HC Deb 23 January 1979 vol 961 cc182-3
3. Mr. Tim Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people were unemployed at the latest available date.

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

At 12 October 1978, 141,885 young people under 18 years of age were registered as unemployed in Great Britain.

Mr. Smith

Is not the figure for youth unemployment still unacceptably high, especially as the youth opportunities programme has now been going for some time? When does the Minister expect to be able to make a statement about the review of the programme to which he referred late last year?

Mr. Golding

The youth opportunities programme is proving very successful. All the reports from the Manpower Services Commission show that we are on target. The figures that I have quoted include some not covered by the Government commitment to school leavers.

Mr. Gerry Fowler

Will the youth opportunities programme fully achieve by 1st April this year the targets originally set for it? Will the balance of provision within the programme be that which was originally intended?

Mr. Golding

We believe that the target set for Easter will be met, but we do not believe that the balance of the programme will be that forecast when the scheme was announced.

Mr. Alan Clark

Is the Minister aware that considerable numbers of young people in Plymouth are unemployed because jobs in the catering and service industries which would otherwise be open to them are taken by citizens of the Common Market who come over on short term engagements, pay no tax and take off after making maximum use of the Health Service? We all know that the indirect effects of Common Market membership on unemployment have been disastrous, but would the Minister care to comment on the direct effects, such as those that I have just mentioned?

Mr. Golding

I ask the hon. Member to talk to employers and hoteliers in Plymouth to rectify that situation.