Economic Inactivity

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 25th November 2009.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley 11:30 am, 25th November 2009

What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the level of economic inactivity in Scotland.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy The Secretary of State for Scotland

I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the level of economic inactivity in Scotland.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley

Office for National Statistics figures show that the number of people in Scotland becoming economically inactive rose by 20 per cent. more than the UK average. Why is Scotland so much worse?

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy The Secretary of State for Scotland

Scotland is better off because it is part of the United Kingdom. The four nations of the UK are stronger together during this recession than would otherwise be the case, and most people in Scotland now accept that. There are 250,000 more people in work in Scotland than when the hon. Gentleman's party left power, and his party has not been listened to on this recession in Scotland because of how it behaved while in government during the last recession in Scotland.

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Photo of Rosemary McKenna Rosemary McKenna Labour, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

Does my right hon. Friend share my anger at the Opposition for refusing to vote for any support that we give to the unemployed in Scotland, and for the abandonment of people in the 1980s and 1990s that this Government reversed in 1997?

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy The Secretary of State for Scotland

It is clear that the Labour Government are doing everything that we can to get people through this recession. It is also clear that we cannot stop every job being lost-that is the unavoidable and harsh reality of the world economy these days-but we can do everything possible to get people back into work so that they never suffer from long-term unemployment. That is why the measures we have taken are so important, and the blocking of those measures by the Opposition has been so unforgivable.

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