HC Deb 07 February 1980 vol 978 cc278-9W
22. Mr. Stephen Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied with the general level of service provided by the health and social service boards in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Alison

The general level of service provided compares broadly with the level of service provided elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

During the current financial year the effect of cash limits has been to slow the planned development of services, but these have not been cut and, despite adverse economic pressures, have not even stood still. Site works for the new area hospital at Antrim have recently begun, a major extension of Altnagelvin hospital at Londonderry is in hand, and work on the new Belfast city hospital, which is at an advanced stage of construction, is continuing. In the community field, the current financial year should see the completion of no fewer than seven old people's homes, two day centres, three children's homes, three health centres and a programme of planned development of services for the mentally handicapped is progressing. The ever-growing needs of an ageing population and of the mentally ill and the handicapped is generating increasing demands for services, but, as the Royal Commission on the National Health Service recognised, there is a limit to the resources the Government can devote to the public sector, including the health and personal social services. Until there is an upturn in the economy, growth of public services must be held in check. For this reason I wel-

Travel to work area Employment service office area Total unemployed as at 10 January 1980 Percentage unemployed
Armagh Armagh 1,537 12.1
Ballymena Antrim 1,740 11. 3
Ballymena 1,784
Magherafelt 1,830
Belfast Bangor 1,444 9.3
Belfast 21,771
Carrickfergus 1,273
Larne 1,050
Lisburn 1,679
Newtownards 1,313
Coleraine Ballymoney 1,469 13.9
Coleraine 2,112
Cookstown Cookstown 1,443 23.7
Craigavon Banbridge 865 10.0
Lurgan 1,972
Portadown 1,371
Downpatrick Ballynahinch 424 12.2
Downpatrick 702
Kilkeel 486
Newcastle 551
Dungannon Dungannon 2,335 21.5
Enniskillen Enniskillen 2,498 15.4
Londonderry Limavady 1,308 15.7
Londonderry 5,267
Newry Newry 3,988 21.3
Omagh Omagh 1,790 13.9
Strabane Strabane 2,180 23.6
Northern Ireland Totals 66,182 11.5

The Government remain committed to an industrial development policy aimed at encouraging the creation of new employment opportunities in Northern Ireland and offer a wide range of investment incentives supported by a comprehensive training programme. Some notable successes were achieved in attracting new investment in the past year.