HC Deb 17 March 2003 vol 401 c626
18. David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire)

What the change in the level of unemployment in the North-West Leicestershire constituency has been since May 1997. [102962]

The Minister for Work (Mr. Nicholas Brown)

Since 1997, in my hon. Friend's constituency, claimant unemployment has been more than halved and long-term unemployment cut by more than 80 per cent. Those figures are clear evidence of the strength of our labour market policies, which have helped to deliver record levels of employment across the country and unemployment at its lowest levels since the 1970s.

David Taylor

The reductions in unemployment in the former mining constituency of North-West Leicestershire are most welcome, but recent downturns in areas such as textiles, engineering and food manufacturing are a source of concern. Will the Minister receive a delegation including local Members of Parliament and workers at the United Biscuits factory in Ashby, where a planned phased run-down in 2004 could lead to the loss of 900 jobs? Economic success must not be holed below the waterline in that way.

Mr. Brown

I am sympathetic to what my hon. Friend says and I congratulate him on getting in twice at Work and Pensions Question Time. I represent a constituency with similar problems to those to which he alludes. I shall receive his delegation, and whatever Jobcentre Plus can do to help in the difficult circumstances that he describes, we will do.