HL Deb 21 March 1984 vol 449 c1222

2.44 p.m.

Lord Diamond

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, when publishing figures of unemployment claimants, they will additionally publish their internal estimates of total unemployed including all those available for work.

The Minister of State, Privy Council Office, and Minister for the Arts (The Earl of Gowrie)

My Lords, estimates of the total number of unemployed seeking work are available only from household surveys, the principal one of which is the labour force survey. The latest information relates to 1981, when the number of unregistered unemployed were roughly offset by the number of those registered who were not seeking work. Estimates from the 1983 labour force survey will become available later this year.

Lord Diamond

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for that Answer. Do I gather from that that he accedes to the request contained in this Question that when these figures are available they will be published together with a statement of the unemployed claimants?

The Earl of Gowrie

My Lords, it is my understanding that the labour force surveys are published.

Lord Dean of Beswick

My Lords, is the noble Minister not aware that whatever criteria are used for publishing unemployment figures, they show a progressive increase in unemployment among all age groups? How does the noble Earl square this with the continuing statements from Government Ministers and some of their friends in the Community that the economy is improving? Does he think that the people who are joining the dole queues in increasing numbers will have regard to those statements and think they are correct?

The Earl of Gowrie

My Lords, it is a sad fact, as I have said to the House many times, that there is no correlation in the western world at the moment between rates of economic recovery and improvement in unemployment levels.