HC Deb 06 June 1972 vol 838 cc220-1
15. Mr. Eadie

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what notification he has received of likely redundancies in the steel industry in 1972; in what areas; and what numbers are involved.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

As the reply comprises a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Eadie

The right hon. Gentleman has me at some disadvantage since I have to wait for that table of figures, but I wonder whether he can assure the House that there is good liaison between his Department and the Department of Trade and Industry, because he may be aware that, as a consequence of the steel target pronounced by his right hon. Friend, many thousands of jobs in the steel industry will be placed in jeopardy.

Mr. Macmillan

We are in communication with both the Department of Trade and Industry and the British Steel Corporation with regard to redundancies. The British Steel Corporation's social policy unit co-operates with my Department both at national and at local levels to give all possible assistance to British steel employees facing redundancies.

Mr. Edward Taylor

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, despite the improvements which we have seen in the employment situation in Scotland, there is real concern that there has been in nationalised industries, particularly steel, a movement of administrative jobs away from Scotland, despite the provisions of the nationalisation Act that they should be spread around the country? Would he consider meeting the chiefs of the nationalised industries with a view to ensuring that Scotland gets a fair share of administrative jobs?

Mr. Macmillan

I am not quite sure whether that particular technique is necessary, but it is important to see that administrative jobs are decentralised, and, as far as possible, decentralised fairly, and I am very willing to accept the claims of Scotland in this respect.

Mr. Ashley

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that closing of the Shotton steel works would mean that Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire would be turned into a distressed area, and will he do all in his power to ensure that those works are kept open?

Mr. Macmillan

The question of which steel works are kept open is a matter not for me but for the British Steel Corporation and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. I can, however, assure the hon. Gentleman that where there are redundancies my Department does its best to see that those concerned are found employment as soon as possible.

Following is the information:

Likely Redundancies in the Steel Industry during 1972
Region Numbers involved
Wales 1,745
Northern 1,416
Midlands 1,048
Yorkshire and Humberside 836
Scotland 700
North Western 159
Eastern and Southern 40
London and South Eastern 5
Total 5,949

NOTE. The figures quoted are based on notifications received by the DE from firms up to and including 22nd May, 1972.