HC Deb 18 March 1986 vol 94 c158
15. Dr. Marek

asked the Paymaster General if he will give the figures for the percentage increase in youth unemployment since 1979.

Mr. Trippier

Direct comparisons of unemployment by age since 1979 are not possible because of changes in the way the figures are collected. However, between January 1979 and October 1982 the number of unemployed registrants in the United Kingdom aged under 25 increased by 148 per cent. Between October 1982 and January 1986 the number of unemployed claimants aged under 25 increased by 4 per cent.

Dr. Marek

Does the Minister agree that the figures he has now given to the House about the recent small decline in the number of unemployed youth are only there because he has failed to consider those numbers in relation to the total percentage of youth available for work; that his Department has fiddled the figures by readjusting them every two years; that he has taken many of the young off the unemployment register because of their employment in the youth training scheme; and that young people, if there were real jobs and if they had real training, would go for those real jobs? Would he further agree that he has presided over the highest level of youth unemployment in living memory?

Mr. Trippier

The hon. Gentleman cannot possibly say that the Department has fiddled the figures, when his hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) admitted on a television programme that if he had been in the same position as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State he, too, would have accepted the advice of the Department's statisticians.