HC Deb 17 June 1976 vol 913 c253W
Mr. Wigley

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what would be the estimated additional cost to the Exchequer of paying every unemployed person the average industrial wage, without overtime, for men and women, respectively.

Mr. Harold Walker

About £45 million per week net of savings in unemployment and supplementary benefit, at current levels of unemployment. As with unemployment and supplementary benefit, this figure has been calculated on the assumption that payments attract no tax or contribution liabilities. No account has been taken of the consequential effects on entitlements to other benefits not specifically identifiable with registered unemployment, such as rent and rate rebates?

Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current level of unemployment; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Golding

At 13th May 1976, 1,220,360 people were registered as unemployed in Great Britain. The rate of unemployment was 5.3 per cent. I am of course deeply concerned at these figures which show that the level of unemployment continues to be unacceptably high. The Government are determined to return to much lower levels of unemployment. While this depends, in the long term, on our sucecss in reducing inflation, and in regenerating British industry, the Government have taken special employment measures, including the temporary employment subsidy, the recruitment subsidy for school leavers, increased training and job creation to alleviate the persent severe problem.