HC Deb 06 August 1980 vol 990 cc511-2
11. Mr. Ron Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will bring forward special measures to alleviate mass unemployment in Scotland.

Mr. Alexander Fletcher

The Government already operate a number of special measures to alleviate the worst effects of unemployment, particularly amongst the young. The youth opportunities programme has been substantially expanded this year and we are considering with the Manpower Services Commission what more can be done to help the unemployed. Ultimately, employment prospects depend on the restoration of competitiveness and the return to a soundly-based economy. That is what our policies are designed to achieve.

Mr. Brown

It is clear that the Government have no answer to the unemployment problem. They are deliberately destroying real jobs. That reflects their class views, and there is no doubt that the situation will get a lot worse. I ask the hon. Gentleman whether the Government are ready to face the consequences during the winter? I can tell the Government that the trade union movement will not accept—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown) has been here long enough to know how to ask a question rather than put a point of view.

Mr. Fletcher

I can tell the hon. Gentleman that we are having to face the consequences of the actions of the Labour Party during their five years in office.

Mr. Ancram

With regard to youth and school leaver unemployment, will my hon. Friend confirm that the measures being considered by the Government will not be like those of the previous Government, who merely created artificial jobs for political face-saving reasons? Will my hon. Friend confirm also that the Government will create real job opportunities and real work experience for these youngsters, who are Scotland's future?

Mr. Fletcher

I agree with my hon. Friend. We are anxious that the youth opportunities programme should include as many training and apprenticeship schemes as possible.

Mr. Craigen

Will the Minister tell us how many new permanent jobs he personally has managed to see created in Scotland since the Government came to office 15 months ago?

Mr. Fletcher

I have already indicated that during the past year in excess of 20,000 new jobs have been created in Scotland.

Mr. John MacKay

Is my hon. Friend aware that NALGO, which is among the trade unions so beloved of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Brown), is still hell bent on making people unemployed because they will not join a trade union?

Mr. Fletcher

Yes, Sir, and the Government deplore such undemocratic action on the part of trade unionists and some Labour Members.

Mr. Millan

The MSC in Scotland has said that it cannot cope with the increasing unemployment without additional funds. May we have a guarantee that those funds will be forthcoming?

Mr. Fletcher

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment has already given that.