HC Deb 19 February 1963 vol 672 cc228-9
34. Mr. Mason

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the deterioration in trade in south Yorkshire; why the facilities of his Department have not been used to induce expansion of trade as much in this area as in other regions; what reply he has sent to the resolution of the Sheffield branch of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, which has been sent to him; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. D. Price

My right hon. Friend would expect south Yorkshire, like other parts of the country, to benefit from the measures recently announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to stimulate the economy as a whole. He does not consider that any special facilities to encourage industrial expansion are necessary in South Yorkshire, where the rate of wholly unemployed remains below that of Great Britain as a whole. My right hon. Friend has replied to the hon. Member about the resolution of the Sheffield Branch of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions.

Mr. Mason

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that trade is still deteriorating and that unemployment in south Yorkshire is on the increase? Is he aware that while we recognise that the aid of his Department is more urgently needed in other regions, we in south Yorkshire are satisfied in our own minds that he could do more to induce industry to come to the area and to encourage more trade and thus cut down the unemployment figures? Is he further aware that, while he is looking elsewhere, there is a danger of another unemployment blackspot growing in this region and that more positive action is therefore required not only by his Department but by the Government as a whole to solve it?

Mr. Price

I think that my original Answer indicated the way we are thinking about the problems of south Yorkshire, which we feel are amenable to general measures applying to the country as a whole. They are not as of now particular structural problems, like those in certain other regions, which give the case for separate treatment. However, I will bear in mind that the hon. Gentleman has said about keeping an eye on whether there may be structural changes in future.

Mr. A. Roberts

Will the hon. Gentleman agree that while we may not be asking for direction of industry into south Yorkshire, we do not want Yorkshire firms to be encouraged to go to other parts of the country?

Mr. Price

In all these things one has to get the priorities right, and the major priority at the moment is that where industrial expansion takes place it should be in the development districts.

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