Unemployment Statistics

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons am 12:00 am ar 15 Rhagfyr 1981.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Edwin Wainwright Mr Edwin Wainwright , Dearne Valley 12:00, 15 Rhagfyr 1981

asked the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number registered as unemployed at the latest available date.

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

At 12 November the number of people registered as unemployed in the United Kingdom was 2,953,340.

Photo of Mr Edwin Wainwright Mr Edwin Wainwright , Dearne Valley

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that his complacency towards the 3 million unemployed, a figure that has held now for months and months, is upsetting the British people? When will he and the Government do something to create harmony in industries throughout the country instead of introducing legislation that will cause dissatisfaction, because of the Government's wish to bash trade unions?

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

The hon. Gentleman should not accuse us of complacency. I might equally well accuse some of his hon. Friends of being disappointed each time the unemployment figures are announced, when they find that they have not increased beyond 3 million. I think that the hon. Gentleman is wrong in his description of Government policies. The measures that I propose to introduce on industrial relations law reform, as I have explained on several occasions already, have the support of the great mass of the public, including the majority of trade unionists. Why, therefore, should they cause any dissent?

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

Will my right hon. Friend make an intelligent guess of the number of persons who are registered as unemployed and receiving the appropriate benefit yet who are working in the black economy for cash and not paying tax on any of that income?

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

The problem exists but we have no valid figures to tell us the extent of the problem—

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

My hon. and learned Friend asks "Why not?" If someone is working illegally in the black economy and is illegally drawing unemployment benefit, we shall prosecute him if we catch up with him. We do not know how many are in that position, because we have not caught them all. That seems to be fairly clear. There is a strong case for measures such as those that we have announced, to allow those who are in receipt of unemployment benefit arid who seek to go into self-employment to have the additional support of being able to continue to draw benefit for some months to enable them to become established. In that way we help people to take their place in, presumably, the white economy instead of entering the black economy.

Photo of Mr Allen McKay Mr Allen McKay , Penistone

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that the unemployment figures that he has produced are falsified because 1 million are not registered as unemployed who in fact are unemployed, 750,000 are on temporary employment and many women are not registered as unemployed? Is it not a fact that if the Government run to the end of their period in office, about 4·5 million will be unemployed if the present trend continues?

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

No projection of that sort, which is based on false premises, can be a fact.

Photo of Mr John Townend Mr John Townend , Bridlington

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the number of young unemployed will be reduced if the wages councils can be persuaded to reduce their starting level of wages so that employers can take advantage of the £15 subsidy? What initiatives does he intend to take to influence the councils?

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

I think that my hon. Friend is right. There is little doubt but that labour, like any other commodity, will find a more ready market if its price is lower than at present. I am considering how the wages councils can best be influenced to make recommendations that will benefit those concerned, especially young persons, by extending their chance of getting jobs.

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones , Flint East

Has the right hon. Gentleman forgotten that the figures for long-term unemployed have doubled since last year? Does he appreciate that, on the basis of the current course of Government policy, the long-term unemployment figure will total 1 million by June 1982? What does he intend to do about this human tragedy?

Photo of Mr Norman Tebbit Mr Norman Tebbit , Waltham Forest Chingford

The only cure for the scourge of unemployment is to recreate conditions in which there are willing buyers for the goods which can be produced by those who are now unemployed. That means that we cease to export our jobs to other countries by persisting in being less competitive than they are and in charging more for our goods than they are charging for theirs.