HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc33-112
Mr. Speaker

Before calling upon the right hon. Member for Bristol. South-East (Mr. Benn) to move his Motion, I should inform the House that I have selected the Amendment in the name of the Prime Minister and his right hon. Friends.

3.32 p.m.

Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Bean (Bristol. South-East)

I beg to move, That this House, deeply concerned at the continuing high level of unemployment which imposes wholly unacceptable burdens upon large numbers of people in the community, and constitutes an appalling waste of resources, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to adopt full employment as a central objective of its economic policy and bring forward measures to secure it. This is a short debate and I want to be brief, but it would be impossible for the House to let the figures published last Thursday go without a debate upon them. I hope no one is going to be deceived by the very slight fall in the numbers of totally unemployed and the slight increase in the number of vacancies, which, though welcome in themselves, provide no ground whatever for believing that the problem is on the way to being solved. It is not, and, as our Motion makes clear, it could not be solved without a major change of policy.

I turn first to the number of temporarily stopped, which inflated the figures when they were published. There were 598,000 people temporarily stopped as a result of the coal strike. This is not the occasion to discuss the coal dispute in any detail, but the massive lay-offs which inflated the figures this month stem directly from the Government's policy and from the total miscalculation which they made both of the feeling of the miners and, even more important, of the attitude of the public. Although reference has been made before in the House to this, I must repeat that if the Secretary of State had seen the National Union of Mineworkers himself at any stage from the time he took over responsibility for the industry, at any rate he would have been better equipped to tell the Cabinet how the miners would react to the situation which confronted them. It is clear that the Cabinet was equally ill-informed as to the likely attitude of the public towards the miners, but the Minister is not responsible for that. I am certain that the public supported the miners because it was felt that their case was just.

The figures of temporarily stopped to which I have referred underestimate the total numbers of people affected. The Secretary of State gave figures the other day of between I million and 2 million workers affected by the lay-offs. Production was disrupted, the National Coal Board is faced with an enormous extra bill, the Railways Board will have to pay substantial extra sums over and above those that it had budgeted for, and exports were affected. I think there is no doubt that the coal strike was the most expensive single error of judgment made by any Government since the war. It certainly delayed such growth in production as the Government hope for as a result of the measures that they have taken so far.

I turn to the basic problem of the unemployed, as distinct from those temporarily stopped, and reiterate what is said in our Motion, that unemployment is unacceptably high and not even the most optimistic observer sees any prospect whatever of bringing it down to acceptable levels or to the levels even of the summer of 1970 by the use of existing measures. The shake-out is still continuing, as is the multiplier effect caused by those out of work then being unable to make demands for goods. This all indicates that unemployment is a very intractable problem. The T.U.C. Economic Review, published today, to which I shall refer again later, estimates that a 6 per cent. growth rate would be necessary to get the figure down to £750,000 within a year.

We have debated unemployment many times and we shall do so again. I want to deal today not so much with the economic aspects of the problem in the sense of detailed policies but rather to point out the social and political consequences for our society of trying to accept the present high level of unemployment which all the indicators suggest that we shall continue to have. Personally, I think that one of the greatest weaknesses of some of our discussions has been the tendency to think of unemployment as an economic problem and not as a much broader social problem.

It is clear that in Scotland, Wales and the worst-hit English regions there is a sense of desperation which many in these areas feel cannot be allowed to continue without actually damaging the fabric of society and the community in those areas. It affects the school leavers and the older unskilled workers and it creates ghost communities. Without wishing to be alarmist in any way, anyone who looks at the events in Northern Ireland over the last two years, and particularly over the last year, will realise that the hopelessness associated with unemployment has enormously worsened the basic problem from which that province suffers. There is already evidence not of events moving in quite that direction, but that the high and uncured level of unemployment has built up political pressures in Scotland and Wales and other parts of the country which the Government will have to take into account.

The second broader social consequence to which I wish to draw attention is the effect of unemployment on industrial relations in their broadest sense. It is impossible to expect full co-operation in the introduction of new machinery, even if new investment were coming along at the rate we would like. It is impossible to expect agreement on productivity and to get consent for the necessary restructuring of industry, and it is going to be much harder to get trade union agreement to necessary re-training schemes unless the trade union movement feels that the Government take the problem of unemployment seriously.

The third broad social effect of unemployment is on the distribution of income. The Government's incomes policy is not confined to the secret norm which no one is prepared to describe except in identifying what is called a special case. Those who lose their jobs drop to a social security norm which is fixed by the Government, and when redundancy pay and earnings-related benefits run out it means that those affected experience real poverty.

The effect of unemployment on public attitudes to the Common Market should not be left out of account by the Secretary of State, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. There is no question but that a major factor in maintaining a high level of opposition to entry into the Common Market is that people, especially in Scotland, Wales and the regions, fear that entry will worsen their prospects of reducing unemployment, and that it will remove from the British Government the power to take corrective action against unemployment. That is the point of substance that lies behind the sometimes apparently theoretical argument about sovereignty.

People go further and suspect that the Government see European entry as an external influence to increase labour discipline. When I sought to obtain from the Under-Secretary today a clear assurance that there would be no unilateral reduction of tariffs on motorcars, my failure to get such an assurance confirmed my belief that the Government see in entry an opportunity to increase their pressure against the trade union movement. The Government had better not underestimate the broad political effects of their policy.

The first requirement if we are to correct the unemployment problem is one important policy change above all others by the Government. They must reestablish full employment as a central objective of government—say it, mean it and introduce policies that are likely to bring it about. That would be much more important as a test of intent, of will, than all the subtlety, all the pressure from the right hon. Gentleman's Department in producing individual instruments that might bring it about. If the Prime Minister and the Cabinet were thought to be half as determined to bring unemployment down as they are to get this country into the Common Market, and if they were half as determined to implement policies designed to achieve it, the situation would change its character.

The Prime Minister's broadcast last night exactly illustrated that point. At no stage did the right hon. Gentleman mention full employment. Within a few days of the publication of figures showing a gross overall number out of work of 1.6 million, the right hon. Gentleman did not even, except for a slight reference en passant saying that the miners' strike did not create new jobs, identify full employment as something that his audience might wish to hear from him was a problem to which the Government intended to devote themselves. The impression he created last night of aloofness from the problem confirmed the suspicion of many people which I have articulated in the House many times, that even now, when the miners' strike is over, he does not understand that the strike was in part a product of unemployment. The 500,000 men the coal industry had to shed over the past few years gave the miners the feeling that they had to fight on this issue—[Interruption.] That was the case. If the right hon. Gentleman had met the National Union of Mineworkers at any time in the past 18 months he would have known that the miners, quite apart from the very high rundown under all Governments, including our own—[Interruption.] Of course, it did. But if the Government are to take on the mining community they had better understand why it feels as strongly as it does. The Prime Minister's failure to say anything to the million people out of work was an indication of his failure to understand the problem.

The first step the Government must take is political, to bring full employment back into the forefront of our national objective where the wartime Coalition Government put it after the publication of the Beveridge Report. There is no point in complaining about the polarisation of our society, which lies just under the surface of much of what Ministers say, if the Government abandon a central feature of our post-war social contract.

The second requirement is also political in character. After nearly two years in office, the time has come for the Government to abandon the policy of disengagement from industry. Disengagement was the Government's theme in their long years in opposition, and it is a theme the Secretary of State has taken to his heart and made it his business to advocate during his time in charge of the Department of Trade and Industry. The theory, which we heard time and again from Government spokesmen, was that competition would keep down prices, that confrontation would keep wages down, and that as a result the problems of unemployment would be easy to solve. That policy has totally failed. The Government have stood aside. They have themselves actively dismantled the machinery of co-operation with both sides of industry which, it must be said in fairness, were first established by Harold Macmillan, when the Economic Development Council was set up. Incidentally, its tenth anniversary is to be celebrated by, of all things, a party at No. 10, Downing Street, next week. The whole process of trying to build up the machinery for a continual dialogue with industry has been destroyed by the Secretary of State.

No modern society, whatever policy the Government in question wish to pursue, can possibly survive without far closer contact between Government and industry than this Government have maintained. Three men are responsible for their policy. First and foremost, there is the Secretary of State himself, a man heading an enormous Department of State, with seven Ministers, 25,000 civil servants, 70 policy divisions and 40 offices in London. Yet the policy to which he has dedicated himself has been to withdraw from contact with industry. Never in the field of administration was so little done by so many for so few. That, broadly, is the philosophy of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The second Minister responsible, as was confirmed by Vic Feather in his broadcast at lunchtime today, is the Secretary of State for Employment, who has made it his business to stand back from the confrontations that have developed between management and labour. Vic Feather said, "We once had a hot line; now we have a cold shoulder." That is not a bad description of the right hon. Gentleman's policy.

Thirdly, there is the Prime Minister himself, who has made it his business to keep out of all these matters to the point where he gives the impression of regarding industrial relations and unemployment as being well below his level. [Interruption] That is certainly the impression he not only gives but chooses to give. He is the Howard Hughes of No. 10, Downing Street.

The vacuum left by the Government is now being filled by industry.

Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Ardwick)

Is not my right hon. Friend being a little unfair to the Minister for Industry in leaving him out, in view of the item on the City page of the Daily Telegraph last week which quoted the hon. Gentleman as telling industrialists, "I do not know how industry works"?

Mr. Benn

My complaint about the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is that, although he said in a speech on the electricity restrictions, "I, who have devoted my life to industry, regret that I should be making announcements which in the short run will do it such damage.". he totally forgot that industry includes the workers in it. He proved that by his absolute failure to make it his business to get in touch with the trade unions with which he should work if his policy, whatever it is, is to succeed.

The vacuum that has been encouraged to develop is now being filled by initiatives from both sides of industry. The C.B.I. plan for regional development, published last week, calls for a Government commission for the regions, which would have advisory and executive powers and have money put at its disposal to encourage regional development. It calls for greater regional initiative.

I certainly do not say that it is a perfect scheme, but it is a great advance by the C.B.I. on the policy of the Government. Indeed, last summer, when the C.B.I. took its price initiative, its action was not perfect then, but the Government simply left it to the C.B.I. to take that initiative, thus not giving it the opportunity which it might otherwise have had of being fitted into a policy more likely to be accepted by both sides of industry.

Today the T.U.C. Economic Review similarly calls for a public investment agency, for a national manpower board, for a £1,500 million injection into the Budget, for a £2 increase in pensions, for higher family allowances, for more public works, for a reduction in purchase tax, for the restoration of investment grants linked to the creation of job opportunities. The trade union movement more generally has been thinking aloud about the need for a shorter working life, on which my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) introduced his Employment (Holiday Extension and Early Retirement) Bill recently. All the initiatives on unemployment have come from others than the Secretary of State himself.

The third requirement, therefore, is that the Government must no longer allow industry to feel that it is engaged in a dialogue of the deaf, as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster described it at one stage about the negotiations for entry into the Common Market. It must begin to discuss these matters seriously with industry.

I must give a word of warning to the Secretary of State for Employment. He must not suppose that scares are going to give him the co-operation he wishes. According to the Sunday Express—I hope it quoted him correctly—the Secretary of State said: There are active in our society small but virulent minorities who would like to see the whole present structure of our society destroyed and who believe that economic failure is the best way to bring it about. Of course there are such people. There always have been and always will be. The point is that the Government are the best recruiting sergeants for those groups. The right hon. Gentleman himself is responsible through his own legislation, as is the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, for giving to those small, ineffective, tiny minorities a far larger audience than they would ever have in a fair society.

I warn the Government that if a Zinoviev letter is their answer to the problem of unemployment and inflation and everything else, they should think again, because the British people are no more likely to fall under the influence of the "angry brigade" now than at any other time. If the Government suppose that the sort of speech made by the right hon. Gentleman will frighten everyone into supporting the Cabinet, they are underestimating the intelligence of the public again as they did during the miners' strike.

Mr. John Pardoe (Cornwall, North)

I think that the right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) is going a little too far in a partisan spirit. Would he like to say whether the remarks by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. Harold Wilson) as Prime Minister some years ago, about a tightly-knit group of politically motivated people, encouraged or discouraged that belief?

Mr. Benn

My right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. Harold Wilson) was not dealing with the same issue as faces us today. What was said by the Prime Minister last night and by the Secretary of State for Employment on Saturday was aimed to give the impression that the troubles created by the Government's own policy actually stemmed from a small group of people who have somehow managed to get themselves into a position of power in our society.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Robert Carr)

The right hon. Gentleman cannot put words into my mouth which I never used. I did not say anything like what he has just attributed to me; nor did I imply it. Since the right hon. Gentleman has thus interpreted my remarks—which the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) likened to those used by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. Harold Wilson) when he was Prime Minister—and since our legislation is cited by the right hon. Gentleman as one of the causes of the trouble, why did he, as a member of the Government, support "In Place of Strife"?

Mr. Benn

I am coming to the Industrial Relations Act. If I have misinterpreted what the Secretary of State has said, then he should have put it more clearly in his Press release. The only conclusion that one can reach after reading that passage in the Sunday Express is that he is trying to build up a scare in order to cover up his own manifest failure.

The problem facing the Government is how to get an understanding with the trade union movement. The hitter hostility which has been shown, by none more than the right hon. Gentleman, to the trade union movement plays a very large part in that problem. The right hon. Gentleman invested much of his time in opposition in building up the hostility which he thought he needed towards the trade unions in order to get a head of steam for his industrial relations legislation, and his proudest achievement to date is that that Act comes into force today.

I come now to what I promised to deal with. We shall repeal the Industrial Relations Act. We shall do so however long it takes. It took us from 1927 to 1946 before we acquired the power to repeal the Trade Disputes Act, 1927, but we did repeal it.

The right hon. Gentleman asked about the policy of the last Government. If anything, our attitude to his legislation was in part influenced by our experience with our own proposals. The Government should not under-estimate the importance of seeking genuine cooperation with the trade union movement. I warn the right hon. Gentleman that public attitudes to the trade union movement have altered in the last 18 months. With the rise in unemployment, many people who did not do so before now realise the importance of trade union membership, if only as a defence against redundancy, while many families now realise, perhaps for the first time, that the trade union movement also protects them from price increases. [Laughter.] What do hon. Members opposite think the miners have been doing other than fighting the problem of rising prices by putting in a wage claim and getting it established by the Wilberforce Report? That is what the trade union movement is about. It is not possible to beat inflation in this country without the co-operation of the trade union movement.

Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)

If they have not learned that, they have not learnt the lessons of the coal strike.

Mr. Benn

As my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Dan Jones) points out, if hon. Members opposite have not learnt that, then they have not even begun to learn the lessons of the miners' dispute. Lord George-Brown, in 1964, tried a voluntary incomes policy. Our statutory policy failed; Lord George-Brown himself admitted that, and there is no question about it. But compared with the policy of confrontation, which is a total disaster, even our policy at any rate had the merit of being linked to a social objective which could be clearly understood.

The truth is that there will have to be a new initiative on incomes. The Prime Minister and the Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry and for Employment speak about the relationship of prices and incomes and inflation and employment as if they had suddenly brought the tablets of stone down from Mount Sinai. It is a self-evident proposition that these are linked. When we talk about incomes, we cannot restrict it to wages alone and certainly not to wages in the public sector alone. If we want to fight inflation, we must make a fresh start with both sides of industry and bring into our discussions everything that affects incomes. The Budget, with its selective tax remissions, is one aspect of incomes policy because it redistributes incomes between one group and another. The Housing Finance Bill, with its savage rent increases, is another part of the Government's incomes policy because it redistributes income between one section of the community and another. The rocketing price of land which the Government have allowed is part of their incomes policy because it redistributes money between landlord and tenant.

