§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
asked the Secretary of State for Employment (1) when he expects the 608 school leavers unemployed in Kirkby on 10th November 1977 to have found jobs; and what steps are being taken to achieve this;
(2) when he expects full employment to have been achieved (a) in the North-West, and (b) in Merseyside.
§ Mr. Golding,
pursuant to his reply, [Official Report, 9th January 1978; Vol. 941, c. 649], gave the following information:
(1) The latest unemployment figures show that on 8th December 1977 there were 530 school-leavers under 18 unemployed in Kirkby. It is impossible to know by which date those unemployed will have found jobs. The Government are fully committed to bringing down the level of unemployment, both in Kirkby and nationally, by reducing inflation, strengthening the balance of payments and regenerating our industry. In the meantime, a number of special measures have been taken to alleviate the worst 42W effects of unemployment. My right hon. Friend announced on 29th June a new youth opportunities programme which will offer a range of opportunities for training and work experience which can be adapted to individual needs. Resources are to be allocated between local education authority areas in proportion to the numbers of unemployed young people, and once the programme is fully operational in September 1978 it is the Government's firm intention that no summer or Easter school leaver who remains unemployed the following Easter should remain without the offer of a place under the programme.
(2) I regret that I am unable to give my hon. Friend any precise indication as to when full employment may be achieved in these areas, as this depends on a number of complex and variable factors.
However, I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government remain firmly committed to achieving a substantial reduction in unemployment throughout the country at the earliest opportunity and are pursuing a national economic strategy which aims to achieve this.
In the meantime, the special employment measures which we have introduced, and plan to bring into operation, should continue to be of considerable help in alleviating the worst effects of unemployment. So far, these measures are estimated to have assisted 150,000 persons in the North-West, including nearly 36,000 on Merseyside.