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Labour Statistics

Volume 128: debated on Tuesday 1 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in Southwark and Bermondsey have been unemployed for longer than a year; and if he will make a statement.

On 14 January 1988 the number of unemployed claimants in the Southwark and Bermondsey constituency who had been unemployed for more than one year was 3,048. That was 285 fewer than in January last year.

Is the Minister aware that although unemployment has fallen a little since last year it is up by one third since 1983? Forty-six per cent. of those who are unemployed have been out of work for more than a year. What hope is there for people in constituencies such as mine that the inner-city initiatives will produce help for local residents and not for so many of the commuters who come in from onside inner-city areas?

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concern, but I cannot help feeling that he is putting too gloomy a gloss on the matter. Unemployment has fallen by 12ยท9 per cent. in Southwark and Bermondsey during the past year. The travel-to-work area that includes the constituency has a lower rate of unemployment than the national average. If one considers the work done by the London Docklands Development Corporation, there is every reason to suppose that the jobs that are being attracted to the area and preserved and created there are certainly not all going to visitors. There is every reason to suppose that they are benefiting local people.

I am reassured by what my hon. Friend has said about the Southwark and Bermondsey constituency. Can he confirm that these promising signs prevail in the Southwark borough as a whole, and, in particular, in my constituency of Dulwich?

Whatever signs one looks at in the area, the position is hopeful. Job clubs in Southwark have helped about 225 people into jobs, the equivalent of 3,520 in Greater London. The YTS in Southwark is currently helping 555 people. The whole pattern is clear: the benefit that the whole country is enjoying is reflected in areas such as the constituencies of the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and of my hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich (Mr. Bowden).