§ 21. Mr. Gourlay
asked the President of the Board of Trade when he received a letter from Kirkcaldy Town Council, expressing its concern about the rising level of unemployment especially among young people in Fife; and what was the nature of his reply.
§ Mr. D. Price
My right hon. Friend received a letter on 16th November from the Kirkcaldy Town Council and a further letter on 20th November. He has replied reminding the council that the facilities of the Local Employment Act are available to those parts of Fife which are development districts and assuring it that he will continue his efforts to steer new industry into these areas.
§ Mr. Gourlay
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the unemployment figures in the Kirkcaldy area are now almost double the Scottish figures, which are already shockingly high? Is he further aware that so far the Local Employment Act has not provided any jobs in the Kirkcaldy area and that none of the jobs in the famous pipeline has so far arrived? Does he not also recognise that after 11 years of Tory rule we now have the disgraceful position that school leavers can no longer find employment? What does his right hon. Friend intend to do to provide jobs in Kirkcaldy?
§ Mr. Price
My right hon. Friend is aware of the worsening situation in Kirkcaldy and in Fife generally. There are 1,500 jobs in prospect in the Fife development districts arising from new building and industrial developments reported to the Board of Trade, including those still to arise from projects assisted under the Act.
§ Mr. Manuel
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there seems to be a complete lack of policy to safeguard those areas from which basic industries are moving? Does the Board of Trade have a blueprint and is it prepared to take action for areas where the older industries will inevitably decline, or will it wait until it happens before thinking about it?
§ Mr. Price
The action we are empowered to take is under the Local Employment Act and in the granting of industrial development certificates. If no firms are willing to go to an area it is very much harder to provide employment in it. However, as the hon. Member knows, we have made a certain contribution through the advance factories of which two programmes have been announced this year.