HC Deb 17 March 1971 vol 813 cc1409-10
33. Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, in view of the recent increase in unemployment in the construction industry, he will seek to stimulate the public and private construction work to achieve a higher level of production as a contribution to arresting unemployment.

Mr. Younger

My right hon. Friend is keeping the situation under review but I cannot at present add to the replies he gave the hon, Gentleman on 28th January.—[Vol. 810, c. 189–92.]

Mr. Sillars

May I ask the Minister why it is that the Government are afraid to answer the very simple question: will their housing policies increase the number of new houses to be built in Scotland in future years?

Mr. Younger

I certainly hope that we shall have an increased number of new houses in the areas where there is the most real need for them. All the policies we are following are aimed at that.

Mr. James Hamilton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the question of needs was raised by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in that we have an increase of 300 per cent. of steel erectors unemployed in Scotland? Can we have an assurance that the Secretary of State for Scotland will add his weight to the many efforts which are being made for more power stations which are urgently needed to be constructed and so allow these men to work?

Mr. Younger

My right hon. Friend and I keep this sort of problem under very close attention at all times, and we certainly have in mind the future of the power station programme.

Mr. Ross

is the hon. Gentleman aware that we are looking forward to seeing tomorrow what is the latest position about unemployment and that we are all hoping to see that it has improved, but can he tell us whether the Secretary of State and he himself have accepted an indication from the S.T.U.C. to be present at the conference on this subject in Glasgow on 5th April?

Mr. Younger

We have had many talks with the S.T.U.C. on this matter, and, of course, there are members of the S.T.U.C. on the Scottish Economic Council, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, and they from time to time give us their advice on these matters. As for the unemployment figures, I think the whole House will look forward to seeing whether there is some improvement.