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Employment (Scotland)

Volume 774: debated on Monday 25 November 1968

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what have been the reasons for the reduction in the total number of jobs in Scotland since 1964.

It is provisionally estimated that the number of employees in employment in Scotland decreased by 35,000 between June, 1964, and March, 1968. Some of this decrease may be seasonal. In several sectors the number of jobs has been reduced as a result of technical advance. This effect has been reinforced in agriculture by the consolidation of farms, in coalmining and transport by some fall in demand and in the distribution trades by rationalisation.

Is the Minister aware that up to the end of 1964, on the Government's own figures, the number of jobs in Scotland was increasing? Will the latest economic measures, known as the "touch on the tiller", have the effect of causing additional unemployment in Scotland?

The hon. Gentleman knows that if the previous Administration had been as generous in financial grants and as determined to solve the deep-seated, long-standing unemployment problems of the development areas as this Administration, he would have no need to ask that question.

Can the hon. Gentleman explain then how it was that in the last four years of the Conservative Government the number of actual jobs in Scotland increased by 30,000 whereas in the last four years the number has gone down by over 30,000?

I think that it is obvious that some of the measures which we have had to take have affected Scotland, but the significant point is that Scotland has been affected less by these measures than has the nation as a whole. In other words, unemployment has grown less in Scotland than in the rest of the country.

Is the hon. Member aware that the only credit which the Government can claim for success in respect of employment is in creating a vast number of new jobs in the Civil Service?

If the noble Lord believes that, he needs a new pair of spectacles so that he may see what is being done in Scotland, as I saw it the weekend before last.


asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what were the unemployment figures for Scotland in the years 1952 to 1968, respectively, for October; and if she will provide a breakdown of the figures for male, female and juvenile unemployment in each year.

As the reply consists of a table of figures, I will with permission circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Does my hon. Friend not agree that if we consider unemployment in Scotland in the past, the least that we can say is that my hon. Friends on this side of the House have not cultivated the bad habits of hon. Members opposite? Is he aware that in 1963 under the Conservative Government there were 136,000 unemployed in Scotland?

I am well aware of what my hon. Friend said. It is one of the unpleasant facts which hon. Members opposite like to forget.

Will the Minister indicate whether in his opinion the figures for unemployment in Scotland between now and next October will go up or go down? Is he aware that as a direct consequence of the Government's policy of increasing the petrol duty so savagely there will be a particularly harsh effect on employment in Scotland?

I am aware that the hon. Gentleman thought that the last Budget would send the unemployment figures up. Indeed, some of his hon. Friends suggested that they would rise to between 750,000 and 800,000. Their hopes in this respect have not come about. I have a feeling that expansion in Scotland will continue because we are now laying a firm industrial base—something which should have been done when the Conservatives were in power.

13th October, 195239,9041,18325,2401,81168,138
12th October, 195335,2771,20719,4621,17157,117
11th October, 195432,4911,29917,6781,11652,584
10th October, 195528,5211,24615,04996345,779
15th October, 195630,2301,04416,62095848,852
14th October, 195731,7471,03214,75291448,445
13th October, 195858,0082,80723,3041,69885,817
12th October, 195959,7403,38921,9331,55586,617
10th October, 196051,3842,07217,9081,14572,509
16th October, 196144,5961,78117,6661,24165,284
15th October, 196258,2703,41420,9242,18984,797
14th October, 196361,4563,92523,1182,25390,752
12th October, 196448,1042,63618,9371,57171,248
11th October, 196540,8051,84015,7081,23359,586
10th October, 196648,3842,27915,2011,41667,280
9th October, 196760,5142,66618,8591,79483,833
14th October, 196860.0412.11815,7201,27479,153