§ Mr. Heffer
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration; namely,the serious situation of unemployment in Liverpool and on Merseyside, with particular reference to long-term unemployment, which has now reached 25,000 people for over one year and is causing real hardship and poverty".It is specific because the number of unemployed on Merseyside has now reached 80,572 and has reached 70,793 for the Liverpool travel-to-work area—that is, 10.6 per cent. and 11 per cent. respectively.
It is important because of the effect of this unemployment on the people concerned, especially those who have been out of work for a long time. Those who 1243 have been out of work for more than 13 weeks and up to 26 weeks total 13,770 for the Merseyside development area and 13,501 for Liverpool; for more than 26 weeks and up to 52 weeks, 18,611 have been out of work in Merseyside and 15,648 in the Liverpool travel-to-work area. But I want to emphasise this, and I hope that every Member of this House will take note of it: 24,947 people on Merseyside and 21,967 in the Liverpool travel-to-work area have been unemployed for more than one year.
It is, therefore, in my view an urgent matter, because if this type of unemployment continues, particularly in the long term, there will be even further hardship and poverty for these people. They are no longer receiving their unemployment benefit. There is no such thing as wage-related benefit. They are merely receiving supplementary benefit.
I realise that it can be argued that I am taking up the time of the House on something which is not immediate, but I have only just received the figures. I regard this as a matter of the greatest importance. The House is lucky that I am raising the matter in this way and am not taking more positive action to bring this House to a standstill until something is done about this type of unemployment.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the serious situation of unemployment in Liverpool and on Merseyside, with particular reference to long-term unemployment, which has now reached 25,000 people for over one year and is causing real hardship and poverty".I have to tell the hon. Gentleman that I have listened with care to the representations that he has made but I cannot rule that this business has to take precedence over the business of the day or of tomorrow. That in no way is to be interpreted as my comment on the importance of the issue.