Job Creation

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

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Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin , West Derbyshire 12:00 am, 16th June 1988

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many new jobs have been created in the economy since 1983.

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson The Chancellor of the Exchequer

Since 1983 nearly 1¾ million new jobs have been created, more than in the whole of the rest of the European Community put together.

Photo of Patrick McLoughlin Patrick McLoughlin , West Derbyshire

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.

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson The Chancellor of the Exchequer

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.

Photo of Mr Jack Ashley Mr Jack Ashley , Stoke-on-Trent South

As it is the Government's policy to force down wages as low as possible, can the Chancellor tell us how many of these jobs attract lower wages than were previously paid, on average?

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson The Chancellor of the Exchequer

If it were the Government's policy to force down wages as low as possible, which it is not, we are being notably unsuccessful.

Photo of Mr David Sumberg Mr David Sumberg , Bury South

As the north-west of England has shown one of the biggest increases in new jobs and the biggest falls in long-term unemployment, does it not prove that the old north-south divide under Labour is now a north-west success under the Conservatives? [Interruption.]

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson The Chancellor of the Exchequer

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.

Photo of Martin Smyth Martin Smyth , Belfast South

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?

Photo of Mr Nigel Lawson Mr Nigel Lawson The Chancellor of the Exchequer

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.