HC Deb 05 December 1972 vol 847 c1076
2. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will state the male unemployment rate in the Rotherham, Maltby and Dinnington exchange areas at the latest available date and in the same period two years earlier.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Dudley Smith)

At November 1972 the provisional percentage rates of unemployment for males were 6.8 for Rotherham, 8.3 for Maltby and 9.9 for Dinnington. The corresponding figures for November 1970 were 4.0, 7.1 and 5.2. The unemployment figures used in all these calculations exclude the temporarily stopped.

Mr. Hardy

Does the Under-Secretary of State agree that his answer provides grounds for grave anxiety and disappointment? Does he agree that his answer shows the Government's optimism, which was expressed two years ago, to be gravely misplaced? What further steps will be taken to see that the geographical and social advantages of the area will not be further ignored?

Mr. Smith

I do not think we have ever pretended that this is other than a difficult area. It is true that unemployment has risen since November, 1970. But there has been a reduction of about 480 since November of last year, so the trend is in the right direction. As I have told the hon. Gentleman before, the best hope for the area lies in an expanding national economy, which is now being achieved.