§ 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.