HC Deb 01 May 1973 vol 855 cc980-1
20. Dr. Dickson Mabon

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the percentage of registered female unemployment in the burghs of Greenock and Port Glasgow at the latest convenient date; what are the comparable Scottish and United Kingdom percentages; and what proposals his Department has to deal with this situation.

Mr. Dudley Smith

On 9th April the unemployment rate for females in the area covered by the Greenock and Port Glasgow employment exchanges was 7.1 per cent. For Scotland and the United Kingdom the rates were 3.2 per cent. and 1.5 per cent. respectively. The figures are provisional. Officers of my Department will continue to do all they can to help unemployed people to find new jobs.

Dr. Mabon

Does the Minister realise that the area has a female unemployment rate four times the United Kingdom average and twice the Scottish average? Although we have done a great deal to attract jobs in manufacturing industry, what we do not have is clerical work. The hon. Gentleman and his right hon. and hon. Friends might consider that point when they discuss the Hardman Report.

Mr. Smith

I note what the hon. Gentleman says. Female unemployment in his area is not a new problem. Between April 1966 and April 1970 the female unemployment rate rose from 3.1 per cent. to 6.3 per cent. It would be wrong to suggest that Greenock's unemployment problems will be solved very easily or quickly, but the continued expansion now going on through the improvement in the national economy and the substantial assistance given under the Industry Act will help areas like the hon. Gentleman's which are admittedly difficult.