HC Deb 16 December 1963 vol 686 cc848-9
40. Mr. P. Browne

asked the Minister of Labour if he will give the unemployment figure, expressed as a percentage of the insured population, for the Bideford and Torrington Employment Exchange area at the last count; and if he will give both the current national average and the figure for the same area for the same month in 1962.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. William Whitelaw)

5.7 per cent. at 9th December, 1963, and 4 per cent. at 10th December, 1962. The national rate for this month is not yet available but it was 2.1 per cent. in November.

Mr. Browne

Does my hon. Friend agree that this is a very high figure? Is he aware that it is very nearly three times the national average? Could he tell me what he is doing to encourage or establish retraining or apprenticeship schemes in the whole of the North Devon area? This would be of the greatest benefit.

Mr. Whitelaw

I take note of what my hon. Friend says and will give him full details in writing.