§ 41. Mr. Shinwell
asked the Minister of Labour how many mine workers registered for employment at employment exchanges in County Durham at the last available date.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is not this a very high figure of unemployed miners, particularly since efforts have been made to transfer unemployed miners to other parts of the coal field and throughout the country? As there appears to be very little hope of these unemployed miners being again employed in the Durham mining industry, 28 can the Minister offer any prospects at all for their re-employment?
§ Mr. Hare
I share the right hon. Gentleman's concern about this figure. As he knows, there has been a considerable contraction in the coal mining industry during the past twelve months in Durham. There are about 6,000 fewer men on the books of the National Coal Board than there were a year ago.
The right hon. Gentleman will agree that the Coal Board is doing as good and as humane a job as possible in trying to find alternative employment and dealing with redundancy as decently as may be. On the general question of the balance of men who are left unemployed, the whole of the Government's policy to try to give special treatment to the North-East and to Scotland will, I hope, play its part in finding jobs for them.
§ Mr. Shinwell
But is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that there has been a great deal of, if I may use the expression,"ballyhoo" by certain individuals and organisations in the North-East about the transfer of unemployed miners to other coalfields? Does not this very large figure of over 1,700 unemployed miners, in the present depressing situation, give the lie to all this talk about the capacity to transfer unemployed miners to others parts of the coalfield?
§ Mr. Popplewell
Do not these figures, combined with the figures which the Minister gave to the hon. and gallant Member for The Hartlepools (Commander Kerans) and others, indicate how serious is what is now taking place in the North-East? Will he now say, seeing that he referred to it himself, when the House is to be given the special report compiled by the noble Lord on the Government's intentions regarding what is to be done to absorb some of the unemployed in the North-East?