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Volume 901: debated on Sunday 2 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest figures of the percentage unemployed in the Rhyl travel-to-work area.

On 9th November the rate of unemployment in the Rhyl employment office area was 12·4 per cent.

Is the Minister aware that that overall figure conceals the fact that male unemployment in the Rhyl area is now 17·6 per cent.? Does he not consider that this provides the justification for at least conferring development area status on this part of North-East Wales? Does the Minister also not consider that the limits to the extent to which the Government can help in such cases are acutely illustrated by the fact that the latest advance factory to be built in Rhyl, occupied by an enterprising firm, employs a total of six people, shortly to rise to 12? In those circumstances, should not the Government do everything in their power to assist worthwhile schemes for creating employment in the area, such as the proposed leisure centre, which is being sabotaged by the Minister's colleague in the Department of the Environment?

I confirm that male unemployment in the Rhyl travel-to-work area is about 17·6 per cent: I agree with the hon. Gentleman that one of the difficulties about new projects when they are brought to an area is that they may be capital- rather than labour-intensive. The measures that the Government have taken to aid recruitment of school leavers and to establish job creation schemes are having some effect upon unemployment in this area, which is emphasised at this time of the year by the seasonal nature of the employment in which some people engage.