Labour Statistics

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th November 1990.

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Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West 12:00 am, 13th November 1990

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his most recent estimate of the total of the work force who are employed in more than one job and are thus counted twice in the employment statistics.

Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard Secretary of State for Employment

Precise information on the number of people with more than one job included in the published work force in employment estimates is not available.

However, the labour force survey estimated that 708,000 people held a second job as an employee in the spring of 1989.

Photo of Paul Flynn Paul Flynn , Newport West

Do the Government agree that there is as much truth in their job statistics as there was in the claim, made in 1945 from a bunker by Josef Goebbels just before he took cyanide, that Germany was about to win the war? Before the Government exit in similar circumstances and in a similar fashion, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman confess that counting 750,000 double-jobbers twice, including 1 million non-existent self-employed in the totals and multiplying the value of part-time jobs twice corrupts the Government's job statistics into a meaningless, propagandist fantasy?

Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard Secretary of State for Employment

Before the hon. Gentleman engaged in such far-fetched fantasies, he would have done well to check the fact that there has been no change from the practice followed by previous Governments in these respects. However we calculate the figures, there are more people in work now than there have ever been. Opposition Members should be welcoming that fact instead of constantly trying to decry it.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

When my right hon. and learned Friend is considering the employment statistics, will he bear in mind the case of Terry Deane of Ealing, who was refused employment by the then Labour Ealing council —which has since been found guilty by an industrial tribunal of the most blatant discrimination—in its housing department in 1987?

Photo of Michael Howard Michael Howard Secretary of State for Employment

I am glad that the Leader of the Opposition arrived in time to hear my hon. Friend draw to the attention of the House yet another respect in which the previous Labour Ealing council behaved disgracefully. No doubt that council was elected by, among others, the right hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Terry Fields Mr Terry Fields , Liverpool Broadgreen

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest unemployment figures for the north-west region; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jackson:

In September 1990 the level of unemployment, seasonally adjusted, in the north-west region was 232,300—[Interruption.] Labour Members must be celebrating the fact that there has been a fall of 40 per cent. in unemployment in the north-west region during the past three years.

Photo of Mr Terry Fields Mr Terry Fields , Liverpool Broadgreen

Are not those figures unrealistic? Are not they made up of part-time workers and people who have been conscripted to phoney schemes in a deceitful way? What will be the effects of ERM entry on unemployment? Why are the Government closing job and retraining centres in Merseyside? What will be the effects of the disastrous poll tax figures on councils such as Liverpool city council, which is the largest employer in the area? What will it all mean for employment for the people of Liverpool?

Mr. Jackson:

I hope that the hon. Gentleman welcomes the fact that overall employment in the north-west was risen by 347,000 since March 1983, an increase of 14 per cent. There have been many significant developments. I visited the north-west only last week to open the new Stockport and High Peak training and enterprise council. I encourage the hon. Gentleman to get in touch with his local TEC and give it his full support.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Pendle

Is my hon. Friend aware that my constituency has the second-highest level of manufacturing employment in Britain, at more than 55 per cent? Will he encourage my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State to visit Pendle early in the new year—perhaps they could come together—to see some examples of its manufacturing base?

Mr. Jackson:

I should be happy to make that suggestion to my right hon. and learned Friend, who has, in fact, heard it. If he cannot visit Pendle, I shall do so.

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish , Central Fife

Why were the unemployed ritually sacrificed in last week's autumn statement, despite the fact that it is estimated that unemployment will rise to 2 million next year? Is the Minister aware that in regional blackspots such as Liverpool, Riverside the male unemployment level is 31·7 per cent?

Can the Minister explain the extraordinary decision to cut £1 billion from the Department's budget in real terms for the period 1988 to 1994? Will he confirm that the Government are opting out of the slick sloganising of the skills revolution, or is it simply a question of the unemployed being asked to eat cake?

Mr. Jackson:

The hon. Gentleman is rehearsing his speech for today's debate. Employment training remains an important programme and we shall continue to fulfil our guarantee of training for all 18 to 24-year-olds. We shall continue to provide training for the aim group, who are older than that. Our evaluation of employment training—we are about to place a summary in the Library—suggests that training may not always, in all circumstances, be the answer to help the long-term unemployed. That is why my right hon. and learned Friend recently made his announcement about jobs clubs and the job interview guarantee scheme. The hon. Gentleman should set that in the context of what he described.