Unemployment is part of the incomes policy, too, because it throws millions of people down to a level of living standards which constitutes poverty. The distribution of wealth is a part of the incomes policy. Wage-earners do not see why they alone, when their incomes are increased, should be hauled before television cameras and the public and grilled about every penny when all of these other sections of the community, with the support of the Government, are able to get their increases without any public inquiry. Perhaps the most fundamental part of the incomes policy is the Government's education policy. If they maintain an education policy such as that operated by the Secretary of State for Education, then they are introducing an incomes policy for life for a section of the community by preserving the 11-plus and other such aspects.

The most powerful instinct of the British people is a sense of fair play. That is the point I made at the beginning which explains the public's support for the miners. An unfair society cannot solve the problems of unemployment or beat inflation or, for that matter, drive back any risk there might ever be of violence. It is time that this was plainly said. It is not new economic schemes we want, nor little incentives of a kind that can be produced by the Treasury to inject into a Budget. It is a commitment to a fair society, which this Government have so notably failed to offer or provide. This is the political challenge about which the Prime Minister offered not one word in his broadcast last night.

These issues cannot be wished away. We cannot frighten people either by scares about virulent minorities or by dark hints of double dangers. The problem is not that Britain is ungovernable but that Britain is being badly governed. That is the challenge that the Government have to face. In this debate, in the House and outside, people are now waiting to hear whether the Government have learned anything from their experiences of the last two weeks. A complacent Amendment, or statistics of achievement, or promises or warnings are not really enough.

The question is: are the Government now to try to commit themselves to fair policies worked out in agreement with both sides of industry? If the answer is "No", then let them go out before their policies bring us any nearer to the dangers about which they now warn us and which they have done so much to create.

4.3 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. John Davies)

I beg to move, to leave out from "community" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: 'commends Her Majesty's Government for their resolute efforts to secure a reduction in unemployment by massive economic measures, including the containment of inflation, with full employment as the objective'. It is clear that this debate takes place in exceptional circumstances. The shadow of the coal strike still hangs over the economy. Although there has been obvious and immediate relief as a result of the overwhelming ballot in favour of a return to work there is still great concern about the impact that the strike must have had on the prosperity of the nation and much clearly now depends upon the rate of resumption of production in the coalfields and, therefore, the speed at which the country can expect to be returned to normal.

The immediate effect of the coal strike is as the right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) pointed out, namely, to produce distorted unemployment figures. The total figure is greatly affected by nearly 600,000 temporarily stopped. Even that probably underrates the number of people who have had their work disrupted by the strike. I mentioned the figure of 1½ million last week and that is some indication of the level affected. It is to be hoped that the resumption will take place speedily and effectively and those concerned in the electricity generating and supply industries as well as those involved in the removal of coal from coalfields will contribute effectively to this operation.

Despite the major issues involved in the strike and the problems it has posed, the fundamental objective remains as it was before—to reduce the unacceptable level of unemployment and contain the excessive rate of inflation. The right hon. Gentleman was well off course in imagining that the Government have any other purpose than to bring every effort to bear to reduce unemployment. I would refer him to the very first statement of intentions within the framework of the Gracious Speech, which clearly said: At home, my Government's first care will be to increase employment by strengthening the economy… I thought that the right hon. Gentleman's remarks about my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment and his attitude to this question and to the unions was a travesty of the truth.

The Government treat this as a matter of the utmost seriousness and are giving every possible attention to it. The figures published last week, if shorn of the exceptional factors occasioned by the coal strike, showed some of the first signs, perhaps, of the situation responding to the unprecedented stimulus which has been given by the Government to expanding the economy. Seasonally adjusted figures of wholly unemployed still showed a small increase of 1,000, but this marginal increase was evidence of a welcome reduction from the 20,000 or so which has been the monthly average over the last year.

Equally, the outstanding vacancies figures also gave some element of reassurance, in the sense that these figures tend to respond more sensitively to changes in the employment situation than the unemployment figures. Here we have seen a seasonally adjusted increase of 7,300 in contrast with the pattern of the last 12 months when we saw, in the early stages, a steep decline in the num- ber of available vacancies followed by a plateau, a stagnant position.

Even so, these shafts of light are not enough to relieve the continuing gloom of approximately one million people unemployed. The causes of this unemployment are too well known to need reiteration but essentially they are the direct result of a stagnant economy struggling with pervasive and excessive wage inflation. Massive deflationary efforts which were deployed by the party opposite when in power in 1968–69 to come to grips with the overriding problem—as it then seemed—of the balance of payments left the economy in a debilitated state from which it has proved exceedingly difficult to revive it. I will not repeat the great catalogue of measures which have been undertaken by the Government to raise the level of production and re-create confidence after those body blows of 1968–69, followed as they were by the inflationary propulsion given to the economy in early 1970.

The fact remains that the cumulative total of the Chancellor's measures, great as they are, is an indication of the extent to which both the economy and confidence in it had been deflated. The other and more worrying aspect of the aftermath of the coal strike is in the fight against inflation. The Government have been waging a battle against inflation on behalf of the community as a whole. The community as a whole must be the only sufferers from the continuation of excessive inflationary movement.

Mr. Dan Jones rose

Mr. Davies

This is a short debate and I have a lot to say. I hope that hon. Members will forgive me if I do not give way.

The battle against inflation is a twofold one, on wages and prices. On the wages front, the battle involves taking every possible action in the public and private sectors to restrain wage surge. It is wrong of hon. Gentlemen opposite to charge the Government with having sought to operate on the public sector alone while allowing the private sector to run free. The statistics clearly show that de-escalation has been working not in one sector alone.

On the contrary, increases in average earnings reduced from a level of 13½, per cent. in 1970 to less than 9½ per cent. in 1971, and this index is influenced overwhelmingly by the private and not the public sector. But 9½per cent. is still far too high and can only damage the prospects of reducing unemployment. Beyond all doubt, unemployment has responded directly to industry's unavoidable need to contain unit costs.

This need is, of course, dictated by its problem in export markets and partially by the requirement not to fall behind, in competitive terms, its competitors overseas. It has also been necessary to meet the Government's continued pressure to exercise price restraint in pricing policies, as exemplified by the C.B.I. initiative.

Caught between these pressures, there is no doubt that industry had to shed manpower rapidly, particularly in 1971, seeking by productivity to offset the escalating labour costs with which it has been beset. In prices terms alone the results, taking account of the prevailing wage situation, have been surprisingly successful.

Wholesale prices at home have been rising by only 1½ per cent. in the last six months compared with 4 per cent. in the previous six months. Home retail prices, excluding seasonal food items, rose by only 2₽ per cent. in the six months to January, as against 5½ per cent. in the previous six months. Export prices have not entirely followed this trend, but it is true to say that the whole effort which has been made in the prices sphere has not been without result and that the worrying tendencies which were so prevalent in the economy 12 months ago have undoubtedly been somewhat contained.

If now, as a result of the coal settlement, there is a further determined effort to escalate wage costs, it seems inescapable not only that will prices start to rise again more rapidly; I have the more ominous fear that the marginally encouraging evidence of last week's unemployment figures will be reversed.

In today's conditions there is no doubt that excessive wage demands, ruthlessly pressed to finality, can only damage us all by steeply inflating prices and by worsening unemployment. In many ways the outlook at the beginning of this year was promising, and it may still be promising. The economy is undoubtedly expanding at about the rate foreseen by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last July—between 4 per cent. and 4½ per cent.—but to date expansion has certainly been selective and has taken place largely in personal expenditure rather than in investment.

Equally, however, the rise in exports has accounted for quite an important part of the total expansion. Industrial production has certainly not yet responded to the expansion. One reason for this is to be found in the steadily drawing down of stocks that occurred as demand started to rise. The figures showed this tendency strongly in the third quarter of last year and even into the final quarter, though in December there was some evidence of a contrary movement.

It is likely that the interruption in industrial pick-up caused by the coal strike will be reflected in still further drawing down of stocks before stock building starts to resume. It is clear that as industrial production starts to upturn to meet the continued and sustained level of demand which has been created by the measures that have been taken, stockpiling activity will act as a spur to industrial production. It is therefore to be expected that once it starts the rise is likely to gather pace rapidly.

However, as has become evident, the absorption of unemployment will not happen easily, or respond almost automatically to the pick-up in industry. It is clear that there is a good deal of under-utilised capacity both in manpower and in plant which will be called on first, before investment and employment start to rise together. What will really make a dent in unemployment is new and sustained demand, and not just making good what is already happening.

In this connection, it might be useful if I were to comment on certain individual industries and their situation in relation to the economy. Consumer durables generally have had a good six months, with demand rising strongly, and they seem certain to need to move to a high level of production in the near future to rebuild stocks and to face sustained high consumer demand. This is particularly true of the motor industry, which will certainly have to shift into higher gear, together with its satellite industries.

The year 1971 constituted a record in registrations, with an increase of 19 per cent. over 1970. The figures for January and February have not added to that increase, but have probably maintained the same high level.

In a different sphere, shoes and clothing got off the mark rather slower than consumer durables, but they, too, moved up apace in the last quarter of last year and seem to be holding their position in terms of demand. In capital goods there is as yet little response to the expansion in other spheres, though I am now looking forward to an improvement in manufacturing investment in the latter part of this year.

In particular, the problem in the machine tool industry is disturbing. This industry lies at the very last link of the chain reaction and is particularly susceptible to cyclical variation. I am keeping closely in touch with the problems of this industry to see how it is coping with its difficulties.

I wish particularly to comment on shipbuilding. The House is well aware that the industry moved into a period of deteriorating orders last year, not just here but world-wide. European shipbuilders generally, our own included, have been facing a continuation of weathering the storm of steeply rising costs and fixed prices while at the same time facing diminishing order books.

There has been much discussion, both in O.E.C.D. and E.E.C. with a view to avoiding, by agreement, escalating national subsidies, whose only purpose is to intensify inter-yard competition at the taxpayers' expense. I am hopeful that these discussions will find solutions to these problems.

But meanwhile I am concerned that our own industry, which is relatively less subsidised than that of some other countries, should not suffer. This is more than ever important in that 90 per cent. of employment in merchant shipbuilding is in areas of high unemployment. We have, therefore, been reviewing the whole situation and I expect in due course to act on the conclusions we reach.

Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)


Mr. Davies

Soon. [HON. MEMBERS: "How soon?"] I look forward soon to having the completion of this review.

As the House knows, one particular case is subject to imperatives of urgency which will not allow of further deliberation. I speak, of course, of the yards of the Upper Clyde. I find it difficult to make an absolutely definitive statement in today's conditions because the work that has been going on is not yet finalised. I am sure, however, that in the meantime—particularly in this debate—the House would wish to have some details about the present situation.

The history of the recent tempestuous years of these yards is too well known to warrant repetition, but I recall that the merger which took place four years ago to bring them together in the corporate form of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders was the signal for an unending series of convulsions which culminated in the liquidation of the company in the summer of last year. During the first two years of the company's life over £20 million was injected into it, not in the form of inputs to a carefully prepared and analysed programme but as a series of salvage operations. I consider that the industrial consultation with, and the industrial experience of, the company is certainly not the best testimony to the effectiveness of the right hon. Gentleman's own form of consultations. Of that £20 million every penny was lost, with no productive impact whatever in terms of the improvement of the yards. That is certainly true. There was no improvement during that period.

Only last year, and in the teeth of the utmost opposition from the party opposite, the decision was taken to inquire deeply into what was necessary to allow major merchant shipbuilding on the Upper Clyde to continue on a competitive and satisfactory basis, giving a real guarantee of stability to the thousands of workers involved. While that was going forward the Government have assisted the receiver to maintain work in the yards.

After many obstacles have been surmounted, including the infinitely regrettable death of Hugh Stenhouse, those inquiries are now completed. I am afraid that they confirm that the maintenance of Clydebank as a competitive merchant yard for a wide range of ship production is unrealistic. Happily, however, two American firms are interested in acquiring Clydebank for specialised construction, one for drilling rigs and the other for liquid natural gas carriers. Both are in active discussions with my Department and with the receiver. I am guardedly hopeful that one or other of these projects will succeed, and certainly every help will be forthcoming from the Government within the powers available to them.

The other three yards, Govan, Scotstoun and Linthouse, are considered by the consultants as capable, with considerable investment, of being transformed into a complex fully up to comparable European standards for similar construction.

The management of Govan Shipbuilders Limited accepts the challenge of undertaking the proposed project, which still has many uncertainties, including that of acquiring orders for new ships in what is an exceedingly dull and difficult market at the moment. To this end, it has engaged in progressively more intense discussions with the unions involved to iron out working agreements, and is satisfied that acceptable arrangements can be made and will be implemented. It cannot with certainty forecast a date by which viability will be attained, though commercial viability remains its objective.

The sums of money involved are enormous, and show up for the valueless estimates they were the U.C.S.'s claims last summer to be able to continue to trade legally provided the Government would find just £6 million to weather the immediate storm. The consultants' present estimates are that £17 million will be needed over the first three years to meet the losses on the early order book of the new company, including both orders taken over from the former U.C.S. and the new orders to maintain activity in the yards. In addition, £18 million will be needed for investment in the yards and for working capital.

I have a letter dated 7th February from the Chairman of Govan Shipbuilders Limited, Lord Strathalmond, which I propose to place in the Library, and the general report of the consultants will be published as soon as possible.

Although, naturally, I am deeply concerned that the new company cannot firmly forecast the date of attainment of full commercial viability I am none the less relieved that it foresees moving into surplus after the first three years. In these circumstances, and subject to some further examination of the plans, discussion of the exact sums of money required—because there are still some doubts about all this—and confirmation of the reaching of satisfactory agreements with the unions, I am prepared to propose legislation to this House to carry through this project. Needless to say, and in contrast with arrangements made by the previous Government, I will see that this vast investment of public money is properly monitored and accounted for.

Mr. J. Bruce-Gardyne (South Angus)

I thank my right hon. Friend for giving way. Does he recall that in the days when the Ministry of Technology was responsible for the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn), the right hon. Gentleman said that to give an open-ended subsidy to one shipyard would undermine the viability of all other shipyards including shipyards on the Clyde? Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that this will not occur now?

Mr. Davies

Yes. I am obliged to my hon. Friend for raising the point. That was the reason why I included earlier in my speech some remarks about the study of the overall position of the industry and measures to which that might lead for the future, to reassure those concerned with that to which my hon. Friend has referred that undermining will not be accepted.

Mr. Dan Jones

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. When asked by this side to give way the Minister refused to do so, and he would not allow me to ask a question affecting North-East Lancashire, but when an hon. Friend of his on his own side seeks to ask a question he immediately allows him to do so. I should like that on the record.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

The hon. Member may like that on the record, but it is still not a point of order for me.

Mr. Davies

I meant no discourtesy to the hon. Gentleman, but my hon. Friend had a problem of real concern to Scotland and to him.

Mr. Dan Jones

What about me?

Mr. Davies

If all these plans come to fruition assured employment should be provided for some 4,300 people at the Govan complex, and this might well rise if, as is expected, the capacity of the yards is increased and the order book in due course expanded. To these would be added whatever proportion of Clydebank's present 2,500 can be brought into one or the other of the American projects. The total compares with 8,500 previously employed by U.C.S. at the time of liquidation. It contrasts, too, with a possible loss of jobs in total, both in the yards and with suppliers, of the order of 15,000 or more, which would have been the case if U.C.S. has been allowed to totter on to its almost inevitable and final dissolution, as was so strongly advocated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite.

