HC Deb 03 December 1973 vol 865 cc907-8
26. Sir John Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry where the 60 new jobs which have gone to the North-Western Region as a result of Common Market investment are situated : and whether any have gone to Merseyside.

Mr. Anthony Grant

These jobs will be created by a few small projects in different parts of the region but not in Merseyside.

Sir John Tilney

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that unemployment on Merseyside is higher than in many special development areas? What action is he taking to stimulate employment on Merseyside?

Mr. Grant

Merseyside, nevertheless, has the full advantages of a development area. As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Industrial Development has explained, an operation called "Marketing Merseyside" has been set up, in conjunction with local authorities, employers and trade unions, to improve the image of Merseyside. Although I recognise the difficulties of Merseyside, the plain fact is that the number of vacancies registered has increased and unemployment has dropped.

Mr. Heffer

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that we still have over 40,000 workers unemployed on Merseyside? Is he aware that the rate of unemployment there is higher than in any special development area? Surely the time has come when Merseyside should become a special development area. Will the hon. Gentleman raise the matter again with his right hon. Friends in the Government so that more positive action is taken to help the people of Merseyside?

Mr. Grant

I repeat that we are well aware of the difficulties of Merseyside. It was only the other day that my right hon. Friend had meetings with a deputation from Merseyside, during which this matter was discussed. The matter will be kept carefully under review.