HC Deb 18 October 1994 vol 248 cc128-9
4. Mr. Ian Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the change in unemployment in Dorset in each month since January.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. James Paice)

Unadjusted claimant unemployment in Dorset is down by 5,474 since January of this year, and by 8,291 since January 1993, which is a fall of 25 per cent. I shall, with permission, Madam Speaker, arrange for the full statistical table to be printed in the Official Report.

Mr. Bruce

I welcome my hon. Friend to the Dispatch Box and thank him for recounting the excellent news that the Government's regeneration agency, which is working on replacing defence jobs in my constituency, is doing such a good job. Will he take into account the fact that, over the next five years, we shall lose about 4,500 jobs from our economy? Will my hon. Friend look carefully at what more his Department can do either to persuade the Ministry of Defence not to move everybody away from Portland and Weymouth or to provide maximum help to regenerate jobs?

Mr. Paice

For a long while, my hon. Friend has admirably looked after the interests of his constituents in the context of the defence reductions. He will know that Dorset training and enterprise council has already received substantial extra funds through the Konver initiative. He should take courage from the fact that the Dorset jobcentre now has 1,500 vacancies, which is 30 per cent. more than it had a year ago.

Mr. Chidgey

Is the Minister aware that long-term unemployment in Dorset has been rising as a percentage since April 1992? Will he address the concerns of the long-term unemployed in Dorset and elsewhere as a matter of priority?

Mr. Paice

The Government have a range of programmes, ranging from training programmes and counselling schemes, to encourage and enable the long-term unemployed to get back to work. The Government do not take very much notice of a party whose only interest seems to be to create jobs in selling cannabis and condoms to kids.

Mr. Butterfill

Does my hon. Friend accept that the very welcome reductions in Dorset are due not merely to the Government's rejection of the social contract and the minimum wage, which would have damaged our hotel industry, but to the splendid efforts of industry in Bournemouth and in Poole in winning the "Britain in Bloom" competition yet again in Bournemouth and the "Best Beach in Britain" in Poole, much of which I hope was enjoyed by my hon. Friend and many others last week?

Mr. Paice

I and my right hon. and hon. Friends greatly enjoyed seeing Bournemouth in bloom. We had a thoroughly enjoyable week which led us to be even more convinced that the Government's policies to get the economy going and get unemployment down are the right policies for this country.

Following is the information:

Unadjusted claimant unemployment in Dorset
1994 Number of unemployed Change on previous month
January 29,807 1,393
February 29,471 -366
March 28,292 -1,179
April 27,092 -1,200
May 25,948 -1,144
June 24,711 -1,237
July 24,753 42
August 24,797 44
September 24,333 -464

Note: As these figures are on the unadjusted basis they will be subject to seasonal influences.