§ 34. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the President of the Board of Trade the value of Government help being given to the North-East and North-West, through the Local Employment Act, and other schemes for making public money available for new factories and to provide well-paid employment; and the equivalent Government spending in the South-West, where opportunities in new industries are few and average weekly earnings lower.
§ Mr. D. Price
Total assistance, excluding offers declined, of £8.4 million, £18.0 million and £1.6 million has been offered under the Local Employment Act for projects in the development districts in the North-East, on Merseyside, and in the South-West of England, respectively.
§ Mr. Price
My hon. Friend will see that the sums of money offered under the Local Employment Act bear quite a close statistical relationship to the number of people wholly unemployed in the development districts in the three areas. For instance, in March this year the wholly unemployed in the North-East totalled 43,700, on Merseyside, 38,700 and in the South-West 5,100. With that in mind, the amount of money offered is about right.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are many areas in the North-West, such as Blackburn, which have been struggling to attract new industries in order to keep unemployment at bay, and that they are not getting any financial assistance under the new proposals or under the Local Employment Act? Will the hon. Member take steps to spread this help more widely?