Before finishing with the U.C.S. saga, I want to pay a well-justified tribute to one man who has played a consistently constructive and helpful rôle in trying to make this phoenix rise again. I speak of Mr. Dan McGarvey who, both as a union leader and as a promoter of shipbuilding on his native Upper Clyde, has never faltered in his determination to bring this salvage about.

Mr. Benn

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Before he finishes this point may I put a question to him? He has made a very important statement which obviously we shall want to discuss. It is difficult to do it at Questions or the end of Question Time, and I appreciate that he cannot commit himself immediately to the £35 million for the project. But we hope he will be in a position to publish as quickly as possible the full details of what he has said. When he does make a further statement, we shall naturally hope that it will apply to Clydebank and the other three yards, and that the House will have an opportunity of putting questions to him well in advance of the debate which we shall inevitably wish to have.

Dame Irene Ward

The right hon. Gentleman should thank my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Davies

I would look forward to being able to make a statement when these matters are finalised. In the meanwhile, there is the letter from the Chairman of Govan Shipbuilders Ltd. which I propose to lay in the Library, and I think it will be of assistance to the right hon. Gentleman. Also, as I said, I hope shortly to be able to publish the report of the consultants, which will add to the information available. I hope the House will then be in possession of adequate knowledge to be able more fully to discuss the matter at a later date.

Mr. Benn

The right hon. Gentleman has paid a well deserved tribute to Mr. Dan McGarvey, but would lie not like to say anything about the people working in the yards who have fought so hard to safeguard their employment and are ready to pledge their co-operation on the basis of a satisfactory settlement?

Mr. Davies

I think that the people who are working in the yards undoubtedly have the desire—indeed, they have shown it recently—to co-operate fully with the new management in attaining what has long been the objective on the Upper Clyde, which is to have a shipbuilding industry where there is no more the great shadow of doubt which has lain over it in the past. This will depend on very great support for the management both by the workers and by the unions which represent them. I have said that the unions, as the representatives of the workers, and especially the union leader to whom I have referred, have shown nothing but willingness to help in trying to bring about this situation. I believe confidently—and I have had it borne in upon me recently in my discussions with those concerned—that the quality of work available to any shipbuilder on the Upper Clyde is still of the highest order; indeed, as high as any available anywhere. If that quality of work can be turned into the productive effort which is needed, we shall see not just a resumption of work, but a really profitable and prosperous future.

Mr. John Nott (St. Ives)

Will my right hon. Friend give some indication about whether other shipyards in the country which are competing for orders with the yards to which he is now referring will also be getting £35 million, so that they may compete equally and effectively with the yards now receiving this money?

Mr. Davies

I have made it clear that I propose to look carefully at the situation of all our yards. Indeed. I am a long way down that road. I realise the problems that supporting a single group of yards at this level can cause. But it must be realised that in the conditions obtaining today in the Upper Clyde, with the level of unemployment in West Central Scotland and with the potential that the area contains for providing a major component in the shipbuilding industry, not only in this country, but in Europe and the world, it would have been very unwise to have allowed the operation to be foreclosed. Therefore, certainly I shall take every reasonable step to ensure that no harm results to other operators in the industry, by virtue of these steps. This is a matter which I am at the moment seeking to finalise.

In conclusion, I reaffirm the Government's determination to face and overcome the monster of unemployment which besets us, and to do so both by determined and direct action, as is instanced by what I have had to say about the Upper Clyde, but not less by continuing to wage war against inflation which threatens the defenceless with distress, the country with stagnation, and the worker with becoming one more statistic in the unemployment figures.

4.33 p.m.

Mr. Peter Doig (Dundee. West)

At one point in his speech, the Secretary of State said that the Government are taking the present situation seriously. I want to relate that remark to what has happened in the Tayside area, in order to see just how seriously right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are taking it. In that area we have at present one of the highest rates of unemployment in any urban area in the whole of Britain. At present 24.7 per cent. are unemployed in the City of Dundee, which represents almost a quarter of the available working population.

Let us see how seriously the Secretary of State is taking this serious problem. In February, 1971, we had a visit from the Under-Secretary of State for Development, Scottish Office, when we first drew his attention to the worsening situation in the Tayside area. On 9th July, 1971, we sent a deputation to St. Andrew's House to see the Minister. On 29th September, 1971, we sent a deputation to the right hon. Gentleman himself. On 9th November, 1971, the right hon. Gentleman decided to send his Minister for Trade to Dundee to investigate the position on the spot. On 22nd December the right hon. Gentleman himself visited Scotland, where he had talks with the various local authority associations. However, he did not trouble to come to the Tayside area.

What we were seeking was the best rate of financial incentive available at the present time. We were asking, in other words, for special development area status. I shall seek to show why I believe that to be necessary and why it should have been given long ago. I catalogue these events to show how seriously the right hon. Gentleman is taking this area at present and has been for well over a year.

Nothing has been done. We have asked for a decision on whether we are to get special development area status. We have asked for it continually. It has been asked for by the Tayside Development Board, by Dundee Corporation, by all the Members of Parliament with constituencies in the area, by the chamber of commerce, and by every section of the community. Still we wait. After all this time, the right hon. Gentleman cannot make up his mind about whether we can have it. That is how seriously he takes the very serious situation in our area.

Let us examine what the Government have laid down, through another Minister, as the criteria for getting special development area status. On 21st February, in reply to a Question, the Secretary of State for Wales told the House this Government's criteria for granting special development area status. He said: The criteria which we apply are the same as those which were applied by our predecessors. Special development area status is being given to those areas with a high number of employed as well as a high percentage of unemployment and where basic industries are declining."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st February, 1972; Vol. 831, c. 882.] I suggest that there is nowhere in Britain that better fits that description than the Tayside area, especially the City of Dundee. The jute industry was the main industry in the area and in our city. Only a few years ago it employed 17,000 people directly. Today it employs between 8,000 and 9,000, and everyone concerned, including the chamber of commerce and the jute manufacturers, admits that the lost jobs will never come back and that, in fact, the number of jobs is likely to decline even further. So certainly we meet the criterion of a declining industry. What is more, other industries in the area are declining also.

We have one of the highest rates of unemployment in any urban area in the whole of Britain. Clearly, we conform to the second criterion. We also have a high number of people in employment. In other words, the three conditions laid down by another Government Minister are not only being met by Dundee at the moment, but have been met by it for a considerable number of years, and we have been pressing the Minister ever since he and his right hon. Friends came to office that something should be done.

Let us see how the Government have tackled the problems. Last year, when my right hon. and hon. Friends were still in office, I was a member of the Select Committee on Scottish Affairs. When we were taking evidence from Board of Trade officials I put two questions to them. I asked: …if we look at the South-East and the percentage of new jobs that came over the four years from 1960 to 1963 and then look at the figures from 1965 to 1968, the new jobs created are almost half. Would you agree that this is a remarkable achievement in these two periods? The answer from the official was "Yes".

I then asked: In view of the fact that in both periods I.D.C.s were in operation. to what do you attribute the dramatic change? The answer was: As I say, I think it partly flows from the Government's policy of operating the control more rigorously in the South East coupled with greater pressure and encouragement of firms to move elsewhere. That was during the period of Labour Government.

I then put this specific question to the official: In the period 1965–1968, I.D.C. approvals in Scotland showed an increase of 113 per cent. in terms of floor space and 54 per cent. in terms of potential jobs compared with the years 1961–1964. Would you agree again that this is a remarkable change? The answer was: Yes. I then asked: Would you give the reason again why you think this remarkable change came about? The answer was: I think the reason is the same. I put a further question: In view of this fact, would you consider then that, contrary to what has been alleged in a couple of earlier questions, in fact the I.D.C. policy as operated by this Government"— that was the Labour Government— has been highly successful in relation to spreading jobs for the country? The official's answer was: I think it has had the effect of encouraging movement from the South East and Midlands to the development areas. That piece of evidence clearly shows that the Labour Government tried to implement the policy of distributing industry fairly throughout the country and that they pursued it vigorously. This policy was successful because the Government helped it to succeed. This equally showed that although in the previous period I.D.C.s were still in operation under a Conservative Government, they had not been successful, the inference being that the Government did not want them to work. Now we are back to an exactly similar situation. The Conservative Government have relaxed their control over I.D.C. policy. We are back in the situation of high unemployment throughout the country. The present Government have not attempted to make industrial and regional policies work, and, therefore, such policies have not proved to be correct.

Up to the present the Government have refused to give us special development area status. However, I wish that the right hon. Gentleman would have the courage to say outright that he does not intend to give us such status. He should not go on and on putting off and putting off a decision by saying "We are still considering the matter", having sent his Ministers to visit the area. He has been engaged on all sorts of detailed investigations, has now had over a year in which to examine his position, but still cannot make up his mind.

We appreciate that the present unemployment figures in Dundee are inflated following the recent miners' strike, but if we look at the figures of unemployment before the strike we see that they were still at the very hight level of 9.8 per cent. When we compare this situation with that which existed under the Labour Government, we see that never at any time throughout the whole period of Labour administration did the figure in Dundee reach 5,000 unemployed. Today that figure is 22,000. Before the strike the figure stood at 8,000 unemployed and was increasing all the time. If we look at the figures for 1971 we see that they were never once under 5,000, but have gradually climbed to 8,000 —and now, finally, to 22,000.

The average monthly unemployment figure in the City of Dundee under the Labour Government was 2,522. When one compares this figure with what happened under the Conservative Government, it can be seen what a shocking record they have. Furthermore, the Labour Government were working under an adverse balance of payments which they had to put right. The Conservatives began in office with a balance of payments surplus of £1,000 million, so that the situation ought to have been easy for them. However, they have refused to give us special development area status. Another important consideration is that we have in our area an extremely high number of disabled people who cannot find jobs. This is bound to occur when there is high unemployment. The loss of earnings is colossal, and this has had its effect in that there is less money to spend so that there is less work for people in the consumer industry.

The right hon. Gentleman may be under the impression that the further large oil strike in the North Sea will solve all our problems. Let me disabuse him of this idea. When we look at the number of jobs created by the oil industry, even in an oil refinery area, we see that there are very few. The oil industry is not particularly labour-intensive. Furthermore, there is no intention to build another new refinery anywhere in Scotland. We are told by the oil companies that the one at Grangemouth can cope with all future demand likely to arise in Scotland, so far as they can see. There will be a good deal of initial work in laying pipelines and building oil rigs, and some use of the harbours, but once all that is finished there will be nothing left to do. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman believes that this oil discovery in the North Sea will cure unemployment on Tayside he will have to look again and will need to look much more closely at the problem.

It must also be remembered that Dundee has a shipbuilding industry. Admittedly, it is on a much smaller scale than that at Upper Clyde, but it is an industry with a long history. The shipbuilding industry in Dundee has built substantial ships and has a good reputation for skill and ability. Our shipyard has not asked for vast sums of money to keep it going and, indeed, it never asks for anything very much. It is going through a bad period at the moment, and the Secretary of State has been told that certain orders would be suitable for this yard at present. The tenders which have been put in by the Dundee yards can be shown to be competitive. The delivery date is the best of any tender so far, and the right hon. Gentleman should see what he can do to assist in this way if he does not wish to help in any other way.

The Tayside area experienced high unemployment in the 1930s. The problem was then cured by giving financial incentives to industries to come to the area. I believe that the problem can be cured again by the adoption of similar methods. We must see what has led to the present decline: first, the Government's announcement about the ending of regional employment premiums in 1974; secondly, the abolition of investment grants and replacement by allowances—which even the chamber of commerce regards as a bad move; thirdly, the granting of special development area status to so many other areas that it is becoming difficult, if not impossible, for our area to attract firms, although it is a very attractive area for industry.

I wish to mention two firms which wanted to come to the area and said they would do so if S.D.A. status was afforded, one of these firms would have provided a thousand jobs and the other 1,200 jobs. This information was communicated to the right hon. Gentleman. Far from agreeing, his answer was that the Dundee Corporation should send the names of these two firms to his Glasgow office, which would find places for them in existing special development areas. So, after all the work done by Dundee in trying to attract firms, at considerable expense, and after contacting and arranging for them to come to the area provided that this assurance was given it was then told, "Send on the names and we will direct them somewhere else". The areas to which they would be directed are better off as regards employment and their future prospects are better than those of the Tayside area so long as this Government are in power.

If this is the kind of encouragement which the right hon. Gentleman gives areas which are trying to help themselves, I do not know how he can expect to receive any gratitude from them. I ask him, or, better still, the Prime Minister, to look urgently at the whole question of how the Tayside area has been and still is being handled.

4.51 p.m.

Mr. Roger White (Gravesend)

I appreciate that time is short for this debate. Therefore, I will be brief.

When I saw the Opposition's Motion on the Order Paper I wondered whether this was becoming a monthly "beat the Government" Motion rather than a sincere attempt to meet the problem.

The latest figures for unemployment, although disguised by the recent dispute in the coal industry, indicate, I trust, a chink of light in the overall trend. Unemployment in the South-East of England, and North Kent in particular, whilst in no way comparable with the Midlands, the North and Scotland, means just as much to the man who is unemployed as if he were living in Newcastle or Glasgow. In Northfleet and Gravesend the unemployed feel that as deeply as anyone else.

The basic industries in my part of North Kent, as I have reminded the House before, are cement and paper. The paper industry has suffered a long period of retrenchment, and manufacturers are still awaiting the outcome of the protracted discussions between the Government, our E.F.T.A. partners and the E.E.C. The general view now held is that time is not by any means on our side. Therefore, I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to expedite the arrangements concerning the paper industry with the E.F.T.A. countries and the E.E.C. as soon as possible.

Added to that, there is the well known background in our part of England of being outside any development or intermediate development area status. It is a high-cost travel-to-work area which has immense industrial and commercial frus- trations. The local authorities and Members of Parliament have met the Department of Trade and Industry over a period and have had assurances of a flexible attitude in the award of I.D.Cs for office development.

Last year the Kent County Council, to its great credit, appointed an employment and liaison officer. In Gravesend the Department of Employment is to experiment with a local labour intelligence service in North-West Kent in obtaining information regarding redundancies, market influences, industrial activity, and so on, and this information will be examined in depth. Therefore, I should like to pay tribute to the local authorities and to the local officers of the Department of Employment for the efforts which they are making.

None the less, there are one or two points of a local character to which I should like to draw the Government's attention. In both my constituency and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Trew) work is in progress on the construction of two large power stations, one on the Isle of Grain and the other at Littlebrook.

On 1st July, 1970, I asked whether the Central Electricity Generating Board would ensure the maximum use of local labour. I was informed that the matter rested between the board and the contractors. Notwithstanding those words of encouragement, the local officers of the Department of Employment have been able, with contractors, to assist on many of the sites where these large industrial plants are being built. Unfortunately, reports are now circulating locally—I have written to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry about this matter—that the Central Electricity Generating Board is to appoint a separate agency to be responsible for further recruitment. The fears expressed locally are that this agency will go outside our area to recruit labour irrespective of the local skills available. I draw this matter to the attention of the Under-Secretary because there is considerable anxiety not only in my constituency but in neighbouring constituencies, where local skills are available and should be used in future.

