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Labour Statistics

Volume 84: debated on Monday 21 October 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will state the number of school leavers registered as job seekers in Rhymney Valley, Mid-Glamorgan and Wales at the latest date for which figures are available.

On 12 September 1985 the number of school leavers under 18 years of age in Rhymney Valley, Mid-Glamorgan and Wales who had not entered employment since completing full-time education were 624, 2,712 and 11,327 respectively. Many will find employment or return to full-time education. For the remainder, there is a guarantee of the offer by Christmas of a place on the youth training scheme.

Does the Minister accept that, according to the October figures, 1,500 young people are registered as job seekers in Rhymney Valley and that in Mid-Glamorgan as a whole there are about 7,000? Is he aware that for those 1,500 in Rhymney Valley there is one vacancy at the careers office and that for the 7,000 in Mid-Glamorgan only 17 vacancies are registered with the careers service? In the light of those figures, will the Minister dissociate himself entirely from the view of the vice-chairman of the Conservative party, Mr. Jeffrey Archer, that the problem with young people is that they will not do a day's work and that they should get off their backsides and find a job?

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that we are very concerned about the high number of unemployed school leavers that appear at this time of year on the register and account for a considerable part of the increase. Indeed, they are responsible for about 5,530 of those registered in Wales. However, I am glad to say that that number is 701 fewer than last September's figure. There are consolations for these young people, because I am glad to say that vacancies are up, being 1,500 higher this September than in September 1984. While we still regard the figures as being too high, there is hope for every youngster who has left school and is now without a job.

Will the Minister now answer the question posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) and say whether he dissociates himself entirely from the insulting remarks of the vice-chairman of the Tory party, Mr. Jeffrey Archer, which caused a great deal of anger and bitterness among the young people in our community?

I did not hear the vice-chairman's remarks. I have only seen them reported and, as often as not, I am sure, reported totally out of context. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I have my own views, which I have declared, about young people who are unemployed in any part of Wales. While we are deeply concerned about their predicament, their prospects are somewhat better now than they were a year ago.