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Unemployed Persons

Volume 978: debated on Monday 11 February 1980

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make as close an estimate as possible, making any reasonable assumptions necessary regarding the ages, average wage and other variables, of the cost in lost revenue and increased benefits payable, caused by the increase in the numbers of unemployed people announced in January.

[pursuant to his reply, 7 February 1980]: The total effect on Government revenue and social security payments of the increase in unemployment in January depends crucially on the characteristics of those unemployed and the associated effects on the rest of the economy. Estimates could be produced only from a simulation on a macroeconomic model which would involve a large number of speculative assumptions both on the characteristics of the unemployed and the effects on the rest of the economy. I regret that I must decline to undertake this on grounds of cost. I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 14 November to the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Leighton).—[Vol. 973, c. 622]. However, for the cost in lost revenue and additional social security benefits for an individual under a specific set of assumptions, I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 18 January.—[Vol. 976, c. 893.]