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Volume 32: debated on Wednesday 17 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what considerations he had in mind when he told the Aviemore forum of the Scottish Council (Development and Industry) on 29 October 1982 that unemployment figures in Scotland are unlikely to fall before the next general election.

The view which I gave at the Aviemore forum was that unemployment was likely to go on rising for some time yet. This reflects the likelihood that the recovery in output will be slow and uneven in its early stages, particularly in view of the extremely difficult world circumstances which prevail. I also said that there was no quick or easy way of reducing unemployment, and that the most certain way of creating secure jobs in the future was through the improvement in competitiveness which our policies are designed to achieve.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about unemployment in Scotland.

On 14 October 1982 seasonally adjusted unemployment in Scotland stood at 328,500 or 14ยท7 per cent. Our present economic strategy offers the only hope of achieving sustained growth, leading to a lasting improvement in employment prospects in Scotland and elsewhere. En the meantime, we have substantially expanded the special employment and training measures to help those worst affected by unemployment and to prepare for the upturn.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what new proposals he has to reduce unemployment in Scotland in 1983.

Our present economic strategy offers the best hope of a lasting reduction in unemployment. We have recently announced further measures to assist industry, while for those unable to find a job we will be expanding the programme of special employment and training measures. The effectiveness of these various measures will be kept under review.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to reduce unemployment in Scotland.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) earlier today.