§ 34. Mr. Blenkinsop
asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will make a further statement on the action he proposes to take to make full use of the resources of the construction industry in the North-East.
§ 38. Mr. Willey
asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what steps he is taking to promote employment in the construction industry in the North-East.
§ Mr. John Silkin
This is one aspect of a national problem. As I have said on several occasions, I am considering the general situation with my colleagues.
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the extent of the problem that faces us in the North-East, and has he given special consideration to the establishment of a regional building agency which might make effective use of this labour force for public works?
§ Mr. Silkin
I understand my hon. Friend's anxiety, but the fact is that, apart from house building, the level of public sector construction activity in the Northern region is already very high. New orders obtained by contractors at constant prices in the first nine months of last year total £52 million, which, as a matter of interest, compared with £35 million in the equivalent period in 1964.
§ Mr. Willey
But is my right hon. Friend aware of the disastrous effect of the savage cut-back in the house-building programme in Sunderland on the unemployment rates? Will he consult with his right hon. Friend to see that this is not continued but that the house-building programme can be made commensurate with the needs of Sunderland?