§ Mrs. Liddell
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the chief executive of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Tim Holt to Ms Ruth Kelly, dated 23 July 1997:The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked me to reply, as Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to your recent parliamentary question asking how many people aged 25 years or over have been unemployed for two years or more in the Bolton West constituency.
The ONS produces two measures of unemployment. The first is derived from the quarterly Labour Force Survey, and is defined on a consistent and internationally recognised basis set out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It counts as unemployed those people who are a) without a paid job, b) available to start work within the next two weeks, and c) have either looked for work in the last four weeks or are waiting to start a job already obtained.
The ONS also publishes the monthly claimant count, which is based on the administrative system and includes all people claiming unemployment-related benefits (i.e. Jobseekers Allowance or National Insurance credits) at Employment Service offices on the day of the monthly count, who on that day had signed on as unemployed and available to do any suitable work. Essentially, all people who attend an Employment Service office to sign on the designated day are counted.
The information requested can only be derived from the claimant count, as the labour force survey does not give detail on duration of unemployment below county level. In April 1997, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 112 people aged 25 years or over who had been claiming unemployment-related benefits for more than two years in the Bolton West constituency.