asked the Minister of Labour what steps are being taken to deal with the unemployment of school leavers in the Ashington-Morpeth area in Northumberland.
Most of the young people who left school at Christmas are now in employment. Youth employment officers are making every effort to place the rest.
Is the Minister aware that those figures do not seem to tie up with the latest figures in my possession and that we are now faced with an increasingly acute problem of employment for juniors who left school both at Christmas and preceding Christmas? Is he further aware that, as we are now faced with the impact of the school "bulge", this problem is going to be increasingly difficult? Will his Department make special efforts to ensure employment in this and other areas in the North-East?
Of course, we are very interested indeed, and I know that the hon. Gentleman is as well, in securing that these young people, who are our future, get work of the best kind suitable to them as soon as possible. The actual numbers of school leavers still registered for work in this area at 12th February were 20 boys and 24 girls. There are very good prospects of employment for boys in the coal mining industry, which, as the hon. Member knows, is rather good for boys because of the rather exceptionally good apprenticeship training possibilities.