HC Deb 16 March 1976 vol 907 cc1113-4
12. Mr. Michael Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current level of unemployment among those who graduated with first degrees during 1975.

Mr. John Fraser

I am informed by the Manpower Services Commission that this information is not available, as the unemployment figures do not separately identify persons in this category.

Mr. Marshall

Leaving aside the unsatisfactory nature of that answer, does the Minister not agree that there is evidence here of an appalling problem of a total waste of trained human resources? Does he not further agree that this is itself an indictment of the Government, particularly in relation to the disincentive to industry generally, which is unable to mop up this pool of talent?

Mr. Fraser

If the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that it would be a good idea to have more graduates in industry, he is right—and the answer lies as much with industry as with the Government. There are certainly areas in which there is a shortage of graduates to go into industry. A report from our Manpower Services Commission shows that there is an unsatisfied demand for accountants, computer scientists, and electronic and electrical engineers.

Mr. Ian Lloyd

Will the Minister say, as a matter of great topical importance, whether the Government are making any special provision for graduates of University College, Oxford?

Mr. Fraser

No, Sir.

Mr. Christopher Price

Will my hon. Friend repudiate the proposition that there is something inherently more serious about graduate unemployment than there is about unemployment generally? Does he agree that the Government's job is to reduce unemployment across the board rather than to concentrate on special areas of this kind?

Mr. Fraser

I wholly agree with my hon. Friend that the fact that a person is a graduate does not confer upon him a special privilege in the employment market. We must have proper regard to everybody's need for employment, and not just those with a qualification. Equally, we must try to make sure that those trained in a particular area are able to go into employment and do not lose the skills they have gained during a period of training or a period at university.