HC Deb 08 June 1982 vol 25 c37W
28. Mr. Proctor

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the current levels of unemployment amongst the ethnic minorities.

Mr. Alison

In February 1982 ethnic minority unemployed—defined as those born in the new Commonwealth and Pakistan or whose parents were born there—totalled 119,286. This represented 4.1 per cent. of all unemployment. For some time past, ethnic minority unemployment has been increasing at a faster rate than unemployment generally, although in the year ending February 1982 it slowed down and there was little difference between the respective rates of increase. The latest quarterly count of ethnic minority unemployment is below the level of the two preceding quarters. Some small encouragement may be found in this although it is too soon to say whether the improvement will be sustained. Moreover, there are wide regional variations in ethnic minority unemployment figures and in some regions the trend is still adverse.

The Government have in these circumstances been concerned to ensure that the ethnic minorities obtain every possible benefit from the training and special programmes provided by the Manpower Services Commission. The Government are providing resources for a considerable expansion of measures to alleviate unemployment, and I am much encouraged by the good use made by the ethnic minorities of the opportunities so provided. However, the only way to secure any substantial and lasting improvement in job opportunities both for the ethnic minorities and for the labour force generally is to continue to pursue the Government's present policies for reviving the economy.