HC Deb 01 March 1984 vol 55 c307W
Mr. Jim Callaghan

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions have taken place within the European Council on a Community approach to the problem of unemployment.

Mr. Gummer

I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23 June 1983, at c. 145–46, concerning the meeting of the European Council held at Stuttgart on 17 to 19 June 1983. The Council discussed economic recovery with particular concern for youth unemployment and welcomed the decision of the Labour and Social Affairs Council of 2 June 1983 on the reform of the European social fund.

The new guidelines for the fund give appropriate recognition to the needs of young people and to the particular problems of areas suffering from high unemployment and industrial decline. The United Kingdom is now a major beneficiary. In 1983 we received £320 million, 30 per cent. of the £1.1 billion spent by the fund on training and employment schemes in member states. Our programmes have helped to set the standards of the whole European Community and in this way we both benefit from our membership of the European Community and help towards better provisions for all Europe's young people.