HC Deb 05 December 1972 vol 847 cc1091-2
10. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what decline in unemployment has occurred in the West Midlands, including Birmingham and Coventry, during the eight months from April to November, 1972.

Mr. Dudley Smith

During this period unemployment in the West Midlands fell provisionally by 20,092, a drop of over 22 per cent.

Sir G. Nabarro

I congratulate my hon. Friend in these excellent figures, but will he tell us what the particular reference is to the motor industry and the conditions of the motor market in the New Year?

Mr. Smith

The motor market is not within my responsibility, but I assure my hon. Friend that the motor car industry's situation is improving. Austin-Morris at Long-bridge is recruiting because of increased production and I read yesterday that Chrysler at Coventry is also recruiting. Like my hon. Friend, I have a great interest in the prosperity of the West Midlands. The situation is far more satisfactory than it was a year ago. It gives cause for genuine optimism. We have always known that this was a strong and well-diversified base, and so it is proving through Government policy.

Mr. Carter

While there has been an appreciable drop in unemployment in the West Midlands, nevertheless there is still a deplorably high level of unemployment among young people and school leavers in particular. What action does the hon. Gentleman intend to take to ensure that young people, when they leave school, instead of going into the dole queue get decent jobs?

Mr. Smith

There is a later Question on this point, but I can tell the hon. Gentleman now that the situation for young people is improving. Unemployment has fallen steadily since August and the November total of 1,422 was 680 less than in October. This is a trend in the right direction and I wish that the hon. Gentleman would cheer up about it.