In the context of the Central Electricity Generating Board, I draw my hon. Friend's attention to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford about the Littlebrook power station. Apparently the C.E.G.B., wishing to expand this plant, had planning consent as long ago as October, 1970, but is still awaiting confirmation from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Indeed, on 31st January this year my hon. Friend announced that the matter was still being studied. I remind him and the Government that some 2,000 jobs are available on this site, and they affect not only my constituents but those of my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford. Therefore, an announcement on that project is regarded as essential.

Apart from the paper and cement industries, the construction industry comes very much into mind in my part of the South-East. On 1st December last year the Construction Industry Training Board announced a boost for Kent building workers with a new group called the Weald Construction Training Group, consisting of 19 major Kent building firms covering 1,850 employees. Naturally, I welcome this project, but most of the builders concerned in this project are a long way from my area. We would like to see this kind of thing extended; for example, to places such as Dartford, Northfleet, Gravesend and the Medway towns.

In the light of an expanding economy towards the Continent of Europe, we have a big and important part to play in industry, commerce and trade. The belief of the local authorities and of all those concerned in our area is that a new growth of what we would term "seed bed" industries is required and that we should not merely rely upon large industrial complexes such as cement, paper, large power stations and oil refineries. We need small light engineering firms set up along the Thames and the Medway. Therefore, I hope that the Government will not forget that in the enlarged Community of the E.E.C. we shall probably be part of the launching pad which will set this country forth into the 1970s and 1980s on the industrial growth and potential which I am sure we require.

I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to bear in mind that, because areas such as the South-East of England do not qualify for development or intermediate area status, we have an important part to play in the economy. We cannot allow our basic industries to run down, and we want to encourage new industries.

I look forward to my hon. Friend's reply in the context of what I have said, because I am convinced that it is only by looking at the different areas of this country in the context of the nation as a whole that we shall be able to overcome the difficult and understandable concern which we all have for unemployment.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Bob Brown (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West)

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what he said this afternoon about my constituent Mr. Dan McGarvey, because it goes without saying that the lot of Clyde-side and, more appropriately, the future of Clydeside would be in the gravest doubt had it not been for the tenacity and determination of Dan McGarvey to give life to shipbuilding on the Upper Clyde.

The Minister's statement this afternoon about the U.C.S. was a belated recognition of the difficulties of the British shipbuilding industry vis-à-vis the shipbuilding industries of other nations. It seems remarkable, to say the least, that the Government had to be in office for 20 months before learning that the shipbuilding industry internationally is not a free-for-all private enterprise baby at all; that shipbuilding throughout the world is buttressed by the various Governments. The Government's recognition of the industry's problems is belated, but perhaps it is a case of better late than never.

One might ask whether, had the Government discarded their noninterventionist and "lame duck" policies some months ago, it would have been necessary to pour this vast sum of £35 million into U.C.S.

Mr. A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I draw attention to the fact that there is not a quorum present?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

There is no question of a quorum, because we cannot any more be counted out.

Mr. Brown

One must ask whether this injection of £35 million would have been necessary, but recognition by the Government, even at this late stage, that the shipbuilding industry has to be buttressed by them brings me to my own native area.

On the Tyne there is the Swann Hunter group. That group, like every other shipbuilding group in the country, is not without its problems, but the problems are not of its own making. Many of them are the direct result of the policies that have been pursued by the Government during the last 20 months. Sir John Hunter, the Chairman of the Swann Hunter Group, is a man to whom I should not be unkind if I were to suggest that he was never noted for his sympathy towards the Labour Government, and never noted for publicly stating on Tyneside any high praise for that Government.

I remember being at the launch of a major ship, the E.S.S.O. "Northumbria". When the Princess had done her job we went in for a "nosh". After lunch the Princess made a nice speech, which we all enjoyed. Sir John then intervened, and he had not a kind word to say about the intervention in the yard by the then Government which created the opportunity for that fine ship to be built. It was left to the chairman of the shipowners—as with the Government today —belatedly to recognise the fact that the Government of the day were playing a tremendous part in the reorganisation and restructuring of the industry. Clearly, I have to ask—and I hope that we shall be given some indication of this by the Government this evening—whether, if Swann Hunter were to run into financial difficulties next year, we could hope for some Government support for the Tyne.

The difficulties to which I referred earlier of the British shipbuilding industry are the direct result of the Government's policies in connection with the grant system, and the sooner the Government realise that non-intervention in industry across the board does not pay, and the sooner they realise the error of their ways in what they have done about regional policies, the better it will be for industry generally in the regions, and the shipbuilding industry in particular.

The only thing for which the Government can claim credit is having dismembered regional policies. One cannot think of any reason why, almost immediately after the General Election, the Government should have been so determined to step in and wipe out investment grants and replace them by investment allowances. I have heard no real reason advanced for that being done, but I give the Government credit for having done it at a stroke.

Let there be no doubt that that one decision has cost not only the shipbuilding industry but all industries in our development areas dearly, and has done tremendous harm to future confidence in the development areas. It must be remembered that development area policy means the building up of confidence in the regions. That is why I sincerely hope that we shall hear no more of the stock answer from that Dispatch Box that development area policy is being urgently reviewed by the Government. We have been told that for the last 20 months.

Mr. T. W. Urwin (Houghton-le-Spring)

My hon. Friend having asked why there has been such a determination to reduce the incentives available to development areas since June, 1970, would he accept that it is due largely to the insane desire of the Government to save money? Would he agree that the Government's major achievement so far has been the creation of nearly ½ million unemployed? Would he further accept that in his nationwide broadcast last night the Prime Minister said not a word about unemployment?

Mr. Brown

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his intervention, because there is no doubt that the Government's prime purpose immediately after 18th June, 1970, was to reduce public expenditure, and we had the classic example today of the determination of the Department of Trade and Industry not to intervene in the shipbuilding industry after having brought about a situation in which U.C.S. was asking for £6 million. A sum of £5 million had already been poured in during the previous 12 months to keep it going. Now we have this indication of £35 million being necessary. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman says about monitoring and keeping an eye on how this public money is expended, the fact is that he has no guarantee that within three years the company will be solvent.

To come to my hon. Friend's last point, no one can deny that, whether they were temporarily stopped or permanently stopped, last week's unemployment figure was 1.6 million. The situation in my area, with nearly 95,000 unemployed, is a disgrace and a shame, and the responsibility for it rests on the Tory Government.

I referred earlier to the lack of confidence in the regions. The worst thing of all in the North-East of England is the complete lack of confidence in the ability of the Government to reverse the trend which they set in motion with such indecent haste immediately after 18th June, 1970. It is not good enough to thump the Box and say, "We are urgently reviewing regional policy". The Minister's hon. Friend has said the same thing until I am tired of hearing him say it. No Government are reasonably entitled to claim that they are urgently reviewing something when they have been saying that for 18 months. An urgent review would take 18 weeks rather than 18 months. I say this with some knowledge of how fast the Government machine works. I hope that the Minister will say that within days rather than weeks or months there will be a specific announcement on a new regional policy.

5.11 p.m.

Mr. Robert Redmond (Bolton, West)

I should like to comment on the last point made by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Bob Brown). I have every sympathy with this. I too am very anxious to see a new regional policy promulgated, but it should be the right one. I am prepared to wait another month or two to get it right. We do not want it hastily done.

Tributes have been paid to one of the union leaders in the shipbuilding industry. My area is mainly concerned with the textile industry, which has had a far rawer deal than shipbuilding. I join many other people in paying tribute to the leaders of the textile unions, who have shown such a responsible attitude in such difficult circumstances.

The hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) made a plea for special development area, instead of development area, status. My area has no status at all. It is something between a development area and an intermediate area. I have every sympathy with what the hon. Member said, although I think that my area has suffered worse than his.

The widening of development and intermediate areas will not be of any use until industry gets on the move. This is why I listened with absolute fascination to the speech of the right hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn). It was an odd speech, notable for its terminological and technological inexactitudes and its advocacy of policies which have already been seen to fail horribly.

In his great discourse and wide-ranging speech, the right hon. Gentleman did not mention Rhodesia or metrication. He might have mentioned South Africa. If his Government had encouraged the South Africans to purchase the Nimrod aircraft, which is not exactly a warlike instrument, there would be 7,000 more jobs in the North-West.

Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrew, West)

The words "terminological inexactitude" have a specific meaning in this House. Would the hon. Gentleman say exactly what he means, so that one can reply to him?

Mr. Redmond

I am going to deal with the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He spoke about the shake-out continuing. Does he mean the one that he started when he was Minister of Technology? In my constituency, the trade union leaders and others have been continually critical to me of the takeovers and mergers which began between 1964 and 1970, which have always been followed by rationalisation and, so far as we can see, a loss of jobs.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Common Market. I take extreme exception to what he said. I do not claim to be an expert on the Common Market, nor on the European Communities Bill, but I have been utterly convinced for years of the need to join the Common Market in the interests of my constituency and of jobs there. Some ten years ago, when the Macmillan Government were negotiating for entry, I had the honour to be Chairman of the North-Western Export Club, an organisation comprising small firms interested in exporting. We did a great study of whether it was to the advantage of small firms for this country to be in the Common Market.

I went through exactly the same exercise last autumn in Bolton, asking firms the same question and using the papers that I had used in the studies of ten years before. The answer came back strongly and forcibly that it would be in the interests of the employment of the people of Bolton that Britain should be a member of the Common Market as soon as possible.

For a former Minister of Technology to suggest that employment is threatened by our membership shows that he has not made the study of industry that he should have made. For the sake of jobs in my constituency, I have voted the way I have.

Mr. John Biffen (Oswestry)

Before my hon. Friend leaves this interesting and necessarily somewhat controversial aspect of his speech, could he also confirm that the trade prospects which he foresees in the Common Market could still be there even if one were to take a somewhat different view of Clause 2 of the European Communities Bill than now seems evident?

Mr. Redmond

I will quote one small firm in Bolton which convinced me that we are right about the Common Market. This firm said, "If you will get us into the Common Market, we will be employing three times as many people as we are now within three or four years." [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) knows something of my constituency, because his is nearby, but I do not think that he has asked that sort of question of the firms that I have asked.

Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)

Since the hon. Gentleman was good enough to refer to me, I would only say that one small firm does not make a Bolton summer.

Mr. Redmond

I gave that small firm as an example and I will send the hon. Gentleman a verbatim copy of the speech that I have made in my constituency. Then he will see the full story.

The Secretary of State spoke about the problem caused by the rundown of stocks. We must take this very urgently into consideration, particularly in relation to purchase tax stocks, with the onset of value added tax. I hope that, in the interests of employment, the Chancellor will produce an answer to this question when he presents his Budget. This problem was put clearly to me by a wholesale stationer in my constituency over the weekend. Jobs are threatened unless we can get over that difficulty.

This is an odd time to be having this debate with the upheaval and distortion caused by the coal strike. We might take particular note of the figures issued the other day—that is, the rise in the number of jobs vacant. The Opposition might have welcomed this, however small an indication it is.

I wonder how relevant the figures are which we get from the Department of Employment. I see every night in my local newspaper pages and pages of jobs vacant. I wish that I had the facilities to do the research on these things and to analyse the background. I should like to know whether all the firms which advertise notify these vacancies to the Department. In other words, are they in the figures? If they have done so, what reactions did they get? How many applications resulted? Having advertised, what response have they had from the advertisement? Finally, have the jobs been filled, either as a result of approaching the Department or as a result of the advertisement?

I hope that, if I am honoured by any space in my local newspaper as a result of this speech, some firms will write to tell me what the position is. This leads me to ask whether we are being mesmerised by unemployment percentages. I quote some figures for my own travel-to-work area. We have a population of 261,000, covering eight local authorities. This gives a working population of 116,000. We are said to have an unemployment figure of 6.4 per cent.—or to have had that figure until recent figures were announced. This represents 6,800 people. Another travel-to-work area, which is in a development area, has 9½per cent. unemployed. But, applying the same calculation as the one I have just made, the number of jobs wanted is 3,868.

Of those two areas, which needs help more? Is it the area like my own which is not in a development area or an intermediate area, or that which is in the development area? Or would it be better to think again and have a review? That is what I hope will come from the Department of Trade and Industry. I hope that we shall get some change in policy, because one of the things that has been very galling to people in Scotland and parts of Lancashire, including mine, is that every time the Department of the Environment produces legislation to help infrastructure, the Department ties it to the areas nominated by the Department of Trade and Industry for development area, special development area or intermediate area status.

On the Second Reading of the Housing Bill last year I spoke critically, but I could not and would not have opposed it then. The Housing Act gave money to areas which did not need it as much as the areas which have no status. In the light of trends that have occurred since that Bill received its Second Reading, if a similar piece of legislation came forward, I should be bound to oppose it and to take my opposition into the Lobby.

For reasons which I have explained to you, Mr. Speaker, it is a pity that I cannot be present for the winding up speeches. However, I hope that my hon. Friend will deal with that point.

5.22 p.m.

Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)

When I rose on a point of order about the Minister's copious references to Scotland, I should make it perfectly plain that I meant no injury to Scotland as such. But I have every right to take exception to the fact that in the previous debate as well as in this debate, the Minister in question made no references to Burnley and North-East Lancashire. Hon. Members may question, "Why references to Burnley and North-East Lancashire?" I intend to say why. It may quite well be that Ministers think of Burnley still as an old cotton town. That is manifestly wrong. It is a town that has, in turn, made remarkable contributions to the most sophisticated form of engineering. The first jet engine ever produced for the aircraft industry was produced in Burnley, and for every jet engine since then, up to and including those for Concorde, a good deal of the gas turbines were made in Burnley. A substantial portion of the research on perhaps the finest aero-engine in the world, the RB 211, was conducted in North-East Lancashire. For that reason, we in Burnley and North-East Lancashire, who have suffered through the years so much industrial stagnation of one kind or another and have now got into existence over the last two decades a thrusting new industry, find ourselves again with a form of stagnation. It is time, and more than time, that our voice was heard here, with that of Scotland.

I take no exception to the fact that these references to Scotland were made in the way they were. But my references must also be made. I shall make further references to Scotland before I conclude my speech, which I intend to do within 10 minutes.

It occurs to me that, perhaps, it is another set of figures that has impressed the present Government; that is, the fact that we have only an average unemployment rate in Burnley and North-East Lancashire, if one concludes that those figures are insufficient of analysis. I intend to tell the House, and particularly the Under-Secretary, that here again Ministers are guilty of a very superficial examination of the problem affecting Burnley and North-East Lancashire. At one time the population of Burnley was 120,000. To day it is only just over 70,000. I question very much whether there is any area of Britain that has progressively lost its population to the same extent. The people that we lose are usually the young, who have the greatest contribution to make.

The present Mr. Speaker was with me at a meeting—the faces of some hon. Members opposite are looking surprised. I refer to the present Mr. Speaker when he was occupying the benches. He was present with me at a meeting when these figures were trotted out. The increase from the early 1950s to 1964 was 15 per cent. in the insured population, but for precisely the same period there was a decrease in the insured population of Burnley of about 14 per cent. As it was increasing in the nation generally, it was coming dismally down in Burnley and North-East Lancashire.

Before I came to the House, for about 20 years I was an official of the A.E.U. I was engaged, on instructions from our executive council, in the areas of Bath, Gloucester, Cheltenham and areas of that kind. My job was to recruit new people in the engineering industry into the A.E.U. I was considered to be doing a rather successful job. But the truth is that I did not then see the significance of my work, because new factories were being built and new towns were coming into existence, and the people concerned were coming from the North, from Scotland and from South Wales. This was a time when we had the "set the people free" philosophy. In short, industrialists were then allowed to do what the hell they liked, and to blazes with the basic economic needs of the country.

