HC Deb 09 July 1974 vol 876 c1116
2. Mr. Gwilym Roberts

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what were the numbers wholly unemployed in June 1974; and what further steps he is taking to reduce the numbers wholly unemployed.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. John Fraser)

On 10th June 1974, 515,773 people were unemployed in Great Britain. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has stated his intention to introduce a second Budget to make such further adjustments as are necessary to keep up the level of employment.

Mr. Roberts

Is my hon. Friend aware that we welcome the decision by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take action, but will he look particularly at problems of areas such as Cannock Chase district which are close to large conurbations and which in addition to having a high level of unemployment have a hidden level of unemployment in the increasing proportion of the population which has to travel to and from the conurbation to find work?

Mr. Fraser

We take these matters into account. It is true that Cannock has a higher rate of unemployment than elsewhere, although if we take away miners who are unemployed, many of whom are disabled, we find that the rate in Cannock is as low as 2.7 per cent. The needs of people in that situation are taken into account in the training programme.

Mr. Redmond

Does the hon. Gentleman still think that the unemployment figures are accurate? If so, how does he justify them in view of the shortages of labour which are being experienced in areas of unemployment above the national average?

Mr. Fraser

I cannot say that the figures are absolutely accurate because some people are unemployed and do not register as such. There are some vacancies which are not notified to my Department. The figures I gave are the best available in the circumstances.