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Unemployment, West Cumbria

Volume 201: debated on Tuesday 14 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has for the reduction of unemployment in west Cumbria.

The Employment Service and Cumbria training and enterprise council deliver a wide range of employment, enterprise and training programmes to help employment prospects for unemployed people living in west Cumbria as elsewhere. A package of measures to help the area, announced by the Government in June 1991, includes the establishment of an action team to support local initiatives and a £15 million English Estates programme to provide new sites, factories and work space in Copeland and Furness.

May I have an answer in a word of one syllable? Is the Minister satisfied that the resources in terms of the manpower and finance available to Cumbria TEC are sufficient to deal with the thousands of redundancies that are to be made at the thermal oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield and also to deal with those now being announced by a number of companies in west Cumbria?

I should like to oblige the hon. Gentleman with a short answer, but it is difficult to encapsulate these things. I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss those matters with him in my office and I understand the seriousness of unemployment in his constituency. We keep the question of resources for the training and enterprise councils under review. Government support for employment creation in the hon. Gentleman's area does not come only through the TECs. A number of initiatives are coming forward, such as regional development assistance and the special measures which have been announced. All of them are important and I will continue to keep in touch with the hon. Gentleman about them.