§ Q26. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Prime Minister how many women are now registered as unemployed; how many others are estimated to be looking for work; and if Her Majesty's Government will take steps to improve their job prospects.
§ The Prime Minister:
At 9 September 1982 the number of women registered as unemployed in the United Kingdom was 1,003,741. This figure includes school leavers and is not seasonally adjusted.
It is estimated that in 1979, the last year for which complete information is available, about a quarter of a million women were seeking work but were not registered as unemployed. Later information suggests that the number was similar in 1980 and rose only slightly in 1981.
Women's interests are best served by the Government's policies aimed at creating the right economic climate for an effective and competitive industry. They can and do make use of Government employment and training services which are open on equal terms to men and women. In addition the Government have set up the new training initiative, at an annual cost of £1.5 billion—from 1983–84—which includes a £1 billion a year youth training scheme. Women as well as men will benefit from the opportunities offered.
The Government recognise that in some circumstances women have special needs and in those cases we encourage special provision. For example, the Manpower Services Commission has a small programme of training for women only, in skills where women are under-. represented and for women returning to the labour market after a period of absence.