§ 5. Mr. Molloy
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will hold discussions with the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry to examine means of halting the increase in unemployment.
§ Mr. Molloy
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the scourge of unemployment is one of the most terrible things that can hit an ordinary family, and that it is because of the reversals of the previous Government's policies by his Government that we have ever-escalating unemployment? Will he ask the T.U.C. and the C.B.I. to meet him because of this grave emergency, and drop silly things like talking about entering the Common Market, so that ordinary folk will not be able to say, "Why are you talking about industrial training boards to train my boy so that when he finishes training he will be unemployed?"? That is the absurd situation about which people are concerned.
§ Dame Irene Ward
Would not a conference such as the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) suggested be quite useful if the T.U.C. told the C.B.I. that it was prepared to accept the terms of the Industrial Relations Bill for the purpose of ending unofficial strikes, which create a great deal of unemployment? Let us get on with that kind of conference.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we are all extremely fascinated by the speeches which the Secretary of State is making in the United States, and particularly his statements in Washington yesterday that what he found so encouraging about the employment position was the growing number of identifiable redundancies, because this showed that a shake-out was taking place? Is he aware that what we find significant and extremely discouraging is the fall in the number of unfilled vacancies, which are 46,000 fewer than they were last November, thus showing that there are no jobs for the shaken-out workers to go 556 into? So that we may be absolutely clear about those statements, will the hon. Gentleman arrange for a copy of his right hon. Friend's statements in Washington yesterday to be placed in the Library?
§ Mr. Bryan
If that can be arranged, I will certainly arrange it. "Shake-out" was a word invented by the Leader of the Opposition some time ago. On the general question of unemployment, which is what the right hon. Lady is raising, it is acknowledged from this side of the House that the steps taken in the Budget cannot possibly have quick results. Such measures as the increased child allowance and the cut in S.E.T., which will help the expansion of the economy, cannot possibly have an effect before July. It is a gradual process, but we believe that we are on our way to success.
§ Mrs. Castle
May I have an answer to my request for a copy of the Secretary of State's statements to be placed in the Library?
§ 10. Mr. Thomas Cox
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what further action he intends to take to reduce the number of young people who are now unemployed in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
Careers officers will continue to make every effort to help unemployed young people find suitable employment. I am pleased to tell the House that my right hon. Friend has now made arrangements to pay grants for additional posts for careers officers in areas where unemployment is highest.
§ Mr. Cox
Does the hon. Member not realise that that will give no help to the 40,000 young people below the age of 18 who are unemployed and are fast losing any hope of entering into apprenticeships? Is he aware that as a result they could spend much of their adult life drifting from job to job because they have no basic skill? Is it not possible for the Government to realise that the young people of our country do not want the dole queues or the street corners—they want the right to work, and they look to the Government for indications that they will give them that right?
§ Mr. Smith
They can look for that with confidence from this Government. 557 The hon. Gentleman overstates his case, because although it is true that there are over 40,000 unemployed, there are also over 50,000 vacancies for young people throughout the country. This is a problem and something is being done about it, as I have announced.
§ Mr. John Page
Will my hon. Friend hold discussions with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science with a view to improving careers counselling in schools and the status of careers teachers? Is he aware that that will help to improve this difficult situation?
§ Mr. Heffer
Does not the hon. Gentleman accept that, while there is a serious problem throughout the country in relation to young people, the most serious problem is in the so-called development areas, where young people have almost no opportunity of getting skilled or any other training? Apart from the increase in the number of careers officers, what are the Government prepared to do to assist young people, particularly in these areas? Let us not have a quick statement, but a serious answer about what the Government intend to do.
§ Mr. Smith
The Government are already taking measures, through providing careers officers and through our other services, to deal with unemployment where young people are affected. We give all the help we can. The question of development areas is for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, but the extra business confidence which will be generated from the Budget, and which has not yet had time to work through into the economy, will eventually reap dividends, as the hon. Gentleman will see.
§ 14. Mr. Raison
asked the Secretary of State for Employment what research his Department is conducting into the extent to which unemployment is caused by falling production as opposed to improved productivity or shake-out.
§ Mr. David Howell
Analysis of this kind is undertaken by the Treasury as part of the regular assessment of trends in the economy. The evidence available so far is that unemployment over recent months may have risen faster than the movement of demand by itself would have indicated. But the causes of unemployment are complex and it will not be possible to make a clearer assessment for some time yet.
§ Mr. Raison
I thank my hon. Friend for his reply, but will he give us, perhaps in the OFFICIAL REPORT, more specific details of the research studies that are being undertaken, in view of the enormous importance for future policy of knowing exactly what is the pattern of unemployment?
§ Mr. Howell
I will consider what can be produced for my hon. Friend. He is right in saying that this is important. Particularly important is the realisation that unemployment levels are no longer mechanically related to the level of demand, as some hon. Members seem to think.
§ Mr. Ronald King Murray
In the light of that reply, will the Government repudiate their fallacious theory that the cause of unemployment is excessive wage demands?
§ Mr. Howell
There is nothing fallacious about that theory. One absolute certainty is that excessive wage settlements put men out of good jobs.
§ 18. Mr. John Fraser
asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement about the latest unemployment statistics published by his Department.
§ Mr. Fraser
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there are now four people unemployed for every three people who were unemployed at the time when the Prime Minister said that he would cut unemployment at a stroke? If the Prime Minister is not to be accused of a combination of mendacity and cynicism, would the hon. Gentleman say when he expects unemployment to be at a lower level than 559 it was when the Prime Minister made his statement on 16th June last—will it be before the next Budget, by the Budget after that, or by the Budget after that?
§ Captain W. Elliot
Would my hon. Friend agree that between 1964 and 1970 under the Labour Government unemployment doubled, and could he explain why they are so proud of the fact?
§ Mr. Concannon
Could the hon. Gentleman say what was the average wage of those unemployed, and does the hon. Gentleman think that they were being excessively paid when they became unemployed?