HC Deb 12 July 1977 vol 935 cc200-2
4. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are his forecasts for employment prospects in the North-West for the first six months of 1978.

Mr. Golding

Employment prospects in the North-West, as in other parts of the country, will largely depend upon developments in the general economic situation. I cannot therefore give an accurate forecast of future levels of employment.

Mr. Thorne

I appreciate the difficulties of answering such a question but does my hon. Friend's reply indicate that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is pressing in the Cabinet for a reflation of the economy in order to overcome our unemployment problems?

Mr. Golding

The Government are doing all they can to avoid the present high level of unemployment.

Mr. Silvester

Does the reply also mean that the Secretary of State is pressing in the Cabinet for increased profitability for companies in the North-West and for a better incentive for their managers?

Mr. Golding

The Government want profitable industry to thrive in the North-West as in other parts of the country.

Mr. Spriggs

Is my hon. Friend aware that I sent correspondence to his right hon. Friend this morning about the threat of his Department to withdraw the temporary employment subsidy from the J. Glassberg company? Is he further aware that if that takes place there will be 100 per cent. redundancies in the company in St. Helens? In view of that, what action is my right hon. Friend prepared to take to avoid such a high level of redundancies?

Mr. Golding

I give an undertaking to my hon. Friend that I shall look at this case as a matter of urgency.

Mr. Noble

Does my hon. Friend agree that the temporary employment subsidy has made a substantial contribution in helping to keep down unemployment in the North-West in the last few months? Does he also agree, however, that delay in paying TES after an investigation can create a severe crisis for companies in the North-West? Is my hon. Friend aware that that delay at the moment is approximately nine weeks?

Mr. Golding

The delay in the granting of or deciding on TES is disturbing not only to the company but to the workers who are threatened with impending redundancy. I undertake to look carefully at the position in the North-West to try to reduce that period.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

Will my hon. Friend press upon the Secretary of State for Industry the need for Merseyside in particular to get its fair share—no more—of new companies and industries which are looking for locations in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Golding

Youth unemployment on Merseyside is very grave. My right hon. and hon. Friends will do what they can to assist Merseyside to overcome this problem.

Mr. Prior

Will not the single most important factor in helping to keep unemployment to a reasonable level this winter be keeping wage settlements from going too high? What efforts are the Government making to impress upon the nation the need for moderation in wage claims this winter?

Mr. Golding

The right hon. Gentleman knows the efforts that the Government have made in the last two years to persuade people of the importance of reducing the level of inflation, and they will continue to do so.