asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people are currently unemployed in Northern Ireland; and what percentage of those have been without work for more than one year.
At 11 October 1982, it was estimated that there were 113,700 unemployed claimants in Northern Ireland, of whom 43 per cent. had been continuously claiming unemployment benefit for more than one year.
Will the Minister's Department use the same fiddling techniques that have been adopted by the Secretary of State for unemployment for the figures for Great Britain as a whole and try to get the figures down by meddling with the books? Will the Minister bear in mind that if it is right and proper for this Government to allocate large sums of money to the Falkland Islands, a colony, it might be right and proper to allocate the same sort of money on a pro rata basis to another colony, Northern Ireland?
No, Sir. The House knows very well that Northern Ireland is not a colony. Equally, those who take any interest in Northern Ireland affairs know that it is an area of the United Kingdom that receives the highest per capita subvention from the Exchequer.