One of the factors, although the present Government have never yet tumbled to it, is that in expanding our economy the terrible danger, which has been proved over and over again, is that one gets overheating in the Midlands and the South before one even gets lukewarm such areas as the North, Scotland, South Wales and certainly the North-East. Can one wonder that we reached this wretched imbalance? The references made to trade unions today in terms of unemployment drew ironic smiles from hon. Members opposite. Some of the smiles are returning now. I notice them. If hon. Members opposite were unemployed, the smiles would soon vanish. I have been unemployed and I know what I am talking about. It is the greatest social scourge that any Government could perpetrate on society. What the blazes are hon. Members opposite laughing at? It is a pity that some of them could not join the ranks.

Mr. Redmond rose

Mr. Jones

I will give way when I have finished on this point. If the Treasury Ministers could somehow or other be translated to the queues of the unemployed and had to endure the boredom and emptiness of life, and proceed to live on what they received across the counter, unemployment in Britain would not last more than two or three weeks.

Mr. Redmond

The hon. Gentleman does not have a monopoly of experience of unemployment. Some of us have found it and we do not laugh about the subject.

Mr. Jones

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. I do not have a monopoly of knowledge of unemployment: 1.6 million people have a more intimate knowledge of it than I do.

Mr. Cooper

The Motion is virtually one of censure, but on the Opposition side only 15 Members are present out of about 250.

Mr. Jones

I have sufficient experience of the House to know that the hon. Gentleman has made a political point rather than a contribution. The Motion would lose none of its significance if there were only two or three of us present.

I turn from the general question of the scourge of unemployment to my own area of Burnley and North-East Lancashire. The Minister said that the Government are to invest £35 million more on the Clyde. Like my Scottish colleagues, I rejoice at that handsome contribution to solving a problem which needs an equitable solution.

I wish £1 million of that money, or an additional £1 million, were to be invested in Burnley and North-East Lancashire. I doubt if there is a more industrious area in the country. On Saturday morning an old lady who is 80 next birthday entered my "surgery", as we politicians wrongly call it. I asked her how I could help her. I was taken aback when she said, "Mr. Jones, I should like you to find me a job".

That is typical of the people of the area. It is wrong that an area like that, with a potential such as I have described, should be allowed to go to seed. I have appealed to various Ministers to visit the area, to study what we produce and the research that goes on there, and to make an estimation of the character of the people there. I assure Ministers that whatever money the Government spend in Burnley and North-East Lancashire will be in the nature of an investment rather than of expenditure.

Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)

To keep the record straight, and in view of the remarks by the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Redmond), may I point out that there are only 12 Members on the Government benches?

Mr. Jones

I am sufficient of a campaigner in the House to realise that that is another political point. I am much more concerned with the principle than with the arithmetic.

I invite the Ministers responsible for dealing with this matter to come to Burnley and North-East Lancashire. At one time or another nearly the whole of the Labour Cabinet visited Burnley to make on the spot assessments. It is significant that up till about June, 1970, we were in the happy position that every reputable employer was looking for labour and our population figures were rising agreeably. Today the reverse is the case. People are unemployed in higher numbers than we think tolerable. Young people and people who have been trained in the neighbourhood are leaving the area. It is grey stagnation.

Leaving aside political considerations, Lancashire folk have a reputation for kindness, courtesy, and generosity. They would put to one side the undoubted political partisanship they show on ordinary occasions and they would ensure that whichever Minister made that necessary journey was given a very good welcome.

I appeal to Ministers not to treat us, as they have, since 1970, as an industrial leper colony. We deserve much better. I make this appeal knowing full well that any assistance given by the Government would repay the nation handsomely. For that reason, I have every right, on human as well as on economic grounds, to make this appeal. I sincerly hope that it will be responded to.

5.36 p.m.

Mr. Edward Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

I am sure that the House will have been very impressed by the advocacy of the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Dan Jones) of the problems of his constituency, which I hope will be resolved.

I want to make a short speech, because what I think was a very important announcement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was received in virtual peace and quietness. Members from the West of Scotland regard my right hon. Friend's statement about the Upper Clyde as magnificent news which will bring real hope to an area which has suffered so much gloom and despondency. I know that my right hon. Friend has spent a great deal of time looking into all the aspects of this very vexed problem. Everyone in the West of Scotland will be grateful and delighted at the result of his endeavours.

It is important news, because 15,000 extra unemployed people, which would have been the result if Upper Clyde had been allowed to collapse, would have been a catastrophe. In an area where there is more unemployment than any other area of the country, my right hon. Friend's announcement about the extra investment and extra cash aid will be a real and effective answer to those who say that the Government do not care about Scotland's problems.

Special tribute should be paid to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland for the patient endeavours he has made in helping to have this decision brought about. The decision does not guarantee success to Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, but it gives it a reasonable chance to succeed, for the first time in many years. First, it gives a chance for the decks to be cleared on the outstanding financial burdens by the undertaking that £17 million will be provided towards wiping off the debts which have been inherited.

The second and most important matter is the £18 million of investment which is being allowed for the future. All of us know that the yards will not have a real chance of success unless a great deal of money is spent—for example, on new drainage. I hope that the £18 million will give the yards a much better chance.

It was clear from what my right hon. Friend said about the financial situation that the various patching jobs have been virtually a waste of money and that what needs to be done is to deal with the problem effectively or not at all.

I do not in any way underestimate the sincere efforts which were made by the previous Government. However, I think that the right step has been taken now, and I congratulate my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Employment and the Secretary of State for Scotland on what I see as a major achievement which will bring real happiness to the West of Scotland. When will the company be in a position to take on new orders? How urgent is the orders situation? Hon. Members on both sides will agree with the Government's tribute to Mr. Dan McGarvey. We should like to know whether agreement has been reached on the working arrangements.

Quite apart from the problem of Upper Clyde, the House will agree with what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said about the need for a longterm policy on shipbuilding. When some of my hon. Friends complain from time to time about the assistance given to shipbuilding they forget that it is in a unique situation in that it has to face world competition without the protection of tariff barriers and without levy assistance, from which many other industries in this country benefit. A crazy system of competition exists in the world today. An agreement on restricting assistance to shipbuilding would certainly put the industry on a much sounder footing, and we look forward very much to legislation on that.

I have two further questions on the general situation in Scotland which is very serious and which I hope will be overcome. Has any progress been made in the inquiries into special development area grant arrangements? We have the problem that local firms, seeking to expand and provide jobs, are not given the opportunity of having the grants, which are available only to firms outside Scotland to establish themselves in Scotland. This has created anomalies, and it prevents some local firms from expanding as much as they could. Has any progress been made in the matter? In particular, what steps are being taken to improve the actual mechanics of grant applications? Local firms object to not being told why the grant has not been given, and they feel that an independent appeal procedure would be preferable.

Has progress been made on the steel situation in Scotland? We are waiting for the report of the Steering Group which is looking into the long-term investment plans of the Scottish steel industry. This will be a crucial report for the Hunterston development. It will be essential to have a source of cheap steel, particularly bearing in mind that we shall have to adopt the European Coal and Steel Community policy, which, without Hunterston, could be very disadvantageous to Scotland.

I end by repeating how delighted I and other hon. Members from the West of Scotland are with my right hon. Friend's announcement on Upper Clyde.

5.42 p.m.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

Like the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor), I welcome the statement by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the £35 million which is now, we understand, to go to three of the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders yards. If some of us have been less than joyous in our reception of the announcement it is partly because we wonder at the way in which the Secretary of State has approached the problem. I do not want to add to his problems or to make it difficult for his hon. Friends to support him in his policy of providing £35 million. But it is strange that it was necessary to withhold the £6 million so many months ago, to force the yards into liquidation, to pass through the trauma of month after month, week after week, searching and probing for information and money while the shop stewards in the yards were doing so much to keep alive the hopes of the workers.

Would not a better policy have been to give the £6 million then and have an urgent examination of the kind which has been carried out? The Secretary of State must not think that in the intervening months no further damage has been done to the yards' prospects. It has been impossible to secure orders for new ships while this sword has been hanging over them.

The Secretary of State should not get away with it. He has been paid all sorts of fulsome tributes for the £35 million, but he has come forward with it rather late—I suppose better late than never—and to some extent rather grudgingly, because he said he was unable to tie the whole matter up today. I am glad, however, that at long last prospects for the three yards at least are reasonable. That is certainly something to be welcomed in view of the tremendous problems facing Scotland.

I wish to make a passing reference to a rather oblique phrase used by the Secretary of State about the coal dispute. People outside the House sometimes wonder at the kind of economics and logic that we apply to the nation's affairs. We are told that the dispute has cost the National Coal Board over £100 million, excluding the cost of the settlement itself, and we do not know how much it has cost industry in lost production. Is it not rather odd that we should force upon the country a situation involving a loss by the board of at least £100 million, when the total eventual settlement is less than the amount of lost sales? Would it not have been far better to tackle the problem of the miners' wages before they went on strike? At least the board would have been £100 million better off, even if the claim had been met in full.

To go through this kind of trauma which happens every time public industries are involved in a wage dispute —the Post Office, the cleansing workers and now the miners—and to inflict this damage in the name of an apparently non-existent incomes policy, is the policy of bedlam. It is time for a change of Government and a change of policy.

Hon. Members opposite have spoken about unemployment as if it is something new which developed only in the last five years, especially in Scotland. They comment about what happened under the last Labour Government and point to the unemployment levels then. But Scotland has been suffering from unemployment for over 20 years. The long-term trends show a peak of unemployment. Almost regularly every five years there is an increase to a new peak, but when the figures drop back down they never fall to the lowest level of the previous five years. They have shown a steady increase over the last 20 years.

Nothing the Government have done has improved the situation. They may boast about how much they have put into the economy and about their pump-priming. But the simple fact is that it is not working because there is no confidence in the Government. Confidence is lacking because even when people make very modest propositions to assist the economic prospects of development areas, the money has to be dragged out of the Government, every ha'penny squeezed out. The penny-pinching over ports development has to be seen to be believed. We all talk about the great oil boom and the benefits which will come from oil to the North-East of Scotland. I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) is wrong when he says that the benefits are transitional and that they may only last for five or six years before disappearing when the initial investment has passed by.

There must be investment in infrastructure, and it is about time the Government started to give the ports money without going through the paraphernalia of determining cost-effectiveness, asking whether the development will be profitable and whether it can be financed out of the port's own investment. It is significant that for the Aberdeen Harbour Board to develop the commercial side of the harbour for the benefit of the oil industry, to try to bring some of the benefits of the oil into the North-East, it has had to delay desirable fishing developments at the harbour. It cannot be reasonable economics for public service developments which have been planned for a long time to be held back to make way for another industry simply to satisfy the Government's financial requirements.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that the Government have raised from £500,000 to £1 million the ceiling below which ports do not need to apply to the central Government for any form of sanction, so ports are a great deal freer now to get on with their own expansion than they were hitherto.

Mr. Hughes

That is irrelevant. I am aware that ports have the authority to increase their borrowing powers without reference to the hon. Gentleman's Department, but that does not mean that necessary and desirable improvements are not being held back in one sector because of the demands of a new sector that no one could plan for.

If the Government want to help the North-East of Scotland, they can show their confidence by moving the Petroleum Department of the Department of Trade and Industry to Aberdeen. This suggestion is non-political. It has been made by the Press and Chamber of Commerce apart from political parties.

I am tired of seeing industries come to Scotland and pick up the benefits, the grants and loans and the differential, and then disappear when the going gets tough. They are modern freebooters who come and take all they can and then get out. That is not proper investment in Scotland. We all want investment, and we try to see that some of the investment resulting from the oil revenues goes into regional development. I am speaking of the development of Scotland, Wales and the North of England. I hope that the Government will agree, even though the Treasury may object.

What we really want in Scotland is public investment. If ever there were proof that the present economic system has failed the nation, it is to be seen in the unemployment position in Scotland. The industries that have come to Scotland have been concerned only about profit, and if they do not get their profit they go.

It is pretty sad to be told that the Government are trying to attract investment from West Germany to build a steel complex in Scotland. I know that it would be capital investment which cannot be readily moved, but it is a sorry thing if we cannot generate our own capital. I hope that we obtain that investment.

There should be a social content in industry, and as long as the present economic system operates we shall not be able to have it. I want public ownership in the interests of all our people. The sooner we get it, the better. I am sorry that I cannot develop that point further in this short debate. Many of my hon. Friends wish to speak, and I have had experience of being kept out of a debate by hon. Members who have spoken far too long.

The catastrophic unemployment in Scotland condemns the present Government. The people of Scotland condemn them. Only when we adopt a system that operates the economy for the benefit of the people, and not just those who wish to make a profit, shall we have a long-lasting solution to the unemployment problem in Scotland.

5.54 p.m.

Mr. John Stokes (Oldbury and Halesowen)

I admire the sincerity of Labour hon. Members who have spoken, but I hope they will not think that no Conservative Member has had considerable experience of industry and commerce and of employment and unemployment. I started my career in the 1930s, when unemployment was still high.

I want to discuss the problem in as non-partisan a spirit as I can. In the end it is not we politicians who will solve the problem by talking. It will be done by management and the men and women in British industry and commerce.

Apart from another reduction in Bank Rate and the further tax reductions that we all expect, the Government have probably done just about enough to stimulate the economy. I admit that what is still wanted is confidence, the confidence of industry to invest. Companies have been so debilitated by inflation, over-taxation and needless Government interference that they are naturally hesitant about committing large sums out of reduced profits for the new factories and plant and machinery we all want to see. Moreover, they will not produce more goods without being sure of a market for them. Sometimes I feel that those on the production side of industry who clamour for jobs forget that there must be a sales outlet, that there must be customers before goods or services can be produced.

Those who choose an industrial job, usually with a higher than average wage, must realise that there is bound to be risk in private enterprise. The essence of business is risk. Those who want security should choose the public service, where the wage rate may be lower but the security is greater. The public service can also attract those who wish to serve their country. A number of public services cannot find enough men and women. I am thinking of the Navy, the Army, the Air Force—[An HON. MEMBER: "Back to the 1930s."]—the police, the prison service and nursing. They are all honourable professions, and I do not know why Labour hon. Members interrupt.

I wish to devote the remaining part of my speech to a new topic. I am astonished that no hon. Member has yet mentioned the effect of immigration on employment. We are told that we are living in an age of increasing leisure and that the service industries will absorb more and more people. For example, more and more hotels are being built because of the tourist boom, but I am told that the industry cannot find enough staff to man them. Therefore, it is necessary to call in Spanish waiters and chambermaids and other immigrants.

In the 1930s those who were thrown out of work from the factories could often find jobs in the service industries, such as the railways, road transport, hotels and catering. Today those opportunities are blocked by the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have come here since the 1950s and 1960s. The matter requires further study. As the total number of immigrants in this crowded island approaches 2 million, and as they are still entering the country at the rate of over 40,000 a year, surely common prudence demands—

Mr. Kenneth Lomas (Huddersfield, West) rose

Mr. Stokes

I will not give way, because I must get on. Surely there must be a pause, if not a halt, if we are not to inflict further damage upon our own indigenous working population? Everyone is aware of the over-manning there has been in industry over the past 20 years, and the recent shake-out had to come sooner or later. What some people do not realise, or will not realise, is that the large numbers of immigrants we allowed to enter the country in the 1950s and 1960s encouraged some employers to be extravagant and wasteful with labour. We do not know a great deal about this subject, but I would hazard a guess that quite a high proportion of the unemployed are immigrants. I wonder whether the Department of Employment can discover the figures, since these would be helpful to employers and trade unionists alike as well as to the immigrants themselves.

