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Unemployment (Glasgow)

Volume 24: debated on Wednesday 26 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Central on 6 May, he will undertake a review of the factors that have led to the increase in unemployment in Glasgow from 15,440 in June 1966 to 95,587 in April 1982.

No, Sir. Unemployment has been rising in Glasgow as elsewhere over a number of years, reflecting a long-term decline in industrial competitiveness and more recently the impact of the world-wide recession. Our policies are directed to reversing this trend and improving employment prospects generally; we have also acted to encourage new and existing companies to develop in Glasgow and we are offering positive help to those worst affected by unemployment, through the programme of special employment measures.

Is the Secretary of State aware that the unemployment figures in Glasgow today are nearly double those for the whole of Scotland in 1966? Is he also aware that his Government are guilty of spending more money on keeping nearly 96,000 on the dole in Glasgow than they are spending on the whole of the National Health Service in the Greater Glasgow health board area?

I am not sure about that, but no one can accuse the Government of being reluctant to spend money in Glasgow. As part of the West Central Scotland development area, Glasgow has the highest rate of grant and since January 1981 we have made 49 offers of selective financial assistance to firms in the Glasgow travel-to-work area, involving more than 5,800 jobs. The total associated investment was about £192 million.