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.
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?
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.
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.