HC Deb 27 February 1986 vol 92 cc1056-7
8. Mr. Robert B. Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many placements have been achieved by Northern Ireland job markets so far in 1985–86 compared with the same period in 1984–85.

Dr. Boyson

By 7 February 1986, job markets in Northern Ireland had placed 27,063 people in employment in the current financial year. This compares with 22,520 during the same period in 1984–85.

Mr. Jones

I take great encouragement from what my hon. Friend has said about the advances over the past 12 months. Is he able to tell the House whether large numbers have moved into self-employment or direct employment, or what trends might be expected?

Dr. Boyson

I welcome the comments of my hon. Friend. There has been a 20 per cent. increase in placements this year. At the same time, there has been a 13 per cent. increase in vacancies notified. There has been an increase of about 7 per cent. in self-employment over the past three years, raising the total of self-employed from 80,000 to 85,000 in the Province.

Mr. Bellingham

Does my hon. Friend agree that the best way forward for the job market in Northern Ireland is for all firms to continue working as normal? Does he agree that it would be a tragedy and a disgrace if jobs and orders were put at risk by political strikes?

Dr. Boyson

I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. If we have a series of political strikes, or any successful political strikes, that could put at risk the delivery of goods to foreign markets, all that we shall be doing is creating unemployment, not only for the present generation, but for those who are now children in school.

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