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Volume 22: debated on Monday 26 April 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will instruct the Scottish Economic Planning Department to carry out an urgent study of the reasons why Scottish unemployment has increased substantially, since European Economic Community membership, by comparison with nations like Norway, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland.

No. Differing rates of unemployment between countries reflect the performance of the economy, and this in turn depends on numerous and complex factors. It would not be feasible to attempt to isolate the effects of EEC membership in the way proposed. Our aim is to secure better performance of the economy by policies designed to bring about a fundamental improvement in competitiveness.