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Employment Opportunities, Tameside

Volume 201: debated on Tuesday 14 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State Employment what action he intends to take to increase employment opportunities in Tameside.

The Employment Service and Manchester training and enterprise council deliver a wide range of employment, enterprise and training programmes to help unemployed people in the creation of employment opportunities in Tameside, as elsewhere.

In the 12 months to December 1991, Employment Service jobcentres in Tameside placed 7,119 people in jobs, and in Manchester placed 48,904 people in jobs.

Is the Minister aware that, in Tameside, unemployment has risen by a staggering 63 per cent. in the past 18 months? Although unemployment is high in other Greater Manchester boroughs, because of the benefit obtained from urban programme status, it is rising less fast in those boroughs. Will the Minister join me in urging the Secretary of State for the Environment to give Tameside similar status, so that it can offset the terrible waste of talent in the borough?

I shall certainly draw to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment the hon. Gentleman's point about Tameside. To set unemployment in context, of course it has risen in Tameside, as elsewhere. It is striking, however, that Britain has a higher proportion of its population of working age in work than any other country in Europe, apart from Denmark. We should set that fact in the context of any rise in unemployment.

Is my hon. Friend aware that development corporations in Tameside, which adjoin my constituency, have greatly benefited jobs in the area? Did not a Labour Government want to abolish them?

My hon. Friend is well-informed about his area. It is important to note that jobs continue to be created. A total of 25 per cent. of those who sign on as unemployed find jobs within one month, 50 per cent. find jobs within three months and two thirds find jobs within six months. There is a continuing flow through the register and there are job opportunities for people who will take them.