asked the Secretary of State for Employment how large a sample of unfair dismissal cases was taken in 1978, from which his Department has estimated that applicants were mate the numbers who will be unemployed in February 1981; what percentage increase this represents; what discussions he has had with the Manpower Services Commission concerning the numbers who will be unemployed in February 1981; and if he will make a statement.
Present indications suggest that unemployment is likely to be on a rising trend in the months immediately ahead. But it would be unprofitable to speculate on the likely level in February 1981. I have had a number of meetings with the Manpower Services Commission on a range of matters, including the unemployment prospect generally and the development of its programmes. One of these is the youth opportunities programme, which, as already announced, will be expanded by 25 per cent. to provide more opportunities for unemployed young people.