HC Deb 04 February 1963 vol 671 cc3-4
2. Mr. Manuel

asked the Minister of Labour what is the percentage of unemployment in each of the towns of Kilwinning, Dalry, Kilbirnie and Beith, in the constituency of Central Ayrshire.

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

Percentages of unemployment are available only for travel-to-work groups of employment exchanges. At 14th January, 1963, the percentage for the Kilwinning, Ardrossan, Irvine and Stevenston group of employment exchanges was 9.6, and for the Dairy and Kilbirnie group, 7.4. Beith is in the area of the Kilbirnie Employment Exchange.

Mr. Manuel

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that this is a direct reflection on the unemployment and short-term working in the steel industry in my constituency? Is he aware of the lack of recruitment at the I.C.I. factory in the area and the run-down at the Hunterston atomic power plant? Would he not agree with these facts and differ from the view expressed by the Board of Trade and say that there is a crying need for the development of the Kilwinning Industrial Estate, which has remained undeveloped since 1948 and, although belonging to the Government, still has only one factory upon it?

Mr. Whitelaw

I appreciate the serious figures I have announced and I share the hon. Member's concern. I do not think that he should invite me to disagree with the Board of Trade; nevertheless, I note what he has said. Of very mild and limited satisfaction is the fact that there has been a decrease of 232 in the number of unemployed at Dairy and Kilbirnie compared with January last year. As I said, this gives a limited measure of satisfaction.