Mr. Robert Hughes rose

Mr. Stokes

I hope the hon. Gentleman will forgive me. I heard him in silence. Certainly, the present employment situation makes the need for voluntary repatriation of immigrants more urgent than ever, and we must never forget that there is a crying need for the skills and energies of these immigrants in their own homelands—in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Mr. Ray Carter (Birmingham, North-fields)


Mr. Stokes

Hon. Members opposite might consider modifying their pro-immigrant bias and do more to look after their own countrymen. No doubt it has not escaped notice in the House that the Common Market countries have recently been quick to put up barriers against our own immigrants. I suggest that it is only common sense and prudence that we should stop all future immigration and encourage all those immigrant workers who want to go back and join their families and help build up their own countries to do so.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I understand that it is proposed that the Front Bench speeches should start at 6.30. I should like to call at least three more back-bench speakers before then if I can.

6.3 p.m.

Mr. T. W. Urwin (Houghton-le-Spring)

It is not surprising in such a debate, when we are addressing ourselves to the urgent national problem of well over 1 million unemployed, that almost without exception speakers so far have addressed themselves also to the serious regional aspects of the overall problem. We can all show our regional scars, even without being invited to. I would say to hon. Members opposite that, despite the worsening situation in the country as a whole, there will continue for about as far ahead as one can see the serious and almost ineradicable problems of unemployment in the development areas. It is, therefore, right and proper that attempts should be made on this side of the House to indict the Government for the policies they have put in train and equally for their discarding, because of political dogma, of regional incentives to attract new industries into development areas—an abandonment which has largely contributed to the present situation. Week after week since June, 1970, we have begged, pleaded, cajoled and used all the facilities available to us to get a statement from the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry following his extensive revision of regional policy but, 20 months later, we still do not know what the Government have in mind for the development areas.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) berated the Opposition for not giving a warmer welcome to the right hon. Gentleman's statement about the investment proposed in U.C.S. Some of these statements by the Government are made in debate, thus tending to preclude the possibility of questions. That is not the sort of behaviour expected in Parliament from people holding such high office. If it is any consolation to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, I remind him that the Secretary of State for the Environment is equally to be condemned for using the same expedient, even in a regional debate. For example, in a debate on the Northern Region some time ago, the Secretary of State for the Environment announced £45 million extra expenditure on improvement grants. It is far better for statements to be made at the appropriate time so that they can be questioned and critically examined by hon. Members on both sides of the House.

The indictment of the Government is heightened when we think of the possible repercussive effects of the recent coal strike. One cannot lightly disregard the possibility that, apart from the passing phase of additional unemployment arising from the national emergency, further difficulties may ensue even after the miners have, happily, returned to work.

Last night, the Prime Minister quite properly spoke on television about the difficult situation facing the country. I was nevertheless more than surprised not to hear him utter one word about the factors which led to the coal strike. Certainly one might have expected him to refer to the fact that, had it not been for Government intervention, the strike might have been averted, because the offer which was made eventually could have been made earlier. It was equally surprising, in view of the extremely serious unemployment problem, that the Prime Minister made no reference to the frustrations which the unemployed feel—and I remind the House that many of us on this side have had personal bitter experience of unemployment ourselves. Nor did the right hon. Gentleman attempt to address himself to finding answers to the problem.

In this respect, both the Prime Minister and the Government stand indicted until they begin to think much more objectively about finding new policies. I endorse the sentiment, expressed by hon. Members on both sides, about the necessity, which I hope the Secretary of State has taken on board, to extend to indigenous firms the full range of incentives available in development areas so that they can more fully participate in the generation of new job opportunities and thereby help to reduce the terrible scourge of unemployment.

The development areas all face a problem—not a new one—which is escalating almost week by week. The lesser incentives available mean that not only are we getting fewer inquiries from firms, and therefore not the same intake of new firms into development areas, but we are losing firms already in the development areas which are finding it a hard struggle to keep going. This applies to many small firms. At a time of less prosperity, a number of such firms tend to leave for more affluent areas of the country—for example, some firms have their facilities withdrawn back to the parent company elsewhere. We can all cite examples of job opportunities and expansion opportunities lost to firms in the development areas because of the combination of circumstances by which they are surrounded.

Yesterday morning at my home, I received a deputation of officials of a trade union, who expressed deep concern to me. The factory concerned is not in my constituency, but the three officials who called to see me live in my constituency —indeed, a large number of my constituents are employed by the firm.

In addition to its shipbuilding industry, Sunderland is one of the oldest-established glass-making centres with a proud reputation. The firm in question has a very good export record and has been making glass in the area for as long as anyone can remember. Certain processes are being taken away from Sunderland and Treforest and concentrated in Stone. While the right hon. Gentleman has no immediate jurisdiction over this I would suggest that this is happening much too frequently. Stone is far from being a development area although it may have its problems. Sunderland most certainly is a development area, where more than one man in ten is without a job. I understand that more than 100 jobs are involved in this transfer.

Fears are being expressed that some of the other manufacturing processes might be transferred to Stone or elsewhere, adding further to our insurmountable problems. The Government and their supporters are always talking proudly about the enormous amount of money being poured into the economy. Yet we have the paradox of a rising rate of unemployment to which no one can see an end. We on this side are entitled to discount the optimistic expressions about the employment situation which come from the Government side, because we can see no immediate solution to the problem based on the Government's present policies.

There just cannot be the resurgence that is needed to get 1½ million people off the unemployment register. While the money that is being poured in is welcome, it misses the point because it is not creating jobs which could be described as permanent in that they represent new industry which will generate further employment as the rundown in heavy industry continues. I say once more, as my hon. and right hon. Friends have said in the past to this Government, "For Heaven's sake get your finger out and do something to relieve this desperate problem."

6.14 p.m.

Mr. Tom Boardman (Leicester, South-West)

I am sure that the hon. Member for Houghton-le-Spring (Mr. Urwin) will forgive me if I do not follow his remarks. There are two issues I want to touch upon, one major the other minor. We will want to know more from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State about the statement on Upper Clyde. We will want to know how firm are the assurances that it will be a viable concern. I concede that the assurances given by my right hon. Friend had a more solid ring than those given by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. We shall want to know of the effect of this upon other parts of the shipbuilding industry. My right hon. Friend referred to the payments being made to U.C.S. in a way that would not prejudice other areas. That poses the question of whether further grants will be payable to them.

I strongly believe in the philosophy supported on this side of the House that subsidy is not healthy but independence is. It is the breach of that philosophy which has led to some of our troubles—the fact that many weak plants have been propped up for so long and that the last Government failed to provide any seed-bed from which to generate growth and replace the heavy, older industries. Could this sum of money be more effectively spent in providing jobs in the newer industries, in training and retraining and in the improvement of the environment, so that people at present in the shipyards could find employment in industries with a long-term profitable future in areas where there will not be further erosion?

The minor point I seek to raise is particularly pertinent because my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment is to reply to this debate. One way in which unemployment may be alleviated is through advancing minor road improvements and maintenance. I know that my right hon. Friends have advanced the trunk road improvement programme, carried out advance surveys and made provision for this to be done much more quickly than would otherwise have been the case, but we have not made the same progress with minor roads which are the responsibility of local authorities. They have been instructed to advance their surveys with the object of bringing plans into effect sometime in the autumn which means that people will not be on the jobs until about the spring of next year.

Many minor works schemes exist which need no survey. They are such things as taking off the corner from a road which is already pegged out. The labour resources are there, the plant is there. These are jobs which are said to be labour-intensive. My hon. Friend may not be able to reply to this tonight but I hope he will bear it in mind. Many of these schemes could be started within days of receiving authority to do so, but the local authorities must be authorised to have the grants which are necessary to do the work. Unemployment in a large section of that labour force could be quickly removed and we could have men operating throughout the spring and summer doing jobs which need to be done, such as paving work, cutting off corners and generally uplifting road standards which were allowed to decline due to economies made during the period of the last Administration. This is not a fundamental change but it is a constructive suggestion which would improve our communications system and relieve the unemployment problem.

6.18 p.m.

Mr Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

I want to make one comment on the speech of the hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Stokes). I have before me the Department of Employment Gazette for October, 1971, which gives more or less up-to-date figures for immigrant unemployment. I am not certain whether there has been any movement since that time. It shows that the number of coloured persons, including school-leavers, registered as unemployed in Great Britain on 9th August, 1971, was 18,944. That is 2.3 per cent. of all wholly unemployed compared with 2.2 per cent. in May.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

The later figures for November are largely comparable.

Mr. Heffer

I am grateful. This proves that the point made by the hon. Gentleman is not accurate and that there are no more of these people, percentagewise, than any other section of the community. If we look at the total percentage of unemployed we see that there are proportionately fewer unemployed coloured workers. We ought not to have disgraceful speeches of that kind which can inflame a situation because of the serious unemployment problem.

Last Thursday the Evening Standard said that the figure of 1,600,000 unemployed was much inflated, and we accept that. Nevertheless, it argued that after the next count there would be a more realistic figure. What does that mean? Will it be 1 million or 900,000 unemployed? That is not good enough. We want to get back to the position when there is normal unemployment created by people changing jobs and nothing more. There is no so-called realistic figure that is acceptable to me or to my hon. Friends on this side of the House.

In the few moments available to me in the debate I want to talk primarily about Merseyside. Merseyside has doubled its numbers of unemployed since June, 1970. We now have on Merseyside some 54,000 workers unemployed. If we compare that situation with the situation in other development areas we see that, although it is true that we have not percentagewise reached the same level of unemployment as exists in the North-East, nevertheless Merseyside is, I think, the only development area to have doubled its numbers of unemployed since June, 1970.

I want to tell hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House that it is not only unskilled workers who are unemployed. Even within my own constituency Labour Party there are workers who have not been employed for years. They are highly skilled workers who have been out of work for months and see no prospects whatever of employment in the Merseyside area. In particular the situation is very serious among building operatives. There is an area which is crying out for new houses and for better schools. I do do not know whether hon. Members are aware that in some areas in my constituency we still have as schools wooden buildings that were erected at the beginning of the century and which ought to be replaced but are not being replaced. Yet we have building operatives unemployed, workers who could be used for replacing those schools, who could be solving the building problem, who could be used in all sorts of construction required on Merseyside. Yet many thousands of highly skilled building operatives are unemployed in my city and area.

Then we have the problem of unemployed youth. There are young people who left school not just at Christmas, not just the Christmas before, but earlier than that, and who have never had a job. Some of them are giving up looking for work because the oportunities just do not present themselves. There is the Government's industrial training, and the development of that, but the young people are sceptical about it. They point out that some of their friends have Government training—and there is retraining —and yet when they finish at the training centres there are no jobs to go to. It is a very serious problem.

I would like to give one short quotation from the Liverpool Daily Post about a man called George Hall who is reported in that newspaper as saying: You feel degraded because you are getting someone else's money and when I'm out, people say: 'You still out of work?'". George Hall, who feels degraded, is but one of 54,000 workers in the Merseyside area who are also degraded and who cannot see any chance of employment.

The Prime Minister came to our city recently. We pressed him to meet the employment advisory committee of the City Council, with local employers and trade unions, and he did. They put forward a six point programme to him. I have since written to the Prime Minister asking when we shall get a reply, hoping for an early one. On the day the Prime Minister came to Liverpool the Daily Post had an editorial which put forward a policy which I endorse. This is what it said to the Prime Minister: We know you have plans for the regions. We await them with interest. But we are worried that from the remoteness of Whitehall it is not always possible to grasp the extent and complexity of the difficulties facing an area like Merseyside. And we would like to make these suggestions on what could be done. If anybody on the Government side of the House thinks that the Liverpool Daily Post is a Socialist newspaper I can disabuse his mind on that. It is by no means a Socialist newspaper, but these are the suggestions which it put forward: Restore investment grants; reprieve the regional employment premium; provide major tax incentives to attract companies into the area; apply a rigorous system of development control to limit growth in the more prosperous areas; increase the rate support grant to offset losses due to decanting of population in city redevelopment". I am not saying I entirely endorse all those suggestions but I go along with most of them entirely.

We have in areas like Merseyside problems which require the sort of economic assistance outlined in that editorial in the Liverpool Daily Post because the Government have been totally complacent on unemployment. Unemployment has grown month by month, week by week, and yet we have not seen on the Government side any feeling of urgency, any feeling that something really important must be done to alleviate the immediate problems. Of course, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen from the Government side are now coming forward with proposals, but those proposals ought to have been carried out months ago. The assistance to U.C.S. is very valuable but it should be applied not only to U.C.S. The whole of the British shipbuilding industry requires assistance. Cammell Laird requires assistance. Every shipbuilding area requires assistance, because in our modern times one cannot compete on an international basis unless Government subsidies are given to the shipbuilding industry. Anyone who knows anything about shipbuilding knows that.

The Government must decide that they will take immediate action. They can do so in the Budget, but they should not merely wait for the Budget. They could do more and they could do it sooner. Unless the Government show very quickly that they are prepared to do something positive along the lines so often suggested from this side of the House, and, incidentally, many times by hon. Members on their own side of the House, too, irrespective of the Common Market or anything else they will have lost the next General Election and they will have lost it now, because the British people do not take kindly to a Government which allows more than 1 million unemployed. We have turned our backs on those days, because the British people believe in a full-employment economy.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrew, West)

This debate has been characterised by the seriousness with which every hon. Member has referred to the unemployment situation.

While appreciating the valuable contributions that have been made, I wish to comment particularly on only two speeches. The first was that made by my hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Dan Jones), who I believe got through to hon. Gentlemen opposite in expressing the passion which we feel on this issue. I want the Tories to appreciate the background against which we are discussing this subject. Having lived through the hungry 'twenties and Thirties, the British people are seeing those days beginning to be repeated.

The second speech on which I wish to comment was the speech made by the hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Stokes), which I can only describe as squalid, mean and unworthy. For the hon. Gentleman to make such an attack on a group of people in the community when we face unemployment at its present level was unworthy of this House. As the facts can be found in a matter of minutes, and as they will no doubt be given by the Minister when he replies to the debate, it was incredible that the hon. Gentleman should make such a speculation. It cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

We welcomed the statement of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry about Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and naturally we will not probe the matter deeply now. It would, of course, have been better had the right hon. Gentleman made a fuller statement which we could have questioned. However, we appreciate that he was anxious to make his announcement as quickly as possible and we trust that he will let us know the full position when the details are finalised. We understand that the £35 million will be divided as to £17 million for dealing with the past situation and £18 million for the necessary working capital and investment.

I shall refrain from commenting at length on our belief that this whole problem could have been dealt with earlier if the Government had recognised what they are only now beginning to understand, and that is the fact that we cannot look at industrial problems simply from a cash point of view. We must understand from the beginning that there are human problems involved—what we are now beginning to call the social cost factor.

It has been left to the trade union movement to make the social costing in this case, and without such a costing we cannot in future allow closures and redundancies to take place. For this reason alone we are glad to see someone on the road to Damascus. We therefore welcomed the right hon. Gentleman's statement.

