§ Mr. Jim Lester
On 10 April there were 92,464 people registered as unemployed in the Merseyside special development area—an unemployment rate of 12.2 per cent.
I am naturally concerned about the upward trend in the level of unemployment on Merseyside. We have always recognised, however, that our efforts to conquer inflation, and create the economic conditions in which firms can expand, involved some risk of increasing unemployment in the short term. Ultimately, the prospects for reducing unemployment on Merseyside and elsewhere depend on industry and commerce responding to our initiatives and working together to improve their competitiveness—by bargaining responsibly over pay and conditions and by improvements in productivity, quality and reliability.