifies a hope for some improvement in this industry.