HC Deb 13 May 1987 vol 116 cc261-2W
16. Sir Alex Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will indicate the growth and trends of employment and self-employment in Scotland since 1983; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rifkind

In June 1983 seasonally adjusted adult unemployment in Scotland, based on the current coverage of the claimant count, was 308,500 compared with 344,600 in March 1987. In the latest two months, however, there has been a fall of over 5,000. Self-employment in Scotland is estimated to have been 205,000 in June 1986; an increase of 26,000 or 14.5 per cent. on the June 1983 figure.

The recent fall in unemployment together with the recent results of Scottish business surveys are welcome evidence of better economic performance in Scotland this year. The growth in self-employment is also a step in the right direction although we still have a long way to go in developing a culture and environment which adequately stimulates and rewards business enterprise.

20. Mr. David Marshall

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the seasonally adjusted unemployment figures for Scotland as at (a) May 1979 and (b) the latest available date, compiled on the same basis; and to what factors he attributes the difference.

Mr. Lang

On a comparable basis, seasonally adjusted unemployment in Scotland was 150,400 in May 1979 and 344,600 in March 1987. Much of the increase in Scottish unemployment took place in the 1979–81 period, and reflected both the effects of the worst world recession since the 1930s and the high level of sterling brought about by the United Kingdom's new found status as a major oil producer. In 1979 we inherited a situation in which overmanning in British industry was chronic and hidden unemployment considerable.

24. Mr. Allan Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the latest available figures for employment and unemployment in the Eastwood constituency; and if he will make a statment.

Mr. Lang

Information on employment is not available for parliamentary constituencies. In March 1987 there were 3,348 people unemployed in the Eastwood parliamentary constituency. Employment prospects in the Eastwood constituency, as elsewhere, are likely to benefit from the growth in output now under way in the Scottish economy.

31. Mr. Willie W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the current unemployment situation in Scotland, with particular reference to youth unemployment.

Mr. Lang

While the level of unemployment in Scotland still gives cause for concern, it is encouraging to see that there has been a decrease of over 16,000 in the number of unemployed claimants over the past 2 months.

Youth unemployment is now falling and the extension of the YTS guarantee to include all school leavers under 18, the introduction last year of the New Workers Scheme and, more recently the new Job Training Scheme, will all further increase the opportunities available to unemployed young people in Scotland.

34. Mr. Home Robertson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Manpower Services Commission about the level of unemployment in Scotland.

Mr. Lang

My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and I met the chairman of the Manpower Services Commission most recently on 4 March when we discussed the range of employment and training measures being undertaken by the Manpower Services Commission to reduce the level of unemployment in Scotland.