§ Dr. Cable
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchange if he will calculate the current level of unemployment on(a) a claimant basis and (b) labour force survey basis rebased to the methodology used for calculating unemployment in (i) 1980, (ii) methodology used for calculating unemployment in (i) 1980, (ii) 1985 and (iii) 1990. 154W
§ 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 Dr. Vincent Cable, dated 27 January 1998:The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked me to reply, as Director of the Office for National Statistics, to your recent question on calculating the current level of unemployment on (a) claimant basis and (b) labour force survey basis rebased to the methodology used for calculating unemployment in (i) 1980, (ii) 1985 and (iii) 1990.The ONS measure of unemployment, derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), is defined on a consistent and internationally recognised basis set out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and counts as unemployed 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.ONS also published figures on the number of people who are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or National Insurance Credits. This is published monthly and is known as the Claimant Count.
Labour Force SurveyThe ILO definition of unemployment has been used for the LFS since 1984. Prior to this a slightly different definition was used. Data on both definitions is published for 1984. The ILO definition produced slightly higher estimates. The ILO definition was adopted in order to be consistent with international practice. The information required to calculate unemployment according to the old definition is no longer collected and any estimation would be speculative.
Claimant CountIt is not possible to calculate the current claimant count under any previous coverage as it is impossible to know how many people would be registered unemployed now, on the basis of old procedures which no longer exist. The effect of changes in the coverage of the monthly count vary over time. Attempting to calculate their effects today would involve speculative estimates about economic, demographic and other factors.