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Volume 201: debated on Tuesday 14 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobcentres there are.

At the end of November, the Employment Service had a total of 954 local offices offering full jobcentre services.

I congratulate my right hon. and learned Friend on the great improvement in the services, management and organisation of jobcentres. Is he aware that it is a great advantage to have the unemployment benefit office and the jobcentre under the same roof, as we have in Gloucester, and will he ensure that more offices are organised in that way?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. It is our intention to spread across the country the advantages of integrated jobcentres. Through the Employment Service, we are this year helping some 840,000 people with places on our programmes. We expect the number to approach 1 million next year.

Is the Secretary of State aware that our jobcentres now face an increasing demand for their services? Is that any wonder when from the second quarter of 1990 to the second quarter of 1991 employment has grown by 300,000 in Italy, 200,000 in France, and 637,000 in Germany, while in the United Kingdom it has fallen by 706,000? Will the Secretary of State now own up to this unique recession which is causing so much damage and overworking so many of our jobcentres?

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was listening to the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Wantage (Mr. Jackson), a few moments ago when he pointed out that we have a greater proportion of people in work than any European country except Denmark and more women at work than any other EC member state. There are some 2ยท5 million more jobs in this country than there were in 1983 and we have an unprecedented record of job creation. As we emerge from recession as a result of the Government's policies, we shall be in a position to create jobs again in the 1990s on the scale achieved in the 1980s.