HC Deb 20 February 1979 vol 963 cc112-3W
Mr. O'Halloran

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received regarding the serious unemployment in the building industry; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Grant

Over the past year, my right hon. Friend has had a number of questions put to him in the House and has received representations from political and trade organisations, and from local authorities and trade unions about unemployment in the construction industry.

Thanks to the £811 million extra funds allocated to public sector construction work up to 1980, the main departmental programmes now show a stable pattern of demand. This stability has helped improve confidence in the industry and during the last 12 months there has been a 7 per cent. increase in output. Although unemployment in the industry is still too high there has also been a welcome fall over the past year and the prospects for the industry now look much healthier.