§ 29. Mr. Brooks
asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what is the present number of workers in the Merseyside Development Area for whom the regional employment premium is paid to employers; what was the comparable number 12 months ago; and what has been the total sum so far paid under this head within the development area.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity (Mr. Roy Hattersley)
On 30th November, 1968, and 30th November, 1967, respectively there were 339,000 and 304,000 persons employed in establishments in the Merseyside Development Area registered for regional payments including the regional employment premium.
These figures reflect the position in establishments registered at the date of the count. They do not include all eligible establishments since they take no account of belated applications which were subsequently accepted. The difference between the two figures cannot therefore be taken to represent the full extent of any increase in employment in manufacturing industries in the area.
Between 4th September, 1967, when regional employment premium became available, and 31st March, 1969, about £24 million was paid in regional employment premium to employers in the Merseyside Development Area.
§ Mr. Brooks
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a relatively high proportion of Merseyside workers employed in service industries? In view of the character of R.E.P., is the objective of this hand-out to restructure industry on Merseyside or to gain the maximum possible employment on Merseyside?
§ Mr. Hattersley
I think that it has both objects in part. But, irrespective of 1696 its success in achieving these supplementary objects, I think that my hon. Friend will conclude from the figures that I have just quoted that it has played a substantial part in improving the general employment prospects in the area.