HC Deb 05 November 1962 vol 666 cc583-4
13. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he is taking to alleviate the unemployment of workers displaced through redundancy in Burntisland shipyard; what facilities he is providing for retraining them; and when they will be offered alternative employment.

Mr. Whitelaw

Our local officers are trying to secure suitable alternative employment for these workers. My right hon. Friend intends to set up a Government training centre in Fife, which will provide local training facilities. I understand that the Burntisland Shipbuilding Company is expecting to lay down a new keel in early January when it would be in a position to take on a limited number of steel-workers.

Mr. Gourlay

Is the Minister aware that it is the Government's economic policy which is responsible for the tragic decline in the shipbuilding industry in this country and which has caused a great deal of this anxiety in Burntisland, where it is more or less the staple industry? While I am pleased to note that some retraining facilities are to be provided, the Minister was careful not to say when. If this is to be effective it will need to be done in the immediate future. While there may be some prospect of employment in January next year, it is still not sufficient fully to employ all those who have been declared redundant in the last nine months.

Mr. Whitelaw

If the hon. Member looks at the world shipbuilding position he will not be able to say that the trouble in our shipyards is due entirely to the Government's policy. We hope that training facilities will be available very soon. I note what the hon. Member said about the employment position, and I accept that it is difficult in this area, but I can assure him that everything will be done to find the men suitable employment.

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