31. Mr. J. T. Price
asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development if he is aware of the concern amongst the townspeople of Hindley, Lancashire, about the persistent high level of unemployment which has exceeded 5 per cent. of the insured population over a long period; and what action is being taken by his Department to bring suit 656 able work to this area, which does not receive assistance under the terms of the Local Employment Act, 1960.
§ Mr. D. Price
Unemployment in Hindley should not be considered in isolation, since the practice of travelling to work is widespread in the area around Wigan. In this area the rate of wholly unemployed in mid-February was 3.1 per cent., or 2,000 workers. Projects already approved, including a substantial development in Hindley itself, are expected to provide more than 1,000 new jobs.
Mr. J. T. Price
Does the hon. Member appreciate that my constituents in the town of Hindley are not particularly satisfied with the continual attempts to evade the real problem by giving statistical answers about the geography of the district? In Hindley unemployment is over 5 per cent., and has been for a long time. Does the hon. Member's right hon. Friend recollect that when he assumed his present high office, it was described for the first time as being the office of Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development? My constituents are getting "browned-off" at this constant refusal to provide them with work, which is the function of his Department. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] Will the hon. Member and his right hon. Friend realise that my Lancashire constituents are tired of being fobbed off with White Papers? What they want is work, but they are not seeing much evidence of that. Will he redouble his efforts to find community employment for my constituents in Hindley, Lancashire?
§ Mr. D. Price
I have a certain sympathy for the hon. Member, but he should not exaggerate. He did not point out that Hindley is only two and a half miles from Wigan.