In similar vein, we welcomed the tribute paid by the right hon. Gentleman to Dan McGarvey. It was, however, a little ungenerous of him not also to pay tribute on behalf of this House to the people of Clydeside and Scotland and workers throughout Britain. A tribute to the men of Clydeside is due, because they stood firm and said, "We want to work and we are going to work." They above all have made possible the sort of statement which the right hon. Gentleman made. The lesson we can learn from the men of Clydeside is not only for hon. Gentlemen on the Government side to learn. My hon. Friends can learn from it too.

I say that because this debate is taking place against a new mood in Britain. It is the feeling among workers that they have a right to work. They are saying in a qualitative way, "We feel that our right to work is basic to our freedom, along with the National Health Service, education and the other social and welfare services." It will be at our peril if we do not come to terms with this new mood.

Mr. Cooper rose

Mr. Buchan

I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman. The last point he made was a cheap political one. I do not intend to give him the opportunity to make another.

The basic fact to recognise is that the Government's policy is in ruins. Each venture of theirs has ended in disaster. [Interruption.] If hon. Gentlemen opposite claim success for 1½ million unemployed, heaven help us when they admit failure.

The Secretary of State called in aid a passage from the Queen's Speech in which the Conservatives said that their first care would be to secure full employment. If that is their first care, heaven help us when they get to their second and third cares. They promised to reduce prices and unemployment at a stroke. In the winter we saw the complete collapse of their policy. The failure of the present Government is manifest, and nowhere was it more tragically manifest than in the Prime Minister's speech on television last night.

Dame Irene Ward

It was a jolly good speech.

Mr. Buchan

I found it sad and tragic, like the speech of a defeated man. Frequently we have seen the issue of law and order used as an excuse by hon. Gentlemen opposite for all sorts of policies by the Government. Both the Secretary of State for Employment and the Prime Minister are now trying to pull the law and order issue out of the bag as an excuse for the present state of affairs.

The Government's first claim was that they could not afford to pay the claim of the miners. Following the deliberations of the inquiry, that excuse fell flat. Now, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have no excuse for their behaviour in this matter. Not only did the Government try to blame the miners for causing 1½ million unemployed, but in reality they precipitated the strike.

Let us look at the issue clearly, rounding off the figures to the nearest million. We have 1 million unemployed, not counting the many who were laid off because of the actions of the Government. This means that Britain is losing 250 million working days a year. That is the significance to the economy of the unemployment figures.

Let us then add 1 million people laid off as a result of the Government precipitating the miners' strike. Allowing that they were laid off for three weeks, then, for five days a week, 15 million working days have been lost, or one-and-half times the problem of strikes and disputes from the days lost point of view. And to think that we spent all last winter, six months of parliamentary time, discussing what hon. Gentlemen opposite called the need to put the country on its feet because we had lost 10 million working days! That is the situation to which the Government have brought us.

Then they blame the problem on wage inflation. That is the next excuse. They say that if only the workers would give way and cut back on their wage demands, the problems would be solved. They say also that unemployment is the result of workers pricing themselves out of jobs. That is all economic nonsense. No economist of any repute would try academically to support that. If it were not for the fact that a fight has been put up to secure higher wages—and they are not high enough yet—there would be a great deal more unemployment than we see at present. It is the fight to maintain wages against a dishonest and unadmitted incomes policy of the Government which has kept the level of unemployment even as it is. What is more, low wages are associated precisely with high unemployment. It is in the low wage areas, both industrially and geographically, that we find high levels of unemployment. The Government's argument does not wash, and it is time that they accepted responsibility instead of blaming the present situation on the workers.

Above all, we have to deal with regional policies. It is not surprising that a great deal of attention has been paid to our regional difficulties. To touch briefly on the situation in Scotland in order to get through to the nature of the problems that we are facing in the regions, paradoxically we suffer from our very success in the first Industrial Revolution. In Scotland, during the 10 years between 1957 and 1967, at enormous expense in terms of public investment, private investment, infrastructure and Government support to private investment, we built up 19,000 jobs in the motor car industry. In that same period, in only two traditional industries—mining and shipbuilding—we lost 76,000 jobs. Traditional jobs went out in excess of new jobs coming in at the ratio of four to one.

When the present Government unscrambled their regional policies, they threw the whole situation into jeopardy. It was no use even pressing for an early decision on the Government's review of regional policies. The trouble was that they unscrambled them without any review, and we are seeing the results today. While we await the results of the review with interest, the Government must for a start restore investment grants. Only then can the regions begin to try to cushion themselves against the present situation.

In the special development areas the Government must bring in the same kind of assistance for existing industries. We shall not get new industries coming in. We must expand existing industries.

In Scotland we require at least one new major development. If it is Hunterston, so much the better. But there is a great deal of disquiet in Scotland about the Government's failure to get the right decision on Hunterston. Oil will assist, but only if a proper public appreciation is made of the opportunities lying there. It is not enough for the Secretary of State for Scotland to exhort Scottish businessmen to take advantage of them. The responsibility is the Government's.

I welcome the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) that we should see oil as a new unexpected windfall for the the nation. The results of oil exploration should be used to restore the regions, by which I mean not only Scotland, but the North-East, the North, South Wales and the South-West. I welcome the courage of the Secretary of State in saying what he did last week. I know the views on oil in Scotland at the present time.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment is to wind up the debate. I have no doubt that he will tell us about road development and new policies towards building. I hope to hear about a new policy towards housing. When right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite talk about inflation, they appear to forget that they are introducing the biggest inflationary policy ever with their Housing Finance Bill.

One of the most cost-productive activities indulged in in Britain at the present time is to be seen when this House debates unemployment. Every time we do so, we get fresh announcements about public expenditure. I wish that we had debates on unemployment more often.

6.45 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Michael Heseltine)

Having spent the first four years of my time in the House listening to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite justifying from this Dispatch Box the need for some form of statutory incomes policy, I was surprised to hear the hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) describe as economic nonsense the Government's attempt to control wage increases. I thought that all past Governments had agreed that this was very important in the general management of the economy.

This has been a very interesting debate. I have no doubt that anyone who set out to define the position in terms of our political purpose would see the opportunity for people to earn their livelihoods and pursue their careers in decent conditions of employment as a central theme.

The fact is that, from the middle of 1966, the unemployment figures have climbed remorselessly from about 250,000 to more than 500,000 in 1968–69 and to more than 600,000 by mid-1970, until today they are past the million mark. As the emergence of what is a new post-war phenomenon has taken hold, so hon. Members on both sides of the House have expressed increasing anxiety. Today has been no exception. The present Government feel, as I believe the last Government felt, that this is a matter in which we are all deeply aware of the human tragedy that these mounting statistics provide. The recurrence of this problem over the last five years is a tragic waste of national resources. Above all, however, it is a human problem involving despair, frustration, and hardship which it must be the preoccupation of us all to solve. There is no difference between the two sides of the House on this matter. The area of distinction and difference and the area upon which we may divide at the end of this debate concerns how we should move politically rather than whether we should.

The hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Doig) spoke about the need for special development area status being granted to Dundee. It is a development area at the moment, of course, and, although the hon. Gentleman quoted figures reflecting the current situation as a result of the miners' strike, even his lower figure of 8,000 does not take account of the fact that part of it is a reflection of the India-Pakistan dispute which has affected the jute industry.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Roger White) raised the question of C.E.G.B. construction and the terms on which the board was expected to employ local labour. It is the Government's view that management should be free to decide where to recruit labour, bearing in mind that there are arguments for the maintenance of specialist teams of people to move round and do the necessary work.

The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Bob Brown) asked whether Swan Hunter would get help if it ran into trouble during the next year or so. If the hon. Gentleman had listened more carefully to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, he would have known that my right hon. Friend is looking carefully at the problems of the shipbuilding industry in the light of the announcement that he has made today.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Redmond) spoke about the imminence of the Government's regional review. This matter was also raised by a number of hon. Members. The fact is that all Governments, faced with a problem of the complexity and ongoing nature of this one, try to make sure that their conclusions are right. My right hon. Friend has made it clear that he is determined that the very detailed analysis that he is carrying out should be thorough so that when, eventually, we come forward with proposals they will be right and will allow us to move to the solutions that we all want.

What my right hon. Friend is not prepared to do, however, is to get involved in a set of expedients which would have a profound long-term effect on regional policies. There is much argument—and the Government have indulged in it—in favour of bringing forward short-term expenditure proposals over the next two financial years. But we are determined to deal thoroughly, with a question of the long-term and on-going economic strategy of the Government.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, West asked me to explain the discrepancy between high unemployment and newspapers full of advertisements. The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) referred to what appeared to be a strange contradiction. There is an apparent contradiction in the building and construction industry in which there appears to be a shortage of skilled and unskilled people. Discussions are taking place between the Department of Employment and the Department of the Environment to discover where shortages exist and to see what can be done through the massive training schemes which the Government have announced to overcome those shortages.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward Taylor) raised a number of detailed questions relating to my right hon. Friend's statement today. The first dealt with the question of the Upper Clyde order book. It is the Government's view that the management is responsible for the seeking of new orders and for some time past it has been in consultation with ship owners on this score. My hon. Friend asked about the question of agreements with the unions. The Government's view is that Govan Shipbuilders can succeed only if it has the full co-operation of the work force. Therefore, before the Government provide funds they will wish to be satisfied that this co-operation is forthcoming. Negotiations between the unions and the company are proceeding, and it is understood that considerable progress has been made. I hope that my hon. Friend finds that answer helpful.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, South-West (Mr. Tom Boardman) asked about the possibility of moving forward with the improvement and maintenance of principal roads. He is right in saying that the Government have made substantial proposals involving the expenditure of £40 million for accelerating the improvement of maintenance standards of trunk roads. But the question of the principal roads is for the local authorities. They are responsible for the maintenance of those roads and it is right for the Government, having committed £40 million to trunk road maintenance following publication of the Marshall Report, to say to local authorities, "We have shown the way and it is not unreasonable for us to expect you to follow our example".

The debate has covered an immensely wide range of subjects. Many of the unemployed problems have centred on the regions. I wish to say a few words about what will, in the long term, be seen to be one of the most significant contributions in this respect. Without doubt the outlying regions suffer from two particular problems. The first concerns a communications situation which is far from satisfactory, and the second is that many of the regions bear the scars of an earlier age which make industrialists adopt an unsympathetic attitude when considering whether they should move ther industries to them. Therefore, the Department is greatly concerned to push forward schemes—and there are many of them—to raise the general standard of amenity in those areas.

I should like to refer to five programmes in particular. First, announcements have been made about the special infrastructure works programme. It was originally intended to spend about £100 million, spread over the next two or three years, on this programme but such was the response of local authorities to the scheme that on 26th October, 1971, the figure was raised to £162 million. We have made it clear that if local authorities submitted proposals for further schemes which satisfied the conditions we had laid down, we would be prepared to consider them. The advantage of programmes of this sort is that they enable local authorities to consider desirable local schemes over a longer period than has been possible hitherto under the winter works programmes which have been introduced by Governments very much as a last minute resort.

Secondly, the Housing Act, 1971, provides for an increase in the level of grant payable by local authorities to private house owners in the development and intermediate areas. This increase is from 50 to 75 per cent. of the approved cost subject to a ceiling of £1,500 in each case. It is laid down that the expenditure must be incurred before 23rd June, 1973, so that it does not disrupt the Government's long-term plan for reflating the economy. There has been a very substantial increase in the amount of help given to local authorities wishing to improve council houses under a similar scheme. Under the Act, 100,000 council houses in England and Wales will be improved, over half of them in the Northern Region.

The third matter concerns slum clearance schemes. In the Housing Finance Bill which is now in Committee the Government propose a 75 per cent. grant in respect of any loss which local authorities may incur on their slum clearance operations. I have no doubt that the whole House will welcome the statement made by Ministers that it is foreseen that within a decade all the slums in this country will be eliminated with the help of the efforts now being put behind the campaign.

Fourthly, the problems of the areas where we can see the industrial scars to which I have referred, are best identified by considering the question of derelict land, which is only too evident in many of the areas we are discussing. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has encouraged local authorities to press ahead in dealing with this matter as fast as possible. The response from local authorities has been extremely encouraging. We give grants of 85 per cent. in development areas and of 75 per cent. in intermediate areas for derelict land clearance schemes. This work has been included in the key sector, so there will be no difficulty in processing the work. Over

the country as a whole, 187 schemes were approved in 1970–71 covering 2,830 acres at a cost of £4¾ million. This shows an improvement on the situation in 1969 when 101 schemes were approved. A great deal of this work is being carried out in the development areas.

The fifth scheme is the Special Operation Eyesore announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State when he wrote to all local authorities on 7th February asking them to put forward proposals for the general improvement of small items which could be held to be blemishes on the local environment. This scheme, limited to 30th June, 1973, has produced a most remarkable response from local authorities and we are processing their applications as fast as possible.

There are immense programmes of improvement in the areas which we have been debating. For instance the expenditure of £500 million over the last five years on general sewerage and water programmes is matched by an expenditure of £820 million over the next five years. There are major schemes in the Northern Region amounting to £45 million on Tyneside and £18 million on Teesside.

An immense amount of hard work is being done in connection with the crucial long-term recovery of the regions—

Mr. Walter Harrison (Wakefield)

rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 311, Noes 277.

