§ Mr. Alan Clark
In May 1979 there were 29,735 people registered as unemployed in Lancashire. In September 1983 the number of unemployed claimants in the county was 75,358. The figures include school leavers and are not seasonally adjusted.
§ Mr. Straw
Does the Minister agree that it is an appalling indictment of the Government that unemployment in Lancashire has trebled over the past four years? If, as the Minister claims, high rates in London have led to job losses, how does he explain the loss of jobs in Lancashire, where rates have been among the lowest in the country?
§ Mr. Clark
The House knows that the hon. Gentleman was author of the Labour party's "Programme for Recovery", but that never saw the light of day, which may give him a vested interest in such questions. The un-employment rate in Lancashire is only 13.2 per cent.—0.2 per cent. above the national average.
§ Mr. Robert Atkins
Is my hon. Friend aware that, despite the excessive rates levied by Lancashire county council, in some part in supplementary rates, there are still stories of success, for example Dainichi-Sykes Ltd., which has just obtained a contract from Jaguar Cars that will double the number of people employed by the company in a high technology area such as robotics?
§ Mr. Litherland
Has the Minister studied the Youthaid report, which states that 50 per cent. of 18-year-olds in this country are on the dole and that that percentage is even 138 higher in the inner city areas of Manchester? Does that not contradict what was said today about youth aid? Does he agree that the future of young people is being sold out by this Government?
§ Mr. Tracey
Does my hon. Friend agree that it ill-becomes the Labour party to lecture the Government on unemployment since, on Friday last when the House discussed the important subject of small business, one of the greatest providers of new jobs — [Interruption.] — only three Opposition Members turned up?