HC Deb 04 April 1995 vol 257 c1521
11. Mr. McAllion

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been made redundant in the Dundee travel-to-work area in the most recent year for which figures are available. [16023]

Mr. Paice

Information on redundancies is not available for the Dundee travel-to-work area.

Mr. McAllion

Will the Minister explain why, as happened to me, local Members of Parliament are denied information on local redundancies that have been notified to his Department, on the ground that those redundances are confidential as between the companies concerned and the Department?

Surely, if it is right for the Government to require companies to notify redundancies to the Department of Employment, it is also right for that Department to provide information about those redundancies on request to Members of the House and, through them, to the local communities that are affected by those redundancies. Or is it simply the case that the Government are now so steeped in undemocratic practices that they believe that only Tory Ministers have the right to know the real number of redundancies in the British economy?

Mr. Paice

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman does not appear to have the type of close relationship with businesses in his constituency that would lead them to tell him automatically. There is no reason why they cannot tell him if they feel inclined to do so. That is a matter for the businesses themselves to do.

I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman did not take the opportunity to welcome the fact that unemployment in his constituency has decreased to half what it was 10 years ago. Redundancies are an inevitable part of the dynamism of an economy, as is the creation of new jobs.