HC Deb 03 March 1987 vol 111 cc716-7
5. Mr. Nicholls

asked the Paymaster General, during the last monthly period for which figures are available, how many listed as unemployed were unemployed for less than a week.

Mr. Lee

On 8 January 1987, the number of claimants in the United Kingdom who had been unemployed for one week or less was 113,600.

Mr. Nicholls

Does my hon. Friend agree that there are several anomalies behind even those figures? Does he agree that if a man worked for two days every week, but not for the same two days every week, he would have worked for 40 per cent. of that week, but be recorded as 100 per cent. unemployed? If the unemployment figures are to be a record of all those who are unemployed should they not be adjusted to take account of anomalies like that?

Mr. Lee

If a person is working on a regular part-time basis, the full extent normal rule applies; in other words, he is excluded from unemployment benefit. If the part-time work is not regular, unemployment benefit is payable for the unworked days. Therefore, he is on the count. But I have to say that we do not statistically calculate parts of people.

Mr. Winnick

Should not that answer be compared with the reply that the Minister recently gave to me in which I was informed that 158,000 people in the west midlands have been unemployed for 12 months or more, compared with 34,000 in April 1979? Does that not show the devastation and misery that has taken place in the west midlands?

Mr. Lee

Eight per cent. of the new claimants leave the count within a week, a quarter of those becoming unemployed leave the count within a month, one half within three months and two thirds within six months. Each day 30,000 people start new jobs.