HC Deb 10 April 1967 vol 744 cc718-9
5. Mr. Geoffrey Wilson

asked the Minister of Labour the ratio of unemployed to vacancies notified in July, 1966, and February, 1967, respectively, in the south-west region.

Mr. Fernyhough

In the south-western region at July, 1966, and February, 1967, there were, respectively, 146.7 and 34.6 notified vacancies remaining unfilled for every hundred registered wholly unemployed.

Mr. Wilson

Does the hon. Gentleman think that that is a satisfactory figure?

Mr. Fernyhough

Of course, I do not think that it is satisfactory.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the most important things to cure this chronic unemployment in the South-West is to increase assistance to the development areas? From the viewpoint of his Ministry, is there any reason technically or administratively why, under the new proposal for a regional employment premium, the premium should not be varied from one region to another within the development areas?

Mr. Fernyhough

I would not like to commit myself on that, but I will see that my right hon. Friend's attention is drawn to my hon. Friend's comments.

Mr. Ridley

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the regional premium would do little to help the South-West as there is so little manufacturing industry in that area? Does he realise that he must do something more drastic to solve this problem?

Mr. Fernyhough

I should have thought that we are doing something. At least, the South-West is getting more factories than it had in any comparable period under the previous Administration.