HC Deb 12 February 1997 vol 290 cc196-7W
Mr. David Shaw

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the January rise in German unemployment on (a) progress towards European convergence and (b) United Kingdom growth prospects. [15364]

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

[holding answer 11 February 1997]: German claimant unemployment rose 510,000 to 4,658,000 in January 1997. On a seasonally adjusted basis, it rose 160,000 to 4,317,000. The Government take the view that it is unlikely, although not impossible, that there will be sufficient convergence for economic and monetary union to proceed safely on 1 January 1999. The UK recovery is broadly based and growth is forecast to continue to be faster than in our major European competitors.