HC Deb 22 November 1982 vol 32 cc565-6
4. Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the latest estimate of the number of people in Gwynedd who are unemployed; what proportion of the work force this represents; and what were the comparable figures for May 1979 and October 1974, respectively.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

In October 1982 the figure was 13,029, or 17.0 per cent., of the employee population. In May 1979 the figure was 6,463, or 8.5 per cent., and in October 1974 4,392, or 6.4 per cent.

Mr. Wigley

Does the Secretary of State accept that the people of Gwynedd find that constant doubling of unemployment quite unacceptable? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in Sweden unemployment stands at only 4 per cent. and that that figure is regarded as unacceptably high and avoidable? Is he further aware that Sweden is actively creating jobs to reduce that percentage? What do the Government intend to do to reduce unemployment in Gwynedd?

Mr. Edwards

Of course unemployment is distressingly high, although it is no higher in Gwynedd than in Wales as a whole. Long-term jobs will be created if we can overcome the inflation and non-competitiveness of recent years, and significant progress is being made in that direction. However, we can be sure that unemployment will not be solved by schemes that involve a 30 per cent. devaluation, non-existent incomes policies and the sort of things proposed by the Opposition.

Mr. Marlow

Given the tragic increase in unemployment in Gwynedd, in Wales as a whole and in the United Kingdom, does it not follow that if the Government bring forward new immigration rules they should not allow for any primary immigration of males seeking jobs?

Mr. Edwards

My hon. Friend will be aware that I am not responsible for immigration policy. However, he may not be aware that there is a very small immigration population in Wales and that it is even smaller in Gwynedd. Therefore, immigration cannot be seen as a significant factor in increasing unemployment in the Principality.