§ 34. Mr. P. Wells
asked the Minister of Labour if he is aware of the dismissal of 27 workers, and the pending dismissal of 200 more, by two firms which came to the Isle of Sheppey following the closure of Her Majesty's Dockyard, Sheerness; and what action he is taking to provide employment for these and the other 700 unemployed on the island.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
Yes. Our local officers are doing everything possible to find alternative employment for all those registered.
§ Mr. Wells
Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that that is the kind of assurance which I have been given for the past 960 three years, during which time the number of unemployed has increased to 11 per cent. of the registered workers on the Isle of Sheppey? Will the Minister do something to convince his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade that it is time to reschedule the Isle of Sheppey under the Local Employment Act?
§ Mr. Whitelaw
I am naturally aware that that is the sort of reply that the hon. Member has been receiving, and I wish that I were able to give him a better one. With regard to the February position, the hon. Member will appreciate that much of the unemployment was in construction, where we would hope that the position will now improve. As to the question of scheduling the area, I cannot add anything to the reply given to the hon. Member by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade on 19th February.