HC Deb 26 April 1965 vol 711 cc12-3
7. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Labour what plans he has, in the event of redundancies taking place, to undertake the necessary research to ascertain the social and financial effect these have on those concerned for some months after disturbance takes place.

Mr. Thornton

The effects of redundancies on the individuals concerned vary very much, but we know a great deal generally about the problems which arise. It is with the object of meeting these that the Government have put forward their proposals for redundancy payments, are examining the question of wage-related short-term benefits and that my right hon. Friend is taking steps to increase the effectiveness of the employment service. The subject is one which he will certainly keep under close review.

Mr. Dodds

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that a Cambridge University team did research work at Stevenage several months after the Blue Streak cancellation which revealed that some big problems can be involved for some workers even if they find another job? Is he aware that unless solutions can be found to some of these problems the men will be thoroughly dissatisfied?

Mr. Thornton

Our Department is aware of the report to which my hon. Friend refers. I have every sympathy with the point of view which he expresses. It will be within his recollection that I was intimately concerned with a huge redundancy scheme in the Lancashire textile industry a few years ago. I know full well some of the human problems which are involved. Even when men do get jobs this often involves skilled workers in their fifties having to do labouring jobs.

Mr. R. W. Elliott

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is great need for research into the industrial effects of redundancy due to the policies of the present Government? Is he aware that there is a factory in West Hartlepools with an employment potential of 300 which is to close mainly as a result of the import surcharge?

Mr. Thornton

I assure the hon. Member that this Government will give greater consideration to these problems than did the last Government. As an earnest of our endeavour here we are introducing the Redundancy Payments Bill for Second Reading this afternoon.

Mr. Onslow

Can the hon. Gentleman say, with particular relation to redundancies caused by the cancellation of the TSR2, whether his Department has any intention to follow up the displaced men to see the effect on productivity and exports of the employment which they eventually take up?

Mr. Thornton

We shall consider that question and we shall make a proper job of meeting the difficulties which will arise.