HC Deb 18 March 1980 vol 981 cc177-8W
38. Mr. Leighton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he is satisfied with the effectiveness of his policies to contain the growth in unemployment.

Mr. Jim Lester

I am naturally worried about the upward trend in employment. But I have no doubt that our economic policies offer the best hope of reversing this trend. Unemployment will start to fall when the world economy begins to improve, and when we buy less of other people's goods and make them buy more of ours.

39. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State of Employment what is the current level of unemployment in the United Kingdom; and if he will estimate the level for March 1981.

Mr. Jim Lester

In February there were 1,488,923 people registered as unemployed in the United Kingdom. Some further rise may be expected over the rest of the year, but, as forecasts of unemployment are subject to large margins of error, no useful purpose would be served by attempting to estimate the level for March 1981.

40. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the percentage increase in unemployment in the Wolverhampton area since September 1979.

Mr. Jim Lester

Between September 1979 and February 1980 the numbers registered as unemployed in the Wolverhampton employment office area decreased by 5.7 per cent. This percentage is based on figures which are not adjusted for seasonal variations. The September 1979 figures included a considerable number of school leavers under 18 years of age who had left the register by February. Because of the introduction of fortnightly attendance and payment of benefit the unemployment figures for February 1980 are not strictly comparable with those prior to October 1979. Estimates are not available for local areas, but for the country as a whole the figures are about 1½ per cent. higher than they would have been under weekly attendance.