HC Deb 07 July 1992 vol 211 cc169-70
7. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many new jobs she estimates have been created in the Greater London area since 1979; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin

I am afraid that the information that my hon. Friend requests is not available.

Mr. Greenway

Will my hon. Friend join me in welcoming the 1,000 jobs which will shortly come on stream at the Tesco development on the former Hoover site in Perivale in my constituency'? Will he ensure that the employment services are geared to help people to get jobs on that site, which we have worked so hard for so long to obtain, and elsewhere in my constituency in Ealing and in greater London?

Mr. McLoughlin

I am pleased to hear of the jobs being created in my hon. Friend's constituency. I assure him that the employment service will do all that it can to help to recruit for that company if the company asks it to do so.

Mr. Gapes

Does the Minister agree that unemployment in London continues to rise week by week and day by day? Does he accept that the Government are responsible for that? Is it not time that they stopped saying that they can do nothing about it and started to take action to put people back to work?

Mr. McLoughlin

The Government believe that one way of ensuring that employment rises is to conquer inflation, which we have taken action to do. That follows the point made by the noble Lord Callaghan that high inflation leads to high unemployment.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does my hon. Friend agree that even more important than curbing inflation—important though that undoubtedly is—is the necessity to get real interest rates down substantially and fast? Will that not be the best help for small, businesses, and the construction industry in particular, to offer the people of London real hope of increased employment, which is so urgently needed in the capital?

Mr. McLoughlin

My hon. Friend will realise that that is a matter not for me but for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I shall ensure that my hon. Friend's comments are drawn to his attention.

Mr. McLeish

When will the Government come clean on their employment record? Why, in December 1991, were there 191,000 fewer people in work in Britain than in 1979? More importantly, in the 18 months to December 1991, why did Germany, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy have an employment growth—

Madam Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman should restrict his question to the Greater London area since 1979.

Mr. McLeish

Why, relative to the employment growth in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France of 912,000 in 18 months to December 1991, was there a drop in the number of people in employment in London between December 1981 and December 1991? After 13 years, cannot the House and the country expect the Government to be taking employment seriously?

Mr. McLoughlin

What the Government are not prepared to do is to take lectures or sermons from the Opposition. We put our record to the test not so long ago. The Opposition put their proposals to the test; they were rejected by the electorate and ours were endorsed.

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