HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc19-20
22. Mr. Molloy

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he proposes to arrest the movement of industry out of the West London area.

Mr. Anthony Grant

Although the structure of its industry is changing, West London's employment prospects generally remain good. Also, as the economy responds to the measures the Government have taken, firms should have less cause to consider closures in the area.

Mr. Molloy

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that what he has just said does not measure up to the facts and that since I put down this Question it appears that another large firm employing thousands of men is likely to leave the area? Will he please not be so complacent? This movement of firms within the West London area may be in line with the Government's policy, which is to create unemployment, but it is resisted and resented by the people who work in West London.

Mr. Grant

On the contrary, so far from it being the Government's policy, our policy is to encourage industry to areas where the hon. Gentleman's hon. Friends come from, which have a much higher rate of unemployment than Ealing. The loss of jobs in manufacturing industry in West London has been offset by increased employment in the service industries.

Mr. Lipton

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the number of unemployed in London and the South-East is almost as large as it is in the whole of Scotland, and that that is a very unsatisfactory state of affairs?

Mr. Grant

The hon. Gentleman is flying in the face of reality if he supposes that the problem of unemployment in London is anything like the problem in Scotland.

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