HC Deb 14 May 1973 vol 856 cc996-8
6. Mr. Duffy

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many jobs have been created in Yorkshire and Humberside under the Industry Act; and how this compares with the other assisted regions in England.

Mr. Anthony Grant

Some 3,150 new jobs are involved in selective assistance applications so far decided at the end of April, and a further 2,800 are involved in applications now being processed. These figures do not include further job opportunities arising from regional development grants. No valid comparison can be made with other assisted areas, but the unemployment rate in Yorkshire and Humberside has fallen faster over the past year than the average for Great Britain.

Mr. Duffy

Is the Minister aware that there is some evidence of disparity in job opportunity, possibly as a result of the Industry Act, in Yorkshire and Humberside compared with other regions? As the regional director in Leeds is doing an excellent job, is the Minister sure that the disparity does not arise from the need for greater publicity by his Department or perhaps greater zeal on the part of Yorkshire employers?

Mr. Grant

I do not accept that the figures show a great disparity. Yorkshire has a different method of processing its applications, but that is wholly in accordance with our policy of allowing each area to make up its own mind what is best for it.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does not my hon. Friend agree that these figures are extremely satisfactory? Do not they show that Yorkshire is very well placed to benefit from British membership of the EEC and that when the M62 from West Riding through to Hull is completed these opportunities will be fully used?

Mr. Grant

My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and the views which he expressed on the EEC are those which I hear from all parts of Yorkshire.

Mr. Edwin Wainwright

Why is the Minister so glib about the jobs that have been provided? Has he taken into account the great number of redundancies in and the migration of labour from Yorkshire and Humberside? Is not unemployment in some areas more than double the national average?

Mr. Grant

I accept that there are parts of Yorkshire, as there are parts of other areas, which have particular prob- lems. The hon. Gentleman is constantly drawing attention to one such area. The Question related to the overall position of Yorkshire which I believe to be very encouraging, and the fact that unemployment has fallen in the past year faster than has the average for Great Britain is something that Yorkshire can be proud of.