HC Deb 27 May 1963 vol 678 cc912-3
36. Mr. Gourlay

asked the Minister of Labour if he will state the number of shipyard workers registered as unemployed in Burntisland and Kirkcaldy, respectively, at the latest available date, and for the corresponding dates in 1961 and 1962; and what measures he is taking to offer alternative employment.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour (Mr. William Whitelaw)

At Burntisland, 116 in May, 1963, 14 in May, 1962, and 6 in May, 1961. At Kirkcaldy 48 in May. 1963. 10 in May, 1962 and 5 in May, 1961. Our local officers will continue their efforts to find alternative work for these men. The Government Training Centre we are setting up in Fife will provide local training facilities.

Mr. Gourlay

While appreciating that we are having a new training centre in Fife, may I ask the hon. Gentleman what steps the Minister is taking to provide employment for those trained in these centres? Is he aware that shipbuilding is the main industry in Burntisland and that 1,000 fewer people are employed in the shipyard today than were employed two years ago? Is the hon. Gentleman further aware that so far no additional jobs have been provided in the area as a result of the Local Employment Act? Will he use the most strenuous efforts to provide such employment?

Mr. Whitelaw

I fully appreciate the difficulties caused to areas like this by the decline in the shipbuilding industry. The hon. Gentleman, however, should take some courage, not only from the measures taken by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but also in his own area from the advance factory at Donibristle. I understand that there is a prospective tenant for this factory and that it should employ a total of about 500 workers.

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