I beg to move,
That this House
notes with concern the recent increases in unemployment, and the widespread forecasts that the total may rise in the months ahead;
further notes that the UK already has almost five million people in receipt of out of work benefits;
and calls on the Government to implement measures to help British business secure existing jobs and to improve the back to work support available to those who do become unemployed.
Before I begin my remarks, may I welcome the members of the rather extensively new Department for Work and Pensions team to their positions? There has been a big change in the departmental ranks, but we on the Conservative Benches look forward to debating with all of them in the weeks and months ahead.
Much of the media attention over the past couple of weeks has rightly been on the crisis in the financial markets, which was the subject of the earlier debate this afternoon. In the second debate today I want to turn the attention of the House to an issue that is becoming an increasingly big concern for people around the country: unemployment. None of us wants to see the unemployment rate rise. We all hope that the gloomier forecasts about unemployment prove to be over-pessimistic, but the truth is that things are getting worse, and not only in the financial services sector. Yesterday, we had 600 jobs lost at the automotive firm LSUK in Sheffield. One thousand people per day are currently joining the dole queue. Unemployment is up by more than 40 per cent. in some areas. Employment is falling; vacancies are down by 60,000, and youth unemployment stands at more than 1.25 million.
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