HC Deb 22 April 1970 vol 800 cc400-1
10. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what will be the percentage increase in the number of employees in employment during the year June, 1969, to June, 1970, required to fulfil the predictions in Table B of page 9 of Command Paper No. 2864; and how this compares with the actual outturn in each of the last five years.

Mr. Ross

For reasons which I have already given, I do not expect the manpower projection for 1970 to be attained. This would require an increase of at least 4 per cent. between 1969 and 1970, compared with percentage changes of 0.8; 0.2; —2.0; —0.7 and 0.2 in the previous five years.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

That is a more honest reply than we have had from the Secretary of State for some time. While we all recognise that the Scottish Plan is as dead as the dodo or the Government's 1964 election pledges, could the right hon. Gentleman not at least try to undertake to secure the 21,000 jobs required this year to bring the situation back to what it was when he took office?

Mr. Ross

I do not think that anyone in Scotland wants the situation to return to what it was when hon. Gentlemen opposite were in power. I have long since recognised the impossibility of freeing the hon. Member from statistical entanglements. He does not yet know the difference between projections and new jobs. The fact is that we have produced more new jobs, roads, houses and schools. The hon. Gentleman's persistence is fatuous, futile, and forlorn.

Mr. Lawson

Will my right hon. Friend explain to the hon. Gentleman opposite how far the net shortfall is made up of low-paid farm workers, domestic servants and messenger boys, who have virtually disappeared from the employment scene in Scotland these days?

Mr. Ross

My hon. Friend should appreciate that we have tried to explain this to the hon. Gentleman but we recognise his limitations and it would be a waste of time trying to educate him. The fact that there are now 24,000 more people staying on at school and as full-time students at colleges of education and universities has a considerable effect upon the figures.

Mr. MacArthur

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, however much he may haver, he is 101,000 jobs adrift from his pre-election promise?

Mr. Ross

The hon. Gentleman is, of course, wrong again.