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Young Persons (Scotland)

Volume 774: debated on Monday 25 November 1968

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity what was the number of young persons unemployed in Scotland in October, 1968, the number of vacancies for young persons at the same date, and the corresponding figures for October, 1967.

At mid-October, 1968, 3,392 young persons were registered as unemployed at youth employment offices in Scotland and there were 5,828 unfilled vacancies for young persons. The corresponding figures for October, 1967, were 4,460 and 4,723 respectively.

Is this favourable comparison due to fewer school leavers, or is it a real improvement?

We could say that this is a real improvement, because there were over 2,000 more school leavers last July-August than in the corresponding period last year.

I recognise that the position for Scotland as a whole has improved dramatically, but can my hon. Friend say whether the Government bear in mind the special problems of drift from the rural areas of Scotland, and from the Highlands in particular? What steps has he in mind for improving this situation?

I would have thought that my hon. Friend would appreciate that the whole of the Government's development area policy is designed to prevent this drift, which has now been taking place for over a quarter of a century.