HC Deb 05 December 1989 vol 163 cc141-2
5. Mr. Raffan

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest unemployment figures for the constituency of Delyn; and what were the figures two years ago.

Mr. Nicholls

In Delyn, unemployment is about half what it was two years ago. In October 1989 there were 1,892 unemployed claimants in the Delyn parliamentary constituency, compared with some 4,020 in October 1987. The figures are slightly affected by the change in benefit regulations for under 18-year-olds in September 1988.

Mr. Raffan

Does my hon. Friend agree that the fact that unemployment in Delyn has been dramatically cut by half in the past two years shows the effectiveness of Government regional policy which gave my constituency the highest level of development area status—something that the Labour Government never did—and the Delyn enterprise zone, which the Labour party opposed?

Mr. Nicholls

My hon. Friend is right. Once again, the figures highlight the experience of his constituents and show how successful the Government have been. Since the last election there has been a reduction in unemployment in Delyn of some 54 per cent. That is a remarkable achievement, and it is obviously one of which my hon. Friend thoroughly approves.

Mr. John P. Smith

Does the Minister recognise that the October unemployment figures show the smallest reduction in unemployment since January 1987, and an increase in unemployment in the west midlands and in East Anglia?

Mr. Speaker

Order. That question is not about Delyn.

Mr. Wigley

In view of the answer given by the Minister, can he confirm that he has detailed responsibility for unemployment in Britain, for example in places such as Delyn in Wales, which was transferred from the Welsh Office? In view of the success of the policy that he has announced in Delyn, can he arrange for a general review of general development boundaries to ensure that those places with substantially higher unemployment than Delyn will have the advantages to which he referred?

Mr. Nicholls

The hon. Gentleman, with his usual ingenuity, has taken a question about Delyn and asked me to answer it in other terms. The rate of unemployment in Delyn is not only below the average for the United Kingdom, but below the average for Wales. It might therefore be more appropriate if the hon. Gentleman stood up and said, "Thank you".