HC Deb 13 February 1990 vol 167 c126
3. Mr. Amess

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest figure for unemployment in the Basildon constituency.

Mr. Eggar

In December 1989 there were 2,509 unemployed claimants. That represents a fall of just over 15 per cent. in 12 months.

Mr. Amess

Will my hon. Friend kindly undertake to send a set of screws to the Socialist-controlled Basildon district council, so that it might restore to a prominent place the board that used to display the number of people who are out of work in Basildon, which supposedly fell down because the screws were rusty? Does my hon. Friend agree that the board could now display the excellent message that unemployment in Basildon has reduced steadily over recent years as a result of the skill and enterprise of local businesses and of the success of this Government's policies?

Mr. Eggar

I am not quite sure what the Public Accounts Committee would say about my using the departmental budget to buy screws to send to Basildon council, because my budget is devoted to training purposes. However, I certainly agree with my hon. Friend and have no doubt at all that the council should be urged to display prominently the fact that there has been a fall in unemployment of over 50 per cent. in the Basildon area since June 1987.

Mr. Speaker

I call the hon. Member for Bassetlaw, but the question is about Basildon.

Mr. Ashton

Is it not a fact that in Basildon there has been massive unemployment among estate agents in the past few years? Does the Minister agree that that is due to the collapse of the Government's housing and mortgage policies and that it will result in the unemployment of Basildon's Tory Member of Parliament at the next election?

Mr. Eggar

I bow to the hon. Gentleman's experience of estate agents.