§ 6. Mr. Edwin Wainwright
asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many males and females, respectively, were registered as unemployed on the latest available date at the Mexborough and Wombwell employment exchanges.
§ Mr. Jim Lester
At 8 May, 1,424 males and 807 females were registered as unemployed in the Mexborough employment office area. The corresponding figures for Wombwell were 631 and 327. The figures are provisional.
§ Mr. Wainwright
Does the Minister realise that among the unemployed in those areas there are many who have a reasonable working life ahead of them but who are condemned to be unemployed for the rest of their lives? Will be bear in mind that the largest section being adversely affected is the young? Is he aware that when the National Coal Board has employed those that it needs, the remainder have no hope of finding reasonable employment? Does he also realise that the girls are in a worse position than the boys because there is no work available for them? When will he do something about that—not only by designating the area as a special development area, but by bringing in industry?
§ Mr. Lester
I accept the seriousness of the problem facing young people. However, we should put the matter into perspective. In the last academic year 700,000 youngsters were available for work. The figures today show that 46,000 are without jobs. In the youth opportunities programme, under the guarantees, of those youngsters who have been unemployed for more than six months only 700 have not been offered places. While we agree about the seriousness of the position, we must put it into perspective.