§ 6. Mr. H. Johnson
asked the Minister of Labour what action he proposes to take to alleviate unemployment in Brighton now that there are 4,359 persons unemployed in Brighton.
§ Mr. Watkinson
The Board of Trade and my Department, in association with the local authority, have made every effort to encourage fresh industry in Brighton. There has been some success and we shall continue to do what we can to assist. As is to be expected in a holiday resort, much of the unemployment is seasonal.
§ Mr. Johnson
Is the Minister aware that the average unemployment in Brighton is six times higher than the national average, and would he, therefore, consider accelerating amendments to the Catering Wages Regulations so that hotel proprietors can maintain some of their staff throughout the year, instead of sacking them in the off season? Will he also consult with the Minister of Supply to see whether some orders for light engineering cannot be directed to Brighton? As the census of unemployment is so high in Brighton, will he give the same sense of urgency to unemployment in Brighton as he has done to the textile industry in Lancashire?
§ Mr. Watkinson
I think that the first thing is to get the facts right. The present rate of unemployment in Brighton is just over 4½ per cent. That is very serious, and I do not deny it, but it is not six times the national average. What we are trying to do to meet the case is to build up the Hollingbury Estate. Two more factories there are under construction which will employ some 250 workers, and three other projects have been approved but the work has not yet been started, so we are trying to meet this very difficult need.