HC Deb 19 July 1983 vol 46 cc169-70
12. Mr. Willie W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what new plans he has for solving the problem of the long-term unemployed.

Mr. Tebbit

Our principal initiative to help long-term unemployed people in the short term is the community programme, which was launched in October last year.

In the longer term, the best way forward is through the Government's economic policy, which is aimed at creating the conditions for growth.

Mr. Hamilton

Does the Secretary of State not think it deplorable that substantially more than 1 million men and women have been unemployed for more than 12

Table A
Industries showing an increase in the number of employees June 1972—June 1982
Employees June 1972 Thousands Employees June 1982 Thousands Increase 1972–82 Thousands Percentage increase 1972–82
Petroleum and natural gas 3 26 23 760
Food industries not elsewhere specified 34 38 4 12
Soap and detergents 15 16 1 6
Synthetic resins and plastic materials and synthetic rubber 46 48 2 5
Industrial engines 28 30 2 6
Ordnance and small arms 17 24 7 42
Electronic computers 50 59 9 18
Radio, radar and electronic capital goods 80 107 27 33
Cans and metal boxes 28 30 2 6

months? Does he not recognise that that figure has increased in the past year by 123,000? What message of hope will he give those poor unfortunate people?

Mr. Tebbit

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is deplorable. It is regrettable, but he will join me in deploring the activities of many of those who have damaged our shipyards, our steel works and our motor industry by incessant industrial action, particularly under the previous Labour Government. The hon. Gentleman asked about hope. I refer him to the fact that this year car production is up by 7 per cent. on last year; that housing starts are up by 5 per cent.; that sales in the shops are up by 6.3 per cent.; and that industrial production is up by 1.7 per cent. All those things give good grounds for believing that the economy is moving forward, that we are regaining our customers and that as we do that we shall regain lost jobs.