§ 6. Mr. Bradford
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the number of people made redundant who were technically based or skilled workers since the inception of direct rule in 1972, the number of new industries which have been introduced since 1972 and the number of jobs provided for the above category of workers in these industries.
§ The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Roland Moyle)
During the period 1st January to 31st December 1975 a total of 23,764 workers qualified for payments under the statutory redundancy payments scheme; 54 per cent. of these were in manufacturing industries, but I have no information on their occupational skills.
Since direct rule began, 194 new undertakings have been established in Northern Ireland with selective assistance from the Department of Commerce or the Local Enterprise Development Unit, or with assistance from the Northern Ireland Finance Corporation. It is not possible without disproportionate effort to give details of the types of employment provided by these undertakings, or by the expansion of existing undertakings which the Government also assist and which are an important source of jobs.
§ Mr. Bradford
Does the Minister accept that in view of the alarming statistics it would be of great benefit to Northern Ireland if he were able to persuade his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence not to proceed with the proposed defence cuts as they relate to Antrim, Aldegrove and Sydenham? The cuts will add another 2,000 plus to the 541 already unacceptable total of unemployment in skilled industries. Will the hon. Gentleman undertake to encourage his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to pay a visit to Northern Ireland at the earliest possible moment to acquaint himself with the harsh realities of economic life in Northern Ireland?
§ Mr. Moyle
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.Defence cuts are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence. Those are going ahead. The Department has initiated a review of the economic condition of Northern Ireland. One of the aims of the review will be to provide more permanent long-term prospects of employment than exist under the present defence arrangements.