HC Deb 13 June 1995 vol 261 c588
7. Mr. Campbell-Savours

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he next intends to visit west Cumbria to discuss matters relating to employment with representatives of the local community. [26475]

Mr. Paice

I was recently in Cumbria and met members of the Cumbria training and enterprise council to discuss such matters.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Why keep 8,108 unemployed people in west Cumbria languishing on the dole when there is a vast amount of local work that could be done, such as environmental improvement, crime prevention, home insulation, security work, looking after the elderly, and community and general support services work? I have a list of projects that could be undertaken in west Cumbria if the Government would only see sense. Why keep people languishing on the dole?

Mr. Paice

Nobody wants to keep people languishing on the dole, as the hon. Gentleman puts it. Through the Employment Service and the training and enterprise councils, the Government are providing 1.5 million opportunities for people to get back to work. In addition, we are providing £65 million a year for economic development in Cumbria, which is way ahead of the amount spent in many other counties.

I understand that unemployment is higher in the hon. Gentleman's constituency than in other parts of the country; of course that is sad. Why does he not recognise, however, that unemployment has fallen in the past year and in the past two years and that it has fallen since the equivalent peak in the economic cycle in 1986? It is going in the right direction. Why does the hon. Gentleman espouse policies that would not deal with those 8,000 people? His policies would add another 8,000 or 10,000 or 20,000 to the number of unemployed people in west Cumbria.