§ The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Dudley Smith)
Not all redundancies are notified to my Department, but notification of redundancies involving some 3,700 work-people have been recorded as due to occur in the Manchester travel-to-work area. In addition, some 4,300 jobs will be affected by the proposed closure of the British Steel Corporation works at Irlam.
§ Mr. Rose
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is a gross under-estimate and, indeed, is less than the figure which he gave last time; that this is only the tip of the iceberg; and that many firms, like I.C.I. in my own constituency, are already preparing for more redundancies? Is he further aware that projections with re- 550 gard to the increase in unemployment show the most alarming figures for the North-West? What action is his Department taking? Is it making special provision for the mass redundancies—2,500 alone at Hawker-Siddeley—in the way that my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) did when there were only tiny redundancies to be dealt with?
§ Mr. Smith
I do not accept that there are the mass redundancies which the hon. Gentleman forecasts. These are the most up-to-date figures that we have. The services of my Department are, of course, available to help actively those who are made redundant. The question of other policies in that area is one for the Department of Trade and Industry.
§ Mr. Orme
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that reply will not do, and that in my constituency in Salford a firm is likely to close in three weeks, making another 400 people redundant? What action are the Government taking when a prosperous area like the Greater Manchester area faces a large increase in unemployment figures? Something must be done, and what the people in my area want to know is what the Government will do to alleviate the position.
§ Mr. Kaufman
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, apart from the great anxiety caused by the forthcoming redundancies, there are additional anxieties caused by misunderstandings and fears about the qualifications for redundancy payment at Irlam in relation to the B.S.C. pension fund? I have had representations about this from my constituents. It would be a great help if the Minister could find ways of clarifying this situation to remove these burdens of anxiety.
§ Captain W. Elliot
Has my hon. Friend noticed that it has been announced 551 today that 90 boilermakers, who have been on unofficial strike for nine weeks against their union's directions, have been discharged from Cammell Laird and that the firm has said that unless this dispute is settled, the whole works might have to close? Is it not this sort of thing that is creating unemployment all over the country?