HC Deb 11 November 1971 vol 825 cc1226-7
Q8. Mrs. RenÉe Short

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination existing between the Secretaries of State for Employment and the Environment in solving the problem of unemployment, especially in the West Midlands; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer described to the House on Tuesday the various Government measures aimed at reducing the level of unemployment throughout the country, including the West Midlands.

Mrs. Short

Is the Prime Minister aware that these measures are singularly unsuccessful, in that unemployment in the West Midlands is steadily moving towards 8 per cent? Is he also aware that if his two Secretaries of State were to set about a comprehensive and energetic house-building programme, which is so urgently needed throughout the West Midlands, this would provide employment to people who are without work and at the same time get people out of the deplorable housing conditions in which they live? Will he consider setting up a special house-building association to do this?

The Prime Minister

I discussed the problems of the West Midlands when I visited that area during the recess and met the Economic Planning Council. There is no doubt that the improvement grants which were introduced by my right hon. Friend are now having a consider-able effect. Similarly, there is an improvement in the private sector of house building, and I should have thought that in the West Midlands many local authorities were also putting a particular drive behind local authority housing.

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