HC Deb 01 July 1971 vol 820 cc570-1
18. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many men and women are wholly or temporarily unemployed in the Wolverhampton area as covered by his Department's office there; what percentage of unemployment this represents; how this compares with the previous three months figures; and what action he intends to take to help those out of work there to find employment.

Mr. Dudley Smith

Provisional figures for 14th June indicate that 3,509 males and 587 females were registered as unemployed in the Wolverhampton Employment Exchange Area. The percentage rates of unemployment for the Wolverhampton travel-to-work area were 3.6 in May and June, 3.3 in April and 3.5 in March. All the facilities of my Department's employment services will continue to be available to those who need help.

Mrs. Short

Is not it clear from that reply that the blight of Toryism has spread over the whole country, including the formerly prosperous West Midlands area? Is not that an indictment of the Government's failure to take action to get the country's economy moving? Does the hon. Gentleman's Department intend to take action on the recommendations of the West Midlands Economic Planning Council which were published recently? Is the hon. Gentleman further aware that, next month, 2,500 children will be leaving school and looking for jobs? Is he aware, finally, that we on this side of the House and the country as a whole view with contempt and derision the continuing excuses made by Ministers in his Department for the calamitous situation of the economy?

Mr. Smith

I thought that the hon. Lady was about to say that she viewed with cautious optimism the fact that the underlying upward trend of unemployment was beginning to die away. I believe that that is far more significant for the people of Wolverhampton than the series of clichés contained in the hon. Lady's speech to the House this afternoon. I should have thought that Wolverhampton would benefit from the measures already taken by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, along with the rest of the West Midlands, as they begin to work, some of them coming into operation this month.

Mrs. Short

On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the hon. Gentleman's replies, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.