HC Deb 01 August 1978 vol 955 cc232-3
2. Mr. Jessel

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many times since March 1974 monthly unemployment figures have shown an increase and how many times a decrease.

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

For Great Britain, based on seasonally adjusted figures which exclude school leavers, there were 34 increases and 14 decreases.

Mr. Jessel

Is not the hon. Gentleman ashamed of that disgraceful performance? Can he estimate what will happen to unemployment figures over the next two or three years?

Mr. Golding

As to the reasons for the unemployment, I am certainly not ashamed—concerned, yes, but not ashamed. We are not prepared to make an estimate. The figures will depend upon the co-operation we receive from the country in our anti-inflation policies.

Mr. Robert Hughes

Does my hon. Friend accept that in the past four years the work force has grown by over 750,000? That being the case, and as it was known during the period of the last Government, what plans, if any, did he find in his Department for dealing with it? If there were no plans, does it not show that the Saatchi and Saatchi cover-up is the grossest of hypocrisy?

Mr. Golding

The answer must be that no plans were prepared for the very large increase in the work force. It is significant that even last month the rise in unemployment was the result of female unemployment increasing by a far greater amount than the drop in male unemployment.