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South Yorkshire

Volume 979: debated on Monday 25 February 1980

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9.

asked the Secretary of State for Industry what plans he has to assist the creation of new jobs in South Yorkshire.

The Government's policies are designed to encourage industrial expansion and employment. South Yorkshire, with the exception of the Sheffield travel-to-work-area (TTWA), is to remain an assisted area, while we have made Mexborough and Rotherham TTWAs development areas.

The Minister has not said anything about providing jobs. Is he not aware that we have made Mexborough a development area? However, the Manvers Main coking plant is threatened with closure. That will mean the loss of 580 jobs. The present rate of unemployment is about 11 per cent. When will jobs be provided? What is the good of giving an area development status, if it does not provide jobs or reduce unemployment?

It is not the Government's job to provide employment. It is our job to create the circumstances and the climate in which industry can provide them.

Is the Minister aware that rather than provide jobs, the obtuse attitude of the Government towards the steel industry will destroy jobs in Sheffield? If the Government persist with that policy, there will be an urgent need for development assistance.

If the hon. Gentleman is drawing attention to damage being done to future jobs in the steel industry as a result of the continuance of the strike, we all understand the direct relationship between an ongoing dispute—called by the steel union—and the future security of jobs.