HC Deb 31 January 1963 vol 670 cc1124-5
Q3. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the growing unemployment in the Midlands, he will appoint a member of the Cabinet to examine the situation and make proposals to remedy it.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. The unemployment percentage in the Midland Region is less than that of the country as a whole.

Mr. Dugdale

Does the Prime Minister realise, while recognising the very serious state of unemployment in Scotland and the North-East, that it would be a very grave error to imagine that there is no unemployment in the Midlands, where during the past month the figure has risen by 25,000, or 50 per cent.? Will he not give the matter very serious consideration?

The Prime Minister

There have been very special circumstances in the last month, as the whole House knows. The whole tenor of our discussions on this matter has been to try to deal with the special problems of special areas, such as the North-East Coast or Scotland, and not merely, by scheduling the whole country, to destroy the whole purpose of the plans which we have made.

Mr. Lipton

Does the Prime Minister realise that the appointment of Cabinet Ministers to examine situations is a confession of utter bankruptcy on the part of the Government, and that the further appointment of any Cabinet Ministers to examine situations will merely add to the alarm and despondency already felt?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member might have started this a few weeks ago, when the appointment was announced. He is a bit late with his criticism. I should have said that the House as a whole, and certainly the North-East area, has welcomed the appointment of my noble Friend.