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Newcastle Upon Tyne

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment by how much unemployment has risen in Newcastle since February 1974.

Between February 1974 and February 1977, the numbers registered as unemployed in Newcastle upon Tyne and Walker employment office areas increased by 4,665.

I recognise that that represents a deplorable increase. Although in the region generally off the peg advance factories, such as recently announced, will help as a whole, does the Minister recognise that there is still an employment problem in city centres? Is he aware that small and medium-size businesses face increasing difficulties in employment because of problems of taxation, congestion and legislation, which make employment more difficult? Will he use his best endeavours with his governmental colleagues to do something for employers in urban areas?

I am well aware of the difficult situation in many of our inner city areas. The hon. Member will know that this is a matter for the Department of Industry, but I shall draw his remarks to that Department's attention.

Is it not a fact that the reason why the figures for unemployed school leavers in urban areas appear to have dropped dramatically is that once school leavers have taken advantage of the Government bonanza they then go to swell the adult unemployment figures? Will the Minister reintroduce the figures for young people so that the House can see the catastrophic situation which has arisen?

In a later reply I shall be giving figures related to the age distribution among the unemployed. I agree that there is a severe problem of unemployment among people under the age of 20. In an earlier reply I corrected the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior), who said that this problem was most marked among school leavers.