HC Deb 30 June 1981 vol 7 cc684-5
4. Mr. Edward Lyons

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he proposes to take before the end of 1981 to increase employment in West Yorkshire.

The Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. David Waddington)

In West Yorkshire, as in the rest of the country, new jobs will be created by firms producing goods which people want and at a price which they are prepared to pay. Meanwhile, West Yorkshire will continue to benefit from the Government's programme of special employment measures.

Mr. Lyons

Is the Minister aware that only one job is now advertised for every 50 people unemployed in the region and that youth unemployment is set to soar? Will he consider a capital investment programme for West Yorkshire to strengthen regional infrastructure and to create jobs?

Mr. Waddington

One can see the attractions of a capital investment programme, but the money has to come from somewhere. The balance between current and capital expenditure will be one factor considered in the forthcoming annual review of expenditure. But in the short term there is no return from capital investment, and the money has to come from taxes or borrowing.

Dr. Summerskill

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that, on the latest figures, more than 4,750 people are unemployed in Halifax and there are only 124 vacancies at the employment office? What advice does he have for those 4,750 people? Is it that they should all move to another area? If he does not agree with the Prime Minister's suggestion, what help can he provide for Halifax, as its assisted area status has been withdrawn?

Mr. Waddington

The advice that I would give is that, unless we tackle inflation and make absolutely sure that British industry emerges from the recession in competitive shape, the situation will be far worse, not better. The hon. Lady knows the emphasis that the Government place on a variety of special measures, most of which are specifically directed towards young people.

Mr. Cryer

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Minister said that assisted area status was given to the whole of the Bradford district. That is not true.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The people in Bradford will know whether the Minister is right or wrong. The Minister gave the answer. We must move along.