HC Deb 16 July 1970 vol 803 cc1710-1
20. Mr. Merlyn Rees

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many work vouchers have been issued to Commonwealth citizens annually since 1962 for employment in the Yorkshire woollen industry.

Mr. Bryan

I regret that this information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Rees

Is the hon. Member aware that these vouchers were issued by name to Commonwealth citizens, and only where his Department were sure that there was a shortage of labour in the area? Will he now take steps, in consultation with trade unions and employers in the Yorkshire woollen industry, to replace those Commonwealth citizens who will be repatriated?

Mr. Bryan

I shall certainly go into the question that the hon. Member has just asked, but it is not covered by the original Question.

Mr. Wilkinson

Is my hon. Friend's difficulty in answering the question perhaps due to the somewhat vague phrasing of the original Question? It was not quite clear from the original Question whether the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) was referring to the specific woollen industry or to the generic wool trade.

Mr. Bryan

I understood the hon. Member to mean what he said, in which case it would have required looking up the records for the last eight years at 73 employment exchanges.