HC Deb 23 October 1973 vol 861 cc965-6
17. Mr. Kaufman

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of wholly-unemployed men in the Manchester travel-to-work area in June 1970; and what is the number at the latest available date.

Mr. Dudley Smith

In June 1970 there were 13,593 males unemployed in the area. The provisional figure for October this year is 15,640. The figures are not adjusted to take account of seasonal factors.

Mr. Kaufman

Does not the Minister regard it as an appalling indictment of the present administration that Manchester, which was a prosperous city with below-average unemployment when the Government came to power, now has unemployment well above the national average? In those circumstances, how can he possibly justify the Government's supine acceptance of the European Commission's exclusion of Manchester from European regional aid?

Mr. Smith

The latter point, as the hon. Gentleman knows, is not a matter for me. He ought to sink some of his prejudices and give credit where credit is due. The unemployment rate in the Manchester travel-to-work area has fallen from 28,700 in October of last year to 17,400 in October of this year. Although the figures for June 1970 were only marginally lower than they are today, the important difference is that there are now more male jobs per registrant than there were in June 1970.

Sir R. Cary

May I ask my hon. Friend whether he agrees that using figures of unfilled vacancies between June 1970 and October 1973 provides the true key to the unemployment situation in the area?

Mr. Smith

I do not think that I have readily to hand the figures for 1970. Notified vacancies in the area for October of this year totalled 10,978, which is two-and-a-half times the figure for last year, and that figure was also up on June 1970. I shall let my hon. Friend have the actual figure.