HC Deb 17 July 1979 vol 970 cc441-2W
20. Mr. Hardy

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is his present estimate of persons who will be unemployed in the United Kingdom in six, 12 and 18 months' time.

Mr. Jim Lester

My right hon. Friend has not made any estimates of this kind.

31. Mr. Foster

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will outline his policy for assisting the long-term unemployed.

Mr. Jim Lester

Ultimately, the interests of the long-term unemployed will best be served by the creation of genuine permanent jobs. Our policies of restoring incentives, encouraging efficiency and creating the conditions for faster economic growth are intended to help industry and commerce to provide more jobs. As far as shorter-term policies are concerned, the Manpower Services Commission's special temporary employment programme provides temporary jobs in the areas where unemployment is most serious—the special development, development and designated inner city areas.

We have tightened the criteria for entry to schemes so that a higher proportion of entrants are drawn from the long-term unemployed. The MSC has undertaken to ensure that every unemployed young person who left school in the school year 1978–79 who remains unemployed at Easter 1980 will have been offered a suit- able opportunity in the programme and that by 31st March a suitable opportunity will have been offered to all young people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more. The long-term unemployed can, of course, also benefit from the full range of specialist advisory and placement services available through the public employment service and from a number of other special employment and training measures.