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Labour Statistics

Volume 80: debated on Tuesday 11 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment, on the latest available figures, what is the total number of unemployed under the age of 25 years.

On 11 April 1985 the number of unemployed claimants in the United Kingdom under 25 years of age was 1,213,000.

Does the Minister realise the depressing nature of that figure? Have not the Government, through their economic policies, written off a large proportion of the generation under the age of 25? When will the Government act on their behalf? What hope can there be for those people in the future if there is continuation of the same miserable policies?

As I said in answer to a previous question, the Government have not written off the 18 to 25–year-olds. The Government have expanded the community programme to almost double its size. As the hon. Member will be aware, about half of the people on that programme are under 25.

Is it not time that we had a significant drive to get more young people to take jobs in the service industries? In view of the high unemployment figures, is it not ludicrous that restaurants and hotels throughout the country are staffed almost exclusively by foreigners?

I agree in part with what my hon. Friend said. There are many opportunities available in hotels, restaurants and the retail industry. As he will no doubt know, there are large numbers of youth training scheme places aimed at precisely those parts of the economy.

Does the Minister know that, as the end of another school year approaches, the prospects for school leavers throughout the country—certainly in my constituency in Leicester—are very bleak indeed, and that many of their school friends who left at the end of the last school year are still unable to find jobs? The youth training scheme may be admirable, but it is no substitute for a job.

As the hon. and learned Gentleman knows well, in Leicester, as in other parts of the country, every one of this year's school leavers will have the opportunity of taking part in a quality youth training scheme. That is more than ever happened under the last Labour Administration.

One regrets the large number of unemployed people under the age of 25, but is my hon. Friend aware that in the city of Leicester, because of a dispute within NALGO, the community programme has not been agreed as an agency agreement with the city council, and that, therefore, 400 jobs cannot be confirmed? Will my hon. Friend arrange for the jobcentres to publicise the number of jobs going begging, numbering about 1,600 in Leicester? If those jobs were filled, it would reduce the number of unemployed and would be of help to the rest of the country.

As my hon. Friend will know, I am aware that NALGO in Leicester has, for the moment, not approved the community programme. One must, therefore, assume that it is not worried about the long-term unemployed. At present I am looking into that matter.


asked the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of those in employment are in full-time work; and what the proportion was in May 1979.

The labour force survey conductec in the spring of 1984 found that 79 per cent. of employee; regarded themselves as working full time. That compare; with 82 per cent. in the survey conducted in the spring of 1979.

Does the Minister realise that that reply and those figures mean that there is a growth in part-time employment, which means that there are fewer full-time employees? Is he further aware that those part-time employees are represented in the main by the council—I mean, by wages councils? Bearing in mind that the Government have a policy to abolish wages councils, is the Minister aware that bosses and employers will walk all over those people? It is obviously a typical Tory party policy.

I am certain that the House will feel thai the hon. Gentleman's question lost nothing in the briel interval during which he rehearsed his punchline. If he examines the figures, he will see that the difference between 1979 and 1982 is small. Indeed, the proportior has hardly altered. There is nothing disreputable about part-time work. It is generally accepted that future patterns of employment in industrial societies will include an element of job-sharing and splitting, and flexible early retirement. Government policies and special employment measures are directed towards that.