Labour Statistics

Prayers – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th June 1988.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Mark Wolfson Mr Mark Wolfson , Sevenoaks 12:00 am, 16th June 1988

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the fall in long-term unemployment in the year to January 1988.

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

Long-term unemployment fell by 234,000 in the year to January 1988, and by a further 71,000 between January and April. The fall over the last year is the largest on record, and it has happened in all regions.

Photo of Mr Mark Wolfson Mr Mark Wolfson , Sevenoaks

I welcome that positive news, but will my right hon. Friend enlarge on it and tell us a little more about the reflection of those figures in the regions of most persistent and difficult long-term unemployment?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

One of the attractive features of the fall in unemployment over the past 22 months has been the dramatic fall in the north-west, the north, Yorkshire and Humberside. That is particularly true of long-term unemployment, which has fallen by 21·9 per cent. in the north-west, 19·1 per cent. in the north, 22·6 per cent. in Wales and 15·6 per cent. in Scotland.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

How much longer will we have to wait before unemployment is on the same scale as in May 1979?

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

The hon. Gentleman may be drawing a distinction between the number of people who were registered as unemployed and the number who were in jobs that genuinely did not exist when the Labour Government were in office.

Photo of Mr William Powell Mr William Powell , Corby

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is an obvious answer to all those who want to know how unemployment has fallen? They should visit the former unemployment black spot of Corby, where unemployment has been dropping sensationally and will continue to do so.

Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon

My hon. Friend is entirely right. It is noticeable that although throughout the last election the Opposition claimed that unemployment was about to rise, since then it has fallen by half a million.