I welcome that very encouraging news. Will my right hon. Friend comment on the ingredients that the economy requires to create so many new jobs? Is it not a fact that more jobs have been created in the United Kingdom than in the rest of Europe put together? A job is a job, regardless of how the Opposition may denigrate them, whether part-time or full-time. Those jobs are providing employment for the people of this country.
My hon. Friend is right to be encouraged by the dynamism that the economy has shown in a number of respects, not least through the creation of new jobs, many of which have been created by the birth, in increasing numbers, of new companies. The view used to he that the only way that the economy could expand was by increasing the Budget deficit, but we have demonstrated that there can be unparalleled growth by reducing and eliminating altogether the Budget deficit. That has been the reason for the success of the enterprise culture, for tax reductions and reform, trade union law reform and all the other reforms on the so-called supply side of the economy that have enabled the economy to perform more freely and to work better.
My hon. Friend is right. Despite the ignorant jeers of the Opposition, one of the most encouraging factors about the changes in unemployment and employment over the past few years is the way in which unemployment has been falling and jobs have been growing in every region of the country.
I welcome the Chancellor's statement about the large number of new jobs. Did he notice that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury did not mention Northern Ireland when he referred to the regions where there is long-term unemployment? May we be assured that we shall enjoy some of these benefits referred to, especially in the light of Northern Ireland's low-wage economy, which does not attract new jobs?
Over the past year there has been a drop of about 5 per cent. in the number of long-term unemployed in Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, I fully understand the very considerable difficulties in the Province, partly as a result of the peculiar and unsatisfactory conditions that prevail there and partly because there is still an excessive dependence on older industries. We are seeing a change in the industrial structure of Northern Ireland, which is very important for the future of new jobs there.