HC Deb 14 February 1989 vol 147 cc142-3
12. Mr. Frank Cook

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many full-time and part-time jobs were created in the 12 months to September 1988 in the northern region.

Mr. Nicholls

In the year to September 1988 the civilian work force in employment increased by 31,000 in the northern region. The only available information about full-time and part-time employment in the regions is for female employees. This shows increases of 7,000 in female full-time employees and 8,000 in female part-time employees.

Mr. Cook

Did not the Secretary of State let the cat out of the bag in an earlier answer, when he admitted—confessed, indeed—that 45 per cent. of the new jobs were casual and part-time? Does the Minister accept that in the final quarter of last year 23,000 jobs were created in the northern region, as against the stated reduction of 33,000 in the unemployment figures? Will the Minister admit that the 10,000 difference between the two figures has simply disappeared into the Government's big bass fiddle?

Mr. Nicholls

No. The only cat to be let out of the bag today is the fact that the Opposition have a vested interest in bad news. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman, in reciting his mish-mash of figures overlooked the position in his own constituency. I know that he will wish the House to know about it so I shall remind him of the figures. Unemployment in Stockton, North fell by 20 per cent. in the past year so the hon. Gentleman would have done better to have confined his remarks to saying thank you.

Mr. Janman

Is my hon. Friend aware that unemployment in my constituency has fallen by more than 50 per cent. in the past three years, a fact that has been acknowledged and welcomed by the local Labour council? Does he agree that the MacInnes report tells us nothing about employment trends, but tells us only that Glasgow university is wasting taxpayers' money by employing charlatans to produce shoddy and intellectually bankrupt work?

Mr. Nicholls

I could not begin to cap the way in which my hon. Friend expresses his views about the quality of that report. It simply makes the point, as always, that unemployment is coming down dramatically, and Labour Members absolutely loathe that.