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Northern Region

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1977

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15.

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he is satisfied with the level of unemployment in the Northern Region.

No. That is why in addition to the allocation of an extra £145 million for training purposes, the Government have introduced a number of special measures to alleviate the worst effects of unemployment. These include the temporary employment subsidy, the job creation programme, the work experience scheme, the recruitment subsidy for school leavers, the youth employment subsidy, the job release scheme, and the strengthening of the careers service. So far, these measures have benefited more than 28,000 workers in the Northern Region.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. In view of the high level of unemployment in the Northern Region, should not the Government consider introducing a new regional incentive to make up for the withdrawal of the regional employment premium?

The policy of the Government is quite clear. We intend to provide selective assistance to industry rather than assistance on the basis of geography.

Does not my hon. Friend realise that the sudden abolition of the regional employment premium has caused serious anxiety in the area? Is there not a need—in addition to the temporary measures that the Minister has mentioned—for some long-term industrial grant linked with the employment provisions of the industrial projects?

With the announcement of the abolition of the regional employment premium, which will not end before the end of March, came an expansion of the temporary employment subsidy. The Northern Region has already had 10,762 jobs saved by the temporary employment subsidy and the area stands to benefit from its extension.

Is the Minister satisfied with the level of employment on Humberside? Since the Minister was unable to go there himself, will he confer with the Minister of State, who will be visiting Hull this weekend? In the light of that consultation, will he make a statement next week about our difficulties on Humberside?

It was not a question of my not wanting to go to Hull. I am not satisfied with the level of unemployment in any part of the United Kingdom and my hon. Friend will bear that in mind when he makes his visit.