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Unemployment, Cornwall

Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest unemployment rate in Cornwall; and what was the average figure in Cornwall in 1979.

In January 1990 the rate of unemployment in the county of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was 10 per cent., compared with an average of 9·7 per cent. for 1979. Those figures are not adjusted to take account of seasonal influences or changes in coverage.

The House may be aware of the recent announcement that one of the two remaining tin mines in my constituency and in Cornwall—the Wheal Jane tin mine—is to be closed. This is a matter mainly for the Department of Trade and Industry, which has been funding the mine. However, I hope that Employment Ministers will make a special effort to help with, and take into account, the employment problems that may arise in that immediate area as a direct result of closure, if it goes ahead, and as a result of spin-off losses.

I am very sad to hear about those closure plans. I visited the mine, which, I think, is just outside the hon. Gentleman's constituency, some years ago. I understand what the hon. Gentleman is saying. However, I have to say that over the past year the fall in unemployment in his constituency has been sharper than the fall generally in the United Kingdom.