HC Deb 25 July 1963 vol 681 cc1762-3
25. Mr. Shinwell

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many advance factories are now under construction in the North-East when they will be completed; what inquiries are being made by industrial firms to occupy them; and what is the estimated number of workpeople they will employ.

Mr. Erroll

During the past 12 months, 12 Board of Trade advance factories have been approved for the North-East. Seven of these are under construction and work is about to start on a further three. I expect that these 10 factories will be completed by the end of this year, and the remaining two in 1964. Tenants have already been found for two factories and a number of firms from outside the area have been shown the remaining factories or their sites. These 12 factories should provide more than 1,100 jobs.

Mr. Shinwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that I accept his frequent assurance that he is doing his best to deal with the unemployment problem? But how does it come about that, in spite of the right hon. Gentleman doing his best, he fails to solve the unemployment problem? Will he explain that to me?

Mr. Erroll

Perhaps my best is not good enough, but I will go on trying.

Mr. R. W. Elliott

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) might be encouraged if he read today's double page article on the North-East in the Daily Express and also if he took note of the public opinion poll in the Daily Mail and connected the two?

Mr. Shinwell

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain to me why his hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North (Mr. R. W. Elliott), who has just addressed a question to me in reply to what I said, should be so worried when he asks a question?

Mr. Speaker

It is no part of the duty of the President of the Board of Trade to give explanations about the joy or gloom of his hon. Friends.

Mr. Bottomley

In view of the closing down of the Acklam steel works in Middlesbrough, will the right hon. Gentleman consider sending an advance factory to that town?

Mr. Erroll

Not at the moment, because we want to see how tenants come along for the programme of advance factories under construction or about to be built, but we are watching very closely to see how rapidly they are taken up in order to decide if we should build further factories and, if so, where.

Sir C. Osborne

Further to the supplementary question of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), would my right hon. Friend inform the House that in a free society no Government of any kind can guarantee full employment all the time when 5 million jobs depend on exports?