HC Deb 02 May 1972 vol 836 c178
6. Mr. Sillars

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the national average percentage of unemployment in April; and how this compares with the percentage unemployment in each exchange covering South Ayrshire.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

At 10th April the rates of unemployment were 4.2 per cent. for Great Britain, 5.2 per cent. for Ayr and Troon, 6.6 per cent. for Cumnock and 8.9 per cent. for Girvan.

Mr. Sillars

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that those figures illustrate the gravity of the situation facing people seeking work in South Ayrshire? Is he aware that the National Coal Board is putting forward schemes to the trade unions in the coal-mining industry which would have the effect of increasing unemployment and accelerating job loss through large-scale redundancies? Would he not agree, bearing in mind that special development areas were created for the mining areas, that there is a strong case for all the mining areas in South Ayrshire to be given special development area status?

Mr. Chichester-Clark

I agree that the position is serious and must be regarded as such. There are some encouraging factors in that the number of wholly unemployed has shown an encouraging fall in the last month. The vacancy position has gradually improved and it increased again in the last month. Orders placed by the Government in Scottish aviation for Jetstream aircraft ought to afford further substantial employment at Prestwick and Cumnock factories.