HC Deb 13 July 1970 vol 803 cc1141-2
50. Mr. Wilkinson

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will take special measures to attract new industry, and in particular advanced technology industries, to the West Riding wool textile district.

Mr. Ridley

The Government must give priority to the employment needs of the development and intermediate areas. In the operation of the i.d.c. control in the West Riding we shall, however, take account of the decline in employment in the textile industry.

Mr. Wilkinson

Is my hon. Friend aware that unemployment in the West Riding wool textile district is likely to rise faster on current projections than in any other region of the country? Is he also aware that industrial hourly earnings in Yorkshire and on Humberside are lower than in any other area, except Ulster?

Mr. Ridley

The rate of unemployment in West Yorkshire is only 2 per cent. compared with the national average of 2.4 per cent., so we cannot anticipate the worsening which my hon. Friend fears, which I hope will not take place.

Mr. William Price

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that there will not be industry available to send to the West Riding or anywhere else for that matter because his hon. Friends from Birmingham and the Black Country have promised to send it all to the West Midlands.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman might like to know that there is a serious shortage of mobile industry, and that it will be impossible to satisfy the needs of the whole country because of the legacy we inherited from the last Government.