HC Deb 20 May 1975 vol 892 cc1192-3
3. Mr. Gow

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest trend in employment opportunities; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Fraser

The reduction in output has undoubtedly led to a contraction in employment opportunities. The situation should improve in 1976 and the Government are taking steps to sustain and expand the level of training so as to use the recession to prepare for the upswing.

Mr. Gow

What effect does the hon. Gentleman think there will be on employment prospects either if Britain withdraws from the Community or if we remain a member? Does he agree with the Secretary of State for Industry, who said that we had lost 500,000 jobs as a result of our membership, or with the Patronage Secretary, who said that the Secretary of State was telling downright lies?

Mr. Fraser

Perhaps I should refer the hon. Gentleman to a later Question. I will add only that these matters are hotly disputed.

Mr. Jim Marshall

Is my hon. Friend aware that employment opportunities in the hosiery and knitwear industry have suffered substantially as a consequence of the importation of low-cost textiles? Will he urge upon my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade the need for selective import quotas on hosiery and knitted textile goods?

Mr. Fraser

I do not entirely agree with the premise that imports are solely responsible for the state of the textile industry. There is a general downturn in demand which also has its effects. I shall convey my hon. Friend's suggestions to my right hon. Friends.