HC Deb 08 November 1983 vol 48 cc141-2
14. Dr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to relieve unemployment in the Northern region.

Mr. Gummer

The unemployment problems of the Northern region can be tackled effectively only if industry in the United Kingdom generally becomes more competitive and sells more goods and services.

Dr. Clark

What hope can the 225,000 people currently out of work in the Northern region expect from the Government's policies, and when will those policies begin to work?

Mr. Gummer

They can expect from the Government continued pressure to bring down inflation, to make us more competitive, so that we can sell the goods and services, which alone produces the jobs. There is no hope other than that.

Mr. Bell

Is the Minister aware that on Teesside the rate of unemployment is 18 per cent. and that the area is based on shipbuilding, steel and chemicals? Is he telling the people of Cleveland that they have no future because the future of Britain lies in the service industries?

Mr. Gummer

I am saying that in a situation as serious as the one to which our attention is drawn the only chance of getting jobs is to produce goods and services for which people will pay. There is no alternative to that, unhappy though that may be.