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Employment (Edinburgh)

Volume 774: debated on Monday 25 November 1968

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26.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity how many factories and workshops in the Edinburgh, Leith and Portobello Employment Exchange districts have reported to her that they expect to close their premises or to reduce permanently the scale of their operations in the course of the next year; and how many of these are associated with nationalised undertakings.

My Department has received reports from three manufacturing firms and is aware of nine others which expect to close their premises or reduce the scale of their operations in the course of the next year; none of these are associated with nationalised undertakings.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a black cloud of uncertainty in employment hangs over Edinburgh, almost entirely due to the wickedly unfair anomalies as a result of Government policy for development areas? Is he further aware that Edinburgh is the only place excluded from John o' Groats nearly to York?

I understand how the hon. Gentleman feels, but Edinburgh has an unemployment percentage of 2.1 as against Scotland's 3.7 and 2.4 for Britain as a whole. I want to see the figures for Scotland and for Great Britain brought down to Edinburgh's level.

We have always been told that the governing factor which has kept Edinburgh out of the development area has been its low unemployment rate. Is it not the case, however, that the unemployment rate there is now higher than that in a large number of places within development areas, and that it is rising?