HC Deb 29 July 1975 vol 896 cc1491-2
13. Mr. Terry Walker

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the present unemployment figures for the South-West Region; and how much of this unemployment is in the Bristol area.

Mr. John Fraser

On 14th July, 77,880 people were unemployed in the South-West Region of whom 13,944 were in the Bristol travel-to-work area.

Mr. Terry Walker

I hope that my hon. Friend will appreciate the concern about these figures, especially in the Bristol area, which is so reliant on the aircraft industry for jobs. This is why it is so important that there should be a continuation of employment in the aircraft industry around Bristol.

Mr. Fraser

I appreciate how much employment depends on that, especially on Concorde. The makers of the aircraft are going ahead with the authorised programme of 16 aircraft, and the Government will continue to keep a careful watch on the employment implications.

Mr. Kershaw

Will the Minister reconsider his attitude to industrial development certificates, not only in development areas but in areas where unemployment is rising steeply, especially for a firm which wants to expand where it is but cannot afford the expenditure on a second factory in a distant place?

Mr. Fraser

The IDC policy is not a matter for me, but I understand that the Department of Industry considers IDC applications sympathetically. I am aware of the problems which the hon. Gentleman has in mind. I hope that no one will be deterred from making application because an IDC policy exists.