HC Deb 01 July 1971 vol 820 cc565-6
14. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest official figures for unemployed in Great Britain as a whole, and by regions, respectively.

Mr. Bryan

As the reply consists of a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Skinner

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, as a direct result of the Government's policy of enforcing the discipline of the dole queue, these figures now represent more than 100 million working days lost this year? Would he bear in mind what his City counterpart said today on the question of competition in savings, namely, that such competition will result in increased interest rates, and will this not cause greater unemployment, particularly in the building industry?

Mr. Bryan

I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's concern about unemployment in his constituency, which has grown owing to the closing of heavy industry. I do not accept his diagnosis of the unemployment psition in general.

Mr. Harold Walker

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that such concern is not confined to Bolsover but is true of the whole country? When will the Government convert their shattered promises into firm proposals for action? When will the hon. Gentleman look at the possibility of giving speedy help to the jobless by, for example, accelerating and advancing the capital spending programme in the nationalised industries, local authorities and Government Departments? Is it not clear that without such a crash programme a million families will face a bleak winter?

Mr. Bryan

Much of the crash programme of which the hon. Gentleman speaks has already been undertaken or is being undertaken. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] If hon. Gentlemen had listened to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the last debate on this subject, they would have heard him announce our plans to reinvigorate the economy. What the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) said comes ill from a party which, during its term of office between 1965 and 1970, succeeded in doubling unemployment.

Mr. Orme

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we are feeling the effects of this "crash programme" in the Greater Manchester area where unemployment has doubled over the last 12 months and where there is a serious run-down in the engineering industry, which is vital to our economy? What are the Government doing about the situation?

Mr. Bryan

We believe that the steps being taken by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will encourage and increase investment. This will benefit the hon. Gentleman's area.

Following is the information:

Registered Unemploye Percentage rat
South East 141,457 1.8
East Anglia 18,281 2.8
South Western 39,242 2.9
West Midlands 73,941 3.2
East Midlands 41,209 2.9
Yorkshire and Humberside 74,458 3.7
North Western 104,358 3.6
Northern 69,655 5.3
Wales 40,410 4.2
Scotland 121,647 5.6
Great Britain 724,658 3.2