HC Deb 28 July 1981 vol 9 cc971-2
6. Mr. Dubs

asked the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons under 18 years are currently unemployed in the London area; and how many of these are black.

Mr. Peter Morrison

At 9 April, the number of people under 18 years of age registered as unemployed in Greater London was 15,163. The number of black people included in this figure is not available. However, on 12 February, the latest date for which information is available, there were about 2,600 unemployed young people who were born in, or whose parent or parents were born in, the new Commonwealth and Pakistan.

Mr. Dubs

Given the Secretary of State's statement many months ago about an expansion in the youth opportunities programme, can the Minister say why the 15,000 unemployed young people have not been offered YOP places? Is it because there is a lack of money to finance the scheme or is it that not enough suitable employers can be found to provide the places?

Mr. Morrison

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister yesterday announced an expansion of the youth opportunities programme. I do not have at my fingertips the number of young school leavers who were not taken up by the YOP scheme last year. The numbers would be small. The figure for the country as a whole was about 5,000. This year our Christmas commitment remains.

Mr. Neubert

Would it not be apposite, when people express concern about unemployment in London, to point out that the so-called "capital" project—a computer system to facilitate the placing of people in jobs through employment offices throughout London—had to be abandoned because of union resistance?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend and others have written to me about that matter. It is fair to say that the jobcentres do everything that they possibly can to place young unemployed people in jobs.

Mr. Russell Kerr

In view of the troubles on the colour front in London will the Minister tell the House when the figures will be properly delineated so that we can tell how many blacks are unemployed?

Mr. Fell

That is racialism.

Mr. Morrison

The hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Mr. Kerr) is a regular attender at Question Time and often puts questions to my right hon. and hon. Friends. The figures are updated and published at six-monthly intervals.

Mr. Dykes

Is my hon. Friend not concerned that in the outer London boroughs, which are traditionally areas of high employment, there are signs of unduly long-lasting unemployment developing among young people? Is he confident that the new measures will help such areas—in particular, the London borough of Harrow?

Mr. Morrison

I am aware that the situation in the outer London boroughs has deteriorated somewhat. I am confident that the measures announced yesterday by the Prime Minister will work.