HC Deb 16 January 1990 vol 165 cc151-2
11. Mr. Janner

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement regarding the current level of unemployment in the city of Leicester.

Mr. Eggar

In November 1989 there were 9,629 unemployed claimants in the local authority area of Leicester, a fall of 1,902 or 16.5 per cent. over the last 12 months.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that over the past 12 months the hosiery and knitwear industries in Leicester have lost 4,000 jobs and that the Government's research programme cannot possibly save them because it will be too late to do so? Will the Government announce some help for the knitwear and hosiery industries in my constituency in view of the growing unemployment in those vital industries that have long been traditional and important to the city?

Mr. Eggar

I shall certainly draw the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to the points made by the hon. and learned Gentleman. I know that similar points were made during last Friday's debate.

Mr Ashby

Does not my hon. Friend agree that although his reply is good news, that is despite the fact that the loony Left-wing Leicester council policies encourage unemployment in Leicester?

Mr. Eggar

I quite understand my hon. Friend's concerns about Leicester council's policy. Clearly, anything that adds to the costs for employees and employers in Leicester is likely to lead to unnecessary job losses.

Mr. Jim Marshall

Is the Minister aware that in many parts of the city of Leicester, unemployment is in excess of 25 per cent. and still increasing, and that it will increase further as local industry is facing increased pressure because of high interest rates? In the light of that, will he put pressure on his colleagues who are in charge of economic affairs to ensure that interest rates decline as quickly as possible?

Mr. Eggar

I am slightly surprised by the hon. Gentleman. Why does he have to write down his own local area in Leicester? Unemployment has fallen sharply in Leicester, as it has elsewhere in the east midlands. Why does he not point out that, rather than the problems of the industries?