Service Sector Employment

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th May 1991.

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Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran , Beverley 12:00 am, 15th May 1991

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland by what amount employment in the service sector increased in Scotland between 1979 and 1988.

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

Between June 1979 and June 1988, service sector employment in Scotland grew by 79,000. This was an increase of 6·4 per cent. The service sector makes an important contribution to Scotland's economy and in 1989 accounted for almost two thirds of our gross domestic product.

Photo of Mr James Cran Mr James Cran , Beverley

Does my hon. Friend agree that the figures that he has given illustrate how diversified and resilient the Scottish economy now is? It grew by 2·5 per cent. per year for the seven years to 1988, but by only 1 per cent. per year when Labour was in power. Does he also agree that the pundits who say that manufacturing has been overwhelmed by the service sector are wrong, because the likelihood is that manufacturing output will grow by 4 to 5 per cent. even this year?

Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire

My hon. Friend is right to point to the strength of the service sector in Scotland. Employment in banking, in insurance and in financial and business services increased by about 50 per cent. between 1979 and 1989. Last year total employment in Scotland grew—the only part of the United Kingdom in which that happened—and in the past three years employment in Scotland has risen faster than in the United Kingdom as a whole.