§ 25. Mr. William Price
asked the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs if he will define the term full-employment, as used by his Department.
§ Mr. Dell
It is certainly the Government's wish to ensure that no one who wishes to work is unemployed for any length of time. On the other hand, my hon. Friend must remember that the achievement of this ideal objective is dependent on improvement of the balance of payments, the success of our regional policies and the prices and incomes policy.
§ Mr. Higgins
Is the National Plan based on the assumption of full employment and, if so, what is the figure in quantitative terms?
§ Mr. Heffer
Is my hon. Friend aware that the actuary's report which we have recently discussed refers to a 2 per cent. Un-employment level agreed to by the Government? This seems to contradict statements made by the Prime Minister Can we have clarification? Is it Government policy to have 2 per cent. Unemployment or not?
§ Mr. Dell
No, that certainly is not the policy of the Government. The objective of the Government is to reduce unemployment substantially from its current levels and I hope that will take place in the course of the next 12 months. No doubt my hon. Friend will have seen the unemployment figures issued today, which show a further reduction.
§ Mr. Marten
If his right hon. Friend is thinking of a planning exercise, can the hon. Gentleman tell us the estimated level of unemployment to the end of this year?