HC Deb 16 June 1981 vol 6 cc312-3W
Mr. Kenneth

Carlisle asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement on the availability of statistics of redundancies.

Mr. Peter Morrison

There are no comprehensive statistics on redundancies. But there are three sets of figures which indicate trends.

Section 100 of the Employment Protection Act 1975 requires employers to give advance warning of redundancy proposals involving 10 or more employees. But not all statutory notifications lead to actual redundancies. During the notification period, circumstances often change so that a proposed redundancy is either averted or involves fewer people—for example, because of an application under the temporary short-time working compensation scheme—and no all withdrawals are notified, not least because there is not statutory obligation on employers to do so. Accordingly, the number of notified redundancies tends to exceed significantly the number of actual redundancies occurring in groups of 10 or more.

Secondly, local offices of the Manpower Services Commission follow up statutory notifications with the firms concerned, just before the proposed redundancy is due to take place. Accordingly, the commission redundancy statistics provide a much better measure than statutory notifications of the numbers of redundancies in groups of 10 or more actually due to occur. For example, in May the number of redundancies provisionally confirmed as due to occur by the commission was 47,181, whereas the number of statutory notifications was 84,101. Like the statutory notifications, on which they are based, the commission figures exclude redundancies involving less than 10 employees. It should be noted that Manpower Services Commission figures collected since 1 February 1981 are not strictly comparable with those for previous months, because of improvements to the data collection, designed to secure a better coverage of reported redundancies actually expected to take place.

Thirdly, as part of the administration of the redundancy payments sections of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978, my Department collects figures of numbers of employees receiving redundancy payments, following an application by an employer for a rebate from the redunndacy fund or by an employee for a direct payment. But these figures exclude workers who have been with their employer for less than two years and those aged under 20 or over statutory retirement age—that is 65 for men, 60 for women.

This Department is responsible for and already answers all questions about the statutory redundancy payments scheme. Similarly, since statutory notifications are made to the Department, my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales have agreed that this Department should answer all questions asking specifically about notifications under section 100 of the Employment Protection Act. As a result figures of redundancies supplied for Wales will not be directly comparable with those quoted in the past. My right hon. Friends will answer all other questions about redundancies in Scotland and Wales, as will this Department for England, using Manpower Services Commission figures.

A more detailed explanation of these changes will appear in a forthcoming edition of the Employment Gazette.

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