HC Deb 17 July 1979 vol 970 cc1275-6
1. Mr. Straw

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures for unemployment in Great Britain, and the North-West.

10. Mr. John Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he expects unemployment to increase or decrease in the North-West.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Jim Lester)

At 14 June, the numbers of people registered as unemployed in Great Britain and the North-West region were 1,281,102 and 200,701 respectively.

Future levels of unemployment will depend upon a number of factors which cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. It is, therefore, not possible to give any reliable forecast of the position over the next 12 months.

Mr. Straw

Is the Minister aware that the cuts in local authority spending which have been announced will certainly lead to the loss of 10,000 jobs in the North-West? Is he aware that any cuts in regional aid will place many thousands more jobs at risk? What estimate does he have of future unemployment in the North-West in the next year? What hope does he hold out to the 1,700 school leavers in my constituency and the 91,000 in the North-West as a whole who will be looking for jobs during the next month?

Mr. Lester

The youth opportunities programme is being expanded. The policies of the previous Government increased unemployment in the hon. Member's constituency by 246 per cent. Clearly, the policies of this Government are changing the whole atmosphere. We want to create real jobs based on services which people want.

Mr. Evans

Is the Minister aware that deindustrialisation has taken place at a faster rate in the North-West than in any other region of the country? Does he realise that his Government's policies are only adding to that process, with a consequential leap in unemployment which will take place in the North-West in the next 12 months?

Mr. Lester

As the hon. Member knows, I spent three days on Merseyside last week, during which time I visited his constituency. I was pleased to see that in his constituency, particularly, there were signs of useful industrial regeneration, some of which was being carried out without the aid of Government grants.

Mr. Dan Jones

May we have a breakdown of the unemployment figures in North-East Lancashire, from Blackburn to Barnoldswick?

Mr. Lester

I shall arrange for those figures to be given to the hon. Member if they are available.

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