HC Deb 19 July 1983 vol 46 cc163-4
6. Mr. Bulmer

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what resources he devotes to the study of future patterns of employment.

Mr. Alan Clark

The Department is very much concerned with future patterns of employment and devotes a part of its external research budget to this area of study.

Mr. Bulmer

As intelligent anticipation of change is the key to successful investment and essential to informed career guidance for young people, will my hon. Friend make the results of this work available to the House as soon as it comes to hand?

Mr. Clark

What my hon. Friend says is perfectly true. The Department's new employment market research unit, set up at the end of June, will undertake some research of its own, as well as analysing and disseminating the work of others, and I shall ensure that it is available to my hon. Friend and others who are interested.

Mr. Canavan

What about the future employment patterns of rejected Tory Ministers,like Mr. lain Sproat, who spent much of his time here attacking the unemployed and conducting witch hunts against innocent unemployed people, claiming that they were scroungers? If Mr. Sproat has the audacity to claim unemployment benefit, can we expect an impartial investigation into the possibility of his scrounging activities?

Mr. Clark

The track record of all forecasts of future unemployment prospects of individuals is so unreliable that one would not wish to dwell too long on it. I utterly reject any imputations by the hon. Gentleman about my former hon. Friend, because they tread the delicate border between humour and bad taste.

Mr. Stokes

Has my hon. Friend yet had time in his new office, in which we are so pleased to see him, to study the remarkable fact, which was published recently, that the number of married women in employment has recently risen from 48 to 50 per cent. of all women? In view of the large numbers of other categories who are unemployed, what view does my hon. Friend take of that recent development?

Mr. Clark

I am not sure what view my hon. Friend would like me to express. However, I hope that he will be here tomorrow night for our debate on the Equal Pay (Amendment) Regulations. Perhaps he will make his views known at greater length on that occasion.

Mr. Radice

Does the Minister agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that a cut in unemployment benefit would actually increase the number of jobs? If he does, will he tell the House the basis for that statement?

Mr. Clark

I did not hear my right hon. Friend say that, and my understanding is that he did not say it.