HC Deb 06 March 1995 vol 256 c76W
Mr. Devlin

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government's achievements in the northern region since 1979.

The Prime Minister

The Government have had many achievements in the northern region since 1979 as our policies have created a favourable economic climate for growth. During this period the region has undergone the biggest transformation since the 19th century with the emergence of a new and diverse industrial base. Pharmaceutical, food processing, clothing, light engineering, electronics and car manufacture have replaced traditional industries. In the area covered by the Government office for the north-east this change has come about through a range of measures:

the attraction of £3 billion overseas investment since 1985, the most notable successes of which were Nissan and Samsung and a further £1.3 billion private sector investment into the areas covered by the Tyne and Wear and Teesside Development Corporations since 1987, creating and safeguarding over 30,000 jobs;over 5,500 hectares of derelict land reclaimed, including over 700 by the Urban Development Corporations in Tyne and Wear and on Teesside;in partnership with other organisations, the region's Training and Enterprise Councils have successfully developed innovative solutions to the training and enterprise needs of their areas including the establishment of a business innovation Centre in Sunderland and a management training and higher education facility in Northumberland. TEC's in the region have also piloted a number of new initiatives: Open Learning Credits, Youth Credits, Adult Credits, the Out of School Childcare Grant, Workstart and Skillchoice.;assisting over 26,000 unemployed people to start their own businesses since 1987 through the Businesses Start Up Scheme run by Training and Enterprise Councils;820,000 people placed in jobs by the Employment Service since 1986:unemployment has fallen by 16,100 or nearly 10 per cent. since the national peak in December 1992;a substantial number of homes built and improved;over 4,000 jobs created, 5,000 jobs preserved and 550 new businesses assisted by the South Tyneside and Stockton and Thornaby Task Force; and,an increase in the numbers of young people staying in full-time education after reaching school leaving age. 12.4 per cent of those leaving schools in the region in 1992–93 intended to pursue a Degree course.

The region also piloted the development of job clubs, now a successful national programme and expects to become the first to have contracted out careers services and to have facilitated a comprehensive network of Business Links.

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