HC Deb 04 July 1972 vol 840 cc234-5
19. Mr. Willey

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the rate of notified vacancies to people registered as wholly unemployed in Sunderland at the latest available date.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

In the area covered by the Sunderland and South-wick employment exchanges, at June, 1972, the number of notified vacancies remaining unfilled to every hundred people registered as wholly unemployed was 3.9.

Mr. Willey

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that that represents a serious position in Sunderland where there are 30 people after every job? That position has obtained for years and it demands more direct Government intervention to see that something is done about this chronic unemployment.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

I recognise that unemployment in Wearside is much too high. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will be pleased to know that the rate has fallen from 8.7 per cent. in April to 7.8 per cent. in May, and down again to 7.5 per cent. in June. That represents a much more rapid improvement than in the national figures, and while unemployment has fallen the number of vacancies notified has risen by nearly 40 per cent. compared with June of last year and has doubled for men.

Mr. Bagier

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will agree that Sunderland is still in a serious situation. I accept that the hon. Gentleman is not responsible for other Departments, but will he encourage the Government to do more about the dispersal of offices to the Northern Region, which could include Sunderland and Washington? Will he, for example, encourage his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science to allow the building of three schools to go ahead, which could provide much-needed employment for building workers, and will he speak to his right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction who is refusing to allow the direct works department to build houses for sale?

Mr. Chichester-Clark

That seems to be rather a miscellany of questions for a miscellany of other Departments. I recognise the seriousness of the problem, and I have no doubt whatsoever that what the hon. Gentleman has said will be listened to in other quarters.