Mr John Lee: In 1987 United Kingdom invisible exports amounted to £80 billion. The tourism account amounted to 8 per cent. of this, or £6·2 billion.
Mr John Lee: Last year was a record year for visitors to this country, with 15·4 million coming here. For the nine months to September the figure is about 2 per cent. up on the same period last year, at 12·5 million. Jobs in tourism and hospitality are increasing at an average rate of 1,000 a week.
Mr John Lee: May I say in personal terms that we are sorry that the hon. Lady is not in her customary place. Salaries and overall conditions of employment in tourism and hospitality are improving. Many of the better companies in the industry put huge amounts of money into training. I agree that more emphasis must be placed on training and the overall remuneration package, because staff turnover in the...
Mr John Lee: I am sure that we can accommodate substantially more than we do now, and we want the number of tourists to increase. Of the £18 billion a year in total tourist revenue, £8 billion comes from visitors from abroad.
Mr John Lee: The hon. Gentleman will have to ask the Treasury about invisible exports in general. The balance of payments deficit on the tourism account increased from about £1 billion in September last year to about £1·8 billion in September this year.
Mr John Lee: In October 1988 the level of seasonally adjusted unemployment in the north-west region was 307,900, a fall of 61,500 over the last 12 months.
Mr John Lee: My hon. Friend is right. He is well aware that the unemployment level in his constituency has fallen by 28 per cent. The unemployment level in Lancashire as a whole has fallen from just-over 62,000 in October 1987 to 48,000 in October 1988—a total fall of more than 14,000. Other programmes are designed to bring about an even greater fall, and there are nearly 13,000 participants with...
Mr John Lee: I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is so churlish as not to draw attention to what has happened to the level of unemployment in his constituency over the past 12 months. The level has fallen by over 1,000, or by no less than 24·49 per cent. He knows how well north-east Lancashire is doing at the moment, because his constituency adjoins mine. His comments are completely incorrect.
Mr John Lee: My hon. Friend is right. In the north-west the unified business rate will have a beneficial effect on manufacturing industry, and therefore on employment.
Mr John Lee: In September 1988 the number of unemployed claimants in the Stockport local authority district was 9,300—a fall of 3,000, or 24 per cent., over the last 12 months.
Mr John Lee: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has just said, it is sad that a minority of councils have turned their backs on the unemployed and are not participating in employment training. I am glad to say that, as my hon. Friend has intimated, Stockport city council is playing a full part. It has a 500-place ET scheme, which is 95 per cent. full. I am delighted with the co-operation...
Mr John Lee: I do not believe that a 24 per cent. reduction in unemployment in Stockport is a small fall. There has been a fall in unemployment in Manchester from 13·2 per cent. to 10·9 per cent. in the past year. As the hon. Gentleman knows, although there are pockets of inner-city unemployment in Manchester, by and large Manchester's economy is vibrant and buoyant.
Mr John Lee: My hon. Friend is right. There is a tremendous feeling of optimism, pride and confidence throughout the north-west.
Mr John Lee: Action for jobs was launched in 1986 to raise public awareness of the wide range of help available through the employment, training and enterprise programmes of the Employment Department group. Central to the campaign was the "Action for Jobs" booklet, and it is a measure of its success that more than 7·5 million copies of the booklet have been taken up.
Mr John Lee: Our action for jobs programme was a great success in raising awareness of our range of programmes, and within it we produced the first ever comprehensive guide to the whole range of programmes. We intend to continue in that way. Group publicity expenditure for 1988–89 is forecast at £49·5 million, or less than 2 per cent. of our overall programme spend.
Mr John Lee: I am not aware of the programme to which the hon. Gentleman referred. The Department is spending about £3·5 billion this year on its overall employment and training measures and about £144 million on specific programmes to help the disabled.
Mr John Lee: I am sure that when any of my ministerial colleagues next visit the northern region they will take up my hon. Friend's suggestion and praise the staff of the employment service for what they have achieved.
Mr John Lee: The information is not available in the form requested. However, the latest results from the Training Commission's complete, 100 per cent. follow-up survey of YTS leavers show that, of those young people who completed their YTS schemes in the Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster local authority districts, between April 1986 and December 1987, just over half—54 per cent—were in full-time...
Mr John Lee: I certainly accept that the employment situation in the hon. Gentleman's constituency and surrounding areas is more difficult than in other parts of the country, but, even in that area, unemployment has come down from 21·2 per cent. in May 1987 to 18·8 per cent. in May 1988. As the hon. Gentleman knows, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently set out a whole range of measures to...
Mr John Lee: The decision by the Sheffield authority is deplorable and can only harm those who need training to give them employment opportunities.