Division No. 66.] AYES [7.0 p.m.
Adley, Robert Biggs-Davison, John Bullus, Sir Eric
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Blaker, Peter Burden, F. A.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Butler, Adam (Bosworth)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Body, Richard Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Boscawen, Robert Carlisle, Mark
Astor, John Bossom, Sir Clive Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert
Atkins, Humphrey Bowden, Andrew Cary, Sir Robert
Awdry, Daniel Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Channon, Paul
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Braine, Sir Bernard Chapman, Sydney
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Bray, Ronald Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher
Batsford, Brian Brewis, John Chichester-Clark, R
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Brinton, Sir Tatton Churchill, W. S.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Clark, William (Surrey, E.)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Benyon, W. Bruce-Gardyne, J. Clegg, Walter
Berry, Hn. Anthony Bryan, Paul Cockeram, Eric
Biffen, John Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Cooke, Robert
Coombs, Derek Iremonger, T. L. Peel, John
Cooper, A. E. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Percival, Ian
Cordle, John James, David Peyton, Rt. Hn. John
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Cormack, Patrick Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pink, R. Bonner
Costain, A. P. Jessel, Toby Pounder, Rafton
Critchley, Julian Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Crouch, David Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Crowder, F. P. Jopling, Michael Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.
Dalkeith, Earl of Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Proudfoot, Wilfred
Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Kaberry, Sir Donald Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Quennell, Miss J. M.
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Kershaw, Anthony Raison, Timothy
Dean, Paul Kilfedder, James Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kimball, Marcus Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Digby, Simon Wingfield King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Redmond, Robert
Dixon, Piers King, Tom (Bridgwater) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)
Dodds-Parker. Douglas Kinsey, J. R. Rees, Peter (Dover)
Drayson, G. B. Kirk, Peter Rees-Davies, W. R.
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Kitson, Timothy Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Dykes, Hugh Knight, Mrs. Jill Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Eden, Sir John Knox, David Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Lambton, Lord Ridsdale, Julian
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lane, David Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Elliott, R. W. (Nc'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Langford-Holt, Sir John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Farr, John Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Fell, Anthony Le Marchant, Spencer Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rost, Peter
Fidler, Michael Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Royle, Anthony
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Russell, Sir Ronald
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Longden, Sir Gilbert St. John-Stevas, Norman
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Loveridge, John Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Fookes, Miss Janet Luce, R. N. Scott, Nicholas
Fortescue, Tim McAdden, Sir Stephen Scott-Hopkins, James
Foster, Sir John MacArthur, Ian Sharples, Richard
Fowler, Norman McCrindle, R. A. Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Fox, Marcus McLaren, Martin Shelton, William (Clapham)
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Simeons, Charles
Fry, Peter McMaster, Stanley Sinclair, Sir George
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Skeet, T. H. H.
Gardner, Edward McNair-Wilson, Michael Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Gibson-Watt, David McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Soref, Harold
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Maddan, Martin Speed, Keith
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maginnis, John E. Spence, John
Glyn, Dr. Alan Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Sproat, Iain
Goodhart, Philip Marten, Neil Stainton, Keith
Goodhew, Victor Mather, Carol Stanbrook, Ivor
Gorst, John Maude, Angus Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Gower, Raymond Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Mawby, Ray Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Gray, Hamish Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Stokes, John
Green, Alan Meyer, Sir Anthony Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Grieve, Percy Mills, Peter (Torrington) Sutcliffe, John
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Tapsell, Peter
Grylls, Michael Miscampbell, Norman Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Gummer, J. Selwyn Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C. (Aberdeenshire, W) Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Gurden, Harold Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Moate, Roger Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Molyneaux, James Tebbit, Norman
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Money, Ernle Temple, John M.
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Monks, Mrs. Connie Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Hannam, John (Exeter) Monro, Hector Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Montgomery, Fergus Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) More, Jasper Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Haselhurst, Alan Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Tilney, John
Hastings, Stephen Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Havers, Michael Morrison, Charles Trew, Peter
Hawkins, Paul Mudd, David Tugendhat, Christopher
Hay, John Murton, Oscar Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Hayhoe, Barney Nabarro, Sir Gerald van Straubenzee, W. R.
Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Neave, Airey Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Heseltine, Michael Nicholls, Sir Harmar Vickers, Dame Joan
Hicks, Robert Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Waddington, David
Higgins, Terence L. Normanton, Tom Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Nott, John Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Onslow, Cranley Walker-Smith. Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Holland, Philip Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Walters, Dennis
Holt, Miss Mary Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Ward, Dame Irene
Hordern, Peter Osborn, John Warren, Kenneth
Hornby, Richard Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Hornsby-Smiih, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Page, Graham (Crosby) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Page, John (Harrow, W.) Whitelaw, Rt. Kn. William
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Paisley, Rev. Ian Wiggin, Jerry
Hunt, John Parkinson, Cecil Wilkinson, John
Hutchison, Michael Clark Winterton, Nicholas
Wolrige Gordon, Patrick Woodnutt, Mark TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard Worsley, Marcus Mr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Abse, Leo Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Albu, Auston Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McBride, Neil
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McCann, John
Allen, Scholefield Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McCartney, Hugh
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Foley, Maurice McElhone, Frank
Ashley, Jack Foot, Michael McGuire, Michael
Ashton, Joe Ford, Ben Mackenzie, Gregor
Atkinson, Norman Forrester, John Mackie, John
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Fraser, John (Norwood) Mackintosh, John p.
Barnes, Michael Freeson, Reginald Maclennan, Robert
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Galpern, Sir Myer McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Garrett, W. E. McNamara, J. Kevin
Baxter, William Gilbert, Dr. John Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield E.)
Benn, Rt. Kn. Anthony Wedgwood Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) Marks, Kenneth
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Golding, John Marquand, David
Bidwell, Sydney Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Marsden, F.
Bishop, E. S. Gourlay, Harry Marshall, Dr. Edmund
Blenkinsop, Arthur Grant, George (Morpeth) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Mayhew, Christopher
Booth, Albert Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Meacher, Michael
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mendelson, John
Bradley, Tom Hamling, William Mikardo, Ian
Broughton, Sir Alfred Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Millan, Bruce
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Hardy, Peter Milne, Edward
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Harper, Joseph Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)>
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Molloy, William
Buchan, Norman Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hattersley, Roy Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Cant, R. B. Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Carmichael, Neil Hilton, W. S. Moyle, Roland
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hooson, Emlyn Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Horam, John Murray, Ronald King
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Oakes, Gordon
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Ogden, Eric
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Huckfield, Leslie O'Halloran, Michael
Cohen, Stanley Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) O'Malley, Brian
Coleman, Donald Hughes, Mark (Durham) Oram, Bert
Concannon, J. D. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Orbach, Maurice
Conlan, Bernard Hughes, Roy (Newport) Orme, Stanley
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hunter, Adam Oswald, Thomas
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Crawshaw, Richard Janner, Greville Padley, Walter
Cronin, John Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Paget, R. T.
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Jeger, Mrs. Lena Palmer, Arthur
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Jenkin, Hugh (Putney) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Pardoe, John
Dalyell, Tam John, Brynmor Parker, John (Dagenham)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Davidson, Arthur Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Pavitt, Laurie
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Pendry, Tom
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Pentland, Norman
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Perry, Ernest G.
Deakins, Eric Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Prescott, John
Delargy, H. J. Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Judd, Frank Price, William (Rugby)
Doig, Peter Kaufman, Gerald Probert, Arthur
Dormand, J. D. Kelley, Richard Rankin, John
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Kerr, Russell Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lambie, David Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Driberg. Tom Lamond, James Rhodes, Geoffrey
Duffy, A. E. P. Latham, Arthur Richard, Ivor
Dunn, James A. Lawson, George Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Dunnett, Jack Leadbitter, Ted Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Eadie, Alex Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Robertson, John (Paisley)
Edelman, Maurice Leonard, Dick Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lestor, Miss Joan Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Roper, John
Ellis, Tom Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Rose, Paul B.
English, Michael Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Ross. Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Evans, Fred Lipton, Marcus Sandelson, Neville
Ewing, Henry Lomas, Kenneth Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Faulds, Andrew Loughlin, Charles Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Silkin, Rt. Kn. John (Deptford)
Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich) Taverne, Dick Wellbeloved, James
Sillars, James Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Silverman, Julius Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee E.) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Skinner, Dennis Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Whitehead, Phillip
Small, William Tinn, James Whitlock, William
Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Tomney, Frank Willey. Rt. Hn. Frederick
Spearing, Nigel Torney, Tom Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Spriggs, Leslie Tuck, Raphael Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Stallard, A. W. Urwin, T. W. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Steel, David Varley, Eric G. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Stewart, Donald (Western Isles) Wainwright, Edwin Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints) Woof, Robert
Stoddart, David (Swindon) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Strang, Gavin Wallace, George TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. Watkins, David Mr. Ernest Armstrong and Mr. James Hamilton.
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Weitzman, David
Swain, Thomas

Amendment accordingly agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put:

The House divided: Ayes 311 Noes 277.

Division No. 67.] AYES [7.13 p.m.
Adley, Robert Costain, A. P. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Critchley, Julian Haselhurst, Alan
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Crouch, David Hastings, Stephen
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Crowder, F. P. Havers, Michael
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Dalkeith, Earl of Hawkins, Paul
Astor, John Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Hay, John
Atkins, Humphrey d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hayhoe, Barney
Awdry, Daniel d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James Heath, Rt. Hn Edward
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Dean, Paul Heseltine, Michael
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Hicks, Robert
Batsford, Brian Digby, Simon Wingfield Higgins, Terence L.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Dixon, Piers Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Dodds-Parker, Douglas Hill, James (Southampton, Test)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Drayson, G. B. Holland, Philip
Benyon, W. du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Holt, Miss Mary
Berry, Hn. Anthony Dykes, Hugh Hordern, Peter
Biffen, John Eden, Sir John Hornby, Richard
Biggs-Davison, John Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia
Blaker, Peter Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)
Body, Richard Farr, John Hunt, John
Boscawen, Robert Fell, Anthony Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bossom, Sir Clive Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Iremonger, T. L.
Bowden, Andrew Fidler, Michael Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) James, David
Braine, Bernard Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)
Bray, Ronald Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Brewis, John Fookes, Miss Janet Jessel, Toby
Brinton, Sir Tatton Fortescue, Tim Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Foster, Sir John Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Fowler, Norman Jopling, Michael
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Fox, Marcus Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith
Bryan, Paul Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Kaberry, Sir Donald
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M) Fry, Peter Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine
Bullus, Sir Eric Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Kershaw, Anthony
Burden, F. A. Gardner, Edward Kilfedder, James
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Gibson-Watt, David Kimball, Marcus
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn) Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Carlisle, Mark Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Glyn, Dr. Alan Kinsey, J. R.
Cary, Sir Robert Goodhart, Philip Kirk, Peter
Channon, Paul Goodhew, Victor Kitson, Timothy
Chapman, Sydney Gorst, John Knight, Mrs. Jill
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Gower, Raymond Knox, David
Chichester-Clark, R. Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) Lambton, Lord
Churchill, W. S. Gray, Hamish Lane, David
Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Green, Alan Langford-Holt, Sir John
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Grieve, Percy Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Clegg, Walter Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Le Marchant, Spencer
Cockeram, Eric Grylls, Michael Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Cooke, Robert Gummer, Selwyn Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)
Coombs, Derek Gurden, Harod Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Cooper, A. E. Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Longden, Gilbert
Cordle, John Hall, John (Wycombe) Loveridge, John
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Luce, R. N.
Cormack, Patrick Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) McAdden, Sir Stephen
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) MacArthur, Ian
McCrindle, R. A. Parkinson, Cecil Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
McLaren, Martin Peel, John Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Percival, Ian Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
McMaster, Stanley Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Stokes, John
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Pike, Miss Mervyn Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
McNair-Wilson, Michael Pink, R. Bonner Sutcliffe, John
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Pounder, Rafton Tapsell, Peter
Maddan, Martin Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Maginnis, John E. Price, David (Eastleigh) Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Marten, Neil Proudfoot, Wilfred Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Mather, Carol Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Tebbit, Norman
Maude, Angus Quennell, Miss J. M. Temple, John M.
Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Raison, Timothy Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs Margaret
Mawby, Ray Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Redmond. Robert Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Tilney, John
Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Rees, Peter (Dover) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Miscampbell, Norman Rees-Davies, W. R. Trew, Peter
Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C. (Aberdeenshire, W) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Tugendhat, Christopher
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Moate, Roger Ridley, Hn. Nicholas van Straubenzee, W. R.
Molyneaux, James Ridsdale, Julian Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Vickers, Dame Joan
Money, Ernie Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Waddington, David
Monks, Mrs. Connie Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Monro, Hector Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Montgomery, Fergus Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
More, Jasper Rost, Peter Walters, Dennis
Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Royle, Anthony Ward, Dame Irene
Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Russell, Sir Ronald Warren, Kenneth
Morrison, Charles St. John-Stevas, Norman Wells, John (Maidstone)
Mudd, David Sandys, Rt. Hn. D. White, Roger (Gravesend)
Murton, Oscar Scott, Nicholas Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Nabarro, Sir Gerald Scott-Hopkins, James Wiggin, Jerry
Neave, Airey Sharples, Richard Wilkinson, John
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Winterton, Nicholas
Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Shelton, William (Clapham) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Normanton, Tom Simeons, Charles Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Nott, John Sinclair, Sir George Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Onslow, Cranley Skeet, T. H. H. Woodnutt, Mark
Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington) Worsley, Marcus
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Soref, Harold Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Osborn, John Speed, Keith
Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Spence, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Page, Graham (Crosby) Sproat, Iain Mr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
Page, John (Harrow, W.) Stainton, Keith
Paisley, Rev. Ian Stanbrook, Ivor
Abse, Leo Carter, Ray (Birming'm, Northfield) Dunn, James A.
Albu, Austen Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Dunnett, Jack
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Eadle, Alex
Allen, Scholefield Clark, David (Colne Valley) Edelman, Maurice
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Armstrong, Ernest Cohen, Stanley Edwards, William (Merioneth)
Ashley, Jack Coleman, Donald Ellis, Tom
Ashton, Joe Concannon, J. D. English, Michael
Atkinson, Norman Conlan, Bernard Evans, Fred
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Ewing, Henry
Barnes, Michael Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Faulds, Andrew
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Crawshaw, Richard Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Cronin, John Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)
Baxter, William Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bidwell, Sydney Dalyell, Tam Foley, Maurice
Bishop, E. S. Darling, Rt. Hn. George Foot, Michael
Blenkinsop, Arthur Davidson, Arthur Ford, Ben
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Forrester, John
Booth, Albert Davies, Ifor (Gower) Fraser, John (Norwood)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Freeson, Reginald
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Galpern, Sir Myer
Bradley, Tom Deakins, Eric Garrett, W. E.
Broughton, Sir Alfred de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Gilbert, Dr. John
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Delargy, H. J. Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Doig, Peter Gourlay, Harry
Buchan, Norman Dormand, J. D. Grant, George (Morpeth)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Cant, R. B. Driberg, Tom Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Carmichael, Neil Duffy, A. E. P. Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mackenzie, Gregot Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Hamling, William Mackie, John Robertson, John (Paisley)
Hannan, William (G'gow. Maryhill) Mackintosh, John P. Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Hardy, Peter Maclennan, Robert Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Roper, John
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith McNamara, J. Kevin Rose, Paul B.
Hattersley, Roy Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Marks, Kenneth Sandelson, Neville
Heffer, Eric S. Marquand, David Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Hilton, W. S. Marsden, F. Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Hooson, Emlyn Marshall, Dr. Edmund Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Horam, John Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Mayhew, Christopher Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Meacher, Michael Sillars, James
Huckfield, Leslie Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Silverman, Julius
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mendelson, John Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mikardo, Ian Small, William
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Millan, Bruce Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Hughes Roy (Newport) Milne, Edward Spearing, Nigel
Hunter, Adam Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Spriggs, Leslie
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Molloy, William Stallard, A. W.
Janner, Greville Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Steel, David
Jav, Rt. Hn. Douglas Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Jeger, Mrs. Lena Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Moyle, Roland Strang, Gavin
John, Brynmor Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Murray, Ronald King Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Oakes, Gordon Swain, Thomas
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Ogden, Eric Taverne, Dick
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) O'Halloran, Michael Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) O'Malley, Brian Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Oram, Bert Thorpe. Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Orbach, Maurice Tinn, James
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Orme, Stanley Tomney, Frank
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Oswald, Thomas Torney, Tom
Judd, Frank Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Tuck, Raphael
Kaufman, Gerald Padley, Walter Urwin, T. W.
Kelley, Richard Paget, R. T. Varley, Eric G.
Kerr, Russell Palmer, Arthur Wainwright, Edwin
Lambie, David Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Lamond, James Pardoe, John Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Latham, Arthur Parker, John (Dagenham) Wallace, George
Lawson, George Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Watkins, David
Leadbitter, Ted Pavitt, Laurie Weitzman, David
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Wellbeloved, James
Leonard, Dick Pendry, Tom Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Lestor, Miss Joan Pentland, Norman White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Perry, Ernest G. Whitehead, Phillip
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Whitlock, William
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Prescott, John Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Lipton, Marcus Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lomas, Kenneth Price, William (Rugby) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Loughlin, Charles Probert, Arthur Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Rankin, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
McBride, Neil Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Woof, Robert
McCann, John Rhodes, Geoffrey TELLERS FOR THE NOES
McCartney, Hugh Richard, Ivor Mr. John Golding and Mr. Joseph Harper.
McElhone, Frank Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
McGuire, Michael

Main Question, as amended, agreed to.

Resolved, That this House, deeply concerned at the continuing high level of unemployment which imposes wholly unacceptable burdens upon large numbers of people in the community, commends Her Majesty's Government for their resolute efforts to secure a reduction in unemployment by massive economic measures, including the containment of inflation, with full employment as the objective.

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